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Old 06-03-2009, 03:54 PM   #1
crocko
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PTR; Joshua and Samantha's 1st Trip (Sep 17-26 '09) [Train Tour Pics!]

I've been a DISer for about 2 weeks now (something like that) and am ready to put together my first ever Pre-Trip Report. Since September hours finally came out, I feel ready to start discussing the pre-trip plans.

First, some introductions.

The Guests: (the entire Crocker family)
7 total in the group [will update soon with pics]

John (me) à I am 28 years old and have always been a huge Disney fan. Growing up, my favorites were actually the Disney comics. I love to read the old stories by Carl Barks, and even more I love the stories and artwork by Don Rosa. I believe the #1 contributor to my current vocabulary skills is those comics. I need to check old family pictures, but I believe I have been to Disney World 8 times – 5 while growing up with my family, then two long vacations with my wife (including our honeymoon) and once this last December with my wife and my sister (first non-Spring/Summer trip to Disney).

Bridgette (my wife) à She is 27. We met in high school and have been happily married now for 8 years (come June 9th…which yes, is also Donald Duck’s birthday). She’s a big Disney fan, too, just doesn’t get quite as pre-trip planning crazy as I do.

Joshua (our son) à He is currently 4, but will have turned 5 before our trip. He is a big Disney fan. Loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, and Phineas & Ferb. We went and saw UP on Monday and he is ready to go back and watch it again. Thanks to Lego Star Wars on the Wii, Joshua has also become an avid Star Wars fan…so watch out Jedi Training Academy and Star Tours. (First-timer to Disney World)

Samantha (our daughter) à She just turned 3 and despite my initial efforts, she loves to be a princess and loves the color pink. Oh well, she’s cute about it. Samantha loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and My Friends Tigger & Pooh (she’s completely unaware of a Pooh world that doesn’t have Darby in it). Her favorite princess is Ariel and she really likes Marie from the Aristocats. Her 3-year old birthday party is this Saturday and it will be Alice in Wonderland-themed. (First-timer to Disney World)

Mary (my sister) à Mary is my only sibling and is a few years older than me (I’ll just leave it at that). Last year, Mary called me one evening and sprang the news that she was calling from Orlando (not Plano, TX where she lives). She had taken an impromptu weekend trip to WDW and while there caught the DVC bug and joined up. Turns out to be great news for our vacation, though. Originally, my immediate 4-person family was planning on staying at All-Star Movies. Now, because of her DVC membership and points, we will get to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Woohoo!!

Linda (my mom) à A big Disney fan. Besides several trips to WDW, she has been to DisneyLand a couple times and she and Mary even recently took a trip to Paris and visited DisneyLand there as well. She loves her grandkids and is very excited to join us on their first trip.

Jim (my dad) à Not necessarily a big Disney fan, but he has fun on these trips and will enjoy vacationing with Joshua and Samantha. He refuses to wear shorts, so despite September heat, will be wearing pants throughout the trip.


The Calendar and Travel:
Our trip will start on Thursday, September 17th. My family will be leaving from Oklahoma City early Thursday morning, with a layover in Houston and a 1:30ish landing time in Orlando. My sister and parents will be leaving from Dallas (my parents live in OKC, but are driving down to Texas on Wednesday) and have a direct flight which should get to Orlando around 12:45ish.
Our flights back will be on Saturday, September 26th. Both flights will leave Orlando sometime around 6:00pm.


The WDW Home:
As mentioned, due to my sister’s DVC membership, we will get to spend 9 nights/10 days at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. She has just enough points to get us in a 2-bedroom, savannah-view for the entire stay in the newly opened Kidani Villas. I have seen Jack Spence’s pictures from allears.net and am very excited about this location.


The Purpose:
Purpose? Who needs a purpose to go to Disney World? Basically, Bridgette and I have tried to plan two big Disney trips in the past several years….each time, within about 2-3 weeks of deciding to start planning, we found out that she was pregnant and thus put Disney on hiatus. Well, we’ve been planning this trip for quite some time now and no baby news. The kids are both at an age where we feel they are ready for this kind of trip and are more than itching to go. We spent 3 nights in WDW this past December…the excuse then was to get in one more no-kids trip and do some scoping out (since that was our first trip in over 6 years…quite a few new things had popped up).
In general, though, the big purpose is that this is Joshua and Samantha’s first trips to Walt Disney World and they are super-excited.

I’ll let these introductions be all for now and will add more later today or tomorrow.


Cast (Pics)
Introduction to Disney Alphabet Countdown Project
Samantha's 3rd Birthday Party (Alice In Wonderland theme)
Itinerary & ADR list as of 98-day mark
First Disney shirt of the trip is made (Joshua, I am your shirt.)
The Pin is mightier.....first post regarding my current Pin collection.
ADR Day -- Disaster or Relief?
June, St. Louis TR starts
Day 1 Gameplan
Day 2 Gameplan
Day 3 Gameplan
Day 4 Gameplan
Day 5 Gameplan
Day 6 Gameplan
Day 7 Gameplan
Day 8 Gameplan
Day 9 Gameplan
Day 10 Gameplan
August, Plano TX Trip Report
Booked the Dining Plan! (Revised ADR List)
A Christmas Carol Train Tour
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Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)

Last edited by crocko; 09-02-2009 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:23 AM   #2
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Okay, time to add some pics.

Above I have mentioned who the cast is but now to put a friendly (or something like that) face to the name and info.

First, me (John)...your author and my wife (Bridgette)





These pics come from the 3-day trip my wife, my sister, and I went on back in December last year. I'm excited because I've currently lost about 21 pounds since that trip. You can also see my wife and I posing for shots in Agrabah and in Japan.




And there's one of my beautiful wife with Pocahontas (was really cute how excited my wife was to get a picture with her)



Next, my sister (Mary)



We did MVMCP our first night and it rained off-and-on that night. Mary is very camera-phobic so this is one of the few I have of her, but I really like this one of Bridgette and her. You can tell that despite being wet we are having a good time.



Then, my parents (Jim and Linda)



Picture of my dad during his birthday last year




Not sure of the event, but picture of my mom sometime last year as well.



And now, for the kiddos....Joshua and Samantha





Joshua with his new Cars bike
Samantha looking very mysterious and pretty at the zoo
and the two together laughing about something silly Bridgette said to try and get them to smile (I love that pic)
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Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)

Last edited by crocko; 06-04-2009 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:08 AM   #3
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Just wanted to hop on over andcheck out your Pre-trip, since you were kind enough to respond to mine. Now all I have to do is figure out how to put the link in my signature

Beautiful family, love the picture of the kids cracking up. Those are always the best - really seem to capture the essence of childhood.
Looking forward to reading more!!
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:11 AM   #4
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Gracias!

Glad to have my first reader. If nothing else, we can keep each other entertained.
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Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)

Last edited by crocko; 06-05-2009 at 09:55 AM. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:15 AM   #5
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Okay, before I get into the daily planning, I want to take a post to talk about some things we've been doing with the kids to get them excited and prepared for the big trip.

We are homeschool parents (more-so my wife since she's the stay-at-home parent) and even though Joshua and Samantha are currently only 4 and 3, we still try to come up with appropriate work/projects to start their learning process. Our trip starts on September 17th, so back on March 17th, I remember being excited about hitting the 6-months to go mark. In "working the math" I also realized that in two days (March 19th) we would be exactly 26 weeks away. 26? Wait a second! That's how many letters are in the alphabet!

So, I came up with idea that each week (Thursday - Wednesday) the kids would start a new letter as a "countdown to Disney" So, on March 19th, we would be starting the letter A.
Part of the goal for each week would be to introduce Disney World and Disney friends to the kids based on the letter of the week. The other goal would be to have a few "school" tasks to be done as well that somewhat followed the letter of the week.

So, March 19th...Week "A" -- let me give some examples:

The Disney portion --> the goal here is to talk about a WDW ride, a WDW non-ride, Disney friends, and try to find some A character coloring pages/worksheets.

So, Disney ride = Astro Orbiter!
5 pics were printed and then we told Joshua and Samantha about the ride, where it's at, and how cool it will be.


They've been loving this. Joshua loves rockets and both kids are excited about this ride.

Non-ride --> Animal Kingdom Lodge!
This is where we will be staying, so it is a perfect choice for the letter "A"

We printed a few pictures showing what AKL looks like inside and outside and a picture of some of the people that may be welcoming us.



Now, when I ask where we'll be staying, even little Samantha can remember and spit it out...of course, the joke now is that they love to be silly and say Animal....Kingdom.....Ice Cream!


Disney friends --> Then we also printed out pictures of several famous "A" Disney friends:
Alice, Aladdin, Abu, Arthur, Aurora, Archimedes, Andy, and of course...Ariel.




And then, through some various websites, I was able to find worksheets, bookmarks, and coloring pages featuring these "A" characters.




Next....some examples of our weekly "school work".....
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Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:45 AM   #6
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That is such a great idea!! Now I wish we had 26 weeks left!! So creative! We are working on theme-dinners for Sunday nights.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:29 AM   #7
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Great job with the letters!! There are a lot of characters I would never think of. Do you conjure these out of your memory or is google helping?

One note on Dinoland, it is great even if it is hot. The playground area has water and fans to keep you cool. And the CMs are great! Last year my DD2 at the time went down a slide and I didn't know where she came out. I was up on top looking down trying to find her, and I saw her walk out the gate! A CM was standing right there and walked her back in. Scary but the CMs in that area are wonderful

Needless to say I won't be letting her out of my sight this year
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:44 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice. Since the kids won't be able to ride Primeval Whirl (and I definitely plan on riding it) I'm hoping they can spend some time having fun in the rest of DinoLand.

As for characters for each letter, quite a bit of research has gone into it.
First, I found ScrapSayings. It has been helpful, but is only so-so up-to-date.
Then, I found this person's flickr photos in which "they" post pics (by alphabet) of any character they've been photo'ed with. Very cool to see the variety of characters that have been at the parks the past decade.
Later, I found this HooZoo List. It has a lot of characters, but most are from the comic books...so have only used a few from that list since my kids aren't into the comics yet.
Recently I found this site and am thankful. Not completely up-to-date for new movies, but has a great list of characters by alphabet.

I've used these lists and then for newer movies and shows, I've just mentally gone through the main characters that I know my kids would be interested in. From UP, I'm specifically making sure to add Carl, Dug, Kevin, and Russell.
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Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:23 PM   #9
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I totally forgot to subscribe the other day. I was wondering why I didn't have any updates. LOL I'm subsribed now! I'm getting some wonderful teaching ideas from you for my 2year old.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:38 PM   #10
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Okay, I mentioned at the end of the day Friday that Saturday would be Samantha's 3-year old birthday party. So, my next update is going to be about her party.

Theme: Alice in Wonderland

Below are a few pics of the cake and cookie decorations.






We also did our best to appropriately decorate the area with other Wonderland items (teapots, red roses...including some white ones being painted red, cards, flamingos, and the lamps that hang above the Mad Hatter's table)






For the computer wallpaper, I found this "famous" pic that I thought was appropriate:




Now for the birthday girl!
Before getting dressed, I caught a silly pic of her wearing the Mad Hatter's hat (well, our closest rendition of the hat)




and for party time, Alice!




During the party, Samantha and her friends had time to color some Alice in Wonderland coloring pages, decorate their own cookies, and of course...there was the blowing out of the candles






The boys -- as the party was winding down, Joshua got into his own "fun gear". Meanwhile, yours truly (the Mad Hatter) is relaxing and watching the good times.





Last pic...the kids got a few minutes to go play outside on our playground. Here is a cute pic of Samantha and her friend (also dressed up as Alice)




It was a good party. Our friend made the cake and we were very excited at how good a job she did....plus, it tasted really good. Many presents were opened, including probably her favorite...the karaoke High School Musical microphone. It includes 10 of the top HSM songs that she can sing along with into her microphone. In reality, she dances along to them more than she sings...that's okay -- Mom and Dad don't mind doing the singing.

Fun weekend....of course, just keeps me wishing the Countdown to Disney would move more quickly.
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Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)
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Old 06-08-2009, 04:47 PM   #11
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Going to try and get caught up on some more of the letters we have already covered. I left off with the letter "D" last.

Letter E
Ride - Spaceship Earth (hey...Earth starts with E)
Non-ride - Epcot (later in the PTR, I'll let you know our gameplan for how to tackle this big park)
Characters: Eve, Eeyore, Eric, Esmeralda, Ed (Lion King), Edgar (Aristocats), Eilonwy, Emile, Edna




Letter F
Ride - Gran Fiesta Tour (Fiesta! Some people don't like the new changes to this Mexico ride, but I like it. I love Donald and have no problem with putting some new life into a ride that had gotten somewhat boring)
Non-ride - FASTPASS (problem now, is making my son understand that not on every ride can we take the shortcut line)
Characters: Ferb, Fillmore, Flo, Flounder, Friar Tuck, Flower, Figment, Flicker, Felipe, Frollo, Figaro, Flik, Ferdinand




Letter G
Ride - Goofy's Barnstormer (hoping kids will like this "rollercoaster")
Non-ride - Gates (showed pics of all the entrances to the parks. We'll be doing rope drops, so we'll have to get used to seeing these gates)
Characters: Gabriella, Guido, Goofy, Gaston, Gus Gus, Gepetto, Grumpy, Gopher, Gyro Gearloose, Genie, Goliath (JoJo), Giselle (Enchanted)




Letter H
Ride - Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Set (not exactly a ride, but a play attraction atleast...should be interesting since my kids are anti-bugs)
Non-ride - Hollywood Studios (depending on popularity of DHS shows, we could stay really busy trying to get everything done at this fun park)
Characters: Huey, Capt. Hook, Hercules, Hades, Happy, Hamm, Hopper, Heimlich, Horace Horsecollar





Well, there's 4 more letters. I will try to get I through J done tomorrow...which will at least get me caught up to where we're currently at.

__________________
Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:00 PM   #12
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I am still here!! I have been reading without posting lately. Bad reader

Have a great trip!! I wish I was a little faster on the post, but around January this year, there was a big hoopla about the leapster2. Apparently it was not meeting the new lead limits, even though they had not been imposed yet. I hope they cleared that all up!! I got my daughter the original leapster, just for reasons of price.

Can't wait to hear about the trip when you get back! Maybe by then I will have at least one chapter of my report up!!

Safe travels
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheap traveler View Post
I am still here!! I have been reading without posting lately. Bad reader

Have a great trip!! I wish I was a little faster on the post, but around January this year, there was a big hoopla about the leapster2. Apparently it was not meeting the new lead limits, even though they had not been imposed yet. I hope they cleared that all up!! I got my daughter the original leapster, just for reasons of price.

Can't wait to hear about the trip when you get back! Maybe by then I will have at least one chapter of my report up!!

Safe travels
Thanks!

And yes....make sure you get that TR started so I have some reading to come back to
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Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:21 AM   #14
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ONLY 2 MORE DAYS UNTIL DISNEY WORLD!!!

LOL...ignore the scared guys...I'm super excited!

In about 44 hours, I should be on a plane


In fact, vacation time gets to start for my parents in less than 4 hours. My mom is taking off a little early form work today and then her and Dad will head down to Texas...they will stay with my sister tonight, take the dogs to be watched tomorrow morning, and then tomorrow night, will pick my sister up from work and go stay at a Dallas airport hotel.
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Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:23 AM   #15
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By the way,

I stopped at Home Depot yesterday and picked up some Alien Green Mickey heads. The plan is to have one on the bag that I'll be carrying everywhere. So, look out for those lime Mickeys those of you who will be on vacation soon like me.
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Disney Hotels we've stayed at:
Caribbean Beach (2001)
All-Star Movies (2002)
Saratoga Springs (2008, 2011)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (2009)
Old Key West (2009)
Beach Club (2010, 2011)
Wilderness Lodge (2011)
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