Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer O'Fun - Disney World 2010

Every year, Aiden's daddy and I work hard to take our kids on vacation. Last year, with the recent move to Maryland, Aiden's CI surgery, then activation, then many, many appointments, and my husband's new job, it just wasn't happening. In fact, the last couple years have been full of "something" for all of us, and our kids have been nothing but troopers through it all. With our latest move to Ohio, we finally feel at home, settled into our "new normal", rested. We're ready to put the past behind us and have some fun. Therefore we've deemed Summer 2010 to be our family's "Summer O'Fun!"

We started it off with a BANG and piled in the car for a ROADTRIP to Florida to meet Mickey and pals. Everyone was excited to get away for some fun, although my older two are pure beach bums and would've rather been heading to hit the waves, but they loved every minute of it!

CI Highlights:

Aiden was wonderful in the car! He left his CIs on, LOVED watching ELMO on the portable DVD player, and would "play lings" (oh my!) with his Legos (hold a Lego to his ear, say a ling, then drop it in the tin can or pass the Lego on for someone else to repeat) ... ya, you think it's part of his daily ritual?

At the Magic Kingdom they had a "Dance Party" with the characters. It was our first day there, it was nearly 11pm, and it was LOUD. Aiden's sister and cousin were tearing it up on the floor, doing the Electric Slide, Macarena, and Cha-Cha Slide and Aiden was right there jammin' along with them! He wouldn't leave Pluto and Goofy alone! I thought it would be too loud for him, but he didn't reach for his CIs once. His goal was to get up on stage and I had to keep pulling him away from the steps, which the loud speakers sat up on!

Aiden was able to go on a lot more of the rides than I thought. Some of his favorites included Dumbo, the Toy Story one (also my husband's fave), Nemo (well, he actually fell asleep during it, but he loved the beginning), the Dinosaur Land rides (at Animal Kingdom) and more. He really loved wearing the 3D glasses some of the rides and shows had. In fact, during the Muppet 3D show, they had bubbles coming down and there's Aiden yelling, "Pop, pop, pop!"

The mini splash parks at Epcot ruled. What an excellent idea for cooling off or for families with small kids waiting for the older ones on rides. Aiden LOVES water. We did take off his CIs for this, as he did get soaked, and as hot as it was, we were just fine with it.

Another of his favorites was the meet and greets with the characters. Aiden's sister and cousin Lizzie were on a mission with their autograph books to get signatures from all the characters. I thought Aiden would be scared, but not at all. He would run right up to them, hug them, then turn around and smile for the camera when asked to do so! Tigger knocked off his coil on accident, but Aiden put it right back on and continued with hugs!

As we were waiting to meet Minnie Mouse, one of the character assistants was so excited to see Aiden and his Cochlears as she had a cochlear implant too! Of course I wanted to stay and chat, but our conversation had to be short. She was born with hearing loss, has had one CI for about five years, and said it was the best thing ever! She was so excited to see Aiden with two and at such a young age.

We found out fast that standing in even a short line with Aiden was not an option. He's much more hyper than your average two year old, and keeping him next to us was not fun. This is where the Fast Pass and parent swap option came into great play. We only stood in lines with him that had immediate to very short wait times OR we had a Fast Pass for. They're heaven sent and I couldn't imagine our trip without them.

Everynight, one (or more) of the parks would put on a spectacular fireworks show. This was another area of concern for me, as I thought they'd frighten Aiden with how loud they are. They didn't faze him. It was either that he was so wiped at this point, or truly enjoyed them. Not once did he try and take off his CIs.

We spent a good part of each day at one of the parks, but always made time for swimming at the condo. Again, Aiden LOVES water and all we had to do was say, "Let's go swimming!" and he was taking his clothes off. We'd talk all the way to the pool about it ... water, swimming, pool, jumping in, floaties etc. Once we got down there though, he'd hand us his CIs, knowing he couldn't wear them in the water. I wasn't ready to try the Aloksak (that protect the CIs from water) that other CI parents have used and Lucas' mom talks about here. It made me too nervous, so Aiden went without sound while swimming. After the first day at the pool, I wish we'd of had them. Not only was it a great listening opportunity, but also for safety. He still had a blast. Next time though I think I'll brave it out and try them.

All in all, we had a great CI experience. It was nice to forget about all the appointments and stressors. It was much needed by all. It was purely MAGICAL to all. It also wore us all out, so now onto the more relaxing Summer O'Fun destination number two ... our FIFTH annual "Camping With Grandma" in Wisconsin and I can't wait!


Melanie said...

SO SO SO fun! Glad you had a good time. Can't wait for you to be in WI! :)

leah said...

Oh, what FUN! I love Disney World- it has been about 10 years since I went. We're going to Disneyland in CA when we go to John Tracy, and to California Adventure. I can't wait to go! I love Disney because they have things for very small children, that the entire family can enjoy!

And, oh, I wish there were waterproof hearing devices. We can't pull the aloksak trick with hearing aids, but if we yell loud enough, Nolan can hear within a short range. More than 5 feet away, though, and he hears nothing.

As for the lines, they are AWFUL with an overactive 2 year old. Matt was (and is) very active, and he actually got his head stuck in the bars surrounding the line for Dumbo at the California park! Sheesh. Thank goodness for Fastpass! Now that he's 4, he waits a lot better- 4 seems to be a magic age for a lot of things, lol!

misskri said...

It sounds like you all had an awesome time. We are looking forward to taking Thomas to Disney (and Universal).
I can relate with being nervous about trying to waterproof the CI's. I was nervous at first, but once you do it (and test it and it works) its hard to go back to no ear at the pool.
Last year was Thomas' first time at the beach with both ears on (we were walking on the beach..not swimming so he had not waterproofing). He just stood there and looked around ~ we talked about all of the wonderful sounds. I can't wait to go back next month!!!
Have fun enjoying the rest of your Summer of Fun!!!!

Vivie said...

Soooo FUN Tammy!!!

I really love the pictures!!! Aiden seems so happy!

Glad you enjoyed your vacation!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh, Tammy...

Joy, joy, joy!

So glad you all got to do this!


Amy said...

Great post and pictures Tammy! Go for the aloksak it really does work. They have instructions on how to test the bags before you use them. Once you try it you will never go without it. Check out my blog-June 1st post I have video showing Ava hearing while swimming in the pool-truly amazing!!!