Escaping Irene: A NY family "evacuates" to Disney! *Update 7/7 WWoHP*

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by DrMomof3, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    I'm going to try to start my trip report. Finally.

    This was our 2nd Annual August Trip to Disney World. Our schools traditionally start the day after Labor Day so we like to take advantage of the low crowd levels in late August and enjoy an end-of-summer family trip.

    Cast of Characters:

    Me = Amanda. I'm an almost 40 year old mom of 3 who works full-time as a pediatric urologist.

    [​IMG]

    Amazingly, in over 800 pictures from the trip, this is one of the few pictures of me! (And it's not even a very good one!)

    Tom. Chronological age = 42. Maturity level = ??? :lmao: Tom is an adult urologist and father to our wonderful children.

    [​IMG]

    Nathaniel, age 7.

    [​IMG]

    Jessica, age 5.

    [​IMG]

    Zachary, age 3 (Zachary was ill during the trip so we allowed the pacifier much more than usual so please ignore the "ba-ba" in his mouth in every picture)

    [​IMG]

    Poor Buffy the dog was stuck in NY, braving the hurricane! :love:

    Amanda
     
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  3. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    I'm the "official" Disney addict in the family but truthfully we all love Disney. Tom complains that he's getting a little Disney-ed out but I know he enjoys it almost as much as I do. I went a few times as a young child (in the mid to late 70's before even Epcot was built) and then didn't return until January, 2008 when I was pregnant with Zachary. We went back again around Zachary's 1st birthday (May, 2009) and again in December that year. April, 2010 I went to a work conference at Yacht Club and brought Tom along for a weekend trip. Our 1st annual family trip was that August. I ran the half marathon in January, 2011 and then we returned in August. I'd say we've had a pretty good run!!!

    The original plan was to fly out of White Plains Airport on Saturday, August 27th at 11:15am. We'd arrive at MCO around 2pm, pick up our rental car, and head to BLT for a lovely week in Disney. Sounds great, right? The Hurricane Irene came into the picture. The Monday before our trip it seemed that Irene was likely to hit Orlando and possibly mess up our arrival. As the week progressed it became clear that NY was in danger and not Orlando. Thursday morning I noticed that JetBlue was offering a fee waiver to people who wanted to change their flights to/from affected locations. Tom quickly picked up the phone to see what JetBlue could do for us. After waiting on hold for a considerable amount of time and watching many of the flights become unavailable as we followed online, we began to worry. A lot. Tom had a full day of work ahead of him on Friday and I had a half-day followed by an important dentist appointment (to get a temporary crown - I've had a nightmare with the dentist over the last month) so we needed a pretty late flight.
    There were no longer any available flights out of White Plains and we settled for flying out of JFK (about 45 min to hour away instead of about 15 min). Problem was that we couldn't get 5 seats on the same plane. We decided that I'd fly at 7pm with Jessica and Zachary and Tom would take Nathaniel at 9pm (Nathaniel is pretty much the only child in our family who can tolerate staying up really late without completely melting down). We also figured that I could take a car service to the airport so our nanny could wait with Nathaniel until Tom got home. Then she could drive Tom and Nathaniel to JFK. So far, so good.

    (Posting so I can take Nathaniel to his violin lesson. More to come!)

    Amanda
     
  4. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

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    I'm here!:dance3:

    Your hurricane story takes me back to our winter flight when we had to get out ahead of the bad weather. I am so glad you were able to change flights! Can't wait to hear how the flights were!
     
  5. Twoboysnmygirl

    Twoboysnmygirl DIS Veteran

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    I'm here! I'm here! Just subbing so I can be on the first page...then I'll read! :lmao:
     
  6. ZFamily5

    ZFamily5 DIS Veteran

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    I'm in! Can't wait to hear all about it!
     
  7. kokotg

    kokotg DIS Veteran

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    I'm in! another three kid family here. And my 8 year old had surgery when he was a baby to fix his kidney reflux, so I have a special place in my heart for pediatric urologists. :laughing:
     
  8. natebenma

    natebenma DIS Veteran

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    I'm so in!!! Now I need to go back and read. :)

    Edit- caught up! Love a trip report that starts out with drama in Post 2! I know there is more to come!

    I can relate to your absence in trip photos! We pay the price being the official photographers of the family.
     
  9. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    I'm here too:goodvibes
     
  10. luvdisney00

    luvdisney00 DIS Veteran

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    Definitely in...I was there too and the storm hit at home in NJ.
     
  11. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    We're very lucky that we could change flights!

    Welcome Karen!

    Welcome! Welcome!

    I know one of the pediatric urologists at Emory very well. I probably know some of the other ones by name.... Thanks for the love! :love:

    The irony is that Tom is the one with the better camera. He has a DSLR (which I still haven't learned how to use) and I have a several year old point and shoot. Which I often have to share with the kids.

    Welcome Jenny!

    I hope your home was ok. Our house was intact. My parents lost power for a few days (Long Island) and my brother's house boat had some minor damage (he and his family stayed with my parents - obviously!).

    Amanda
     
  12. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    I got home from work on Thursday and realized that I had lost my packing time. I was supposed to have all afternoon/evening on Friday and a few hours Saturday morning to pack. Now I was working Friday morning, going to the dentist around lunchtime, and then racing home to hop in a car to the airport. That left NO packing time. Luckily I'm a crazy Disney person and had already started packing a few weeks earlier. And I knew that we'd have a washer/dryer so I was going to try not to overpack. I'm notorious for overpacking for everyone except me. I usually underpack for me! At bedtime I suddenly realized that I had left my iPad in my office at work. My office hours were at an off-site so now I was going to have to stop in the Bronx on my way to my closer-to-home office. :rolleyes:
    Friday morning I headed off to work. Things seemed to be going well - my patients all showed up early and I was ready to head off to the dentist. As I was walking into the dentist office I got a phone call from work with some patient drama. A patient who had never called the office for an appointment was told by the ER to show up in my office and was waiting for me. I felt horrible that I couldn't see the patient but there was nothing I could do. I still feel a little bad about that situation (there's more to the story but essentially the patient never told our office that she was coming and my office tried to call on Thursday to see if she was coming and then showed up anyway).
    The dentist went fine and took about an hour. When the novocaine wore off I was in horrible pain - which scared me a lot because I had been in dental pain for over a week and the pain meds were causing stomach pain - but I took some tylenol and never had another issue for the whole trip.
    I had asked my nanny to pick up Zachary from daycare around 3pm so he wouldn't be underfoot as I finished up packing. For some reason she brought all 3 kids home by 1pm. Jessica was so excited that she couldn't sit still. My nanny cooked lots of food so they could eat a mid-afternoon "dinner" since our flights were late. I finished the last minute checks and waited for the car service to arrive.
    I am crazy about getting to the airport on time. I *need* to be there 2 hours early. Anything less than that and I get very nervous. We have used this car service many times and, while they have always gotten to the airport in enough time, I feel that they get me there later than I like. I told Tom to arrange for a 4pm pick-up. It can take well over an hour to get to the airport in rush hour traffic and with the hurricane evacuations on Long Island (JFK is in Queens which is on Long Island, for those who don't know).
    Jessica was so antsy that she and I decided to bring all the bags to the end of the driveway. The first traveling group (Jessica, Zachary, and I) were bringing a stroller, 3 "check" suitcases, 2 car seats (to be checked), 3 carry-ons, plus my purse. The driver showed up around 3:45pm. Not the friendliest of drivers. He didn't look happy to have 2 young kids in his car. He put the stuff in his trunk. There was one funny moment when Nathaniel thought he was coming with us and I had to tell him that he was staying home for a few more hours. He was a little unhappy about that! :sad1:
    We finally got into the car with the kids in their car seats. I made a few mistakes. Zachary's pacifier and blankies were in his carry-on bag which was in the trunk. He kept asking for them during the entire trip. While I did have my iPad and iPhone for entertainment, I should have grabbed some kid toys to entertain them during the ride. There was quite a bit of traffic but we seemed to be doing ok. We had gotten on the road by 4pm. I think we pulled into JFK around 5pm but I'm not 100% sure. As we pulled into JFK, Zachary decided to vomit. :scared1: Most of it went into my sweatshirt but it was all over him and all over me. Very little of it was actually on the car itself. Not a good start to the trip....

    (More to come!)

    Amanda
     
  13. kthshh

    kthshh Mouseketeer

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    Interesting trip report. I'm following along.
     
  14. Twoboysnmygirl

    Twoboysnmygirl DIS Veteran

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    Omygosh Amanda! I think I would have been stressing out BAD! :eek: I can't wait to hear more!
     
  15. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Welcome!!!!

    I was totally stressing out!!!

    Sorry to keep everyone hanging. I'm trying to start my TR while still getting the kids to all the activities this weekend. Which includes 2 hours of Hebrew School for 2 children, 3 birthday parties, a tae kwon do try-out, and 90 minutes of gymnastics! Plus, I still have to finish unpacking, do laundry, and my parents are coming over for dinner tomorrow night.... :eek:

    Amanda
     
  16. jmamom

    jmamom Mouseketeer

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    Joining in!
    What a stressful day! Hope it gets better!
     
  17. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Welcome! It got worse before it got better...:eek:

    Amanda
     
  18. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    So here we are, pulling into JFK, with a child who just vomited all over himself and me. The driver wasn't nice to begin with and was ticked off that my child had just vomited in his car (there wasn't a lot of vomit in the car, it was mostly on my sweatshirt - which I wasn't wearing - and on Zachary and me). He pulls up to the Jet Blue curb at the point furthest away from curbside check-in. He takes our stuff out of the car and leaves it on the curb. I got the kids and car seats out, wiped up any vomit from inside his car (I'm really too nice - he was a jerk), and he drives off. :mad:
    I'm now at the airport with a 5 year old and a 3 year old. The 3 year old and I are both covered in vomit. I have a stroller, 2 car seats, 3 rolling suitcases (to check), 3 carry-on bags, and my purse. I'm by myself and I have to get all of this stuff to the other end of the drop-off area. And I want to cry. I'm also furious at the driver for being such a complete jerk (I'm trying to watch my language here) and just leaving us. He could have taken 2 more minutes to drop us off in a convenient location.
    The first thing I did was grab Zachary's pajamas from his carry-on bag and I changed his shirt. I travel with lots of plastic baggies so I put my sweatshirt and his dirty shirt in baggies. I used diaper wipes to mop up the best I could. I had a clean shirt for me in the diaper bag but no clean pants. I reached into the closest suitcase and grabbed the first bottoms I could find - which was my running skirt. NOT ideal travel clothes (the running skirt has built in spandex shorts but it's quite short). But it was clean and not covered in vomit so I put it in the diaper bag for when I could change clothes.
    At that moment something else went wrong. The zipper on Jessica's carry-on bag broke. Last year I bought the kids small rolling suitcases with Disney characters on them. They also have straps so you can use them as backpacks. The zippers on Jessica's bag were completely broken. There was no way to close the bag at all. Great. :rolleyes:
    I have to say that Jessica definitely rose to the occasion. She took care of her own carry-on bag and one of the big suitcases. Zachary sat in the stroller and I put the car seats in the back seat of the stroller (we have a Phil and Ted's with a back seat - I'm sure I have pictures later). I would walk 10 feet with the stroller, park it, run back to grab the suitcases, etc. Jessica was a huge help.
    We finally got into line at curb side check-in. At that point I think I would have paid $100 to get rid of the bags and car seats!!!:sad2: I brought large, clear garbage bags for the car seats so I could check them. The check-in guy was nice and gave us our boarding passes. Most importantly I got rid of 3 large suitcases and 2 car seats which made the load manageable. Unfortunately he couldn't give me 3 seats together but he reassured me that when I got to the gate they would help me.
    We walked into the airport and headed straight for the bathroom. The bathroom near the entrance was very small and crowded. I quickly realized that I would have to temporize here and really clean up later. I changed Zachary's diaper and pants (he just wore PJs) and I changed my shirt. At that point we were ready to attempt security.
    We headed over to security and I must have looked pretty desperate because they waved me over to the priority security check-in. The security line wasn't terrible but there was definitely a line (and remember I was probably still almost 2 hours before flight time). I wasn't worried about getting to the gate on time or anything, just getting to a place where I could get organized and cleaned up. And make sure we were sitting together on the plane!
    Security was pretty quick and easy. Our stroller is too big for the belt and there was nobody to tell me what to do with it but we figured it out. Kids did great and Jessica helped Zachary get his shoes back on while I retrieved our belongings. By this time Zachary seemed much better and I assumed he had just been car sick.
    We then headed to the gate to see what they could do with our seats. One of the issues was that my flight was booked on miles and therefore was a separate reservation from the kids' reservation. The gate agent was able to work through this. We were given seats in the last row (not an issue for me - close to the bathroom and we had so many checked bags that there wasn't a rush to get off the plane). Zachary was in a middle seat, I was on the aisle, and Jessica was in the aisle seat across the aisle from me. The gate agent thought the person in the window seat next to Zachary would be happy to switch with Jessica but I was perfectly satisfied with the seat arrangement. I let Jessica know that she wasn't going to get a window seat and she was totally fine with it.
    The next stop was to find Jessica a new carry-on bag without spending a small fortune. The first few shops only had bags that cost $50 or more. Not what I wanted to replace a $15 bag! We finally found a surf shop that sold an oversized tote bag for about $25. It's a cute bag and something we can use again. The one downside is that it doesn't have a zipper or anyway to close the bag. Jessica was thrilled with it. :love:
    We then went to the family restroom so I could change, Jessica could put on her PJs, and we could get a little cleaned up. I re-packed Jessica's stuff in her new bag and we threw out the old one. We went to the counter-serve place to grab some dinner (we got pizza) and went back to the gate area to eat.
    The kids opened some of their travel gifts that I had packed for them and I took some pictures with my iPhone (which I still need to upload - sorry!). We finally boarded the plane and took off.
    The flight was fairly uneventful. Zachary was a bit active which was exhausting and stressful for me but he wasn't bad. Jessica was awesome. She sat next to 2 women with a very young baby. They kept asking me if they could share snacks with her (I said yes). Jessica was happy and they thought she was adorable. (The baby was a very good and very cute baby.) Zachary fell asleep as we were landing. This was a bit stressful because it meant I had to carry him in addition to the carry-ons. Luckily the stroller was waiting at the gate. He slept through the night from that point on!!!
    We went down to baggage claim. We had arranged to spend the night at the Hyatt in the airport. For $10 they will send a bellhop down to baggage claim to help you. What an amazing service!!!
    The bellhop was lovely. I can't tell you how much I appreciated this guy. He waited with us for all of our stuff (the car seats were the last 2 items off the plane), brought us to the check-in desk, and then up to our room. There was a roll-away already set up and he opened the sofa bed for me. He was the kind of person who said hello to every guest he saw and asked them how their stay was. Really amazing! I couldn't tip him enough. After the nightmare day he was exactly what I needed to get settled.
    There were a few minor issues - like my contact lens case and pajamas were in one of Tom's bags but I managed. Tom and Nathaniel's flight was delayed 45 minutes so they didn't get to hotel until 1:30am. Their flight was uneventful except the delay.
    And our original flight on Saturday was canceled.
    So we made it! It wasn't pretty but we made it!

    Amanda
     
  19. kokotg

    kokotg DIS Veteran

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    Oh my! This isn't causing me to reevaluate my hatred of flying :laughing:. Glad you finally made it and hope things were better from there!
     
  20. Twoboysnmygirl

    Twoboysnmygirl DIS Veteran

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    Shew! I sighed in relief when you said you all had finally arrived! I hope that was the last of the stress, I would have been in tears!!!!!!
     
  21. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    The flight itself was the best part of e day. The kids watched tv and stayed in their seats! Driving would have been much worse!!!

    I was close to tears before we got settled at the gate at JFK. Then I felt like d make it. My biggest fear was that Tom and Nathaniel's flight would get canceled. The flight attendant reassured me that he would have heard something. The bellhop at the Hyatt was like a ray of sunshine on a stormy day!

    Amanda
     

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