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We prayed for memories…oh, we got them.  In no specific order/rhyme/or reason…

1.  Telling them that we were going to Disney just before we left  may have been one of the greatest moments of my life.

2.  Trey asking, just after flipping out with excitement, “What about Kennywood?” was a classic parenting moment.

3.  The Latrobe  airport is so unbelievably convenient and easy to get through…and slightly bigger than my house…maybe.

4.  It is also not a place you need to get to 2.5 hours before you take off.

5.  It is, however,  a GREAT place to have the excitement of the trip wear off and have daddy get cranky at his family that he is in the process of trying to bless.

6.  If you pick and pay for a seat on an airline it seems like 2 OTHER people shouldn’t have the exact same seating assignment.

7.  That being the case it pays to be the first  one there with the wildest child…who will remain nameless but his name renders him necessary to be in the upright and locked position at take off  and landing.

8.  Planning is key for a trip to Disney.  Over planning is an easy mistake to make.  Being flexible and communicating clearly (some would say openly and honestly) is essential.

9.  The park in the morning, nap in the afternoon, park in the evening is a great way to go, at least for us.

10.  Using the phrase, “We didn’t come to Disney to (insert something that we have back home: video games, minigolf, bowl, go to a movie even) do Disney.” actually makes sense to our kids.

11.  When in doubt, feed Trey.  He flipped out every afternoon (we thought it was from the walking as we didn’t take the stroller though we eventually rented them from time to time) until we realized he just needed food…lots.

12.  When we finally realized that we were sitting down to eat (with a waiter and everything) it was a freeing moment.  Trey was flipping out (see #11) and we had a big lunch at Epcott Canada.  7 hours later we were hustling to Italy to have dinner.  I asked the host if we could just be marked as “checked in” as they charge you $10/person if you no show.  I explained, “Look, I would love to eat here (full on lie – lunch killed me) but do you see that little boy (Trey squirming in Rachel’s lap and being loud)?  He does not want to eat here.”  The host (who was from Italy and spoke with a great accent) said, “…anda wee woulda not awant heem to haff to be unahappy.”  Boom.  We were out.  I proceeded to get Trey some popcorn.  Bella then wanted popcorn.  I got her popcorn.  Joe wanted a Mickey soft pretzel.  I got Joe a Mickey soft pretzel.  Bella and Trey then wanted a Mickey soft pretzel.  I got them a Mickey soft pretzel.  I then got everyone a water bottle (mind you these were all covered on our meal plan) and we were carb high and ready to go.

13. The kids had never seen a phone booth before (UK/Epcott).

14.  Trey loves fireworks.  Trey hates loud noises.  Trey is conflicted about watching fireworks.

15.  One needs to be patient with a child who is conflicted over fireworks.

16.  Riding rides at the Magic Kingdom or Epcott during fireworks is by far the best time to have the shortest if any wait.

17.  The Toy story laser ride at MK pales in comparison to the Toy Story ride at Hollywood Studio.

18.  Trey does not like to wear a “punch coat” (parka) anymore than a cape when he gets his hair cut which is to say not at all.  We got to Hollywood Studios in the pouring…POURING rain.  $58 and 5 punchcoats later we were begging Trey to put his on while Bella and Joe were begging to go ride something, while I was being blessed with the patience of Job.  I told Bella, “Honey.  I am so sorry that this is taking so long.  Remember last night when we prayed for memories?  Believe it or not we will look back at this and laugh and definitely remember it.”

19.  I did kind of lose it 20 minutes later when a drenched Trey said, “I’m cold.”  I think I said something to the effect of, “IF YOU WOULD HAVE WORN THE PUNCHCOAT YOU WOULDN’T BE SO COLD!!!”…or something like that.  He actually put it on…soaking wet…then.

20.   Your feet don’t dry out inside soaking wet tennis shoes.  Even after it has stopped raining for 4 hours…after raining for hours.

21.  One day of 3 hours of rain is a great deal and I will take it any time on any vacation, punchcoat or not.

22.  Having a meal plan is awesome.  Learning how to effectively navigate a “quick service” meal for your family is essential and takes several days.

23.  Many of you asked where the extra money was going to go (some didn’t ask but wondered).  Well, the meals are obviously included on the meal plan but the tips are not.  The prices are high.  20% of a lot is a lot.  A lot of the “extra” money is in the pockets of the always great wait staff at various Disney restaurants.

24.  Blizzard beach water park is fun but heavy on theme and just ok on slides.  I  would encourage you to stick with the parks. I am admittedly a water park snob.

25.  Getting to ride so many roller coasters with Trey after seeing him fixate on them on YouTube for years is something I will never…ever forget.

26.  Having Rachel see a bird carry away 3/4 of a hot dog while pool side is something no one would ever forget.

27.  Watching Joe in a hula hoop contest and dominating is a beautiful thing.

28.   The somewhat attractive female lifeguard being amazing at hula hoop and hula hooping during the competition is either attractive/really weird and off putting/ or pathetic…not sure.

29.  Thrill rides = I smile, Rachel screams, Joe is exhilarated, Bella is terrified, and Trey goes straight serious face.

30.  Sleeping in doesn’t happen at Disney…it really should.

31.  Having 20 minutes to kill and letting the kids play video games at the hotel before we catch our flight home so Rachel can shop in peace and then having Trey win 1000 tickets is not the blessing and good use of time that I intended it to be.

32.  Watching your daughter cry at the thought of leaving is sad, I don’t care who you are.

33.  Thinking of all the kids (especially in your own extended family) who haven’t had the opportunity to go to Disney once is humbling.

34.  Realizing why you’ve gone twice is a hard cold slap in the face.

35.  Seeing Bella in giant enclosed butterfly garden is a beautiful perfect thing (she is the butterfly whisperer).

36.  Having her be selected to get her bibbidi bobbidi boutique make over in the front window of the store by very own fairy godmother is a magical thing.

37.  Having her say to Rachel, “The reason I wasn’t crazy excited is because I knew it would be over at some point and I would go back to just being Bella.” is a sad thing.

38.  Explaining to her, “Bella, you are connected heart to heart and married to  Jesus.  He is the King of Kings.  That makes you a queen.  A queen is greater than a princess, and, you are that forever.” leaves me doing a daddy victory dance and feeling like I am the fastest man in the planet in regards to thinking on my feet.

39.  Having her reply to me, “So Jesus is my husband?” quickly humbled me and left me telling her to go to sleep.

40.  The entire experience flew by, was exhausting (I heard more than one parent randomly say, “It’s a trip.  Not a vacation!”), was perfect, was all that I hoped it could be, will forever be remembered, and leaves me in awe of people’s generosity and support.  Thank you all so very very very much.


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