Chronic Travel Bug: Disneyland While Pregnant!

The last time I went to Disneyland, I wrote in-depth about visiting with various chronic illnesses, and you can read all about that here. This time, I’m going to focus on tips for visiting with a baby on board!

But pregnancy wasn’t the only big difference this time around. For one thing, I visited during peak summer season instead of during the holidays. For another, this year Disney is celebrating their “Diamond Celebration” in honor of the 60th anniversary of the park opening.

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This means that, in addition to some stunning new decor, there’s all kinds of limited edition merchandise, collectibles, and food. But it’s so much more than that! There are special firework shows and parades, and rather than the simple themes they’ve had in the past – Disney movies, good versus evil, love conquering all, and believing in magic – everything this year focuses on Walt himself. The man, his dreams, and the amazing history of the happiest place on earth.

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Some people have said that the history aspect is a little dull, but to me that couldn’t be farther from the truth. However, I can see how children may have more trouble connecting to these stories than adults. As a child, I never really wondered too much about the man behind the mouse. But as an adult, I realize that this man gave me my childhood. He gave me stories and a love of storytelling. He gave me magic. He gave me friends and heroes. He gave me more than I could ever put into words, and paying my respects to that is an honor.

Fireworks and projects on Sleeping Beauty Castle celebrate Disneyland 60th. Birthday. The new firework show is called Disneyland Forever. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Slug: Disney.fireworks60.0522.jag, Day: Thursday, May 21, 2015 (5/21/15), Time: 9:29:46 PM, Location: Anaheim, California - Disneyland 60th - JEFF GRITCHEN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

At the end of the new fireworks show “Disneyland Forever,” we see the shadow of the Partners statue on the castle come to life as Walt and Mickey walk away into the park. The show ends with the words “Just think….Disneyland is yours! Forever!” And standing there, crying tears of gratitude (and probably pregnancy hormones), it was akin to a religious experience. Walt gave us a little taste of heaven on earth. He made the world a better place to be. When life can be so dark and heavy, Walt took some of the weight away. I don’t know anyone he hasn’t touched. Childhood was God’s greatest gift to man, and Walt found a way to preserve it, and to bring it back during the moments we most need it.

But I’m waxing poetic again, aren’t I?

Ok ok, let’s talk about being pregnant in the happiest place on earth.

One thing you should know from the get go is that when you look online, you’ll likely see people talking about something called “the pink pass” or the “pregnancy pass.” This is allegedly a pass that works like a fastpass so that pregnant ladies don’t need to stay on their feet in long lines. If it used to exist or it exists in other Disney parks, it is not a thing in Disneyland. They’re still very accommodating and you can still get a “first visit!” button for your little fetal mouseketeer to wear on your bump, but you won’t be cutting in line.

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Now, there are a couple of things that can help because believe me, standing in lines was probably the hardest part for me. I could sometimes sit on a ledge or on a chain rope (even though strictly speaking that’s against the rules) for moments but the problem is that you have to keep moving in a line. Sitting on the floor may offer brief bursts of relief, but it almost isn’t worth it when you have to keep popping right back up to scooch forward. So what can you do?

I didn’t end up going for these options because I felt like while I was semi-miserable, I could deal. But if I was in my third trimester, I probably would have caved pretty soon. One, you can rent a wheelchair for the surprisingly low price of $12 a day. Most lines are wheelchair accessible, and you can pop right up to hop on the ride, then hop back in your chair. This is, of course, assuming you have a husband who loves you and your surprisingly heavy bun in the oven an awful lot. My own sweet husband said that he truly wouldn’t have minded, and it would have been kind of nice because we could hang our backpack on the wheelchair and he wouldn’t need to carry it. Plus it would be harder to get accidentally split up in crowds. But I ultimately decided I’d need to be more miserable to make him do that.

The other option works better if you have a wheelchair, but I’m sure would still work even if you didn’t. It’s a disability service offered that allows you to wait in line without having to wait in line. It works similarly to a fast pass. You simply go to the disability entrance of a ride (usually a wider corridor with ramps as opposed to stairs) and ask for a return time. You’ll still wait as long as you would have to get on, but you can go sit down somewhere and come back in whatever the wait time is. Now, this isn’t a trick for just anyone to use. You’ll need to actually have a reason you can’t stand for a long time, and one that’s not “well I just don’t want to.” A budding baby bump meets the requirements!

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Now we did use this option once, sort of. We had waited in a line and the ride broke down, so we got a pass to go to the front of any line so that our “wait time” hadn’t gone to waste. This is what talked me out of trying the disability line again, though. Pretty much everyone in line will be in motorized scooters. The people in our short wait line were all older and honestly, mean. They let us step in front of them so I could sit on a low wall, but were quick to tell us it’s just for sitting, and we better not think of cutting ahead in line. I don’t know. It felt like everyone was mad at us for being unfair or just using a baby bump as an excuse to cut in line. So I’d rather just wait longer and have my feet hurt than deal with mean people.

If you’re worried about heat, I wouldn’t be. It’s cooler in Cali than it is here in Texas, and at night it’s downright chilly. Most of the park has ample shade and indoor corridors with AC so you can walk about in comfort much of the time. Don’t forget sunscreen though! We always buy it when we arrive since the airport is stupid about liquids, but this time we left it until mid day. Don’t do that! I never get sunburn and guess what? I burned. I got red shoulders on day one. So first thing’s first – get sunscreen on!

Now, on to the attractions!

Let me begin by making it clear that I did NOT ride anything with a pregnancy warning. I know some ladies do, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk. Plus, in all the rides in Disneyland, there are only 8 with warnings anyway (Indiana Jones, Matterhorn, all three “Mountains,” Star Tours, Gadget Go Coaster, and Autopia). So why bother? Especially if you’re visiting in peak season, you will not ride every single ride until there’s only those 8 left. There’s a ripe full day without ’em, so leave ’em.

Alice in Wonderland – this classic dark ride has just gotten some serious upgrades, so don’t skip it! Like all the Disney dark rides, this is a low-speed ride through. There are some jolts as the cars hit a rough corner here and there, but not enough for you to hit your bump on the handles or anything. You may feel a bit ruffled, though.

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(We also saw Alice and Hatter sit down for a tea party with some little ones – so sweet!)

This ride has a ton of new visual effects, including a lot more of the original animation projected in creative ways amongst the audio anamatronics. Plus, this is the only dark ride that heads out into daylight down a fun hill of serpentine curves – pretty slowly and smoothly, though, so don’t worry! The updates are recent, so whether you’ve ridden this one before or not, make it a must see. This is my new favorite dark ride, the effects are just amazing.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters – This ride is awesome for being pregnant for two reasons – one, you steer the car. So you can spin as much or as little as possible, and turn away from anything that’s making you motion sick or something like that. Two – it’s kind of a thrill ride! No, you won’t get a lot of speed or big drops or anything, but it’s a competition. You versus a companion in a laser shoot-em-up of robots and aliens. You can compete to get the highest score and defeat the Emperor Zurg! We take it pretty seriously.

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Now, there is a downside. This ride was by far the worst wait for me. Not because it was particularly long really, only about 25 minutes, but there was no place to sit down. The line was also sprawling, which means that you have to walk a long way rather than inching bit by bit. I guess it’s encouraging to move so much, but I needed a break. To be fair, it was one of the last rides of the night for us. The other thing was that there are a LOT of kids in this line. I love kids. I do. But when it’s mostly little boys making blaster noises and shouting about killing things, I love them less. A lot less. So don’t leave rides like this for the end of the day if you’re hoping for a quieter denouement.

The Disneyland Railroad – I loved this. I loved it because it was sitting, there’s a nice breeze, you’re shaded, and it’s kind of like a mini tour. You not only get wonderful views of the park, but some behind the scene stuff that can only be seen from the train. Plus, we got to ride with a Disneyland tour guide – but more on that later. This is a perfect mid-day ride because it gives you a break without you needing to actually take a break to sit on a boring bench somewhere. There’s very little wait time, and it’s very relaxing.

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You can get some breaths of gasoline-smell every now and then, but the farther away from the engine at the front you sit, the less of a problem that is. Baby was also excited about this ride – s/he started kicking excitedly as we walked up.

Dumbo – This was our first ride of the day. If you’re pregnant, you might get a little tug at your heartstrings from the storks that line the top of the ride, carrying baby animals to the circus. Plus I’m always pleasantly surprised at how high this ride goes, giving you a little thrill. It goes just fast enough for a nice breeze, but not so fast or high that you feel frightened for you or the baby. It also doesn’t spin fast enough to make you feel nauseated.

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An added bonus – since they moved the Dumbo attraction in Disney World, the Disneyland flying elephants are now the only ones that offer a view of the castle. This is too classic to pass up.

The Enchanted Tiki Room – I can no longer talk about this one without a lot of bias. Our dog, Dudley, loves it. I can’t even explain to you why, we have no idea. We listen to music all the time and he never cares. But if you play the Tiki Room song, he will always sing along.

This being our first trip since we’ve had him, we were way more excited than usual to go in and sing along. We picked up a Tiki Room napkin to serve as a little bandanna for Dudley when we got home. I love this show. It’s the first anamatronics Disney ever made, and they’re still amazing to this day. Plus it’s just fun to sing and the old jokes are still so charming and funny — I just love it. Plus it’s sitting down in the AC for a few minutes, what pregnant lady would pass that up?

It’s a Small World – this was our last ride of the evening, and it’s a perfect way to end a Disney day. The boat ride is relaxing and it’s fun to spot all the little Easter eggs, like Alice and the White Rabbit hanging out in Europe, or Woody and Jessie chillin in the Texas Room, aka the best room. TEXAS GETS ITS OWN ROOM GUYS.

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Two little things: one, at the end of the ride the boats bump in to each other, which will give you a little jolt but nothing major. Baby will just bounce around a little. Two, if you’re riding at night and it’s colder than you expected, you may not appreciate the blasting AC inside as much as you would mid day.

Jungle Cruise – This is another great ride with a terrible line. The ride itself is lovely. The cheesy jokes are always fun and who doesn’t love a calm, wave-less boat ride with a breeze and shade? The problem is definitely the line. Made up to look like an explorers lodge or poachers hut or something, it’s main problem is that even with a short wait time (we got 20 minutes) you’ll have to go up and down stairs. Why? Because it’s fun! Or something. I don’t know. But the ride is a classic, so if you want to go, go towards the beginning of the day when you don’t hate standing up yet.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – This ride is one of the oldest and weirdest at Disneyland. It’s also one of the few that doesn’t have a counterpart at Disney World. It’s also the only Disney ride where you actually go to hell. Like you go to hell and the ride ends, there’s not even a happy ending. The protagonist just gets damned for all time. You just have to ride it, it’s too weird not to!

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However, pregnant ladies be warned! This is a very jerky ride. Tight, sudden corners with jolt you all over the place. It’s a dark ride, so it’s low speed and there’s no pregnancy warnings, so it is safe. But out of everything we rode I’d say this one caused the most discomfort.

Peter Pan’s Flight – For some reason, this is notoriously the longest line in Disneyland. It’s a classic ride, a story everyone loves, you get to fly around in a pirate ship, and they just updated the effects. While the updates didn’t wow me as much as the Alice in Wonderland updates, they’re still pretty magical. The trick is seeing it at all. We ended up using our “rain check” pass after we waited in line for Haunted Mansion only to have it break down. But odds are you won’t get such a pass and there’s no Fast Pass, so how do you ride Peter Pan?

Well there are a few tricks. One is to ride it at the very start of the day. Get there right when the park opens and you’re looking at the shortest wait – however, since it’s right near the gates, there will still be a wait. That means you might want to get out to Pirates or Haunted Mansion, where there will literally be no wait at park open. Your other option is to try and hop on at the very end of the day, but that’s risky since they may close the line before you get there. If you’re ok with missing a parade or firework show, those are always great times to get a shorter wait on high demand rides.

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Really the moral of the story is that if you walk by Peter Pan and the wait is 30 minutes or less, jump on. That’s rare.

The new effects are really cool though. There’s a lot of extra pixie dust – literally. Most of the new lighting effects involve Tinkerbell’s trademark sparkling. There are new figures and anamatronics along with updates and repaints of old figures. This is also the only dark ride to not be in cars – your flying ship hangs from above you, and much of the things to see are “far” below you. If you can get on, you’ll love every second of it.

Pirates of the Caribbean – Almost every time we go to Disney, we want to ride Haunted Mansion first. And that happens to be right behind Pirates. So we always get there when the park opens and go straight to New Orleans Square, and we usually see that Pirates has no wait yet so we almost always ride that first. That’s exactly what happened this time. We literally stepped on to a pirate boat with no wait time at all.

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This is a great ride for everyone. The thrills come from the atmosphere which is so much darker and more suspenseful at Disneyland than its counterparts. It’s nice and cool, with too-chilly breezes in all the right ghostly places. Plus this ride has two drops, as opposed to Disney World’s one. But the drops here are pretty gentle, since the boats are so wide. It’s just like going down a big slide. And there’s no splashy sudden stop at the end, like on Splash Mountain. However you may get a little spray. That was actually kind of exciting to me because I like rides where you get wet and was sure I wouldn’t be allowed to go on any. The surprise! Pirate splash! I was like “Look! My butt’s wet! THIS IS SO EXCITING!”

Splash Mountain – You can’t ride this. I was actually excited not to because I think this ride is terrifying. But husband got to use the single rider line to ride it with minimal wait time, plus he didn’t feel too lonely since it’s a one person to a row ride anyway.

Staying behind while your Daddy-to-be takes advantage of a single rider line? Splash Mountain is a fun one because you can wave to him just before the big drop, and even snap a video!

Haunted Mansion – This is the best ride. It just is. And if you’re pregnant, no worries! It’s one of the slowest, smoothest rides in the park. And it’s still AWESOME! If you go to Disney and you don’t ride Haunted Mansion, you’re doing it wrong.

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You may notice that this list is a good bit shorter than the last time I went to Disney. This was my first time in Disneyland during peak season. I was taken aback at how much more crowded it was, and how much longer everything took. I’m glad we got to go to D23, but I will likely stick to visiting in more off-season times from now on. If I do go back during peak season, I’ll definitely give myself more than one day per park. If you’re pregnant, that’s a good idea anyway, since you’re probably not as spry and nimble as you used to be pre-bump.

Another reason that there are less rides on the list is that we took some time to do other things in the parks. Disneyland is a lot more than just rides, and since this is our last trip without kids (well sort of…you know what I mean) we decided to see more shows and do some of the more “grown up” Disney things.

So, what did we do and see?

Take a Tour – The biggest thing we did was take the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour. This is something we’ve always wanted to do, but since it costs extra money and takes so much time, we’ve always opted to cram in as many rides as possible rather than take the leisurely tour route. Carrying a baby around, however, meant that we were taking the park at a more leisurely pace anyway. Plus, the Diamond Celebration is one of the best times to learn more about the man the park was celebrating.

The tour is actually a great thing to do whatever stage of life you’re in. It may be trying for young kids, though. There’s a lot of patient listening involved. But it’s a lot more than walking around listening to stories! You’ll get to ride two popular rides with no wait time (exactly which rides changes tour to tour, but they assured me it’s always something accessible to everyone, so no worries if you’re pregnant – you won’t miss out) and a meal is included in the price!

The tour guide speaks to you through headphones, so you don’t need to worry about missing an important bit of a story if a horse drawn car rolls by or a kid starts crying. The tour is still live, too, so you can ask questions. You’ll also get to hear recordings of Walt’s opening day speeches for each land. Most people know the famous Disneyland opening speech “To all who come to this happy place, welcome…” but did you know he had a speech for each area of the park? Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland…. and they’re all lovely.

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The rides we rode were Alice in Wonderland and we tried to ride Haunted Mansion but ended up getting the rain check pass instead. According to our tour guide, the ride had closed due to “a strange circumstance.” And she said it must be very strange for the castmembers not to just tell her. Some of our tour group ventured guesses – that someone threw up, fainted, dropped something on the track, or tried to get out of the car – but she assured us that those were all rather common circumstances, and we’d have to be much more creative to think of one a Disney employee would deem “strange.”

We also rode the train as part of the tour, if you want to count that as a third ride. The tour is about three hours long, and there’s a bathroom break in the middle. If you’re pregnant and need more than one, you can break away from the group at any time as long as you let the guide know so they can stay close and not leave you behind. Our group was pretty small, probably only 12 – 15 people. And our guide was sweet and enthusiastic about the whole thing.

Sometimes the tour will take you up to Walt’s private apartment, but sadly not this time. We did, however, get to see the Disneyland Dream Suite, which was almost as good. I thought that this hotel room above Pirates of the Caribbean was just a prudent use of extra space, but it was actually built for Walt. While he had his own private apartment over the Firehouse on main street, he needed more room for when his entire family would visit. Sadly, he passed away before the completion of the suite.

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It was only recently that imagineers discovered the original plans and brought the dream suite to fruition. And of course, added a lot of magic. The room is right next door to the mysterious Club 33, and it cannot be reserved. A night in the dream suite is priceless, literally. You can offer as much money as you want, but you’ll be turned away. The room is only given freely as a surprise. There are various contests and drawings you can enter and win a night. But it’s only by luck that you can stay there.

So other than being literally in the middle of the park, what’s up there that’s so great? When you walk in, you might be a little underwhelmed. It just looks like a very nice hotel – okay, like the nicest rich people hotel ever, but what makes it a “dream?” There are some really unique things. For instance, in the bathroom the tiles have tiny, almost imperceptible lights in them that look like a starry night sky. The fireplace in the sitting room has an animation of a fake fire inside it, and when it “sparks” it looks like tiny fireworks. But that’s not even the real magic of the room.

Look closer, and you’ll see mysterious buttons in each room labeled “Good Night Kiss.” More seasoned Disney fans will know that as a reference to the nightly fireworks in the park – Walt wanted fireworks every night as a “good night kiss,” one last sweet magical thing to end your night with. So what do these buttons do? Each room is different. They might make a boring landscape on the wall come to life with mermaids coming up out of the water, or they might make an old antique train in a glass box start up and chug along right out from its case and all around the room. It might make an old grandfather clock face burst into color with singing birds. It might make knick knacks on the shelves sing to you and light up. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s so very rare to see real magic.

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And, as a fellow tour member pointed out, I can now tell my child that they have of course been in the dream suite, they’re an honorary Disney citizen and they’re awesome.

The tour tells the story of many rides and park secrets, but the most important part is that it tells the story of Walt Disney’s entire life – from his childhood to his death. And there at the end of that tour, when you hear about Walt’s last days and final breaths, you’re gonna tear up. And then, when the guide tells you the story of his favorite song, Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins, and why he loved it – and then they play it for you – you’re going to cry like a big baby. In fact, everyone in our tour cried, and that made our guide cry. She said she tells this story every day, but with tears on literally everyone’s face she totally could not hold it together.

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade – ANYWAY. Then you wipe your tears up and go to lunch! Your meal will be at the Jolly Holiday and we happened to sign up for a late lunch that put us sitting in the shade with food just in time to watch the daytime parade go by! It wasn’t the best view in the world but it was nice to sit and eat and have something to watch to make you stop crying about Feed the Birds. There was an awesome Mary Poppins section where Burt and Mary came riding by on carousel horses just like in the movie – it was AMAZING!

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One thing, though – if you’re having lunch on the tour, a lot of the options are sandwiches with deli meat, which is a no no for pregnant ladies. Don’t worry though – there are a couple of lovely salad options (which is what I went with) and the Jolly Holiday said they’d be more than happy to make a sandwich using the hot turkey they usually put on salads. So there are options, just be sure to let them know you’re pregnant and what your dietary restrictions are. Remember that not everyone’s been pregnant, and they may not know that you can’t have deli meat. So always explain what’s up.

Marching with the Disneyland Band – As a long time band nerd, one of my biggest dreams is OF COURSE to march with the Disneyland Band. Well, during the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration, that’s apparently a thing you can totally do. Over the speakers they announced to head to the castle to march along with the Disneyland Band down main street. And it was like the crazy dreams I had as a teenager that I knew would never come true just coming true all of a sudden. We got to be right behind the band, and marching down Main Street was like a real parade – people were lined up cheering and waving at us as we marched by. And I had tears streaming down my face the entire time. The parade route was short and very doable for a pregnant lady. And it was also my favorite thing from the entire trip, so yeah, I definitely recommend it.

The Dapper Dans Now on to my husband’s dream come true – the parade ended with a big sing along with the Dapper Dans. He was a big time choir geek as a teen, and the Dapper Dans are one of his favorite things to see in the parks. We also got to see them perform in one of the cafes. We had been asking the meet and greet characters to sign their names on one of two banners – boy or girl – to guess the gender of our baby. And husband just had to get the Dans to sign too. After agreeing unanimously on “Boy,” they each took time to sign their name while singing. Because they’re the best.

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Mickey and the Magical Map – This is a new show that I was SO excited to see because, as you know, Sorcerer Mickey is my very favorite Disney character. It’s pretty much your classic Disney show, running through a few classic Disney movies with Mickey, but there are a lot of cool new things. For one, the entire stage is a projected screen that characters hop in and out of, going from live actors to prerecorded ones very quickly. They also had these guys in big balloon things that I can’t even explain — it’s a good show. Go see it. I was worried about getting to see it because it’s new, but the castmembers said don’t worry, it’s rarely been so crowded that anyone was turned away.

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The Fantasy Faire – This is the newest little area of fantasyland, and it’s all dedicated to the Princesses. They have storytime where they tell the stories of all your favorite princesses. We saw the Frozen one and I was really impressed. They do everything low-tech, which is really cool. It kind of feels like greek theater or street theater, everything is done with simple practical effects, masks, and puppets. Plus the two guys they have playing off each other to tell the stories (along with the princesses themselves) were really really funny and well-written. Don’t sit in the sun, though, if you didn’t buy sunscreen yet! I speak from experience!

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There’s also an entirely new building where you can meet three princesses. They change throughout the day, but the sign out front will tell you who’s in there. We met Belle, Snow White, and Cinderella. And it’s nice that you can wait in line in the shade and get to see three characters for one wait. And they’re all indoors with that sweet sweet air conditioning. Very good if you just sunburned the crap out of your back watching storytime.

Finally, there are the nighttime spectaculars. During the Diamond Celebration, there are two limited time shows along with Fantasmic, the normal show that’s always there but that I was unwilling to miss because it’s my favorite show in the world. It will take careful planning on your part to see all three. You’ll have to hit the first parade and fireworks, and the final showing of Fantasmic. No dinner reservations unless they are the special firework ones!

Paint the Night – This new parade is a lot like the classic Electric Light Parade – cranked up to eleven. It’s bright and gigantic. We didn’t take the time to line up early for it because that is the best way to meet the rudest, grumpiest people, but you don’t even sort of need front row seats for this baby. Heck, I sat down on the ground behind the walkway where people leave the park, but everything was so big and bright and tall I hardly missed a second. Since it’s new, though, you will be in a crowd of probably grumpy people. It’s unavoidable. So if you’d rather not deal with it at all, I understand.

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Our tour guide said one of the best places to watch is from It’s a Small World. It’s much less crowded. But since the fireworks start right after the parade and husband was insistent on having a castle view, we didn’t take her advice. You should, though.

Disneyland Forever – You know that Disney wasn’t going to just do another firework show for their Diamond Celebration. Expect all the amazing fireworks you’re used to, but there’s much more. Using projections on the castle, Main Street buildings, The Matterhorn Mountain, and It’s a Small World, the buildings light up and even dance along to the music. Your favorite characters in their original hand drawn animation are also projected all around you. Tinkerbell does, of course, soar over the park, but she’s not alone this time! The Matterhorn Mountain turns in to the roaring volcano, Mount Wannahackaloogie, and Nemo swims high overhead through the RING OF FIRE – now with actual fire.

It’s amazing. And if you look up recordings on YouTube, it’s really hard to tell what’s even going on because it really is a completely immersive, 360 degree experience.

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Once again, however, if you want to watch on Main Street because you want to see the Walt and Mickey moment at the end, you will be packed in with crowds of insane proportions. Since they open the street after the parade, everyone floods into it and you have to stand. I am vertically challenged, and while I could see the sky just fine, I couldn’t see the projections on the buildings or the castle. Luckily I was there with my crazy husband, who picked me up, pregnant and all, and perched me on his chest for the entire. Show. And I did not ask for this, it just happened.

Since I’m pretty sure no one else’s husband is that crazy, you might stick to the Disney tour guide’s advice to watch from It’s A Small World.

Fantasmic – Be sure to get a fastpass for Fantasmic early in the day. If you want the second showing because you’re wanting to see the fireworks and the parade as well, wait until later in the day, between noon and 3, and the fastpasses for the second show should be available. Most of the good viewing areas for the show are roped off for fastpass users only, and if you’re short and your husband just finished holding you for 20 solid minutes, it’s good because you’ll almost definitely be close enough to the water to see everything without tall people in front of you.

Alas, as with all of the night time shows, everyone is grumpy and mean. If you’re pregnant and you sit down, people will mutter about how obnoxious you are and how they’re going to take your spot. Nice. But for the most part, it wasn’t too bad because we wound up next to a family of Canadians! And the stereotypes are right, they are the nicest people ever. We talked about my pregnancy and her kids and our trips and how it’s crazy that I have to pay to pop a baby out here in the states. It made it a lot easier to ignore the grumpy gusses muttering behind us talking to these nice folks. So, find some Canadian buddies to watch your nighttime shows with if at all possible, it makes a world of difference.

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The show itself is amazing. I’m pretty sure I’ve already written volumes about how it’s my favorite thing in the world and it’s amazing and there’s giant dragons and all kinds of crazy stuff. This time, they did cut a section out – not sure if it’s for time or if there was a weather issue or something, but it did make it feel a little short. I don’t think I would have noticed if I wasn’t already so familiar with the show, though.

This post is way longer than I meant it to be. But I’ll end here, with the part every pregnant woman came to see: THE FOOD.

Well, unless you’re in your first trimester. You probably want to skip this part until your appetite returns.

Breakfast: Mickey beignets with a Mint Julep in New Orleans Square

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Lunch: A FREAKING BACON MAC AND CHEESE HOT DOG. Because it really is the most magical place on earth. Plus it comes with yummy apple slices.

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Second Lunch/Early Dinner: Jolly Holiday salad with a Matterhorn Macaroon for dessert.

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Glorious. Now I’m hungry. Stay tuned for a look at Disney’s California Adventure while pregnant, as well as the gender guesses from all our Disneyland friends!

Review: EnviroKlenz, Personal Environment Protection for Everyone

Since I started blogging, I’ve learned a lot about MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. People like Kathryn Treat taught me that each person has a chemical load, and if it gets too heavy, your body will fight. Kathryn went from a normal life to being “Allergic to Life.” Her body began to fight everyday chemicals in soaps, fragrance, cleaning products, and the air itself as if it was fighting a deadly illness – that means she became extremely ill when exposed to these every day things.

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Each person is different, and there’s no telling how much of a chemical load your body can sustain. It makes sense, then, to cut as many chemicals as you can from your every day life BEFORE you HAVE to for life-threatening reasons. I haven’t done anything crazy – I stopped using perfumes, and only use deodorant and soap with natural fragrances.

If you’ve tried to shop smarter in a similar fashion, you know how often you end up reading every label on an aisle only to find there are NO chemical-free or even less-chemical options, especially for cleaning products. And while it’s one thing to chuck out perfume, cleaning products are a bigger mental block. You buy them to get rid of odors, so don’t they need fragrance? Without fragrance, your laundry wouldn’t smell fresh and nice, your kitchen would smell like old food, and your house would smell like dogs and cats! And of course by you, I mean me.

But remember that products like Fabreeze or scented candles only mask odors anyway. What you really want is to get rid of odors for good – not spray chemicals periodically to continue covering them up. That’s why it’s really cool that OdorKlenz took an interest specifically in their customers with chemical sensitivity, and worked to develop a line of cleaning products that is not only effective, but safe for everyone to use.

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So today I’m looking at their awesome products one by one, and stay tuned at the end of the post because I have a special discount code just for Do I Look Sick readers!

First up: EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer!

I already use exclusively “free and clear” laundry soaps because I’ve always been allergic to fragrance in detergent. Since companies don’t need to list what chemicals are in “fragrance” I’ll never know what it is I’m allergic to. To be safe, I also quit using fabric softener. Instead, I use vinegar, which works great and doesn’t leave an odor in the clothes – you’ll smell it while the washer runs, though. But one of the best things about laundry is a fresh scent, right? So I spike my jug of vinegar with a few drops of essential oils, and I also dab them onto my dryer balls. Perfect set up, right?

Well, sadly I’m not perfect. That means that sometimes (a lot) I throw a load in and forget about it for a while. Then when I open the washer, there’s no nice essential oil smell – there’s just mildewy ick smell. So when I find it, I usually have to run the wash again. Which is wasteful.

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Enter the EnviroKlenz Laundry enhancer! A combination of liquid and powder, you simply add it to your load with your normal soap – but it CANNOT be used with vinegar! But I can say from first-hand experience that there will be no icky washer smells, even if you leave a load of wet clothes in overnight. It’s pretty amazing!

But for this particular product, I have to say I wouldn’t use it all the time. I’d probably only throw it in if it was late and I knew I’d probably go to bed before I could dry the load, or if the washer was just getting funky-smelling in general. And it’s not just because I still like using vinegar when I can. There are a couple of downsides to this stuff.

One is that the liquid is like milk. At first, that’s merely surprising when you first dump it in. But after a wash, there’s a milky residue on the washer itself, so you either need to rinse it out or run a load without the enhancer before you add vinegar again.

Another drawback is that the powder can leave a residue on clothes. For me, it only happened on small items like panties and socks, so they probably just got folded into a larger item of clothing and didn’t get rinsed properly. Still, next time I’ll probably use a bit less than the recommended amount of powder.

The good news is that it works with any type of laundry. I tried it with clothing, towels, a rug, and even a hand-sewn costume piece (Husband’s poncho from D23). All came out great except for the aforementioned powder residue on a couple of things. But no colors ran, nothing came out looking weird or different at all.

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All in all, I’d recommend it if you’re specifically having trouble with your washer creating an odor.

Next, the EnviroKlenz Odor Eliminator and Absorbent Neutralizer!

This is what’s probably gotten the most use at our house. The odor eliminator is a great surface cleaner and works pretty straightforwardly. It’s great at cleaning up messes on the kitchen counter or tile/wood flooring. A disclaimer though – I’ve only used this on very small messes. We just put in wood floors and I’m still slightly paranoid about them, so I haven’t tried it on a large area for fear of discoloration or…I don’t know what. The floor was expensive and I’m afraid of it. That’s not what this post is about though.

What I really want to do is sing the praises of the Absorbent Neutralizer. This product is a powder like substance that works similarly to baking soda, if you’ve ever used that to clean up a smelly mess. If not, think of it like kitty litter for other wet stinky messes. Not only does it suck up the moisture, it takes the odor with it.

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There’s a reason Dudley looks so guilty.

Now, this package arrived right around the same time that the vet said that our dog needed to take allergy medicine. Listed in side effects was excessive urination. And excessive is right. I had a nightmare on my hands. The dog had climbed into bed with us overnight, and he wet the bed. A lot. And oh Lord, it was the smelliest mess. I’m thinking I’m just going to have to throw out my expensive sleep number bed now because I don’t even know how to begin to clean it. We sprayed it with vinegar and mopped up the mess as best we could but it was still moist and the smell…..the ungodly smell….

I couldn’t find our baking soda, but while I was looking I spotted the new package of EnviroKlenz cleaners. I pulled out the powder, dumped it on the mattress, and said a prayer. I let it sit for hours, waiting, hoping. And sure enough, it saved the bed. After we vacuumed it up, the smell was gone. The bed was dry. My wallet was relieved.

This will definitely be a staple around here. It passed its trial by fire and I know I can count on it for NORMAL messes. Because if my dog ever needs this medicine again, we’re boarding him until he’s over it.

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Anyway. If you have a similar situation, google about using vinegar and stuff because that part was an important base. But this powder saved the day and I think it worked much better than baking soda would have. If you’ve got a dog, buy the odor neutralizer. Just do it.

A word about ingredients: on the labels and the website, it lists the active ingredients: Magnesium Oxide (MgO), Zinc Oxide (ZnO), and Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) powders. I’m not savvy enough at label terminology to know if that means that’s everything in the products, or just the active ingredients. I do know that generally speaking, the less ingredients there are in something, the safer it is for use with allergies or newborn babies. Plus we know these products were developed specifically for people with MCS, so I doubt they’d leave things off the label.

Finally, the EnviroKlenz Home Air Purifier!

This is the one I was most excited to try. We have a small air purifier in our bedroom and I think everyone should have one. I sleep much better at night, and our bedroom never smells like dog even though he spends plenty of time in there. Plus there’s very little dust. I knew I wanted to get one for the baby’s room too, because their little lungs would need it even more than I do!

Disclaimer – none of us have any asthma, breathing problems, or allergies. We got one just for basic wellness, so I mean it when I say it’s for everyone.

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The EnviroKlenz purifier is much bigger than the little one we picked up at Walmart. It also has way more settings. High will clear out heavy dust and odor, but it’s pretty loud. No worries though, because medium and low are very soft, and it even has a “whisper” setting if you want it silent. And WOW, does it do a good job. Our downstairs area is completely open, with a high roof and open floor plan. This air purifier has no problem handling that huge space. I don’t know how to describe it except that the air is just fresher. Breathing is just nicer. And that room feels as airy as it looks now!

And, if the odor powder got a trial by fire, my husband decided the air purifier needed one too. He’s been putting in the new wood flooring downstairs, which means tearing up carpet and creating a lot of dust. I’ve been spending my time upstairs to keep baby from having to breath whatever all that gunk is. So he decided to do one better and set up the air purifier at the foot of the stairs. Any air currents that head upstairs get filtered through the purifier, and I haven’t had a whiff of dust, old ratty carpet smell, or the weird new wood smell upstairs at all.

When I found out it was the air purifier that was creating a barrier for me, I thought that was probably asking it to do a lot more than it was meant for…. but clearly it was working just fine. So this thing means business. It’s going to purify the crap out of your air, no matter what.

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According to their website, this air purifier uses hospital-grade technology to remove chemicals, VOCs, dust, and other allergens from the air. It’s also HEPA certified, so no worries there if you do need it for medical reasons.

You can check out this video for more info on how exactly it all works:

So, ready to get some for yourself? Because I’ve got a very special code JUST for readers of this blog!

Just go to https://enviroklenz.com/shop/ and when you get to checkout, use the code:

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To get 20% off from now until September 28th!

This is an awesome company that, rather than turning a blind eye to their chronically ill clients like most companies, they went and developed an entire line of products just for them. That’s the kind of company I want to support when I vote with my dollars, don’t you?

Thanks EnviroKlenz for seeing the invisibly ill, and doing something to make the world a better place.

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Full Disclosure: I was given samples of these products in return for my thoughts, but the opinions here are all my own.

Vicodin/Hydrocodone and Pregnancy

I just wanted to take a quick moment to answer some googlers out there. With PCOS, I was trying to get pregnant for a long time, and often when I was waiting to see if I was or wasn’t, I’d feel sick and need pain medication. But the internet is pretty hugely torn on the issue. You can basically find whichever answer you want. And if you’re a fretful someday-mom, you’ll go back and forth reading all the pro-medication and anti-medication writings and drive yourself insane.

I’m not a doctor, and in the end you really need to ask your doctor if the risks of taking any medication outweigh the benefit. But what if you’re still “trying?” What if every month, you hope you’re pregnant, but you may not be? What if you won’t call your doctor because you’re pretty sure he’s getting annoyed with you already and you’re not even pregnant yet?

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Here’s the conclusion I came to.

I take pain medication as needed, which for me means nowhere close to every day. Maybe once a week. I was trying for over a year to get pregnant, which included many weeks when I might have been pregnant but I was also in pain. I’d read pages and pages of google results and end up not taking the medication with the thought that it was better to be safe than sorry.

But did the risk outweigh the benefit? During the “two week wait,” it’s highly unlikely any medication will have lasting effects on the baby, especially if it’s only one dose. Or one drink when you didn’t know you were pregnant, or any other tiny slips that you’re bound to fret over when you get the exciting but harrowing news that you’ve got a baby on board.

If you’re in pain and losing sleep or stressing excessively, that can mess with your ability to get pregnant too. Stress and sleep loss are dangerous to a baby as well, but more dangerous to conceiving in the first place. If you’re trying to get pregnant and having trouble, the last thing you need is sleepless nights and pain-filled days of stress.

I definitely think that if you’re taking a lot of pain medication, you need to talk to your doctor about cutting back if you’re trying to conceive. But for me, it was better to take the occasional pill and keep myself feeling well than to add to the stresses infertility brings in the first place.

Once you know that you’re pregnant, you will need to go ahead and stop taking vicodin/hydrocodone unless your doctor expressly gives the ok and closely monitors you. Giving up the medication was much easier once I knew it wasn’t “for nothing.” And if your pain comes from endometriosis, like me, then you’ll be feeling much better very soon. Pregnancy is the best thing for endo pain, it really is.

Just a quick post tonight before bed. This question has been popping up in my referral links so I thought I’d give my opinion and hope it helps someone.

But before I continue with my Chronic Travel Bug reports on Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure while pregnant, I have a very special review of some exciting new cleaning products called EnviroKlenz – specially created for people with MCS! And perfect for a baby on the way.

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All coming soon! So stick around!

Chronic Travel Bug: D23 Expo (while pregnant!(

This post will focus mainly on attending conventions pregnant, but I’ve written a LOT in the past about what to expect at fan conventions specifically if you’re attending with a chronic illness. Please check out these posts for more info:

Chronic Travel Bug: Dallas Comic Con

Chronic Travel Bug: Dallas Comic Con Day 2

Mini Travel Bug: Comic Con Fan Days

So let me begin with explaining what D23 is, and how it’s different from a normal Comic Con.

First of all, it’s Disney. Everything is Disney. Now, remember that Disney also includes Star Wars and Marvel, so you’ll still see plenty of comic book themed costumes and sci-fi geekery. But this is also the unique convention where pulling out some of your favorite and more obscure Disney costumes will be VERY appreciated – so that’s exactly what we decided to do!

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When we arrived, we were surrounded by shout outs from the crowd on all sides. “It’s Pacha and his wife!” “Oh my God I LOVE The Emperor’s New Groove!” “You two are the BEST!”

In fact, we even ran in to an Asian guy who barely spoke any English, but greeted us with “Chicha! Pacha!” Then pulled out his phone and said “I’m Kronk.” Then showed us a picture of himself dressed up as Kronk, another character from The Emperor’s New Groove.

Now, pregnancy mistake #1, one that I actually already talked about in my last post, I didn’t wear appropriate shoes. And honestly, I’m not sure anything would have made me. You can’t even see my shoes here, but they were screen accurate. Black sandals with a thick strap and a low heel. I had to wear my character’s shoes! I just had to! But this meant that my feet were killing me all day, and we ultimately went back to the hotel a bit early because of a combination of that and the fact that we got off the plane and came straight to the convention. I guess we thought we could have superhuman energy reserves because there would be so much cool stuff to see and do. There wouldn’t be time to be tired! Except that’s really not how it works.

In case you’re not familiar with these awesome characters and their less than awesome shoes….

I love her, she’s so sassy! Plus there’s not that many pregnant Disney characters out there. Go Chicha. Represent the bump!

Anyway, that should give you an idea of the kind of awesome people at D23. Real Disney fanatics. My kind of people. But there’s a lot about D23 that’s really different than a “normal” convention. The main difference is that it’s presented by Disney itself. That means a few things. For one, it’s huge. Two, it’s a lot more than panels and shopping.

In addition to formal panels and meet & greets similar to other cons, they also have huge show floors. And I mean huge. Disney Infinity and Disney Playmation, two innovative kinds of video games, each had their own huge pavilions with game demos and all kinds of interactive things to do. Pixar, Disney Parks, and Disney Animation all have their own expansive areas with huge set pieces, interactive displays, and amazing walkthroughs. There was even a Minnie Mouse area where you could get a manicure and a Tinkerbell bun hairdo – but hubs wasn’t too interested in waiting in line for that. He was much more interested in touring the Disney Parks walkthrough where the first ticket ever sold to Disneyland was on display, along with the original head of Maleficent from the amazing Fantasmic show.

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At most conventions, the vendors and artists area takes up the bulk of convention floor space. Here, however, the interactive pavilions were allotted the lion’s share of the floor space. A few more of my personal favorites on the show floor: a real, working WALL-E…

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And, because I’m a dweeb, the pavilion devoted to the new TV series, Star Wars Rebels!

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Also Target had a cool set up where you could create your own animated nickelodeon (and a gif to share online)!

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Now, we did make it to a couple of “panels,” although they were a bit different from the usual Q&A sessions at a normal con. We only went on the very last day, which is usually the slowest. That means that, while the crowds were more manageable, there were less of the big panels that drew a lot of hype. We missed the Star Wars panel and the Marvel panel and the live action panel where Johnny Depp showed up and the Pixar panel where Ellen Degeneres and Dwayne Johnson popped up, but that was ok with me. I’m not the kind of person who really gets hyped for movies before they come out. I LOVE Star Wars, but I haven’t sought out any details about the new movie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m WAY excited for it. But I’d rather just wait to see it and see what happens than get little clues about what might be in it.

What I did want to see was the world premier of a concert – the Silly Symphonies Concert, where they played those wonderful old cartoons on massive screens while a live orchestra played the score, and it was hosted by Leonard Maltin himself. Having spent our college years renting the various Disney cartoon boxed DVD sets (also hosted by Leonard Maltin), we’ve developed a strange fondness for him. Listening to him speak live about these early cartoons and Walt himself was amazing. What was more amazing was that after the show, he hung around in the hallway more than happy to say hello!

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AND TAKE SELFIES. We took a freaking selfie with Leonard Maltin. That, I just can’t believe that actually is a thing that happened to me.

…Seriously, I need to take a minute here to switch gears because WHAT EVEN, THAT’S A SELFIE WITH LEONARD MALTIN.

Ahem. Anyway.

Like most cons, we did need to wait in line to get in to any of the panels/presentations. But because this is Disney and Disney is awesome, they actually had fastpasses for the panels. A limited number, first come first serve, but on Sunday the line for fastpasses was about a ten minute wait and guaranteed not only a spot to the more popular panels, but priority seating. And for no extra cost – all you had to do was plan ahead a little.

The other panel we saw wasn’t hosted on a private stage. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a presentation at a convention handled this way. On the show floor, there was a stage. And anyone could walk up and watch, no waiting in line, no fastpasses, just come and go. Or watch while you wait in another line for a store or a walkthrough. It’s a pretty brilliant idea.

We saw a presentation on animation, specifically on what makes a character a Disney character and how animators can draw a character in a more likable way. It was hosted by Eric Goldberg, who animated the Genie in Aladdin as well as many, many others through the years. He used tons of examples of characters from Disney and even the Peanuts gang to talk about character design and what gives them appeal. He actually designed Louis from the recent Princess and the Frog film, and talked about why his initial design was a failure, and how he changed Louis into a character with that illusive Disney appeal. It was quite fascinating.

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It was also a good chance to sit down for a while, which is good for a pregnant lady. If you are going to a con pregnant, I’d definitely suggest putting more emphasis on attending panels and presentations than shopping or doing walkthroughs. You’ll still get to see a lot of once in a lifetime stuff, but you’ll be sitting still most of the time. And that’s good.

Now, I’ve heard in the past that D23 has had issues with food. We were told to be prepared for food to run out, and to possibly block out time to go to the nearby hotels to eat. When they did have food, it was very limited to hot dogs and popcorn type things. Not this year! Not only was there a fleet of food trucks outside with a huge variety of nice food (I even saw a former Chopped champion out there), inside they had food courts with plenty to choose from, along with occasional smaller carts that had pretzels, hot dogs, and snackier items.

My one complaint as a pregnant lady was that almost every vendor exclusively carried Pepsi drinks, which means the only caffeine-free option was Sierra Mist. Noooo thank you. At the bigger food court type areas, they had gatorade and I was pleased with that, but it was a bit out of the way. I was very thirsty and pathetic by the time I hopefully waddled over to see if they had anything other than Sierra Mist. We were allowed to bring in our own water bottle, so I bet we could have brought in special drinks if we had known. So, pregnant ladies of the world, take note: caffeine-free isn’t always¬† widely available at large events, so scope out the water fountains and bring a drink of your own if possible.

And this is less of a complaint and more of a wtf, but did no one at Disney stop to think about this food court name even for a second?

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Now is as good a time as any to talk specifically about getting in to this convention. Anyone can go, but if you’re a member of D23, it’s going to be slightly easier for you. For one thing, you can buy tickets much earlier. Since this is an event that sells out fast, that’s a good thing. In fact we bought our tickets so long ago that we didn’t even know we were pregnant yet!

Actually, if I’m being completely honest, it’s a fluke that we were D23 members at all. It’s a cool club, don’t get me wrong, but not the kind of thing we can afford to do all the time. We happened to join when they were offering a discount on memberships, AND giving away reproductions of original sketches of Maleficent. So I got the membership as a birthday present for hubs, since she’s his absolute favorite character. Then, since we were members anyway, I wheedled the idea into his head that this was our chance to go to D23 and consequently Disneyland even though we just bought a house and really shouldn’t! And then we got pregnant.

ANYWAY. I don’t regret any of that, it all turned out great. Yay for me! Be quiet bank account, you’re fine. My point is that membership has some great perks. The best perk is that entry is quick and easy. When we arrived shortly after the doors opened on Sunday, there was an insane crowd outside. We found our way to the D23 member line, only to find that it too was dishearteningly long. However, despite a lot of walking, the wait was much shorter than it looked and we were in much quicker than the non-members. Plus our name was on the super cool member wall of awesomeness.

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If you want to go without being a member, be sure to buy your tickets as early as you can, then arrive as early as they allow. For Friday and Saturday, line up was allowed the night before, so that should give you an idea of the kind of wait it is. Sunday is much more chill, and line up begins only a few hours before the doors open that morning. This is why I love Sunday con days. I’m not a crowds and line-camping kind of gal. So just get there early if you’re a non member and you’ll be fine. Or, if you just don’t mind not being the first people in, come whenever.

Now there’s just one thing left to talk about, and it’s my personal favorite: SHOPPING. Cons are the funnest place ever to shop. Probably because you’re never stuck in a changing room. In fact, no, it’s not like normal shopping at all. It’s the equivalent of a toy store for adults. Stuff you’ve never seen before, rare toys and collectibles, nerdy pins, patches, and car stickers, it’s just all good things that I could look at forever.

There are two kinds of shopping at D23. There’s the Emporium (aka the vendors) just like at a regular con, where you’ll find specialty vendors who sell and trade pins and vinylmation (although that’s sadly dying out), vendors who sell antique disney toys, vendors who sell collectibles and rare souvenirs, shops of autographed photos and posters, there was even an entire store that ONLY sold Sorcerer Mickey stuff. Because I’m not the only one who’s gaga for Mickey in the hat!

This is also were you find fan artists like authors and podcasters. I don’t know as much about this stuff, but my husband loves Disney fan podcasts and got to meet some of his heroes and buy their books (with fresh autographs of course).

With a lot of self control, I only bought myself three rare vinylmations (and the kitty one, which isn’t rare but it’s a kitty and I like it).

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The other kind of shopping is the official Disney shops – the Disney Dream Store, where you can find one of a kind art and convention exclusive merchandise, Mickey of Glendales, where you can find cast member and imagineer merchandise not usually available to the public, and of course, The Disney Store.

I was excited to see these official stores. On Friday and Saturday, they offered fast passes for these stores as well, because the lines were crazy. But on Sunday? No such luck. The Disney Dream store was line-free, and while some of the exclusive merch was cute, I didn’t see anything I couldn’t live without. No, what I couldn’t live without was the Sorcerer Mickey Tsum Tsum in the Disney Store. Aka the store with the longest line in the world.

But just look at him!

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So we waited in line with pizza for lunch. Then about halfway through the line, they announced that the sorcerer mickey tsum tsum was SOLD OUT. Herein lies the problem with going on Sunday. It’s chilled out, but things like this happen. Exclusive merchandise goes bye bye. We did see a few vendors with the Sorcerer Mickey for sale…..for $200 a pop. Hubs even offered to buy me one if I really, really wanted it. But I knew we couldn’t spend that much on a doll. Currently on ebay the teeny tiny ones are selling for $50 each, while the medium and large are running from $100-$250. Heck, I don’t think it would have occurred to me to buy one to sell, but apparently that would have been a very sound financial decision.

Sigh. It’s just a silly toy. But I’m still a bit down about the whole thing. I really built it up in my head beforehand that getting this toy was going to be the cherry on top of the whole trip. Don’t do that. You can’t always get exclusive merch. And if you’re pregnant and tired and wearing hard heels and you just wasted 45 minutes in line, it’s really easy to get really upset about stuff like that.

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REALLY upset.

ANYWAY. Towards the end of the night, we walked slowly and mostly talked to other fans. Outside of the convention hall at around sunset there were a TON of people in beautiful costumes taking advantage of the perfect light to get pictures by the fountain. Here are some of my favorites that we got to see (pictures are NOT mine, though. Click on them for the source):

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Can you believe we never caught these two for a pic? We kept seeing them! They’re fast walkers though. Thanks instagram user @equepons for the pic!

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And there were like a bazillion more. I decided that since I’m pregnant and I’ve been to Disneyland before, I wouldn’t worry too much about taking pictures. I wanted to really enjoy being there and see it myself instead of through the lens of a camera. So if you want to see more pictures of the amazing costumes there, just google D23 2015 and you’ll find some really amazing stuff!

Coming up next: Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure with a baby on board! Stay tuned!

Chronic Travel Bug: 7 General Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

There are a million articles online about this topic, and I read a lot of them. Before delving in depth on what I learned about my Disney pregnancy excursion, I wanted to share a couple of things in general that reading other articles didn’t prepare me for.

  1. The plane ride is gonna suck.

Keep in mind that flying from Texas to California is a little three hour flight. That’s it. I don’t know how anyone flies long distance while pregnant. I was prepared to get up and stretch my legs every once in a while, but that just didn’t matter much. The seats looked plush enough, but for most of the flight I was extremely uncomfortable. The sciatic nerve pain is a real bitch. I know bitch isn’t a very Disney word but it belongs here. Trust me.

It didn’t help that for the flight out, I was pretty sleep-deprived. I thought I could just sleep on the plane! Silly me. I can *usually* just sleep on the plane, but it’s just not gonna happen when you’re pregnant.

I wish I had a solution to this problem. Do they make pregnancy butt pads? I’m guessing not, since getting up and walking is essential when you’re pregnant – you’re at a much higher risk for blood clots, so you need to move. Maybe that’s why nature came up with the unbearable butt pain solution.

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But what nature didn’t take into account is turbulence on air planes. If the pilot turns on the seat belt sign (like he did on the flight home), too bad for you and your butt!

I’m only flying at 19 weeks pregnant, by the way. I’ve heard that the sciatic nerve pain is more of a third trimester thing. Tell that to my second trimester butt!

So yeah. Unless you get creative, the plane ride will suck. I took a peek at first class but like I said, the normal seats looked comfy. Without a good test-sit, I can’t vouch for them. What I can say is that extra leg room might have helped a bit during the turbulence, but other than that I’m out of ideas.

  • 2. Keep Uber close at hand.

Disney is magical and has a great transportation system. HOWEVER, if you’re like us and you’re only staying for two days, you’ll want to max out your park time. And if you’re pregnant like me, you’ll be moving at a slow waddle. So when you hear that buses stop running an hour after the park closes you might think you’re in the clear, but you’d be wrong. See, while the park closes at a certain time, stores remain open. And you might want to grab food on the way out too because you’re pregnant and all. And you probably weren’t right by the gate when the park “closed” anyway. And did I mention the slow waddle?

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So we missed the buses one night. But it wasn’t too bad, because we decided to try out Uber for the first time with grand success! Unlike the shuttles, our driver went straight to our hotel. Plus they had comfy leather car seats as opposed to bus seats. It was a short drive, but after the plane ride my butt appreciated the pampering. There was, however, one down side…

  • 3. Pack something warm and something cool to wear. I don’t care where you’re going.

Alright, so we were in sunny California in the middle of August! And I was pregnant! I’m usually cold-natured. Like a lizard or small featherless bird, I usually need a sunny window to stay warm in indoors. However, since I started this pregnancy belly going, I have never been cold.

UNTIL I WAS IN CALIFORNIA.

I had friends and readers who live in Cali adorably try to warn me of how hot it’s been lately, citing a streak of 85 degree weather. I laughed from my 104 degree weather streak at how sweet and innocent they all were. I packed light summer dresses for maximum in pregnancy comfort.

Then night fell. And what the crap, it was cold. COLD cold. Like I was shivering. Like I bought a $30 sweatshirt.

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One big and smushy enough to pretty well hide my baby bump. What the actual crap, California? Anyway, all logic told me I didn’t need to pack or carry around a jacket in August in California and I was wrong. So listen to your mothers, folks. Pack for everything.

  • 4. Cheap motels aren’t always awful.

I was dismayed to find out that my husband had booked us for the Motel 6. I grew up in a well-off family with a dad who traveled all the time, so our family vacations were always spent somewhere nice. Not the Ritz or anything, but nice. And I thought the Motel 6 would be just awful, no matter how much money staying there saved us.

When we arrived, I was immediately pleasantly surprised by the staff. They were every bit as friendly and magical as the Disney staff. We arrived in costume for the convention and they immediately recognized which kind of obscure characters we were dressed as. They were so excited for us to see the parks and so friendly I just couldn’t believe it.

Then we got to our room. And yes, I did not approve of the shabby towels or the burnt out light in the bathroom (which, to be fair, the staff was more than happy to fix promptly). However the room had vinyl flooring rather than icky carpet, and the room was nice and clean. I couldn’t complain about the beds as a very weary traveler either.

When we climbed into bed on the first night, there arose a clatter. I was very annoyed at how thin the walls were and how loud and inconsiderate our fellow guests were being. Finally, after complaining for a while, I made my husband get up and poke his head outside.

It was fireworks. Fireworks over Disneyland nary a couple of blocks away.

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So way to go, Motel 6, at 100 Disney Way. You’re secretly pretty magical.

  • 5. Super Shuttle is awful.

This was also my first time using Super Shuttle, those blue vans that take you to and from the airport. I wish we had just called an Uber instead. The shuttle was crowded and me and my husband (a party of just two) couldn’t sit together. Instead I was next to two people with an awful cough that I did NOT want to catch on my first day of vacation, ESPECIALLY carrying a baby.

But what was way worse were the drivers. Both on the way there and back we got truly awful, disgruntled, angry, and frankly rude drivers. There could not have been a less magical way to begin and end our trip. On the way in, our driver took us to the wrong address and then got angry at us for it. And by got angry, I mean actually scolded and yelled at us in front of everyone else in the van. We didn’t do anything wrong, we gave him our tickets, they had the correct info, he put it in wrong.

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Never EVER using this company again. Absolutely horrible.

  • 6. Give yourself lots of extra time.

This wasn’t my first time to Disneyland, so I felt prepared to tackle each park in one day. Normally, that wouldn’t have been a problem, and if I did get a flare of pain I could just take medicine and a quick break. But being pregnant AND going in peak season, I should have allotted myself more time. To be fair, we booked this trip before we knew we were pregnant, but I should have bit the bullet and called to extend our stay. I pushed myself way too hard. I moved slowly. And by the end of the day each day I was falling apart. There was no place too awkward and no wait too short for me to sit down.

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I don’t regret going at all, but if I had given myself two days per park, or even three days with a park-hopping extra day, I would have enjoyed the trip so much more. I enjoyed everything we did, but feeling tired saturated all of my enjoyment. I had a great time, but I was out of energy and couldn’t really get excited or emotional about things. There’s nothing wrong with quietly enjoying something, but when I’m in Disney, I want to cheer and laugh and bounce up and down!

If I had given myself extra time, I could have had a nap mid day to refresh myself for more adventures. But with such limited time, I chose to push through and in consequence enjoyed things less. There was one other thing I could have done to enjoy the trip more…

  • 7. GET SPECIAL SHOES.

I went in my trusty converse. I know they’re notorious for not having good support but I’ve spent my whole life in them. I’ve never had a problem, even marching through summers of band camps and trekking through Disney parks. But here’s the key thing about all that: I WASN’T PREGNANT.

These shoes worked for me before, but they were not working now. I needed to either buy really nice in soles or really good supportive shoes particularly for this trip. I’ve never been pregnant before and I didn’t know, but it’s true: You have a completely different body when you’re pregnant! It’s not just a belly! Your center of gravity is different, you walk different, your back is different because it’s holding up your different tummy and boobs! IT’S EVERYTHING. So just because you’ve done something before with no trouble doesn’t mean you might not have trouble when you’re pregnant.

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I love the Silly Symphony Swings in Disney’s California Adventure, but when I’m pregnant that ride apparently gives me motion sickness. Why? I rode lots of other rides that go around in circles. I don’t know. Why do my trusty converse hurt my feet now? I don’t know. I couldn’t have predicted this, BUT I could have erred on the safe side and gotten good, new, supportive shoes just in case.

Also, Disney should sell in soles. They sell sunscreen, this is just as essential. Come on Disney. Come on.

All that being said, I had an amazing time. Yes, there were times I was uncomfortable. Yes, I was not as prepared as I could have been. Yes, there were times when things were less magical because I was exhausted and my feet were dead stumps. But I would never advise not going. Just be ready! Err on the side of caution, pack more than you need, and have a wonderful time!

These were just the areas that I personally was wrong about. They were my own fault, and I’d love to go back and give it another go. When you’re in Disney, no matter how well prepared you are, there’s never really enough time is there? I’m always ready to go back, any time, in any condition.

I can’t wait to tell you about all the incredible adventures and experiences we had! But for now, I need to rest up and let more spoons accumulate in my system. I’ve been running on fumes. Stay tuned! And if you’re pregnant and heading out for vacation, have fun! Don’t worry and don’t talk yourself out of it. It’s going to be great. :)