Florida Part 3: Parks

Tinkerbell asked if Keladry had laughed yet, which she has, and Tink said that she would go and find Keladry's fairy for her.

Check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

The main reason we travelled to Florida was to visit the parks at Disney World and Universal Studios. Unfortunately, illness prevented me from going to Universal Studios.

I am going to discuss each of the four parks at Disney from the perspective of a new mom with a stroller, as well as point out my favourite parts of each.

Something that we were extremely pleasantly surprised by was that every single concessions stand had an ingredient list.

Epcot

Stroller

The proximity and amount of stroller parking in Epcot was very reasonable. As this was the first park we visited, I was anxious about leaving the stroller unattended. However, we never had a problem, and neither did anyone else, as far as I could see.

Walking around the “world” was actually pretty easy with the stroller. There was space in the stores we went in for maneuvering, and the only time we felt at all worried about people kicking the stroller was in Norway, because Frozen, and dinnertime. It was a little squishy in the restaurant in China, but that was the case in pretty much every restaurant.

We used the rain protector today, and it worked perfectly. Pro tip: When leaving the stroller in the parking, cover it with the rain protector even if it isn’t raining. Your baby will thank you when their seat is nice and dry when it rains unexpectedly while you were inside.

Baby Care Centre

The Baby Care Centre was off to the left, just before Mexico. It was big and clean. There was a huge nursing room with only 4 wooden rocking chairs (could definitely have fit more in there). The changing area had large sturdy change tables, with space for the diaper bag. The changing paper was the same throughout the parks – very large, thick white paper that, once used, go in the garbage with the used diaper. I wish there had been a recycling bin for the paper.

There was a tiny room for those accompanying the mother to sit, and they were playing Finding Nemo.

Highlights

Introducing Keladry to Baymax.

OMG the painting from my wall has come to life!

Seeing Keladry’s reaction to the hologram images of Dory, Nemo, and Marlin.

Seeing the Frozen ride.

Animal Kingdom

Stroller

We had a very similar experience as in Epcot, although the stroller parking outside the Finding Nemo Musical was not very clearly marked, so that was a little confusing. We used the solar screen today, and it worked really well. It does keep the heat inside the stroller, too, though, so if it’s a warm day, I recommend letting the baby breathe every ten minutes or so, depending on how hot it is. (Or maybe our dragon is a little furnace, and this isn’t a problem for other babies?)

Baby Care Centre

The Centre in this park is in the centre island, over near Africa. It was tucked away and was supremely tiny. There were two individual nursing rooms and very tiny change tables. The chair in the nursing room was a wooden rocking chair with very soft cushions. There was a change mat and more space to change the baby inside the nursing room than there was in the change room itself.

Highlights

Changing Keladry in the theatre for Finding Nemo before the show started, across our laps.

The Finding Nemo show – phenomenal!

The Lion King show – we were in the lion section. Rawr. Keladry fell asleep during it.

Hollywood Studios

Stroller

Lots of curbs in this park, which was mildly annoying with a stroller. Stroller parking wasn’t very clearly marked for the Toy Story ride, although it was everywhere else. They did an excellent job of parking the strollers for Fantasmic.

Baby Care Centre

Right at the entrance to the park, on the left hand side as you enter, was the smallest Centre of the parks. There were 2 curtained individual nursing rooms, again with a wooden rocking chair, and the changing room had two tables only. There was barely any space to breathe in the space. Definitely my least favourite.

Highlights

Eric being allowed to wear Keladry during the Toy Story ride, getting the highest score of the 4 of us, and Keladry falling asleep partway through the ride.

Introducing Keladry to Moana – Keladry was asleep by the time we got to see her.

Watching Keladry watch the fireworks from Fantasmic. Oooh lights, *startle*! Oooh lights, *startle*!

Magic Kingdom

Stroller

The proximity of the stroller parking to the rides was not very good, and it was confusing to find it sometimes. Once, Eric parked the stroller somewhere, and a park attendant had moved it by the time we exited the show. That was mildly terrifying.

Definitely the least stroller-friendly park, because of how much is in it.

Baby Care Centre

Located just to the left of The Crystal Palace (when facing it), this was by far my favourite Centre. There was a calm room for nursing with 5 squashy rocking chairs, and while it was a bit squishy in the room, there was space for everyone. The change room had 6 changing tables, and the room for accompanying people had lots of chairs and a TV screen; the only other one to have a TV was Epcot.

Highlights

Nursing Keladry during Mickey’s Philharmagic – I had forgotten about the champagne bottles and I jumped at the forced air, startling Keladry.

Keladry falling asleep on the Haunted Mansion BOTH times we went on it!

Watching Keladry get excited about the Pirates of the Caribbean ride – her little head swiveled from side to side, trying to see everything. And she raised her arms in the air when we went down the water fall!

Introducing Keladry to Tinkerbell, while dressed as Tinkerbell!

Tinkerbell asked if Keladry had laughed yet, which she has, and Tink said that she would go and find Keladry's fairy for her. <3
Tinkerbell asked if Keladry had laughed yet, which she has, and Tink said that she would go and find Keladry’s fairy for her. <3

Disney Springs

Stroller

The stores were maneuverable with the stroller, and easily accessible. I was pleased by how easy it was to get around with it, and that I didn’t have to go too far out of the way because I had it.

Baby Care Centre

There wasn’t one. Bad Disney! It’s on your map!

The Information Centre let me use one of their offices when I asked about the location of the Baby Care Centre, which was nice of them, but not practical for multiple people.

Highlights

YeSake food – this was delicious, large portions, and had customizable rice, noodle, or wraps. Yummy!

Cookes of Dublin – Super yummy fried fish, and they were very good about my mother’s allergies!

Mickey’s Pantry (and Spice & Tea Exchange) – a store with the best fancy salts and sugars, and other kitchen supplies

Marketplace Co-op – a series of shops that are high-end and great quality

World of Disney Store – everything for everyone, except they were out of the cute short set in the size we wanted for Keladry…but they did check to see if they had any in any other location (they didn’t, but I appreciate that they tried to find it for us!)

Secrets and Truths

Tattoo

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

A few weeks ago I promised secrets; it took a little while for everything to finalize but now the ink has dried and I can tell you.

AJ Travel Logo

First announcement is that I have joined AJ Travel as a travel agent. I’ll be selling travel with my wife and best friend which is something that makes me very happy.

If you haven’t been reading our bi-weekly Fandom Travel Blog, you really should. Jen has been doing an amazing job.

I’ll mostly be specializing in the same things as Jen but with the addition of Culinary Tourism (Food, Drink, Coffee, Tea, Wine, Etc.)

Tattoo
My new tattoo. It’s a baby dragon. Click on the image to enlarge

My second announcement is that I got a tattoo. I’ve wanted to get one for a long time and couldn’t decide on what to get. With the arrival of our baby Dragon, I decided to ask the wonderful S.M. Carrière to design one for me and hold my hand through the process.

I went to Living Colour Tattoo in downtown Ottawa and they were wonderful. The original design was beautiful but not perfect for a tattoo so the artist Patrick Drouin recommended some changes and the final product looks great.

I’m extremely happy with it and really thankful for all of S.M.’s help, encouragement, and guidance.

 

That’s the big excitement for me.

Later Days,

Éric

Coffee Testers Club

Coffee-colour

Coffee-colour

Hello Coffee Lovers,

Last week I sent out emails and made a few facebook posts for our new Coffee Tester’s Club. It’s been way more successful than I expected and that’s great.

We need your help in deciding what our new flavour will be. Our team of professional testers has narrowed it down to 4 options. We need you to help us narrow it down further.

For the low price of $5 you’ll get four 25g bags of coffee. You’ll drink them and then fill out a survey. The flavour that is everyone’s favourite will then be added to our regular rotation.

It’s not too late to help us decide on our next flavour. Sign up for the Coffee Testers Club!

The deadline for signup will be February 19th at noon.

Yay Coffee!

Éric

Renaissance Press

Image taken from Renaissance Press's website www.renaissancebookpress.com

My publisher Renaissance Press (and Eric’s, incidentally) is having a sale on all their love-oriented books and games for the entire month of February! If you haven’t picked up a copy of Blush yet, this would be a good time to do that!

You can also see a complete list of all their published works here.

Image taken from Renaissance Press's website www.renaissancebookpress.com
Image taken from Renaissance Press’s website www.renaissancebookpress.com

Valentines Day

halfprice

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Today is the day of love, lovers, or overpriced chocolate.

I’ve never been a big fan of this so-called holiday. It’s a day that glorifies showing love by monetary excess or grand gestures and that’s not what love is about.

Love is about the little moments, the smiles and laughter shared between people. It’s not about spending exorbitant amounts of money on stuff or food.

Today I’ll be celebrating by hugging my wife and we’ll be going to see The Lego Batman movie.

If Valentine’s Day has you down, why not call a parent, grandparent, child, or friend and tell them you love them (Only if you do, I don’t want you lying to people).

No matter how you spend this day, remember that it’s not the size of the gesture but the love behind it.

*Important Reminder: Tomorrow (February 15th) is half-price chocolate day.*

halfprice

Later Days,

Éric

Paper Bag Princess

IMG_20160514_175643small

When this pair walked past our table, I completely freaked out. What a fantastic idea for a costume, from a beloved children’s book by Robert Munsch (The Paper Bag Princess. If you haven’t read it, go buy it here.)! And great poses by the cosplayers, too. Loving the expression on Ronald’s face!

Speaking of Robert Munsch (website), he has a new book coming out, called Blackflies, illustrated by the fantastic Jay Odjick (Facebook, Twitter, website). You should go and pre-order the book here!

IMG_20160514_175643small

I’m not busy, I’m temporally deficient

Darthdad

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

When I told someone I was going to take paternity leave, they jokingly said, “Wow! A nine month vacation. Lucky you.” At least I think they were joking. This isn’t a vacation.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the time I’m getting with Dragon. She makes me smile and ache with love every day, but she’s a lot of work. I have no idea how one parent handles a baby on their own.

It might be easier if Jen and I weren’t both freelancers. Working from home takes twice as long with a baby. All of which to say we’ve been really busy both with work and enjoying the little Dragon.

That means there are a few things that I haven’t told you, so it’s update time! WOO!

Darthdad
Darthdad from Vaders Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown. Click the image to go to the link.

Coffee

I’ve been working hard on research and development for new flavours to join JenEric Coffee’s roster. I’ve settled on one flavour that will be debuted at Geek Market at the end of March.

I have another 4 flavours that I’m asking people to test. If you’re interested, check out our Coffee Testers Page.

Writing

I have unfortunately not been writing as much as I should have. Other then the blog, I’ve written half a story and a few thousand words in Copper Tarnish. It’s going to be shorter than my average book, but I’m still only a third of the way through.

I’ve talked to my publisher and they’re considering covers for Parasomnia. I’m really excited to get the next round of edits on this one.

A Study in Aether is eligible for both the Nebulas and the Auroras. Both are fan voted awards. If you feel like nominated it, I’d be very happy.

The Ed Greenwood Group

If you don’t know about TEGG, let me tell you. It’s a new publishing company for games, role playing games, genre novels, and general awesome.

If you’ve played the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons setting, you’re familiar with the breadth of creativity that Mr. Greenwood has shown over the past thirty years.

What he’s done is bring together many amazing creative types to create new games, settings, and stories.

I have the honour of working with them on the book formatting side of things. I’ve been given the title of Print Production Manager, fancy term for layout artist. It’s a freelance thing and I’m really excited to be working with such amazing people.

And Jen, whom I’ve often referred to as “the weditor”, has been given the title of Lead Editor for the Hellmaw line of novels. She is just as honoured and excited to be working with this awesome group.

Secrets

I have two other pieces of news, but I don’t have permission to divulge one, and the other will be a surprise. You should know both next week.

 

Later Days

Éric