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Old 10-05-2010, 09:38 AM   #1
-Hope-
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An obsessive planner learns to go with the flow... Finished and a Link to new PTR

Hi everyone! Just back from our first family trip to WDW and we had an absolutely magical trip! A lot of the magic was thanks to the wonderful people here at the DIS and my friend Karen who introduced me to the DIS in the first place. I love planning and fitting pieces of the puzzle together so the planning phase of this trip was long and detailed... you can read all about that by clicking the link for my PTR in my sig... but be warned it gets a little crazy in there at times!

A little background on us before I begin...

WHEN: September 25- October 2, 2010

WHERE: All Star Music Resort

WHO:




That's me, Hope, in the back. Dh, Robbie, is the one towering over everyone in the back. Kya, dd10, is in front of me and Jace, ds11, is next to her.

In the past our trips have been pretty laid back, this pic was snapped on top of Clingman's Dome on our trip to Great Smoky Mountain National Park/ Gatlinburg last year. We like going to the mountains, the beach and made it to Germany as a family once (for b-i-l's wedding) but even that trip was relaxing and laid back. To be honest a trip to WDW was not even on my radar because it just didn't seem like our kind of thing- until Karen (twoboysnmygirl) got a hold of me.

We are homeschoolers and we were at our annual Halloween party after Karen had just returned from her 2nd trip to the World. She was telling us all about it and then casually mentioned that Disney has homeschool tickets and free dining in September. Well, I'm a bargain shopper so she had my attention! Before I knew it we were planning a trip and I was completely hooked on the entire process! When Disney made homeschool days earlier in September than we anticipated we decided to keep our original dates but still were able to get free dining! Since we normally stay in a house or condo with me doing lots of cooking and dishes when we're on vacation I was pretty excited about the idea of all our meals being prepared for us.

So, the next 10 months or so just flew by as I researched, planned and, well, obsessed about making our first Disney trip as magical as possible. When it was finally time to go I kept wondering if Disney could live up to my expectations...

To make it easier to follow along I'll link my next update at the end of each update post. Then you can skip the extra stuff if you're joining in later.
Up next: Traveling to Disney

Last edited by -Hope-; 02-06-2011 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:45 AM   #2
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Woooohoooo! Bring it on baybee!
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:09 AM   #3
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Traveling to Disney

I'm going to try to stick to one update per day on this thread because A) I want to make it last so I can keep the Disney magic going for a while and B) I just think it's easier for readers to keep up if I'm not throwing too much at them at once. No promises though, I may just get to anxious to wait!

Friday September 24, Day 1: Travel

We live a couple of hours away from the nearest airport so we generally just pay for long term parking near the airport. I had heard about sleep/park/fly deals though so I looked into it and it turned out we could stay at a hotel near the airport the night before our flight and leave the car there for up to 14 days for LESS money than the long term parking. The hotel we found even included a free breakfast. So, our trip actually began on Friday September 24 even though we wouldn't be at Disney until the following day.

The kids were excited all day but we had to wait for Robbie to get home from work before leaving. As he pulled into the driveway I was loading the last of our luggage into the car. He called to check on his dad, tooka shower and we were on the road by 6 PM. We stopped at a convience store and I realized I'd forgotten the GPS. We share it with my parents and they'd used it recently and I just didn't even think about getting it back. It wasn't a huge deal we just weren't sure where exactly the hotel was. I had the number with me though so we decided we'd just call when we got close so we didn't have to take the time to go get the GPS.

We drove for about an hour then stopped to eat at McDonald's. We'd planned to just drive through but it was dark at this point and there was quite a bit of construction on the road and I didn't want to try to eat and drive in all that- espcially since I don't really like driving at night anyway! The construction didn't slow us down too much and we were at the hotel and checked into our room by 9:15. As we were checking in we bumped into some friends who were leaving for a cruise the next day, small world! Finally, we settled to watch a little TV and went to bed early. We had a 6 AM wake-up call so we could have breakfast and be on our way to Disneyworld!

Up Next: More travel and finally at WDW!

Last edited by -Hope-; 10-07-2010 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:35 PM   #4
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YAY! I'm so glad that you have started! I can't wait to read along!
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:34 AM   #5
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Yay! I'm in... can't wait to hear all about it!!
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:36 AM   #6
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I guess I'm excited about your TR...I had a dream last night that you posted an update.
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So far...2 trips to Disneyland, 12 trips to WDW!


Hoping to take a trip this year, but also contemplating buying DVC, which would involve skipping this year and using that money for the downpayment. We'll see where the year takes us.


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Old 10-06-2010, 07:50 AM   #7
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Can't wait to read more!
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lexmas View Post
YAY! I'm so glad that you have started! I can't wait to read along!
Quote:
Originally Posted by lexmas View Post
I guess I'm excited about your TR...I had a dream last night that you posted an update.
Glad you found me!
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyEeyore View Post
Yay! I'm in... can't wait to hear all about it!!
Glad you found me!

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Can't wait to read more!
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Old 10-06-2010, 04:04 PM   #10
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Day 2: More travel and finally we're at WDW!!

I'm so sorry I wasn't able to update sooner! I am still fighting this head cold and today was also our first day of homeschool co-op (we started late because of our trip ) where I had to teach a class. This morning I was doing last minute prep for that class and just didn't have time to get online! But, I'm here now and ready to post another update!

When I last left off we'd settled in to the sleep/park/fly hotel and requested a 6 AM wake-up call. Well, that wasn't necessary because I was up before the then! Now folks, this should give you a clue as to how excited I was about Disney because I am NOT a morning person. There is generally only one 7 o'clock in my day and sometimes only one 8 o'clock. However on this day I bounded out of bed and we headed down to have breakfast and take the shuttle over to the airport. We were checked in and at our gate by 7:45.

Jace and I were bright-eyed and bushy tailed...


Robbie and Kya, not so much.


On a side note here, notice the pink in Kya's hair. She's had a little pink streak before but wanted some more for Disney. It washes out really fast and was pretty much gone by the end of the week so we just had fun with it, she loved it and it was just so cute!

The airport was fairly empty and we'd already had breakfast so not really much to do but wait. There was a little convienence shop by our gate that sold candy and magazines and the kids went over just to look around and chatted for a long time with the woman working there (she had no other customers yet). When I went to the restroom I stopped and chatted with her too and she complimented them for being so friendly and articulate and that homeschooling really seemed to agree with them. I was pleased because people so often think that homeschooled kids will have no social skills so I like having opportunities to be good ambassadors.

Finally it was time to board, we were in the A group to board so I was happy with that but just as we were about to get on Kya started to PANIC. She was crying and really upset, at one point she even said she didn't want to go to Disney World if she had to fly. She's flown before and never had a problem so this took me completely by surprise. We did our best to reassure and just kept talking to her and letting her know it would be fine. We managed to get seats with Kya and Robbie together (she wanted to sit with him) and Jace and I directly behind them. She was still crying but not as much and once we were in the air she was fine. It was very tense and I was worried since we had to transfer in KY but she did fine with the transfer and seemed to be over the fear once she'd been up and remembered that it wasn't so bad.

We'd planned to eat lunch on our layover in KY but didn't count on the fact that the airport was so small so there wasn't much choice for food. There was a Quizno's and a Starbucks. That's it. Thankfully we had beef jerky and those cheese and cracker packets (the kind with the little red spreader to put the 'cheese' onto the cracker) so they were fine. Robbie and I had Quizno's and by the time we were finished eating it was time to board the plane. Like I said earlier, Kya did fine this time so it was uneventful. This flight was a bit more crowded but Robbie and Kya found seats together and Jace and I sat on aisle seats across from each other.

Finally we were in Orlando and followed the signs to DME. I was impressed with how easy it was and before we knew it we were on a bus and headed to Disney property! It seemed like no time at all and we were spotting this...


As we approached I kept waiting for it to sink in that we were finally here and to feel the excitement but it just wasn't coming. We walked into the lobby at All Star Music and still... nothing. I didn't know if it was exhaustion after all the travel or what. I wasn't really disappointed or unhappy, just not as excited as I thought I would be either.

I'd completed online check-in earlier in the week so we hopped into that line- it wasn't really much longer than the other line but was moving much faster. We found out we were in the Broadway building when I'd really wanted Jazz but it wasn't really much further- the two buildings face each other. I have to say that if I had it to do over again I'd probably spring for a preferred room because at the end of a long day in the parks it can seem like an eternity to get back to the room- but I'm getting ahead of myself aren't I!

We got our KTTW, first visit buttons, and the kids each got a balloon with a plastic Mickey head to weigh it down.


As soon as we walked out of the lobby we immediately felt the heat and humidity. It was really our first time outside for more than a minute and nothing really prepares you for how oppressive it can feel. We knew, we'd read and been told but man, it was H-O-T!! We found our room and while I was expecting that it would be small Robbie wasn't quite prepared for it. We generally stay in houses or condos on vacation so that we can all have our own space to get away from each other if we need to. I reminded him that this was the trade off for free dining and not needing our own car. He understood but I could tell he was still unsure about the size of the room.

We only took about 10-20 minutes to settle in, use the restroom and rest a bit. We wanted to get to the Magic Kingdom...

Up next: Will I find the magic?

Last edited by -Hope-; 10-07-2010 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:50 PM   #11
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Hi Hope! I'm subscribed to your TR but I will have to catch up this weekend.
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:19 PM   #12
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You got me interested. Can't wait to read more.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:04 PM   #13
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I'm here! I'm here!!!!
I can't wait to hear all about your trip.

Amanda
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Hi Hope! I'm subscribed to your TR but I will have to catch up this weekend.
Hi Stephanie, glad you found me!

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You got me interested. Can't wait to read more.
Glad to have you along for the ride! Be warned, it can get crazy in my head!

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I'm here! I'm here!!!!
I can't wait to hear all about your trip.

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Old 10-07-2010, 10:56 AM   #15
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Will I find the magic??

Okay, so when I left off we'd settled into our room and were headed for our first trip to a park. I still wasn't feeling the magic and was trying to convince myself that contentment was a perfectly acceptable way to feel. I was having a good time with my family after all so I didn't really NEED butterflies or magic.

We found the bus stop and hopped in line to Magic Kingdom. The kids were already excited, no need for them to find the magic...


My first thought was I could not believe how BIG everything was. The DME was not a shuttle but a charter size bus, the Disney buses were like city buses and there was an actual highway system connecting the resorts and parks. I'd been expecting shuttles and simple paved roads but not THIS. Robbie and I looked at each other on the bus and agreed that if we'd had our own car we'd be yelling at each other by now.

We finally arrived at Magic Kingdom. It was a party day so we saw people in costume walking in, including a really cool couple dressed as Jack Skellington and Sally. I had a little pang wishing tonight was our party night but I knew it was coming so it was okay. We made it through bag check and entered the park with no real issues. For some reason the finger scan wasn't working well for Jace and he ended up using his thumb which meant he had to use his thumb all week.

We finally made it into the Magic Kingdom and we rounded the corner to Main Street and saw this...


I started to feel the butterflies, I turned to Kya and said, "LOOK!" She squealed, grabbed my hand and said, "Oh, there it is!!" She started giggling and just had the biggest smile on her face.


I almost started crying right there on Main Street. If I live to be 100 I will NEVER forget the moment when Kya first spotted that castle. THIS was the feeling I'd been waiting for.

I do have to admit that as we walked down MS the tarps and the crane killed a bit of the magic for me. It was disappointing even though I was prepared for it. I do think it's great that they make the tarps look like the buildings and it helps preserve some of the atmosphere, nobody pays attention to detail like Disney. And the music and smells completely distracted me from the rest so, eventually and I just let myself fall back into the magic and made the decision to ignore the construction as much as possible.

The teacups were closing for refurb the next day and pretty much the whole reason we were at MK on this night so we headed straight for them. The castle was roped off at this point so we had to go around. I was worried that the line would be long since this was the last night they'd be open for a while but when we got there I saw this...


Woohoo! We jumped in the line and while we waited I tried to take in the details and theming. I tend to get caught up in the overall feeling of something and don't notice the details that go into that feeling. One thing I noticed right away was this...


It took me right back to our Mad Tea Party Disney day that we'd had with Karen and Savannah when we were planning...



This would be the first of many moments throughout the week when I would think of Karen and how much she'd help us get to this point. I felt a little pang that she wasn't here with us but mostly I just felt grateful for having such a good friend.

Before we knew it (I think it was less than 10 minutes) we were piling into our teacup. I'd been wanting this shot for months...


But the one I really love is the one I couldn't anticipate...


Continued...

Last edited by -Hope-; 10-07-2010 at 11:30 AM.
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