Training

When I first started this blog almost 10 (!) years ago, I was reading A LOT of blogs by triathletes and hoped that eventually I would be one of of those super fit people regularly posting race reports and just being generally awesome and sportsy. And there have been some race reports on this blog, but honestly I’ve spent the last 10 years mostly doing non-athletic things. They are good things — having and raising babies, getting my PhD, moving multiple times, growing my career — but I’m clearly not the person right now that 30 year old me was hoping I’d be, in terms of the athletic pursuits. In the last two years, I’ve done exactly one race — a pitifully slow 5K that I literally limped my way through thanks to a nasty case of plantar fasciitis.

I know that I am 100% more likely to try to make time for exercise if I’m training for something, so I’ve got a race on the books for the summer. I’m in training for an open water swim race again, something I haven’t done in nearly four years. The race is in 2.5 months and I just don’t know how ready I am going to be. I’ve been trying to get to the pool at least three times a week, but the race is 2.1 miles and my longest swim so far has been about 1.25 miles and I definitely didn’t end that swim wishing I could do another mile.

I’ve done it three times before but I can’t seem to find any records that I kept about how I actually trained for it, so I can’t remember how my training was going at this point last time. I know that I’ve never started that race feeling like I had done enough training, but I’ve been able to finish 3/3 times, so that’s encouraging.

I should probably go to the pool.

Things I Want But Do Not Buy

I’ve been trying to be more thoughtful about spending money lately. My current student loan debt has been bugging me more than usual and I’ve been wanting to try to throw more money at that problem and not doing as much online shopping seems to be a good way to make that happen.

(Side note – I have zero regret about my student loans. I wouldn’t have my current job without having gone to grad school. I’m just sort of exhausted by the fact that I’ve been paying them for what feels like forever and I’m currently scheduled to make my last loan payment the April that my son graduates from high school. That timing is…. not ideal).

Mostly trying not to shop so much is going fine. There really isn’t a lot that I actually need. But I can’t stop looking at these things, so I’m going to share them with you and maybe that will scratch the itch a bit:

This backpack: I do not need a new backpack. I have a perfectly good backpack. But this one is so pretty and I love the pattern so much (I would also like that for a tile backsplash in my fictional dream home). I keep imagining myself wearing this while I ride my bike to a coffee shop this summer. In this vision, I also have really cute denim short overalls on because apparently it is 1994.

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These shoes: Ugh. I love this color so much and the cheerful little stripe on the back. And my friend’s who have Rothy’s rave about them. But they are so pricey and I have wide and picky feet so I’m so hesitant to pull the trigger. Yes, they can be returned if they don’t fit but I don’t need that kind of hassle in my life.

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This Lego set: We have so many Legos. SO. MANY. LEGOS. And I have many Harry Potter Lego sets. So we really don’t need a $400 (!) set. But my heart wants it. It would make my Harry Potter Lego collection complete. But $400 actual human dollars is A LOT.

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This dress: After a deep closet purge last weekend, I still have at least 10 sleeveless dresses. So, again, I don’t need more. Plus, I worry that there would be a cleavage situation in this dress (I don’t do cleavage at work). But this is so summery and cute.

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Snacks: I was having to order some snacks at work and came across these snack variety boxes on Amazon. They now follow me around the internet. I 100% want these because my childhood self would have found the idea of 50 snacks coming through the mail to be the absolute height of luxury.

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(Final note: there are no affiliate links here. I get nothing if you click on anything. But if you buy that dress, please tell me how adorable you look in it, okay?)

The Drops

I’m training for an open water swim race this summer (2.1 miles in Lake Superior, which means it can be real cold). I am in the phase where I can both see that I’ve made progress in my swimming and where I have moments when I’m really nervous that I’m not going to be ready when race day comes. 2.1 miles is a lot of miles when the average temperature of the water is 40 degrees (warmer in the summer, but still!)

Tonight I was scheduled to go for a swim after work and when the time came to actually go to the pool I developed a very bad case of the “don’t wannas”. It was cold outside. And rainy. And I was hungry. And the whole process of getting to the pool, getting on my boring swimsuit (Does anyone need me to rant about the absolute dead zone of style that is plus size athletic swimwear again? No?), and making the cold walk from the locker room to the pool just seemed like Too Much.

But then I got a pep talk via text from my husband and re-read Swistle’s “In the Bucket. IN!” post (which is perhaps the most useful blog post I’ve ever read) and I went to the pool. Did I have an amazing swim? No. Did I put some drops in the damn bucket? YES ma’am.

And, of course, both my husband and Swistle were right: I was glad that I did it and doing something was better than doing nothing. And then I went to Target and was starving  so, long story short, my children were REALLY pleased with the snack to responsibility vegetables ratio that resulted. In my defense, the ice cream sandwiches were on clearance.

I have three months left to train. Lots of drops left to put in the bucket.

Lighter Load

One of my goals for this weekend was to tempt the Minnesotan fates by putting my winter clothes away and to clean out my closet for the spring and summer. Due to my clearance shopping habit and the fact that I’ve been at least four different sizes in the last five years, I have A LOT of clothes. My closet was crammed and I knew there were a lot of things that I haven’t worn in at least a year. In the past I’ve sometimes had a hard time letting go of clothes due to some combination of hope (maybe I’ll be a size 16 again some day?), Calvinist guilt (some of those clothes still have tags on them, quantifiable evidence of money wasted), and an overactive imagination that allows me to imagine scenarios where I might, maybe, someday wear that denim blazer.

But in the last year, I’ve started to find it easier to get rid of things. I’m not sure if it is due to being 40, aka the “fuck it” decade, according to my friend’s who are further ahead into this decade than I am. Maybe it’s because we’ve been in this 1400 square foot house for almost five years and I’m quite aware of how quickly that space fills. But I think a bigger part of it is that I’m feeling more at peace at some basic level with myself.

I ended up filling five garbage bags with clothes, including a deep purge of the clothes that I’ve been hanging onto in the hopes that I’ll be smaller someday. I felt almost instantly lighter afterwards.

It feels a little cheesy to say it, but I think I’m maybe just getting better overall at letting things go. I had a realization the other day that a pretty significant family member just … well, doesn’t like me very much. Maybe they love me, whatever that means to them, but they don’t actually like me. And, honestly, it makes sense. We don’t share the same values, we don’t have any common interests, and we don’t actually have much in the way of a relationship at this point. As someone who has spent literal years (plus thousands of dollars in therapy) to learning to come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to like me all the time, the fact that I feel at peace about not being liked by someone who shares my DNA feels pretty significant.

I don’t have to be for everyone. I don’t have to keep pants that don’t fit.

Maybe the 40’s really are the fuck it decade.

 

 

Almost Home

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After starting off relatively mild, our Minnesota winter became epic in February: -45 degree temperatures, blizzard warnings, and SO. MUCH. SNOW. We don’t usually travel for the kid’s spring breaks, but around inch number 35 of snow, the winter finally broke my spirt and I booked the kids and I tickets to Arizona.

It had been just about five years since we’d been back to Arizona, which is where I grew up and where my son was born. It’s still where my parents, siblings, and come very dear friends live so it felt like it was time to go back. The fact that it was in the upper 70’s/low 80’s for most of the trip and that the kids are now old enough to be easy to travel with didn’t hurt either.

(Side note: those of you who are in the life phase where you have to travel with infants, know this: IT GETS BETTER. My kids were 6 and 10 on this trip and can carry their own luggage, entertain themselves on the plane, and can even handle airplane bathrooms on their own. Magical.)

There were many parts of this trip that ended up being awesome. We loved the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, hiking in Sabino Canyon (something I’ve been doing since I was a kid and my Girl Scout troop lost me there for a very eventful 45 minutes or so), and doing some mildly terrifying (for me) rock climbing at Windy Point.

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We stayed for a few nights in Phoenix with one of my oldest friends and it was fun and slightly disconcerting seeing our kids play together. E. and I met when we were 22 and filled with big questions about our futures. Would we find love? Get married? Have babies? Have careers we loved? Now we are 40 and the answers to some of those questions were hanging out with each other in her backyard pool. Time goes so fast.

But it was the time in Tucson that felt the most surreal to me. Tucson is where I grew up and I’ve lived more years there than anywhere else. I lived there and then left for college but then returned. I once moved to South Korea when I was in my 20’s but still returned to Tucson. It felt like the place I could always come back to, but now it no longer feels like home. Driving around there were some things that hadn’t changed at all but I didn’t feel the emotional connection I thought I would. It felt familiar but I had no longing to live there again. I can’t actually see myself living there again, like ever.

Perhaps part of it is that I just like the version of myself I am now more than I liked who I was when I lived in Arizona. Arizona was familiar and was my childhood, but living there was hard sometimes. In the ten years since we moved from there, I’ve grown children and a career and into a version of myself I actually like. I miss the hiking and the spring sunshine felt good, but it just isn’t home anymore.

It snowed again this week but it was still good to be home.

Meditation on Six

Six almost seven is riding her bike down the alley behind our house, weaving around melting snow piles, but straight through the puddles that splash mud up from her boots to her neck. Six is the Harry Potter scar on her forehead, carefully drawn on with my lip liner. Six is jeans that are suddenly too short, tucked into hand-me-down boots. Six would rather wear an old shirt that belonged to her brother than anything new, especially if the new thing is too pretty. Six is chasing her friend down the street, braids bouncing, yelling to see if she wants to build Legos or play with her American Girl doll. Six would like to build a fort: in the snow or in the basement or in her room. Six wants to hide because she knows she’ll be found.

Six still climbs in your lap to watch TV and cries if you snap at her for not being pokey about getting her school clothes on. Six goes to bed with 20 stuffed animals in her bed and wonders why she can’t have 30. Six is wiggly teeth and mystery scratches and bruises from playing hard and not caring yet if she falls. Six loves her teacher and her brothers and her favorite cousins. Six will cheerfully tell you that you are number five on her list of favorite people, unbothered by the fact that you gave birth to her.

Six still believes: in Santa, in the tooth fairy,  in the idea that most people are nice and good.

 

2018 Year in Review

While New Years Eve is still a day away, I thought I’d use my quiet Saturday night to do my annual end of the year review.

(Side note, it was quiet because our children were both out of the house, playing with friends. I was making hot tea for my my husband and I and he noted that “this is what every Saturday night will be like in not too long” referring to the kids being out in the world without us. He’s right and it reminds me that the amount of time your kids are actually little and living with you is so short in the grand scheme of things. My son is 10 and if I really want to depress myself, I can think about the fact that his childhood is already half over. This can be a maudlin time of year.)

As in past years, I’ll be answering the template that used to be standard back when everyone was blogging. Now hardly anyone is blogging (though as long as Swistle blogs, I will be happy) but I still like to recap things. So here we go!

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Took a long trip by train with my family. It was such a great trip and it made me really appreciate having older kids who are really fun to travel with.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year I said: For 2018 I’ve got A LOT on my list of things I’d like to do. I’m turning 40 in August and I have a list of 40 things I’d like to accomplish before then. I’ve got maybe six of them done so far, so I’ve got plenty to accomplish. The biggest one is to finish the first draft of a novel I’ve been slowly working on for about two years.

I ended up doing about half of the things on my turning 40 list, which is about par for the course for me, I suppose. I got most of the things done that related to stuff with the kids and several of the money things but almost none of the ones that related to health and fitness. Sigh. I did not finish the draft of the novel and I bummed about that.

For 2019, I want to keep it simple. I want to write more days than I don’t write and I want to take better care of my health (I’m writing this while dealing with my second bout of bronchitis for the year and a sore back, which I managed to injure while coughing)

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

We’ll be home and cozy. I have to work during the day, which feels ridiculous since I imagine it will be awfully slow, and I’m hoping I feel better and that we can all play some games and have snacks.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Did anyone give birth?

I didn’t attend any funerals this year, so nobody very close to me died. A number of folks at work welcomed babies this year, so I got in some newborn snuggles, which is always nice.

5.What countries did you visit ? Did I travel this year?

We went to Canada! Montreal and Toronto were both excellent cities and we really enjoyed it. I also went to Florida twice – once for work and once to take Ev to Disney. I also went to Kansas for Thanksgiving, as always, and presented at a conference in Salt Lake City. I also went to Chicago for work and got to see Hamilton, which was everything I hoped it would be. This year had quite a bit of travel, including a week at family camp and a weekend in a cabin in Wisconsin for my birthday. While I loved all the trips, it was not the cheapest year, so this year will be a little more restrained. I’ll go to Los Angeles in March for a work conference and then we’ll do a little family vacation to Wisconsin in August, but we’ll be skipping family camp this year and I don’t see any other big trips on the horizon.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

A different President (I’ll say this every year until there is a sane person back in the White House) and a better immune system.

7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

My 40th birthday was a pretty great day — I got taken out to dinner and given presents by some dear friends before going to see the Beyonce/Jay-Z concert. It was an awful lot of fun.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

I made it through a year at work that was REALLY challenging sometimes, including the transition to having a new boss (who is terrific so far). I also did some freelance writing that I’m proud of at The Billfold, which is a website I like a lot. I’m also starting 2019 feeling like my family/marriage situation is in a good place, which is always a good thing.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I feel like I didn’t do a great job of maintaining friendships this year. I didn’t do a lot of face-to-face time with people I like a lot. It is really easy to get sucked into the busyness of life at 40 and go months without connecting to people you really like.

I also continue to struggle with relaxing and giving myself enough down time. I’m a doer by nature and I think I would be healthier if I chilled out a little more (I hear the sound of my husband nodding vigorously whenever he reads this. Yes, honey, I know)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes, the usual assortment of bugs and back pain. Nothing that required hospitalization, thankfully.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Tickets! Tickets to Beyonce, tickets to Hamilton, tickets to Florida for Ev and I… I really enjoyed experiences this year.

12. Where did most of your money go?

The usual culprits: the mortgage and student loans. One of my goals this year was to try to pay a little extra to both each month and I think I managed to pay just over $1000 extra to the mortgage and about $1300 to the student loans, which is a fairly big drop in the bucket. I owe just over $6000 less on my student loans at the end of the year than I did at the start, so I know I’m making some progress. The current goal is to have them paid off before Miles (age 10) graduates from high school.

One annoying expense this year was replacing our bikes after someone stole them out of our garage. I still feel very annoyed by that when I think of it.

13. What song will always remind you of 2018?

The last song of the Beyonce/Jay-Z concert was Apeshit and the crowd really does go Apeshit. This song was a banger.

I also really liked listening to Maggie Rogers and The Greatest Showman soundtrack, though I’ve still not seen the movie because PT Barnum was trash and I want to enjoy the music without having to connect it to him.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

The usual suspects: writing, spending time with people I like, swimming or hiking, and reading.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stress eating candy while muttering “motherfucker” in my office. Like I said, it was a tough year at work.

16. What was your favorite new TV program?

Oh, this was a good year for TV. I finally watched Brooklyn 99 and I love it so much. The Good Place was at the top of my list last year and continues to be there this year. I self-soothed by watching a lot of the British Baking, often with my daughter, which was fun. I also really like Kim’s Convenience on Netflix. Nanette on Netflix took my breath away.

17. Do you love anyone now that you didn’t love this time last year?

Nope. No new editions to the love list, but no deletions either, so I think that is a win.

18. What was the best book you read?

I read 42 books this year and I rate each of them on a scale of 1-10. There were three 10 out of 10 books this year: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anna Fadiman. I tried to prioritize reading books by women and people of color this year and would also recommend Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung.

19. What was your greatest musical discovery? Let’s change this question to something that doesn’t assume I am trying to stay abreast of the latest in pop culture. How about what item of clothing did I wear the most?

I wore a lot of dresses this year, including some $17.99 ones from Target that are comfy enough to lounge around in at home but also nice enough to where to the store.

20. What was your favorite film of this year?

I really loved Black Panther and Widows. It was a good year for Daniel Kaluuya.

21.What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

See above! The day after I turned 40, we went to a our favorite cabin in Wisconsin and spend a perfect few days swimming in the lake and reading on the screened in porch. It was a good birthday week.

22. What kept you sane?

My family, some positive changes at work, texting with my friend E., carving out time to go to a cabin in the fall with 22 other women and relaxing in the woods.

23. Who did you miss?

My step-sons, always. We got to see both of them in 2018 and that was great. Hoping for a repeat of that in 2019. I miss face to face time with my friends.

24. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned.

Stop being surprised when an asshole acts like an asshole.

25. What pictures best represent 2018?

 

 

 

Vanity Fair

I recently renewed my subscription to the magazine Vanity Fair, despite the fact that I still have issues from four years ago that I never quite got around to reading. Vanity Fair is an interesting magazine to me in that I am so clearly not the target demographic for most of the advertisements and I don’t share their deep and on-going obsession with all things Kennedy family related. On the other hand, I do think they have some great long-form articles about topics that I didn’t know I was interested in until I was three paragraphs in. I also appreciate that they aren’t shy about noting what a massive wanker our current President is. I’m happy to support that kind of writing.

But, dudes, can we talk about how insane the advertisements targeted to people with a shit ton of money are? Let’s walk through the latest issue together.

First, a note about the cover. Natalie Portman is an undeniably gorgeous woman. But what is this facial expression? Does she need to very glamorously barf? Is she dead inside? Did she just wake up and get immediately stoned? I do not know.

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And then there is this ad. Because, sure. That is the logical answer to the question “What shoes do I wear to take my bird and ropes for a walk?”

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And then there is this very relatable image. She gazes to the heavens, where will her gas come from? She’d walk to get her own gas but it is taking all of her energy to keep holding her head up with those absolutely enormous sun glasses on.

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I don’t even understand these two ads. What does “Play it like Hermes” even mean? Hermes was the god of sleep, animal husbandry, and thieves, fertility, and travel (among other things), so I feel like there is a lot of ground that command could cover. As for the other one, I have questions? Is that an ad for watches or lipstick? Is it a watch that needs frequent adjustments? Or a lipstick that can be used in lieu of an appropriate screwdriver? Am I just too poor to understand?

Boss: “Why are you late to work?”

Me: “My very expensive watch says to not let numbers define me and I have no idea what time it is. Time is a construct for people without money”

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For when you have a job interview, ballet class, and a funeral all on the same afternoon:

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I want two things in my bracelets: for them to be expensive and for them to remind me of  car tires. I’m in luck!

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She put on her glasses and gazed into the distance, the question never far from her mind… were the bangs a mistake?

(narrator voice: yes, yes they were)

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Her bangs look stupid, but I would truly like some information on her lipstick color.

On the plus side, there is an article about feuding Popes that looks promising. And, in the context of the ads in this magazine, their fancy robes and hats look super reasonable!

Disney: Magic Kingdom and Epcot

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For our last full day in Florida, me and my girl did a double header: Magic Kingdom and Epcot. I had planned to just go to Magic Kingdom and then I realized that the Monorail would connect us pretty easily so we decided to go for it. It made for a long day and I don’t really feel like we did Epcot justice as we were only there for about three hours, but I’m still glad we went since I’d never been. Now I know that if/when we go back to Florida, I want to spend a whole day there, especially since the kids will be older and more into it.

As with Animal Kingdom, I highly recommend getting some FastPasses. If you can get one for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, go for it. Both times I’ve been to Magic Kingdom, that’s been the ride with the longest line. That wasn’t an option for us (all the passes had been snapped up by the time we booked), so we FastPassed for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (so fun, we did it four times), Splash Mountain (also fun and you get MUCH LESS wet than you do on the water rides at Universal), and Space Mountain (a classic that I loved and that Ev found too scary to do a second time. I’ll be honest, getting her on it the first time took some bribery). Since we didn’t really plan ahead for Epcot, we didn’t have any FastPasses. If I had to do it again, I would try to get a FastPass for Test Track (fast and fun) or Soarin’ Around the World (this is a MUST ride. Not scary at all but really cool). The other highlight of Epcot was the mini-aquarium area (near the Finding Nemo rides, naturally) where Ev and I happily watch manatees swim for at least 15 minutes.

Also, as with Animal Kingdom, I was really pleased that both parks were fat person friendly. The only ride that would be tough for a bigger person was the Seven Dwarfs ride because of the way the bar goes over your legs (knees together, bar goes around your hips/thighs). If you are a pear shape or carry weight in your hips and are bigger than a size 24 pants, it will be a tight fit. Everything else was easy and comfortable.

I will say that my plan to avoid crowds by going in September totally paid off at both parks. It was still SO HOT but the lines for most of the rides were less than 15 minutes. Ev and I had said a goal to go on at least 15 different rides and we totally hit that goal with enough time to do some rides multiple times. If you can handle the heat, going in September is worth it.

On a final note, even though we had a great time, I’m still not a *DISNEY!!!* person. I’ll never wear a Disney shirt or have a favorite princess, but would I go again? Yep!

Doing Disney as a Non-Disney Person: Day 1

When it comes to going to Disney, there are some people who are *DISNEY!!!!* people and some people who are not. It is very, very easy to tell the difference. The *DISNEY!!!!* people are on the plane in matching family themed t-shirts. They are probably staying at one of the many Disney hotels and going for the full experience with all the stuff that you have to plan in advances (sometimes months in advance): the Magic Bands, the reservations at the character breakfasts, the appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Bouitique, and of course the Fast Passes.

I think that is a totally valid and fun way to experience Disney (if that’s your jam), but this is a post about doing Disney when you don’t have a wardrobe of Disney clothes, want to do just slightly more than the bare minimum in terms of planning, and care a lot more about rides than meeting characters or seeing the shows.

As I mentioned in my last post, my six year old and I went to Orlando in September to avoid the biggest theme park crowds (and, it turns out, to sweat as much as humanly possible).  Let’s talk about the Disney part of the experience, day 1:

  • Over a year ago, I had won four one-day Park Hopper passes in a charity auction, so we I knew Ev and I would do at least two of the parks. We chose to do Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. We ended up making a last minute decision to add Epcot on to the end of our Magic Kingdom day. While I’m glad that we saw Epcot, I feel like we only really scratched the surface of that park, despite the fact that we were at the parks from 9am-8pm (23,000 steps that day!). If I do Disney again, I don’t know if I would do the Park Hopper option again, unless it was for multiple days. I think one park per day is PLENTY to do. If you do try to do two parks in a day, the Magic Kingdom/Epcot combo is probably the easiest since you can take the Monorail to get from one to the other at no cost.
  • A note about transportation — we stayed in a non-Disney property that I chose largely because it was pretty centrally located to the parks. It was fine, though it was a place that also has time-shares, so there was some sales pitching for signing up for that, which is politely ignored because the offer of a free weekend in Branson, Missouri is aggressively not my jam. I didn’t rent a car so we did an airport shuttle to the hotel ($64 round trip for two people) and used Uber to get to all the parks (most trips were $9-14). Parking at Disney parks is $20 a day, so Uber and not paying for a rental car ended up saving a few bucks for us. A note about Uber — the Uber drivers we had were all SUPER nice and because of the Parks, they all drive A LOT. I didn’t have a single driver who had done less than 1,000 trips (you can see their trip total on the app) and all were 4.5 stars or higher, so I had no anxiety about getting murdered.
  • The first park we went to was Animal Kingdom, which I’d never done before. I did make fast pass reservations in advance, but only a few weeks in advance, so some of the ride options were already full. If you are going and a Fast Pass is available for the Avatar Flight of Passage is available — GET IT. That ride had by far the longest line (180 minutes as of 9:15am) but was really cool. I would have like to have gone on it twice but the lines were too long and we got rained out at the end of the day. There was a moment at the beginning of the ride when they are getting you locked in your seat that felt a little scary for Ev (I think she had A LOT of time to get nervous about it while we were waiting over an hour in line). Once the ride got going, she was totally into it.
  • We used our Fast Passes on Expedition Everest (my favorite ride and the most rollercoaster-y, though not too scary for my 6 year old, who calls it “a stomach dropper”), Kali River Rapids (fun and you don’t get nearly as wet as you do on the water rides at Universal studios. More of a sprinkle than a soak), and the Kilimanjaro Safari (we liked this so much that we did it twice. I HIGHLY recommend doing this toward the end of the day. The ride is in an open jeep/bus thing and is about 20-25 minutes long, so it’s a nice chance to get off your feet and rest for a bit. I also think the animals are more active when it isn’t the heat of the day. If you have a littler person, let them get in the row first because they’ll get amazing views of the animals as they walk around.) IMG_4198
  • Some of the other things we really liked at Animal Kingdom included:
    • The Boneyard: This is a play area where I could sit in the shade and Ev enjoyed climbing and doing the slides. Worth a stop if you are with kids under 12)
    • The Mahrajah Junkle Trek is like a mini-zoo tour. You can see tigers, monkeys, and a cool bat exhibit among other animals. Mostly shady, which is always appreciated
    • Lunch at Blaze Tree: good BBQ options and a staff that is ON IT in terms of making sure people with food allergies are taken care of (Ev and I don’t have any, but it was nice to see them being so attentive to people who have them).
  • A note about Animal Kingdom as a fat person: As I said in my last post, I’m about a size 22 with an hourglass shape and large breasts. I love rides and hate worrying about whether I will fit in them or not. I had ZERO issues with any of the rides/options at Animal Kingdom. I feel like Disney does a good job of really being accessible for people of size and, from what I can tell, people with physical differences.
  • There were several things at Animal Kingdom that we didn’t get to do (even though we were there from 9am-5:30pm) because it started POURING down rain at about 5:15, so rides were shut down and there was little hope that we would be able to dry off enough to have fun even if the rain stopped. I’m bummed that we didn’t get to see the Rivers of Light show in the evening because I’ve heard that it’s a great one.
  • We didn’t do any of the shows because my girl is all about the rides and really isn’t to the shows or characters. You can do a full day with just rides, if that’s your kind of fun.

I’d happily go back to Animal Kingdom if I went back. Expedition Everest was really fun and the Avatar ride was different and cool. I’d just try to aim for a day that wasn’t so rainy!