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Senior Trip

In the last few years, my family has experienced so much unexpected loss, from a beloved father to two dear uncles. Cancer has wreaked havoc on our hearts, souls, and minds. When life throws such devastation into your path, it is hard sometimes to find that sense of joy. People, including myself, speak very openly about the expense of a Disney vacation. Honestly, I would have paid any amount to see the smiles upon my sweet momma’s face during our recent vacation. Whether you prefer Disney World, Disneyland, Euro Disney, or a Disney cruise, everyone will agree that Disney brings a smile to the young and the young at heart.

My family has taken my son twice to Disney World once when he was 2 and again when he was 6 years old. My parents were in their late 50s and early 60s at the time. My mom is now in her 70s. It was a different experience and at a slower pace as compared to prior years.

Springtime at Disney is just beautiful. The Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot was enjoyed by both of us. It offered some unique and delicious food options, and the gardens were simply breathtaking. If you are planning to visit during this time of the year, take your time and stroll! Be prepared for afternoon showers and pack a poncho from your local dollar store.

I have noticed as I have gotten older, afternoon naps are very much appreciated. Do not be scared to head back to the resort for some rest and relaxation. You will have plenty of time to return to the parks refreshed and rejuvenated. As I have found with my mom, eating on a schedule is a necessity. I made sure I made advanced dining reservations for us especially for the dinner meal. We both enjoyed The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom. Usually, I am not a fan of buffet style, but the food was delicious. The Pooh and Friends topiaries were adorable.

The Genie Plus with Lightning Lanes was definitely a benefit to our mother-daughter trip. When we were in Magic Kingdom, I did not have a Lightning Lane selection for Pirates of the Caribbean, but the wait was around 60 minutes. About halfway through our wait, Mom starts talking about having to wait in line so long. I looked over at her and said, “if you don’t stop this fussing, you are about to get a time-out!” In which she replied, “please!” We both started laughing! She mentioned after the trip that Genie Plus was great. Mom said it was nice just to walk onto the ride and not have to wait very long.

Disney third party suppliers offer scooter rentals. Depending on the company, they will deliver to your resort. Disney transportation, including the Skyliner, can accommodate scooters. Consider this option if you have limited mobility. Just pay attention to the signage about which direction to board for scooters and wheelchairs on all of Disney’s transportation and theme park rides. If you are not sure, Disney cast members are always so helpful. Disney does offer in-park rentals, but these are first come first serve.

One of the biggest issues Mom and I had was maintaining good fluid intake while in the parks. Orlando was humid and hot, even in March. Make sure all members of your family stay well hydrated. I was constantly urging Mom to drink water. Disney will offer free water cups and there are water bottle refill stations throughout the parks.

When traveling with senior parents, I would suggest asking them if they are taking any medications that has sun exposure warnings. If so, maybe consider a dining reservation or rest break during peak exposure times. No matter what age, make sure you apply sunscreen! I have seen mini Frogg Toggs towels available at my local dollar stores. This would be excellent to have on hot days. I have also seen hand held fans that spritz cooling mists.

Another option to consider when visiting with small children and senior adults, is upgrading to a Preferred Room at your Disney resort. These rooms are usually closer to resort pools, transportation, and resort dining.

I asked my mom what her recommendations were for other senior adults traveling to Disney and she replied: Start exercising before your trip, Stay hydrated, Pack your good shoes and a spare, Try all the different foods, and When you get tired, just stop.

I think the best comment my mom made during this trip was when she was waving to Mickey Mouse and Friends on the balcony. She looked over at me with a big smile and said, “I think all I needed was a little Mickey time.” Disney is magical for all ages and at the end of the day, in my opinion, worth every penny!

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