Whew! Disney at Christmas is something else. It’s busy, it’s expensive, it’s beautifully decorated. It’s a lot, and I am here for it.
We intended to fly out on the 23rd, but the northeast was expecting a big storm that day, so we made the call to leave a couple days early. A great choice in hindsight, because our original flight out of Bangor was predictably canceled and by that point we were safe and snug in our resort hotel at Disney World!
Of course, it wouldn’t have been an epic vacation without some drama. In our case, that meant the plague. Gwen started coughing as soon as we got through security at the airport. Ellie had been sick the week before, but both kids tested negative for COVID so we figured it was just the flu. We masked up and crossed our fingers, and thankfully our flights to Orlando went smoothly!
On our first day we did a little shopping and walking around Disney Springs, but Gwen spiked a fever that afternoon, which prompted an Instacart order from Walgreens — thermometer, COVID tests, Tylenol, Advil. COVID test was again negative, so we hunkered down to rest. Thankfully by the time our Disney tickets were active she was fever-free and feeling much better.
Wilderness Lodge was beautifully decked out for the holidays, with a giant tree in the main lobby and lots of cozy corners to relax in. Gwen particularly liked the outdoor pool; even on the colder days (and there were definitely some sub-40’s temperatures) she was ready to go swimming, and would stay in for hours if we let her. The Whispering Canyon restaurant was probably Tim’s favorite, with all-you-can-eat skillets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ellie’s favorite thing was “everything”.
We spent Christmas Eve at Magic Kingdom and Christmas Day at EPCOT. I convinced Ellie to ride the new Guardians of the Galaxy coaster with me (OMG the best) and she took it in stride. To quote Ellie: “I hate you, I hate that ride, I hate you, I hate you, I hate it, I HATE IT.” She was ranting so much as we got off the coaster that I couldn’t walk straight because I was laughing too hard. It can’t have been that bad because she said she’d do it again the next time we came to EPCOT. Riding roller coasters she hates is “her thing”, she says.
But that was really the highlight of this trip — so many belly laughs with my family. I love my kids at these ages — they’re so smart and sassy and fun to be around. There was almost no snapping or grumping despite the cold weather and the sniffles, and all of us expressed how thankful we were to be there, to be together. I got a little sappy after a flight of mimosas over Christmas dinner, especially after our waitress complimented us on how sweet our family was, how good our kids are, all that stuff. (To be fair, she also gave us extra cornbread, which is enough to get me misty-eyed even when I’m not tipsy.)
Disney is not for the faint of heart. Under the best of circumstances, our family can take about 4-5 hours at the parks before we need to chill. Staying on Disney property made that so much easier, because when one of us was ready to tap out, we’d take a bus or ferry or the monorail and be back at our hotel in a few minutes. Occasionally Tim would take one or both of the kids back to the hotel and I’d spend extra time walking around, taking things in.
We had one “rest day” in between parks, and I treated myself to a long massage at the Grand Floridian spa. While there, I checked out the life-size gingerbread house display and the Victorian-style tree in the lobby. If I had to pick one favorite thing about this trip, it was being there at Christmas time to see all the decorations and festive displays.
Unfortunately the plague lingered. Tim started having symptoms a few days after Gwen recovered, and I developed a sort throat and sinus congestion. The symptoms were mild enough that we still went to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom for our last two days and I honestly didn’t think much of it.
Of course, when we arrived home, Tim and I tested positive for COVID. 🙁 By that point we felt better-ish, save for some lingering fatigue. The kids have continued to test negative, but I’m pretty sure they are the ones who gave it to us. I suppose three years without catching COVID is pretty good, but I do feel some guilt over brushing off our symptoms during the last part of our trip.
We came home and have been resting and staying home as much as possible to avoid spreading our post-Disney germs; lots of LEGO building and TV watching. I’m going into the New Year feeling tired but deeply grateful.