Special Needs Family Travel
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Our vacation that went from Magic to Tragic…

Well we “attempted” to have a nice family vacation for what I believe might be the last time since Rebecca will be graduating from college in May. But noooo I think sometimes that is toooo much to ask for in “my life.”

We have gone to Disney to celebrate the holidays for the last ummm five years, we have had some really good laughs and times during these weeks, we’ve also had a few bad experiences with Disney during these weeks but somehow as the “last family fling” Rebecca and I thought it fitting that we return to the most “magical place on earth.”

Things were fine the first day or two the usual craziness of what to go on, what to run and get fast passes for, what Ainsley would enjoy, and a well needed haircut for Geoffrey, but when the third day hit that was “it.” That was the day our Disney vacation went from Magic to Tragic!

There were some problems back at work and Geoffrey spent the rest of the vacation on park benches talking on the phone. This hurt me a lot! I felt sooo bad for Geoffrey but at the same time I felt bad for our little family! All I kept thinking as I looked at my two girls was this is probably going to be the last time we all have a chance to go away together… And then the “next chapter” began to tear me up. Graduation for Rebecca and moving on with her “life.” I guess I have been putting off thinking about this for soooo long that it kind of smacked me in the face as I looked at her. I can remember when I was 21 and graduating from college, I knew that Geoffrey and I were going to get married so I was staying right where I was, looked for a job and defiantly was not moving back home. I was starting “my life” as an adult. And although times have changed sooo much and with the state of the economy I know it is much different I know that Rebecca most likely will be coming “home” for a year or so, but after that she will be “gone.” Gone from our house, no more, loud music, no more cell phone ringing all hours day and night, no more worrying about late nights, or no more time with the two of us sitting and chatting about life on the couch. Those days are quickly coming to an end. She will be going into the world as an adult and leaving my memories of my little daughter behind.

So as I sat on the many many benches at Disney this is what kept going thru my mind. She’s a good girl, (young lady) she knows right from wrong and now it’s her turn, and I just pray that she will be safe and have a good life. Well, we have 4 more months until graduation I guess I better keep a large stock of Kleenex between now and then!

Meals at Whispering Canyon are a good old fashioned Rootin’, Tootin’ Great Time!

There are so many choices for meals while visiting the Disney World properties but what a wonderfully fun way to enjoy a lunch or dinner and visit the fun lively crew at the Whispering Canyon which is located in the Wilderness Lodge. If you are in the Magic Kingdom take a boat over or head over to the busses and take a bus to the property.

Let me throw a few cautions to the wind out there if you are looking for a quiet restaurant don’t count on a quiet meal here because the goings-on can get quite boisterous or if you are shy and do not want to have attention brought to you or your family this is not the place for you.

Let me first go over the food at the Whispering Canyon since food is the first thing people usually think about at restaurants. This is an all you can eat “family style” restaurant which means it is served like you would eat at home, on platters, on the tables’ lazy Susan, which is meant to share. I can’t tell you anything about most of the food except the Canyon Skillet which was wonderful! Take a glance at the menu from this spring to give you an idea of the “goodies” from this kitchen. (Yes, I have been known to copy menus and ask for recipes!) Please note I do not work for Disney and Disney has not endorsed this in anyway so the prices or menu options may have changed this is just what it was this spring lunch menu.

Menu Date: March 2009

Appetizers

Western Chips and Dip – Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips with a bowl of freshly made salsa and queso dip $12.49
Mixed Greens Salad – Tossed in apple vinaigrette with tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions $6.99
Southwestern Chicken Soup $6.99

Canyon Skillet
All-You-Care-To-Eat

Smoked pork ribs, oven-roasted chicken and pork sausage, served with cowboy beans, seasonal vegetable, creamy coleslaw, mashed potatoes and fresh baked corn bread $17.99 per person ($26.99/per person for dinner)

Entrees
Roast Chicken – with coleslaw and mashed potatoes $17.99
Vegetable Enchilada – Cowboy beans and quinoa pilaf with grilled zucchini and corn served with enchilada sauce and Tillamook cheddar cheese $14.99
Smoked Chicken Salad – Tossed with maple dressing, blue cheese, and candied walnuts $14.99
Smoke House Stack Sandwich- turkey, ham, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, with shallot mayonnaise, on focaccia roll, served with grilled vegetable pasta salad or potato chips $12.49
Chicken Sandwich – grilled chicken breast sandwich topped with espresso BBQ sauce, bacon, cheddar cheese and choice of grilled vegetable pasta salad or french fries $13.99
Whiskey Maple-Glazed Trout – Served with an arugula-frisee salad $17.99
Slow-smoked pulled Pork Sandwich – with beans, choice of grilled vegetable pasta salad or french fries, and BBQ sauce $11.49
Angus Chuck Bacon Cheeseburger – with bacon, cheddar, lettuce and tomato, served with choice of grilled vegetable pasta salad or french fries $12.99
Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich – with chipotle roasted garlic, lettuce, and tomatoes on a ciabatta roll served with grilled vegetable-pasta salad or french fries $12.49

Over the years we have eaten both lunch and dinner at the Whispering Canyon and depending on the season the guys and gals who serve there seem to be more fired up and “in theme” at dinner so this might be your more “entertaining” meal time to eat.

Cast Members at Whispering Canyon dressed in cowboy/girl outfits take on roles like “the sheriff” or “a school marm” and each have a lot of fun with their personas. As I mentioned this is not a “quiet” restaurant as the servers shout at the top of their lungs at times and tease their guests constantly but know this is just to add to the fun!

Now for the entertainment:

• I dare you to wear a Hat or T-Shirt from Universal or Sea World…

• Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the middle of a spontaneous stick horse race through the restaurant.

• I also remember a hilarious “oath” my daughter took from our server. Very seriously she stood and was then asked to repeat (and promise to carry out) everything the server said including, “I will buy everything I see at the Disney Parks” (my husband loved that one) and “to never, ever, ever visit Universal Studios”.

• When my husband who is known to drink a lot of tea or water kept asking for refills, he was finally brought a 2-pint size jar filled with tea. Then, our waiter invited everyone to join him later “at the pool!”

• Just know that if you happen to answer your cell phone and your server happens to be at your table at the time be prepared for the whole restaurant to shout “Hi” to your caller

• Diners are encouraged to sing and wave their napkins in the air at regular intervals, I hope you can sing!

• I don’t want to give away too much more but I’m going to leave you with one more funny “set up,” go ahead and ask for Ketchup and see what happens!

Remember, if you dine at the Whispering Canyon you have to be in a “good mood” and you must be ready to be teased but also know it is all in fun, and you will laugh and laugh and have many memories to share for years to come.

If you decide you want to give the guys and gals at the Whispering Canyon a try you can always make reservations at 407-WDW-DINE or through your Disney hotel’s concierge or the Guest Relations office at any of the theme parks.

Now getty on up and let me know how they “pulled you in.”

Meeting the Mouse Monday, Introduction

Recently I began thinking about my blog and wanted to give it some organization, therefore I started thinking about my families’ stories and what I thought people would be interested in reading about. I thought long and hard about this and realized heck, in the past 24 years we have been to “Meet the Mouse,” over 20 times.

During those visits we stayed at a variety of Disney properties and a few surrounding “the Mouse” and have eaten just about everywhere, we have celebrated birthday, graduations, holidays, so I suppose one could say I’m pretty experienced when it comes to Mickey’s domain. I have decided to share some of our Disney tales with you on Monday’s; thus the birth of “Meeting the Mouse Monday.”

Now for those of you who are new to my blog what you do not know is that we are a special needs family, so I will be able to give you a bit of insight on traveling to see Mickey with a special needs child too.

What one should know is if you are planning on going to visit Mickey and his friends it is best to do as much research as possible before you go since there is so much to see and do. Depending on the ages of your children or if it is just the “two of you” hopefully reading this will give you some ideas of what you want to do and what you don’t want to waste your time doing. If you have any questions just send them over or if you have anything to share please email me and I will share it with all of you as well.

Next week I will start with the top 10 things I love about Disney… stay tuned…