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The White House Easter Egg Roll~Read before you go.

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The White House Easter Egg Roll

I did not get tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll this year. Yes, I actually applied. I did not apply last year. But I had a change of heart. The first time we went, President Obama was our President. Last year, because I was so disgusted (still am) I did not apply. But then I had a change of heart. The White House is my house. {cue Flo Rida} There just happens to be a grifter in there right now. It will be over soon.

It is. We pay for it, you and I. He’s just a squatter. (and phrases like that are probably why I did not win the Easter Egg Roll ticket lottery) But he won’t be there forever. It was a fun event and I want my kids to go one more time before they are too old and rolling their eyes at the thought of it.

You’ve seen it on TV, right? All those families enjoying an Easter celebration on the White House lawn. “That would be cool to do someday with the kids,” you think.

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Why wait!? I mean, don’t wait! Because you aren’t guaranteed tickets, so it’s best to apply every year and see what happens.

(This post about our trip to the White House Easter Egg Roll was originally published in 2013 but I update it annually so that you have the opportunity to sign up for the lottery.)

Our day at the White House Easter Egg Roll

We had such an exciting day, what a great way to end our spring break! We traveled down to Washington, DC to go to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the south lawn. After evaluating hotels, boarding the dogs, travel time and other things, we opted to do this as a day trip rather than overnight. Keep in mind that DC is only about 100 miles from our home. I thought I’d share some tips I learned along the way since some readers want to plan their own trip. Here are some of my insights and tips for traveling to Washington, DC with a child with special needs, or any kid, really.

How to get tickets for the White House Easter Egg Roll

If you really want to impress your family and friends, get tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll. I wish that I could say I had some fabulous back story as to how I got our tickets. Not so. The truth? It’s a lottery system. So make a note on your calendar to check the White House website in February. They open up a lottery, you give your name and email and hope for the best. Not very glamorous, sorry. However, if you do know someone–like a Secret Service agent, someone who works at the White House, or personally know your Congressman or Senator, you may be able to get tickets that way. If you are a military family, sometimes commands have them to give away. But we were chosen in the lottery so we were on our way!

Where to park near White House

You have a few options. My son still needs a wheelchair for endurance, and it’s a big honkin thing, so our options are limited. In other words, I didn’t want to lug this big stroller onto a Metro. Parking farther out from the city and taking the Metro in is an option. We chose a very expensive parking garage about two blocks from the White House. We paid for the convenience. I had been there before, it was a comfort zone for me and reduced our hassles. There is on-street parking all over the place, as well as parking garages, availability and pricing varies. With a big event (draws over 35,000 people) like this, I didn’t want to take chances.

Waiting in line

There’s lots of waiting in line. So depending on your family, and the weather, you need to be prepared. I saw kids playing with Leap Pads, iPads, phones who knows what else. It’s all on grass, flat grass mind you, but grass. Our wheelchair has big bike wheels so we were OK. I saw some people with wheelchairs struggling a bit, but getting by. If the ground was softer, would have been harder I’m sure. You wait in one section, then they take your tickets. Then you go through security. That was a pain because the wheelchair didn’t fit through the metal detector, so had to take Kevin out, fold it up, go through and so on.

Then after all that is done, you go wait in another line. Now, you’re waiting for the group ahead of you–the group that is on the South Lawn doing the Egg Roll festivities, to finish up and be herded out. When they get out, you can get in.

While we were waiting in that line, there was a giant speaker above us with “kids” music blaring. I mean BLARING. It was brutal. I felt like I was inside the compound at Waco and they were trying to get me to surrender and come out. Brutal. If your child has APD or related issues, beware! Next time, I am bringing his soundproofing headphones. It.was.that.bad. Had there been a way out, I might have left.

Finally, on the South Lawn!

We were admitted on to the grounds about a half-hour past our scheduled time, but finally, we were in. There are lots of activities to do. Crafts, dancing, obstacle course, story time and more. And of course, the egg roll itself, what everyone comes for. Everything is pretty well organized and lines move quickly once you are inside.

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Lots of activities for kids

So, did you see……..the President?

I’ve been asked that several times, and no. Apparently, the family comes out once or twice during the day, but it wasn’t while it was our turn on the South Lawn. Overall, it was a great day though. The weather was perfect. My kids had a great time, we had a great time and I’m happy that my family did this. Taking Kevin there was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone, but as usual, I always feel great when I accomplish it.

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I dressed them in coordinating outfits for this.

Visiting the White House Easter Egg Roll with a disabled child

If you want to plan a trip, here are a few tips for attending the White House Easter Egg Roll with your child with special needs:

  • Food: During the event, very limited. Just a few drink options and an apple for a snack. Pack a lunch or eat at one of the many restaurants all within walking distance. There’s everything from Cosi to 4 and 5 star dining. You are not permitted to bring food to the event. However, I was allowed our Nutri Grain bars. There are many food trucks along the streets with hot dogs and stuff too.
  • Bathrooms: Lots of portable bathrooms that are a bit nicer than your standard port-o-johns. If you have kids, every time you pass one, ask them to go. Because there was a point where we were standing in line for almost an hour, and it would have been impossible to get them to a bathroom during that time.
  • Disability friendly: Several of the NPS workers saw our handicapped tag hanging on the stroller and asked if we needed assistance. I declined, but saw several families taking advantage of it. It’s there if you need it. Also, at each event that I wanted Kevin to do, I just explained that I had to go through it with him and was allowed to do so. All the streets and sidewalks that we walked on in town had the ramps to get on/off curbs.
  • Noise: Waiting in line with that music was the worst part of it. DC is a busy, noisy city. Weather permitting, you should be able to find a park bench or something like that to take 5-10 minutes to sit and chill out if you need to.
  • Strollers: I would take one if you think you might need one. There’s lots of walking and lots of standing, plus I like mine to hold camera, purse and other things we pick up along the way.
  • Date: It’s always the Monday after Easter, if you need to ask for time off well in advance.
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Memories for a lifetime, I highly recommend you go!

Other tips for traveling to Washington DC with kids:

 

 

 

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And this might help....

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