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Old 05-06-2010, 12:19 PM   #31
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Joining in! I'll be in Disney the same week as you 10/4-10/9 AND we're planning to visit Harry too!
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:56 PM   #32
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Had a close call this evening. I was sure The Bug was engrossed in the episode of The Electric Company she was watching, and I was surfing The DIS reading up on early reports from Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I whispered to my wife about the souvenir pricing. No sooner had I whispered the words "Firebolt Broomstick" than she leapt up from her chair across the room and was trying to read over my shoulder. Luckily, I was again able to play it off by telling her that we were just commenting about how expensive WWoHP is - the Firebolt is priced at $300, Hogwart's house robes at $100. (I was careful not to mention the vast majority of items that are $25 or less).
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:04 PM   #33
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sooo close to being busted.
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:35 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by AJRitz View Post
Had a close call this evening. I was sure The Bug was engrossed in the episode of The Electric Company she was watching, and I was surfing The DIS reading up on early reports from Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I whispered to my wife about the souvenir pricing. No sooner had I whispered the words "Firebolt Broomstick" than she leapt up from her chair across the room and was trying to read over my shoulder. Luckily, I was again able to play it off by telling her that we were just commenting about how expensive WWoHP is - the Firebolt is priced at $300, Hogwart's house robes at $100. (I was careful not to mention the vast majority of items that are $25 or less).
You're going to need to start keeping a few baseball gloves around the house for when you're talking to your wife about this. Just like a pitcher and catcher having a conference on the mound, you put the glove over your mouth so the kids can't read your lips.
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:03 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by AJRitz View Post
Had a close call this evening. I was sure The Bug was engrossed in the episode of The Electric Company she was watching, and I was surfing The DIS reading up on early reports from Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I whispered to my wife about the souvenir pricing. No sooner had I whispered the words "Firebolt Broomstick" than she leapt up from her chair across the room and was trying to read over my shoulder. Luckily, I was again able to play it off by telling her that we were just commenting about how expensive WWoHP is - the Firebolt is priced at $300, Hogwart's house robes at $100. (I was careful not to mention the vast majority of items that are $25 or less).
Good recovery...say do they sell those maps that shows where people are walking...and an invisability cloak?
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Old 07-01-2010, 03:03 PM   #36
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I'm overdue for PTR updates - sorry about that.

We've had one itinerary change since I last posted. After much consideration, we decided to pass on the Cinderella's Royal Table breakfast on our first morning. Our rationale was:
1) We'd have to wake up and be at the park extra-early, and then we'd still probably not be finished with breakfast in time for rope drop.
2) We've got a nice, free, breakfast set out for us in the Poly concierge lounge. Using two table service credits for a breakfast seemed a terrible waste.
3) We're doing dinner at Akershaus on Thursday for The Bug's birthday dinner, and CRT is almost the same "cast".
4) We're really not keen on starting our experience of the parks by putting a sword in Squeaker's hands!
Instead, I was able to get a California Grill ADR that should put us there around Wishes time. We'll probably finish dinner, wander around the Contemporary for an hour or so, and then head back up to the observation deck for the fireworks. We're gambling a bit that Squeaker will be able to handle it, but we're working HARD on preparing him for sit-down restaurant meals over the next three months.

I'm also starting to second-guess our MNSSHP plans. I'm glad I haven't bought the tickets yet. I'm starting to lean toward coming up with separate plans on MNSSHP night for The Bug and Squeaker. Why? Because we were at Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America a couple of weekends ago, and during our day there we learned three important things:
1) The Bug is an adrenaline junkie, who will ride anything (including stuff I won't go near)
2) Squeaker seriously dislikes all amusement park rides. He's a daredevil, who set up the luggage valet in the hotel room in Minneapolis, and climbed on it to get high enough to unlatch the door chain. But every ride he went on at Nick Universe went too fast, too high, or too bumpy (the bumper cars).
3) Squeaker still views walking around characters with distrust and trepidation. He doesn't run from them screaming, but he also won't get within arms reach of them. Three of his favorite characters were at Nick Universe when we were there - Dora the Explorer, Diego, and Blue. His reaction to each was the same. When asked if he wanted to say hi or get his picture taken with them, he said, "NO! They're TOO BIG!"

So I'm starting to think that MNSSHP would be a huge waste of money for him and whichever parent has to deal with him during MNSSHP. Does anyone have any suggestions for something special and fun we could do with a three-year-old while his big sister is enjoying MNSSHP?

Oh, and I almost forgot, I dropped a very subtle hint about this trip when I parked the car at Mall of America for Nick Universe. The parking levels are named for states. We were there early, and pretty much had our pick of parking spaces. I chose to park on this level, near this sign :

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Old 07-02-2010, 09:33 AM   #37
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I think you made a good decision regarding CRT. I've heard that it's overrated anyway and since you're doing something similar, may as well save the credits!

Nice hint!
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:53 PM   #38
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Just over 70 days to go - seems like a good time for an update. As of earlier this week, the Disney portion of our trip is all paid for. Only things left to purchase are MNSSHP tickets (we decided we'll all be going), but I think I'm leaving that until we are close enough to October 8 to have a decently reliable weather report. I also still need to get our Universal tickets bought, and since there's only a $30/ticket difference between the 1-day multi-park and 2-day multi-park tickets at UndercoverTourist.com, I'll probably go ahead and get the 2-day tickets and we can spend some time in the parks on our arrival day.

I've started picking up little things that we'll need for the trip, and stashing them in a trip box in the basement. Target had glow bracelets in the $1 bin - I couldn't pass up 5 tubes containing 15 bracelets each for $5. (I suspect I'll probably be back for more ). I also picked up a couple of kid-friendly Disney guidebooks to give to the kids to look at while we're traveling. I got Birnbaum's Walt Disney World for Kids 2010 (more of a kid's perspective on WDW) and The Complete Walt Disney World 2010 (mostly for the fantastic photos). I also grabbed a copy of Attractions magazine with a multi-page, photo-filled, spread on Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I've also ordered a small starter lot of trading pins and a couple of lanyards on E-Bay, which will be going into the WDW box as soon as they arrive.

I've also continued to find little ways to drop hints. Last week, I picked up Lilo & Stitch to watch for movie night with the kids (I'd never seen it before, but it's one of the Bug's favorites). We had a whole conversation about 'ohana (which, of course, is where we're having dinner on our first night at WDW).

My favorite moment, and the one that jogged me to update this PTR, was reported to me by DW after she dropped Squeaker off at daycare this morning. He was talking the whole way there in the car about his new friend Ellie. When they got to daycare, Ellie was already there. Squeaker ran up and gave Ellie a big hug, and Ellie started telling Squeaker all about her trip to Disneyland that she just got back from and about seeing the princesses and . . . she was still so excited about her trip she barely paused to breathe. The whole time, poor Squeaker is looking up at DW with the look that most guys get in their eyes when women start talking about bridesmaid's dresses or makeup. That, "dear God get me out of here, please come save me" look. Luckily, about that time, another friend arrived and Squeaker got a rescue from his wingman.

It does make me extra-excited for October, when it will be Squeakers turn to be telling the tale.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:14 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJRitz View Post
My favorite moment, and the one that jogged me to update this PTR, was reported to me by DW after she dropped Squeaker off at daycare this morning. He was talking the whole way there in the car about his new friend Ellie. When they got to daycare, Ellie was already there. Squeaker ran up and gave Ellie a big hug, and Ellie started telling Squeaker all about her trip to Disneyland that she just got back from and about seeing the princesses and . . . she was still so excited about her trip she barely paused to breathe. The whole time, poor Squeaker is looking up at DW with the look that most guys get in their eyes when women start talking about bridesmaid's dresses or makeup. That, "dear God get me out of here, please come save me" look. Luckily, about that time, another friend arrived and Squeaker got a rescue from his wingman.

It does make me extra-excited for October, when it will be Squeakers turn to be telling the tale.
Let's hope he doesn't have that same look standing in line for the rides!
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:37 AM   #40
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The best laid plans . . .

Just when I thought the plans were all set, I go and watch parade videos on YouTube and decide that, whether it's still Main Street Electrical Parade or Spectro has returned, we can't go to Disney and miss the marquee parade. Of course with three MNSSHPs during our week at Disney, the regular parade isn't really quite so regular. It came down to either shelling out the money for Park Hoppers (an extra $200+) or shuffling our touring plan. Here's the shuffled plan:

Friday, Oct. 1 - Arrive in Orlando shortly before Noon. Check in at Hard Rock Hotel. Spend afternoon/evening at Islands of Adventure. Hoping for dinner at the Three Broomsticks.

Saturday, Oct. 2 - Early entry to IoA. Enjoy IoA/Universal until afternoon. Head over to Disney and check in at the Poly. Dinner at 'Ohana. Water Parade and Wishes from the Poly Beach.

Sunday, Oct. 3 - Animal Kingdom (instead of MK). Dinner at California Grill.

Monday, Oct. 4 - Magic Kingdom (instead of Epcot). Dinner at House of Blues. Back to MK for Parade and Wishes. EMH night has the park open until 1 a.m., so we'll stay for a bit after the fireworks, if only to avoid the rush.

Tuesday, Oct. 5 - Hollywood Studios (no change). Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe. (This is the only day I'm worried about - we'll need to hit rope drop at HS, and it'll be a late night at the MK the night before).

Wednesday, Oct. 6 - Epcot WS. Dinner at Boma. I know. It seems silly to go all the way to AKL for dinner, when we're spending our day in the middle of World Showcase during Food & Wine Festival. We'll do F&W booths for lunch. I just see it as adding our own "Africa" booth to World Showcase.

Thursday, Oct. 7 - Epcot FW. The Bug's birthday dinner with the princesses at Akershaus, and staying for Illuminations.

Friday, Oct. 8 - Take it easy day. At some point, transfer over to The Swan. No plans for a park at all until we head to the Magic Kingdom for MNSSHP.

Saturday, Oct. 9 - Sleep in. No park plans, but we may hit a couple highlights. Head to the airport for a 4 p.m. flight out of Orlando.
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:26 PM   #41
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Less than a week from today, our trip will already be underway. The secret is still intact. Neither Squeaker nor the Bug have any idea. There have, of course, been just a few more minor tweaks to the plans (I guess I can't help tweaking). I swapped Tuesday at Hollywood Studios with Wednesday at Epcot. Now, we'll do Epcot and Boma on Tuesday and Hollywood Studios and Kona Cafe on Wednesday. I'm not happy with the time of the Kona ADR, so that one may still change.

This next week is going to be insane. It turns out I'll be out of town for work on Tuesday and Wednesday, which will cut into the time I'll have to help DW surreptitiously get us packed for the early Friday morning flight. I've been up late a couple of nights this week, getting autograph book pages and Epcot passports printed. I even got some T-shirts made for the kids.

Both DW and I have had fun this evening teasing the kids and dropping hints. At dinner, DW asked, "if you could have dinner with just one movie character, who would you want to have dinner with." Squeaker initially chose Stitch , but then decided he makes too big of a mess. DW suggested Sully , and then Squeaker settled on Mike instead. The Bug skipped characters and chose Daniel Radcliffe. [sigh] She's 7 going on 15 instead of 8. I said I thought I'd like to have dinner some time with Belle - and maybe Jasmine and Cinderella too

Right now, The Bug and I are watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. We were watching a scene where Harry, Hermione, and Ron were drinking butterbeer. I said, "I wonder what butterbeer really tastes like." The Bug answered, "They have it at the amusement park you know." I said, "Hmmmmm. Really? I didn't remember that."
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:08 AM   #42
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Ohhh, you're cruel with the hints. And I mean that in a good way. I hope you're able to enjoy the trip in the midst of all the chaos!
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:40 PM   #43
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Your vacation is going to be so fun - I'm so excited for you! Almost as excited as I am about the chiefs great start this year!! From one Kansan (Emporia) to another the drive is not so bad - I've done it 4 times now, but flying us much faster.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:46 PM   #44
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Crazy last-minute work stuff taken care of? Check.
Two extra loads of laundry necessary to finish packing? Check.
Packing done? Check.
Car loaded? Check.
All reservations, tickets, itineraries printed and in the appropriate place? Check.
Kids still totally unaware of what awaits them in just over four hours? Check.

I'm off to take a little nap. Our flight will be taking off just 6 hours and 45 minutes from now.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:50 AM   #45
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Have a great trip!
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