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Old 05-30-2012, 05:48 PM   #16
LuvEeyore
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James is sooooooooooooo cute!! Sounds like the day is off to a good start!!
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:30 PM   #17
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Joining in, we're taking our then 18 month old in October, so I'm hoping to get tips while reading your TR on taking a toddler.
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:31 PM   #18
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You sound like my husband when it comes to getting to the airport. He likes to have lots of time, while I like to breeze in just as they are shutting the over-wing doors!

Awesome that you were able to wear James out, and put him back to sleep! I hope he slept the whole flight for you!
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:15 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by LuvEeyore View Post
James is sooooooooooooo cute!! Sounds like the day is off to a good start!!
Thank you! It was a much smoother start than I had anticipated

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Originally Posted by vikkii19 View Post
Joining in, we're taking our then 18 month old in October, so I'm hoping to get tips while reading your TR on taking a toddler.
Awesome, hopefully my tips will be helpful for you. Our next trip is in October so I would love tips on traveling that time of year

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You sound like my husband when it comes to getting to the airport. He likes to have lots of time, while I like to breeze in just as they are shutting the over-wing doors!

Awesome that you were able to wear James out, and put him back to sleep! I hope he slept the whole flight for you!
It's funny, pre-James I was all about sleeping until the last possible second and giving us just enough time to make it. Now, I'm like "chop, chop, people, let's go"
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Old 05-31-2012, 04:03 PM   #20
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Travel Day: Part Two

As our plane took off, I enjoyed my view of leaving the New Mexico mountains behind and cuddling with my little guy



These days I get very little cuddle time, so I was eating up all the snuggles he wanted for the past few days. James slept peacefully with his head in my lap and legs in Candi's, while Candi and I talked about how excited we were. It goes without saying, I'm sure, that we had been envisioning this day for quite some time. We couldn't wait for James to take his first monorail ride, meet Mickey Mouse, experience his first character meal, ride Dumbo for the first time ... the list goes on and on. As we were talking, I kept telling myself that I needed to try to avoid having a vision in my head of what it was going to be like. I did this for our honeymoon - envisioned ultimate perfection - and there is no way to avoid disappointment when I do this. But, our chitter chatter continued on the subject as we enjoyed the 1.5 hour flight to Dallas.

I'm happy to report that James only woke up once, he barely opened his eyes and whimpered a little bit. However, his blankey and Mickey Mouse put him right back to sleep for the remainder of the flight.



Before long we started making our descent into Dallas and my tummy was doing flip flops of excitement because we would be meeting up with my parents at this point. The last time we had seen them was for James' birthday almost 4 months prior - far too long! We were also nervous about how far away our next terminal would be. Our flight ended up only having a 30 minute layover, which in Dallas could mean a sprint across the airport. Luckily, we only had to walk 5 or 6 terminals over before we saw my Dad sitting by the window, waiting for us I'm sure I had the most ridiculous perma-grin attached to my face, but I didn't care. For the first time ever, the trip actually felt like it had begun before we got on the fake monorail in Orlando. James was a little hesitant to go with Grandpa at first, but he didn't cry or completely refuse, so I was relieved about that.

After hugs and hellos we headed off to find the restroom so I could get James a fresh diaper before our next flight. By the time we got done with that my Mom was back from buying some food for James. Since we knew that we had a short layover, I had asked my parents the day before if they would mind picking him up a hot meal after they got to the airport for us. A quick hug for her from us all and we saw our plane pull up and boarding began



As with the prior flight, we had reserved seats on the aisle that only had 2 seats, and as luck would have it my parents were 2 rows behind us. Unfortunately, the flight staff on this flight were incredibly rude. The flight was actually boarding ahead of schedule, but they were barking orders at everyone to move faster, raising their voices about the way people were putting luggage in the overhead bin, and rolling their eyes when people would ask them questions. It was quite a difference from the friendly stewardesses we had on our flight to Dallas!

Once we got settled into our seats we took out the McDonalds my Mom had bought James to eat. They weren't yet serving lunch so she couldn't buy the happy meal we had requested. Instead she got him a sausage McMuffin meal, which he had never had before. Not that I am ungrateful for it, I just wasn't sure if he would eat it as he can be quite the picky eater with new foods. Well, he ate the muffin and the egg but wanted nothing to do with the sausage And when it came to the hash brown, oh my goodness, he loved it so much that he refused to share! I think I got one teeny tiny bite before he devoured the rest himself!

After breakfast was complete we knew he wasn't going to go back to sleep, but we were hoping a couple episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the iPhone would keep him occupied. And, it did - for about an hour. Then he realized there were lights above our heads and wanted to stand up to turn them off and on. Yeah, not gonna happen! Luckily, my Mom had an aisle seat on the row opposite ours so a few rounds of peek-a-boo and "where's Grandma?" did the trick for a while



Then in the last 30 minutes or so (of our 2.5 hour flight) there really wasn't anything that would entertain him. Plain and simple - he was tired of being cooped up and wanted to run around. He never had an all out tantrum but he did whine a little and let out a scream or two. Perhaps it was because I was distracted with trying to distract James, or possibly our pilot was just that awesome, but I did not feel our landing at.all! It was the smoothest landing I had ever had on a flight

After landing it didn't take too long before the seat belt sign was turned off and we were able to start unloading the flight -thankfully! We were once again seated right over the wing, so we had to wait for about half the plane to get off before we could do the same thing, but it wasn't too long before it was our turn. And this time we had help to carry all our carry ons


Not quite refusing to be with Grandpa, but not exactly sure about it either

Once we were off the plane Candi instantly commented on the humidity (as he always does) and I very cheerfully turned to James and my parents and said "WELCOME TO ORLANDO"

We quickly found the fake monorail and made our way over to the main terminal of the airport.



However, instead of going straight to the Magical Express area we went towards all the shops. We were on a mission to find a jibbit for James' new Crocs and figured the Croc store would be the place to find it. Unfortunately, there wasn't a Mickey Mouse to be found, so we left feeling defeated and laughing about how sad it was that we knew our way around MCO so well

While heading back towards the ME counter my Mom saw the big fish tanks and wanted to take James over since she knew his love of aquariums.



Of course my Dad didn't notice the sign that said not to touch, climb etc so a little 9 or 10 year old kindly pointed it out to him And immediately after that some other boy started to climb up on it and his Dad told him to get down and "just because other people break the rules doesn't mean he could" Ok, I get it, James wasn't supposed to be standing up there. But, the tone and volume of his voice lead me to believe that he was saying it more for our benefit than his sons. Oh well! Moving on!

For the first time ever we found the elevators that lead down to the ME counter without any problem



And we were quickly lead to an empty line for the bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge! Unfortunately, this is where our luck ended. At this point in time James had had enough. He needed time to be free to run around (and probably a nap!) and the tantrum began. Oy! It started as a small whine and quickly escalated to an all out scream fest when we wouldn't let him get down. This is when I started wishing we wouldn't have checked his stroller. I knew if he was in it I could push it back in forth and he would (more than likely) fall asleep. I tried calming him, Candi tried, my parents tried. He just didn't care. Finally I remembered I had some bunny graham crackers left in the snack bag and that calmed him for the most part. Granted, he was still whiny, but the tantrum had subsided.

Now, I understand, that the tantrum made it feel longer, but this was the longest we have ever had to wait for an ME bus. I guess we've been lucky, but we normally are on a bus within 5 minutes of getting in line. This time we waited almost 30 minutes before we were led to a bus. It kinda bummed me out, because I had talked up the convenience so much to my parents. But, at least we got to ride in one of the Disney buses and not the handful of Mears buses that were parked waiting for guests. Priorities right?



The bus loaded fairly quickly and we were (finally!) off to Walt Disney World. It had started raining about 10 minutes before our bus arrived and it pretty much poured for a big chunk of our travel time



It was then that I worried that all the weather predictions of bad weather for the course of our trip (in all destinations) would be correct. I tried my hardest not to think about it and just enjoy the drive to our hotel ...
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Old 05-31-2012, 05:32 PM   #21
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Just got caught up. I'm trying to prepare myself for possible meltdowns for our trip as DS will be 15 months when we go. I'll try to remember extra snacks and toys.

I hope the rain was only temporary!
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:33 PM   #22
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Joining in!

Your little guy is so adorable! My favorite pictures so far are the one when you woke him up to go to the airport and the one at the airport before boarding the plane. Too cute!

Taking your child for the 1st time to Disney is so exciting! I can't wait to hear all about the vacation!
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:27 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by MinnieLovesMickey View Post
Just got caught up. I'm trying to prepare myself for possible meltdowns for our trip as DS will be 15 months when we go. I'll try to remember extra snacks and toys.

I hope the rain was only temporary!
Extra snacks definitely worked wonders for us! Toys, however, didn't do a whole lot to distract him. I think since he had only been walking "full-time" for a few weeks before our trip, it played a big part in him wanting to get down and move around. And, really, I couldn't blame him - my legs were itching to get stretched out at that point too.

The hardest thing for me was reminding myself not to stress out and stop caring if other people around me were getting angry, annoyed, frustrated etc. The truth of the matter is - they were going to be whether I was stressed or calm and the more calm I was the easier it was to calm the little guy down. Easier said than done though ...

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Joining in!

Your little guy is so adorable! My favorite pictures so far are the one when you woke him up to go to the airport and the one at the airport before boarding the plane. Too cute!

Taking your child for the 1st time to Disney is so exciting! I can't wait to hear all about the vacation!


Thank you so much! I adore those pictures too - just wish they were on my real camera and not the iPhone
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:35 PM   #24
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Travel Day: Part Three

As we continued our drive I tried not to concentrate on the rain pouring down outside and focus my attention on happier things.


Being on vacation with my parents (for the first time in 5 years!)


The fact that James easily went to sleep as soon as we boarded the bus and being on our first WDW vacation as a family!

And, of course, the video that they play to distract you from seeing all the other things there are to do in Florida that aren't Disney

Now, although it seemed like forever waiting to board a bus, it seemed like the time flew by before we arrived at WDW. I honestly think it was the quickest drive we have ever had - kinda don't want to know how fast the driver was driving. Instead, I will just believe that there wasn't any traffic that day making it easy peasy for him to get us to our destination. You know, since I didn't see any traffic because I was busy watching the promotional video playing

Before we knew it we were going by this glorious sign


Oops, Mom didn't get the second half


And I didn't get the first

The driver had let us know that our stop would be (next to) last when we boarded the bus. I know there are many people that get frustrated when this happens to them and from a time standpoint I can see why. However, I really enjoy seeing all the other resorts at Disney and it instantly gets my mind going on where we should stay for our next trip!


Candi had no idea they had built a new resort so he was very intrigued when we passed by here


First stop (although I could have swore it was All Star Movies, hmmm...)


Second stop - we will blame the blur on my Mom's inability to focus her camera that quickly and not the speed the bus driver was driving I was very excited to tell my parents about how we had stayed here before our last cruise


And, then, our stop.

I was instantly relieved when my Mom asked if this was really where we were staying with a great big grin on her face! If I recall correctly, we were the only ones who got off at Jambo (the rest were for Kidani). Regardless, we were met by a CM as we got off who talked with us about Jambo House while we headed to the check-in desk. I had done online check-in for both us and my parents ahead of time so we were, of course, directed to that line where there wasn't any wait.

AKL is the only hotel where I really feel like the view matters, so I spent our check-in time nervously hoping that we were given a savannah view room. We are DVC members, so we used our points for both our room and my parents room as well as the cruise for us. In doing this we had very few points remaining for the rooms, so we booked the value studios. A portion of the value rooms are savannah view, but there are rooms that are pool or standard view as well. I am the worst when it comes to asking somebody for a favor or request (such as switching to a savannah) so I had butterflies in the pit of my stomach with the thought of having to ask if there were any to be switched to Luckily, there was nothing to be worried about as we were put in rooms next to each other, on the Ostrich trail, with a sunset savannah view! Phew!

Check-in went smoothly and quickly; however, although our CM wasn't rude she was definitely lacking enthusiasm. Her mannerism seemed nice enough, but her smile seemed forced and we all felt as though she didn't want to be there. I get it, we all have days where we don't want to be at work. But, it did lower the magical feeling for me a bit.

I guess the CM next to her could sense what we were feeling though, because once she finished with her guest she came over to welcome us to the resort. She talked to us about where we were from, what our plans were etc. She also gave a pirate bandana to Cinco when she congratulated him on his first visit



Once all the computer processing was done we received our packets with the hotel information along with Anniversary buttons for Candi and I, a 1st visit button for Cinco and a birthday button for my Mom.

After completing check-in we made our way to our rooms and got settled in. Candi and I unpacked our dinner clothes (that were in our carry-ons) so that the wrinkles could settle out before we had to get ready. And then we took James out to the balcony, anxious to see his reaction when he saw animals outside his bedroom









I was beside myself with giddiness that he was so excited about the zebras outside - he even noticed them immediately without us pointing them out to him!

As happy as I was, though, I was less than thrilled that the smell of animals was definitely present out there


Yuck Dad, what's that smell?

I understand that there are animals out there, but it was shocking since we never once smelled that when we stayed at Kidani on one of our previous visits. Candi said he thought it might be because of all the rain, it was making the smell carry, and harder for them to keep the savannah cleared up.

While we waited for my parents to finish getting settled in we sat and enjoyed the room and allowed James to run around to his heart's content









I have to say, this was the best thing we could have done for him. After just 20-30 minutes he was full of smiles, hugs and laughs. Quite the difference from the tears and frustration just a bit before at the airport!

Soon enough, we all started to feel the rumblies in our tumblies so we decided to go see if my parents wanted to join us on a quest for food ...

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Old 06-03-2012, 11:10 PM   #25
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Yay! Y'all made it to the resort & got a great view! I would love to try AKL one day. It looks so pretty!
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:05 AM   #26
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I am the same as you when it comes to waking up - the fact that it's Disney day makes it a little easier, but I still would rather sleep. Thankfully, when I actually get to Disney I have no trouble waking up. It's the only time that ever happens! I am not a morning person, either!

I'm glad the flight to Dallas went so smoothly, and sorry that the flight to Orlando wasn't quite as good. It sounds like James still did pretty good overall, though!

Yay! I'm so glad you were able to get a savannah view room! I completely agree with you - I think at AKL, the view really does matter. We always just book standard view, but if we ever return to AKL I think we'll have to book a savannah view. I hear it's the most common upgrade, but I would be so nervous to risk it. There is just nothing like seeing all of those animals from your balcony. And it looks like James loved them!
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:29 AM   #27
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I agree that traveling with a toddler has its challenges, but the good times more than make up for it!

I LOVE the AKL, so I was really digging your pictures. I'm hoping to stay there on our trip next Oct, Dh and I have been, but DS hasn't. I think he'd love the animals just like James did!
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:00 PM   #28
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Yay! Y'all made it to the resort & got a great view! I would love to try AKL one day. It looks so pretty!
It really is breathtaking - I encourage everyone to stay there at least once!

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I am the same as you when it comes to waking up - the fact that it's Disney day makes it a little easier, but I still would rather sleep. Thankfully, when I actually get to Disney I have no trouble waking up. It's the only time that ever happens! I am not a morning person, either!

I'm glad the flight to Dallas went so smoothly, and sorry that the flight to Orlando wasn't quite as good. It sounds like James still did pretty good overall, though!

Yay! I'm so glad you were able to get a savannah view room! I completely agree with you - I think at AKL, the view really does matter. We always just book standard view, but if we ever return to AKL I think we'll have to book a savannah view. I hear it's the most common upgrade, but I would be so nervous to risk it. There is just nothing like seeing all of those animals from your balcony. And it looks like James loved them!
Yep, everywhere else we book standard view as well. If we get upgraded to pool or woods or whatnot, great! If not? great! But, at AKL, the savannah is what makes it so special IMO!

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I agree that traveling with a toddler has its challenges, but the good times more than make up for it!

I LOVE the AKL, so I was really digging your pictures. I'm hoping to stay there on our trip next Oct, Dh and I have been, but DS hasn't. I think he'd love the animals just like James did!
Travel day actually wasn't nearly as stressful as I had anticipated based on what other people had told me to expect. And, it was all forgotten when he got so excited about the animals!
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:37 PM   #29
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Don't you just love those value rooms, great point value.

I hope DD sleeps on the flight and on ME like James did, it would be sooo much easier than trying to entertain her the whole time.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:41 PM   #30
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Totally subbing in for this! Your DS is adorable! My DH and I ate at Jiko on our honeymoon and it was the first time I'd ever been to AKL. I'd love to stay there some time. It's gorgeous.
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