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Old 03-31-2012, 05:22 PM   #1
ellajeansmom
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Look at all those Minnie hats!! A 3 generation Nov/Dec 2011 TR - updated March 23

Welcome!! This TR is way overdue as our trip took place Nov. 26 - Dec. 4, 2011 - we had so much fun that I still want to share it, even though it took place 4 months ago!


This is one of my favourit pics of us all, and gives insight to the title of this report:



We are, from front to back:
Jean (DD7, was 6 at the time of the trip) - loves thrill rides (TOT is her favourite) and is a very practical girl
Ella (DD10) - she is the one that likes to live in a fantasy world and still loves her princesses even though her room no longer has princess decorations
Grammy (my MIL) - retired school principal, she loves to spoil her granddaughters (my two are her only grandkids) and was ready to have some fun on this trip
E (DH) - IT software guy and more of a hockey fan than a Disney fan, but he enjoys himself when we are at WDW
me (Lara) - accountant by day, I am the planner in the family, especially when it comes to Disney vacations
Nana (my mom) - retired teacher, she is a kid at heart and loves to play with her grandkids
Gramps (my dad) - retired marketing guy, he enjoys thrill rides (although not the simulator type) and is up for anything that includes his grandkids (as long as it doesn't cost too much!)

We spent 5 nights at Coronado Springs, with 4 days in the parks, then split off into groups...
-E and I spent a day a Kennedy Space Centre then came back to the Swan and Epcot
-Grammy and the girls went on a 3-night cruise on the Disney Dream
-Nana and Gramps spent 3 nights in a condo near Port Canaveral and explored that area

I hope you join along as I relive our fun-filled trip!

Up next, departure day...

Last edited by ellajeansmom; 03-23-2013 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:45 PM   #2
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Departure Day – Fri. Nov. 25

I had booked this day off work, and by the time it got here, I was very glad I had. I had a general idea of what would be packed but going from that to actually getting it all in the suitcases always seems to take a long time!

E headed off to work and the girls hopped on the school bus as normal. I took Nala (our dog) for a walk and then headed out for some last minute errands. There was still a few things I needed for the trip and I wanted to have some groceries (non-perishable obviously) in the house for when we got home. When I got home I had some lunch and put away the laundry that wasn’t going with us. Then it was time to take Nala to the kennel. She generally loves other dogs and was eager to head in to the back where all the barking was coming from – didn’t even give me a second glance as I was patting her good-bye. This was the first time we had left a dog at a kennel so it was hard for me but it made it easier that she was excited about it.

Back home again to try to fit all our clothes into 2 suitcases. At 3:50 the girls came in and Grammy arrived shortly after that. I was still making last minute adjustments in the packing so Grammy put some hot dogs on while the girls were getting their carry-on’s ready. Crazy I know that we were leaving very soon and they hadn’t done that yet, but it was partly because it had been a busy week and partly because I know that the more time they have to pack the more they will take!

We were in pretty good shape by the time E arrived home. We quickly ate our hot dogs and the girls took down the last link in our countdown chain.



The car was packed quite quickly and we were on the road by 6:00. We crossed the border at Sarnia/Port Huron and after a short wait met one of the friendliest border guards I’ve ever run into. I’m sure we spent more time listening to him tell us what not to miss at Disney than we did waiting in line! Turns out he is from Florida and his mother is a cast member who works at one of the kiosks in AK. She is also a member of the Candlelight Processional choir. With admonishments to say hi to Mickey for him we were on our way!

We reached our hotel that was right across from the Detroit airport at 9:30, which was great time. Nana and Gramps had arrived earlier in the day and had requested that our rooms be close together. We brought in what we needed from the car and found our rooms – to get the airport parking deal I had to book a king room so E & I shared that and Grammy and the girls had a regular double room connected to ours. I called Gramps’ room and they were just across the hall so we went over to say hi and have a quick visit before turning in for the night.

Next time...arrival at WDW!
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:42 PM   #3
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Im here!! Cant wait to hear more!!
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:49 PM   #4
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I'm here!!

Thanks for letting me know you started this!! I'm so excited to read about your trip!

Love the picture!! I can definitely see why it's a favorite!

Can't wait for more!!
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:57 PM   #5
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I'm here!! Thanks for the PM with the link
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:45 AM   #6
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Lara I am so happy you decided to start your TR! Thank you so much for the PM with the link.....enjoyed your first post over my morning coffee...can't think of a better way to start my day!
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelMel11 View Post
Im here!! Cant wait to hear more!!
Glad you joined in...if I remember you were there around the same time as us, I'd love to hear how things went for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angies1274 View Post
I'm here!!

Thanks for letting me know you started this!! I'm so excited to read about your trip!

Love the picture!! I can definitely see why it's a favorite!

Can't wait for more!!
Hi Angie! I'm happy that you are here to follow along
That pic was our 4th day in the parks (and unfortunately our last day all together) and we were all feeling very carefree by that point!

I see you started a PTR I'll have to come over and check it out!


Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerbellLuvr7 View Post
I'm here!! Thanks for the PM with the link
Hi Megan! As you already know we loved our rooms at Coronado Springs, I thought you'd like to read about the rest of our adventures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Queenofallthings View Post
Lara I am so happy you decided to start your TR! Thank you so much for the PM with the link.....enjoyed your first post over my morning coffee...can't think of a better way to start my day!
Hi Queen, thanks for joining in! I'm working on getting caught up on your TR and you've got a new PTR too, how exciting!!

I've been MIA from the boards for so long I figured no one would find me if I didn't send out PM's When we got home we were right into the busy-ness of Christmas, then it was year-end at work (with some not so minor hiccups this year), then Jean's hockey team started adding exhibition games to our already crazy schedule, and all of a sudden it was the end of March Hockey is now done for the season for our girls, well ice hockey is but they have now started ball hockey...luckily it is a much lesser time commitment.

Anyways I got myself organized enough to start and hopefully I can keep posting on a somewhat regular basis.

I will have the next post up next weekend - I may even get 2 in since it will be a long weekend. Have a great week everyone!
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:06 PM   #8
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Literally i'm so excited to rad your trip's story and so informative I've enjoyed while read it. Any how thank you so much sharing this story here. There is so many thing I can learn in this.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queenofallthings View Post
You had a great travel day! Everyone looks so happy and relaxed!

I cannot imagine driving a Ford Expedition but I bet it was sure comfy! Can't wait to hear more!
We were pretty relaxed, we were all so excited to get the trip underway For us the Expedition felt ginormous, but E has driven trucks before and it had one of those rear camera thingies so he was OK with driving it, and once we got to the parks it did not look out of place in the parking lots!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angies1274 View Post
Glad to hear you had a smooth flight and you were able to get everything sorted out with the rental!

Sounds like a good travel day overall!! Can't wait to hear if you made it to rope drop at DHS!
I was thankful it was a smooth flight, DH is a nervous flyer but we try to not let the girls realize that because there is no sense in making them think there might be something to be nervous about.

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Originally Posted by TinkerbellLuvr7 View Post
I'm so glad my friend came through for you!!!! She is such an amazing girl and will do anything for anyone!!!! Can't wait to see some room and resort pics
Thanks again Megan It had been such a crazy week before we left, it made my day when I got your messages about her helping us out! I didn't take many pictures of the rooms unfortunately but I do have some of the resort and pool coming up in a couple of posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Armando625 View Post
Literally i'm so excited to rad your trip's story and so informative I've enjoyed while read it. Any how thank you so much sharing this story here. There is so many thing I can learn in this.
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:46 PM   #10
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Love the pic of the group. Too cute, can't wait to read more.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:46 PM   #11
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Day 1 - Sunday November 27

Today was our DHS day, and it was a bright, sunny, warm day (in fact I just checked accuweather and the high this day ended up being 81F). I had warned everyone that this would likely be the busiest day in terms of crowds as it was still Thanksgiving weekend and there was evening magic hours at DHS, so it was important to be at the park early. We had 2 immediate missions: obtain TSM fastpasses and get the girls signed up for the Jedi Training Academy.

So, how did we fare?
Everyone got up and moving fairly well – personally I had been awake since about 5:30, I was too excited to go back to sleep! Having the cereal and milk and oj from the grocery order right there in the room worked really well for us. We were a little later than I had hoped going out the door but only by about 10 minutes, and we easily found a much shorter route to the parking lot than we had done the night before.

The first thing Jean did after getting out of the car was to take this pic:



She does love her TOT!

We arrived at the gates shortly after 9:00, which was actually good timing as we missed the stampede to TSM! E collected everyone’s KTTW cards and headed off towards TSM



The rest of us headed in the direction of Star Tours. We saw some celebrities along the way





The girls were very good about understanding that if we stopped they may not get a spot at the JTA.

I wasn’t 100% sure where the sign up would be so I figured we’d walk to the show area and keep our eyes open for a sign. We missed the sign, so asked a CM when we got to the Star Tours area and he directed us back to the Sounds Dangerous building. Nana, Gramps and Grammy found a nearby bench in the shade while the girls and I got in line. I’m not sure how long we waited in line, maybe 15-20 minutes. A couple of times they announced which show they were now signing up for – it was getting into the mid-afternoon shows so I was mentally adjusting our plans for the day but when we finally got up to the podium it turned out to be the 1:30 show – apparently they had had some cancellations so we lucked out, that timing was perfect for our plans. They asked the girls a couple of questions to make sure they knew what they were signing up for and we were set. When we came out E had just arrived with our FP’s for 12:30.

With those tasks complete we were ready for some fun and thought our first attraction should be one that I knew the grandparents would enjoy



…off we went to the Muppet theatre! I had been a bit worried that the attractions wouldn’t live up to my memories but the Muppets did not disappoint, we all had some good laughs!



When we came out we saw the meeting areas for both Phineas & Ferb and Cars. My nephew is a huge Cars fan so Nana wanted a picture with Lightening McQueen and Mater. I think there were only 2 or 3 groups ahead of us and then it was our turn. Nana, Gramps and the girls went first



and then the rest of us joined in



We then moved on to the P&F line. They have a great set up here…the story is that P&F are on location filming a movie and they are meeting fans during a break. In the meantime the “director” is using fans to be extras in the movie, so he picks some kids and they play a P&F song and pretend to film the kids doing various actions to the music. When we got close enough the girls volunteered to take part in the Aglet song, which was funny because we had just watched that episode while eating breakfast! They also have a photopass photographer there for this part as well as the meet and they got better shots than we did:









Even though E is a huge P&F fan he didn’t join us in line but stood off to the side:



At some point the director turned around and saw him off to the side and instructed him to do the hula!



E does not like being the centre of attention so tried to wave him off but the director insisted…E was a good sport and hula-ed, thank goodness the PP got some pictures because Nana, Grammy and I were laughing too hard to take any:





They gave us slips of paper to take to Covers later in the day to get those pics put on our PP card. Here is a bit of the detail from the line:



It was soon our turn, the girls got their autographs and a pic









then Nana, Grammy and I joined in



We said good bye to the boys and saw that E had decided it was much safer to sit on the bench with Gramps than be up close to the action!



Next time…we board an intergalactic tour!
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindy-rella View Post
Love the pic of the group. Too cute, can't wait to read more.
I'm glad you're enjoying it so far, I am having fun re-living the trip!
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:15 PM   #13
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Last time we had finished meeting Phineas & Ferb, collected E and Gramps, and since we were on that side of the park it made sense to check out Star Tours. I was a little concerned about the grandparents on this one…Grammy has a fear of heights, Gramps has gotten nauseous on virtual rides in the past and Nana has trouble handling sudden drops. We described the attraction as best we could, with the disclaimer that it had been refurbished so we didn’t know if it would be more or less intense than we remembered. All three decided they would give it a try. I think the posted wait time was 10 or 15 minutes and we moved through the line fairly quickly.





The group of us ended up in the back row of our transport, everything was quiet as we waited for the journey to begin when Gramps shouted out “Are we there yet?” That caused quite a bit of laughter! C3PO got a cheer when he appeared and then we were informed that there was a spy on our ship and the monitor claimed that the spy was Jean!! Darth Vader tried to stop our departure but we escaped and went on a wild ride that included Hoth and the Imperial City before landing safely. It was great fun and the grandparents had no troubles handling it. We browsed the gift shop and stopped for a quick pic outside:



And then grabbed some more pics on the speeders









We took a moment to decide what to do next before lunch. E really wanted to go to the Animation class and I wanted to see Beauty & the Beast, so we broke into 2 groups…Grammy and Jean went with E while Ella, Nana and Gramps came with me.

Beauty & the Beast was lovely of course













Both Nana and I were a bit teary at the end. On the way out Ella wanted a picture by the fountain like we had done last time



Meanwhile, E and Jean were enjoying their animation class where they drew Jack Skellington from the Nightmare before Christmas. Based on our experience last time with Ella (she got behind and ended up in tears), they had decided that Grammy would just assist Jean and not do her own drawing. This worked very well and they all enjoyed the class – I just realized I don’t have pictures of their drawings, I’ll have to post them later.
We knew it would be time for lunch when we were all done so had agreed to meet at the eating area on Sunset Blvd. Jean got some photopass pics with her favourite attraction while they waited for us:







Even though we had been under the shelter at B&B, Ella was starting to feel the heat. Typical of me, I forgot to bring our hats so as everyone else was starting to get their lunch she & I headed towards Hollywood Blvd to find her a hat – somehow Jean and Grammy ended up with us but Jean was really hungry so Ella and Grammy went on to find a hat and Jean and I scouted the lunch options. This involved some indecision on Jean’s part but eventually we were set and found E, Gramps and Nana. E had jumped on this first opportunity to get himself a turkey leg – he had been craving one for weeks! Gramps decided to try one too to see if it lived up to the expectations E had set (it did ).



I had pulled pork, Jean had mac & cheese and Nana had a salad. Soon Ella (with a hot dog) and Grammy (with a salad) joined us.



As you can see Ella was sporting a cute new hat. Jean of course immediately wanted one too. I agreed that she could have one, but by the time we finished eating we had to get moving for the girls to check in on time for their JTA.

Next time, Ella and Jean confront Darth Vader!
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:49 PM   #14
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That was my fav' hat. I loved trying on hat at disney, but lost what to do with them when you get home
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:05 PM   #15
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Sounds like a fun morning!

Yay for getting the front row on Soarin'!! Poor Grammy. It can be a little intense though. At least she gave it a try.
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