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Old 10-13-2012, 07:43 PM   #47
Fantasyland Mom
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The truth hurts sometimes, and this is one of those times. I’m about to be really honest…

No one likes the trip down update.

There, I said it. But, alas, it’s part of the saga, so I’m gonna treat this update like a Band-Aid and get it over with with a quickness so we can finally get to the magical part. Ready?

Friday, September 14, was a school day for Julia. I tried and tried to convince her to play hooky that day (because obviously I have excellent parenting skills), but my responsible daughter was actually flipping out at the thoughts of missing “instructional learning time.” Really. She said that. Sometimes I really question whether or not we’re related. Anyway, we decided to be nice parents and allow our daughter to go to school until 11:00, when she would be counted present for the day. It turns out that we had plenty to accomplish that morning, so it was probably a good thing that we were leaving that late.

We woke up and got her ready for school, and at 7:10 Brandon dropped her off in his car, as our van was in the beginning stages of being loaded. If you read my PTR, you know that I had planned to really pare down my packing this year…apparently that didn’t happen.



I had filled up the van the day before with gas that my mom had oh-so-graciously paid for as her trip gift to us, so that was already taken care of. See? I’m on top of things!

Except not really.

The whole time he was gone, I was sitting in bed holding my cup of coffee and being so tired that I kept forgetting to take sips of it. That’s what late night packing will do to you.

Oh, who am I kidding? That’s pretty much me every morning.

At about 7:30, I heard the first of the littles stirring. Over the baby monitor, I heard Sawyer wake up, and the first thing he said in his cutey-patooty baby voice was, “We go to da Disney Wuld, Mom!” Seriously, melt my heart, kid! And if that wasn’t enough, over Brynn’s baby monitor at nearly the exact time, I heard her belt out, “DISNEY TODAY!!!!!!!” They might have been a little excited.

I stumbled downstairs with the toddler set and mindlessly made some waffles, grits, and cereal, gave Sawyer his morning “bee-nana,” and I turned on Disney Junior for their viewing pleasure. While they ate, I took care of the littlest members of our family, our fish, Emmie and Dory. I cleaned both fish tanks and changed the water, and I put in some vacation feeders. My mother-in-law would be stopping by every couple of days to feed them, bring in our mail, put out the trash and recycling, and buy new identical fish if these happened to croak while we were gone, but I had a fear (or a hunch) that she’d forget to feed them.

With Brandon back home, I took a quick shower and packed up the last of what we needed. I quickly dressed both kids in some comfy car clothes and set about completing possibly the hardest task in the world: getting Brynn to choose which stuffed animals to bring with us.

You have to understand that Brynn is more than a little attached to her “crew,” as she calls them. Brynn’s night-time routine is one of those parts of her life that is pretty inflexible, and having each crew member placed just so on her bed is part of that. The problem is that there are probably about thirty crew members, and there’s no way all of those were fitting in our van. She was already getting upset at being parted from even a single one, and the trip hadn’t even started! Eventually she got a mini-victory, because she ended up taking about half of them. (See van picture above. The top half is mostly crew.)

The only thing left to do was pack up lunch and snacks. Having to leave this late in the day meant that I would not allow a stop for lunch. I’m such a nice mom. I needed to use up some fruits and veggies before we left anyway, so I packed about ten peanut butter and honey sandwiches, apples, bee-nanas, celery, carrots, a block of cheese, pretzels, crackers, and applesauce packets. I threw in some frozen water bottles and fixed three sippy cups of chocolate milk.

After potty breaks, unplugging appliances, adjusting the thermostats to save money, and grabbing all pillows, lovies, and blankies, we were on our way!...to Julia’s school.

This won’t surprise you too much, but we were later than planned. We checked her out at 11:15, which was right on track with my rule that you get five minutes of lateness per child.

With everyone buckling in, we were on our way…to the gas station.



It’s just in front of Julia’s school, and all we had to do was adjust the tire pressure.

THEN we were REALLY on our way at 11:25! HOORAY!

We drove merrily along, pointing out the skyscrapers in Atlanta to our apparently backwoods children. Brynn astutely noted that it was “a city of cars” and asked for her earmuffs as we made our way around the idiotic Atlanta drivers.

(Side note: throughout the TR, you’ll probably see pictures of Brynn wearing earmuffs at random times, or sunglasses inside or in the dark. It’s her way of comforting herself and blocking out too much sensory information if she gets uncomfortable. I don’t notice when she’s doing it sometimes, so I might not mention it again. And now I have that “I wear my sunglasses at night” song stuck in my head. Awesome.)

Just south of Atlanta, it was already time for a potty break. Those of you who are familiar with my last TR know that I have the tiniest bladder on earth, but it wasn’t for me this time—Julia decided that she’d try to set a new world record for potty breaks on a single trip this year, taking after her proud mama, I guess.

We found a Target that was next to a Radio Shack. Everyone was able to take care of business. Then we put the kids back in the van to begin their lunch while Brandon ran to Radio Shack, presumably to buy a simple cable to hook up our iPod, which has holding a zillion Disney movies, to our finicky DVD player, which doesn’t like to play DVDs. I should have known something was up when he didn’t return for about twenty minutes. When he got back, he casually threw into conversation that he’d also picked up an extra memory card for the camera. Sixty dollars and way too much time later, we were making our way through the abyss that is south Georgia.

For a while, the trip consisted of begging them to take a nap, passing out treats every thirty minutes (for kids who NEVER get gummies, this was a big deal, and I was mom of the year), and listening to Sawyer play with his Nemo stuffed animal. It pretty much consisted of, “Where’s Nemo? Huh? Oh, there he is! I found him!” Over. And over. And over.

Speaking of repetitive and annoying things, what the heck is up with the billboards in south Georgia?! I’m pretty sure that area of the state has an identity crisis or something. Half the billboards were for strip clubs (“Fully Topless. Need we say more?”), and the other half were religious in a threatening way. Is there no happy medium down there, y’all?? Not exactly what I want my kids, two of whom can read, to see on the way to our family vacation!

At 4:11, we crossed into Florida, The Sunshine State…as it began to pour rain. We paid that no attention, because we had orange juice to drink! We probably spent too much time and had too much fun at the Florida Welcome Center, and I’m pretty sure they won’t forget us anytime soon.



I love how their facial expressions actually match the moods of the cartoon characters here.

Brandon enjoyed stretching his legs as the kids chugged too much juice.


Sawyer was in map and coupon heaven.


And then he did a little coloring.


After all the elderly couples fell in love with my babies and we’d made the hundredth potty break of the trip, we hopped back in the van and moved on down the road. Now Sawyer had his Woody doll to play with, and we heard reports like, “There’s a snake in his boot, Momma!” every few seconds. At that point, I gave up on them sleeping.

Further into Florida, we made a stop to get gas and potty (yes, again) at the most disgusting restroom EVER. You needed to know that, right?? It’s all in the name of thorough trip reporting.

And then more billboards reared their ugly heads, this time about vasectomies and the fact that a baby’s heart starts beating at 18 days.
Seriously, Florida? Are you trying to compete with Georgia to see whose highways are the most depressing? I’m glad I’m from north Georgia, where most of our billboards are of neighborhoods I’ll never be able to afford to live in. At least that’s a little less depressing.

The sun started going down, and the Pixar clouds turned into a gorgeous sunset.


After paying our tolls, we were almost there! The GPS said we’d arrive at 8:02.


None too soon, we were rolling under this beautiful site!


The billboard people could take a lesson from the Disney people.

We were finally turning into Caribbean Beach Resort just as the kids had decided they were finished with riding in the van and would turn into screeching monkeys to show their disapproval. Because I’m such a wonderful wife, I left Brandon in the van with the chaos and stepped into the Customs House at CBR to check in.



Ahhhhh…can’t you smell that wonderful scent now?!

I’d done online check-in, so I found the sign and made my way over. All the lines were empty, so it didn’t really make much of a difference at this point.


I had made a couple of requests on my reservation. The first was for a ground floor room. CBR only has two-story buildings, but there is no elevator. We couldn’t be hauling our big strollers up the stairs. Secondly, I requested the Martinique section. Did I get my requests?

Well, technically I guess I did. But we were so very far out in the Martinique section that we were nearly on the actual island of Martinique. Sigh. It ended up bothering me more and more as the week went on because I saw so many non-preferred, first floor rooms that were much closer to Old Port Royal just sitting empty for all those days. Why couldn’t we be in one of those?

Ah, well. At least we were on the ground floor. The room location wasn’t such a big deal that I wanted to complain about it.

I stopped at Bell Services to see if they could deliver our rental stroller from Kingdom Strollers to the room since there was no way to fit it in the van, and they said they would. If you aren’t familiar with the layout of CBR, let me just say that it is LARGE and spread out. There’s never really a reason to go to Customs House once you’re checked in…

Or should I say that there *shouldn’t* be a reason, but we’d find out that there can be many, many reasons…

We began to drive to our building, but we ended up taking the scenic route when Brandon made a wrong turn. He was frustrated—after all, we hadn’t eaten since the Target parking lot!—but I just thanked him for the quick tour of the resort!

Brandon went into our room, 2117, before we did so he could take a picture. We knew it would never look the same once the first child entered.


That Mickey head on the bed was our one and only towel animal of our stay here. BOO, CBR! The last time we were here, we had at least one every day.

Look out the window at these poor people waiting to come inside!


FINALLY, he let us in, and destruction began.

NEVER FEAR! Julia made herself comfortable and turned on Stacey!
STACEY!!!! All three kids can pretty much quote her entire spiel word-for-word, but still never tire of her. Me neither.


It was about 8:30 at this point, and we were starving! Not wanting to get back in the van, we made the looooooooong walk to Old Port Royal for some dinner, getting lost once along the way. Not surprisingly, the kids were little terrors while I gathered some supper and our resort mugs, which we got free with our free dining plan. Julia took pictures with her very own camera, mostly of silly faces the kids made.


And I found some pork, turkey, sandwiches, grapes, cookies, pizza…okay, I’m not sure what we ate. BAD TR WRITER! But I was so tired at this point that I barely remembered my name, much less what we ate!

Sufficiently stuffed and terribly tired, we made the loooooooooong walk back to our room.


I tucked the kids in bed and began unpacking our things. All the outfits were in large Ziploc bags by day, so I grabbed the bag for Saturday and laid out all our clothes. I pulled out the already-packed park bag and attached it to the stroller, which had made it to our room, along with the pack-n-play, while we were at dinner. As I checked that everything was set for the morning, I noticed that instead of having Sawyer’s key, they had issued us some other guest’s key! Free park tickets, anyone?! Okay, just kidding. Into the van I went to take back that key and have Sawyer’s issued. The CM looked at me like I had two heads, like I’M the one who made the mistake!!

Back at the room, which I found on the first try this time, I set the alarm and threw myself in the bed. It was the most comfortable place I’ve ever slept…or maybe I was just really tired. Either way, I slept great until I woke up way too early the next day…

Our First Disney Day!

There. I did it! That wasn’t so painful, was it?

The arrival day is definitely boring, and gas stations and welcome centers don’t make for the best photos.

But the next day???

SPECTACULAR.

Coming up: The one in which we let the memories begin with A DAY OF FIRSTS!




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Old 10-13-2012, 07:57 PM   #48
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love all the pictures, and have I mentioned how much I love that yall drive too! I'll def keep an eye out for billboards on our drive down lol! I'll even snap a pic for you!

Wish I lived closer so Brandon could teach me how to use my not so fancy DSLR lol! I'm sick of using auto setting, too lazy to make a real effort.

I'm pretty jealous of how quick you guys go to Disney!

Can't wait to hear all about the first day of firsts!
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:17 PM   #49
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Hooray for getting there! We stayed at CBR last December, and I thought the bed was super comfy, too. Great photos...your kids are very photogenic, like they're not even aware of the camera!
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:47 PM   #50
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I wish we were close enough to drive to disney! you still have sawyer rear facing, what a good mama!
I love brynn's crew. that's so cute.
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:52 PM   #51
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I really don't mind reading about the trip down. It's not Disney, but the anticipation is there and it's interesting. Yours, though? You had me cracking up! Loved it! The excellent parenting skills, the 2 year-old who is just learning to talk, but has already learned the oh so important words "Disney Wuld", the perfect expressions at the welcome center photo op, the picture of you guys waiting (not so patiently, I'M sure) outside the room to be let in, etc. I can't wait to read more!
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:02 PM   #52
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Okay, I, for one, love the "travel day" trip updates! So much excitement! (Or maybe I am just anxiously awaiting our next trip.....) Your pictures were great, especially the Welcome to Disney sign...seriously one of the best I have seen!!
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:14 PM   #53
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I may be in the minority, but I love arrival updates! Arriving at Disney is when it all starts!

Wow, that sunset picture is phenomenal!

CBR looks cute. YAY for arriving! Can't wait for the first day to begin!
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:35 PM   #54
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It’s probably really sad that I am exactly like Brynn with her “crew.” Every night I have to set up my stuffed animals exactly where they need to be. I think I need to go see a therapist about that, since I am a lot older than her. I know I’m a five year old stuck in a teenager’s body.

Anyways…

I wish I lived closer to Disney like you guys do. I’m from Massachusetts and my mom and I just drove in August. Worst 22 hours of my life.

Don’t you just love those billboards? Very kid friendly…

I love how CBR has a Nemo theme to the rooms!
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:53 PM   #55
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Hello...I'm subbing on I am looking forward to hearing the adventures of your lovely family...

I've stayed at the Poly but not at the CBR... so I'm really looking forward to hearing your opinion of it...

My princess is a bit older than your two... she just turned 18 but honestly I can close my eyes and easily see her as a six year old... (btw she still absolutely adores and identifies with Belle...

My 10 year old little man is one of the smartest, funniest and happiest people I know and he too has Asperger's ... it can be a challenge sometimes but he has one of the coolest, creative and empathetic views of the world...

I'm looking forward to reading more...
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:08 PM   #56
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I'm here! I love your report so far. DH and I will be going to WDW for our 1 year wedding anniversary, and we will be doing a split stay with Poly and some other hotel, not sure yet! So this will be great to read. I know what it's like to have lurkers, my TR's consist of nothing but lurkers :rollseyes:

In case you're wondering, my sig probably says I'm supposed to be enjoying a DLR trip right about now, but I'm still in the car, waiting to finally be there! Haha!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:15 PM   #57
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Yeah, I'm with Marissa on this... I LOVE reading about people's arrival days! I think it's fun seeing where people are coming from, whether or not they're driving or flying, and that whole adventure in itself.

There's something awesome about the whole build-up to the trip, and seeing the transition of real life to being immersed in the magic of Disney World.

Anyway, I love how Julia wanted to stay at school. THAT is dedication right there! But it sounds like having that extra time was helpful!

Brynn and her little crew; so cute. I totally get what she's saying though. I used to feel guilty if I felt like I wasn't paying enough attention to ALL of my stuffed animals.

I love that photo of Brynn and Julia at the welcome center. They're so cute... and Sawyer coloring. Your kids are pretty darn cute.

That Welcome sign is my favoriiiiite. That's when I know I'm officially on vaca!

The photo of you guys outside of the room is kind of hilarious. Like, please let us iiiiin, hahaha.

Those billboards, btw, sounds ridiculous. That area is VERYYYYY different than the billboards you'd see here in Washington state! At least in Western Washington anyway.

I have to say, I'm jealous you guys can drive down to Disney World! That makes things so much more affordable and easy, especially when you have kids.

YAY I can't wait to see your first Disney day!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:50 PM   #58
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I agree with everyone else, I love arrival day updates. There's something about the anticipation and excited at the start of a trip that is just infectious!

I'm looking forward to seeing more of CBR. It's one of the few resorts I've never visited, so it'll all be brand new!
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:56 AM   #59
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I like arrival day updates!! Glad to hear that you made safe and timely travels!

Yay for getting most of your requests for CBR!
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:26 AM   #60
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I like arrival day updates! But I feel the same way about writing them in my TR's, I always feel like no one really cares so I try to breeze through it!

I love that Brynn had to bring half of her crew with her to Disney, so cute! I might be an adult, but there are certain things I have to have with me when I go on vacation too!

It's been a long time since I've driven down to Disney, but if I ever do, I'll have to keep an eye out for these strange billboards, we don't have anything like that in CT! The only thing I remember from driving a few times were the 100's of South of the Border billboards!

Yay for arrviing in Disney! I love seeing the welcome sign all lit up like that! Glad you got your room requests at CBR, even if you were kind of far away! I'm wondering where I'm going to be placed in POR next month, I hope it's not too far away from everything!
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