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Old 02-23-2010, 04:04 PM   #1
mom2mek
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A Smile in my Heart–Magical Week of Friends,Fun & Freezing-10/28-COMPLETE!

Hi and welcome to my trip report. I have debated back and forth over whether or not to do one of these, as they seem to take me forever to finish, and I never feel confident that anyone even cares about reading.

But in the end, I am always so glad to have them to look back on, so I will muddle through another and hope you will bear with me on the journey, as it could take me a while.

Cast of characters for this trip consists of:

Me – Sara – 35 and self-proclaimed (and proud of it) Disney nut of the family! I love the parks, the history, the atmosphere, the cast members, the smells, the sounds, just about anything you can think of. I love the magical escape that it allows us, the wonderful details that allow us to believe in fantasy "lands" and adventure "lands". So yeah, I’m just totally in love with the place, can you tell?

I am wife to my high-school sweetheart, Shawn, and we have been married for 13 years and have three children. I work full time in my family’s business in the accounting department, where my mom is my boss. It’s great in most ways and I feel very blessed to be involved with our family legacy (grandfather started the company back in 1949). I certainly can’t complain (even though I do at times).

Our last family trip to Disney was back in October of 2008 when we traveled down with my parents and Shawn’s Mom! We celebrated my youngest daughter’s 4th birthday and had a fabulous time! Prior to that, our last trip with the family was a biggie. We were a group of 16 and we traveled over Thanksgiving week. We had a few bumps, but overall, we had a blast! I love my family!

(I should also mention here that Shawn and I took a trip, just the two of us, in May last year and stayed at the Poly for 3 nights! It was magical in most ways, different in some (not having the kids), and painful in others (we had a little foot trouble on that trip)! I have also been fortunate to take a short weekend trip with girlfriends in December 2008 that was a blast. Those girls will also be appearing in this trip – guest stars, if you will! LOL!)


Including trips I made as a child, I’m going to estimate this to be my 11th or 12th trip to Disney.

Favorite Ride – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Character most like me – Minnie Mouse

Husband - Shawn – 36 and “likes” Disney. (I think he secretly LOVES Disney, but just keeps that love at a safe distance to throw me off my game!) Rough exterior on the outside, but on the inside is a sweetheart and makes up for his lack of patience with his kind heart. He also considers my obsession with Disney to be endearing…or, so he says anyway. My high school sweetheart...we went to prom together, dated through his Army years and my college years, and got married after we were both done with those things in 1996.

We also work together. I work in the office, he works in pretty much everything. Officially, he is an estimator, but he is also our resident IT guru, as well as a project manager when it is necessary. He is far more valuable to the company than I am and works very long hours as a result.

He is a very creative person, loves photography, loves graphic design, loves animation. I absolutely adore seeing him in the parks with his kids – he lets loose, has fun, and it’s as if, even for a short period of time, all the responsibilities of real life go away, and he can just be a Dad with his kids!!! This will be his 6th trip to Disney.

Favorite Ride: Lately, it appears to be Toy Story Midway Mania
The character I think he is most like: Grumpy or the Beast (Grumpy is self-explanatory) and The Beast is because he puts on a tough façade on the outside, but he has a sweet spirit on the inside.

Son – Michael – 8 years old. Loves Star Wars, Bakugan, Pirates, and the classic cartoons (Mickey, Pluto, Chip n Dale) but is a big fan of Phineas and Ferb (well, heck, so am I!). He is in 3rd grade and is a great student and loves playing soccer. Michael was super excited about this trip because one of his friends would be there and they were very much looking forward to a lot of Bakugan playing! (If someone could explain this thing to me, I would appreciate it, because I am clueless…kind of like marbles, kind of like Pokemon, very confusing to me). This was his 5th trip to Disney.

Favorite Ride: Rock n Roller Coaster
Character he is most like: Dash




Daughter – Emily – 6 years old. Loves princesses, fairies, yada yada yada, pretty standard 6 year old girl stuff! She is in 1st grade and is doing very well. She is my “dancer” - Loves dance classes! She also enjoys singing in the church choir. She was very excited to be seeing a friend on this trip too (and meeting some new ones)! This was her 4th trip to Disney.

Favorite Ride: Test Track (although when I first asked her, she said ALL OF THEM)
Character she is most like : Bashful – she is my shy girl!




Daughter – Katie – 5 years old. Whimsical, goofy, twenty bucks worth of free entertainment a day! This kid cracks us up! She is just kind of a nut and we love it! LOVES Minnie Mouse and the fairies, and is a true believer that (and I quote) “Everything is real when you are at Disney World!” Awwww….She got very into character autographs this trip and was always super excited to jump in line, even if she was all by herself!

Favorite Ride: She says Mission Space, probably because it was the new one to her on this trip!
Character she is most like: I used to say Dory, because she would forget things almost instantly, but now I’m gonna have to go with Goofy!! ‘Nuff said.





So, that’s our family! For your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of us from our October 2008 trip:




Appearing later in the trip are my parents, aka Grandmommy and Pop Pop. But I will go into further detail about them later in the report.


The rest of the cast, who will be guest starring in this report, include some dear friends and their children. Monica (poohtigeey), Dave, and their kids, Hunter (8) and Megan (4), as well as Monica’s Mom, Peggy, were with us on many of the days. Michelle (mkluvsmickey) and her daughter Sam (9) were also with us for a couple of the days. Nichole (kaysmommie) and her daughter Kaylee (9) were with us on one day as well as Charlene and her kids, Kaitlyn (9), Rachel (9), and Luke (5). We all met here on the DIS and have become very close friends, so it was fabulous that our vacation dates were able to overlap some and we were all able to be together for part of our trips! Yippee!!!


Up next, the when and the where!!! How will this traditionally “offsite” family handle staying all together in one hotel room????

Thanks for reading....

Sara

Chapter Links:

Surprise - We're Going to Disney!
Departure Day - SNOW!
Getting to Disney!
Arrival to the Poly!
Dining with Dinos!
More Trex
Time to get our shop on!
Losing something on our first day??
AK - Chapter 1
AK - Chapter 2
AK - Chapter 3
AK - Chapter 4
AK - Chapter 5
AK - Chapter 6
AK - Chapter 7
AK - Chapter 8
AK - Chapter 9

Epcot -Chapter 1
Epcot - Chapter 2
Epcot - Chapter 3
Epcot - Chapter 4
Epcot - Chapter 5
Epcot - Chapter 6

DHS - Chapter 1
DHS - Chapter 2
DHS - Chapter 3
DHS - Chapter 4
DHS - Chapter 5
DHS - Chapter 6

MK - Chapter 1
MK - Chapter 2
MK - Chapter 3
MK - Chapter 4
MK - Chapter 4 contd
MK - Chapter 5
MK - Chapter 6

Day 5 - Break Day - Chapter 1
Day 5 - Break Day - Chapter 2
Day 5 - Break Day- Chapter 3
Disposable Camera Pics
Day 5 - Break Day - Chapter 4

Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 1
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 2
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 3
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 4
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 4.B
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 5
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 6
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 7
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 7.B
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Chapter 8

Day 7 - Epcot - Chapter 1
Day 7 - Epcot - Chapter 2
Day 7 - Epcot - Chapter 3
Day 7 - Epcot - Chapter 4

Last edited by mom2mek; 04-22-2014 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:12 PM   #2
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Joining in !!

Your kids are adorable!

I also married my high school sweetheart. We celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary this year, but have been together for 14 years. Our first official date was my Senior Prom. (( I just love being able to say that))

I can't wait to read about your adventure. I hope you are able to post a bunch before we leave on our trip next week.
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:31 PM   #3
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Hi Sara! Can't wait to hear about your trip!
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:45 PM   #4
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Yay! I'm so glad you decided to do a report Sara! Even though I was with you for part of the trip, I feel like I didn't get to see enough of you guys and can't wait to relive your trip with you.

I keep forgetting to tell you that I had a nice time talking with Shawn at Boma as we were sitting next to eachother. You've got a good guy there!

And, it was so nice to finally meet your kids. Though I feel like I knew them already, they were great and so well behaved too. They were exactly as I pictured them.

Bring on the arrival day!
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:05 PM   #5
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Oh, my goodness! When I was a little girl (long, long ago) my mother's parents were my "Grandmommy and PopPop!" For that reason, and because your family is darling and you sound very interesting, I'm anxiously awaiting the rest of your report!
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:24 PM   #6
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Hi Sara,
So happy you decided to do a trip report! I can't wait to hear all about it and how you liked staying at Poly with the family. I loved meeting your family and your kids are just precious! Looking forward to all your pics and arrival day.

Nichole
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:47 PM   #7
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Woo hoo! Can I just highjack yours or should I write my own? Decisions, decisions.. I can't wait to hear all about your trip. I was going through Photopass today and was thinking when did they get those taken w/out us?! Anyways, love you and love your family and I'm looking forward to filling in the blanks when we weren't together. You're a brave girl taking on another one of these things!!!

So, anyone want to take bets on when Sara wraps this one up? I'm going to guess end of July.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reyasmommy View Post
Joining in !!

Your kids are adorable!

I also married my high school sweetheart. We celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary this year, but have been together for 14 years. Our first official date was my Senior Prom. (( I just love being able to say that))

I can't wait to read about your adventure. I hope you are able to post a bunch before we leave on our trip next week.
Yay! I have some readers! That IS a great story about your senior prom! How cute! Wow - next week? Consider me jealous! I would love to go back tomorrow! I hope to have some more posted, but if you can tell from some of the other posts....I'm pretty slow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommytothreeboys View Post
Hi Sara! Can't wait to hear about your trip!
Hi Missy! Thanks for joining in!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkluvsmickey View Post
Yay! I'm so glad you decided to do a report Sara! Even though I was with you for part of the trip, I feel like I didn't get to see enough of you guys and can't wait to relive your trip with you.

I keep forgetting to tell you that I had a nice time talking with Shawn at Boma as we were sitting next to eachother. You've got a good guy there!

And, it was so nice to finally meet your kids. Though I feel like I knew them already, they were great and so well behaved too. They were exactly as I pictured them.

Bring on the arrival day!
Thanks for stopping by Michelle! It's funny that you mention the Boma table - I have a picture of Shawn that I think Emily took from across the table and you look like he is boring you to tears! It's not a very good picture, but it makes me smile! I'm glad you guys had a chance to talk! Yeah, I think he's pretty great - I guess I'll keep him! Awww...that's nice of you to say that about the kids....there were quite a few times I wanted to be very un-Disney like with Michael! He was very different on this trip! Just a lot of built up excitement to the point of annoyance! Can't say I blame him though...I was pretty flippin excited too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by soldiersmom View Post
Oh, my goodness! When I was a little girl (long, long ago) my mother's parents were my "Grandmommy and PopPop!" For that reason, and because your family is darling and you sound very interesting, I'm anxiously awaiting the rest of your report!
You are too kind! That is so funny about the grandparent names! I am a big fan of the name Grandmommy! It is what we called my Mom's mom, so of course she wanted to be that too when she became a grandmother. I always have wondered why it isn't as popular as other names...it's the best!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaysmommie View Post
Hi Sara,
So happy you decided to do a trip report! I can't wait to hear all about it and how you liked staying at Poly with the family. I loved meeting your family and your kids are just precious! Looking forward to all your pics and arrival day.

Nichole
Thanks Nichole! It was so great having more than 2 seconds to talk to you this time! I hope you and Kaylee had a fun mother/daughter trip! Your June trip is right around the corner, my friend!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poohtigeey View Post
Woo hoo! Can I just highjack yours or should I write my own? Decisions, decisions.. I can't wait to hear all about your trip. I was going through Photopass today and was thinking when did they get those taken w/out us?! Anyways, love you and love your family and I'm looking forward to filling in the blanks when we weren't together. You're a brave girl taking on another one of these things!!!

So, anyone want to take bets on when Sara wraps this one up? I'm going to guess end of July.
Feel free to hijack Monica! We can write a side-by-side trip report!! By all means, feel free to interject with whatever you guys were doing that day - you will come up a lot in the report I'm sure!

You are being optimisitc about July!

Sara
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:18 PM   #9
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Ok, so the when and the where!!!

For this trip, we booked the 4/7 deal and we stayed at the beautiful Polynesian Resort!

However, this was after much debate! At first we were going to stay offsite for the first part of the trip and then move onsite to Poly CL for the last 3 days due to a good rate we had through the tikiman’s website. Staying at the Poly has been a dream of mine ever since we ventured over to the Poly on our October 2008 trip for dinner, but seriously, I never actually thought it would happen!

However, Shawn and I were able to score a really good rate in May and we already had park tickets, so it was a nice way to go down and check it all out and see what we thought about bringing the family. (yeah, yeah, that's it...it was all for research....)

We loved it but were still a little bit concerned about our family of 5 being all together in one hotel room for a week. We were also thinking that we could better manage the expense of it by doing a split stay with a condo or townhouse at Windsor Hills (which we have loved in the past).

We are traditionally “house” people when we vacation! Not just at Disney, but most places. We like the space and the freedom of having a kitchen, numerous bathrooms, laundry facilities, etc, etc. So as much as we wanted to experience the “full” Disney immersion, we were a little apprehensive about how we would do in one hotel room (although some of the biggest on Disney property) for a week! We thought about DVC and of renting points, but the cost kept bringing us back to offsite!

The debate went on for a while and finally we decided to book for the 3 days club level (as it was only dollars more than standard garden view) and find the condo or townhouse in Windsor Hills for the first part of the stay. Yay!

Then Disney announced the 4/7 deal and after crunching the numbers, we decided we could spend about $200 more and stay at the Poly for the whole week (not club level, but still…). Okay – kind of a no-brainer! Done deal. Then, my overly-obsessed, over-analytical, number crunching mind went into overdrive trying to figure out if we should go “all-out” and do the Dining plan as well. Especially since we wouldn’t have access to a kitchen like we normally do staying offsite in a house. We went for it and booked our Disney, Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining for 7 nights at the Poly!! Woo-hoo!

The When: The kids school was scheduled to be closed on Friday, the 12th for a Region-wide Spelling Bee, and Monday, the 15th for President’s Day. Hmmm…At first I thought we would do President’s Week but then it dawned on me that the kids could be out only 4 days plus have a day to recover after returning, if we went the week before. Plus, lower crowds! As it turns out, that corresponded very well with Monica and her family and before long, we were planning on being there all together!!

The men were thrilled, I’m sure! LOL!

We kept the trip a surprise from the kids until New Year’s Eve and then we had a Disney party with the big reveal!!!

We attempted to stuff 3 big Disney balloons in a big box, but they wouldn’t all go, so we had to just leave them sort of sticking out of the box and cover them with a trash bag. Lovely, no?



They got the bag off, and the balloons drifted out:







After they saw the balloons, Michael read the letter that was attached and slowly, but surely, they realized what was happening….




(Michael is figuring it out)


(My favorite - Katie totally gets it at this very moment)


(They all get it now)




It was fabulous! Then we had New Year’s Eve snacks of cheesecake (per Shawn, known to be Mickey’s favorite, LOL) and huge chocolate cupcakes – the cake plus the 2 cupcakes made a hidden mickey!





The kids each had new shirts and new Mickey/Minnie crocs in the bottom of the box along with the countdown calendar I had made. (Be on the lookout for my picture hanging up in the paint dept at Home depot….)





The kids sported their new year’s eve hats and blowers and we had a Disney dance party followed by a great game of Toy Story Mania on the Wii! Such a fun way to reveal the surprise.






After the initial excitement wore off, we told them WHERE we were staying and WHO we would be seeing while we were there! Needless to say, they were thrilled!








Ok, enough of that…let’s get on with the trip report!



Up next….Snow falling….all around…..good thing we are Florida bound!!

Sara
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:54 PM   #10
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Great start! We just missed each other. We arrived on the 13th. This trip was a total surprise for my youngest. It so fun surprising kids.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:34 PM   #11
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Here I am, Sara!!

I loved the Big Reveal!! The kids' faces are priceless!

Woo-hooty-hoo for the POLY!!!



Kathy
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:58 PM   #12
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I'm in! Your Kiddos are too cute!

Great TR so far..looking forward to reading more!
Love the reveal..how special!

That Mickey ( i think it was) shirt was too cute! Did you make it??

We are going to be eating at O'hana just so I can check out Poly!
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:06 PM   #13
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I am so glad you did a trip report!!! I love your reports and the pictures. The reveal was so cute!!
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:12 PM   #14
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can't wait to read more! when we were there in summer of 2009 we went to the polynesian to watch the fireworks and it was such a beautiful resort!
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vamassey1 View Post
Great start! We just missed each other. We arrived on the 13th. This trip was a total surprise for my youngest. It so fun surprising kids.
Thanks for reading! Yes, we enjoy the surprises, too! We couldn't hold out all the way to the end like we did with our 2008 trip, but 35 days notice was about all I could stand! I had to talk about the trip out loud! LOL!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathyRN137 View Post
Here I am, Sara!!

I loved the Big Reveal!! The kids' faces are priceless!

Woo-hooty-hoo for the POLY!!!



Kathy
Yay Kathy! So glad you are here, oh trip-report writing queen! Woo-hooty-hoo is right!!! Thanks for coming over friend!

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinolichfamily View Post
I'm in! Your Kiddos are too cute!

Great TR so far..looking forward to reading more!
Love the reveal..how special!

That Mickey ( i think it was) shirt was too cute! Did you make it??

We are going to be eating at O'hana just so I can check out Poly!
Thanks for joining the report! That shirt was actually purchased from Justice. A friend of mine bought one for her daughter and I saw it in her pictures and asked about it. A real short time after that I was outlet shopping and happened across one on the racks at Justice and it was my daughter's size. I continued to look and look for one for my younger daughter but never could find one. It's so cute - I'll have to see if I have a pic of the back. It's as if Mickey is hugging the person - the hands are on the back! So cute!

Our trip over for dinner at 'ohana is what got me sold on the Poly in the first place! I fell in love instantly!

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Originally Posted by Avojeo View Post
I am so glad you did a trip report!!! I love your reports and the pictures. The reveal was so cute!!
Thanks for coming over and thanks so much for the compliments!

Sara
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