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Old 11-13-2006, 03:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: NW Indiana
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Post In Need of a**Disney State of Mind**Nov06*The Search For Sanity Tour *UPDTD 12/1*

The Need for a Disney State of Mind
Pre-Pre Trip 2006

The Needy Ones:

Me, 42, Fascinated by bright shiny things, loves all the magic Disney offers, known to go commando (touring that is, not underwear free...well maybe that too sometimes )

DH, 47, world traveler, We'll call him Mr. St. Pete's, he'd rather be on the beach with a cigar in one hand and a drink in the other. Yet indulges his wife as his traveling has tested her patience.

DD, 14 A real princess, yet with the attitude only a 14 year old girl can share. She is a natural drama queen; she is bright and extemely emotionally sensitive.

DS,12 The great negotiator. He's already practicing to be a lawyer, practices on DH and I every chance he gets. He's a real sweet kid, even a hugger, but when he is bored he is Stitch personified! My little guy isn't so little anymore....sigh...

Pre-Trip Part Deux; Pg1, Post #5

We're On Our Way - Day 1; Pg1, Post #13

Wildness, Willfullness, Wetness, and Wishes - Day 2; Pg1; Post #15

An Unreal Dream and a Wish Fullfilled! - Day 3 - Pg2, post #20

NEW - Hot Wings! And We're On a Streak! - The Tell - Pg3, post #39 #

It had been a rough year, and the for the most part, Disney had been the last thing on my mind. It’s funny, as since before I was pregnant with my DDnow14, Disney was the only thing on my mind.

See, I’m a bit of a dreamer; a real sap when it comes to sentiment and things that move the soul. Music can whisk me to an alternate reality, I cry at Hallmark commercials, and have been known to embarrass my family while sobbing at the movie theater. Visual feasts grab me; anything lighted at night can sooth any worries that linger in my heart. That part comes from having a trying childhood and losing my Mom at age 18 to cancer. Mom was only 43. Repeat after me: Escape is good!

Now, before I turn you off by being a real bummer, I’m also a bit Jekyll and Hyde. The other side of me can be all business, get the job done, analytical and practical. I research the heck out of anything that interests me. I find it sometimes hard to ask others for help, and if I’m honest with myself, I’ll admit to a bit of martyrdom at “having to do it all”; myself. That’s not the pretty part, but it’s honest. That part comes from having few others to rely on most of my life, as well as having a DH whose job commits him to heavy travel. For many years of our marriage, DH was only home on the weekends. It was trying at times with two small children, but we made the best of it, and yearly Disney trips were our reward.

Besides a trip to WDW when I was maybe 8, our first family trip to The House of Mouse was in 1995. My DD was 3 and my DS was 9mths. old. Talk about magic! The music, the parades, the character greetings, the parks at night: stuff that dreams are made of. It was uninterrupted time for the family to reconnect. It was an opportunity for the child in me to re-emerge; the child that didn’t always get to be a child when I was growing up too fast.

From 1995-2001, we made 6 trips, always staying at an Epcot resort, always (except for one January trip) going the first or sometimes the second week in November. We’ve become honorary New Jerseyians, even though we’re from Ohio. My husband’s traveling basically paid for our Disney vacations. When Disney and American Express had a relationship, we could pay for our entire trip with Amex Miles. Airfare, hotel (usually Swan/Dolphin), and we could even get Park Hoppers with our miles. Yes, we had that many miles! Ahhhh, those were the days…

As time went on, the economy and the kids’ growing up put a slow stop to our Disney visits. It sure didn’t help when Amex and Disney severed their ties. But we managed our last couple trips with free airfare, maybe hotel if we didn’t stay at the BoardWalk Villas. Adding to that, DH’s idea of vacation after all the traveling was to sit on a beach with a drink in one hand, and a cigar in another. Needless to say, the next few trips for us involved St. Pete’s Beach. I was beginning to think Disney wasn’t going to happen for us anymore.

But of course, the idea of magic crept in. What a year 2006 had been for us. Our family had managed with DH’s traveling, but we were all growing weary. It was harder to be a “single mom” as the kids got older. Too much homework, too many places to be at the same time for dance or swimming, too many normal pre-adolescent testing issues for one parent to handle gracefully without support of the other spouse. So we decided to uproot our kids from the only place they had ever lived. DH was offered a job in NW Indiana, near Chicago; one that we were told would involve only a little travel. After much agonizing, we decided it was time to make our family whole. It wasn’t easy for the kids or myself. We lost daily contact with life-long friends. I was very active in the community and the schools, which was a big part of my self identity.

We took the plunge; off to Indiana we went. Our new hometown was more rural, yet much larger than the small suburb we had left. It was very different place for us, but sparing you the details, we adjusted. The kids made new friends, and found activities that mirrored the ones they had left.

Only one problem, DH got promoted quickly and had to start traveling again; out of the country; frequently; and sometimes 2 weeks at a time. I spent 8 months focused on the children’s adjustment, only to find myself feeling quite isolated and bored when the work was done. I tend to immerse myself in what needs to be done, and a re-occurrence of my son’s past hip disorder kept me busy for awhile. When that began to resolve, I revisited my wanderlust. It was time for a vacation. We hadn’t had one in almost 2 years because of our upheaval with planning a move.

I needed some magic for my family. DD14 was doing well, but has strong attachments to things important to her. She gets her emotionality and sensitivity from me. Ohio is always on her mind. DD12 just needed some full out fun. He had recently had a painful hip procedure and was tired of the reality of his bum hip. It’s so very hard to be a 12 year old boy who has to quit football, skateboarding and all the boy things he loves. Myself, I needed recharging to fill the void of lost friends, activities, and all the things I had once been so involved in.

That and the fact that my government will no longer allow me to play poker online…. …. I dabbled elsewhere on the computer….

I started to sneak onto the DisBoards during the day when noone was home.

A little peek, here and there.

I wasn’t committing to anything… ....just daydreaming…. .......yeah, that’s it…..not really serious….... .......wasn’t really gonna do anything, no, not me.….just curious…..of course I have no interest in going… ....just want to see what’s new these days…..what’s that? St. Pete’s, drinks, cigar? Yeah, I guess that sounds nice…...Hmmm, look how much Disney has changed in the past 5 years since we’ve gone….. ......Hmmm? No. I’m just bored and looking….. ...Yes hon, I know how expensive it’s gotten….

Then…..WHAM! I found the DVC Rent/Trade Boards…..

St. Pete’s who???????
DH realizes he’s in Big Trouble……

Last edited by saschab; 12-01-2006 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:59 PM   #2
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What a great intro....
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Old 11-13-2006, 04:06 PM   #3
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Wow! Great start to your TR! I'm hooked already! We sound a lot in common. I lost my dad to lung cancer when I was 18. It was rough, so I know what you went thru. My son has also had his share of surgeries. He had a bone tumor in his jaw when he was 10 and had to have most of his lower jaw removed at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He had a titanium plate put in until the jaw regenerated. It was a tough few years, but now you'd never know he went thru all that. You have to enjoy the good times when you can, ya know? What better place to do that than WDW??? Can't wait to read more...

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Old 11-13-2006, 11:49 PM   #4
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OhMari - Thank you for the vote of confidence! It's intimidating to attempt a trip report after reading all of these stellar ones. What the heck, I'm amusing myself at least.

Mlill - I've finally got to reading your trip report. Your pictures are fabulous. I do think we have many things in common. Love for red meat, Halloween and grand costumes, to name a few. I've got some pics of DH and I going all out for Halloween. They're quite a hoot. And yes, the more serious sides of life. As for our kids, whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself for some silly reason, I just look at their resilience, and I'm humbled. I never realized how much I would learn from them.

Okay, serious time is now over. I might be known as a stick in the mud to some stalking the DDP debate threads, but I do have a sense of humour...I promise.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:59 PM   #5
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Pre-Trip Part Deux 2006

Ah….the DVC Rent/Trade Board. My first dream come true. Right before my eyes is an offer for an already made reservation at an Epcot resort for the week we traditionally have visited Disney!

Do my eyes deceive me? Nope, it’s still there in black and white. I had already found the Epcot resorts to be sold out, or available at rack rate. No way was I going to convince DH to return with a rack rate for a regular room. It amazes me that 10 years ago we could get a one-bedroom for the price of regular rooms or studios today. And sitting here in front of me was an offer within our budget.

Now renting involves a fair degree of trust. The older I get, the less of it I have. But heck, for a Disney trip I’m willing to put up with some discomfort. Actually, I was very fortunate in that the renter had a long history on the DisBoards, had a fairly high post count (which I scoured for hints of his character ), and happened to live probably within a 2 hour drive of us, on the off-chance he was a scammer and my DH had to hunt him down and kill him! So, I’m thinking my odds are good, and it’s time to butter up dear hubby. Five nights at a BCV studio. It’s a short trip compared to our usual 7-9 nights. I’ve got that in my corner as far as convincing Mr. St. Pete’s.

I plead my case, and he agrees we should look into it. No sooner are the words out of his mouth and I’m emailing away. Within the next 48 hours, after getting the details, doing a little bit more internet research on the owner, we have a verbal commitment with a contract on the way. My loving husband never saw the runaway train coming. And he never complained, as he knew how important this was to me. He is a prince among men.
Although he does have a bit of the pirate in him too.

Hot damn! We’re going to WDW! There is no way I can keep this a secret from the kids. Especially at this age… (Theirs, not mine…I’m in my 40’s, but regardless of what my kids say, I’m not one step away from Alzheimer’s). I get one week into it and we both break…the kids are giddy!

Now, I’ve never planned a trip like this in such a short timeframe….we’re talking just under 60 days. And the more I read here, the more I feel compelled to make this a great trip, for all I know it could be my last:

I read up on all the new rides, decide I wouldn’t be caught dead in Crocs, nail down free airfare with miles rewards, ponder the finer points of whether TourGuideMike is worth it (he was), evaluate whether I can depend on GardenGrocer (I can),and decide I will NOT be sneaking around Home Depot lifting alien green Mickey paint chip heads as unsuspecting clerks aren’t looking.

Okay, I’ll fess up. I did end up slithering through Home Depot 3 days before our departure…call me weak. And yep, those suckers got laminated.

I practiced the “Focker” move to express my kinship to the others obsessed with all things Disboard. Then I rightly worried that I might scare someone who had no clue as to why I was giving the “I’m watching you” sign.

(Disclaimer: I have since found out not everyone who wears Dis-Lime green to the parks are our brethren. There is some woman walking around today, who I am sure is telling people about this crazy frizzy-haired redhead lady who is out to get her. I’m thinking the Focker signal gave her the wrong impression. I’m thinking we should just forget about the color and the Mickey head paint chips and the secret signal, and just get big ‘ole tattoos on our foreheads. Save a bit of embarrassment if you ask me.)

I agonized over what bag to bring. I ordered and returned 3 different Ebag orders, including a Baggallini, before settling on a CampMor bag that was “just right”.

Don’t even get me started on the “great DDP debate” of 2006….

Hours and hours of decisions to make, plans to tweak…oh how I love an all-consuming project like this. We’ve been asked to bring a “Flat Stanley” from a friend’s son in Ohio. Leaving nothing to chance, I color copy 3 of them, laminate them all, leave one at home for safe-keeping, figuring if we destroy or lose one or two, we’re still covered. That and I insist on a stiff Flat Stanley for taking the best posed pictures.

Oh, and I admit to laminated day cards with park hour info, ADR’s etc., for each day. My daughter just laughs at me. Actually she just rolls her eyes at me; that’s about all she can do; she’s 14. And at this point the UPS Store employees are waiting for me to bring in the dog to be laminated. Nope, he can’t come with…it’s off to doggie resort for him.

Days/parks are decided, ADR’s made and changed. I promise the family they would not be subjected to commando touring, although this being a short trip, I’m a bit tempted. No problem, I’ll just add another night at the start of our trip at the Hilton at DTD. Change our flight. I rationalize we’ll get to Disney around 3:00pm, hang at DTD the first evening, and hit the parks running for our first full day after checking in early at BCV. That way, I can let go a bit, and we can be casual travelers. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Bags get packed, with extra special, x-lg Ziplocs for each outfit for my kids. Sick, I know….they are no longer toddlers and are not amused. I plead the lack of space, as we usually get a 1 bedroom, and with a bit more eye-rolling, they give up the fight. And of course world traveling husband is left to fend for himself, the way he likes it. He tosses in what he needs in his own suitcase at about 10 pm the night before we leave. Gotta love that man. I do not see an ulcer in his future.

I sleep surprisingly well that night, which is very unusual for me before any trip. I’m always afraid I’ll over sleep and miss my flight. I have a little bit of OCD in me in that sense. Checking the alarm at least three times before I can settle. Too bad that doesn’t translate to housework…somehow my brain skipped that wiring! Next thing I know, the alarm is pulling me out of some sweet dreams….and after much needed sustenance known as caffeine…we are on our way to the House of Mouse!
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:31 AM   #6
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I love it! Your report is lively and exciting! I love the feeling of your anticipation I get from reading it! I can't wait to hear more, thanks for part deux!


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Old 11-14-2006, 09:44 AM   #7
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This is a great trip report!!!
I am hooked!!!
Spending one day at the Magic Kingdom is better than nothing at all!:
Anniversary Trip 2013!
Spring Break Trip 2013
Spring Break Trip 2011
Thanksgiving 2008
Thanksgiving 2007
*October 2006...Keys to the Kingdom
Keys to the Kingdom TR

*Thanksgiving 2005
*February 2004
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:45 AM   #8
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Great TR!! Can't wait for more!

I do the same before a trip. I could not believe that I slept the night before our last trip to WDW. I guess it had to do with being a mom of a toddler. You have to sleep or you will go crazy!!
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:18 PM   #9
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summersfam4/Kelly - I'm glad you're enjoying it. I promise I have a surprise or two!

minnierocks - Wow, Disney royalty! I'm honored to have you here. I'm one of the folks who sobbed like a baby when I saw the video of your family's great adventure. That and the tissues I went through when reading your trippie. See, I told you I was a sap! I may have already mentioned this in your thread, but our recent move was from Aurora, Oh. We were practically neighbors.

magicforever - Well, I hate to tell you, it gets better for awhile, then you start having to worry about things like sneaking onto the computer at night when the old folks are deeply snoring. What really helped me sleep that night was a stiff nitecap!

Anyways, I had hoped to continue tonight or tomorrow, but have broken a tooth and need a little root canal repair. I'm hoping to feel up to another chapter done and posted no later than Thursday morning.

Hang in there with me!
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:01 AM   #10
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What an awesome start. I can't wait to read more. Boy who knew that Amex and WDW had a relationship! That was before our time, I wish it wasn't.
me dh: : ds14 dd8
Nana Poppa Bill
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Old 11-15-2006, 09:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by saschab
Anyways, I had hoped to continue tonight or tomorrow, but have broken a tooth and need a little root canal repair. I'm hoping to feel up to another chapter done and posted no later than Thursday morning.

Hang in there with me!
Hey! Good luck at the dentist! UGH! I've had my share of teeth trouble, too. I just dread every appointment, thinking that he'll find something new to fix! Hope the root canal goes well!

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Old 11-17-2006, 08:52 AM   #12
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Averill944 - There was even a special Amex/Disney fannypack they'd give you. It was amazing, although that was in the day you could get a one-bedroom villa, for the price of a regular room or studio these days. And the parks were much less crowded the 1st week in November, it was like a ghost town some years.....

'Kay, I'm gearing up for a brief chapter.....

Last edited by saschab; 11-17-2006 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 11-17-2006, 09:55 AM   #13
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We're On Our Way - Day 1

We're On Our Way - Day 1

Let me let you in on a little secret on how I slept so well the night before the trip. Yes, alcohol was involved....here's why:

Everything was going way too smoothly the days before our trip. I was actually less stressed than usual. But about 2:00 pm on the eve our trip, I couldn't find our Discover card, which we had planned to put our DDP and incidentals on. We never use it, except for trips. We had used it a few weeks before to purchase our tickets through UndercoverTourist. I spent 5 hours turning the house upside down, tearing through both cars, pacing the floors, and packing/re-packing every suitcase and bag to see if I could find it. Finally at 7:00 pm, we decided to cancel the card. I was exhausted from worry, and had shed some tears to boot. I finally had to just let go, and DH called to cancel it and order another card. Discover would be sending the replacment card Fedex to BCV. My dream of returning to a clean house was not to be. Then again, what else is new. My BFF gave me a house warming gift that sums it up nicely....it's a sign stating "A Messy Home is a Sign of Character (You Should See the Characters Who Live Here!)"

So, a strong nitecap for me, a few things to finish up, and being emotionally drained, I fell into a coma.

5:00 am comes soon, and we are off to our flight. We're flying Delta (without a single schedule change since we booked ) with a connection in Atlanta. Getting there was uneventful except for the fact that my suitcase was charged for heavy weight. I hadn't had time to rearrange after "the great credit card hunt". DH will live; he's willing to spend a few bucks so that his bride remains mentally and emotionally intact!

:What's that old saying? If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

We take a Mears towncar to the Hilton at DTD. Let me remind you here that DH travels almost constanly, and has for over 10 years. He has no patience for waiting in lines anymore than he has to. He has no patience for lost time. So towncar it as; at is always has been for us. Yes, we are spoiled.

We arrive at check-in time, 3pm or 4pm, I don't recall exactly. Our room is not ready. We are given breakfast buffet vouchers to sooth our irritation and head up to concierge level only to find peanuts, apples, and bananas. This a meal does not make. Luckily there is a Benihana's on property and we eat our fill of sushi. Both of my children adore sushi! Which can make for an expensive evening out, but Benihana's prices were quite reasonable compared to our local sushi offerings, and the quality is surprisingly good. With our bellies full, our room is ready, and it's off to DTD for a relaxing attempt to find our Disney State of Mind.

The Hilton is directly across the street from DTD's Marketplace. DD and I will be in heaven! DS and Hubby will not be...unless there is a BestBuy there, and we know that's not happenin' So the girls start their immersion into all things magical by wandering the Christmas shop, while the boys head to DisneyQuest.

Although us girls could have window shopped for the rest of the evening, the boys call to tell us that after a bit over 2 hours in DisneyQuest...that they were DONE.
We have all been there before, but the boys give it a BIG THUMBS DOWN this time. Many machines in disrepair or shut down. They agree it was not worth the money this time. I'm starting to believe the rumours about Disney putting an ESPN Zone in that space in the future. Neither of them believe Disney would let the place go to pot like that, unless they planned to close it down in the future.

So it's back to the Hilton, to hit a comfortably warm pool, a moderately hot hottub, and of course another cocktail or two.....

Do you see a theme forming?!

Last edited by saschab; 11-17-2006 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:10 PM   #14
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Yes, I see a theme forming and I love it! Don't feel bad. I always lose something before our trips, too. I think it's a side-effect of anal-retentive over planning! LOL! But it all works out! Sorry to hear the boys didn't have a good time at DisneyQuest. What a bummer! Can't wait to hear about the Beach Club!


P.S. Those are actually MY pins on the pin board in the pics on my TR! I have a basement art studio where I have all of my Disney goodies!
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Old 11-20-2006, 11:42 AM   #15
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Wildness, Willfullness, Wetness and Wishes - Day 2

After a quick buffet at the Hilton (very good) and a hair-raising cab ride to BCV, we check in at around 9am. Room's not ready, but we get our keys, pay for DDP, leave our luggage, and head out to AK.

We get FPs for Expedition Everest, ride it as lines are short, and hit it again soon after. What a ride! I was concerned, as I don't do backwards, but loved it. A few seconds of vertigo, but it goes away quickly.

My son suffers from a bit of "expectation anxiety". When planning our trip, he started making a mental list of the rides he "might not go on". As stubborn as he is, we figured he might skip out alot. He braved EE, and from then on we were golden! I knew ToT was the only thing he wouldn't try from then on, and I was OK with that. He'll tell anyone who'll listen the EE is the best ride in WDW. We're over one hurdle!

The next hurdle is a test of my expectations.
Year Of A Million Dreams.
The hype has gotten to me; I would kill for a Dream Fastpass.
I know it's unlikely, but I dream just the same.

As we are walking towards Dinosaur, we notice that they are having a sneak preview for Nemo the Musical, and I'll be darned if the Dream Team members aren't standing in line!

Here's where the test comes in.
I promised no commando/no dictatorship.
We would be making decisions as a family.
Well guess what?
My family has absolutely no interest in this show.

In hindsight, I truly believe that they do, but they are setting the tone for the trip. Drawing a line in the sand, so to speak. Asserting their right to refusal, right out of the gate...just so Mom doesn't get any ideas on running roughshod...planner that I am.

So I close my mouth, and walk away. My mind is screaming...FASTPASS! FASTPASS! but my feet keep walking.

We make short work of the rides and sites we want to see, and realize how hungry we are. We've decided that CS meals won't be pre-planned, we'll eat when we're hungry. And we won't traverse the park; what's around when we're hungry will have to do. Actually, the rest of the family decides this.
I go along, vowing to assert my right to "mommy tantrum" later...

We end up near that crappy Brontosaurus McDonald's place. The proper name escapes me, as I think I've blocked it out of my memory on purpose. It's our first experience with the DDP, and although it goes smoothly (except for the 2 adults in front of us ordering for approximately 20 people - I'm not kidding), the food disappoints. Cold fries & nuggets, an average burger, and a bland salad. Not even real McDonalds...

We save Kali RR for last, as we'll be leaving the park and hitting the pool. At the EE photo counter, a nice older gentleman CM gave us a hint. He said that when you get into the ride, if you are facing the way towards the direction the rounder is floating, you won't get as wet. That's great, as I had forgotten to unpack the rain ponchos before leaving that morning. (insert smilie of me smacking my head). All during lunch we debated: Was he being kind and telling the truth? Or was he a bit of a mischief maker, and telling us so we'd sit there and get drenched. Well, place your bets now, we're getting on.


Guess, what? He lied. I was the wettest of the group. Totally soaked to the bone, picking my wet undies out of my rear end the whole way to the bus. And darn, that AC was cold!

On our return, I called the number they gave to check on the room. I was surprised to hear you did not have to go back down to get the key re-zapped, and it opened the door automatically. Pretty spiffy!

So it's off to SAB. Kids thought it was just okay. They weren't impressed with the slide. I guess they prefer shooting out of a clown's mouth. Whatever floats your boat. An afternoon cocktail floated the adult's boat!

While the kids darted from pool to pool. We watched Little Satan Incarnate (a boy about 11 I'm guessing) wreck havoc on SAB. Running, screaming, knocking little ones over. A real walking advertisement for Ritalin. Never saw a parent anywhere near him.

I'd hide too.

As we were leaving, we saw another little boy acting suspicious near one of those tall zippered towel receptacles. I'm thinking it was LSI's little brother. Just looked like he had swallowed the canary. These receptacles are two tiered, with two huge pull-out bins. Next thing you know, Satan Incarnate pops his head out of the top bin, then ducks back down. His brother kept opening it up, LSI pops out, then little brother slams it shut. Over and over again. Now this wasn't accidental behavior. The kids had to unzip the back of it to get to the bins. Not sure how he made it up into there, but the lifeguards were not amused.

After the pool it was time to get ready for California Grill. In all our trips we had never been. Our ressies were for 9:10pm and after hearing all the horror stories about people staking out tables for the fireworks, and 5 hour dining, we were prepared for the worst.

We arrived at 8:40 and were taken up the elevator and seating right away! Our server was pleasant, but possibly new, as we ordered and were served well passt those around us who came after. They had different waitstaff. It worked out though, we were relaxed! Dinner was very good; some things excelled, some things didn't. Sushi was still available for an appetizer, and DH had a memorable cheese platter for dessert.

At 9:00 DD and I went out to the observation deck to view Wishes. DS was a bit nervous about the height and it was very windy, so the boys watched from inside.

It was beautiful! And very emotional. Especially for my daughter. She had really been missing her friends in Ohio. As the fireworks dialog built up, so did her tears. We didn't speak, I just held her and we soaked in the experience. My heart hurt for her.........ahh....Wishes.....we each silently made ours, and returned to our meal.

I have to end on that note....can you say "foreshadowing" ?!

Last edited by saschab; 11-20-2006 at 11:48 AM.
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