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Old 01-12-2007, 09:54 AM   #31
Lovemy3babes
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Great pre-trip report!! I hope you have a fabulous vacation!
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Just me and my girl…a very special 13th Birthday trip!
(updated 2/20/14)
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:19 PM   #32
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Well, we just got back tonight and I am in a serious post-trip slump. We had a wonderful time despite the appearance of a rather nasty stomach bug. Andrew is still not completely over it and my DH is beginning to wonder if tonight is his night. Anyway, thanks for all the kind comments. I will try to start work on the actual report very soon!

Princess@heart We also had 8:05 ADR's yesterday! I don't know how I missed your reply before we left! I don't remember seeing you, unless you were hiding in the group of about 100 Brazilains that came in shortly after we did!
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Old 01-22-2007, 05:46 AM   #33
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Glad you're back safe and well, hope you had a great time and can't wait to start reading all about it.
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:58 PM   #34
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Hey! I just read your whole pretrippy and am excited to see your back! I loved all your posts that took a trip through your childhood to your childrens childhoods -- it was VERY cute and good reading too! Your surprise was GREAT. I love the box idea and I love the autograph books! TOO CUTE! Cant wait to hear all about how your trip went!
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Old 01-23-2007, 02:50 PM   #35
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I know that post trip depression all too well.

However a good cure is to start your trippie and sort of re-live it all! So please come soon and let us know how it was! Can't wait to hear all about it!

Too bad on the stomach bug, that is never a good thing, esp on vacation.

Allyson
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:19 PM   #36
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Ellester; I just found your trip report! I love it! Tell us more please.
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Old 01-24-2007, 10:31 AM   #37
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You have adorable kiddos! Can't wait to read all about your trip.
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Nov '06: Pop Nov '08: POFQ Dec '09: OKW Sept '10: AsMo Oct '12: POR

Just me and my girl…a very special 13th Birthday trip!
(updated 2/20/14)
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:26 PM   #38
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Ah, the post vacation depression has set in. No more character breakfasts and Mickey bar snacks, it’s back to laundry and oatmeal! Oh well, at least I have this trip report to help me remember the magic! Overall, it was a wonderful vacation. We did have several bumps, as you will soon see!

On with the report…..

The weekend before we left, we drove up to Atlanta for some shopping and had dinner with my IL’s. My MIL is an animal lover and the thought of our dog being in a kennel for 10 days was too much for her. She and my FIL offered to drive down to Columbus on Friday (about 90 minutes each way) and pick up Merlin and watch him while we are gone. We made sure that they REALLY wanted to take on another dog for two weeks and they assured us it was fine. We’ll save $100+ and the dog will be much happier, so the plan is a go. Thursday night I’m talking to my MIL to finalize plans and she mentions that my FIL had fallen in the driveway (it’s very sloped) while trying to move a fallen branch and that his arm is really sore. But they are still planning on meeting us for dinner and taking the dog home. Friday, she calls and says his arm is worse and they can’t get into the orthopedic until 2:15pm and she’ll call me after. I offer to call the vet to get the dog back in there and she assures me they’ll get the dog somehow. Long story short, FIL has a broken elbow, can’t drive since he’s on painkillers and my MIL doesn’t drive on the Interstate. So, new plan, John will drive towards Atlanta and his sister will drive towards Columbus and using cellphones will determine a dog switching point. Nothing like a hitch in the plan the night before we leave. John eventually meets up with his sister and returns back home at 9:00pm. It all worked out OK, but it was stressful for a while.

We get to bed by 10:00 and try to get a good night’s sleep. I have a typical night before vacation sleep, which means not much. But we wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed and get on the road at 8:19am, just slightly passed our 8:00am goal. Pretty impressive for us! Our trip down was uneventful, traffic was light. We packed breakfast and lunch to eat in the car and just made quick stops at the Florida welcome center for OJ and potties and on the Turnpike to get gas. We used the new 429/Western Way route from the Turnpike to Disney. It was great! No traffic and you could see Spaceship Earth and the Swan/Dolphin in the distance. We got off 429 and were very soon under the arches! The kids were bouncing and screaming, well the girls were. Andrew was asleep. They woke him up and soon we were pulling into Saratoga Springs (SSR).

Anabelle on the lookout:



Rebecca also on the lookout:


They were looking for this (notice the NO TRAFFIC on this route):


And this was her reaction:


Andrew's reaction:



We had been in cell phone contact with my stepsister, Laura, as she and her two kids (Cassie-8 and Marcus-6) were driving up from Lake Worth (near Palm Beach) to meet us for the weekend. We timed it very well and she pulled into the SSR parking lot as I was checking in. Check in went smoothly, although I was a little jealous when the family checking in right next to me was chosen as the SSR “Family of the Day”. I don’t know what that got them other than buttons and a balloon bouquet, but I tried to be happy for them! I didn’t request any particular room, I figured I’d just get the luck of the draw. We were assigned to The Paddock section, third floor, room 6710. It ended up being a great location. Very close to a bus stop and an easy walk to Downtown Disney and the main pool/community area at SSR. We unloaded the van and checked out our home for the next 8 days. I was very happy with the villa. It was very nice having the extra space, two bathrooms, kitchen, and washer/dryer (for reasons that will soon become obvious). We have really been spoiled staying in condos. As much as I’d like to stay at the Poly or AKL someday, I don’t know if we will ever be willing to give up the “home away from home” amenities.

This was our home for the week:


We relaxed in the room for a while and then took the kids to the playground. I don’t have any biological siblings and John’s sister doesn’t have any kids, so my stepsister’s children are my children’s only cousins. They love them terribly and don’t get to see them as much as they would like. It was a joy to just watch them running around playing and being happy to just be with each other. My mom called, her plane from Charlotte had landed and she was on the ME bus on her way. She called once the bus was pulling into SSR and I drove the van up to meet her. We got her settled and we decided to head over to DTD for dinner. We didn’t know exactly where the walking route was, so we decided to take the bus.

We headed over to Wolfgang Puck Express and there was no line, it was about 5:15pm at this point. As we are deciding what to order, Laura looks around and realizes that Marcus is missing. He was right with the other kids sitting by the fountain, but now he is not there. We leave the remaining kids with my mom and split up to look for him. After a few minutes, Laura has Puck’s call security. Meanwhile, the other kids are getting upset and John and I are running around looking for him as well. When he was around 3, Marcus hid in a clothing rack at Burlington Coat Factory and it took over an hour and the police to find him. I had visions of a similar conclusion, but thankfully he was found much more quickly this time. He had apparently walked over to the fountain outside the Rainforest Café and then realized he didn’t know how to get back and started crying. A nice mom took him to a CM and they took him into The Art of Disney and let him draw while they figured out where he belonged. A plainclothed security CM brought him over to Puck’s and all was well. I asked one of the security CM’s how many kids they found in a day and he said “plenty”. I can only imagine how many kids get separated from their parents in a typical Disney day. The whole thing took about 20 minutes and now there was a significant line at Puck’s. It moved fairly quickly though and soon were up to order.

This was our first experience with the Dining Plan. We ordered and the CM asked if we had any counter service credits remaining. I replied yes, as we had just checked in so there should be 40 credits on the card. The card wouldn’t work, so I tried to just charge it back to the room figuring we’d clear it up at the front desk later. Well, we couldn’t charge to the room either. Great, let’s just use the debit card then. Meal finally paid for, we ate and then walked back to the villa. The walk was very doable, actually took less time than the bus with the additional stops at SSR. The kids changed into their swimsuits and we all headed to the pool. I went back to the front desk and explained what had happened at Puck’s. Turns out they had accidentally printed out two sets of keys when we checked in and had given us the wrong set. The “real” set was in the manager’s safe and, of course, the manager was not there. So, the CM printed us yet another set of keys and told us to just throw the other ones away. She credited our room the amount we spent at Puck’s and said she’d have five CS credits removed from our account. OK, all set then. Well, not really, but I’ll get to that later.

Anabelle and Cassie at the pool:


The kids had a great time in the pool. For some strange reason, the lifeguards leave and turn off the slide and sprayground at 8:00pm. The kids still had fun and we headed back to the villa for baths and were all in bed by 10:00pm. We had a breakfast appointment with some princesses to rest up for!
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Old 01-25-2007, 07:49 PM   #39
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Oh I am so glad you are starting! Love the pictures, your kids are too cute! I can't wait for more!

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Old 01-25-2007, 08:15 PM   #40
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What a great start!! Love the cute pictures.
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Nov '06: Pop Nov '08: POFQ Dec '09: OKW Sept '10: AsMo Oct '12: POR

Just me and my girl…a very special 13th Birthday trip!
(updated 2/20/14)
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Old 01-25-2007, 08:56 PM   #41
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Yah!! It's starting!!

Sounds like an interesting start... let's hope for some pixie dust soon!
Have I mentioned I love the names of your girls, Anabelle and Rebecca? Very pretty and classic. My DS middle name is Andrew, so of course I love it, too.

Can't wait to read more!!
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Old 01-25-2007, 09:51 PM   #42
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I'm in. Can't wait to read more. Love all the pics!
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Old 01-26-2007, 05:20 AM   #43
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Great job, Ellen! Glad to see you motoring along on the old TR! Glad everything worked out with the dog. Hope FIL is OK!

Don't you love SR429? Could you even believe how deserted it was?

Your nephew sounds like my DS. I'm glad we didn't take him to DTD! And WPE? Did you love the food? One of the best CS places in my opinion.

Can't wait to hear about breakfast with the princesses!
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Old 01-26-2007, 05:43 AM   #44
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Great first day Ellen, the looks on your DD's faces was priceless and your DS being asleep is so sweet.

Can't wait for more.
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Old 01-26-2007, 07:53 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lexmelinda View Post
Great job, Ellen! Glad to see you motoring along on the old TR! Glad everything worked out with the dog. Hope FIL is OK!

Don't you love SR429? Could you even believe how deserted it was?

Your nephew sounds like my DS. I'm glad we didn't take him to DTD! And WPE? Did you love the food? One of the best CS places in my opinion.

Can't wait to hear about breakfast with the princesses!
Thanks, Melinda! FIL is doing better, he has his follow up visit today so we'll see what the doctor has to say. SR429 was 'da bomb'. It was like our own personal entrance. We did see a TON of vultures on it on the way home. Kind of creepy.

Losing a kid is very scary, especially when it takes an extended period of time to find them. Rebecca has a habit of wandering off, but we usually find her very close to where we are. Not all the way across DTD!

Puck's was very yummy. I had the Chinois Chicken Salad. I wish I could have some for lunch today! I loved the brownies too. Yum, yum, yum!
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