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Old 08-15-2008, 10:18 PM   #1
FairyGodmotherJen
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A new baby, six months off...and Disney? WHY NOT!!!!

Hello, everyone! I never thought I’d be planning another Disney trip so soon, but here I am! Let me fill you in on the characters here, and then I’ll tell our story…

Me – aka FairyGodmotherJen (I was the Fairy Godmother in my high school production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, so I’ve got a soft spot for her) – 34, currently a SAHM (I teach fourth grade, but I’m on maternity leave). I began my love affair with Disney when my parents took us twice as kids. I don’t know the dates, but the first time we went, it was only the MK. I even took a trip to Disney with two friends for spring break my senior year of high school (yeah, I know, I was a geek). This will be my 7th trip to the World (which is about five too many, according to my dad) . I love to scrapbook, read and sing at our church.

DH – aka Mickey (but I don't think I can refer to him that in this PTR - too weird!) - 34, IT guy extraordinaire. He went to the World once as a kid, but stayed off site. First on-site visit was in 2000 with me, DB and my parents for their 30th anniversary trip – yes, my mom opted for a family vacation instead of a trip to Ireland!!! (We were glad, anyway!) He completely enjoyed it, and once we had kids agreed that we would have to take them there while they were still young enough to enjoy the magic. This will be his fifth trip. He loves Star Wars, Star Trek (ok, most things sci-fi), Red Sox baseball, and his kids (he’s an AWESOME Daddy). His favorite character is Sorcerer Mickey, btw.

DD – aka Tink – 7 yrs old and in second grade. Tink fits her personality well – she’s sweet, but very stubborn and cranky at times (just for the record, everyone says she’s a mini-me…hmm…) . She’s been to the World twice before this trip (as has DS1). I will never forget her seeing the Castle for the first time. She was four and, once she stopped staring, insisted that we needed to “go see her” (Cinderella). We did – had breakfast with her at the palace the next morning, in fact. She loves Tink, the princesses and IASW.

DS 1 – aka Goofy – 4 and a half. He could really be just as much as Goofy, but he has such a sweet heart I can’t really call him that ALL the time. He will be starting pre-K in two weeks, and can’t wait. We’re a little worried about how his teachers are going to keep him busy. He’s all boy – plays soccer, is mesmerized by trains and planes, and loves the Wii DH got for his birthday in June. I have to seriously limit the time he spends on it. His favorite Disney things are Cars, Nemo, Wall-E and (currently) Lady and the Tramp (I know, an odd mix, but ??).

DS 2 – aka Pooh – 5 months old for the trip. He’s the reason I’m still home – I’ve been lucky enough to scrape out 6 months at home with each of my kiddos so that I can nurse them easier. He’s a happy baby for the most part, though we’re wondering if he’s starting to cut teeth . He’s also getting really close to sleeping through the night. He’s actually been sitting in his bouncy seat next to me, growling happily (his newest sound) as I type.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:49 PM   #2
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Here are a few pictures of the crew...we haven't downloaded pictures from the camera recently, so they're about a month old (I know, we're bad...)

DH (at Tink's birthday party, joining in the fun)


Tink:


Goofy (at VA Beach, chilling out)


Pooh (with Tink - gotta get the good ones of him downloaded!)


How this trip came about:
When we left Disney after our Grand Gathering trip in June of 2007, we were already talking about when we’d be coming back while at the Orlando airport. We decided that we needed a year or two (I was still paying on a few things), and set 2010 as the return date. My sister-in-law and I are both teachers, so (usually) summer is the only time we can go. Well, about two months later we found out that Pooh was on his way. Didn’t change the 2010 thing – he’d still be free, after all! And I did my best to stay off the DIS for a while, since it was making me not want to wait three years!! But I got back on in March of this year, when I was too big and pregnant to really be able to do a whole lot, and saw reminders about Free Dining. I jokingly said to DH that we ought to go this fall, since I’d be home. He just laughed at me. Then, a few days later, the Free Dining offer actually came out. Now it was harder to ignore. But it was crazy – I mean, I was staying home for six months! Now, my paychecks are spread out so that I can get paid over the summer, so I knew I’d be getting paid through August. And I knew we had the other two months saved for (we’d worked hard for that). But there was no way we’d be able to afford to go down to Disney.

And then, good old Mr. Bush decided to send everyone a tax rebate to stimulate the economy. The advance notice of the refund came in the mail. Now I knew we were getting about the same amount it would take to get us all to Disney, and I was in trouble. Seriously, we’re usually the kind of people that take that money and stuff it into the bank. But there were a few other things on my mind. The biggest one was that I was actually home during Free Dining! Also, since Tink was in second grade, this would be the last time she could really take time out of school without me feeling like a horrible parent (our state-mandated tests start in third grade). Being a teacher, I know that these are big deals (don’t agree with it, but that’s a whole other story). And Goofy would be starting Kindergarten next year, and I was home already, and… ok, I just really wanted to go. DH needed some convincing. It turned out that it was much more about his available days off than anything else. We sat down together to make sure he had the time, and were pleased to see that he did. We decided to go for it!

Right around this time, my O.B. decided that Pooh was most likely going to be a pretty big boy, so she scheduled an induction for the next Tuesday (a week early). I was able to get my fill-in ready to go, and say goodbye to my class officially instead of suddenly just not being there one day, which was nice. And, since my Dr. had asked me to take the day before off to make sure I was relaxed and ready to go, I had time to go to AAA and book our trip!! We had decided on Sept, 4-9, staying at ASMo (the only place my kids have stayed). We got the 4 day park hoppers, preferred rooms at the hotel, and of course Free Dining. My T.A., whom I’d worked with before, just laughed at me when she found out I’d be giving birth the next day. However, she’s a big Disney fan herself, so part of her understood. The next day, I ended up passing some of the time waiting for the Pitocin to work reading the Unofficial Guide!

Next up: Planning!
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:14 PM   #3
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Sounds great! We went during free dining two years ago, and loved it! We couldn't pass it up again this year, either. Also, please tell your DH he's rooting for the wrong team.
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:52 AM   #4
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Here are two more up-to-date pictures:
Tink and Goofy on Tink's first day of second grade:


And a better one of Pooh:


When I left off, I was reading a Disney guidebook in the labor and delivery room. After about 10 hours in there, Pooh arrived – all 9 lbs, 13 oz. of him (wow, was I glad they’d induced me!). So for a little while, Disney took a back burner. I’d put a hold on the reservations the day before he’d arrived, so we were ok for two weeks without touching it. DH ended up calling our TA once he went back to work, making some adjustments (adding a day to the park hoppers so that we could go to the parks on our arrival day – it was like $8 a piece or something ridiculous like that) and putting the down payment on his Disney Visa. The actual rebate from the government was deposited in our account, and I happily (if sleepily) went back to perusing the DIS for tips. It made for a great way to pass the time when Pooh was cranky – our computer chair rocks back and forth, so it soothed him and gave me something to do!

Next thing on the list: ADRs. We take this fairly seriously. DH and I love to try new things. Our kids, however…not so much. I still remember working with an unbelievably patient CM on our first trip at the desk at ASMo. We didn’t have ADRs for each night (so naïve we were!!), so she patiently scrolled through ALL of the kid’s menus in World Showcase to find a place where my kids would eat! So it’s a matter of finding a place that suits DH and I (though we don’t have to have all gourmet meals, by any means) and still had things our kids would eat. We sat down one evening (when Pooh allowed us) to pour over the menus on the DIS and AllEars. There was one must do – I’d always eaten at Chef Mickey’s as a kid, and DH had decided that it was the best place for us as a family on our first trip in 2005. We’d also enjoyed it during our larger group vacation in ’07. This time, though, DH wanted us to go there on our very first night. He felt it would get us “into the right mood.” Ok, Chef Mickey’s it was! We went back and forth on several things – we really wanted to try some new places this time. We settled on several character meals. This was ok with us, as it’d be loud enough for Pooh if he decided to get fussy, plus it would keep us from having to stand in too many long lines at Toon Town! I called the next morning and got the following ADRs:
Thurs.: Chef Mickey’s for dinner
Fri.: Whispering Canyon Café for dinner (couldn’t get in in 2007, and
wanted to try)
Sat: 8:05 breakfast at Crystal Palace (REALLY excited about this one –
new for us, had heard great things, plus who can beat an empty Main Street???)
Sun 9/7: Garden Grill for lunch (new for us)
Mon 9/8: Restaurant Marrakesh (had done in 05 and enjoyed it – yes, they have spaghetti on the kids menu, which we can order with no sauce for our picky kiddos!)

I was so excited to get everything I wanted, especially with free dining. We were now free to schedule our days around our ADRs…oops. As soon as I looked at the list, I knew we had problems. We always end our trip in the MK, even if it’s only for the evening. Late (for us – 7:40) ADRs at World Showcase were not going to work. So, it was back to the menus. I really wanted to try 1900 Park Fare, but DH was concerned that the kids would be a little overwhelmed by Lady Tremain and her daughters. Plus, we’d done CRT in ’05 and Akershus in ’07, so we’d decided no princess meals this time. We went back and forth, trying to find something that would work. Finally, we decided on…Chef Mickey’s. Yes, I know – but we’re doing breakfast now on 9/8, so we’ll have the rest of the day to do whatever. The time is later than I’d like – 9:25 (OUCH!!), but I’m now having free dining issues when I call – I can’t get an earlier time. I’ve tried twice, and I’m going to have to keep trying each week until we go.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:38 AM   #5
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So now that ADRs were done, we went about our daily business. Which for me included a lot of time on the DIS boards. One day, I happened across a post about MNSSHP. It turned out we’d be there for the first night of it this year. We were there in late Sept./early October in 2005, but opted not to do this, mainly because of the price. Then we had a reservation at Chef Mickey’s on a night they had the party scheduled. At least half of the people there were in costume, ready for the evening’s festivities. That’s when I started kicking myself. “When will the kids ever have another chance to trick-or-treat in Disney World??” I kept asking myself.

I found myself going back to the post about MNSSHP again and again. So I decided to look into it before I mentioned it to DH. After all, we’d maxed out our little economic incentive already. I went to the main page and read everything I could. That didn’t help – after seeing pictures and the map from the previous year, I REALLY wanted to go now. So, I talked to DH. He was actually all for it, especially when he looked at the information available here. But I still had doubts... I’d read a post in a trip report where someone had tickets on a night that the weather was bad, but she felt like she had to drag her family there anyway, and I really wanted to be sure it was worth it before I purchased what I now knew were non-refundable tickets. Plus, DH was suggesting a bunch of costumes that would be WAY too hot for Orlando in early September. I emailed my TA to get her take on it, since I valued her opinion... It turns out that Halloween is her favorite holiday, and she’d been to it before. In fact, she’d gone dressed as Maleficent (full robes and all), and her husband had gone as Sorcerer Mickey (again, full robes). She admitted that they’d changed within about an hour and a half of getting there, but she went on and on about the fun she’d had. That really tipped the scales in my opinion, and I asked her to get us the tickets. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, here we come!

I admit, I hadn't planned on dressing up myself when we booked, but DH has convinced me since then to go as the Incredibles, since there are five of us now. We're going to keep it simple - we're trying to find/make red shirts with the design on them, then wear black pants and have black masks for our eyes. Well, maybe we'll have masks. Tink and Goofy aren't really sure about them, and I'm not sure if Pooh is old enough to get freaked out about them or not. So the jury is still out on that part, but at least I know we've got a simple costume that won't make us melt!
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:15 PM   #6
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The Big Reveal!

When we had booked our trip, we had not told either Tink or Goofy. In the back of my mind, I didn’t want to bank on anything until Pooh had arrived, safe and sound. Then, we decided not to tell them because Goofy has no sense of time yet and would be asking us how many days until we went nuts, countdown calendar or not!! Just for the record, I DID bring Goofy with me when I went to meet with our TA at AAA the day before I had Pooh. He just sat in the back and played his little game, and never figured it out. Have to laugh – he won’t believe it someday. Anyway, we had a big extended family trip planned to VA Beach in June that had been in the works for almost a year, so we didn’t want the excitement about Disney to override that, either. So, all planning was done when the kiddos were in bed (or at least, when the older two were in bed!). Our VA Beach trip came and went. It was AWESOME – a house right across the street from the beach, with its own pool, both sets of grandparents and my brother from CA (so lots of help with the little ones), and lots of time to unwind. We came home looking forward to concentrating on our Disney trip. But when and how to tell the kids? I counted out the days once we cleared Tink’s bday in July. We decided on the date we’d tell them – about 45 days out.

DH decided he wanted to make a treasure hunt-type thing for them, since they’re into that right now. It was my job to make the countdown calendar. Well, since I scrapbook, that was easy! I used my Cricut to cut out Mickey ears, found remnants of sheets of Disney stickers from past layouts, and got to work. Of course, Goofy had a massive nosebleed as I was working furiously on it the night before the “big reveal.” I ended up having to keep him in the living room so he couldn’t see where I was working at the kitchen table. But it got done later that night - here it is:


The next afternoon, we were ready to go. Tink and Goofy are too big for naptime, but in order to keep Mommy and Daddy’s sanity, we still have “rest time.” That’s where they play quietly in their rooms for at least an hour. Got me through the summer, I tell you!! Well, we were a little late getting them down for rest time since we were late getting home from church (which put us late having lunch, etc.). Then DH had to run errands that afternoon, and I ended up keeping them upstairs for a while. By the time he got home, he realized that he needed to find a video tape for the camera (I know – it’s old. We’re getting a new one for the trip). Add to this the fact that a pretty decent thunderstorm had decided to hit, and we had two kids who were REALLY done with rest time. I ended up keeping them (and Pooh) upstairs (where the noise from the storm is louder, of course) and occupied while DH set out his treasure hunt, rounded up a tape, and then cleaned our downstairs up enough so that it didn’t look trashed when we watched the tape. He seemed to be taking forever! Finally, he was ready, and we proceeded downstairs. It all went very well, really. Tink was able to read the clues, and Goofy just ran around being…well... goofy. They got to a point where they had to put together a puzzle, and it got to be too hard. DH had to step in and help. All this time, Pooh sat on my shoulder wondering what in the world was going on!

Here's Tink and Goofy working the puzzle:


Pooh, thinking we're all nuts (sorry about the red-eye):



By the time they figured out what it all meant, they really were excited.


We’d been talking a lot about Disney lately, and we’d told them that we weren’t going back until 2010, so they were really surprised. We then sat down to have dinner and watch a Disney video – something that we’re continuing every Sunday night until we leave. The kids love their “Disney movie picnic night!”
And, just to get him ready for his first Disney trip, here's one last shot of Pooh:
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:19 PM   #7
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The Big Reveal!

When we had booked our trip, we had not told either Tink or Goofy. In the back of my mind, I didn’t want to bank on anything until Pooh had arrived, safe and sound. Then, we decided not to tell them because Goofy has no sense of time yet and would be asking us how many days until we went nuts, countdown calendar or not!! Just for the record, I DID bring Goofy with me when I went to meet with our TA at AAA the day before I had Pooh. He just sat in the back and played his little game, and never figured it out. Have to laugh – he won’t believe it someday. Anyway, we had a big extended family trip planned to VA Beach in June that had been in the works for almost a year, so we didn’t want the excitement about Disney to override that, either. So, all planning was done when the kiddos were in bed (or at least, when the older two were in bed!). Our VA Beach trip came and went. It was AWESOME – a house right across the street from the beach, with its own pool, both sets of grandparents and my brother from CA (so lots of help with the little ones), and lots of time to unwind. We came home looking forward to concentrating on our Disney trip. But when and how to tell the kids? I counted out the days once we cleared Tink’s bday in July. We decided on the date we’d tell them – about 45 days out.

DH decided he wanted to make a treasure hunt-type thing for them, since they’re into that right now. It was my job to make the countdown calendar. Well, since I scrapbook, that was easy! I used my Cricut to cut out Mickey ears, found remnants of sheets of Disney stickers from past layouts, and got to work. Of course, Goofy had a massive nosebleed as I was working furiously on it the night before the “big reveal.” I ended up having to keep him in the living room so he couldn’t see where I was working at the kitchen table. But it got done later that night - here it is:


The next afternoon, we were ready to go. Tink and Goofy are too big for naptime, but in order to keep Mommy and Daddy’s sanity, we still have “rest time.” That’s where they play quietly in their rooms for at least an hour. Got me through the summer, I tell you!! Well, we were a little late getting them down for rest time since we were late getting home from church (which put us late having lunch, etc.). Then DH had to run errands that afternoon, and I ended up keeping them upstairs for a while. By the time he got home, he realized that he needed to find a video tape for the camera (I know – it’s old. We’re getting a new one for the trip). Add to this the fact that a pretty decent thunderstorm had decided to hit, and we had two kids who were REALLY done with rest time. I ended up keeping them (and Pooh) upstairs (where the noise from the storm is louder, of course) and occupied while DH set out his treasure hunt, rounded up a tape, and then cleaned our downstairs up enough so that it didn’t look trashed when we watched the tape. He seemed to be taking forever! Finally, he was ready, and we proceeded downstairs. It all went very well, really. Tink was able to read the clues, and Goofy just ran around being…well... goofy. They got to a point where they had to put together a puzzle, and it got to be too hard. DH had to step in and help. All this time, Pooh sat on my shoulder wondering what in the world was going on!

Here's Tink and Goofy working the puzzle:


Pooh, thinking we're all nuts (sorry about the red-eye):



By the time they figured out what it all meant, they really were excited.


We’d been talking a lot about Disney lately, and we’d told them that we weren’t going back until 2010, so they were really surprised. We then sat down to have dinner and watch a Disney video – something that we’re continuing every Sunday night until we leave. The kids love their “Disney movie picnic night!”
And, just to get him ready for his first Disney trip, here's one last shot of Pooh:
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VBsHustla View Post
Sounds great! We went during free dining two years ago, and loved it! We couldn't pass it up again this year, either. Also, please tell your DH he's rooting for the wrong team.
DH just shook his head. He gets a lot of that

We did free dining in 2005 - when we didn't realize we had to make ADRs ahead of time for every table service! I'm glad we know better now. Plus, planning is half the fun. Thanks for reading!
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:56 PM   #9
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Airline Woes

Why is it that we’re completely at the mercy of the airlines these days? We originally scheduled a non-stop flight both ways, leaving at around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday from Indy and getting in to MCO at around 10:30 or so. On our way back, we were supposed to leave around 11:00 a.m. and be back in Indy by 2. Now, we have a direct flight from Indy, but we’re returning to Indy from MCO via Detroit!! It turns out that Northwest no longer has non-stop flights from MCO to Indy (thank goodness they’ve still got them the other way around). I’m really not looking forward to having to change planes in Detroit the first time we fly with three kids. We haul a bunch of stuff around with us, and it takes us forever to get from one place to the other in an airport. Add on three tired, whiny kids after a Disney trip (and possibly some tired, whiny adults ) and only a one-hour layover, and I’m pretty nervous about this. We’re seriously thinking about driving down when we return in the summer of 2010. I know it’s a horribly long drive, but I’m not sure we can justify the cost when there will be five of us to ticket (Pooh is currently a lap baby – which makes me nervous, to be honest, but that’s another story). We survived a 12 hour drive (more like 15 with traffic) to VA beach this summer. I’m tired of the airlines being able to play with our plans! At least our departure from Indy hasn’t changed yet (please, please don’t let me have jinxed us!) Ok, sorry for the rant, but it's got me worried...

Anyway, I’ve been trying to do some shopping to gather things so that I don’t have to go to Wal Mart and blow $200 all at once the day before the trip. I’ve got ponchos left over from last summer for DH and I, and the two oldest kids have new Disney rain coats (Princess and Cars) that are very lightweight and will be perfect (found them at Target, I think). I figure we’ll throw an adult poncho over Pooh’s stroller. I’ve got cereal for DH and I (and Pop Tarts for the kids) for the three mornings we don’t have breakfast ADRs. I have lots of little toiletries and sunscreen left over from VA beach, so I’m set there. We happened across a sale at the Disney store when DH and I were out for our anniversary, and got everyone a new shirt to wear, plus some other little goodies. I also went to the dollar store to find some goodies for the two older kids to play with in the airports/planes/in the room until they buy their souvenirs. I’ve got the misting fans from our last trip (if I can find them), just bought a PassPorter (wow, I’m really liking that thing!)…am I missing anything??? I have an extensive list that I copied from Timandleslie’s PTR and modified for myself, and I really think it covers most things. I feel weird, though – like I’m not buying enough STUFF – and am afraid I’m going to get there and not have something really important. Then again, maybe it’s just me over-obsessing again! Feel free to chime in if you can think of something I’m missing! Goofy started pre-K today, so it's just Pooh and I most mornings of the week and it will be easier to run errands. I think I'm going to run to the Disney Store tomorrow to get Disney Dollars for them for the trip, plus get a few for DSIL's birthday on Thursday so that she can use them on her October trip (she's my planning buddy for our large-group family trips). I'm off to try and feed Pooh his first bit of cereal. Of course, he had six immunizations today (thankfully, only two shots and an oral vaccine), so he might not take to it very well. We'll have to see! Be back soon with another update...
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:22 PM   #10
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Your family is soo cute! And a lot like mine you DD sounds exactly like my 7 year old DD and your DS sound a lot like my 5 year old DS, not to mention the baby! When we went to WDW in March baby DS was 9 months and I was totally freaking out about flying with him and carting the other 2 behind us. It was a lot easier then I thought!

Anyway, can't wait to read more!
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Old 09-18-2008, 03:47 PM   #11
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Hey, I'm returning the favor and reading your report.

Well, actually I'm subscribing to your report, but I will be back to read it all later.

Off to make dinner!
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Old 09-19-2008, 02:46 PM   #12
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Hey, I'm returning the favor and reading your report.

Well, actually I'm subscribing to your report, but I will be back to read it all later.

Off to make dinner!
Welcome!!!
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Old 09-19-2008, 03:14 PM   #13
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Day 4 – Epcot

The alarm didn’t go off today!!! At least, the electric alarm didn’t go off. Pooh, on the other hand, went off at 6:30. But that was late for him, and this was the first time during the trip he hadn’t been up at all during the night, so we’ll take it! We let the older two wake up whenever (which isn’t very late when you’re all crammed in together, but that’s ok) and ate a leisurely breakfast in the room. It is something we did for the first time on our last trip – not rush out to a park first thing! It was unheard of for us at Disney, but we were hooked. This was such a peaceful morning!

We went swimming all together this time (since we were out before 10, I didn’t feel bad taking Pooh). So there are no pictures since no one stayed dry. But it was great to just play in the water with the kids. Pooh isn’t a fan of being cold, so he didn’t last in the water too long, but between DH and I we had it covered.

We went back to the room, hit the showers and were dressed and ready to go ALMOST at the time I wanted to be. It’s inevitable with us, I swear.



This was our one and only Epcot day. Our plan was to eat our lunch at Garden Grill then spend the entire day at Epcot, ending with Illuminations (hopefully!). Since we wanted the kids to last a while, and it was supposed to be hot again, we decided we’d fork out the money ($31!!!!!!) for a stroller. We were glad we did it for the day, but whose budget allows for this every day???!!? Of course, getting to the bus stop late, and waiting longer for a bus than we had been (but we’d been having REALLY good luck with buses up until then) got us there just in time for lunch. I took the confirmation number and Pooh and headed to The Land while DH took Tink and Goofy to get the stroller.

I checked in once I got to the restaurant and waited for the others. While I was standing there, several people walked up and headed to the counter and were told it would only be about a half hour wait. I know for a fact at least one of those families got in sooner than that (closer to 15 minutes). This is something to keep in mind – even during free dining, it was fairly easy to get in here, at least for lunch. And as you’ll see, this was one of our favorite meals. The character interaction is ending sometime this fall, though, so I don’t know what will become of this place.

We were seated shortly after DH and the kids caught up with us. We were on the top tier, and had a great view (though I don’t think many seats have a bad view here). If you’re not familiar with the restaurant, it rotates slowly through some of the scenes from the “Living with the Land” ride. It was neat, and made me want to ride the attraction. Goofy, however, had a different reaction. The four-year-old-fear-thing reared its head again, and he spent most of this meal on a lap. We finally figured out, at the end of the meal as we were leaving, that the reason he’d been telling us to hurry because we had to leave was not just because he didn’t like the noises. He honestly thought that the exit was only available when we could see it! I wish we’d have figured this out before. We spent a lot of time trying to reassure him that it was ok – we didn’t really understand what he was afraid of, and if we had we probably could’ve helped him a whole lot more! Tink loved the different views, though.

This meal is served family style. They have a kid’s selection, too, which is the standard chicken nuggets, French fries and mac & cheese. The adult menu is great – marinated flank steak, southern-fried catfish, rotisserie chicken, fresh green beans, cheesy potato casserole and oatmeal pull-apart rolls. I think there’s a salad that’s grown there in The Land that’s only served at dinner. Everything we had was yummy!! I got to eat all of the catfish, since DH doesn’t do fish. We ended up asking for more of the steak and the potatoes when our very attentive server came around. For dessert, we had a yummy berry turnover-type thing. The kids got make-your-own cupcakes, which they LOVED (and which finally got them to eat a little!).




This is also a character meal (at the moment). It was Chip and Dale, Pluto and Mickey.









They were all great – lots of time was spent at each table, and they actually came back around during the course of our meal and played (since the pictures/autographs were over) with the kids – including Pooh.









He seems to get a kick out of Chip and Dale. The kids really had fun here, and DH and I would come back without hesitation. I just wish I knew what they were going to do here now!

After we finished, DH asked me if I wanted a Fast Pass for Soarin’. There’s a bit of a story behind this – on our first “our family only” trip back in 2005, we put Future World off until the last day and it was the only day that the crowds prohibited us from doing rides. Soarin’ was one of those rides we didn’t get to do. Of course, it was the only ride that I’d really wanted to try just for me! So last summer, DH was determined I would ride it. Actually, we all rode it. I loved it – the kids, not so much. And we couldn’t all ride it this time because of Pooh. So I went ahead and let him get me a Fast Pass while I got the kids downstairs. To my surprise, he came back with a Fast Pass time about 40 minutes from the current time! I couldn’t believe it. He said the standby wait was about 30 minutes. When I took the time to look at the Tip Board, the wait was listed as 20 minutes for Soarin’ and 30 for Mission Space. I loved going at this time of year!!

While I waited for my Fast Pass, we went to the Seas with Nemo and Friends.



This had been a highlight of our last trip. In fact, my kids had never seen Finding Nemo when we went last year. But we now were major Nemo fans (actually, they were hooked the moment they went on the ride – we came home with a stuffed Squirt for Goofy – his pick!). So we walked through the empty queue and jumped on our Clam Mobiles. This is a bit of a basic ride to me, but the kids love it. We went straight from there to Turtle Talk, since it was only an 8 minute wait when we got there. Tink was able to ask a question last trip, so DH was helping her come up with one to ask in case she got picked this time, too. And (thanks to her hat, I think), she did! She asked how Squirt was doing. We learned that he’s just starting the third grade, but is “totally surfing on a fifth-grade level, dude.” I love that show! It’s so much fun to watch the kids interact with him.

While we were leaving Crush, Goofy kept insisting that we needed to go “switch the sharks.” He was adamant that this was something he’d done last time we were here, but we couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. It turns out it was this:



You have to turn the wheel to match up the shark and fish heads/bodies. It’s odd what they remember!! After the obligatory picture with Bruce



And the other sharks


Tink remembered something, as well. She wanted to do the Kidcot stop upstairs. So we jumped the escalator and headed up. At this point, we would be able to get more Fast Passes, so DH took Pooh and left to get one for Mission Space for him and three for Test Track, since Tink and I wanted to try this one this year. Tink, Goofy and I had fun making their Kidcot things.



If you’ve never done this before, there are places at just about every attraction where the kids can add something to a necklace-type thing that they wear. At The Seas, Tink colored a dolphin and Goofy colored a shark for their little collection. (It’s different in World Showcase – more on that later). We then went to see the tail end of a manatee presentation, and we watched them for a little while. Goofy and Tink were actually pretty darn interested in the story behind these animals and why they’re endangered. The teacher in me loved explaining things to them that they heard in the video, especially since I was obsessed with sea life as a kid myself. We also caught the beginning of a dolphin session in the big tank, but it was pretty crowded and hard to see, so we only stayed for a little while.

We met back up with DH and walked to the fountains near the Imagination pavilion so that they could play while I road Soarin’. I didn’t remember, at first, that the Fast Pass line had a wait, too. I’d been waiting about 10 minutes in the line, and I was worried about DH and the kids getting bored. I sent him a text reminding him of the other water play area and telling him to move on with the kids if he wanted to. Of course, as I was sending it a CM came and asked if there were any single riders. Yeah!! I managed to shave off a decent amount of wait time this way. Of course, DH called me back as I was taking off on the ride, so I couldn’t really do anything. I was just a little disappointed – I was placed on the very end of the middle row, so I could see the edge of the screen unless I turned my head to focus on the middle. It was also a lot more focused in the middle, so I ended up just staying turned. I still enjoyed the flight, though, and headed out to meet with DH as, it turns out, they were just heading out. (He didn’t remember where the other play area was). When I found them, they were doing this:



“But it’ll keep me cool, Mommy!”

We made a pit stop at Club Cool (they hadn’t been in the air conditioning this whole time like I had). Just for the record, you can do the slushies here (NOT in the build-your-own cups) for a snack credit. Neither of my kids drink sodas (for once, the pickiness is good!) so this was a good option for us. Of course, Tink doesn’t do slushies, either, but Goofy would live on them if I’d let him!!

We decided to split up again. I’d keep the kids at the water area while DH went to Mission Space. Then we’d switch, and Tink and I would go to Test Track first, with DH heading in afterwards. It turned out that it was a good thing that Goofy decided that all these rides were too much for him (he’d been ready to ride Test Track until we got there – I wouldn’t want him to do Mission Space yet!), because he immediately got COMPLETELY SOAKED. I mean, to-the-bone, head-to-toe soaked. I know lots of people suggest that you bring bathing suits for this. Well, I couldn’t fit all of Pooh’s stuff plus ponchos (just in case) and bathing suits in the backpack!! As you can see from the pictures below, Tink tiptoed around, getting only her legs and feet wet. For Goofy, though, there was no going back!







DH left for Mission Space and I stayed with Pooh (who needed to nap) and the two water babies. Of course, five minutes after DH had left, the cooler water got to Goofy and he needed a potty break!! AAAHHHH!! I had no idea where the bathrooms were, neither kid had shoes on, Pooh was screaming because he was overtired and having trouble falling asleep, and Goofy was doing the peepee dance. I had to get moving – and then my phone rang. DH, it turned out, had forgotten his Fast Pass when he left everything behind to ride! I told him what was going on and he hurried over, arriving just as I was throwing Goofy’s socks and shoes back on. Apparently it was a close call, but they made it. Tink had made a little friend, so she was completely happy to stay and play, and while the boys were gone Pooh finally gave out and went to sleep. When DH came back, he was shaking his head at how very wet Goofy was. He took a little video of Goofy letting the jets of water go straight up the back of his shirt, and then took off again. I finally had to have Goofy get out of the water so I could wring out his shirt and socks (he’d taken them back off and put them into a puddle, of course) and put them on the railing to dry at least a little.

For the record, Mission Space is a long ride!! Even though DH walked right on, he was gone over a half hour. Of course, he did make a purchase in the gift shop as he was leaving…and it was a sale item, so you know he had to have searched for it! Anyway, he got back and started to put Goofy back together, and Tink and I headed off for Test Track. We both enjoyed this, especially the outside ride, and Tink went on again with DH with another Fast Pass he’d picked up on his way back from Mission Space.

While they were gone, Goofy, Pooh and I toured Mouse Gear. I love this store! I could buy half of it. I did end up making my one non-pin souvenir purchase here. I got a ladies’ Mickey T – the bling version, since Mickey is all sparkly. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a t-shirt at Disney since our little family started coming, so it was fun. Of course, I realized yesterday that I can’t wear it when I’m going to be home with Pooh. He was covered with black glitter yesterday!
(continued...)
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October 2012 Trip report


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Old 09-19-2008, 03:23 PM   #14
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Once DH and Tink returned, we were all starting to run on fumes between the heat and (in the kids’ case) lack of food. It was after 5, so we headed towards World Showcase for the one meal I KNEW the kids would eat – Refreshment Port.

For those of you that are not familiar with this esteemed eating establishment…it’s a McDonald’s.

Yes, my children ate McDonald’s chicken nuggets in World Showcase.

Well, at least they ate!

Anyway…as soon as the kids had their McNuggets, I went with Pooh in search of my first Baby Care Center experience. The Baby Care Center in Epcot is in the best location, I think, because it’s more in the middle of the park (behind the Odyssey building, kind of in between WS and Future World. I can’t say enough about the Baby Care Centers! They are cool, quiet, places to recharge with your baby. Actually, I wish I’d have known – my whole family could have relaxed in the air conditioning while I nursed! As it was, I left DH with the older two and found the place on my own, figuring there wouldn’t be much there. I was very wrong! The nursing room was quiet, with comfortable chairs. Pooh loved it – he became much more animated once we were in there. I’m thinking it was due to the fact that he wasn’t baking out in the heat (a drawback to not being able to ride many of the rides!!) and he wasn’t being constantly over stimulated. There is also a separate changing area in each center, as well as an area for resting (usually with a TV and/or toys) and an area where you can purchase baby items. The MK center even had a room full of high chairs and a microwave where you could heat up baby food! I seriously wish more people knew about these. I mean, I’ve come across posts about them here and there on the DIS, but I didn’t realize what a great resource they were.

So, Pooh and I returned, refreshed, to find that the kids had FINALLY FINISHED A MEAL, and were eating a few snack credits worth of ice cream cones as a reward (I know, but it was so uncommon on this trip!!!).


(Yes, he's still wet! He was still wet when we put his pajamas on that evening!!!)
So they were feeling pretty good, too. Unfortunately, DH was not. He was hot and hungry, so we immediately headed towards the WS counter service restaurant we’d been planning to look at – Tangerine Café in Morocco. We’d eaten at Marrakesh in 2005, but hadn’t really been able to work a return trip in since for one reason or another. I was tempted to stop and tour the first few countries we passed , but when DH needs to eat, he needs to eat. He did manage to take a good photo of Canada (so pretty!), and we saw the entrance, at least, to Le Cellier (someday, I’d really like to try that place, after hearing so much about it here).


We arrived in Morocco and decided we liked the looks of Tangerine Café’s menu, so I sat with the kids while DH went to order his food. It was at this point, as Pooh decided he’d rather we have chosen an air-conditioned place to eat (the only drawback of Tangerine Café), that I realized we’d lost the pacifier. The last time we remembered having it was when I was trying to get him to sleep at the water play area. We searched through the backpack, the stroller – everything. No pacifier to be seen!! Now, we had two more back in the room (we’re not completely stupid), but none with us. And it was only about 6 or 6:30 – we really didn’t want to head back. So we worked on getting him to settle with some cereal while we ate. It wasn’t the most relaxing meal, let me tell you. I finally got up with the kids and went out to explore the fountain in the courtyard with the kids while DH finished his baklava in peace. My kids love fountains, so it’s cheap entertainment!

We’d been out there a few minutes when something caught my eye – Aladdin and the Genie were across the way! I yelled to DH through the window where we were going and high-tailed it over there with the kids (he ended up joining us in time to take pictures, as you can see below). We’d never seen these particular characters before, so we were excited. Well, Tink and I were. Goofy, for some reason, wanted nothing to do with them, so we didn’t push him. Pooh got a kick out of them, though, and Aladdin came right up to him and interacted with him for a few minutes. Pooh also seems to be drawn to the color blue, so you can see him just staring at the Genie in these pictures.







We all got packed back in the strollers and ready to head out.


It was time to hunt down some KidCot masks for the kids. We finally tracked one down in Japan, and the kids got a kick out of them.




We spent the rest of our time in WS browsing the different lands and stopping at all of the KidCot stops we could find.







By the way - I'm glad that Disney has a sponsor so that these stations can stay running, but WHY does it have to be Sharpie??? Goofy had permanent marker on his hands, legs and arms by the time we were done...

We didn’t get all of them, and Tink has said she wants to try to get them all in 2010. I think we’re going to need to do Epcot in two days that trip – one day starting early and ending earlier getting though Future World, and another day (starting later and staying out later) hitting WS.

At this point, we found a spot for Illuminations just off to the side of Cantina San Angel there in Mexico where there was a bench and a larger area to park the stroller. I was so excited to actually be getting to see it! DH took off to find a frozen espresso treat he’d seen earlier, and a soft pretzel for the kids. No luck on the espresso treat (this wasn’t his day) – the machine was broken, or they were out, or something. But we all settled in to wait (it was about 8:20 or so when we got our spot). We were right up against the railing, and there was another couple on the bench, but that was it. Tink and Goofy could sit in the stroller, and DH and I could take turns on the bench. We were pretty well set.

We had fun talking with the other couple, snacking, and (in DH’s case) getting the cameras ready. He videotaped it, but no pictures - too much going on!! The kids also passed on a little pixie dust of their own. I had a baggie of stickers from the dollar store for each of them (Cars for Goofy, Princesses for Tink), and I told them that they were magic stickers because we could give them to people who were hot and tired to make them smile. Goofy, with the sweet heart he has, said, “Yep, Mommy. See my face? I’m smiling! It’s because you gave me a sticker!” I had put one on his shirt just before this. So, they both had their light-up toys we’d bought them back in 2005 (best money we’ve ever spent – they’ve lasted through three trips, and I put them away each time so they’re “new” again) and a baggie full of stickers to share. Tink, in particular, couldn’t wait to give away her stickers. We had a great time passing them along.

Finally, the opening narration for Illuminations started. I LOVED the part where he says, something about hoping we enjoy Illuminations: Reflections of Earth and then it sounds like he’s blowing out all of the torches that have been lit!! Awesome!

It turns out, the globe that’s usually used for this show was being refurbished at the time (of course!!!). But I loved the show anyway. We’d gotten copies of the CD with all the music from the Millennium Celebration back in 2000, so the soundtrack was familiar to me (I have always really liked that CD!). The kids covered their ears, and remarked that “The fire was really, REALLY hot!” since you could feel it all the way out where we were on the shore, but they both really seemed to like it. And, since I held Pooh up against me so one ear was against my cheek and covered his other ear with my free hand, he was ok during it, too – only jumped a few times.

Then it was over, and we had to head back. Now, we’d gotten a spot near Mexico to make it easier to slip right out and not wait in that huge line for a bus. But by the time we packed everything back up, there was no escaping it. So, we made the best of it – enjoying more music from the CD that I liked so well (I really enjoy the song that accompanied that really cool parade they had in 2000 – with the guys on the stilts, remember?), walking slowly and attempting to take pictures, waving at the Cast Members as they waved goodbye to us. It was really enjoyable, especially because we had control of the children and I didn’t have to worry about someone getting separated. We ended up stopping at the really big pin kiosk there by the fountains. I got two pins – a summer 2008 pin and one that’s got Mickey in the umbrella scene from Singing in the Rain (my all-time favorite movie musical) that I just adore. Then we slowly made our way over to return the stroller, and our two wonderful older children didn’t complain even once on the way to the buses! We had a bit of a wait, but nowhere near as bad as I’d feared (probably a combination of low crowd levels and taking our time to get there). We talked to a very pleasant couple from New Jersey that had been for a parent’s night out that evening as we waited. DH made yet a few more friends on the bus ride home (he was standing, of course) and was trying to sell them on MNSSHP (yes, he is hooked).

We got back to the hotel, put the kids in bed


and DH went for ice cream for the two of us, since we hadn’t had a treat yet that night (hey – we were on vacation!). He ran into the huge crowds I’d run into the night before, and was amazed! Then we settled in to watch the Colts LOOSE their home opener at the new stadium (which, I have to say, is really cool to go to – our high school played there in a fundraiser for Peyton Manning’s charity and we got to go), which was a bummer. But then we had to go to bed. Currently, the plan was to hit THREE (yes, I said three) different parks/areas the next day – AK for the Nemo musical, Downtown Disney so that DH could pick up the items he hadn’t gotten our first night, and MK because we always end there. Let me also note that we had a 9:20 ADR at Chef Mickey’s for breakfast, which was going to seriously affect our ability to do all of this. PLUS, we realized that it was an early morning EMH at AK the next day…and we’d be getting there 2-3 hours later. I was getting worried about this combination. Stay tuned to see how it went!!
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October 2012 Trip report


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Old 09-19-2008, 04:48 PM   #15
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I love Epcot! Two days there in 2010 would be fine with me! I love the picture with all three kids sitting in the strollers looking at the maps. I know how much they love those maps! Your pins sound cool! I love Singing in the Rain! We need to have a musical marathon day (with scrapbooking and chocolate of course). I really want to see Illuminations this time. I am hoping that we can do it. I also want to do Test Track. I think our DH's rode it together last time. The food sounded good. I wonder what is going to happen with Garden Grill? I guess the characters at Liberty Tree Tavern end in January. Hopefully, Disney has some cool replacement character meals coming out. Giving away the stickers was a good idea! Oh, and the sleeping kids picture was cute too! (Lilo made the trip!). I like the shirt you had on. Is that from the Disney store? I am going to try to update my PTR tonight. Great update!
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