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Old 08-11-2011, 09:35 PM   #1
ksl5f123
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5 days on $1300!?! Did we do it? - a July 2011 TR - update 2/15: Link to new PTR!

Welcome to my 3rd trip report. I can't wait to share with you all about the trip that I took with my girls last month. It was a completely different style of trip for us and we had a wonderful time.

The story of this trip picks up where our last trip ended. As we drove away after our March 2011 trip, DD5 made one last observation, “Mommy, I am happy at Disneyworld.”

My first thought was “Well now, aren't we all?” But, then I got to thinking. She truly IS happy at Disneyworld – really like nowhere else. How long will this last? How long will she get caught up in the magic and the excitement? DD7 has fun at Disneyworld and there are moments where she lets her guard down and she gets swept up in the magic but in large part, she no longer experiences the joy and wonder of DD5 and DS2. What if that is gone for DD5 by the time she is 7? We weren't planning to return to WDW until after the Fantasyland renovation. That would mean that DD5 would be 7 years old. What if this was the last trip to watch her eyes light up when CM's called her “princess”? What if it was the last time she wanted to dress up and have “princess hair”? What if next time she is done riding Aladdin with mom and wants to take off on the roller coasters with dad too? Well, those thoughts were just too much for this sentimental mommy to bear. I told DH that I wanted to go back. Now, my DH is always happy to go to WDW, but even he wasn't ready to plan another trip so soon. We knew that we would be returning to Florida in July to visit family, so I asked him if I could go with just the girls. DH agreed, but decided that we needed to keep to a very strict budget - $1300.

OK, enough backstory. Let's move on to the cast:

Me, I'm Karen

My favorite rides are Kali River Rapids, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and Soarin'. I avoid anything that moves faster than I can walk. This was my 13th trip to WDW.

DD7

This was her 7th trip to WDW. She has unbounded energy. Her favorite rides are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Kali, and Toy Story Midway Mania.

DD5

This was her 6th trip to WDW. She is the consummate princess. She likes Spaceship Earth and Carousel of Progress (not exactly a thrill rider) and loves meeting characters.

That's it! If you are a reader of my other trip reports you will notice a lot of people missing! We usually have my DH and DS2 and MIL and FIL along (and sometimes the nephews, DH's cousin, cousin's kids, etc.) This time it is just my girls and me!

Last edited by ksl5f123; 02-15-2012 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:36 PM   #2
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Chapter 1: On our way!
Chapter 2: Off to Florida!
Chapter 3: Driving day 2.
Chapter 4: Downtown Disney
Chapter 5: Where is the Magic Kingdom?
Chapter 6: YES program
Chapter 7: BBB
Chapter 8: Photoshoot and lunch
Chapter 9: Tomorrowland in the afternoon
Chapter 10: Magic Kingdom parade
Chapter 11: My embarrassing moment
Chapter 12: Chef Mickey's
Chapter 13: Our condo
Chapter 14: Toy Story Mania
Chapter 15: Buzz and Woody
Chapter 16: HISTK playground
Chapter 17: Mama Melrose
Chapter 18: BatB and the Animation Studio
Chapter 19: Fantasmic!?
Chapter 20: Emergency ride stop!
Chapter 21: Finishing Fantasyland
Chapter 22: Waiting for Mickey
Chapter 23: Exposition Hall pictures
Chapter 24: Magic Kingdom evening
Chapter 25: Ouchie at Epcot
Chapter 26: The decision
Chapter 27: Imagination
Chapter 28: Nemo and the Land
Chapter 29: Figment Lost!
Chapter 30: France and Morocco
Chapter 31: Japan and Germany
Chapter 32: Finishing Epcot
Chapter 33: Animal Kingdom!
Chapter 34: finishing up - part 1
Chapter 35: finishing up - part 2

Last edited by ksl5f123; 02-05-2012 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:05 PM   #4
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Joining in.

Your introduction is exactly why I wanted to go back with Caitlin so much this fall. She has developed a huge love for the princesses again and was all ready to do all the princess stuff again. Now that we aren't going back she won't have those things again. No more BBB or face lighting up when we see which princesses are at CRT I wish we could go one more time with her this age but really the last 2 trips were just for her and I couldn't help it if she decided to love the princesses again a week after we leave WDW. I'm sure she will get over that be the time we were to go in Oct. anyway.

I hope you had a great trip. I was hoping to do a budget trip but honestly I could not do it. Apparently budget and Disney don't go together for me. I can't wait to see how you did.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:36 AM   #5
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I'm in, can't wait to hear all about yours and the girls trip!
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:24 AM   #6
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Im going to head back and read your other TRs now too!
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:35 AM   #7
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Subbing! Your title pulled me in. My head is contemplating the ways this budget could be achieved so I can't wait to read how it really happened. I think taking a trip alone with your adorable girls will be a fantastic memory!
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:40 AM   #8
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I'm looking forward to your trip report. I remember back in 2006 we only went for 4 days because of the columbus holiday weekend in october. lol.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:23 PM   #9
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Thumbs up

I'm in!

Your girls are too cute!

Can't wait for more!
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Hooray!!! Can't wait to hear all about this trip!!
Woohoo! You're first. You win the

Quote:
Joining in.

Your introduction is exactly why I wanted to go back with Caitlin so much this fall. She has developed a huge love for the princesses again and was all ready to do all the princess stuff again. Now that we aren't going back she won't have those things again. No more BBB or face lighting up when we see which princesses are at CRT I wish we could go one more time with her this age but really the last 2 trips were just for her and I couldn't help it if she decided to love the princesses again a week after we leave WDW. I'm sure she will get over that be the time we were to go in Oct. anyway.

I hope you had a great trip. I was hoping to do a budget trip but honestly I could not do it. Apparently budget and Disney don't go together for me. I can't wait to see how you did.
It is so hard to decide how often to go. On one hand, you know they are going to outgrow the "magic" stage so you wnat to go as often as possible. On the other hand, there are so many other places in the world to visit and I worry that I am narrowing their scope. It will all work out for both of us.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
I'm in, can't wait to hear all about yours and the girls trip!
Thanks for coming back and joining in another adventure!

Quote:
Im going to head back and read your other TRs now too!
Glad to have you along!

Quote:
Subbing! Your title pulled me in. My head is contemplating the ways this budget could be achieved so I can't wait to read how it really happened. I think taking a trip alone with your adorable girls will be a fantastic memory!
Hello! The budget was a challenge - but kind of a fun one. We made lots of great memories!

Quote:
I'm looking forward to your trip report. I remember back in 2006 we only went for 4 days because of the columbus holiday weekend in october. lol.
That sounds like a great trip. I have only been once in October and it was a great time of year to visit. Unfortunately, it was pre-kids. I would love to take them back in the fall

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I'm in!
Your girls are too cute!
Can't wait for more!
Thank you! I think they are cute too. More coming tonight!
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:28 AM   #12
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I am in

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Old 08-16-2011, 10:24 PM   #13
ksl5f123
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On our way

Photopass CD = check

Kids back to school = check


Time to get this TR rolling!

The girls started school yesterday - DD7 in 3rd grade and DD5 in Kindergarten. They are both enjoying it and have already told the tale of our trip to their classes. Now it is my turn!

Our Disney dates for July 11-15. However, our trip actually began on July 1 with a 14 hour drive to Ohio. Let's just say that Ohio is in the opposite direction of WDW from our house, but we were going to visit my parents first. There isn't much about our week there to share, but we did do one Disney related thing. We saw the Broadway style production of The Lion King.

Here are the kids ready to go:




I found this fabric just a few weeks before we left and couldn't resist making the girls some dresses.

The show was AMAZING! If you ever get a chance to see it, I really recommend it. DD7 loved every minute and was on the edge of her seat. She was really impressed that the kids playing Simba and Nala in the first act were only 9 years old. They were incredible.

DD5 loved the first act which follows the movie closely. However, in the 2nd act when they added some more scenes, she fell asleep. DS2 enjoyed the show, but had a little trouble not talking. He wanted to let us know when he recognized the characters.

The only other significant thing that happened while we were in Ohio was the realization that I had forgotten DD5's princess dress for her BBB appointment. She owns the Rapunzel, Snow White, and Ariel dresses from BBB and DD7 owns the Aurora. We had plenty of dresses to choose from - that was the problem. DD5 couldn't decide which one to bring and she waited so long that I forgot.

I quickly got on the internet and discovered that there was no Disney store anywhere around us. Then I found a website for a Disney outlet in Cincinnati. I was excited! We had to drive through Cincy on our way to Orlando. Then I read down the webpage and learned that it will open later this fall.

OK, no Disney store around, no time to order anything, no money in the budget to buy one when we get there - what do we do? Mom and I headed off to some big box stores, but I couldn't bring myself to buy any of the princess costumes they sell. They were SO scratchy and I couldn't imagine DD5 wanting to wear them in the Florida heat. Also at 5 years old she is a little too big for those dresses - which really surprises me - don't 5 year olds still like to dress up?

Anyway, we headed off to the local department store where I looked for any dress with a Disney character on it. The ONLY thing I found was a nightgown. Desperate, I bought it - on sale for $8. DD5 loved this dress. It was VERY comfortable and lightweight. So, what do you think? Will she wear the nightgown? Will she beg for a new princess dress? Stay tuned!

Up next, off to Florida
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:04 PM   #14
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Off to Florida

On July 9, we left Ohio on our way to Florida. Glancing at the newspaper before we left my parents' house, we learned that the Space Shuttle had launched as planned the previous day. I was a little sad. I was hoping that they would have a delay and we would get to see the launch - even if from a distance. My undergrad and graduate research were both sponsored by NASA so I spent about 10 years at various NASA facilities. I have seen a couple of launches, but it would have been really special to see the last one. Oh well.

The drive from Ohio to Florida is basically 2 days on I-75 (with just a little on the Florida turnpike at the end). The first day was really frustrating. First we got stuck in a traffic jam in Cincinnati taking 45 minutes to go the last 12 miles to the Kentucky state line.

Then, about 50 miles from the Tennessee state line we see a sign that says "Road Closed at Jellico Mountain". But then, there are no more signs for the next 30 miles. We figure that someone just forgot to remove that sign.

NOPE! About 15 miles from the Tennessee state line we get to our 2nd traffic jam of the day. After rolling along for another 1.5 hours and going 30 miles () we finally decide to get off of I-75 and take a highway that runs parallel to it. We have to do 50 mph, but we make decent time down into Knoxville where we stop for gas.

While at the gas station, DH talks to a local man who informs us that there have been two MAJOR accidents in Knoxville that morning including a roll-over of a Haz-mat truck. He gives us directions to take some surface streets around Knoxville to reconnect to I-75 about 30 miles south of the city. We follow his directions and get back onto I-75 only to discover it is STILL backed up. We go 3 miles in 15 minutes and quickly get off again. We now declare ourselves done with I-75 and follow US-11 to US-74 to US-411all the way into the Atlanta metro area.

What should have been an 8.5 hour drive takes us 14 hours!!! It was long and frustrating and exhausting for everyone. We were so happy to arrive at our hotel that night. We stayed at a Hyatt Place on the north side of the city and these are rapidly becoming my favorite hotel chain. The rooms are big, the TV is huge, you get a sofa, a desk, a fridge, and it is just really nice! Because we arrived late, they were out of rooms with 2 beds. We got a room with a King size bed plus a giant sectional sofa that had a pull out for the girls. DS2 slept on the two comforters on the floor with a sheet over them. Since we didn't get the kind of room we requested, we all got free breakfast the next morning.

Up next, driving day 2.
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:23 PM   #15
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Aw, the girls look so cute and grown up in their school clothes

I would love to see the Lion King or Mary Poppins but I am not holding my breath on that one. I did buy tickets to go see Phineas and Ferb- The best live show ever for Sept. DH just gave my a huge eye roll.

I don't know how people do long are rides with kids. The longest ride we have taken Caitlin on is maybe an hour and a half and she whines through that. When I was a kid we drove the 24 hrs from CT to WDW, I don't think we could make it that far with Caitlin.
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