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Old 12-17-2008, 10:53 AM   #1
pgowder
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Trip Report in Pictures 2 Years Planning, 9 days, 5 People, No FP's, 2 Dream Prizes!

Brooke's Princess Pilgramage

We recently returned from our latest trip to the world. This was our daughter Brooke's 1st trip. We've been planning this trip for 2 years and took 3 grandparents with us. We stayed in the Wilderness Lodge from December 6-14. Here's our list of character!

Brooke - 4 years old and first trip
Paul & Kelli - parents of Brooke, we've made several trips
Gene and Margaret - Paul's parents - Pop and Nene
Pat - Kelli's mom - Mimi

We always read other trip reports as a way to get excited and plan our next trip. Thanks to everyone that has written those reports in the past. We'll try to live up to the high standard you all have set. Don't know that I'll match the wit, humor, or writing quality of other reports. But hopefully you all will enjoy some of our photos and maybe get a tip or two from us.

I also want to start by thanking some folks for making this trip great!

Linda Norton - The Magic For Less Travel
WDWRadio
Netcot
WDWToday
Inside the Magic
DisBoards
Unofficial Guide

You can see all of our photos here:
http://www.thegowders.com/photos/thu...s.php?album=66

And as a tease here are some things you'll hear about in this trip report!
No fast passes!
2 Dream Prizes
Flag Family at Wilderness Lodge

We got several great ideas here on DisBoards that helped our planning! Here are what we did from these tips.

First I made a flip book for each person. This book had cell phone numbers, reservation information, ADRs, etc. I created each page as a jpg and ordered a flip book from Snapfish.

Here are 2 pages from the book.




We also had a countdown calendar using the paint samples from Home Depot. Each night Brooke got to cross off another day and then count the days left. This became a major part of her bedtime routine!





Kelli also made a calendar for the week. We hung this on the wall in the room. This really helped Brooke remember when things were going to happen, how much time was left, etc. And now they will be great pages in our scrapbook.




Last edited by pgowder; 12-18-2008 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:55 AM   #2
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Day 1 - The Drive

We left Lexington, SC about 5:20 am on Saturday!



Leaving so early worked out great. The trip went by fast! With a 4yo and 3 grandparents we were worried about frequent stops. But the early hour of departure lead to only stopping twice on the way down! And we were able to get to the Wilderness Lodge just after noon. Brooke was so excited she was the only one (besides Kelli our driver) to NOT take a nap!





We checked in quickly and headed up to the rooms. And then headed down to Roaring Fork for lunch.

Brooke loved lunch! A CM gave her a cookie to decorate and she really enjoyed that!



Yes, that is her dipping her fries into ketchup AND pudding - only in Disney!

After lunch we all settled into our rooms to unpack and rest.

Kelli, Brooke, and I surprised everyone by decorating their doors. We wanted to make sure everyone had a little holiday touch at the Lodge!



After we all rested, we headed off to the boats for our first ADR - Chef Mickey's!



Brooke has always loved water - pools, streams, puddles, rivers, everything! So we was very excited to take a boat to the Contemporary!







Brooke got her first real view of the castle! She could see part of it from Mimi's room.

Dinner was fantastic! Of course Brooke barely ate anything. I didn't get much with trying to shoot photos and videos at the same time! But we all had a blast. Getting to see her light up with each character that came by was so much fun. She was literally bouncing with excitement!

And Mickey was the first to come to the table! Starting off her character hunt with THE man was cool!










This is one of my favorite photos because you can see the excitement in her eyes as she rushes Minnie!



And of course we all got in on the fun singing and dancing with Minnie!



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We knew that afterwords we would be tired, but not ready for bed. So we had planned on a monorail trip around the resort loop. That was a great way to introduce our parents to some of Disney transportation. And Brooke thought she was already riding attractions! She stay glued to the window most of the trip around!



Coming up next - Day 2 we head to the Magic Kindgom!

Last edited by pgowder; 01-02-2009 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:58 PM   #3
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Great start -- I can't wait to read more! (I'm especially intrigued by the "No FPs" part of your title!)

I love the flipbooks you made, and the countdown and trip calendars! You're so creative!! What special memories you made for Brooke -- even before you got there!
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:27 PM   #4
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I love the countdown calendar with the Mickey heads! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StampMom View Post
Great start -- I can't wait to read more! (I'm especially intrigued by the "No FPs" part of your title!)

I love the flipbooks you made, and the countdown and trip calendars! You're so creative!! What special memories you made for Brooke -- even before you got there!
Thanks! Kelli did all that!

Yeah, the No Fast Passes surprised us too. Part of it was good tour plans, part of it was having a grand in a ECV. And I'll tell more about all that as it goes along!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyMomTo2 View Post
I love the countdown calendar with the Mickey heads! Can't wait to read more!
Thanks! I'll try to post some more tomorrow.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:09 PM   #6
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What a great start to your trip. Can't wait for more.
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylady View Post
What a great start to your trip. Can't wait for more.
Thanks!

I forgot to mention two other things that I'll have in this trip report that people may want to hear about!

Flag Family at Wilderness Lodge
And we won Dream prizes twice!
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:34 AM   #8
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Day 2 - Magic Kingdom and Osborne Lights

As a Christmas preset to everyone going on the trip, Kelli and I gave them a great gift! We hired a professional photographer for the first few hours of our Magic Kingdom day. We knew that this would be a great day for "Kodak Moments"--Brooke seeing the castle up close, first rides, going down Main Street, etc. So we didn't want everyone to worry about getting shots and not enjoy the moments. Hiring a photographer was a great choice!

We hired Robyn Lynn based on several recommendations here on DisBoards.

http://www.robynlynnphoto.com/vacation.html

You can see she has a great eye for capturing key moments. I haven't gotten those photos back yet. But can't wait to see what she captured!

She stayed with us for 3 1/2 hours. Kelli and I spent some time before hand figuring out our touring plan for this time pretty precise. We wanted to go on things Brooke would be excited about and would be conducive to photos.

Brooke, of course, was ready to go about 30 minutes before anyone else. She was climbing the walls wanting to ride ride. A phrase we would hear over and over for the next few days!



We met Robyn in front of the train station, just in time to see the opening ceremony!



We headed straight for the Castle for a close inspection for Brooke. Unfortunately they had the path blocked off so we couldn't get up close. But we did get a few great family photos there before the crowds converged on the spot. We did another few photos of us at Belle's garden and the wishing well. Then off to Fantasy Land!

For our first ride we threw Brooke into a teacup with the grands!






After teacups we did Dumbo, Peter Pan, and IASM. Dumbo we had to wait a few minutes. The other rides in Fantasyland we walked onto. Partially due to the added benefit of my dad's rented ECV and the low crowds. After IASM, Fantasyland was picking up some, so we headed for Tomorrow Land.

On the way we stopped for Brooke and I to ride the Speedway together. Then headed to Buzz and the TTA. I absolutely love the TTA, it is one of my favorites. We didn't know how Brooke would react, it isn't a headliner attraction. But you never know with a 4 year old! She loved it! We got in the first car of our train. She faced forward and held her head up into the wind!

With only a little while left with Robyn, we quickly back tracked to Toontown. I love coasters! I've ridden over 80 different coasters. And I've been holding Brooke back from riding one at local fairs until we got to MK. I wanted her first coaster to be at WDW. She was thrilled to ride Goofy's Barnstormer. It was her highlight of the day...and her low point!

So far she enjoyed each ride but wanted to move to another one. Here, not so much! She wanted to ride again. And had a complete melt down when I hesitated on that. So I did what any parent would do, resort to bribes!

We bought her first souvenir of the trip! You can see Pop sporting the Princess hat here:



After a few minutes she was ok about it. We had told her that Saturday, our last day, would be all her choices of rides. (By the way, she didn't pick to go on Barnstormer again!)

Robyn took a family photo of us in front of Minnie's house then departed.

We are really happy with her. She was great to work with. She knew the rides and where to get great shots. She work with the castmembers to allow her to stay in places while we were riding to get the photo.

Thanks Robyn!!

We all explored Minnie's house and then left MK for our ADR at Whispering Canyon.

On the way out we were able to catch the singers on Main Street!



Brooke quickly discovered the Lincoln Logs!



Whispering Canyon was a fun lunch! We all really enjoyed the meal. I think we were all still a little weary from the drive and our first venture into a park.

Then we all headed back to our rooms for much needed rest. Again Brooke refused to sleep! She was so scared she would miss something. She even told us later that she was holding it and not going to the bathroom as much because she didn't' want to miss something! Kelli and I both nodded off for a little while.

That night we made our way over to Hollywood Studios for the Osborne Lights. We had seen pictures, but never had been able to actually see the lights. Kelli and I had done the Yuletide tour and Backstage Magic several years ago. But we missed Hollywood Studios and the lights because Bush was in the park!



The lights are spectacular! It is overwhelming to stand in the throng of people and be surrounded by all the light!






Brooke has wanted snow for Christmas! She asked if it will snow quite often. And living in SC, she has only seen snow once, and doesn't remember that! When it started snowing, she couldn't contain herself!








When building our touring plan, we wanted to break up the days as so many people recommend with small children. But we were also concerned about spending hours on Disney transportation exhausting everyone with jumping from park to park. Breaking up the first day worked great. And we did it a couple more times throughout the week. That is a great tip for anyone planning a trip! Breaking up your days really helps!!

Coming up next - Flag Family, BBB, Princess Storybook Lunch, and a tour of Worldshowcase.

Last edited by pgowder; 01-02-2009 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:56 PM   #9
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I'm adding more photos to the current posts. And hopefully I'll have time to post another day today.

Here are updated links to photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9607715...7611848026138/
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:12 PM   #10
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Day 3 - A Day of Surprises - Part 1 Flag Family

This is the day! This was the day we were really looking forward to!

We had arranged for 2 special surprises on this day.

First up, I had called ahead and arranged for us to be Flag Family at Wilderness Lodge. For those of you that don't know, this means we were taken to the top of the Lodge to raise the American Flag. Unfortunately we did loose 1 grand for this day. Mimi wasn't feeling well and stay at the Lodge today.

My dad is a vet and I knew this would be a special time for him, and it was! Thanks to our guide for being a great host. We spent a long time looking at the great scenery. He help point out some landmarks for us. And then invited us to breakfast. We were also given certificates to commemorate the moment!

Here are some photos of the flag raising and WDW from a great vantage point.













And this was really cool to see the ferry boat in a place not normally found!


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Old 01-02-2009, 02:54 PM   #11
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Day 3 - Part 2 - BBB

And then the big surprise for Brooke!

We had not told her about BBB, let her see printed ads, TV ads, or anything. She knew nothing about this. This was quite a feat. She knew about everything else in WDW. She could name over 20 attractions that she wanted to go on before she even went!

So off to BBB we went after a great breakfast at WL. While waiting for our time at the castle we ran into a great meet and greet!



They then called us in - "Princess Brooke we're ready". She was able to pick out her outfit. We were putting bets on Cinderella or Aurora, her 2 favorites. But she went completely different and picked Jasmine. And it was a great outfit for her!

After picking it out, they lead her to the pack of the shop to a large curtain. They peeled backed the curtain to reveal her own costume, shoes, and crown. Her face was beaming!



And then she was able to sit in the chair for her makeover. She is ALL girl, and loved the pampering! Hair, nails, make up, professional photographer, what else could a girl want!





As part of the Castle package at BBB, she was sent to the camera shop on Main Street for a portrait session. She absolutely had a great time getting all the looks as we walked down Main Street! And of course her two parents and grands beamed with pride as well!





She was even stopped by a family and asked to take her picture a few times and they even posed with her!



After a quick monorail trip, we arrived at EPCOT.



We wanted to take full advantage of her being dressed. So we had made an ADR at Norway's Princess Storybook Lunch.

This was by far the best place to meet the Princesses! So much better than CRT! It was less hectic, better food, less wait, and the characters really took their time with her.

And we finally meet our first Princess!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3296/3147206789_eedb295fa9.jpg



And got to pose with Jasmine in matching dresses!



After our meal our touring plan was to enjoy a walk around World Showcase, take in a few pavilion attractions and hunt for characters. My parents decided to head back to the Lodge for the rest of the afternoon to rest. So Kelli, Brooke and I headed off for an afternoon of just the 3 of us.

We have a fabulous time wondering from country to country. There were lots of characters to find. We enjoyed several of the special shows going on like the drums at Japan, acrobats at Morocco, and a great street show in UK.



Brooke enjoyed the slow pace of the day! She literally stopped to smell the flowers!



And even put on a dance show of her own!





In the back of the Toy Shop we were able to find Tigger, Pooh, and Eeyore. They were virtually alone!





We originally thought we would be back in the room mid afternoon. But we had such a good time we ended up not leaving until well after dark! EPCOT is beautiful after dark though, and we enjoyed our walk back to the front of the park.





We got back to the Lodge in need of some food. And once again the Roaring Fork delivered! Mimi was feeling better and came down to join us and hear all about the day!







Day 3 was definitely one of the highlights of the trip! We went to bed that night with the hair still up. She barely moved all night while trying to keep the hair perfect! We were full of the Disney spirit at this point and couldn't wait for the next day!

Coming up next - CRT, our first meeting with a Disney manger (and not the last), and a day at the Magic Kingdom!
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:41 AM   #12
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