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Old 12-29-2011, 08:34 PM   #781
MEK
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Our Christmas Quickie Begins (Disclaimer: All the pictures you are about to see are from my phone so they are not anywhere near my normal quality. Real pics start with the next update!)


Let's Begin, Shall we?

But first - please notice that I am now changing from blue to green in honor of the holiday season. I may even throw some red in from time to time. We'll see, won't we!

Oh Wait - Before I start, I wanted to say one more thing about the HHI trip. A few people commented that it sounded like a long, boring drive, but I have to tell you that the drive was MUCH better than I anticipated. I drive 30-40 minutes in rush hour traffic twice a day and I HATE to drive, but this drive was doable. It makes me hopeful that we may be able to drive to Disney some day. Don't quote me on that until it acutally happens, but just sayin that it "may" be within the realm of possibilities.

So without any further adieu I present..................

D Day!

What DISer doesn’t like D Day? You know …DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD Day – Departure day, Disney day, Day that you have been waiting for for 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 2 years. D Day is always memorable because it is filled with anticipation and happiness and a sprinkle of nerves. Sometime D day can result in sleepless nights. If you’ve read any of my TR’s than you know this can be the case with me. But not this D Day eve. I slept fine. Of course I was up at what I like to refer as the @$$ crack of dawn, but who isn’t on D Day? The only thing was, we weren’t schedule to fly out until evening.

D Day was actually Wednesday December 14th and on D Day eve I felt like I was pretty much packed and ready to go. I’m not sure how that all fell apart on D Day. Maybe I packed too early. That messed up my last minute packing and I kept thinking, “Did I remember this?, Did I remember that?”. Not only was I having a hard time putting the close on my open suitcase, but I kept thinking of more and more chores I “had” to do before we departed. Things like scooping the litter boxes one more time, changing the fish tank and filter, completing 500 loads of laundry, picking up the entire house. You know – the usual!

I was starting to get frustrated because I felt like I just couldn’t get out of my own way. The morning started with me taking Nick to school and then doing my treadmill run and weight routine. After that, time just seemed to fly and there were more than a few minutes where I felt close to “freaking out”. I kept asking myself, “How can I have an evening flight and still feel so unprepared?”. I also needed to load a Disney gift card for some of our food purchases and use up my Kohl’s cash. I started to see the whole Kohl’s visit go right out the window, until I realized there is a Kohl’s right near Nick’s school and we could stop there on the way to pick him up.

Then it dawned on me what my organizational problem was. My last two Disney trips were girl’s trips. I didn’t have to do 500 things to close up shop (so to speak) before departure time. Wow – when did it get this hard to travel with the family?

Around 12:30 we had the car packed and finally made it out the door to hit Kohl’s.

Despite my morning of disorganization, I have this self portrait to show that I am pretty darn happy (despite being cross eyed) to be hitting the road.



I decided to buy some K cups with my Kohl’s cash. I did a quick look around the store to see if anything else caught my eye, but I was clearly too keyed up to do any serious shopping. So we left. But this was good – It gave us just enough time to hit a gas station before I was due to pick up Nick at 2pm. I am so glad I didn’t let Nick drive to school today.

Picking him up allowed him a longer school day and it made the decision about what route to take to BWI much easier. Usually we travel the “scenic” route down 301 and across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (home of the blue vinyl gloves), but Nick’s school is much closer to I95, which is the shorter route. Of course, despite being right on time to pick up Nick, he still managed to dawdle for close to 15 minutes by going to his locker and the rest room. Really? Couldn’t you do that ahead of time to make your hyper mommy happy?

No worries. This was exactly why I gave us extra time to get to BWI. I think we got there in under 90 minutes. The sun was shining and we hit surprisingly little traffic.

With all my trips to Orlando I am pretty much 50:50 on whether we fly from BWI or PHL. I just always go with what’s cheaper. I wasn’t thrilled about flying from BWI in potentially bad winter weather (since its twice as far), but the cheaper flights and better flight time made the decision easy. PHL had some crazy flight times – a whole slew of SWA flights with stops during the afternoon and early evening and nothing non-stop again until 8pm. Really? Nope. No can do!

We used long term parking at BWI. I guess I could have saved a dollar a day if I had shopped around, but finding long term parking is quick and easy and the buses run through regularly without much wait. No sooner had the Sherpa family (that's us) lugged all our stuff to a stop, the bus arrived.

I don’t remember security being too much of a hassle and before long we were sitting at Subway having an early dinner. This is when I took my first picture of the trip. I suddenly became cognizant of how underwhelming the Christmas decorations are at BWI. So, of course, I had to let this thought be known to all of the social networking world by posting it on FB.


No food pics, but here’s the bag holding Nick’s left overs!



Our flight ran about 15 minutes late because we had to wait for a crew to come in from Chicago.

I don't look so happy here when Denny snapped this shot.



Even Nick looks a tad bored.



And Denny. Well, I'm just not sure what this look means.



Once the Chicago crew arrived the plane boarded quickly and we made up that time with a well positioned tail wind.





Nick doing physics homework. Yuck!



Before I knew it they were turning the cabin lights out for our final descent into my favorite airport – MCO. Yeah!

I found it necessary to take a few phone pics of the decorations.







See how much more much festive MCO is compared to BWI?

In a flash we were picking up our bags. I think our bags came out just as we reached the conveyor belt. Perfect timing.

Next stop was Advantage car rental. Why Advantage? Well, I guess I am on a mission to try every single rental car agency at MCO. OK – not exactly – but Advantage had a great price of $138 with taxes for a mid size for 5 nights. I’ll take it. But what I didn’t know was that Advantage requires a $200 deposit. If I had known that I probably would have just gone with my back-up reservation with Dollar which was about $25 more, because I suddenly felt compelled to take pictures of every possible scratch we might get charged for. Not my idea of a fun way to start vacation.

Pictures taken. Want to see one? Kidding! We headed towards the house of the mouse with Denny saying, “Where, Where’s the GPS. Hurry”. Oh please, I have to remind him every time that we have driven to WDW plenty of times before GPS’s were invented. Relax. They didn’t move the place! But because I am the good wife that I am and I don’t want to see my DH panic, I already had the address of OKW all keyed in!

Again – like magic – we reached OKW in no time. Sorry there are no pictures to document our entrance on property, but it was just too darn dark.

I did not do online check in and I was the ONLY person checking in when we arrived. The CM said, “I have the first floor studio you requested”. I replied, “I actually requested "NOT a first floor studio”. For some reason I just don’t like the ground floor. I like being up a level when I go out on the balcony. That’s just me. To each his own.

Well, she set to work to try to find me a second floor studio while mumbling that she didn’t think she was going to find anything. I said, “Don’t worry. I’m tired and I really don’t care THAT much”. But, pixie dust was sprinkled and she found one. Not only was it on the second floor, but it was right near the Hospitality House and it was in a building that had elevators. I knew that was a SCORE, especially since Denny and I stink at finding things at night. This was going to be easy, peasy!

I took this picture from the mural that was behind the registration deck.




Next job was to unload the car, which is always a pain when you are tired, but we got everything in the room and unpacked. Yeah. That’s when I realized that I forgot the coffee filters. Seriously???? What is it with me and coffee filters? Just ask Cynthia. I forgot them in May, too. So we bought them at the BCV and I took them home specifically for this trip and I forgot them again. Oy to the Vey!

Our room number




I told Denny I was going to have to visit the gift shop and hope they had coffee filters. We actually all decided to change into our bathing suits and hit the hot tub. It was a little cool out, but certainly acceptable weather for a visit to the hot tub. I'm so glad we did. It was really rejuvinating. The resort looked like a ghost town at 11pm at night, but fortunately the gift shop was open and they had coffee filters. My first room charge of the trip.

The Christmas displays looked so darn cute





I wanted one of everything!

A not-so-hidden Mickey



Quick night time pic





In case you are wondering what the studio looked like, well, I did not take pictures until we checked out. I'm serious. I know I'm bad but I guess I'm forgetful with night time arrivals and I just wanted to get things put away. The rest of the time there things were too much of a mess to take pictures. Boys and all!

I did love the size of the studio. Nick quickly claimed the bed near the balcony, which made it hard for me to go out there in the morning without disturbing him.

There wasn't quite enough drawer space for all three of us, but the closet was a nice size. The only thing I didn't like was having the hair dryer in the bathroom instead of an outside vanity. Otherwise the bathroom was quite nice. I like the pastel colors in the room and I made myself right at home. Definitely the biggest studio in the DVC collection. When I compare it to the size of the BLT studio, well its night and day.

So folks, that's the end of D day. Up Next will be our first day in the world of plenty of pictures so stay tuned.
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Sorry Gaston, They are MUCH More Interesting than You!
Will You Chill Out if I Sprinkle You With Pixie Dust?

Remembering 9/11:MEK Original
Why Not Just Queue Up Another Disney Trip?
How Do You Think We Stay So Happy?
Inching My Way Closer to the Castle Sept 10 TR
Wheeling & Dealing at the WL May '10 TR
Play'in It at Pop Sept 09 Anniversary Trip
JUNE 09 TR...KICK'N IT AT KIDANI DH & I do Disney Solo! DEC 2008 June 2008 tripreport
My Trips 2002-Offsite 2003-POR 2004-Royal Pacific/Daytona Bch 2005-CBR 2006-Pop, SSR 2007-ASM 2008-Pop, Vero Bch/SSR, POFQ/SSR 2009-Kidani/CSR, Pop 2010- VWL, BLT 2011-POR/BCV, Disney's HHI Resort, OKW2012-Treehouse villa/BWV, VWL/BWV 2013-HHI, Secret off site location;BWV/AKL 2014- Tampa, ASSp/BCV, OKW
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:59 PM   #782
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you started.

I think your issues with "forgetting" something is the reason I prefer morning flights. Iget everything packed the night before and I'm ready to go.

Boy...that was a shabby Christmas decoration at BWI; but great ones at MCO.

I'm so glad you liked the studio. May I ask why you prefer the hairdryer at a vanity and not inside the bahtroom? I loved the size of the bahtroom...it was huge.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:07 PM   #783
MEK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
you started.
It only took two weeks and a day. I guess that's not horrible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
I think your issues with "forgetting" something is the reason I prefer morning flights. Iget everything packed the night before and I'm ready to go.
If I was leaving first thing in the morning I think I would have been a lot more organized, but there was no way we could do it with Nick and school. I like leaving around 12:00 normally. Getting there in the dark is too late, but ya do what ya gotta do sometimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
Boy...that was a shabby Christmas decoration at BWI; but great ones at MCO.
Seriously. why even bother?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
I'm so glad you liked the studio. May I ask why you prefer the hairdryer at a vanity and not inside the bahtroom? I loved the size of the bahtroom...it was huge.
I think because I feel like I am taking too much time in there when I am drying my hair and doing my make-up. 2 boys can get in and out of there faster than I can finish driving my hair. I did absolutely love the size of the bathroom. It was quite spacious and the tiling was really nice. I loved the whole studio. Perfect size.
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Sorry Gaston, They are MUCH More Interesting than You!
Will You Chill Out if I Sprinkle You With Pixie Dust?

Remembering 9/11:MEK Original
Why Not Just Queue Up Another Disney Trip?
How Do You Think We Stay So Happy?
Inching My Way Closer to the Castle Sept 10 TR
Wheeling & Dealing at the WL May '10 TR
Play'in It at Pop Sept 09 Anniversary Trip
JUNE 09 TR...KICK'N IT AT KIDANI DH & I do Disney Solo! DEC 2008 June 2008 tripreport
My Trips 2002-Offsite 2003-POR 2004-Royal Pacific/Daytona Bch 2005-CBR 2006-Pop, SSR 2007-ASM 2008-Pop, Vero Bch/SSR, POFQ/SSR 2009-Kidani/CSR, Pop 2010- VWL, BLT 2011-POR/BCV, Disney's HHI Resort, OKW2012-Treehouse villa/BWV, VWL/BWV 2013-HHI, Secret off site location;BWV/AKL 2014- Tampa, ASSp/BCV, OKW
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:15 PM   #784
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Hectic way to start a vacation but you're there and that's what counts!
Can't wait to hear all about Disney in December.
We went in mid-November this year and caught the beginnings of the decorations but we know we missed alot.
So we'll live vicariously through your pictures!!

As for the HHI trip, if it makes you feel better, I've made the family stop at South of the Border several times due to childhood nostalgia.
(My Dad never let us stop).
And every time we stop, we learn once again why...
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:25 PM   #785
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Hectic way to start a vacation but you're there and that's what counts!
Welcome! It was just a case of bad disorganization. I should have goofed off less the night before. Won't happen again!

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Can't wait to hear all about Disney in December.
We went in mid-November this year and caught the beginnings of the decorations but we know we missed alot.
So we'll live vicariously through your pictures!!
Sounds like a plan. I took a lot of pictures this trip. Way, way more than I thought. I started off slow, but certainly made up for it quickly. 130 Osbourne light pictures.

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As for the HHI trip, if it makes you feel better, I've made the family stop at South of the Border several times due to childhood nostalgia.
(My Dad never let us stop).
And every time we stop, we learn once again why...
I think that's great. I really am glad my GF wanted to stop because that is one of those places I always heard my friends talk about while growing up, but my parents wouldn't go within miles of it. My mom thought it was the biggest tourist trap on earth so I knew I was never going to see it. I actually would stop again to get a better look around and in the stores!
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Sorry Gaston, They are MUCH More Interesting than You!
Will You Chill Out if I Sprinkle You With Pixie Dust?

Remembering 9/11:MEK Original
Why Not Just Queue Up Another Disney Trip?
How Do You Think We Stay So Happy?
Inching My Way Closer to the Castle Sept 10 TR
Wheeling & Dealing at the WL May '10 TR
Play'in It at Pop Sept 09 Anniversary Trip
JUNE 09 TR...KICK'N IT AT KIDANI DH & I do Disney Solo! DEC 2008 June 2008 tripreport
My Trips 2002-Offsite 2003-POR 2004-Royal Pacific/Daytona Bch 2005-CBR 2006-Pop, SSR 2007-ASM 2008-Pop, Vero Bch/SSR, POFQ/SSR 2009-Kidani/CSR, Pop 2010- VWL, BLT 2011-POR/BCV, Disney's HHI Resort, OKW2012-Treehouse villa/BWV, VWL/BWV 2013-HHI, Secret off site location;BWV/AKL 2014- Tampa, ASSp/BCV, OKW
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:28 PM   #786
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Quote:
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130 Osbourne light pictures.
Wow! We were rushed during our recent trip - I'll tell you all about it when I finally get there (I'm a bit behind on TR's as you know).

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I actually would stop again to get a better look around and in the stores!
Don't bother - it's really as horrible as it looks.
We even hate to use the bathrooms there but there's something about counting down the time to get there that makes a trip go faster...
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:43 PM   #787
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Must be something going around because the last few trips I have had that anxious feeling like I'm forgetting something or not quite ready to leave for Disney LOL!!!! Of course once I step foot in MCO I'm all good LOL!!

I can't wait to hear more about your trip!! OKW is gorgeous!!!!! Glad you scored a great location!
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:50 PM   #788
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Yea! MEK has started her OKW TR! Building 63 is a good location. We stayed in building 62 our last stay at OKW in May, 2010. Both have quick access to the HH bus stop, Olivia's and if so inclined...a late night stop at the Gurgling Suitcase for an adult beverage! :

Great start to your December TR. Can't wait to hear your opinion of OKW.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:31 PM   #789
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Love, love, love the description of D-Day. In many ways, its my favorite day of the trip. I think taking an evening flight would drive me crazy. I have no clue how I would keep myself occupied all day without practically climbing the walls.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:06 PM   #790
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Oh good -- you started the next portion of the TR!

I'm with you on PHL vs. BWI; I'd rather fly out of PHL, it's closer, but the flight times and prices always seem better out of BWI. It's exasperatin' I tell ya!

You forgot coffee filters again?! I did Starbucks' Via last trip, and I plan to do it again...so easy for a vacation morning coffee.
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:48 AM   #791
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Great start to the TR! Glad you were able to get your room request. I had heard that the rooms at OKW were bigger than the other DVC resorts. A former co-worker is a DVC owner and that is her preferred resort, I think her home resort is even BC or BWV, too. They like that the parking is very close to the rooms.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:22 AM   #792
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YAY you've arrived!!

I'm soooo looking forward to hearing all about oour trip and of course seeing all your beautiful pictures!
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:44 AM   #793
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Quote:
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I took this picture from the mural that was behind the registration deck.


Hey, the painting that I thought was real life on FB!!

Glad to see you've started the next leg of this TR!! It is funny when you compare how other places do decorations as opposed to Disney (or the surrounding Disney area, I guess!)
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:54 AM   #794
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Hurray for the start of your Christmas quickie!!!

Yeah, packing for the entire family (well, two of your three boys) and having to close up the house would slow a person down. Glad you got everything done and to the airport on time without forgetting anything (except the coffee filters ).

Denny cracks me up with his GPS panic. Like you couldn't find your way around the resort blindfolded at this point the number of times you have been!

Yeay for the start of Christmas merchandise pictures -- those salt and pepper shakers are adorable!
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:20 AM   #795
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Hurrah! You started! Sounds like it was a hectic day leading up to the flight but there's just nothing like that "D day" excitement. Not sure Denny & Nick were feeling it based on their pictures.

Glad you arrived safe and sound and got a good room location. There are lots of very passionate OKW lovers out there. I stayed there ~5 years ago and loved it.

Looking forward to hearing more!
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