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Happydog 03-02-2009 10:51 AM

Secretly Plotting and PTR-ing – words from a Minnie-Come-Lately 7/7 TR STARTED!!!
 
SO. After much deliberation, lurking, and vicarious posting on other DISer’s PTRs, I have succumbed. Nothing like facing your personal demons head on! :laughing: I can think of numerous less “magical” things to do with my time – but, well, why? :rolleyes: I think I can manage to sustain it for the 100 day count down until our trip in June. Actually, it is a little over 100 days, but it is snowing, and to celebrate our snow day off school, and the fact that everyone in my DisFam is now napping after a play date in the snow, I am taking the first step, err… post. Photos will be forthcoming, as soon as I read up on the “how to”… :laughing:
Okay, let’s do this! :upsidedow

I hope you'll join me!:wave2:

Happydog 03-02-2009 11:19 AM

Background... and there is a lot of it...
 
I am a Johnny-come-lately, closet-Disney freak (okay, “enthusiast” is the proper term, or so I have been told :rotfl:). I have only recently admitted my fascination with open arms. :lovestruc Prior to this admission, my DH and I had been on Disney vacations, but these were with my DBIL, and always we’d laugh and snort at his frequent and elaborate Disney trips. :snooty: But only recently have I come to appreciate the full appeal of the place. And what has turned me into a believer? Well, in part, you guessed it….

Children! :jumping3: :bounce:

My DH still snorts about my giddiness, but secretly enjoys our trips as well. Though he rolls his eyes about how much time I spent prepping for the most recent trip (Nov08) and am currently spending for the upcoming one (June09), he relishes the challenge of getting the most out of Disney, dollar-wise. For instance, on our first trip with the DP, he loved the fact he could get lobster rolls with a snack credit, “that is an $8.00 snack! … lets get three!” :yay: (I kid you not…) He loved reminding me about that extra $4.00 value per snack credit the WHOLE trip. :upsidedow

Perhaps the other thing we have both come to appreciate is the “Disney Magic”. We used to be HS theater directors. And consequently we have a great appreciation for the art of Disney, the décor, the details, the staging -- the theater of it. It really amazes me, hidden Mickey’s and all. I like the aesthetic elements and the attention to detail. Our first few trips we spent time enjoying these aspects fully, the FWF, a Cruise, traveling as adults with other adults. These early trips felt like vacations.:cloud9:

Then we had kids. :laughing:

Our first trip with children was staged as a diversion for our then 3 year old, four mos. after his little brother had arrived on the scene. I thought, “What a great idea! Destroy his life with a baby brother, but we’ll take him to Disney World and he’ll forget all about it.” :scared1: It mostly worked. Mostly. We went with reinforcements. Though we had lost half of our brain cells by this time, with the arrival of baby#2 :laughing:, we were at least forward-thinking enough to invite my MIL and DH’s grandmother. We rented points from a DVC owner for a 2 bedroom villa at WL. My BIL came down and stayed at the WL separately. We were able to leave the baby at times with my MIL, or take everyone and have them watch him in his stroller while we rode rides, etc. After putting our two boys to bed, we could go out for dinner with my DBIL since we had baby care. We had Park Hoppers, and with the FWF going on, we ate and drank our way around the WSC. It was a trouble-free trip. Traveling with kids is easy, I foolishly thought. :rotfl2:

The second trip happened three years later. This past November, to be exact. About the end of August, DH started to plan a “surprise” anniversary trip to NYC to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and to see a few shows, etc. I inadvertently found out – probably had nothing to do with the NYC sites “saved” under “My Favorites” :rolleyes1 - so when the surprise was up he then asked “what would you like to do for our anniversary?” I said, honesty, I want to go to Disney World again, with the boys. He almost choked, but then he said “if it’s what you want… figure it out, and I will work on airfare.” Yippee!!! :yay: I didn’t have a clue where to start at that point, so I went online to look. At the time they were running a special rate for Nov, but starting the process in Sept didn’t leave much available. Nothing at AKL or WL, so we signed up for POFQ… Never staying at a Mod, we figured it would be fine, and certainly less $$ than we had anticipated. So we got the resort, the DDP, and the tickets. Now last time we had rented points from a DVC owner, and so with a resort reservation in place, I logged back onto the DIS board for the first time in two years, to see about renting points. :surfweb: This is when we discovered something called “Jersey Week”. :confused3 There was nothing available. Zip. We did get a few calls, but no one could get us the dates we needed. Then right in the 30 window, we got an email from an owner renting her booking at SSR for that very week. We took it. Disney didn’t charge me for the changed reservation b/c we were still staying on property, and we needed one night extra anyway. So rather than move from POFQ to SSR, we just added our extra night at SSR, and cancelled at POFQ completely. With that one day, we got our 8 day tickets, and the DDP through DVC. We were set! :) Not knowing the trials and tribulations of getting ADRs, I called at what I now realize would be a 90 day window… we got ADRs at Artist Point, Crystal Palace, The Wave, Mama Melrose, Sci-Fi, and Boma. I got exactly what I wanted. We did mostly TS for dinner, except the CP as a late breakfast /brunch. I started pouring over information, making copies, reviewing websites, and constructing a plan for us. I knew nothing about tour plans or anything like that. I picked days based on the Early EMH, knowing our kids are so young, and are always up at the crack of dawn anyway. From the stories I had read about, it seemed to me that we were coming out of this pre-trip experience fairly unscathed... So the day after Halloween, we left for the World... Talk about frying pan into the fire :scared1: ...

Happydog 03-02-2009 12:02 PM

A pause from the Narrative
 
I realize some of you might be asking, okay who is this random woman with too much time on her hands, so let me take a minute and tell you!:rotfl:

Me = a 38 yr old mom of 2. I work in education. Was a teacher for 10+ yrs, then moved into administration... :mic:

DH = 37yr old SOON to be 38 (June 18th Bday on trip) he is a :teacher: He teaches HS Theater and Film.

DS 6 :earsboy: = soon to be 7 June 12th

DS 3 :tigger: soon to be 4 June 3rd

We have a dog too...:dog:

Again, photos coming, photos coming! I just have to figure out how to do it :o OH! That, and adding my PTR to my signature, so maybe, just maybe, someone will read and respond to my ramblings....:flower3: .... Please?

Happydog 03-02-2009 03:14 PM

A few photos!
 
Okay, so here are a few pics to go along with the background -- I will post current pictures next...

First, the castle in 2005, it was the "Happiest Celebration on Earth" -- I just saw that!

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...l/Castle-1.jpg

Next me, DMIL and DH's Gma, with the two boys. Note DS 3 is almost 5 mos here. DS 6 was 3 and is passed out at the end of a day of water play. This was at Typhoon Lagoon, after which we piled into the rental and drove to the airport.

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...Usin2005-1.jpg

Next, just a few of me and DS 6 DH and I took him to MK one day, and DMIL stayed back at WL with the baby.

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...ll/Dumbo-1.jpg

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...carousel-1.jpg

Here he is with DH -- this was actually the final night of our trip, one last time at MK.. It is a little dark in the photo.

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...oGriffin-1.jpg


This is DBIL and Me, trying to con DS6 into taking a picture with Eeyore (his favorite character) Remember he was only 3 at the time, but he wanted nothing of it, We are soaking wet, btw, after a ride on Kali River... good grief, were were wet! It took all day to dry out!

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...G_0628-1-1.jpg

Happydog 03-02-2009 04:31 PM

“But we only have 6 minutes to get across the park before our fast pass expires!”
 
We touched down in Orlando on Sat, Nov 1st. It was an early evening flight, so we pretty much expected to get settled and get some sleep before our first day. We had never stayed at SSR, and were a little nervous about being so far away from all the action. That being said, I actually really liked SSR -- it isn't too "themish", but it was very pleasant, and the boat to DTD and the walking path, were great. :thumbsup2 This trip was the first time we were relying exclusively on ME and busses for transportation to and from the park and between parks. BUT, we figured thousands of people do it, so we could, too. ::yes:: On the DIS, I had started to read horror stories about “Jersey Week” :eek: -- it took me a while to even figure out what that meant – Frankly, and I am going to go out on a limb here, I think it is one big urban legend. :rolleyes: The crowds we experienced didn't surprise us, except at TSM in DHS :scared1: . I didn’t have any expectations regarding crowds, and if I didn’t know there was such a thing as Jersey Week, I would have been none the wiser. It was maybe less busy on our previous trip – in October 05, but really, I didn’t deem the crowds noteworthy -- which has me hopeful for our June trip! :laughing: The only funny “Jersey Week” story I have is that any show or event we went to, where there was audience participation, whenever they asked the guest where they were from, it was a rolling joke b/c they were always from, you guessed it: New Jersey. No offence if you come from the Garden State, btw!:flower3: :flower3:

Now the trip was during the YOMD, and I had heard lots of stories about it -- and I have a fun story to share. Our first day at the World was at MK. I love MK. It is the “Disney” park in my mind. Taking our two boys there that first morning, we got the early bus, had seats for everyone, didn’t lose out on a bus b/c of crowded/full busses as I heard was a problem at SSR, and we arrived just at rope drop. We had a FP plan, for Space Mountain and for Winnie the Pooh, and we met up after riding both and the Tea Cups. We then went right to Toon Town which opened a little early. We went to Goofy’s Barnstormer b/c everyone could ride that. We got off the ride, and there waiting for us was the DREAM TEAM! :yay: They gave us each a Dream FP. Well, we were ecstatic, of course, but went right back onto Goofy’s since there was not a line. And when we got off, again, they were still there. We said “Thank you, but you just gave us a set,” and they said they were obligated to stay there and hand them all out, so what do you think they did? They gave us ANOTHER set. :yay: SO now we had two sets of Dream FPs, plus our own ticket FPs we could get. We were in FP heaven to say the least. It made the trip, and it definitely made our time at MK that first day delightful. With DS3 not being tall enough to ride Space Mtn, DS and DH and I took turns riding it 6 times that day. Talk about spinning.

The rest of the trip was good, we had a good time, but regrettably, looking back at that trip I can honestly say it was a blur. I was definitely caught up by the “must fill every minute” syndrome. I see how easy it is to get that way. The trips prior were very different, but this time I was so excited to go and experience everything with the kids, that I didn’t get to enjoy it. Kinda like the Dumbo-or-Die tour plan! My husband was also finishing a grad class, and he was distracted by that the whole week (trying to get a paper written in the evenings after the kids had passed out). I am embarrassed to say that we didn’t even use the pool, once! :guilty: And regarding photos? Well, it was probably fitting that a few days after we returned, I inadvertently cleared the camera card that had our Disney trip photos... :mad: I have ONE photo. Which I will post later... Now I am not one to cling to photos of a trip or get consumed with taking them on vacations -- I often am too involved in the vacation, but I was pretty sad I lost these. :sad2: It was my younger DS's first trip, afterall. BUT I got over it, and after reading other PTRS these past few months, it seems to me that many of us have had a trip like this, and then we seek to make the next trip different. Better. :) And that is where I was about two months ago…

UsNew2Disney2008 03-02-2009 06:43 PM

Hi there! Thought I would drop by and see what you are up to. Yes, I can relate to the fill every stinking minute. That is what I did last time - and I must admit we didn't wait in lines... but somehow a bit of the magic was lost. This time we are going to take things slower.

The only grumble I still have is over our choice of hotel. We went with CSR - it is our anniversary and we spent our honeymoon on the Mayan Riveria. Plus, we have a budget. :rotfl2: I could've MAYBE squished in AKL but I had my heart set on POLY, but that was a bit more (quite a bit) and if I wanted that option we had to wait until 2010 - so, guess what I picked? :laughing:

How did you like WL?

Happydog 03-02-2009 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UsNew2Disney2008 (Post 30595060)
Hi there! Thought I would drop by and see what you are up to. Yes, I can relate to the fill every stinking minute. That is what I did last time - and I must admit we didn't wait in lines... but somehow a bit of the magic was lost. This time we are going to take things slower.

The only grumble I still have is over our choice of hotel. We went with CSR - it is our anniversary and we spent our honeymoon on the Mayan Riveria. Plus, we have a budget. :rotfl2: I could've MAYBE squished in AKL but I had my heart set on POLY, but that was a bit more (quite a bit) and if I wanted that option we had to wait until 2010 - so, guess what I picked? :laughing:

How did you like WL?

OH! I am so HAPPY :yay:
Someone is actually staying awake after reading my rambles!!! :upsidedow It is okay if you skim... I can gab and gab and gab...:rolleyes1

RE CSR, You know I have never stayed there, but my DBIL, who does Disney quite often, has stayed there and at CBR, and he said CSR was very nice. They have made a lot of upgrades to the rooms I hear.. there is a really good link to the "offical CSR thread" on the resort page, have you seen it? The "owner" of that thread really sells the resort! Mayan Riviera ?!?! Wow. Sounds beautiful. I have only been to Puerto Vallarta... Regarding the resorts, I hear you on the cost-factor. ::yes:: I was thinking if we tried to go at Thanksgiving or Christmas some time, that would be where we may stay (to keep costs down for my parents who might join us). Or rent DVC points. I am excited to go back to WL. I have only my experience a few years ago to go on, but when we were there in Nov, we went to dinner at Artist Point, and reminded ourselves how much we enjoyed it. My next post is about our June trip. And we are celebrating birthdays, too!

Keep writing on your PTR... I like reading everyones stories! :goodvibes

Happydog 03-02-2009 09:26 PM

Back in "real time"
 
Okay, so as I said, here are a few photos that are "current". The baby isn't a baby anymore! Well, not literally anyway...:rolleyes: He is still the "baby" in the family!

So this is the male contingency in our family. That is, everyone but me. This was this past Labor Day at a block-party/festival at the end of summer. Pouty-faced child is indeed the "baby" :laughing: I think right prior to this photo op he was being a crab about something :rolleyes1

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...ellBoys1-1.jpg

Here are our two boys, this is the week after Thanksgiving, on a Sunday afternoon hike, my annual "christmas card shot do-or-die" photo op.

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v.../Boys010-1.jpg

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v.../Boys006-1.jpg

Here is DS 3 making pancakes -- or we hope to make pancakes if he gives us the spoon...

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v.../Boys001-1.jpg

Not to be outdone, here is DS 6 making pizza for lunch some time last month.

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v.../Boys017-1.jpg

And most recently, the "snow buddies" just this afternoon. Note DS3 has a permanently frozen smile :laughing:

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v.../Boys028-1.jpg

These were the photos I had already downloaded on my computer (I send pictures to my parents in Oregon often, hence they are just "everyday" pictures...

Missing, is ME. And, well, I don't have anything recent, because I am too busy taking pictures of everything else and everyone else, but I will try to get a photo up this week... I have a few other pictures to share anyway ... :) And now on to my final update, to bring me into the present with my PTR! :goodvibes

Happydog 03-02-2009 09:38 PM

Thanksgiving! Yay! No! Wait! JUNE!? Yay!
 
Shortly after New Years, I made a reservation for November 09. I vowed that the next time I would go it would be where I wanted to stay, and when I wanted to go (WL, and during the holiday decorations and events). Thanksgiving week is a short week and with the holiday we only needed to take three days off. The timing was ideal – might even be able to lasso my own parents into coming, since they have never been. So I made the reservation with DH’s blessing, and figured that would be that. I received my email confirmation and proudly showed it to DH the next day. He looked at it, and then he said “Why don’t we go this June, instead?” :idea: Knock me over in my chair, I swear. “WhaWha WHAT?” His reasoning was: 1. No one had to take time off during the middle of the school year and 2. He wasn’t distracted about grad classes (he has one more semester on his second MA in Non-Fiction Writing). He also wasn’t convinced we’d get a deal at Thanksgiving (I still am, but that is another story! :goodvibes ). Well, I was convincing myself with every word, after all, there was the 4 get 3 free deal, and we have Birthdays in June (Free Admission!) … but I stopped myself, because I immediately thought “how could there be availability in June, at this point, right? Especially the day school gets out?!” :hyper2: And so with DH looking over my shoulder we went online and looked at the Disney website. I put in the days: June 17 – June 24… There it was: Wilderness Lodge, Bunk Beds, Standard View… Wilderness Lodge Villas Studio…. We looked at each other and said “Quick! Book it!” Hot-Diggity-Dog. :yay:

So, that was/is the background story of my Dis Fam prior to now, and where we are (or were, in January – b/c a lot has happened since)! After about three or four exchanges with the CMs at reservations, we ultimately decided on the Lodge vs. the Villas, b/c we had never stayed in the lodge proper, and after a few more phone calls, I was able to get the room we wanted, bunk beds with courtyard view, with the request for inner courtyard. They actually gave me that room, b/c the room wasn’t initially available with the 4/3 deal… only SV. The CM put me on hold, to do some “checking” and came back and said they worked the reservation to be a Courtyard view. That CM spread the magic that day!:wizard:

For this trip I started hopping on the DIS in earnest… I didn’t realize that there was such a culture of knowledgeable WDW people out there! :wave2: Last trip, I read posts, but spent more time reading AllEars, and MouseSaver. This time I jumped right into the online community, and have met so many nice people. :grouphug: So I am looking forward to doing Disney, with kids, “right”.

Next up, The Trip and the Real Planning! :thumbsup2

TxRabbit 03-03-2009 08:39 AM

I'm so glad that you started a PTR!!:banana: It's so much fun to read about your family, especially after chatting with you so much on mine!

And NOW I will recognize you at WL!! Finally, a face! I hear you on not having many pics of yourself. I am the same way. It's my camera and I'm the one normally taking the pics. I have to make a concentrated effort to just randomly start asking people to take pics of me and my family.:laughing: I used to feel weird doing it, and also somewhat concerned for my camera.:rolleyes1 But once I realized that I was getting lost in our picture history, I decided to do something about it.

I just know we are going to see it each other. Especially once you post your plans. I'm totally excited to hear about what your plans are and see how they may or may not overlap with ours.

Your schools do get out a bit late in June if you are leaving right after school. Ours get out June 2. We have to come back for two silly days after Memorial Day weekend. Makes me NUTS! But we decided to hang out for a couple weeks after school before Disney. Crowdwise, maybe not such a good idea. But it helps break up Peter's work to spread the vacation around more than clumping it up with Memorial Day.

Waiting to hear more...popcorn::

So do you still have your Thanksgiving ressie?

Happydog 03-03-2009 09:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmsadams (Post 30603391)
I'm so glad that you started a PTR!!:banana: It's so much fun to read about your family, especially after chatting with you so much on mine!

Me too ;)
Can't wait to continue with your post questions, but I have to go to work now... gee what a bother :rotfl: Thanks for coming and posting, so I don't feel like a total loser!! :laughing:

I will get back later this evening!
:flower3:

AlternateEgo 03-03-2009 09:39 AM

You are going to have so much fun!

I am planning my second trip as an adult, and I did the same as you. First trip was all about allears and mousesavers.. this one its all about the forums.

Its so much nicer to talk to others and get excited about trip plans. :)


Ohh! Your family is so adorable!

tiggersam00 03-03-2009 10:06 AM

Joining here! You boys are adorable (and turning them into chefs at a young age will come in very handy as they get older!) Your trip sounds great so far, what luck on WL. My DF and I will be staying there before our Disney Wedding for a few nights and have been looking forward to it! Can't wait to hear more of your plans:)

Happydog 03-03-2009 09:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlternateEgo (Post 30604500)
You are going to have so much fun!

I am planning my second trip as an adult, and I did the same as you. First trip was all about allears and mousesavers.. this one its all about the forums.

Its so much nicer to talk to others and get excited about trip plans. :)


Ohh! Your family is so adorable!

Gee, Thanks! And welcome to my little countdown... Thanks for coming over!:flower3:
I really enjoy hearing what the real story is from other people ... I think that is why I like the DISBoard... and, b/c you get immediate gratification! (Just like chocolate:laughing: ) Okay, well not exactly, but if you ask a question and send it into cyber space you....get....a....response! Weird but cool!:thumbsup2

Happydog 03-03-2009 09:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tiggersam00 (Post 30605016)
Joining here! You boys are adorable (and turning them into chefs at a young age will come in very handy as they get older!) Your trip sounds great so far, what luck on WL. My DF and I will be staying there before our Disney Wedding for a few nights and have been looking forward to it! Can't wait to hear more of your plans:)

Hi! Wow, planning a wedding -- big job! But you must be so excited.:cloud9: WLodge is GREAT.. I think it would be a perfect spot for a pre-wedding touchdown at WDW!:goodvibes Yeah, they like to help me in the kitchen... I think we get things accomplished... I keep worrying one of them is going to singe their eyebrows off staring at the pot of water for mac and cheese that takes "forever" to boil...:lmao: Thanks so much for coming along! :flower3:


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