the one about disney {part 2}

Click here for Part 1 of my Disney Survivor Series

You made it to Part 2: Traveling with Little Ones. It's a short one.

Don't do it! The end.

Just kidding. 

We just returned home from a 13 hour drive to and from South Carolina, and nothing thrilled me more than realizing that we were  going to be flying to Disney World. It would be so much easier! 

In a way, I was right, but in a way, I was on crack. Airports and kids don't mix. There's all kinds of crazy that happens, and sometimes I felt like just a spectator, watching this awkward reality show starring my family and me.

Here's my advice on how to avoid being an awkward sideshow and get to your destination safely.

1) Remember how I was all, "I rented a stroller from Kingdom Strollers and I am so smart and it was the best decision ever?" I stand by all of those claims, but I didn't take into account that we wouldn't have a stroller to get us around in the airport. So, there we were, I was carrying Charlotte (who is not a lightweight baby) and her blanket (that happens to be very furry and HOT), wearing my nifty new backpack with all of our carryon items in it, pulling one suitcase on wheels, and looking over my shoulder, between my legs, and all around to make sure that Noelle was still with us. Noelle was dragging her Dora suitcase on wheels which were apparently only for decorative purposes because that thing was flopping all over the place. We had Bella festooned to the top of the Dora suitcase by way of neck strangulation under the handle (sorry, B). Luke was hauling the large wheeled suitcase, his laptop case, and trying to read signs to get us to the right place. I was exhausted and needing a drink and it was only 9 in the morning.

I think what would have made things a little smoother is if I would have put Charlotte in our Baby Bjorn and worn her around the airport. I at least would have had my hands free. I also think that the Bjorn would have come in very handy while at the Magic Kingdom because you can't stand in line with your stroller. More on that in Part 3.

Moral of the Story: Wear your baby if you can and bring wine.

2) So we finally made it to the baggage check desk, just a sweatin'. Thankfully we flew Southwest, so our bags were free (yay!). However, the ticket lady said, "Is the baby flying, too?" Uh...yeah, Lady. I didn't just bring a baby for fun and carry her around the airport only to set her down by the big windows and wave bye bye to her from my seat on the plane. I then learned that Charlotte was not included on our boarding passes we printed at home and we would need to print a new pass for me that said infant on lap.

"I'll just need to see her birth certificate."

Perfect. Effin' perfect. Guess what? We don't even HAVE one for this child. Yes, I know. Judge away. We got a letter after she was born saying we would need to pick up her birth certificate at the health department on level 96, room 187098 at the most inconvenient place ever (small exaggeration, but still). We decided to put it off for a while. Well, try explaining how you don't have a birth certificate for your 9 month old to a Tammy Type-a-Lot at the ticket counter. She wasn't impressed and didn't really think my story was all that cute. However, she let it slide and added Charlotte to my boarding pass. I was thankful beyond words that she didn't ask me what her social security number was, because...no.

Moral of the Story: Pick up your baby's birth certificate from the health department and bring it with you to the airport.

3) After a quick breakfast at McDonald's, we made our way to the security lines. Talk about cumbersome. Have you ever tried taking your shoes off and unloading a backpack while holding a squirmy baby? Again, wearing the baby would have really helped in this situation. When we got to the TSA agent, she began asking Noelle questions like, "How old are you?" and "Is this your mommy?" Thank goodness she didn't do what I would have done, which is say, "No, I don't know who this is," just to see what would happen. Not only did she pass her little test, but she spelled her name for the agent a couple times, which was quite the novelty. The agent loved her so much that she asked if she could keep Noelle with her. Somedays, that would be tempting, but we had already paid for her Disney park admission, so we needed her to come with.

We obeyed the 3-1-1 liquids rule, but when you fly with babies, you are allowed to bring water for a bottle and extra formula or breastmilk. On the way back, I sent an already prepared bottle through the x-ray machine, and I think the security guy was so weirded out that it could be breastmilk that he could barely look at it.

The awkwardness continued as we shuffled out of security, trying to reassemble our bags and get our shoes back on without losing any children. Time for a victory beverage! Still too early.

Moral of the Story: Make nice with the TSA agents and scare the security people with "breastmilk," even if it is really liquid poison i.e. formula.

4) Finally, we made it to the gate. We had just enough time to visit the bathroom and give Charlotte a bottle before the plane began to board. We got to our seats, buckled our seat belts, and settled in for a 2 hour flight. I strategically began handing out my treats and activities that I brought along for Noelle. Charlotte was sleepy and fighting it, so we took turns trying to comfort and soothe her so she would fall asleep.

Everything was going well until Noelle decided to poop in her Pull-Up (Yes, I put a Pull-Up on her because I didn't want her to fall asleep and pee all over the plane seat. What if we needed to use it as a cushion in case of an emergency landing on water?). It began to smell and Luke and I exchanged glances, our eyes saying something like, "You do it!" "No, you do it!"

I took one for the team and headed to the bathroom with Noelle, a new Pull-Up, wipes, and one of those little scented trash bags that I brought along for this very reason. Since we walked past about 16 rows of passengers on our way to the bathroom, I think every single person knew what was going down.

Have you ever tried to change a diaper in a plane bathroom? Holy ridiculousness. Let's just say that between the 3 feet of space, the motion of the plane, and the "residue" left by other passengers, I was completely grossed out and highly uncomfortable. We got it taken care of and got the H out of there.

Moral of the Story: Bring scented diaper trash bags with you on the plane. 'Nuff said.

5) Upon landing, we exited the plane and grabbed some lunch. We then made our way to the Magical Express transportation desk. Disney's Magical Express is pretty awesome! It is a free service that you arrange ahead of time through your hotel. We were sent special information prior to our trip that we needed to bring with us upon boarding the Magical Express. We were sent special luggage tags that we attached to our bags, which meant that we wouldn't have to wait for our bags at the baggage claim and they would be delivered to our hotel room later that day.

We waited for the Magical Express to arrive, which was a nice shuttle bus complete with TV screens and Disney cartoons for the kiddos. We had to wait for a while to allow for the bus to get filled up and on its way. The bus then began dropping people off at their hotels. We were the last stop of four hotels, but we at least got to see what some of the others looked like. All in all, it probably took an hour for us to make it to our hotel, but at least it was free.

Unfortunately, our luggage did not arrive until about 7 p.m. that night, which was 6 hours after our plane landed. The information said to allow for 3 hours. Thus, we ended up attending our Cinderella dinner at the hotel in our flight clothes (except for the girls...their clothes were in Noelle's carry-on). The real bummer to this was Noelle's storybooks that she had the characters autograph were in our checked luggage, so she couldn't get autographs at our Cinderella dinner. However, we caught up with Cindy at the princess meet and greet at the Magic Kingdom and all was well.

Moral of the Story: Don't check your bags with the Magical Express unless you're OK with not seeing them for a really, really long time.

Traveling with little ones is awkward, messy, cumbersome, and sometimes smelly, but it is doable with the help of some drinking planning praying.

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