Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Top 10 Tidbits of Advice On Touring Disney World [With Four Little Boys]

I have not updated in quite a while, I have been working on this post since we took our four kids to Walt Disney World over fall break in October. It was fun, exciting, overwhelming, and exhausting, all at the same time! I spent the better part of a year planning for this trip which was a huge undertaking with twin toddlers in tow. The reason for attempting a trip with these two? Kids under the age of three get in FREE! This was our last chance to go without having to take out a loan just to pay the admission fees for all six of us.

I spent a lot of time reading blog posts and advice from Pinterest. Pins that should have been titled, "You have failed as a Disney-going parent if you don't do these 29 things with your toddler," or "If you don't plan your trip this way, it is doomed to fail."

I cautiously entertained this information, but found that I should have probably talked to people that actually know my family and can tailor the advice to my own situation.

So without much ado, here are my "top 10" tidbits of advice from my experience touring WDW with four rambunctious boys. I have four positives, five negatives, and one indifferent to share with you. Pin it, delete it, or take it to heart and use it for your own planning purposes. Just please remember the most important thing is to give yourself a break! The kids will have fun no matter how much stuff you try to pack into less than a week.

Positive # 1: The Food and Wine Festival--- WORTH IT!! With the help of the grandparents, the hubby, the sis and I got to go to Epcot's World Showcase one evening and partake in what the festival had to offer. My only regret was not having enough time. All of the food was awesome and the atmosphere was great. I don't know what World Showcase looks like when it isn't set up for the festival, but we were not disappointed at all.

The Illuminations show that ended the night was pretty spectacular too! Just be sure to stock up on any food and drink you want prior to the start of Illuminations because they shut down the shops and kiosks once the show begins. I could have used another drink to enjoy while strolling out of the park.

Negative #1: Fast Pass Fail! I am debunking all of the fast pass posts I read. I did my best to navigate the system using what I had learned from blog posts on Pinterest. I don't know if I was working with out-of-date information, but it was a lot harder to work with than I had anticipated.

The only time it actually worked to my benefit was when we stopped for lunch at Pacos Bill's in Frontierland and I ran nearby and got fast passes to Splash mountain. Once we finished eating, we had 45 minutes until our return time, so we went to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which had a 35 minute wait. By the time we waited and rode, it was nearly time for our Splash Mountain turn. So we pretty much waited in line a total of 35 minutes and got to ride two awesome rides out of it. So, if I was planning the day again, I wouldn't rely as much on the Fast Pass system. It is pretty inconvenient to run across the park to get them, and run back to where your party is waiting in line (pretty much having to cut the line to get to where your party is). We have little ones with us, so we really require a lot of hands, and it was difficult to spare them for someone to run around collecting the passes.

Positive #2: The best treat! I read about it in almost every Pin there was dedicated to food at WDW. We saved it until our way out on our last day. I am talking about the Dole Whip at Aloha Isles in Adventureland at MK. We sampled all there was to offer, pineapple, orange, and vanilla. At the start of our trip, $3.75 seemed like a lot for this treat, but by day 4, in 90 degree heat and the humidity of the rainforest, I would have paid $375.00 for this! Enough said!

Negative #2: The Jedi Training Academy, do NOT, I repeat, Do NOT talk this up until the kid is actually donning their Jedi robe to perform. This was the most disappointed I was the entire trip. I struggled to get our party to Hollywood Studios right as the park was opening and ran to the place to sign them up, dragging my two Padawan behind me. The line was already very long and had already filled up before even half of the line had gone through. The boys were disappointed, so was I.

I didn't plan meals with characters or a pirate makeover, this free activity was just about the closest thing I was going to be able to give them. They cheered up with a visit to Star Tours 3D. Even if we had gotten on the alternate list, you had to keep checking in, and your performance time could be later in the day, like 5:00 pm! So, my plan to spend half a day in Hollywood Studios would have been foiled by this. Unless you are willing to camp out the night before at the gate so you can be one of the first in line (not sure you are allowed to), be warned about this activity.

Negative #3: Hollywood Studios is NOT for toddlers. While I was dealing with the fall out of being cut from the Jedi Training Academy, hubby took all of our passes over to the Toy Story Mania ride to get Fast Passes. Keep in mind, it was only 30 minutes after opening and all of the passes were gone for the whole day!

We ended up waiting in a 90 minute line and once that was over (great ride, though) there was pretty much nothing else for the little guys to do. My last shot at redeeming the day was to go to the Disney Jr. Live show and do the "Hot Diggity Dog" dance with Mickey and the Gang.

Well, we were 2 minutes late for the show time because we were getting lectured on proper stroller parking etiquette by a cast member and they wouldn't let us in. So all in all, Hollywood Studios was a wasted morning for us. I can see it being great once the kids are older. The big boys enjoyed the Indiana Jones Stunt Show and the Toy Story Mania ride was a pleaser for all ages in our group! The redemption for the day was E&F earned their Mouse Ears from a shop underneath the Sorcerer's hat.

Negative #4: Dining at Disney left nothing to be desired. I am talking about most of the counter service for lunch which only gives you a few choices and none of them are very good or healthy. Compared to Disney food, it makes hospital food look gourmet! With the prices they charge, it should be! So pack lunches if you can, save your money for a nice dinner when you are tired and want to sit down and relax.

Positive #3: In my opinion, the best place to eat lunch at Epcot's World Showcase was in Mexico. Like a mirage in the desert, La Hacienda provided a great place to sit down and take a break. It was large, the tables were square, which makes it much easier to spread out. It was counter service that was fast and efficient and there were tortilla chips and churros that the kids could enjoy while the grown ups had the other cuisine that was all very good. It was air conditioned, had a great view of the lagoon, the banoes were close by, which made it easier for me to run back and forth to do potty and diaper changes. It was quiet and peaceful. I know it wasn't the real Mexico, but I might as well have been in San Lucas by how happy and relieved I was!

Negative #5: Being at the park in time for "rope drop," which translates to get up at the crack of dawn and drag the family to the park, wait in a really large crowd just to have the park open and still be stuck in that large crowd.

The system to get into the parks requires you to touch your pass to the Apple-looking Mickey Ears and then press your finger on the plate. BE SURE to pay attention to what finger your child uses the first time you go to the park and set that fingerprint with that pass! it does matter and can really slow things down if you don't.

We spent more time waiting in the line to get in than we did at any ride the whole time we were there. It just wasn't a good precedence for the day. The other days, we would get to the park 15-30 minutes after rope drop and avoid that entire scenario. It is a whole lot more satisfying to walk up to the gate and not wait long before scanning your ticket and finger print and walk right in.

The indifferent one: Character spotting is another animal of it's own. The older two weren't that excited about it, I think they are on to the fact there are real people inside of costumes, so besides a quick stop by to say "hi" to "Phineas and Ferb," which had virtually no line, they really didn't care about the characters.

F&E, however, were borderline stalkers of the characters! They acted as crazy as a bunch of girls at a Bieber concert upon spotting any character. Of course, their favorites were Buzz and Woody. They saw the Lego versions of these characters at Downtown Disney the night before our first day in the park. F had an absolute fit over seeing these familiar friends, he couldn't stop smiling, until we took him away, that is. Thereafter, he was on a mission to spot the characters and act out when he saw them.

It might have been fun to actually wait in a line to get a picture with more characters, but they have what can only be described as near-seizures when they are that close to a character and can't get to them. So instead of being slapped with a restraining order from Disney, we decided to abstain from visiting characters on this trip.

Positive #4: The Wishes firework show in Magic Kingdom was worth the crowd and uncomfortableness. We had a spot just before the bridge over to Adventureland, right up to the fence that blocks the path from the landscape, so we could sit on the ground and not have an obstructed view. The images they project onto the castle of Disney movies old and new were very impressive, the boys liked "Wreck it Ralph."

The fireworks were amazing and more than made up for our rained-out fireworks at the 4th of July back in the hometown. I had a moment during the show when I looked at my kid's faces that were posed in amazement and illuminated by the lights and fireworks. It reminded me of the end of the Disney commercial when the family was watching the fireworks show and the words, "wishes really do come true" would pop on the screen.

It really was kind of emotional for me to realize how quickly they are growing up. Right now they see magic and wonder, not crowds and astronomical prices for food and souvenirs. I saw Disney through their eyes at that moment and I remembered what it was like to be a kid.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Take a number, please....

I feel like I need one of those ticket machines that deli counters used to have where the customer takes a ticket with a number on it. When they were ready for that customer, they would display a sign saying "now serving number....".

Why am I thinking about outdated technology? I am in desperate need of a system to organize my children's wants and needs. Nothing is more frustrating when I am doing something for one child and all the other ones rush me like the stage at a Stone Temple Pilot's concert. Did I just reveal my age?

Have you ever noticed how everyone is fine, everyone is taken care of, so you turn your attention to something that has probably gone neglected for a while, like the mountain of dirty dishes, and all of the sudden it is mass hysteria? Someone decides to have a dirty diaper and they have stuck their hand into said soiled diaper. Meanwhile, another needs a drink of water, but not from the cup they have been using during their meals, but from a "fun cup" with a "fun straw" that can be only hand washed. If I'm not giving someone the attention they crave the second they demand it, they take a hostage and start harassing them with full nelsons, and yes I am talking about B2.

I'm fairly sure this isn't just the behavior of my kids, my work as a nurse is where I first observed this. As the nurse, I worked hard to make sure all patients' needs were taken care of and everyone was settled in. Then it would happen, someone would call a code, the medical team would run to the aid of that patient. The parents would stick their heads out into the hall to see what the commotion was, and that is when they decide it was time for that sponge bath they had been declining the whole day. I figured it was related to their fear that everyone was so focused on another situation that if something were to happen to their child, they might get neglected. So they start demanding things that aren't priority over the patient who is being bagged, intubated, and sent to the PICU.

I liken this to my children's behavior, they think if my attention is placed elsewhere, the second they need something, I will be in Italy or some place (only in my daydreams will I be in Italy).

I suppose it is human nature, but it drives me crazy! I want to say, "when have you ever gone hungry? Look around, there are goldfish crackers and cheerios on the floor. "

"When has there been a time that you got hurt and not had nurse mommy to take care of it?" I am always armed with bandaids, gauze, sutures, and kisses.

"When have you gotten your foot stuck in a chair and not been freed by me?" My furniture has the damage to prove I have made the sacrifice!

I may only have two arms and I have yet to figure out how to clone myself, but I am still always present and will get to your needs and/or wants in a timely manner.

I have visions of them sitting in their therapists' offices having a break through about how I always picked another brother over them. Then reality hits, life isn't fair, no one ever promised it would be. So then I feel like parent of the year because I am doing a great job preparing them for the future of unfairness!

Oh, and on an unrelated note, happy fall!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Little E

After brother F got out of the way, Little E took his time to be born, finding more room than ever to stretch out and swim around. Nearly 30 minutes later, Dr. B had to take control and make him appear.

Always just a little bit smaller than F, what he lacks in size, he makes up for in personality!

In an acrostic, "E" would stand for eccentric. That is a good way to describe our littlest man.

He came from humble beginnings, determined to live on this Earth , he hitched a ride with brother and snuck his way into the womb. I guess it could easily be argued that F was the one who did this, but for some reason I have always felt like if there had only been a singleton, it would have been F. I am so grateful that he "tagged" along because I cannot imagine life without him.

Once in the womb, he didn't find much room, so he ended up taking residence on my right side, under my rib. He had so little space that he didn't have much room to move, giving me a scare more than a few times that I couldn't count his fetal movements. Because of this, I thought he was going to be this quiet child (or I was hoping he would be) but he was just resting up because once he took his first breath, he made sure everyone knew that he was feisty!

From about 1 month until 6 months old, both of them were "colicky," one of the worst experiences of my parenthood. The best way to calm E was to put him in his car seat, put him in the bathroom with the light off and the fan on. He preferred listening to Elvis while riding in the car, and he always resisted diaper changes and screamed during bath times up until at least a year old.

Finally, he learned to calm down and the real E started to emerge. He makes funny faces and likes to act, like pretending to eat food from a bowl or lap water out of a cup like a dog. I know a lot of toddlers do this, the thing about him is that he can go on and on for quite a while, he does not break character!

He likes to hear songs and will clap when you finish singing. Sometimes he walks hunched over like an old man, just to be silly. He is fearless and is working on perfecting his climbing skills.

He is our precious boy and we love him dearly! Happy 2nd birthday, E!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mr. F

My littlest fellas are rarely spoken about individually, it goes along the territory of being a twin, I suppose. So, I am going to write about them separately to celebrate their uniqueness.

From the very beginning, F was the candidate for alpha-twin. He occupied more space in utero, he was the active guy that would dance on my left kidney and kick my spleen, and he even managed to fight his brother to be the first one to take a breath of air.

F is flirty, he is quick to offer up a smile at people in public or show off his dance moves for others. Despite his confident attitude, he is scared of fast movements, like swinging too high on the swing set.

He usually leads the way in developmental milestones, he sat up first, walked first, and is now perfecting his toddler tantrums first.

He enjoys hearing the "ABC song" and "twinkle twinkle little star." He gets excited about doing the "hot dog dance" with Mickey Mouse. He enjoys playing with toy cars, and crawling into my lap to read books.

He enjoys playing chase with his brothers, running around the kitchen island while emitting shrieks of laughter. In rare moments, he will let me cuddle him and he will strum my arm lightly with his little fingers.

He is our F and we love him very much. Happy 2 years, sweet boy!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Our sweet second born celebrated his 5th birthday this past week.
This kid gets so excited talking about his birthday and his birthday cake!

He is our only baby that waited until nearly his due date to arrive (actually, he was evicted by induction,) he was the only one that took to breast feeding, slept well, and was content being held.

Nowadays, he is rambunctious, hilarious, and affectionate. He enjoys playing games, working jigsaw puzzles and mazes, and being a big brother to his twin brothers.

Today he told me that when he grows up, he wants to be, "a daddy, scuba diver, chef, astronaut, chef, boxer" and he added singer to the list after singing the songs from vacation bible school.

If you ask him what his favorite color is, he will say, "all the colors in the rainbow and not in the rainbow." He will also tell you that he loves babies and puppies and that he is allergic to anything that has whiskers. He is allergic to cats and that has somehow morphed into lions and tigers.

He is our sweet boy who is heading to kindergarten this fall, will be playing soccer, and is learning Tae Kwon Do.

We love you, B2!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Update to Twins and Toddler Beds

Since I wrote the previous post, more changes have occurred. The twins have perfected turning their toy bins over and using them to boost up and grab at wall decor, baby wipes, etc...
So now their toys are without organization since I had to put the bins away.

The summer sun comes through their east-facing window most of the day, and since they had pulled down their black-out shades, I had to hang a blanket up, just to the point they can't reach it. This blocks a little bit of the sun, but still isn't a great solution for nap time.

The biggest change came today when I heard a crash and opened the door to see that they were climbing on the sides of their toddler beds and pulling each other off. The reason I turned their cribs into toddler beds was because I didn't want them climbing on their cribs, falling out, and potentially breaking a bone or have a head injury. With that being said, I spent this evening taking down their beds, now they are left with their mattresses on the floor.

They have less things in their room than an inmate has in prison, but they are happy anyway.
At bedtime, they were using their mattresses as a tumbling track of sorts, laughing and enjoying each other.

I thought it was difficult having twins as infants, but these toddler twins are beyond anything I have handled before or could have imagined. While taking deep breaths and taking it minute by minute, I will get through this stage too.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Twins and Toddler beds

I haven't had time to write lately with a combination of my whole household having an epidemic of stomach virus and end-of-school-year activities. However, the youngest two Moore's have been making lots of changes lately that are pretty cute, I really must share them before they fully move into the toddler phase and I forget how cute they are for a while (or until they turn 5).

The major change that has occurred is that last week, F started to climb out of his crib. Brad heard him fussing, which is nothing unusual when they are having a party while they are supposed to be sleeping. He went to check on them and saw F hanging on to the outside of his crib. He rescued him and the next morning was spent converting cribs to toddler beds, for the last time (I may have shed a tear or two at that realization.)

It is something that I have done twice before, but there are special considerations when allowing two toddlers to roam free during naps and night time. I had to go through all the toys and take out anything that could become a weapon. So basically soft toys and books were left. I turned the dresser around so they couldn't climb on open drawers or shut their brother's fingers in them. We anchored the bookshelf to the wall in case they decide to go mountain climbing.

Even with all of this, they still managed to find ways to cause destruction, keep in mind it has only been a week. They completely tore down the black-out shades on the windows, pulled the moulding off from under the window, broke their lamp, and are severely sleep deprived from not sleeping as long at night, and skipping naps during the day.

This change has been difficult, but there are some really sweet things that have come out of it. I went to check on them during nap time because I kept hearing a lot of laughter and some loud noises. I opened the door and saw F sitting in the middle of the room, but E was no where to be seen. I finally saw him laying on the bottom bookshelf with a huge smile on his face.

It has been fun to open the door and see where they are sleeping/playing. Usually they can be found next to each other either on the same bed, or the same spot on the floor.

I think this experience has really strengthened their relationship, they seem to be playing together even more, having more conversation, and even caring for each other. One night E was so tired that I had to hold him to calm him down to sleep. F kept coming over to "check" on him and trying to cover him up with his blanket.

A few days ago, I was running late getting them up from their nap and loaded into the car to pick B1 up from the bus stop. I went in their room and of course E had gone #2. I didn't have much time to move him to another location to change him, so I did it right in the middle of their floor. F saw an opportunity and came over, took some wipes out of the container, and started trying to "help" me wipe E's bottom! Although it was really gross, and hard to contain while I was trying to fight with E to hold still and not get poo everywhere, it was pretty funny and I couldn't help from laugh. That will be a great one to tell them when they are older!

I am going to hold on to this phase as long as I can, but before I know it, they are going to be asking where their bunk bed is, just like their older brothers sleep on.