The last time I went away on a trip was in July of 2013, right before I was diagnosed. I spent the past year and a half at home recuperating from chemo, surgery, radiation, biopsy, and everything else that you can think of. Recently I considered a vacation to be the time period when I would get breaks from my chemo pills. I usually got breaks when I was getting really sick from the chemo and it was time to take a week off. However, in February I went to Disney with my mom and sister for a week for an actual vacation.
In April of last year my sister signed up to be in the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. It was scheduled for February and we decided we would make a trip out of it. My major concern about traveling was if I would have to take my chemo pills. I didn’t want to have to worry about getting sick or being exhausted while in Disney. The last thing I wanted was to be waiting in line for a ride and then all of a sudden get sick. Thankfully my doctor said I could take the week off while in Disney. I was more than happy not to pack my chemo pills and other random medicines.
We arrived in Disney and settled into our hotel. We hadn’t been there in over 12 years. We decided to go to the Magic Kingdom the first night for dinner and to walk around. As we rode the monorail to the park I noticed that everyone was in his or her puffer coats and boots. It was 45 degrees outside, which in my book was a heat wave compared to the negative temperatures we left behind at home. Since it was cold out, there was no line for Splash Mountain so my sister and I practically ran through the line area to get on the ride.
While we were on the ride there was one other person in the boat with us. It was a boy, who we later found out was from Detroit. As we were going through the ride he turned around and asked us where we were from. My sister told him. He then proceeded to ask, “Are you from the ghetto or the suburbs?” We both stared at him and I tried not to laugh out loud. My sister responded with, “I’m sorry what did you say?”, trying to play it off like we couldn’t hear him. When he asked us the same question again she told him, "the suburbs". After he turned around in his seat we couldn’t stop laughing. At one point we were laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. Only we would be asked that question on our first ride at Disney.
The next day we went to the Magic Kingdom again and went on several rides. We did the classics such as Space Mountain and of course the Enchanted Tiki Room. I got to meet Elsa and Anna from Frozen. I specifically went there to get a picture for a friend since she loves them. My one doctor also joked with me before I left that some of the children at the park may confuse me with her since we have the same hair color. Luckily that did not happen. We spent the entire day at the park and had dinner at Tony's Town Square, which is the Italian restaurant from Lady and the Tramp. Everywhere we went everyone was so happy and excited to be in Disney.
The next day we met up with our family friends since they were also running in the half-marathon with my sister. We went to the running expo in the morning so they could pick up their numbers. After that we went to Hollywood Studios. We went on the Tower of Terror. That ride still scares me. You would think after 12 years I wouldn’t be afraid but, good joke. As we were walking through the hotel I could feel my stomach already turning into knots. Once we got into the ride I knew there was no turning back. As you all know the ride has a pretty impressive drop not once but 4 times. I even knew when it was coming but still screamed a lot. The photo perfectly describes how I was feeling because I looked terrified. It still is one of my favorite rides. Afterwards my hands were shaky for a little while but it was totally worth it.
After spending the afternoon in Hollywood Studios we went to Epcot for dinner in France, which was delicious. Then again all the food in Disney is amazing. I had several Mickey shaped soft pretzels while in the parks and of course the Mickey ears shaped ice cream. Another good thing about the food there is that it is geared towards all ages. Let’s just say I thoroughly enjoyed my popcorn chicken on several occasions. It was nice to be able to eat and not worry if I would get sick. Needless to say I took full advantage of it.
On Sunday morning my sister and our family friends ran in the Disney Princess half-marathon. My mom and I went to cheer them on. I have a whole post dedicated to the race alone since it was an experience in itself. After the race we went to the Magic Kingdom again and went on rides. We had dinner at the Beauty and the Beast Restaurant, “Be Our Guest”. It has three dining areas all modeled after the movie. We got our picture taken with the beast too. After dinner we said goodbye to our family friends since they were heading home the next day. They had come in for the weekend for the race. We had a great time together and laughed a lot about everything you can think of.
One of our last two days of the trip we went to my favorite place, Discovery Cove, where we swam with dolphins. I will be writing about that by it self too. You have so much to look forward to now! On our last day we went back to Hollywood Studios. I went on Tower of Terror twice with my sister and I screamed the whole time. We also went on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster twice, which was a blast. My favorite picture is one of my sister that they took right before they launch you into the ride. While I was smiling she looked scared to death. We are still laughing about the photo. We went on other rides that included the Great Hollywood Movie ride and saw a couple of the shows too. I am happy to tell you that the Indian Jones Show has not changed in 12 years. We ended the night by having dinner at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant. It is modeled to look like a drive-in theatre and you sit in cars from the 50s and 60s. While you are enjoying your dinner you get to watch old Sci-Fi movies. I thoroughly enjoyed my burger, fries, onion rings, and milkshake.
What I liked most about Disney is that no one knew anything about me. I wasn’t bombarded with people asking me how I am doing or feeling. No one stared at me because of my white hair or commented on it. They probably figured I was a super Elsa fan. I didn’t have to think about when to take my chemo or worry about the foods I couldn’t eat. I did get a wheel chair after the first day since my knee was sore from all the walking. I know my doctors will be happy I did that. My family pushed me around the parks because we were constantly on the go. It was nice to get away and go on a family vacation. We haven’t been able to do that in a long time. After we left Disney I found myself in a “Disney Depression”. I had gotten so used to the routine of getting up and getting on the monorail or a bus to go to one of the theme parks that I didn’t know what to do. Don’t worry I quickly got back into my usual routine after resting from our busy vacation.