Unless you are, of course, my family. No, we don’t want to be sick either, but sick we were. I am trying hard not to let that color the memories of our vacation. We had a very good time and made a lot of memories. I suppose that it doesn’t help that I had built up these great expectations in my brain over what our vacation would be like. Never a good idea, but I did it anyway. You see, we have been planning the trip a long time. It was going to be big. We had saved for it. My husband and I are big advocates of paying for our vacations in cash. Sending 5 adults (I am not sure why an eleven year old is an adult, but in Orlando he is.) to Disney World is no easy feat, and it took us awhile to pay for it.

I also had convinced my family that we absolutely wanted to go to Disney World at Christmas time. The decorations! The music! The characters in their Christmas clothes. Yes, I am sucker for Disney. No, we didn’t want to go in boring, old November when the crowds are at their lowest. We absolutely wanted to go at Christmas. Because my husband loves me, we went at Christmas.

And so, we drove to Orlando with visions of Mickey Mouse and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter dancing around in our heads. We stopped at Hollywood Studios the first day. The street of lights was amazing.

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My husband was beginning to see the beauty of coming at Christmas.

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Freckle Face rode his first roller coaster.

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The second day, Matthew became sick. And not just a little sick. Here is where I confess my sin. I was a bad mother. I didn’t believe him. It was the day of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The biggest of the big. The cookies and hot chocolate. The fireworks. The special Christmas parade. I was excited for this. Yet, Matthew was sick. I thought he was being a grumpy teenager. You know how teenagers get. I thought he was being a pain just because he could. I pushed him. I made him stay with us. There was no other choice really. To his credit, he did it. Without complaining. He just followed us around as best he could and made himself a comfortable place on the sidewalks everywhere we went. I was worried about him. I noticed that he was warm but complaining to be cold. I felt terrible. It was disappointing, but we had to take him home. But not before we had our picture taken with the Seven Dwarfs! He isn’t in the picture which makes me very, very sad.

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Then we stayed for the fireworks which were the MOST amazing fireworks I have ever seen! Finally, we called it a day. I prayed that he would be up for the next day, but he was not. He was running a high fever and didn’t want to get out of bed. He told us to leave him behind. That he would be fine. Just go! And then he said something that broke my heart. After all the pushing that I did to him the night before he says to me, “Mom, I just want you to go and have a good time. Please don’t worry about me. I will be fine.” And with that I hugged him, gave him some meds, and left him at the condo. No one wants to be sick at Disney World.

We did have a nice time without him, but it was weird. It was like a small glimpse of what is to come next year when he goes off to college. We missed him. He texted us frequently throughout the day. We knew he was safe and doing the only thing he wanted to be doing-sleeping. While he was sleeping, we were riding the Mt. Everest ride and standing in line for character signatures.

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All the characters made a comment about Freckle Face’s shirt. Well, they didn’t say it out loud, but he got a lot of thumbs ups and gesturing at his shirt. It is his shirt from the play he was in with the Missoula Children’s theater. I thought this was a little odd until I came home and researched how to be a character at Disney World. It seems that all of them have to audition. What do you want to bet that many of them are in drama and are familiar with the theater? I thought it was cool, anyway.

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The Christmas trees all over Disney World were wonderful. This is Pluto’s tree. I was constantly amazed by Disney’s attention to detail. Isn’t that the magic of Disney?

At this time, my husband started getting sick. He could feel it. We decided that we would leave Animal Kingdom and hit Epcot very fast. Epcot was wonderful. Well, I thought so anyway. Freckle Face said that Epcot is the place where the magic ends. He clearly didn’t appreciate the beauty of every country at Epcot as we did. My husband and I are making plans for our next trip to Disney in which we will go without children and where we will spend most of our time at Epcot.

We took the next day off which was not in the plans. We were supposed to go to Universal. Matthew was still sick and my husband was getting there. We needed the day off.

Even though the first four days didn’t go as planned, we still had a good time. We still made some very good memories. My favorite memory is the time we spent at the top of Splash Mountain all together. Yes, just as we arrived at the very top of the mountain ready to take our 5 story plunge off the mountain, our log stopped. And stayed stationary. For a long time. Then a cast member arrived at the top very out of breath. “How are you guys doing?” he asks trying to catch his breath. “You now know my super secret entrance and that I have to run up a lot of stairs to get here.” It was funny. We sat there talking to this gentleman for a good 20 minutes at a 45 degree angle. It was good times. In fact, we were so special that he had to let us go over the top all by ourselves before they could get the ride going again. He warned us of this. When he got the all clear, he would push his button and we would go over. It was funny. It is exactly what happened. He told us to have a good time, pushed his button, and down we went. We are still laughing about that.

We still had a couple more days of our vacation left, but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter needs a post all of its own.

Even when you are sick at Disney World, you can always manage to smile.

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