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Old 10-17-2006, 11:18 PM   #1
Sandi12404
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My first trip report (9/30-10/8)

Well, I'm going to attempt to do this without boring the pants off everyone. We called this trip our "learning experience". I havn't been to WDW in about 15 years. MGM was brand new last time we went (we must have seen Indiana Jones 5 times on that trip because things were limited). There were no such things as fast passes, characters were not as easy to find and Splash mountain was in process of being built. Anyway. this trip taught us exactly what to do and not to do next time. I seemed that regardless of all th info I gleaned from these boards, various other websites, and every guide book known to man we didn't know diddly about what was going to happen. Okay, that's a bit harsh. We had fantastic info that we used in the comfort of our homes to plan our fantastic trip only to get there and reaize that was is perfect at home does not always remain so in the real world at WDW. But, we'll get into that later.

HOW OUR TRIP CAME TO BE

This vacation was a long time coming. My DD8 had been asking to go to WDW since she first discovered there was a WDW. Roughly 4 years. I always put her off- it's too expensive we can't afford it. Then my brother moved to Florida (Largo) and in Feb 2005 my parents went to visit him. Sitting in my house watching the snow fly I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be in Florida. I wanted to go to WDW. I immediatly got on the computer to look for quotes. I'm a waitress so I don't think in terms of paychecks because I make my money in tips. So I figured out how much I would have to save a month, a week, and shift to make this trip work. I low and behold I realized that we could afford it. I started to get all worked up. W're going to WDW!!!! I decided that we should go in Oct. 2005. I picked Oct. because both times I went to WDW (when I was 12 and 16) we went in Oct. When my parents got home I told them. There was now way we would be able to take my girls to WDW without them. And I told my sister because there is no way I wanted to go without her. They asked me to wait a year. My mom didn't have enough vacation and my sister and her family wouldn't be able to afford it. So it was set we were going in Oct. 2006. So I started saving and researching and somehow stumbled onto these boards where I promptly lost many hours of my life.
About a year before the trip my dad dropped the happy bomb. He's retiring soon and before he does he wanted to take the whole happy family on vacation so he tells us he's paying for everything. For everyone. When I heard this I simply lost the ability to speak (cue the sound of crickets). My dad does not do things like this. Ever. He's a saver. If he could take it with him when he goes, he would. Don't get me wrong, he's always willing to help his kids financially. But this was an extravagance. I waited two weeks for him to take it back before I allowed myself to believe it. So the ttip was a go. We planned, and planned, and planned for a year until the day finally arrived. So here's out group:

My dad- John, 59 years old and getting more relaxed with age.
My mom- Barbara, 54. With my sister and I she completed that planning committee.
Me- Sandi. 31. Waitress and Disney fanatic.
DH- Erik, 32. Had never been to WDW. Perfected the art of eye rolling during the planning process.
DD8- Haleigh. Princess fanatic. Was very excited about the trip but I somehow mangaed to be more excited then she was.
DD2- Chloe. Knew we were going to Disney-she told everyone. But really had no idea what was happening.
My sister- Jenn, 33. Also a Disney freak and collector of snow globes.
My brother in law- Bill, 34 (?). Had been to WDW but it had been a long time for him, also. Like my husband, not that excited to go.
My neice- Aurora, 15 months. Obviously had no clue.
My Brother- Ken, 28. Our Florida resident family member. Has been to WDW world so many times he didn't really care about the trip. He just wanted to hang out with us- aaaawwww.

Next up: getting there
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:15 AM   #2
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Getting there

Okay. So the trip was planned, we had out information packet, we had our tickets to MNSSHP, we had shiny pre-1982 pennies stored in M&M containers for pressed penny machines. We were ready to go. The day before I packed. I planned on packing for a week before but I just never got around to it. Haleigh had to go to school and my husband had to go to work so it was just Chloe and I packing and getting ready. I picked my daughter up from school, talked to her teacher about her assignment (a travel journal) and then we took the dog to the kennel. That was emotional. The dog didn't want to go and Haleigh cried the whole way home because we left him. After Erik got home we met our parents for dinner and then came home and rechecked everything we had packed. Our friend Mary Kay was coming by while we were gone to make sure the cat's had food and water so she stopped by the pick up the keys. We got the girls to bed, and my husband to bed and I stayed up for another hour to excited to sleep. It was like christmas eve when you're a little kid.

We had to be up at 4am. I was up at 3am. I took a shower, checked out flight to make sure it was a go, said good-bye and thanks to all of you here and checked the weather (90 and sunny- woo hoo). By that time my husband was up and we made sure all the toiletries were packed and woke the kids up at 4:30. My father in law came to pick us up and take us to the airport. We got there 2 hours before out flight. Now, I know in most airports this is good time but our local airport is small. We have 3 gates a stones throw from each other and the whole airport is on one floor. You can pretty much stand in the middle and see the whole thing. So we had lots of time to kill. We had a bagel in the restaurant and waited for my parents to show up. By the time they did my DD8 was hysterical. She did not, did not, did not want to fly. She's a drama queen but new things like this worry her. She was a wreck all the way through security, onto the plane and all the way until we finally took off at which point she realized that this was okay. My DD2 Chloe was fine until she realized she had to wear a seatbelt. She wasn't in a carseat so she wanted DOWN. We were in a little plane (2 seats on each side) and I was sitting with Haleigh so I could hold her hand and Erik was sitting with Chloe so he could hold her seatbelt closed. She was mad about that seatbelt. Kept yelling "no seatbelt" until she just gave up and cried crocodile tears.

We got to Cincinatti about ten minutes ahead of schedule. Now, I've flown before but it's been awhile and you just forget how big some airports are. In our ignorance we thought that with the hour layover we had (plus an extra ten minutes) we would have plenty of time to get to our gate and get something to eat (my parents and Haleigh didn't have breakfast). Ha, ha, ha. We were staying on the same airline so we firgured the next gate would be close. Not so much. We had to go from terminal A to terminal B. That was a hike. I swear it was a mile. I was carrying the carry on bags and my husband was carrying our 2 year old because she tends to just want to stroll. We hauled butt and finally found our gate and all the 5,000 other people who were there. My mom, Haleigh, Chloe and I headed to the bathroom while my dad and Erik stayed with the bags.
As I was waiting for my turn with the one changing table (you would think they could have at least 2) I checked my cell phone and found a voicemail from my sister that they missed their flight and were getting on another one but would be getting to Orlando 2 hours later (they were supposed to arrive 5 minutes after us). I feel I should explain my brother-in-laws curse. Bill has never, ever been on a flight that has been on time. Ever. When he and my sister flew in for her friends wedding years ago they were supposed to get in 5 hours before the wedding started. They got here about 45 minutes before. We hoped that my sister and neice would cancel out the curse but apparently not. Of course, missing their flight had been a year in the making. Their last name is spelled H-E-B-E-R-T. When the travel agen booked the flight she spelled it H-E-R-B-E-R-T. As soon as we realized this we told her but she couldn't change the name on the ticket. So she said she called the airline and they noted it in their computer but apparently someone dropped the ball because there was no note. By the time all the confusion was sorted out and my sister and Bill got to their gate they had just closed the door and wouldn't let them on. Hence the delay.
Of course back in Cincinatti this put my mother (who flips out over things like this) into a very foul mood and the stress level shot through the roof. Added to the fact that there was no time for food because the lines at the concession stands were huge and our plane was boarding in 5 minutes. I was very happy to get on that plane so everyone could just sit and settle for awhile. Non- magical moment #1.

Well, we arrived in Orlando with no problems. Chloe had given up the battle with the seatbelt and everyone was back in a good mood. We took the "mini-monorail" to the main concourse. Holy Cow is that a huge airport. With the fountains and stores it looks like a mall. We found the guy holding the magical express sign and followed his directions down the escalator and around the corner- and into mass chaos. I don't know what I was thinking but it was something more along the lines of 30-40 people chatting and waiting for the busses in a non-croweded area. Was I ever wrong. My mom, Erik and the kids went to wait in the hugely over crowded waiting area while my dad and I checked in. Then we were shown to our respective line to the CBR to wait, and wait, and wait. When our bus finally came we started to move and suddenly Chloe darted into the next line over where she promptly tripped some poor woman who fell. We let the line go past us because we wanted to make sure the woman was okay. They got her up and just to be sure they put her in a wheelchair and whisked her off to her bus. Of course by that time our bus was gone. Stress levels were high again. Chloe was crying because she didn't understand, my husband was mad, my dad was sure something horrible was going to happen (like being sued) and Haleigh was in a tiff because we missed the bus. Non-magical moment #2. If the family of that woman is on these boards I hope she's okay and I'm so very sorry.

So we get on the bus where we get a fun bus driver who asked me if I knew how to get to the resort because he wasn't sure but figured he could find the way. I called my brother and found out he had just arrived at the resort and was looking for the custom house because the resort was huge. The driver made another joke about how we should be there in about 2 hours which sent my mother into a tailspin until I explained it was about 25 minutes and he was joking.
So we finally get to CBR and check in. We had requested (through our travel agent about 13 months ago) to get Jamaica. We got Barbados. My mom was unhappy but I was just happy to be there and to have our rooms ready. Plus, our building 13 was just across the parking lot from the custom house. Bonus. We walked over and found our rooms. 1349. A corner room overlooking the courtyard and right next to the quiet pool and the laundry and the building was right next to the bus stop. We settled in and headed for Old Port Royal to get some food. It wasn't really far but with Chloe we realized it would take forever or we had to carry her. She got heavy half-way past Martinique and was passed around a couple times. We had a a great lunch, resisted the urge to shop immediatly and headed back to the rooms. My mom and Haleigh headed off to the pool while the rest of us chilled out in the room and waited for my sister, Bill and Aurora to show up.

So what have we learned so far- 1) always have breakfast before going to the airport becuase we won't have time when we get there. 2)next time we go make sure Chloe is potty trained so we don't have to wait for the changing table. 3)because of the curse Jenn and Bill should plan to be at the airport at least 3 hours ahead of time just in case. 4) keep Chloe on a tight leash at all times so there is no more darting.

See what I mean by a learning experience? I'll continue this saga later.....
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:51 AM   #3
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Great start - looking forward to the rest
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Old 10-18-2006, 06:15 AM   #4
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Dreams about being stuck on Space Mountain

 
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What a great start, can't wait to see what else happens
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Old 10-18-2006, 06:39 AM   #5
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Imagine that, subbing to yet another trip report. I really need to stay off this board.

BTW, Great start, can't wait for more!
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:07 PM   #6
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The rest of arrival day

Well, I finally gave up on getting Chloe to take a nap and took her down the pool where my sister has just arrived. They were trying to figure out where to find us when they heard Haleigh shreiking in the pool. After all the hugs go around my sister says she has a picture to show us and hands it to my mom. It took a good 10 seconds to realize we were looking at a picture of a positive pregnancy test. More hugs and happiness. I'm going to be an aunt again in May - first magical moment. After awhile we could feel our pale northern skin burning. Our sunscreen was packed in luggage which hadn't arrived yet. We headed back to the rooms and found our luggage waiting there. Yea!!!
We had dinner ADR's at Chef Mickeys at 6:40. We weren't sure how long the travel time would be so we headed to the busstop at 5:00. Took the bus to Epcot, hopped on the monorail, transferred to the resort monorail and got to the Comtemporary a good hour before our time. My sister realized she forgot Aurora's sippy cup so we started looking in gift shiops to find one and Haleigh and I found some penny machines and pressed a few. Our collection had begun. All the gift shops were sold out of the penny books so we just slipped them in our pocket. Now, my sister and Bill hadn't eaten very much all day and were starving so we made our way the the restaurant to see if we could get in earlier. No go. They CM said he would try but because there were 10 of us it would be difficult. My husband and brother headed for the bar and we settled ourselves to look around. Low and behold there is Donald Duck (our first character) in the lobby. We headed over to meet him and got our first autographs. Chloe was a little unsure. She kind of clung to me when we got close but warmed up comsiderably when he gave her a kiss. After Donald we sat back down and waited and watched Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, Chip and Dale all parading past us. At the sight on Mickey and Minnie Chloe just about bounced off the seat. At 6:40pm exactly we were shown to our table in the back corner of the restaurant. Our server greeted us, took our drink orders and sent us off the buffet. That was a fabulous meal, The food was excellent and the service was good. Pretty soon we were all singing and swinging our napkins over our heads. We met all the characters and got autographs. Chloe had to get out of her highchair so she could hug everyone. The only downside- we were on the dining plan and they were having problems with their computer so we were their a loooong time. Close to two hours. Aurora was getting cranky so Jenn and Bill took her and headed back to the resort to get her to bed and our server told us we could sign her slip for us. By the time we left the characters were already rounding the tables again. Donald Duck got a big hug from Chloe when we left. We headed back to the resort, monorail to monorail to bus to resort and settled in for the night. Next up: Magic Kingdom.
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:13 PM   #7
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Congratulations to DSis Great work, keep it coming,
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:14 PM   #8
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Magic Kingdom.

Okay, we get up early, have a quick breakfast at the food court so we can be at the busstop by 8 to be at MK for the opening ceremony at 9am. On the way down my sister pointed out a Magical Express info packet hanging on someones door. We looked sadly at it knowning we would be getting one in a short 6 days.
Upon our arrival at MK I quickly realized the downside to bus transportation. Do you think they could get any farther from the front gate? Okay, I know there are a lot of resorts and a lot of busses but even the parking lot tram gets closer. And for whatever reason CBR is as far from the gate as you can get at every park. My dad estimated a good 1/2 mile walk. So we get through bag check and into the park and joing the masses waiting for the opening ceremony. At this time my dad realizes that he left his camcorder on the bus, which of course is long gone. Panic ensues. I intercepted the first CM we saw and he said to head to city hall once in the gates where the lost and found is. So the train arrives, confetti falls and in we go to city hall while the rest of the masses head off to start wait times on all the other rides. here is where things started to go downhill. Let me tell you our plan for the day so you can have your daily laugh. We were going to fo Fantasyland, Liberty square, Adventureland and Frontierland in the MORNING, head back to the resort for a nap, return for our CRT ADR's at 6:20 and do tomorrowland and toontown fair during EMH that night. I can hear all the vetrans trying to supress their laughter. Don't bother. All I can say is that it doesn't look as big on the map.
So my dad fills out the necessary paperwork and a copy is sent to every resort, park and bus depot on the property to call if his camcorder is returned. To save you the anticipation I will tell you now that is was never turned in. That's right there was a theif at the Happiest Place on Earth. For the first two or three days we were sure it would be found. after day 4 we came to the conclusion that someone else is the happy owner of my dad's 6 month old camcorder and a nice collection of our family videos that we will never get back. Of couorse since my parents live a mere 2 miles from us we didn't bring ours and my sister didnt bring hers so we have no videos of our trip at all.
However at the MK we are still sure it will be retunred to we go on our merry way to Fantasyland. We do Pooh, we do Dumbo, the carousel, Philharmagic (which I loved and Chloe was afraid of), its a small world and Peter Pan. At this point we're already close to lunch and people are starting to get hungry. We decide to find lunch as we head into Liberty Square. I realize that there is only a 5 minute wait at Haunted Mansion but I am overruled by my hungry family members. We went to Pecos Bill's for lunch. It was yummy but super crowded and took a good 45 minutes out of our day. After lunch we decide to try Splash Mountain (since it's so close) before we head back to the resort. It was still being built last time I was but I have to say I love that ride. It was only a 20 minute wait so we jumped in line. Here is where we learned another lesson-they give out huge amount of fast passes for rides. Our 20 minute wait turned into 35 minutes because of the 90 or so people that swept past us with their fast passes. I'm not exagerrating either. I was starting to get annoyed. How many of these things do they give out in an hour? Or maybe everyone who had one was saving it and all came back at the same time. So the ride was great and we head back to main street, take the looooong walk back to our bus and head to the resort.
Me, the kids. my brother and Erik decide to head back an hour before everyone else. I wanted to get some pennies on main street and I wanted to get the kids their mouse ears. So we do all that and meet my parents, Jenn, Bill and Chloe in front of the castle. There was always a show in front of the castle so at no time during our trip were we allowed to walk through the castle which was bummer so we go all they way around to the entrance of CRT. We got our pictures taken with Cinderella and headed upstairs for our dinner. It was really good. I had the prime rib. The biggest beef I had was that even though Chloe was 2 and "eats for free" all she really gets is butter noodles unless you want to pay the $32 for her. Hardly. Luckily our 8 yo doesn't eat a lot and Chloe had some of her veggies an chicken. The fairy godmother show was cute and the meal was good but overall I don't think I would go back again- especially if I was paying out of pocket.
By the time we get out of dinner the light parade is starting. There is no chance we're getting our stroller through the crowd. Erik, Bill and Ken have no intrest in the parade so they head off to do Space Mountain. My mom and dad take Haleigh and try to get as close to the parade as possible while my sister and I hang back with the stroller and the little ones and watch the floats from a distance.
I mentioned there are EMH that night righ? So we have to get our wristbands. Well, Erik, Haleigh, Ken and I do. The others who arrived later got theirs when they walk in. So after the parade we find mom and dad and Haleigh and head to tomorrowland to meet up with the guys. They took forever off that ride and we sat there and waited so we could go get our bands. They get off the ride and low and behold they decided to go get their wristbands before the ride so now Haleigh and I need one. We took off for the front gat and get halfway down mainstreet when Wishes starts. At this point I get reallymad. I was mad at my husband and Ken because they didn't tell us they were going to get their wrtisbands and we waited for them instead of getting ours, and I was mad becuase I was really, really looking forward to watching Wishes with my family and here I am with just my Haleigh completely seperated from the rest of the family with a stupid tree blocking our veiw of the fireworks. At one point I almost cried. So Haleigh and I walk quickly to the entrance, stopping periodically to glance back, get our writsbands, and make our way back up main street. We got to where the family was just as the finale ended. I told Haleigh that she and I would come back another day and watch them but it never happened.
Now I've heard EMH can get crowded but I had no idea. I don't think anyone really left even though I watched the mass exodus out of the park. We did the teacups, the haunted mansion (Haleigh was scared out of her mind), BTMR, and POC before callling it a night. So other than the guys we never made it to any rides at tomorrowland and almost none in adventrueland. And we were exhausted. Pretty crappy considering the park was open for 15 hours that day.

Lessons learned: 1) do not set anything down on the bus. Hold it at all times. Just because you're at Disney does not mean that everyone is honest and nice. 2)If you leave the park do not come back until you can get your wristband upon entering. Or get it immeadiatly. Don't wait until just before Wishes starts. 3)If we go back to CRT try to get an earlier reservation to avoid the huge crowds of the parade 4) untilize fast passes better (we do better for the rest of the trip) and don't think for a minute that you can do a park in one day.

Next up: Epcot.
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Old 10-19-2006, 10:00 PM   #9
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Epcot

This was a park I had really been looking forward to. The last time I was there I wasn't interested in the World Showcase that much. Now I was older and could appreciate it better. This is also the park I was afraid of not having enough time to get everything done. I told my husband that even if everyone went back for naps I was staying.
We had 9:00 ADR's at Akershus in Norway. That was a great breakfast and we saw so many princesses. Belle was in the lobby and Aurora, Mulan, Jasmine and Snow White all came to our table. My girls were in princess heaven. Jenn, Bill and Aurora had arrived a little late so after breakfast we waited for their picture with Belle to be developed and my brother headed over to get fast passes for Soarin. Since my mom doesn't ride and my sister couldn't we left the babies with her and headed to Test Track to meet my brother. It was a great ride but the part where they test the breaks and you skid all over the place didn't work. My brother was bummed. He'd been on it before and said that was one of the best parts. Everyone met up again outside test track and headed over to the land. We had about 10 minutes until our fastpass so we just chilled by the entrance until we were let in. The wait was already 45 minutes and I felt kind of bad by-passsing all those people. I could feel them boring holes in my back as I walked by. Soarin was amazing. We got fast passes to ride again after we got off but ended up not using them.
Then we headed over to imagination. Haleigh loved the jumping fountains. My mom went even though she didn't want to. After the last time there she professed an intense dislike of Figment. Even after 15 years the dislike remained. I think he's kind of cute, I never understood what exactly made her not like him. After that we went down to the Living Seas. Another thing I was looking forward too. Chloe loved all the "fishies" even though it was so dark in some of the tanks that she couldn't see much. We left there and headed over to Spaceship Earth. This is my mom's ride. It's just her speed and thrill level. My husband grumbled a bit but I figured she sat and watched us go on ride after ride, the least we could do was go on hers. Chloe fell asleep on my shoulder halfway through and stayed asleep for the next 3 hours. We decided after Spaceship Earth to get lunch but the guys wanted a go on Mission Space. We decided it would be best to do it on an empty stomach-just in case. We girls took the little ones to innoventions and then were going to meet to eat at the Electric Umbrella. Haleigh and I were a little late getting out of innoventions and when we met up with them Bill was sick from riding Mission Space and my mom had decided that last time we ate there we ate at the Land Pavillion. Once we relinquished our table at Electric Umbrella and headed over to Land she realized that their was nothing there she wanted to eat. At this point Bill just wanted to go back to the resort so he, Jenn and Aurora took off. The rest of us headed over to the America Pavillion via the boat to eat lunch. It was already close to 3:00 at that point.
We cruised the east side of the world showcase, okay it was hotter the hades and we kind of rushed it. We ended up in Mexico and got margaritas and sat on a bench to relax. While we chilled Haleigh did a kidcot stop right next to us. My sister called and said she was leaving Bill and Aurora to sleep and heading back. We met up with her and my dad, Erik and Ken decided to go ride test track again while we women went to England, Canada and France. We met up for illumintaions and had a $27 Mcdonalds meal.
At this point Chloe got sick. Threw up right there on the pavement. She had been having dry diapers for the last two days no matter how much liquid we tried to get her drink. I chnaged her into her clean clothes and cleaned up the mess and got ready to leave but she was fine. Running around with her sister and playing. So I settled in. About 15 minutes before Illuminations started she got sick again. I was like "time to go". My husband had already left. He was tired and just wanted to relax at the resort. My mom, dad and Jenn said they would head back with me but I didn't want everyone to miss Illuminations. Ken said he would stay with Haleigh to watch so at least she wouldn't miss it and they would meet us at the resort.
So started the long trek back to the bus. Chloe wouldn't walk, wouldn't sit in the stroller and wouldn't be carried by anyone but me so about halfway back I thought my arm was going to fall off. As we rounded a corner to the bus stop we realized a CBR but was just getting ready to leave. He ran ahead and told them we had a sick child and needed to get her back to the resort. They stopped the bus so we could get on and luckily there were couple seats left. My arm felt so good. Now at CBR, Barbados is almost always the last stop. it was the same that day. As we were pulling into CBR Chloe got sick again. She didn't have much in her stomach, thank god. A wonderfull man happened to have a hotel towell with him and handed it to me and told me I could keep it. Still it didn't stop the look of horror on everyones faces who were sitting near me. I could just imagine what they were thinking: there is a sick child on the bus and wer're at WDW. For the love of Pete do not let her breathe on you or touch you. I was so happy to get to our room. I was covered in Chloe sick. I handed her to my husband and immeadiatly went to change and draw a bath for her. Ken and Haleigh showed up 10 minutes later. After Illuminations ended they hauled butt back to the bus and got one that was just about to leave. I was beginning to think I was destined to not see a single fireworks show at WDW. Haleigh slept in my parents room that night. She was horrified at the thought of sleeping next to her sick sister and possibly getting sick herself. I just hoped she would be good for MGM the next day.......

Lessons learned:1)Bill is not allowed on Mission Space and he should never hope to become a pilot one day. He said that if they ever offer trips into Space one day at least he knows now to save his money. 2) those really neat lightup souvineer mugs that cost $12 dollars do not come with refills. Erik was pretty annoyed after he bought one and coudln't get it refilled. 3)The Princess breakfast in Norway is fantastic. Definatly one to do again. 4)next time I need at least two days in Epcot so I can "stroll" through the countries. 5) even if Chloe says she's not thirsty we should hook up an IV if necessary to get fluids into her. 6) just in case, carry a hotel towel with you at all times.
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Old 10-20-2006, 06:02 AM   #10
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: WI
Posts: 892

Poor Chloe, (and poor Mom), hope she was feeling better the next day.

My DD8 also wants to do the princess breakfast in Norway, she hopes to see Mulan and Jasmine!
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