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Old 09-26-2010, 01:00 AM   #1
Dreaming of Disney
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Location: In Florida - close to Mickey's front door, yet still so far away!!
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A Trip Fit for a Birthday Princess - BBB update 1-5

Hi everyone! My name is Tanya and I am a Disney addict. Yes, it's true. I've been addicted most of my life, and the cravings are getting worse. I do not want help or recovery, just let me visit my favorite place on Earth and cheat on my Husband with Mickey!

Now that I've got that out of the way...

I have never done a proper TR before. We did a DCL VR last year, and I sorta did a TR thrown in with our PJ. Click the link below if you want to check it out.

About me - I have lived in FL all of my life. Most of it is has been spent about 2 hrs away from the Mouse's house, and my 1st trip was when I was 3. I attached myself to Mickey's leg on that trip and wouldn't let go. It was too the point that they had to get security and my parents to pry me off of him! I guess I can say that Mickey was my first love.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to go there many times since then. I actually can't even count how many times I've been. That being said, my family HATES Disney and will not go back. We did have several trips that turned out not-so-good, but they were due to a lack of planning and me being sick. My side of the family actually thinks that going to the parks is a waste of time and money, and they cannot fathom why we want to go back over and over.

I am a photographer. My hubby and I live in a small town and own the only photo studio in town. It sounds like a sweet deal, but the economy has hit all of us really hard. We have one of the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in the state. I also used to work as an assistant band director waaay back in the day, until budget cuts got rid of that position. Then I became a Realtor for 4 yrs until the market went in the toilet. (I think I am seeing a trend with my careers here.) Anyway, I am currently finishing my masters in education and working towards getting certified to teach again, in the hopes of a steady paycheck.

My DH is Dan aka Dan-the-Man. We have been together for 11 yrs and married for 10.

He is the love of my life and we could not be happier together. He used to manage restaurants for a living and make decent $ at it, but we decided to move to the boonies of our small town for a laid back life. He used to work 100 hrs or more a week, and now he works about 36. He had never been to a theme park in his life until he met me. Our 1st trip together was a big disaster as we went with a cast member friend who just kind of dragged us along for a few random things, and we ended up fighting about stuff at the end of it. (It was one of those "I work here, and have seen everything, so I don't care to see it or do it again." While we were like - we've never done any of this - let's go!) We had a good enough time to want to go back - although DH didn't share my love of all things Disney yet.

Our 2nd trip was even a bigger disaster. Another CM friend gave us passes for the day and we went for only half a day before I got really ill and we had to leave. I am super heat sensitive and have a lot of health issues, and this was before we knew this and how to deal with it. This was a horrible waste of a trip, and it makes both me and DH mad to think about it.

After that, we didn't go to Disney for about 7 yrs. We didn't have the money to spend on it, and I had 8 surgeries in that time period. We also were finally able to get pregnant, and I was on bed rest for all my pregnancies.

Finally, in 2007, with 2 healthy babies, and a somewhat healthy me recovering from a hysterectomy, Dan's family convinced us to take a family trip to Disney World. We booked a hotel at All-Star Movies, and we lucky enough once again to be given passes for admission. We stayed for 4 days and had THE BEST TIME EVER! It was the most amazing trip and we had several moments that brought tears of joy to our eyes. Viewing Disney through the eyes of our children was just magical. After that, DH was finally addicted with me.

Our children are Drew - age 5

and Mackenzie - now age 4.

She's our birthday princess and the reason for the trip.

My kids have been force fed Disney since they were born, and they love any and everything that is Disney related. We spoiled them last year, as we got FL Resident passes for the family as our only Christmas present in 08. I remember crying when I opened the card from my DH with the money in it to buy us passes. It was all I had asked for - for months, and he was able to save up to do it. So we had a fantastic year of day trips to Disney. We would pick 1 day a month and drive up and have fun for most of the day and come home beat. We were also fortunate enough to celebrate our VR on DCL and do a magical Bridal Portrait session in the empty parks. It has been a magical wonderful year, and I was so sad when our passes expired last Dec.

With the economy going in the tank, we have had to really tighten our finances, and I didn't think that Disney would be possible again for a long time. But then the kids started asking, "When are we going to Disney?" Kenzie would wake up in the morning and say, "Momma, are we going to see my castle today?" So when we started asking what she wanted for her birthday this year, all she wanted was to go to Disney and see "HER castle and the princesses".

After the amount of money we spent on her party last year, we decided if we skipped the party and the presents, it would be possible. I saved up the money from all of my portrait sessions for the past six months, and we were FINALLY able to go!

So here is the tale of our 2nd ever stay on property. This time we stayed at POP for 3 days and 2 nights, and had lots of magical experiences mixed in with several meltdowns.

Oh, and one more thing you should know - we have notorious bad luck. Not sure why, but if it can go wrong, it usually does. Thankfully, we had a good bit of pixie dust to help us through this trip.

Get ready for a lot of pictures!

Last edited by CinderelliT; 01-05-2011 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:45 AM   #2
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We have spent 4 months seriously planning this trip. I got us ADR's at Ohana's for breakfast, Akershus for lunch, and 1900 PF for dinner on this trip. This is during free dining - so scoring these was no easy task. We are not staying long enough to earn free dining, so we have to pay out of pocket for all of this. We originally also had Chef Mickey's and a 50's PTC, but canceled them for financial reasons. - I am actually so thankful that we did. We also got reservations at the barber shop in MK for Kenzie's first haircut, and a BBB appt for her and the Drewman.

In addition to this, I made us lots of goodies to take with us. Thanks to the wonderful DISigners on the boards, we have a lovely countdown calendar, t-shirts, invitations, and more that I spent months making. I also made us a photo book for character autographs that has places for them to sign and pics of us with the character's from our previous trip. In addition to all of that, I sewed us all matching shirts, and made Kenzie several dresses to wear in the parks. Whew! (I don't sleep much.)

I'll have to take pics and post some of these things to share. It has been so much fun putting together all of these things, and I have to say that planning has been almost as much fun as going.

We hit a few roadblocks in the planning process though. We have 3 little dogs - they are also our children and loves of our lives. They are part of why we don't stay on property. But when Disney offered a huge discount for FL residents, I was able to get our hotel booked for almost 1/2 off the normal rate. I couldn't pass that up, and I wanted a real vacation where we could relax for a couple of days. Originally I thought we could take the dogs with us and board them there - that was until a couple of weeks ago when Disney closed there normal kennels and opened up their Doggy Day Spa! The cost of boarding the dogs there would be more than our hotel for us!! I can't do that! So we scrambled around and finally got several friends to come to our rescue to help us take care of the dogs. I was terrified that if we boarded them here - it would have to be for 5 days b/c of drop off and pick up times, that they would have a nervous breakdown. (Little doxies don't like to be away from people.) So literally, like a couple of days before we leave, we finally get the dogs sorted out. Major stress relief.

That was until...

Kenzie started throwing up the day before we left! WHAT???? I have this entire trip planned around her! She can't get sick. What if we all get sick? My biggest fear is throwing up (or worse) in front of a crowd of people at Disney. Know why? Because I've done it before! I'll never forget being 13 and puking on the HM ride over and over b/c I got food poisoning. It was mortifying and scarred me for life. (BTW did I mention I have panic attacks and OCD? - yep that's right and things that I cannot control such as a sick child totally send me over the edge.)

So I totally freaked out the night before we left, to the point that DH drugged me with xanax to get me to sleep. Fortunately, no one else got sick, and Kenzie never had a fever or anything, and was fine by morning. THANK GOODNESS.

We also have never been to Disney 1st thing in the morning. Say what? That's right. We are night owls. Our work schedules make it where we normally stay up late and sleep in during the day. This is what working in restaurants does to a person. Our kids are on the same schedule too. So imagine my surprise when I read about rope drop! I didn't know anything about it or that there was even a ceremony. I decided that it would be our goal to make it to RD at the MK on our first day. I figured we could handle it since Drewman started kindergarten this year and we've had to get up early in the morning lately.

So at 5 am on Tues the 21st, we were up and trying to get out the door. Except that getting out the door in our house is impossible. We always leave something behind and have to go back to retrieve it, and DS Drew is "special". We don't know what he is yet, but he's something. We think he might have Asperger's syndrome - which is part of the Autism spectrum, but we aren't sure, and we are working on finding a doctor that can give us the right diagnosis. He's been diagnosed as ADD, ADHD, oppositional defiant, and possible sensory something or another disorder. Yet, none of these have been quite right, and the doctors have been a nightmare to deal with. That's a story for another day though.

What y'all need to know is that he is difficult to deal with, and especially so when he is excited, tired, over stimulated, or when there is a change in his schedule. He is also getting increasingly difficult to deal with as he gets older. Changing schools and going into kindergarten has been a nightmare, and DH and I are exhausted from dealing with him. Don't get me wrong, we love him dearly, but things are never normal in our house. We even seriously debated about leaving him home with his nana, but decided that we wanted this to be a family trip.

So a couple of meltdowns later, we were finally on the road at 6:15 am. Much later than I had hoped, but there was still a possibility of making RD. We decided to check in to our hotel 1st to leave our luggage and get our parking passes, plus eat some breakfast. At least this was the plan. Kenzie and I had dressed in our Tink outfits, as we have never seen the fairies before, but not for a lack of trying. I was hoping that today would be the day.

We had a nice uneventful trip up to Orlando until we got on the exit for Disney - #62 on I-4, and passed what the kids call Mickey's Lake (The run off pond next to the interstate exit), when DH says, do you have the directions to get to the hotel?

I say - What? What directions? You didn't grab them?

Nope - he says. And I say it's no big deal since we've driven up here several times before, we know the general area. There are signs everywhere. We should have no problem getting to our resort.


OMG!!! I swear we saw a sign for every resort but POP. We turned around like 20 times, and finally out of dumb luck saw a sign that said POP when we were by the boardwalk. THANK GOD! But between that and us leaving late, I knew that RD was a thing of the past.

It didn't matter though, since I was SOOOO EXCITED to get to stay on property. When we pulled up to the resort, it was awesome. I can't even describe the feeling with words.
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:17 AM   #3
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We get there and go to check in and guess what??? Pixie dust! Our room was ready! I couldn't believe it. We did the online check in and said that we would be there early in the morning, but I didn't expect it to be ready. Last time we went, there were problems and our room wasn't ready til late - like 5 pm or something along those line.

So I was really surprised to get a room this early at 8am in the morning. So we load up all of our stuff and head off to our room. It's in the 50's section facing the bowling pin pool. It was a corner room that overlooked the lake facing the abandoned building. It was actually quite peaceful, but a good distance away from everything. It was like the absolute back corner of the resort. I couldn't believe how much walking we did just going from the van to check in, back to the van, then from the van to the room, and finally back to the van. Ugghh! My fat out-of-shape butt with my bum ankle wasn't happy, and this was just the start. Plus the kids were cranky already as it was an early morning for them.

Anyway, we get to the room, and I wouldn't let anyone in until we checked for bedbugs. I was terrified that we were going to find something out of a horror movie in there after some of the things I've read on these boards. So I go in our room and examine everything. Looks really clean. Not a remodeled room, but I don't care. It's clean and nice and Disney, so I am happy. I pull back all the sheets and covers to double check about the bedbugs, and decide that we are all clear. I call the family in, and we are so excited that I go and bounce on the bed and flop around on it. The kids start running around checking everything out and finally bounce on their bed.

So we unload everything and realize the time! Kenzie has a reservation to have her 1st haircut at the barber shop on Mainstreet at 9:30. We still haven't eaten breakfast at this point and don't have time. I forgot how long it takes to get around at Disney. I guess that's b/c I am used to my small town where it take like 10 mins to go anywhere. Plus we still have to get our passes at will call. I start worrying that we aren't going to make it and that they are going to charge us for the appt as a no show. We've never been there before either, so I didn't know what to expect.

Kenzie was a bald baby for 2 years of her life. She was just fair and bald and looked like she belonged to someone else. Me, DH, and Drew are all dark haired. When her hair finally came in, it was red and super curly! It took forever to grow, and when it did, it just curled back up and she looked like she had no hair. Her hair had finally made it down her back when it was wet or pulled straight, but it curled back up to her shoulders. It's wild and messy, but it was time to finally have it cut.

So we bolted off back to the van and ate granola bars and pop tarts on the way for breakfast. Thankfully, we didn't get lost on the way, and soon we were at my favorite place in the whole wide world. It was so early when we got there (we missed RD by 10 mins), that there was no one directing traffic and the trams weren't running. We parked and WALKED up to the ticket center. WHAT? We've never done that before. This was a good sign.

Off we went to get our tickets and Kenzie got a birthday button along the way. The CM was super friendly and exactly what you expect when you think of Disney. She was chatting with my son when he told her that "Kenzie was only turning 4, but he was 5. And you know what? Since he was 5, he knew everything!" LOL. We all laughed so hard about that one.

Finally tickets in hand (ahhhh such a good feeling) we got to go to our other home- the MK. We usually take the ferry on our way there. There is something magical about being on the boat and slowly seeing the castle get bigger and bigger. But to save time, we took the monorail.
Here's a pic through the window with the celebrating balloon on it:

I didn't get my usual pic in front of the big mickey head in the landscaping at the train station. We were late. I hated running by it, but I wanted to be certain to get Kenzie in. We run over to the barber shop, only to realize that they have no way of keeping track of appts. There is no computer or anything in there. And it was packed! A little tiny baby was getting his 1st haircut, and all 20 of his relatives were in there to witness it.

After that cleared out and we waited a little bit longer, it was finally our turn. We got the gentleman - don't know his name without looking at a pic of his tag - and he was pretty quiet. I was concerned. Didn't know if quiet was good or bad, but he really knew what he was doing. I was worried that he would cut Kenzie's hair too short or all uneven since it was curly. But he did a bang on job of just cutting a couple of inches off.

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Old 09-26-2010, 02:37 AM   #4
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We got a lovely certificate that said her first haircut was at the MK and the first haircut ears, which she was excited about! I was worried that she wouldn't sit still or that she would freak out about getting her hair cut after the issues that we have gone through with her brother - (you would think he is getting murdered from the way he screams), but she was excited and was such a good girl.

Even though she wanted to wear her ears, we decided to get colored gel and pixie dust since we were having lunch with the princesses later. It looked like fun from what I had seen on the Disboards. But I have to say, WOW, was it messy. He put in huge globs of that gel stuff. There was so much of it that it took most of the day to dry. But Kenzie loved it, and was excited to have pink and purple hair that matched her momma's.

The barber was nice enough to offer to pixie dust Drew's hair for him too, and he was really excited.

I have to say that this was an awesome experience, and we will be doing it again. It was super affordable and the kids loved it. Here they are sporting their finished looks:

I love Kenzie's face in this pic. While we were taking pics, the horse drawn trolley came by. We've never seen it before b/c we never get to the parks that early.

Of course, by this point, Dan, me, and the stroller all end up with pink and purple spots on us from her hair. I didn't care b/c she looked cute and I tested it and it seemed to wash right off. But Dan started to get really grumpy about it. I could see that this was going to shape up to be a good day if his mood kept going in this direction.

I love mainstreet and the castle, and really wanted to linger as there were all sorts of things and people about that we have never seen, but the fairies were calling our names. Autograph book and sharpies in hand, we took off at a trot to make it to toontown for the fairies opening.

Will we make it in time to see Tinkerbell and her friends?
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:12 PM   #5
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The park was really empty. I was expecting it to be crowded, but there was no Wishes that night, so I wonder if it had something to do with it. I wish we would have stopped to get some decent pics in front of the castle with the Walt and Mickey statue, but I figured that they could wait.

We did pay for a photopass disk, and we got a few of those, but the photographer we had wasn't very accommodating and rushed us. I really wanted to do a few magic shots of this kids with Tinkerbell in their hands, but that didn't happen. Well, pooh on you too lady! I think that maybe she was new to this job?

So we got to the castle, and I had to stop to take a pic. It was blindingly bright, so it isn't the best light to try to get anyone's pictures. Plus, no matter how hard we try, there is always someone in our family who makes faces or looks away from the camera. We have some of the funniest family pics of the 4 of us b/c I am usually yelling to look at the camera, while Kenzie is looking away, and Drew is making a face that leaves him looking handicapped.

I did get this beauty:

Then I tried to get Drew's pic, but he was complaining that his legs were hurting from all the walking. They really weren't - it was just his attempt to get into the stroller. We used to have a double stroller until the kids outgrew it, so we took the single stroller with us this time. We've done day trips in the past with NO stroller and had no problems, and even with the double, my son is so excited that he loves to run ahead of us. But for whatever reason on this ENTIRE trip, he thought that it was unfair that Kenzie got to ride in the stroller.

So with one minor meltdown from him out of the way, I tried to get a pic. This was what I got:

Okay - I give up. There are fairies to go see.

So we get near the teacups, and Drew starts his whole - my legs are hurting thing again and sits down on the ground. He refuses to get up unless he is allowed in the stroller. We don't have time for this! If we miss the opening of the fairies, we are going to have to wait over an hour!! This was THE ONE THING that I wanted to do at the MK on this trip. I LOVE TINKERBELL and I am getting a Tink Tattoo on my shoulder soon.

Dan tells me to go ahead and that he will try to carry him. I decide to go up a little bit but wait to see if he needs help. After a bit of bribing, DH get Drew up and carries all 52 lbs of him into toontown to the fairies.

We park our stroller and I glance at my watch and it is 10 am. We should be ok. I figure a 45 minute wait or so is worth it. We walk up to the entrance and the sign says 15 min. wait to see the princesses - okay good. And a 90 min. wait to see the fairies. WHAT??

I look at the CM and say, "I thought that the line just opened. How is the wait that long? It is accurate?"

And she said, "Yes, it's accurate. And we've been open for 5 mins."

I said, "How is that possible?" "How much time are they spending with the families?"

She replied, "There were large crowds waiting at the town town rope drop and they had been here for 45 mins or more before the opening. All of them came in here. Are you going in?"

Dan and I looked at each other and figured no way! We have lunch with the princesses at Akershus in Norway and still have to park hop. We decide to count our losses and move on. Although I was really upset by this since we were decked out in our Tinkerbell finest.

We also skipped the princesses since we were going to see them in a couple of hours.

Of course, any change in schedule leaves Drew really upset, and after telling him for hours that we were going to see the fairies - this change was no exception. A normal child would most likely just go with the flow or be a little upset but can easily be calmed down or distracted. Whatever is going on with my son's brain makes this nearly impossible. So meltdown number 2 started. I have to say it wasn't as bad as I was expecting, so we were able to deal with it and not have it ruin our day. Dan took him off to try to pick out a toy to bribe him to behave.

This is where our parenting techniques differ and cause us conflict. I would have told him to suck it up and deal with it and not reward his bad behavior. This was Kenzie's birthday trip, and we made it very clear that she would be getting presents, and Drew may only get something small. Yet, when Kenzie asks for a doll, Dan says no and proceeds to take Drewman to pick out a Toy Story viewfinder. So not fair in my opinion.

We then squish pennies, since we love to collect them, and found several machines in Toontown. We then hopped over to the Goofy's Barnstormer rollercoaster. We love that ride!

That made all of us really happy, and even though we had a fairy set back, we were still in good spirits. We decide to head out of Toontown and try to hit some things we have never done.

However, along the way, we get the "I'm hungry" chorus from the kids. It is 10:15 am and lunch is not until 1:30 and I agree that my diabetic self won't even make it that long. We decide to stop at Cosmic Ray's for a "snack". Dan ran on ahead to get us some fast passes, and I ordered a half rotissery chicken to share with the dh, and a PBJ meal for the kids to share.

It was pretty affordable by Disney standards and super yummy! I actually think it was our best meal that day, and would totally do it again.

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Old 09-26-2010, 01:42 PM   #6
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After we eat and feel much better, (the kids seem to be in better spirits) we head off to tomorrow land. We love Buzz and went on that and had a great time with it. I wanted to go on SM, but Kenzie is just shy of being tall enough, and I didn't want to swap. From there, we decide to do Stitches great escape. Dan and I had done this before when it was Alien encounter and we really enjoyed it. I have read mixed reviews on it since it was changed to Stitch, but he is a beloved character in our house, and one of my DS's favorites.

The kids were scared by being in the dark, but not too much. I was nervous about the Chili cheese burp. But to be honest, we didn't smell anything. We didn't get any of the effects where we were sitting. Maybe they were turned off or down? Don't know. It made it so for me and Dan, it was boring and kind of a waste. But the kids liked it and it was in the airconditioning!

We then went on the people mover, since we had NEVER been on it before in all of our trips. It was nice and relaxing.

We also want to do the Astro orbiter ride up high above the people mover, as we have NEVER done that before either. But the line was already pretty long for it, and we didn't want to push our luck since we had to park hop. It would have to wait until another day.

On our way out, I begged to stop at the rose garden, as roses are my favorite flower, and this is one of the prettiest places at Disney. I wish we could have afforded to do our VR here. We get a photopass pic (Which I don't have any yet) and he also took one with our camera. Well, it was high noon, and super bright, so this made for a horrible pic. The thing is we all wear glasses (except for Kenzie) and none of us ever wear sunglasses. DH put in his contacts for the day, but opted for a hat.

So here is yet another terrible family pic to put into the album

At some point I should put them all side by side, as they get quite comical.

Did I mention that there was a ginormous crane on the side of the castle?

I think it was putting up holiday lights (although it seems early to me, but that's what it looked like). Here is where my inner Disney snob comes out. We have seen the castle look beautiful so many times, that I always expect it to look like that. The crane coupled with all the tarps on mainstreet, and the giant wall of construction in fantasy land really took away some of the magic for me. If this had been my 1st trip, I wouldn't care and wouldn't have noticed. We heard other families getting super excited on the monorail to see the castle for the first time. I felt kind of let down and couldn't wait to come back and see it without the stupid crane.

Regardless, we did get some fun shots in the gorgeous rose garden.

My son had no problems running round and round the circle there in the rose garden. So much for "his legs hurting him".

After that, it was time to say good-bye to my favorite place and head over to Epcot. Dan wanted to take the monorail, and I wanted to drive, so we didn't have to take the monorail back over to get the van. He disagreed with me (we are total opposites in everything), and I finally won out by insisting that we change Kenzie into her dress in the van.

We get to the van and the temp gauge says it is 100 degrees! I believe it. It was insanely hot out there for Sept. I am heat sensitive and told Dan that it was time to take it easy.

We hop in and head over to Epcot - thankfully without getting lost!
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