Disney Dreaming

September 2018

When we moved to Anchorage and got a Costco membership there was a giant picture of a Disney Cruise on one of the walls. Every time when would go into the store LJ would talk about how he wanted to go on a Mickey boat! We were trying to detox from Disney World but after he was diagnsosed we were all about making every single wish come true! When his wish was granted by Make A Wish and they asked our at the time 2 year old what he wanted as his wish, he said Mickey Boat, but because of his age they couldn’t grant that and in March 2018 we went to Disney World instead! Now Daddy and Mommy could grant the Mickey Boat wish!

We were back in the air but this time as a party of 4! We were about to take an epic pre-MRI trip! 

We arrived at MCO and had our first experience with Disney’s Magical Express. We had never flown to Disney, before so Emmy loved being able to ride the huge busses she had always seen around Disney property. Then we checked in at Disney’s All Star Resort, changed, and ordered our Minnie Van to Hollywood Studios! Minnie Vans are operated by Lyft and Disney World and are a fun and supposedly faster way to get around Disney. They are not free and they do take much more time because they install carseats on the spot for your kiddos. 

One is like OMG, Mom’s traverse needs this paint job. The other is like I’m too Alaskan for this sunshine!

Once at Hollywood Studios we booked it to the new Toy Story Land! When we did LJ’s Make A Wish trip in March, Toy Story Land was scheduled to open June 30th, 2018. So we missed it by a few months. I was heartbroken. Like most little boys, LJ was in love with Woody and Buzz and all I could think about was that he would never be able to see it and most of all I wouldn’t be able to see him experience it! Joshua and I promised each other we would get him here after it opened and we were there!!

Sidenote…he hated the Slinky Dog ride and talks about how it hurt his belly to this day! It was his first rollercoaster in a while and he had a pretty impactful summer so he now had a bit of anxiety about new things. And the bar really did dig into his belly. 

The next morning we went to Magic Kingdom! 

LJ rode, and liked, Mine Train! 

I love my family! LJ showing off his port in front of Mine Train!

We had a huge surprise for our kiddos that day!


I got to squeeze a baby girl we had prayed for, for a long time! Emmy got to see one of her bff’s Roy, and the girls all had the most beautiful custom ears! 

The next morning we were headed to our favorite park, Animal Kingdom! LJ had grown since March and was now able to ride Kali River Rapids!! 

We wandered over to DinoLand U.S.A. and realized Emmaleigh was now measuring 48 inches…she was now tall enough for everything at Disney! We had to go back to Hollywood Studios now…she could ride Rock ’N’!!

We ended that day at Epcot and went back to the resort.

Our last morning at Disney World wasn’t so sad because we were headed to get on a DISNEY CRUISE! But in true Barnes fashion we had to be so extra and wake up early to get on a bus to Hollywood Studios so we could take Emmy to Rock ‘N’ Rollercoaster before the Cruise bus came to pick us up between 11am-12pm lol! The madness was so worth it!

When you stay at a Disney Resort, a lot of magical things happen. When you stay at a resort and take the Cruise Bus to Port Canaveral…REALLY magical things happen, especially with your luggage! You leave them in your room at check out, rush to Hollywood Studios to ride one more ride, and your bags magically appear in your stateroom on the cruise ship! After checking 17 bags at the airport a few months ago the ease of this bag check in was amazing!

Once we got on the ship we explored the kids areas, changed, and went to the Sail Away Party! LJ danced his little heart out, so did Emmy!

We hung out in the Nemo’s Reef splash pad area which is super adorable. Emmaleigh went down a slide she was too little for on her first Disney cruise and LJ went down the Mr. Ray slide!

We ended that very long and fun filled day at dinner! Emmaleigh ordered mac n cheese which is a crazy story…when she was almost 3 we took her on her first Disney Cruise. Prior to knowing she had Celiac Disease, she ate gluten filled mac n cheese at almost every meal because #vacation. She was SO sick almost the entire cruise, she was kicked out of the kids club for fever and explosive diarrhea and sent to the ship’s infirmary to be checked out. We were almost quarantined y’all. But we didn’t think anything of it because this was our normal hot pot Emmaleigh, she was always sick with a really hight fever. She did develop one last symptom on the cruise that would leave me to a google diagnosis of Celaic Disase. Emmaleigh started speaking with a foreign accent, she wasn’t even three.I can remember the way she asked Ava if she “wanted to go to the pool” with her new British sounding accent. The cruise was in September and she was diagnosed in November-ish!

LJ on the other hand slept through the entire meal! The servers made him an awesome place to lay so the 3 of us could enjoy our dinner! 

The next morning we were in Nassau, Bahamas! We got off the ship just to get Em’s hair braided and take the typical picture in front of the sign, look at the first cruise vs second! Until my three wild banshees heard a conch being blown in the distance. It was so funny! As if it were the call of their people, the three of them just gravitated towards the man blowing it near the edge of the water. We bought three conchs, they all learned how to blow them and now we had tools to make the Barnes family even more loud. 

We came back to awesome gifts in our state room! Word got out around the ship that we had a little warrior with us and our kids enjoyed many surprises on the cruise!

My crew sat on the balcony blowing those conchs while other’s (including mama) tried to enjoy their vacations! I really wouldn’t have it any other way

Next we got ready to attend the Mickey Mousequerade Party!! It is basically a Halloween party on the ship with trick or treating and little stations to play games! And of course characters in costumes…including us!

Barnes’ girls DO NOT NEED BANGS! Lol!

LJ just walked around the party fully playing the roll of Sully from Monsters Inc. My sweet, bold, brave, and LOUD boy rawr’d at anyone he came in contact with…including Donald Duck!

The next morning was Emmaleigh’s 7th Birthday!!!! We woke up to Castaway Cay! Disney’s private island oasis! It is just beautiful! We took a bike ride around the island! LJ and I played in the sand while Emmy and Daddy took their time snorkeling around looking for the sunken Disney characters. We dropped the kids off at the kid’s club, they were served a gluten free lunch and we took a tram to the adult beach! We enjoyed a delicious meal and some much needed quiet, for less than 2 hours before we wanted to go back and get our nuggets! They of course weren’t ready to leave their fun, but we scooped them up and went back to the boat! First we stopped at the post office and mailed a few postcards and a message in a bottle from the Bahamian post office on the island. So if you are packing for a cruise anytime soon, take your address book, or update your phone bc my memory had like 6 addresses in it! lol! It was a cheap and fun souvenir. 

Once aboard, we started to get ready for pirates night! One of the highlights of every Disney Cruise! Complete with a Jack Sparrow meet and greet and fireworks!

We thought Jack Sparrow and fireworks were cool, but LJ running through the restaurant chasing servers with his sword, fully embracing his inner pirate was actually the best part! If I have learned one thing since this diagnosis it is to be present, and let them be little. Never in my life would I have let my kids run around a restaurant…now I am so glad I did. He wasn’t hurting anyone, in fact he was providing entertainment. He chased them all the way into the ships galley! LJ fully committed to being a pirate that night!

Our last night on the boat was really bittersweet. We took this trip to try to escaped the cancer bubble that was sucking the life out of us. It definitely worked, but we were being thrown right back into it with another MRI. I have to be honest too and say that everything he did on the trip felt like it would be his last time. It physically hurt to watch him slide down the slides, rawr at Donald, and chase servers with swords. We are obviously a Disney family and it was difficult feeling like this would be LJ’s first and only Disney cruise. So for the last night I put them in matching jammies and we ordered milk and cookies and mickey bars before bedtime! 

The GF hook up! #whyweDisney

They had to drag us off the ship (just kidding…maybe) and we were scooped up by the entire Mcdonnough crew! It was so nice to transition from sorta kinda carefreeness (because after the C word strikes so closely, there is no such thing) to the comfort of such close friends. We went to the zoo!! We had a blast watching all our kiddos enjoy each other!

They took us to the airport, we were flying straight to Cincinnati. It was time for another MRI, a scan after a growth scan.

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