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Old 10-26-2009, 02:48 PM   #1
norybell
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It's a SO-LO trip report! Oct 09, CR/YC, MNSSHP, F&W, and Independence! FINAL UPDATE!

Sung to the tune of “It’s a Small World”:

Some said she was nuts,
Some said she was strange,
Off to Disney World,
All alone, at her age.
But with no kids in tow,
Oh the joys she will know,
It’s a SO-LO trip report!

It’s a solo trip report,
It’s a solo trip report,
Etc.

With no one to rush
And no one to slow,
She sets her own pace,
And goes with the flow,
So much to do and see
Cuz she sure loves Disney,
In this SO-LO trip report!

It’s a solo trip report,
It’s a solo trip report,
Etc. etc. etc.


(I apologize for putting that song in your heads, but hey, I needed to start out with something catchy, right?)

Thanks for stopping by to check out my first-ever trip report! I promise it will be updated with regularity (hopefully), wit (maybe), and lots of photos (definitely).

To help you decide whether you should keep on reading, here’s a snappy little summary: I just returned from five days on my own at the World. The whole trip felt kind of unbelievable—after months of obsessive DIS reading and planning and futile attempts to convince everyone I know that I wasn’t crazy for going to Disney World alone (especially when I’d just been there in May) and planning and dreams of how it would be and, yes, more planning, I was finally there!

Since I couldn’t decide on only one resort, I spent two nights at the Contemporary and two nights at the Yacht Club. I spent more time at the parks than I ever have in one trip, and I was amazed by how short the lines were — I rarely waited more than five minutes for anything! I went to MNSSHP and snacked at F&W. I made it to three out of five of my ADRs. I kept some, but not nearly all, of my plans. I met some wonderful strangers, and some very nice CMs. In general, people didn’t seem particularly rude or not-rude, just normal (as in, sure, some flash photos and line cutting and whatnot, but not too much of it). And I only had one negative experience the entire time (involving an incident with a truly mean man on my last morning), but I'll have to leave you in suspense on that one.

All in all, it was a truly amazing adventure, and totally different from going to WDW with others. Not better or worse, necessarily, just different. And I loved it. I’ll definitely go solo again someday.

Still here? Interested? Well come on then, let’s go!




TABLE OF CONTENTS (for your reading ease and pleasure)
***
A Little History
Monday, October 19
Who Needs More than Three Hours Sleep?: Flight to MCO
DAAAH-LING, This Room is Oh-So Con-TEM-porary
A Lovely Walk: Epcot Part I
On the Monorail: Break at CR, and Epcot Part II
The Grossest Sandwich in the World: An Ill-Fated Dinner and EMH at the MK
Tuesday, October 20
With No One to Wake Me Up, Will I Make it to Rope Drop?: A Magic (Kingdom) Morning
Lunch, Island Exploration, and Frustration over a Hat: More Magic (Kingdom) Morning
In Pursuit of Future Savings, I Take a Stroll through Dixie-Land
Where, Oh Where Have the Queuing Lines Gone?: MNSSHP Part I
A Mini Non-Update about Pins
Boo to You! A Case of Mistaken (Parental) Identity: MNSSHP Part II
Wednesday, October 21
A Lazy(ish) Morning and a Hotel Switch: Checking out of the CR and in to the YC
"I Wanna Be Where the Thrill Rides Are": 90% of a DHS Day
Rockin’ Roller Coaster = Walk-on Roller Coaster: The Remaining 10% of my DHS Day
An Ethiopian/Indian/South African Meal, and Some New Disney Friends
An Unexpectedly Social Evening
Thursday, October 22
9 to 5 at the Animal Kingdom: The First Hour
Animal Kingdom: The Second Hour
Animal Kingdom, the Third Hour (a.k.a., Lunch)
A WDW-Show Virgin Decides It's Finally the Perfect Moment
Nory Falls in Love at Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom, the Final Hour
Even Better than an Update: Wedding Pics!
One Night at Epcot is Never Enough--Let's Have Another (Part I)
One Night at Epcot is Never Enough--Let's Have Another (Part II)
Friday, October 23
The Story of the Mean, Mean Man
I Recover from the Trauma. Sort of.
The Final Update (and a Link to My New TR)!
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DISNEY TRIPS: 1977 - Vacation Villas 1978-1992 - many trips, all Vacation Villas or Treehouse Villas 1996 - Saratoga Springs August 2001 - YC May 2004 - YC April 2009 - YC October 2009 - CR/YC May 2010 - POR/GF/BWI October 2010 - POR/CSR/Poly January 2011 - CBR/WL April 2011 - Pop/GF/BC May 2011 - Disneyland GCH September 2011 - Poly October 2011 - AKL January 2012 - CR February/March 2012 - POFQ/Poly August 2012 - GF/BWI May 2013 - GF/BWV Sept 2013 - BCV Sept 2014 - ???

TRIP REPORTS:Nory Report III: In the Third Person! Nory and Simba CRAWL through the World: A Sept/Oct 2013 PTR Fleeing Wedding Showers for Epcot Flowers It's a SO-LO trip report!


Last edited by norybell; 09-09-2010 at 04:10 PM. Reason: TOC addition
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:55 PM   #2
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I'm in! I often say trip reports and pictures are what keep me sane until my next Disney trip. You'll be contributing to my sanity.
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http://www.disboards.com/showthread....6#post51642226


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Old 10-26-2009, 03:05 PM   #3
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A Little History

Since I’ve been much more of a lurker on these boards than a poster and I don’t really know anyone here, I figure I should introduce myself. (And if you happen to be one of the five people who read my short-lived PTR, I apologize, this part will be repetitive. You might want to skip it.)

Hi, I’m Nory. I’m 33, and I live in Manhattan with my wonderful boyfriend, awesome dog, and evil cat. I used to be a book editor (hopefully ensuring the grammatical accuracy of this TR), and now I work at a bookstore. BF is a writer with a day job at an ad agency. Dog is a dog. Cat is, I’m sure, some sort of evil mastermind, plotting ways to kill us all in our sleep.

I’ve always loved Disney World, since our first trip way back in 1977. My family used to go every other year when I was a kid, always staying in the Treehouse Villas or Vacation Villas.

I’m on the left—don’t my socks and shorts look awesome?


I have absolutely no memory of ever riding Dumbo. My parents always said the line was too long. This photo proves that they figured this out the hard way.



Sadly, by the time I reached high school we’d stopped making it down there very often, though we still went from time to time. But by 2004, it’d been over a decade since I’d had what I would consider to be a real WDW trip. The kind filled with joy and magic. In a spur-of-the-moment burst of inspiration, I convinced my three little sisters (all adults at this point) to head down to the world with me, in an effort to recapture our youth (or something). We went for four days during the first week of May, stayed at the YC, and learned that WDW can be as fun – if not more – for adults as it is for children. We had a blast, and appreciated it in a whole new way.

Five more years passed. Then, this past Christmas, my mom said, “Nory, why don’t you and I take a trip together, just the two of us? We could fly down to Naples (FL) and relax on the beach. Or we could go to Disney World.”

Well, that was a no-brainer! We stayed at the YC for four nights the last week of April, and it was a near-perfect vacation. I discovered the DIS, spent about four months planning, and it totally paid off: we didn’t wait for anything for more than 5-10 minutes, we had some wonderful meals, and we did stuff that was new to us, even after so many trips over so many years.

Of course, the only problem with the trip was that it was way, way, way too short. After spending so much time thinking about it and planning it and spending time on the DIS, I felt like there was so much I didn’t get to see and do. So, once I got home, I was plunged into a bit of a Disney-withdrawal depression. I wasn’t sure when I’d get to go back.

Then I thought to myself, geez, if Disney World makes me so happy, why shouldn’t I go more often? For that matter, why shouldn’t I go again this year? In October, when the crowds won't be bad and the weather will be good? Why not???

The problem was, who would go with me? I knew none of my sisters would be able to travel that time of year, but I didn’t want to go during a busier season. And I thought I could maybe talk BF into it (he professes no interest in Disney and has never been, but he also admits to loving “designed environments,” and I challenge anyone to find a more designed environment than WDW!), but he couldn’t take time off from work. Plus, I think he might be more likely to love Disney once we have kids to take there with us (through the eyes of a child, and all that).

This left just me. I hesitated a bit, but after reading lots of solo trip reports, and getting some good advice over on the solo/adult traveler’s board, it started sounding more and more…liberating.

And it really, really was.

Me in my room at the YC, taking a pic of myself in the mirror. When BF saw this, he said, wow, Nory, you look really happy! To which I replied: I was!


Next up: Who Needs More than Three Hours Sleep?—Arrival, checking in at the CR, and Epcot
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DISNEY TRIPS: 1977 - Vacation Villas 1978-1992 - many trips, all Vacation Villas or Treehouse Villas 1996 - Saratoga Springs August 2001 - YC May 2004 - YC April 2009 - YC October 2009 - CR/YC May 2010 - POR/GF/BWI October 2010 - POR/CSR/Poly January 2011 - CBR/WL April 2011 - Pop/GF/BC May 2011 - Disneyland GCH September 2011 - Poly October 2011 - AKL January 2012 - CR February/March 2012 - POFQ/Poly August 2012 - GF/BWI May 2013 - GF/BWV Sept 2013 - BCV Sept 2014 - ???

TRIP REPORTS:Nory Report III: In the Third Person! Nory and Simba CRAWL through the World: A Sept/Oct 2013 PTR Fleeing Wedding Showers for Epcot Flowers It's a SO-LO trip report!


Last edited by norybell; 11-19-2009 at 07:06 PM. Reason: to remove some exclamation points
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:27 PM   #4
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Giggling over your "evil-mastermind" of a cat,,,and jealous of your trip! I'm rally looking forward to this one...

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The "Bueller" Family hits the world, with Auntie Spratt reporting Pixie Dust LIVE!http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2215281
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:37 PM   #5
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I'm in - I've been debating a solo trip so I'm interested in your experiences.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:08 PM   #7
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Hooray, my first readers! Thanks to you all for posting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeystoontown View Post
I'm in! I often say trip reports and pictures are what keep me sane until my next Disney trip. You'll be contributing to my sanity.
Always happy to help contribute to sanity in any way I can! And I know what you mean. I'm hoping writing a TR will help me deal with the fact that I probably won't be planning another trip until next year at the soonest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSpratt View Post
Giggling over your "evil-mastermind" of a cat,,,and jealous of your trip! I'm rally looking forward to this one...

Mrs. Spratt
Oh, my poor cat. He's become sort of a second-class citizen around here since we got the dog (almost 3 years ago). I'm sure he resents it, and since he wasn't the nicest animal in the world to begin with...

Quote:
Originally Posted by punkin1763 View Post
I'm in - I've been debating a solo trip so I'm interested in your experiences.
You should totally do it! I'm so glad I did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glennbo123 View Post
Looks like fun....count me in.
I hope it will be fun! I plan on having fun with it, anyway.
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DISNEY TRIPS: 1977 - Vacation Villas 1978-1992 - many trips, all Vacation Villas or Treehouse Villas 1996 - Saratoga Springs August 2001 - YC May 2004 - YC April 2009 - YC October 2009 - CR/YC May 2010 - POR/GF/BWI October 2010 - POR/CSR/Poly January 2011 - CBR/WL April 2011 - Pop/GF/BC May 2011 - Disneyland GCH September 2011 - Poly October 2011 - AKL January 2012 - CR February/March 2012 - POFQ/Poly August 2012 - GF/BWI May 2013 - GF/BWV Sept 2013 - BCV Sept 2014 - ???

TRIP REPORTS:Nory Report III: In the Third Person! Nory and Simba CRAWL through the World: A Sept/Oct 2013 PTR Fleeing Wedding Showers for Epcot Flowers It's a SO-LO trip report!

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Old 10-27-2009, 10:33 AM   #8
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Who Needs More than Three Hours Sleep?: Flight to MCO

Just for comparative purposes…

The Plan – Monday, October 19
5:30 – car to airport
7:30 – depart LGA on Jet Blue
10:15 – arrive MCO
~11:30 – check in CR (room probably not ready)
~12:30 – monorail to EP – F&W lunch, Soarin’, Imagination, MS, Amer Adventure, Nemo, Land
whenever – bus to POR, explore POR/POFQ
whenever – break @ CR, get room
by 8:00 – walk to MK
8:30 – ADR @ Plaza
MK until whenever (IASW, Philharmagic)

I didn't bother with ride-by-ride sorts of plans, though with the existence and fun of Ridemax, it was tempting! But I did note ones I particularly wanted to do either because they're my favorites, because we didn't get to them in May (and there was a lot we didn't get to in May), or because I'd never done them before (like American Adventure and Nemo in this case). I was all about trying new things on this trip.

---

My solo Disney adventure began with one of those super-early flights. You know, the kind where you have to get to the airport before 6, so you set your alarm for 4:30. Fun! I had to work the day before I left until 9:00 PM, so I didn’t get home until 9:30, and I still had to eat dinner and everything, and watch Mad Men…you see where this is headed, don’t you?

For possibly the first time in my life, I packed before the night before I left, and I was totally proud of myself over this fact. But there were still all the little odds and ends to get ready, so it was well past midnight before I got to bed. And then, of course, I was too excited to sleep. So I figure I got three hours of rest, tops, before the alarm rang. Ouch! I probably looked something like this:



But after a quick half-hour of preparation, I looked something like this:



Just kidding! I’d never wear such a skimpy top to travel!


[Sorry, those two random Internet shots will be the only photos until I arrive at my resort. I was too tired to have my camera out at the airport. Plus, I figure you all know what it looks like, anyway.]

At 5:30, the car service picked me up. If you didn’t know, Manhattan is a strange place where you can’t call a cab. So if you need some reliable transportation, you call a car service, allowing us all to feel just a little bit glamorous sometimes. The driver was wearing way too much cologne, but he also had free bottled water in the car, so I guess it was an OK tradeoff.

Got to LGA, and I was reminded, as I am every time, of how much I hate LGA. Tiny bathrooms, no good food options, never enough space to sit at the gate…I could go on and on. I had a Baby Ruth for breakfast (healthy, I know). Finally it was time to board; a businessman tried to cut me off in the typical race to get on first and ensure space in the overhead, but my withering stare forced him to remember his manners. I can be very good at that withering stare, when I want to be.

There were surprisingly few children on the plane, for a trip to Orlando.

I thought I would sleep on the plane, and arrive in MCO fully rested. So I put on my neck pillow*, my noise-reducing headphones, and my eye mask. I must have looked like such a dork, but it was in the pursuit of later Disney fun, so I didn’t care! But I hadn’t anticipated the two women sitting behind me. They chatted, loudly, for the entire flight, in another language. Oh my goodness, they were loud. And relentless. My noise-reducing headphones were no match for them.


*A note on the neck pillow: I held off on getting one of these forever. They just seemed silly to me. But halfway through our trip to Hawaii this September, on our layover in San Francisco, I gave in. And I have to say -- those things are fantastic! They really do make flying a hundred times more comfortable, especially if you want to sleep. Plus, mine is pink.

No sleep for me. Eventually I gave up and read my book. As we started our descent, I was struck by the second-worst sinus pain I’ve had in my adult life (the worst being on the flight back from Hawaii, though at least then BF was there to comfort me). The kind that radiates from your nose to your eye and then down the side of your jaw. Not fun. I seriously thought I might die; tears were streaming down my face, and I was chewing my gum like my life depended on it. I felt very sorry for the man sitting next to me.

Obviously, I didn’t die, and the pain thankfully passed. It did make me feel even more wiped out than I had before, though.

And then we were in MCO! Hooray! And we were even twenty minutes early! But my lack of sleep was starting to have an effect. I felt dazed, like I was severely jet-lagged, even though I hadn't changed time zones. Since we'd arrived early, I decided I could sacrifice five minutes of Disney time to get in line at Starbucks for a vanilla latte (something I only order in out-of-the-ordinary situations -- usually I'm a plain ol' coffee girl -- so it remains a special treat).

Then, coffee in hand, I did something absolutely shocking. After all my months of research on the DIS, after having successfully navigated MCO just this past May with absolutely no difficulties, I did something that makes me so ashamed: I went the wrong way to Magical Express! I ended up down on the A side (or the B side, whichever side I wasn’t supposed to be on). I kept walking down that long hallway, past all the car rental counters, thinking, hm, I don’t remember it being this far to get to ME...Finally I asked someone, and felt pretty stupid!

Oh well. At least, with the early landing, I didn’t really lose any time from my mistake. I crossed over and was on a ME bus within ten minutes or so. I couldn’t wait to get to the World!

Coming Soon: Arrival at CR, Epcot, F&W
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DISNEY TRIPS: 1977 - Vacation Villas 1978-1992 - many trips, all Vacation Villas or Treehouse Villas 1996 - Saratoga Springs August 2001 - YC May 2004 - YC April 2009 - YC October 2009 - CR/YC May 2010 - POR/GF/BWI October 2010 - POR/CSR/Poly January 2011 - CBR/WL April 2011 - Pop/GF/BC May 2011 - Disneyland GCH September 2011 - Poly October 2011 - AKL January 2012 - CR February/March 2012 - POFQ/Poly August 2012 - GF/BWI May 2013 - GF/BWV Sept 2013 - BCV Sept 2014 - ???

TRIP REPORTS:Nory Report III: In the Third Person! Nory and Simba CRAWL through the World: A Sept/Oct 2013 PTR Fleeing Wedding Showers for Epcot Flowers It's a SO-LO trip report!

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Old 10-27-2009, 11:33 AM   #9
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Hey, like the photos (particularly the second), even if they were "borrowed" from the internet.

I can never sleep on a plane, and have yet to break down and get one of those neck pillows.

Thank you for posting that you went the wrong way to Magical Express. I did the same thing, with family in tow, and I'd have to check, but I think I was too embarrased to post it on my trip report....I think I just "skipped" that detail.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:40 PM   #10
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I'm in! I've been there with the decent pain. My ears always get to me. It's terrible when the pain makes you cry, but what are you gonna do??
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:51 PM   #11
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am in... great 2 post and glad you had a wonderful time... I think I said that already...

on with the show...

BTW am jealous of the hair... one day.. one day I will copy that hair style...
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:07 PM   #12
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Lovin it

I am soo loving this solo report. I am planning my first solo this Dec. I have wanted to go solo for a looong time. No one to rush no one to slow loved that line. The before and after picture was great. I too look just LIKE the after all the time.
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:15 PM   #13
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I'm in!

I'm doing the same as you...but next year...hitting it just right to do both MNSSHP & F&W.
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:59 PM   #14
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Hey, suddenly I'm a "Mouseketeer," instead of "Earning My Ears!" Woo-hoo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by glennbo123 View Post
I can never sleep on a plane, and have yet to break down and get one of those neck pillows.

Thank you for posting that you went the wrong way to Magical Express. I did the same thing, with family in tow, and I'd have to check, but I think I was too embarrased to post it on my trip report....I think I just "skipped" that detail.
Glad to know I'm not the only one! I'm telling you, though, get a neck pillow. They look ridiculous, but it's worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onelilspark View Post
I'm in! I've been there with the decent pain. My ears always get to me. It's terrible when the pain makes you cry, but what are you gonna do??
Is there anything that can be done for it? I used to have it terribly on planes when I was a kid, then it went away for twenty years or so. But now it's back, with a vengeance!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DFD View Post
am in... great 2 post and glad you had a wonderful time... I think I said that already...

on with the show...

BTW am jealous of the hair... one day.. one day I will copy that hair style...
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeydiane1953 View Post
I am soo loving this solo report. I am planning my first solo this Dec. I have wanted to go solo for a looong time. No one to rush no one to slow loved that line. The before and after picture was great. I too look just LIKE the after all the time.
Thanks, honeydiane! You'll love going solo. And when you're solo, you have plenty of time to come up with revised lyrics to popular Disney songs!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amysita View Post
I'm in!

I'm doing the same as you...but next year...hitting it just right to do both MNSSHP & F&W.
I'm thinking of making it an annual thing, because it was such an amazing time of year to be there. I figure, if friends or family want to come, that's great. But if not, I'll just be solo again, and that's great, too!
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DISNEY TRIPS: 1977 - Vacation Villas 1978-1992 - many trips, all Vacation Villas or Treehouse Villas 1996 - Saratoga Springs August 2001 - YC May 2004 - YC April 2009 - YC October 2009 - CR/YC May 2010 - POR/GF/BWI October 2010 - POR/CSR/Poly January 2011 - CBR/WL April 2011 - Pop/GF/BC May 2011 - Disneyland GCH September 2011 - Poly October 2011 - AKL January 2012 - CR February/March 2012 - POFQ/Poly August 2012 - GF/BWI May 2013 - GF/BWV Sept 2013 - BCV Sept 2014 - ???

TRIP REPORTS:Nory Report III: In the Third Person! Nory and Simba CRAWL through the World: A Sept/Oct 2013 PTR Fleeing Wedding Showers for Epcot Flowers It's a SO-LO trip report!

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Old 10-27-2009, 08:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norybell View Post

Is there anything that can be done for it? I used to have it terribly on planes when I was a kid, then it went away for twenty years or so. But now it's back, with a vengeance!
I always take sinus medicine (even if I "feel" clear), I use Earplanes, and then I also make sure I take Q-tips to my ears to clear out wax (yeah, I know...EW, but it helps.) And right before I get on the plane, I go into the bathroom and blow my nose. If I do all that, I do okay if it's an easy flight. If it's a rough flight or slow landing, I'm still in pain, but not as much. If I miss a step, oh forget it!
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