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estherhead
05-30-2011, 04:34 PM
My name is Perla and I love all things Disney. Well... maybe not ALL things. I mean the Country Bears movie and pretty much any Disney sequel are very stupid. And I refuse to decorate my house in Disney, though my vehicle has 5 Mickey heads on it and a bumper sticker that says "My other car is a monorail." So maybe I should just say, "I love Disney a whole lot." Not nearly as dramatic, but certainly more accurate.

This trip report is actually a continuation of my Year of Disney trip report trilogy. It started out all one, but ended up being ridiculously full of Disney stuff so we broke it up.

Trip One was in September and was broken up into 4 days with my sister, mother, 3 year old daughter, and 2 year old nephew at Port Orleans Riverside. This was free dining and awesome. Then the rest of my family came, my dh, 9 year old & 8 year old daughters, we switched rooms at POR and had 4 more amazing days. This was on kids go free promotion. I bought AP's for the 5 of us on this trip, leaving us with a free 5 day kid ticket and a free 5 day adult ticket. And 5 annual passes. Sweet!

Trip One and a half was in November when my sister, Suzy, also quite famous in these parts, went with her family of six in November to the Poly for a DREAM vacation (free dining promotion) and ended by buying AP's too.

We then used those AP's in March for parts of 9 amazing days, 4 nights camping at Fort Wilderness, 3 nights at the Dolphin. It was super great. Trip Two was an amazing adventure.

And now in just two weeks: TRIP THREE!!! Yup, we have annual passes and we know how to use them!

So before I drop you into all the details of our amazing 2 weeks summer Disney/beach trip extravaganza, the CAST!!!

We are basically 2 families, with a few bonus people.

Here is the Perla clan:
http://i370.photobucket.com/albums/oo145/estherme12/March%20trip%20alternative%20folder/Photo0139FourBySix.jpg

I've decided to use the Wiki definitions of our personalities since I chose our names specifically for the purpose of our matching personalities. Edited, for brevity and for the traits they have most in common, of course.

Donald: Donald's dominant personality trait is his short temper and, in contrast, his positive look on life. Many Donald shorts start with Donald in a happy mood, without a care in the world, until something comes and spoils his day. Donald has proven that he is a Jack of all Trades. Among his personality traits is his stubbornness and commitment.

Perla: ME! One of two, so this will be repeated under Suzy. Two female mice that help Cinderella get ready in the mornings and lead the rest of the female mice to make Cinderella's dress. Though they're both portrayed as kind and helpful, Suzy is seen as being more reserved and calm; Perla is seen as having more sass and is a bit forceful.

Mulan: Mulan is kind, bold, self-reliant, strong-hearted and shows little interest in romance. She is clumsy, outspoken, tomboyish and independent. Early in the first film she is very insecure and self-loathing, thinking that she will only continue to dishonor her family. As the story continues she starts to gain confidence in herself and after saving China, she finally sees herself as the person she always wanted to be, having brought honor to her family and country.

Ariel: She is very kind and lovely, although often naive, and overwhelmed by her emotions, which tends to get her in trouble.

Boo: Boo is a young, naive, curious girl. (Sorry, not a lot on Wiki about her. This definition cracked me up a bit since have you ever met a 3-4 year who isn't naive?)

So that is the Perla clan.

Now introducing the Suzy clan:

http://i370.photobucket.com/albums/oo145/estherme12/March%20trip%20alternative%20folder/Photo0284FourBySix.jpg

Milo: A linguist and cartographer who has studied the Atlantean culture and learned to translate the Atlantean language. He is logical-minded, brave, timid, and always tries to do the right thing. (I just have to add that our Milo is NOT a linguist nor a cartographer but he is a studious, master of the English language. Also, he isn't timid. I don't even understand how you can BE brave and timid at the same time so ignore the word timid.)

Suzy: Two female mice that help Cinderella get ready in the mornings and lead the rest of the female mice to make Cinderella's dress. Though they're both portrayed as kind and helpful, Suzy is seen as being more reserved and calm; Perla is seen as having more sass and is a bit forceful.

Prince Charming (just called Charming): I've given up trying to find a Wiki definition as Prince Charming is too generic. But you all KNOW what this name means. And all that you imagine, that is what our very own Charming is. Kind, helpful, handsome, confident, not afraid to be a hero.

Buzz: Famed Space Ranger known for heroism and bravery. Buzz is a stickler for procedure, but will tell a cover story if he needs to. However, he has little people skills, and at times displays a lack of common sense.

McQueen: McQueen is young, selfish, and arrogant, over-confident that he can win the Piston Cup on his own, without help from any pit crew. However, he is also something of a perfectionist, and will not cease to get something done right even if it wasn't in his best interest to indulge in it in the first place.

Jack-Jack: Initially believed to be the only family member without any powers, he manifests a multitude of superhuman abilities at the end of the film, most of which involve some form of shapeshifting. (Also, he's the youngest of the Parr's. And in our Jack the shapeshifting isn't literal, it is the figurative capability of becoming a character, like he IS Indiana Jones or Captain Jack Sparrow and 100% becomes that person down to getting VERY angry when we call him his "normal" given name.)

Finally, we are adding three people to this TR. Two, have been in my TR before. Generally referred to as Mom and Dad. Yes, I know I got VERY creative in those two names. :lmao: They are Suzy and my parents. And they aren't going to Disney, just on the beach part.

And we are adding a new friend. This introduction page actually got completely stopped due to my trying to figure out what to name her. I'll just be blunt, she is black making Tiana seem the obvious choice. And my family seems pretty determined. But I didn't choose the other names based on external things. Like Suzy and I, for example are not actually mice. And McQueen is not a car. So it bothered me that my friend is an opera singer and laid back and Tiana is VERY into food and quite intense. To be honest, my friend has more in common with Prince Naveen than Tiana. But that just seems confusing.

When all was said and done I think I've settled on naming her Esmerelda. In real life we shorten her name often and just like I often call Jack-Jack simple Jack, I think I will call her Emmy. Here is her wiki definition:

Esmerelda: She is a fearless and streetwise gypsy with a heart of gold (and is very capable of defending herself). She's also able to look beyond physical appearances. Esmeralda is a wonderful heroine whose greatest wish is to see outcasts like Quasimodo and her fellow gypsies be accepted into society and be treated as people.

And here is a photo of her holding a wet and muddy Boo last summer on a trip we took to NYC and upstate NY:
http://i370.photobucket.com/albums/oo145/estherme12/March%20trip%20alternative%20folder/IMG_2568.jpg

It's not the best photo in the world of her, but it was the first one I found.

In addition to knowing the cast, you also need to know the basic plan. We intend on staying in a house in Windsor Hills called Disneyliscious. It is paid for! Woot woot! :woohoo: for six nights.

And a beach house for the following 7 nights on Daytona Beach.

Coming up next: How a plan was born. How a friend got invited. How excited are we?

jedijill
05-30-2011, 06:28 PM
I'm in!

Jill in CO

WalkingintheFog
05-30-2011, 08:20 PM
I'm finally near the beginning of a pre-trip report! Woo hoo! Hello Suzy, Perla and the other cast members!

OhMari
05-30-2011, 09:01 PM
I know how to plan a trip to Disney, but how did you find a house to rent in Daytona?

estherhead
05-30-2011, 10:32 PM
I'm in!

Jill in CO

I'm finally near the beginning of a pre-trip report! Woo hoo! Hello Suzy, Perla and the other cast members!

Woohoo!!! First two to join the party. :)

I know how to plan a trip to Disney, but how did you find a house to rent in Daytona?

I rent the huge majority of our houses off www.vrbo.com. I search in the general area and any that meet my minimum requirements I email and ask them what kind of deal they can cut me. Then we choose based on amenities and price. I've been doing it for years and have never been cheated nor disappointed. Here is our Daytona place:
http://www.vrbo.com/341905

It is ocean front and we emailed TONS of places up and down the coast from South Carolina on down. It was by far and away the best deal for peak season oceanfront.

houseful of boys
05-30-2011, 10:58 PM
Woohoo!!:cool1:Suzy checking in. We leave in under two weeks! Seems like our March trip was just yesterday and we get to go again! I :love: annual passes.

estherhead
05-30-2011, 11:01 PM
Part of original plan, when we started discussing our year of Disney last spring (after my other vacation plans fell through) was to do a post-school trip. Our kids are already out of school but Milo has to finish teaching and so it was to be mid-June. I would have preferred the slower early June but I take what I can get.

Once the dates were chosen we wanted to do a different trip than the other 2, making all three trips totally different experiences. We also thought I could donate my extra ticket (I gave the kid one to Suzy for Jack-Jack on their November trip) and invite someone to go along basically for free if we rented a house.

At first, we chose a family that never gets to do anything like this as the father has health problems and limited funds. We decided we would contribute for the rest of their tickets and invited them. But after MUCH family discussion on their part, they turned down our offer. :confused3 They just felt health wise it might set them back and might not be worth it in the long run.

So then we invited my best friend in the world (other than those already in this TR) who actually had been to WDW with us before. But through much confusion and discussion and trauma, that didn't work out either.

Then Donald, who had been saying this for a bit, INSISTED that we take Esmerelda. Suzy and Milo know her, but not as well as us. So they just weren't sure. But in the interim of Donald mentioning it the first time and bringing it up months later she had begun going to Suzy and Milo's once a week to take guitar lessons from Milo and as they got to know her better they realized it was a genius plan.

Part of the genius is that Charming will be old enough to perform on American Idol at DHS this trip. But since he is only 14 it would be better if a true adult were with him. Milo could do it as he is an experienced performer and musician. However, what if Milo won and Charming didn't? That would be AWFUL! So what if Esmerelda were to come with us and audition with him? She is a trained opera singer.

And thus, a person was chosen. And finally we got someone to say yes to a free WDW trip. You wouldn't think it would be that hard, would ya?

Emmy is THRILLED. Seriously, beyond excited. She went to Disney World when she was two. And even though she said she doesn't like any thrill rides she is going to everything as she feels it would be a crying shame to go to WDW and not ride Tower of Terror and all the rest it has to offer. There is only one thing which we agree to differ on for the time being. She is TERRIFIED of characters. Yup, just like Boo a few years ago. That afraid.

She goes with us from time to time to the local college ball games and FREAKS out when the mascot comes over. We've told her she doesn't have to go up to them but Boo will have to meet some. She really is afraid she may not even be able to see them. How can she see Fantasmic? We've assured her no character will touch you if you do not want to be touched but I have this vision of one of those pop-up parades they have at MK now and Woody coming over to high five Jack-Jack and her just having a Boo like melt-down. Oh dear. She's 27, by the way. So you can imagine the scene of her running down Main Street screaming with a parade of characters chasing her. :rotfl:

I already gave you tips with her name and that she can sing really well. The other things to say about her is she has an amazing sense of humor. I got her giggling at a wedding last night by talking to this 25 year old guy about training bras and 13 year old girls starting their periods. He blushed BIG time and the rest of the conversation she kept giggling. She'd pull it together and contribute to the conversation and then suddenly, minutes later burst into hysterical laughter and choke out, "Training bras, you just walked up and started talking about training bras."

Things like that just crack her up. The bizarreness of the human condition.

She is up for absolutely anything. She and I have run a few races together. She loves healthy food and exercise but isn't uncool about it. And a really important thing is, she loves our kids. All seven.

Once it was decided that she would go, we had a lot to discuss. Most importantly was matching t-shirts. I was really afraid this would be a big deal. It takes a special kind of person to want to go with a family of 11 and match them in their super dorky tshirts.

But I explained my main worry. We're all white. She's black. We're all in matching tshirts. She's not. What are the chances that the people in charge of rides are going to think she is with us? We'll go to the front, hand in our FP's. All get arranged and she'll be left behind. Or my worst fear is that someone will think she is trying to take one of our kids.

This is not unfounded either. Donald was in Lowe's a few months ago with Boo. Emmy saw Boo before she saw Donald and was like, "Hey, Boo, what's up?" Boo goes up to her and takes her hand to show her something. and a lady in the aisle called security. :eek: So Donald made a big show of his love for Esmerelda and walked off with her. But if she is in matching tshirts, then all the trouble will go away as it will be quite obvious the kids belong with her.

Anyway, I thought it would be a hard sell. So I broached the subject carefully. And she immediately said, "Let me see them." So we went downstairs. She loved them. Discussed how to make hers done at a different time match. And then she spent an hour designing a special one for the 10 of us to wear while she and Charming do AI to support them.

It was then I knew, she was the perfect choice.

Woohoo! Team Esmerelda. We get to introduce a newbie to the glories of WDW. Should it be the word introduce? Or corrupt?

estherhead
05-30-2011, 11:08 PM
Woohoo!!:cool1:Suzy checking in. We leave in under two weeks! Seems like our March trip was just yesterday and we get to go again! I :love: annual passes.

I know! Crazy, right? I'm gonna order the AmyMickey tshirt iron on stuff tomorrow and Wednesday we need to order the shirts. I'll ask Emmy tomorrow to look at Jiffy shirts for a color and we can decide for sure tomorrow night. She said tomorrow is the day she switches to go mode. Time to get our game faces on and get everything in order!!!

Look, everyone! Suzy is on board. That's when you know it's official.

Side note, we went to see POTC 4 tonight and I found myself getting butterflies in my tummy every once in awhile. And Boo said when the castle came on in the beginning with the pirate flag on top, "Can we take Emmy to see the castle soon?" And I said, "How about in two weeks?" She has no idea what that means but I knew it was exciting!

We all rated POTC 4: On Stranger Tides to be 9 out of 10 stars. Not as good as 1 but better than 2 & 3.

Oh, another hilarious thing for those of you that have seen it, or those who haven't I guess, in the mermaid scene Boo looks us at me and says, "Those girls are like Ariel only mean. They are very mean Ariels." :rotfl: What could I do but agree? She had summed up the scene perfectly.

estherhead
05-30-2011, 11:53 PM
Ok. I WILL get to all the good stuff, like the mental process of choosing where to stay, where we're gonna eat, what we're gonna do. And, of course, EXACTLY how to use FP's. This is the stuff you expect from a Suzy/Perla TR. But first, I have to tell you about the month of May.

Suzy and I work for my dad. He started a heating company in 1977. It was successful and a few years later he joined up with his best friend as a partner. My dad, mom, and BF (best friend) spent the next 30 years turning it into an amazing business with a great reputation and 30-40 employees.

Suzy and I have each worked there for most of our adult lives. And Milo and Donald for a lot of theirs. Yes, even though Milo is a college professor, he still works at the family business.

A few years ago my dad had a health scare and ended up in the hospital. This made all of us sit up and take notice and realize that time is passing and none of us are getting any younger. Mom retired for real. And Suzy and I agreed and became vice president and sectretary-treasurer. But really Dad still made all the decisions.

For the last two years his health continued to fail and this leads to confusion as some days he is as he has always been, an amazing administrator, a force to be reckoned with. And some days he cannot remember any conversations he's had in the last 24 hours. His partner and us had to forge a new relationship together which takes time. And our general manager had kind of lost interest in holding up the whole venture all on his own.

So basically, lots of people were talking about things, but no action was taken as it was difficult to make any move in the midst of it all.

This leads us to the end of April when, because of the economy and mild temperatures, our business died down to frightful lows. Through fighting, crying, and pushing, Suzy and I (along with our mom) got dad to agree to have a massive, temporary lay off. We would absorb all the work ourselves. Since we were slow, it wouldn't be bad.

Though we didn't ask, our general manager volunteered to be laid off. And I agreed to take over the majority of his responsibilities while Suzy and my mom ran all the office jobs.

The first few days of this arrangement were fun. They were chaotic, but fun. Jack-Jack and Boo were there watching cartoons and we were all playing shop.

But then the weather broke. And things got busy. And busier. And busier. And then we had the first 90 degree day. In our business of installing air conditioning that is the signal for things to get busy. And all of the people who had been waiting to buy, bought.

We doubled this May what we had sold in May the previous years. Doubled. With a staff half the size and little old me holding down the ship.

Not a great plan.

So basically I had a total meltdown last week. Mom and Donald saved me and I've had 4 days off to think and ponder. Our staff is all back but the general manager and he is going to stay off for at least the summer. And we have two weeks to get a new plan of action up and running so we can all leave the business, not in shambles, and head off to our vacation.

In addition to this my parents have had some very disappointing news in our extended family. And my father has been forced to face his new limitations both at the office and in other areas. This has been VERY hard on him.

As for Suzy's May: she has bought a new house and prepared her current one to sell. Charming is going to home school and go to college next year so she's had to deal with preparing for that too. In addition to all the above stuff I already mentioned.

Milo has also had huge and emotional things going on and Donald has been assisting me and working about 60 hours a week. And yes, Boo has been with him and I through all this as we don't have a babysitter nor preschool since there hasn't been a need before this month.

So I've cried a lot in May. But I'm optimistic about the future and feel that now more than ever Donald, Milo, Suzy, and myself are ready to carve out our next niche. And what better way to kick off the next 20 years than Disney?

And yes, I WILL be drinking quite a little bit on this vacation. Don't judge.

knitster
05-31-2011, 10:23 AM
Yay! Another Suzy/Perla clan trip report is coming! I can't wait!

Kat in GA
05-31-2011, 03:58 PM
Yippee! Another Suzy and Perla trip :thumbsup2

I so need to figure out how to make matching shirts. And I really need your "We have annual passes and are not afraid to use them" one. I am already planning trip number three - and that is just in the next 6 months!

mshadel
05-31-2011, 08:01 PM
What a lot of stresses in your family and for you this past month. I think you all sound like such great people, and you really deserve a nice vacation! But you're so upbeat and optimistic that I know all the stresses will turn out OK in the end. My family is actually going to be at Disney at the same time as yours and we've even got the matching T-shirts (well, at least my kids will--still don't have buy-in from the extended family). We've also got my Dad in tow with health challenges that sound similar to what you're dealing with...which will make touring in the parks interesting. So if you see another family waving at you supportively, that is us!

Dugette
05-31-2011, 09:47 PM
I'm here and looking forward to following along! Sounds like May was extremely challenging for your family! I hope this upcoming trip is exactly what you need and all goes well with the business.

estherhead
05-31-2011, 10:37 PM
Welcome everyone!

Yay! Another Suzy/Perla clan trip report is coming! I can't wait!

And coming fast!

Yippee! Another Suzy and Perla trip :thumbsup2

I so need to figure out how to make matching shirts. And I really need your "We have annual passes and are not afraid to use them" one. I am already planning trip number three - and that is just in the next 6 months!

We have another set to make and Emmy needs hers so I'll try to take some photos and make you a tutorial. Although we kind of cheat and that will be hard to replicate. We have an iron press at work so I don't have to slave over an iron forever.

What a lot of stresses in your family and for you this past month. I think you all sound like such great people, and you really deserve a nice vacation! But you're so upbeat and optimistic that I know all the stresses will turn out OK in the end. My family is actually going to be at Disney at the same time as yours and we've even got the matching T-shirts (well, at least my kids will--still don't have buy-in from the extended family). We've also got my Dad in tow with health challenges that sound similar to what you're dealing with...which will make touring in the parks interesting. So if you see another family waving at you supportively, that is us!

:hug: Thanks. I told my mom today I feel like I just got plunged into being an adult this past month. She agreed with me that maybe 37 was as good a time as any. Here's my question? When did I get to the point that I'm the wise authority on things? I'm just the idiot girl finding her way in this world. And suddenly people speak to me as if I might actually know the answer to their questions. And bizarrely, sometimes I do know the answer. How did this happen?

Anyone?

:lmao:

I'm here and looking forward to following along! Sounds like May was extremely challenging for your family! I hope this upcoming trip is exactly what you need and all goes well with the business.

I hope it goes well too! Today was much better work-wise and the guy who is gonna take my place while on vacation met with Milo and I this morning and it was a great meeting so that made me more comfortable about everything.

I have to tell you a story, though. One of the contractors got nervous to have little old me in charge of his account. I discovered he just took his 4 year old granddaughter to WDW and decided to asked him about it and he spent well over 15 minutes schooling me on how to do WDW properly. :laughing: I just listened and asked questions and let him advice me up and down. I really wanted him to like me and figured asking him how to do a proper Disney trip would be a great way to bond.

His TSM advice was to go first thing in the a.m. so I can avoid the 85 minute line he stood it! :rolleyes1 I said not a word about FP as it was a better vibe for me to take his advice. He's a very nice guy and I did crack up when he said he told his wife there better be 2 playboy bunnies and a margarita at the end of an 85 minute long line. :rotfl:

And I did tear up a bit when he told me the story of his granddaughter meeting Cinderella and falling completely speechless in awe of meeting a real princess. He said it was worth all the money and effort and lines just for that moment. :cloud9:

Just thought it would amuse you all that I got a Disney education today.

Torrance
05-31-2011, 11:27 PM
Hi! Just wanted to say that I'm sorry May has been such a stressful month. :hug: I'm glad that things have gotten a little better recently for you. And lol about your client "schooling" you on Disney... That's really sweet about his granddaughter meeting Cinderella for the first time. :)


I'm looking forward to reading about your next trip :yay:

WalkingintheFog
06-01-2011, 08:24 PM
Hugs to both of you and to all.

I was reading down thru:surfweb:, thinking, I'd say yes to a Disney offer from you guys in a heartbeat! I could belong with you lot:

I like to/want to camp, I value my family & parents:grouphug:, I believe OCD means something about On-Control Disney:teacher:!
I eat somewhat healthy :banana:(except this week, when I realllllly needed cream cheese icing by the spoonful), I'd run with you, I think group shirts are a great idea, esp at Disney. (but when you travel alone, somehow it's not the same....., people don't realize your whole group is dressed alike....:rolleyes1, lol)

And I read on: it's been a roller coaster month for all of you, you've cried, but you've laughed and cried some more...... I've cried a lot :sad1: this month, and expect to cry alot in June......And if I don't get out for a run, a drink won't be going astray.... hoping it won't mess up my newly minted Weightwatchers's Lifetime status!

Anyway, here's to you guys and another trip planning event/trip report! Bring it on!
:wizard:Where do you keep your pixie dust?!!!!:wizard:

estherhead
06-02-2011, 12:21 AM
Hi! Just wanted to say that I'm sorry May has been such a stressful month. :hug: I'm glad that things have gotten a little better recently for you. And lol about your client "schooling" you on Disney... That's really sweet about his granddaughter meeting Cinderella for the first time. :)


I'm looking forward to reading about your next trip :yay:

Awww... Thanks. You guys are all so nice.

Hugs to both of you and to all.

I was reading down thru:surfweb:, thinking, I'd say yes to a Disney offer from you guys in a heartbeat! I could belong with you lot:

I like to/want to camp, I value my family & parents:grouphug:, I believe OCD means something about On-Control Disney:teacher:!
I eat somewhat healthy :banana:(except this week, when I realllllly needed cream cheese icing by the spoonful), I'd run with you, I think group shirts are a great idea, esp at Disney. (but when you travel alone, somehow it's not the same....., people don't realize your whole group is dressed alike....:rolleyes1, lol)

And I read on: it's been a roller coaster month for all of you, you've cried, but you've laughed and cried some more...... I've cried a lot :sad1: this month, and expect to cry alot in June......And if I don't get out for a run, a drink won't be going astray.... hoping it won't mess up my newly minted Weightwatchers's Lifetime status!

Anyway, here's to you guys and another trip planning event/trip report! Bring it on!
:wizard:Where do you keep your pixie dust?!!!!:wizard:

See??? I knew it shouldn't have been that hard! You were there all along.

I'm SUPER sorry you're crying. I lost 3 lbs in May due to stress and gained them all back this week, also due to stress. :lmao: Crying DEFINITELY affects eating patterns.

But more than anything else I want to say:

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE my lifetime WW friends. I was able to keep up my running through a lot of May but lost it due to the insanity. ANd now have a trip to get ready for in 8 days! So I'm unsure if I can make it a priority. I think my current plan is to start again on Daytona Beach with my actual program instead of the random informal thing I've been doing the past few weeks. Like a little kick-off party to the rest of my life!

I clearly don't know what's going on in your life but as a (very part time now) WW leader I have to give you the generic advice I give myself and members: BE selfish when you have to be. If you give everything of yourself, you'll have nothing left to give. You're worth it!!!

And as a new motto for all of us:
"Always keep your pixie dust in your underpants!" Good motto to live by. ;)

knitster
06-02-2011, 01:01 AM
I just wanted to let you know that, partly due to your glowing recommendations, I joined Weight Watchers today! No one in my family struggles with weight at all, so they don't understand how huge this is for me, but I had to tell *someone* and I knew a lifetime WW member and leader would care!

Now back to you regularly scheduled pre-trip reporting...

estherhead
06-02-2011, 01:22 AM
I just wanted to let you know that, partly due to your glowing recommendations, I joined Weight Watchers today! No one in my family struggles with weight at all, so they don't understand how huge this is for me, but I had to tell *someone* and I knew a lifetime WW member and leader would care!

Now back to you regularly scheduled pre-trip reporting...

:dance3:

Woohoo! Suzy, Walkinginthefog, and I can be you secret support team! :hug:

Little advice: fruit, fruit, fruit! :rotfl: Laughing cow cheese, Hormel turkey pepperoni (slices and sticks!), Special K sour cream and onion cracker chips, Pringles chedder sticks...

I could go on & on. It's all about surrounding yourself with stuff you love so you don't feel deprived. Never eat something you don't like. Never. If you get a bite that isn't great, spit that bad boy right out!

For dinner tonight I had pork tenderloin & zucchini, onions, red potatoes on the grill, little bit of rosemary and garlic. Yum! And easy!

OK, getting off my ww soap box.

Suzy and I are getting together tomorrow to finalize some Disney stuff. Naturally, I'll tell you all about it tomorrow night. :woohoo:

Laura Loves Tigger
06-02-2011, 09:06 AM
I'm in! So sorry that your May has been so difficult. Can I just say how impressed I am that you all work together AND vacation together! Family is so important and it's great that you all love each other so much! :)

LovesBelle
06-02-2011, 03:37 PM
I am trying my own hand at a trip report because I have enjoyed yours so much! (I also changed my profile name from mshadel so it won't be so obvious to anyone who I am, in case anyone I know stumbles upon it). I can't post a link to it since it won't let me post links or images yet until I've got 10 posts under my new user name, but if you find it you will see that I have copied some of you naming conventions...

estherhead
06-02-2011, 10:43 PM
I'm in! So sorry that your May has been so difficult. Can I just say how impressed I am that you all work together AND vacation together! Family is so important and it's great that you all love each other so much! :)

Thanks. It took awhile for us to all merge and bond fully but Donald and I have been married 16 years and Suzy and Milo for 19. Somewhere in the course of all that we all became best friends.

I am trying my own hand at a trip report because I have enjoyed yours so much! (I also changed my profile name from mshadel so it won't be so obvious to anyone who I am, in case anyone I know stumbles upon it). I can't post a link to it since it won't let me post links or images yet until I've got 10 posts under my new user name, but if you find it you will see that I have copied some of you naming conventions...

Congrats! I'm off to check it out...

estherhead
06-03-2011, 04:02 PM
One week. That's right, folks. We are well into single digits and I haven't slowed down to breathe yet!

As I already mentioned, our business is tied to the weather. So last week and this week, the first steady, 90 degree weeks, our entire team of technicians and their support and our sales staff (including Donald & Milo) will all pull in 60-80 hours worth of on job time. That's right, 80. During the main 5 days many work 13 hour days. And our emergency service technicians will work through the weekends as well.

We wait and we wait for these two weeks. We love them. But NORMALLY they come in May. And by mid-June it is the perfect time for us to take a vacation as the work is steady but not crazy. So the timing of this now makes everything off.

Not that we're changing anything, mind you. I just am pointing out that chaos is ruling Suzy & my lives currently.

Also, my two adult nieces (who I love), had a bit of trouble with the house they rented and moved in with us last night. Along with their 2 dogs and 2 bunnies.

And Suzy has an open house this weekend which means not only does her house have to be immaculate, her closets, pantry, office, and garage do too. :scared1::scared1:

Can you imagine?

In spite of all that, she and I took some time to go shopping yesterday and had a grand time buying bathing suits & accessories. We had so much fun, we went back and picked up Mulan & Ariel and made them go back out with us and shopped until 10!

I also bought a super great canopy for the beach portion of our trip. I'm using it tomorrow at a fishing derby (yeah, we live in the sticks. I know.) So I'll post pictures of us under it on Sunday.

We booked our hotel for the way down and for our first night in Orlando as well. And we wrote our itinerary and bought our white t-shirts for our American Idol shirts.

So we accomplished a TON! Now I just have to do the work and figure out food. And then make my itinerary books.

Also, my check on the final payment for the house hasn't cleared yet so that is stressing me a little. I sent it on May 17th to Canada. Here's hoping it'll clear before we leave!

OK, gotta go. I typed as fast as I could but still barely scratched the surface of what I'd like to convey.

I'll post more when I do more!

estherhead
06-04-2011, 10:26 PM
Thursday
10:00 p.m. All luggage for car top carrier need to be at Perla's

Friday
11:30 a.m. Gas tanks filled, Leave.
12:00 noon Eat our packed lunch
5:00 p.m. Fast Food dinner
10:00 p.m. Arrive at Hotel, Savannah, Ga
610.98 miles driven

Saturday
8:30 a.m. Hotel breakfast
9:00 a.m. On the road
Noon Fast Food lunch
3:00 p.m. Arrive at Homewood Suites at Crossroads
281.63 miles travelled
5:30 p.m. Kona Café, Polynesian Hotel
Take beach toys, bug spray, & an extra change of clothes for Boo & Jack-Jack (don't worry, we don't use the pools)
Enjoy drinks and hammocks on Poly beach.
10:00 p.m. Wishes from Poly beach.

Sunday
7:00 a.m. Hotel breakfast
8:00 a.m. In vehicles
9:00 a.m. MK Rope drop (get Splash FP)
Fantasyland (not Philharmagic nor Peter Pan) (Get BTMMR FP), Dumbo, Pooh, Snow White, Tea Cups, Carrousel, Small World
Haunted Mansion (Get Peter Pan FP)
Adventureland (Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Aladdin) (Get Space Mt. FP)
Eat lunch at Pecos Bill’s or Tortuga Tavern (at 11:30, where ever this falls in our doing rides)
Then do Splash Mt & Big Thunder
Do Peter Pan, Philharmagic, Space Mt., Buzz, Laugh Floor (If possible, get Buzz FP as soon as Space is up)
4:00 p.m. Check in to house.
Quickly empty the vehicles and Suzy, Mulan, Charming, Emmy grocery shop while everyone else unpacks
6:00 p.m. Grocery shopping people bring dinner home with them
Those who wish to go to DHS Star Wars weekend may. DHS is open until midnight. MK is open till 11:00
All else can stay in our new home and swim/relax

Monday
8:00 a.m. Leave house
9:00 a.m. Epcot Rope Drop
Test Track (Get Soarin’ FP), Mission:Space, Universe of Energy, Spaceship Earth
Nemo & Crush, Captain E.O., Imagination
The Land Pavilion
Eat lunch at Sunshine Seasons (eat at 11:30 when ever that falls in our doing rides.)
Coke spot so Emmy can try them all (and I can get a great pic of her trying Beverly ;))
World Showcase (Big kids can choose Innovations or Kim Possible)
4:00 p.m. Eat dinner at CS in Mexico
5:00 p.m. Get in line for Hotel California (5:45 p.m. show)

Tuesday
7:45 a.m. Leave for DHS
9:00 a.m. DHS for Toy Story Mania March
Star Tours. FP & ride
10:00-10:30 a.m. Charming & Esmerelda audition for American Idol
Great Movie Ride (FP RnR)
11:30 a.m. Indiana Jones (FP ToT)
Noon Lunch at Backlot Express
Through afternoon: Watch Emmy & Charming in AI, Animation Studios, Beauty & Beast, use our FP’s
7:30 p.m. No matter what happens with AI, we should be able to leave park by 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday
11:30 a.m. Ready to go to DHS
12:40 p.m. Sci-Fi Dine In (Star Tours FP)
Mermaid, RnR, ToT, Animation Studios, anything else we want or missed
3:00 p.m. Pixar Parade
8:00 p.m. Get Fantasmic seats
9:00 p.m. Fantasmic

Thursday
1:00 p.m. Leave for Epcot
2:00 p.m. Whatever we want
5:30 p.m. San Angel
9:00 p.m. Illuminations

Friday
8:30 am Ready to go
9:00 am Animal Kingdom Rope Drop
Dinosaur (EE FP), Triceratop Spin, Expedition Everest
9:55 a.m. Meet Characters (Emmy is TERRIFIED of characters so I'm not sure what she'll do) (KS FP)
It’s Tough to Be a Bug
11:00 a.m. Festival of the Lion King
Lunch (maybe packed?)
1:00 p.m. Finding Nemo
Safari and any other animal viewing desired
3:00 p.m. Home
7:00 p.m. Adults to Raglan Road

Saturday
7:00 a.m. Pack up the house
10:00 a.m. Magic Kingdom (or as soon as we can get there)
Do whatever we wish
When done: BEACH!

We'll be meeting my parents here who will get in on Friday and be anxious for us to arrive. So the question is, at the end of this trip it is the end of our year of Disney. Will the lure of a week on the beach doing nothing make it so I am anxious to leave MK? Or will I want to linger and cry that I won't be back for a long while?

I just don't know. Guess that's my biggest cliffhanger. Will I be happy and content with our amazing year or will I be sad?



I know for some the above itinerary looks exhausting and impractically full. But the reality is, if you follow all our tips you actually can do what we do and still have plenty of relaxing times.

We are not taking middle-day breaks. I realize this seems a mistake but we prefer to push hard from rope drop to dinner and then leave for the night. And then do our night time shows on nights where we don't do rope drop. For us, this strategy generally works.

If you do your big rides during the early morning hours, you can spend the hottest part of the day in air conditioning. There are exceptions and I'm dreading them. Kiliminjaro safari will be done when it is hot. And there is no way in summer to avoid Indiana Jones and Beauty and the Beast in the heat. Indiana is BRUTAL and if I can avoid having to go, I will. I'm imagining myself taking a little a/c break then. ;)

I'm also anticipating Jungle Cruise will be a bit warm. And, of course, the Pixar Parade. But, ya know, June at Disney is what it is: hot. Maybe people will agree to let me shop a tiny bit more than normal.

Tip TIME! As you walk down Main Street, walk on the sidewalks, not the street. The air conditioning from the stores pours out onto the sidewalks and it is MUCH cooler than the center of the street.

Also, never do the weird walkway from Test Track to Mexico in summer unless you MUST. It is at least 20 degrees warmer than other place on earth. I swear. :rotfl: Ok, at least it FEELS that way.

If you get overheated at DHS, duck into Animation Studios. There are lots of things to do in here and you can get all the way cooled down before you are done.

And at AK my tip is: don't go in June! :lmao:

Ugh, I have no tips for staying cool at AK. It's completely brutal and horrific. You will sweat at 7:30 a.m. and you will get heat stroke by noon. Drink water, drink water, drink water. But seriously, my stay cool strategy is: I have us doing Lion King, lunch, and Nemo from 11:00 to 2:00. Air conditioning! Then we'll do the safari and get OUT OF THERE! Back to the house to swim. Cause people, it's gonna be hot.

That's it for now. More soon!

estherhead
06-04-2011, 10:42 PM
Whoops, decided I had one more thing to say: there are often pop up showers in the heat of the day in Florida. We never let these stop us. We put our ponchos on and slosh through it. It would stop us from riding such things as Dumbo but since we do those rides first thing anyway it has never been any issue.

Only if the rain is continuing on for some time and we are all getting very cranky about it, or if it is lightening in a dangerous way (or the tornado warning issued once), will rain chase us away. If it starts raining, by the time we walk to the front, get on a tram or bus, and walk to our room or cars, it has already stopped raining.

Don't bother. Just stay and enjoy an cooled off, empty park!

DisDreamz
06-04-2011, 11:09 PM
Your itinerary looks great! Lots of fun things to do :thumbsup2

Interestingly, our trips overlap (we leave Tuesday 6/7 :banana: and get back Friday 6/17) and the only day we'll be at the same park is possibly Thursday, June 16 when we're scheduled for Epcot. However, this may change since on our last visit we did a "Best of..." and park hopped from park to park going on our favorite rides. The kids loved it.

estherhead
06-05-2011, 07:18 AM
Your itinerary looks great! Lots of fun things to do :thumbsup2

Interestingly, our trips overlap (we leave Tuesday 6/7 :banana: and get back Friday 6/17) and the only day we'll be at the same park is possibly Thursday, June 16 when we're scheduled for Epcot. However, this may change since on our last visit we did a "Best of..." and park hopped from park to park going on our favorite rides. The kids loved it.

We don't overlap because there is so much to do! :love: Disney.

We've discussed doing a best of or a game that takes you to all the parks. But ultimately, I think, that is best left until there are no strollers. For me currently it sounds exhausting but I know if all the kids could walk in their own shoes (which they put on completely by themselves) it would be fun. For a future trip!

LovesBelle
06-06-2011, 10:10 PM
That itinerary is very helpful. Thanks for posting it! We're skipping AK altogether this time--it was too hot for us last June.

YensidCamper
06-07-2011, 12:34 AM
Very sorry to hear about your recent stresses, continue to hang in there and keep the glass half full :)

Okay Perla just curious how you picked which days to visit which parks? We are there the exact same days and i chose differently. Wednesday we may be going to IOA HP World. We were avoiding parks with Early EMH since we are off property. AP's don't get you in early do they? We are starting our trip by taking our youngest, Simba, to DHS for the last Day of Star Wars.

I posted a message for you and Suzy on your previous TR. Hope to see the Famous clan from OH. Enjoy your trip and a drink, you've earned it.

estherhead
06-07-2011, 11:23 AM
That itinerary is very helpful. Thanks for posting it! We're skipping AK altogether this time--it was too hot for us last June.

:headache: This is me in the heat. Or maybe I need a melted puddle smilie. But tigers and Expedition Everest are a huge part of our WDW experience, so we have to go. I really do love AK. I just love it better in November.

Very sorry to hear about your recent stresses, continue to hang in there and keep the glass half full :)

Okay Perla just curious how you picked which days to visit which parks? We are there the exact same days and i chose differently. Wednesday we may be going to IOA HP World. We were avoiding parks with Early EMH since we are off property. AP's don't get you in early do they? We are starting our trip by taking our youngest, Simba, to DHS for the last Day of Star Wars.

I posted a message for you and Suzy on your previous TR. Hope to see the Famous clan from OH. Enjoy your trip and a drink, you've earned it.

Half full for sure! We are busy, busy, but I feel very hopeful for the future. I think our hard, hard work in May will pay off.

We pick based on Touring Plans. We choose green or neutral days. We do avoid EMH as AP's don't get you in early. We also almost always start touring on Sunday and do MK first. We also like to end with MK. It's not an absolute, but it has become a tradition. This week is a bit backwards from our normal route as DHS has an extra Fantasmic. Plus, we wanted Emmy and Charming to try out for Americal Idol early in the week in case they don't get in they can have a second try later. Though I struggle to believe they won't get in. Emmy was practicing at our house Sunday and just her first go round at the song (she was reading the words off youtube while the video played) she did better than I've ever heard anyone at DHS.

Our family is interested in Star Wars Weekends but Suzy & I are avoiding at all costs. They can go if they choose. That's why you can see we have DHS solidly in the middle.

Also, we make ADRs at 180 days. But we only plan our itinerary about 6 weeks out. So when making our plan we take into account where we made ADRs. Some ADR's we cancel, but the ones we'd like to keep that we can work around, we work around.

My next chapter will be about food. But I probably won't get to it today.

WalkingintheFog
06-11-2011, 09:15 PM
Just popping in to show my new signature! Lol! It always makes me smile!

YensidCamper
06-11-2011, 10:48 PM
Suzy we made it to Epcot this evening for couple of rides on Test Track, one on Soarin, and one on Mission Space. We ate at the food court in the land. The chinese was very good. I hope your trip down was a good one, ours was as easy as its ever been. We are off to DHS tomorrow to see what the crazies are like on the last day Star Wars weekends. Hope you and the gang are having fun and had a safe trip.

estherhead
06-16-2011, 10:39 AM
Just popping in to show my new signature! Lol! It always makes me smile!

Great signature! I bet those three months fly by! When they aren't going painfully slowly. :rotfl:

Suzy we made it to Epcot this evening for couple of rides on Test Track, one on Soarin, and one on Mission Space. We ate at the food court in the land. The chinese was very good. I hope your trip down was a good one, ours was as easy as its ever been. We are off to DHS tomorrow to see what the crazies are like on the last day Star Wars weekends. Hope you and the gang are having fun and had a safe trip.

We are having a great and safe trip! Glad to hear you guys are as well. Today is a morning off so taking the opportunity to check in to Disboards.

estherhead
12-03-2011, 03:15 PM
Ok, ok. So it is a full 6 months since we got back and I'm just now starting on this. But, don't forget, I did write the end of my March one. You can't expect a girl finishing up her year of Disney to have time to write 3 whole TR's and BONUS TR's in that amount of time, can you? Hmmmm????

But it's winter and things have settled a bit. And by settled down, I mean yes, I'm still working full time, still managing my dad's company. And yes, we're still having financial problems which Suzy and Mom are trying to dig us out of. And my dad is still struggling with his physical health and mental sharpness, though we did have good news that he is cancer free. But it's weird how when problems are new they are extremely stressful and when they are the problems you've lived with for awhile they are less stressful. Something about having a plan of action to deal with the problems makes it ok, even when nothing has changed at all.

And now it is time. It's time!!! I'm so excited. We had such a fabulous time and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

In addition to that, I'll also be telling you about Suzy & Milos' 20th anniversary cruise and one day at WDW!! coming up in the next week. I'm doing a little 4 hour treasure hunt for them from back here and if it goes well (fingers crossed!) I'll tell you all about it. I'm pretty excited to be a tiny part of their awesome, 20 years in the making, no kids along trip!!!

AND the Perla clan is planning a trip to DisneyLAND in early June. So we'll have some planning details on that. And it also, of course, gives me the deadline for finishing this. So stay tuned... as this will have to be done by late April so I can get going on our next trip.

Are you going to stick around? Well, are you? Are you a man or a muppet? That's the question of the week.

estherhead
12-03-2011, 04:18 PM
So, from our March trip to our June trip many, many things had changed.

And I went from having a relatively simple job at my dad's company working about 16 hours a week to having multiple jobs at my dad's company working 60 hours a week.

So my normal uber-planned Disney trip had gotten shoved into such a dark and tiny corner it was hard to get excited about it. Emmy knew about our previous trips and had ordered herself tshirts and was expecting her 32 page color itinerary.

But guess what? I didn't really have much time to do such (this next part will be shocking!) unnecessary things. I know, I know. They seem so important. But the truth is, it is possible to go to WDW withOUT an itinerary and withOUT matching tshirts. And so, because there were other pressing things, I shoved them to the side.

But we all know, that I am me. Some days I wish I were some one else. But not all wishes come true and I'm always me. And being me, I discovered that you may shove unimportant things aside temporarily, but in the long run I must accomplish everything on my to do list, even the things that with a simple explanation could be left undone.

And so the days leading up to our trip found Suzy and I making tshirts and me staying up late making a 32 page color itinerary. And gathering all of our stuff and, and, and. That's right, there is almost nothing that I normally do for WDW trips that I gave up. I simply couldn't.

Which is why at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, the day we were to leave, I woke up not panicked at all. Because I knew I was done.

We were packed. Tshirts were made and organized into days. Itineraries were printed and made into books.

I got up, got dressed, and went to work. Just like that. No big whoop.

But that is where things went slightly awry. The guy I wanted to hand the management off to was going on vacation the second week of our vacation. Which meant I had to hand off and plan for two weeks to two different guys. Despite being uber-prepared and, yes, micromanaging, it was actually fairly difficult to teach two guys with different thought processes how to run a multi-million dollar company. Shocking, I know.

I knew we were perhaps in a bit of trouble when they couldn't figure out how to get onto the main computer program we use. :scared1:

We had told Emmy, who knows us VERY well, to be at our house at 11:00 a.m. so we could get her stuff in our van for an 11:30 am departure. At 11:25 she texted me: "Am I at the right house? Did I get the very first directive wrong?"

Imagine her surprise when I called her and said, "Nope, you are right. But none of us can make it there on time." :confused3 She was so confused.

So I sent her to the store and bank and asked Suzy and Milo to pick us up lunch. Sigh. I'm NEVER the one who makes us late. I'm like the opposite of late. But seriously. Passing off the company did not go smoothly.

I left work at 11:35, 5 minutes AFTER we should have been pulling out. I literally came home and RAN. RAN. This was the scene as I pulled in:

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0413.jpg

That's Suzy dividing up our lunch (no fancy Mickey empanadas this time.) I had a taco which I scarfed down.

And Donald making sure we got it together:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0414.jpg

We started to pull out of our driveway a total of THREE times. That just shows you how frazzled I was. The third time we pulled back in I insisted that my entire car group get out and use the potty. Out we piled, back we piled.

At noon, we pulled out for the final time. Whew.

To say that we left our house trashed is an understatement.

Ok, by a show of thumbs, who cannot go on vacation with a messy house?:thumbsup2 Me! I cannot. However, in addition to the other insanities in my life at this time, my 22 year old neice had asked if she could move in with us. I told her she could move in while we were at WDW. And so. She did.

So as we pulled out I called her. And I said, "Hey, K. We left the house trashed. Absolutely trashed. Could you clean it for us?"

Well, she is a terrible cleaner. Just awful. But her sister also ended up living with us for 3 months. And she is an amazing cleaner! So we came home to a clean house despite us leaving it in shambles.

It took me a good hour of driving to get my heart back to a normal speed. And traffic was heavy so that didn't help. AND Suzy's DVD players weren't working so that was stressful for her.

About two hours in, Jack-Jack had to go potty. We just went to a gas station but the bathroom was spotless so we felt that was a score and everyone went. A few hours later, we stopped again. Buzz was about to die without a DVD player and Suzy wanted someone to kill her. I guess their car was a little more stressful than ours. Sadly, they way we were set-up was not really ideal for trading kids so they all had to deal with the lack of entertainment. Suzy was the true sufferer, despite Buzz's complaints, because to keep the whining down she let them play with HER entertainment. Leaving her bored to tears.

And a short hour after that, we were hungry. We eat fairly early and I'd only had a taco. So it was probably around 5.

For any of you who travel down 77, cell phone service in WV, VA, NC is very sketchy. So we had discussed where to stop but Suzy had caught a bit of 3G and was talking to her realtor (remember, they were buying/selling/etc houses) and missed the exit we got off. So they just texted to pick something and they'd deal with our decision.

But they weren't counting on us picking Bojangles :)

We had never eaten there and were all wanting to be a tiny bit adventurous. They were not really feeling all that adventurous. But they rolled with it.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0418.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0419.jpg

You know what? It was delicious! We all loved our food. There were these yummy little chicken bites that were roasted chicken and not breaded like so many places. And the green beans were really peppery. I love me some green beans so this made me really happy. Oh, and the biscuits. I always get corn bread at KFC because I think their biscuits are yucky. But Bojangles biscuits: yum! So adventure had won out. But don't get used to it. We only like a little adventure. Otherwise, we like the travel the well beaten path.

Donald needed a break, so I took the steering wheel. I like to drive. Listening to music and Emmy and I chitchatting (she sat up front with me.) And the best part of driving is Donald has to deal with all of the kid's antics. I get a break from being Mom.

He entertained the kids with our old Disney videos. And time just simply flew by. Flew.

Donald had uploaded a BUNCH of cool Disney tunes to his iphone. Which is crazy that that is exciting since we all have a TON of Disney music. But it was totally different stuff than my stuff so we all thoroughly enjoyed that. Work called a couple times, despite it being Friday night. I'm pretty sure people weren't completely happy with our departure. But, again a perk of driving, Donald dealt with most of the calls since I was busy. :)

And we drove on. We stopped to gas up, our last stop of the day before our hotel, and Emmy was being seriously checked out by the class of men there. Let me just say, when we walked into the gas station there were muddy BAREfeet marks all over the floors. Ewww! Loud music was blasting from all the open truck windows. Emmy and I couldn't stop laughing as she always says the reason she doesn't have a man is the kind of men who appreciate her fabulousness are not really her kind of man. And from the barefooted, toothless wonders at this place, who were practically DROOLING when she walked by, I now understand.

Again, Ew! We could not fill up and leave fast enough.

To distract us from that (or maybe to stop our manic laughter) Donald got us started playing the license plate game in earnest. Emmy had never played before. Really? I had no idea other families didn't play this game. My family is practically obsessed with license plates. Just a few hours into playing Emmy was REALLY into it. She was frustrated that she could never get one we didn't have yet before us. But we are all skilled players.

So at some point, just before dark, she scared the whatever out of me by yelling, "IDAHO!!! IDAHO!!!!" :lmao::lmao::lmao: Seriously. She was so excited.

I also talked to my mom for about a half hour or so. She called to thank me for all my hard work and told me that she felt as though a cloud had been lifted on her entire life.

Well, I don't know if that was true, since it's been a really rough 6 months since then, but it made for a nice conversation at the time.

Anyhow, at 10:20 p.m. we pulled into our hotel for the night. Thanks to my disastrous choice in March, we paid a little more money and got better digs. Or at least cleaner.

We got our little overnight bags and checked in. Sitting outside our room in the hallway all stretched out were two girls texting what seemed to be each other, though that doesn't make much sense. They sat there despite our big group of people kind of taking up the space. It was rather bizarre. I tell you about them, not because at the moment it was important, but because we ran into them again. And that was a memorable moment which led me to remember the weirdness of two girls sitting in a hotel hallway and not moving their legs despite an herd of people needing to get in a doorway. Odd.

And here is out room. Emmy slept on the pull out couch. The tv in the main room was so irritating you cannot really understand unless you were there. But I took a photo to show you.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0420.jpg

See? It was maybe 6 inches away from the foot of the bed in the main exit/entrance to the bathroom. Stupid. If it hadn't been bolted down, I would have moved it. AND it had no remote. And we couldn't figure out how to change the channel on the actual tv. It was on Discovery so at least it wasn't bad. Needless to say, we just went to bed.

Emmy's digs:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0421.jpg

And that, my friends, was our first day. It was a shaky start but a delightful drive. 11:00 p.m.: into bed. Night John-boy!

estherhead
12-03-2011, 06:22 PM
I slept great! Maybe because I was driving away from the stress. Maybe because the bed was comfy. Maybe because I was absolutely exhausted.

I slept great. I woke up at 6:00 a.m. Played on my iphone until 6:30 and then decided to get started. I went and got coffee and then got ready to get in the shower with Boo. It was then that I realized I had brought the wrong tshirts! In my mad dash I had put the wrong shirts for our day in our overnight bags. And I couldn't find my make-up. I realize this is not normal for me. But it had been stressful, remember. The important thing was, I was going to Disney World.

We got in the shower & just put on what we had temporarily. Emmy had gone run on the treadmill. She is dedicated! As I got everyone ready Donald turned on the tv, which as you recall was stuck on Discovery. And it just happened to be shark week. If you thought my life was stressful before you canNOT imagine the stress of getting ready to shark week. I hope this never happens to me again.

After we were remotely ready we headed down to the breakfast provided by the hotel. It was a very nice room and a nice spread. Really enjoyable. Donald and I sat in these relaxing chairs right under the flat screen tv which was on Fox News. Now, I do not want to get political on here. But it would be impossible for me to describe the scene in here without mentioning this. As it was the Weiner scandel. On Fox News. The room was packed. Packed! We had gotten the good spots right before they all came. Here is the room without the crowd:

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0423.jpg

But within moments, every chair in there was full. And everyone in there was LOVING the Fox News rendition of the Weiner scandal. And they HATED Obama. They were emotional and vocal about the whole thing. Being a person who is interested in politics but neutral in all of the opinions it was a little hard for me to take a room full of people believing 100% of everything said on tv. I may have even heard a few Hallelujah's which made me distinctly uncomfortable. Donald was thoroughly enjoying my squirming all around. It may have even been a highlight for him.

Suzy during all of this was eating McQueen's leftovers as usual. When there are so many choices he has to have them all and eat actually nothing. So Suzy just ate whatever.

I escaped the moment I was done eating to go dig out the tshirts which required me to actually get into the car top carrier. Ugh. But fortune was on my side and they were in the first suitcase I pulled out. And then I found my makeup easily.

Then I sat in the van for a little peace and quiet while I called in to work. We aren't open on Saturday but there still were questions from the Friday.

I took the shirts upstairs and we changed and finished packing. As the men were packing we redid the drawings on the vans. Emmy did some writing on Suzy & Milo's van which gave her great pleasure for the rest of the week.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0483.jpg

I guess this is a SNL act. She and Donald were amused. The rest of us didn't really get it.

Our van also was confusing as it said something about princesses and a wicked stepmother. Donald wrote it on there. This confused people. And the thing is when you have writing all over your vehicle about Disney you are essentially asking people to ask you about it. I am the only extrovert in our vehicle. And I'm pretty obviously the mom. Which meant that at EVERY stop people said things like, "It's great of you to take your stepkids to Disney." And "Wow! You're a wonder woman to take on all those kids. Their dad must be one lucky guy."

The first few times I tried to explain that the back of our van in no way reflected our actual family situation and I was the real mom. This led to the most confused looks on these friendly stranger's faces. I asked Donald to change it. But he liked it and no one was saying anything weird to him.

So I came up with a new strategy which was to say, "Yeah, you have NO IDEA how lucky he is. I'm a total saint." This lead to knowing smiles and "uh-huh! You said it sister."

Our van art was definitely not our best work.

The other thing was those girls from our hallway were packing up at the same time as us. Their family actually WAS confusing. As one was black and one was white so the night before we thought they were best friends. But the morning brought out their parents and it was then obvious they were stepsisters and best friends. They were going on a cruise. And they were wearing cropped Hooters shirts and shorts that were so short you could see EVERYTHING. How old do you have to be to work at Hooters? Because these girls looked 14. But obviously not. And their mom was dressed the same! And she was not the right shape to be a Hooters girl.

Anyway, it was one of those things that was fascinating and we struggled to not stare.

I guess it was just going to be one of those days. Because later just south of Jacksonville we stopped at Subway for lunch and there was a line out the door. Emmy had accidentally worn into the Subway her pipe cleaner Mickey antennae she had been working on in the van to entertain Boo and I was making fun of her. But then we realized that in this particular Subway an adult wearing pipe cleaner antennae was perfectly normal. STRANGE people in very strange outfits.

Another interesting thing at this Subway was Mulan and Buzz struck up a conversation with a lovely elderly couple who had been to Disney forever and started telling us that they always stay off site and their favorite house was called Disneylicious. What? No way. That's where we are staying!

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0426.jpg

You can't see it in here. The weird people, I mean.

Trust me.

Next up:

We make it to Disney.

preschoolmom
12-04-2011, 01:17 AM
Our van also was confusing as it said something about princesses and a wicked stepmother. Donald wrote it on there. This confused people. And the thing is when you have writing all over your vehicle about Disney you are essentially asking people to ask you about it. I am the only extrovert in our vehicle. And I'm pretty obviously the mom. Which meant that at EVERY stop people said things like, "It's great of you to take your stepkids to Disney." And "Wow! You're a wonder woman to take on all those kids. Their dad must be one lucky guy."

The first few times I tried to explain that the back of our van in no way reflected our actual family situation and I was the real mom. This led to the most confused looks on these friendly stranger's faces. I asked Donald to change it. But he liked it and no one was saying anything weird to him.

So I came up with a new strategy which was to say, "Yeah, you have NO IDEA how lucky he is. I'm a total saint." This lead to knowing smiles and "uh-huh! You said it sister."

Our van art was definitely not our best work.




This had me LOL! :lmao: Great to see you back!

Dugette
12-04-2011, 12:21 PM
Glad to see you back! :goodvibes Enjoying your travels and the laughs so far! :rotfl:

Laura Loves Tigger
12-05-2011, 08:29 AM
YAY! You are back! Can't wait to read all bout our trip.:cool1:

estherhead
12-05-2011, 07:44 PM
This had me LOL! :lmao: Great to see you back!

Glad to see you back! :goodvibes Enjoying your travels and the laughs so far! :rotfl:

YAY! You are back! Can't wait to read all bout our trip.:cool1:

Woohoo! So wonderful to be back with my friends! :goodvibes

ellajeansmom
12-09-2011, 09:53 PM
I was so excited when I saw you had posted:banana:

Looking very forward to hearing more about the June trip and any other tidbits you happen to throw in!

Mommy2BnB
12-16-2011, 04:02 PM
Glad to see you have started your third trip!!! Glad things are getting better on the work front and that your dad is doing okay.

estherhead
12-16-2011, 10:42 PM
I was so excited when I saw you had posted:banana:

Looking very forward to hearing more about the June trip and any other tidbits you happen to throw in!

Hi! Thanks. We had a grand time and certainly did learn a few things to share!

Glad to see you have started your third trip!!! Glad things are getting better on the work front and that your dad is doing okay.

Thanks.

We just came home from the Muppets. Did you all see this? AWESOME! Love the Muppets. And the Disney castle. :cloud9:

Hopefully I can work on this soon. My parents wanted to have a little celebration trip but they didn't feel well and brave enough to go by themselves so they bought Donald and I tickets with them to Barcelona within the month! Can you imagine? So things went from a long, boring winter: to excitement! Love that kind of excitement. :yay:

I'm so excited to move to the TR board. Off we go: it's the weekend, time to write more TR!

estherhead
12-17-2011, 06:58 PM
We got done with our yummy food and off we went.

We were ahead of schedule! Woot woot!

But we were only ahead of the itinerary schedule, not the real secret schedule in Suzy and my heads. In the official itinerary we were to check into our hotel (Homewood Suites at Crossroads) at 3:00 p.m. But in the real schedule in our heads we wanted to be at Downtown Disney by 2:00 to get Emmy's ticket a little upgrade.

What she need was an extra day. I was really nervous that the free ticket I had wouldn't be right and we'd end up spending an arm and a leg. I felt it should only be $10.00. But who knows? We also had decided not to have her get park hoppers. It'd be almost $50.00 and we really thought she would at most hop one-two days. Not really worth the $50.00. So we were going to try to go without hopping and if we really wanted to, she would pay the extra money at that point.

But regardless, I wanted to be at DTD to see if this was really gonna cost us only $10.00 so I could relax at our first night at Disney.

So for the secret real schedule, we were right on time. But a little anxious we couldn't reach DTD by 2:00.

We hit the first billboard (very exciting new Star Tours billboard, thus my remembering) just after 1:00 and I got hopeful!!

In reality, it was closer to 2:30 when we got to DTD.

Look here!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0428.jpg

I always want a great pic of this sign for my scrapbook and it's always dark or we're whizzing by, or for some reason or another, it's terrible.

But we dropped by the restaurant there on the corner (Burger King? Not sure) to use the potty (DTD is so annoying to have to pee at) and so I ran to the corner where I could stand and take a photo. Only to find to my annoyance that there were orange barrels there this year! Whatever. Guess we'll have to go back so I can get my picture next time. ;)

And then we were off! We parked really close to the Lego store and Emmy couldn't believe how cool just DTD was. So we couldn't wait to show her the rest of the world! The new Lego displays were wonderful! So we took time to look at them all.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0430.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0432.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0438.jpg

After Legos, we could wait no longer to see how much Emmy's ticket would be. Well, actually we could wait. Because the line ahead of us, which I really didn't think was bad, was naturally long. And as always at Disney ticket windows/areas it was a mixture of people who were more knowledgeable than the Disney CM's and a mixture of people who had NO IDEA what they were doing.

It took awhile. And I was getting more & more nervous that it wasn't just gonna be $10.00. Finally it's her turn & I kept silent, ready to pounce the moment the CM said anything other than $10.00. Emmy played it cool. And we got the verdict: $10.65. Thank Goodness!

We then headed to the World of Disney where much to my delight I got to spend some time alone. A-MAZE-ING.

Emmy found me looking at Disney hair stuff outside the BBB. Because, as you all know, we like to wear Mickey in our hair, on our nails, in our ears.

And Emmy found something way cooler than the pipe cleaner antennae she had worn into Subway:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0440.jpg

These bad boys were VERY helpful as the week wore on. Not a lot of adult women in pink Mickey antennae even in Disney World.

I bought a pink Mickey sunhat that came in quite handy and I will be wearing to my summer events and Disney trips for years to come.

After this, we headed out of DTD. But not before losing Emmy. It was not to be the first loss of her. We had been together, but you KNOW how big that store is and how many check-outs and exits there are. It's just crazy.

We found her and she wanted to make sure we were coming back. Yeah, she was easy to convert to a Disney freak. Oh, by the way, she totally has a Mickey on HER car since this trip. :earsboy:

We then headed to check in to our hotel. It was only 3:20. We were just blasting through the Disney magic!!!

Next up: Our temporary hotel and & the Poly.

taymaesmom
12-20-2011, 10:02 AM
Yeah! I'm so excited to see the updates! Totally missed reading your trip reports, now you have to write a trip report for Barcelona too! Can't wait to read more!

Mommy2BnB
12-21-2011, 05:25 PM
We loved the great sculptures outside the Lego store. Looks like your trip is off to a great start!

estherhead
02-11-2012, 08:04 PM
I have GUILT!!!! I'm so sorry for abandoning you all right when I said I was going to post.

But right before winter break I was sitting on my Mom's floor and she said, "It's been a horrible year. I need to get out of here."

Well, they had been planning on going to Thailand once my dad was healthy. Obviously, that wasn't going to happen as my dad simply isn't up to a trip to Asia with just he and Mom. So she turns to me and says, "Go with us." And I say, "Just give me a year to pay stuff off and we'll go somewhere." And she says, "No. Now. We'll pay." What????!!!!!

So we took stock of what she and Dad had saved for Thailand and I did about 30 minutes of airfare/rooming research and we decided we could do Barcelona Spain for one week for the same cost of just her and Dad going to Thailand. She called Dad and said, "Can we go to Spain in 6 weeks?" And he said yes. And I called Donald and he said, "You are crazy, but ok."

So less than one hour from her saying, "I have to get out of here," we had 4 airfare tickets and an apartment rented in Barcelona with less than 6 weeks before we left.

Donald and I took those few, short weeks before leaving to relearn Spanish and memorize everything there is to know about Barcelona. It was an amazing week.

But you got no TR. Sorry.

And I've spent all day today. Yup all day. Well, except for the 3 hours I spent reorganizing my pantry and the 2 hours I spent playing board games with my girls. What was I saying? Oh yeah, I spent ALL day today researching Disneyland. Because.... We bought our airplane tickets today!

But now at the end of an exciting Disneyland planning day I have guilt. Because I've abandoned you all. GUILT!

estherhead
02-11-2012, 09:38 PM
We checked in to our first night's hotel. It was the Homewood Suites (http://homewoodsuites1.hilton.com/en_US/hw/hotel/MCOVSHW-Homewood-Suites-by-Hilton-Lake-Buena-Vista-Orlando-Florida/accommodations.do) and was infinitely better than our choice the year before (Clarion). In front of me checking in was a single mom with 4 kids all dressed in Disney gear checking in. She asked the guy at the front desk what time Walt Disney World opened. He pointed her to the help desk. It took everything I could to hold myself back from at least telling here there were 4 parks and to start at the one called Magic Kingdom. Stay focused, Perla, stay focused on your own trip.

We got up to our room and we really liked it. It was a full suite, more like an apartment than a suite. I could honestly see on a trip on the cheap just staying there. No magic, mind you, but a big, clean, comfortable room.

We girls settled ourselves into the living room to paint our traditional Mickey fingers. For the life of me I could not get our new nail art pens to work properly so I made the girls do their own nails as we were running out of time and my nails were still wet. This did NOT make Mulan happy and she was very bummed with me when we left at 5:00 p.m.

I packed a giant bag and followed Mapquest on a wild goose chase back way to the Poly. It actually was a shortcut. We had all agreed we would treat ourselves and use valet parking. But when we actually got there we all chickened out and just parked ourselves. We are very low class. Sorry.

Oh how I love the Poly. Blissful sigh.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0441.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0442.jpg

We stood blissfully by the waterfall listening to the guy play his ukelele. Donald (our personal valet) was there in no time and we went and put our name in at the Kona cafe. We had made our ADR for the very first time you can so when we put our name in there was literally not a soul in the place and we were the first ones there. But they still gave us a buzzer, which went off within 30 seconds without the hostess moving at all. This cracked up Emmy beyond belief. It was her first taste of WDW bureaucracy.

We were seated:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0443.jpg

I like these big round tables at the Poly. This is roughly where we were seated last time. Emmy pulled out a cute little dice game that she had brought and we all played. Mulan won and suddenly she was in a good mood again. Next to us sat an adorable black family with adorable little girls who had: the same pink antenae as Emmy. She totally (like a stalker) watched those girls trying to figure out how she could do her hair like theirs as it was really cute and she would have looked awesome in it. She never did figure it out no matter how hard she tried that week.

Suzy's table:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0444.jpg

Yum!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0445.jpg

This bread is the bomb! But honestly, I wasn't a fan of the Lapu Lapu pineapple drink. It looks all nice and glitzy so I got one. But it wasn't my thing.

Donald enjoyed this, I was thinking he wouldn't as he doesn't like curry. But I guess if you add scallops to curry, it's good.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0446.jpg

Donald and I got the Pan Asian noodles. Mulan and Ariel split the steak.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0447.jpg

The girls loved their steak and I thought the noodles were good. Donald kept saying he wished he was at O'hana. I kept mentally reminding myself to not care about his never liking anywhere we eat at WDW issues until the NEXT year when that restaurant was the best ever. Except for Primetime which, yeah, that one was unanimous and never really gets bumped up mentally for us.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0448.jpg

I got this last time and Emmy got it this time. Last time I thought it was too sweet but this time the sauce was much less which made it delicious.

Boo had to go potty so I took her and when I came back my food was gone. I swear. I have more problems getting full at WDW than anywhere on earth. We got our desserts which we have no photos of, of course. Those went quickly. Yummy! And then we used the lovely bathrooms near O'hana again and it was time to go to the main attraction: the beach.

But BEFORE that happened, there was mad, chaotic MK talk. Some people had AP's burning in their pockets and wanted to go to MK. I'll be honest. This annoyed me. It made my one totally chill night stressful. We were supposed to be just chilling out, relaxing in the sand, laughing and drinking. We weren't supposed to be "Should we mad dash to WDW? Should we frantically race around?" Seriously? Then this kid couldn't decide and that kid couldn't.

But finally Suzy prevailed in her insane mania and she, Buzz, Ariel, and McQueen hopped on the next boat.

I did not.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0449.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0450.jpg

Our kids were having a grand time and we were very chill, getting our trip off to a good start.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0452.jpg

Sadly, those sand toys caused some major problems as no other kids on this beach had any toys. Why is that? They sell sand toys at the Poly for not that much money. Why, if you stay at the Poly with small kids would you not buy them some $10.00 toys. Poly parents? Any answers?

Regardless, we soon had a gaggle of toddlers playing with our toys. Not only did Jack and Boo struggle to share (they did pretty good) but there was a whole little sand toy fight between toddlers over toys that didn't even belong to them. There were troubles. I mean really, how far can 10 little sand toys go?

Charming said he was going to take a little nap:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0454.jpg

Looks comfy, doesn't he? But do NOT be fooled he was NOT napping.

The view:

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0455.jpg

Hmmm? Raise of hands: who believes Charming was "napping?"

It was VERY shortly after the girls moved on from Volleyball that Charming was "awake" and ready for a football game:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0456.jpg

Emmy, Mulan, and I went shopping in the Poly and looked at the little art shop. It's so wonderful. And enjoying it without many kids was delightful. I also bought a blue Mickey clip which, no big surprise, Suzy bought the same thing! We really are twins.

Here they are coming back from MK and I'm pretty sure that little bag is carrying a blue Mickey hair clip:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0473.jpg

People who wear matching t-shirts shouldn't complain about matching hair clips but seriously of ALL the hair stuff in ALL of WDW, how could we buy the same one?

Back at the beach I got a schedule of evening activities and MaiTai (much better than Lapu Lapu and it's easier to carry!)

And then it was dark and time for my favorite WDW activity:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0467.jpg

They also were showing Gnomeo and Juliet on the big screen. I took the kids over there to watch:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0475.jpg

OMG!!!!! This movie was stupid. I could hardly stand it for the 20 min I watched. Just awful. Buzz and I started fighting as we were kind of in these people's cabana area. I mean, we were outside it but still it's just a piece of fabric between us and them so he and I were kind of fighting about his noise level. He can make this noise that is loud. And for some unknown reason he just kept doing it. Also, he kept leaning on their cabana. I kept moving him and every time I would turn around he was back behind us all leaning on that cabana. Which then would go in and touch the people inside the cabana! Horrifying! So I was trying to get him to stop doing that and made him cry, which did not improve the situation because he was loudly crying and then we were suddenly distracting everyone, not just the cabana people and while THAT was happening Boo wandered off. On a very dark and very crowded beach.

She got in REALLY big trouble. In reality I'm pretty sure she was just walking back to her dad who was saving fireworks seats for us. But still, you're 4. You need to tell the parent you are currently with where you are going.

At this point in my notes it says, "McQueen got cleaned off." Hmmm... why don't I remember this well? I think perhaps while we were screaming up and down the beach for Boo he may have fallen and got all muddy? Suzy, do you know?

Wishes began and the music on the beach was a little too soft for me, I am deaf after all.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0477.jpg

I didn't tear up this time. I would save those tears for my Main Street Castle view. But Boo enjoyed it which made me happy as it was the first time she truly enjoyed Disney fireworks instead of tolerating them (barely).

We packed up our stuff, leaving a few sand toys behind for the neglected toddlers, and headed to the vans. Only to realize we now didn't have Emmy. Again, it was PITCH dark. Donald and Gavin, who together can be quite loud, yelled her name at the top of their lungs. If you were here this night, I'm sorry. We were tired of losing people in this very dark beach. Whew. She was found.

I think she and Boo were pretty frazzled from the final 45 minutes or so of being lost and she carried Boo to the van. Boo weighs a lot.

In the end, it was a successful kick off to our WDW trip. But only had relaxing highlights versus a full relaxing night.

jedijill
02-11-2012, 09:41 PM
6 weeks in Barcelona? I'm so jealous! I spent a day there before my Med cruise and fell in love. I'm also jealous of being able to take 6 weeks of vacation....maybe I can after I win Powerball tonight. :)

Jill in CO

estherhead
02-11-2012, 09:50 PM
Did you guys notice the cabana people in that photo have sand toys? See? It's not that hard. ;)

estherhead
02-11-2012, 10:11 PM
6 weeks in Barcelona? I'm so jealous! I spent a day there before my Med cruise and fell in love. I'm also jealous of being able to take 6 weeks of vacation....maybe I can after I win Powerball tonight. :)

Jill in CO

Uh-oh, I must not have been clear. It was only one week in Barcelona, it was 6 weeks from the time of booking to leaving.

But just the same, one week in Barcelona was pure bliss. Donald and I came back actually changed from stressed parents to a happy, calm couple. We fell in :love: with the city and each other, all over again.

But more importantly: Mediterranean cruise???? Jealous!

jedijill
02-11-2012, 10:32 PM
Uh-oh, I must not have been clear. It was only one week in Barcelona, it was 6 weeks from the time of booking to leaving.

But just the same, one week in Barcelona was pure bliss. Donald and I came back actually changed from stressed parents to a happy, calm couple. We fell in :love: with the city and each other, all over again.

But more importantly: Mediterranean cruise???? Jealous!

Ooops, probably read it wrong! ;)

I did the 11 night Med on DCL in 2010 and got a screaming deal...$999 for Cat 12 GTY. Ended up getting upgraded to a Cat V. With single supplement, my cruise cost $1300 plus the $1200 flight. I booked in late Feb/early March for the May 15th cruise so I know about not a lot of time to plan. ;)

Jill in CO

houseful of boys
02-11-2012, 10:55 PM
But BEFORE that happened, there was mad, chaotic MK talk. Some people had AP's burning in their pockets and wanted to go to MK. I'll be honest. This annoyed me. It made my one totally chill night stressful. We were supposed to be just chilling out, relaxing in the sand, laughing and drinking. We weren't supposed to be "Should we mad dash to WDW? Should we frantically race around?" Seriously? Then this kid couldn't decide and that kid couldn't.

But finally Suzy prevailed in her insane mania and she, Buzz, Ariel, and McQueen hopped on the next boat.



I know this wasn't the plan. BUT I had Annual Passes which meant access without "costing me anything" and I could SEE the castle :lovestruc. I could SEE it. And it was a short boat ride away. And we had a couple hours before the fireworks. So I had to go. I know some of the kids were torn (sorry Mulan), but honestly, I would have gone by myself. :rotfl:(and yes I'm aware I may need therapy for my Disney problem). So, after a little discussion, Buzz, McQueen, Ariel, and I were on our way. I can not explain the excitement we all had walking down mainstreet that evening. It was like a stolen moment at MK :cloud9:. I honestly don't remember what all we rode. For sure we rode POC and maybe BTMMR. It was a great time for just the 4 of us. :goodvibes

houseful of boys
02-11-2012, 11:03 PM
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0475.jpg

OMG!!!!! This movie was stupid. I could hardly stand it for the 20 min I watched. Just awful. Buzz and I started fighting as we were kind of in these people's cabana area. I mean, we were outside it but still it's just a piece of fabric between us and them so he and I were kind of fighting about his noise level. He can make this noise that is loud. And for some unknown reason he just kept doing it. Also, he kept leaning on their cabana. I kept moving him and every time I would turn around he was back behind us all leaning on that cabana. Which then would go in and touch the people inside the cabana! Horrifying! So I was trying to get him to stop doing that and made him cry, which did not improve the situation because he was loudly crying and then we were suddenly distracting everyone, not just the cabana people

I have to defend poor Buzz here for a minute. Not that he is not a handful to control in a crowd situation. And if you've followed our TR's before, you'll know that this was not Perla and Buzz's first difficulty with controlling Buzz's Asperger's "personal space" issues. However, Perla, you do realize you have 7 children sharing ONE beach chair :rotfl2: Even for a child who is able to control their own body and not intrude in other's space, it would be challenging to sit on that chair.:rotfl:

preschoolmom
02-11-2012, 11:26 PM
Great to see you back! Nice update! LOL about the hair clips!

Mommy2BnB
02-11-2012, 11:35 PM
:jumping3: So glad you are back to finish your TR. :) Spain sounds wonderful.

tinkerbellandeeyor
02-12-2012, 12:16 AM
Joining in

estherhead
02-12-2012, 08:56 AM
I know this wasn't the plan. BUT I had Annual Passes which meant access without "costing me anything" and I could SEE the castle :lovestruc. I could SEE it. And it was a short boat ride away. And we had a couple hours before the fireworks. So I had to go. I know some of the kids were torn (sorry Mulan), but honestly, I would have gone by myself. :rotfl:(and yes I'm aware I may need therapy for my Disney problem). So, after a little discussion, Buzz, McQueen, Ariel, and I were on our way. I can not explain the excitement we all had walking down mainstreet that evening. It was like a stolen moment at MK :cloud9:. I honestly don't remember what all we rode. For sure we rode POC and maybe BTMMR. It was a great time for just the 4 of us. :goodvibes

You are obsessed. :wizard:

I have to defend poor Buzz here for a minute. Not that he is not a handful to control in a crowd situation. And if you've followed our TR's before, you'll know that this was not Perla and Buzz's first difficulty with controlling Buzz's Asperger's "personal space" issues. However, Perla, you do realize you have 7 children sharing ONE beach chair :rotfl2: Even for a child who is able to control their own body and not intrude in other's space, it would be challenging to sit on that chair.:rotfl:

Which again, I must blame on the children themselves. I didn't originally walk over there with 7 kids. They came over slowly & didn't make their own seating arrangements nor would they sit on the sand. No. They just kept sitting on a tiny chair. And really, Buzz's & my fight was extremely typical and wouldn't have made my notes if Boo hadn't wandered off. Boo was the one in big trouble.

That's really the problem with one adult in charge of 7 kids on a crowded, dark beach. Kids wandering off.

Great to see you back! Nice update! LOL about the hair clips!

Thanks. I've uploaded more pics and am hoping to FINALLY get moving on this TR.

:jumping3: So glad you are back to finish your TR. :) Spain sounds wonderful.

:cloud9: If I get the chance, I'll share a few photos with you all.

Joining in

Welcome! :)

estherhead
02-12-2012, 01:58 PM
At 6:15 am I woke up. And I was instantly fully awake. I was at Disney World. And because I was awake I wanted everyone to be awake as we needed to be eating breakfast by 7:15 & in the vehicles by 8:00 for the 9:00 rope drop. And we had to pack up the vans since we were moving to the Disneylicious house this day.

You can call me evil, if you'd like. You can even call me an evil stepmother. Some people have. But at 6:15 am my one goal was to insist that everyone was awake.

So I threw open all the curtains to let the sunshine in. And not a soul moved. I then I made a bunch of noise. Packed. Flushed the toilet. Packed away the fingernail polish bin which is very loud. And no one budged.

I then did the only thing I could do. I told them they all had to get up as they only had 30 minutes to get ready. And I, while she was still sleeping, dressed Boo and did her hair with her new hair tyes I had bought at DTD.

Shockingly, we were dressed and at breakfast by 7:15. And we looked pretty put together. And to congratulate us for a job well done were these little guys:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/esthersphone322.jpg

That's right! Mickey waffles at the hotel. Which, by the way, since I was telling you how awesome it was, I really should tell you that it was actually the Homewood Suites. Not Doubletree. That's right. I'm gonna edited it above but for those of you reading these as I write them, mentally correct that. (thanks Suzy) The Homewood Suites on Marbella Palm Court had large apartment sized suite rooms with full sized fridges, free parking, close to the entrance to WDW AND we discovered at the free included breakfast: Mickey waffles. Not too shabby.

Boo arranged the sausage in the Mickey. Ever since the Mickey empanadas, she has been all over arranging things in Mickey shapes.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/esthersphone323.jpg

I only had a yogurt as I'm not really a waffle person. I know, I should make an exception since these waffles were in the shape of my beloved Mickey, but waffles and syrup first thing in the morning are not a good idea for my tummy and I like to be on my A game day one of Disney.

As I was watching Suzy make McQueen a waffle (not sure why this was a big event, but I wrote it down and with their hotel free breakfast history, I'm sure it was a big thing) and eating my yogurt a family came in in matching Disney shirts. A big family. In cool matching shirts. And they, too, were going to MK. Darn it. I kept an eye out for my single, WDW-clueless mom with her 4 kids. But they, naturally, were not up & eating breakfast at 7:30 a.m.

By 8:00 am we were back in our rooms getting our bags and by 8:15 we were at the vans applying sunblock. We did much better at the sunblock this trip than in March and as far as I know there were no mishaps. No red eyes, no sunblock meltdowns. In this parking lot there was a sunblock spraying zone and we moms took one kid at a time and sprayed 'em down, eyes shielded, wind blowing the proper way. Suzy and I can be taught.

By 8:20 we were on Disney property. WHY did we have to hit every red light at DTD? We parked and hopped a tram.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0484.jpg

It was 8:41. Perfect.

But then we hit a little snag. The monorail is closed. NO!!!! I don't want to take the boat. And not because I don't like the boat. I do. And if the monorail is running I sometimes enjoy starting my WDW week with a peaceful boat ride facing the castle.

But when the monorail is closed than you are forced to be on that ferry with all the clueless people and I just feel like cattle. Moooooo!!!!!! Where is the Mickey ear cow smilie? And it slows you down big time. And though we had 20 minutes, I pretty much knew that thanks to the boat, bag check, and turnstyles, I wouldn't be seeing MK show on this trip. :sad2:

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0485.jpg

To add insult to injury, the monorail started running as we were being herded onto the boat. So people who arrived AFTER us got there first and didn't miss the show. Grrrr....

I could hear the train coming as I waited at the boat dock with the other 1,000 cows. I actually think cows are more orderly and better at merging than this group of people were. Jostling and pushing were rampant.

Finally, we were marching to the bag check and I followed Suzy. Thank goodness as she picked an awesome line where the guy was practically waving us through. I unzipped my first bag and he just waved me on. SCORE Suzy! Good choice. We had sent the men with no bags to see the show with the non-stroller kids so they were already in there.

I had a BIG problem at this turnstyle. Boo was in her stroller and I pushed her to the little gate and put my ticket through. The lady told me to go through and then she put Boo's ticket through. At this point, I should have been given Boo. But the CM wouldn't let me. I was in MK. But Boo was not. I walked up to open the gate myself and the CM says, "In a minute." So I stepped back. And seriously, I was not allowed to have my kid. I finally just opened the gate and got her with the CM yelling at me and then finally caving in and getting out of my way. I've never had that happen before and it kind of freaked me out. It was like Boo was in jail. The rest of the week I was conscious of staying with the stroller no matter what at the ticketing area.

By the time Boo was allowed out of turnstyle jail the show was ending and we were allowed in. It was my job to get FP's while the rest headed to Dumbo. So I handed her off and headed down Main St. The same slow mooooooving cattle were ahead of me, but I was now free of the stroller and could book it. It didn't take me long to be ahead of the pack. As I came to where Main St meets the Castle forecourt, Aladdin and Jasmine and Prince Naveen and Tiana were holding hands and slowly walking to their spots. Jasmine towards Adventureland, Tiana towards her little gazebo.

It is seared in my mind as beautiful moment with the castle and the beautiful couples slowly walking. Blissful sigh. Made me tear up and be happy to be at WDW.

But, I had had enough of moseying and people and merging. I saw free and clear asphalt in front of me and so I picked up the pace. And, I must admit, I passed Prince Naveen and Tiana. It surprised them, I'll tell you that. I don't think that happens very often. One crazy woman on a mission ruining their opening of the park.

As I rounded about Liberty Square into deserted Frontierland there was a CM dancing a hoedown all by herself in the middle of the street. She wasn't a performer, she was a sales-CM and was entertaining herself while waiting on customers. I'd say she was 60? Anyway, I loved her hoedown and was really feeling happy to be in my happy place so I hooted out a loud, "YeeeeeHaaaa!" and boot scooted myself for a quick moment. And she said, "Hey, howdy, hey!" Awesome!

First one to get Splash FP, they were for 9:45. As I was leaving another FP runner was also finishing up and joined me on my mad dash to Fantasyland. He said, "Nothing like a mile jog at 9am, is there? But at least we're done for the day. Now we can relax."

Smile and wave, boys, smile and wave. Done? Seriously? I am just beginning my crazy FP collection. And now you all just wait till the FP return times are enforced. We used to follow those return windows and I know a little something about being a nutso FP runner. Done jogging a mile in the summer Florida heat? Hardly.

When I got to Dumbo my family was 2 groups back from riding Dumbo. I sat in the shade near the giant wall currently separating FL from new FL trying to get cool and Pinnochio casually walked by. What time was it? 9:15 am. Dumbo being ridden, Splash FP's collected, 5 characters interacted with, hoedown done. 15 minutes of magic really is a lot of magic. Delightful.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0487.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0489.jpg

Once Dumbo was done, we headed to Pooh. But Emmy couldn't find her sunglasses and instead of our normal family unit moving quickly and smoothly from ride to ride we came to a screeching halt and looked for sunglasses on Dumbo. Oh no!!! Is this was travelling with Emmy is going to be like? It was shocking how hot it was at 9:30 a.m.

We let the little ones play in the interactive Pooh area while she searched some more. There were tiny pockets of a/c that would reach us from time to time. Sweet, cool air.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0492.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0495.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0497.jpg

We got off Winnie, it was even more enjoyable as a cooling off spot than it normally is, and it was 9:38.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0499.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0500.jpg

And at 9:39 while Donald and Boo were just extracting themselves from that honey pot, I was already heading back to Frontierland. And it surely was 95 degrees? Maybe 90. With 95% humidity. It was hot.

I hit BTMRR at exactly 9:45. I think I had to wait about 30 seconds and then I had my next set of FP with a 10:25 return.

It was so stinkin' hot that despite it being 9:45 am I decided I needed a Diet Coke. So I stopped at the place with the hoe down lady but I didn't get her window. Instead I got this cute little nerdy guy. I mention the nerdiness, not based on looks, though I do think he was nerdy looking as well, but because when I ordered the diet coke (so wonderfully cold!) he said, "Why are you ordering a Diet Coke?" And I said, "Because I want caffeine and it's hot." And he said, "Actually, coffee, which we sell here, is better at cooling you down than a cold drink." And launched into a scientific explanation on why I should order a coffee. When he was done I saidm "I think I'll still take that Diet Coke." :rolleyes1 He gave it to me, but with judgement in his heart, I tell you, with judgement in his heart.

When I arrived back, sweating profusely, the family was done with the TeaCups and were starting their Carousel rotation. I know this isn't our normal "time saving" strategy but for this June trip we were not only riding things that would have lines later, we were also trying to pick off rides that would be dreadfully hot later.

What do you think McQueen is telling Emmy in this photo?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0502.jpg

McQueen loved having Emmy about. He is a font of Disney information, a true movie history buff. Unlike Buzz who kind of quizzes you on the Disney information, McQueen has inherited his father's natural teaching ability. He doesn't have the skills yet as they are more than likely taught, but the natural ability of taking history and making it live is clearly already there.

Nonetheless, whatever it is he's saying in the above photo, I don't think Emmy is buying it as factual.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0504.jpg

Our plan was to ride Snow White for the last time before it was to be destroyed. But it had a 20 minute line and we don't actually like the ride. So we decided to simply skip it. And instead opted for IASW. I didn't care. Just get me into A/C. It takes a lot of activity and a lot of heat for me to sweat. But this morning did it. I was slimy.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0505.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0506.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0509.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0511.jpg

Small World was lovely as usual. Cooled me down perfectly.

And we headed to HM. Donald said he'd stay off with Boo so I could ride since in March I'd made the sacrifice.


http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0512.jpg

I leave you there....

tinkerbellandeeyor
02-12-2012, 04:03 PM
Lovely update can't wait to read more

estherhead
02-13-2012, 12:59 PM
Lovely update can't wait to read more

Are you under 6 weeks away from a WDW trip? :thumbsup2:thumbsup2

Super cool!

estherhead
02-13-2012, 02:06 PM
I have to go back briefly, I know I'm always going back and correcting myself. But this is a how to thread, after all, and even though you probably won't be able to use all this FP info after March 7th, I still want to give it to you.

Before we left FL, I got PP FP with an 11:30 return time. If they really do enforce the ending time +15 minutes I'll tell you this: We would have done HM and then Splash & BTMRR. And then had lunch and ridden PP.

But they weren't enforcing it. So that is NOT what we did. Cause we had all day to use any of those FP's.

Except for the HM part. We did do that next. It's just logical in the progression around MK.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0514.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0516.jpg

I'm not a really big fan of HM. I know, I know. But I think perhaps I've mentioned on here that I really don't like to be scared. Not even goofy scared. Not even Luigi's Mansion scared. No scaring. Mulan is just like me. And Emmy didn't like it either. Obviously, it's like the best themed ride in the world. But even the most themed ride in the world, if you don't like the theme, isn't that much fun.

But, because I'm such a Walt Disney freak, I make myself ride it every few years to be impressed at what a genious the man was.

I did like all the improvements. Both in the line and in the ride, I felt they really did enhance it, without ruining anything.

While we were doing that Donald had taken Boo to buy more Vinylmations.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0517.jpg

The girls had liked the ones at the end of the last trip and so we agreed we'd just buy new ones. Once we got off HM, Donald presented the boring ones and they all went to trade them. They didn't score big, which honestly is for best because trading is the fun part and you don't really want a cool one at the beginning of the trip because then what are you supposed to do?

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0519.jpg

We then rode Pirates. Nice, as usual, but nothing really to say. Just one comment about this photo:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0520.jpg

You know I normally like to follow the rules. But every once in awhile, when I really want to, I break them. :eek: And I took a flash photo in the loading area knowing full well multiple CM's would yell at me. Which they did. But I risked it because you can never get a good shot of Pirates so I never have any and we LOVE this ride and I wanted to show how happy we are without ruining people's actual ride experience. As you can see, we almost fill a car. So I more than likely could have taken a flash photo while the ride was actually going and not gotten yelled at. But that actually would have negatively impacted other's Pirate's experience. So I took my spanking, ruined no one's Pirate experience, and have a great photo.

And then we went to Tortuga for lunch. We got 2 chicken burritos, nachos, and a kid quesadilla and then split the fries, grapes, and cookies.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0521.jpg

We opted to eat outside, despite the heat, because the fans & shade made it cool and empty.

And now, I tell you something that I'd prefer you all keep to yourselves. Donald and Milo bring in rum to MK. So into our Diet Cokes went a bit of rum. Less rum in mine than theirs. Really, it's just wrong to ride Pirates and eat in a tavern and NOT have rum, right? What did I say about me liking to follow rules? I withdraw it. I like to do what I like to do unless it truly is going to hurt someone else's Disney magic.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0522.jpg

While I was relaxing and being happy, Donald ran to get Jungle Cruise FP.

We then all used the potty and lokked at the jewlry and rings and pirate store, etc. Just chilled. Whenever everyone was cool, fed, and pottied we headed to BTMRR. I hope when they switch to the new FP enforcement rules they put their A game people on the FP return and not the girl we got this day. Not the girl at the enterance, but the one actually taking them before you board. We had 12 people. Now, I know it's a lot of people. But we wear matching t-shirts to help the CM's out. And we stay together, calm, and organized. But this girl, bless her heart, could not count past 8. She would count those FP's up to 8 & then start over. I finally counted for her. Starting at 7 I said, "8-9-10-11-12" I then stood by her and let the family pass counting them with her until finally I was left & I pointed to myself "12." And she waved her hand as if to say, "I'm pretty sure you are cheating the system, I just don't know how."

Here's my morning's work right before we started using them:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0523.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0524.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0527.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0528.jpg

Boo was VERY happy on this ride whereas Jack-Jack was pretty sure he never needed to ride that ride again. The rest of us, naturally, LOVED it.

Up next: Splash

tinkerbellandeeyor
02-13-2012, 08:42 PM
Are you under 6 weeks away from a WDW trip? :thumbsup2:thumbsup2

Super cool!


I wish but my ticker is for something else my two favorite shows are coming back The secret life of the American teenager and Make it or break it.

graysmommy
02-14-2012, 08:03 PM
I have spent the last few days (and nights) reading up on your year of Disney - wow! Lots of great tips and pics and laughs!
I especially love the pic of Emmy and Boo in your introductions - looks familiar ;)

If you ever have a spare moment, I could use some pointers as I am planning our very FIRST WDW stay for this September/October and we will have myself and DH (29 & 30 respectively) DS1, who will be 5, DS2, who will be less than 3 months, and my inlaws! We are going to celebrate their 40th anniversary (and, let's face it, because I want to!) :rotfl:

Can't wait for your next update! :yay:

estherhead
02-14-2012, 10:01 PM
I wish but my ticker is for something else my two favorite shows are coming back The secret life of the American teenager and Make it or break it.

Awww, too bad. :confused3

I have spent the last few days (and nights) reading up on your year of Disney - wow! Lots of great tips and pics and laughs!
I especially love the pic of Emmy and Boo in your introductions - looks familiar ;)

If you ever have a spare moment, I could use some pointers as I am planning our very FIRST WDW stay for this September/October and we will have myself and DH (29 & 30 respectively) DS1, who will be 5, DS2, who will be less than 3 months, and my inlaws! We are going to celebrate their 40th anniversary (and, let's face it, because I want to!) :rotfl:

Can't wait for your next update! :yay:

Welcome!

We absolutely can give you tips, though I'd probably wait until after we see what is happening with FP's on March 7th before we give you too many park touring tips.

Where are you guys wanting to stay? Any plans at all done?

graysmommy
02-14-2012, 11:50 PM
Welcome!

We absolutely can give you tips, though I'd probably wait until after we see what is happening with FP's on March 7th before we give you too many park touring tips.

Where are you guys wanting to stay? Any plans at all done?

So far we are booked at POP Sept 29-Oct 6, with 5 day base tickets and Dining Plan that has 1 TS, 1 QS, and 1 snack/day. We have 2 rooms. We figured on 5 days of tickets since none of us have been immersed in Disney before, and several of us (not me) get overwhelmed. I figure 1 day for each park and 1 more to go back to our favorite.

I want to do at least one character meal, but I'm not sure how many ADR's I want to book - might like to preserve a measure of flexibility considering our wide range of ages and needs.

We took DS1 to MK for a day last October, and he did great! (Once he got over the fact we were in Magic Kingdom even though we 'don't believe in Magic') :lmao: He wouldn't do any pirate stuff, or anything dark, and hated Splash Mountain because of 'the bad fox' :scared1: :laughing: Poor, sheltered child :laughing:

DH's parents took him once when he was about 8, nobody remembers what they did or saw though.

We had been planning on a cruise or all inclusive, but MIL has some health concerns and can't spend hours on end in the sun. I think that there will be enough indoor type rides/movies/attractions that she can enjoy.

We are coming from the Toronto area, and will be flying (we will let the IL's decide if they want to fly, or if they want to make a longer trip out of it for the 2 of them and drive) so we are somewhat budget conscious. I am really, really, REALLY hoping for Free Dining in September, even willing to change our dates a bit for that, because then we could upgrade to POR/POFQ! The bigger beds and fridges would be HUGE!!!

Anyway, at this point, any and all pointers would be great - thanks for listening!

And sorry for the HUGE thread hijack! :rolleyes1

estherhead
02-16-2012, 10:56 AM
So far we are booked at POP Sept 29-Oct 6, with 5 day base tickets and Dining Plan that has 1 TS, 1 QS, and 1 snack/day. We have 2 rooms. We figured on 5 days of tickets since none of us have been immersed in Disney before, and several of us (not me) get overwhelmed. I figure 1 day for each park and 1 more to go back to our favorite.

I want to do at least one character meal, but I'm not sure how many ADR's I want to book - might like to preserve a measure of flexibility considering our wide range of ages and needs.

We took DS1 to MK for a day last October, and he did great! (Once he got over the fact we were in Magic Kingdom even though we 'don't believe in Magic') :lmao: He wouldn't do any pirate stuff, or anything dark, and hated Splash Mountain because of 'the bad fox' :scared1: :laughing: Poor, sheltered child :laughing:

DH's parents took him once when he was about 8, nobody remembers what they did or saw though.

We had been planning on a cruise or all inclusive, but MIL has some health concerns and can't spend hours on end in the sun. I think that there will be enough indoor type rides/movies/attractions that she can enjoy.

We are coming from the Toronto area, and will be flying (we will let the IL's decide if they want to fly, or if they want to make a longer trip out of it for the 2 of them and drive) so we are somewhat budget conscious. I am really, really, REALLY hoping for Free Dining in September, even willing to change our dates a bit for that, because then we could upgrade to POR/POFQ! The bigger beds and fridges would be HUGE!!!

Anyway, at this point, any and all pointers would be great - thanks for listening!

And sorry for the HUGE thread hijack! :rolleyes1

If you could get free dining that would be AWESOME! Your IL's might want to spring for the extra money to stay closer to the main building if they have health problems. Both at Pop and POR it can be tiring just getting to the buses. And it's definitely a walk in the sun.

I'm going to private message you. But we'll keep the tips coming in this thread too.

Currently, I'm running around like a mad person packing for a long weekend trip. And I won't have any wi-fi :eek: So sad. But when I come back, I'll pick up where I left off.

bdink921
02-18-2012, 08:19 PM
So glad to see you're back!!! I ran into your TR through a link from someone else's and finally caught up just when you went on vacay :goodvibes. What awesome info and tips :thumbsup2. We're finally planning a trip for June 2013 and I so cannot wait :woohoo:. Unfortunately my DH does not share my love of all things Disney and merely tolerates our trips (so he says, but somewhere in there I think lies a closet Disneyphile ;)). I always do something special and unexpected for DH and DS13 so I'm just sorting through some ideas to make this next trip truly magical. Hope you had a great weekend...

estherhead
02-20-2012, 08:07 PM
So glad to see you're back!!! I ran into your TR through a link from someone else's and finally caught up just when you went on vacay :goodvibes. What awesome info and tips :thumbsup2. We're finally planning a trip for June 2013 and I so cannot wait :woohoo:. Unfortunately my DH does not share my love of all things Disney and merely tolerates our trips (so he says, but somewhere in there I think lies a closet Disneyphile ;)). I always do something special and unexpected for DH and DS13 so I'm just sorting through some ideas to make this next trip truly magical. Hope you had a great weekend...

I'm surprised you could even find me on another TR, I've been so absent lately around here. And now with our DL I've been reading their TR's instead and I really don't have much to say since I'm not very intelligent on the subject of DL.

DH's who aren't super into Disney can be changed. Just like Milo. We converted him big time and now he's the one wishing on a dream.

What's he into in his normal life?

As for you, graysmommy, I think family members who get overwhelmed is a reason to get MORE days on your tickets, not less. That way you can do Disney in small snippets. You also can leave part of the family to relax or shop or whatever they like to do, while you spend your days enjoying more time at the parks.

The delightful thing about being on site is the freedom it gives everyone. You don't have to stay together. Donald and Suzy are absolutely obsessed with Disney Parks. Since it seems many of you have just read all of our TR's you'll notice many times I'm off with children at arcades or enjoying street performers or pools. Because I LOVE Disney. LOVE. However, I also love reading Agatha Christie novels on vacation in the sunshine. I love all kinds of things. I'm multifaceted.

And to me the parks (shhh... don't tell Suzy & Donald) can start to run together if I only do them.

But when we are offsite, for example the trip I got really sick, and I stay away from the parks and have no access to a bus, I am at their mercy to come home and get me.

And really, that is not always going to happen. Because they have to TEAR themselves away.

So I vote for a really basic plan for your entire group, with 6 day tickets, and a secret plan of what you really want to do.

jecskc
02-20-2012, 09:25 PM
Joining in. I love your TR's and how informative they are. Your family is lovely and all of the kids are growing so fast. I hope things are going well with the business and that your Dad is doing well. Looking forward to reading more.

estherhead
02-21-2012, 10:20 AM
Joining in. I love your TR's and how informative they are. Your family is lovely and all of the kids are growing so fast. I hope things are going well with the business and that your Dad is doing well. Looking forward to reading more.

:flower3: Thanks.

I guess I should give a Dad update, thanks for asking. He is doing SO much better. He'll never be the young father that I had, but he's back. His memory problems seem to be fading and he is stronger every day. I still worry a tiny bit, but really I think the year of 2011 is behind us.

And that goes for our business as well. Right now is our super slow season so it's hard to say, "Oh, yes, the business is on fire." But even if sales don't recover this year from the economy, we have made the changes to our overhead to live with our current much lower sales. And I work a lot more, but I've settled in to it and enjoy it (mostly) versus being totally stressed out every day. And not being on the verge of bankruptcy certainly helped take the stress out. Suzy might laugh & say I still cry from time to time, which is true, but it's not like the 6 months I went through this spring and summer. It's just the normal wear and tear that life brings with it.

Today will be a busy day since it's our first day back from our long weekend away, but I hope to get going on this TR tomorrow.

estherhead
02-23-2012, 11:43 AM
From Big Thunder, we headed to Splash. It was getting really hot and crowded and I was all about being on Splash Mt.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0531.jpg

Sadly, however, Splash was not to be the cool oasis I was hoping for as when everyone was entering our log, Ariel, Emmy, and I ended up in one seat. This, let me tell you, was NOT ideal. I lost that butt lottery big time. And now with the new lap bar there wasn't a lot of wiggling I could do to get comfortable. By the time we got off, my right leg was so numb I could hardly get off the ride.

Others, however, had more fun:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0532.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0533.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0534.jpg

I did end up being the perfect level of wet, however, which was a very good thing as once my leg had circulation, it was time for me to head to Space Mt. to get FP's. It was actually overdue. So I headed off to go to the most opposite place from where I was. On a SUPER hot day in June. Ugh!

Who can be cranky here though?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0536.jpg

Move It, Shake It was happening in the hub and I was so disgustingly hot I wondered how on earth they could be in those costumes dancing. Very impressive. Lots of sweaty CM's in that parade.

Our return time was for 2:55 which was pretty much perfect. Since it was just me and no one was really waiting on me I decided to slow down my pace and go through the rose garden.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0537.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0538.jpg

If I had more money, and not even a lot more money. Just a little more money, I would spend it on a gardener. I love gardens. I just love them. That's why I enjoyed Epcot in March so much. So amazing. But I don't really enjoy gardening myself. It takes so much skill and consistency. If I'm going to put in THAT much work digging and leveling and carrying and wheelbarowing, I can't also have to perfectly water things every day. It's just a lot of caregiving.

But man do I love gardens.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0539.jpg

There are more photos, but I won't torture you with them. I headed back across the hot hub to Adventureland.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0540.jpg

Do you think those skulls are from people who died from heat exhaustion?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0541.jpg

While I was shaking my booty to get Space FP's everyone else had ridden Aladdin and gone into the Treehouse. I discovered them not looking very adventurous at all but sitting in the shade watching Mulan and Buzz get wet at the Tiki gods.

We hopped the next boat to Cruise the Jungle.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0542.jpg

We look hot and tired.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0543.jpg

Jack-Jack had fallen asleep so Suzy also did not cruise with us. The cruise cooled us a little bit, it was shady and the backside of water is nice. But not so thoroughly that the moment we were off, we were super hot again. So Philharmagic had to be next. Ariel does not deal with heat well and wanted a drink. But the crowds were all eating lunch and I wasn't about to stand in a hot line. I told her she could have a drink of the now hot Coke in the stroller. :eek: She declined and I promised a break soon.

Boo did NOT want to go into Philharmagic. The corks and 4D effects scare her like you cannot believe. But she was going. Period. No way any of we adults were willing to sit out our one air conditioned show all day!

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0544.jpg

It ended up being fine. She covered her ears and put my hands over the little wind things that make it seem like puffs of air hit you. She LOVED it.

So that's my TIP TIME for today: If you are going to a 4D show (Philharmagic, It's Tough to Be a Bug, Muppets, etc.) with a toddler sit them on your lap (so they can't feel the air puffs by your ankles.) Have them cover their own ears so they can be in control of how much loud noises they hear, don't make them wear their glasses, and put your hands over the air vents on the back of the chair in front of you. They look like speakers.

In these circumstances she LOVED the show. It really is so fun and she loves Lion King so that is fun for her.

Because of Jake and the Neverland Pirates riding Peter Pan is now a priority in our lives. Boo LOVES it and feels sincerely like she is Izzy while we are riding it.

But there was no way we could all go any longer without something to drink. I've gotten ice cream before in Fantasyland in the summer and it is a disaster. It melts while they are handing it to you. But I spied an ice cream cart with a very short line in the shade near Pinocchio's Haus. So we got ice cream and ducked in the back door to the air conditioned luxury of Pinocchio's. I went to the food area and got a big cup of ice for Donald.

This was GREAT! We all got cooled all the way down and were so refreshed. I had gotten a frozen banana and it was just the ticket.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0545.jpg

It still wasn't time for our 2:55 FP return for Space so we traded Vinylmations to kill a little time and went to check out Buzz's standby line. It was only 15 minutes. Ariel had been pottying and I told everyone to just go ahead and hop in line. She's a slow poke and it was too hot to rush. Plus, Buzz isn't either of our absolute faves, so we just went on the TTA. It was relaxing. I journaled. But it wasn't cool enough.

We sat at the end of Buzz waiting for our people. Yup, right on the floor with the wheelchairs. It wasn't a long wait.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0546.jpg

Suzy got a 400,000 and Mulan beat Emmy by 100,000. They all had a great time. Milo took the little ones to ride the TTA, a top priority with them. The rest of us were off to Space.

The FP return areas kept having congestion around them and hot, hot lines outside. Not sure what that was about, but it felt like we stood in the hot sun for too long. The crowd there was just new to Disney and in groups and totally clueless. So it was annoying. FP definitely slows down when every person in the line asks questions to the CM's.

I took my moment in the hot sun to scout out a group of 3 teens getting in the standby line. I handed them the FP's and they joined us behind the clueless people.

We were so hot from the outside 10 min, that the long hot hallway seemed eternal. But FINALLY we were ready to ride. It really was probably 15 minutes, maybe 20. Which I know is nothing but when it's over 100, 20 minutes seems a lot longer.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0548.jpg

I got the front. Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you think I'll ever get too old? My Grandma didn't. She loved Space Mt. I was glad Milo hadn't ridden though as he had a bruised rib and it really is too rough if you are having and current back/rib/spine problems.

As we got off the teenagers stopped me to thank me. So nice.

It was good timing with the TTA. They were getting off just as we were. We took the long hot walk towards the front. Donald stopped to trade Vinylmations. It took forever. But probably because I was tired and cranky and ready to LEAVE. I had a ton of stuff to actually accomplish this evening and didn't want to be delayed.

When we got to the monorail station they were pulling one in right after another. I think we were joining the mass exodus of people leaving the heat. Our tram driver was from Boston and we enjoyed him thoroughly. Bossy as all get out, but funny.

We trekked to the vans on the hot asphalt. I have no idea how hot it was, but it would have given you a 2nd degree burn if you'd been barefoot. I'll tell you that. Our van has a thermometer in it. It's not overly accurate, but it said 102. And 99% humidity I swear. Whew.

We drove to 192 via AK and I was CRANKY. Donald was trying to be happy and positive but the welcome center to get the keys to our house was almost to highway 27 and it was hard to find. And I was melting down. Bless Donald's heart, he never snipped back.

By the time we got to our house it was 6:30 pm. And we needed to get dinner, unpacked, and groceries. Not to mention showers. Ugh.

But that is for another chapter.

preschoolmom
02-23-2012, 10:42 PM
Great update! Our last trip we went over Memorial Day weekend - and it was hot, hot, hot - so I could totally commiserate with you on this one...

estherhead
02-24-2012, 03:08 PM
Great update! Our last trip we went over Memorial Day weekend - and it was hot, hot, hot - so I could totally commiserate with you on this one...

Oy! We've been in September before so we've done hot before. But this particular June day was brutal! I think the rest of the days were as hot as well, but I don't remember being personally that consistently hot. Or it might just be that I need to be settled. It wasn't ideal to not be able to check into our house the day before our first big park day. I'm spontaneous. And I'm happy. But I need to be settled and have a home base to be either of those things. So cranky I was.

bdink921
02-25-2012, 07:09 PM
:flower3: Thanks.

I guess I should give a Dad update, thanks for asking. He is doing SO much better.

:thumbsup2 That's great to hear.

DH's who aren't super into Disney can be changed. Just like Milo. We converted him big time and now he's the one wishing on a dream.

What's he into in his normal life?

Converting my DH would be a major miracle :lmao::lmao:! What's he into ... Civil War artifact collecting, history stuff (we're going to Williamsburg, VA this summer, he'll be in heaven). He's not much into rides or heat for that matter. We always stay onsite b/c he always fizzles out and needs to go back to the room to nap, chill out which is fine with me. He can take Disney in small doses which is ok too. He really does love Epcot though, and we've never really spent alot of time in World Showcase, so that's a great option for him.

estherhead
02-26-2012, 01:37 PM
Converting my DH would be a major miracle :lmao::lmao:! What's he into ... Civil War artifact collecting, history stuff (we're going to Williamsburg, VA this summer, he'll be in heaven). He's not much into rides or heat for that matter. We always stay onsite b/c he always fizzles out and needs to go back to the room to nap, chill out which is fine with me. He can take Disney in small doses which is ok too. He really does love Epcot though, and we've never really spent alot of time in World Showcase, so that's a great option for him.

Have you been to Williamsburg before? We went a few summers ago and it was 106! So if he wilts in the heat, you may be surprised how little he enjoys Williamsburg. :rotfl:

I :love: history. But as wonderful as Williamsburg was, I couldn't help wondering why on earth anyone had chosen to settle there. It's hot, humid, miserable. Only the water park saved us from being miserable.

That aside, if you buy the ticket that lets you in all the displays, the houses are air conditioned. Also, we did an evening dance program that was fantastic!

You could buy hoppers & do a few hours with him in the morning doing things you'll know he'll enjoy, then let him go back to "chill" and then spend every evening at World Showcase. Bet he'd start to be persuaded.

bdink921
02-26-2012, 02:51 PM
Have you been to Williamsburg before? We went a few summers ago and it was 106! So if he wilts in the heat, you may be surprised how little he enjoys Williamsburg. :rotfl:

I :love: history. But as wonderful as Williamsburg was, I couldn't help wondering why on earth anyone had chosen to settle there. It's hot, humid, miserable. Only the water park saved us from being miserable.

That aside, if you buy the ticket that lets you in all the displays, the houses are air conditioned. Also, we did an evening dance program that was fantastic!

You could buy hoppers & do a few hours with him in the morning doing things you'll know he'll enjoy, then let him go back to "chill" and then spend every evening at World Showcase. Bet he'd start to be persuaded.


We've never been to Williamsburg before, but walked all over DC last summer at around the same time -- end of June. Very hot but I loved DC :love:. I think he'll suffer the heat for the history though -- he has such a passion for it, especially Civil War. We are getting the bounce pass so we'll have the water park to look forward to. I'm sure we'll be getting whatever ticket lets us into everything because he'll want to see as much as possible. It's just not as fun as a WDW trip to plan.

Park hoppers will definitely be a must for us this next trip. Resort is a huge choice too. He likes WL so we'll do maybe 2 nights there -- too pricey for a week. Then we're choosing between POR and Swan/Dolphin. I can get a nurse rate at S/D but am really not that crazy about the hotels themselves. Love the location though. There's just something about POR that I really like...decisions, decisions...

estherhead
02-29-2012, 07:35 PM
We've never been to Williamsburg before, but walked all over DC last summer at around the same time -- end of June. Very hot but I loved DC :love:. I think he'll suffer the heat for the history though -- he has such a passion for it, especially Civil War. We are getting the bounce pass so we'll have the water park to look forward to. I'm sure we'll be getting whatever ticket lets us into everything because he'll want to see as much as possible. It's just not as fun as a WDW trip to plan.

Park hoppers will definitely be a must for us this next trip. Resort is a huge choice too. He likes WL so we'll do maybe 2 nights there -- too pricey for a week. Then we're choosing between POR and Swan/Dolphin. I can get a nurse rate at S/D but am really not that crazy about the hotels themselves. Love the location though. There's just something about POR that I really like...decisions, decisions...

Ah yes, decisions. The boat ride to Downtown Disney from POR is lovely, as is the resort. But getting to the parks isn't as convenient. Does your dh like Downtown Disney? The Swan & Dolphin are in a wonderful location, wonderful. And if a person like escaping from Disney, it's a good choice for them. I liked the Dolphin a lot and would stay there anytime. And Milo loved it. Donald & Suzy were not a huge fans of being slightly outside of the magic.

We loved Williamsburg. It really is very fun. But it was hotter than any place I've ever been in my entire life, so I'm slightly tainted by that.

If you need to fill the time since there isn't anything to plan for Williamsburg, you could educate yourself on the woman of the civil war. Then as you wander about all week say things like, "In this book I was reading there was this woman named Jenny Blake who (fill in the story)" Just bombard him with women/women/women empowerment stories from the war. That way you can seem as though you are taking an interest in his interests (reading up on the civil war) but secretly be ruining it for him by making it about how awesome women are. :hippie:

Then you can go to WDW at will. :woohoo:

I'm in a bit of mood tonight, as you can see. Sharing my secret tactics. :rotfl2:

Coming up is a chapter not about our TR at all but a quick dining review that I'm hoping Suzy will pipe in on from a boy point of view on things I might have missed.

estherhead
02-29-2012, 08:23 PM
This is my opinions, park by park, sit down places only. And they are not shared by the majority of Disboarders, nor even by all of my family.

AK:

Rainforest Cafe: never eaten at the AK one, but Suzy has. I like this restaurant, you can get deals since it's not Disney owned, an it's kids friendly as long as you don't have a kid terrified of thunder (Mulan is 11 and I swear still scarred from our DTD RC experience when she was a toddler.)

Tusker House: We've only done breakfast and we LOVE it. Love this place. The breakfast is basic enough for kids, but interesting enough for adults. The character interaction is wonderful. It's conveniently located so you can ride Dinosaur & EE in the a.m. and then grab safari FP's on your way in to your 10:30 ADR. Then you won't need lunch, just a snack. :love: Great place for kids.

Yak and Yeti: We've never done it.

DHS

50's PrimeTime Cafe: There is not a member of our family who likes this place. The wait staff is funny. But Donald, Suzy, and Milo don't really enjoy that. And the food is not my cup of tea. I'm really good at home cooking and could make this stuff in my sleep. Therefore, my family didn't enjoy it. Even the sundae, which was cool, we'd rather just have caramel corn at Germany in Epcot and ice cream from, well, anywhere. It is a good place for kids.

Brown Derby: Too expensive & not really for kids. Never done it.

Hollywood and Vine: Never done it. The food gets terrible reviews and though we do love characters, food is important to us.

Mama Melrose's: Never done it. Had ADR's there once for the Fantasmic package but cancelled.

Sci-Fi Dine In: The food isn't amazing. But it's not expensive and it's great for kids. All 11 of us love this place except Donald who got a milkshake dumped on him here and can't get over it. Also, he feels the mushroom burger is dry. But I really enjoy this place a lot for burgers and fries.

Epcot:

Coral Reef: The majority of tables aren't right at the aquariums. And the aquarium isn't a giant wall but windows. So it doesn't have a lot of impact on most of the tables. It was neutral on whether it was good or bad for kids. And the food was neutral as well.

Garden Grill: We always want to go here, but never do.

Akershus: This is quickly becoming my favorite place in Epcot. The characters are great, the atmosphere is pretty, and I love the food. I've actually asked for a recipe from here and made it more than once. But it is VERY princessy. I'm only allowed to go because Jack-Jack loves princesses too. Or when we are without the Suzy clan.

Biergarten: I've never been, but Suzy has. She wasn't a fan. Shared tables and subpar food.

Chefs de France: My family loves this place, Suzy's wasn't thrilled. So maybe it's a girl thing? It's loud and good for kids, but it has a feel of fancy. So probably good for girl kids. I feel the food is very good.

La Hacienda de San Angel: Never been.

Le Cellier: We all love the food here, but it's not really a great place for kids. My girls do ok now that they are not babies. And they love the food.

Nine Dragons: This is ok for kids, but the food isn't great. And the tables are kinda crammed together. But it was ok.

Restaurant Marrakesh: This is the most disappointing restaurant in Epcot. It's beautiful, great for kids, and the menu reads well. But the food is below neutral. It's boring in the extreme and almost yucky. They just need consistently cooked, flavorful food and we'd go again. But until we hear that's happened, we're done going.

Rose and Crown: This is a great place, Milo's favorite. But the flavors are too British for kids. None of the kids like the food. But we like it enough we still make them go about every third trip.

San Angel Inn: We love this place, it's good for kids. It's also romantic. Which seriously, when does that ever happen?

Teppan Edo: We love this place. It's great for kids. Love it.

Tutto Italia: Never eaten there.

Via Napoli: Suzy has eaten here. Good for kids and they liked it.

MK:

Cinderella's Royal Table: We did this long ago when Mulan and Ariel were preschoolers. We really, really loved it. But it was the only in park princess meal at the time. Ever since Akershus came on board, we've not been back.

Crystal Palace: :cloud9: Love this place. Long ago, Pooh and friends were not my favorites. They were too gentle and not splashy enough for me. But then we went to lunch at Crystal Palace. The food is lovely. And a big hug from Winnie the Pooh simply brightens a persons day. It's a great building in a great spot. Great for kids, great food. And reasonable.

Liberty Tree Tavern: See my post for Prime Time. No way I'm paying $30 for turkey dinner. I can make it for $25 for 10 people at my house and we love mine. I know we'd be disappointed so we've never been. They used to have characters and we'd considered it.

Plaza: Never been, but I would.

Tony's Town Square: We've been once and enjoyed it. But it never woos me back when Crystal Palace is just right over there. It is a romantic place (not as romantic as San Angel) and good for kids. Which again, doesn't happen all that often.

And that's it for In Park Sit Down meals. These are just our opinions based on the following:

Suzy & I are both good cooks. So it has to be better than ours.

Price. If we have a dining package things take on a different meaning. But some places we've paid for out of our own pockets. Sci-Fi, Crystal Palace, Akershus, San Angel, Via Napoli, Rose and Crown, Tusker House, and Rainforest. Those are all worth what they are priced based on food, location, atmosphere, and entertainment. Teppan Edo is so close to being on the list but it's too expensive for us if not on DDP.

Kids: The kids have to like the food too. And we have to not be sh-shing them through dinner.

Taste: And obviously, taste. We really like steak, mexican food, strong flavors.

graysmommy
02-29-2012, 08:55 PM
VERY useful info! :thumbsup2 can't wait to hear Suzy's thoughts as I am a Mom of boys only too ;)

estherhead
02-29-2012, 09:13 PM
VERY useful info! :thumbsup2 can't wait to hear Suzy's thoughts as I am a Mom of boys only too ;)

Yes, her opinions are definitely slightly different than mine, especially once we get to DTD & resort meals, which I'll do later.

estherhead
03-09-2012, 06:29 PM
I went into the check-in place to get the keys to Disneyliscious. If you go to vrbo, it's number 318549. Not sure I'm allowed to link to someone selling something. But if you are interested in this place, I wanted you to be able to look at the official thing.

Anyway, once we got there, it really was only about 5-6 miles from Disney to this place but as I pointed out, I was CRANKY! we got the keys I put down my security deposit and we were off. We ordered pizza on our way back. There is a Pizza Hut pretty close to Windsor Hills that we frequent. But at first I called the one on the other side of WDW near Crossroads & gave them my order. Then had the intelligence to ask them if they were on 192, which they weren't. So I cancelled that. And reordered from the right one. Which bizarrely was $15.00 cheaper for the exact same thing. I'm not sure if the guy gave us a coupon or what but I found it weird that two Pizza Huts right next to each other would have that different of pricing. But I was thrilled with the cheaper price!

And then....

We walked into the house.

As I went in, for the first time ever, I remembered to take pictures before we destroyed it & yelled at the everyone "Don't TOUCH ANYTHING for a minute." Donald & Milo put all the kids to work unloading the vans into the lobby while I ran around and quickly took pictures. In advance, you're welcome. I'll let the pictures tell the story:

Donald & my room, upper floor, to the right of the stairs:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0552.jpg

Ensuite bathroom:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0553.jpg

Our girl's room, to the left of the stairs upstairs:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0554.jpg

The kid's rooms bathroom:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0555.jpg

Charming & Buzz's room, aren't they lucky?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0556.jpg

Jack-Jack & McQueen's bedroom:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0557.jpg

The above rooms are at the top of the stairs, if you turn left and turn left again there is a long hall, but it's open to the stairs below so it doesn't have a long hall depressing feel. They are on the right side down that hall. Once you are past the stairs and turn left, you came to Suzy & Milo's room. This set-up worked perfectly since we are divided girls & boys we were able to pick our suites based on the boy/girl rooms. But it wouldn't have mattered because they both were amazing rooms.

Here's the hall & Suzy walking away from her room towards ours:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0560.jpg

Suzy & Milo's (clearly luggage had arrived by this picture):
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0558.jpg

Their bathroom (ours was the nicer bath):
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0559.jpg

The front door & dining room:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0561.jpg

Other than walking through, we hardly used this room. If we were doing puzzles or playing board games, it would have been great. If my parents had been here, we would have eaten a few meals around it. But our Disney trips are about Disney. We didn't do any of those things.

This is the room we lived in:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0562.jpg

Behind me in this picture is a big tv & Emmy's room and bathroom. Her bathroom was the main area's bathroom as well. At first we were using it when we were downstairs but a day in, we made a rule the kids had to go upstairs to use the potty as it was not a good idea for 7 kids (4 are boys!) to use a single adult woman's bathroom.

There also was a great pool. We pretty much lived at (in this order) Disney World, the kitchen/family room, the pool. That's a vacation.

Someone (not me) went and got the pizza while I cleaned up the nail polish. :headache: The van had gotten so hot inside that many nail polish containers had melted/exploded, something. There was polish everywhere in that bin. It cleaned up pretty well and didn't get on anything but the plastic container but man did it smell up our van!

After that Suzy, Emmy, and I wrote our grocery lists. The pizza came & I gulped down a piece. I annoyingly could not find a pen so onto my iphone my list went. It was ok, but not as good as pen and paper for a big vacation grocery list.

It was getting way late so we decided to just go to Winn Dixie Marketplace near our house. But sadly, the grapes were $2.89 per lb and the bananas $.69 per lb. That's fine for a few things, but not if you're trying to feed 12 people for a week. So back into the van we piled and off we went to the Walmart. I'd say it's 7 miles away. Way too far when you've spent the day at Magic Kingdom.

I spent $200.00 which is typical since we buy convenience foods and other things (like spritzer fans and Mickey ears) find their way into our carts. Suzy spent a bit more on something but I can't remember what. Suzy, do you remember this? I just remember you buying something cool & perhaps big ticket-ish? Emmy bought a bathing suit! It was so cute and she was thrilled to find a bathing suit she liked at Walmart. She also bought the tiniest amount of strange groceries I ever saw.

We didn't get back to the house until 9:15 p.m. It was all hands on deck to unload the van. It was absolute grocery mayhem! Chaos. But once it was all put away, Suzy & I were really happy with what we had bought. It was wonderful food.

I fell into bed at 10:58 (but not before breaking into the peanut butter M&M's) so very, very exhausted. It had been such a long 8 weeks and that night as my eyes quickly drooped, I knew it was going to be a great vacation. Two weeks of bliss ahead of me with all my favorite people on earth (remember, our parents were joining us the second week.) I slept like a rock.

estherhead
03-09-2012, 06:59 PM
Found pictures of what I just described!

Looking from the kitchen towards the tv & Emmy's room.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0563.jpg

The luggage not allowed in rooms while I was taking pictures. Thank goodness my Donald is as good at unpacking as packing, he unpacked and organized these into drawers while I grocery shopped.:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0564.jpg

The table where I put my stuff for the parks so it was always ready to go. See? My purse is already there.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0565.jpg

The great pool with no cranky people in it. Well no OTHER cranky people it other than us:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0566.jpg

LOVED THESE! LOVED LOVED! Ever since I've been trying to talk Donald into Samsung washer & dryer and he keeps protesting that buying Samsung washer and dryer is weird.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0567.jpg

The pizza, it got scarfed down:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0568.jpg

Awwww.... looks like someone is enjoying vaca.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0569.jpg

The grocery chaos:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0571.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0572.jpg

Next up: Our first now that I'm settled and actually feel like I'm on vacation.

houseful of boys
03-09-2012, 08:32 PM
We LOVED, LOVED :love: this house. It was configured perfectly for us. Perla and I absolutely could not find one thing we didn't like about it. We all had our own "wings" and the common areas were big enough for all of us. We made the rule quickly that the kids were not to hang out in each other's bedrooms so that they could all have their own "space" when needed and things wouldn't be lost. And there was a game room downstairs with lots of toys and games where the kids could gather together. (although, this was an irritation to Perla and I, because Jack Jack and Boo would dump all the bins of toys in there, :mad: and it was ALWAYS needing picked up).

OK, sorry I'm late to getting around to my opinions about Perla's restaurant primer. I only have one thing that I feel different about. I think at Epcot, Rose and Crown is much more kid friendly then San Angel Inn. Perla's kids eat spicy mexican food regularly but if your kids do not then there isn't much for them at San Angel Inn. However, you can get mashed potatoes, sausage, macaroni at Rose and Crown. Both atmosphere's are fine with children. So check out the menus and then decide which your family would enjoy more.

Also, I think I would be willing to pay OOP for Teppan Edo while Perla said no. We enjoyed it that much, and with kids, an adult and kid could share pretty easily. I've only done it with free dining so far, but would definitely keep it on my list even if I was paying.

estherhead
03-09-2012, 08:40 PM
I slept so well, but at 5 am I had to go & groggily wandered into my gigantic bathroom. I thought I'd fall right back to sleep considering how exhausted I had been at 11 pm. But I was at Disney World and once even a tiny bit awake, I couldn't fall asleep. I read, hoping that would help, but it didn't. So at 6:15 I got up and started on my day.

Heart so full of love to wake up to these cuties:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0574.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0576.jpg

I made coffee and then french braided my hair. It is indeed a good style for adults at WDW as well as kids. I have to say I believe the french braid or double french braid to be the perfect summer theme park hair do. It's cool, it stays done, it looks like you care what you look like, and it can lean against the back of rides unlike a pony tail or clip.

Donald was next awake of my clan and he helped me figure out how to turn the main tv on and clean up a bit. Then we had breakfast. I made myself an egg bagel, which is a great way to start the morning. Eggbeaters in a small bowl sprayed with canola & sprinkled with salt and pepper. Into the microwave for a minute while you toast your bagel. A slice of sandwich ham & cheese. Put the egg on & wrap in a paper towel till it's melty. Yum, protein & filling. And only takes 2 minutes. I made them for kids later once they were awake too.

After Donald & my leisurely breakfast, we went up to get dressed, awaken the girls and do their hair. I fed Boo her breakfast bite by bite so she wouldn't get messy and she would eat it and not pick it apart. She is SO gross. I packed my official park bag for my first official day (I know we'd already been here two days, but it feels official when I'm fully unpacked.)

I couldn't believe how fast 8 am came! And Emmy couldn't either! She was shocked when what seemed like total mayhem at 7:30 am became a put together, fed, sunblocked, in the vans team at 8:00. She knew she'd have to bring her A game.

We were at the bag check at Epcot at 8:20 am. Very easy bag check, not as easy as the day before, but easy nonetheless. And then we got in the LONG pre-gate line. Welcome to summer crowds.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0577.jpg

McQueen was CRANKY this morning. He had gotten all my cranky bugs from the night before and was not feeling it here at Epcot.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0578.jpg

Look at all those people!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0583.jpg

It was hot this day too, despite being 8:20 am. And I knew we wouldn't look better than we looked right then. And we were standing around doing nothing, thus the above family photo of us. So I wanted the Suzy clan to have a photo too. But McQueen said, "No Way." He was not going to get in a photo.

So I had a brainstorm and told him to forget the family photo. I was only going to take a picture of him. Just him. Because he's my favorite subject. Well, he is a middle child after all, just craving attention. And in addition to this, he was born to be in movies. So if it was just HIM, he'd get out of the stroller for a photo.

I give you: Charming:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0585.jpg

Just kidding. It's McQueen. NOT Prince Charming.

Loosening up a little bit:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0586.jpg

Oh yeah, I am the MASTER at getting McQueen to do what I want. Look, LOOK, I even got a smile:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0587.jpg

The rope dropped and we were OFF. Suzy went to get Soarin' FP's with half the crowd and we went with the other half.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0588.jpg

But it took her a LONG time to get the Soarin' FP's and the kids were completely stressed out by watching 10 minutes worth of people dash ahead of us onto Test Track. So Milo was like, "Where on earth have you been?" Which was NOT the right thing to say to a woman who has braved a stampede, crossed a park, gone down steps, stood in line with other crazy people, gone back up the steps, and recrossed a park in 100% humidity and 90 degree weather. If looks could kill! :scared: She was drenched in sweat.

It was 9:11 when we went into Test Track. Sweet, sweet air conditioning.

This time nothing crazy happened, thank goodness.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0591.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0593.jpg

What wasn't good, was when the doors flung open to speed outside, the heat hit you like a wall.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0598.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0600.jpg

Victorious!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0601.jpg

So, we'd conquered American highways, it was time to conquer Mars.

We split into Orange and Green teams, with Donald and Milo sitting out with Jack-Jack and Boo. We forgot to tell Emmy what the colors meant and after Suzy, McQueen, and I headed to green we realized we should have given her a heads up. Whoopsies! She went with Mulan, Ariel, and Charming. I don't ride this often because I always have little ones who can't ride and I don't love it enough to miss other things to ride it so I normally sacrifice and sit out with the kids. But it is really fun! I should make it a priority.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0603.jpg

She survived:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0602.jpg

The kids had gotten done first since less people choose orange and were well entrenched in games when we three came off. I'm all for kids playing around at Epcot, but it was hot outside and the dads and preschoolers were waiting. So no playing around in AC while others melt outside. We dragged them out.

Into the Universe of Energy. I was a little frightened for Boo and sure enough, she was a little frightened. I'm not that into to dinosaurs so this isn't a big attraction for me. But I get that little boys who love dinosaurs love this. And it's air conditioned and entertaining enough. I work in the energy business, and this attraction has almost no energy information. I find that a little disappointing.

After this we checked out Spaceship Earth. A 30 min wait!

It was almost 11:00 so we just decided to do Sunshine Seasons for lunch. I took this on the way:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0605.jpg

I got noodles, Donald got a Caesar salad. We also got dessert despite not being on the DDP. Sunshine Seasons just has good dessert. Strawberry shortcake, key lime pie, berry cheesecake.

As ALWAYS, Boo had to go potty 1/4 of the way through our meal. So I said as I got up, "Do NOT throw away my food. Do NOT throw it away." Just like that. So they didn't. But they did EAT it. Sigh. I should have divided it on the plate and pointed at that and said, "DO NOT throw it away, eat it, or do anything bad to it." Instead, I just staked claim on the key lime pie & glaring at them all told them it was mine & I would not be sharing. Irritating Boo. I blame it all on her. WHY am I not skinnier?

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0606.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0607.jpg

See how many noodles were left?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0609.jpg

Living with the Land had an actual line. And the FP machine was closed. Normally Living with the Land has no line and the FP machine is open. So this was kind of annoying as our original plan had been to get FP's before lunch. But instead we just kind of watched the line and when it seemed like it had died down, we pounced. But some of us (Emmy) didn't understand the assertive pouncing nature when you see a hole open up in a stream of people entering a queue. So we created a bit of a scene trying to get our whole team together. Normally in lines there is a little spot you can wait with your people for your other people who got separated from you when you were hopping in line and you're a group of 12 and other people hop in between you. But here there is no spot.

So a scene of people waiting and other people catching up and other people being annoyed when in fact you are wearing MATCHING tshirts so they really should have been able to tell you were a group.

It was only a 10 minute wait and since a lot of it was pouncing and hopping and wiggling, it seemed shorter.

estherhead
03-09-2012, 09:59 PM
I just noticed in the unloading groceries picture all the alcohol in the refrigerator door. We do like to enjoy ourselves. :goodvibes

OK. I'm going to do resorts & DTD TS dining. I know, I'm kind of overwhelming you all with chapters tonight but I have limited time in my weeks to write and I have the pressure of an every moving towards me trip to DisneyLAND. Oy! Where do the days go. So instead of being slowly fed Disney info, you are all going to starve and then get it slammed towards you all at once. Again, this is mainly just me & my opinions. I'll share Suzy's when I know them or they greatly vary from mine.

AKL

Boma:

We've only eaten here for breakfast. We really like it. When we are on DDP. It's fairly expensive for a breakfast buffet with no characters. But it's a good breakfast. A really good breakfast. That being said, it's pretty similar to Tusker House and Tusker House has characters and is in a really convenient part of AK itself. So I'm not sure we'll ever be back here unless we are staying at the AKL and then we will. It is good for kids (but Tusker House is better.)

Jiko:

Uhm, yes please! LOVE this place. The only kid we've taken here was Jack-Jack. And he mostly slept through it. But it's a pretty loud restaurant and I think kids would just fit in fine. People were more dressed up (just slightly) than in non-fancy places. But not as dressed up as Cali Grill. The feel of the food here is normal with interesting spices. I love that. And for a nice meal, it's worth the price. The food is very good and the service good and the feel is relaxing and romantic. But it doesn't really have any special pull for kids. Again, unless I was staying here I wouldn't take my kids. But I absolutely would do a date night here.

Sanaa Never eaten here.

Beach Club

Beaches and Cream

I've never eaten here and that is much to my annoyance. You can't make ADR's and for us, that makes it not kid friendly. Cause our kids don't like to wait 45 minutes to be seated. Someday I'm gonna time it right and eat here without a long wait.

Cape May Cafe

This place is kid friendly, delicious, conveniently located between Epcot and DHS on a gorgeous lake in a beautiful resort. There is nothing to not love but the $40.00 price tag. And even that, for the quality, is worth it. Unfortunately, kids at WDW start at 10 years old making it really expensive for us. Even with that, we'd probably still do it. But Mulan HATES fish so much it makes her vomit. No way I'm paying $40.00 for that. But she's 11 and eeking closer to being able to stay home when we go here. I see this as a place my family might break apart for. And if you have a whole family of shellfish eaters, $40.00 is totally worth it. On DDP, this is a no brainer. Go.

Boardwalk

Flying Fish

Suzy has been here more than once. I've been here once. I LOVED it. The decor is unique, the placement is beautiful, the service amazing. But, there was a kid in here, and I was glad I wasn't the parents. I don't think it's too kid friendly. This is better savored as a date night or a fun all adult meal. If you are a party of adults (why, exactly are you reading my TR? :rotfl:) but you should go here. It's great!

ESPN Club

I loved this joint and will try to make it more of a priority. It also takes walk ups only but unlike Beaches and Cream, it's HUGE. It's fun, it's loud, and the food is great bar food. Kid friendly in all ways. And a little thank you to your DH for riding It's a Small World with his 5 year old daughter at 2:00 on a November Sunday afternoon.

Kouzzina

Suzy & I went here with my mom and Boo & Jack-Jack. And Suzy and I had very different feelings as Jack-Jack had only sugar this entire meal. Boo LOVED this place. She loved the open kitchen and the chefs yelling "OOmpa!" She still talks about it and she was little when we went. I loved my food. I loved the open kitchen. I'd go again for sure. The honey donuts: yum!

I haven't been to the other places here.

Contemporary

California Grill

Donald and I went here on a date night. We LOVED it. Especially if you make your ADR's 6 months in advance for a night when Wishes is on. :love: We did take our kids back as it is kid friendly and there are always kids there. But, it isn't as kid friendly as we thought, and we didn't have nearly as much fun with the kids as without. :laughing: But the did enjoy it. The food is great. And by splitting the steaks, we went here on our own dime and the bank wasn't broke.

Chef Mickey's

This is a fun, over the top Disney, experience. Monorail, Fab Five, MK out the window, a wall of candy 24 hours a day. What more do you want? The food? Yeah, it's not amazing. But it's ok. The money they charge is for the smiles you wear all day when you start out here for breakfast. And the Mickey waffles. The rest, if you can cook, you can make at home. But here, you don't have to cook or clean and you will be a photo shooting fool. Be a kid again here. That is what you came to WDW for, after all. It's not our favorite, but every third trip or so we're back. And Suzy goes more often.

Haven't been the other places here.

I haven't been to Coronado Springs nor Caribbean Beach nor the Dolphin.

Fort Wilderness

Trails End to go

We've only eaten the to go here and it was a great value. Obviously, it's kids friendly. We're big fans.

Grand Floridian

1900 Park Faire

Do you have a girl who is a fan of Cinderella? Eat here. The characters are phenomenal. It's loads of fun and just walking into the Grand Floridian makes a little girl feel like a princess. We were disappointed in two things: the volume of this place: it's LOUD. And the food was generic and bland. But, again, I love Akershus. And Cinderella is there too so my heart might just be at Akershus. We were seated in the loudest part of Park Faire. If you want an evening, no theme park, girl character meal: this is the ticket. And the characters, again, are very good and very funny.

Grand Floridian Cafe

This is a quiet, elegant restaurant with tasty American food. I feel it is a good value for a quiet break from MK. I plan on going again. It's kid friendly as the tables are in little sections so even if your kids are not being amazing, they are kind of in a private area. It's not an exciting place for boys. It's boring. But sometimes we parents of girls want quiet and boring so they can take a little break from stimulation. The service was great here.

We haven't done the other places.

Polynesian

Kona

I've eaten here twice now. It is kid friendly. And reasonable. And a nice atmosphere and good service. And the drinks and bread and desserts are fabulous. But twice my main course hasn't been the best of the week. More middle of the week. It's still on my list because I go to WDW a lot and this is a good "I want to eat at the Poly" choice. But if this is your first and possibly only trip, Kona is too generic.

O'hana

I really like this place. Not every bite of skewered meat is amazing, but that's pretty much how skewered meat is. And the good thing about this place is they keep bringing it around so you can keep asking for more meat till you get the perfect bites. The drinks, bread, sides, and dessert are all great. And if you break out of your comfort zone and go learn to hula with the kids, you won't be sorry. Wear a lei, for pete sake, you're on vacation. This place FEELS like vacation. You can almost feel Baby sitting in a corner in this place. And it is high on my list. Fun for kids, fun for adults. Worth the money.

Haven't eaten at Old Key West, Port Orleans, or Saratoga Springs, Shades of Green, or the Swan.

But at Port Orleans, Boatwrights looked good. A nice place to eat a meal if you are staying there and it is pouring or you are exhausted. Just cancel your park ADR's and eat here and go to bed early. I bet you won't be sorry.

Wilderness Lodge

Artist's Point

I loved this place. It's quite, gentle, romantic. I'd love to get engaged here. If I were single, of course. But it's not for kids. That's my opinion. But I stand by it.

Whispering Canyon Cafe

I think Suzy may have a different opinion of this place than me. I love it. It's very kid friendly and we like the food. It's a better deal on DDP than off. It's fun. But Suzy's family has almost no extroverts and they don't tease and harass their servers, which the interaction is the best part. And if you have kids and want a fun little side trip from MK to stop the stimulation madness, a boat ride to the Wilderness Lodge and a meal at the WCC and then back to MK for fireworks is just the ticket. Just don't take 4 balloons & 4 boys when you are just one Mom.

Yacht Club: Haven't eaten there.

Downtown Disney:

Rainforest Cafe

See my AK report.

T-Rex

This is owned by the Rainforest Cafe and has similar food. I really like the food and think it is worth the money. It is awesome and I can see it being on our must do list within the next year. We've wanted it to be on our must do list since it opened, but it is NOT for toddlers. It is too, too scary. If your kid looks terrified when Winnie the Pooh comes close, do NOT come here. There is a GIANT, terrifying dinosaur that roars and a meteor shower that blows things up. Other than that, it's totally safe. If you're kids are over the age of 6, especially if they are a boy, this needs to be on your list. Great for parents (yummy drinks and food) and great for kids.

Raglan Road

I've only been here with adults and I've LOVED it both times. My girls would enjoy it too. But I think Suzy's younger boys would be bored for another 2-3 years. Then everyone would love it. It's not that it's not kid friendly (it's large and loud), it's just got a bar/party feel that makes me not want to share it with my kids. I love the food and I love the drinks. I love the band and the dancer. I love the little booths, and the wide open space.

Wolfgang Puck Cafe

This was very nice, it is kid friendly. But it's just a normal restaurant. Good food. But like Kona, it's just middle.

I haven't eaten at the other places.

And that is that. And Suzy is right. I should have mentioned that my girls put RedHot on food regularly. I made cheese quesadillas and black bean soup tonight and Ariel got out the Redhot, cause that's what we do. I said, "Both of these things have Chipotle peppers in them, better taste first." They didn't add Redhot. Because it was hot. Boo does NOT like spicy currently. Her quesadilla had grilled chicken and cheese and she had no soup. But we're working on her.

So when I say "bland" you may think "perfect" if you would never consider putting Redhot on something or you order your wings Mild.

WalkingintheFog
03-10-2012, 10:03 PM
Wow, love love the pictures of the girls sleeping in the veiled beds! (or whatever those gauzy things are called!).

And I never noticed the alcohol in the fridge until you mentioned it!:worship:
And I wondered how much more was there that's not refrigerated? lol!
The Grocery mayhem pictures were hilarious!

Mommy2BnB
03-10-2012, 10:41 PM
Great update. The house you stayed in looks a-maz-ing! Wow! I also enjoyed reading your review of DW restaurants. Great info.

I wish we were heading back to DW this summer. Living in TN the heat and humidity doesn't bother me. But we are heading to the Smoky Mtns instead. If anyone has any Dollywood tips, I would be glad to hear them. :)

jecskc
03-11-2012, 10:38 AM
Wow, Disneylicious looked like an amazing house and perfect for you and your family. I have rented from vrbo several times and we were always very pleased. And I imagine it was cheaper than staying on property. I have to admit I noticed your alcohol stash in the fridge. I was thinking, these people are here to have some FUN !! Also, I loved your restaurant reviews. Very informative. Looking forward to reading more !!

estherhead
03-11-2012, 04:44 PM
Wow, love love the pictures of the girls sleeping in the veiled beds! (or whatever those gauzy things are called!).

And I never noticed the alcohol in the fridge until you mentioned it!:worship:
And I wondered how much more was there that's not refrigerated? lol!
The Grocery mayhem pictures were hilarious!

Not tooo much not refrigerated, but there is the beer & the like elsewhere in the fridge. We bought this & brought most of this from home (then no looking for a liquor store in Kissimmee, though I do know where a few are.) We had brought enough for both weeks: the Disney week and beach week, but then we remembered Dad couldn't drink alcohol so we tried to drink it all the first week. :lmao: That didn't really work. So we just stored ours in our room & put it in coffee mugs at the beach. Milo did the same thing.

Great update. The house you stayed in looks a-maz-ing! Wow! I also enjoyed reading your review of DW restaurants. Great info.

I wish we were heading back to DW this summer. Living in TN the heat and humidity doesn't bother me. But we are heading to the Smoky Mtns instead. If anyone has any Dollywood tips, I would be glad to hear them. :)

It was AMAZING! More to come on how much loved it as this report continues.

As for Dollywood, sorry. We went to the Smoky Mountains on our honeymoon and are always discussing going back. But for some reason we just don't really want to. It's like we head south, we think WDW.

Wow, Disneylicious looked like an amazing house and perfect for you and your family. I have rented from vrbo several times and we were always very pleased. And I imagine it was cheaper than staying on property. I have to admit I noticed your alcohol stash in the fridge. I was thinking, these people are here to have some FUN !! Also, I loved your restaurant reviews. Very informative. Looking forward to reading more !!

Thanks. I couldn't help but notice your ticker. A Disney cruise.... oh how sweet.

estherhead
03-11-2012, 06:09 PM
This time at Living with the Land they had all new stuff. Probably seasonal, I've not been in June before. It was nice to see different plants.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0610.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0611.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0612.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0613.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0614.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0615.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0616.jpg

Awww, I love Living with the Land.

After this we went to ride Soarin'. There was a long line at the FP return. Hopefully they take that into consideration with the new plan.

It was Boo & Jack-Jack's first time.

OK, wait. I have to take a moment and reiterate something about June. I have been to WDW in (hopefully I hit them all, because I've been going a long time) January, February, March, August, September, October, November, and December.

I choose when to go to WDW based on off- season and weather. Thus you see I have avoided in the past April-July. I'm willing to suffer crowds. And I'm willing to suffer heat. But I'm not willing to do both.

But because we'd already been twice in the year and this was the two weeks we could go, we went in June. Dead summer. Both heat and crowds.

Here is the thing, however. We are GOOD at WDW. The whole new FP thing, I'm totally not worried about. We'll do whatever we want to do anyway. So even with the heat and the crowds, we were not slowed down and if you can only go in June or July: Follow our tips to a T and you will also have a great time.

The reason I bring this up is this was my first time going during high season. The people who go during high season do NOT live on the Disboards. They've never heard of the Disboards. They've never heard any of my rules. And best of all, they have never been to Disney World at all. They are 100% new.

Sure, this had it's frustrations since they never knew what they were doing. But it also was amazing. I LOVED touring with the Newbies. First, they didn't get there early. Sure, there was the pack of people who knew the drill at Test Track and Soarin' in the morning. But the true hoards didn't arrive until 11 am. Allowing us to enjoy the "cooler" mornings with much shorter crowds.

The best thing about this group of Newbies, however, was that they have never ridden any of the rides before. Can you imagine? Do you remember the first time you rode Splash Mountain? The first time you saw the Festival of the Lion King? The first time you hugged Mickey Mouse? That very first time you saw the castle and all the emotions of being a kid all over again hit you right the heart?

When you go in June, that's who is there. Tears in their eyes, mouths fallen open. Standing about everywhere gawking at this magical, magical place.

So back to our story: It was Boo and Jack-Jack's first time of Soarin'. And Emmy's first time on Soarin'. We got great seats and we took an entire row. Boo was nervous. But Milo had worked on her in the line, teasing her about her big girl shoes and calming her down. It worked pretty well. Guess he's as good at manipulating Boo as I am at manipulating McQueen.

I'm sure I have a picture of Boo's first ride. But I can't find it on my computer nor phone, so it must be on Donald's and he's napping. So no photo. But you know what Soarin' looks like and and what Boo looks like, you can imagine.

We put the seatbelt through the little thingy between her legs. And we flew.

And this is where my above description comes into play. No one in our room had ridden this before. So when we Soared up, they screamed. When we flew over the orange groves they laughed. When we went through the pine forest down the river, they gasped. And when we went over Disneyland, though I couldn't see them, I'm pretty sure they teared up. And when the fireworks went off they cheered their heads off. And at the end of the ride they applauded with all their might. And so did we. And so did Boo and Jack and Emmy.

And that is when I knew, I'd be back in June again despite that icky heat and crowds. Because Disney was built for cheers and gasps and crowded theaters. It is a theater. And performances are best ended with roaring applause.

Tears in my eyes, we headed off to Imagination. There was a bit of discussion as Buzz had informed us that is WDW trip would not be complete without seeing the Circle of Life. Last time I went to the Circle of Life. it was the scariest thing Boo & I did that week. I was on a high and didn't really feel like watching sewage spew into the ocean. So Milo sacrificed and they went to see it. All of the rest of us hurried onto Figment.

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It was a walk on and our CM's name was actually Mickey. What are the chances? Boo giggled at Dr. Nigel Channingway as always. I love the upside down room. And the song.

Up next was Captain EO. Can't remember who all did this and who didn't. But Emmy and I did I know. Donald doesn't really like it.

We walked in with perfect timing at the very end of the preshow and so were ushered right in to our seats. This made Emmy miss the explanation so I summed it up quickly. I love the whips in this thing. Indiana Jones had come out in 1981 and this was made (arrived at WDW in 1986) shortly there after so whips were all the rage. It's a weird thing to be "in". Michael Jackson and George Lucas truly, truly were geniouses, no matter how cheesy this is, it's impressive. They invented this stuff. I :love: George Lucas. It's true. I do. I love innovators.

Emmy also love it. I knew she would. It's right up her alley.

Wherever we all were, we met up at Nemo. The sign said a 30 minute wait, but by this time it was BLAZING hot outside and you know how long it takes to just walk through the turnstyles at Nemo? We figured that alone takes 15 minutes. So 30 wouldn't be so bad. As we walked towards it, the sign flipped down to 20 minutes. So then it was a no brainer. Into the A.C. we went. Epcot Future World is so nice on a hot or rainy day because you only have to suffer in between buildings.

There were more people in here than normal, but it's a constantly loading ride so we never stopped walking, we just didn't super fast walk like normal. I timed it, cause I'm a geek and because I love you all and want you to be informed. Your welcome. It took 11 minutes. And was very enjoyable. It's a great room. And everyone in it was new. So they were very much enjoying the posters and theming. And I was enjoying them.

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It was lovely as always.

We then joined the crushing Crush crowd. We looked in the aquariums a bit. But it was hot and I was kind of miserable in there. I put Mulan's Mickey ears on Boo and schooled her on how to get called on during Crush. Raise your hand really high. Be persistent. And we practiced her question "Where were you born?"

In we went. Mulan went to supervise Boo & Jack. They got sat on aisle. Everything was working well.

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Matching t-shirts. Check. Cute kid in Mickey antennae. Check. Hand raised high constantly. Check.

But no go.

Crush this day was annoying and self absorbed. He called on almost no one. And he said stupid self absorbed things. The crowd LOVED him. But they were new. They didn't know that the wonderful interaction was the best thing about this show. Even the two kids he called on, he didn't interact with them at all. Lame. Boo was sad. But, in typical Boo fashion she simply said, "I not cry." And that was true. Yeah, she's gonna bottle up emotions and explode as an adult. But whatcha gonna do? She is who she is.

We then were off to ride Spaceship Earth. On the way Emmy wanted to stop at the Fountainview Ice Cream shop. But. I was mean and said no. Yup, I say no even adults. There was a HUGE line and we had one more ride before we were taking the entire night off. I mean, come on, surely you can give me another 30 minutes before our break. Ok, ok, so I'm mean. 7 kids makes you that way.

At Spaceship Earth there was a 10 minute line which said it was longer than that. It wasn't bad at all. We mostly played on our phones (me writing my notes). Because of this & the lethargy that heat makes you have, we were not the well oiled machine that we normally are and we got to the front without a plan. That is NOT a good idea. Because you are on a moving platform that has an end. You really need to know who is going with who in which order before you get onto the platform.

Tip Time!! Use the time you stand in line (no matter how limited that is if you are following our "no lines" tips to organize yourself. Because MANY rides at WDW are constantly loading. This means you cannot stop to hear little Johnny's argument about sitting on the left side once you are at the ride. Work that out in line. Most rides take two people. Ask the people around you the seat configuration of the ride you are about to go on (Like Mission: Mars is 4 people.) Then pretend your on Survivor and quickly conference to make teams.

Truth? I don't know who I ended up with. Probably McQueen as when there is confusion, we gravitate towards each other.

We played for about 10 minutes on the interactive stuff and then went to potty before heading home. But, as always, we went out the wrong door. Seriously, EVERY time. It's best to have a plan in here and meet inside the building after the ride and then exit together. Otherwise there is 100% chance you will be waiting for your party on opposite sides of the building forEVER and it is HOT outside. We all just turned right around and walked right back through the building to the other side.

Then we walked to the van. We were super close due to our early arrival.

Want to know the best thing about arriving super early on a hot June day?

Being back at your air conditioned home base by 4 PM for the whole evening!

We drank, we ate. We ordered Outback and sent someone (other than me) to get it. But they went to the wrong one. Whoopsies. We watched dumb reality shows on the On Demand cable. Sweet, sweet luxury.

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Me and Figment:
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A few trips earlier Boo had fallen in love with taking bubble baths with Jack-Jack. She loves taking bubble baths in general, but to have a friend join you? Amazing. So the moment she laid eyes on this bad boy, she had plans. So straight from the pool: into the tub. A wrinkled prune for sure.
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After the bath, we had the dinner and we were all done with:

Epcot Future World
Swimming
Bathing
Eating three meals

by 7:30 p.m. So the rest of the night was for 100% chilling out. It was one of Donald and Milo's favorite nights of the whole trip and Milo said it was that night when he knew he was on vacation. The sweet spot of relaxation came early on this trip.

Many hours were spent in the game room. Bringing Emmy gave Charming someone to play with as well. She and Donald spent lots of time playing with the game room.
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But here is the infernal mess of which Suzy spoke. Here she is the night before talking Boo into helping her clean up. We later (meaning about 5 minutes later) changed this strategy to Suzy and I just taking turns. And yes, we did remind the other one when it was their turn, just like sitting in the front seat of the car as kids. Ugh!

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We also did laundry and I braided everyone's hair. Emmy was wistful that I would braid hers. But I just don't know ANYTHING about black hair. Sorry. I don't have those skills. I guess I could have watched a Youtube video, buy I didn't. Maybe next time.

The other thing we did was rehearse Emmy & Charming's songs for their AI auditions.

Then an early bedtime. DHS and our American Idol contestant's were ready to try out.

estherhead
03-11-2012, 08:13 PM
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a Disney girl happy and shows she's super wise.

We were ready to go by 7:45.

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Today was the day we were gonna try to get Emmy & Charming into American Idol: the Experience. So we were wearing our special tshirts. Except for Charming as he didn't want to be a goob when he tried out. Emmy's parents, who have supported her through MANY years of singing & music lessons, kept calling her. Her father and she have a very strange relationship and I learned just HOW weird when I listened to her side of the conversation the entire drive to DHS. He's one weird dude.

It wasn't until 8:00 am when we pulled into DHS that we realized we had no ponchos and there was a chance of rain. Hopefully that wouldn't be a big deal. At 8:30 we got to the turnstyles just as they started opening up. And the moment people were through the turnstyles they ran. This utterly confused Emmy who is not used to crazy Disney mentality. We had warned her about this morning, but she just couldn't understand.

It was a small street, and at the end you are simply stopped again. Why would you run?

She does have a point.? We did not run. We got a pretty good spot.

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Is it crowded in June? Yes, yes it is.
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The rope dropped and we were off. It wasn't too crazy of a pace. With so many Newbies and crowds there were more security than normal and they seriously kept everyone in line.

The TSM line was way outside the building and long. Buzz was freaking out that Star Tours would be so crowded we'd never get to ride. Which is, of course, silly even with the new updates. It was 9:01 am and CLEARLY everyone in this park was here to ride TSM. We'd be fine. But he was a MESS! In addition to the crazy line & Buzz, Emmy's mom was now calling her constantly (Emmy is in her late twenties but I've heard her mom freak out when she doesn't call for 24 hours. Drives Emmy NUTS!) so after ignoring it for 15 minutes, she finally just had to answer or else her mom would be afraid she was dead.

I know the TSM maniacal march is crazy, but it's not literally deadly.

So pretty much calming Buzz down and reassuring Emmy's mom that she hadn't bizarrely died overnight took our entire TSM wait. I decided to absorb Buzz's freaking by taunting him that he couldn't beat my on TSM. This, of course, led to him being with me when we boarded. He was ahead the entire time but I refused to give up as I may not be good at target practice, but I am FAST. So I was hoping to beat him at the end when you just need to be a speed demon.

Sure enough, the very LAST target of the speed demon part, I hit. I beat him by 1,000. Oh yeah, sweet victory.
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We were done & splitting up by 9:20.

Charming & Milo and Emmy headed to AI auditions and I RACED (not because it was necessary, but I promised Buzz) to get Star Tours FP's. They were for 10:10. Whew, that WAS an emergency. :rotfl:

I met up outside the auditions.

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Donald had gotten his second breakfast.
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And, yes, on vacation there is second breakfast. Writer's Shop usually provides ours when we are at DHS. LOVE Writer's Shop.

He also spent the extra time to get Boo a Donald tattoo. I would never have even stopped at one of these kiosks. But that's why I love my Donald. It was so cute. And a cheap way to brighten a day.

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I amused myself by calling my mom back (yes, my mom also was calling me) but I was giving her directions and information about our beach house as she and my dad were packing and getting ready to head out. They were going to the beach house before us to settle in and enjoy a brief bit of quiet before all of our chaos descended on them.

Fairly quickly (within 15 minutes) Charming and Milo were back out. Charming had been told his Pokerface was too mellow. He was sad, but that was the reason we were doing 2 days of DHS in a row, so we could get the feedback and start over.

Boo and Jack-Jack amused themselves by getting in a knock down drag out fight about whether the Sci fi Drive-in was a ride or a meal. So... we decided to amuse all ourselves by doing this:
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Emmy had gone on to meet the producer and was being prepped to be on the show, so we left her to ride Star Tours and got more FP's for it for later so she wouldn't have to miss it.

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This was the right move in all ways. We LOVED the new Star Tours, it brightened everyone's mood. We got the Chewbacca on the windshield version. And Charming got to be our rebel spy. Perfect bonus for being rejected so quickly from AI.

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Seriously? Who rejects this kid?

Donald & Ariel ran over to get RnR FP's. They were for 1:00. While he was doing that, we staked out seats in Indiana Jones for the 11:00 show. Except it was actually an 11:30 show. Ooops. It was like 10:45. So we headed to the Great Movie ride so that McQueen would be happy. (Buzz loves Star Tours, McQueen loves the Great Movie Ride, and Jack-Jack loves Indiana Jones.)

We chose the left line and there was quite literally no one in it. The right side of the line was about a 10 minute wait. You could see this and you can go under the poles to switch lines. But no one was. Because they are all new. Odd. So we just walked right in. Boo was not scared at all. Woo-hoo! She's a big girl! While we riding, Emmy texted that she, too had been rejected. She got through to the producer who said it was the wrong song choice. She had been really nervous because she said the girl in front of her was AMAZING and way better than her and had told her that she had got to the finale the day before but not won it and was going through again to get the golden ticket. She felt intimidated.

Donald, Ariel, and Emmy watched Disney Channel rocks while they waited for us and Ariel went ahead and joined the show (they love when you do.) She got specifically chosen so that made her happy. They also traded vinylmations.

We then went into Indiana Jones at the right time. We got seperated upon entry and so I tried to space things out so we could all sit together. But with such big crowds, they would not let us save seats or leave any space. Bizarrely, we all ended up being directed to opposite sides of the same row. So that worked out. Match tshirts at work? You be the judge.

Once the show began, Boo immediately was VERY frightened. So we just left, her and I. Donald gave me our tickets and we went to ToT to get FP's. They were for 3:40. We then went into the potty right there next to the ToT FP building. As I walked in I yelled as I thought a bird had pooped on me. But not so. It was a GIANT raindrop. Uhm, now whose the idiot who didn't bring the ponchos?

So we went into the stores and killed some time. I bought a scarf and then I sat facing the big hat under an awning. It was a really nice moment for Boo and I.

And just like that the sky was bright blue. I saw a dark grey cloud moving towards us. And I knew my time was limited. Our plan was to meet at the Backlot Tour when Indiana Jones was done.

I had a great idea. I dashed to Indiana Jones, texting Donald to hurry and meet me. I knew if I could get there before it was done there would be no lines. Funnel cakes. What could possibly be more Disney than your parents letting you have dessert before lunch? Or maybe even for lunch?

Sure enough, there was no line. I ordered two giant funnel cakes with strawberries and ice cream. There was a slight delay which worked perfectly. The CM was handing me the first one when Donald walked up. It could not have been better.

We hussled to Backlot Tour, hoping the rest of the family would arrive before the ice cream melted or the storm came or both. Because the wind was seriously picking up.

We rushed in and Milo was already there with half the kids. But we couldn't find Suzy. She showed up and as they crossed into building, it began POURING! In the mayhem we lost Jack-Jack ( he was quickly found.) And we lost Emmy completely. Charming was exhausted and there was a slight bit of panic. It was POURING!

But overall, we had made the perfect choice of meeting spot, time, and food choice.

Right before the absolute downpour began.
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I wish I had a picture but we had to keep moving because the rain was coming sideways so I didn't pull out any electronics.

The Moms went to get real lunch. We ate.

And just like that. It was over.

Tip Time! Watch the sky in the summer at WDW. Pop up storms that last less than an hour happen in the early afternoon all the time. They are a minor, minor inconvenience and sometimes even pleasurable if you are watching from a safe spot. The sky itself tells the story better than weather.com.

Off we headed to Star Tours again, this time with Emmy.

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estherhead
03-11-2012, 09:08 PM
Star Tours FP return line was easy again. We got Darth Vader and Tatooine pod racing with a cool Naboo star fighter at the end.

Once done with that what should we know? Muppets it is. Oddly, having never been here when there was crowds, there is a line queue. Who knew? Pretty cool one, too. It moves very fast and has current(ish) or future movie posters. Frog style.

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Sam was giving instructions as we walked in. It was so fun to watch this with a theater full of people who had never seen it. The Muppets ARE funny and so is this show. And hearing pure laughter at all the jokes was a true delight. It took us 14 minutes from deciding to get into the line until we were seated in the theater. And entertained thoroughly for the entire 14 minutes.

At the end of the show as we were getting our strollers we had our first true melt down of the day. It was Suzy. Had she been 10 and not almost (shhhh) 40, she would have flat out cried. Between the raindrops and losing Jack-Jack, and the emotion of Charming be rejected, and Buzz freaking out at the beginning of the day and now it was hot and 100% humidity and the kids were WHINING. She nearly totally lost it. I handed out Caprisuns. We discussed part of the group going home as Charming and Mulan and Suzy were TIRED. We discussed this as we walked towards TSM. Why? We hadn't gotten FP's for TSM, right?

Well, when you are rejected by the producer at AI you get three of these little babies:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/esthersphone333.jpg

So our entire trip got to ride a ride of our choice! Hmmm, what should it be? ;)

When we went to park the strollers fat rain drops were falling again. So we found a super secret spot out of the rain. It seemed like we were waiting on Suzy & McQueen forever to come. Evidently there was some issue. We then handed over our FP's and the CM read them forever. I guess they really are special.

Obviously, we wanted Charming and Emmy to get in the show, but if they both tried out tomorrow and both got to the producer? Two sets of those bad boys? Oh yeah.

I rode with Boo. So I got to steal all her bonus's.
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After TSM, we sent the exhausted & cranky people home. Which was quite a few people. Mulan had burst into tears in the line of TSM. And I informed her there would be no RnR for her this day. I promised we'd do the next day but she needed to hitch a ride with Suzy back home. Charming had fallen asleep at 1:00 at Backlot Express. McQueen and Suzy had both melted down. People were tired.

Tip Time: Sometimes the best thing to do: quit and go back to your home base. Not because it's raining, or crowded, or hot. Those aren't valid excuses. Tired or crying are valid excuses. :) Because hot, crowded, or raining can go away at a moment's notice. But tired and crying won't go away on their own.

We then went to Little Mermaid with our remaining group.
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We got a great Ariel this time. But Eric was dorky. Good voice. But not a compelling price. Emmy laughed and laughed at him. She said she could just imagine being in music theater class with him. Gleek!

That's another great thing about June. WDW had it's A team performers in all the shows.

Donald, Ariel, and Emmy went to ToT. I took Boo to meet Pooh. There was no line because it's stupid to have another Pooh in the Animations building. He's everywhere.

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Boo then wanted to meet Mickey. There was quite a line but we had plenty of time. It really only ended up being 10-15 minutes and we got to watch all the other kids meet him too which was fun.
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Just as we met Mickey, Donald texted me they were just getting off ToT. So we hurried as I got to do RnR. Beauty and the Beast was just letting out so hurrying was not really very hurried.

I got in the FRONT row with Ariel. Front front. I thought I was gonna puke it was so intense. AWESOME! Sweet Emotion was the first song which is my fave. Donald said we could go ahead and ride again so we hopped right into the single riders line that was empty.

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This time I got put with a Newbie. SO MUCH FUN to be on rides with new people. Fun, fun.

Donald and I went to hand out the rest of our FPs. He found a dad and two tweens getting ready to get in the standby. Then I found a group standing at the FP return trying to have baby swap explained to them and staring down at the baby swap ticket. I walked up and it took just a minute to explain exactly how Baby Swap works and why they still needed our FP's. The CM watched as I explained. I walked them back to the CM and the 5 that weren't watching the baby got right in the line. The dad gave me a grateful thanks. I love newbies! Love 'em.

I think because it had rained all day it didn't feel nearly as hot as the day before. I was still in a great mood. And those that had gone home were all calmed back down. Mulan had slept the entire time we'd stayed.

I sucked down a Corona, and made a sandwich. We had bought a ton of lunch fixings but after long hot days in the parks, our lunch fixings were more appealing than a hot meal. So instead of packing lunches we adapted our plan to just eat in the parks and have lunch at home for dinner. That was a stinking good sandwich.

More laundry was done. We worked on Emmy's and Charming's songs. There aren't a lot of choices. There was much conversation about going back to MK. But I finally put my foot down and said no to Donald. If he went back, Mulan and Charming would want to go and they were just WAY too tired.

We cleaned up a bit. Milo got an annoying phone call from home. Yuck. He and Suzy's day was not the perfect WDW day. We watched the Voice. And then we went to bed. I was feeling dreamy and climbed into Boo's magical bed with her. She fell asleep in my arms, sweet baby girl. I climbed off to my own bed ready for another day.

preschoolmom
03-11-2012, 09:31 PM
I'm loving all these flash postings! You're a great writer (and Disney Park Tourer)! Thanks for sharing them here!

:thumbsup2

estherhead
03-11-2012, 10:29 PM
I'm loving all these flash postings! You're a great writer (and Disney Park Tourer)! Thanks for sharing them here!

:thumbsup2

:lovestruc Blushing! I've got the next day's pictures uploaded. Hoping to keep this party going into Monday.

Little Flower
03-12-2012, 06:47 AM
I'm really enjoying your TR. I can't wait for another installment:goodvibes

estherhead
03-12-2012, 09:21 AM
I'm really enjoying your TR. I can't wait for another installment:goodvibes

Thanks. I love your quote under your name. :wizard: Walking right down the middle of Main St USA sounds like something I enjoy doing. :)

Little Flower
03-12-2012, 09:32 AM
Thanks. I love your quote under your name. :wizard: Walking right down the middle of Main St USA sounds like something I enjoy doing. :)

its quite possibly my favourite place in the world:goodvibes, despite all the other great things you can do on a disney holiday, walking down main street is definately the best

estherhead
03-12-2012, 03:01 PM
I forgot something very important. It happened on our way home from DHS the night before. So Mulan wasn't with us. But Emmy was.

As previously mentioned, my family plays the license plate game. Many of you probably don't. So you don't know that there are harder to get states than others. For example, Maine would seem hard. But in reality it is a big shipping state so MANY semi-trucks have Maine. Rhode Island, on the other hand, is hard to get. It's tiny so not many live there which means a smaller percentage of Rhode Island cars exist out of Rhode Island. North Dakota is another tricky one.

The ultimate prize, however, goes to Alaska and Hawaii. Seriously. Alaska has lost it's allure to us as someone from Alaska actually lives in our town so we see it about once a month or so.

Hawaii, on the other hand, well, you can imagine.

So imagine what happened in our car when we saw this:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0660.jpg

The reason I have such a great picture of it is because I started screaming "Hawaii, Hawaii!!!!!!!" and Donald wouldn't believe me. It was parked in Windsor Hills right next to our house, so we actually turned around and I got out. He then proclaimed that is was on the front of the car, not the back and so not valid. I then walked around the back, and darn it, he was right. So the chances are this car was never actually in Hawaii. The person who owned the car was from Hawaii.

We counted it, as we voted and agreed it should count. But it lost a bit of the shine off it's glory by the car not having to get across the Pacific Ocean.

However, 2 months later in August of 2011, I discovered THIS within 10 miles of my house. Look closely and you'll see the rainbow.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/esthersphone438.jpg

Sadly, it didn't count towards any trip. But from now on I can say I have now seen a license plate from every single state in the USA. And I have never been to Rhode Island, North Dakota, Hawaii, nor Alaska.

Boo-ya.

And now, back to the conversation at hand:
DHS, day two.

The next morning I again awakened at 6:00 am. Bad habits are hard to break and even on vacation and even when we are supposed to be having an easy morning, I tend to stick with my internal clock.

Since there was no reason to get up, I just laid there and pondered my life. I was at a crossroads. We had not yet actually let the previous manager go. And so his coming back was on the table of discussion. And I was utterly stressed out by my current situation. Did I want to run a failing HVAC business? I love my dad and mom dearly, but was their happiness worth mine? Was it simply a difficult transition to be fully adult, to be a business woman, quickly approaching 40? A midlife crisis, so to speak, being thrust upon me? Or was I sincerely being asked to do something impossible that I should decline?

And if we had the manager come back in a few months time, would Donald, Suzy, Milo, and myself all just need to quit and find new jobs? Was I sacrificing my health and happiness for the benefit of others only? Or was I saving my life as I knew? Protecting a family tradition that was essential to our staying together?

This was what I pondered. And really, I made no progress whatsoever in said pondering.

At 7:00 I got out of bed, still firmly in the center of the crossroad.

If you're gonna be at a crossroad, might as well stand at the intersection of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Since I was up, I made waffles, bacon, and sausage. It was such a nice, gentle way to be awakened for everyone and sleepy, happy people began finding their way to the kitchen. Charming and Emmy were nervous in a way they had not been the day before. Rejection had left them on edge. Milo was having Charming practice and Emmy had had another freak-out conversation from her father.

At 8:45 just Milo, Charming, and Emmy and I left the house.

Donald and I had an emergency. So I dropped off Milo, Charming, and Emmy and headed to the grocery store for bleach. Here is why:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0629.jpg

Can you see the poison ivy? He had it EVERYWHERE. And we'd been told bleach would do the trick. So I went to the store and bought bleach and every type of poison ivy cure you can imagine. I also bought a bag of almond croissants. Yum!

I got back home and it was only 9:30. The kids were swimming for just a little while, as swimming needed to be done every day and this day we were staying to see Fantasmic so there would be no night swimming.

We collected the ponchos. You cannot fool us twice. We are quick studies. We also got the American Idol update on our way. They had both gotten to the level where you are primed for the show and were waiting to meet the producer.

We parked, and hopped on the waiting tram. Seconds later, it pulled out. Great timing! I had lost my Annual Pass the day before. But, you can imagine, this was not too big of a deal for me.

Tip Time!: Take photos of your tickets on your phone or camera. Then when you lose them, just show your camera/phone to the CM at the ticket booth and they will print you a new one lickety split. Absolutely no reason to panic, it takes seconds if you have a picture. They can also do it just from your driver's license and the credit card which you used to buy the tickets. But that is way more complicated.

I'm not sure Disneyland will replace your lost tickets at all, but at Disney World, we've multiple times lost one or had the magnetic bar quit working and they replace them with a smile.

Bag Check:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0661.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0662.jpg

And then we got the news: both Charming and Emmy had been rejected. Charming was told that the truth is, they never accept 14 year old boys. Only 14 year old girls. What??!! That's just weird. Emmy was told that the could listen to her all day long and her voice was too sweet for the AI Experience. What? So young boy musicians and trained opera singers are not accepted. We were all really confused.

The good news, we had two sets of magical FP's for our entire group. Let the good times roll.

It was super muggy out and we headed to Beauty and the Beast. McQueen and Mulan chose the seats and they were dumb, super hot seats. So Donald, Emmy, and I didn't sit with them. I don't really like to be tortured while enjoying my WDW entertainment. Suzy went and got FP's for ToT for 2:00 and at 1:00 we could get RnR ones.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0663.jpg

Our Belle this day was a good actress, her voice was not too sweet, however. Gaston was also ok, but he wasn't big nor intimidating. I have a favorite Gaston we get almost every time in the fall so i may just be spoiled. It didn't matter though, as Emmy had just arrived and she and I spent almost the whole show whispering about her AI audition.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0664.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0665.jpg

After sitting outside for an hour, we headed into the bathroom and AC just smacked us in the face. But it didn't cool us down. It couldn't. It just couldn't help how hot we were. So we just went ahead a dealt with the heat as we walked to Star Tours.


Star Tours was a ZOO! But we had magical FP's. Jedi Power FP's. You will let us ride.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0666.jpg

This time Milo was our rebel spy. We got Darth Vader, Chewy, Jar Jar. No pod racing this time. It was a great combo.

And then we rode again and got pod racing again. 4 times in 2 days? Hopefully Buzz was happy with that.

Maybe this was why we were so hot. Ugh. 7 Kids out in the sunshine getting their picture taken here.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0668.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0670.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0671.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0674.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0675.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0676.jpg

Better make that 8:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0677.jpg

Donald had been mostly working through this morning. With the poison ivy, the heat, the AI disappointment, and the working it was his morning to not really be having any fun.

We then headed into Sci-Fi for our 12:40 ADR. We got seated right away in a car upfront.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0678.jpg

It was wonderful. Air conditioned. Awesome. The kids were cranky. We were all so sweaty. But it's amazing how the beer in Donald's belly and the milkshakes in the girl's bellies cheered everyone right up. I got an Oreo milkshake and because that is so filling, Donald and I just shared a chicken sandwich and onion rings. Who is that hungry when you're that hot?

Donald & I texted work through this entire meal and the meal is a blurr. He and I are really partners in crime, so with Milo (a salesman) Donald (our purchaser) and me (time management) all together our business could text one of us and get the whole picture when we all conferred. But it wasn't too Disney feeling.

So we worked, not really magical, but we worked in an environment where the kids were watching fun B movies, drinking milkshakes, eating lunch and all of us enjoyed the blissful AC. And best of all, we used our Disney Rewards card and the meal was free. It's on the cheap side anyway, and then we all split meals. Not too shabby.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0679.jpg

The milkshake and the phone lassoing me to work and responsibility:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0681.jpg

Yup, still over heated here, but the sweat is beginning to dry:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0682.jpg

Our food arriving. Emmy looking content. She liked this place a lot.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0683.jpg

The license plate on our car was New Mexico. Since we had counted Hawaii the day before, we all voted and agreed it counted too.

Isn't this place great?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/esthersphone340.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/esthersphone341.jpg

I will echo the advice of others: you don't go here for the food. It's basically just high quality fast food. But it's COOL. Both in AC and in atmosphere. You don't have to talk. You can just sit there and soak in the environment. Definitely order a special beverage, milkshake or beer. And a sandwich with fries or onion rings or both. Kind of like Chef Mickey's, but cheaper. It's the only place in DHS that is sit down that I personally recommend.

estherhead
03-12-2012, 05:22 PM
While we finished up our meal I dashed off to get RnR FP's as it was after 1:00. The girls went to the potty and Donald and Emmy and Boo went to the playground. Suzy and Milo were still finishing their meals. Somehow, my girls got confused and therefore abandoned in the bathroom. Suzy went out to cover her stroller and found the two of them standing there wondering where their parents had run off to. Whoopsies.

Tip Time! In the spring and summer it's a good idea to cover your stroller between 1:00-5:00 even when the sky is blue. You just never know and kids get a little cranky when their stroller seat is soaking wet.

By that time I was back and we all just went back into the Sci Fi for a minute to gather ourselves. When I went back out, the first rain drop hit my arm. I turned to the girls and said, MOVE! I texted Donald to meet us at Animation Studios, I grabbed the empty stroller, and we TOOK OFF. Good luck to everyone else. I covered the stroller, and we were inside.

Tip Time: If you can find one to fit: buy the real stroller cover for your stroller. It's worth the money to avoid the hassles. I have only once had a stroller that had a cover. And that is the one Donald trashed. Yup, still bitter. So if, like me, you have weird stroller, a $ shower curtain from the Dollar Tree and a bunch of plastic clothes pins. You then can clip the shower curtain to your stroller and it will be dry as can be. If you don't properly clip it, the wind will grab it and it's worthless. In a pinch, ponchos will do, but secure them properly or it's all to no avail.

We got there dry as dry. They all got there in shifts, wetter by the minute.

Jack-Jack wanted to meet Pooh.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0684.jpg

Then they all just played. Milo, Charming, and I sat on a comfy and delightful bench and watched the wet people come in. Oh it was wonderful. The drawing class holding tank was opening up so we headed in. Milo, McQueen, and Ariel were a little delayed and got stopped outside the holding tank in front of a very long line of people. The matching tees were not gonna make the cut. Rain had driven people in and there were LOTS. They finally let them in and we all were guessing the drawings on the tv.

Someone (probably from our group) started on purpose guessing the wrong thing. The entire holding tank then thought it was funny so we all were guessing crazy things that the drawing clearly wasn't. This upset Jack-Jack BIG time and he started having fit and yelling at strangers that it WASN'T what they were saying it was. Good thing the doors opened, because he was about to lose it. He's very cute when he's mad.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0685.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0686.jpg

I volunteered to sit in the front on the floor with a lap board. It is actually harder than the table. We got Daisy Duck who we haven't had before. I did a pretty good Daisy Duck and came to the conclusion that I should quit my job for sure and work for Disney since I clearly was born to be an animator.

It was truly raining, so at the store when you leave I asked for a rubber band and a bag.

Tip Time: They actually keep rubber bands and bags for this purpose in the store. Just ask the CM at the register and you'll have the proper container to keep your drawings safe from rain and wrinkling. Put them all together as they are sturdier.

I actually did have a bit of trouble getting my things as the CM was deaf. And evidently didn't read lips. So I rolled up the drawings and pretended to snap a rubber band on them and he quickly gave me the right stuff. Maybe I should quit my job and become a mime. I clearly have many secret and hidden talents.

We stood just under the awning between the door and potties and tried to figure out what exactly we were going to do. It wasn't just raining, it was lightening. Decisions decisions.

Did we make fun of them?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0687.jpg
Yes, yes we did.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0688.jpg

Obviously, we needed to run to somewhere inside. We broke into two teams: the ToT team and the TSM team. But a few of the TSM team wanted to see One Mans Dream. We were Jack-Jack, Boo, Buss, Mulan, and McQueen. And yes, I was one who wanted to see the movie. Jack-Jack fell asleep in my arms. Everyone was happy because we are all Disney geeks. Except Mulan who knew for a fact that she had chosen the wrong group. But it's because she gets scared and didn't want to do ToT. I tried to reassure her that she doesn't like ToT and isn't One Man's Dream at least better than being struck by lightening? Well, who can argue with that logic?

They were all coming around the corner as we exited the ride. Jack-Jack had to be awakened as we were going to ride TSM. Again we found our great dry stroller spot (but put the covers on them anyway.)

For once in our lives, we opted for the couples to ride together. A little 3 minute date. You gotta take what you can get.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0689.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0690.jpg

Playing Donald, I didn't stand a chance:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0691.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0692.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0693.jpg

When we got outside, sure enough our strollers had been moved into the rain. But they were still dry and it had stopped raining. So we packed up the ponchos. We left the stroller covers though as it was still thundering a bit. We had a drink and potty break and pushed on.

It was finally time to see what amazing contestants had gotten through on American Idol. We had decided that since school was out there would be an influx of amazing singers and the reason we always got bummer shows was because we were in off season and they had to take what they could get.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0694.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0695.jpg

Charming and Emmy were on tv. Small consolation prize. Our contestants were a 15 year old Oriental girl, a super cool black guy, and a crazy Brazilian. The 15 year old was not nearly as good as our two. She was adequate. The black guy was really good. Not an amazing voice, but really good. And his stage presence was great. And the crazy Brazilian was AWFUL. In every way. He won.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0696.jpg

To say our group was outraged is quite the understatement. It is Disney World. It's a theater and they are casting entertainment. We should have known that. But we didn't. We thought they were looking for singers. But they aren't. They needed someone awful. And we suddenly realized in retrospect, that in every show we'd seen there was a deliberately placed horrible person. And a 15 year old girl. And one actual good singer. Who never really gets through.

Not only were we sad personally, it kind of ruined it for me. Normally when I see behind the scenes I love it more, as I'm a practical and logical person. But seeing behind the scenes at AI and realizing the truth, that they need some one awful to send their Simon Cowell zingers to. That they needed a 15 year old girl who would cry on stage so they could boost her self worth. And that a trained opera singer and a kid that was born to be a musician didn't fit the profile, despite being told it was a singing competition, well that was disappointing. And now that I know the formula, I have no real big desire to see the show. It became tired in my eyes.

Tip Time: If you would like to be on American Idol you need one of three things: a terrible singing voice but a huge, energetic personality that will own the stage. A high school choir trained voice and a shy demeanor. Or truly amazing. And if you are truly amazing be warned, you might get on the show, but you won't win. Thus the girl ahead of Emmy the day before who was better than her but still didn't win the ticket.

Now you know where the goobers who get in to meet Jennifer, Randy, and Steven come from.

There was a good 2 hours that the mood soured just a bit in our group.

McQueen, who is sensitive to bad mood and tries to one up you if you are in one, insisted that he be allowed to take Emmy on the Great Movie Ride and no compromise would work. Emmy would agree to ride the Great Movie Ride with him that very second or he would have a fit. Well, McQueen may come off as a brat from time to time, but Suzy and Milo are not raising a brat. And so once such a line is drawn into the sand, then you know for a fact that that is exactly what WON'T happen. Yes, even as Disney World.

So to protect the rest of us from the discipline being meted out (no reason for everyone to be grounded, just the party who did the bad deed) Suzy and Milo volunteered to take McQueen, Boo, and Jack-Jack so the rest of us could have fun. They went on the Backlot Tour which ended up being a super lame Backlot Tour. Milo kept getting work calls. And they just in general had stopped having fun.

The rest of us did ToT and RnR. But first, Emmy had been jealous of Boo's Donald tattoo and there is a tattoo kiosk right outside RnR.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0697.jpg

Who says you can't get no satisfaction?

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0698.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0700.jpg

Milo was not having a great afternoon and doesn't really care about Fantasmic and so suggested that a group go home with him. Only Buzz volunteered as the rest of us, including McQueen, had changed moods and were now OK. The ponchos were put away, it was cooling down, and the bad mood surrounding American Idol Experience had passed. Well, Milo thought going home with Buzz while the rest of us continued to have a great time seemed not a very good plan.

So we continued with our original plans. Dinner. At the corner of Sunset, outside of the Fantasmic theater, is a plaza of food choices which is a great place for families as you can all get what you want and not have to agree. There were no lines when we got there. Woot! Bonus.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0701.jpg

Ariel got ribs and I tried to warn her there were no side dishes with it. Just ribs. You have to go to another kiosk to get french fries. I happened to be at that area getting Boo french fries so it wouldn't have been any big deal. But no, Ariel didn't need side dishes. She really can be quite stubborn. And though she loved her ribs, she kept trying to talk Boo out of some fries. No cigar, missy. Boo ONLY got french fries. Shoulda gotten a side dish.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0702.jpg

Buzz spent the entire meal trying to convince people to go home. Finally Suzy had to get mean with him and he was bummed.

You guys know these are temporary, right? Hope I didn't shock you earlier making you thinking Donald let Boo get a real tattoo!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0705.jpg


People were lining up for Fantasmic at 6:50! But we don't mind the back seats so we passed the line by and headed to the Great Movie Ride. Finally McQueen could have his wish without it being on his terms. Excellent parenting, in my personal opinion.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0706.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0708.jpg

We parked right beside the building which I'm pretty sure isn't a real spot, but we risked it. It was a good ride and Emmy sat next to McQueen and he told her all about the making of movies, truly in his element. She loved it. Our villain and driver were both great.

Our strollers weren't moved. Back to Fantasmic and it was open now and moving in. We got great seats, bizarrely enough. Where were all the people? There was a slight bit of rain. Charming spilled Donald's beer. Emmy went to get him another one, she's a true friend. Our spirits had all 100% come back. All of us were in a great mood and the conversation was flowing and the puns, sarcasm, and general wit that comes out when you are on vacation began. The guys in front of joined in and we were soon a real party.

The inclement weather announcement came on that it might be cancelled. And then they made an announcement that if you used a laser pointer they would evict you. We all discussed who on earth would do that? But sure enough, 5 minutes later green laser idiot was messing around. The announcement came again. Due warning kid, due warning. And then 5 minutes after that, the laser pointer was no more.

Donald had brought up the Doppler map. Here is Mulan looking at it and me looking at the sky:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0709.jpg

Obviously, the show going on was becoming a lesser a lesser chance. But the storm might go on. When should we leave? Should we leave? When would it get cancelled? Milo said, "Once they've sold all the beer." Then Donald said, "Shrewd is the on who has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself." And at that moment, we decided to be shrewd. Because if it got cancelled, it was gonna be chaos. And there was a good chance it was gonna be cancelled.

So we began to exit. Ponchos on, strollers gathered. No one else had left so it was just us and we were in good moods and laughing and in general poking about.

And that is when the giant shot of lightening lit up the sky.

Well, we knew it WOULD be cancelled. And those 6,000 people were right now getting up from their seats. Not to mention, we could very well be struck by lightening in the parking lot. And so we started moving quicker.

Milo was yet again on the phone with a customer. And so the Suzy clan were behind us a bit. Donald turned to see how far back they were and said, "Run!!!" So I looked behind me and lo and behold all 6,000 people were RIGHT behind them as was a constant lightening storm.

Suzy and Milo had also heard his exclamation and gave a quick peek behind. Milo said, "I've gotta go" and they too took off. At the end of the street the main door wasn't open yet so the CM, who saw us coming, took us to a secret exit behind the main street that dropped us at the main exit. The other 6,000 were guided through the main Fantasmic exit.

We rushed through the exit (the park in general was exiting too) and the tram was right there. Milo and Suzy barely made the tram, but they made it. It wasn't raining yet but it was just nonstop lightening. Boom, boom, boom. Boo was VERY happy Fantasmic was cancelled as she was crying. It was pretty scary.

The doors on the vans closed and the heavens opened up and POURED! When I say poured, I mean a hurricane without the wind. The traffic was nuts and terrifying. Donald is an experienced NYC driver and Milo was right behind him so we zipped here and zipped there and we were home.

The short walk into the house soaked us.

Wow! Our timing had been absolutely perfect. But it was intense.

So You Think You Can Dance was on tv and we added to our beer with some other yummy drinks. Donald and Charming played games in the game room which we thought would make the other kids go in there. But the lightening and thunder was so loud and so scary they mostly sat on our heads.

After finishing our drinks, we switched to the big bags of M&M's and watched the Top Chef master finale.

And that was our day. The next morning was our sleep in day but we were pretty early to bed anyway.

taymaesmom
03-12-2012, 05:53 PM
We play the license plate game too! Alaska is never a problem for us as my brother was stationed there and still has AK plates as does his wife. Several of my cousins do too as they also lived there and kept them (not sure how they do this?).

While we don't have hawaii plates, we recently bought a 3rd car for our oldest dd to drive and it started its life as a rental car in Hawaii. Its a cute little green convertible so I can imagine it would have been fun to drive around there!

I am so enjoying this trip report! My youngest dd is turning 13 and can't wait til she can audition for AI next year!

preschoolmom
03-12-2012, 06:06 PM
Good for you for seeing it and getting out ahead of the crowd!

We had a similar experience while waiting for Wishes on our last trip. We watched the clouds, we saw the lightening, and we calmly walked with our kids out ahead of the announcement that it was canceled.

I have a strict "no one gets trampled" on vacation rule :thumbsup2

houseful of boys
03-12-2012, 06:48 PM
Tip Time! In the spring and summer it's a good idea to cover your stroller between 1:00-5:00 even when the sky is blue. You just never know and kids get a little cranky when their stroller seat is soaking wet..

I also bring a small hand towel or two (usually from the hotel :rolleyes1). Because in the summer you will need one either for drying off stroller handles or any part of the stroller that got wet under the cover or, if it doesn't rain, we use it to cover up black parts on the stroller that are SCORCHING hot before little bottoms and legs sit down.



So You Think You Can Dance was on tv and we added to our beer with some other yummy drinks. Donald and Charming played games in the game room which we thought would make the other kids go in there. But the lightening and thunder was so loud and so scary they mostly sat on our heads.


This was one of the worst lightnening storms I have ever seen. The lightening was just so intense. And as we were sitting in the fantasmic theatre, I think it was Milo that announced to us just before we left, "Do you think it might be a bad idea to be sitting on metal seats in a metal outdoor theater in a lightening storm?" :lmao:

estherhead
03-12-2012, 07:01 PM
We play the license plate game too! Alaska is never a problem for us as my brother was stationed there and still has AK plates as does his wife. Several of my cousins do too as they also lived there and kept them (not sure how they do this?).

While we don't have hawaii plates, we recently bought a 3rd car for our oldest dd to drive and it started its life as a rental car in Hawaii. Its a cute little green convertible so I can imagine it would have been fun to drive around there!

I am so enjoying this trip report! My youngest dd is turning 13 and can't wait til she can audition for AI next year!

Fellow road trippers. :hippie: Hopefully she can get in. It really doesn't take that long to audition (under an hour) and it was good at least for Charming who hadn't auditioned truly before (just a high school and he was a shoe in for that.) So it's a good experience either way, but don't let her get her hopes too far up!

Good for you for seeing it and getting out ahead of the crowd!

We had a similar experience while waiting for Wishes on our last trip. We watched the clouds, we saw the lightening, and we calmly walked with our kids out ahead of the announcement that it was canceled.

I have a strict "no one gets trampled" on vacation rule :thumbsup2

I love that! We are going to adopt a no trampling rule. We don't currently have one. We have been working on our emergency evacuation and fire plans. We live in a place that really isn't in too much danger of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or flooding. So we haven't worried about it too much. But lately it seems no place is safe. So we had a family meeting on it this week.

The next day we watched Super 8 which is about a group of kids roughly our girls age who are making a film and catch an alien invasion on camera. They do EVERYTHING wrong according our new family plan. After watching and making several comments about these kids not knowing what to do in an emergency, Mulan said, "But we didn't cover an alien invasion in our meeting." :lmao::lmao::lmao: So Donald said we'd do that this week.

I also bring a small hand towel or two (usually from the hotel :rolleyes1). Because in the summer you will need one either for drying off stroller handles or any part of the stroller that got wet under the cover or, if it doesn't rain, we use it to cover up black parts on the stroller that are SCORCHING hot before little bottoms and legs sit down.

This was one of the worst lightnening storms I have ever seen. The lightening was just so intense. And as we were sitting in the fantasmic theatre, I think it was Milo that announced to us just before we left, "Do you think it might be a bad idea to be sitting on metal seats in a metal outdoor theater in a lightening storm?" :lmao:

Golf towels work really well too, as they are super absorbent and you don't have to "borrow" them. And yes, we definitely felt strongly that both the crowd was on our heels, as was the actual storm. I am not really scared of storms too much, but I'm not a fool and some storm are genuinely frightening. This one was pretty scary. And it chased us before finally catching us.

I might write more tonight. We'll see. I'm working on my budget right now. :scared1: We spent money on Spain in January. We spent money on a trip to NY in February. And we are going to Cali in May. We also are still working on the basement apartment. I'm just saying. The budget is in shambles and I have no idea what is going on with. Boring, boring, boring.

Suzy, on the other hand, is planning a trip to WDW! At first it was just a dream, but I think it's going to be a reality. Bargain basement pricing WDW trip as they don't want to ruin their Canada trip they have planned nor take away from our next group plan once Fantasyland is all open. But what if they could do a week at WDW or $2000.00? For 6? What if?????? Yeah, you can see the appeal.

knitster
03-12-2012, 07:14 PM
Your trip reports always brighten my day, but this one was especially awesome for me because, last May, my family and I were the newbies! The only difference between the average newcomer and I was that I did live on the disboards for a full year before our trip, so I was a (sort of) smart newbie - and the things I learned here saved me quite a few times!

I found myself getting teary as you described the emotions of a newbie seeing the castle for the first time. When we walked down Main Street on our first day at MK, my husband, who deeply appreciated my year of planning and researching, turned to me and said, "There it is honey - your castle." and I cried like a baby!

Should you ever find yourself in need of a good laugh at the expense of an overwhelmed WDW first timer, take a gander at my trip report blog. I'm too embarrassed to make an actual TR thread because we made so very many rookie mistakes and I don't want them on display on the dis. lol http://grammyandthegangwdw.wordpress.com of course, being a blog, you'd have to read from back to front.

bdink921
03-12-2012, 08:28 PM
I love your report on the Sci-Fi Drive In -- we want to try that next time we go. There will be 7 of us though. Do the seats in the cars fit 3 across (3,9,6)? The kids will love the cars and the movies -- looks like a great place to cool off and take a break during the heat.

estherhead
03-12-2012, 09:09 PM
Your trip reports always brighten my day, but this one was especially awesome for me because, last May, my family and I were the newbies! The only difference between the average newcomer and I was that I did live on the disboards for a full year before our trip, so I was a (sort of) smart newbie - and the things I learned here saved me quite a few times!

I found myself getting teary as you described the emotions of a newbie seeing the castle for the first time. When we walked down Main Street on our first day at MK, my husband, who deeply appreciated my year of planning and researching, turned to me and said, "There it is honey - your castle." and I cried like a baby!

Should you ever find yourself in need of a good laugh at the expense of an overwhelmed WDW first timer, take a gander at my trip report blog. I'm too embarrassed to make an actual TR thread because we made so very many rookie mistakes and I don't want them on display on the dis. lol http://grammyandthegangwdw.wordpress.com of course, being a blog, you'd have to read from back to front.

Clearly I wasn't very interested in my budget as I just burned the last hour reading your blog. :hug: So you made some rookie mistakes. I'm sure you have beat yourself up over that more than you should have. I was sad with you looking at Crystal Palace, regret in your heart. No need to regret. You took your kids to WDW at the perfect age, despite having a baby. You did awesome. Super OOper DUPER better than all the parents who simply give up before even making it out their own front door.

Disney World is for real, dedicated parents. :thumbsup2 My mom says she likes to go because it restores her faith in dads. She says you hear on the news about dads leaving their kids with nothing, child abuse, mulitple affairs, molesting, and on and on. You can start to think that men are just losers. And then she goes to WDW and says, "Nope. There are a lot of amazing dads out there."

Sounds like your Kevin is a great dad. :cheer2: My mom would be proud.

Your biggest mistake, in my opinion was telling your kids about pins. Pin trading is not for newbies. As you clearly found out. Kids immediately take to it and you lose all control. Do NOT tell them about Vinylmations. Oy!

Bay Lake Tower sounded fantastic! I laughed right out loud at you walking into AKL to take the boat to MK. And I giggled for several minutes about Kevin getting his nipple bit. :rotfl: Almost read that outloud to Donald but it was gonna need too much of an explanation.

I love your report on the Sci-Fi Drive In -- we want to try that next time we go. There will be 7 of us though. Do the seats in the cars fit 3 across (3,9,6)? The kids will love the cars and the movies -- looks like a great place to cool off and take a break during the heat.

Really, only two will fit. we tried three once and it led to the great milkshake spill of '08, never to be forgotten nor forgiven. But you can see a full car in my pictures. And sitting by yourself just won't matter here as it isn't about interaction, it's about no interaction. 7 will be no problem.

estherhead
03-12-2012, 09:39 PM
Ok, I can't stand it. I've been pondering your trip, knitster, and I do have some advice for your next trip. Hope this is ok and not too bossy as it seemed to me that more than anything else your mornings stressed you out. Maybe you followed these rules but I'll just put them down in case not.

How to get out the door in less than 3-4 hours in the morning:

1) On your arrival day, plan to be in your hotel room for the night by 8 pm. You'll need the time to get organized. (I know you didn't do this one. ;))
2) Bags & strollers & shoes should be packed up the night before and placed in a "staging zone."
3) Children are not allowed to take things from the staging zone.
4) Clothing is packed (including socks and undies and hair ties) in big Ziploc baggies. The night before the next day's clothing bag is sat out (so 5 baggies.) Yes, adults too, though I just do our tshirts. These should be labelled with the names so grammy or Kevin can help without destroying anything.
5) One person is the breakfast person. They get coffee for everyone before getting ready themselves. Yup, just go down looking all shabby with those refillable mugs cause everyone down there looks shabby too. Then they get ready and either they, or someone else, goes back down to get a tray full of breakfast and this is brought back to the room where the kids eat it while sitting on the bed watching cartoons in their jammies while the adults get ready. This gives the feel to the kids that there is a leisurely pace, when in reality you are controlling the time.

Here is the logic to keep in mind. Just like at Fountainview Cafe and the woman trying all the flavors, choices take a tremendous amount of time. All of kid's choices have to be made at home during the packing phase. Once at WDW, limit choices in the extreme. They are time suckers and actually stress kids out. You just tell them what is next. If they get their heart set on something they can see (like Stitch) then that is fine. It's not a decision, it's spontaneous. But the moment that it is done, you are directing them again to the next thing. This cuts down on fits in a HUGE way.

We also have a kid's choice day. This day is annoying for we adults as there are 7 kids and they never want to do one single thing the same. Kids choice day is when you hear me complaining about walking back across the park so Jack-Jack can do peter pan again or Donald and I being forced to split up and go to totally different parks because Mulan and Ariel can't even agree on which parks to visit on kid's choice day, let alone attractions. But knowing they can choose to do something on a set day gives you the total freedom to say no to any and every thing. Because when it is their day, they can decide how important that attraction is to them. 9 times out 10 they don't pick it on their choice. Generally they choose to re-do favorites they've already done.

That's the explanation of why between the hours of 7-9am my kids have absolutely no choices put in front of them. If they are awake I MIGHT ask them "Mickey waffle or eggs?" on my way to get breakfast, but not normally. Normally I just bring back a selection (and extra bacon, always extra bacon.)

You get what you get and you don't throw a Boma fit. ;)

Hope that helps for next time!

Oh, and one more thing, I woulda just nursed the baby as I walked into 1900 Park Faire. Course, I'm the woman that got exposed at Nine Dragons while nursing, so clearly I have no shame. :laughing:

knitster
03-13-2012, 10:05 AM
Clearly I wasn't very interested in my budget as I just burned the last hour reading your blog. :hug: So you made some rookie mistakes. I'm sure you have beat yourself up over that more than you should have. I was sad with you looking at Crystal Palace, regret in your heart. No need to regret. You took your kids to WDW at the perfect age, despite having a baby. You did awesome. Super OOper DUPER better than all the parents who simply give up before even making it out their own front door.

Disney World is for real, dedicated parents. :thumbsup2 My mom says she likes to go because it restores her faith in dads. She says you hear on the news about dads leaving their kids with nothing, child abuse, mulitple affairs, molesting, and on and on. You can start to think that men are just losers. And then she goes to WDW and says, "Nope. There are a lot of amazing dads out there."

Sounds like your Kevin is a great dad. :cheer2: My mom would be proud.

Kevin is an amazing father, it's true. I couldn't ask for anything more for my kids :lovestruc

Your biggest mistake, in my opinion was telling your kids about pins. Pin trading is not for newbies. As you clearly found out. Kids immediately take to it and you lose all control. Do NOT tell them about Vinylmations. Oy!

Oh the pins. The pins! I hated those pins from the moment the lanyards went around their necks. And they loooooooove them. They still take them out and look at them and talk about pin trading on our next trip. And now Kevin wants to pin trade, too! Noooooo! :lmao:


Bay Lake Tower sounded fantastic! I laughed right out loud at you walking into AKL to take the boat to MK. And I giggled for several minutes about Kevin getting his nipple bit. :rotfl: Almost read that outloud to Donald but it was gonna need too much of an explanation.

I cannot even tell you how stupid I felt in that moment. It was definitely the moment that I realized that all the planning in the world cannot truly make you familiar with a place that you've never stepped foot in.

And to this day, almost a year later, the nipple bite is brought up on at least a weekly basis. Possibly the funniest thing that happened the entire trip! HA!

Ok, I can't stand it. I've been pondering your trip, knitster, and I do have some advice for your next trip. Hope this is ok and not too bossy as it seemed to me that more than anything else your mornings stressed you out. Maybe you followed these rules but I'll just put them down in case not.

How to get out the door in less than 3-4 hours in the morning:

1) On your arrival day, plan to be in your hotel room for the night by 8 pm. You'll need the time to get organized. (I know you didn't do this one. ;))
2) Bags & strollers & shoes should be packed up the night before and placed in a "staging zone."
3) Children are not allowed to take things from the staging zone.
4) Clothing is packed (including socks and undies and hair ties) in big Ziploc baggies. The night before the next day's clothing bag is sat out (so 5 baggies.) Yes, adults too, though I just do our tshirts. These should be labelled with the names so grammy or Kevin can help without destroying anything.
5) One person is the breakfast person. They get coffee for everyone before getting ready themselves. Yup, just go down looking all shabby with those refillable mugs cause everyone down there looks shabby too. Then they get ready and either they, or someone else, goes back down to get a tray full of breakfast and this is brought back to the room where the kids eat it while sitting on the bed watching cartoons in their jammies while the adults get ready. This gives the feel to the kids that there is a leisurely pace, when in reality you are controlling the time.

Here is the logic to keep in mind. Just like at Fountainview Cafe and the woman trying all the flavors, choices take a tremendous amount of time. All of kid's choices have to be made at home during the packing phase. Once at WDW, limit choices in the extreme. They are time suckers and actually stress kids out. You just tell them what is next. If they get their heart set on something they can see (like Stitch) then that is fine. It's not a decision, it's spontaneous. But the moment that it is done, you are directing them again to the next thing. This cuts down on fits in a HUGE way.

We also have a kid's choice day. This day is annoying for we adults as there are 7 kids and they never want to do one single thing the same. Kids choice day is when you hear me complaining about walking back across the park so Jack-Jack can do peter pan again or Donald and I being forced to split up and go to totally different parks because Mulan and Ariel can't even agree on which parks to visit on kid's choice day, let alone attractions. But knowing they can choose to do something on a set day gives you the total freedom to say no to any and every thing. Because when it is their day, they can decide how important that attraction is to them. 9 times out 10 they don't pick it on their choice. Generally they choose to re-do favorites they've already done.

That's the explanation of why between the hours of 7-9am my kids have absolutely no choices put in front of them. If they are awake I MIGHT ask them "Mickey waffle or eggs?" on my way to get breakfast, but not normally. Normally I just bring back a selection (and extra bacon, always extra bacon.)

You get what you get and you don't throw a Boma fit. ;)

Hope that helps for next time!

Oh, and one more thing, I woulda just nursed the baby as I walked into 1900 Park Faire. Course, I'm the woman that got exposed at Nine Dragons while nursing, so clearly I have no shame. :laughing:

Fantastic advice! I set out to adhere to 90% of those rules - except we had breakfast groceries, so we didn't plan on getting breakfast from the resort. Of course, as you saw, planning to adhere to rules and adhering to rules are two different things and all my rules went out the window really early on.

My biggest obstacles to getting things done in a timely and organized fashion were the other two adults that I had in tow. Kevin is just laid back - really laid back - so even when he thinks he's hurrying, he's not. I've never seen that man speed up to do anything, so though he was willing to do what I wanted him to do - he wasn't doing it quickly. My mom, on the other hand, is a major control freak and likes to get up and get out the door. But, for some reason, she became a totally different person on this trip. Maybe because I did 100% of the planning, so she didn't feel the pressure to get things done? I don't know, but whatever the case may be, she was paying for the trip, so I felt like I could only push so far without causing major tension amongst the adults. I didn't say it in my blog, because she reads that (obviously), but I would've never canceled our Crystal Palace reservation, I would've never rushed out of MK with fireworks going off behind us, I would've made it to every rope drop, if it hadn't been for her - she was making those decisions and I felt like my hands were tied.

I love the idea of having a kids choice day! We'll definitely do that next time, now that my kids are more familiar with the parks and they know what they like and what they don't like.

I think another one of my big mistakes was giving the kids too much information about the parks before we got there and making promises I couldn't keep - such as "We WILL get you into Jedi Training Academy - no question!" or "We WILL meet Jessie! I will make that happen!" I couldn't make those things happen, so that lead to disappointment that could've been avoided if my kids hadn't known about them in advance. Of course, I thought I *could* make those things happen, because I was extremely naive. lol

And I'm really surprised that I didn't nurse and walk into 1900 Park Fare, to be honest. I think what stopped me is that I just had too much to carry and I couldn't balance it all. But I nursed darn near everywhere else in all of WDW. Though I mention it a lot on the blog, I don't mention it nearly as many times as it actually happened. lol

Lastly, because I can't let the picture just sit there without this being said - I've lost 37lbs since that awful picture was taken in front of the Castle. That shirt I'm wearing in the picture is now a tent on me - thank you weight watchers! :banana:

estherhead
03-13-2012, 11:41 AM
My mom, on the other hand, is a major control freak and likes to get up and get out the door. But, for some reason, she became a totally different person on this trip. Maybe because I did 100% of the planning, so she didn't feel the pressure to get things done? I don't know, but whatever the case may be, she was paying for the trip, so I felt like I could only push so far without causing major tension amongst the adults. I didn't say it in my blog, because she reads that (obviously), but I would've never canceled our Crystal Palace reservation, I would've never rushed out of MK with fireworks going off behind us, I would've made it to every rope drop, if it hadn't been for her - she was making those decisions and I felt like my hands were tied.

I think another one of my big mistakes was giving the kids too much information about the parks before we got there and making promises I couldn't keep - such as "We WILL get you into Jedi Training Academy - no question!" or "We WILL meet Jessie! I will make that happen!" I couldn't make those things happen, so that lead to disappointment that could've been avoided if my kids hadn't known about them in advance. Of course, I thought I *could* make those things happen, because I was extremely naive. lol

Lastly, because I can't let the picture just sit there without this being said - I've lost 37lbs since that awful picture was taken in front of the Castle. That shirt I'm wearing in the picture is now a tent on me - thank you weight watchers! :banana:

Ah yes, we change EVERYTHING when our parents come. My father walks like a sloth (this is not an exaggeration, just ask Donald about Spain) and my mom insists that she doesn't like fake water and fake trees and that everything in WDW is fake and she just wants to take it easy. But then when we are there the gorgeous not fake gardens and the not fake sunshine and the not water inspires her and she really does want to just run around with the kids and see everything.

Parents complicate matters. But, they also pay for trips. So have been there. Now I understand better why Crystal Palace made you so sad. :hug: I would have been sad too.

As for Weight Watchers, I didn't think anything negative about your pictures, though I did ponder how comfortable I would be in that bright yellow shirt you were forced to buy. I'm so pale I cannot even imagine. I even pondered whether I'd more uncomfortable with a spaghetti sauced breast or in a bright yellow shirt and thought I might pick the red breast! But regardless: CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I just rejoined last week and am pretty sure I'll have lost a pound at weigh-in Thursday. I :love: Weight Watchers. I had not one, but TWO turkey dinners this weekend, with all the fixings, and I'm still confident I lost a pound. Such a workable plan.

Now I'll just wait for your next WDW trip. :) You'll feel great about yourself in the pictures, maybe you can go super budget like Suzy and be totally in control of your whole trip, and you will get to see The Lion King and Nemo and, and, and. Though if you are thinking the baby will be easier, fat chance if you go in the next 2 years. Believe it or not, nursing babies are easier at WDW than toddlers who can escape and screech and refuse in all ways to sit in that stroller. You'll wistfully remember the days when you sat around nursing instead of chasing around like a maniac. Oh well, activity points I guess. :rotfl:

knitster
03-13-2012, 02:10 PM
Ah yes, we change EVERYTHING when our parents come. My father walks like a sloth (this is not an exaggeration, just ask Donald about Spain) and my mom insists that she doesn't like fake water and fake trees and that everything in WDW is fake and she just wants to take it easy. But then when we are there the gorgeous not fake gardens and the not fake sunshine and the not water inspires her and she really does want to just run around with the kids and see everything.

Parents complicate matters. But, they also pay for trips. So have been there. Now I understand better why Crystal Palace made you so sad. :hug: I would have been sad too.

As for Weight Watchers, I didn't think anything negative about your pictures, though I did ponder how comfortable I would be in that bright yellow shirt you were forced to buy. I'm so pale I cannot even imagine. I even pondered whether I'd more uncomfortable with a spaghetti sauced breast or in a bright yellow shirt and thought I might pick the red breast! But regardless: CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I just rejoined last week and am pretty sure I'll have lost a pound at weigh-in Thursday. I :love: Weight Watchers. I had not one, but TWO turkey dinners this weekend, with all the fixings, and I'm still confident I lost a pound. Such a workable plan.

Now I'll just wait for your next WDW trip. :) You'll feel great about yourself in the pictures, maybe you can go super budget like Suzy and be totally in control of your whole trip, and you will get to see The Lion King and Nemo and, and, and. Though if you are thinking the baby will be easier, fat chance if you go in the next 2 years. Believe it or not, nursing babies are easier at WDW than toddlers who can escape and screech and refuse in all ways to sit in that stroller. You'll wistfully remember the days when you sat around nursing instead of chasing around like a maniac. Oh well, activity points I guess. :rotfl:

Oh man that yellow shirt is so hideous - and even worse now that it's 2 sizes too big! It makes for a fantastic laze around the house and hope no one knocks on the door shirt, though - it's quite comfy.

We definitely won't be going in the next two years - I have no doubt that nursing, sleeping in the stroller baby is a million times easier than mobile, opinionated toddler! We're actually going to Disneyland in '14 - a couple of weeks before he turns 4 - I can't wait!

estherhead
03-14-2012, 09:58 AM
Oh man that yellow shirt is so hideous - and even worse now that it's 2 sizes too big! It makes for a fantastic laze around the house and hope no one knocks on the door shirt, though - it's quite comfy.

We definitely won't be going in the next two years - I have no doubt that nursing, sleeping in the stroller baby is a million times easier than mobile, opinionated toddler! We're actually going to Disneyland in '14 - a couple of weeks before he turns 4 - I can't wait!

Oooo, then you might want to follow me to the Disneyland boards once I get going on that trip. We leave May 22nd.

Carsland will not be open when we are there, it opens a week and a half later. Since we don't have boys, we decided to go before the crowds. We won't care, as this is our first real trip to Disneyland so the new stuff won't be important to us. Though it would be nice if Buena Vista Street would open up a little bit just so we can see it versus walking around walls all week. But either way, we're pretty excited. For you, however, a 4 year old boy in Carsland???? Sounds awesome.

Torrance
03-16-2012, 01:14 AM
Hi Perla! I'm getting caught up with your recent posts, and just wanted to say that I'm glad you're back! Your recommendations are so helpful, :) and I'm writing them down to remember for our upcoming trip (we visit DL often, but WDW will be a bit of a change for us ;)). So, THANKS for sharing all the advice!

estherhead
03-16-2012, 01:23 PM
Hi Perla! I'm getting caught up with your recent posts, and just wanted to say that I'm glad you're back! Your recommendations are so helpful, :) and I'm writing them down to remember for our upcoming trip (we visit DL often, but WDW will be a bit of a change for us ;)). So, THANKS for sharing all the advice!

Thanks! Any DL tips you can share back?

estherhead
03-16-2012, 04:07 PM
Sleep in Day!!! Really for us it's not a sleep in day. Once you're used to getting up at 5 or 6 am because you're so excited to be at Disney World, then sleeping in isn't very sleepy. For us, sleep in day is more about just taking a break from stimulation and calming down.

I was awake at 7am. Had my yummy almond croissant and coffee. Mmmmm. It was delish. I texted work, wrote my TR notes from the day before. The kids swam. Everyone showered. It was very leisurely. We had lunch and we played pool. It was lovely.

The most eventful thing that happened was we were all in the family room watching Gordon Ramsay and I switched to Made on Mtv. I don't remember what the Made was but it was about a teenager and was child appropriate. Well, I got distracted by some situation and left and everyone else evidently got up and left too. Suzy comes into the family room, perhaps 30 minutes later and only Charming was in there playing Civ on the computer. On the tv was a VERY not appropriate Mtv programming. You can imagine. Needless to say, I heard quite the earful about leaving the tv on Mtv and walking away with a houseful of kids. Oopsie.

We can only take so much relaxing, our family, when we are that close to Disney World. We had putzed. And we LOVE WDW. So we'd rather putz at WDW than putz at a rental house. So we left the house at 12:30.

As is our usual on our World Showcase day, the first hour or so some adult was fighting with Buzz about it not being Future World day. His Aspergers makes him screen (tv, video games, computers, etc) focused. And to walk past some of the coolest screens in the world to wander aimlessly through fake countries is not his cup of tea. But it's World Showcase day. Everyone gets their turn. And tonight is Milo's. Cooperate.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0711.jpg

Despite our hard line (absolutely do NOT asking about Innovations again), Suzy and I decided to get secret FP's to one Future World attraction. Soarin' was on our short list, but it was for 8:40 so we got Test Track instead which was for 6:30.

I looked for Crocs but none were the right size. While I was getting the secret FP's and looking for Crocs (the Crocs were my cover) the rest of the group went into Club Cool. Gotta get Emmy into Club Cool, of course. I met up with them in Canada where they were in the store doing a scavenger hunt. We had perfect timing as we walked into O Canada. 60 seconds before the next show. 1:55 p.m. Not too shabby for a sleep in day.

I've seen it lots & since we were into chilling, I just sat down. I could still see some and I didn't mind not seeing every image. Boo sat with me.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0712.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0714.jpg

Off Kilter was to start in 13 minutes. So Emmy and I headed off to France to get my must have drink of the trip: Grand Marnier smoothie.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0715.jpg

While we were in line there was this super hot guy. But I'm not single, ya know, so I had not noticed and was in my own universe. But Emmy couldn't take it any more and punched me. That did get my attention and looked up slightly confused and THEN I noticed him. And, since I'm not really a subtle person, I said, "Well, hello." Which absolutely cracked her up.

Which laughing was good as it was SOOOO HOT on our walk back to Canada that without her giggling I may never have made it. I may have melted right there & then. The benches at Off Kilter were so hot they would burn your skin. Yikes! We finally found our own shade and settled to enjoy the show.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0716.jpg

You can see here that Milo is sitting right at the edge of the shade where the seat becomes so hot, no one is sitting.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0717.jpg

It was a lovely set. They did a Chuck Barry song. Which caused some confusion since clearly he's not Canadian with Emmy. But they just play rock in general in a folksie Canadian kind of way. Not just Canadian rock turned Canadian folk. With my drink and sitting and the shade, I was feeling pretty good.

So we headed into UK to meet Pooh and Tigger. There was no one in there so Emmy (who's AFRAID, don't forget, of characters) decided to just kind of hide behind me and watch from the other room. It was a good plan, in theory.

But what actually happened ended up being Donald's very favorite moment of the entire trip. And Emmy's least favorite. Here's the set-up of the moment. If you've never been in here, this is the toy store in UK. Off the back is the cute little room. The line is in the store part where there also is the Kidcot table. And then the little room has a door to the left, like a closet door, that you cannot see from the Kidcot room where you are in line. I was standing right between these two rooms and Emmy was behind me in the Kidcot room looking in. Which put the closet door out of her sight.

Pooh was the only character in there. And he really isn't very frightening at all, being a teddy bear and all. Even Boo when she was terrified of characters and would scream and scream, was almost interested in hugging Pooh. So Emmy thought this would be a good starting point for her phobia. A harmless Pooh. Boo went to hug him and Emmy admitted the specialness of the moment.

And then as I'm watching through my camera screen, Emmy screams behind me. Sincerely, it was a scream. An adult, I've just seen something terrifying scream, in a tiny little UK store. Here is is the terrifying scene that frightened her:

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0718.jpg

Yup. That caused a grown woman to scream. When I turned to look at her she said, through her fear, "Did you see that? Tigger just sprung out of nowhere! Did you see that?"

Well, you can imagine that this caused Donald and I to laugh a little bit.

Boo was oblivious to the beginning of commotion that was happening in the Kidcot area and was just excited to show Tigger her Figment.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0719.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0720.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0721.jpg

While the above three harmless photos were being taken, the good looking foreign guy who was running the meet and greet (not British by look or accent but perhaps had come to America via Britain? Not sure how that worked) thought Emmy to be intriguing and her scream had gotten his attention even more. So he asked her to come in and told her he'd personally take her photo with Pooh. She said, quietly, "They make me nervous."

The girl running the Kidcot station then said, "Now you've done it, you shouldn't have told him that. Now you'll never escape." Do that in your best cockney, as she was very British.

And true to her word, he had no intention of letting Emmy get away unscathed.

The little door Tigger came out of & he and Pooh trying to decide if they were going to attack Emmy.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0722.jpg

While this conversation was going on, Jack-Jack had arrived and took his opportunity to get some hugs:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0724.jpg

Really, Pooh and Tigger speak more than you think characters who can't speak will be able to speak.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0725.jpg

And Boo was behind me working on the Kidcot project:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0727.jpg

As soon as the hugs were done and Jack and Buzz moved on, Tigger had thought it over and decided that he agreed and Emmy must be pursued. Her hand was grabbed (by the good looking guy) and she was dragged this far into the room and Tigger, according to her version of this story, attacked her.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0728.jpg

Buzz gives her a little shove to make sure she is good and hugged, and Pooh looks on approvingly, or is it disapprovingly? It's hard to tell.

She's laughing, but you can see she's still trying to escape.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0729.jpg

Kinda posed for Photopass photographer, but also not really.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0730.jpg

Tigger kissed her hand as an acknowledgement that she had been a good sport:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0731.jpg

After the trauma of Tigger, Pooh was nothing:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0732.jpg

After seeing the photos, she admitted it was almost, kind of OK. But not really. And she also was horrified by how sweaty and nasty she was. So we agreed to pursue some air conditioning next. It was HOT!

preschoolmom
03-16-2012, 06:07 PM
Hilarious. Absolutely Hilarious. Poor Emmy. But seriously funny :lmao::goodvibes

Torrance
03-16-2012, 09:35 PM
Oh, poor Emmy! She looks quite scared -- but I'm glad she toughed it out. Those pictures were too funny :laughing: (especially Pooh and Tigger's "excitement" at meeting Emmy... Pooh did look a bit smug in some of them :rolleyes: ). The little kids look like they're having a great time saying hello to Pooh and Tigger though! :lovestruc

Thanks! Any DL tips you can share back?

With kids it's different than just adults (as we found out last September when our niece and nephew were with us for part of our trip :rotfl: ), so I might not be too helpful. We'll often skip the things that aren't our favorites, or have what we think is too long of a wait (lines for characters being one of those), since we're usually able to make it back for the attractions that we missed later in the trip or on our next annual trip. So, with that disclaimer about our touring "style," ;) one thing that we try to do at least once on each trip is head immediately to Adventureland right at park opening. We're often able to get quite a bit done - usually either a walk-on or very short wait :thumbsup2 for Indiana Jones, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain (or just FPs immediately for it so that we can get Space Mountain FPs asap that morning too), then head to Big Thunder Mountain - just as folks finishing up with Fantasyland are headed into Adventureland/Frontierland. We'll usually do a Fantasyland EMH morning the first day, then an Adventureland morning the second day, etc.

There's a lot of great advice over on the DL boards that I know you're already checking out, but I'll try to think of more things that always seem to work for us at DL too if you'd like. :goodvibes

Looking forward to more updates! :yay:

estherhead
03-16-2012, 10:11 PM
Hilarious. Absolutely Hilarious. Poor Emmy. But seriously funny :lmao::goodvibes

It might be mean spirited, but it was REALLY funny.

Oh, poor Emmy! She looks quite scared -- but I'm glad she toughed it out. Those pictures were too funny :laughing: (especially Pooh and Tigger's "excitement" at meeting Emmy... Pooh did look a bit smug in some of them :rolleyes: ). The little kids look like they're having a great time saying hello to Pooh and Tigger though! :lovestruc



With kids it's different than just adults (as we found out last September when our niece and nephew were with us for part of our trip :rotfl: ), so I might not be too helpful. We'll often skip the things that aren't our favorites, or have what we think is too long of a wait (lines for characters being one of those), since we're usually able to make it back for the attractions that we missed later in the trip or on our next annual trip. So, with that disclaimer about our touring "style," ;) one thing that we try to do at least once on each trip is head immediately to Adventureland right at park opening. We're often able to get quite a bit done - usually either a walk-on or very short wait :thumbsup2 for Indiana Jones, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain (or just FPs immediately for it so that we can get Space Mountain FPs asap that morning too), then head to Big Thunder Mountain - just as folks finishing up with Fantasyland are headed into Adventureland/Frontierland. We'll usually do a Fantasyland EMH morning the first day, then an Adventureland morning the second day, etc.

There's a lot of great advice over on the DL boards that I know you're already checking out, but I'll try to think of more things that always seem to work for us at DL too if you'd like. :goodvibes

Looking forward to more updates! :yay:

That's good advice, do Adventureland first one day and Fantasyland first another.

I think I'm going to get Ridemax, but I'm waiting until a bit closer to the trip once May hours, shows, and parades are officially released.

We are also really hoping for a soft opening of Matterhorn. I'm telling my kids it will be 100% closed so there won't be disappointing. It officially opens June 15th so I'm not sure if 3 weeks out is way too much to ask. But it's such a DL icon and this will be the only time we take our girls to DL. They'll have to do it as adults if it isn't open this trip. :sad1: Donald and I did it 2 years ago. It's not that it's the most amazing ride, it's that it feels like DL. Oh well.

And yes, we're checking out the DL board and their suggestions of other boards. But it's not the same as a friend giving you advice. :)

knitster
03-16-2012, 10:24 PM
Was the CM really tall with brown hair? I'm almost positive he's the same CM that we met in that same store who had a full on sword fight with my kids that ended with him sprawled out on the ground in that teeny, tiny store. He's from Canada but works in the UK pavilion and he explained to me why that was, but now I don't remember. I bet that was him, though, he was hilarious - and cute!

estherhead
03-17-2012, 08:16 AM
Was the CM really tall with brown hair? I'm almost positive he's the same CM that we met in that same store who had a full on sword fight with my kids that ended with him sprawled out on the ground in that teeny, tiny store. He's from Canada but works in the UK pavilion and he explained to me why that was, but now I don't remember. I bet that was him, though, he was hilarious - and cute!

He definitely had brown hair, but I don't really remember. I probably wouldn't have noticed him looks wise alone, but him not having a British accent & then his engaging personality made him stick out. I thought I'd have a picture of him since he was so involved in this moment, but somehow he didn't make it in any shots.

knitster
03-17-2012, 09:14 AM
He definitely had brown hair, but I don't really remember. I probably wouldn't have noticed him looks wise alone, but him not having a British accent & then his engaging personality made him stick out. I thought I'd have a picture of him since he was so involved in this moment, but somehow he didn't make it in any shots.

I think I have a slightly blurry picture of him. I'll go wade through my iPhoto and see if I can find it. It will drive me crazy not knowing if we're talking about the same guy! :rotfl:

knitster
03-17-2012, 09:18 AM
I know that I had a picture of him all sprawled out on the floor after the sword fight, but it was blurry and I must've deleted it. This is the only one I could find - too bad it's of the back of his head!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v722/theprincessall/DSC_3214.jpg

and this is what I said about him in my TR

"Then we met my very favorite Cast Member of the whole trip. We walked in and the kids, of course, headed straight for the swords and shields. He challenged them to a duel, and let my kids beat him into the ground. Literally. This dude was at least 6ft 4in and he flung himself on the ground, in a tiny shop, and let my kids wail on him. Then, in the middle of the battle, Presley noticed that he had pins and started pin trading with him while he was on the ground. It was hilarious! Then he spent some time talking to Hendrix and talking to me about where we were staying and if we’d seen Wishes and all sorts of stuff. He was great! "

It's gotta be the same guy, right?! I need a life - this intrigues me far more than it should.

estherhead
03-17-2012, 09:32 AM
Our plan was to chill out in the France movie. But Boo spied a certain cat that made us continue being outside. But hot or not, Marie is always worth it.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0733.jpg

Evidently Jack-Jack also enjoys Marie:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0734.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0736.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0738.jpg

Awww, don't you love that snuggly cat? I do. And so do my kids.

After this we went into France. We saw the movie and then enjoyed the Kidcot. And by enjoy, I mean not really. Why does France continue to pick people to man this Kidcot station who sincerely do not enjoy children? I have met many French people. I have been to France. And they are enjoyable, lovely people. So why on earth have mean people consistently work the Kidcot?

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0739.jpg

But when you have 12 people, you can pretty much just take over and not care. We got yelled at here for who knows what, we weren't coloring properly. Grrrr. I don't like to get yelled at for coloring outside the lines. Or for coloring too loudly. Or whatever.

And don't pull out your camera in this theater either. Why you would want a picture of the movie, I don't know, but I've looked at photos in here and gotten yelled at. And tried to take a picture of us before the movie and gotten yelled at. No looking at your camera. No texting. Nada. Grrrr.

So after our French lesson, we headed to the potty in Morroco.

Into the Tangerine for coffee.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0740.jpg

Milo has a coffee he adores in here. So we just chilled while he grabbed that. Then we went to Japan and into the store. Last year I packed bento box lunches for my girls and though the bentos in here are way too expensive, I like to look. And they had new bento boxes books as well. I'm not packing bentos anymore, my girls are big enough to pack a healthy lunch themselves so they just do. Which is really nice for me. :thumbsup2 But just the same to look at those books and imagine my life as the perfect little stay at home mom with time to make adorable little faces in my girls lunch pails, well it's nice.

Donald agreed to watch Boo in this store. When I got done looking at my books and searched them out I thought Donald's head was going to explode. So I grabbed Boo and went to find Emmy who had tried on a kimono. She REALLY wanted one, but they are expensive and she just couldn't justify it. Then, surprisingly, Jack-Jack had a fit. I walked in on it so I'm not sure what it was over, but obviously we needed to take a little break since Jack-Jack isn't a fit kind of person. That's when you know you need a break. When your easy going kids are done.

So we went outside and found a shady spot and handed out fruit chews. Everyone was a little happier. It was time to go to Mexico.

On our way:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0741.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0742.jpg

On this short walk, Emmy's purse broke. And the team was just feeling done with walking so they all hopped a boat. Donald and I ended up not getting on the boat. Emmy was pushing Boo (so her purse could be in the stroller) so Donald & I walked all by ourselves. I'd like to say it was nice. But the difference between the shade and direct sunlight was about 20 degrees. Shade maybe 90 and direct sun 110? So once we reached the pyramid we were more than thrilled to sit outside the Cava in the air conditioning.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0743.jpg

We thought we'd have a little moment, but the walk and boat ride were pretty similar in timing. So they all arrived pretty shortly after us. Certainly not as peaceful after they got there. We checked in to the San Angel before our 5:15 ADR.

We had made the ADR's for a table of 4 and a table of 8. The table of 8 got seated first close to the restroom. It was quiet and not the pitch dark of near the pyramids. So we liked our spot.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0744.jpg

I got my tostadas de Tinga as always. They were smaller than normal but I figure that just means I can have more food at a different country later! Donald got a tequila flight (I'm not really into tequila) which comes with a sangria recipe. Very cute. And the kids entertained themselves by toasting the tortilla chips on the lanterns.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0745.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0746.jpg

The other table on the other side of the restaurant.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0747.jpg

When I came back from taking that picture, I decided I was still hungry and finished Boo's rice and beans. And then I was too full. Drat. No other WS kiosks for me.

Everyone needed to potty & pay the bill, etc. So I took Boo, Jack-Jack and Buzz on their first Three Caballeros ride while everyone took care of necessary business. Man do they love this ride.

Look! It's Donald
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0749.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0750.jpg

As we were getting off, everyone else was done so we hopped back on. As we were getting off the second time, McQueen realized he had left his stuffed Duomo in San Angel. Ugh! So many kids and stuffed animals I felt like we were always either looking for a lost toy or picking up buckets of toys on this entire trip.

Once that was settled, we split into two groups. Donald took Mulan, Ariel, Buzz, Boo, and McQueen (yup, all the kids) to Spaceship Earth. They traded Vinylmations on the way. We headed to a free concert in America! 3rd row seats and I suddenly had a peaceful, easy feeling.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0751.jpg

I'm sure they had the fan going to keep them cool not for a Jennifer Lopez moment since they weren't really very sexy. But the hair went flying nonetheless.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0752.jpg

Look at all those instruments:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0753.jpg

Jack-Jack wasn't having too much fun but the rest of us were a singing and a clapping.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0754.jpg

I texted a little video to Mom who was halfway to Florida, eating Mexican food and drinking a Dos Equis. She liked out style and said she was ready for some fun. So we better be prepared to keep the party going.

We went to Germany, went to the potty, and looked at the train. We sat in the shade and looked up good Illuminations viewing spots on Disboards as we normally view from the other side of WS.

We also, of course, got caramel corn. It's fast going right up there with my Grand Marnier slushie as a must have at WDW.

Suzy realized she needed an ATM and "ran" to Italy to get some cash. There are only two ATM's in Epcot, upfront and in Italy. Italy doesn't seem far from Germany, but it was so hot, less hot than mid-day, but still warm. She came back drenched. I used my time to advise a woman who had been mis-charged in Germany on her KTTW. She had wanted to use a snack credit, but they charged her. They can't really fix it there in Germany, but they can at the concierge back at your resort. Just keep the receipt.

And then on to Norway. We had gotten FP's to Maelstrom (is this why Donald and I walked? I don't know but it makes sense.) And with them the wait was almost nonexistent.

And then played in the store.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0755.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0756.jpg

Obviously, Duomo is fine:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0757.jpg

By this point it was 8:15. Who would volunteer to save our spot? Now, you may have read on the Theme parks board that this is no small job. It may SEEM like a cake job: you get to sit for 45 minutes at WDW which should be something every adult jumps on. Sitting. But sadly, saving a seat for a nighttime show involves staking claim to an area and shooing away people. And Donald, Suzy, Milo, and Emmy are all introverts. Only I am extroverted and assertive without being mean. So, as usual, I got the job. And true to form, I staked my claim, positioned my strollers, put out the blanket while the others did Test Track. It ended up being 2 rows deep all around the lake. That's a lot of people to keep away from little area section of railing. And they didn't get there until 10 minutes before it started meaning it was kinda stressful because people were really stacking up.

But there is just something about me that makes people not pick fights. It works for me at work too. I have a presence and a tone to my voice. Serious and determined but friendly and nice. Really, I can't explain it. I just know that I have it. They all got back and I handed out drinks and glow sticks and prepared to relax. As is my norm, I chose 2 kids from the 2nd row and invited them into our spot. Why should their parent's lack of knowledge about staking claim, ruin their viewing?

The little girl was adorable and made friends with my girls. But the boy ended up being REALLY annoying. His parents kept chastising him but he was clearly into pushing limits and would climb the rail, stand right in front of Boo, jump around and then look behind him to see if they were watching. They normally were and would yell at him & try to rein him in. But just the same Boo's viewing was blocked for over half the time. My mistake. Fortunately, she didn't care one twit. He was just as entertaining to her as the show. So once I realized that, I just let his parents yell at him and enjoyed the show.

We had an absolutely amazing spot.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0758.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0760.jpg

It's outside Mexico, to the left of the new restaurant.

Right before Illuminations started, Suzy and I asked the group who would like to see Fantasmic? Only Mulan volunteered. Can we do it? Can we see Illuminations and Fantasmic in the same night?

You'll have wait to find out.

Schmoodle
03-17-2012, 10:49 AM
Once again, Susie, I am very much enjoying your trip report! Your experiences in France are odd. Maybe manning the Kidcot Station is a punishment for naughty CMs, and that's why they're grumpy. I have spent quite a bit of time in France, and am married to a French guy and I can tell you that the French folks I know do not like what they consider to be silly rules. So if there is a no-smoking sign, they will stand right under it to smoke. And in general, French people seem to adore children. So the anti-kid Kidcot and rigid no-electronics rule enforcement seems very out of character. Go figure. I prefer Japan and Morocco pavilions anyway, probably because I've never been to those lands IRL.
I am always amazed by what you're able to accomplish with all those kids along!

estherhead
03-17-2012, 11:37 AM
Once again, Susie, I am very much enjoying your trip report! Your experiences in France are odd. Maybe manning the Kidcot Station is a punishment for naughty CMs, and that's why they're grumpy. I have spent quite a bit of time in France, and am married to a French guy and I can tell you that the French folks I know do not like what they consider to be silly rules. So if there is a no-smoking sign, they will stand right under it to smoke. And in general, French people seem to adore children. So the anti-kid Kidcot and rigid no-electronics rule enforcement seems very out of character. Go figure. I prefer Japan and Morocco pavilions anyway, probably because I've never been to those lands IRL.
I am always amazed by what you're able to accomplish with all those kids along!

That is very funny about them not liking silly rules & openly rebelling. Maybe I'm French and didn't know it? :rotfl: We're pretty close friends with this guy from Provence (he married a close friend of mine) and he is very conservative but he adores our kids and definitely breaks rules. He would be amazing as a Kidcot guy. Softspoken with a friendly smile and a cute accent. Oh well. Maybe next time they'll have this situation figured out. Between the dumb Duffy bear hand out, the permanent Sharpies to color with, and the not always friendly CM's, Kidcot has become a little less enjoyable for me the last 2 years.

estherhead
03-17-2012, 12:36 PM
I found my explanation of why I'm chosen to save our spot unsatisfying after I was done with that last chapter. After all, this is a thread of TIPS on getting you through WDW. And to offer up some "magical power" I have is not very useful to you.

Perhaps, it is just something that can't be taught. But a little bit of it I've learned over the years. And the part I was born with, I betcha could be taught. Ok, here's my strategy to get people to do what I want, which in the case of saving a spot for night time shows, is to leave me and my spot 100% alone.

1) Use the strollers and a blanket so there are obvious boundaries to your territory, and don't be greedy with that. Take only the minimum of what your group will need.

2) You have to have inside your heart empathy for them. They don't have a spot, you do. No pondering that you have a spot because you've been there 30 minutes. See it from their point of view with no judgement. You have a big spot and they don't. And they'd like to share your spot.

3) Have absolutely no emotion, edge, attitude to your voice when talking to them. This is the part that I think I was born with as Suzy and Mulan have it too. Donald and Milo DON'T. Nor does Ariel. Think of a Jedi. "These are not the droids you're looking for." The tone is 100% neutral. If you think your tone is neutral but your family often reacts emotionally back towards your voice, record it and listen back to it honestly. Ariel and Donald would swear up and down they don't have abrasive tones of voice but when I threaten to voice record them on my iphone, the tone magically changes. Because then they have to face the truth. They wouldn't like that tone of voice talking back to them. So keep it 100% neutral. "I'm sorry, these seats are saved." Not abrasive. No attitude. Not sickeningly sweet that comes off as demeaning or condescending.

4) Don't give an explanation nor any excuse. This allows them a tiny window to know they can get to you. "I'm sorry these seats are saved." No more. No, "I've been here 30 minutes, these seats are saved." This then sounds like an accusation to them (you should have been here 30 minutes ago) and allows them an angle to get you riled up and start a fight. No, "I've got 12 people, these seats are saved." Same thing. "Then they should be here." Keep it short and NO explanation as this gives them no way to get to you.

5) Silence is your friend. After you've said in your friendly but neutral tone "I'm sorry, these seats are saved," there will be silence. They have no idea what to do with this since there is no way to get back at you. So there is an awkward silence where they glare at you. Welcome this and DO NOT under any circumstances fill that silence with an explanation. The silence is your power as the huge majority of people can't handle the awkward silence. You can. Because you are a Jedi knight. They will leave. Sometimes even leaving your area altogether.


The above rules work in my job as well. When I have to give someone terrible news I say I'm sorry sincerely and honestly in a non-emotional way. And then they yell at me and I continue to simply say, "I'm sorry." Totally neutral, no further explanation of my error. When they run out of emotion to yell at me, and I say my last "I'm sorry," it falls silent. And 9 times out of 10 they say, "Well.." just that word. They just don't know what to do with that kind of Jedi lack of emotion. And then I say, "I can't change the error, what would make you happy?" And then they tell me. And usually it's a pretty reasonable request and then we've kept them as a customer.

Anything other than this has the potential to turn you into Anakin Skywalker and we all know how that turned out.

It is stressful, I will admit that. But because no fight has happened, as soon as the relief of your family coming back is there, no lasting damage is done to your evening. The only emotion spent was the emotion it takes to be not emotional.

Good luck!

estherhead
03-17-2012, 01:11 PM
So. Spot saved. Time to get to the good times. Caramel corn:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0762.jpg

Look at it! Look how YUMMY!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0763.jpg

It's a lot of work to keep that tiny area clear:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0764.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0766.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0771.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0772.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0777.jpg

Doesn't that just put you in a good mood? Doesn't it? It's amazing!!!!! Spectacular. Any other words you can think of.

But back to the question: Who would like to see Fantasmic?

Illumination was at 9 pm. The second Fantasmic was at 10:30. Is it possible to thoroughly enjoy a spectacular viewing of Illuminations at a great spot between Mexico and Norway AND enjoy a super viewing of Fantasmic on the same night?

Well, since we'd been rained out of Fantasmic and it's Jack-Jacks favorite show and it was the last trip of our year of Disney, Suzy and & I were willing to find out.

We knew if this were truly to be our plan, we needed to have pulled it together before the end of Illuminations. The group settled on us two, Mulan, Jack-Jack, and Boo. We packed up during the boring earth part of Illuminations. We made sure everyone knew where they were going and Donald had the keys. And as soon as the finale was done, Suzy & I hit the road.

TIP TIME: To exit Illuminations before the crowd, stay to the left of the walkway. Everyone will be headed the same direction. And probably because of highways, slower walking traffic always seems to gravitate right. So just stay to the left. Walk behind people until you see open space and BOOK it through the open spaces until you get slowed down behind slow moving people.

As soon as we cleared the actual Epcot exit, we took off running. And I mean running. I had Boo in her stroller and Suzy had Jack-Jack in his. So that left only Mulan. No need to hold on to her. We RAN as fast as we could to the van. And practically threw the kids in the van. We put the strollers in the back without folding them.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0781.jpg

I tried to organize our tickets and direct Suzy at the same time but we've never tried to get to DHS from Epcot late at night and one of the signs doesn't direct you so there was a moment of panic when we thought we missed our turn, which would be a disaster in such a time crunch.

But no, the next turn was ours and we whipped in. We flashed our AP at the parking gate and zipped into the parking lot. There were no CM's since it was 9:40 and we just went to the front and found ourselves our own spot super close to the front. We threw the strollers back out of the van and RAN to the front. At 9:43 we hit the front gate and there was no bag check. Our tickets went into the only turnstyle open and we were back to speed walking.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0783.jpg

The mass DHS exodus:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0784.jpg

I checked my watch again as we his the Fantasmic line and it was 9:45. We'd done it in 23 minutes flat. From the last firework of Illuminations to the line of Fantasmic. 23 minutes. Look how close we are to the front of the line!

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0785.jpg

Pretty darn impressive. But we were sweaty as even at 9:45 pm it's darn tootin' hot in June in Florida.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0787.jpg

Victory is ours!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0788.jpg

They didn't let us in until 10:15 so we actually stood in line 30 minutes. I started getting nervous as there were sincerely 6,000 people in that line. How will they get 6,000 people in the theater in 15 minutes? But they did! They did it, those Disney amazing people.

And we got front row.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0789.jpg

Tired, but happy
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0790.jpg

So from the best seats in the house at Illuminations to the best seats in the house at Fantasmic. 8:15 to 10:30. Unbelievable. It was SUCH an amazing and magical 3 hours.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0791.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0795.jpg

"This is MY dream!"
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0797.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0798.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0804.jpg

If you are travelling by car, and nighttime shows are 1.5 hours apart, you can see them both. MK will be harder. But I think we could have made it.

This was one of my favorite 3 hours of the whole year. :cloud9:

We were home by 11:30 pm, Donald, Emmy, and Charming were playing darts. Boo and I hopped in the shower and were dead asleep together in my big bed by midnight.

Would it be possible to hit a rope drop the following morning? Are we THAT amazing? ;)

reelmom
03-17-2012, 05:59 PM
I am not sure how I missed this TR but I am reading it now. I love your TR's. So informative and entertaining.

Torrance
03-17-2012, 08:07 PM
That is so cool you guys got to see Illuminations and Fantasmic in one night! Definitely not as easy as at Disneyland :laughing: (we usually watch the fireworks from our Fantasmic viewing spot after seeing them in front of the castle the first night). It looks like an awesome evening for you guys. I'm so glad you made it -- and front row too! :woohoo:

Mommy2BnB
03-17-2012, 11:25 PM
Amazing. Again! Wow! Sounds like a fabulous night. We missed Illuminations on our June trip, unless you count watching it from the 4th floor balcony at Pop. It is definitely on my must do list for next time.

estherhead
03-18-2012, 01:16 PM
I know that I had a picture of him all sprawled out on the floor after the sword fight, but it was blurry and I must've deleted it. This is the only one I could find - too bad it's of the back of his head!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v722/theprincessall/DSC_3214.jpg

and this is what I said about him in my TR

"Then we met my very favorite Cast Member of the whole trip. We walked in and the kids, of course, headed straight for the swords and shields. He challenged them to a duel, and let my kids beat him into the ground. Literally. This dude was at least 6ft 4in and he flung himself on the ground, in a tiny shop, and let my kids wail on him. Then, in the middle of the battle, Presley noticed that he had pins and started pin trading with him while he was on the ground. It was hilarious! Then he spent some time talking to Hendrix and talking to me about where we were staying and if we’d seen Wishes and all sorts of stuff. He was great! "

It's gotta be the same guy, right?! I need a life - this intrigues me far more than it should.

Ok, I'm still not sure from that photo. Let's just it WAS the same guy and then you can stop obsessing. :lmao: Obviously, UK is where to meet Pooh. It's a great spot and setting, Pooh is there, AND there is always a great CM.

I am not sure how I missed this TR but I am reading it now. I love your TR's. So informative and entertaining.

Thanks! Informative I am definitely shooting for. Entertaining just happens when you have this many kids!

That is so cool you guys got to see Illuminations and Fantasmic in one night! Definitely not as easy as at Disneyland :laughing: (we usually watch the fireworks from our Fantasmic viewing spot after seeing them in front of the castle the first night). It looks like an awesome evening for you guys. I'm so glad you made it -- and front row too! :woohoo:

:banana::banana::banana: I know, right??? I'm still waiting for the DL times and then I'll see if we are going to do two shows in one night there. We are staying at the HOJO and I sprung for a DL view. So I'm hoping to watch fireworks from there too. I've read that there were palm trees obstructing the views but that they've cut some down now. So we're hopeful.

Amazing. Again! Wow! Sounds like a fabulous night. We missed Illuminations on our June trip, unless you count watching it from the 4th floor balcony at Pop. It is definitely on my must do list for next time.

If you do get a chance to go, look at Robo's map on this thread.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2422342

We normally watch from 6(the bridge between England or France) or somewhere near there. I have a feeling this is because I used to like to get either a Grand Marnier Smoothie or a French pastry. It's a great spot but if it's taken there can be too many trees in the areas around it. Or in Canada, as that allows a very easy exit.

So this time we watched near Mexico (since caramel corn is my new Illuminations snack and I can get it anytime and just save it) between C and 10. Any of those spots without trees would work. The globe was much cooler from this spot than our normal spot.

So magical. Such a magical, magical night. :wizard:

estherhead
03-18-2012, 02:46 PM
After my 10 pm 2 mile jog and falling asleep at midnight, I was not at all sure I'd be able to pull myself out of bed the following morning. But true to form, I awoke at 6:30. I was a little tired. But the good, happy tired. Not the tired I had been as we drove out of Ohio. I laid in bed and read the plan for the day. AK. Ak. I love AK. However, I do believe that it is much hotter than the other parks. And since several times the day before I thought I would melt into a little puddle on the ground, I was a bit concerned.

After contemplating that for a bit, I got up and just had cereal for breakfast. Simple and cool. I didn't even make coffee, which is my job. I got in a bit of trouble for that, I'll tell ya. When you're a well oiled machine like we are, you better pull your weight. But it was so HOT. I went back upstairs and got a very tired Mulan up for the shower. She hadn't showered the night before and I knew she'd want one.

Boo woke up and started singing Lion King songs at the top of her lungs. But this didn't seem to get a fire burning under any adult's booties. By 8:00 am, all 6 non-teen kids had eaten and gotten dressed and were gathered in the family room. Donald, Milo, Emmy, and Charming, however, were any thing BUT ready. At one point their lack of motivation along with the children's singing and shenanigans cause Suzy to holler loudly, "You four really ARE the rebel spies. I KNEW it!"

Despite this, though, we still arrived at the AK parking lot at 8:30 as Windsor Hills is very close to Animal Kingdom if you take the Sherbeth shortcut. It's just right there a hop, skip, and a jump away. We got a great parking spot (score!) and pulled out the strollers and bags. The CM's were absolutely insistent that we get on the trams. But this is silly as AK was right there. Why would I get on the tram?

I don't like to follow stupid directions, so we walked as always. They had changed the walking pattern here but we ignored that too as it was just with orange cones and didn't make much sense.

Once we were safely to the actual front, we had an easy bag check and entry.

The reason to get to AK early, is they often actually open early. DHS never does this. But AK does. And true to form it opened about 10 minutes early. Woot! I was again the FP runner but normally it just involves speed walking. We were in the middle of the pack so I just wiggled my way around the family groups and was quickly at the beginning of the pack. But for some reason, the EE FP runners this morning, actually ran. I had taken a little jog in the heat the night before and no intention of getting that hot and sweaty at 8:50 in the morning. So I just power walked, which believe me got me sweaty plenty!

When I got to EE, though, I was shocked to see the HUGE lines at the FP machines. Wow. Welcome to the summer. The line for actual ride wrapped around the FP machine area and then each FP machine had it's own line. So there were lots people here. LOTS! But there is one machine that is tucked in behind this crate. I had to fight through the main line to get there, and hop over the crate, but the actual FP machine had no line at all. What I couldn't figure out is why the people waiting in the main line didn't stick their tickets in as they walked by as that is what I would have done. Then you could ride with a 10 minutes wait first thing and come back an hour later (after riding Dinosaur and getting breakfast, for example) and ride again. Having ridden 3 rides in the first hour. But people aren't like me. So I was able to use their lack of cognitive ability and not stand in any line at all. FP's for 9:40. Perfect.

I also couldn't figure out why the people at the beginning of the other FP lines, didn't do what I had just done. I assumed that once I trailblazed that FP machine, others would leave their long lines and follow me. But no one did. Maybe no one had made them coffee this am either. Or maybe they thought the crate was there for a purpose? But it was just decor. I've actually sat on that crate before as it's a shady spot and once the main rush of morning is over, quiet.

Now that I was running with the bulls to get FP's, I took my pace WAY down to a more appropriate strolling pace. Others, however, continued to run past me to get, I'm assuming, EE FP's. Clearly no one told this guy he had chosen the longest route possible. No running was going to get him around the giant line. I didn't stop him and tell him about the secret machine either.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0806.jpg

I bet Louie wouldn't even want man's red fire on this day:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0807.jpg

I slowed down even more as I got to KS as I wasn't really sure the plan. The family had already gotten in line, but I hadn't been able to get them to text me back so I wasn't sure WHERE in line. Other FP runners were having similar issues and there were a lot of people looking for people in this line. There is the FP line and the regular line but there were purposeful gaps in the rope and the EE FP runners were walking in the KS FP area searching for their families and then joining them in the line. I've never seen this done before and am quite sure many on these boards would be furious. But that is what everyone was doing. There must not be cell phone signal or something as we all were also looking at our phones.

Thanks to wearing matching, bright blue t-shirts I saw my family almost ready to board. There was absolutely no way I was getting there. So I just stopped moving in the FP line. I now was almost to the front and clearly I had no FP and really, no one else did either as it was 9:10 in the morning. I was hesitating trying to decide what to do. I didn't feel right about just hopping in line there since it would be just one person line hopping which is clearly in every way wrong. And I've ridden this a lot, so I decided I'd just skip it. But that seemed daunting as well since there were people behind me and it's quite a long queue, should I just walk out the stroller area? I wonder which stroller area our strollers are in? I was so undecided. The CM guarding that corner also noticed my family in the front of the line and my indecision. There was a family dressed similarly to me and as they walked by us she winked at me, and opened the rope, letting me in. :woohoo: I know, I know. It's still line jumping. But I chose to view it as a little CM magic.

But here is the true horror of my line jumping. Also watching was a little boy, maybe 7 years old. And he could NOT believe my absolute blatant cheating. He was shocked. He tried to get his mom to notice and be annoyed but she was enjoying her morning and had no idea what he was talking about. And he was being divided into the other area away from me so his mom couldn't even see me. She tried to shoosh him. But he, the CM, and me knew that I had just walked the entire length of FP line without an FP and been rewarded. Two of us felt pleased. I was happy to have such a nice CM. The CM was happy to have made my day which is her job. But the little boy may have been morally stunted forever. Sorry, kid. That's how the cookie crumbles. Life's not fair.

Because I was just a one, I had a lovely seat.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0808.jpg

Honestly, I think this was the nicest KS I've ever had. No offense to my family, but it was just so stress FREE! Lovely, lovely. The animals were all eating. It made me think of Jurassic Park and the goat. Put the food right out there where we can see them eat it. Genius. "Where's the goat???"

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0817.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0821.jpg

I even actually saw the lions:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0823.jpg

It was so delightful I cannot even tell you. The most peaceful 20 minutes of my entire day. The family got off right in front of me. I wish I could have become invisible as things were not going well with the family. Mulan was dog tired and she really doesn't like animals. Milo is never shy about his dislike of Animal Kingdom. And McQueen, who loves drama and is severely ALLERGIC to animals, was the loudest in protesting any walking down trails.

Guess who volunteered to walk back across the park and get Dinosaur FP's? Yup, me. It may be hot and tiring work, but no one argues with you about it. And wanted to keep my peaceful, easy feeling.

Donald took Boo and Emmy and went on ahead, leaving Suzy to deal with the complaints and whining of the rest. Sorry, Suzy.

The FP machines at Dinosaur ate my first FP so I used another machine and that too was eaten ad there was no CM in sight. It's an out of the way spot and despite walking around, I couldn't find one. I only needed 10 anyway and the third machine worked so I just left the 2 eaten ones.

Because I hadn't stuck around to see how the animal trail thing ended, I had assumed they had followed the written schedule and were at the Maharajah jungle trek since that is the only one with tiger and thus the only one that really mattered. So I bought 2 amazing donuts and water and Diet Coke and found a delightful shady spot to reward my family with. But they had done the Pangani Trail and found their own spot. Darn.

I headed off towards them and many people were lost. Since I was feeling happy and I love Newbies anyway, I stopped and took the time to tell them where to go.

There they are:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0827.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0828.jpg

We got stuffed pretzels and lots of drinks and people started to perk up a bit.

In the fall and winter none of us want to do Kali River Rapids. It's just no fun in blue jeans and sweatshirts. So we wanted to make sure we got it in this time. After TSM, this is my favorite themed ride. It's just beautiful.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0829.jpg

There was no line to speak of which makes it better because you get to enjoy the entire queue instead of just the boring FP line. I wasn't sure about Boo and her height but I was distracted from that by Emmy and her stress over her shoes. She was not prepared for a water ride and had her brand new tennies on. She almost didn't ride this and the entire length of the line I was reassuring her that despite all of us being in water appropriate shoes, her non-water appropriate shoes would be fine.

I was taken off guard, therefore, when they stopped us for Boo and Jack-Jack. I knew they were tall enough. But they arm band them so the lap bar is used. Kinda cool.

Suzy and I and the little ones got in first. The rafts hold twelve so we all fit in one raft. We laughed and laughed and laughed. This may have been the most laughter of the entire trip. Milo didn't have as good a time as this did hurt his boo-boo'ed rib.

And many got drenched.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0830.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0831.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0832.jpg

Emmy's shoes, by the way, were fine as I had her wrap a poncho around them. Otherwise, they would NOT have been fine.

I didn't get wet at all. Oh yeah, I'm like that.

Since he was already wet, Donald and McQueen soaked their heads:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0833.jpg

Despite having ridden the rapids, this little water spout proved too much for Jack-Jack and he avoided it.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0834.jpg

And now, totally soaked, we carried on. But you'll have to wait. I've got a party to go to tonight and a cake to make. :cool2:

See ya'll later in the Kingdom of Animals.

Torrance
03-19-2012, 12:43 AM
You guys had a busy AK morning! How did you not get wet when everyone else looked soaked?! :worship: I'm going to remember that about the FP machine behind the crate for our trip, thanks! :thumbsup2

estherhead
03-19-2012, 12:37 PM
You guys had a busy AK morning! How did you not get wet when everyone else looked soaked?! :worship: I'm going to remember that about the FP machine behind the crate for our trip, thanks! :thumbsup2

It's possible I wore a poncho. :rolleyes1

estherhead
03-19-2012, 01:22 PM
After getting soaked we thought it would be smart to go into Nemo and get 100% cooled off. This was perhaps not the most intelligent idea. Many of us started shivering quite quickly upon entry and never really stopped. But it was a great show.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0845.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0846.jpg

I had grabbed more EE FP's on the way by, by the way, and I also spent some time putting BandAids on my blisters. We aren't a blister prone family but many of us did this trip and I wonder if it's the heat.

Once done with Nemo, it was noon as we were hungry. We chose to eat lunch at Restarauntasaurus which I've never done before. I got a burger. They have great toppings here but having never eaten here, I didn't realize how huge the burgers would be. WAY too big for just me to eat and for one of the first times ever, we ordered too much food and I ate to my hearts content. I put bacon, onions, and BBQ sauce on mine.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0847.jpg

Because we got so chilled in Nemo, we opted to eat outside under shade. It was so nice and quiet and peaceful it just extended my relaxed and happy mood.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0848.jpg

Jack and Boo mostly hung out in the stroller this lunch break.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0850.jpg

After lunch we decided to head on over to the playground.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0852.jpg

In many a TR I've complained about this playground. When you have little ones it is, in my opinion, a horrible playground with a terrifying slide, roaring dinosaurs, and it's easy to lose your kids. But I don't have a baby or a toddler. I have big kids. And this is a GREAT playground for big kids:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0853.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0854.jpg

After his Kali River bumping along, Milo's rib was aching so he opted out of EE. Which meant the rest of us could ride twice!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0855.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0856.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0858.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0859.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0860.jpg

Oh, yeah, people. I love me some EE. I ask again, do you think I'll get too old? Because right now I simply can't imagine. Happy sigh.

When we came out the little ones were ready for some ice cream, so ice cream it was.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/DSCN0861.jpg

Then we headed off to Lion King. And finally they all went to see It's Tough to Be a Bug.

I've made Boo do this many a time. But truth be told I'm not a huge, huge fan either. She loves bugs and it had an amazing theme, but we both hate spiders. Enough to skip it.

So we just checked out the shops. It was fun and relaxing except for some unknown reason there is no cell phone signal in here. So I had to keep going to a door to see if I'd gotten a text that they were done. This stressed Boo out as she would be playing and then I'd leave her (just a few steps) and go to a doorway. She'd think I was leaving and panic. It would have been perfect if it'd have had signal.

I bought here some things for work. Since I was spending more time there I wanted to have a few little Mickey things. It's been 9 months and I still LOVE the things I bought here.

I bought: a 2 tbsp Mickey measuring spoon for coffee. We girls at the office love this thing, it's really well made and makes making the perfect cup of coffee a breeze. Mickey magnetic clips. I use these to post notes to my guys on my magnetic schedule board. It amuses me greatly to tell my tough guys important stuff with Mickey ears. Mickey pens (2 have run out, still using the rest.) And a Mickey note pad that I also am still using. And the best thing is they were cheap things that bring me daily pleasure.

We pondered buying this, but in the end Boo opted to not get it.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/esthersphone355.jpg

I also almost bought this for a friend:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/esthersphone356.jpg

We did end up buying her a t-shirt but decided this one was too sparkly. She loves it and wears it often.

And then I checked my text: and they were out! We found each other and headed out. We had date plans!

estherhead
03-19-2012, 04:31 PM
On our way home from AK I had got the shopping bug as this was our last night in WDW and I hadn't crossed anything off my list. So I made Donald stop at the souvenir shop between AK and Windsor Hills. For some reason, and maybe it is because my body DOES think it will get too old for roller coasters, my neck had slowly slipped out of place on this trip. I was in a car accident when Mulan was a baby and had bad whiplash. For the most part it doesn't bother me, but I carry most of my tension in my neck. While shopping in AK I could FEEL it slipping out.

Anyway, there were a lot of speed bumps on this short journey home and they were KILLING me!

But the actual shopping was fairly enjoyable. I found this adorable headband for my niece that she still wears all the time. And a few other things that weren't too expensive.

Once home I did a trick a chiropractor taught me long ago which is to roll up a hand towel in a certain way and lay on the floor with it behind my neck for 15 minutes. If I start doing it a few times a day when I feel my neck go out, I usually can get it to go back in on its own and don't need a chiro. Saved me a bundle over the years in both money and hassles.

But we had big plans for the night as the adults were to go to Raglan Road and we had an ADR for 7 p.m. So it was hard to lay there patiently. Once my long 15 minutes were up, I took ibuprofen and ordered Flippers pizza for the kids. It's SO delicious I had a really hard time not eating it. 5 pm is way more my normal dinner time and I was hungry and it's great! But other than a little taste, I avoided it. I had yummy dinner awaiting me.

We adults showered and tried to look more decent than we had been looking. Emmy was really excited as we live in a small college town and there just isn't a lot of fun going out with adults to a real place for her here. So to go out to a real "bar" like place with adults and have dinner and drinks and live music was really exciting.

And let's be honest, it doesn't happen all that often for we married with a bunch of kids couples either. And my last date night at WDW had been marred by Mulan puking. It's just exciting in general to have Charming and Mulan be big enough to babysit.

Because we had to leave the following morning we were supposed to be packing. But none of us felt like it and we all agreed we'd just get ready early the next morning and do it then. My neck still hurt so instead of packing both Mulan and Donald massaged my neck and it hurt so bad I was nauseous. I refuse to give up EE just for a little pain, people. It was so worth the pain. :thumbsup2

Because DTD is far away from Windsor Hills, we left around 6:30. It was raining and I didn't want to wear my white pants so I decided to wear my bathing suit cover up. I wish I had a picture of me but I don't. It really did look a lot like a dress and though I was certainly not fashionable, I did look resort casual. Good enough.

We parked near Pleasure Island and were very quickly in Raglan Road. We got seated almost immediately and got put in an intimate little room with 4 tables in it. You couldn't see the band or the dancer from it but it was quiet which was perfect for adult conversation. And you could still hear the band just fine.

Here is what we started with:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/esthersphone357.jpg

One of the reasons there aren't any pictures of us is every picture seemed to be of one of us taking a drink and Milo pointed out about halfway through that if you have a picture of you holding a beer or drink you almost always look drunk, even if you haven't even had a single bit of it yet. After looking at the photos, we all agreed and opted to delete them. You never know when a photo of you holding a drink and therefore looking drunk will find itself on Facebook (or a Disboards TR). It sounds like an inane conversation, and indeed it was. But isn't that what going out without kids for dinner and drinks is all about? Having adult stupid conversations instead of kid stupid conversations?

Not the full band like last time:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/esthersphone358.jpg

Everyone loved what they got.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/esthersphone359.jpg

Including me. I had loved what I got last time so much, I just got it over again.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/esthersphone360.jpg

After this we went into the Disney Store briefly and promptly lost Emmy which turned out to be not so brief. Once she was found, we headed to Super Target to get a few things we'd need to pack up in the morning.

I had two major things on my list: One was a coffee mug. My Mickey mug that I loved had seen better days. I had looked in every store and hadn't found one I liked as much. I did find one at Target that I loved and it was only $5.00 but you get what you pay for and this was junk. So when we go to Disneyland I will continue my search.

Second, I needed a cooler. We had been camping with friends in the spring and I had been jealous of their super awesome gigantic cooler with big wheels, a pull handle, and cup holders. And here at Super Duper Target, they had it! So we bought it and the next morning were able to transfer our cold stuff from our Windsor Hills house to our beach house. And in addition to that, we took it to the beach several times. I LOVE this cooler and it was a great purchase. Thanks Target!

And with that our day was done.

One more short WDW day, and our year of Disney would be over.

Mommy2BnB
03-19-2012, 10:53 PM
I'm sad that your Year of Disney is almost over. I've really enjoyed reading about your family's trips. But there is your DL trip to read about when you come back. Thanks for sharing all of your great tips and tricks. :)

estherhead
04-04-2012, 07:05 PM
I'm sad that your Year of Disney is almost over. I've really enjoyed reading about your family's trips. But there is your DL trip to read about when you come back. Thanks for sharing all of your great tips and tricks. :)

You are welcome. It was a truly amazing year. :wizard:

preschoolmom
04-04-2012, 09:12 PM
I've enjoyed your trip reports, too! I can't wait to hear all about Disneyland - it is on our list!

AwkwardTurtle
04-04-2012, 09:51 PM
:banana::banana::banana: I know, right??? I'm still waiting for the DL times and then I'll see if we are going to do two shows in one night there. We are staying at the HOJO and I sprung for a DL view. So I'm hoping to watch fireworks from there too. I've read that there were palm trees obstructing the views but that they've cut some down now. So we're hopeful.


Hi! I'm a major lurker on your Trip Reports, I LOVE them. In response to this, if you're going to do two shows in one night at Disneyland, I highly recommend watching fireworks and then catching the second Fantasmic! showing. I've done this a zillion times, and it has never failed me as a strategy. Let me know if you want some specifics.:goodvibes

ellajeansmom
04-06-2012, 09:47 PM
Hi there! Just got caught up on your adventures :thumbsup2

Even with bumps along the way it seemed that everyone still had a great time and you were somewhat able to put the stress of work behind you, if not the work itself :goodvibes I was very glad to hear that your Dad is doing so much better.

One of the things that struck me as I was reading was how wonderful it is that Boo now loves the characters and runs to greet them, I remember your earlier TRs when you felt lucky if you could manage to sneak her into a picture with a character!

Looking forward to reading about the rest of this trip and your upcoming DL trip :)

Lisa0620
04-13-2012, 12:46 PM
I'm getting caught up too, really enjoying it as always.

A special shout out to Suzy re: Buzz's love of all screens. Maybe you already went on your budget trip, but if not I wanted to mention how much my Buzz (10) loved the new Sorcerer thing at MK. I kind of dragged my feet on signing up for it b/c none of us had enjoyed the Kimmunicator thing at Epcot, but we finally did it the last day and it was just a huge hit with both him and our NT 7 yo. We signed up behind the Christmas Shoppe which was way less busy than at the front of the park. Such a great time filler and I loved that the kids could cast their spells at the same time (no fighting!) I wished we had done it our first MK day too.

houseful of boys
04-13-2012, 03:43 PM
I'm getting caught up too, really enjoying it as always.

A special shout out to Suzy re: Buzz's love of all screens. Maybe you already went on your budget trip, but if not I wanted to mention how much my Buzz (10) loved the new Sorcerer thing at MK. I kind of dragged my feet on signing up for it b/c none of us had enjoyed the Kimmunicator thing at Epcot, but we finally did it the last day and it was just a huge hit with both him and our NT 7 yo. We signed up behind the Christmas Shoppe which was way less busy than at the front of the park. Such a great time filler and I loved that the kids could cast their spells at the same time (no fighting!) I wished we had done it our first MK day too.

Thanks for the tip! Our trip is planned for August 4th through 11th. Sorcerer's is on my list of must do's primarily because I know that Buzz will LOVE it. I'm glad to hear your endorsement because, to me, it sounds kind of one dimensional, standing in place holding up cards. But for him it will be a hit. He likes Pokemon(ish) stuff and reads Kingdom Keepers, and it kind of sounds like a mixture. I will definitely sign up in Liberty Square if it means standing in a shorter line. Do you know if they open that location at park opening?

We're trying to keep this trip a surprise for the boys (everyone but Charming). We're going to surprise them with a treasure hunt the day before we take off. They don't think we can afford to go until 2013 because we've had to carry two houses this year. But we've sold our house and I've been able to swing a very affordable trip, so SURPRISE!:banana:

Lisa0620
04-21-2012, 09:16 AM
Do you know if they open that location at park opening?


Sorry, I'm afraid I don't know. We did all the rides first on an 8 am opening day and got there around 10 am, there was one person ahead of us. We had tried to sign up at the front of the park on our previous MK day in the afternoon and there was a line 10 deep. (One of those 'lots of CMs standing around but nothing's really happening' kind of lines... ugh.) One of their training screens was apparently down. There's almost nothing to the "training;" basically hold up the key card first so it reads who you are and where you are in the experience and then you hold up the spell cards when it tells you to cast them. A few times (the first one?) it doesn't ask you to cast a spell which was a little unexpected/disappointing. They were encouraging people to go to the Liberty location, but there were no takers because it was really hot. I don't know what the line is like in the front at rope drop.

The CM gives you as many card packs as you have tickets but they encourage you to get only packs for the kids. (We went along with this, but next time we will get 4 packs...) There are key cards in each pack, but we used one key card so the kids were playing together. It's random, so the experience can start in any Land; you could keep trying key cards until you got the Land you wanted to start in.

You're right, there isn't much to it and honestly DH and I only enjoyed it because it made the kids so happy. They liked finding the locations and the slapstick humor in the mini-movies. (If you cast a spell with Flynn's frying pan, a pan hits the villain on the head - hilarious apparently :).) It's really well designed, the map and cards are great souvenirs. We saw people (WAY too many single adults...) playing with fancy binders full of cards. Several families had large stacks of cards and asked to trade duplicates with us. We were fortunate that our son didn't get "stuck" on finishing each Land and we were able to leave when the park got too crowded. Most locations are outside and the lines are mostly in full sun. I hope your kids enjoy it!

Edited to add: SO FUN about the surprise trip! I can't watch trip reveal videos on youtube without bawling. Something so extra magical about a surprise trip, I hope you do a TR!

LovesBelle
05-05-2012, 08:23 PM
Your trip reports are so terrific! I was feeling blue about not being able to get to Disney this year, but reading this let me imagine that I was there again--it was like a mini vacation. Thanks for taking the time to write all this.

estherhead
05-09-2012, 11:58 AM
I've enjoyed your trip reports, too! I can't wait to hear all about Disneyland - it is on our list!

It's hard to believe but our DL trip is less than 2 weeks away!!! I've come on here to finish this up because the pressure's on!

Hi! I'm a major lurker on your Trip Reports, I LOVE them. In response to this, if you're going to do two shows in one night at Disneyland, I highly recommend watching fireworks and then catching the second Fantasmic! showing. I've done this a zillion times, and it has never failed me as a strategy. Let me know if you want some specifics.:goodvibes

Thanks for the love. I want the specifics, even if I don't use them!

Hi there! Just got caught up on your adventures :thumbsup2

Even with bumps along the way it seemed that everyone still had a great time and you were somewhat able to put the stress of work behind you, if not the work itself :goodvibes I was very glad to hear that your Dad is doing so much better.

One of the things that struck me as I was reading was how wonderful it is that Boo now loves the characters and runs to greet them, I remember your earlier TRs when you felt lucky if you could manage to sneak her into a picture with a character!

Looking forward to reading about the rest of this trip and your upcoming DL trip :)

Yes, Boo has come a long way. She's now transferred her obsessive fear to spiders. I guess she's the kind of person who can only have one obsessive fear at a time. She and the characters truly make my trips. They are so cute together.

Your trip reports are so terrific! I was feeling blue about not being able to get to Disney this year, but reading this let me imagine that I was there again--it was like a mini vacation. Thanks for taking the time to write all this.

Our last day was my favorite. Stay tuned.....

estherhead
05-09-2012, 12:51 PM
I set my alarm the night before for 6 am. But my internal clock is bizarrely accurate and my eyes popped wide open at 5:59. So I just shut it off. I sincerely cannot remember the last time I used a snooze button. There is no need as my body just awakens at the proper time. Even if I'm really tired.

My shoulder & neck felt much, much better and I was glad I had endured the massages and neck roll the night before.

It was time to pack. The year was over.

I went into the bathroom and got ready and then went into the giant walkin closet to pack. I got myself 100% packed and started on the laundry. I figured there wouldn't be much since I'd done a load every day. I was wrong. Donald has this thing on vacation of hoarding his laundry. I ask every day as I throw a load in if he wants anything washed and he always says no or just throws in one or two things. Then there it all is in a giant stinky pile awaiting me when we pack. No matter my complaints on the subject and that it isn't like the laundry does itself when we get home, the giant pile awaits me at the end of every trip.

It filled up a full sized garbage bag.

By 7:00 I had us all packed (I snuck into the girl's room while they were still sleeping and grabbed their stuff) and coffee was made and mine, at least, was drunk. So I started in on the kitchen. For some reason the kitchen normally falls on my shoulders on trips. In general I don't mind. I'm an early riser, a quick packer, and have a good working knowledge of food safety. But this morning every time I lifted anything I wanted to yelp in pain.

But I couldn't quit. Because every second we took to pack, was a second sucked out of our last day at Magic Kingdom. And I knew the chances were I wouldn't see my castle for another 2 years. So there was NO WAY I was just sitting down and waiting till others had the time.

Instead, I made all of the children help me. I just stood in the middle next to the cooler and bags and barked orders. It actually ended up looking a lot like us putting away the groceries 6 days earlier. They were very motivated kids. Complain or stop, you don't get to re-ride your choice at MK today. That's right people, I know how to motivate.

Within 30 minutes we had that done and Donald had everything packed as well. So I laid down again on my towels hoping to reset my shoulder and neck again. Milo and Suzy were done by 8:00 and it was all men on deck to get those bags and food and people into the vans. I felt like we did amazing. We were pulling out of our delightful Disney house by 8:20.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0863.jpg

Because we were spending the next week on the beach, we had bought double groceries at the store. Lots more to go in the van when we were leaving than came down originally.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0864.jpg

Is it me or did Jack-Jack JUST wake up in this picture?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0865.jpg

I called to checkout while Donald and Milo filled up at the 7-11. So expensive! Total rip-off.

We did not make rope drop. But this photo was taken at 8:59. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0866.jpg

And this one at 9:07:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0870.jpg

Awwww...
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0871.jpg

Happy, happy people!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0873.jpg

9:19 am:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0883.jpg

Oh yeah! Let the party begin. Well, ok, the party has clearly already been going for several days. But, let THIS day's party begin.

My beautiful castle, how I will miss you:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0886.jpg

Right down the middle of Main Street USA:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0887.jpg

Yeah, we got here early enough, I'd say.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0888.jpg

I don't have any notes on this part of the day. But I don't need notes to tell you that someone, generally Suzy or I, went and got FP's to something. That I know for certain.

I'm going to guess to Space Mountain. But, see, I didn't spend much of this day with the family. Boo and I had our own things to do. So we only hung out at the first three rides. Buzz Lightyear:

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0894.jpg

Monsters Inc (you aren't allowed photos. I snuck this one cause we got on TV):
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0896.jpg

And yes, you better believe we danced like crazy.

It's a Great Big, Beautiful Tomorrow.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0899.jpg

Oh, that's not what it's called? Are you sure? Ok, Carrousel of Progress.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0901.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0903.jpg

And, yes, we sing. 11 of our 12 know every single word. And we've tried to get on American Idol where good singing is always allowed. Except when it isn't. Which is always. So we sing at CoP. We know all the words and we are all on key. It makes us happy. And our happiness is just as important as other people's happiness. Where is the sticking out your tongue smiley?

And that is where Boo and Mommy left everyone. To be honest, I don't know what they did. And I don't care. Because Boo and I had a FABULOUS hour just the two of us. Sigh of delight.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0904.jpg

We started with a turn on another carousel:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0905.jpg

You can draw your own conclusions of our mood from the following smile:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0906.jpg

The stepsisters were out and about wreaking havoc on Fantasyland.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0907.jpg

They don't have a handler since they are well able to take care of themselves. Boo has a great relationship with them already and made herself comfortable as they made their way over to their little photo corner. We were first (and kind of only to begin with) and it was really nice.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0908.jpg

She's explaining their meal together from our March trip:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0909.jpg

And here I have no idea. But clearly Boo is explaining something about Fantasyland to them:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0910.jpg

Even when she's with the ugly stepsisters, Boo has the princess pose DOWN flat:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0912.jpg

I fixed Boo's hair while we were in the super short line for It's a Small World:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0914.jpg

And then it was about 11:30 am and I was feeling a bit hungry. What should we eat? It's our last day at Disney World and I want it to be super memorable and special for my little angel.

What would you have gotten?

estherhead
05-09-2012, 12:58 PM
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0920.jpg

Yup, a strawberry and chocolate sundae for two. Was there really any other choice? That bad boy is YUMMY!

And then I decided to do another thing that I've only done once but loved: the barber shop. It always has a line. But I pondered since the crowds seemed to be on the low side this day and it was nearly noon that perhaps the line would be really short.

So we decided to risk the short walk over there to at least check out the line.

And that was when I had one of the HIGHLIGHTS of my year.

There was NO LINE and in fact there was these guys:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0921.jpg

A barber shop quartet IN a barbershop IN Disney World. Could anything be cuter? They took Boo right away and the quartet sang to her while the barber got started on her hair. It was amazing. Just AMAZING!

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0922.jpg

Red gel streaks and pixie dust:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0929.jpg

Look at that face!
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0930.jpg

I mean COME ON!

As we were exiting, my family arrived. They headed to the potty and then look what greeted us:

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0931.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0932.jpg

As we were watching the little parade, Team Suzy arrived.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0938.jpg

And then that was it. Mickey and Donald waved goodbye from their float and we floated out, high on a year of magic.

I'm just glad we didn't go home.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0940.jpg

And so were they.

Clearly, some people are still in serious vacation mode:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0941.jpg

We actually were kind of just hanging out for a minute as we caught the first tram, and the Suzy clan did not.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0947.jpg

Our drive to the coast was uneventful except for two things.

One, we were hungry for real food and so stopped at a McDonalds thanks to Bing. It was the only thing on this one exit except for a high security very scary prison. It was a VERY nice McDonald's. But we still high tailed it out of there pretty quick.

Two, Boo started singing Zip-a-dee-do-da in a really really funny voice. We started video taping her and she pretty much sang that song like Bing Crosby all the way to the coast.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0947.jpg

And that's it. Unless, of course, you want a small chapter on Daytona Beach......

preschoolmom
05-09-2012, 01:12 PM
And that's it. Unless, of course, you want a small chapter on Daytona Beach......

Yes, Yes! I hoped you were going to add the beach portion to your report. I understand if you don't have time - but I'd love to hear about it!

We're going to add a beach portion onto our next trip.

:thumbsup2

Riviera510
05-09-2012, 01:14 PM
And that's it. Unless, of course, you want a small chapter on Daytona Beach......


::yes::

estherhead
05-09-2012, 05:18 PM
I don't need a lot of encouragement. ;)

Want to see the cutest little beach bunny ever?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0958.jpg

Ta-da! Sweet little pink suit with her adorable MK Barber shop hairdo. Magical, Magical, Magical!!!!!!!

Daytona was very nice experience. Mostly we sat on the beach, I won't lie. And mostly it was DELIGHTFUL. Actually, not mostly. Totally.

At first, I thought I wouldn't enjoy the fact that cars could drive on the beach, wouldn't it be dangerous for the kids? But it's sand, so they all drive slow. And Donald and I had bought a giant shelter. So we would set up a little spot in the row of cars each morning. And then hang out on the beach all day without worrying about the sun. :hippie:

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0951.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0964.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0972.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0979.jpg
Seriously, that shade thing was AWESOME. I got it on clearance and it was easy to set up. We still use it all the time for all kinds of things. Yard sales, camping, anything with sun or rain. Pop it up, voila. Best $59-69 I ever spent (can't remember how much I spent. :))

AND, an ice cream truck came by every day.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0981.jpg

We played Putt-putt at a very expensive putt-putt course with live alligators. It was fun.
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1017.jpg

We also ate made & yummy food:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1022.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1023.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1025.jpg

We played on the computers:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1024.jpg

We played in the sand and surf the next day (and the day after that, etc):
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1026.jpg

We had family time:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1033.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1041.jpg

We made more yummy food:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1055.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1056.jpg

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1057.jpg

We met and had friends over and played music:
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1058.jpg

Which I must pause here for just a moment and say that this was actually Milo's highlight of this trip. I'm not saying he isn't also a WDW die-hard. But this guy in the above photo is the son of the inventor of western fiddle. You know the phrase "country western"? This guy's dad invented the music part of the western part of that phrase.

So without getting into all the details, I'll just say that Milo was SHOCKED when Emmy invited over some friends to play music and this guy walked in. I thought Milo was going to faint. Exactly like a 12 year old girl meeting Justin Beiber. Exactly like that.

How can you top that?

You can't. The beach of relaxation was a fitting end to our AMAZING year of Disney.

I'll be back later tonight to sum up our entire year.

http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN1081.jpg

estherhead
05-09-2012, 06:21 PM
A year. A year of Disney.


Who should I thank?

First, I'd like to thank myself for thinking of such a genius idea of buying annual passes. Woohoo! Great idea!

Then, I'd like to thank Suzy, Milo, and especially Donald for thinking it was a smart way to spend our money.

And I'd like to thank Walt for having such a great idea. And his successors for trying hard to keep the Disney parks true to his ideas.

And finally, I'd like to thank all of you for letting me write my long & winding story and for pretending to read and enjoy it. Because as fun as it is to go to WDW for an entire year. It's also so nice to drag it out for an entire OTHER year so that it feels like 2 years of Disney.

And thank you for listening to all my family drama. As I prepare to go to Disneyland this year, these TR's are a surreal reminder of how crazy last year was. Thanks for giving me a safe place to vent. :hug:

As for our trips. :cloud9::cloud9::cloud9::cloud9::cloud9::cloud9::c loud9:

What to say?

Our original trip to POR with Mom with the best room ever. Now I understand the glory of a preferred room. All Stars? Not that important. POR? Glorious.

And then the rest of my family arrived. And we so enjoyed the rest of POR. And Boo and I had done everything we liked so we were just able to let Donald and the big girls do whatever they wanted.

And Boo loved the characters. :love:

Then we went BACK to WDW and we went CAMPING! It was so delightful and convinced my family to camp! We've been camping since and even went this past weekend. I LOVED it. And surprisingly, my family does it too. And the best part is, we're really good at it. It's cheap. Our friends enjoy it and are willing to go with us. And we live in a beautiful area of the country with all kinds of mountains, lakes, and hiking opportunities. All within an hour drive from here.

Plus, Boo LOVES and I mean LOVES camping. This past weekend it poured and the first night terrified her. But the next day she had so much fun hiking and playing in waterfalls and hiking and catching frogs and eating the marshmallow sandwiches (that's what she calls s'mores) that as well fell asleep she said, "Mom, can move here?" When we were hiking there was this rock house formation and it just captured her imagination and she wanted to move right in.

So thank you, Disney World, for an actual lasting change this year.

Then, we discovered the bliss of the Boardwalk. That Mulan can't go to crab shacks. And that we really enjoy Epcot being in walking distance.

And our June trip.

We LOVED our Windsor Hills home. If you can't afford on site, or you have a large party, Windsor Hills is barely a step down. It's great. And you'll find us there again in the future.

We discovered the American Idol Experience is dumb.

We loved taking Emmy around. A new person is so fun. But we also discovered that the 11 of us are a lean mean machine.

And finally, we discovered that we really love a shade house on the beach. You know why? Because we are old.

That's right. I've now come to terms that I am middle aged. And I'm ok with it. So expect a tiny mixture of middle age touring in with our exuberant style.

And now. Expect a link in the next (and last) chapter of this TR to my Disneyland Pre-trippie. I'll be starting it soon.... We're off & running. Again. :moped:

Thanks everyone! It's been a great ride.

jedijill
05-09-2012, 07:13 PM
A year. A year of Disney.


Who should I thank?

First, I'd like to thank myself for thinking of such a genius idea of buying annual passes. Woohoo! Great idea!

Then, I'd like to thank Suzy, Milo, and especially Donald for thinking it was a smart way to spend our money.

And I'd like to thank Walt for having such a great idea. And his successors for trying hard to keep the Disney parks true to his ideas.

And finally, I'd like to thank all of you for letting me write my long & winding story and for pretending to read and enjoy it. Because as fun as it is to go to WDW for an entire year. It's also so nice to drag it out for an entire OTHER year so that it feels like 2 years of Disney.

And thank you for listening to all my family drama. As I prepare to go to Disneyland this year, these TR's are a surreal reminder of how crazy last year was. Thanks for giving me a safe place to vent. :hug:

As for our trips. :cloud9::cloud9::cloud9::cloud9::cloud9::cloud9::c loud9:

What to say?

Our original trip to POR with Mom with the best room ever. Now I understand the glory of a preferred room. All Stars? Not that important. POR? Glorious.

And then the rest of my family arrived. And we so enjoyed the rest of POR. And Boo and I had done everything we liked so we were just able to let Donald and the big girls do whatever they wanted.

And Boo loved the characters. :love:

Then we went BACK to WDW and we went CAMPING! It was so delightful and convinced my family to camp! We've been camping since and even went this past weekend. I LOVED it. And surprisingly, my family does it too. And the best part is, we're really good at it. It's cheap. Our friends enjoy it and are willing to go with us. And we live in a beautiful area of the country with all kinds of mountains, lakes, and hiking opportunities. All within an hour drive from here.

Plus, Boo LOVES and I mean LOVES camping. This past weekend it poured and the first night terrified her. But the next day she had so much fun hiking and playing in waterfalls and hiking and catching frogs and eating the marshmallow sandwiches (that's what she calls s'mores) that as well fell asleep she said, "Mom, can move here?" When we were hiking there was this rock house formation and it just captured her imagination and she wanted to move right in.

So thank you, Disney World, for an actual lasting change this year.

Then, we discovered the bliss of the Boardwalk. That Mulan can't go to crab shacks. And that we really enjoy Epcot being in walking distance.

And our June trip.

We LOVED our Windsor Hills home. If you can't afford on site, or you have a large party, Windsor Hills is barely a step down. It's great. And you'll find us there again in the future.

We discovered the American Idol Experience is dumb.

We loved taking Emmy around. A new person is so fun. But we also discovered that the 11 of us are a lean mean machine.

And finally, we discovered that we really love a shade house on the beach. You know why? Because we are old.

That's right. I've now come to terms that I am middle aged. And I'm ok with it. So expect a tiny mixture of middle age touring in with our exuberant style.

And now. Expect a link in the next (and last) chapter of this TR to my Disneyland Pre-trippie. I'll be starting it soon.... We're off & running. Again. :moped:

Thanks everyone! It's been a great ride.

This has been a great trip! Thanks so much for sharing. Can't wait to read your DLR report!

Jill in CO

estherhead
05-09-2012, 08:25 PM
My Disneyland TR beginning:
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2924026

:thumbsup2

taymaesmom
05-09-2012, 10:04 PM
I have truly, truly enjoyed your year of Disney! So excited to read about Disneyland!

preschoolmom
05-09-2012, 10:16 PM
I've loved reading about all of your adventures! Thanks so much for sharing them with us! :lovestruc

preschoolmom
05-09-2012, 10:18 PM
I don't take a lot of encouragement. ;)

Want to see the cutest little beach bunny ever?
http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m521/estherme123/Disney%20June%202011/DSCN0958.jpg

Ta-da! Sweet little pink suit with her adorable MK Barber shop hairdo. Magical, Magical, Magical!!!!!!!



Too Stinkin' Cute!

Mommy2BnB
05-09-2012, 10:45 PM
That is one cute little beach bunny!

Thanks for posting about your beach trip too. I am soooo sad that your year of Disney is over. I have truly enjoyed reading about your family and touring style. The Pearla and Suzy clans truly are a lean, mean, packing, and getting through the parks team!

Off to read your DL pre-trippie. :)

estherhead
05-10-2012, 08:46 AM
This has been a great trip! Thanks so much for sharing. Can't wait to read your DLR report!

Jill in CO

I have truly, truly enjoyed your year of Disney! So excited to read about Disneyland!

I've loved reading about all of your adventures! Thanks so much for sharing them with us! :lovestruc

Too Stinkin' Cute!

That is one cute little beach bunny!

Thanks for posting about your beach trip too. I am soooo sad that your year of Disney is over. I have truly enjoyed reading about your family and touring style. The Pearla and Suzy clans truly are a lean, mean, packing, and getting through the parks team!

Off to read your DL pre-trippie. :)


Thanks for sticking with me this year, everyone! I can't believe it took me a whole year to write this! I guess it takes just as long to write about a year of Disney as it does to have a year of Disney.

I'm very interested to see how this California trip goes. I'm slightly concerned that I've over booked us and we won't be as chill as I'd like. But it's hard to not just want to run around and see it all when it'll be our family's only trip to California all together. It's such a HUGE place that even doing a tiny tiny portion of it is impossible.

But I do think the Anaheim part should be pretty calm. We, of course, will be crazy park goers our first 2 days, but the last 3 hopefully will be relaxing.

Donald has his heart set on going to a Staple center NBA playoff game. That may make things a bit crazier than normal as he'll go alone ($150.00 tickets you better believe he'll go alone!) and the rest of us will go back to DL.

Torrance
05-11-2012, 12:20 AM
Thank YOU for sharing your year of Disney! I learned so much for our upcoming WDW trip, and have really enjoyed following along! I've loved reading. Thanks again! :cutie:

I'm looking forward to reading about your DL trip :hyper: (heading there now)!

deepakins
05-11-2012, 07:19 AM
Beautiful family...

knitster
05-11-2012, 10:21 PM
Beautiful! Beautiful family, beautiful year at Disney, and beautifully retold to all of us Disney lovers! Thank you so much for sharing your year with us!

I can.not. wait to hear all about your Disneyland adventure as I am planning ours for a mere year from now!

ellajeansmom
05-12-2012, 09:57 PM
Love your one-on-one time with Boo, what special memories!

The beach vacation to recover from the Disney vacation is definitely a great idea...I think if I ever convince DH to go for 2 weeks part of the deal will need to be chilling at the beach before going home :thumbsup2

Thanks so much for sharing your year of Disney, its been great fun reading along. Have a wonderful time at Disneyland, looking forward to reading about that :goodvibes

I've started a TR from our trip last fall with the grandparents - if you have a spare moment (which I know are few and far between in your life!) come and read about our adventures (link is in my signature).