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eandesmom 02-24-2009 11:44 AM

How EMH saved our trip-Doing the World on West Coast Time! Completed. Stop by my PTR!
Intro and Takeoff!

Arrival at Fort Wilderness

A walk through the Fort

Where in the world is Wall-E?

Test Track or Bust

Beer...I mean Bier...are we illuminated yet? and the first lanyard

Valentines Day at the World!

Pixie Dust, little boy style!

The first Mickey Bar!

There is no bus to the Magic Kingdom

Scrooge's big day

No fireworks for you, will a volcano do?

A Towel Animal Party in the cabin!

we WILL get there early today. Right?

What do you want to do? I don't know, what do you want to do?

Oh what the heck, it's vacation!

Belle is the Bomb

RRC or Bust

The finale and...."did you wash your hands?"

Faster Faster, Higher Higher!

MY day

The Best Burger in the World

Shopping, Strolling and Spinning

A wild west end to the day complete with a Hoop...Whoop...or two

A Hoop, or Two and More for You!

Where's the bus? There is a bus, right? There will be a bus, right? and Yakking and Yeti-ing....locally.

Kali? or Safari? Kali? or Safari? FP pay it forward!

A Goody and Tink photo-safari

Gorillas and Gazelles, the Pagani Trail

The fast pass gods of Presidents week strike again! Pay it forward Kali Karma

EE, some EMH, a view of AK at night and a Bombastic dinner!

What do you mean we are already checked out?

Why we love FW

A week on the DDP, $ignificant $avings for us. A dining recap and garden grocer review

Final Thoughts, Sniff!

Ok first, a little bit our gang. We have our fabulous blended family which includes

I'm a working mom trying to juggle full time work, pta and 4 different schedules at 4 different schools, and I tend to over volunteer for just about everything much to my husbands dismay. I am married to a fabulous engineer. Or enginerd as I lovingly call him. Who likes to fly as you can tell by the plane shot. He plans to build a seaplane in our garage. Sigh. We've been together for almost 7 years, married for almost 5 and are blessed to have navigated the blended family thing surprisingly well. I keep waiting to be the evil step mom but it hasn't happened yet.

I'm a huge disney fan with many trips over the years. Being from the west coast, not as much as I'd like! Scrooge is also from the west coast but grew up in CA so grew up going to Disneyland ALL the time. He'd never been to the world until 4 years ago and has always wanted to go back with all 4 kids.

Wall-E and Goofy went with us 4 years ago and all the kids had been to Disneyland but 4 years is a long time when you are a kid and none of them really remembered much. This was our Christmas present to the kids and we were all pretty excited, the little ones more than the big ones but everyone was ready to get out of Dodge, it had been quite cold. Originally we had wanted to go over thanksgiving but Tink's relentless soccer schedule and ridiculous airfare had us rebooking for spring break, and then rebooking again for mid winter break once there became yet another soccer conflict. Scheduling vacation dates in blended family world is never easy and this one was as difficult, or more, than most for a variety of reasons. The kids are in 2 different school districts with 2 different school calendars and that just complicates things more. But summer is even worse, we can't plan until we know soccer schedules and at least for this trip, frankly, we didn't want to wait that long. So we held our ground and kept getting luckier with our rebookings.

At first we were at BWV, for thanksgiving. Then OKW. Then I got laid off and I almost cancelled but instead decided to try and just downgrade. So we moved it to spring break, those thanksgiving airfares were too insane and were able to get into the FW cabins. For a family of 6, there aren't a lot of options! Then mid winter break, some killer airfares AND the buy 4 get 3.

It was meant to be!

We are avid campers so the cabins seemed actually more "us" than either OKW or SSR which was all that was available. We'd spent one night at ASM and I just couldn't face a value with 6 in a family suite. The cabin would be tight enough but we'd have a deck and a full kitchen which made up for a lot.

All that set, ADR's made (and surprisingly we got everything we wanted at the 45 day mark except LeCellier) we got ready to go. I found DIS and did a LOT of research and planning. Quite the opposite of our previous trip where we just showed up!

Despite the headache coordinating dates with the other household, once we actually get on our vacations, we have a GREAT time.

Our trip started with the somewhat frantic rounding up of kids. With 4 kids at different schools and 2 different school break schedules there were some logistics involved. Our flight was at 1:30 PST and all kids had gone to school except Wall-E. Wall-E however had a monster project due the next day which, despite my best efforts (and his) was NOT done and would need to be completed on the plane and emailed out when we arrived. He had delivered his class valentines the day before so he got to have a nice lazy morning. Not really. I ended up with a surprise work conference call when I should have been loading the van and Scrooge oversaw Wall-E's story report effort. Which, although I wasn't in the room, clearly wasn't going well given the noises I was hearing.

Not the ideal start to the day!

Finishing my call an hour before we were supposed to leave for kid collecting I dashed into the shower and started jamming the rest of my toiletries into whichever suitcase I could find. We also had to repack Tink and Steven's bags a little, we always like to get their bags the night before to check and make sure they really have what they need and apparently all of Tink's LS shirts were at our house and I had her texted list of what she wanted to add.

So...sweating a little but everything done, we load up.

First stop. Goofy. I'd originally planned to keep him home that day as his school starts late but had forgotten he had math olympiad practice and that if he missed competition. So he'd gone in for that (which had meant driving him to school before my work call) and then stayed for his math period and to turn in his classroom valentines.

He is SUPPOSED to check out at the office and I was supposed to meet him there. I had something else to drop off in a teacher box (the homework Goofy had left on the counter that was due the next day) and then I went into the office. Only to see Goofy RACING through the hall to the van. Gee dude...excited? :) The head admin joked that he needed to come back in and sign out as he was breaking the rules.

Next stop was Tink's MS. We've actually never picked her up mid-day before and were timing it for lunch break. Her lunch break and Steven's were 15 minutes apart but the schools were only 5 minutes. It was Steven's pickup time we were ultimately worried about as it was making it tight for airport timing but we really didn't have a choice. He had a big biology test he couldn't miss and we were picking him up after that. While the younger 2 had a full week of mid winter break, Tink and Steven only had 3 days and as a result, had more "due". Plus of course they are older! At any rate we waited. And waited. And waited. We were a little early but we started to see the crowds milling for lunch. And we waited.

Finally Scrooge went in to see what was going on. She eventually showed up. Nice to be in middle school and have all the time in the world. It was their "friday" and valentines were being passed out. Tink showed up holding a rose...ah hah! Now the real reason for the delay :)

Off to the HS. As with Goofy, Steven had also left homework on the counter. So he had to come to the car, get it, go turn it in, and come back. His classroom must have been in Egypt! Finally, seriously like 10 minutes later, we were off to the airport!

Check in went relatively smoothly. I'd printed boarding passes before we'd left so it was just baggage check in. Thankfully our outbound was on Alaska so the 1st bags were free. Good thing when you have 6 of them! Of bag was too heavy. For some reason my suitcase, empty, is heavier than most. One pair of shoes out and smashed into Steven's bag and we were ready to go!

Our "fancy" plane lunch

Animals excited for take off (both kinds!) The younger boys had really wanted to bring 2 animals each but we drew the line at one :)

and...Homework on the plane.

Wall-E literally did homework the entire time we were flying. As did the rest of the kids but his was the worst. One 11 page paper later, we had it up and in my outbox, ready to go once we got to the cabin and logged in. Steven should have been doing more but we didn't find that out until we got back!

Next...DME, arrival at Fort Wilderness and dinner in the cabin. Plus a surprise for the gang!

msce2 02-24-2009 12:13 PM

Love the title! I'm subbing, Cant wait to

Faustous 02-24-2009 12:19 PM

I am on board!!

Alaska Air? Are you flying FROM Alaska??

OhMari 02-24-2009 12:26 PM

I had 4 kids and they are all in college or out, so I know how hectic 4 kids schedules are.

Can you please not post your pictures side by side.
It makes the pictures to large.


kimiza 02-24-2009 01:07 PM

I'm in, sounds fun so far!

MissBellesMommy 02-24-2009 02:35 PM

awe look at those kids! I am so on board

eandesmom 02-24-2009 03:52 PM

you know they came up that big not side by side too :(

Originally Posted by OhMari (Post 30472611)
I had 4 kids and they are all in college or out, so I know how hectic 4 kids schedules are.

Can you please not post your pictures side by side.
It makes the pictures to large.


I can't figure out how to resize anything in photobucket, it just shows the original image data. I was hoping side by side at least it was shorter length wise!

eandesmom 02-24-2009 03:54 PM

lol! no not from alaska but yes, on alaska air

Originally Posted by Faustous (Post 30472484)
I am on board!!

Alaska Air? Are you flying FROM Alaska??

otherwise known as the ONLY non stop way to get to orlando from Seattle :)

I guess we might as well be in alaska huh! :)

eandesmom 02-27-2009 10:29 AM

Arrival at Fort Wilderness!
Given that we had a late arrival (10pm) we'd elected NOT to DME our baggage. They arrived quickly and we were off to the DME check in. That too was amazingly fast. Landed at 10 and we were on a bus by 10:20. The bus however sat for a while before taking off. The video's on the bus were not working so the kids kept me entertained while we watched the same image over and over again with Mickey and his flying wings.

Upon arriving at FW I scooted off the bus to beat the check in line and it worked, I was 2nd in line. It took a bit to get us checked in. I'd had 3 packages shipped ahead and it took them 2 trips to find them all. Then I'd requested to be in loop 2200, we'd been assigned 2700 so they went to see what they could do. I'd pre-ordered groceries so we could make dinner and was informed they were already in the cabin. Whoo hoo! I'd been dreading schlepping groceries on top of the packages and all our stuff to the cabin.

They could move us the next night but for tonight they were full so we stuck with 2703. A great choice. My other request had been for the front of the loop and this was right there, close to the internal bus stop, close enough to walk to the outpost for all our buses if we didn't want to wait for the internal bus but super private and absolutely lovely (not that I could tell that in the dark!).

Upon arrival we were greeted with our first set of towel animals...towel top hats!

We walked in, dumped our stuff and set out to make dinner. First order of business was tossing the beer in the freezer lol. While all the true perishables had made it into the fridge, the beer and wine had not. I had my priorities! :)

While I was making dinner, I had the kids open one of the surprise boxes (and hid the other two). Here is what was in it.

I'd ordered special trip mugs for everyone to use during the trip. For a couple of reasons. One, just a fun way to commemorate. Two, the kids needed at least one of their "own" mugs at home, three, I like a big mug for my coffee in the morning and rarely do hotel mugs meet that need (and the forts were ESPECIALLY tiny). The new disney shopping customizable item program was so fun to work with to make these and I was absolutely thrilled with how they turned out. So was the entire crew. They were a godsend for the trip, we all used them almost exclusively, liking them better than the fort mugs and the fort glasses (which are like mason jars...cute for the theme but a little odd to drink out of...unless maybe it's kungaloosh which I've yet to try).

Dinner at the cabin

Next....playing with towel animals and a full day of EPCOT!

msce2 02-27-2009 01:21 PM

I'm in awe of your organization! :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

You thought out every detail!!!:worship:

eandesmom 02-27-2009 03:45 PM

Oh my goodness, I'm sure there are some I missed :)

Originally Posted by msce2 (Post 30533165)
I'm in awe of your organization! :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

You thought out every detail!!!:worship:

Scrooge makes fun of me for it but it does generally pay off. It's funny, our last WDW trip we completely winged it, just showed up. And it was fine. But it was really really nice to have a plan, still have flexibility but know that the big things were taken care of. And I had fun with my surprises...there were more in store for the crew.

KittyKat08 02-27-2009 04:09 PM

I'm in!

Great start so far, looking forward to the rest.

eandesmom 03-01-2009 01:44 PM

A walk through the Fort and off to Epcot...the scenic route!
Our first day dawned beautifully! Sunny and 70 at wakeup was a perfect way to be greeted. We sat outside on our deck while the big kids slept.

Enjoying breakfast on our deck

Our views

We decided, once the lazy people were up and finished playing around, to walk through the Fort and take the long way to Epcot. While we could have just grabbed a bus and gone straight to Epcot, it was EMH day and I wanted to at least SEE where we were staying.

Playing around with the towel hats...

On our stroll we went by the swimming hole (otherwise known as the quiet or cabin pool). The "Big" pool is under a major reconstruction. The fun part of that meant we had access to WL's pool and we planned on hitting that later in the week.

We enjoyed walking through the fort, seeing the cabins, then the RV's and tent sites. The Fort was quite full!

Then it was off to the Marina to catch the boat to the MK.

View from the dock, the beach at the Fort

Waiting for the green boat

It's a pretty boat ride, one we did many times. Seeing the abandoned River Country is something else...a movie should be set there and Discovery Island was just beautiful. It was also nice to be "up close" to a few of the MK resorts.

Sailing by the Contemporary.

And finally, the MK is in sight!

Two short monorail rides later and


Or as Wall-E says...Ecpot. While the child still can't say it right is beyond me!

Next...the reality of WDW during President's week and moving Illumination hours

cjsteiger 03-01-2009 05:07 PM

I can't wait to read more of your TR we were in Fort Wilderness Cabins from 2/16-2/22. We were in 2644. Love the cabins!!


eandesmom 03-02-2009 08:29 AM

Wow! we were neighbors!

Originally Posted by cjsteiger (Post 30570782)
I can't wait to read more of your TR we were in Fort Wilderness Cabins from 2/16-2/22. We were in 2644. Love the cabins!!


We were there the 12th-19th. Wish I was there now!

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