In January we took our first Major family trip to Disneyland! We have only traveled to Toronto together and around Alberta. The Eyestones were finally going International. First off we didn’t tell the kids until 10 before. It was a big surprise on Christmas day. PS We didn’t get the reaction we had hoped. I had wrapped a giant box with Balloons and “Tickets”, plus some fun things to have. After a small Christmas gift opening, the “big” present from mom and dad being Disney T Shirts our kids seemed rather great Christmas Ok lets play with our toys. We then brought out the huge box, Dave’s parents were there, my family was on skype on the TV. The kids Were so excited by the giant box, it gave me high hopes. They tore into it, the balloons floated out and they scrounged around inside looking for something magical. I had Diana read on of the “tickets” and all she said was “It says we are going to Disneyland”. That was it, no whoops of joy no screaming, I’m the only one that was crying from happiness. Just a that’s cool attitude. As the days wore on though the excitement did build as the packing began. We learned some great things out of our trip and caught a travel bug. We still get asked at least once a week when we are going back. Amy has even graciously offered her allowance if it will help.
It was an AMAZING trip and even though we did have a few bumps in the road it was still amazing. Here is what I felt the top 5 things we packed aside from clothes and passports.
1. Costco Sized Tylenol and Advil for kids! Not to mention Gravol, cold medicine, and all the adult versions as well. We did everything crazy thing I could think of to keep from getting sick before we left. I had hoped the bright warm sun would help us avoid anything else but alas Day 2 brought on a week of sickness claiming some of us. Mark was the first to fall, he was fevered most of the week and ate very little. We kept him on a pretty regular routine of Advil and Tylenol every 3 hours to keep his spirits up. We did what we could in a day not pushing anyone and managed to get a great trip still. Dave fell about day 3-4, and David was just floating on the edge of having and not. The day we left Diana and I caught the virus, what I’m guessing to be influenza, we had fevers, coughs, chills, head aches and other cold like symptoms. Preparing myself as a local pharmacy really did save us. The only thing I ended up buying (very expense at the Hotel Store) was cold medicine for Dave. I mention Costco sized because when you have 4 little ones all taking the same kind just different dose levels you can go through them quick. I also had a few tablets too for the flight so I didn’t have to worry about liquids.
2. Collapsible Water Bottles : A friend of mine suggested it and it was so great. We filled up at fountains and all took a drink then kept on going. Word to the wise though, if you can ask at the food vendors with the soda machines for that water. Water there tastes weird. Which brings me to my next point.
3. Single Sized Drink Crystals : My mom and I had found some Hawaiian punch ones at the Dollarama, I picked up a couple boxes. They did have the evil Aspartame in them but I figured if it kept the kids drinking lots it was worth it. When we left here it was -31C and arrived to +25C so I didn’t want to risk dehydration. Plus we didn’t know the water tasted weird so that really helped all of us. Saved lots of money too as most drinks in park at $4 and up!
4. Suitcase full of Food: 3 of us cannot eat Gluten so it was very important for us to make sure to have plenty of snacks we could munch on while waiting in lines for rides and at water breaks. I brought pretty much everything, cereal, oatmeal, homemade granola bars, cranberries, fruit bars, raisins, babybel cheese (not a great idea) cookies we could eat and the list goes on. Next time I would tweak a few things, cookies and crackers etc had a high crumble factor. So I may reconsider those next time. We found the fruit bars the best! They were filling enough and easy to eat then toss the wrapper. Oatmeal was perfect for the mornings. We unfortunately had a hotel with no continental breakfast which I would have preferred, but due to family size and we had high hopes of using the water playground our hotel boasted about. So we had to think about eating breakfast before we left the hotel. I found out after that there was a hotel down the street with rooms we could have nicely fit, a store onsite (like ours), but featured the free breakfast meals. Next time. The kicker was a month before we left the hotel emailed us that their playground was due for its 5 year maintenance during our stay, but with a call to them I managed to get our Kids Suite (King sized bed, bunk beds and pull out couch) for 30% off to a lovely price of $167 a night. I thought that savings alone was worth not getting a breakfast, plus it was too close to the trip and in order to get a room that would fit us I had to book in August. Anyways back to food. Pack lots! The space will free up for the stuff you buy. Kids prefer snacking while there. We didn’t eat many sit down meals. Again park prices are insane for snack stuff. $2 a banana, so bring what you can that will help lighten the load and cost of eating there.
5. Rain Ponchos: This was something we didn’t actually use but it was a great insurance. We found them all at the Dollarama for cheap $1.25. It was great and probably would have cost us a ton if we needed them. We found that out the hard way on a trip to the Toronto Zoo in August. It was like $4 a coat and they were pretty much fancy garbage bags. We tucked them away when we got home for the next time we go somewhere. It was a cost I didn’t want to have to endure. Thankfully it was sunny and nice the whole time we were there.
The next time we go back all of these things will be on my list again. They saved us time and lots of money. There are some things you cannot prepare for, these were just easy ones we found that helped us out a lot. When you have 6 people traveling those little things can really add up. We didn’t plan on using a stroller, but with Mark sick we rented just one to make the walking lighter on him and David, they took turns and the other got piggy backs sometimes. I wouldn’t have packed one on the chance he needed it too much bulk traveling and it wasn’t a terrible rental fee in the end.