Giving Thanks for How Far We've Come at the Happiest Place on Earth
Okay, I thought I'd try this as a talking journal as I plan so feel free to comment. I'm planning our first trip to Disney World as a family. I went with my father when I was my daughter's age and have not been back since. First a little more about our family.
I'm 37 (will be 38 when we go). I'm a widowed mom of two wonderful children. I work full time. :surfweb: My husband after bravely battling heart disease, lung problems and diabetes for years, passed away in March of this year.:angel:
My daughter is the main purpose of the trip. princess: She is 7 years-old most days. She's 15 some days and 2 on others. She's mainly a princess, but she is Tinkerbell in my signature. Always the best intentions, sometimes over zealous, but full of love and the light of my life. She loves most things Disney, especially the princesses. Only thing she clearly does not like is anything pirate because "Pirates are for boys." She and I have been to hell and back a few times over the duration of her father's illness. She has both kept me sane and driven me crazy, but she has always loved me and made me feel like somebody when everything else told me I was nobody.
My son does a great job going with the flow living with 2 women, but he's still a baby. :cool2: He is 7.5 months old. He will be 10 months old when we go on this trip. He is Tigger in my signature. That is partly because he loves my daughter's Tigger toys. She has the one that tumbles and the one that bounces on the long spiral tail. But it is mostly because he loves to bounce. Whenever I hold him, he will make his way to his feet and bounce. His sister did the same thing as a baby. He was my unexpected blessing, making it here in the 11th hour when I thought I'd never have another baby. He was 2 months old when dh died and he may never know how much it has meant to his sister and me to have him with us.
So, I've wanted to take my daughter to Disney World since she was 4. I mean I always planned to take her. I think I ordered my first planning video when she was 3 months old. But it was when she was 4 when I really wanted to take her and she really wanted to go. It wasn't in the cards then given her father's illness and the effects of that on our finances. As time went on other things were done…family events and such that required travel. That and knowing her father would not be able to really "do" Disney, I tried not to think about it. Then he seemed to get a little better, but then we got pregnant. I thought…maybe in 2011 when the baby is walking. January comes and the baby arrived safely and all was well. Dh still had his struggles but we were okay.
First week of March, I returned to work off maternity leave. That weekend none of us were feeling well. There was a virus going around and we all had it except the baby. But to a man with dh's issues even a cold can stop you. He came through it but his other issues crept up. I tried to feed him…he refused. Offered him several different drinks. He refused them. He was way way nicer and more patient with me than usual and very very quiet. He'd had far worse episodes so I just tried to let him rest. Tuesday I checked him before going to work. He was sleeping. He'd been up and down a lot overnight so I let him rest. Came home and found him dead in his recliner. It appeared he had sat down for a nap and just kept sleeping. Rigor was starting to set in. There was no saving him. Called my children's Godparents (who thank God live 2 minutes from us) to get my daughter out of house. The wife took her to their house and the husband called 911. When all was said and done, they estimated he had passed probably within 2-3 hours after I left the house. :guilty: He'd often spoken of being tired and wanting it to be over. I had released him...told him when he'd had enough it was okay. He'd suffered tremendously, but dang sure wasn't expecting it that weekend. I thought the birth of our son would give him new resolve, and in some ways it did. But mostly what he saw in the baby was someone he'd disappoint later when he could not run and play with him. After he died, I was talking to him one day and said, "You little stinker...how am I supposed to raise this boy to be a man without you?" He came to me in a dream and told me he was sure I was strong enough and that I would be fine.
So here we are almost 6 months later and I decided there was no need to wait until 2011 to do this trip. His life was short, but I’m not of the "life is short" school of thinking. I'm just of the "no need to put stuff off" thinking. From what I've read on here, it may be easier to do this before my son walks. I'm just aware of how things can change. I'm not expecting it, but my daughter right now while she is aware the characters are people in costumes, she will still say "OMG, it's Mickey!" "OMG, it's Ariel…it's Tianna…it's Cinderella!" Who knows how long that will last. She has already had to grow up so fast.
I knew I wanted to do a fall trip because we would not do well in that summer heat. :headache: Her school has a fall break each year when the teachers go to a conference, so I just needed to find out when it would be. At this year's orientation we got the calendar and low and behold, the conference is the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so school is closed that entire week. Wow, we could get 5 days in without her missing school…SWEET! :cool1:
I went home that night, put my children to bed, then got on the computer and got all my ADR's done. I have 7. One at Crystal Palace, 1 at Chef Mickey's, 2 at Cape May Café, 1 at Akershus, 1 at 1900 Park Fare and 1 at Tusker House, My dd's main thing when I ask her about Disney World is seeing characters. I figure 6 character meals ought to take the pressure off of trying to find them in parks. Actually the only character she really wants to see that we definitely won't see at a character meal is Tiana, but the schedule for her at MK is very well laid out. If we can't get to her in 5 days, Lord Help us. The dinner at Cape May isn't a character meal, but we love seafood and I heard Cape May is amazing. I couldn't get CRT, but we should see Cinderella at two of our meals. Only time open was Monday night at 9:45 and trust me. Nobody wants to see my children in a restaurant at 9:45. I think I made out great. :woohoo:
We are leaving here on Monday, November 22nd. Our flight, which I booked yesterday leaves here at 7:40am and gets to Orlando at 9:30am. Thank you Southwest for direct flights. :worship: (now if they would just join the ranks of participating airlines for RAC :rolleyes1) Anyway, we should get plenty of time in at MK the first day. I have a dinner at Crystal Palace that evening at 5:20 (our normal dinner time is 5:30 to 6:00). I'm hoping we have a little left in us after dinner, but I'm not counting on it. We haven't flown since dd was 4. This will be her first time actually having to walk in an airport. We'll probably be tired from getting up for that flight and turn in early the first night.
I have a breakfast at Chef Mickey's the next morning which will hopefully set us up for a nice day at MK. I heard it is best to get MK in at the beginning of that week. We don't have dinner reservations for Tuesday so I figure we'll do a snack midday and we'll do a quick service spot that evening.
On Wednesday, I have a breakfast reservation at Café Cape May. Not sure which park we'll do on Wednesday yet. I'm thinking DHS for most of the day as this is the park with the least amount of things I know dd wants to do. We have a dinner at Akershus on Wednesday evening so we'll go back to the resort, rest and change before going to Epcot. I'm hoping seeing it will gear us up for Thanksgiving Day at Epcot. I heard that is the best park to be in on Thanksgiving Day. Thing is though, MK's EMH is on Thursday morning, so I'm not quite sure if we'll try to spend the morning there. Depends on how Monday and Tuesday go there. No breakfast reservation on Thanksgiving morning so we can just go with the flow.:goodvibes
My daughter has an interest in Science and learning about other countries, so I figure I can get some education in on this trip to Epcot. We have a dinner reservation at 1900 Park Fare on Thanksgiving Day. It is at 5:40, so maybe (depending on how we feel) we'll do more touring afterwards.
All our dinners are around that time, so it will still be kind of early when we're done. Hoping to see some fireworks, or that night time parade at MK during the trip, but they are done kind of late in the evenings for us. I thought with daylight savings Wishes and such would be at 9:00, but the calendar still says the park will be open until 10:00 and of course "Wishes" is done at closing. I'm not into Commando style touring and being alone with two small children "go with the flow" is the name of my game. I'm using this as an excuse to make sure this is not the last time we do this. :laughing:
For Friday, I want to feed my daughter's crazy love for animals and spend some time at AK. We have a breakfast at Tusker House and hope to do Kilamanjaro Safari afterwards. Friday night is our dinner at Cape May Café. Depending on how we feel, I hope to get over to MK for one last visit.
Saturday is departure day. :sad1: Our flight isn't too early at noon, but I’m sure it will be a busy day at the airport.
So there isn't a lot of detail yet. I am using TourguideMike.com and have an AVP which is very helpful. I am also going to use the customized map the disneyworld.com website offers. We're only going to be doing rides my son can get on, but there are plenty of them. My dd is 48 inches tall, but she won't have any interest in the bigger rides. Dh used to tease her calling her "scary larry." Closest thing to a thrill ride she'll want to get on is the Tea Cups. But I'm not pressured into doing a lot. Truth is my daughter is not really aware there are 4 parks there. She just wants to get a picture outside that castle and see some characters. She'll be amazed at all there is to do there.
Now, the other thing that should be mentioned is that this trip is a surprise for her. I'm doing that for several reasons, but there are two main ones. One is she will drive everyone around her including her baby brother up every wall with the "is it time to go yet" thing every day. :headache: The other is on the off chance it doesn't happen, I'd rather she never knew about it. I’m not even going to tell her we're going anywhere for the break. Going to let her think she's going to her Godparents' house like she does for every other break. Still not sure how I'm going to tell her. Thought about waiting until we got to the airport, but don't want the police running to us when she starts screaming…which she will. I'm thinking I'll tell her that morning when I wake her up. After all, I better have a pretty darn good reason for waking her up at 4:30am.:lmao:
Let's see…did I leave anything out? Oh yeah, we're staying at All Star Movies. Value resort fits my budget and the make up of my crew very well I think. And the décor at All Star Movies will blow them away. Still have to go back to my vacation and put in my flight reservation information for ME. I guess that's it for now. I've been planning this for months, but actually having it booked brought my excitement to a whole new level. :cloud9:
Pre-trip shopping...Do I really need all that?
Okay, so the internet went out at home, so I haven't gotten much done the last couple of days. But I think I got it fixed this morning.
I feel like Santa, making a list and checking it many many times.
Yesterday I bought the bag I'm going to use in the parks. It's a small sling type diaper bag that should hold enough stuff, but not weigh me down since I'm also going to be wearing my son during the trip…or for as much of it as possible. The strap is well padded and has a quick release clip in case I want to take it off without pulling it all the way over my head. It also has quite a few pockets including a bottom pocket that should hold some snacks for dd.
So, I've been thinking about all the things I want or need for this trip. There's very few things I need specifically for the trip but there are things I've noticed I want to make the trip memorable and special for us. I know I need a new (faster) camera. As a surprise, I'm going to give dd my old camera. She got really good at taking pictures with it on our last trip.
I've been looking over the Disney store website and now have quite a wish list going.
Matching Disney 2010 T-shirts (navy for dd and me and a gray bodysuit for ds)
Matching "Create Your Own" t-shirts (white with pink trim for dd, white with blue trim for ds and white long-sleeved shirt for me) I'm sure it's not new. I've just never needed it. It's a neat feature where you choose the front picture (usually a favorite character) and choose writing to go underneath. I chose the picture with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy and Pete with black mouse ears in the background. Each person's shirt will have their first name and the year on it.
Disney Princess combination Autograph book and photo album for dd
Mickey and Friends Lanyards for dd and me
12oz Disney Princess aluminum water bottle for dd
24oz Mickey Mouse aluminum water bottle for me (I was really amazed to find these cheaper than the aluminum water bottles at Wal-Mart)
Disney Princess shirt for dd (Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Belle)
Tiana Princess shirt for dd (they are organic cotton and on sale 2 for $18)
Disney Princess backpack for dd (on sale for $10). This will be my alternative for the popular but out of my budget gift baskets I've heard about. Going to put in her water bottle, my camera, her autograph book and some other stuff and give it to her the morning we leave.
Tiana Princess dress and crown for dd. Actually she wants to be Tiana for a party she goes to called "Halelleujah night", which is our church's alternative to Halloween, so she'd be getting that dress anyway. She wants her brother to be the frog, which I thought was a really cute idea, but I'm having trouble finding the costume for him.
For this trip, Ithought I'd bring it along. Since Tiana's appearances are scheduled, I'd let dd decide if she wants to try to put it on to meet her. Or let her decide if she wants to wear it to Akershus. Tiana won't be there to my knowledge, but, it's the only princess dress I'm buying so if dd wants to be a princess at Akershus, she'll have to be Tiana.
So, I had a bit of a frightening moment this week. I have been reading about lost ADR's and with the net being down at home I haven't been able to check on the ones I have. I can't wait to get home and look at them to make sure they are all there. But, I have also been thinking about dumping one. I'm writing it here so I remember to post to the Cancelled ADR thread if/when I do cancel it. I have a breakfast at Cape May Café for Wednesday morning, I'm thinking of cancelling because I also have a breakfast at Chef Mickey's. Cape May has same characters as Chef Mickey's only fewer of them and since I have more ADRs than TS credits (we are on the regular DP), it would be better for me budget wise to get rid of one. That will also free that morning up and allow us to get to the park earlier. Planning on doing DHS that day and if we have any chance of riding TSM, I figure we better get there early.
So, that's my udpate for today. I did write down my plan for getting us out of the house the day of departure. I think I'm more nervous about that than anything that goes on during the trip itself. My dd is not a morning person. I'm hoping hearing "you're going to Disney World" will wake her up. , She is generally tired on Sunday evenings from staying up late on Saturday night, so if I can get her to go to sleep around 7pm, I'll be better off.
With the internet back up, I'm hoping to start working more on my itinerary this weekend. But I'm not a schedule every minute type. I can't be with 2 children. It will be more a list of "things to do if we can that day" and where we want to be. I am also going to start and hopefully complete my customized park maps this weekend and add my flight information so we have ME.
Now I just need to make sure dd doesn't see this stuff when it starts coming in the mail.
Changed the date of departure...feeling much better
Okay, so it has been a while since I updated this. I have to get up at 5am in order to get to work by 7:30, which allows me to get to (if I work through lunch) get off work at 3:30, which allows me to get to my daughter's school to pick her up by 4, which saves me $80/month in afterschool fees, so I'm trying to go to bed as soon as I can after both children are asleep.
So here we are in Labor Day weekend...finally. I'm glad for the 3 day weekend. I've been thinking a lot about our vacation.
A lot has gone on. I decided to let go of my Cape May Café breakfast ressie, but I wrote that in the last update. I ended up though getting one for Hollywood and Vine for Wednesday morning. I haven't heard good things about the food, but figure breakfast is breakfast. Dd is happy if she gets some eggs. My real motive is to get into the park early. I'm only scheduling a few hours at DHS because when I did my customized map it had by far the least amount of things highlighted.
I figure we can be done in less than 5 hours. I'm thinking if we get there early, eat and start by 9:30, we can (provided we can fast pass TSM and don't miss any scheduled shows) we can be out of there by 2 and have plenty of time to prepare for our dinner at Akershus. Now we're doing princess dining, so I'm hoping we have time to go back to the room for me to get dd ready, but I'm going to leave the room that morning prepared with everything we need in case we get hung up and want to stay at DHS longer. I am though planning to return to DHS after our dinner to see the Osborne Lights.
So, princess dining. This one has me thinking a lot. My dd wants to be Tiana in October, but not thinking she'll be able to tolerate the dress long. And since Tiana won't be at Akershus unless something changes I wanted to give dd another option. But paying $40 for another princess costume is not high on my list. That will just leave her with 2 dresses she'd never wear again. That is not how I want to spend $80. I was laying in bed one night though and had a clear vision of her walking to this dinner. She wasn't wearing a Disney Princess costume. She was wearing a beautiful white "princess" dress similar to a dress she has at home she looks adorable in. The one she has at home is pink. It is sleeveless with an A line and pearl accents. Why not this one? A couple of reasons. Main one being she's soon to outgrow it. I doubt it will fit her in the 11 weeks we have between now and this trip. But the dress in my dream was white.
Something took me to Sears' website and to the communion/baptism section. Not sure why. Baptism wasn't on my mind, but when I got to the page, I figured it out. They had all the communion dresses on clearance. The dresses were absolutely georgeous…definitely princess like. They were marked down from $90 to…wait for it…wait for it…$10.79. :worship:
I was in total disbelief. Sale goes through September 7th. I ordered the 2 I liked the best. I found a website that sells wedding dresses and accessories and they had tiaras. I found 2 I adored…one was $8, the other $13. I considered this my first bit of Disney Magic. :wizard:
I've still managed to keep the secret. I have only told 3 co-workers who never see dd. Dodged a bullet yesterday though. She usually gets the mail out of the box but yesterday we hadn't checked it in a couple of days and it was a lot in there. She opened the box and said she didn't think she could grab it so I went over. Thank goodness. About the 3rd thing in the pile was my first piece of Disney Vacation mail. Big pretty envelope with Mickey helping Minnie into the Disney Monorail.
Okay, biggest change. The more I think about it, the more nervous I get about that early morning flight. :scared1: I feel like I can pull it off getting us to the airport. I'm just wondering how we'll feel later after getting up at 4:30 in the morning. The more I thought about it, I started to see meltdowns happening as the day moved on. :headache: We have enough chances for those on normal days. I didn't want to create one. I made a decision. If the change could be done for a reasonable amount of money, we'd leave here on Sunday instead.
Checked Disney first. Availability at our resort for Sunday...yes. We are well over 60 days out still so it won't cost me anything to change the reservation. I priced a 6 night package with everything I had before and it was only $100 more. :cool1:
Thankfully we are flying Southwest. Only thing they charged me was the difference in airfare. The flights on Sunday are the same as Monday, but both have gone up $11 since we booked. So $22 later, instead of a 7:40am flight on Monday morning, which for us would require leaving home by 5:00 am or so, we now have a 1:40pm flight on Sunday which will allow us to get up at our normal time, eat breakfast here at home and dd will be fully awake when I spring this trip on her. :woohoo:
I have felt so so so much better since I have made this change. We'll still get to Orlando before dark and don't have to rush over to a park unless we just want to. And if we do, we should be plenty up for it and we'll have all of Monday to do MK now instead of less than half of it. :goodvibes
I hope we'll just hang around the resort once we get there and take pictures with all the icons (Staying at All-Star Movies), or go to DTD to go shopping, but it may be a good night depending on what time it gets dark to check out the Christmas lights at one of the parks. I did also upgrade to a 6 day ticket so we could do this if we felt up to it.
I'm hoping for a mix of planned out and go with the flow for this vacation. I have plans for each day, but being that this trip is a surprise for my dd and one she's been waiting for for the better part of the last 3 years, I know I'll have to be prepared to give a bit.
Fortunately this isn't my first vacation alone with my babies. We went to the beach for a week in June. Of course, the 5 month old little bundle that could not sit up and could barely roll over in June is not the 10 month old I'll be taking to Disney. He's eating baby food and trying to crawl at nearly 8 months. But he is a total riot and still really easy to take care of.
I'm so looking forward to experiencing Disney through his and his sister's eyes. And since I haven't been since I was my daughter's age, it will kind of be like my first trip too.
More changes (thanks to Tour Guide Mike) but I like it.
Okay, so I got all the changes done to our flights and package and we are now heading down on Sunday November 21st instead of Monday, November 22nd. Extra park time, extra resort time yes, but mainly extra sleep. I should have known better than to schedule a 7:40am flight with my daughter who will be walking the airport for the first time in her life on this trip.
She has flown numerous times. She has flown at ages: 18mo, 2 years-old, 3 years-old and twice at 4 years-old. With the exception of one 10am flight, our flights were always early departing between 6 and 8am. The 10am flight however, was the time I flew alone with her. And every flight she was pushed through in a stroller and only walked through the security check point. Walking is not a problem for her, but walking the airport at 5:30 in the morning-and then going to Disney. Once her adrenaline ran out I'd have something on my hands and I'd feel terrible for putting her in that position knowing her as I do.
Was going to have her go to bed at 6:30 as ds is prone to fall asleep around 7, but I can just see the look of disbelief when I ask her to go to bed at 6:30. She goes at 8 now and I can't wait for daylight savings to be over so I can stop hearing, "but it isn't even dark out." Then every minute she lays awake after I of course win the debate, that will likely ensue I will stress about the next day that much more. It is more than worth the $150 I'm spending to add a day.
Add to it I get to plan something creative to spring the news on her because I'll have more time to get the full effect of her reaction to finding out about the trip as opposed to the rushed "wake up, get dressed, we're going to Disney World" at 4:30am. Hoping to schedule a call from Mickey or Ariel, but can't tell by looking at the Enchanted calls website if they call and say something to the effect of "you're coming to Disney". I see one of the options is "going on a trip", but it doesn't say Disney trip. You'd think that would be an option. I'm going to take the suggestion I've seen on here several times and look at some youtube videos to get some ideas.
Okay, that was a long-winded explanation. Sorry. With this group all I really had to say was "I added a day" and everyone would agree, no explanation needed. Maybe I was practicing for explaining it later since changing our departure date means missing Sunday's church service.
Anyway, I was reading posts and kept seeing the acronym TGM. I had to think for a few minutes and then looked at the top of the page and the revelation hit me. Tour Guide Mike. :idea: I'd paid the money for his help when I first got our dates set, but hadn't been back to the website in a week.
Went on last night, signed in and checked the page with the crowd predictions and advice for each of our days. Without going into detail (because even though I know a lot of people here use it and can get the info, I did click that agreement with a little no sharing clause), it did lead me to several changes in our schedule for what park on what day. I've read that several people here swear by TGM and I did pay for the advice so I might as well follow it. If it doesn't work I figure that is one of the reasons I paid the extra money for hopping rights.
But in looking at the changes, I think it will actually work better for us because I can avoid hopping to get to dinner reservations.
The way it looks now:
Sunday (arrival day) is open. I had made an ADR at Planet Hollywood, but will cancel it to leave the day open. I thought it best not to have an ADR for arrival day since we are traveling in the afternoon and might not get to the property until 5pm. I'm kind of hoping dd will like the idea of hanging at the resort and then going to DTD the first evening for shopping and dinner, but she will more than likely want to see that castle immediately. Heck, I probably will too. I will certainly not deny her that. So Sunday afternoon will either be MK (most likely) or DTD (hardly likely) or just hanging at the resort (not likely). Either way I'm sure we will be able to find dinner.
Monday (2nd vacation day, 1st full day) I have as an Epcot morning/early afternoon and an MK afternoon/evening. We have an ADR at Crystal Palace.
Tuesday (3rd vacation day, 2nd full day) Breakfast ADR at Chef Mickey's then MK all day.
Wednesday (4th vacation day, 3rd full day) Epcot all day. Dinner at Akershus
Thursday (5th vacation day, 4th full day) DHS morning/early afternoon. Dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Back to DHS to see the Osborne Lights.
Friday (6th vacation day, 5th full day and last park day) Breakfast ADR at Tuskers House, then tour AK until we have seen all the animals and hopefully head back to MK to close things out.
Saturday (7th vacation day, Disney departure day) breakfast at the food court and check out. Our flight is at noon, so I figure ME will pick us up around 9:30.
Next, tonight, after the children are asleep, I need to cancel a couple of ADR's-the aforementioned Planet Hollywood and I'll be cancelling our breakast at Hollywood and Vine since I switched some park days around. DD loves Handy Manny and Oso, so may try to reschedule H&V, but may not. Thankfully H&V does not seem to be a hard to get coveted ADR. Any time I have checked for an open character meal, it is always listed. Not letting go of my other ones. I'm working around those. I've read that the 45 day mark is a good time to try to play with them, but at that point, I really don't want to have to think about it. I already have quite list of things to do then because they are things that will have to wait until the trip is paid in full.
This weekend, I plan to get started on dd's and ds's memory books for the trip. I copied every link I need into an email and sent it to myself. I'm going to print myself a planning journal to keep everything together and print an ID tag for dd as well. I also found an item at www.onestepahead.com I plan to order. It's a teddy bear shaped device that you put on the child's shoe. You keep the transmitter in your pocket. It alerts you if the child gets more than 25 feet away and when you press the button it will emit a sound that locates the child up to 150 feet away. Also going to make another payment :woohoo:
Morning break is over so, that's it for now.
Wow, I love your story and your plan! HUGS to you!
I know you are on TGM, I have been a TGMer in the past and really like it. I hope you are planning for NAPS!!
You also might think about not park hopping, since you only have 2 tickets it might not be that much $$ wise, but we have not hopped our past 2 trips and we have been fine.
Have a ball! You are a terrific mom!
Okay, been posting on other peoples' PTR's but haven't updated mine in a while.
Still tweaking the schedule a bit. Honoring my child's love for Handy Manny and Agent Oso I did reschedule the H&V breakfast for Thursday morning.
I picked up button down shirts for ds and me to wear to the princess meals so we can blend in with what dd will be wearing. Picked up some adorable Disney PJ's for my son last night at Wal-Mart.
Right now the big debate is whether I will ship items to our resort from here or go with Garden Grocer for delivery. I am weighing the costs. I'd buy those things regardless, so the question is whether I want to pay shipping or want to pay Garden Grocer's delivery fee plus the price difference I see in the items I need as compared to my local stores. My son's brand of formula for example in the size I normally get is $8 more at Garden Grocer. I have to somehow see how that all balances out. I did decide though I'm not transporting that stuff. I'd need an extra bag and I'd still only have 2 hands.
Then there's my stroller issue. Ds loves being worn and I love wearing him. He's growing out of his current carrier so an Ergo is on the horizon for us. I know I may not want to wear him the entire time, so I'm not going without a stroller. My issue is what to do as far as getting it there. I'm in love with the Baby Jogger City Stroller series. Orlando Stroller Rentals has the Mini. I have tested the Mini and the Micro. I would have purchased the Mini at Babies R Us last week, but they were out. They are having a trade-in event where you trade in an old item and get 25% off a new one. I was going to trade in dd's monster Jeep jogger that I got when she was 2. I love it, but it didn't even fit in the trunk of my old car after removal of the tray and front wheel. So I considered renting from OSR. I'd just wear ds through the airport.
Then I did some calculations. With insurance and the rain cover, it would cost me $105 to have the stroller for the week. A bargain over the park strollers, which would not be comfortable for ds anyway. But albeebaby.com has the Baby City Micro on sale for $99, and they have free shipping on all strollers right now so for the same price of having the Mini for a week, I could own a Micro. My other choice is to bring my Chicco Trevi from home. Love the thing, but it's kind of awkward to carry, especially compared to the Baby City stroller. I don't want to smack anyone on the buses.
Thanks for commenting Mom2grace. I have considered not hopping, but I'm not really sure I want to let go of the right to vacate one park and go to another one for whatever reason. I am scheduling according to what TGM says are the "okay" days or recommeded days crowd wise, but still want an escape in my back pocket, especially since it is a holiday week. I really only plan to "hop" twice…once on Tuesday and once on Friday, but if dd says, "I really want to go to (insert whatever) again" I want to be able to at least consider it. I think on subsequent trip(s) we will likely drop it, especially once I have to start paying for ds.
As to scheduling naps, I figure you mean going back to the room to lay down. My daughter swore off naps long ago. Tried to get her to nap on a cruise when she was 4 and after she jumped on the bed for 20 minutes we got off the ship and went to the beach. My son is very predictable when it comes to napping. At home or at daycare, at church, or out with us running errands or shopping, he will only sleep an hour at the most. He'd be done with his nap by the time we got back to the room. He does however like to go to bed early-always has. The going back in the middle of the day then returning to the parks until closing won't work for us, so my plan is to get us back to our room early each night so we get a good night's rest. We will be heading for the exit of whatever park we are in around 7:00 each day. The only exception will be Thursday. We'll probably finish dinner around 7 and return to DHS to see the lights before heading back to the room. It will be easier transportation wise to get back to our resort from DHS as opposed to the GF anyway. I know it means no night time parades and no fireworks, but I'd probably be apologizing to the whole bus if I try to keep them in any park that late. They can roll all day at a certain pace, but at 10:00, it's best they are not seen by the general public :lmao: Don't think I want to be around when the parks close anyway. So to hopefully avoid a rush and avoid waiting for multiple buses, we'll make our way out around 7 or so.
On our first vacation when he was 5 months old he breezed through a 6 hour day at the zoo and another 6 hour day at a combination aquarium/nature walk/science museum, napping in his stroller and in his carrier. I wish he was more of a napper. Some Saturdays I could really use one, but it might take me 20 minutes to fall asleep after he does and 20 minutes later he is up and ready-I mean squealing, smiling and bouncing ready. By next trip when he's a toddler though we'll probably vacate so he can lay down in the room. So right now I have put in 90 minutes of down time for each day around 2:00 where we will get a snack or food of some sort, a drink and plop ourselves down to relax for a bit…I'm thinking somewhere near a parade route, so when it starts at 3 (MK and DHS), 3:45 at AK, we have a good view.
So, what else is going on. I finally finished tweaking my ADR's I think. I have 6 to use our TS credits (we're on regular DDP). Here is what we have.
Mon: Dinner at Crystal Palace 5:20pm
Tue: Breakfast at Chef Mickey's at 8:40am
Wed: Dinner at Akershus at 5:40pm
Thu: Breakfast at Hollywood and Vine at 8:30am, Dinner at 1900 Park Fare at 5:30pm
Fri: Breakfast at Tuskers House at 8:30am
I know I know a lot of character meals, but I figure we have to eat anyway and, eating and meeting characters means rest for the feet, and avoiding standing in lines to meet them. With these ressies, we should only have to stand in line to meet a few. I figure from what I have read, the longest line will be for Tiana at MK (hope to get to MK at opening on Monday and make her first appearance at 10am). Other possibles are Mulan at Epcot and Jasmine at Epcot and Pocahantas at AK. I do plan to check out the greeting area at Epcot so maybe we can get pictures with Mickey and friends in regular clothes since they wear kitchen clothes at Chef Mickey's, but it won't be a disaster if we don't.
I'm also re-thinking my park schedule again. Was going to hop on Monday between MK and Epcot, but will likely move that to Tuesday since we don't have a dinner reservation that night. Spend the morning at MK and hop to Epcot in the afternoon to wet our appetite for spending Wednesday there and to get some of it in so we don't have to get up as early on Wednesday morning. World showcase doesn't open until 11 anyway. I got my customized maps in the mail, so I know mainly what we want to do where. So, I'm looking at it like this:
Sunday: check out MK and get pictures of the castle, eat dinner (CS) and return to the room at some point after the lights come on.
Monday: Breakfast at resort, then MK (hopefully at opening), try to line up at 9:30 for Tiana's first appearance at 10am. I'll take a deep breath after that's checked off and move on to do other things. Snack around 11:30. Break at 2. Parade at 3, then on to do other things. Dinner at Cyrstal Palace at 5:20 then, hang around, maybe do a couple more rides depending on the time and crowds, head for the exit around 7 while looking at the lights.
Tuesday: Breakast at Chef Mickey's (bus to MK, then monorail or walk to CR) then monorail to MK. MK until our scheduled break at 2. Over to Epcot at 3 or 3:30 depending on if dd wants to see the parade again, where we'll hopefully do the character stop if the line isn't long, then the Living Seas area and begin to tour WS. Out of there at 7 and back to the resort.
Wednesday: Breakfast at the resort around 9:00, then over to Epcot for the day. Get a locker for our dinner clothes, then continue with WS until our break at 2 (likely at a kidcot funstop). At 3:30, we'll at a leisurely pace stopping along the way, head back to the locker to get our things and get ready for our dinner reservation. Dinner at Akershus (5:40), then (if it takes the 90 minutes I'm told character meals take), we'll make our way to the exit and take the bus back to the resort.
Thursday: Breakfast at H&V at 8:30, then a locker for our dinner clothes. Then hopefully TSM, but I mainly want the shows at DHS and the characters we don't see at other parks anyway. Do this park stopping for a light lunch at some point until our break at 2 hopefully near the block party parade route. After the parade, back to the lockers to get our things, then to the GF to get ready for our dinner at 1900 Park Fare. After dinner, back to DHS to see the Osborne light show, then back to the resort.
Friday: Breakfast at Tusker House at 8:30, then hopefully get a fast pass Kilamanjaro Safari and proceed accordingly. Other things on the agenda: Camp Minnie Mickey, tree of life, various trails to see the animals, and either the Finding Nemo show or Festival of the Lion King as I can't see having time for both unless one is scheduled during our break time. Parade at 3:45, then offer dd a chance to return to MK one more time if she wants to see the castle again or to do anything we didn't get done. Have a CS dinner in MK (if we go there), see the castle light up one more time, then head back to the resort so I can hopefully get them down and make sure we are ready to go.
Saturday: I read ME picks up 2.75 hours before your flight so for us that means we won't have time for anything more than check out and breakfast.
Other than that, making lists, picking up little things along the way and preparing memory books for us. I have the pages ready to print out. Going to the library this weekend while dd is at children's choir rehearsal to print. Cheaper than printing at home…the price of printer ink is Ugh! It will probably take a cartridge to print out my DISigns for our shirts on transfer paper, which I will have to do at home on another choir rehearsal day. My mother takes her and she's out of the house 2 hours. I downloaded the pages and saved them on a USB data holder to make printing faster.
Dd's book will have journal pages so she can write what she liked about each part of the trip, some activity pages for the plane ride and some of the Epcot homework pages. She told me recently she wanted to travel the world and see the Eiffel tower. Can't wait to take her to Epcot. Ds's book will just have the pages from each park and some other pages where I can write down his reactions to things to have it to look back on later. My book will have the planning pages, plus the same pages ds's book has. I got some great DISigns from RustManFan I'll be using for the covers of the books and for our shirts. I also got some pages I might use for an autograph book. Not sure if we'll do autographs yet.
Things are coming together. I have my payments scheduled and budgeted to have the trip paid off by October 7th and a plan to save our spending money from that point to our departure date and to purchase the things we'll need for our trip. Going to pick up as many things here as I can to make gift bags that will appear on Monday for the children.
It isn't as hard keeping the secret as I thought it would be, but then summer is over and all the Disney world updates aren't as constant. Every time one of those came on and that castle flashed across the screen, dd would say "Please can we go there…pleeeeeeaaaassssee." Oh the torture. But I know keeping it from her is for the best for all involved. I asked her once "What would you want to do if you went to Disney World?" I know really, but wanted to make sure. She said what I thought she'd say and then with wide eyes and hands clasped together like when she prays asked, "Is it tomorrow?" "Uh, no, but it takes a lot of planning so I wanted to know." She didn't take that too well.
So, the morning of our departure, we'll get up like we always do when we go to church (we leave on a Sunday). After breakfast when it is time to get dressed, I'm going to tell her I've decided we are going to do something special that week just the 3 of us. Then give her an invitation.
On the front:
Ariana and Elijah:
You give me so much joy
What more can a mom ask for
In a girl and a boy
I love you so much
And I am glad to say
On the back:
We are going to
I plan to try to video tape the moment.
Well, I think that is it for now. Time is moving fast. Only just over 2 months to go.
Just joining in.
Oks o I am an overly emotional pregnant lady but your story brought tears to my eyes. Many blessings to you and your family!
I say buy the stroller. Then when you get home if you find you don't need it, put it on Craigslist, you will recover most of the money for it. We gate checked our stroller on our last trip and it was super easy. Getting it through security was a bit of a pain, had ot hold my DS and try to fold the storller and get it on the belt without knocking anyone out! But that was our local airport, in Orlando, it was much easier, they let me push it through the detector and the people there were very helpful!
What kind of wrap do you use now for DS? I am looking for something for baby 2, figured having free hands would be helpful when chasing my toddler.
Trip plans sound wonderful and I just love when people keep it a surprise!! Can't wait to hear how your DD reacts!!
Your post was absolutely heartbreaking.
Thank you for sharing your story.
I look forward to hearing much more about this important trip.
Thanks. DS just has a simple Snugli front carrier now. It's pretty comfortable for the amount of money I paid, but I wouldn't recommend it for long all day wearing. I have worn him for 3 hours in it comfortably though. I wore him in it the other day to have my hands free to do a buffet at a local restaurant and though he is still under the weight Limit I was beginning to feel a little discomfort, so I'll be ordering an Ergo next week. That should give me plenty of time to practice with it. I love having my hands free and I'm sure it will come in handy at restaurants and on rides.
Truthfully, I wanted an Ergo from the start, but couldn't afford it. I hear they are great for newborns. You just have to have that extra insert with it for head support.
I am leaning towards purchasing the stroller. If it was still $159 I might not, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to rent a stroller for a week when I could pay the same thing and own a similar one. I love gate check. I always used it with dd's strollers. Security can be a pain. I remember getting her out and folding it up at security and she was walking.
I will likely wear ds and keep it folded until we check the luggage, because parking and ticketing at our airport are on different floors and I hate waiting for airport elevators. Then before we go through security, put ds in the stroller long enough to put the Ergo in my backpack (using a larger one for the airport than for the parks) then push him until we get close to the checkpoint.
One thing that attracted me to the stroller is the easy folding mechanism. I love my Trevi, but in comparison to the Baby City Jogger, it takes an act of congress to fold it. I try to fold before getting there, but in case we can't, to further streamline things, I'm getting dd and me Crocs to wear at the airport and taking ds in just thick socks. First time we flew after they started requiring shoe removal, I didn't know. We both had on sneakers with strings. Took us what seemed like forever to get through. Thankfully dd is 7 and can carry her own backpack, remove and put on her own shoes and put her own things on the belt. Also going to wear sweatshirts to avoid the jacket/coat issue.
I remember being able to push the stroller through in Orlando. We went on a cruise out of Port Carnaveral in 2007.
I'm anxious to see how she reacts myself. I watched some youtube videos of parents doing the surprise reveal and I was laughing and crying. Had a surprise for her once that turned out to be a trip to Toys R Us to spend $50. 20 seconds of screaming for that one hence my signature. :rotfl:
It makes me sad to repeat the story at times, but that man Lord rest his soul suffered tremendously in his short life. The last 4 years were the hardest and even though I could have smacked him for leaving me with 2 babies, he outlived his prognosis by close to 3 years and at the end his spirit was breaking and I knew he was reaching his limit. He left 4 beautiful children here (I have 2 adult stepchildren) and the 3 that knew him miss him. And as they reach milestones we'll miss him, and I have no idea what I'm going to tell ds, but in all he suffered he managed to enjoy his life and I know he'd want me to enjoy mine now.
I'm glad to be going on this trip for Thanksgiving. It was big here and he mainly orchestrated it. People will probably be after us to offer some alternative, but I'll be glad to say we're leaving on a jet plane. :woohoo:
found your PTR this morning...
hugs to you and the wonderful job you are doing with and for your children...
what a beautiful and at time hard (I can only imagine)path of life you have traveled and are traveling...
what a wonderful surprise for your DD and what a magical way to spend your holiday with your two children.
all your plans and ADR's sound wonderfully thought out and your days sound very manageable...
your idea of just chillin while DS naps is a great one, too! my DS does not nap but in WDW did...he would just sit in his stoller and cat nap from one attraction to the next when he needed to; or would fall asleep during lunch and we would just take our time...
my only recommandation for you is once you get your stroller PRACTICE, PRACTICE...folding it and holding/wearing DS and whatever bags you think you will have loading the bus...this way you may have it down for preloading as you are leaving the parks. our last two trips I had the bags & DS and DH had the stroller and with the stoller we have I don't think I could have done it alone/not easy to fold or small once folded. I was happy to hear when you said the stroller you were interested in was very easy to close and fold up.
I love your idea for DD's princess dress...how sweet she will be! and she is her own princess for the day!!!princess:
looking forward to following along and hearing about your wonderful magical surprises to come!
Short vent about a little kink, but I'm moving on
Okay, short update to vent a little about those aforementioned dresses from Sears.com that I was so excited about. I ordered them on September 4th, but here we are at September 20th and they have yet to arrive. I'm thinking I missed something in my confirmation email they sent after I placed the order. If they were on backorder though, I would have noticed. They sure charged my card quick enough. I'm going to ask for my money back and go another route. She's not mentioned being Tiana for Halleleujah night in a while even when I spoke to her about what she wanted to wear that night. Just made sure to tell me she does not want to be an angel again. Biblical costume gets you free admission to the event. I was more than willing to let her be Tiana and pay to go in, but she seems disinterested in the dress now. I do though plan to get her a Tiana crown, wand and a shirt she can wear to meet her at MK though.
For the 2 princess meals I have, I have been looking at flowergirldressesforless.com and they have some georgeous dresses on sale. They also have the tiaras as well as matching socks so I can get everything in one spot. Being this trip is a surprise, online shopping has been a Godsend. So many princesses at Akershus, not sure what color dress to get. Looking at yellow, since it would match Belle (for the picture at the entrance) and shouldn't clash with any other princess there. Also considering turquoise. I found a lovely white/sky blue one for 1900 Park Fare. The good thing about this is I buy dresses periodically so I could ask her opinion on the ones I was considering without raising suspicion.
Other than that, still tweaking the park schedule. Looked again at the park hours for that week and discovered something I hadn't noticed before. DHS closes at 8:00 every night except Monday when they have pm EMH. I had it in my mind they closed at 9:00, but that is World Showcase at Epcot that closes at 9:00. Thursday is our DHS day and since our 1900 Park Fare reservation is at 5:40, we'll be heading for the exit at about 4:00 to get to the GF and change. Since the Osborne lights don't come on until 6:30, my original plan was for us to go back to DHS after dinner to see them. The park closing at 8:00 though has me rethinking this. I've read character meals take up to 90 minutes and I've scheduled accordingly, but that means that provided we get seated right on time we'd be cutting it real close to get back to DHS. I really don't want to be in any park when it closes for the night.
I am so looking forward to seeing these lights and and I know dd would love them. But, if we don't make it on Thursday, only Friday remains. I want the last park we visit to be MK, so I'm looking back to the beginning of our week. So, I have 2 options.
On Monday DHS has pm EMH. I only have MK planned for Monday at this point, but my plan was also to just hang around there a little over an hour after we ate, then head back to the resort. We could "hop" over to DHS after dinner to see the lights. I could just visit the baby center first to wipe ds down and put him in his pj's before we head for the bus. That way if he's asleep when we get back to our room, I can just put him in bed. Actually thinking about doing that every night.
My other option is Tuesday. I have Tuesday as MK until 3:30, then Epcot the rest of the day because even doing the stuff we can all do could possibly take 1.5 days with the 90 minute break I have us taking each day. I'm thinking Monday would be the better option because it really isn't cutting out time at any other park other than about an hour at MK.
Boy, I’m sure there was a time when you could book a trip and go right? I haven't been in 30 years. My dad took me when I was dd's age and I know for sure he didn't do all this planning. :lmao:
You are right; we did not do all this planning in 1996. We just picked up a map of whichever park we were visiting that day. did a little planning for 2001 as to what park what day...BUT, if you want to get the most out of your trip these days especially during Thanksgiving week you really need to have an idea of what you plan to do...so, as not to feel overwhelmed....but, even with all the planning I do once there we do not stress over not following the plan to a T we do stray from the plans and go with the flow of the day!
Try not to stress too bad; it will be a wonderful and magical adventure no matter how you decide to enjoy your time there.
decisions, decisions, decisions
I ordered my Ergo carrier today. :woohoo: I will use it for other things besides our Disney trip, but it was the trip that really motivated the purchase. I got the organic one in navy blue-took me a while to decide on a color. I wanted one of these from the time ds was born, but due to financial constraints, ended up with a regular Snugli carrier.
For the price I paid for it though, it did it's job well. :thumbsup2 It was comfortable for both of us up to now. It has only now begun to give me some discomfort. He still loves it. It was very easy to put on and take off too. He is still a few pounds under the weight limit. I like that feeling of closeness while having my hands free. As ds has gotten more active (more prone to throw himself backwards if he sees something interesting, I feel safer wearing him than carrying him.
I should have it by October 4 at the latest and have plenty of time to practice before the trip. I also ordered the little bag that attaches to it to keep my camera and some other things in for easy access. I like waist packs, but wearing one would be too much with the waist strap the Ergo has.
I also made my stroller decision. Since I already have a 3 wheeler that I really do love despite its size that is in good shape having been purchased when dd was 3 and have a minivan now that should accommodate it when I want to use it, I'm not going to purchase the City Micro and add another 3 wheeler to my garage. I decided I don't want to deal with a stroller at the airport at all, so I'm going with OSR. I just feel getting through the airport alone with 2 children will be easier without one.
At least that is the decision for today. :rolleyes1 Obviously I am feeling very empowered after purchasing my Ergo. :goodvibes Either that or I'm feeling less empowered after paying the mortgage, van payment, auto insurance, gas bill and light bill today. :headache:
Also decided to use Garden Grocer instead of shipping supplies down. I feel that is the most worry free thing for me to do. No worrying about how many days in advance to send it. No worrying about a package getting lost. No trying to figure out how to buy and ship the stuff without dd knowing. Just point click and pay like online shopping. :surfweb: I was concerned about some of the differences in price for some of the items, but time is money and I think the time I will save doing that versus buying here and shipping will be worth it. Doing Garden Grocer will also allow me to get store water for ds's formula and to keep me hydrated for the times I nurse him.
I also found a cute Cinderella Carriage to use for Pick a Pearl. I found it on ebay. The seller is away so I didn't order yet, but plan to once the seller's posted return date comes. This is my first purchase on ebay. I love this board. I would not even have known about pick a pearl or the Cinderella carriage without it. I like the carriage because it opens and closes like a door and the pearl just sits inside, which means no worrying about picking a pearl too big for it and no waiting around for them to set it, just stick them in and go.
So that is it for today. I get to make another payment this Friday. After that one more to go. :banana:
Under 60 days!!!
Okay, so I now have one more payment on our package. :woohoo:
According to the plan I make that payment on October 4th after all the first of the month bills are paid. Sometimes being a grownup…Ugh! :headache:
I have ordered our t-shirts (to make our custom DISigns) and they should be here any day. As recommended on here I used jiffyshirts.com. They had every color and size I needed and that's saying something considering the makeup of my crew (adult, 7 year-old, infant). I ordered us each 2 red shirts, 2 white shirts, and 1 lime shirt. I also ordered dd and me each a royal blue crew sweatshirt and gray hoodie from there. 15 t-shirts and 4 sweatshirts for $76. Shipping was free for an order over $75. Had to go to another website to order sweatshirts for ds as Jiffy didn't have anything below 2T except for 2 jackets. Didn't remember the name of the company, but my online bank statement says Shirt Supplier. I did a google search of "infant sweatshirts" to get to it. They had all sizes and really weren't much different from Jiffy, but I had to pay shipping on them.
Whether I manage to do all those iron-ons remains to be seen, but the shirts won't go to waste and considering the cost of those "creat your own" shirts at the Disney Store website, I am making out like a bandit. One shirt for ds was $14.95. :scared1: And it definitely beat possibly going all over town to find everyone's size in the right colors. Mad shout-out again to RustManFan for supplying my DISigns. :worship: And some of them will be pulling double duty as I'm printing some on regular paper to use for our memory book covers. :cool1:
So, I was already on TourGuideMike which has been a big help and today I signed up on touringplans.com. Pretty good advice for the money as well. I've been working on our day to day schedule to add a little more detail (just a little). I want to be as prepared as I can but still have leeway since it is a holiday week. Interesting how they calculate the crowd levels and such so I'll sit down tonight after the princess is in her room :happytv: and the prince is in his bed (he loves to push the buttons on my laptop) to work with those 2 websites some more.
As mentioned (and I don't get tired of mentioning it) I am coming up on the final payment and that is when I have to put the pedal to the metal in the preparation department. Anything in the categories of "only needed now if we take this trip" or "only needed for Disney and cannot be used for anything else" is put off until that final payment is made.
Those things are:
Ordering Crocs for dd and me for the airport
Iron-on transfers (buying transfer paper and ink and making the shirts)
Shopping at the Disney store (lanyards, princess backpack, princess autograph book/photo album, princess t-shirts, wands, and pj's for dd)
Printing pages for memory books
Getting memory books bound
New camera for me (Nikon Coolpix-so excited)
Reserving stroller with Orlando Stroller Rentals
Garden Grocer order
loading a Disney Gift card
Of course I have grown more and more determined to make it happen with each passing day and dd doesn't even know.
I've also set my phone to remind me to do airline checkin the day before we leave. I know I'll be home because dd has children's choir rehearsal from 11-1 and I have to be home when my mom brings her back. I'm springing for early bird check-in for our return since we'll be at AK at the 24 hour mark.
Okay so I actually have a couple of non-Disney developments. My son's first tooth has made an appearance. He is getting the bottom two front teeth first like most babies do. Poor thing's gums are so swollen, but he has taken it in stride, putting everything within reach in his mouth including the fingers of whoever is holding him. I can see the one on the left the best, but I can feel them both. :goodvibes
Another non-Disney development. 1st quarter interims came home and the princess has A's and B's so far. So when the letter comes home today about joining the elementary school cheer squad, it will get a yes. :cheer2: She goes to a private school that has grades K-12. This is a group of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders that perform at the school's junior varsity basketball games.
Hooray for under 60 days :yay:
How wonderful! one payment left and it will be paid within the next week...
how fun to be doing the shirts for the three of you!
and Congrats to a job well done for DD! and Ihope those teeth of DS pop quickly and the pain, itching, and uncomfort subsides quickly!
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