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Old 12-12-2010, 08:39 PM   #1
TinksThree
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A Girl's Trip Becomes So Much More! My Trip Report is Posted!! 6.8.11

EDITED: For new readers, or anyone who wants to go back and re-read posts, I have made a Table of Contents at the bottom of Post #1

We are going back to Disney World…thanks to Free Dining!! I am so excited to be going back for the 3rd year in a row! This may be the last for a few years so I hope to make it a memorable and exciting trip!! I hope you will enjoy our little journey and feel free to call me Alice at any time because I love chasing rabbits as you may note in my many ramblings!!

I will begin by introducing the cast of characters! As my title states, this trip was to be a girl’s trip. So initially this included me, my DD-Madison who will be 15 and my Mom. My parents went with us when Madison was 4 years old and I think my Mom (DM-I will refer to her this way since I am unsure how she would feel having her name shouted out across the internet) may be pretty excited about going back! Madison and I have planned a lot around showing her a great time! This will be her 3rd trip to Disney World and she has managed to space them out through the 80’s, 90’s and now 2011!! A trip a decade, I suppose. She loves the princesses and Cinderella is her favorite! I was a bit of a disappointment to her in that growing up I preferred football to dolls and never liked anything frilly! To make it up to her, I had Madison who loves pretty much the same things DM does—including the color pink! DM and Madison have a very special relationship and she is like Madison’s 2nd Mom. Sometimes I think Madison would rather be with her than me!! Along with the Princesses DM also has a fascination with pigs…so Piglet is one of her favorites by default if nothing else!! So on to the other introductions!

A picture of DD and myself at Disney in June 2010:



I will move next to myself! I am Tisa and I have become a bit of a Disney Freak over the last few years. It wasn’t ever that I didn’t like Disney, I just didn’t think about it much. I had been twice before I took Madison in 1999. When DH and I got married, he was adamant about not going and I never pursued it….again I just didn’t ever think much about it. So in July 2008 we somehow got in the discussion of going to Disney World and the kids began harassing us about going. Keith, my DH, was still adamant that WDW was/is the Evil Empire. I got to thinking…our children were 12 and 14 at the time. That is old enough for me to go solo and not require additional adult supervision! So a plan was formed and I booked (much to Keith’s disbelief) a 4 day trip which became 7 days after a buy 4/Get 3 offer in March 2009.

This began my obsession…..I am a planner, oh okay, I am an obsessive planner! I began searching the internet looking for as much info as I could find to make the trip 1) memorable for the kids and 2) to have as little surprises as possible since I would be “solo”. In this search I found the DisBoards and I have been addicted ever since. But this also has fed a burning desire to return over and over. As I complete each trip I think “But I didn’t get to do so-and-so!” I knew I would be returning in June or December 2011 when we left Orlando in June 2010…I just wasn’t sure which month! I really, really want to go at Christmas and then when the Free Dining came out, I seriously began thinking maybe we could go in December 2012 although Magic Kingdom could be crazy by then! The main reason for this trip was to get my Mom back to WDW and on a well deserved vacation.

Our trio is completed with my DD-Madison who will be 15 when we go. Madison 1st went when she was 3 ½ years old and actually remembers quite a bit from that trip (or the pictures at least keep her memory alive!) She fell in love with Minnie Mouse that trip. She loves the Princesses but Minnie remains her favorite! This will be her 4th trip since March 2009 and June 2010 made 2nd and 3rd trips for her. She still loves going and when I told Keith I wanted to go back he said, “There are other places to go besides Disney!” Really? Never mind we go to Gatlinburg every year once if not more in a year. ...isn’t that the same thing? But my real thing is that Madison wants to go and she is 15 which means 3 years after this trip she will be off to college and these opportunities may not come as often! So I want to take advantage of every chance I get to spend time with her and make memories! Keith inadvertently saw an e-mail I sent to my Mom stating this and I think this made him see where I was coming from and not just that I “have to go to Disney again”! So that is the Girl’s Trip trio…but it becomes more! I will make those introductions soon.

So I am sure you are wondering when we are going….where are we staying…..and most importantly where will we be eating???? Well, I will answer the when and leave the other details for a little later!

We are going May 26-June 2, 2011….yep, that is right we are taking on a holiday weekend! From what I have heard (or read) on the DisBoards, Memorial Day isn’t terrible but it is Free Dining which has me slightly concerned! We also aren’t huge Star Wars fans so we will be avoiding DHS over the weekend. But I feel more pro than amateur at this point so I think I can handle what is thrown our way!

Next up I will tackle the most important ADRs and make the remaining intros of my traveling companions!!


Table of Contents
Introductions to the “Girls” http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...51&postcount=1
Intro to the Rest of the Group…the “Boys” http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...05&postcount=7
Resort Choice http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...5&postcount=12
Our ADRs are Made!!! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=15
1985 Magic Kingdom Memories http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=18
1985 Epcot Memories http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=23
Party like it is 1999!! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...1&postcount=24
Party like it is 1999!!! Continued…. http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...1&postcount=25
Decisions, Decisions….changing our ADRs http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...7&postcount=34
Revelations http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=46
Life Happenings http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=61
Spring Break 2009 Day 1-the Drive http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...3&postcount=69
Spring Break 2009 Day 2- Animal Kingdom and Epcot http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...5&postcount=74
Day 2 continued…. http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...9&postcount=75
Day 2…still…It was ONE LONG DAY!!! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...4&postcount=79
Day 2….coming to an end…finally??? http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=80
Day 3- Magic Kingdom http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...2&postcount=88
Day 3- Afternoon and Chef Mickey’s http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=89
Day 4-Epcot and Magic Kingdom http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...5&postcount=93
Day 4 continued…. http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...0&postcount=94
Day 5-Hollywood Studios http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=101
Day 6-Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Boma http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=106
[URL="[url]http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=40413994&postcount=112[/url]"]
Day 7-Last Day of Spring Break '09
Day 7-continued

Day 8-Spring Break 2009 Finally Concluded!
Spring Break 2011 Mini TR
Spring Break 2011 Mini TR contiuned
Food Plans!!!!
Day 1 and 2 Plans
50 Reasons I Love Walt Disney World
Day 3 Plans
Day 4 Plans
Day 5 Plans
Day 6 Plans
30 Days and a Day Trip!!
Day Trip continued
Day 7 and 8 Plans
3 Week Countdown Celebration!
1 Week and 2 days...what am I doing???
1 week from today (5.20.11) I will be...
1 week from today (5.21.11) I will be...
1 week from today (5.22.11) I will be...
1 week from today (5.23.11) I will be...
1 week from today (5.24.11) I will be...
1 week from today (5.25.11) I will be...

Last edited by TinksThree; 06-08-2011 at 09:41 PM. Reason: title changes/adjustments
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:26 AM   #2
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I'm the first to officially join!

Funny how you weren't addicted to WDW until later in your life, like me. Didnt' make my first trip until 35 and have been addicted ever since.

Sounds like it is going to be a wonderful trip and you are so right, do what you can because those kids grow up fast!
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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Sounds like a great time! I have got to check this free dinning I am hearing about! Have fun!
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmskinner View Post
I'm the first to officially join!

Funny how you weren't addicted to WDW until later in your life, like me. Didnt' make my first trip until 35 and have been addicted ever since.

Sounds like it is going to be a wonderful trip and you are so right, do what you can because those kids grow up fast!
Welcome!! My first reader!! WooHoo!! It si a little scary how our lives parallel! Band members....marketing majors....Air Force hubbies.....Rick Springfield fans!!

They grow up way too fast! Chris will be 17 Wednesday! It is so frightening!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by tinkangell View Post
Sounds like a great time! I have got to check this free dinning I am hearing about! Have fun!
Thanks....I hope it will be a great time!! This is our first try at free dining. We have done other discounts and this past year used the military discounts, but doing calculations, I think Free Dining will be the way to go to save the most money! When we use the dining plan though, we go for the ADRs that we can get the most bang for our buck!
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:52 PM   #5
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Yay, a new pre- trip report and I am on the first page.

Can't wait to hear all about your plans. We went over Memorial Day Weekend and I didn't mind the crowds too much besides SWW at DHS. Since you are avoiding that you shouldn't have a problem. I am really surprised they have free dining that week. Disney does things you wouldn't expect though.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:27 PM   #6
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Yay and welcome!! I was surprised they had free dining during Memorial Day weekend also. It seemed odd and I hope it doesn't make the parks crazy!! Reading other threads, it appears the crowds are a lot worse right now than this time in years past!
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:07 PM   #7
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A Girl's Trip Becomes So Much More! May/June 2011

You have "met" the girl portion of our group. Let me make some new introductions. Now originally my DS, Chris, wanted to go on a cruise and not Disney again. I think once he realized that holding out for a cruise would mean not going on a vacation for another year or so, he decided Disney would be just fine! So we added a boy to our girl's trip. I informed him real quick that there would be princesses involved!! He didn't seem to care!

Chris will be 17 when we head to WDW (actually his birthday is Wednesday...unbelievable he will be 17!!). Chris had never been to Disney before our 2009 trip. At first he was too cool for the characters but after our first character greeting we had to find a gift shop for him to purchase an autograph book! I had hooked another one!!

Madison and Chris this past June:


And next up is one that totally surprised me! My DH, Keith! I am still trying to figure this one out! When we went this past June I really thought it would be years before I would get him back! He has claimed a true dislike for Disney World even though he had not been before. For the June trip I went overboard planning everything around him to show him how wonderful and magical Disney is! Practically every night I log onto the DisBoards to catch up on PTRs and TRs. One night (after I had started planning the "girl's trip") he asked why I am always logging on...so once again I explain. Well, one day a few weeks ago we are watching my alma mater (Go Eagles!! ) play football in Orlando. They win the game (one they weren't favored to win) and I make an innocent comment that if we had gone we could have celebrated and spent the evening at Mickey's house! He asks if he agrees to go will I promise to shut up about WDW! So now my lips have a big ole zipper on them and Keith is going. What baffles me is he actually seems to be okay with it! Maybe I am winning him over? Not really sure yet! So this is us this past June:



And then there were six?? My dad is an iffy right now. I am really hoping he is able to go. Job and timing will dictate his final decision. I told him he has until April 1....no pressure! My dad is a hoot and has a wonderful sense of humor. If he is able to go then there will not be a dull moment with the 6 of us!!

Well I now have the intros out of the way. I think next up I will tackle where we will be staying!

Here is our group minus mom and dad!! I will have to get a good pic of them if they approve of being posted!!
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:21 AM   #8
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I'm so glad the boys decided to go. I'm sure a girls only trip would be great, but it will be nice to have the whole family together esp. since DS is 17 and who knows how many family vacations he'll want to go on in the future.

DH looks thrilled in the last picture of you guys.

My DH refuses to let me just plan a girls only trip. I told him that I want to go at least 2 more times before Caitlin hits middle school. I need to go once in fall and once for x-mas decorations. I even said he doesn't have to come but he gets all mad that I would consider going without him. He always says something like "Well, I'll just take Catilin to Hawaii for a week without you" It's not the same since I would go happily. I guess he is just willing to suffer through a free Disney trip to be with his family.

I kind of wish I had picked Memorial Day weekend again so we could have gotten free dining. Plus, you get an extra day without missing school since the kids are off. Oh well.

Can't wait to hear all about your adr's since I can't seem to pick mine.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by pinkxray View Post
I'm so glad the boys decided to go. I'm sure a girls only trip would be great, but it will be nice to have the whole family together esp. since DS is 17 and who knows how many family vacations he'll want to go on in the future.

I was excited that they wanted to go also! It is so much more fun when the whole family is involved! With Chris being 17 that also means he will be at the adult pricing on our next trip so this is the last hoorah with him getting in for less!!

DH looks thrilled in the last picture of you guys.

He doesn't look all that thrilled does he?? There were several things going on: 1) he doesn't like having pictures made so everytime I saw a PP photographer he rolled his eyes at me, 2) this was around 5pm and we had gotten to DHS at 8:15am to join the madness to TSMM and 3) it was around 98 degrees outside! So I did cut him a little slack!

My DH refuses to let me just plan a girls only trip. I told him that I want to go at least 2 more times before Caitlin hits middle school. I need to go once in fall and once for x-mas decorations. I even said he doesn't have to come but he gets all mad that I would consider going without him. He always says something like "Well, I'll just take Catilin to Hawaii for a week without you" It's not the same since I would go happily. I guess he is just willing to suffer through a free Disney trip to be with his family.

First: Hawaii is definitely a little different than going to Disney World! And especially if you want to go along also! Going somewhere the other person doesn't care about is another story! And fall and Christmas are on my list so the next trip I take will definitely fall within one of those events!

I kind of wish I had picked Memorial Day weekend again so we could have gotten free dining. Plus, you get an extra day without missing school since the kids are off. Oh well.

My kids get out of school on the 24th so I was glad I could make it work around that schedule! It hink you will be there about 1 - 1 1/2 weeks before us? That was the same as last year too if you were there on Memorial Day!

Can't wait to hear all about your adr's since I can't seem to pick mine.]
I have been torn on my ADRs and may change....I still toss a few around due to reading others reviews! But they were booked before I had booked our package!
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:59 PM   #10
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You started a new PTR!!! I'm here!

I am so happy that your DS is going with you. It is so good that he wants to go even at 17!

I am surprised that your DH is going I do think you are starting to win him over!

I am looking forward to hearing about your resort and ADRs!
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ksl5f123 View Post
You started a new PTR!!! I'm here!

I am so happy that your DS is going with you. It is so good that he wants to go even at 17!

I am surprised that your DH is going I do think you are starting to win him over!

I am looking forward to hearing about your resort and ADRs!
So glad you are here!! I am such an obsessive planner when it comes to trips, that when we go places I do not plan out, the kids always say that next time I have to plan the trip...And then Chris adds that he plans to have me always plan his vacations. I don't know if he is kissing up or not but from a 17 year old (?) I will take it as a huge compliment!!!

DH has really surprised me! But it has made this trip so much more exciting knowing he actually wants to go this time!!

I have been swamped with work and Christmas parties/shopping/programs and then I get sick on top of that has delayed any type of posting.....all of that to say, I hope to have an update soon!!!
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:43 PM   #12
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A Girl's Trip Becomes So Much More! Resort Choice! 12.22 update

Real life has really gotten busy! Maybe starting a PTR at Christmas time wasn’t the brightest idea!! I am about to head off to wrap my final gifts, make some cookies and candy for the days ahead and tonight we have a surprise birthday party for my grandfather who is 90 today!! But I am not too sure about giving a surprise party for someone who is 90 years old??

So far I have covered the “Who”: myself, DH, DD (15), DS (17), my Mom and potentially/tentatively my Dad and “When”: May 27 – June 2, 2011. Next up is the “Where”!

So initially this was going to be a girl’s trip so we began looking at all of our options. We have stayed at All-Star Sports once and I was not thrilled with that experience. But it had more to do with the other guests than the actual facilities. The next value I want to try is POP, but we were going for free-dining and we enjoy the Table Service restaurants, so Quick Service only was not an option! (And then yesterday I notice I could have done an upgrade? I am on these boards everyday…how did I miss that?! Not that it would matter as I will get to in a minute!!) I looked into Boardwalk and Polynesian for a Deluxe stay but we were trying to keep this cost efficient so I nixed that idea. This left the moderates.

I sent information and picture links for each of the moderates to my mom. Without saying anything to sway her opinion, I tell her to look them over and let me know which she liked best. She looks them over and defers the decision to Madison. In the meantime, I list all of my pros and cons for the 3 options (I had include POR and POFQ as one option). I am including pics to break up my wordiness…hope no one minds!

Coronado Springs Resort: pros- the resort has an awesome pool!


The rooms were very nice!


We liked the landscaping and enjoyed walking around in the evening/night


and cons-it is hot in the summer and there is very little shade,



the resort is pretty large, my mom doesn’t like water so the pool is no big deal for her!


POR/POFQ: pros-this resort won DH over in June!!! The boat to DTD is a huge perk!


The facilities of both POR and POFQ can be shared. The pool at POR was nice and had plenty of shade for DM to enjoy being pool side without baking!



The landscaping is so serene and peaceful after crowded days in the park and thus a great afternoon break local!



Cons-the buses were actually the only thing we really had any issues with…..and I can still think of little else to state in this con section

Caribbean Beach Resort: pros-we have never been here and Madison wanted something “new”; the resort reminded me a little bit of CSR from the pictures.



The pool pics looked pretty nifty!



And cons- we have never been here so there were a lot of unknowns. The pictures reminded me of CSR. I am sure if I were to actually see it in person I would see the differences but it looks the same just different theming.

So after listing the choices, we narrow it down to CBR and Port Orleans. DM really likes the look of POR and the mansions (she loves Gone With the Wind) so Madison and I discuss things and we choose….POFQ. This gives Madison a “different” place and DM gets to stay at Port Orleans and we can easily take in the two resorts! So after all of this, Keith decides he wants to join the group (Chris was already along for the ride when we chose). Well, this means 5 people in our party. Now we are faced with two rooms or trying to squeeze into Alligator Bayou. We discuss and decide we are hardly in the room at all. We know the size of the rooms and we can squeeze in to one room in Alligator Bayou.

And then….my dad enters the picture. He is trying to figure out if he can manage going which means we will need room for 6. I tell him to let me know and then I wait to book. I can feel that hour glass sand slipping through at lightening speed! I am ready to book!!!!

Then I see a thread that makes me realize something I had not considered! I can book for 6 people and drop my dad prior to final payment at 45 days if he sees he just cannot make it! So I head off to book our vacation! Well, guess what happens when you wait and wait and wait to book? Things are no longer available! No POR at all is available so I am left with 2 options: 2 rooms at POFQ or a Ft Wilderness cabin. Keith says this is a no brainer…we stay where we stayed last time! (This is actually one of his requirements!) No ifs, ands, or buts….so I have officially booked 2 rooms at POFQ!


I did have to explain the whole POR not available thing to Keith but the two are close enough that he says it is fine!!!

Next I will tackle the ADRs! Which BTW were made way before the package was ever booked! I am sure like everyone else, the upcoming days will be very busy so I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!!
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:50 PM   #13
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I'm in! Sounds like it will be a super cool trip!
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:56 PM   #15
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A Girl's Trip Becomes So Much More! ADRs are Made!! 12.27

I hope you had a great holiday! It is hard to believe 2011 is right around the corner!

Our Christmas break has been so busy and right now I am procrastinating on taking down the decorations, so I thought what better way than posting our ADRs!!

Before I get into my ADRs there is one thing I would really like to note on booking this trip: the ease I have discovered with doing it all myself! The last two trips, I used Dreams Unlimited whom I truly loved! But I thought I would give it a try on my own this time to compare. I am not a computer expert but not computer illiterate either so if a web site is easy to navigate I give it a big !!

My thoughts….
Rooms: I tried reserving online and used the Live Chat function to clear some questions I had. This is very handy and useful! I got my questions answered quick and precise. Since I was booking two rooms, I ran into an issue and had to call the live reservation desk. This took a little longer since I had to give all of the information which required repeating a few times due to my Southern drawl not translating into the guy’s Midwestern accent. But it was very painless and we were booked completely within 20 minutes!!

ADRs: I really like doing this one online! I put in the time and if it is not available I get my options that I can plan around. I have read people having issues with this function but I got everything I wanted and basically at the times I wanted!!

Overall I definitely give a thumb up to the online reservation system through the Walt Disney World website. It was all painless and efficient. So that is my 2 cents worth and maybe if anyone reading along is a newbie, it will help to know that you can easily book everything online and not get totally lost
!

Now on to our ADRs!! I am a foodie….well, of sorts! I am not a food snob so that probably explains why I am unlike a lot of Disney dining critics in that I like the experiences and ambience as well as the food quality. Now that is not to say that I think all of the food I have eaten at Disney World is unbelievable but sometimes the experience and surroundings will make not good bacon seem somewhat okay! (except Chef Mickey’s this last trip….notice it is not on the list. Such a disappointment!!)

When we left Orlando this past June, I was already plotting! As we drove out of town, I was journaling about our trip for my TR and this also led to me planning where to go next trip!! Something else about me is that I like to try new things and not stay within my comfort zone all of the time and I also like to form my own opinions on things, although I do rely on listening to others to gage if something is really worth it or not!

Well, I have said a lot and not said anything about actual restaurants! So you probably are thinking “Alright, get on with it!” Well….I decided to try some new places but also bring in a few that we have been to before. Since we are at Disney for 6 nights, we each will have 6 TS credits. You will notice that I have had a hard time deciding where to go so we have 2OOP meals.

REPEATS
1. 50’s Primetime Café: We went here in 2009 and the kids really enjoyed it. The food was tasty and our server was decent-not over the top but she did have a little act going. Chris was fed his green beans and had to wear a napkin bib. Madison has declared this a must for the grandparents. And if my dad goes…well I hope we have a good server because he will play it all up!!

2. Tusker House (breakfast with Donald and Gang): This was one we enjoyed this past June. The “American” fare was so-so but overall the selection was good and tasty. This was the final add on as an afterthought due to taking the guy’s interests into account! Soon you will understand what I mean, but remember…this was originally a girl’s trip!!

3. San Angel Inn (Mexico/Epcot): Another 2009 eatery. The food was fine, not over the top but the ambience is the winner here! I have heard that the chips and salsa have been “up-graded” and I hope so! Our local fave Mexican restaurant could teach them a thing or two about making salsa!! This particular slot was difficult. The kids (separately) said they wanted to go back. The other contenders here were Via Napoli, Coral Reef and Marrakesh.

NEW PLACES
1. Crystal Palace: DM likes Piglet and Madison wants the autographs without the line. To me this seems very kiddie but I hear the food is very good! So I don’t know if we will be the only ones with no children under 9 eating here but as of right now, we will be eating lunch at Crystal Palace!

2. 1900 Park Fare (supper): DM’s favorite princess is Cinderella and actually one of the reasons are the step-sisters. From what I have heard, this character interaction is good and the food isn’t too shabby. This is one I knew without a doubt would be on the list for the next trip! (note on online ADRs: you have to give a credit card to “hold” the reservation but I found no issues at all with the process; not necessary to call in)

3. Chefs du France: This one has me worried from reviews but it is one place I want to try, if even just one time! I plan to go into this one expecting rudeness and snobbery….with semi-okay French food. But since I have never been to France, I will not have anything to compare it to!!

4. Akershus/Norway/Epcot (lunch): Initially I made my reservations for 11am….this is breakfast. Since I do not want standard breakfast fare, I made an easy change online and now we will eat at 11:55am. One goal here is for Madison to see as many princesses without waiting in long lines!

5. And finally….the one I knew I would book when Keith said he wanted to go. I am so excited about this one because I hear (mostly) positive reviews!!! The Hoop de Doo Musical Review! This one I also booked online and paid for with the card and I had no issues!!

So those are our ADRs!! I booked all of these on the 180 day mark and pretty much got exactly the times I wanted!! We will have a few nights with DTD as an option and T-Rex may get voted by the family as the place to go, but that will be decided much, much later!! Sorry if it is a little wordy and no pics involved this time around! Now on to the decoration removal….YUCK!!!
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