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Old 07-26-2009, 04:26 PM   #1
beyondblessed
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For the Love of Disney - PTR

I've been lurking around these boards for years and years....mostly the trip reports. I LOVE reading about everyone's experiences - it helps so much when planning. And it fills the void between trips. I've finally decided it's time to start my own pre-trip report. This is a very special trip for us and I want to document every step of the way. I've been on the boards enough to know that there is no better way than by doing a PTR and TR on Dis!


THE CAST


Nikky (Mommy) – I’m the Disney travel agent in our family! I’ve been in love with Mickey since I was a little girl and just can’t get enough. I’ve been to Disney 12 times since I was in 6th grade. I plan and plan and plan, driving my husband completely crazy but he’ll willingly admit it’s my obsessive planning that ensures we have such great Disney vacations. I truly find the planning almost as thrilling as the trip. I work full time as a Financial Analyst at our local hospital and spend most of my time as a devoted soccer Mom (although my girls don’t actually play soccer ). In what little free time I do have I enjoy attending my daughters’ and husband’s sporting events, scrapbooking and planning current and future Disney trips.

Travis (Daddy) – Isn't he cute? I introduced the love of my life to my first love (Mickey) about six months after we started dating. After all, how could I choose to spend my life with someone without first making sure they’d indulge and enable my Disney habit? Unfortunately Travis does not “get” Disney like I do…however; he is 100% supportive and devoted to making his 3 girls happy (as long as I take care of the arrangements). He is a high school math teacher, softball coach and golf coach…I say he only teaches so he can coach. As much as I love and admire him for the career he’s chosen…it really impedes on my Disney planning since the only times I want to go are when school is in session. More on this later…

Hayley (DD12) – Hayley was introduced to Disney World when she was a year old. She’s been 4 times and is a lot like her Mom – can’t get enough. She will be in 8th grade this fall! She’s my sports girl, although she’s the shortest in her class, she’s small and mighty. During the school year she is a cheerleader, plays basketball and volleyball and runs track. In the summer, she plays on 2 softball teams and is the primary reason I’m a soccer Mom (but like I said…no soccer).

Caya (DD4, pronounounced “Kay-uh”) – Caya was introduced to Disney World when she was 6 months old. The sweetest thing you will ever meet until she doesn’t get her way…then watch out! We like to call her our “tomboy princess” if there is such a thing. She’s been known to “dress up” and play softball in high heels and a tutu. We think it ought to help her coordination! She cannot wait to meet the princesses and ride Dumbo and the Coffee Cups (as she calls them). I LOVE that this is all still real to her – makes it real for the rest of us as well. She is on a competitive cheerleading squad that practices 2 nights a week and competes several weekends throughout the year – the secondary reason I’m a soccer Mom (still…no soccer). I do however believe she can start playing soccer on our local rec team this fall. We shall see…maybe I’ll officially get to be a soccer Mom.

Happy – He’s our Shih Tzu puppy. I added him to our profile only because he was named after a Disney character.

There will most likely be others joining us for part of our trip. Once this is confirmed I will update the cast.

CHAPTER INDEX
HOW THIS TRIP CAME TO BE
PLANS
FAVORITES
PAST TRIPS
PLANS CHANGE (OFTEN APPARENTLY)
PLANS CHANGE (UGH-Gotta check with the boss!)
PLANS CHANGE (The boss' response)
IS THERE A CLASS FOR DISNEY?
HEIGHT CHECK
DISNEY PLANNING BAG
WEEKEND MINI TRIP
A LITTLE SHOPPING
100 DAYS
REAL LIFE INTERUPTIONS
TRAVEL JOURNALS
MORE DISNEY SHOPPING
PAID IN FULL
PACKAGE IN THE MAIL (No, not from Disney)
ITINERARY
PACKING LIST
TO DO LIST

Last edited by beyondblessed; 11-29-2009 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:37 PM   #2
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How this trip came to be

HOW THIS TRIP CAME TO BE

I know I probably don’t need to explain how a Disney trip came to be and I definitely don’t feel I need an excuse to plan one but this time, there is a reason and a reason that is close to my heart…so I’m sharing.

In January, my Dad lost his battle with cancer. He didn’t want any services (that is just like him). Instead he asked to be cremated and to have his ashes divided between my Mom, my 2 sisters, my brother and myself. He wanted us each to take them somewhere that was special to us. He didn’t have to say a word (I would have known) but he specifically told me to take mine to Disney World. I’m quite a bit younger than my siblings and went on many Disney trips with my parents….and my best friend. They always allowed me to bring my BFF so I’d have someone my age to spend time with. And Nichole and I have been best friends since we were 3 so she’s like family. My sisters and their families joined us a couple times and although my Dad didn’t specifically tell them Disney, they are planning on meeting us for part of this trip.

My Dad was a workaholic to say the least so when he actually took a vacation….he took a vacation. All out, fully indulged. We always stayed at the Polynesian (usually concierge). My parents would beg and plead if they had to in order to get a first floor lagoon view room – they always succeeded. God, I wish I had my Dad’s negotiating skills. There will be many more references to my wonderful Dad in future posts but in honor of him, we are staying at the Polynesian (for part of the trip…more to come on this). With my husband coaching softball and golf, Nov-Dec was the earliest we could plan this trip. I opted for December because we’ve been before and loved it at that time. We actually got engaged on a Disney trip on 12/12 and will be leaving for this trip on 12/12. I can’t explain how much this trip means to me. I think because we didn’t have services, I NEED this…my heart, my soul, my mind, my family…needs this. It will be bitter sweet I’m sure but I plan on honoring him in the best way I know how – by being a kid with my kids, just like he did with me.



I can’t fathom the idea of doing Disney in less than a week. It’s just not possible, right? My husband went in to talk to the superintendant and was told he can only take 3 personal days. ?????????? Oh my, that means our trip can only be 5 days max!!! I was devastated, completely 100% heartbroken. This isn’t just this one trip…it’s the rest of my ever loving Disney life! I don’t want to go when school is out…spring break and summer vacation are out because of softball and Christmas break is by far the busiest time at Disney – no way do I want to try that. What is a girl to do??? Well, isn’t it obvious? If we have to shorten our trip, we are upgrading. I called back and changed our reservation to concierge. I had considered this already because all concierge guests stay in the Hawaii longhouse and that is where I always stayed with my parents. I was able to calm down and become okay with this shortened trip (it did take a couple tranquilizers). But then I started thinking about how crazy it was going to be to do everything we wanted to do…and spend quality time with my sisters and their families. So now, the plan is to keep this reservation as is for my little family of 4, my poor husband will fly home on Wednesday and my sisters and families will join me and the girls then. I hate that he will be missing out on part of our trip (I promised not to have too much fun without him) but I think this will be the best way to accomplish everything I want to accomplish. And just so he isn’t too jealous, we are moving from a Deluxe (Concierge) to a Value!!! Actually, it has nothing to do with him being jealous and everything to do with saving a little money! I have reservations at Pop Century for an additional 4 nights right now but want to do a little more research before that is set in stone. We’ve never stayed at a Value so I didn’t have a 1st choice….I kind of just picked one. Any thoughts on this??????


UP NEXT: PLANS

Last edited by beyondblessed; 07-26-2009 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:50 PM   #3
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Hi Nikky! I'm on board(:
I'm in the middle of writing my first TR too (2 years after taking the trip though).
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:59 PM   #4
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You have an adorable family! I can't wait to read more about your planning.

I, too, enjoy planning almost as much as the trip itself and I drive the rest of my family absolutely crazy!

I teared up reading about your dad. I took my parents, ages 70 and 68, in May. And although it made for a slower trip than we are used to, I am so glad that I did! The memories will last forever!
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:01 PM   #5
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Yeah, my first visitor! That's funny...I seriously considered whether or not I should start by doing a trip report of our previous trip. I'd have a lot more pictures...unfortunately, my memory isn't so good and I wasn't up on dis and didn't take good trip report notes. Now I'm in the know thank goodness! I'm trying to figure out the links now - my skills are a little rusty.

Off to check out your TR right now!!!

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Old 07-26-2009, 05:14 PM   #6
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Hi Jo - Thank you! That is so wonderful that you got to go to Disney with your parents in May. I would give anything, absolutely ANYTHING to have one more trip with my parents.

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Old 07-26-2009, 06:08 PM   #7
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Plans

DISCLAIMER!!! I actually started writing this in a Word document a couple weeks ago. Instead of starting from scratch, I thought I'd go ahead and post everything I have written so you can journey through the drama with me. What would planning a vacation be without a little drama. If I had to guess, I started this in early June.

PLANS

Flights: I actually have not booked flights yet. I want to so badly but just can’t seem to get anyone/everyone to commit. I think I’m going to go ahead and book our flights down RIGHT NOW and hold off on our return flights! This is the plan so far…

12/12/09 – 7:00 am Indianapolis --> Orlando 9:14 am on Air Tran (All 4 of us)
12/16/09 – 2:45 pm Orlando --> 4:14 Atlanta 5:21 --> Bloomington 6:07 pm on Air Tran (Travis Only)
12/20/09 – 10:25 am Orlando --> Indianapolis 12:55 pm on Southwest (Girls Only)

*** We will drive over to Indy on Friday night and stay at the Hilton Garden Inn – Indpls Airport (about a 2 hour drive). Indy is an hour ahead of us and I don’t even want to think about what time we would have to leave to make a 7am flight if we left that same morning. Staying in a hotel will allow us to park free and take a shuttle to the airport in the morning. They also have a free continental breakfast. I figure if you add the cost of parking + breakfast that we would have if we didn’t stay in the hotel, we’ll break even (or come close ) and get a little extra, much needed sleep. We’ve done this several times in the past and it’s worked out well. Plus it kind of allows us to start our vacation the night before…and if Trav’s vacation is going to be cut short, we’ll take every little bit with him we can get.

*** Travis will have someone pick him up at the Bloomington airport; it’s a little less than an hour from home. We haven’t actually asked anyone yet but there are a number of people that I’m sure would be willing to do it. This will leave the car in Indy for me and the girls. I’m already a little nervous about getting all of us and our stuff to the car without my wonderful husband – I’m sure it will be fine but I’ve never had to do it – I’m picturing me with 2 sleepy girls and 10 suitcases. Note to self – send as much home with Travis as possible.

Resort: I covered most of this already but to recap, the plan so far…
12/12/09 – 12/16/09 @ Polynesian (Concierge-Hawaii Building)
12/16/09 – 12/20/09 @ Pop Century (???)

Transportation: We will be using Disney’s Magical Express. As I type this I’m getting sadder by the minute. I just can’t picture my poor husband getting on the bus all by himself and leaving his girls behind at the happiest place on earth.

Passes: With our initial 4 night package we purchased 8 day park hopper passes and I had received an email code that gave us “Water Parks & More” free. It actually reduced the price of our package some too – not sure how but it was a couple hundred dollars different when I priced it online and when I called with our code. No questions – I’ll take it. We probably won’t step foot in a water park or use the “more” feature but it was free and will be nice to know we can do Disney Quest if it rains one day.

Food: We will use the Disney Dining Plan for the first half of our trip along with the concierge. For the 2nd half, there really is no plan. My sisters and their families will probably be running 100 miles an hour so we will probably eat as quickly as possible. My little family enjoys the character dining (having 2 little girls)…my sister’s families, not so much. Their children are all grown (high school / college) and I’m guessing would just assume eat while running to the next ride. That’s okay – it will be a new experience for us as well.


UP NEXT: FAVORITES

Last edited by beyondblessed; 07-26-2009 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:36 PM   #8
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Favorites

FAVORITES

PARK
Travis - Animal Kingdom
Nikky - Magic Kingdom
Hayley - Animal Kingdom
Caya - Magic Kingdom

CHARACTER
Travis - Sleeping Beauty
Nikky - Mickey Mouse
Hayley - Tinkerbelle
Caya - Sleeping Beauty (aka Rose in our house)

RESTAURANT
Travis - Cindy's
Nikky - O'Hana
Hayley - Cindy's
Caya - Cindy's

RIDE
Travis - Splash Mountain
Nikky - Splash Mountain
Hayley - Peter Pan
Caya - Dumbo

RIDE 2
Travis - Rockin' Roller Coaster
Nikky - Haunted Mansion
Hayley - Pirates of the Carribean
Caya - Coffee Cups (aka Tea Cups to the rest of the world)


NEXT UP: PAST TRIPS

Last edited by beyondblessed; 07-26-2009 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beyondblessed View Post
FAVORITES

PARK
Travis - Animal Kingdom
Nikky - Magic Kingdom
Hayley - Animal Kingdom
Caya - Magic Kingdom

CHARACTER
Travis - Sleeping Beauty
Nikky - Mickey Mouse
Hayley - Tinkerbelle
Caya - Sleeping Beauty (aka Rose in our house)

RESTAURANT
Travis - Cindy's
Nikky - O'Hana
Hayley - Cindy's
Caya - Cindy's

RIDE
Travis - Splash Mountain
Nikky - Splash Mountain
Hayley - Peter Pan
Caya - Dumbo

RIDE 2
Travis - Rockin' Roller Coaster
Nikky - Haunted Mansion
Hayley - Pirates of the Carribean
Caya - Coffee Cups (aka Tea Cups to the rest of the world)
That's so cute that Caya calls them the "coffee cups"
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:12 PM   #10
beyondblessed
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Past trips

PAST TRIPS

ME: I’ve been to Disney 12 times (that I can remember). I had 9 bridesmaids in my wedding and have been to Disney with 5 of them (the 4 I haven’t been with are family members, the 5 I have been with are my 5 best friends).

1. Nichole - My best friend!!! She came along for the first 4 or 5 trips taken with my parents. Because my siblings were all grown up, my Mom and Dad always invited Nichole to come along with us. She really is more of a sister than a friend. Her Mom started babysitting me when we were 3 and we have been inseparable since. Well, with the exception of the times her Dad MOVED HER ACROSS THE COUNTRY!!! I have forgiven him since but in 2nd grade they moved to Tennessee (I got to visit her once) and from there they moved to California. In 5th grade they moved back (to the very house they’d left) and my world was right again. Until freshman year when her Dad MOVED HER ACROSS THE COUNTRY AGAIN!!! This time to New Jersey. I got to visit her once there too and even traveled to Europe with her for her school trip. As much as we like to give our parents a hard time for doing this to us, they were incredible about keeping our friendship intact. She spent most of her summers in Illinois with me (and her grandparents) and then her senior year her parents moved to Missouri. After her first year of college she moved back to Illinois to go to nursing school and has been here since. Strangely enough she lives in that same house she lived in twice as a child – and I happened to live there with my parents while our new house was being built (her grandparents own it). We work for the same place (she’s a nurse, I’m in finance), our daughters were born less than a month apart, she babysits for me during the summer since she only works weekends, we walk together every morning at 5:30 am and we spend every free moment we can together. She is my daughter’s God-mother and I am her daughter's…oh and her Mom is actually my God-mother. Our daughters have an arranged friendship – they have to be best friends whether they like it or not. She and her now husband traveled to Disney with us when we got engaged. They recently took their first family trip to Disney with their children and I’m trying to convince them to join us in December…you know, for old time’s sake!

2. Heidi - In 8th grade I went to Space Camp with another dear friend, Heidi, in Huntsville, Alabama and following our time there we flew to Orlando and met her parents for a week in Disney. As much as I love Disney I was completely homesick and never wanted to go back there without my Mom and Dad again. After college, Heidi lived in Tampa, FL and I flew down to visit her for a long weekend. Tampa is sooo close to Disney…of course we made a trip there!

3. Rachael – I was planning a trip to Disney and mentioned it to my friend Rachael. She hadn’t been since high school and was dying to go back so her family came along. Her oldest daughter was 5 and Hayley was 3. We actually managed to cram 2 families into one room at Port Orleans-Riverside (actually it was still Dixie Landings back then). I have such good memories from this trip – 3 and 5 are such great ages to take little princesses.

4. Christie – Christie has been my best friend since Nichole’s Dad MOVED HER ACROSS THE COUNTRY freshman year. The year I started dating my now husband, I was planning another trip to Disney and she commented that her and her now husband had never done anything like that and would love to join us. We went Labor Day weekend for only 4 days but had the best time. Funny story – people think we look a lot alike, we get confused for each other quite often. We both married Travis’ from the same rural town that consists of a school a church and maybe 15 houses and they are both 3 years younger than us. Yes, I robbed the cradle – BIG TIME!

5. Maureen – I met Mo in high school. We didn’t go to school together but worked together at the local grocery store. She has a son that is 2 months older than Hayley. Her family joined us on our last trip. It was nice for Hayley to have someone her age.

*** I can remember other people meeting us at Disney too. A year or so after space camp, a friend that I met there who lived in Sarasota came down for a couple days. It was neat to see him but I have completely lost touch with him since. Both of my older sisters and their families have met us a couple times. And my parents even let me take my high school sweetheart when we went for my graduation (only because Poly has a daybed he could sleep in).

***I have the sweetest memories from Disney and I pray my children will as well. There is nothing I wish for more than to have one more trip there with my parents. Sadly, my Dad is gone and my Mom is not healthy enough to travel there anymore. I’m sure that my heaven will include Disney World and my Dad will greet me on Main Street.[/U]

TRAV: His first trip was when we were dating. His Mom and sisters had been on a school cheerleading trip but he had never gone. My goal was to try him out – make sure he’d be accepting of my obsession before I fell head over heals in love! haha He really enjoyed it but doesn’t feel the need to go several times a year like I do. He does, however, LOVE his girls and what we want we get.

HAYLEY: Her first trip was at a year old….then when she was 3…..then 6…..then 8. This will be her 5th trip.

CAYA: Her first trip was at 6 months. It was to celebrate how well Hayley took on her big sister role after 8 years of being an only child and how my husband bribed me into going back to work after my maternity leave. It worked! This will be her 2nd trip – she is deprived! We really can’t let so much time go by between trips…she’ll think we love Hayley more!!! haha


UP NEXT: PLANS CHANGE (OFTEN APPARENTLY)

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Old 07-26-2009, 08:29 PM   #11
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Plans Change (Often Apparently)

PLANS CHANGE (OFTEN APPARENTLY)

Flights: I booked our flights!!! Yeah! As I was getting ready to do it and explained everything to my hubby again, he said just book all 4 the same. I was so confused – he can’t take a full week!!! Hmmmmm! Well, I guess he can if he REALLY wants to. He decided that he would take his personal days and 2 dock days. Dock days stink – it’s not that you just don’t get paid…you actually end up owing money. Teachers are paid year round, based on 180 work days. If you miss a day, you divide 1 by 180 and multiply by your base salary and that’s what it will cost you. We are thinking it will cost us about $500 for him to take 2 doc days. Something I think is TOTALLY worth it but I didn’t think I’d ever convince him of this. Anyway, I’m on cloud 9!!! We won’t have to say good-bye to him mid-trip, I won’t have to travel alone with 2 sleepy children and 10 suitcases…we get to spend 8 glorious nights and 9 days TOGETHER at the happiest place on earth.

So this is what I booked and it was only $548.80 for all 4 of us. I could NOT believe it!!!

12/12/09 – 7:00 am Indianapolis --> Orlando 9:14 pm on Air Tran (All 4 of us)
12/20/09 – 12:05 pm Orlando --> Indianapolis 2:19 pm on Air Tran (All 4 of us)

*** We will drive over to Indy on Friday night and stay at the Hilton Garden Inn – Indpls Airport (about a 2 hour drive). Indy is an hour ahead of us and I don’t even want to think about what time we would have to leave to make a 7am flight if we left that same morning. Staying in a hotel will allow us to park free and take a shuttle to the airport in the morning. They also have a free continental breakfast. I figure if you add the cost of parking + breakfast that we would have if we didn’t stay in the hotel, we’ll break even (or come close) and get a little extra, much needed sleep. We’ve done this several times in the past and it’s worked out well.

Resort: I covered most of this already but to recap, the plan so far…

12/12/09 – 12/16/09 @ Polynesian (Concierge-Hawaii Building)
12/16/09 – 12/20/09 @ Pop Century (???)

Transportation: We will be using Disney’s Magical Express. All of us together! Yippee!!!

Passes: We will extend our passes to 9 days (I think the cost difference is about $10 for all of us).

Food: We had originally planned on just using the dining plan the first half of our trip. Now I’m in the process of figuring out what we need to do to extend it for the remainder of our trip. Hmmm, I wonder if I give up concierge if we can stay at Poly the entire trip?!?!? Definitely something worth considering!


UP NEXT: PLANS CHANGE (UGH-Gotta check with the boss!)

Last edited by beyondblessed; 07-27-2009 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:09 PM   #12
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Subbing! I can't wait to hear about your trip -- I love the Polynesian!

Hmmm...you've got a tough choice with resorts! Pop is really fun in a different way from the Poly. It's just so Disney-ish with the bright colors and over-sized sculptures. Then again, if you could stay the whole time at the Poly... But they're both Disney, so you can't lose!
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:29 AM   #13
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Hi Nikky!! I'm subscribing!! I found your PTR when you posted on my TR!! I LOVE the Poly and can't WAIT to go back!! Thank you for sharing with us about your dad! What a sweet way of remembering him!
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:07 PM   #14
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I should really get caught up before I start posting current stuff but I'm too excited to wait. We got FREE DINING!!!! I had heard (through the DIS of course) that it was going to be opened up to the general public today so I got up at 6 am and called. Sure enough...it was and it was available for our dates! Woohoo! Yippee! Yeah!
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:35 PM   #15
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HI Nikky

My name is Christina and I just subscribed to your PTR- sounds like its going to be a very nice trip. I have too stayed at the Poly concierge and it is amazing… Your family is beautiful and I am so sorry to hear about your father lost his battle with cancer… May he RIP, and I am sure he will be watching his daughter and her family have a magical time at Disney…

It is fun doing a PTR, I cant wait to read more
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