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Old 03-30-2012, 11:43 PM   #1
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The big one: Trip report!!*NOW WITH PICTURES! POST #69*

Well, here it is...Our big trip! We are just under three months out...or just over two months out, however you want to look at it. I'm going to try and kill the time by writing a pre-trip report. Even if nobody cares to follow along, it will be a nice way to journal our long-awaited extended-family vacation.

Part 1: The Cast

My dad and mom...the BEST parents ever. They are 64 and 60 respectively. Dad is one year away from retiring from his 40+ year career as a computer programmer. Mom is a lymphoma survivor who was forced into an early "retirement" from nursing 20 years ago when the chemotherapy knocked out 50% of her lung function. She is currently doing fine, but does have frequent respiratory infections due to her fragile lungs. They have been to WDW 6 times, most recently in 2010.

Me (37) and my DH (43) and our two daughters, ages 8 and 6 currently. We have been DVC members since 2008 and this will be the fifth visit for our children. DH is not a Disney fan but he comes along anyways...and would never admit that he actually has fun when he is there.

My brother (35) and his wife (35) and their three children...DD10...DS8...and DD7. My brother's last trip was in 1988 when our parents took us as kids. His wife took her first trip in October 2011 with me as an information-gathering excursion. This will be the first trip for their kids.

My sister (33) and her husband (36) and their two daughters, ages 3 and 5 months (currently). My sister's last trip was also in 1988 and neither her husband or kids have ever gone.

So, in case you lost count, that is a total of 15 people, ranging in age from 5 months to 64 years old. Dad and mom are paying for EVERYONE!

...up next...Part 2: You're Planning HOW Far Ahead??

2001 OKW 2002 WL for HONEYMOON!January 2008 POP/OKW October 2008 AKV GIRLS ONLY! June 2009 AKV October 2009 POP with my BFF for my Birthday April 2010 AKV April 2011 HHI Oct 2011 BLT/BWV with DSiL June 2012 GRAND GATHERING at OKW April 2013 HHI November 2013 AKV *1st Half-Marathon*Oct 2014 Surprising the Nieces at AKV May 2015 AKV Expedition Everest Challenge

Last edited by kristenrice; 07-07-2012 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:32 AM   #2
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Part 2: You're Planning HOW Far Ahead??!!

The seed for this trip was planted over 11 years ago, in February 2001. I wanted to take a trip to WDW as a "grown-up". My only requirement was that I was going to stay on-site since I had never done that as a child. DH and I (engaged at the time, not yet married) thought it would be a nice bonding experience if we invited my parents to drive down to Florida with us. From a practical perspective, it was the prudent thing to do. We split the gas and lodging costs en route and we were also able to split up the driving between the four of us. It proved to be quite an adventure! Our first night on the road, we put the 4 of us into a Best Western that we affectionately dubbed "The Dive". I thought it would be a great bargain ($40 for the night, split in half, made it $20 per couple) but not so much. There was no heat when we arrived (in February) and the "free breakfast" was a bag of powdered donut holes set out on the lobby table in the morning. We only needed the room for about 8 hours to sleep so we dealt with it. After we'd been asleep for about 3 hours (fully clothed, jackets and all), we awoke to find that the heat had kicked in. If felt like we'd gone to bed in Canada and woke up in Cancun. After we stopped laughing at the irony of the situation and changed into appropriate bed clothes, we tried to snag a few more hours of sleep before heading out again. The next night was a step up. We stayed at a Country Inn & Suites in Lake City, FL. It was so nice, compared to the dive, but we noticed a lot of construction supplies. We asked what that was all about and the front desk staff told us that the hotel had just opened....the day before!

Ok, trust me, I have a point to all of this ...

We arrived in WDW and drove to our resort of choice...Old Key West. I thought it was a great bargain! A 2BR villa for "only" $429 a night. Since I was budgeting for $250 a night for our half, this fit my budget perfectly. (*This is also where I learned my lesson to do more research before I travel) We were completely surprised by the sheer size of the villa. It was amazing! Of course, it wasn't going to take too much to impress us after "The Dive". Up until that trip, we'd never even heard of the Disney Vacation Club. Now, here we were, staying at the first DVC resort and not even realizing it. We actually sat through the DVC tour too and they comped us a lunch at Big River Brewing. We were intrigued by the DVC pitch, but with a wedding and hopefully children on the horizon, we decided not to purchase at that time. (*BEST DECISION EVER*) We loved our first onsite stay and dad said he would never stay off-site again.

On the drive back home, dad made a mention that he would love to take the entire family there someday. At the time, only my brother was married so the "entire family" was only a total of 7 people at the time. In 2007, I rented DVC points for the first time from a fellow Michigander. My dad was intrigued by the process when I told him how much money I'd saved. I found out that the person I'd rented from was more than willing to transfer the points we'd need for our entire family. That was when my dad decided that in 2012, he was going to treat the entire family to a WDW vacation at Old Key West resort. Let the planning begin!!

The first decision to tackle? When are we going to go? Although we all live within 15 miles of each other, our kids are in different schools. The main consensus was that we wanted to avoid taking anyone out of school. Christmas was immediately off the table since nobody was interested in tackling the crowds, especially the first-time visitors. The first suggestion was spring break. Unfortunately, we could not be sure that everyone would have spring break at the same time. The second suggestion was missing a little school and going in February over mid-winter break. This corresponds with President's Day. My dad was really pushing for this option since he likes the weather in February. Unfortunately, one of the schools involved cancels their mid-winter break if they accumulate too many snow days. I also pointed out that we'd have a legitimate risk of weather-related travel delays which could prove financially catastrophic if 15 people got stranded.

So, we decided on June. We would have preferred early June, but again, when the dates had to be finalized, we didn't know the exact days that everyone would be breaking for the year. As it turns out, June is the perfect time for our celebration. My parents have their 40th wedding anniversary on June 30. Then there are the birthdays... nephew turns 9 on June 12...my daughter turns 9 on June 23...AND my niece turns 4 on June 23...and my brother's wife turns "29" on June 25. We settled on June 16-23, 2012.

Dad had his heart set on OKW. Initially, he'd dreamed of a grand villa. The family quickly grew and he realized that two 2BR's would be cheaper and more practical. We now have two 2BR's booked for 7 nights (cash-points-cash) and hopefully, it will all be correct when we arrive.

That is how this trip was born....stay tuned...

....up next: Part 3: How are we going to get 15 people to Orlando?

2001 OKW 2002 WL for HONEYMOON!January 2008 POP/OKW October 2008 AKV GIRLS ONLY! June 2009 AKV October 2009 POP with my BFF for my Birthday April 2010 AKV April 2011 HHI Oct 2011 BLT/BWV with DSiL June 2012 GRAND GATHERING at OKW April 2013 HHI November 2013 AKV *1st Half-Marathon*Oct 2014 Surprising the Nieces at AKV May 2015 AKV Expedition Everest Challenge

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Old 03-31-2012, 02:09 AM   #3
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I'm totally in Kristen! Can't wait to hear how you're going to wrangle all 15 of you. Sounds like you're going have a lot of fun.
Missy Franklin (Pixel Dust) | Facebook: World of Yesterday, Tomorrow & Fantasy | Current TR: 12/14, 8/14 Past TR: 5/14, 10/13, 5/13, 1/13, 10/12, 3/12 , 10/11, 10/10
'86, '90, '94, '98, '09, '10 -- Off site, 10/11 -- CR, 3/12 -- Windsor Hills, 10/12 -- BCV/AKV-Jambo, 01/13 -- BWV, 5/13 -- BLT, 10/13 -- YC CL, 5/14 -- BWV, 08/14 -- VGF/BLT, 12/14 -- BWV, 4/15 -- BLT, 10/15 -- BWV

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Old 03-31-2012, 08:26 AM   #4
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What a great story! Don't forget . . . Father's Day is on June 17th!!

I grew up in Michigan, but now live in Indiana. I wish the Michigan schools got out before June, like here in Indiana. We have some friends in Michigan who are teachers and have a 7 yo and we would like to take them to our "second home" sometime. I just wish we could do it in early June when the point values are lower. Of course, our schools start by mid-August, so we can't take advantage of the lower point values at the end of August, as you can.

Looking forward to the rest of your report!
POP 2004, POR Oct '08, SSR Jan '09 (first DVC trip!), AKV-K June '09, ASM Oct '09, CBR Jan '10, AKV-K Dec '10, CSR Feb '11, OKW Aug '11, Kidani/BLT Oct '11, BWV/GF Mar '12, Jambo-CL/BLT May/June '12, Kidani Dec '12, BWV Apr '13, BLT/Kidani July '13, Jambo-CL Apr '14, BCV/Kidani July '14, BWV/GF Oct '14, Jambo Dec '14, Yacht Club Feb '15, Jambo-CL July '15

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Old 03-31-2012, 08:40 AM   #5
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Thumbs up Wow

Sounds like an amazing trip. Can't wait to see the TR on this one. Have a great time.

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Old 03-31-2012, 11:00 AM   #6
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Sounds like a fun family "memory maker" trip. Looking forward to hearing more.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:22 PM   #7
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Subscribed! I will be in your boat NOV of 2013, so I can't WAIT to see how this goes, and HOPE to learn something from your experience. THANK YOU for sharing!

"I'm a married spud...I'm a married spud."

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Old 04-09-2012, 05:02 PM   #8
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What a fabulous trip you have planned. I second your description of your parents. They are obciously very generous and loving people. Lucky you!
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:40 PM   #9
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I love your Dad too.

What a meal plan and to think I have trouble making reservations for 8.

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Old 04-09-2012, 06:09 PM   #10
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This almost brought tears to my eyes. After reading so many reports where family members are at each others' throats, this was such a joy to read. I'm looking forward to more.
DVC OKW since 1993
Off-site '75, 82, 85; 89: CBR; 92: PO: 93: Disney Inn; 94: OKW(2); 95: OKW(2); 96: HHI & OKW(2); 97: VB & OKW; 98: OKW(3); 99: OKW, DCL, & BW; 2000: OKW & VWL; 01: HHI & OKW; 02: Ft. Wild. cabins; 03: OKW & GF; 05: OKW, SSR, & Yacht Club; 06: OKW; 07: OKW; 08: Grand Californian; 09: OKW; 10: OKW(2) & OKW Grand Villa! 2011: AKV (2) & OKW (3); 2012: OKW (2) & OKW Grand Villa; 2013: OKW (3); 2014: BLT & Kidani; VGF & OKW; SSR & OKW; UPCOMING TRIPS: - 2015: December @ OKW
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:29 PM   #11
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I love reading this. My mom is planning our family trip for 12 next summer (and that includes my Dad and his NEW WIFE--but that is another story). I am glad to see it is possible for everyone to enjoy the planning, researching and just being together.

We live north of Detroit so I know I am spoiled with non stop flights to MCO. I have never checked Air Tran but I might especially with the first class upgrade option! We usually like to leave early (Delta leaves at 8:30) but I can see the logical in getting in a little later! Can't wait to read more.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:43 PM   #12
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Impressive planning

I too am hooked on this adventure. Planning a similar trip in Feb 2013, can't wait how you all make this work

Jan 2015: WDW Marathon Volunteer BWV /Jan 2014: WDW Marathon Volunteer - BWV /February 2013: 50th Celebration - BWV / Jan 2012: WDW Marathon Volunteer - Ft.Wilderness / July 2010: Brothers Free Birthday - WDW Dolphin / April 2007: Brother-in-law's family 1st trip - BWV / July 2004: Disneyland / Red sox Game / Feb 2003:40th Birthday Bash - WDW Dolphin / July 2001: Disney Magic / Feb 1997: Kids 1st trip - Ft. Wilderness / April 1986: Work friend / April 1976: 1st trip to DisneyWorld / July 1970: 1st trip to Disneyland

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Old 06-15-2012, 09:16 PM   #13
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We all made it to Detroit, safe and sound. Everyone was very impressed by their suite. The hotel did a great job! My brother and his family are right next door to us. Across the hall is my sister and her family, next to my parents.

As expected, we arrived first around 5:15pm. My sister's family arrived at 6pm and we walked over to Big Boy for dinner. My brother's family arrived around 8pm since they stopped for dinner along the way.

After dinner, my girls and my 3yo niece went swimming for almost an hour. Little Emilee decided that she liked her dinner so much, she wanted to see it again...on my shirt. She returned her carrots all over my WHITE zip-front hoodie that I am planning on wearing all week, including on the plane tomorrow. Well, since I had to throw the swimsuits in the dryer anyways, I just did a quick load of laundry too.

Everyone is in bed now. DD8 is asleep, thanks to her melatonin and DH is reading a bedtime story to DD6. I still have another 15 minutes before the laundry is dry and then I will take some melatonin and try to get some shut eye too.

Tomorrow morning, we have the alarm set for 7am. We are planning on walking out the door at 9am to head for the airport. The hotel serves a continental breakfast so we'll "fill up" before we leave.

I will try my best to keep this updated and I will see what I can do about pictures. It didn't even occur to me to take pictures of the hotel room before we defiled it.

2001 OKW 2002 WL for HONEYMOON!January 2008 POP/OKW October 2008 AKV GIRLS ONLY! June 2009 AKV October 2009 POP with my BFF for my Birthday April 2010 AKV April 2011 HHI Oct 2011 BLT/BWV with DSiL June 2012 GRAND GATHERING at OKW April 2013 HHI November 2013 AKV *1st Half-Marathon*Oct 2014 Surprising the Nieces at AKV May 2015 AKV Expedition Everest Challenge
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:23 PM   #14
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WOOHOOO! It's time for yall's big trip. Have a safe and quick flight tomorrow. that the room will be ready when yall get there!! Keep us updated if you can.
Groupies of HHI and VWL until i can talk DH into more points.

me (Leigh Anne), DH (Bart), DS 12, DS10
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:31 PM   #15
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'12-AKL~ '12-OKW~'13-OKW~'13-BCV~'14-OKW~
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