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Old 05-28-2012, 12:30 AM   #1
ariel1025
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The Land, The Sea & The Dark Side ... With A Toddler! 9/1 UPDATE!

Hello, and welcome to my fourth TR! If you are new to my TR and if you are following over from my Pre-TR, I'm so happy to talk to you again

A quick intro for all those who are new around here and then we will get to the good stuff



My name is Shannon, and I am the narrator of this whole shindig! I am a 100% Disney addict and am in charge of all the planning, re-planning, and future planning of these trips. When I am not dreaming of, planning or hoping for our next trip I work part-time in the HR Department of a local company. But, most importantly, I am the Mom and Wife to the other two guys you see there

The big kid pictured is my Hubby of 4 years (celebrated on this trip!), Candi (short for Candido). He doesn't consider himself a Disney addict (simply meaning he doesn't spend every day dreaming of the next trip) but he definitely enjoys our trips and never opposes the next one He works full time for the same company as me (and, nope, I didn't hire him He actually recommended me for the job after he worked there for a couple years and now I would be the one that had to fire him if it came to that YIKES ). In addition to being a hard worker, he is also the most caring, loving, playful Dad I could have ever wished for our son!

And, of course, the star of this show is our Son, James (who we also call Cinco, as he is the 5th generation!). He turned 16 months on this trip, and though we know he will never remember this trip, we also know we will never forget the pure joy and excitement he displayed for most of it. He is a major Mickey Mouse fan and would spend all day watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse if we allowed it (which we don't!).


Also joining us on this trip were my parents, Ken and Mary.



I will also refer to them as Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa along the way. My Dad has been working for the same aeronautical company for the last 25 years and my Mom works part-time for a retail store to keep herself busy. Neither of them had been to WDW since our family trip in 1998! And I'm pretty sure only agreed to go so they could get quality time with their Grandson. They live 600 miles away, so we only see each other every 3 months or so

Ok, so maybe that wasn't exactly a short introduction Now you have learned that I like to babble, but can also rest assured that this TR won't be lacking in details (or pictures for that matter - between the 4 of us we took close to 7000 of 'em ).

Now, on with the show ....

Oh, wait, sorry, quick disclaimer - this trip didn't take place solely at WDW (as my title probably gave away) so I will be writing the chapters in the coorelating categories on the DIS (don't worry I will post links so you can follow along ).

Ok, on with the show (for real!)

Day -1 actually started nice and late for me, as James decided to sleep in I had done all the necessary shopping and other running around in the days prior, which means I didn't have to leave the house at all and got the luxury of lounging around in my jammies while getting packed and ready for the trip

I started my day, just like any other, by texting Candi (who wasn't so lucky, and was at worked dressed in shirt and tie )

At exactly 8:47 a.m. I sent him this message


Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

I guess you could say I was just a tad bit excited

The remainder of the day was spent working on all the last minute items I needed to clear up at work (I work from home, so that was done in my jammies too ) and typical day before vacation stuff. Packing, cleaning out the fridge, taking out the trash, emptying the diaper pails, checking and double-checking the packing list ... the usual!

Unfortunately, my little guy was having a rough day with a new molar trying to break in so he was a bit of a snuggle bug



Now, don't get me wrong, at an age where he'd rather run around than snuggle, I will take those moment any way I can get 'em. But, I hated that he was hurting and it did set me back quite a bit in conquering my "to do" list.

By the time Candi got home from work I had crossed off all the work items on my list and started laying out clothes to pack, but hadn't done much else

We decided that we would run out and pick up dinner followed by getting James down for bed, and then conquer the packing together.

The rule in our house is that we don't dirty dishes the night before a trip so it's usually a pizza night. As fate would have it, I got an alert for an awesome Groupon deal for Pizza 9 earlier that week! We had both been wanting to try out their pizza and I jumped on it quick as can be. I happily called in my order and was stoked when they told me it would be ready in 15 minutes. We all loaded into the car (don't worry I put real clothes on ) and entered the address into my phone's GPS. Ooops, in my quickness I didn't realize the new location was 30 minutes from our house. Oh well, what's done is done, and at least I don't have any last minute dishes to do - priorities people!

After getting home we all enjoyed our feast and after getting James his bedtime bath, I proceeded to start packing while Candi put him down for bed. Unfortunately, he had a rough time going to sleep (those pesky teeth!) so I didn't get help as early as I had planned. I had just finished packing up James' suitcase (using the ziploc method of packing) when Candi finally came in saying James had fallen asleep. We got our suitcases packed as quickly as possible, double checked the packing list, loaded the car and took our showers before we got the luxury of putting our heads on our pillows. I'm so grateful I was able to sleep in, but felt super bad for Candi who had been up since 6 that morning!

The last time I looked at the clock before falling asleep it was 1:08 a.m.



Last edited by ariel1025; 09-01-2012 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:26 AM   #2
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Shannon,
I am onboard with you. Cant wait to hear more about your trip. Am I really 1st this time to join in?
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:02 AM   #3
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Subscribing. Can't wait to hear all about your trip.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:12 AM   #4
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I'm following along! Ahhh the day before departure day is always so busy around here too. I'm glad you guys got everything done and remained in one piece! That's the important thing
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:27 PM   #5
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I'm in! James is a cutie!

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Old 05-28-2012, 11:08 PM   #6
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I'm in! Can't wait to hear all about it!
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:04 PM   #7
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Hi Shannon! Sorry I'm so incredibly late to your TR. I fell off the face of the DISboards for about 8 months or so and I'm still trying to find and get caught up on everyone's reports. Glad you posted on my PTR or I might not have found you!

I can't believe how big James is, seems like it was just yesterday that you were posting his newborn pics! He sure is a cutie

I read all your updates, but of course, now I can't remember what all I wanted to comment on What I do remember was......you didn't care for the zebra domes! Don't worry, my family doesn't really like them either, but me, I LOVE them!

The pictures of James with Pooh & friends are too cute, certainly made the stress of the morning worth it. It sounds like your day ran much smoother when you let the day come to you instead of going with a plan, sometimes that can be hard for us uber planners to do!
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by SoonerGirl View Post
Hi Shannon! Sorry I'm so incredibly late to your TR. I fell off the face of the DISboards for about 8 months or so and I'm still trying to find and get caught up on everyone's reports. Glad you posted on my PTR or I might not have found you!

I can't believe how big James is, seems like it was just yesterday that you were posting his newborn pics! He sure is a cutie

I read all your updates, but of course, now I can't remember what all I wanted to comment on What I do remember was......you didn't care for the zebra domes! Don't worry, my family doesn't really like them either, but me, I LOVE them!

The pictures of James with Pooh & friends are too cute, certainly made the stress of the morning worth it. It sounds like your day ran much smoother when you let the day come to you instead of going with a plan, sometimes that can be hard for us uber planners to do!
Hi!!! Trust me, as slow as I'm writing this there is definitely no such thing as late It seems like I take a hiatus every other month. I only write when little man is sleeping...of course, that's also the best time to do household things as well. Priorities, I guess.

I was so very bummed that I didn't love the zebra domes. My Dad adored them, I just wasn't very into them

It's so funny because before the trip we couldn't get James to even take a second look at Pooh on TV, as a stuffed animal, in pictures, nada! And then it was like he became his biggest fan at MK!

Ugh, letting go is the number one hardest thing for me to do on vacation. This trip was even more difficult for me. I wanted to ensure that everything went perfectly for James AND my parents. But, as you stated it went better when I wasn't planning it out. Now the real question - was I able to continue on with that mentality
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:53 AM   #9
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Hi Shannon! I'm all caught up on your TR and I just absolutely love it! I can't get enough of all of the adorable pictures of James! I love how he keeps sleeping through all of the big firsts! I'm glad he was wide awake for his first character interaction, though! Those pictures at the Crystal Palace are just precious. I will be just like you - the baby's first ride at Disney must be Dumbo!
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:32 PM   #10
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Smile

Hi! I'm new to your reports, but when I saw you were traveling with a toddler, I had to take a look! It sounds like things were going pretty well, all things considered, for the start of your trip. We are going down right after Christmas with our (then) almost 4 year old little girl and our (then) 16 month old little boy. It will be little girl's third trip, but we didn't travel with her at this age, and they just change so fast! We are hoping to do our little guy's first hair cut at the barber shop, too. I'm excited about it. It just sounds like they are great with the little ones. I'm looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip!

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Old 08-23-2012, 07:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by SOUTHERNtinkerBELLE View Post
Hi Shannon! I'm all caught up on your TR and I just absolutely love it! I can't get enough of all of the adorable pictures of James! I love how he keeps sleeping through all of the big firsts! I'm glad he was wide awake for his first character interaction, though! Those pictures at the Crystal Palace are just precious. I will be just like you - the baby's first ride at Disney must be Dumbo!
Hi Courtney! Thanks for continuing to read along, even though it's taking me so long to get updates put up.

I kept telling Candi that James sleeping through so much just meant we had to come back sooner for him to experience it all over again

Even after some stress, I'm still so glad that James' first ride was Dumbo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by katylady View Post
Hi! I'm new to your reports, but when I saw you were traveling with a toddler, I had to take a look! It sounds like things were going pretty well, all things considered, for the start of your trip. We are going down right after Christmas with our (then) almost 4 year old little girl and our (then) 16 month old little boy. It will be little girl's third trip, but we didn't travel with her at this age, and they just change so fast! We are hoping to do our little guy's first hair cut at the barber shop, too. I'm excited about it. It just sounds like they are great with the little ones. I'm looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip!

Katy
Hi Katy! Thanks for joining in

What a fun trip you have planned! We think that James was at the perfect age for his first visit. He wasn't afraid of the characters, adjusted easily to the time change and had no complications sleeping in his stroller when needed.

They really are great with the little kids at the Barber Shop and I know they make a really big deal out of making the first hair cut extra special.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:00 PM   #12
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Oh my gosh, those picture from the meet with Mickey and Minnie are priceless! Seriously worth the cost of the entire trip right there!

Sorry about the meltdown at dinner. I am sure that the vast majority of people that were looking at you were doing it with empathy, we have all had moments when our toddlers were inconsolable!
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:13 AM   #13
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What a great time meeting Mickey!

You have so many great pictures! I'm sorry the experience at WCC wasn't the best though. I think all of us moms have been in that position before. It's so hard when nothing you do can make your little one happy. I'm sure most of the people who saw you were probably giving you looks of empathy. But, it doesn't feel that way when you're in the moment.
Thank you, meeting Mickey was such a highlight for all of us!

That WCC moment .... :sigh: ... it just made me feel so sad and frustrated and helpless. Thankfully, his moments like that are very few and far between.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoonerGirl View Post
Oh my gosh, those picture from the meet with Mickey and Minnie are priceless! Seriously worth the cost of the entire trip right there!

Sorry about the meltdown at dinner. I am sure that the vast majority of people that were looking at you were doing it with empathy, we have all had moments when our toddlers were inconsolable!
Oh goodness, I would do the entire day over and over again (tantrums and all) just to relive the moment he met Mickey!
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:28 PM   #14
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First of all let me say that the photos and video of James meeting mickey were just adorable! You can tell just how happy he is to be meeting his hero!

And I'm sorry that your meal at WCC went south. We've all been there, and it isn't easy, especially in the heat of the moment. I hope things got better for you as the evening wore on!
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:32 PM   #15
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Magic Kingdom Day: Part Eight



After the tantrum of all tantrums, we made our way over to the boat dock, where a certain little someone was acting like nothing had ever happend

The plan for the rest of the night was to head back to Magic Kingdom with the hopes of accomplishing the Speedway, Haunted Mansion, Parade and Wishes.



After unloading from the boat we loaded James back into his stroller, which was a feat all in itself. Some tears started coming back and I just kept trying to reassure him that he would feel so much better if he laid in his stroller and fell asleep. Yes, I had resorted to trying to rationalize with a 16 month old

Upon entering MK we quickly realized that if we wanted any hopes of having a decent seat for the parade and fireworks that all other plans had to go out the window. Instead, we needed to find a spot big enough for all of us and grab it now!



After walking (very slowly) down Main Street we kept our eyes peeled for the best spot possible. I'm not sure if it was because this is the first time I've really looked for a spot, or because I wanted it to be great for my parents, or the frustration of earlier but it seemed like there wasn't a spot anywhere. This has seriously never happened to me before. We have always been one of those lucky enough to walk up immediately prior to start time and grab a great location. I suggested walking around somewhere away from Main Street, knowing we could probably still get a great view of the parade. But, everyone wanted to be as close as possible to the front of the castle for the fireworks.

Eventually, we realized that the best we were going to get was off to the side a little bit and snagged a spot for all of us.



There were probably 5 rows of people in front of us, but pushing the stroller through anymore crowds just wasn't going to happen. My Mom was definitely upset, and voicing it, because she was worried that she wasn't going to be able to see the parade. I told her that there were parts she wouldn't see, but that she still wouldn't be disappointed, as Disney does everything great. I don't think she was really convinced but she let it go ... mostly. Did I mention how much my Mom loves parades?

Before too long the parade started and, as expected, there were many floats that were easily visible from our viewpoint.









As expected, James had fallen fast asleep before the parade had ended, in fact before it even began. Another first that he slept right on through

After the parade ended a few people in front of us left, so we moved up about a row closer. Any chance of moving elsewhere just wasn't going to happen. We realized this was the best we were going to get and accepted it! It did get a little frustrating, as where we were standing was in a taped off portion of a walkway so there were several people pushing through and bumping us around. Not really a big deal to me, but then someone pushed through me and literally climbed over the stroller with my sleeping baby inside and I about lost it. A simple "excuse me" would have sufficed and I would have tried to get better out of their way. But, crawling over my stroller? Unacceptable!

Once the crowds mellowed out a little bit I asked Candi if he wanted to go with me to get a snack. I was still hungry and a Coke and ice cream sounded fabulous at that moment. We got order requests from my parents and headed over to the first food stand we could find. When we were next in line I heard music starting to play and realized I had forgotten all out the Magic, Memories and You show on the castle.



We were able to grab our food and make it back to my family before we had missed too much of it. I have to admit, I liked the show but didn't overly love it like many people I've read about. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mindset. I did keep hoping to see a PP picture of my baby meeting Mickey though! I never did, but there are so many pictures up there at a time that maybe it was and I just didn't see it

Once the new show came to an end a few more people left and we once again moved up about half a row. And then it was time. My all-time favorite show in all of Disney, Wishes!







I didn't take too many pictures, as I really just like to absorb it all. It still is such an emotional show for me to watch. About halfway through, James started whimpering so I squatted down next to him to calm him down. He opened his eyes, smiled at me, grabbed my finger with his little hand and held it tight for the rest of the show while he continued to sleep. In that moment, all arguments, tantrums and tears left my mind. I was reminded that not every minute of the day was perfect, but it was still a perfect day!

At the conclusion of Wishes we quickly hollered a meeting spot to my parents in case we got separated and started making our way up Main Street with the masses. After a couple minutes the crowds seemed to disappear and we caught up with my parents. As we were walking along, I reminded my Dad that we all still had snack credits left and suggested he use his on fudge - his favorite!



He easily caved to the idea and we all headed inside to grab some treats. I got in line with my Dad to get some yummy treats from the counter and Candi, James and my Mom went to walk around to see what they could find. The line was long, but moved pretty quickly. Once we got to the front I placed my order for some toffee, a piece of fudge and a Mickey cookie for James. My Dad ordered all fudge and the girl told him they were having a special on the fudge. I think it was buy 4 pieces and get 2 free or something similar. He told her he was using snack credits and she assured him it was still valid. To say he was ecstatic was an understatement.

After I "paid" for my treats I went to go find Candi so we could make a pressed penny for James (we have a small collection from all the places we've visited so far). I found him pretty quickly and saw that he had also used up his credits on a Coke, cotton candy, and ... a Mickey cookie for Cinco

We also found my Mom who didn't want anything (craziness!) and was just enjoying all the small touches of the shop.



I noticed my Dad was still at the counter and figured he was still picking out flavors of fudge. After he finished and got back to us I found out that after they rung everything up the girl realized she had misinformed him about using snack credits for the special. He said it made sense that it wasn't allowed, but he was pretty bummed that he was told it did only to find out he couldn't.

With bags full of goodies and a penny for James we made our way to the MK bus stop for the final time this trip. We were all exhausted but all sat on the bus with perma-grins attached to our faces. It had been a long day, but a great day!

After making it back to our room we found the paperwork with the information for our cruise the next day which built up the excitement for everyone, I think. We went over to my parent's room to quickly form a game plan for the morning, make sure they got their paperwork and give them the shirts I made for all of us to wear the next day and then quickly said good night.

At this point I was so tired I felt like I couldn't move, but the night was far from over for us. I desperately needed a shower form all the humidity, James needed a bath because it's his cue that it's bedtime and the biggest bummer, we had laundry to do

I contemplated for a moment just waiting to do the laundry on the cruise, but decided against it as it's not how I wanted to spend my first night on the ship and it was free for us at the hotel since we are DVC. Since James was now pretty wide awake, we decided to just all go to the laundry room together to let him wind down a little bit. But first, we had to figure out where the laundry room was. I looked on the resort map but could only find the one for non-DVC guests where you had to pay. So we headed down to the front desk to ask. We got a very nice CM but he wasn't even aware that such a laundry room existed and other CMs were busy with other guests. I finally told Candi that it makes sense that it wouldn't be on the map (so that others aren't aware of it) and that it probably is on the DVC floor A quick walk around and we located it no problem! We quickly loaded up two washers of laundry (yes, that much in 2 days ) and headed back to the room to wait for it to finish.

James was still raring to go so we took one of his cookies out to the balcony to enjoy our last night at AKL together. It was so peaceful out there and we all had a great time just lounging around.

After 30 minutes or so I went to go put the laundry into the dryer and Candi put James in the tub. I got back and saw a partially tired James watching Mickey Mouse and knew the bath had worked to get him sleepy. Candi and I took turns taking showers and then Candi went to go grab the laundry. While he was gone James decided he didn't need pants to sleep and kept pulling off his PJ bottoms. I found this hysterical and could not stop laughing at him, which of course got him laughing and waking up. Oops!

A few minutes later we put James' pj's back on (again) and reminded him it was time to go night-night. It only took about 10 minutes and he was snoring away with his Mickey in one hand and Pluto in the other

Unfortunately, the clothes had not dried in the first cycle so Candi had to start a second one meaning it would be another 45 minutes before we cold all join our little guy in dreamland. Candi told me not to worry about it and he would get the clothes. I think I protested for all of 30 seconds before I agreed and was snoring away myself ...

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