I’m coming to you this week with my fav top 10 things right now! These are some of my favorite posts to do! These are just some of the things I’m enjoying and want to share with you!
The Guest List and The Last House Guest. I’ve read a lot of books lately and these two were by far the best ones I’ve read. I love a good page-turner and an ending that is unexpected. These books check both of those boxes!
Fit4Mom. This is such a wonderful way to meet other moms while also working on bettering yourself physically. I joined for the workout but I stayed for the community.
OKC Mom. I just became a contributor and it has been such a fun way to get connected in our new city! It is also a place to read some wonderful posts from some incredible women. So whether you live in OK or not, you need to check it out.
Scrunchies. Yes, you read that right. I’m so glad these are back! They are such a fun accessory when you don’t want to do your hair! This one is my favorite!
Stitch Fix. Okay, I know I’m biased because I work here. But hear me out. They have a new Freestyle feature where you can go and shop looks directly by yourself! So you can search through inventory yourself or you can have a stylist send you five surprise items!
IVL leggings. My favorite workout gear is from IVL Collective! They have so many fun prints and styles! And yes, I like them just as much, if not more than Lulu!
Fort Worth mug and Tea Towel. I love Evelyn Henson’s designs. She has a map collection of various US cities. I love these FW designs because they remind me of home.
This swimsuit. Looking for the perfect swimsuit? Look no further! I love this one so much and it’s so flattering! Going on two years of wearing it and it’s still my favorite!
Golden Goose. It’s no secret that I love these shoes. I know that they are a little pricey but holy moly they’re worth it. I get so much use out of them and they’re so comfy! They pair well with so many different outfits!
This thermal jug. This is my go-to cup for drinking water. 1) it holds a lot of water and 2) it’s super cute!
I hope you had as much fun going through this list as I did writing it! I’ll be back next month with another top 10!
This post is coming way later than I had anticipated but without further ado…here is Finley’s First time in 4-ever birthday party post!
We had her party at Play Street Museum which is our fav party venue! It is so fun for the kids and once you set-up then you just let the kids run and play! You can sit back and enjoy the party! I dont feel rushed or frantic. Plus, its super cute!
Play Street offers packages where they decorate for you based on ceratin themes! However, I like the DIY package so I can do it myself! I have linked everything below. Most is from Amazon!
Balloons and banner come together in a set (with the snowflakes): Amazon
I also rented Anna and Elsa from FW Princess Parties and it was the highlight of the whole party! Finley still talks about them! She keeps brainstorming about the princesses she wants to come to her next birthday party…that’s 9 months away!
We had the best time celebrating our sweet 4-year old! I definitely recommend PSM for your next birthday party! Also, check out their party packages if you just want to show up and not have to worry about anything!
I am so excited you’re here! I hope that through this post you can find some helpful tips and tricks for your own Disney vacation! I am going to take you through our vacation step by step so grab a pen and paper and jot down any information that seems helpful!
Disneys Art of Animation
We chose this hotel because of the Little Mermaid room they offer. I did not realize this at the time, but it is one of the top 5 requested rooms in all of Disney. We had originally planned to have our trip in January, however, all of the mermaid rooms were fully booked. So the cast member who was helping us book our trip was able to find a week in February! We moved our trip back a month just for this room and it was well worth it!
We love this hotel because it has access to the Skyliner. It is considered a value resort, however, as soon as you walk in you feel like you’re at Disney. The pools are great and our themed Little Mermaid room was by far the best room we have ever stayed at. It was so fun for our Ariel-loving girl.
They have a store with Disney apparel, snacks, baby essentials, etc. They also have a Dining Hall, Landscape of Flavors that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. There is also a poolside bar, The Drop Off Pool Bar with the best Pina Coladas.
Other than The Little Mermaid room they also have Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars-themed rooms. Ryan said he would love to stay at Lion king next time. A of A also has a laundry room, arcade, play areas, Movie Under the Stars, and jogging trails.
We always start with Disney Springs on our travel day. We love to go walk through Disney Springs, so we always plan to have an early flight so that we can land around lunchtime and head straight to Disney Springs.
[Here is a little update on how to get to your hotel: Once we landed at MCO we headed to get our luggage and then went to Mears transportation. Disney no longer has its own buses that take you to your hotel. HOWEVER, there is still transportation. Mears is the bus company and it is the exact same thing and located in the exact same spot. It does cost now and you have to reserve your spot ahead of time. Simply log on to the website and put in your flight info and it will reserve a bus for you at the correct time. So easy! It drops you off right at the front door of your hotel.]
If your room is not ready once you get to the hotel, you can drop your luggage off and come back when it’s ready. This is what we usually do, however, this time our room was ready right when we got there. So we went to our room, dropped off our luggage, and headed to Disney Springs.
Disney has free buses to each park and to Disney Springs from your hotel. Once we got to DS we headed straight for D-Luxe burger. It is our fav restaurant and it’s in a great location! If it’s nice you can sit on the patio and it’s right on this little river. We then went to Sprinkles to get a cupcake and then to World of Disney for some shopping. WOD is a huge Disney store that has everything. Disney Springs is so fun at night. They have a stage with performances and fun nightlife. We finished our night with a little train ride for Finley then went home to get some sleep for Magic Kingdom the next day.
Magic Kingdom opened at 9:00 am, however, if you say at a resort you get to enter at 8:30 am. (You can check the times for each park on the Disney app) We left our hotel room at 7:30, went to breakfast at the hotel, took the bus to MK, and got to MK right at 8:30. Ryan headed to get Harrison his first pair of ears while I headed to the castle for photos. (We only found ONE place that sold the boy ears hat. They were located in MK right when you walk in and to the right.)
I like to do photos at the beginning of the day so that we can get them over with and not worry about them later on. Plus, it’s better to do them before anyone gets sweaty or has a blowout. I normally do NOT do photos right in front of the castle. However, I did them this time because there was literally no one right there in front. I think everyone just ran to the rides that have long waits…so I took advantage of the good photo opportunities. The best photo spots are to the left of the castle and to the right by Cinderella’s wishing well. (pictured below)
I obviously needed to start my day with Starbucks so we headed back down Main Street to get coffee. The line looks long but it goes pretty fast. Then we went to meet Mickey because the wait was only about 10 minutes. Make sure to check the Disney app throughout the day to check on wait times.
We always start with Tomorrowland which is right of the castle. So we headed right and started our day! We did the Tomorrowland Speedway, Mad Tea Party, and Dumbo. We had to wait around 30 minutes for each ride so after those rides it was time for lunch. We always eat lunch at Cosmic Rays Starlight Diner because it has a great view of the castle.
After lunch we had lightning lane passes for Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Voyage of The Little Mermaid. So, let’s talk Genie+ and lightning lane…
Disney has discontinued Fast Pass and introduced lightning lanes and Genie+. First, they have introduced Genie which is their free service on the Disney app that helps you plan your day. Based on your location, likes and what you want to do, it creates an itinerary on which rides will have the shortest lines at different times. Next, is the new service Genie+. Genie+ costs $15/person per day. We added it on to our park tickets when we purchased them. This is basically their new fast pass. It allows you to make reservations for SELECT rides. These open at 7:00 am for resort guests. Finally, they have Lighting Lane. LL is a paid fast pass service for the most popular rides in each park. (This is an additional fee from the Genie+) These also open up at 7:00 am for resort guests and these go fast! We paid $15/person for Rise of the Resistance, $8/person for Mickey and Minnies runaway railroad, $11/person for Flight of Passage, $11/person for Remis Ratatouille Adventure, and $11/person for Frozen Ever After. I know it’s frustrating having to pay an additional fee after you already pay to get into the park. However, we skipped all of these lines (most were 2+ hours) and walked right on. Definitely worth it for us.
When we were there they had not brought back the Festival of Fantasy parade. However, they had cavalcades throughout the day so you can wave to different characters. These cavalcades are scheduled on the app so just check each day to see when they will be happening.
We finished our day with the fireworks show which was amazing! We headed back to our hotel for dinner and to get some rest for Hollywood Studios the next day.
Ryan woke up right at 7:00 am to reserve his lighting lane pass for Rise of The Resistance. Then we got ready and headed straight for the Skyliner.
[Info on the Skyliner: The Skyliner is our favorite! It is like a ski lift that takes you from certain resorts to Hollywood Studios or Epcot. Our resort has the Skyliner which is one of the reasons why we love staying there. Another great part of the Skyliner is that you do not need to fold up your stroller…you can just roll it on. You have to fold up your stroller on the buses.]
The Skyliner dropped us off at the front and we headed to Galaxy’s Edge. Ryan rode ROR and we walked around a little bit before heading to Toy Story Land. We took our photos (remember, I like doing this first thing). There are so many good photo spots in HS…especially in Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge! Cast Members will take your photo with your phone! We had lunch at Woody’s Lunchbox for the first time and it was one of my fav meals I had!
Next, Ryan rode single rider for Smugglers Run while we ran across the park to see Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage! (Some rides open up Single Rider options which is a way to ride a ride faster. You basically get to ride with another party that needs one more person. This works well for us because Ryan rides a lot of rides that we don’t ride)
We then went to see the Disney JR. characters. I was so excited to see that they brought them back! She got to see all of her fav characters and got to take photos with them!
We usually stay until Fantasmic at night, however, Fantasmic hasn’t returned yet. So, we headed back to the hotel to let Finley swim. We then headed to Epcot for dinner. There are so many food options at Epcot and so many different types of food! We ate at the Mexico Pavilion and it was amazing!
Again, Ryan woke up at 7:00 am to make his selections for different rides. He was able to get Flight of Passage and the Kilimanjaro Safaris. We took the bus to AK and headed straight for Starbucks. It was so nice not having to get there early and try to rush to a ride to beat the crowds.
We started with the Festival of The Lion King which is my favorite! It was a little shorter from the original show pre-covid. But it was still amazing! We headed towards Asia and took photos by the tree. The best photo spot is NOT in front of the tree. It’s on the side (in Asia) on a little walkway. (pictured below)
We then headed to Dinoland USA and saw a boat cavalcade on the way there with Donald and Dasiy! We played games and won some stuffed animals. Finley and Ryan share a love for carnival games. We ate lunch at Flame Tree BBQ. We eat lunch here every time we’re in AK.
Next, we headed to the safari. I feel like this is so underrated! I love it because it’s a cool way to see animals and it’s a nice break from walking! AK is a half-day park for our family so after the safari we headed to Hollywood Studios so Ryan could ride some more rides. We headed to dinner at the ABC Commisionary (we also eat here every time we’re in HS). Then we got Finley ice cream like we had promised her all day. We ended the night playing on this little play area at our hotel.
We were in no hurry to get to Epcot early because there were only two rides that we really wanted to get and we got lighting lane passes for them later on in the day. So we slept in a little and had breakfast at our hotel. We then hopped on the Skyliner and headed to Epcot. Ryan had also got a lighting lane pass for Finding Nemo just in case it was busy. We walked up and there was no line so we canceled the pass so we could use it on something else.
The Finding Nemo are is so cool. After you get off the ride, you enter this huge building with amazing sea life! There are aquariums and interactive areas where you can learn more about different fish. Next, we headed to Spaceship Earth (the Epcot Ball) for photos. I do not have a great photo spot for this so we just took them where we found a free spot. (pictured below) Goofy also happened to be there so we got photos with him too!
We rode Spaceship Earth and then headed to lunch. I wanted to try something different since we had Mexican food the time before. So we went to China and ate at the Lotus Blossom Cafe. This may have been my fav meal of the trip! Next, we went to The Frozen Ever After ride. This is one of the rides Ryan woke up early for to secure a lighting lane pass. This line was about 2 hours and we walked right on! After that, we skipped the 2-hour Ratatouille line and walked right on with lighting lane. Probably my fav ride in all of Disney!
We went to Disney’s Yacht and Beach club for dessert. They have this 50th celebration milkshake at Beaches and cream that I really wanted to try. They actually have a walk-up to-go window so you don’t need a reservation! I walked right up, ordered, and got my shake in like 2 minutes! (photo below)
Every time we go to Disney I like to take photos of Finley in different princess dresses. Her current fav princess is Repunzel, so we got her dressed as Repunzel and headed to Magic Kingdom. We took photos and she got to meet Repunzel while dressed as Repunzel. We ended the night with dinner at the hotel.
We had a slow morning because our Chef Mickey reservation was not until 10:00 am. We got to sleep in and take our time heading to the Contemporary. Chef Mickey is inside the Contemporary hotel. In order to get there, you have to take a bus from your hotel to Magic Kingdom and then hop on the monorail. The monorail will take you to the Contemporary.
It was a fun experience! The restaurant is usually a buffet, however, because of Covid, they do it a little differently. They serve everything family style but you can request more of everything! So it’s still all-you-can-eat. We had cheesy hashbrowns, Mickey waffles, bacon, sausage, brisket, eggs, pastries, and Finley was served a Mickey pancake. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto. They come by and let you take photos before moving on to the next table. They were patient and waited until I got my photo. I didn’t feel rushed at all. They actually each came by twice! I would definitely do this again!
We then headed to MK to see the castle one last time. After that, we headed to HS one last time. Finley got to see her fav characters again and I had popcorn (my fav snack in the park) while Ryan rode Tower of Terror. We ended HS with seeing Mickley and Minnie again. Then, it was off to Epcot for the last time. I wanted Italian food, however, they did not have any quick-service restaurants and all of their sit-down restaurants were booked. So we went to a cart and got mozzarella balls and a frozen Italian margarita. Then we ended the night with pizza at our hotel.
Our Mears bus came bright and early at 5:55 am to pick us up from the hotel. I am thankful that it came so early because our flight was scheduled at 9:00 and the airport was packed! It took us about 45 minutes just to make it through security. Then we had to take the tram to our terminal. We made it with a little time to spare so we had breakfast and then made it to our gate right in time for priority boarding.
Tips on how to save money? One myth about Disney World is that it has to be crazy expensive. That’s just not true. There are so many ways to cut costs and to save before you get there and while you’re there. 1. Stay at a value resort. 2. Pack your own food (Yes, you can take food and drinks into the parks). 3. Buy Disney cups, bubble wands, etc beforehand so you don’t have to buy merch when you’re there. 4. Ask for Disney gift cards for birthdays, Christmas, etc. 5. Buy Disney gift cards at Target and use your redcard. (I have never done this but I hear of people doing it who get 5% back even on gift cards…with a shot!) Also, it’s a great way to save. Just randomly buy a $10-$15 Disney gift card any time you’re at Target. It will add up and you can just put it aside without thinking about it. 6. Skip Park Hopper. I personally love Park Hopper, however, it does add up. You can easily do one park a day and not pay extra for Park Hopper.
How is Disney different during Covid? I went to Disney back in 2020 right when it opened back up and it was a lot different than pre-covid. However, now things have started going back to normal. I would say the biggest change is not getting to take photos side by side with the characters. They have brought back some characters and you can take photos with them. You just can’t stand right next to them. Also, you have to wear masks on public transportation. The first few days we were there we had to wear a mask at ALL indoor locations. Then on Thursday, they switched it to only transportation. The last thing I would say would be that not all the shows are back…but they’re coming back! We saw Frozen sing-along, Festival of the Lion King, and Beauty and The Beast Live on stage. My fav parade is Festival of Fantasy and they had not brought it back when we were there but I hear that it’s coming back soon! Also, Fantasmic is my fav show and it was not there where we were there but I also hear that it’s coming back sometime this year!
Which rides to use Lighting lane on? This is definitely personal preference. In my opinion…in MK: Seven Dwarfs mine train, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and Jungle Cruise. Those are all the busiest rides. I would say to not use these passes on Teacups, dumbo, Winnie the pooh, Carasoul, etc. In HS: Tower of Terror, Rise of the Resistance, Smugglers Run, Slingydog Dash, Mickey and Minnies runaway railroad, and Rock “N” Rollercoaster. In AK: Flight of Passage, The Navi River, and Expedition Everest. In Epcot: Frozen Ever After and Remis Ratatouille Adventure.
Tips and tricks
FREE buttons for special occasions.
Refillable mugs. These are great because it’s a souvenir plus you get unlimited refills for the duration of your trip! The only downside is that you can not fill them up at the parks. Only at resorts.
Magic bands. You do not need these but they’re fun to have. You can select the one that you want on the app when purchasing tickets. However, there are so many to choose from once you get to Disney! These are not necessary though. You can now link your park tickets to your phone and apple watch. I love them though because it’s so easy to scan to get into each park and to pay for everything. Every place at Disney accepts magic band payments. Your magic band is linked to your credit card…so easy!
Masks. Required on the plane but our airlines (Spirit) did not make Finley wear one. They are required on all transportation at Disney (including children over 2).
Sneakers. Trust me. Wear sneakers. And take breaks from walking regularly. Your feet will thank you.
Water bottles. Take your own and refill them at the parks.
Stroller sign. This is a great way to identify your stroller in the large mass of stroller parking.
Disney countdown and packing list. These were fun to have while getting prepared for our trip!
I think this is everything that I can think of! If you have any questions please ask! The park is changing daily with covid-precautions so things may be different once you get there. Plus, they are adding more and more things back as time goes on. So stay up to date by following them on social media!
I was hospitalized on Friday morning and my OB told me she wanted to wait until Monday for me to see the high-risk doctor and to see what he says about delivering early. We woke up Monday morning expecting to have a chill day and to eventually go see the high-risk doctor. Around 7:30 AM my OB walks in and says “Do you want to have a birthday party?” I looked at Ryan and we were both like “huh?”. She said she was up early that morning looking at my file and decided that I needed to deliver that day. Ryan asked if we were going to still see the high-risk doctor and she said there was no need. She knew I needed to deliver because my BP would not stay under control over the weekend.
The first thing I did once my OB left the room was call my mom. She was with Finley and was on the way out the door of the house to take Finley to school. I called her and said, “Well, we’re having a baby today!” She was so excited! I then texted my other family members and Ryan texted his family. We were excited but also nervous. I was only 33 weeks.
Nurses came flooding in to get me hooked up to the IV and other machines. This c-section wasn’t as rushed so we had time to breathe. It was nice to be able to communicate with each other beforehand and to talk to family. I was so nervous though. The thought of the epidural and undergoing major surgery had me stressed. I told Ryan I felt like Pam from the Office on the episode where she doesn’t want to go have a baby because she doesn’t think she can do it. I knew I could do it…but I was flooded with fear. I turned on my worship playlist and just started praying.
I finally got wheeled into the operating room and Ryan had to stay behind until I got my epidural. When I get there their computers weren’t working. They could not figure why they would not turn on so they had to call the IT guy. It took about 30 minutes for them to get the computers working and for me to get my epidural. Then Ryan was finally able to come into the room.
I remember how bad the epidural hurt with Finley so I was worried about this one. However, this one did not hurt at all! I do not think I will ever forget how uncomfortable I was. The epidural worked right away but I started feeling like I was claustrophobic. I could not move (obviously) and it was the worst feeling. My OB walked in and told Ryan he could play music so I told him to play worship music. I started singing the songs to myself and tried to distract myself. Thankfully they started operating right away so it kinda distracted me.
I heard my OB say “Hi, Baby!” then I heard him crying. Ryan was able to cut the umbilical cord which was awesome because he was not able to with Finley. He was crying really good which was a good sign because we were worried about his lungs. They sounded great though initially. They weighed him, we took pics, and then they took him to NICU.
They started stitching me up and this part takes a while. I started having the worst pain in my back after they took him out. I told Ryan I didn’t feel good and that the pain was getting worse. The anesthesiologist gave me some meds and told me I would be out for about 2 minutes. I heard Ryan talking to me and then talking to my OB about video games. I thought those two convos ran together but Ryan said I was out for about 20 minutes. It was so weird because I did not even know I was out. Ryan said I was talking to him and then I just fell asleep immediately. My back felt so much better after that medicine!
We went back to our room and I was finally about to breathe. I was on magnesium so I was not about to get up or go to NICU for 24 hours. Ryan was able to though so he got to go see him! My nurse was so sweet and it made things so much better. We had the best nurses during our stay! (And Harrison has the BEST NICU nurses). I was finally able to eat lunch and then the nurse told me I needed to rest. Easier said than done.
The next morning I needed to use the restroom and I was so worried because I remember how bad it hurt to get up right after my c-section with Finley. It took Ryan and two nurses to roll me off the best after my first c-section. The time was different. My stomach muscles were sore so it hurt to sit up. However, after I sat up in bed, I stood up immediately with no pain! Ryan and I looked at each other like “what?!” We were both expecting some dramatic episode where I felt like my incision was going to split open. (Like how I felt after I delivered Finley). This time was so much easier! MY OB used new medicine that completely numbs the incision and it was amazing! I was up walking around the next day.
I finally got to go see Harrison after 24 hours and it was so sweet. I was not expecting him to be in an incubator or connected to the CPAP machine. It was overwhelming and sad. I felt so bad for him. Then the guilt set in. I felt like if only I was about to keep him in a little longer then he wouldn’t have to go through this. I still have moments of guilt where I feel bad that he has to stay in NICU for so long and that Ryan has to spend his leave at the hospital instead of at home as a family of four. It’s the hardest season I have ever walked through.
I did not even know what Harrison looked like the first few days he was in NICU because he was hooked up to the CPAP machine. So one day his nurse took off the CPAP machine so Ryan could take a picture for me. It was so sweet. He has made amazing strides while in NICU. His doctor says that he is right on schedule. He is gaining weight and his lungs have matured. Those were the two things we were praying for. Now, we need him to learn how to eat without the feeding tube and to keep it down. He has these spit-up episodes where he will drop his heart-rate so that is a little concerning. It’s a preemie thing but he has to have it under control before he comes home. Spitting-up is normal, however, Harrison is still learning how to clear it himself. So, that is our prayer now. We just want him home. But we also want him healthy.
Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement. It means more to us than you know!
This is my second time writing this post. The first time was not so nice. I was upset and frustrated. I am going on day three in the hospital and want to give an update.
I got admitted after my OB appointment on Friday. I had high BP and my preeclampsia was severe. So off to the hospital I went…again. I was not sure what to expect. On Friday, I was only 32 weeks. If you’re new here…I delivered Finley at 34 weeks because of preeclampsia. I was hospitalized with her at 32 weeks. They say history repeats itself. And as of now, they’re right. So, I’m on track to deliver at 34 weeks if my BP behaves until then.
Making it to 34 weeks is a huge milestone in development. Each day in my belly is one day less in NICU. 34 weeks is the goal, however, it depends on what my body does. The ultimate goal would be to make it to 37 weeks but my DR last night said there’s no way I’ll make it that far.
I got two doses of steroid shots to help his lungs incase I do deliver early. They are trying to get him as ready ad they can for whenever he comes. We know that he looks great, he is doing the practice breathing, and everything with my body looks great. I see the high-risk DR tomorrow and they will give us more details and proved more information. I’m looking forward to that sono to get a more in-depth overview of how he’s doing.
Now here’s the honesty…my first day and night were HARD. I cried more than I ever have. This time is different because I have Finley at home. The thought of not being with her destroyed me. I have never left her overnight. Ever. Ryan stayed with me during the day which helped so much. Finley hung out with her Moosie and had the best time! She was living her best life! But not being with her was so hard! That night, I slept horribly. I had the worst nightmares I have ever had and I woke up in a panic at 3:00 am. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Ryan went home to be with her at night and I loved that she had him there with her. I just feel like she’s going through so much change at once and so suddenly!
Yesterday was better but I was still upset and cried at the drop of a hat. Finley went to the zoo with my sister and had the BEST DAY! She has been totally fine throughout this process which makes me feel better! I just have major guilt and feel like she needs her mom. She cried last night because I wasn’t there when she went to bed. That was the lowest I have ever felt. She got to snuggle with daddy and that made it better!
I got to see her today for the first time since Friday! They gave me 15 minutes outside to go and see her. I don’t know if that’s because of Covid or not. But I was thankful for the time. She was so happy and ran and gave me the biggest hug! I was happy to see her so happy! I set a 15-minute timer and when it went off she said “Yay! I get to go to Mimi’s house!” It made me happy to know that she wasn’t sad and that she is in good hands while I can’t be there. I think that is the best reaction I could’ve asked for from her. I was afraid that I would be a mess once she left but I was relieved that she was so excited to go to Mimi’s!
So now…we wait. We wait to see what the high-risk dr says tomorrow. We wait to see what my BP does. We think I will be here until I deliver…just as I was with Finley. It may be at 34 weeks…it may be before. Please pray with us that whenever he does come that he will be healthy and spend minimal time in NICU, if any time at all.
We did it. We did Disney during a pandemic. And Finley did not even notice a difference. We noticed but it was still so magical for her. Here are my tips and tricks for traveling to Disney World during Covid.
Masks are REQUIRED for every person over 2. (We took our masks off for these photos because there was no one around us.) We flew American Airlines. We prepaid for parking at the airport and parked right next to the terminal. It’s cheaper to prepay online ahead of time! Check-in was easy and there was not a ton of people (We had an early flight). We got there very early because we were not sure how crowded it would be and what precautions were set in place). It was so easy to go through bag check and security! Once we were in we go food (many places are not open due to covid…like Starbucks) So we got Mcdonalds and ate while we waited for our flight.
Boarding was easy and our flight was FULL. They do not social distance on the place. We each had a seat so we had a row to ourselves, thankfully. Finley had no problem keeping the mask on. The flight attendants monitored the masks before take off but I did not see them monitoring during the flight. (I am sure if you had it off completely, they would say something. I have heard horror stories about them making families get off the plane.) They did not come around with snacks or drinks. Instead, we got a little bag when we boarded with a bottle of water and crackers.
Disney’s Magical Express
When we landed, we headed straight to bag claim and then to MME. This is a free service that takes you straight to your hotel! (They are discontinuing this service in 2022). Make sure you have your magic band out and ready to be scanned. They will scan only one of your parties’ bands and tell you which line to go stand-in for the bus. The bus driver will load your luggage and drive you straight to the front door of your hotel. They sat each party every other row for distancing. Definitely a service we will miss A LOT!
Pop Century Resort
This was our first time staying here! We actually got to PC before our room was ready so we left our luggage with the bell boys and we hopped on the Skyliner and checked out other resorts and has lunch at Disney Springs! (more on that later). PC in my opinion was very similar to the All-Star resorts…just more expensive. I actually prefer the All-Star rooms. However, PC has the Skyliner so we will probably only stay in resorts that have access to the Skyliner from now on!
The dining experience was…interesting. You can no longer go up and just order food. You have to order on the mobile app. This is cool because you can order while you are walking up. However, there were VERY limited options. They had the normal meal options but snacks and desserts were definitely limited.
The store and the dining hall are connected and you can not enter unless your meal is ready on the mobile app or you are looking in the store. (We would always say that we were looking in the store so we could avoid the long lines to get in. Not really cheating because we would look around until our food was ready.) Once you get in the store there is someone standing at the entrance to the dining hall and you can’t get in unless your food is ready. However, if you’re getting a drink you can go in early. So we would just go get a drink and then sit at a booth until our food was ready.
They have refillable mugs…that you can’t refill. So, for health precautions, they do not let you refill your refillable mugs. But you do get unlimited drinks. They have cast members at the drink stations pouring drinks for you. Just show them your mug and they will give you a disposable cup with your drink. Then you just pour that drink into your mug.
We loved the Skyliner! Like I said earlier, we hopped on the Skyliner the day we got there to go exploring since we did not have a park day that day. It only takes you to Epcot and HS and a few resorts. So we went to Hollywood studios…we were just testing it out. Then hopped on a bus to the Grand Floridian. (They have busses at every park that go to every resort and all the other parks). I wanted to check out the GF because had never been there…loved it! Then we took a bus to Disney Springs for lunch!
We took the Skyliner to HS on day 2 and it was great! So much faster than the busses! The line looked long but it went really fast! The great thing is that you do not have to fold up your stroller…you just roll it right on! Also, if the Skyliner is running…there will not be busses running to Epcot and HS that day. The only busses running will be to the parks that do not have the Skyliner( AK and MK). UNLESS the Skyliner is so packed….then they will call in some busses.
DS is one of our fav places! It is so nice to walk around and window shop and grab something to eat! This is also where they have their big Word Of Disney store which has everything! We also grab lunch at D-luxe burger but they have so many options! It is basically a huge outdoor mall. With Covid, there is only one entrance at most stores and one exit. Finding the one entrance at WOD was interesting. They also limit how many people are in each store at a time. The line looked so long at WOD but moved really fast! We ended our DS adventure with a cupcake from Sprinkles.
We took the bus to MK and they actually were letting people in earlier than stated. We went right through temp checks which was SO FAST, then to bag check then to the line to get in. The temp check process was so easy and so fast. They had a third-party service running it and it was so effective! And they were all so kind!
Right when you walk into the park they have characters up on the train station and they are dancing, singing, and waving to guests! It was a nice way to kick off the day since there are no character meet and greets. Finley got to wave to her fav characters and she was so happy! Next, we went to Starbucks before the line filled up. (It fills up fast and it gets so long). Then we headed straight to the castle to take some pictures. We do this early as well to avoid crowds that may accumulate later in the day.
We then headed straight for the rides because there were not a lot of people and we wanted to hit up all of the popular rides before it got too crowded. THERE ARE NO FAST PASSES! At least when we went there was not. So, it was first come first serve. We waited no longer than 5-10 minutes for most rides. We walked on to Voyage Of The Little Mermaid three times…no wait at all! We rode basically eveyrhitng we wanted to before noon.
Since there are no character meet and greets they do Character Cavalcades. These are spontaneous parades throughout the day that are not scheduled as to not draw a huge crowd. We were able to see the princess one and Finely got to see her fav princesses! They also do some dance party cavalcades with Minnie and Mickey that are fun!
We went in November and it was hot but the masks made it even hotter. At times we just needed to go sit inside because it got to be too much. They have relaxation stations throughout the park where you can go sit inside and cool off. Masks are required and they are strict on it. If it fell below Finley’s nose they would say “pull your mask up princess”. There was not a single cast member that would let it slide. They were on high alert.
We ate lunch at our fav quick service restaurant, Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe because it is fast and you have a view of the castle! We debated going back to the hotel after lunch and resting because we had ridden almost everything. We decided against it because it was so hot and we did not want to make the trek. So we stayed and then decided to leave early.
They do not do the fireworks show at the castle at this time…which is my fave show at Disney. We knew this going in though. They did do Christmas projections though which were really pretty. We then headed home early and ate dinner at the hotel.
In order to rise Rise Of The Resistance, you have to get a boarding pass beforehand. Boarding groups open up at 7:00 am the day you are going to HS. You can now reserve your BP from your hotel. You do NOT need to be in the park anymore. Ryan logged on at 6:59 (like 5 seconds before it turned 7:00) and he got boarding group 4. Useful tip: don’t get on Disney’s wifi. Ryan stepped outside of our hotel room to do it because his service wasn’t good inside the room.
We took the Skyliner to HS and got there pretty fast! Like I said before, they were letting everyone in early so we walked right through temp screening, bag checks, and ticket scan really fast. Then we headed straight for ROR. Finley was not tall enough to ride it so I stayed back with her and Ryan rode it by himself. He walked right on and did not have to wait at all.
After that, we walked onto the Alien Saucers. Mickeys Runaway Railroad was probably our longest line. It said 50 minutes but we were probably through the line and done with the ride in 40 minutes. The line looks SO LONG because of distancing. However, we really never stopped moving. It moves pretty fast. Same with Toy Story Mania and Slinky Dog.
We ate lunch at a QS restaurant and it was a nice break from the heat. We did the Disney Jr dance party and it was a nice break in the AC as well. They have Mickey, Timon, Vamperina, and Doc Mcstuffins live on stage so it was fun for her to see characters that way.
They also do Calvalcades with characters so you can see them without getting too close. That was fun but Finley didn’t understand why she couldn’t hug them. So that was hard. We left an hour before closing and had no line getting on the Skyliner. We went back to our hotel and ate pizza.
We got to Ak and Ryan ran to Flight Of Passage while Finely and I went to Starbucks. This is how we always start our day at AK. Ryan was one of the first in the park and still said the line was so long but it moved pretty fast. (Again, because of social distancing) We sat outside of Starbucks and enjoyed coffee, muffins, and OJ. Ryan text me and told me that Minnie and Mickey were heading our way on a boat Cavalcade so we ran towards the nearest lake. We caught them just in time and Finley got to wave to them. I was surprised they had a cavalcade that early in the morning! I think Pochahontas was before them and we missed that one. We did not see another cavalcade after that. So that just shows how random they are. You never know when they will be coming. (Or how early!)
AK was VERY HOT. And we were there in November. We took many breaks in the shade. We made our way through AK pretty quickly. Since there are no shows, it did not take a long time. I have always thought of AK as a 1/2 day park. We opted out of the walkthrough zoo because we have done it many times. Plus, I was pregnant and my feet were hurting. So, we did the Kilimanjaro Safari (drive though zoo) for the first time! It was a nice break from the heat and a nice break from walking. We also went on a little bus ride to Rafikias planet watch. We had never done this either! It was a nice break from the heat and from standing on the quick little bus ride. It was cool because you got to see a little behind-the-scenes of AK while on the bus! Once we got there, Finley got a book where she got to collect stickers along the way at different stands if she completed the little tasks. Tasks that involved learning about different animals. She loved this! The planet watch was inside…again, another great break from the heat!
We then headed to DinoLand U.S.A. which is a fun area for kids! We rode the TriceraTop Spin for the first time and Finley loved it! It is just like the Dumbo ride. They also have little carnival games so we played some of those. Finley won once and so did daddy! So, Finley got a little Minnie and Mickey which was the highlight of her day!
P.S. this is the stroller we use when we travel. It folds up and fits in the overhead bin on the plane! It is also easy to fold up when you get off and on the bus.
We then headed back to the hotel and had dinner there. It was a fun day but we were so hot and ready to relax.
I think I covered everything! Disney is still so magical but we said we would probably not go back until masks are no longer required or until it isn’t very hot outside! However, we are actually going back in January 2022 and even if masks are still required the weather should be perfect! So hopefully it’s more manageable! Plus, I want cute pics with no masks!
“It’s not your fault” my doctor kept telling me over and over again. I know it’s not my fault but it is still frustrating. I have dreamt of being pregnant my whole life so why it is so difficult for me? Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge the fact that we are blessed and thankful for a healthy baby. I am not complaining…just sharing our story. I know many women would love to be where I am right now. I am not naive to that. But this journey has been hard and I want to share it.
Preeclampsia, again. The chances of getting it more than once are rare. But here we are. I told the ER doctor that my body does not like being pregnant…he said “no, your placenta’s do not like being pregnant” Fair enough. I was doing so well until around 31 weeks when all of a sudden there was a significant trace of protein in my urine. When I was pregnant with Finley, I had been showing slow signs for a while. It seemed like this time it came out of nowhere. I’m 32 weeks as I write this…I was hospitalized with Finley at 32 weeks.
I went to the doctor because I had some severe pain and pressure down by my c-section scare. It felt like he was trying to push himself out. His head is already in position so that is the pain I was feeling. I called my doctor and she said I should go to the ER just to make sure everything is okay. Everything was okay with the pain and pressure I was feeling but they said the preeclampsia was rising and my BP was higher than they wanted. So, they gave me a steroid shot to help develop his lungs in case I deliver early!
They gave me the option to stay the night or to go home. I opted to go home. They said that I needed another steroid shot within 24 hours so I needed to go back to the ER the next night between 10-11 pm. I went last night and was expecting to get my shot and then leave. They decided to take all my vitals again and my BP was a little elevated and the protein in my urine was still rising. So, their advice was to stay the night. I immediately lost it. I trust their medical advice, however, It was midnight and it was so last minute. I needed time to get things in order for Finley. I’m a mom now so I had to do what was best for my family at that moment. The last time they told me to stay for the night, it turned into two weeks. I needed to go home and prepare in case that happens again. So, I went home and spent the whole next day getting schedules ready and bags packed just in case. I want this to be as normal for Finley as possible. The deal was that I would be on strict bed rest and only get up to use the restroom. DEAL.
So, I am on bed rest until further notice. My mom came over to clean, do dishes, and laundry. It is so hard for me to sit still and not clean. However, I am thankful for all of the help we are receiving! I went to my OB the next day to check on baby, my preeclampsia, and my Bp. Ryans’ mom watched Finley which was so helpful! I am having to go to the OB more and more and with covid, I can’t take Finley with me. Which makes it a little more stressful. At my appointment, my preeclampsia was steady which was good. They had given me BP meds at the hospital and sent some to my pharmacy. However, my pharmacy had not filled it yet. So, they were thankful that my BP was good at my appointment even though I had not had any meds that day. They hooked me up to monitor the baby and they said he looks great! So they let me leave and come home! We are taking it day by day.
I go back on Friday for a sonogram to monitor him some more and to check fluid and all that fun stuff. I will also see the high-risk doctor sometime this week. They are wanting me to make it to 37 weeks. It is looking like it may be 34 weeks at this point. My OB said that because of the steroid shots, Harrison may not spend any time in the NICU if he comes early which would be AMAZING!
So that is where we are right now! Strict bed rest for the foreseeable future but I’m just so thankful that I get to be at home for now!
We had Finley’s birthday party at Play Street Museum and I 100000% recommend! It was so easy to set up and tear down! I was able to enjoy the party instead of entertaining everyone. The kids’ entertained themselves! Win-win!
It took us a while to get pregnant. 7 months to be exact. When I took my positive test in the bathroom of Walmart (yes, Walmart), I was shocked! Ryan was at home in a meeting so I took Finley to the Zoo and tried to stay busy until I got home to share the news with Ryan! His reaction was “I knew it” haha We told our family in all the cute ways. I will never forget my brother’s and sister’s reactions. The video we have is my favorite ever. The day after we told Ryan’s parents, I knew something wasn’t right. I called my doctor and told her what was happening and she confirmed over the phone that I was miscarrying.
I had to go in for a sonogram to make sure everything was out and they confirmed there was no more baby. I think the doctor was confused because I was in such good spirits. The way I processed this was different than how I normally would have reacted. I had never been through anything like this so my first reaction was to shut down and hide how I felt. If you know me, you know that I am not one to hide my emotions! (I cry almost every day-haha) I did not want anyone to feel sorry for me. I did not even want to tell my family what had happened. I also did not want them to have to go through the heartbreak. So, Ryan called my mom and told her I was okay and had her call the rest of my family. I shoved it down and did not talk about it. This was so out of character for me. I did not know how to process it. It took a few days for it to really hit me and then I just broke down by myself in the bathroom. Ryan heard and came in to comfort me. I was afraid that since it took us 7 months to conceive that it would take us another 7 months. However, you are more fertile after a miscarriage….
We became pregnant with our son our first time after miscarrying. Our doctor recommended trying after one full cycle, however, we did now that that because she was on vaca and did not call back until 3 weeks after we miscarried…so ya know…here we are!
I wanted to share this part of our story because I want other women to know that they’re not alone. When I was going through it, I felt alone and like miscarriage was not talked about enough. I knew one day that I wanted to tell my story.
The most important part of my story is this…through it all The Lord was and is faithful. There were times where I was so mad at God. I asked Ryan many times what I did wrong. I did not understand why I would be going through this when I knew the Lord promised me another child. It did not make sense. What I did not know at the time was that The Lord was preparing me. He did promise me a child and he fulfilled his promise…just not the way I thought he would.
I am constantly praying and thinking about the moms who can not get pregnant. I am not naive to the fact the 7 months is not a long time compared to some people’s stories. And to be honest, my heart breaks for those women. I’m sharing my story in hopes that it encourages you to really lean on The Lord and to remember His promises. My favorite verse is this: Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! Luke 1:45 We may never know why we go through the valleys, however, He will always fulfill his promises. Even if it is not how we imagined it would look like.
If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read our story. We are very blessed and thankful for this season of life.