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Old 01-21-2009, 09:24 PM   #121
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Hearing that first Minnie-inspired giggle from DD3 was priceless!!
I love it that you're commenting as if you were there with us. You rock!
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:26 PM   #122
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Can't wait for the next installment! I'm like an addict
I aim to please, so you will get one here shortly. I posted a new Disney Driven blog if you need more: http://thedisneydrivenlife.com/
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:27 PM   #123
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I'm hooked!!! Great installment!
Glad I could "reel" you in!
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:29 PM   #124
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I love this report! I love that your MIL is my MIL's long lost yard-sale-shopping twin. And I love that your nephew's nickname is the same that we call our cat--Pooter! (How we got that out of Morris, I'll never know...)

OK. That is cute! Give Pooter a scratch or two for me .
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:32 PM   #125
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Just finished reading your trip report so far. This is putting a stitch in my side laughing so hard. Thanks for sharing your adventures and great writing.
Oh! I am so glad that you are enjoying it. If you want the "prequel", I was inspired by the good response to get a website and start blogging. I'm only a week or so into it, but I have 4 blogs up beginning the story that eventually led up to this report. I'd love for you to hop over for a couple more laughs. http://thedisneydrivenlife.com/
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:59 PM   #126
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Approaching An Epiphany?

APPROACHING AN EPIPHANY?
As we sit on a bench in Mickey’s Toontown® Fair, I am perplexed by a situation that I have never faced before. I have checked off all the things that I set out to do in the Magic Kingdom®, and I still have half a day left before I will be forcefully ejected from the park.

A quick survey of the family reveals a sweltering, uncomfortable, tired and ragged group. I return to the question that plagued me on our last visit to the Magic Kingdom®. Would our time in the Magic Kingdom® be better served by taking a break, going back to the villa, getting something substantial to eat and resting for a while? I am absolutely conflicted about this proposition.

As a NDM, naps are simply not a part of the plan. It violates the concept of maximizing every Disney minute. Why would one spend time sleeping when the park is still open for activity? Whether you are tired, uncomfortable or miserable is truly beside the point because being in a Disney park is not always about pleasure.

A NDM is wise enough to recognize that sometimes the best memories are born out of endurance. A family’s bond can emerge stronger than ever when all members of the unit work together to overcome the trials of difficult weather, unreasonably long lines and testy attitudes.

On the other hand, the Disney Vacation Club has somehow changed the Disney framework to which I am accustomed. This was something that I anticipated, but now I come face-to-face with its reality. Presently I have so much more time in Walt Disney World®, maybe “maximizing every minute” can be defined differently.

There is not so much pressure now to have every Disney minute packed with activity because there will always be next year to pick up where we left off. For this reason, maybe our minutes could be “maximized” by allowing everyone to revive themselves rather than forcing them to have fun whether they like it or not. The idea is so new, but it is something I am willing to consider.

I decide that I will present the options to the other family members, and allow them to express their opinions on the matter. I also determine that if they agree that they would enjoy a refreshing break, then I will relinquish my neuroticism on this issue and grant everyone the freedom to leave.

My proposition is met with confused facial expressions. It has never been imagined that I would consider such a move in our theme park strategy. There is a brief silence while my loved ones ponder their current circumstances. Do they want to stay and fight against the harsh elements that presently challenge us, or do they want a reprieve?

DD8 is the first one to speak, “ Mom, I don’t think we should go. Why would we leave when we don’t have to? I mean, there are still so many things that we can do here. I know that we have already gone on all of the rides, but now we can go back to all the ones that we like best. Plus, we haven’t gone in any of the shops yet. And I really wanted to look around the shops. It just doesn’t make any sense to leave right now.”

I am a bit shocked by DD8’s response. She has either read my thoughts, or she is internalizing the lifestyle of a NDM. Is this how a future NDM reasons when they are eight years old? She seems wise beyond her years. I feel as if Providence smiled upon me when I was chosen for the honor of mothering this bright, NDM prodigy.

I look to DS6 for his contribution. He appears completely exhausted, and it is logical to expect him to suggest going back to the room. So I implore, “DS6, how do you feel? Do you think you want to go to the villa for a little while and come back later?” He takes some time to deeply consider his answer and finally says, “No. I want to stay.”

It is now DD3’s turn. She has returned to sucking her thumb as if it is the source of her life’s sustenance. She has seemed fairly miserable since we hit the early afternoon. “Would you like to stay, DD3,” I ask in a tone that suggests she can freely resist the notion. But she looks at me with big eyes, removes her thumb from her mouth and definitively says, “Yes.”

Next is the opinion that can trump all other opinions. I turn towards DH for his input. I suspect he is the least inclined to stay. While he has steadily matured as a Disneyphiliac, he still is a man who appreciates a good nap. I also don’t anticipate him having a pressing need to repeat the attractions for hours and hours. “Well,” he begins, “It is incredibly hot, and I am really tired. But our dinner reservations are in a few more hours. It may be best for us to stick around until then. After dinner, we can decide whether we want to go.”

I am speechless, and I feel like I have just lived a touching and sentimental scene that would qualify for movie status. “NDM brave enough to lay her neuroticism down to accommodate needs of her family; family decides to adhere to neurotic style that has always been imposed upon them”. I am certain such a movie would bring tears to eyes all across America, for what could possibly be more moving than this moment I just lived?

It is a good feeling to evolve as a person and be willing to sacrifice what is most comfortable and familiar to me. But the greater gift is my family’s reassurance that—all along—they have approved of the regulations and indoctrination techniques that I have subjected them to.

Maybe one day in the future, as our family matures in our Disney Vacation Club membership, we will find that it suits us better to leave in the middle of our visit to a Disney theme park. Should that day ever come, it is comforting to realize that I am emotionally able to release my family to pursue this new idea. But for now, they have made clear that they not only tolerate my NDM nature but they fully embrace it, support it . . . even appreciate it. I am a little overwhelmed by this touching moment and tuck its memory deep in the purest area of my heart.
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:55 AM   #127
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When I was younger and even now, it kills me to leave the parks, but after being there the first week of June last year, I know there is no way to survive the day without a break. This only works when staying on site though. We really took advantage of EHM. Although it felt like I was swimming through the parks one night because of the humidity even at midnight.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:52 AM   #128
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Please tell me what is "The Sacred Seven"?? I love that you don't repeat rides until EVERY ride is done-that's what we do also! I have helped people plan Disney trips and always tell them to try everything once, but they always come back saying they didn't have enough time. I ask them what they got done and they reply "the kids really liked Splash Mountain we rode that like 7 times". WHAT??!!
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:29 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by mla1977 View Post
When I was younger and even now, it kills me to leave the parks, but after being there the first week of June last year, I know there is no way to survive the day without a break. This only works when staying on site though. We really took advantage of EHM. Although it felt like I was swimming through the parks one night because of the humidity even at midnight.

I expect that I will eventually evolve as you have. During that second day, leaving did seem like it might be necessary. But, yes, I would never consider leaving unless I was staying on property. My dad has us leave in the middle of the day when he would take my sister and me. He would take us all the way back to Kissimmee, and we would miss half of the day. For a kid, this was absolute torture. There just aren't words for how much I hated that!

We loved EMH! We only did the morning hours on this trip, but we were able to accomplish so much during that hour.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:33 AM   #130
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Please tell me what is "The Sacred Seven"?? I love that you don't repeat rides until EVERY ride is done-that's what we do also! I have helped people plan Disney trips and always tell them to try everything once, but they always come back saying they didn't have enough time. I ask them what they got done and they reply "the kids really liked Splash Mountain we rode that like 7 times". WHAT??!!
Hi. Here is an excerpt from the beginning that explains it:

"Now every NDM knows that there are seven basic tenets for conducting a “perfect” Disney trip, otherwise known as The Sacred Seven. These are laid out with the specific intention of designing the ideal vacation, which in turn creates the desired, addictive fascination with Disney. There is no better way to internalize these principles than by putting them into practice throughout the duration of a Walt Disney World® excursion, so vacationing in Walt Disney World® is an absolutely crucial element to the process of raising a NDM family. Without it failure is almost certain."

I haven't revealed all the tenets yet. You have to stay with me through the end of the report to learn all of them, but we are getting there.

If you haven't already, I hope you join us over at my blog/website: http://thedisneydrivenlife.com/ as well as on facebook "the Disney Driven Life". You can also friend me on facebook. I'm "J.L. Knopp". We are having a lot of fun with this Neurotic Disney Community concept.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:12 PM   #131
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Walking Down Main Street

WALKING DOWN MAIN STREET
After the question of resting has been resolved, it is decided that our family should return to Main Street, U.S.A.®. DD8 made a powerful and valid point during her well-presented argument. We had not yet fully explored the majesty of Disney’s commercial avenue.

Our family is due for a final snack before our dinner reservation rolls around, and Main Street, U.S.A.® is an ideal setting for leisurely munching. So we board the train in Mickey’s Toontown® Fair and travel around the park, getting off at the desired destination.

As we stroll down the pavement, we find a little side street that is intriguing. There are quaint little shops and even a picturesque table with chairs tucked away in this cul-de-sac. All agree that this is where we should relax while we finish up the edibles that were packed for the day. I look around at the architecture. It truly is spectacular. The attention to detail is nothing short of astounding, considering that this is an area that most guests never see. There is a cake shop, a wedding boutique and a jeweler all tucked into this tiny niche. On the upper level of one of the structures there is a small veranda adorned with hanging ferns. The other side of the street has the appearance of an antiquated office building. The windows advertise a dancing studio, talent agency and a vocal coach. As I listen carefully, I realize that there is some noise coming from the upper window of the office building. I can make out the sound of tapping shoes and a basic piano accompaniment in the style of a Rockette rehearsal, complete with a choreographer barking orders at his tiresome tappers. This is unbelievable! Disney has even gone to the trouble of providing a soundtrack to this miniscule, insignificant but completely charming little corner.

I sit quietly and nibble my muffin, fascinated by everything that my senses take in. How have I gone my entire life without ever knowing about this endearing area? This, apparently, is one of the things that I have missed out on for so many years with my frantic, “commando” way of functioning. I am a little saddened by the idea that there may be many more little places such as this that I am absolutely unaware of, and yet I find some comfort in knowing that I now have the freedom to find one or two more of these places every year when we come back.

This adorable, hiding spot inspires DD8 and I to search Main Street, U.S.A.® more thoroughly. DH, DS6, and DD3 like the idea of strolling but not necessarily exploring, so we decide to split up once again.

DD8 and I leave our sweet family for some more “girl time” in this enchanted place. It is fun to go anywhere the wind blows us simply because we can. When we pass an old-fashioned cinema, we automatically get blown into its enticing doors. For the time being, the cinema is serving as an art gallery, so we browse the beautiful pieces displayed. When we venture further in, we discover quite a few other hidden gems like a beautiful room that seems to be designated for private parties or special events. There are also small portrait studios with exquisite backdrops and props.

There are no other guests in the back of this building that I can see. I start to wonder if we have trespassed into a forbidden area accidentally, but I am fairly certain that I never saw any type of barricade. Then I make out some people in suits toward the extreme back end of the room. DD8 and I approach them to ask if our curiosity has taken us too far. As we get closer, we see something that reinforces the concept of taking time to find a treasure that may be hidden on the road less traveled.

Standing in front of a Crystal Palace photo backdrop we find the delicate and innocent Snow White. It seems likely that the men in suits are simply her bodyguards, but there is absolutely no one near this vicinity. I am a little shocked by her presence, for I can’t understand why she is standing around in an area that is not currently serving a purpose. However, when the Disney fates decide to bless you with a gift, you don’t ask why. You show gratitude and take it.

Snow White gestures that DD8 should come join her. DD8 hesitates. She is intimidated by the idea of being offered the full attention of the original Disney princess. I encourage her to proceed. After all, she wouldn’t want to offend Her Highness by remaining aloof.

She approaches the royal beauty, and Snow White immediately begins chatting away in a high-pitched yet adorable voice. I observe from a distance. I cannot hear all that these two discuss. It seems that I catch a comment here or there about the dangers of apples and a preference for strawberries.

I try not to stare, but I can hardly believe what is taking place before my eyes. My beautiful child has somehow chanced upon an exclusive audience with, arguably, the most famous Disney princess of all time. There is no rush to give another person a turn to visit with her. There are no distractions to take their focus from one another. It is just Snow White and DD8, and it seems as if time is standing still. It is a hallowed occasion, and I am afraid to speak and risk breaking the magic of moment. So I continue to wait in silence, allowing DD8 to take all the time she needs.

After a while, the men in black suits inform Snow White that it is time for her to go. She apologizes to DD8 for abruptly ending their special meeting. She must get started on making dinner for seven dwarves. DD8 graciously releases her to attend to her responsibilities and thanks her for a memory that will never be forgotten. With a big embrace and a few kisses blown to the wind, Snow White disappears from our sight as she is escorted from the building by the men in black suits.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:56 PM   #132
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Love, love, love this report. I just read all nine pages of posts straight through. As a NDM myself, I can truly appreciate your attention to detail and commitment to the plan. Any room left in the NDM club? Going to WDW with my DD8 in just 9 days and would love to add that lofty title before I return to the land of all that is good and right.

Lauren
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:48 PM   #133
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Love, love, love this report. I just read all nine pages of posts straight through. As a NDM myself, I can truly appreciate your attention to detail and commitment to the plan. Any room left in the NDM club? Going to WDW with my DD8 in just 9 days and would love to add that lofty title before I return to the land of all that is good and right.

Lauren

Absolutely! Please come join us! The club roster and my blog are here: http://thedisneydrivenlife.com/ . And if you write to me at ndm1 @ thedisneydrivenlife.com with your first name (Lauren), last initial, and homestate as well as a reminder of which title you want (NDM in your case), we will make it all official.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:04 PM   #134
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What a beautiful moment your daughter had. It is so amazing those special moments in Disney that just happen when you least expect it. What was your DD reaction after Snow White left?
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ME (40) DH (41) : DD (8) DD (4)
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:30 PM   #135
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What a beautiful moment your daughter had. It is so amazing those special moments in Disney that just happen when you least expect it. What was your DD reaction after Snow White left?
She couldn't stop smiling. It also enhanced the "girl time" factor. She's been real big into "girl time with Mommy" since this trip.
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