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Old 02-24-2014, 06:20 PM   #1
middlesista
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Magic Bands are Flushable and Other Lessons Learned. A winter 2014 Trip Report

Welcome to my first trip report! I was/am a Johnny or rather middlesista come lately to putting this trip report together. I had not planned to write a trip report but on our return I thought that I would like to share some of the lessons that I learned and experiences that we had along the way.

We are not new to Disney, we have been going on and off since 1975. We went before we had children, then with the children and now with the grandchildren. Wow, almost a lifetime in just one sentence!

Initially, when we went to Disney we did not plan we just sort of went with the flow and we flowed right past a whole lotta Disney. That was until I happened upon this site in Sept of 2011 and it was a wonderful thing! After spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to come up with a moniker (I went with the obvious, and yes, it is a sensitive subject, being a middle child is no easy thing, but I digress) I dove into all that DIS had to offer. What a gift! Because of the information that folks are so wonderful about sharing we no longer had to stay off campus, there were so many options and offers out there to make Disney a bit more affordable for us.

My husband and I know how fortunate we are to have been able to share Disney with our children and now our grandchildren. It is not just the parks, or the food (although the food can be WICKED AWESOME) or the entertainment or the rides, it is families and friends sharing moments together. Not to get all gushy so early on but the Disney experience IS truly magical.

When we first went to Disney in 1975 it was just the Magic Kingdom and we were thrilled with just that. Disney has certainly changed over the years although we have stayed exactly the umm the same. Oh well, time marches on as must this trip report!

DATES: January 25 to February 8th 2014
RESORT: Port Orleans French Quarter
TRAVELING WITH: Husband: Known for perusing Disney food web sites prior to vacation to make sure he knows exactly what to order, also known for snoring.

Daughter: Known for attention to detail, making ADR’s and skills maneuvering a carriage through the streets and shops of Disney much to the awe and delight of those around her.

Son-in-law: Known for his organizational skills in packing his back pack, his appetite and his ability to retrieve the infamous autograph books from the depths of that back pack.

Granddaughter #1: Known for her love of Belle, her love of mac and cheese, her “snacks” and finding “boyfriends” at Disney she is five.

Granddaughter #2: Known for her “me too” “me do” persona and her love of Mickey, Minnie, Ariel, Tinkerbelle and apples. This child loves apples she is a year and nine months and yes, I worry about her choking on those apples so I cut the apples up in itty, bitty, tiny, pieces and I watch her eat them and remind her to “chew” over and over until the apple pieces are gone. It is painful to watch and my daughter is a lot less fanatical about apples than I am or that child would have a lot less apples to eat and if I had my druthers it would be applesauce for her.

DEPARTURE

Although our flight did not depart until 1130am my daughter and I felt it important that we have an early departure from home to allow us to fully soak up the airport atmosphere, so we headed to the airport at around 6AM, yes, we are those people. My husband and I were running a few minutes late since I had to stop for my Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. My DD options would be nonexistent in Disney and these few last exposures to DD would be vital.

The girls were still in PJ’s when the van came to pick us up, we loaded everyone in and took the 45minute drive to the airport. Check in was painless and we headed for the gate listed on our tickets.



The girls were playing with the IPAD we had brought until it was light enough for them to look outside at the planes. After about 1 ½ hours into our 3 ½ hour wait to Board the flight my husband learned that they had changed the gate so we gathered our belongings and headed to our new gate, it was not very far and there was a DD close by so it was all good.

As the time drew closer to board folks began jockeying for position. True, seats on Jet Blue are reserved but overhead bin storage is not reserved. Not to be left out of this maneuvering, I eased my way over to where folks were lining up. Having a double seater carriage and two young children was a definite benefit in this regard. Granted, we were not first, I did not want to be that pushy but, just saying, we were able to place our carry ons directly over our seats! After checking to make sure we all had our various good luck/safe flight items on us, we were ready to go. The girls slept most of the way and I kept an eye on the progress of the flight on the online map so that I could update my husband who was not the least bit curious of where we were at any given time or of the speed and altitude of the plane, go figure.

We landed a bit earlier than expected, collected our belongings and after bidding farewell to the flight crew we headed to the Magical Express. We had studied up so knew exactly where to go but truly the signs make it very easy to head in the right direction. We were a bit disappointed since we had one of the Mears Buses and not a true Magical Express Bus but we decided we would probably have a Magical Express for the ride back to the airport and all would be fine. Besides, it is only a bus, we did not have to drive, we were in Florida and heading to Disney, and the girls were oblivious to details such as bus hierarchy PLUS the first stop would be POFQ!!

Now that I have set the stage I do hope that some folks decide to join me for my first ever trip report! I did ask for some advice before starting out, IHeartDDuck came to my rescue and suggested that I “Just dive on in” so here I go!


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Old 02-25-2014, 03:30 PM   #2
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I'm in! The kids are so cute walking with their suitcase. I can't wait to here more about the trip.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tiggeye View Post
I'm in! The kids are so cute walking with their suitcase. I can't wait to here more about the trip.
Whew! I was thinking it was going to be one, lonesome trip report!!

Thanks Tiggeye! Hope to work on update tomorrow. Just out of work and have to unravel the brain for a bit
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:00 PM   #4
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I am here! Sounds like my kind of TR...lots of thinking about Disney food! Not sure if I like knowing that magical band are flushable...
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:41 PM   #5
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Joining in the fun!!
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:30 PM   #6
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I'm along for the ride! I love multi generational trips. Brings some extra magic along with it! I first went to Disney in 1972 and camped at FW with the family. I was only 8 but I do remember the monorail going through CR. Yes, you read that right! I was born in 1964 and have a 6 (almost 7) yr old! Keeps me young. Can't wait to hear more about your trip. Especially those flushable magic bands!
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:14 PM   #7
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ARRIVAL AT FRENCH QUARTER

As I mentioned we are thrilled to be staying at Disney rather than off campus. When our children were little we had stayed at the Polynesian and LOVED this resort. Way back then there was something called “The Magic Kingdom Club” that my husband’s employer belonged to and the cost of a stay at the Polynesian was manageable and we stayed there for three glorious vacations.

It was eight years before there was another Disney vacation and that vacation only included my husband and son, so it really doesn’t count as far as I am concerned. But the take away from that vacation was that the Caribbean Beach Resort was a big resort and my husband was in no hurry to return.

Our next two trips were “off campus” and included friends of our children and since everyone was older they wanted to visit other sites in Florida and not be “all Disneyed out.”

When we finally decided it was time to return to Disney in 2012 my daughter did the research and came across Port Orleans French Quarter as a great option for us and I came across The DIS. Our trip in 2012 was fantastic and our then three year old granddaughter had the best time! Our son and his future wife were also able to join us for a few days during this vacation and my husband and I were so happy to have everyone together.


2012 Trip Meeting Minnie

2012 Family at POFQ

When we began planning for this trip we used our previous trip as a sort of template for the 2014 trip. Lesson learned here was not to expect what was in 2012 to be what we would encounter in 2014.

We arrived at POFQ a little after 4pm, checked in and headed for our rooms. We had faxed a request a few days prior since we wanted connecting rooms to assure optimal family bonding time. We had been in Building four on our last trip and really found the location worked for us since it is close to the food court and the buses, have to refill those mugs! We did not request a specific room but did mention our previous trip and how much we appreciated the room we were given which was on the second floor with a garden view. We saw right away with our check in that we were in Building 4 on the second floor (YES!) but had no clue where the rooms were otherwise. My daughter (who is a true Disney aficionado which is why I love planning trips with her) and I quickly headed to the elevator dragging our assortment of carry-ons, the double seated carriage, the children and our husbands behind us. Once we arrived on the second floor we had to read the signs on the corners of the buildings to direct us to the room locations. We seemed to be going in all different directions at times but I was on a mission and soon led the charge to our rooms. My excitement was growing as I realized that not only did we have a garden view again but that our room had two windows!!!


Pixie Dust for sure since I did not ASK for two windows it was the ultimate gift since I love to decorate the windows. I had done this last trip and for this trip I had even better decorations planned, so to say I was thrilled with having two windows is an understatement.




2012 Window Decorations. I could hardly believe all the awesome towel animals we were surprised with!


We entered our rooms, opened the connecting doorway and we were home for the next two weeks!

Initially, we had planned on heading to the pool on our first day however the POFQ pool was closed for refurbishment and although the Riverside Pool is not that far we decided to spend our check-in day settling in and unpacking. Two weeks in Disney is nothing to sneeze at PLUS I did have to decorate three windows once our luggage arrived, or at least that was my plan. Oh, by the way I noticed not one other decorated window and no towel animals in any window.

We also had to pick up our order from the Garden Grocery and Diapers.com. The Garden Grocery worked out well, especially for the water and Pepsi. Since Disney is a no Pepsi zone my SIL and I had to have Pepsi available somehow. Seems you are either a Pepsi person or a Coca-Cola person and kudos to those who like both equally. We would do Garden Grocery again although we ordered too much food and yes, I did order apples.

After we had put away our GG order away we decided to head down to the Food Court. We had our Magic Bands on and although I thought I would feel silly wearing this I soon realized that I was just one of many folks sporting the snazzy bands and I now felt that I truly belonged and was amongst my people. We did appreciate that Disney thought to send a bracelet to Granddaughter #2. With her “me to” and “me do” persona it could have been a lot less Magical if she did not have that pink bracelet on her little wrist!

In the food court we picked out our refillable mugs and went over to check the menus. We had the meal plan since we tend toward the Character meals therefore the regular dining plan with the TS, the QS and snack works for us.

Not sure what everyone had to eat although I can bet that the girls had mac and cheese and probably apple slices. I was anxious to try the collard greens. I have a thread on DIS where I was asking folks if they knew the recipe for the collard greens that they serve at The Primetime Café. Did have some very helpful feedback but not the exact recipe. The collard greens at POFQ were not in the same caliber of deliciousness as those at the Primetime, at least from my perspective and my memory. However, a firm believer in not wasting any food my SIL finished mine for me. I recall everyone else enjoyed their meal and we knew we would be back.

My daughter and family headed back to the room to see if our luggage had arrived and my husband and I headed to Downtown Disney. One of the best perks at POFQ is the launches to DD. On our way to the docks we passed the pool which was gated up and the Dragon Slide was in pieces, sad to miss the fun of this pool. Anyway, we did not have to wait very long for one of the launches. The weather was great and it felt so good to be back at Disney and to know we had two weeks ahead of us! DD was crowded but we decided to try and grab something at Ghirardelli's. I scouted out a table while my husband went in to order. As luck would have it, I did find a table and we both shared a sundae. Now, not to be a Debbie downer here and it was good and all that but nothing special. I can live my life without having another, although there are a few other items on their menu that I will need to try at some point, I think I hear the Ghirardelli “Strike It Reach” sundae calling my name.

We stopped at Goofy’s Candy Company before we headed back to POFQ and I got in line to order dipped pretzel rods – so good. My husband on the other hand, the bargain hunter that he thought he was, saw a sign that proclaimed a discount on fudge – 33% I think. So, he purchased 6 pieces of fudge which ended costing well over $20.00. A real bargain. I also promised myself that before we left this year I would purchase a Disney candy apple which is something that I had been obsessed with since our last trip when I had forgotten to get one before we left for home. But I put this off figuring that I had plenty of time to buy a candy apple, yes, plenty of time.

After a bit more browsing we headed back to POFQ to see if our luggage had arrived. On the trip back to POFQ my husband and I were discussing that we had not expected such crowds. Very different from 2012.

Back in our room and our luggage had arrived!! I quickly went to work unpacking and organizing. I tend to be one of those folks that has to be organized and neat. I get all jittery inside if things are not in order. Now, I don’t have an official diagnosis or anything but I have to have a “place for everything and everything in its place.” I think it has something to do with being a middle child but I can’t be certain.

As I mentioned I had big plans to decorate our windows and was anxious to get to the suitcase that held everything. When I opened the suitcases I had to chuckle to myself since the lights that I had packed to decorate the windows were all lite up and happily blinking away! Someone had turned them on and I narrowed it down to the TSA or Tinkerbelle. It was getting late and we were all getting tired. The girls were running from room to room, so excited to be in Disney since they knew they would be meeting Mickey tomorrow. With lots of hugs and kisses to our beautiful granddaughters we all settled in and tried to get some sleep.



We were heading to Magic Kingdom in in the morning for the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show!

Thanks for reading along and I will do my best to make it worth your while!!!


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Old 02-26-2014, 02:24 PM   #8
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I'm in!!

...and so excited! I don't follow many TRs (I wish I could!) b/c I already spend a lot of time on this board but I love yours. We stayed at POR last time we went and I agree - the boats to DTD are THE BEST. We're doing CSR this time and I have a little angst about not having the boats but I'm also excited to try something new. 2 WEEKS IN DISNEY??????? I'm insanely jealous. Seriously. You have no idea. Can't wait to read along!
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiggeye View Post
I'm in! The kids are so cute walking with their suitcase. I can't wait to here more about the trip.
Thanks for coming along for the read ! Our granddaughter loves her princess suitcase. Her sister was a bit sad that she was not able to drag one along for this trip - perhaps next time for her!

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I am here! Sounds like my kind of TR...lots of thinking about Disney food! Not sure if I like knowing that magical band are flushable...
So glad you are here and welcome!! Disney Food - I am still dreaming about the crème brulee we had at the Cape May Seafood Buffet. The BEST dessert that I had the whole trip.

Yes, Magic Bands are truly flushable - and they flush quickly.


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Joining in the fun!!
Welcome! So glad you are joining in. You know, I still consider myself a bit of a newbie around these parts so I am excited to "meet" fellow DIS'ers

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Originally Posted by we3travellers View Post
I'm along for the ride! I love multi generational trips. Brings some extra magic along with it! I first went to Disney in 1972 and camped at FW with the family. I was only 8 but I do remember the monorail going through CR. Yes, you read that right! I was born in 1964 and have a 6 (almost 7) yr old! Keeps me young. Can't wait to hear more about your trip. Especially those flushable magic bands!
I so miss the days when my children were young, it is a wonderful thing to have a 6 (almost 7) year old! Heck - we never would have learned about those flushable magic bands if we didn't have our granddaughter with us
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jenninaustin View Post
...and so excited! I don't follow many TRs (I wish I could!) b/c I already spend a lot of time on this board but I love yours. We stayed at POR last time we went and I agree - the boats to DTD are THE BEST. We're doing CSR this time and I have a little angst about not having the boats but I'm also excited to try something new. 2 WEEKS IN DISNEY??????? I'm insanely jealous. Seriously. You have no idea. Can't wait to read along!
I am so happy that you are reading along! I see you are new to the DIS - isn't this the best place! Folks are so helpful and you can learn so much. If it wasn't for the info I found here I never would have known about discounts (hence being able to stay for two weeks), the best places to eat, where to find the characters, etc, etc. I also learned a lot from reading trip reports plus it is fun to visit Disney vicariously through others.

I loved the POR pasta bar - so good! Coronada Springs looks like fun - especially the pool area.

Thanks again for following along!
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:52 PM   #11
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Flushed Magic Band?!

I can't wait to read about this!
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:26 PM   #12
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Sounds like a great start to the trip. I am looking at staying at POFQ on my next trip (filing away building 4 for future reference). I too like to decorate the windows...did it for the first time on my last trip! Your gdd is so sweet and precious!
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Old 02-26-2014, 05:45 PM   #13
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Following along, looking forward to reading your TR.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:33 PM   #14
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MAGIC KINGDOM DAY (Jan 26)

Getting up early was a given for us on this day, we had been planning for almost a year and were so excited to finally be going back to the heart of Disney World! I was up extra early since I wanted to start to work on the window decorations.

Outfits for the girls had been carefully coordinated, yes, we are those people as I mentioned previously, and today was to be a matching Minnie Mouse day. In all honesty they did look adorable with or without the Minnie ears on, but I can say that because I am the grandmother and that’s the way we are.




My daughter did not want to miss the opening welcome show so we each took a child and quickly had them dressed and fed and ready to go. My SIL had his backpack all situated with extra clothes and food and diapers and various other necessities including those autograph books that folks always seem to drag around with them (can you tell I am not enamored with the whole autograph phenomenon). I really think that backpack weighed more than his eldest daughter, but he was a good sport about it, at least at this point. We were at the bus station in plenty of time, or so we thought. There was already a line forming. Oh well, it’s Disney and it’s our first day at the park so it was all good, that is until more and more people showed up and everyone forged ahead to try and get on the bus.

At this time I would like to say a word or more about Disney buses. I am all for the convenience of the buses and I am thrilled about not having to rent a car and drive but I don’t understand why there is not some rule about how many folks can fit on a single bus? It seemed to me that they would herd as many people as possible into the bus. When I thought a bus was bulging with people the friendly bus driver would be signaling more folks to come on in and join the fun, although he would remind everyone to be sure to push back far as they could so even more people could be welcomed aboard.

I have a few questions. Where are all the bus monitors? Why do bus monitors seem to only be there willy nilly? I mean sometimes you see them and sometimes you don't. What's that all about? Who does their schedule and don’t they know that not everyone knows bus etiquette and we need supervision? Why do folks squeeze themselves onto an already too crowded bus and why doesn’t someone make a double seater carriage that is easy to fold anyway?

On the other hand, why don’t all the strapping young men give up their seats to the poor moms that are standing and holding young children? Now don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of gentlemen and some young women that gave up their seats to older folks and young moms. Oh – while I am on the subject, it is OK to hold a child in your lap if you are lucky enough to have a seat on a crowded bus in order to make a seat available to someone else. Some folks did not seem to know this so I thought I would just put it out there.

I actually would have preferred to not get on this morning bus and to wait for the next, however my daughter had a very determined look on her face and I knew she really, REALLY wanted the girls to see the opening ceremony at the MK on this, their first day at Disney and of course my husband and I wanted to be there to witness this monumental occasion.

So with a sigh, we climbed aboard and were on our way. We did end up standing although I think my daughter was able to find a seat and had the girls in her lap. I lost sight of them as I hung on to one of the bars although I really didn’t need to hang on to anything since there was no real room to fall down.

Even though this was not how we had expected our first bus trip to be (after all, during our last trip we seldom had a crowded bus) we did not realize that our bus woes were not over. About 5 minutes into the trip, the bus stopped at a red light and that was the end of that. Stubborn bus shut down and would not start back up. So we sat and waited. I kept glancing out the window waiting for some sort of rescue bus to appear, or a fix the bus truck or something. Nothing came – so for about 10 minutes we sat there. The bus driver was not sharing much information with us and I could not see my daughter which perhaps was a good thing since I am sure she was less than thrilled and I doubt a reassuring glance or two from me would have helped matters much.

Suddenly, with no outside intervention the bus started back up again as abruptly as it had stopped, folks on the bus cheered and we were on our way.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t panic just a little whenever I saw a red light in the distance. But we made it to the MK and how I knew this was because the MK music came on and we were all welcomed into the Magical World that is the Magic Kingdom.

We made it to the opening ceremony before the train pulled in and were able to grab a great spot. Do try to catch this ceremony if you can, it does put a smile on your face and is a wonderful start to the day. The only thing that could have put it over the top for me would have been a cup of Dunkin Donuts ice coffee, extra light. I know there is a Starbucks at the MK but Starbucks does not cut it for true DD enthusiasts besides I can’t speak Starbucks talk – I know, I’m whining, I’ll stop.


Our next stop was to Fantasyland for Small World. As my daughter will tell you, we ALWAYS do this ride first. Ever since we first brought her and her brother back in 1986 it has been our family tradition to ride Small World first. We learned (as many folks suggested on DIS) that it is very true that going early to the parks is a HUGE benefit. We had walk ons for most rides and ended up changing our fast passes for later in the day. Our rides included Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Prince Charming Carrousel, the Mad Tea Party and the Speedway, you know, all the heavy hitters of the preschool group. Plus we met lots of Disney friends and princesses and obtained their much sought after autographs.








We had lunch at the Crystal Palace. Usually we do breakfast here but thought we would try lunch this time, to mix things up a bit. The food was fine, standard buffet fare for Disney. Nothing really stood out food wise but the character interaction is always so much fun. Next trip we will go back to having breakfast at the Crystal Palace since a trip to Disney would not seem right unless we ate at the Crystal Palace at least once and it would have to be on the first day because that is just the way it has to be.




Our eldest granddaughter was celebrating her birthday at Disney. Actually her birthday is New Year’s Eve and one of her birthday present ‘s was to celebrate her birthday at Disney. She proudly wore her birthday pin and was greeted with “Happy Birthday” princess more times that I can count and each time she would shyly smile, say thank you and wave a little bit.

The CM’s made her feel so special. She received birthday cupcakes, had "Happy Birthday" sung to her and even received birthday cards signed by her favorite Disney characters and princesses. Her younger sister was ok with this since she usually was able to share the cupcakes, so she did not feel left out.

We also saw part of electrical parade and ended the day with the girls meeting “talking” Mickey!


Note the ever present autograph book

We left the park at around 9pm even though it was open until midnight. We were all exhausted and did not relish another crowded bus trip. Sleep sounded like a good plan plus I had to get up extra early if I was ever going to finish getting the windows decorated. I was also anxious to return to the room to see if we had any towel animals waiting for us. I do not mean to sound presumptuous but during our last trip we had a towel animal waiting for us almost every day and why would things be any different this time around?
Thanks for reading along. More to come…


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Old 02-27-2014, 01:13 AM   #15
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Awesome!! Can't wait to hear more. I am excited to read your report. We leave in 64 days for my daughters' first trip. The oldest will be celebrating her 5th birthday and my 2 yr old. So this report is right up my alley!! Love it!!
PS---where did their Minnie Mouse outfits come from?! Love them!!
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2003 - First Trip - Off site band trip for Magic Music Days
2004 - Family Trip - Contemporary
2005 - Graduation Trip - POR and Caribbean
2006 - First trip with Boyfriend!!Pop
2008 - Honeymoon! Pop
2014- First time taking our DD4 and DD3. Celebrating DD4 5th birthday and Pops 50th birthday!!



Our May 2014 Pre-Trip report! A 5th and 50th bday!!
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