I know I've posted all of the amazing fun that we had on vacation. But trust me, it was not all fun and games. There were times when I wanted to go home (or send certain family members home). The Hubs and I definitely learned a lot from this trip that we'll keep in mind for future vacations, even if they're not to Disney.
~The biggest thing we realized is that we can't schedule too much in one day. My kids do not like to trapped in a strict schedule. I don't know if that's because we're on summer vacation or what but they did not like having to eat at specific times, having to go to certain places on certain days, or being told they had to do what we had planned. My OCD kicks into high gear when it comes to planning trips for my family. I had every day planned out from the minute we woke up to the minute we went to bed. After the first day, I realized that things were going to have to just go with the flow. The only thing that was set in stone was our dining reservations. I think by the end of the week I was okay with waking up and letting the day unfold as it did.
~Don't push a sick kid to do more than they should. Poor Noah said the outside of his ear hurt before we even left on vacation. It wasn't red or anything so I thought nothing of it. He had moments where he was a total terror. His behavior was horrible and he just wasn't himself. When he had his worst day on Tuesday (aka he cried all morning and asked to just go back to the hotel) we knew something was up. Poor kid asked me to take him to a doctor. And after 4 hours in Urgent Care, we walked out with a diagnosis of Swimmers Ear (External ear infection) and ear drops. Now we had behavior issues the rest of the week with him but he got a little better once his ear pain started to go away. I'm not going to sit here and say that it was all because of his ear. That factored in a lot but he just had some challenges. But all in all, the good behavior outweighed the bad.
~Keep in mind that you child might freak out with characters, no matter how many times you see them or how many times they say they won't. We had 5 character dining experiences scheduled. 2 were with the princesses. The other 3 were with the Disney classics. Em tends to freak out with any character that isn't a person. She wigs out when Mickey comes around. She has no problem with Minnie or Daisy (because they're girls) but bring Mickey or Pluto around and she FREAKS! She cried and panicked and hid for almost every meal. Definitely something I thought it might happen but didn't expect it on that level. She's turning 4 in a few weeks but it was still a scary experience for her. You might want to take your child's fear level into consideration when you're scheduling character dinings. I didn't take it into enough consideration.
~Be in the moment. I'm guilty of being attached to my phone, attached to social media at all times. I made a conscious effort to detach as much as I could and just enjoy my family. I didn't take as many pictures as I normally would. I used my good camera and my phone's camera. Am I upset about that? Yes and no. I'm upset because I only have like 200 pictures instead of the 1000 I expected to have. But instead of hiding behind my camera, I was playing with the kids. I was enjoying my family. I was loving the time we were spending. And I actually relaxed. It was perfect. It was what I needed. What we needed.