So, we were invited to the Disney Social Moms Celebration and hadn’t told a soul. (Well, a local soul. Or family. I told a few online friends, and if you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my excitement leak.)
In the weeks before the conference, my mind was frantically preparing but the day-to-day was not playing along! I had these grand dreams of spring cleaning, filling the freezer with meals for the crazy days before and after the conference, updating my own wardrobe for the first time in years (yoga pants would not work for Disney…), packing (secretly) days in advance, surprising the kids, and leaving the house spotless at 4am on Thursday, May 9.
So the kids came home on Wednesday after school none the wiser. I suppose that’s one advantage to being perpetually behind?! We surprised them with the news and got busy packing 7 people for a 5 day trip! We put them to bed that night in their travel clothes to save a step in the wee hours.
At midnight, I looked at Lance and laughed. “Game on!” and soon after, we loaded what luggage we could into the vehicle and went to bed for a couple hours. Never mind the 2yo who got up at 1:30. Oy! Alarm went off at 3:00am and I said a prayer that 2 hours sleep would somehow feel like 10. Either that, or that adrenaline would do its thing. For 5 days.
We got the kids up, made breakfast sandwiches with English muffins from the freezer, and hit the road with all 5 kids (we counted to make sure) at 4am. Excitement was building and everyone stayed awake on the hour drive to the airport.
I’ve only flown twice since our honeymoon nearly 15 years ago, and Lance hasn’t flown at all since then, so hopping on board with the whole family seemed a daunting task. I checked in online beforehand, hoping that would smooth the road. I was also thankful for our very small airport (no lines!) and truly, going through TSA security at 5:30 in the morning worked out just fine, too!
We let our 3 big kids carry backpacks for their sweatshirts, electronics, and snacks. The packs weren’t full by any means, and we considered them “extra luggage space” if we needed it on the way home. Lance also carried a backpack, and I had the diaper bag. Our 7yo was in charge of the Tourister Luggage Carry-On. We also had two suitcases to check. All in all, 8 bags. Here goes!
Happy baby at 5:15 in the morning. Poor thing hadn’t realized that Mama, in her midnight stupor, dressed her in mismatched clothes. Whoops! We trekked from the parking lot to the airport, lugging bags and babies. Mr. 2 was a champ, as were the rest of the crew. I forked over an extra $36 when scheduling the flight so that I could give us 6 assigned seats, 3 right in front of the other. For a family that had never flown together, that was money well spent!
We warned the kids that their ears might feel funny when we take off, and made sure they were chomping on gum and/or sticky, tart candy. (Hey. Whatever it takes, right?) They did fabulous!
It was pretty exciting to be served drinks in the sky, but after that The Tired started to catch up to a few of them. The first leg of our flight was 2 hours long, and we did some napping after the 7yo threatened to vomit beside me. Major close call, there. When Mr. 2 became restless, a kind (young!) grandma asked if I’d let him play HER ipad. “I have it loaded with games for my little grandson,” and she handed it over for the last 20 minutes of the flight. How fun is she?!
Baby girl was bothered by the decent, yanking on her ears and not interested in nursing, but 10 minutes of fussing in a baby who had been awake (for the most part) since 4am? I’ll take it! When we arrived in Atlanta I piled out with the kids to get directions to our next gate while Lance stayed behind to grab the carry-on (which was never above us like it should have been. Is that a “thing” with frequent flyers? Drove us bonkers that our spaces were ALL taken ALL the time!) We met up and hustled through the airport to make our connecting flight, after an emergency bathroom break (for mom!). Thirty minutes. Five kids. We MOVED. And, we made it.
We then settled in for the second, 1 hour, leg of our flight. Smooth sailing! Once we landed in Orlando we very much appreciated our early departure from a small airport. It was packed in there at noon! “Are we here?! Are we at Disney World?!” they were asking at the airport. “Is this our hotel?!” Nope. Still the airport. ;) We navigated our way through the food court (totally should have stopped for lunch ~ big mistake), hit the tram to find the Magical Express.
Stay tuned… we’re almost there!
Disclosure: I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Conference and received discounted rates and tickets to various events and attractions. All opinions are my own.