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exwdwcm 10-24-2011 03:53 PM

UPDATED! I am Your Host, Your Ghost Host. Tricks, Treats and Toddler in October 2011
Welcome to the Haunted Trip Report. I am your host, your ghost host. Scared yet? :hmghost::hmghost::hmghost::hmghost::hmghost:

Okay, not really a ghost, but Michelle. And welcome, to my haunted trip report. We just spent a fabulous eight nights at Bay Lake Towers creating magical memories!

So what's with the Haunted Mansion theme? Well my son is obsessed with HM now. We rode it 7x this trip, yes, seven! He has the spiel almost memorized and would repeat it word for word. Hilarious considering he is only three!

If you have not visited my pre trip report (PTR), you can check it out HERE.

Here are the basics on our trip:
WHAT: WDW Annual Trip!
WHEN: Friday, October 14- Saturday, October 22, 2011
WHERE: Bay Lake Towers at Disney's Contemporary Resort (lakeview studio)
HOW: Flight from DFW, rental car, APs, TIW, DVC
WHY: Because we can! No, really to celebrate my son's birthday (10/30- turning four!) and to experience the Halloween offerings


:tink:ME- Michelle: 38, The planner, type A perfectionist, Mom to William, work full-time as Mktg Mgr at a technology company, DVC member as of Feb 2010, ex cast member (WDWCP 1996), likes going commando (no not that way, as in park touring!), loves junk food, picky eater, tries to please everyone.

:darth: DH- Alan: 40, works for a REIT (finance), loves working out and playing World of Warcraft. Finally gave into my disney obsession and bought DVC for our 10 year anniversary! Is the quiet type, hates having his picture taken, eats anything and lets me do all the planning.

pooh: DS- William (Will): 3yo, will be turning 4 right after our trip. He is a clever, tough, not scared of anything, Mommy's boy. Goes to Montessorri day care and loves it. Just made the 40" mark this Dec 2010 to ride TT, Splash, BTMRR and Soarin!

monica23535 10-24-2011 03:57 PM

Count me in, I really enjoyed your last trip report :goodvibes

mickeystoontown 10-24-2011 04:02 PM

Joining in!

IheartDDuck 10-24-2011 04:08 PM

Joining in!

hardingk 10-24-2011 04:16 PM

I'm here! Can't wait to hear all about it!

khertz 10-24-2011 04:35 PM

:woohoo: Ready for this TR!!

MiaBella05 10-24-2011 06:53 PM

popcorn:: joining in popcorn::

eecteacher82 10-24-2011 07:01 PM

I'm here! Can't wait to hear all about your trip! Sorry we never got a chance to meet up! Maybe next time!

Pixiedust530 10-24-2011 09:20 PM

Welcome Back!!! You are totally ahead of me! I need to get my butt in gear and get my TR started....although I have NO idea when I am going to squeeze that in! :rotfl2:

Can't wait to hear all the details.

exwdwcm 10-26-2011 10:35 AM


Originally Posted by monica23535 (Post 43044342)
Count me in, I really enjoyed your last trip report :goodvibes

Thanks for joining- again!!!


Originally Posted by mickeystoontown (Post 43044410)
Joining in!

woo hoo!


Originally Posted by IheartDDuck (Post 43044483)
Joining in!



Originally Posted by hardingk (Post 43044585)
I'm here! Can't wait to hear all about it!

Hey there Kimberly!! :goodvibes;)


Originally Posted by khertz (Post 43044802)
:woohoo: Ready for this TR!!

Welcome again!;)


Originally Posted by MiaBella05 (Post 43046288)
popcorn:: joining in popcorn::

woo hoo, you even brought popcorn!


Originally Posted by eecteacher82 (Post 43046375)
I'm here! Can't wait to hear all about your trip! Sorry we never got a chance to meet up! Maybe next time!

That's okay, we will meet up next time! I did love hanging out with Megan!!!


Originally Posted by Pixiedust530 (Post 43047944)
Welcome Back!!! You are totally ahead of me! I need to get my butt in gear and get my TR started....although I have NO idea when I am going to squeeze that in! :rotfl2:

Can't wait to hear all the details.

lol- that's okay, all in good time! I am just now starting my first day. I know, i am so swamped too between work, Will's bday this weekend and Halloween, but I want to write this before I forget! :rotfl:;)

exwdwcm 10-26-2011 10:52 AM


Well here is a short history on us in case you didn't read our PTR.

I am a DISNEY NUT! Certified! My love began as a kid when our parents scraped enough together to drive us to WDW and camp in Fort Wilderness twice as a kid. I remember reading the Birnbaum guide and picking out the rides and planning, even back then as an 8 year old!

My senior year of college, I applied for and was accepted into the WDW College Program. I didn't even know it existed until a fellow coworker during a summer internship my junior year told me about it (he had done it). I spent the fall (August-Jan) of 1996 working at Hollywood and Vine Cafeteria at the then DIsney-MGM Studios, now DHS. My love for Disney only grew- getting to experience it from the inside was simply amazing and the magic only increased!

Finally, after a family trip in December 2009 (my son's first), my not so Disney loving DH suggested we do the DVC tour to get the $100 gift card and just see what it was about. My penny pinching (okay, cheap), hubby shocked me. We ended up buying DVC in February of 2010- 200 points at BLT. Now we have the opportunity to create memories for a lifetime! I couldn't have been happier!

My non-disney loving hubby suddenly was converted a little after watching the joy on our son's face that first trip. I think that is when he finally got the magic. He'd been many times before, even visited me when I worked there (yes, we were together way back then- almost 19 years now, married 10). I even caught him giving advice/tips to another family on the monorail this trip- when they missed their stop at the MK and weren't sure how to get back. He explained the two monorail loops and the best option to get back. I was so proud. :rotfl::woohoo::hug: First off, he is pretty quiet, so speaking up was one thing, but knowing his disney, another. :thumbsup2 I actually hold back on doing that on trips, because I know he will get embarrassed when I start sharing all my tips and advice with strangers on vacation.....and now he was doing it!

So that is our history- Disney history anyhow. One more thing- another reason the magic is so, well magical for us is because we don't take it for granted. Especially being able to share it with our son. Because we almost didn't have a son. We struggled for years to conceive. After an awful year enduring fertility drugs, self-administered shots, tears, thousands of dollars, four artificial inseminations, surgeries, testing and more (could never find a problem btw).....we finally conceived through our first attempt at in vitro. We are so blessed and thankful to experience parenthood. I know many take it for granted, but not everyone gets blessed with the opportunity. I know firsthand so many friends online that have not been successful. My heart aches for them. Whether we are able to have a second child or not, I don't know. We will begin that journey again come January probably. But for now, we are just so happy to be able to experience the joy, wonder and magic through our son's eyes. We are so happy to be able to share the pixie dust with him. So every trip is a blessing and a miracle to us and we don't waste a second or a memory. :wizard::wizard::wizard:

So this trip came to be a year ago- since we own DVC now, we knew we needed to go this year and use up some points. They were burning a hole in my pocket! I booked at the 11 month window, a studio at BLT, lakeview. This was also the first time it would be just the three of us only. While this was Will's third trip, his first one at 2 was with our extended family, almost 14 of us! It was amazing!!! Then last year, we took my mother in law and my niece with us, so there were 5 of us. This time, it was just our little family and it was so nice to experience it that way too. So we planned and plotted for almost a year. I created a countdown calendar for William at 3 months out and he really loved putting a sticker on each day.

I booked a rental car, made our dining reservations at 6 months out, booked CRT, Pirates and Pals cruise and bought Halloween party tickets, plus booked the Pirate League. We were all set and ready to go!

so from our little family to yours- WELCOME!!!

exwdwcm 10-26-2011 10:57 AM

Friday, October 14
Well today is the day. We’ve planned for almost a full year, counted down the last three months on our countdown calendar and anxiously watched videos, listened to park music and planned. Now the time is here, it is almost too good to be true!

I worked all week of course and managed to leave only 15 minutes early on Thursday from the office, at 4:45pm. I was a little worried, as our biggest tradeshow of the year and a private casino/cocktail reception was going on next week while I am gone. And of course, this year, the show was actually in my back yard- in Dallas! I didn’t really look at the tradeshow calendar when booking my week at Disney. Oops!! Usually that wouldn’t matter, because I have a coworker based in Ohio that was going to fly in and work the event for me. But 3 weeks before my vacation, she suddenly left to have surgery. UGH! So not only was neither of us going to be in Dallas for the biggest event of the year, but now I was stuck picking up a ton of little details and projects from her while she was out too. So I was a little worried about everything going right, but I had done all I could in preparation before leaving Thursday. In the end, the events all went great, in fact, perfect and we all got huge kudos this week! All turned out okay and I resisted the urge to check work email. I did not check even once. I told work to simply call my cell if they needed anything and they didn’t. Yeah work! Yeah me!

So Thursday after work, I thought about repacking, but I just wasn’t in the mood. Usually I’ll repack over and over again, but I had been sick for the past two weeks and was just so tired and not in the usual Disney mood. So I did get together our last minute toiletries and stuff and got everything over by the front door.

I had picked up some Boston Market for dinner on the way home, I didn’t plan to cook. So we all enjoyed a quiet dinner and I got William bathed and to bed by 8pm. I was pretty exhausted myself, the meds I was on for my sinus stuff weren’t helping me in the tired department. So a Tylenol PM later and I am off to sleep too. I can take one Tylenol pm and wake up refreshed and not tired.

We all had a good night’s rest. Our flight wasn’t until noon, so I let William sleep in a bit, until 8am or so. I needed to run to WalGreen’s and get some bandages for our dog before we left, so I ran up there and grabbed us some breakfast on the way and brought it back home. We all got showered and ready to go. Unfortunately, our 12yo boston terrier, Sassy, has a growth on her foot/paw. It’s been there for a few months and she started to gnaw on it. DH took her to the vet last weekend and he wanted us to let it heal first before he does surgery to remove the growth. So we were told to keep it clean and bandaged and put her in a cone. So my poor parents were watching our dogs (sisters- both 12yo) while we are gone and my poor Dad was going to have to change her bandages for us. I felt terrible about that. Plus, my parents are having a swimming pool put in right now in the backyard, which meant he had to actually walk the dogs out front instead of just letting them out in the back. Not very convenient for them at all. But I had to buy last minute supplies for them to care for her.

With that taken care of, breakfast eaten and all packed, we headed out the door at about 9:30am. We took the truck and drove the 20 minutes or so to DH’s office, which is right near DFW airport. We parked and DH ran inside to get his buddy who would drive us to the airport and then leave the truck at DH’s work all week (covered parking garage) while we are gone. We waited in the truck a good 10 minutes and finally they come back out. He drives us to the airport and drops us off at our gate.

We plan to check our one big checked bag at the curb, but then we realize Air Tran doesn’t offer curb service at DFW. Oops- so in we go. I had already checked in online and printed our boarding passes, so we simply went up and checked the bag and our booster car seat. My bag was 51lbs. The guy didn’t let it slide. I had to take out a pair of shoes to get it under weight. Come on- one pound? Gimme a break dude!

We get through security with only like 3 people ahead of us and then begins the crazy x-ray/security check. William has a backpack on wheels, DH has our big backpack, I have a tote bag with the laptop and my purse. Plus the stroller. Plus a medium rolling suitcase we are carrying on. So we have a lot of crap! I get the laptop out, shoes off and we make it all through. We are sitting down, putting shoes back on when DH realizes he forgot the small rolling suitcase, duh! He runs over and gets it. We are good.

We have about 45 minutes to an hour before our flight, so after parking our stuff at our gate, I head off in search of lunch to take on the plane with us. I don’t usually fly Air Tran or out of this terminal, so I have a hard time finding something- finally find a taco bell and grab a burrito for me and a quesadilla for William. I return and let DH find something too. Soon enough, they are boarding. We are in group 6 I think. I did pay the extra $6 each way per person to select our seats- we are all sitting together. I hate that Air Tran makes you do that. I mean, who wants to risk not being able to sit next to their child?

So we get boarded, luggage stowed and I put William in the window seat. We depart almost on time and I break out the workbooks for William to play with. He is really into school and learning. He has been in a Montessori day care since he was 10 weeks old. They are really working on writing their upper and lower case letters and numbers right now (he is almost 4). So he loves these workbooks I bought him to practice writing, counting, doing puzzles etc. I had four workbooks I brought, plus colors, coloring books, his Nintendo DS, some wax straws to play with etc. But the workbooks won out. He finished every single one of them that day. He was an angel on the flight. We arrived in Atlanta on time at 3:18pm or so.

We got off the plane and wow, the airport is crowded! We find a snack- some fries and fruit and sit at our gate. Our flight is at 5pm to Orlando. I HATE connections. I rarely fly anything but direct, but the prices were just so high on airfare and this was the best I could get. Even this was $330 a person RT. We usually prefer to fly AA.

So at 4:30, we aren’t boarding and the plane arriving is late. So we board late. We get seated and start to do his workbooks…….but suddenly the pilot comes on and says we have a bathroom leak and problem. We taxi back to the gate to have it checked and sit there for 45 minutes. Ugh! Kill me now. We are already late as it is. We are supposed to arrive MCO at 6:30pm. We end up there after 7:30pm.
We get off the plane and take the little monorail to baggage claim. We are all so tired now. Will was once again an angel on this second flight.

I wasn’t sure how he would do, this was actually his 4th time flying and the last time he was okay, but the time before that, he threw a fit. So I was nervous, but he was quiet, good and even the lady behind us commented on how he was the best behaved kid she had ever seen on a plane. Yeah!

LilyWDW 10-26-2011 12:08 PM

Super excited to read your trip report! I was great getting to meet you and your family and it was a highlight of our trip! I hope we all keep in touch!

mousescrapper 10-26-2011 06:06 PM

I'm in popcorn:: looking forward to reading along and can't wait till I make a hauntingly good appearance in this TR too ;)

I say it does stink to pay the extra $ for the seats together :headache: glad despite the transfer eveything went well w/ the travel and Will was so good!

msmith1026 10-26-2011 06:16 PM

I'm in!!! Can't wait to hear all about your trip!!!

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