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Old 01-30-2014, 02:56 PM   #1
StefaniLyn
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Desperately Driving from WI to WDW(2/20-3/2 PTR) DH Lost His Job, We're Going Anyway!

We leave in 22 days! Oh my! Twenty Two Days! 22! Deux Deux! No matter how I say it, 22 days will fly by before we know it and I still have tons of planning to do. Help!!

With our departure date right around the corner, I'll get right down to the nitty gritty and introduce our Cast of Characters before giving you a bit of history.

This is my family.

Top left there, that would be me (Mom, Stephanie, 36) - I am a stay at home mother of 3 girls. I enjoy scrapbooking, dabble in photography, and dedicating myself to my kids and their activities. And Disney....oh boy do I Looooooove Disney!

Top right is my DH, Ben (35). He's pretty much the best dad ever and in his spare time he manages a large retail store. He also coaches soccer and one day hopes to win big at the World Series of Poker.

Front and center, that would be DD14 also known as AJ (short for Adrianna Jadyn). She's not shy. She's a freshman in high school and enjoys soccer, golf, gymnastics and is a great student. So great, that when punishment is necessary, we take away her books. She's growing up too fast, but still loves Disney!


Off to the front right you will find Kennedy, DD12. A complete opposite of her sister, Kennedy enjoys working with power tools and building cars. No Joke! Her favorite pasttimes are welding and driving on a real racetrack. Kennedy's favorite character is Tinkerbell, and they often share personality traits.


And rounding out the gang there on the bottom left is Bella, DD9. She's a miracle wrapped up in cuteness and topped off with personality plus. Her story is a lengthy one which I will reserve for later, but I will tell you she is a self proclaimed real life princess whose love for Disney rivals my own.


This will be our 6th trip to the world and our Distory includes the following visits:
January 2007- Polynesian - 10 days - Grandpa's spoiling the grandkids trip which begun our Disney obsession.
September 2008 - Caribbean Beach - 7 days - Fun in the Sun at CBR
December 2009 - Give Kids the World Village - 10 days = Bella's Make A Wish Trip
January 2012 - All Star Movies - 5 days?
October 2012 - All Star Sports - 4 days
February 2014 - All Star Sports and off property (gasp!) 7 days


Let me be completely honest here.....I have let people down before. Strangers, friends, dedicated readers. Maybe even you. And definitely me. I'm sorry.

The last time I posted on the DISboards was in 2010.

My hiatus wasn't due to a rude comment or inappropriate action of a DIS-er, I wasn't put off by a policy change on the Boards, nor did I ever waiver in my devout love of all things Disney. I was pouting. For 3 years. Yea, I know....

I started with a fabulous Wish Trip pretrip report and promised readers an equally if not exceedingly fabulous trip report would follow upon our return from the World. But I let them down.

I had the best of intentions - thousands of pictures, handwritten notes about each day of the trip, and videos to refresh my memory while I wrote an exceptionally detailed trip report. But my flashdrive had other plans. After posting about several fabulous days of our trip, I returned to my monitor one day only to find one of my two flashdrives containing nearly 1500 pictures on each, was completely empty. I don't know how, or why, but it was inexplicably erased and not even the cleverest of computer experts could recover the pictures from my daughter's Make A Wish trip. Left with just a handful of pictures from the second half of my trip, my heart just wasn't in it and I stopped writing the trip report.

One of my biggest regrets is never finishing that Trip Report. So many generous people contributed to the overall success and incredible memories of our trip and I should have seen the trip report through to it's conclusion - as a way of thanking them for their generosity if nothing else. They deserved to see the faces of my daughters as they pranced and danced around the World in their beautiful custom made clothes and enjoyed the maximum amount of magic and pixie dust because of the advice and tips given to me by the wonderful DIScommunity.

Even the text alone of a completed trip report would have made for a fabulous scrapbook for my daughter's one and only Make A Wish trip, and to this day, I continue to kick myself in the pants for giving up. I'm not a quitter, but back in 2010, I quit.

But we are headed back to Disney in just 22 days and I want to do better this time around. I am not going to vow to never give up this time or make any promises I can't keep. And if you want to stop reading right now, I don't blame you. But now here I am, giving it another go, and I'd like to invite you to come along for the ride!

Table of Contents:

1: The Plans......well, at least the start of them!
2. Magic Bands have arrived & and Dollars to Disney Dining
3. Paint and Ponderings
4. Setbacks are Trumped by Pixie Dust
5. More Characters!
6. DISBoards Peeps are the Best! Mini Give in progress!
7. 10 more sleeps til DISNEY!
8. Just 4 More Sleeps Til Disney - What Could Go Wrong?

Last edited by StefaniLyn; 02-18-2014 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:00 AM   #2
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The Plans......well, at least the start of them!

DH, my hard-working super hubby, received an unexpected bonus after Christmas last year. We had an inkling that something may have been coming down the pipeline in December, but didn't know anything for certain until the 1st of January. It was confirmed by the 7th, and didn't make it into the bank account until about the 15th. And that is when the planning truly began.

I probably shouldn't have waited quite so long. Maybe I ought to have begun making some preliminary plans when we first suspected we would be able to go, but had I made plans and then the bonus NOT come through, I would have been devastated. So I didn't.

Originally, we were hoping to wait until Christmastime to head back to the World. Back in 2009, we went on Bella's Make A Wish trip during Christmastime and it was the most incredible experience ever.

However, my youngest daughter has a progressive disease (more on that later, I promise) and to be honest we simply don't know what the future may hold so we decided to go sooner rather than later. And sooner just happens to be the end of February....so we're talking way sooner, thus limiting my planning window of opportunity. Um, I should probably be packing right this second....

And so it was decided, our trip to Disney would take place February 20th through March 2nd! And for those of you counting like me, that's just 21, yes twenty-one, days away. Oh geez....I really, really ought to be making an itinerary.

Why then? First of all, summer and spring break are out for us. Bella doesn't tolerate the heat of summer and the long lines and thick crowds are not good for her health either. So that eliminated anything after March 7th all the way through um, like September. Just wasn't going to happen. Our options and days were very limited. Let me tell you that coordinating the schedules of three very socially active school aged children is no easy task. However, we somehow managed to find a time that will work for our family. Feb 20 thru March 2nd works for several reasons:
a. We could take the kids out of school for 10 days and they would only miss 5 days of school (thank you teacher work days!)!
b. DD14, AJ will be semi-inbetween sports seasons. Meaning her gymnastics season will be wrapping up and because she is not varsity this year, she will miss sectionals but wouldn't have competed anyway and it is prior to the start of soccer season. Unfortunately, it is in the middle of indoor soccer season so she will miss 2 games.
c. DD12, Kennedy, will not miss any of her regional, state, or national SkillsUSA competitions and will retain her eligibility to become the first middle school officer elected to the state board.
d. DD9, Bella, is relatively healthy right now and does not have any major appointments (oops...except that one I need to reschedule) during the 10 days we will be gone.

The basics logistics of our trip (at least the ones I have planned thus far) are as follows:

*We are DRIVING! Lots of people drive, right? We are driving from WISCONSIN. 22 hours. Oh boy!(Car Rental is booked and confirmed)
*We are spending 1 night on property (All Star Sports) and 6 nights at a DTD hotel. (Both hotels are booked and confirmed)
*Our girls will each be taking a YES program class at Epcot. (tickets are already purchased and the girls are enrolled in their classes)
*Our trip will include 4 days at WDW, 2 days at US, and we are volunteering at Give Kids the World Village one day as well. (Volunteer applications submitted, approved, and volunteer hours scheduled)
*Each of the girls was able to choose one "special experience* to enjoy during our trip. (Only 1 of three booked. Need to make reservations for 2 more)
*Because we are only on property one day and because my "Free Dining" pin arrived in the mail 2 days AFTER I booked our nonrefundable off property hotel, we will not be dining Disney, something I have truly enjoyed on most previous trips. However, I'm hoping to enjoy one special character meal for our family. (no reservations for dining made.....yet)

The basics are taken care of - we'll have a roof over our heads, a vehicle to drive, and tickets to get into the parks. But there are still so many more details yet to decide....and just 21 more days to make those decisions!
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:52 PM   #3
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Magic Bands have arrived & and Dollars to Disney Dining

The UPS truck pulled up to my house a few hours ago. Not expecting anything for another couple of days, it piqued my interest and I actually beat the driver to the door, surprising him as he tried to toss my precious package inbetween the storm and front doors.

As he walked back to his brown truck, I'm pretty sure he heard me squeal with delight as I read "Walt Disney World" in the return address label.

Our Magic Bands have arrived! Like a kid at Christmas, I tore open the box and peered inside, seeing a rainbow of beautiful Mickey heads staring back at me! Yippee!!


Aren't they just exquisite?!?!

I wore mine for about 2 hours today. Just to break it in and constantly remind myself that we are soooooo close to our departure date!


Only 4? You might ask. When we made our Disney resort reservation, we made it for just 4 people. DH will be spending some quality time with his brother (who lives in Orlando) while we are there so we left him off the reservation allowing us to stay in one room instead of two. DH also deems the bands to be too "girly" and has thus opted out of the Magic Band gang.

So I have a few decisions to make in the next couple of days. Dining is one of them. Do we dine or don't we? We're not on the DDP, so most of the days we will be eating a large (free continental) breakfast at the hotel, bringing snacks and sandwiches to the parks, grabbing a counter service mid-day, and maybe ordering pizza after we return to the hotel or picking up fast food on the way out. I'm kind of a go big or go home snob when it comes to Disney dining. As in, if we can't do it big (Character meals) then why do it at all? But I am hoping that maybe we can squeeze in one character meal on this trip. We have done many before -
CRT is a favorite of ours. I think we have been 4 times.

We love Akershus too.


Crystal Palace is fun, but my girls are probably too old for that now (and honestly, Bella doesn't look to thrilled to be at CP back then either!)


and one of my all time favorites - Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian


I'm hoping to select a single dining experience during this upcoming trip that I will splurge on, bite the bullet, and pay out of pocket for. Geez, it's so much easier with the "Free" dining program when I didn't have to look at the price tag on some of these meals. But here's the catch.....I'm using my desire to dine at Disney to motivate myself to declutter my house. Confused yet?

Here's how it will work....I tend to hoard stuff - outgrown clothes, unused toys, older electronics, etc., with the intent that I will one day have a garage sale and magically sell everything and make a ton of money. It isn't going to happen. But because of this fictional garage sale, I have boxes upon boxes upon boxes of stuff in my basement. It needs to go. Last week, my DH, DDs, and I dragged about 25 boxes of stuff upstairs. I went through each box and pulled out anything that I thought would be easy to sell and set it aside. Then I packaged it all up again, loaded it into our minivan (so much "stuff" we had to put all of the seats down in the back and entire back of the van was still full up to the roof!) and DH hauled it off to donate it to the thrift store. Well, that doesn't help me pay for dining at Disney now does it?

With the remaining items (nicer clothes, bigger toys, a few pieces of furniture) I am posting them on a Facebook page for local sales. It's almost like an online garage sale, and I'm kind of addicted to it now. And whatever money selling this stuff brings in, we will use to pay for a Disney dining experience for the family. So far, we've got about $80 which will barely cover a counter service. I need to look into prices, ask the girls what their dining preferences would be (must be a character meal though) and probably set a goal as to how much I am hoping to earn. And then, seeing as we're only 20 days away from I will have to Wish Upon a Star that a park concierge will be able to secure a dining reservation for us after someone else cancels the day before or day of.

So in "Two Broke Girls" fashion, I'll now be adding a Fund Balance to the end of each post.

Dollars to Disney Dining 1/31:
$83 (as of right now, it looks like we can afford a nice meal at Sunshine Season Food Fair in Epcot) Grow fund, Grow!

and here it is, the start of our Disney Dining Fund, resting amongst the items which must leave my house in exchange for money to help our fund grow:
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Old 02-04-2014, 04:56 AM   #4
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Paint and Ponderings

I never thought I'd say this, but I actually wish I had a few more days between now and Disney. There's just not enough time to get everything done! We leave in 17 days!


My DH, sweet, well-meaning, and ambitious, decided that this weekend would be a great weekend to pain the kitchen. True, it needed a fresh coat, but NOW?!?!?! Seriously? Oh yes, Saturday evening he hauled home cans of paint, brushes, and other items necessary for this home project. Initially he wanted to paint both the cabinets and the walls, but I talked him into just doing the walls at this time. DD9 helped out a bit.



I also talked him out of putting 4 can lights into the ceiling. All of these things can WAIT. We have planning to do.

Tonight, after spending 3 hours at the hospital with DD9, painting the kitchen, basketball for DD12, Gymnastics for DD14, dinner, chores, and bedtime, we sat down and confirmed our park days. So far, we have decided on the following:

Thursday, Feb 20 - travel day
Friday, Feb 21 - travel day, stop at FSU, stay overnight in Orlando (DH's brother's house)
Saturday - Downtown Disney
Sunday - DISNEY DAY 1 - Animal Kingdom
Monday - DISNEY DAY 2 - Epcot (YES Program Classes this morning)
Tuesday - DISNEY DAY 3 - Hollywood Studios
Wednesday - 9a Richard Petty Driving Experience Junior Ride Along (DD12, Kennedy), Universal Studios, and 8p Disney Pro Soccer Classic Game at Wide World of Sports
Thursday - Universal Studios
Friday - Volunteer Day at Give Kids the World Village
Saturday - DISNEY DAY 4 - Magic Kingdom

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

It may as well be written in stone because at this point, I don't have the time to change anything. I have looked at crowd calendars and as far as I can tell, those days look good.

Has anyone done the Richard Petty Junior Ride Along before? My DD12 loves cars - building them, racing in mini versions of them, etc. Here she is, racing a car she built with her teammates. She's in the car.

Next summer, she plans to help my dad rebuild a 56 Rambler. I think this would be right up her alley but I am sooooo nervous! 165 MILES PER HOUR! That's crazy fast!

And the Pro Soccer Classic will be perfect for DD14's special event (we agreed each kiddo could select one special event just for them on this trip) but I'm concerned about our timeline that day. Will it be possible to get from US (closes at 7) to Wide World of Sports and make it in time for the 8pm game? Am I pushing that schedule too hard? DD14 is a soccer player...she's gonna love the game!


A few more gently used items have departed our house in the last couple of days so our Dollars to Disney total is now up to $90. We're still a ways away from Character Dining, but I will continue to declutter in an effort to dine with some of our favorite characters!
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:31 AM   #5
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Setbacks are Trumped by Pixie Dust

My kitchen resembles it's old self again, plus one coat of fresh paint. The cupboards are back in place and the appliances have resumed their positions. With that said, we have just TWO MORE WEEKS until we leave for Disney.

My biggest dilemma right now is the clothes. Yes, we are "those' people who have matchy outfits for every day of our trip. EVERY day.
Take this example from 1/09 for instance:


and example #2 from 12/12


So needless to say, in keeping with tradition, our outfits must match and/or coordinate at the very least for the park days (travel days are preferred also, but I'm willing to sacrifice matchiness for comfort during our long car ride.

Here's the problem....my kids are GROWING! (How dare they!?!?) and have outgrown nearly every matching outfit we own. Even if the littlest one, DD9, Bella, fits in to some of her sisters clothes now, I don't have matching items for the older kids. What to do, what to do?

I have been blessed to meet some great friends on the DIS, especially during our Wish Trip planning in late 2009. These friends are now rescuing me from my clothing crisis. Just the other day, two packages arrived on our doorstep. I opened them up and lo and behold, coordinating clothes for my girls! A beautiful custom colorful Minnie Mouse skirt and top for DD9Bella and 3 shirts to be shared between AJ (DD14) and Kennedy (DD12). Talk about some pixie dust! We are so blessed! The older two aren't always keen on posing for pictures, so I was only able to snap a photo of Bella wearing her new duds.....which she BEGGED me to let her wear every day until we leave.


I still have so many details I want to add to this thread before we leave. Though I'm the only one who appears to be reading it, I still intend to see it through to the end for several reasons:
1. Writing things down helps me remember (way to state the obvious, Stephanie!)
2. Writing things down, especially things I want to accomplish, motivates me to get them done. Expect to see a few lists pop up here in the next couple of days.
3. I quit writing a TR once and I still regret it. I don't want to quit on this PTR and maybe, just maybe, it will turn into a TR...a COMPLETED TR.

We have had a few setbacks this week which have led to little progress on both my planning and packing as well as my Dollars to Disney Dining fund. On Monday, the day I had planned on getting a good chunk of stuff done, we spent half the day at Children's Hospital with DD9. She was having some unexplained pain throughout the weekend and her docs wanted to see her 1st thing Monday a.m.

It turned into a 3 hour appointment complete with an ultrasound, new prescription, and a suggestion that surgery number.....oh geez I have lost count, but we are somewhere in the 20's.....will likely be coming up in the near future. We return to follow up with her doc on the 19th, the day before we leave.

Dollars to Disney Dining: still at $90
Days til we leave: 15
Matchy Coordinating Outfits Needed: 6
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Old 02-06-2014, 02:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StefaniLyn View Post
I have been blessed to meet some great friends on the DIS, especially during our Wish Trip planning in late 2009. These friends are now rescuing me from my clothing crisis. Just the other day, two packages arrived on our doorstep. I opened them up and lo and behold, coordinating clothes for my girls! A beautiful custom colorful Minnie Mouse skirt and top for DD9Bella and 3 shirts to be shared between AJ (DD14) and Kennedy (DD12). Talk about some pixie dust! We are so blessed! The older two aren't always keen on posing for pictures, so I was only able to snap a photo of Bella wearing her new duds.....which she BEGGED me to let her wear every day until we leave.



We have had a few setbacks this week which have led to little progress on both my planning and packing as well as my Dollars to Disney Dining fund. On Monday, the day I had planned on getting a good chunk of stuff done, we spent half the day at Children's Hospital with DD9. She was having some unexplained pain throughout the weekend and her docs wanted to see her 1st thing Monday a.m.

It turned into a 3 hour appointment complete with an ultrasound, new prescription, and a suggestion that surgery number.....oh geez I have lost count, but we are somewhere in the 20's.....will likely be coming up in the near future. We return to follow up with her doc on the 19th, the day before we leave.

Dollars to Disney Dining: still at $90
Days til we leave: 15
Matchy Coordinating Outfits Needed: 6
Oh I am so glad you got everything that I mailed and that Bella likes her outfit!!! I always worry about things until I hear they've made it to their destination. I hope you all have a fun and wonderful trip! And I hope that Bella's unexplained pain goes away. And I hope that you are able to add to the Disney dining fund I understand the need to be matchy matchy at Disney. We do things there that we wouldn't do at home too I think that's one of the reasons we love it so much!!!!
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:32 AM   #7
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10 More Sleeps Til DISNEY!

As promised, I'm about to give you a peek into something that honestly had me sobbing when I first laid eyes on it. I opened up my door to leave the other day and a package fell from inbetween the doors, sandwiched there by the mailman I suppose. Wherever I was going could wait, because I certainly couldn't. So I tore open the box and inside I found this precious gem:



Now this may seem relatively harmless, but it isn't. In fact, it has incredible healing and heartwarming powers well beyond that of any regular bright red binder because this is a SCRAPBOOK, and it is filled to the brim with pre-made Disney page layouts just begging for pictures of our upcoming vacation to complete it. I simply am in awe.


As a scrapbooker myself, I know how much time, money, energy, and talent went into each of these pages and I never in my wildest dreams thought we would have a scrapbook waiting for us upon our arrival home.

To date, I have only scrapped one of our five Disney trips. That's right, I am about 8 years behind! Sad, but true. Fortunately, this upcoming trip's pictures will not meet the same fate as pictures will meet pages as soon as Walgreens can print my pictures the day we arrive home.


I'm fairly certain had I been on a heart monitor as I flipped through the book that my rhythm would have resembled the center picture above. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Disers who contributed to this masterpeice.

In other news, we are down to just 10 days!!!!



And....we added about $30 to our Disney Dining fund today (and we MUST do Disney Dining because my new scrapbook has a page just for it!!) We are now up to $135 AND, the girls are starting to come up with ideas for where they want to go. So far the leaderboard includes Cinderella's Castle (yikes! I may need to sell a kidney!), O'hana at the Polynesian, and dining with Cinderella and her sisters at The Grand Floridian. I'm going to research some prices so we can set a goal and see if we're realistically in the ballpark with just 10 days left!

Last edited by StefaniLyn; 02-10-2014 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:21 AM   #8
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So happy you love the scrapbook! It was created by a lot of ladies here on the scrapbook area of the boards!
Enjoy making the memories to fill it up!!!

You have a beautiful family and so wonderful you get to return to WDW with family and see friends!
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:57 AM   #9
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Dining Decisions

With our countdown now in single digits, I feel it's prime time to make some decisions about DINING!

We've managed to rack up about $130 towards our Disney Dining Fund. That is not our entire food budget, lol. so no worries, we WILL be feeding the children on this trip. The DDF is just an 'extra' fund I have accumulated by decluttering our house and selling stuff locally. It has been a great motivation to get rid of some of the old stuff we no longer need. We're not on the DDP this time around, so we plan on a lot of counter services. However, the DDF will be used for a character or table service meal of the children's choice.

I've put together some estimates for the restaurants the kids suggested for our DDF. Please feel free to correct my prices if I'm wrong!!!

DD14's suggestion:
O’hana Breakfast
22.36 X4 = 89.44
12.77 X 1 = 12.77
-----------------------
Total 102.21
Tax (included)
Tip 18.39
Grand Total – 120.61

We haven't been to O'hana since our first trip to the World back in 08.


DD12 Suggested 1900 Park Fare, a favorite of ours on the past two trips especially since we were blessed with Anastasia and Drizella and Cinderella dresses before Bella's Wish Trip and those get the girls LOTS of attention from the characters;
1900 Park Fare
38.33 X 4 = 153.32
19.16 X 1 = 19.16
------------------------
Total = 172.48
Tip = 31.05
Grand Total = 203.53


And not surprising, DD9, the princess, has suggested Cinderella's Royal Table
CRT
53.29 X4 =213.16
34.64 X1 = 34.64
Tax and Tip Included
Grand Total – 247.80



As I expected, I'd have to sell a kidney for CRT. I like my kidneys. I think I might just put the kabosh on that one.

We have enough already for O'hana, but our family's biggest meal of the day is never Breakfast and a continental breakfast is included in our offsite hotel. Sooo....I'm not ruling it out, but I don't think it would be the best use of our DDF.

1900 Park Fare -yes, we love it, but my girls have outgrown (darn them) their Cindy & Sisters outfits and I'm not sure they would find it quite as amusing if the sisters and stepmother weren't messing with them the entire time as they did when my girls showed up in costume.

So I'm looking for other suggestions.....PLEASE! Please bestow your Disney Dining expertise upon us and suggest alternative dining experiences for us to spend our DDF on!

I am not 100% that it has to be a 'Character" meal, but I want it to be a special experience, within the $150-200 range (4 adults and 1 child), and have great food. I'm leaning towards a lunch or dinner because those meals are when our family eats the most.

Of course, all of this hinges on us being able to secure a last minute reservation at whatever restaurant we decide upon, but we have been lucky in that regards historically so I'm hoping that trend continues.

In other news, our Big Give just got BIGGER! Yesterday Bella quickly finished her homework so she could open up the Disney Mail that had arrived in our box!


inside we found three of these beauties:


Three gorgeous Minnie necklaces. THe girls LOVE them. AJ and Kennedy have both decided to wear theirs as bracelets, and Bella will wear hers as a necklace!

Thank you Pixie Twist Designs! Bella was so excited to open the package and she loved the beautiful necklaces inside. I LOVE the necklaces, and of course, I had to make them into a Mickey Mouse because we are just 9 days away!
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:44 PM   #10
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I love the bracelets. They are so fun and Disney!

Have you priced out dinner at Akershus in Epcot? We took my two there when they were 8 and 9. They loved it! It was nice too because there was a salad bar but the main part of the meal was served instead of a buffet.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:38 AM   #11
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Just 4 More Sleeps Til Disney - What Could Go Wrong?

I've been purposely absent lately, not wanting to turn this PTR into a PTPP - that is a pre-trip pity party. But it's hard. We received some pretty devastating news on Friday. News that I couldn't share with anyone until today and didn't want to share with anyone, especially my girls,....ever.

Let me rewind a little bit. Last Thursday marked the 1 week countdown for our Disney trip. I was floating on cloud nine, high on Big Give pixie dust and gleefully humming Disney tunes as I cleaned the house when DH called. The news he shared was life changing. He had heard a rumor floating around his place of work that was not good news. And I couldn't say a word due to a confidentiality clause.

My husband is the only one who works in our household. We choose to be a single income family for two reasons. First, we both agreed that raising our children, especially when they were very young, was OUR responsibility, not that of a child care center. I do not criticize those who choose child care and working for their family, it simply isn't for us. So since our oldest was a toddler, I have stayed home. Secondly, after Bella (DD9) was born, it quickly became clear that her medical management is a full time job. Many appointments, surgeries and recoveries, and frequent hospitalizations require scheduling flexibility that a job wouldn't allow. So I stay home, even though my kids are in school full time. DH is, and has been, the sole breadwinner for our family. I think you see where this is going.

On Friday morning (Valentine's day - Bella was dressed so cute when I sent her off with a huge smile, even though my heart was heavy as we knew what news was likely coming down the pipeline.

Bella was even sporting some cute heart shaped braids:


Mid morning, the phone call came that we were dreading. It was confirmed that the business my DH works for was closing all 11 of it's stores permanently after 60 years of business. He is guaranteed a job for just 60 more days and then this family of 5 will have no source of income, no benefits, no insurance, and a lot of free time on our hands unless he finds another job. And in this economy, we all know that isn't an easy task.



I panicked a little bit.....okay. A LOT. But we had spoken the night before and both decided that no matter what -

WE
ARE
STILL
GOING
TO
DISNEY . . . . even if DH just lost his job.

That's right, we have already invested too much nonrefundable money in this trip to turn back now. We have been looking forward to this trip since we stepped off the plane from our last trip to WDW 18 months ago. That, and the fact that we have been blessed with the Big Give and I desperately want to show off those awesome outfits in the parks, means we are still full steam ahead and headed towards WDW and now our countdown is down to just 3 (THREE!!!!) more days!

However, being that we are reasonably sane and occasionally attempt fiscal responsibility, we do need to make some changes to our plans.

Here's what isn't changing:

DISNEY TICKETS: We have already bought and paid for WDW 4 day tickets via the YES (Youth Education Series) program.

LODGING: We have already paid for our 1 day onsite and 5 nights off site hotel rooms.

TRAVEL: Our rental car will be the cheapest mode of transportation so we won't be making any changes to that. (DH is great at priceline and our 10 day moderate car rental is just $240). But maybe we'll try some of those wacky internet ideas for improving gas mileage! jk

Here's what IS changing:

Universal Studios PARK TICKETS: No more Universal Studios. 2 day tickets for our family would have run around $600 and we had not yet paid for those yet. So we are nixing Universal Studios.

FOOD: We were planning on doing a combination of continental breakfasts at the hotel, counter services at the parks, and delivery/drive through dinners and ONE Dining Experience that we have been saving up some money we earned by selling old clothes and toys. Our new plan is to carry in sandwiches on park days and possibly eat a light snack there. And we are still up in the air about the Disney Dining dollars....do we split it up and do several counter services or continue with our plan for one more expensive meal. TBD.

PLANS for WED and THURS: These were supposed to be our Universal Days, but now I have to revamp our entire schedule. We had contemplated adding a couple of Disney Days to our tickets, but found a couple of more exciting alternatives instead. Stay tuned for more on this


We could easily let this ruin our trip. The threat of unemployment and no income and no insurance is pretty scary, especially in this economy.

BUT NOBODY, not even Mr. Unemployment, RAINS ON OUR DISNEY PARADE!

I am confident that DH will find a job - he's awesome and very hard working. I hope it's in this same area, but we are willing to move if necessary. In the meantime, we're putting aside the thoughts of living in a cardboard box or moving in with the in-laws and are simply going to drive away from the disaster for 10 blissful, beautiful, and memorable days in the Happiest Place on Earth. Hmm....maybe DH should bring along his resume just in case they are hiring!
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:15 AM   #12
THiiNKTiiNKx0
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Oh no!! Im so sorry to hear the devastating news...im hoping and praying that job opportunities open up and hes able to start a new job, maybe even a better one, as soon as the current one shuts its doors. But I dont think Disney could have came at a better time. Instead of sitting at home dreading whats coming and worrying, you get to let all your worries slip away at the happiest place on earth! Im so glad you are still able to go. Have fun and I cant wait to hear all about it!
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:47 AM   #13
StefaniLyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dianemom2 View Post
I love the bracelets. They are so fun and Disney!

Have you priced out dinner at Akershus in Epcot? We took my two there when they were 8 and 9. They loved it! It was nice too because there was a salad bar but the main part of the meal was served instead of a buffet.

They are adorable, aren't they?

Unfortunately, my kids are not adventurous eaters and end up virtually eating nothing at Akershus because it is, according to them 'weird.' With our new changes in plans, we're considering Be Our Guest too. I wish there was an easy to use Dining calculator!

Quote:
Originally Posted by THiiNKTiiNKx0 View Post
Oh no!! Im so sorry to hear the devastating news...im hoping and praying that job opportunities open up and hes able to start a new job, maybe even a better one, as soon as the current one shuts its doors. But I dont think Disney could have came at a better time. Instead of sitting at home dreading whats coming and worrying, you get to let all your worries slip away at the happiest place on earth! Im so glad you are still able to go. Have fun and I cant wait to hear all about it!
Thank you for your prayers. And yes, the timing is going to be perfect for us! Just two days until we leave and guess what?!?! My brother's wife just had a baby girl today so we're headed up to see them tonight. Talk about crunch time......I need to get my butt in gear and get things done around here!
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:37 PM   #14
kellygirl2
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Hi Stephanie-
I am so sorry to hear about your bad news but happy you are going to still be able to enjoy your trip! I will keep your family in my prayers.

Did you receive a package from me on Friday or Saturday - with some clothes for the girls? I just wanted to make sure you got it because the post office tracking shows it was delivered. It is two skirts and a shirt.

Hope you really enjoy your trip!
Kelly
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:43 AM   #15
StefaniLyn
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2 Sleeps Til Disney and Running Short on Time

I can't believe we are just 3 days (2 sleeps) away from the beginning of our trip. So much to do, so little time.

Today, rather than packing our toiletries, medications, and DD9's tube feeding supplies as planned, my brother's wife decided to have her BABY! Now, I'm definitely not complaining that little miss Adelaide Anne arrived 3 days early because it means we got to meet the sweetest little princess in our family before our trip to WDW, but it also meant I got nothing done! Seriously, how cute is SHE?!!? I think Auntie Stephanie will be buying her first pair of mouse ears next week!


I did manage to finish packing clothes for our trip before heading to the hospital. And I finally uploaded the last couple of pictures from our BIG GIVE! A few days ago, we were blessed with even more BIG GIVE packages which included these beautiful skirts (one for DD12 and one modeled here by DD9). Bella was so excited to open it up!


Minnie Skirts!


A wonderful DISer named Kelly made these as well as a super cute shirt for DD14 which has a peace sign, heart, and mickey on it. Too bad I never see the kid anymore (teenagers are so busy!) so I haven't gotten her to model it for me yet. Thank you so much Kelly! You may be a novice seamstress but your creations are incredible and we love them!

and then to top it all off, THIS arrived for Bella (Thank you Jeanne!!!!) and her American Girl doll, Crystal, who must accompany us to WDW according to Bella. I am absolutely, positively in LOVE with this gorgeous set. It has the perfect twirl factor! Bella will certainly catch the eye of every true Disney lover in the parks wearing this ensemble!


I wish I could say I will be able to finish the packing tomorrow, but I don't know if that's the case. Bella has an appointment at 8:30am and its expected to last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. Let's hope it's closer to 4 and gives me some much needed time to finalize plans and finish packing.

After making the necessary changes to our plans due to DH's sudden and unexpected loss of employment in the near future, here's the new game plan:

Thursday, Feb 20 - depart, drive to Indiana
Friday, Feb 21 - finish drive, arrive approximately 10pm - stay with BIL in Orlando
Saturday, Feb 22 - Downtown Disney - DD9 (Bella) has an appointment in the afternoon at BBB, stay overnight at BILs house again
Sunday, Feb 23 - early morning check into All Star Sports (one night), Disney Park Day 1 @ Animal Kingdom
Monday, Feb 24 - Check out of All Star Sports, DD12 and DD9 Yes Classes at Epcot (DD14's got cancelled ) and Disney Park Day 2 @ Epcot, check into offsite hotel
Tuesday, Feb 25 - Disney Park Day 3 @ Hollywood Studios
Wednesday, Feb 26 - AM - DD12 Richard Petty Driving Experience Junior Ride Along, afternoon ????, PM - DD14 & DH Pro Soccer Classic game at ESPN Wide World of Sports
Thursday Feb 27 - travel to Clearwater Beach, kayaking with manatees (DH's aunt owns a condo in Clearwater and offered to take us kayaking after we nixed the plans for Universal)
Friday, Feb 28 - Volunteer day at GKTW
Saturday, March 1 - Disney Day 4 - Magic Kingdom
Sunday, March 2 - drive home

Days to Disney: 2
Dollars to Disney Dining: $150 (location still TBD)
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