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Old 12-18-2008, 10:55 AM   #46
houseful of boys
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Originally Posted by estherhead View Post

Suzy & I each ran to the store once in addition to this. I bought more Diet Coke & bananas & a cheesecake sampler. She can tell you exactly what she got but I know cereal was included.
I had to get 1 box of cereal and baby wipes and that was it although as I was in there I also bought a throw blanket for $4.99 for the fireworks which I thought was a steal and came in handy. BRRRRRR!

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I cooked twice. I made taco meat the first night. And I made scrambled eggs one morning. Other than that it was turn on the oven, throw in something from the freezer or we used the microwave or we ate cold sandwiches.
The only thing I turned the stove on for was the mac & cheese (Perla, I had to make this with spray butter ). The other thing we ate was all the leftovers from our restaurant meals. Another reason a fridge and microwave are great to have.
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Old 12-18-2008, 01:12 PM   #47
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Subscribing! Love your TR!!

Just stopping in to say how much I am enjoying this TR. It's the kind I would write if I could ever get my act together. Your observations about the kids are so touching and ring true for all parents! (Loved your roller coaster analogy...I'm sure it's been said before, but the context was so perfect it made me misty...)

Looking forward to more! Subscribing!

P.S. My fave photo so far is the 3-D glasses shot from PhilharMagic! Classic. I am so sad it's under refurb for our trip.

P.S.S. Reading this TR is the perfect way for me to pass the time until Jan 18th!!!
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Old 12-18-2008, 02:34 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by myrsfmly View Post
Loving your Trip report! Happily subscribing! You are brave to travel with such a big group. The most I ever took to WDW was 7 and I thought I was out of my mind for doing it!

Can't wait for more!
We felt we were pretty brave too ! But alls well that ends well and the big question to figure out if it went well is, Would you do it again? And e answer is Definitely!

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Thanks so much for the grocery list! I really didn't have to modify much because my boys are 8, 12, and 14 so they eat tons! Plus we are staying for 17 days, so I think your list was just about right. This really saved me lots of time. I had been procrastinating this task because it's not as fun as reading the DIS board! It will also save me lots of money, because if I never got around to making the list we would probably eat in the parks too much and only 1 kid still qualifies for the kid meal. So I owe you big $$$. Thanks!

Can't wait for the next installment of your TR!
I don't know how much you'll owe me, it cost us $450.00!!! I had to call my credit card company because they thought my card was stolen. And it takes 2 carts so you'll either have to make two trips like me, or convince your most agreeable kid to go with you to push a cart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WDWMaiselFamilyWDW View Post
Just stopping in to say how much I am enjoying this TR. It's the kind I would write if I could ever get my act together. Your observations about the kids are so touching and ring true for all parents! (Loved your roller coaster analogy...I'm sure it's been said before, but the context was so perfect it made me misty...)

Looking forward to more! Subscribing!

P.S. My fave photo so far is the 3-D glasses shot from PhilharMagic! Classic. I am so sad it's under refurb for our trip.

P.S.S. Reading this TR is the perfect way for me to pass the time until Jan 18th!!!
Thanks! It's too bad about Philharmagic, it's one of my favorites. But at least there is It's Tough to Be a Bug (if you like bugs.) And yes, perhaps I'll be done by Jan 18th. If I can keep my act together. I love reading TR's that last month before I go on vacation. I learn so much from them and the photos just get me in a travellin' mood.

Donald said today that he has a few things to comment on already & will also add to the TR during the parts when I wasn't with him. So prepare yourselves for the man's point of view.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:14 PM   #49
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Day 3 cont.

So after we all found each other again at the Boneyard we found our way to Dinosaur. Long ago when Mulan first reached the height requirement I took her on this. I had forgotten what it was like and it was before Youtube which is what we now use to scope out the scariness of rides. But sheís 8 & 4 years ago Youtube wasnít what it is today so I took my baby girl who is terrified of thunder on Dinosaur and scared the crap out of her. It was not good. She & I were scarred.

So she had been watching Youtube & had decided it wasnít for her. But like her mother, she is rational. And after her disappointment with not riding Haunted Mansion Iím pretty sure she didnít want to spend another day disappointed. So at the very last second she decided to ride. Oh, we had gotten FPís for this at some point. I think Suzy got them. Sorry, for some reason these 5 minutes between Boneyard and Dinosaur are not clearly in my mind.

But I know this. Milo decided he could handle both babies on his own. And this was the funnest group ride as it is a four person seat & Donald & I and both our girls and Suzy & her three boys all got to ride together. It was the point in the vacation when I gave that huge sigh of relief and said, "Hey, I'm on vacation with my family." You know? We were finally on vacation. And we were laughing & screaming & being a family. And we weren't cooking or cleaning or buying groceries or packing luggage or going to the doctor. We were laughing.

Here is my attempt to capture the moment. My very LAME attempt:


And here is the photo that in retrospect of this being the critical point of our vacation where I actually felt like I was on vacation, I should have just bought. But I didn't know that at the times so I just took another lame photo of this photo:


After this, we had a big discussion about what to do because we had completed all this in way less time than our plan and we had almost a full hour before breakfast. It was only 9:30 a.m.

What to do? I suggested something, I donít remember what, but Suzy said we should just slowly mosey over, maybe doing an animal path or something. Take it easy? That doesnít sound like us at all.

So we started moseying, bathroom breaks, walking slowly, etc.

Stopped to look at this guy who is NOT an animal.



We see a Photopass guy who takes the Simba photos. Since we had lots of time, we stopped and each kid got a photo done. He did a really nice job & was very thorough. I was glad we had lots of time for this as he was VERY thorough. And the photos turned out cute too.

Photos taken we continued to moseyÖ

And who do we see? Oh my goodness, youíll never guess. It has always been a dream of mineÖ
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Devine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She is very flexible and well-balanced. And just amazing.

I was amazed. In a rational manner I know this is just a flexible lady on stilts. But I can't help being mesmerized by the concept of this plant lady doing this graceful plant walk around AK. It was a highlight for me even though it was only like 3 minutes tops.







Anyone else see that her leg is completely over her head? On stilts? With her leg over her head. I can't do the splits on the ground. By like a foot or two. She is standing on stilts & doing them. Straight up in the air.



Just one tiny comment, though. There were lots of people who had stopped to see her, not like this awful crowd, but a typical watch the cool show kind of crowd. This was one of the few places & days that we ran into out & out rudeness. I literally ran over a little boys toes, both shoes with my stroller. We were done looking & started moving but we were in the moseying mood so I wasnít moving quickly and this Dad decides to step in front of us & just pushes his kid right in front of me. I tried to stop, but it ended up being post rolling over his kid. I just stared at him & he glared at me. Then someone ran into me. They glared at me too. When we were all past the gawkers we all just looked at each other. Jeesh! Who stole all yíallís magic, eh? I mean, itís like 10:00 a.m, not at all warm, not at all crowded. And the mostest magicallist lady is standing on stilts dressed in vines doing tricks for your amusement. Why be cranky? And why use your child as a battering ram? In sincerely cannot imagine seeing a lady pushing a stroller slowly down a crowded path and consciously thinking, "I wonder if she'd stop if I threw my 5 year old in front of her?" I swear that's what he was thinking. I got run over later this day too.

More stories to come on that front! The crowds got even crankier and more spiteful later. Very odd.

So we get past that and go to Tusker House. Suzy & Milo had never done a character breakfast before so they were really excited. We parked the three strollers and checked in. We got our obligatory photo taken which we knew we wouldnít buy because it certainly wasnít going to be any good. We didnít end up buying it cause we arenít the spontaneous money waster types but it actually did turn out better than expected.

Then I decided to go get us Safari FPís. Our return time was well under an hour. Yippee! When I got back to the group they were all sitting outside on this little patio looking very comfy and happy until I got close. ďHelp, Help, thereís nature all over me!Ē There was all this tree gunk gently floating down. Very odd. It was a perfect time for Milo to point out that it was definitely NOT Animal Kingdom and was Plant Kingdom. Fortunately, none of us were allergic to it. But if you are allergic to it, beware. Cause those little floaters were everywhere.

Just a few more minutes & we were welcomed to Africa. Jambo! So they take you in through the main buffet area and explain how it all works and then led us to our table. We were all together in the middle of a little room. It wasnít as loud as I was expecting from my Chef Mickey & Crystal Palace experiences. It was more like a normal restaurant noise level.

So we settle everyone and Suzy & I get a genius idea. Letís sit all the kids at one end of the table. And lets sit Boo next to Suzy and Jack-Jack by me so we wouldnít have to leap up from breakfast to get character photos of our own babies. It sounds smart even as I type it. But it ended up being really not smart.

So we scoped out where the characters were and had plenty of time to all get our first plates of food. I didnít take photos as I think buffet photos never really help me much. I tried to be smart and not eat too terribly. I had the bobotie which I really enjoyed, the vegetarian quiche which was also good. I also had potatoes and tiny bits of all the other unique things just to try them. I then later went and had a chocolate croissant because I adore them. This placeís food was right up my alley and I would to try a lunch there.

So while we were munching who should grace our table but the real Donald! Hi Donald! Even though we didnít need too, the excitement we were all feeling made the parents leap up, all but Suzy who had Jack-Jack asleep on her in the Ergo and Boo screaming her head off next to her. And she couldnít grab her cause sheís already got a baby. Boo was scared absolutely to death of Donald. That is one giant duck.

Here is the moment: Jack-Jack on Suzy, kids excited, Boo terrified, and don't forget to look at Suzy's yummy plate of food. I think I can tell you what it was. From the yams (yummy) clockwise is veggie quiche, beef bobotie, ham cut by a chef for you, tasty potatoes. I had seconds of the bobotie and potatoes.



It took me a bit to get the autograph books down and the camera down (after taking a photo of her screaming, yeah, Iím that kind of mom) and climb over the table to get my by now thoroughly melted down child. Poor Boo never did recover. Goofy scared her absolutely to death. Do you know how tall he is? And Daisy was even more terrifying as she had the gall to DANCE. How could she? And a giant, dancing duck is way more than a 1 year old should have to endure.

See the neat instruments they hand out?


Dance Daisy, dance!


The other children, however, were thrilled with the characters. Hugs & love & autographs all around. And being allowed to eat bacon & donuts for breakfast isnít too shabby either, eh?

Here is Donald meeting his soul mate:


When Milo & Donald got up to get their first plates (we go in shifts with the children) they told us to get them coffee & I said, "What about juice?"
"No juice," they said.
"But I've heard tales it's the best juice ever."
"Fine, whatever, get us juice."

Oh yeah, who was thanking Perla later?

See the all that unfinished juice?


The juice is really good. I think it may be the same as the juice at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It tasted similar to me. And the coffee was really good too.

When all was said and done, 10 of our group ADORED this breakfast. Milo declared it a bargain. He especially liked the porridge because he said it had onions and sugar so it was like eating a caramelized onion porridge. Buzz had 2 biscuits, a donut, and a muffin. Ha! Thatís healthy.

Suzy (for her dessert since a good breakfast always has dessert!) had blintzes for dessert. It isnít my kind of thing but I had a taste and it was really good.

I thought it was right up there with Crystal Palace as a place I could put on my every trip list. For kids, I think buffets are tops. They can get what they want and quickly. And there are characters thus eliminating any need for me to stay in boring lines which are almost NEVER under 10 minutes, ya know?

As we were wrapping this all up & getting our checks Donald gets a call. Now, he is quite the jokester and is always yanking my chain. So when his phone rang & he handed it to me & said, ďItís some lady I donít know & I canít hear her,Ē I fully expected it to be my mom. But it actually was a woman he didnít know. It was my stroller swapper! We swapped Royal Carriage #2. You can find it on the Budget Boards. I had swapped refrigerators twice and that had worked really well.

So the plan was to meet up with the previous swapper at 3:00 at the front gate as she was at AK that day too. Well it wasnít even noon & they were calling it quits & were wondering if we could meet right then. Heck yeah! Where are you? Oh, right here? Yippee! I hopped from my seat & went to meet her. We met, hugged, and that was it. I parked the stroller next to the others, wiped it down with anti-bacterial that I had brought for this purpose and was back at the table before Donald had had a chance to pay. Can you believe that?

This was hands down the best swap ever. I totally recommend the Royal Carriage swaps. Go Parker's Mom!

I do have to make a little confession here. Since I mentioned paying. Donald & I had been saving up our Disney Visa Dollars and had almost $400.00. So most of our food this week at Disney was free. I just wanted to come clean so when I say this meal was a bargain for us, I really mean it. Free food is always a bargain. This was $80.00 off our card. $80.00 we didnít spend. Suzy teased me how I liked my free food after this meal. Honestly, I liked it very much, thank you. Very much. After this trip, I considered stopping using it as there are cards that offer better deals than 1%. But we got a lot of our dollars this time when they had 5% deals and the like that we signed up for. And that really is a good deal. Plus, since we arenít planning on going back till 2010, maybe we could have $800.00 saved up & if they offer free dining and we stay on-siteÖ we could do something SUPER fun, ya know? An Illuminations cruise or something. Treat Suzy & Milo & fam to an Illuminations cruise.

Oh my gosh, I just got all verklempt thinking about it.

Yup. I used that Disney Visa yesterday to buy the paint for Mulanís room. $.50 in the coffer.

To 2010Ö
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:38 PM   #50
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Wink Donald Finally Logging In For My Say

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Donald does not appreciate this at all. He had brought so many clothes this time & mainly just wore the same ones that he didn't need laundry done & didn't want to "burden" me with doing laundry on vacation. Of course then he came home where our laundry room is a mess & downstairs and emptied his suitcase into our hamper. Still folded. Like at home it isn't a burden because we have little laundry elfs that do the laundry here.
I KNEW IT! You FINALLY ADMIT IT! I knew there was no way that you would be doing laundry at some of the odd hours I hear the washer and dryer going. Do we pay the elves? If so we must pay them with single unmatched socks
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:17 PM   #51
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Okay, you've convinced me to make another change. I have ressies at Boma on an AK day, but after reading your TR and comparing the menus/prices at allears.net, I'm going to switch it to Tusker House. I had thought the kids were too old for character meals, but surpisingly enough they asked for one and I said it's too expensive (now that 2 of them are "adults") but seriously it's only $2/person difference! How did I miss that? Plus, I thought that juice sounded yummy so I'm glad we won't miss out on that!

Keep 'em coming! I've only got 5 more days to read this gold mine of info before we leave!!
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:05 PM   #52
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I could have sworn I told you I dropped your near death child on his head. No? I can't imagine why I wouldn't have.

OK, I wondered about Donald as he has a photo of both groups on his camera. He and I had this little argument (as mentioned) and then Charming and I hopped on with Ariel. I wasn't sure who went with Buzz & Mulan. Either Milo or Donald. Normally, I run these things by my family before posting but Donald went to the doctor today for a sinus infection and has been a little out of it. And the girls were doing something. Oh well. We've got it now. Look! We got to ride together as couples and it was so romantic... I totally forgot it happened!



Welcome! Welcome!

It's always great to get positive feedback. We all know these trip reports are just a way of living at Disney while we aren't there but it's also nice to have readers.
Thanks about the shirts. They really did turn out cool and all of us wearing red made it super easy to find each other. After two vacations wearing matching t-shirts, last year just the 5 of us, this year 11 of us, I have to say I'm a big fan. You can sincerely find each other anywhere.
Yep! That's it! So much fun to do it, write it, read it!

And you have convinced me on the shirts- I've got tie-dyes (Mickey) where we all match, but i love the matching stuff! May have to do more!
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Old 12-20-2008, 07:28 AM   #53
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Okay, you've convinced me to make another change. I have ressies at Boma on an AK day, but after reading your TR and comparing the menus/prices at allears.net, I'm going to switch it to Tusker House. I had thought the kids were too old for character meals, but surpisingly enough they asked for one and I said it's too expensive (now that 2 of them are "adults") but seriously it's only $2/person difference! How did I miss that? Plus, I thought that juice sounded yummy so I'm glad we won't miss out on that!

Keep 'em coming! I've only got 5 more days to read this gold mine of info before we leave!!
OH, I think you won't regret it. I've eaten at Boma as well & felt that Tusker House was very comparable with the bonus of characters! If you've never seen the AKL it's worth it just to see that amazing resort. But I think just comparing restaurants my bump is to Tusker House. You're kids will love it. My big kid (Donald) & Suzy's (Milo) both loved it & they are over 30!

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Yep! That's it! So much fun to do it, write it, read it!

And you have convinced me on the shirts- I've got tie-dyes (Mickey) where we all match, but i love the matching stuff! May have to do more!
I bet your tye dye looks better than ours! I had a pre-trippie where I gave a little tutorial on how not to tye dye as we tried it twice and both times ended up with weird Mickey heads. I simply bleach penned them but I did learn in the whole process that in all my crafty skills, cause I'm very good at crafts, the tye dye skill jumped right over me. I'm TERRIBLE at it. I mean really, how hard could it be? I can make a 5 tier complicated fondant wedding cake in my sleep & I can't squirt a little dye on some fabric?

Did you make your tye dye or buy them? If you made them, could you post your photos on here? So people could see another type?

So the rest of our looks were iron-on and disneyshopping.com bought. But our favorites by far are the ones that I got Disney clip art & Disboard Disigners stuff and photoshopped it just for us. We were able to buy shirts that fit us properly and individualize for our group. Plus, it was fun. This is the second year for the matching t-shirts and I think we may even have to do it when we go to local amusement parks. It's soooo nice to just look for the red shirt, ya know?

And our second favorite was the turquoise Minnie & the classic Mickey. But it wasn't as easy to find in the crowd because it was two colors. But we looked cute.
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Old 12-20-2008, 11:13 AM   #54
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About our character breakfast

My family had never done a character buffet of any kind before. I've never wanted to spend the money. None of us are big eaters and I've always thought it would be a waste. Well, after Perla went to the World last year with free dining and had experienced them she convinced me. (Plus, of course it's been a secret dream of mine ) When all was said and done, it ended up being the cheapest sit down restaurant experience we had!! So I was very pleased. We all loved it, I loved that it is designed for kids. When you have 4 smallish children and eat out it can be very stressful - the noise, the mess, etc. But at a big restaurant catering a character breakfast, no big deal. The kids of course loved it, they could eat what they want and meet characters and my 5 yr old thought dancing with Daisy was "awesome." And Milo, loves a good buffet and this one was right up there as far as he was concerned.

As a side note, if you go, try the cinnamon bread pudding with warm vanilla sauce.....Yum!
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:03 PM   #55
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I'm enjoying your TR! I am moving to your state in March! My husband is being transferred to West Chester, OH. We were there a few weeks ago looking for a home. It is very nice.
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:36 PM   #56
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I'm enjoying your TR! I am moving to your state in March! My husband is being transferred to West Chester, OH. We were there a few weeks ago looking for a home. It is very nice.
I love Ohio. I saw you're from near Allentown? So we're not as close to such a major city as New York but Ohio does have an OK amount of culture with Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus. Fair warning, though, if you aren't into watching sports Ohio is pretty football/baseball oriented. OK, obsessed even. It seems like we just move from holiday to sporting event & back on a rotation basis.

And, of course, we're really nice. If I do say so myself. In my opinion we're just the right mix of easy going and go-getters.

Are you leaving family?
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:48 AM   #57
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Day 3 cont. cont.

So 20 thumbs up to Tusker House (not 22 because Boo gave it 2 thumbs down) we all moved on to grab the strollers. Everyone inspected my new Royal Carriage and declared it acceptable and we moved onto the Safari.

One little thing is the stroller comes with this huge bag full of junk. This is fine as it lived in our van the rest of the week. But on this day we had it in the back storage area & it was irritating. I guess it had directions on using the stroller, a journal to sign (I didn’t), and a few accessories one of which was a giant sun shade which I’m sure with a tiny baby might have been OK, I don’t know. We tried it unsuccessfully and gave up. Again, the bag lived in our van & I never looked at it again.

The safari is right next to Tusker House so it worked out well. Using our FP’s we walked to the front of the line and onto a jeep which has the single best driver I have ever had. She was amazing. We almost didn’t go on the safari as I had been many times and it wasn’t high on anyone’s list. But we had been doing so well on time, we added it to our day. Thank goodness because it made me really like this ride again. I believed I was in Africa. I believed it. There were lots of animals. It was just a great ride. Boo loved it. She kept pointing & flapping her arms & yelling, “GOOK!” She liked the chart of animals over our heads almost as well as the real animals.

I didn’t take too many photos, though, as I always come home & have a ton of fairly pitiful photos. So I really tried to only take good ones.

Here are two, I won't bore you with more as I know I normally just scroll down through the 22 safari photos on TR's


This is my favorite as it is a baby giraffe. C'mon, say it with me, "Awwww...."



Once we had saved Red and gotten back to the United States Suzy & I decided it was time for diaper changes. We left the strollers in the Safari parking where they were as it was at the entrance to Pangani Trail where we had sent the rest of the family. This proved to be an idiotic move (leaving the strollers) as we thought in our all knowing way that the bathrooms were right there. Unfortunately, they proved to be forever away and the crowds were thickening. And we were each carrying squirming babies. Heavy, squirming babies.

It took us the entire time the family was on the Pangani Trail to find the bathrooms, change the babies, go to the restroom, and walk back. When we got back our stroller parking had completely emptied & the CM’s were being puzzled as to why ours were still there. This seems simple as we could just move them out of the way. That’s be fine except we now had 4 strollers & squirming, don’t wanna ride babies. So it took some maneuvering to get ourselves moved out of the way. Donald came out. But the rest of the group were gone a while longer. We started to call them as we were now really needing to get going if we were going to make Nemo.

Sorry, no photos of the trail. I can't find any on Donald's camera & I didn't go so I can only assume none were taken except with the kids disposable cameras which are neither filled nor developed. So insert photos of gorillas, etc right here:

Finally, they came out & we started booking it. Family units in place, we took off. Where the path splits to go to Asia vs. the front Donald who was way ahead went to the front, which is not the most direct route. I felt obligated to keep my family together so I followed him while Milo & Suzy went the other way. By this point the crowd was getting huge. And AK is no joke with huge crowds. And as you well know, people were a little cranky.

So Donald has a stroller & I have one & he is booking it, weaving in & out of the crowds. I decided to try to catch up which meant I really had to be a skilled stroller pusher to dodge all the other strollers, people, scooters at a near run. Finally, I caught him. I swear, I should wear a sports bra with the kind of hoofing it I do at WDW. And we started moving with the crowds, which for some reason were also rushing. I thought once I caught him, we’d slow down but for some reason the group of people he was walking with were speed walking.

There was a lovely couple in front of us and all of the sudden the guy stops dead & lifts one foot just like a flamingo. I don’t know if he had an itch or what but in the crowd that day, no one should have ever stopped in the center of a walkway & stand on one foot. BIG mistake. Fortunately for him, Donald is an expert double stroller pushing speed walker and managed to get himself & a stroller with 100 lbs of little girls to stop on a dime. Both the woman & I screamed at which point the guy realized his mistake. No itch is worth near death. He started laughing, we started laughing and got our butts back in gear. None of us wanted to have a scooter injury and we were about to be killed by the crazy speed walking crowd.

As we pulled up to Nemo, the line had already started moving to go inside and my phone rang. Suzy & Milo were there. I looked up & there they were! Perfect timing. Obviously, our group had been moving faster than the Asia group. As we walked in, however, they were directed to one spot & we were directed to the far wall. It wasn’t that great of a place to sit as I couldn’t see everything. But the nice thing for me was, I got to lean against the wall. So I had a backrest. It was delightful. And I never gave one thought to Donald who was wearing Boo & dying on the little bench. He said he thought about asking me to switch but I looked so comfy.

There was a really nice family behind us that could just tell that Donald & I were Disney geniuses from our conversation. The mom leaned down & asked me a question and I shared my infinite wisdom with her. We talked for awhile and then I asked if they had a show times list and I planned a little bit the rest of the day.

And then the show started. It was good, as always. It was the best Crush I’d ever seen. I didn’t like the Dory as much as previous Dory’s as her voice was REALLY high. Almost hurt my ears. But the Crush was amazing. I love this show. I’m sooooooo happy not to have the Tarzan Rocks anymore. We took a friend of ours to see it because he likes to rollerblade. Halfway through he looked over at me like, “Are you crazy? Why am I here?” Ha! It was a dorky show. And Nemo is amazing. Smart move Disney.

After this we were off to do the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Ariel is obsessed with cats. And most especially tigers. For some unknown reason, we had never taken her to see the tigers at AK and it would have ruined her entire week to not see them. So to the tigers we went.

Total side note on strollers because this is the next photo in order:


Stroller chat: Normally with our big kids we would have rented strollers. But Disney went and DOUBLED the cost of them this summer. That's right. Doubled. So I know for a fact that Donald & I would not have rented one because that is simply crazy and our girls are 6 & 8. But here is why I love having a stroller for a 6 & 8 year old. First, when the crowds are insane you do not lose your kids. I know you can hold onto their hands but on this particular day I probably would have black & blued them I would have been holding on so hard. So number one is I like to not lose my kids.

Two, it holds all our stuff. We aren't heavy packers but I had 4 bags! That's right four. I have a flat little purse that I wear all the time with my money, phone, and credit cards. I then have a one armed little backpack that has in it my Hidden Mickey book, autograph books, and a mini M&M holder with quarters and pennies for penny press machines. I wear that the entire day too.

The other two bags are a diaper bag with diapers, wipes, and extra thing of clothes, a small first aid kit, and glow in the dark sticks. And then we have our small collapsible cooler with drinks, string cheese, Bagelfuls, grapes, etc.

In addition to this we had 5 sweaters/sweatshirts/jackets and sometimes a blanket. Did I need all this stuff? Yup. I did. I really, really did. I used every single thing I brought into the park except I didn't use the Deep Woods Off wipes I had put into the first aid kit.

Finally, I like having strollers for big kids because it keeps them from being overwhelmed. It is their home, so to speak. Buzz has Asperger's, my two girls are both very introverted, and McQueen turned 5 on this trip and so he really need a space to go when he got tired/cranky. The big double strollers are perfect little homes for kids to go when they are scared, cranky, tired, in any way emotional. You might like to think your kid will be completely happy at all times while at Disney World, but this is simply not the case. And to have the luxury of sitting down in a stroller & yanking their sweatshirt up over their eyes is the WDW version of going into their bedroom and closing the door. For me, this is absolutely priceless and keeps my family from having meltdowns.

To the best of my knowledge, none of our kids had a full on meltdown in the parks. And let me tell ya, I know meltdowns. So I credit the strollers. But, with Mulan being 8, this will be her last year. By the time we go next time both she & Ariel will have to be brave and do WDW the same as the rest of us. And I might have to calm down on the pace we go for a few years till they are teenagers. Or maybe even go for 2 weeks.

We has 2 (one grey, one red) Combi Strollees which we bought forever ago and both love. And 2 Instep Double jogging strollers with a free wheel up front. One was the RC swap one, one we own.

So there ya go. Stroller chat is over and back to the story:

But first, we needed ice cream. Floats & Waffle Cones. Yummy!




Look, even Charming got a stroller ride! Not really, he mostly pushed the strollers. Bummer of being 11, eh?


While the rest were doing that, I stood at the entrance of EE and handed out 9 FP’s (the ones I almost killed Jack-Jack getting) to a lucky family. I found a family of 6 standing at the front pondering going in the 90 minute standby line & asked if they wanted them. The mom said, “Why would you do this?” To which I replied, “Cause I can, of course.”

Milo says I get extra FP’s just so I can feel powerful handing them out to deserving families. I do enjoy it. But really, I like to have FP’s to the rides because I’m an optimist & think we’ll have time to ride again. But at the parks like AK & DHS I often end up giving them away because you have to time things so carefully because of the show times that you can’t just ride stuff on a whim without missing a show.





So, to the trek.

The very important tiger:






Awww, look at the baby bird:




I like this trek & enjoy walking it very much. But this day I did not enjoy it so very much as I was concentrating on not killing people with my giant stroller. And trying to get through the doorways without letting birds out, without hitting Boo in the face with chains, and may I repeat, without killing or maiming anyone. It was really tricky and took my full concentration. To brag, I was successful. No animals or people were injured. By me.

But I should have just carried Boo & left the giant stroller outside this trek. Sheesh. Hindsight is so valuable.

So, we had one last must do. The Lion King. And guess where it is? The absolute opposite corner of the park. Donald said at the end of this day that I was trying to skinny him up by dragging him back & forth across AK. But the reality is Tusker House is what did it. Because we had to walk to Africa at 10:30 it made it impossible to make the shows in a normal circle. We had to keep crisscrossing to hit it right.

That’s the reason. But it didn’t change that the walk from Maharajah to Lion King was horribly grueling. Long. Exhausting. As we entered the walkway there the previous show had just let out. So it was an absolute mad house. I’ve been in Disney madhouses before and knowing you just slowly creep forward and enjoy the happy crowd and the views around you.

But this crowd was not happy. This crowd was evil. Mean & evil tourists. There were actual fights. As we got close to the theater there was this lady on a scooter and an Oriental-American having a very loud shouting match about who was more obnoxious. And there was swearing. BIG SCENE! Yeah, it got ugly. It reminded me of a foreign marketplace which I think is what Disney was going for. But I wonder if they remembered when they were building it that in addition to being interesting & authentic, foreign marketplaces have a lot of fighting. Bartering & bickering. That is my experience. So if we are truly going for authentic, maybe they should let us barter down prices at all the stores in AK. Now that would be authentic. And make it smell like dead chickens & make sure there are tons of flies everywhere.

But at least we had the crush of people and the swearing. Too bad it wasn’t in a different language.

We briefly escaped to take some photos:







So. To Lion King. We has gotten there fairly early and so had about 20 minutes to kill. I was sitting next to Mulan and McQueen and we played I spy to kill time. But once the show started, Mulan had her final disappointment of the week. There was no story. Just a stupid festival. And there were no real animals. She was incredibly disappointed by this. I tried to explain. It was abstract, it was the idea of the Lion King. It was art. “If it was art, I would like it. I like art! And this, this is NOT art.” Sigh. She was really struggling. Struggling with growing up. Struggling with finding the magic. Struggling with her expectations.

I wished I could have made those first two days better for her. But growing up is just something no one can really prepare you for. There surely are disappointments in being a year bigger. I still am disappointed to discover what being a year older brings.

Here are my sad little photos from the Lion King:











And yet another side note in this post, last year we went to Spirit of Aloha at the Poly and the only thing I like was the cool fire eater/juggler. I hated the show, it was cheesy. I didn't like the food well & thought I cooked chicken and rice better. So I was saddened to see the Lion King had just as good a fire juggler as Spirit of Aloha. Definitely no need for me to ever go to SoA ever again.

After this it was time to see It’s Tough to Be a Bug. I really, really hate this show. I hate bugs. I spend a huge part of this show with my eyes closed. So, since Donald & I had a date night I talked my family into going home & letting me shower & get cute. Milo was all for going home but McQueen would have been sad had they not seen it and it ended up being his favorite thing of the day.

Stay tuned to see how we enjoyed our date…

Last edited by estherhead; 12-21-2008 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 12-21-2008, 08:13 AM   #58
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Another great update- I have fun giving away extra fast passes too! It feels like spreading some pixie dust! I have had some pretty funny reactions from people though. Once I had someone think I was soliciting $ I don't most people are prepared for random acts of kindness- sad huh
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Old 12-21-2008, 09:20 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estherhead View Post
I love Ohio. I saw you're from near Allentown? So we're not as close to such a major city as New York but Ohio does have an OK amount of culture with Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus. Fair warning, though, if you aren't into watching sports Ohio is pretty football/baseball oriented. OK, obsessed even. It seems like we just move from holiday to sporting event & back on a rotation basis.

And, of course, we're really nice. If I do say so myself. In my opinion we're just the right mix of easy going and go-getters.

Are you leaving family?
I've been in Cleveland and Cincinnati, & they are both very nice & clean cities. Especially when you compare them to Philly. Everyone seemed really nice & easy going, again different from Philly! I did notice when we were there, everyone loved football. We like football & baseball too, so we won't mind. Different teams though...Eagles...Yankees...and of course Penn State!

We are leaving family, our entire family lives in the Lehigh Valley. It is only 9 hours to drive / 2 hours to fly, so it won't be too bad. Our other choice was California, Ohio is a better option. I will also miss the mountains in PA.
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Old 12-21-2008, 12:03 PM   #60
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I've been in Cleveland and Cincinnati, & they are both very nice & clean cities. Especially when you compare them to Philly. Everyone seemed really nice & easy going, again different from Philly! I did notice when we were there, everyone loved football. We like football & baseball too, so we won't mind. Different teams though...Eagles...Yankees...and of course Penn State!

We are leaving family, our entire family lives in the Lehigh Valley. It is only 9 hours to drive / 2 hours to fly, so it won't be too bad. Our other choice was California, Ohio is a better option. I will also miss the mountains in PA.
It's OK. In Ohio you are allowed to like the Eagles & the Yankees (Donald is a HUGE Yankees fan as he lived in Brooklyn for awhile) & Penn State. You aren't allowed to like Pittsburgh or Michigan. So you should be just fine.

I'm sorry you have to move away from your family as I love living near family but it really isn't a bad drive to Philly. If you pack up the night before & leave at 5 am you'll be there by 2 pm!
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