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Old 02-08-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
mommyofthreeboys
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Party of 28, your table is ready!!! ***Update 10/11/08-- chapter 6 beginning**

Title #1 Everything happens for a reason.

That’s right. I firmly believe in that. Everything happens for a reason.

Let me take you back to August of 2003. 6:23pm. I just left work and I was at a stop light and once the light turned green, I proceeded. That’s when I was hit head on by a motorist who ran their red light. It was a life changing moment. At that moment, it was very hard to see any good coming out of the accident.

After months of doctor visits, shots, therapy, meds, etc… I can say I FINALLY feel better. I received a settlement from the other insurance company in January of 2006. The amount was nothing compared to the pain and suffering I went through, but it got a lot of bills caught up since I was off work for 5 months. Paying off the over-due bills was nice BUT I wanted to do something fun with some of the money. After all, my DH and 3 boys suffered right along with me. Many hours they had to wait on me, make their own breakfast, lunch or dinner, and lots of housework that I normally do, they had to chip in. It was tough but we got through it even stronger than before. So with the remaining money, I wanted to take a once and a lifetime trip to WDW. My DH fought me on this tooth and nail! He did not want to go. He didn’t want to talk about it. He didn’t want to listen to me about it. After I had said that I was going with or without him, he decided he better go with us BUT let’s make one thing clear, he is NOT going to have fun.

So we took our first family trip to WDW in March 2006. We stayed at the POR, stayed 4 nights and 5 days- visiting 1 park per day with the DDP. (Yeah—I really thought that was a “trip in a lifetime”. Knowing what I know now, my trip of a lifetime wouldn’t be less than 14 days!) We had a GREAT time! All my planning was so worth it. We hadn’t even left Orlando yet and the boys asked “Can we come back next year?” and I smiled—wishing—hoping, right along with them but I knew it wouldn’t happen. This was the 1 time only trip and there was NO way DH would ever agree to this again. BUT then my DH said “Maybe in 2008!” WHAT? Did I just hear that right? 2008? I just continued to smile. You know that smile—the “I told you so” smile. I didn’t want to say those words so I just smiled. Smiled, because now I have 2 years to plan the next trip.

Here's us back in 2006:



Looking back, the last trip was thrown together—even though I thought I knew a lot going into it, it’s not until I have spent MANY (and I mean MANY) hours on these disboards that I now feel “knowledgeable”. (Sound familiar?)

That takes me back to my belief—“Everything happens for a reason.” If I never would have had that accident, I never would have the opportunity to learn that I have a passion for all things Disney. (well, not all things! I don’t have a passion for that new DDP but there’s a whole other thread for that discussion)

I didn’t want to immediately bring up the “2008 trip” but shortly after that trip, we went to a party and my DH talked about the trip and how much fun he had. He then said, “it would be even more fun to get another family to go with us”. We have a very close family so I asked my sister if she would be interested. She then suggested that we ask ALL of our brothers and sisters. (Mom and Dad had 2 sons and 4 daughters) So we did, and everyone said yes! A total of 36 people! In March of 2007, I began the massive undertaking of planning a trip of this size.

Every month, I send out a newsletter keeping everyone updated. From planning, tips, suggestions, ideas—the newsletter has it in there. That way, no one can say “you didn’t tell me that” or the “I didn’t want to do that” So far, it’s worked out great.

So through that newsletter, we have decided the important details:

•We leave for this magical trip on June 20th and return on June 29th. (Not every family member will stay the entire time)
•We decided to stay at the POP Century (even though DH loved POR and wanted to go back)
•We will be driving non-stop from Indiana (estimated time- 16 hours)
•Most decided to get the DDP
•Most decided to add the Water and More option since it’ll be June and the kids love water!

11 months have gone by since we first asked everyone if they wanted to go, like I wrote earlier, everyone said yes. In the last month, a couple of family members weren’t sure if they would be able to go, after all, Disney is expensive. With the news of the “economy plan”, it looks like everyone will be going. Ahhh, yes…. Everything happens for a reason.

We will be celebrating a lot of various occasions on this trip. My mom and dad will be celebrating their 45th wedding Anniversary! Bro and SIL are on the 20th year of marriage. Other bro and SIL AND my DH and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage this year. Sis and BIL will be married for 5 years in May and other Sis and BIL will make it to their first year in July. My niece will turn 18 on our first day there! I have 3 nieces graduating from high school a few weeks before the trip. Even though I might have just confused you all, know that we have a lot to be thankful for. We have a wonderful family!

Up next: the list of 36 characters that will be on this trip!
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Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
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Last edited by mommyofthreeboys; 05-20-2008 at 10:42 PM. Reason: NEW title
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:47 AM   #2
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I’m not sure where to start. Do I start with my family??? Let’s do this—let’s start with the 2 people that started this mess—my parents!!!

My mom (63) AKA: Miss Piggy (yes, she loves to eat but is not over-weight) She has never been to WDW. Not even after all the begging my younger sister and I did when we were younger to take us!

My dad (63) AKA: Kermit. (no, he’s not green but he is tall!) He also has never been to WDW or matter of fact, not very many places. He is really excited about this trip, especially EPCOT. They will be married for 45 years in June! (I can’t believe they made it this far!)
My oldest brother, his wife and kids. He also has never been to WDW--thinks that WDW is only for kids so he doesn’t want to go because his kids are “too old”. His wife has been to WDW once about 13 years ago.

(I was going to give everyone names-- like I did with mom and dad but I can't think of any right now!)

My other brother, his wife and their 4 kids—ages 18, 17, 13 and 10. My SIL took her oldest daughter last year for a few days when she was down there for work but besides that, they have not been to WDW.

My sister and her boyfriend and her 3 kids—ages 18, 17 and 9. Never been to see the Mouse either! The 9 year old loves High School Musical so she is really excited!

My other sister (the twin of the above) and her husband and 4 kids—ages 19, 15, and twin 13 year olds. My sister took the 19 year old when she was 5. They are very excited to go back as a family!

Then there’s me!


I’m number 5 out of the 6 kids. My husband and I have 3 boys—ages 14, 9 and 7. We went to WDW in March 2006 and now I am hooked!! DH is actually excited about this trip as well.

The love of my life:



Last but not least, my younger sister and her husband and kids—ages 12, 3 and 1. This will be their first time as well.

As you can see, we are mostly rookies!!! I think they are relying on me to do the planning—I hope I do okay!!!


Next up: preparation so far! Our ADR’s! Will everyone actually go? And our itinerary!!!
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Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
(41) (38) (20) (15) (13)

Last edited by mommyofthreeboys; 05-20-2008 at 10:35 PM. Reason: add a picture
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:16 PM   #3
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DEPARTURE DAY June 20th—we are leaving Indiana via cars, vans and trucks around 4pm. We are going to try and follow everyone down. I think it would be fun to decorate all 6 vehicles with “WDW or bust”, “Disney Grand Gathering” and Mickey heads—what do you think?

We are driving through the night—only stopping for food and gas. I know this plan doesn’t work for other people but we have lots of drivers to rotate and a few family members who are used to working nights.

We hope to arrive at POP around 7-8am for pre-check in!!!

ARRIVAL DAY June 21st-- (This is my niece’s 18th birthday! She is so excited to be celebrating it here! Next year she will be a senior in HS so she wants me to take some photos of her while we are there for her senior pictures!)

Anyway, today is arrival day! We hope to arrive by 7 or 8am. I hope check in goes smoothly—and more importantly, I hope the POP honors are request to have all of our rooms next to each other. For some reason, I am worried about that. I think I am also going to request the 60’s building since my mom and dad got married in the 60’s and this is their 45th Anniversary trip—what do you think?

The arrival day itinerary is all penciled in at this point. There are too many variables to make too many plans. Will we get stuck in traffic? Will the kids and the non-driving adults be able to get enough sleep during the drive down? Will the drivers be too tired to do anything? (For me—I’ll be too excited to be tired—my adrenaline will be going!)

So, if all goes as planned—arrival by 8am, smooth check in, everyone is excited and not exhausted—we are going to head to MK. IF we arrive late, or someone needs sleep AND the room is not ready, we are going to go to the pool to sleep, relax and un-wind.

That reminds me—I should pack a separate bag for swimming gear because I’m sure our room will not be ready. (I know I am going to forget this! Maybe I should add this suggestion to the newsletter this month.)

After MK or swimming—whatever we do—we have an early ADR for 1900 Park Fare for dinner. My niece celebrating her 18th (and all my other nieces) wanted to eat with the princesses in the castle but it’s not in everyone’s budget AND the boys weren’t too found of that BUT mainly because I didn’t want to have a reservation of 36 people on MY credit card! Especially on arrival day! Remember—too many variables right?

After dinner, the plan is to go check in and get settled in the room (if we haven’t done so all ready) and probably crash for the night! Everyone needs to get to bed early because we have a big day tomorrow!

DAY 2 June 22nd-- This is our AK day. I know it’s June and it’ll be hot BUT I still wonder if we can make it all day in the park until our ADR at Boma in the AKL. If not, it’s not going to be much of a break because we have an early ADR. Only time will tell I guess! Do you know any good places that we can rest/relax/rejuvenate at AK or AKL if we get tired and we don’t have time to go back to POP?

After dinner, the plan is to go back to POP. Swim? Arcade? Shop? Whatever it is—I can’t wait!!!

DAY 3 June 23rd-- Today is the day that my dad has been waiting for—EPCOT!!!!

Dinner ADR at the Biergarten. I apologize in advance to anyone who will be stuck sitting with our family! We like to have a good time! Our whole family ate at a similar German restaurant in Gatlinburg TN when my oldest brother got remarried 10 years ago and we all had a great time. This ADR is supposed to remind us of those good times we had back then. I hope it goes as planned!

Same as yesterday—we have an early ADR. (you’re going to see a pattern here because for a group our size we had to choose the first available seating!) So the question remains, will we be able to last in the parks all day until our ADR? (That is—if we all make rope drop!) If we don’t take a break, I think we will be ready to head back to POP after dinner. BUT we do have a “relaxing” day tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes and what we do! Any thoughts?


DAY 4 June 24th—Break day! The family is on your own day! I think at this point we MIGHT need a break from each other so I planned this day as a “do what you want day”. My family and I are going to a water park. (I know- it’s still a park BUT it is relaxing for me!)
Hopefully we can make it there by opening to get a good spot. I think several family members are following my lead and going to the waterpark also. (Still not sure if we’ll go to TL or BB)

After lunch, I’m sure we’ll be ready for a nap! After our nap, everyone will meet up for our ADR at Chef Mickey’s! After dinner, we are going to shop at DTD and maybe even have some adult fun at Pleasure Island!

Day 5 June 25th—MK day! We have an early breakfast ADR for Crystal Palace. I am looking forward to seeing Main Street and the castle without a swarm of people around. I hope to get everyone there before our ADR so we can get a group shot in front of the castle. We’ll have to see about that!

After breakfast, we are staying at MK until after lunch and then we finally get a break on this day!!! We hope to return in the evening for the Spectro and Wishes!

***I think my one older sister and her family will be leaving this day

Day 6 June 26th—Finally—my favorite park day—DHS!!!!! My DH and I love this park. Not sure why but we do. We have dinner ADR at 50’s Prime Time. Not sure we’ll make it to Fantasmic or not.

***I think the other older sister and her family will be leaving this day as well as my brother and his family.

Day 7 June 27th—Today we get to “sleep in” and then head to EPCOT. We want to be there by 11am so my DH and BIL can begin the (beer) drinking around the world tour! I will be there to root him on! Hopefully we can stay for Immuninations—that is—if they are still standing.

DEPARTURE DAY -- Day 8 June 28th—Boo! This is another “wait and see” day. We may need to sleep in. Of course we have to check out.

What I want to do is go to the other water park that we didn’t visit on day 4. What do you think? Is that relaxing enough before our drive home?

We plan on leaving WDW around 4pm and drive straight through back to Indiana. We did this during our last trip and my DH drove the whole way. My mom and dad are riding with us this time, so with 4 drivers in the van, hopefully he will share some of the driving!

So, with this timeframe, we should arrive home on Sunday morning around 8am. The rental van has to be back by 1pm so hopefully we don’t run into any travel problems on the way back. I’m sure we will be exhausted! But hopefully we’ll be bringing back a lot of happy memories!


Next up: just more details!!!
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Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
(41) (38) (20) (15) (13)

Last edited by mommyofthreeboys; 05-10-2008 at 07:49 AM. Reason: I'm so excited!!!
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:26 PM   #4
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I love to take pictures! I just bought me a new digital and I can't wait to use it on this trip!!! In the meantime, here's a photopass pic of my youngest!


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Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
(41) (38) (20) (15) (13)
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Old 04-29-2008, 11:12 AM   #5
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Maybe if I change my title I'll get my first reader!

Title #2-- my favorite quote from Dancing with the Stars "Don't touch what you can't afford Sunshine!"

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Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
(41) (38) (20) (15) (13)
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:40 PM   #6
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A few updates:

I booked the rental van today. At first it was coming up to be over $900 BUT I would a corporate code through my work so I got the van with unlimited miles for $503 including taxes. Pretty excited!!!

2 of my siblings hadn't booked yet and they finally decided to book and guess what? THE POP is unavailable for those dates!!!! AGH!!! But we are going to keep trying and hope someone else cancels!!!! Cross your fingers!

And finally, I found a professional prographer to take a family picture on GF beach!!! Really excited about that!
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Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
(41) (38) (20) (15) (13)
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:47 AM   #7
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Well, my 2 sisters got the POP booked finally. YEAH! I thought it would come available with other people cancelling. Great news!

Bad news: I don't think my oldest brother is going. That's the one who thinks Disney is just for kids. We were trying to talk my SIL into going without him. Don't think she's going to. Boo hoo!

I, especially my mom and dad, wanted everyone there. I hired a photographer to get our family picture taken on the GF beach. I guess we'll have to photoshop my brother and family in :-(


On a positive note: 41 more days until we leave!!!!!
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Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
(41) (38) (20) (15) (13)
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:32 PM   #8
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Only 30 more days!!!! It's time for a coutdown chain!

While my niece was visiting over the weekend, we decided to make some countdown chains. She was so excited!!!!



I have started to pack all ready. The things that I don't want to forget: waterproof disposable camera, ziploc bags, power strip for hotel room, and a few other things. I can't wait!!!!!
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Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
(41) (38) (20) (15) (13)
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:38 PM   #9
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Since Dancing with the Stars is over-- time to change the title!!!

Plan til you drop!!!! Inspired by the ad on the bottom of this page!!!!
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March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:25 AM   #10
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It sounds like you guys will be a large touring group! We will be 13 people going 6/6-6/12. So I can relate to the planning stages of your trip!
The more the merrier I say!!
I hope you guys have a perfect grand gathering!
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:13 AM   #11
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Thumbs up I wanna be #37

I just register to the board to share this trip with you. Sorry for my english, I speak spanish> your trip is a blessing for all your family, to have them at the same time with your parents is something tha's going to be with each of you for the rest of your life. Keep going.
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:14 PM   #12
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I am enjoying reading your PTR and your large group you are traveling with! We are going for the first time to WDW in June with 9 of us, and I thought that was a lot! I am also the planner of the group, since I am the only one of us on the DIS and knows to do ADR's, etc. Even though I've never been...hopefully I plan a great trip for all of us!
Your plans sound great....I can't wait to hear more about it and also hear how it all comes out! And I love the idea of Mickey heads on the cars and "WDW or Bust" on the windows on the way there!
Good Luck!
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules3Kids View Post
I am enjoying reading your PTR and your large group you are traveling with! We are going for the first time to WDW in June with 9 of us, and I thought that was a lot! I am also the planner of the group, since I am the only one of us on the DIS and knows to do ADR's, etc. Even though I've never been...hopefully I plan a great trip for all of us!
Your plans sound great....I can't wait to hear more about it and also hear how it all comes out! And I love the idea of Mickey heads on the cars and "WDW or Bust" on the windows on the way there!
Good Luck!

Thank you!!! I'll go check out your PTR and see all the planning you are doing! I think the planning is so fun!!! I can't believe my family doesn't want to have anything to do with the planning!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by dominiki View Post
I just register to the board to share this trip with you. Sorry for my english, I speak spanish> your trip is a blessing for all your family, to have them at the same time with your parents is something tha's going to be with each of you for the rest of your life. Keep going.
WELCOME to the boards!!!! AND to my pre-trip report of course!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by minniemee View Post
It sounds like you guys will be a large touring group! We will be 13 people going 6/6-6/12. So I can relate to the planning stages of your trip!
The more the merrier I say!!
I hope you guys have a perfect grand gathering!
Thank you!!!!
__________________
Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
(41) (38) (20) (15) (13)
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:30 PM   #14
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It FINALLY hit me this week!!! We will be in WDW in 2 weeks! I have so much to do yet so this weekend, I got busy. I got alot done! Yeah!!!

This morning, I got most of the shirts done.

Making these t-shirts was SOOOO fun and addicting! I want to make more!!!! Is it wrong to add days to your vacation because I want to make more shirts?


This is the shirts for Animal Kingdom.



These are for DHS. I still have to make my DH and mine.



Some of you might know our group size is somewhere between 28-36 people. My Bro still hasn't made a decision on going or not! These 2 shirts are for my mom and dad. I am also making them anniversary shirts.



And these are for my family!!! I wanted to use red shirts but my SIL had all ready bought white shirts. This will be our family matching shirt.


Here's the next set. One of my favorite designs.


Here's another one of my favorite!!! I still have to iron on mine-- the shirt I have is a paler yellow and I can't decide if I should use it. Does it really matter? My oldest son has a different last name so I made the 3 boys the sam with 2008 and mine and DH will have the family name.


Here's one my son picked out. He loves it since he LOVES baseball! No one will have this design to match.


Here's one my youngest son picked out.


And finally....the one that I am SOOOO happy that my son is proud to wear. Of course it helps that he loves Stitch.


I have a few miscellaneous-- non-matching designs to do but wanted to post this now.

Thank you to the DISigners who helped me make this trip a little more magical! I REALLY appreciate it. I'm off to make the journals now.....
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Christina
March 2006- POR- 1st trip
June 2008-POP-the whole family-28 people! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1939897
September 2008-ASsp- Anniversary trip-just DH & I
April 25-30, 2009- BWV with a friend
March 21-25, 2010- first cruise! and a stay at POR and CS. On the Wonder.
January 3-8, 2011- 2nd cruise! On the Magic.
(41) (38) (20) (15) (13)
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:55 PM   #15
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I am enjoying your pre-trip report. I have always wanted to get all my family to go on such a trip, but I'd have to win the lottery to get them there lol.
I think trips with 3 generations are the greatest. Actually my solo trip was great too. Actually all trips to WDW are great
You're t-shirts are fantastic! I hope I can remember to do that ( and figure out how to do that)
Looking forward to reading more, and I hope you're brother decides to join in.
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Liz
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