Boy, Are My Arms (And Legs) Tired!!!

You’ve heard that joke, right?  I just flew in from (fill in the blank with a name of a city) and boy are my arms tired!  Well, that’s how I felt today, minus the corny joke.

My family just got back from spring break yesterday afternoon.  I’ll be sharing many parts of the trip with you guys over the coming weeks, but I felt the need to sit down and talk about it.

It all started last Tuesday night with a bit of a freak snow storm in the DC area.  We had tickets to fly to Orlando Friday.  But, school was cancelled for Wednesday.  Early Wednesday, they had already cancelled school in our area but the roads were definitely passable.  My wife, who worked for the school system for a decade, was certain they would cancel school on Friday.  An idea started to form in my head.  Would we wait around until Friday?  Not when we could fly down earlier and get more time in at the various amusement parks!  Challenge accepted.

Not So Fast

I was shocked at exactly how full flights were.  I can’t say I was expecting to find four saver seats on United nonstop (in retrospect especially given these horrendous award flight prices).  But, I could barely check the price of award flights, since all the nonstop flights were booked pretty much solid.  Southwest had a smattering of single seats but at sky-high prices.  There were no nonstop options for 4 people.  Connecting options meant spending a lot of miles and backtracking into the storm path.  No thanks.

Since I’m a genius, I just decided it would be a great idea to drive.  We’d get to the parks a day early and do a little sightseeing on the way.  It would be fun, right?

Not So Fast

It’s a long drive from DC to Orlando.  But, you knew that already.  That’s why we have airplanes.  We drove about 9 total hours the first day and pulled into Savannah, Georgia around midnight.  We got up around 8am and hit the road by 10.  With a stop for lunch and some traffic we were in Orlando by mid-afternoon Friday.  That meant we had  an extra evening at Universal Studios.  When we encountered the mother of all price gouges at Universal, we opted for annual passes.  I was happy to get another day’s worth of value out of them.

We had set the trip up so the first 3 days would be at Universal Studios, deep in the world of Harry Potter.  We’d head to Legoland there and hang out at their new beach resort and have a “rest day”.  After recharging, we’d do a day at Legoland followed by 2 days at Disney World.  Then, we’d head home.  I had built in that recharge day in the middle of the trip to give us a chance to reset.  Even with the long road trip and extra day at Universal, a down day should be just what we needed to finish the trip strong.

Not So Fast

The “rest day” turned out to be a “rest hour” at the pool, after which we headed to Legoland for the rest of the day.  As the trip stretched on, the disagreements mounted.  The tantrums became more frequent.  Leaving any store without a new toy became a battle.  The parents won their fair share of battles.  I’m still not sure who won the war.  At one point, the kids were fighting over who got to sit with who on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Charlie’s favorite ride at Disney World.

Do They Look Tired To You?

I’d had enough.  To be fair, Michelle had as well.  I got upset, gave one of those speeches about how lucky our kids are, and how so many families never get to experience Disney World.  I told my kids how I felt, that hearing them bicker after all of the happiness we had planned made Michelle and I feel as parents.  They both burst into tears, a sure sign it was time to go home and put them to bed.  So, of course, we went and rode Winnie the Pooh before leaving.  Ugh.

The Morning After

Even though I vowed to put us on a slower pace for this trip, I was exhausted when we got home yesterday.  I’m a man possessed in an amusement park, determined to cram as much fun into a day as possible.  And, we did slow down this trip.  However, we were still averaging over 10 miles of walking a day while pushing a double stroller.  Side note: someone should tell the folks who designed my Apple Watch that pushing a stroller for 10 hours is a heck of a lot more exercise than they give you credit for.

What I wasn’t expecting was how I would feel this morning.  Arms, legs, feet, knees, hips, quads, hamstrings.  Everything was sore.  Michelle didn’t cop to feeling that bad.  But, we all know she’s in a lot better shape than I am.

The Final Two Pennies

I’ve got plenty more to share in the future about this trip.  But, as I look back, I’m not entirely sure where it went wrong.  Don’t get me wrong.  We made some great memories.  There was a whole lot more bickering this time.  Lots of greedy, galloping gimmies (which Michelle and I both hate).

Was it because of the long drive?  Were the days too long?  Because of that missing rest day?  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  But, there was definitely more general crabbing on this trip.  And, I feel like a Mack truck hit me.

What do you think?  Have you ever had a family trip like this one?

The post Boy, Are My Arms (And Legs) Tired!!! was published first on Pizza in Motion


  1. I figured out long time ago that long-distance driving isn’t fun. I have a tendency to get highway hypnosis, so I cannot take the wheel for more than a few hours. I will not drive more than 8 hours max and only for a single day. Looking back on all our past roadtrips and I remember each of the long driving days as the low points of those trips. You just have to accept limitations.

    I applaud your willingness to have 100% kid-centric vacations, but I never have had the fortitude to do it myself. We went to Disney World once in our kids’ childhood and that was for a single day. I am not even sure they remember that day.

    When they reached middle-teen years (14+), we took them to Disneyland and dropped them off at the entrance. Twelve hours later, we met them again at the exit and they came home with memories to last a lifetime. I grew up in Southern California and remember Disneyland as the place my parents first set us free unchaperoned. It was the way I preferred it and am thrilled to have been able to give my kids the same memories. We made our kids save their allowance for their tickets too, not unreasonable given that they were teenagers.

    Instead of Orlando, we fed our kids a constant stream of variety, rarely visiting the same place twice. We canoed through the Okefenokee Swamp, frolicking on a plentitude of dazzling beaches on the east and west coast, gobs of national parks, attended thematic folk festivals, had urban adventures in DC, NYC, LA. We instilled wanderlust in them that continues today.

    1. HeavenlyJane, love that story! We continue to show our kids the world. But, Disney also does a decent job exposing them to a bit of the world at EPCOT. We’ll continue on the same path as you, expanding their horizons one destination at a time!

  2. I have to believe as well that driving to FL from the DC area must have colored the whole trip for your family. I live outside Baltimore and shudder at the thought of driving that far with small children. I did it with a friend and her mostly grown son probably 10 years ago. I was older than you are now when I went and it was tough. If you start out tired and cranky, that usually goes one way- toward more crankiness. What do you think in retrospect?

    1. Patricia, I’m still not 100% sure. They were so calm on the drive, almost no complaining. But, it’s one of only two variants from recent Orlando trips, with the length of the trip being the other.

  3. Odds are very high that in a few weeks you will look back on the trip more fondly than right now while you are still recovering from the a$$ kicking side of Orlando theme parks. There are a few possibilities here. One is that the drive indeed set the pace, that everyone started off exhausted, and that no one truly recovered from that level of tired with the Pizza Pace of themeparking. So, while everyone still had very fun moments I’m sure, it didn’t take much to tip the scales to the whines, gimmies, and snips with the lack of adequate rest.

    Another possibility is that the atmosphere of “more is more” of these theme parks with the FastPasses, VIP access, etc. simply rubs off after a while. Lord knows I’ve given that same speech. Could be a signal that it is time to change it up a bit on the next trip, especially since Disney isn’t ‘once in a lifetime’ for our lucky kids.

    I don’t know off-hand how to pull this off at Disney, but our next planned family trip is to Costa Rica. With a two-year-old, we are not ready yet for a true volunteerism trip, but I think we are ready to work some of that into trips when we can. Here’s how we hope to do it in Costa Rica.
    Maybe we can find something somewhat similar for Disney, which is also on our summer radar.

    Your whole family is full of huge hearts, so maybe somehow working helping others into these fun trips would help everyone breath and re-center. Or, maybe just 100% insist on a rest day in the middle of the trip next time.

  4. love your site!


    “At one point, the kids were fighting over who got to sit with ~~who~~ on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Charlie’s favorite ride at Disney World.”:

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