Some people would say going to Disney World in July is crazy. Some would argue going with two toddlers in July is even crazier. And going with two toddlers in July while their father is deployed? Insane. But why stop there? How about traveling all the way from Germany with two toddlers as a solo parent in order to go to Disney World in July. Absolute madness! Yep, that’s me. I like to consider myself a pretty safe person by nature, but this past summer I decided to step way outside my comfort zone and do something wild and maybe a tad foolish. Here I am, the gal who must have lost her mind in 2017: And those two toddlers I mentioned earlier? They go by Landon and Evie and are 4 and 1 years old. One of them loves Disney with a passion that rivals mine, and the other. Well, let’s just say there’s some work still left to be done in that department. As a lot of you DISers know, my husband is in the Air Force and we currently live overseas in Germany. It has been an amazing experience – life changing – and we watch our time running out over here with sadness. We have been able to travel to some amazing places. London, Rome, Belgium…and have created lasting memories with wonderful friends. However, getting the opportunity to see the world comes at cost and our bill came due last spring when my husband had to deploy. It’s hard having my partner gone, but we’re old hands at this. Just a few years ago, Landon and I took a Disney trip on my birthday and stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge, where I took one of my favorite pictures of him: The biggest difference between the last time and this one (aside from having our homecoming gift from last year AKA: Evie) was the small detail of me being in a foreign country and nowhere near family. Overall it hasn’t been bad, but with summer on the horizon and everything on pause for those few months, I couldn’t help but wonder why I wasn’t doing anything. Just because Dad wasn’t with us didn’t mean the kids and I couldn’t have a wonderful summer together. So, I talked with my family and we decided my mom was going to come over to Germany for a few weeks and visit me and my brother (who also lives here). I present to you: Nana. Well when one comes over, one must also travel back and it seemed like a perfectly logical assumption that the kids and I should tag along on my mom’s return flight. It took a little work hashing out the details; I had to find someone to take care of my dog while I was gone, put holds on my mailbox, ensure nothing unexpected would arise in the time I was in the states, etc etc. But in the end, I set everything up and bought tickets and packed bags and made the leap to fly international with my four and one year old. Talk about a stupid and daring move. My trip spanned three weeks, from July 11th to August 4th and during that time, from July 20th to July 26th I went to Disney World with my mother and my kids. It was an amazing trip, not just the Disney part, but the rather the entire vacation stateside. Both sides of my family live in different parts of Florida, so I divvied up the trip by staying with my parents from the 11th to the 20th, and then with my in-laws the 26th through the 1st. I went back to my parent’s house for a few days before flying back home, and while it was a lot of back and forth across the state of Florida it was a great setup. A little bit of one family, a lot of Disney, a little bit of the other family, and then back to Germany before I could say air conditioning. (That’s a luxury we don’t have in Germany and therefore was cherished by me throughout those 3 weeks.) This was an exhilarating trip for me on a lot of levels, and I think I approached Disney in a way I never have before. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to visit Walt Disney World over a dozen times in the last seven years, but each visit presents itself with new experiences and learning opportunities, and I think that’s one of the reasons I keep returning year after year. No two trips are the same. And for this July 2017 vacation, I was coming at it in an entirely new way. I was returning from a fairly long absence (long by our family’s definition). I was coming back to the world a heck of a lot better traveled than the last time. Would I still feel the same about Cinderella’s Castle after having been inside some of the most beautiful buildings in Europe? I was bringing along not one, but two, kids with the help of a grandparent but not a husband’s. And I was a true, honest to goodness, visitor to the parks. For the first time EVER in my life, I was going to Disney when I didn’t live a few hours away. This was a genuine vacation for me. So many new aspects and such a new adventure, I cannot wait to start talking about my incredible Florida trip and Disney escapade. I sincerely hope you will join me as I rehash stories involving my son entertaining vehicles of people, my daughter trying to swan dive off a table, solo park touring, fights with a lifeguard, and one mortifying incident at quick service restaurant. There will be lots of photos of my kiddos, a few sappy incidences, and countless Disney moments that make these trip reports what they are: A place to share in the love and the memories that people create every single day at the greatest place on Earth. So please, pull up a chair and get cozy, because we’re about to head off on the wildest ride in the wilderness!