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Old 12-24-2012, 08:28 AM   #1051
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Merry Christmas to the whole family Cynthia.

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Old 12-24-2012, 09:16 AM   #1052
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Merry Christmas!

And what a beautiful post about Tracy, I have tears in my eyes as I type this. It is amazing that she got that one last trip in and that everyone got to see her.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:44 AM   #1053
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Merry Christmas to all my Dis Friends

Merry Christmas Rosie!

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Cythnia, before the festivities start in earnest tomorrow, I wanted to wish you and all your family a very Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas Kathy!!

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Everyone's words are such a nice tribute to this sweet girl. I felt the same when I saw her trip pictures - she was beautiful, and even knowing how sick she was, she was having a blast. You can tell she's weak by the way she is standing, but I have said so many times over, I am so, so, so glad she got to take that trip!

I look forward to the video, MEK.
You just can't fake that kind of joy, she was living in the moment and it was so beautiful to see.

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Beautiful tribute to your friend. I'm sorry she's gone, but glad you got to meet and know her even just a little bit.
Me too!

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What a great tribute to Tracy.
Thanks Pat

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Merry Christmas to the whole family Cynthia.

Merry Christmas Pat!!!

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Merry Christmas!

And what a beautiful post about Tracy, I have tears in my eyes as I type this. It is amazing that she got that one last trip in and that everyone got to see her.
It is such a blessing for her, and for all of us around her that she had that last trip and it was so magical.

Merry Christmas Tina!
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:26 PM   #1054
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A truly beautiful tribute to Tracy.

Merry Christmas Cynthia! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:52 PM   #1056
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What a beautiful tribute. She sounds like a very special lady.

Merry Christmas to all.

Jill in CO
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:05 PM   #1057
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Merry Christmas Cynthia!!!!!!

Hugs to you and the family!

I wish I was back on the DIS, but our internet time is severely limited due to the nature of our ministry.

Miss you and everyone else. Pray for you weekly. I hope all is well with you.

I will be around for the next few days. Home in CA til the 31st...
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Old 12-25-2012, 01:38 AM   #1058
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Cynthia, we hope you all have a very magical Christmas!
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:44 PM   #1059
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Merry Christmas Cynthia!! This seems to be an annual tradition for me... getting way behind on the DIS in December, then taking advantage of the post-Christmas down time to get all caught up.

I had heard of Tracy's passing on facebook but hadn't connected all of the pieces until getting back on the DIS today. I really enjoyed reading about your fun East/West trip and I remember Tracy from that report. I'm so glad that you got to see her again in October! What an amazing spirit she had and I'm sure she's having a great time up at Disney in the sky! Thank you for sharing your memories of her!
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:43 AM   #1060
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What a beautiful tribute. She sounds like a very special lady.

Merry Christmas to all.

Jill in CO
Thanks Jill! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas.

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Merry Christmas Cynthia!!!!!!

Hugs to you and the family!

I wish I was back on the DIS, but our internet time is severely limited due to the nature of our ministry.

Miss you and everyone else. Pray for you weekly. I hope all is well with you.

I will be around for the next few days. Home in CA til the 31st...
Jordy!!!!!!!!!!!! So good to see you around, even if it it's only for a few days. I really loved your letter this year, Kentucky seems to agree with you. You are much missed but how wonderful that you are thriving.

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Cynthia, we hope you all have a very magical Christmas!
Hi Karin! I hope your Christmas was magical as well!!

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Merry Christmas Cynthia!! This seems to be an annual tradition for me... getting way behind on the DIS in December, then taking advantage of the post-Christmas down time to get all caught up.


I'm hoping to do some of that today myself! Actually I'm hoping to do a whole lot of nothing.

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I had heard of Tracy's passing on facebook but hadn't connected all of the pieces until getting back on the DIS today. I really enjoyed reading about your fun East/West trip and I remember Tracy from that report. I'm so glad that you got to see her again in October! What an amazing spirit she had and I'm sure she's having a great time up at Disney in the sky! Thank you for sharing your memories of her!
She did have an amazing spirit and I am so glad I had the chance to meet her and get to know her just a little bit.
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:51 PM   #1061
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First of all, a very belated Merry Christmas to all!







I hope everyone's was magical!

I've been going round and round on this one as I want to do an update on our next years plans but always seem to get caught in wanting to finish up a day on the TR first! However, I think I can safely spill the beans. Which are largely spilled or hinted at elsewhere anyway! I had an irrational fear of jinxing it by posting about it before things were finalized in a few areas.

I'll back track a little. For a number of years we have been discussing the need and desire to do a large Disney trip, with my whole side of the family. Who are all Disney freaks. As a family we've done two larger trips together. 2001 in Disneyland/DCA and 2004 to WDW/US. 2004 was the "big" trip, my folks rented 2 houses and bought everyone's park tickets and rental cars. All we had to do was pay for plane tickets and food. There were about 20 of us, the rental homes about 5 minutes from the main gate and literally next door to each other. The kids were little. Jeff and I weren't married yet (though would be less than 2 months later, though no one there knew it at the time) so we just had the E's. Also along were my brothers 2 boys, my sisters 2 boys and another sisters daughter. 7 kids between the ages of 3 -7. It was a magical trip that just "worked". We did some things together as a group, but many things apart and somehow, magically, it was never stressful. We lucked out without knowing it. We’d stumbled into the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. With adventuresome 4 and 5 year old E's, it was the ultimate kids meal heaven as far as we were concerned. Small portions, at the right price, with lots of yummy food and drink for Jeff and I. We ate there 5 of our 8 nights I think! Happily going from kiosk to kiosk and watching Illuminations every night, more often than not it functioning as our evening meet up spot with the rest of the family. It was a trip without ADR's, not realizing until we got there that they were needed or excited but did have one large group meal at Big River as a walk in (and an hour wait) and the 4 of us a spontaneous lunch at Sci Fi. We commando toured, leaving the house late morning loaded for bear with packed lunches and sandwiches and not coming home till kids passed out. This meant we didn't really use the house for more than sleeping, despite the 2 screened in pools and one dinner in, but that was ok. We did 6 days at Disney, one at KSC and one at Islands of Adventure. It was perfect...and left me wanting more. As you may recall we had arrived one night early, before the houses were ready and had stayed at ASM. Our first on site stay. It wouldn't be the last.

Since then about half of my siblings have been back (I'm the oldest of 6) half have not and my parents have not. Many of them have been to DL in between, though we have only been to DCA. My entire family is a bunch of Harry Potter freaks. To the extent that half the shopping we did while there, was for gifts for family members here. Going back, as a group, doing Disney and visiting Harry is something that has been on the radar for years now. The logistics however, and the cost, has made planning difficult if not impossible. Of my siblings, 4 of us live in the greater Seattle area. Even though we are close, we've got 4 different school calendars to contend with. Factor in a sister going back for her teaching certificate, another possibly considering getting pregnant and ongoing health scares with my dad… it has been at the point more than once where we think it can’'t happen.

Yet we all want it to. It's come down to this. My dad isn't getting any younger. Nor sadly, any better. Frankly, I wish we were planning for something now as it scares me. He won't slow down and it is a problem. A real problem. Which means this trip needs to happen and Jeff and I decided to take the bull by the horns and make it happen. Even if no one else but my parents end up going. In an ideal world, we’d go during spring break. Great weather, we are a bit off the normal cycle on dates so decent rates plus it would be star wars weekends! But with dueling calendars that doesn't work so well, and with high school end of unit and middle school standardized test times, even worse. Summer, with the heat and rates, truly didn't appeal to anyone. My dad doesn't need the heat on top of everything else. That really left us with Christmas/New Years. If we timed it right, going late in Dec and over new years, partially into Jan, we could at least get some of the rates down. We don't have a school calendar yet but can make some educated guesses. We can also consider them missing 1-2 days. Not ideal but not a deal breaker to me at that time of year. Not to mention the whole idea of being together, in the World, for NYE just sounding magical to everyone. Add in the stress of my nephews heart condition (which isn't necessarily any worse after all but really sounds like should have been treated earlier....we like the new doctor) and we all want and NEED this trip.
For the past 2 years the boys have been campaigning to stay in a Treehouse. Really what they want is to be in a treehouse, with no adults, with their 4 boy cousins that are local. Even better would be with all 6 boy cousins (8 total) but the Germany contingent is unlikely for cost reasons. Understandably my mom (who has hip issues) has some treehouse concerns, despite there being ADA ones available. My BIL, a Disney neophyte, has concerns about sharing a room with anyone (they don’t have kids yet). When I purchased at SSR, it was specifically to have the Treehouse advantage. For a year, my plan has been to add on there when it was getting closer to time for this trip. I only bought about half of what we wanted originally as that was enough to cover our needs at the time.
I am really glad I split it up.

Want to know why?

I changed my mind.

I fell in love.

With the Boardwalk.

This is what I call the sucker view





I had actually reached out for my rep prior to my girls trip, thinking maybe I’ would just take care of it while in FL (which DOH wouldn't ’have worked since Jeff wasn't with me lol). She was on vacation but I left a message about adding on at SSR. I wanted to add on before 11/30 as that would be when my use year ended. If things went according to plan, doing it just before that date, could net me the availability of 4 years worth of points. Sure, I could wait and do it after 12/1 but that seemed really silly. Why not get a free years worth of points and take a vacation I wouldn’t have taken otherwise. At the time I was thinking Disneyland, for spring break, and availability at GCV looked doable for a short trip.

It was a good thing she was on vacation.

After 4 nights at VWL, which I do really enjoy, but felt SO far away at times from where I wanted to be, and 2 nights at BWV which let me walk home every night, all I could think of was.

New Years Eve.

At the Boardwalk.

Walking to Osborne Lights and the CP.

A Treehouse? Sounded lovely… but far away. And wouldn’t fit everyone anyway. And so a plan was born. While on the plane home in Oct, I mapped out point charts, cash rates etc so we could discuss options. After discussion, estimates and the like, a general plan was agreed upon and I made the call to my rep. Points agreed upon, deposit made, I waited for the paperwork. I’d come home on a Tuesday, had been on the phone with my rep weds, paid the deposit on Thursday. I figured I’d have the papers by Monday at the latest. Instead, the next day, while at a tradeshow, I got a phone call.

"I have horrible news"

"Your contract got returned"

"We can’t sell you those points."

"What do you mean you can’t sell me those points?"

"Boardwalk Villas were never licensed for sale in the state of WA. It didn’t even occur to me to check. I am SO sorry!"

Talk about feeling punched in the gut. Apparently none of the older resorts other than SSR were licensed for sale in WA. SSR was modified when they started selling THV. BLT was probably ok, AKV and Aulani for sure, and of course GCV. I didn’t want any of those. Sure, I could buy BWV resale (though honestly I don’t know if the WA factor would be a problem or not, it might well be). I also wanted the full benefits that came with buying direct. Not for everyone but important to me for this particular purchase and contract. Realistically I also knew my chances for the right size contract at BWV being available, and closing in time for 11 month booking was next to nil with resale. As we chatted she murmured that it seemed like it should be ok, since it was an add on to an existing contract and she might try another avenue. She didn't sound hopeful but I said to go ahead and check it out.

While I waited to hear from her, I re-crunched numbers and point charts, seeing just what our options would be if it was SSR that had the full 11 month advantage. By the time she called back confirming that we couldn't have those points even though it was just an add-on I had come to a determination.

"Ok, we will just go with SSR then."

"I can't sell you points at SSR."

"Why not?"

"We don’'t have any available in your use year." Yep. It really was sold out (at least for my use year at the moment in time I was asking).
Literally, to buy direct, my ONLY options were Aulani and Animal Kingdom Villas. Which I knew had a pretty nice promo on it (and have the lithograph to prove I sat through that sales video lol). I was so thrown I had to tell her I’'d call her back.

I crunched more numbers. While I wasn't happy about it, I could live owning at AKV and the promo (discounted price plus 10 free points per 100) made it mildly more palatable. Mildly. We LOVED AKV however I’ am honestly not worried about having issues booking there. It would cost more and didn’'t really give me an advantage I cared that much about or felt as necessary.
That promo had apparently ended the day before.

You've GOT to be kidding me.

There was a new promo.

Which sucked. In my humble opinion (smaller discount off the price and a $500 gift card) No thanks. As I sat there silent on my end of the phone my rep stumbled her apologies over and over. In the middle of her apologies she said, "If you were still here in Florida we could sell the Boardwalk points while you were here". How is that? "Well, we’'d be closing the deal in a state we are licensed to sell that property in, it doesn't matter where you live, but where the documents are signed and notarized. I didn't know this before and am so sorry! It’'s too bad we didn't do this when you were here in August but I had no idea. I am SO sorry, I feel terrible!" (plus at that time I wasn't talking about BWV and had deliberately wanted to wait till Nov so I’'d get the 2011 points dues free and banked). I joked, "I’m almost in Idaho now, what about that?" Literally, I was about 20 minutes away for the event I was at. She laughed and said she didn't know that Idaho was licensed, but that if we could go to a state they were licensed to sell BWV in, the documents could be sent there.

The wheels in my head start turning.

"We are going to be in California in December", I said slowly.

"You are? When in December?"

"We arrive the 7th, leave the 10th."

"Would we be able to sign the documents there?"

"Maybe. It really should be before the 30th so I don't think it would work to get you the 2011 points. I can check though, I've never done anything like this before. I would think we could do it without the 2011 points but as it’s after the 30th I don't think those can be held like that"

"Ok, thanks."

And I went back to my tradeshow, thoughts preoccupied for the rest of the day and looking unhappily at the Auanli and AKV options for buying direct, perusing every resale site, in sight.

Just as I started packing up the tradeshow I got a call.

My rep sounded like a little kid at Christmas

"I got permission!

We can write up the docs, hold and send to your hotel for arrival on the 7th and still get you the 2011 points. I just need the address of the hotel."

"Really?"

"Really!"

And she did. Within a couple of days the new points were showing in my account. A quick phone call and the 2011 points were banked into 2012. Which meant a funny thing happened on the way to the Boardwalk.

A side trip to Aulani.

Those "extra" 2011 points would actually expire before the big new years trip that we were planning, that the fall trip to the Boardwalk had inspired a complete home resort change. Jeff and I went out for dinner that weekend and discussed what to do with those points. He was not keen on the DL/DCA idea at all with a "big" trip on the horizon. He did like the idea of an RCI exchange, a week in Cabo, just us and no kids. I looked into it. It was doable, definitely, but the flights were a bit more pricey than we wanted to spend and it made us both nervous to lock up the points into that type of ressie as we just wouldn't have the flexibility if we needed to make changes to dates or couldn't get flights a the right price or what. It was fun though. There is a new online booking tool for RCI. Lots of folks say that RCI isn't worth it for DVC exchanges or that it’s not a good use of points. I don’t get that. A week in Cabo would have cost LESS points than what we ended up using for Aulani, for comparable or larger accommodations. But I digress. We didn't do it.

Instead I booked 5 nights at Aulani as a placeholder over Memorial Day. That got us past all soccer commitments for Kendall, past kid's breaks but before summer prices and points went up. And it was available, which shocked the heck out of me as it was just over 6 months away. A tentative booking and I started really digging into flight costs. As I think everyone knows by now, I scored on those and we bit the bullet, purchasing flights and adding 2 more nights to the total trip, 6 nights in an ocean view studio and 1 in an island view. I’d wanted a standard for the first night as our flight gets in pretty late but no dice. I did waitlist for it though. Now all I needed to do was actually sign the documents, have it close and then I could relax.
Well not really, I could relax AFTER the 11 month booking date came and I secured our NYE reservation.

Jeff and I went to CA earlier this month, for our San Francisco anniversary getaway. Upon check in, our documents were there waiting for us. We decided to sign, hit a notary, and then lunch. Here, finding a notary seems to be a piece of cake or maybe I've just been lucky. There....the front desk at the hotel made several calls trying to find the closest place (as we didn't have a car). It was sweet actually, 2 different front desk staff were on the phone at the same time making several calls to try to make sure it was as close as possible and the notary was there multiple calls later we were directed to a UPS store about 4 blocks away. They printed out the address, as well as addresses for some other locations. We sat down with our box and signed our docs. I was pleased that the actual "box" was smaller than the first one we’d gotten, less to lug back home.



Great. The paperwork was asking for copies of recent paystubs. It hadn't occurred to me we'd need more than ID as we were already owners. I figured we'd sign what we had, include our ID and then I’d call Monday to see if they really needed it or not. I's and T's dotted and crossed we took the bulk of the box back to add to our luggage (since our room hadn't been ready yet) and then headed out to find the notary. 4 blocks later we found it.

"We don’t have a notary"

"We used to"

"Nobody called here, maybe they called one of our other locations (it was a UPS store)"

"There is one up the street, on the 7th floor"

"No, the 8th floor his coworker piped in"

"You don’t need an appointment"

"It’s in the Philippine Embassy"

Ok.

We walk a block and cross into the building.

"Welcome to the Philippines!"

Once you are in the Embassy, you are, technically, in the Philippines! We signed in and headed up.

Yes, it’s true.

I had to go to California, and then to the Philippines, to be able to add on at the Boardwalk. I would like to thank the creativity of my rep, the flexibility of the point sale banking gods, the state of California and yes, the Philippines for making this happen.

I called when we got back to ask about the paystub thing and was told to fax them this morning.

I checked my account later in the week to see my waitlist status and saw a scary note on the Boardwalk contract, an alert that said I needed to call.
Which I did. They had my docs, said everything looked fine and no they didn't need a paystub. She figured it was an alert that the docs were out and still unsigned and just wasn't cleared out of the system yet.
It still made me nervous even though all the contract details show up just fine. The annual condo meeting happened about the same time as our trip, when I went to look at the dues statement in my account I realized I couldn't see the dues on the new contract yet, and that the alert had changed. It now said I couldn't bank points on the new contract. Which freaked me out, I need to bank to make our big ressie in the not to distant future. And then it hit me, DOH. Lightbulb moment. When we first joined DVC you couldn't even get online to see your stuff, until it closed. Member services could book for us but no direct visibility. DOH. It was all tied into the closing. This actually made me go read some fine print. Not that I was worried but because I was curious. One of the benefits of buying direct is immediate access to your points. However there are a few caveats around it, which no one talks about. You can’t take a trip on those points before your contract closes unless the value of that booking is equal or less to the amount you put down. If for some reason your contract doesn't close, whatever you booked obviously isn't going to happen. And you can’t bank or borrow without member services help before closing. DOH. Now the funny thing was our estimated closing date was 12/13. Given that we didn't sign docs until 12/7 that obviously wasn't going to happen. With my 11 month date only a little over a month away, I got mildly worried as closing on our first contract seemed to take about a month, maybe longer from when we sent the docs back. Which would still be ok but made me nervous.

Santa decided to bring me an early Christmas present. We closed on 12/21 (actually it was probably at least a day or 2 prior, it showed up in member services on the 21st, releasing the points to be bankable) AND our waitlist for Aulani came through. It was just a 1 night waitlist, a silly little 3 point difference between an island view and a standard view for the first night. But, as we won't get to the resort till probably 10pm, who cares about the view and 3 points could be buffer I need. I don’t know if I need buffer. The 2014 point charts aren't out yet! Which does stress me out.

Whew!

So…what’s the BFP this time? (Big Fat Plan)

Right now it looks sorta like this.

BWV 12/29/13-1/4/14. We will get a 2 bedroom villa for the 4 of us, my sister and her 2 boys and one other nephew. We may or may not end up with one other adult, either my brother or ex SIL but that will be a late decision and if so..one of the kids is sleeping on the floor. LOL! My folks and my sister/bil with no kids will each get their own cash ressie studio.

THV 1/4-1/7. Same room scenario except that my folks and sister may well just stay over at BWV but be leaving a little earlier.

That part is up in the air and needs to be figured out. My thought is WDW during the BWV part, US during the THV part.

Stay tuned! More will become clear as we get to the 11 month booking date next month. There are many more players that could end up going on this trip but these are the only “for sure” travelers at the moment.

Oh, and in other news, I did break down and by myself a Premium Annual Pass. DVC has an amazing deal on it, through 12/31 of this year, and it just needs to be activated by 12/31 of next year. Which I can definitely do! While it would be nice to get them for all of us, the reality is the chances of me needing it for another trip are fairly high, the others, not so much. Possible, but not really probable. I think for the rest I'll take my chances. Buy them hoppers before ticket prices go up and if DVC offers the promo again, I can upgrade them there as long as the ticket cost less. I am annoyed though, literally the day after I bought it Disney announced that they were changing the discount on the Premium Pass to be 10% instead of 20% and that really bums me out.

So, now we wait for point charts and the 11 month booking date.

Last edited by eandesmom; 12-26-2012 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:13 PM   #1062
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HOLY CANNOLI BATMAN!!

California, Phillipines... What an adventure! Congrats on the new contract! I was pretty sure you decided to add on at BW from your earlier comments, but who knew it would be so complicated? You tell it in a great way though - makes for fun reading! I'm glad I live near the state border, just in case I'd ever have that issue!

I didn't even know BW still was available to buy direct - but then again, I never look at direct sales except those promo videos to get the prints!

I hope all the planning works out for you! And I definitely want to hear about Aulani! That's on my short list for the next couple years...fingers crossed! Flights from here are $$$$!

Oh - and I love your family Christmas card - and that picture of the boys and the tree is just beautiful!
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:26 PM   #1063
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What a long and winding road to your new DVC contract! But you got what you wanted in the end!
Can't believe you had to travel to California and "walk" to the Philippines to get it all done!

Your planned trips sound awesome! How I wish we could make it to Aulani one day, but the flights are just over the top .... so I guess that is on a back burner for us. Will have to live through your reports!

Congrats on the premium AP! Bummer about the discount though! But I can assure you that the 10% discount comes in pretty handy too. (I usually have one more suitcase going home, than coming ..... the 10% pay for the suitcase and the extra charge.)

Love your photos!
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:50 PM   #1064
15isto2
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Cumbria UK
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Thanks for that amazing update, I cant beleive the problems of being in the "wrong" state!
Your tree looks superb BTW
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Old 12-26-2012, 02:57 PM   #1065
jedijill
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Location: Denver, CO
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My head is spinning (no green pea soup though!) and am so happy it all work out for you!

Jill in CO
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