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Old 11-16-2008, 03:12 PM   #31
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Okay, so when I left off, I was on the phone with my ex-husband, calling to tell my my son, who has only had his permit a few months, was in his first car accident. He was turning left, someone oncoming was turning left too, changed her mind and went straight as K was turning. She caught the van in the front right corner, spun them around and made them hit someone in the other lane waiting on the red light.

K had to go to the doctor to have his forearm looked at, where he got a 1st degree burn all up his left forearm from the airbag. He also had his right thumb Xrayed because it was swollen and purple with a big burn on it as well, but it wasn't broken. Everyone else in all the cars (including K's stepmom and 3 year old step brother were okay)

Since no one could really figure out who was wrong (the lady for going straight, K for not waiting) they didn't issue any tickets. Had they done that, K could have lost his permit for 6 months. Ouch.

Last time we went to WDW, ex hit a deer while driving K to the airport to fly down to us. Our vacations are not good for ex's cars apparently!

Ex says it's sorta a good thing, since the van payment was killing them every month and now it's totaled. Nothing like a debt snowball in a couple of seconds in an intersection.

And so on we drive, stopping just for a quick lunch and gas stop, finally making it to Florida



And look! Actual sun!



It's such a long drive after you hit that Florida state line. You know you are close, but still so far away! We stopped long enough to get gas, hit a drive through for dinner to eat on the road and pop in a movie for the kids since it's dark and they can't really play anymore. "Cat in the Hat" (which becomes important later) and finally, around 9pm, we arrive at the villa.

Unpack the van! Let's hit the pool for a quick swim before bed.

Wait, the pool is FREEZING!!!! We called the property management company who promises to come take care of things tomorrow morning. Okay, so no swimming How about bed?
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Old 11-16-2008, 03:35 PM   #32
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Saturday October 25th

Today was Animal Kingdom day. We knew it was the UK break, but in '06, we were there for the tail end of UK break and the beginning of Jersey Week. It really wasn't crowded, there were hardly any waits for anything etc. However, I decided we weren't going to take any chances, especially since I had been reading on DIS how crowded it was the week leading up to our trip. No sleeping in for us this week, we are up early and at the park around opening (9am) almost everyday. It's a good thing, because this is the only way we survived the week!

We had originally scheduled MK this day following UG, but we had been to MK on a Saturday before and it was awful. I subbed to TGM on a whim about a week before we left, and it suggested AK. Really is there any good place to be in WDW on a Saturday? I followed my gut (And TGM) and we went with AK for today. We didn't make it for opening, but we were only about 5 minutes late.



Consider this chapter "Holy Cow! Is there anyone left in the UK this week?" There were 5 times as many people there this time than 2 years ago the very same time frame. Ouch. What economy problems??

It's okay though. We love the people from the UK! They are so polite, and fun to talk with (we love accents!) and we had tons of great conversations with people from overseas! The crowds just caught us off guard, but since I had planned well and had a semi-plan of attack, we got today pretty much everything we wanted to do this day.

First stop - Expedition Everest. We are a roller coaster family, and we love EE. The theme is so fun, and the backwards part just gets me everytime.

We grabbed Fastpasses first, then rode it standby with just a 10 minute wait, using Child Swap for O. (I LOVE CHILD SWAP!) I rode it first with R and J, then DH rode it with them. By the time we were done with our standby rides, it was time to go back on it for our fastpasses (using child swap again) Poor O was too short, but he loved sitting outside the gift shop and watching all the trains go down the mountain.

This face made the 17 hour drive so worth it









After that it was off to Dinosaur. O has been measuring himself weekly for months. He wants to ride Dinosaur. He loves Dinosaur. I kept telling him it could be scary and showed him videos on YouTube. He wants to ride Dinosaur. It's all he's talked about for months. So, against my better Mommy judgement, we're off.

Look who we ran in to on the way in to Dinosaur




At the end of the ride, O was in this shocked stupor. He didn't cry, he didn't move, eyes straight ahead. All of the sudden he turns to me and says "I didn't like that ride". The lady who told us goodbye as we were walking out heard O tell her "I didn't like that". She was a little taken aback, and told him she was sorry. Last trip the big kids bought the squishy big dinosaurs from the gift shop of the ride, and O was determined to buy one with his money, only he found one with 2 smaller dinos in it, so he bought that. He told the cashier, he liked dinosaurs, but he didn't like that ride. When we got outside, he said he was ready to go home now

Okay, so now we have an issue. It's barely 10 in the morning, and O is done. How about we try something a little tamer to let him cool off a little



See J's face. Get used to it. He does that in about 90% of my pictures.

However, he didn't do it in the ones that matter (Photopass, family pics at Grand Floridian) so we'll let him off the hook.

Okay, so maybe dinosaurs aren't all that bad anymore
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Old 11-16-2008, 03:57 PM   #33
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On the way out of Dinoland we had to stop for leopard print Minnie ears.



Honestly, he didn't buy them, his sister did

Next stop, characters. This is where O is traumatized. King Louie. Bad King Louie. Stole O's autograph book. The photopass photographer got some great shots of us trying to get the book back from Louie. I was a little ticked after a time because you could see O getting upset, and Louie either didn't notice or thought it was funny. It was okay to begin with, but you could see when they line had been passed, and no one noticed it but Baloo (thanks, Baloo!)



Baloo finally had to take it from Louie and give it back to O. From then on, O refused to get his picture taken with characters, and we really had to talk him into even taking his book up to anyone. He would let them sign his book, then grab it and run. If a character could talk and asked if he wanted a picture taken with them, he'd say "No. That's okay."


We decided to head over to ride Kali River Rapids, where we honestly didn't get too wet. The girl and I wore a poncho, but the poncho-less were still pretty dry.

After that lunch at Flame Tree BBQ. I wanted to try all new restaurants this trip, but everyone loved Flame Tree and we were somewhat close by, so we stuck with it. J went to grab fastpasses for Everest again while we waited to order. It's nice having an almost 13 year old available to walk quickly (not run, safety first ) to get fastpasses for something while we waited in line for something else. We did this a lot during the week. J was fine with it, since he's a little impatient and hates to wait in line.

I was using Disney gift cards to pay for our lunch, and it took the cashier forever to get them to work. So if you were behind us in line at Flame Tree, I'm sorry!!!

I honestly meant to take pictures of food, but I forgot everytime until everything was half gone!

DH had the pork sandwich (okay except they were out of BBQ sauce at the station and he didn't want to wait in line to ask for some), J had the ribs, I had the BBQ chicken salad, O had the hot dog, R had the chicken drumstick. I'm so glad the kids meals come with healthier options than fries, but the kids were getting sick of carrots, grapes and applesauce by the end of the week.

After lunch we went to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris. Not my favorite ride, but the kids like it. The wait said 15 minutes standby, but it took much longer than that. Our guide was okay, but we had this lady in front of us who repeated everything to her daughters the entire ride and talked the entire time so we could barely hear the guide. We ran into them 2 more times on our trip.

Check out how close the rhino got to our truck.



Bug's Life next. O was not a fan, so I just took his 3D glasses off and he was fine. The spiders coming down completely freaked Riley out (she's not a spider fan) DH and J loved it.



After Bugs Life, we headed back towards Dinoland to be close to Nemo at showtime. We stopped off at The Boneyard to let the kids run around


After a good 10-15 minutes of playing we were off to watch Nemo!




That's when we found the crowds!
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Old 11-16-2008, 04:32 PM   #34
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It was insanely crowded, and we got to Nemo just a few minutes after the doors opened. We were the second row of the second level, so we had good seats, but man, they really like to squish people in there. The kids all liked watching for Nemo to swim through the bubbles before the show.

We liked the show. The set and puppets are amazing. I was a good girl and didn't take flash photographs (unlike the person next to me) so my pictures a lousy






When Nemo was over it was time for our second batch of fastpasses to EE. DH took the older kids to ride it while I went for the stroller with O. Holy crowded, batman! I cannot believe how many people were fighting their way to get strollers. There has to be a better way to do this!



When we walked out, Jacob saw this crowd and said it was more crowded now than it was when he was here with his dad......the second week of June!!!!!

However, it was in this mess of people that I met my first Dis'er who noticed my lime green Mickey head. Of course you are going to ask me her name, and I forgot. Mickeyfanatic with some numbers I think??? I apologize if you are reading! I was a mess trying to find my stroller without losing O who had to go potty "Super Bad!" and I knew I should have written it down!

Okay, stroller found, O's bladder empty, husband and older kids found, I rode EE with J using my fastpass (and he used O's) we grabbed more fastpasses just in case and we headed towards finding a parade spot. Last time we went to AK, we had to leave early for dinner ressies and missed the parade so it was a priority this visit.

Let me just say, we had dinner ressies made for every day of this trip, just like last time, and I canceled most of them before we even left just because I felt we missed out on too much last time having to run around for ADR's. It turned out to not only save our sanity, but a ton of money as well!

On the way to our parade spot, we stopped off for visits with Pooh, Eyeore and Tigger. I only took one pictures for some reason. Thank goodness for photopass!



We found a spot in the shade for the parade and J and I went for ice cream. It sounded like a nice idea. Ice cream + chocolate + 80 degrees = MESS



And by the way people. We staked out our spot 30 minutes before the parade started. Please don't try to shove yourself between me and my 3 year old son to find a place to sit. Some lady stepped on his finger trying to wedge herself around his stroller and plop in between us. She finally took the hint that I was not going to hold him or shove closer to him to give her a spot, so she left.

Bad King Louie and our hero of the day, Baloo.



DD's favorite
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Old 11-16-2008, 04:35 PM   #35
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After the parade we headed for Camp Minnie Mickey. This turned out to be a great time to go! I thought it would be crowded with the parade traffic, but apparently everyone leaves after the parade is over? We met quite a few characters with no lines. Turk, Koda, Lilo, Stitch, Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Goofy.



R LOVES the Brother Bear movies, so she was very excited to see Koda!



I think I should have named this chapter "How Many Times Can You Ride Everest?" Done with Camp Minnie Mickey, our fastpasses for EE were up. Do we walk all the way across the park to ride it again. Well, yeah. It's our only day at AK. So off we go. This time J volunteers to sit with the small ones so DH and I can ride together. We NEVER get to ride anything together, so yay! I was so excited I bought the picture. It's bad. But it's proof occasionally we do like each other enough to sit in the same row of a train plumeting down a mountain with a Yeti out to get us

Once we're off, DH goes to ride with the big kids and O and I try to spot them to take a picture. Green shirt = Dh, row in front = R's nose and top of her head, J's arm and left eye



As we are leaving, the CMs are calling for one last call. We debate, and decide we just cannot ride it again, so we're off.





I think we wore someone out



Once we got back to the villa, I dropped everyone off, they hit the pool with DH while I went to Publix (VERY CROWDED!) and went to Quiznos to grab sandwiches for dinner. After dinner it was straight to bed for everyone. Tomorrow is MK day, then MNSSHP. I'm determined to see rope drop. We went to MK 3 days last time and never saw the opening ceremony. I'm a woman on a mission.

Must. See. Rope. Drop.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:52 PM   #36
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i hear you about the MK having the worse crowds on a saturday.....

i always skip that park on that day of the week.
i head for dhs and leave around 1ish when the crowds hit.
either i hit dtd for the rest of the day or i go to epcot and sit and people watch.


your pictures are so clear!
you capture it all very nicely.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:53 PM   #37
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:54 PM   #38
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Quote:
Some lady stepped on his finger trying to wedge herself around his stroller and plop in between us.
Poor baby! Some people are so rude!
It sounds like you had a great start to your trip. (Other than a few bumps. )
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Old 11-16-2008, 06:28 PM   #39
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Must. See. Rope. Drop.



Only it doesn't happen. I'm actually a little sad. There was a monorail stuck on the track, so they diverted us off our monorail and onto the ferry. By the time we had done all the backtracking, we got through baggage check just as the train was pulling out of the station. We missed it.

It's okay though. We're at the Magic Kingdom

It's also our MNSSHP night. I know some people are against using a day's ticket on a MNSSHP, especially for the MK, but for us, doing half a day to get the big rides out of the way and the smaller crowds at MK made it worth the day's ticket.

Our main agenda for today: The mountains. All 3 of them. R is finally tall enough (and brave enough) for Space Mountain. O can ride BTMR and Splash. Our goal is to ride those today so that tonight we can focus on the special party events. Well, that's my goal. We'll see if the family follows along.


I love fall. It's my favorite season. And I love the decorations at MK



We were on such a mission, that I actually forgot to take a picture of the castle. Unbelievable!

First stop, Space Mountain. R was practically running to get there she was so excited, and of course, it's down. R is devastated, but the guy tells her it should be up and going again soon. We grab fastpasses for later, then go off to ride Buzz Lightyear

R&J and Buzz


Back to Space Mountain, and it's still down. This is not going to go over well with R. We walk over to Toontown to hop the "choo choo train" for O and ride to Frontierland. If we can't ride Space Mountain, we can at least tackle the other mountains.

O is 39 1/2 inches without shoes, and we were worried about him making the 40" limit (which at Disney is actually 41") We actually took him shopping with a measuring tape until we found shoes that made him 42"



We went on BTMR first. O throws his hands up in the air whenever we drive down hills in the car. He's watched the video. He's prepared. He's excited. His first big coaster.

And he hates it. He chants "I don't like this, I don't like this" all the way through the ride. I admit it. I'm a horrible mother, because I laughed. He just kept saying it over and over again.




This makes him nervous about riding Splash. We have to convince him it won't move his head around, it's not fast, just the big drop and you get wet. He's going to go for it, so we get him on it quick before he changes his mind!


A little wet




O loves Splash. So much so we ride it 3 times in a row. Once we got stuck. Thankfully outside and not in the dark, which may have pushed O over the edge.

Finally pull O away from Splash. It's time for our fastpasses for Space Mountain. We take the train back over, and finally it's running!!! R was about to pee she was so excited. Let me just say Child Swap is the best thing going. I rode with R&J, and they gave us a pass for DH to ride it when I was done and R&J could ride again!



While waiting for DH and the older kids, O and I hit the TTA. So boring, but a nice spot to sit and rest.

By this time it's noon, and I want to make sure O gets a nap before the Halloween party tonight, so we head back to the house for lunch, a quick swim and a nap. O slept, DH napped with him, and I got a few blissful minutes alone in the pool until J came out, then R followed. I hopped in the hot tub while they played in the pool

No way am I posting a picture of me in the pool, but I will post the lovely view we enjoy from our rental villa. Off to the left of the pool is a conservation area.



We stayed out for awhile, then I made R lay down with me and rest for an hour before getting up to dress for the Halloween party.
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Old 11-16-2008, 06:55 PM   #40
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Okay, so other than the crowds at AK, and a little blip with Space Mountain, we've had a couple of decent days after our rocky start, right? Are you wondering if we really had the worst vacation ever? Trust me, it starts to go downhill very quickly here soon!



Sunday October 26, MNSSHP



We headed back to the Magic Kingdom for the Halloween party around 5. We get our wrist band and treat bag and start to walk in, discussing our plans.

Unfortunately, everyone tonight had different ideas. I wanted to do the special Halloween stuff...which is why I paid for Halloween tickets. Fireworks, parade, special characters. R and O wanted to do nothing but trick or treat. I didn't want to trick or treat that much because I could buy a bag of candy way less than the ticket prices. J just wanted to ride because everything is a walk on. We had just ridden a bunch of stuff that morning, which is why we went to the MK. Arguments ensue, and we finally decide we'll have to do a little of each, and that means most of my character stuff is going to get shoved aside because I'm not going to budge on the fireworks or parade.



We wander off to ride Jungle Cruise since it's closed during the party. We had the BEST captain! She was fabulous and very very funny (Jessica? Jerrica?) I took a picture of her, but it's really really bad. So how about a sign from the que



Next in order, Pirates.


Since we were wearing Mickey pirate stuff, we got a family picture in front of the Pirates sign. I cannot WAIT for that CD to get here!

Hit a trick or treat spot next. They were giving out handfuls of candy.


See, adults can trick or treat too


Everyone decided they were hungry. I had completely forgotten about dinner, so we headed to Pecos Bills. We have never eaten here. DH got the taco salad, and was wishing he would have ordered something else. He said it was okay, just not great. I got the chicken wrap. It was okay, and I'm glad they let you pick apples instead of fries. I have some dietary issues and too much grease really is not good for me. J got the bacon double cheeseburger. No problems with grease for him! O got a hamburger, R got the salad with chicken. Everyone ate their food, so they must not have had too many complaints!

We rode Big Thunder next. Poor O, he made it, but it's much scarier in the dark. He's such a trooper. We skipped Splash because it was getting cold. This is when I realize we had left O and R's sweatshirts and at home, and only had mine and J's. Not a good mommy moment there.

After that it's requirement of Halloween, the Haunted Mansion


This ghost was sitting out in front chatting with people. She was so funny. We really enjoyed standing to watch her interact with people



O LOVED Haunted Manion, which surprised me. I thought he'd freak out! On the way out we stopped to get the carriage picture done.

Next we headed toward Toontown with the intention of seeing Minnie Mouse in her costume. Minnie decorated her house for Halloween




Yeah, right. The line was a mile long. We got in it and DH took O to the bathroom. Minnie's skirt kept falling down, so after each kid, they were taking her to the back to pin her back up. I told R we'd try to come back later, (and we never made it back )and we left the line to go ride Barnstormer. Much more up O's alley

We headed back down the path to Alice's Trick or Treat trail. The line for Tweedle Dee and Dum was really long, so we skipped it, but found no wait for Mad Hatter



We did a switch for Space Mountain, and DH took O to ride the Speedway carsand teacups, where we caught up with them.



By this time, we needed to go find a spot for the fireworks. We didn't want to fight the castle crowd, so we stayed near Tomorrowland, but were too far back and missed most of the fireworks in the trees. We did have a GREAT view of the castle, and it was very easy to head out once the fireworks were over, so there's our silver lining!



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Old 11-16-2008, 07:15 PM   #41
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After the fireworks we headed towards Liberty Square, first stopping to buy a sweatshirt for O. Nothing like paying $34.95 for a sweatshirt when you don't really need it for more than one night! R ended up wearing mine since it was getting very cold. I had their sweatshirts set out to bring to the party, but apparently forgot to grab them. This $35 sweatshirt plays a part in something later!

We found a GREAT front row spot for the parade. O had slept through the parade in 2006 (fireworks too), so I was excited for him to see it. J was complaining about sitting and waiting, so he took a cell phone went to ride Big Thunder after promising to be back in time for the parade. He rode BTMR 3 times and made it back in time for the start.

While waiting, these guys were walking past, stopped in front of our group and were chatting with people. We all thought they were just there for the party and in costume until they asked if we wanted to hear a song, then sang "Grim Grinning Ghosts Come Out to Socialize" in barbershop harmony. So cool




In 2006, I snapped the shutter too late and only got a picture of the Headless Horseman's horses rearend, so I was determined to get him this year. Only I went too early this time.


All the more reason to go again. Next time I'll get him

I took a ton of pictures during the parade, but here are a few of our favorites
















After the parade, we hit Fantasyland and rode everything we could with no wait before midnight

Peter Pan


Dumbo


Snow White


Pooh


and of course, It's a Small World


Okay, we've made it until midnight, and everyone is still awake. It's time to go home and go to bed. Luckily we can sleep in. Tomorrow's plans don't start until 11am, when we eat our way around World Showcase for the Food and Wine Festival.

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Old 11-16-2008, 07:40 PM   #42
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Monday October 27 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Or for us, it was the Food, Beer, Food, Sangria, more beer and more food festival.

Our last trip we really cut Epcot short and regretted it. The first day we went was our MNSSHP night and we left early. The second time we had to leave early to meet some friends for dinner. DH took the older kids to ride while I quickly walked the WS with O. We were looking forward to spending most of the day in the World Showcase.

Since we had stayed out until midnight the night before, we slept in and took our time getting moving, especially since Epcot World Showcase doesn't open until 11am. We told the kids we were going to the countries and not doing any rides. This is when J copped an tween attitude and was a butthole for the first hour we were there. He said later it was because he thought it was going to be a sucky day since he couldn't ride anything, but he ended up saying he had a great time that day!

We got there pretty close to open, and R was pushing O in the stroller while I was digging for money when she ran over the back of my foot and tore a ton of skin off my leg. Yay. Not a great start to my morning. A couple of bandaids and we're off to buy Epcot passports for J and R. I still had O's from our last trip that we never used.

I found a cheat sheet online showing all the locations of the Kidcot stations (maybe Steve Soare's site?), and we needed it or we never would have found half of those things! The kids loved doing the Kidcot masks, but the passports even more. Every country representative wrote something in the their book...either a fun fact about the country, or the kids names in their language. So cool.

We bought 2 of the Food and Wine fest giftcards with the convenient wrist strap and headed out to eat our way around the world. Each stand has 2-3 food offerings and an alcohol offering, all appetizer portion. We found we there was just enough for us to each have a bite of each food item. O turned his nose up at about 90% off the stuff, but R and J were brave and tried pretty much everything. That suprises me because J is pretty picky sometimes.

Before we hit the countries. We had to stop and get kielbasa and pierogies from the Poland stand they smelled so good! The kids liked it. I thought it was okay

First up, Canada. We did the Kidcot station (which I forgot to take pictures of) Did you know Canada is the home of the largest dinosaur deposit? That's what O's book says.


From the Montreal booth we tried Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup (OMG yum) and Maple Glazed Salmon (good) Everyone got basically a bite, and J went back for another cup of it. I looked up the recipe on here and we had it last night for dinner



Next up Istanbul, spicy beef ravioli with yogurt sauce and pistachio baklava, then on to Greece and spanokopita (spinach and cheese pastry - I liked it. Everyone else, not so much) Somewhere we also got spaetzle, but I can't remember where? It was good, but I think the mushrooms were canned and I'm not a fan of canned veggies.

Next Kidcot stop was the UK



We stopped to see Sleeping Beauty (where I took zero pictures....once again thank goodness for photopass), and the next booth from there....France and escargot



She tried. She really did. She knew it was a snail and she really tried. She nibbled that thing for 2 countries! She finally threw the snail away and ate the garlic butter bread. DH liked it. Everyone else refused to try

Next stop Morroco. This guy wrote all the kids names in Arabic


and Mommy got a sangria from the stand. So yummy

Trying to rub a genie lamp. Someone came around the corner and scared us. So funny



We stopped in Japan to watch the candy lady.


and then to the Japan Kidcot where they wrote the kids names in Japanese. The Japan Kidcot people were the nicest we met that entire day.


2 years ago we bought my mom a pick a pearl necklace in Japan. This year we gave R the option of getting one for her birthday and she was all for it. While we were there, DH bought me a pick as well. I let J pick my oyster for me.

R's in the Minnie hat



R got a 7mm set on a dolphin charm. I got a 7 3/4mm put into a cage on a necklace. I forgot to take a picture of the final products! DH wandered outside and got a saki from the booth.

Back outside. Owen was getting whiney and we realized he probably needed real food since he hadn't been snacking as much as the rest of us, so we headed to America for cheeseburgers. Yeah. We're in the middle of the world surrounded by all this exotic stuff, and my kids want cheeseburgers.
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Old 11-16-2008, 07:47 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Chelley00 View Post
Okay, so other than the crowds at AK, and a little blip with Space Mountain, we've had a couple of decent days after our rocky start, right? Are you wondering if we really had the worst vacation ever? Trust me, it starts to go downhill very quickly here soon!


I was starting to get a little suspicious! Wonderful pics from the parade. What a shame to miss both rope drop AND the headless horseman again!! As you said, next time!!
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:02 PM   #44
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Loving the updates! Great pictures, keep em coming!
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:21 PM   #45
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Great TR so far. Can't wait to read more!
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