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Old 01-07-2009, 12:49 PM   #1
MouseEarsJenny
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A MouseEars View of Grand Gatherings - Complete with Over 500 Photos!

I've added an index at the bottom of this post so that you don't have to read about the 80 times I changed my mind booking dining or making resort reservations or whatever. Unless that sort of thing interests you. But I warn you - if you only use the index, you'll miss out on all of Scott's snarky replies, and that's half the fun.

Here's the bare essentials:

Who:
6 adults
5 children

What:
Much needed vacation

Where:
1-3 Days Travel (Planes, Trains, and Automobiles)
7 Days Disney (at Coronado Springs Resort)
7 Days Universal/Wet n' Wild (at Westgate Vacation Villas)
1-3 More Days Travel (Planes, Trains, and Automobiles)

When:
July 2-20, 2009

Why:
Why not?

How:
Very, very carefully.

Index of Pre-Trip Report:
A Little More Detail on the "Who" -In Which We Describe The People Going With Us
DH Checks In -In Which FlightlessDuck Gives His Viewpoint
Happy Dancin' - Booking Day -In Which We Describe Our First of Many Calls To Disney's Grand Gatherings Line
Can't Leave Yet - Might As Well Shop -In Which MouseEarsJenny Shows Off Her Handmade Autograph Books
Steamboat Willie -In Which We Discover How Funny and Perverse Mickey Was
T-Shirts for Chef Mickey's -In Which We Make Patriotic T-Shirts (And Promptly Destroy One)
ADR Day -In Which Flightless Duck Recounts Our ADR Successes and Failures
Princess Party Doubles As Planning -In Which Our Nieces Get Princess Dresses For Akershus
Oh Happy Day! -In Which We Pay Off The Trip And Buy Clothes And Cinderella's Ball Gown
Kairi Checks In -In Which Our Older Child Gets Jealous And Decides She Wants To Write A Trippie Too
Nicky Checks In -In Which Our Younger Child Follows Suit
Final Trip Details -In Which I Detail Our Final (No More Changes, Now I Mean It - Anybody Want a Peanut?) Itinerary

Trip Report
We're On Our Way! (Part One) -In Which Some of Our Party Leaves. And Comes Back. And Leaves Again (With Feeling!)
Riding The Rails - In Which We Experience The AutoTrain
Flightless Duck's POV - In Which DH Adds His Two Cents
Welcome Home - In Which We Check In to Coronado Springs
Food, Glorious Food! - In Which We Discover the Joys of Wolfgang Puck Express
You Parked Where? - In Which We Discover that CSR Rooms Are Beautiful, But Have No Self-Serve Luggage Carts
Eating with a Mouse or Fourth of July Fireworks? - In Which We Get The Best of Both Worlds
That's Why It's Called the MAGIC Kingdom - In Which Pixie Dust Triumphs Over Cranky
Give Me a Break (Not a Broken Toe) - In Which Nothing Stops Our Morning Fun
Here Comes The Sun - In Which We Soak Up the Sun at the Dig Site
'Ohana Means YUMMY, I Don't Care What Lilo Says - In Which We Stuff Ourselves Silly
Is it Tomorrow(land) Yet? - In Which We Wrap Up A Long Day
Princess Overdose - In Which We Dine Royally
Pretty Froggy, I Make For You - In Which We Almost Make It Around The World Showcase - Next Time, For Sure!
Stop the Restaurant, I Wanna Throw Up - In Which We Learn Where NOT To Eat
Hooray for Hollywood! - In Which We Survive Toy Story Rope Drop Mania
And The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down... - In Which The Weather ALMOST Defeats Mickey
The Infamous "EPCOT Day" In Which We Develop A Bad Case of the Crankies
Happy Birthday To Me In Which We Have A Wonderful Magic Kingdom Morning
I Wish I May, I Wish I Might In Which All My Birthday Wishes Come True
Do We HAVE To Go To Animal Kingdom? In Which We Drag Our Feet And Get Frozen Chai
Detour to Ireland In Which Scott and I Sneak Off To Raglan Road
Even MORE Magic Kingdom In Which We Go Back To MK One More Time
Just a Few More Minutes, Please In Which We Make Every Excuse Not to Switch to Universal
Why Are We In Florida, And Not At Disney World? In Which We Do Not Like Universal Studios
Oh. That's Why People Like This PlaceIn Which We DO Like Islands of Adventure
Searching For Seuss In Which We Seek The Perfect Picture
Transportation Blues In Which We Go Nowhere, Slowly
So What Else Is In Orlando? In Which We See Enough Of The Non-Disney Parts To Last Forever
Oh, The Places We'll Go In Which We Spend More Time With Dr. Seuss
Sneaking Back to Disney In Which We Go Back Where We Belong
Saying Goodbye...With Feeling In Which We Get Into A Restaurant Sans ADR And Leave While We're Ahead
Departure Day In Which We Leave
To Sum Up... In Which I Babble A Bit More
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:20 PM   #2
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A Little More Detail on the "Who"

First, let me introduce you to our crew. We've never actually vacationed together, so this should be an "adventure". We do take lots of day trips as a family, though, and we're a pretty close-knit bunch, so I think it will work out. Especially since they're letting me be in charge of Disney.

There are essentially three family units here. First, we have Grandma and Grandpa.



Grandpa has never been to Disney. Grandma has been a few times, but for one reason or another, she always misses the World Showcase, so that's a huge priority for her. They may skip the Universal half of the trip and head right to Clearwater to the home of some dear friends.

Next, my sister's family.



Barry and Cyndy have been to Disney before, but have never stayed on property or eaten in a Disney restaurant. They have a timeshare at Westgate and are responsible for the Universal half of our trip. They love Universal, and can't wait to show us around. (We've never been!)

They have three beautiful daughters:



Hannah, who will be 9, is a ride dare-devil. She will go on any coaster, any crazy spinning ride - she has no fear. She's our little rocker - the princesses won't interest her as much as the High School Musical stage show. (But since that show makes MY daughter break out into hives, it could get interesting!)



Faith, who will be 4, will be all about the princesses. If it's pink, and sparkly, it's got her name on it. I don't know how she'll handle the dark rides, but she'll trip happily onto any brightly lit thrill ride provided she's tall enough.



Juli, who will be 2, is the party girl. If we're all happy, she'll be happy. She'll love parades, fireworks, and (obviously)confetti. If there's music, she'll be dancing to it.

Next comes our immediate family.



Scott (who posts as Flightless Duck here) and I adore Disney. We would live there, if we could. We've never been to Universal, but I'm curious about it, and his attitude about it is improving. We only have two problems standing in our way right now - we still have to finish paying for this trip, and we're working our butts off (literally) to lose weight before we leave, too. Those are the ONLY reasons we're glad we have six months until we go!

We have two kids, and we think they're pretty wonderful:



Kairi, age 12, is more hesitant than her cousin Hannah, but generally pretty daring. She's ridden most of the coasters, but won't ride Mission:Space. Why? In her words, "I don't want to die!" However, she's a girly girl to the bottom of her shoes, and will love every minute of princesses and sparkle. She works waaaaay too hard at home, and plays about 7 instruments at last count, so we want her to relax and stress less on this trip before she has to come home to band camp.



Nicky, who will be 9, is a study in contradictions. He's a tough guy on the football field, and a complete wimp when it comes to thrill rides. He'll slide down a dark, enclosed 50' waterslide, but try to get him on Soarin' and he's shaking in his shoes. He fluctuates between the sweetest child you ever met to the grumpiest whiner that ever was (mostly dependent on his state of tired). As the only boy in our crew, he can sometimes feel a bit left out, but that's balanced by the fact that he and Hannah share an age and are both zany and energetic.

We're going to try to stay together a good chunk of the time, but as you can see, it's gonna be a tricky plan!
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:52 PM   #3
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Dining Plans - Version 1

We've been debating our dining plans and trying to decide where we'd most like to eat on our trip. We'll be using the dining plan, primarily for convenience, although we think it might save us some money, too. Even if it doesn't, it's worth it to us to have so much pre-paid when we're travelling with such a large group.

Here's what we're thinking:

Day 1 - Chef Mickey's
We're not planning to even attempt a park, since our arrival day is the fourth of July. So we figure we can eat at Chef Mickey's to get the magic started - our nieces have never met the mouse! Then we'll probably ride the monorail and maybe find a spot to watch the electric water pageant.

Day 2 - Magic Kingdom

Lunch: Cosmic Ray's
We might split up with our group for some lunches, but probably not today. We love Cosmic Ray's, especially if we can get seats near the band.

Dinner: Everything Pop
We think we'll opt not to use a table service tonight since everyone will be so eager to get back to the park for fun after our nap. Plus, that saves a table service for our last day.

Day 3 - Epcot (Future World)

Lunch: Sunshine Seasons
Scott is concerned about the crowds in the Land pavillion, and the fact that our touring plan will have us on the other side of Future World by this time, but Sunshine Seasons seems to have the most variety in kids meals, and since two of our little ones just miss the cut-off for adult menus, we're leaning toward eating here.

Dinner: Le Cellier
And this is why I'll have Scott's cooperation at lunch. This is his primary stipulation for our trip. Yeah, we know it's not in Future World. But it's close-ish.

Day 4 - Animal Kingdom

Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ
I'll be eating chicken nuggets or PB&J here to give my son my plate of ribs! (Shhh... don't tell anyone - I didn't actually think the ribs were that great last time.)

Dinner: ?????????
We're still trying to figure this one out. Kind of thinking WCC, but Scott's not sure about the antics, and we will just have had ribs at lunch. Maybe 'Ohana, but I haven't heard nice things about the food lately. I really wanna go to Boma, but the extended family isn't keen on adventurous food.

Day 5 - Disney Studios

Lunch: Toy Story Pizza Planet
Gotta love the atmosphere. Plus the kids love the rice krispie Mickey Ears.

Dinner: Mama Melrose
We loved this on our first trip, thought it wasn't as good the second time, but will go back because we want the Fantasmic seats!!

Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

Lunch: El Pirata Y El Perico
I like Mexican. It's my birthday. So :P.

Dinner: Crystal Palace
I like Eeyore. It's my birthday. See a theme developing?

Day 7 - Epcot (World Showcase)

Lunch: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Princess Lunch
Not overwhelmed by the menu, but we're travelling with four girls. And it's our last day. And Grandma REALLY wants a day in the World Showcase. (Which say what you will, isn't the most exciting place for kids.)

Of course, this is all subject to change, until 90 days out. Except LeCellier. And my birthday. And Chef Mickey's.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:48 PM   #4
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OK, some thoughts from the other half.

I'm really excited about going back. I'm always happiest on vacation, and this is the Happiest Place on Earth . It's going to be exciting to share it with everyone. I sometimes worry that there are going to be personality clashes and that 11 people is a lot to handle, but I really shouldn't be borrowing trouble.

Dates: I really would have preferred going in June, but then Hannah would still be in school (how unfair would that be?). So we are going over the Fourth of July. Ugh.

Driving: I would have been happier flying, but with gas prices down so far now, I can't really justify the expense. This time we are going over two days (one stop over) instead of three. We plan on taking I-95 the whole way down. The last two time we drove, we avoided Washington. It will be an adventure.

The Resort: I've never had a problem with the "thin walls" at Pop, and the pools and the food are great, but I do feel like there is too many people. There is always the worry about the rumor that it's closing, but I figure the worst that will happen is that they will just upgrade us for free. Because of the expense, I will be happy to go here again, but next time I want to go to one of the moderates or maybe even the Polynesian.

Universal: Never been there. Interested in seeing what it is like. It's too bad that the Harry Potter section won't be open yet. I am also slightly sad that the Back to the Future ride was closed before I had a chance to ride it, but I'll go on The Simpsons, so that's OK.

Dining: Le Cellier and Chef's Mickeys are a must for me, I see them being staples of every WDW trip from now on. I'm not entirely happy with Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, but you win some, you lose some. I will probably find something I like, but I would rather have done Mexican or Asian food. I am pushing for having one day where the three families split up for dinner. Preferably somewhere in the middle of the trip. Cyndy likes the idea of going to WCC so the 11 of us don't stick out so much (and because the food looks good). And while the food does look tasty, I was hoping for one quiet dinner. Like Jenn says, we would like to try Boma. If we split up that day for dinner, everybody gets what they want.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:06 AM   #5
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Oh, I love TR's and PTR's that are written by a husband/wife. It is great to read both sides!

About Universal: I did both US and IOA. I was bored w/ US, but did have fun at IOA, but I like rollercoasters. Their log flume ride is great and I was impressed with the Dr. Suess area. However, it isn't the same as Disney and I did miss the 'magic' of WDW. My last visit was in 2004, and no plans of going back anytime soon.

Sea World: Again last visit was in 2004, but we are spending 1 day there this trip so the kiddos can meet Shamu. I think they will enjoy it and I do like the sea lion and otter show so it will be fun to go back. For me, Sea World is a once every 4-5 year visit.

We've driven a few times to WDW, and take NJ Turnpike to I-95 straight down as well. Depending on the time of day we hit the DC area, we avoid it as well!

Looking forward to hearing more!
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:37 PM   #6
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Waiting is the Hardest Part

But getting the Disney Vacation DVD in the mail helps.

I was a bit disappointed, though. I'm immensely fond of the planning DVDs, but this one wasn't quite as good as some of the past offerings. The whole "frolicking in the clouds telling your dreams" theme was a bit cheesy to me.

Still, seeing all those colorful and familiar icons and attractions was great. So, in honor of the planning DVD, here's our current plan for exploring the Magic Kingdom. We have two days there, so the first day will be dedicated to hitting Fantasyland early, and the next will be for tackling the mountains. DH and DD are bummed about Space Mountain, but I'm more bummed about TTA. There's rumors that TTA may run periodically, so I'll just hope for the best.

By the way, yes we DO plan our touring strategy 6 months in advance. It gives us a great excuse to debate our favorite rides.

On our first MK day, we're planning to:
Arrive at opening.
Hit Fantasyland and cover the bases - Dumbo, Pooh, Peter Pan, IASW, and especially Philharmagic.
Then we'll head over to HM, POTC, Jungle Cruise, and the Country Bears, maybe using FP for Jungle Cruise if the line is nasty.
Last, we'll walk to Tomorrowland to eat at Cosmic Ray's and pick up a FP for Buzz for later on.
Hopefully, we'll be able to convince the rest of the family to go back to Pop with us for a nap or swim. We won't plan on heading back until early evening. Then, we'll hit the attractions still open in Tomorrowland (grumble), particularly when the parade empties the place out, and call it a night.

Our second MK day will have us splitting up in the morning because Grandma, maybe Grandpa, and the younger kids won't be able to handle Splash and BTMR. So we'll probably send them to the Hall of Presidents and Tom Sawyer's island. Then we'll hit anything we missed the first day, or go back to things we particularly liked, ending up in Toontown Fair for the little ones.
After lunch, we'll nap and such again, and make our way back for my birthday dinner at Crystal Palace. From there, Spectro and Wishes and the long line for buses at closing. I have to figure out the best spot to plant a group of 11 to watch Spectro that will let us get over to the castle to see Tink fly over. Wish me luck.

Of course, all bets are off if we get picked as Magic Kingdom Family of the Day again!
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Villainess View Post
Oh, I love TR's and PTR's that are written by a husband/wife. It is great to read both sides!
Well, dh will definitely give his perspective. Even though he's probably wrong.

Quote:
About Universal: I did both US and IOA. I was bored w/ US, but did have fun at IOA, but I like rollercoasters. Their log flume ride is great and I was impressed with the Dr. Suess area. However, it isn't the same as Disney and I did miss the 'magic' of WDW. My last visit was in 2004, and no plans of going back anytime soon.
That's what I'm a little worried about. We HAVE an amusement park five minutes from our house. My kids won't even bother riding the rides there anymore because they're bored with them. (But they do use the waterpark part all summer!) Disney is different because of the 'magic' and I'm hoping that Universal is more than just thrill rides. It does sound that way from what I've heard, so I'll keep an open mind and encourage the rest of my family to do so as well!

Quote:
Sea World: Again last visit was in 2004, but we are spending 1 day there this trip so the kiddos can meet Shamu. I think they will enjoy it and I do like the sea lion and otter show so it will be fun to go back. For me, Sea World is a once every 4-5 year visit.
I think our family will LOVE SeaWorld. We have annual passes to our local zoo and go to aquariums nearly every vacation. We'll just have to remember LOTS of sunscreen with all that water in the July sun!

Quote:
We've driven a few times to WDW, and take NJ Turnpike to I-95 straight down as well. Depending on the time of day we hit the DC area, we avoid it as well!
Well, we used to take a really LOOOOOOOONG way around where we'd go west all the way to Harrisburg and then follow (I think) I-64 south through the mountains of Virginia (which does have the benefit of being really pretty). It adds HOURS to the trip, though. We always thought it was a fair trade off to avoid DC, but I think if we time it right, we could lose those miles and hours without hitting traffic. Famous last words, right?

Quote:
Looking forward to hearing more!
Thanks!
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MouseEarsJenny View Post
On our first MK day, we're planning to:
mourn the loss of Space Mountain. I am really disappointed this is going to be closed most of 2009. The funny thing is that the 2009 Disney DVD doesn't say a single thing about Space Mountain. It's as if it doesn't exist.

However, Pirates was getting refurbed the last time we were at MK, so I'm glad we will be able to ride that this time. And I can't wait to see the new stuff in Haunted Mansion.

On our second day, I am still deciding whether I will be going with the Adventurous Group or the Wimp Brigade. I think I might like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but I'm still iffy on it. And I did not enjoy Splash Mountain in 2002, but I think I might like to try it again. I do love the Hall of Presidents, and we haven't gotten there either time we have gone as a family.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:11 PM   #9
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HAPPY DANCIN' - Booking Day

Had a very exciting hour on the phone this morning - FINALLY got our gathering actually booked. I've been trying to make absolutely sure that everything was in place and I had everyone's information before I made the big call. Of course, I didn't realize the call would be quite THAT big - goodbye 58 cell minutes!

After navigating the automatic system for a bit, I was put on hold to the soundtrack to Haunted Mansion which eventually dissolved into static. Last time I called Disney (3 years ago) it did the same thing. How can a company so high tech not be able to handle hold music?

Anyway, I finally got through to a wonderful CM named Harriet. She told me we needed a name for our grand gathering, which I had known, but forgot about until she asked for one. I completely blanked, and tried to remember the cheesy "four princesses and a pirate" idea we had planned on using. Since my mom, my sister and I have all married since we shared a name, just using a last name didn't really work. Harriet suggested "Fourth of July Celebration" since we were arriving on the Fourth and I decided to go with that. I've always loved the Fourth!

She explained about needing three reservation numbers rather than just one because "not only is Disney the happiest place on Earth, we try to be the safest place on Earth, so in keeping with Homeland Security guidelines..." Long story short, I have lots of numbers to remember!

It was very funny though - I asked if I would still be able to access all of the reservations since I was paying for them all. She said "Frankly, Disney will take anyone's money. If you want to give them money, they're not going to say no."

Then we got down to the serious business of data, data, data. She went through the whole cancellation policy with me, explaining that upgrades never cost change fees, so if I won Powerball and decided to put everyone in the Vice-Presidential Suite at Grand Floridian, that would be fine. Unless of course, it was 6 days before the trip, and then there would be a fee for expressing me the new paperwork. But she figured that if I won Powerball, that $10 fee wouldn't bother me. I did tell her it was my birthday, because she asked. She also noted that it was Gordi's first trip. She told me all about the celebrations and explained that almost ANYTHING could be a celebration. They are really encouraging people to list things to celebrate! She also said she noted on our reservation that Scott loves Le Cellier. Which seemed a weird thing to note, but it's true, so whatever!

While all the ressies and credit card stuff processed, she walked me through the grand gatherings experiences. I was SOOOOO tempted by the Safari Celebration, but I knew Scott would kill me if I messed with his dining list without asking! However, when she got to describing the Magical Fireworks Voyage (which is out of pocket) and then said that she had availability for all the experiences while we were there, I caved. (I am an EASY mark for salespeople!) Seriously, though - she wasn't pressuring me at all, I just loved the way it sounded. And when she said it was available Saturday nights, leaving from the Contemporary, and that it went past the Electric Water Parade and included pirates and Peter Pan....

Okay, so let's get to the point - WE'RE TAKING A FIREWORKS CRUISE ON THE FOURTH OF JULY!!!! How perfect is that??? Dinner at Chef Mickey's, pirate-themed cruise, fireworks over the castle with no mob leaving the gates...

Yes, I know. We're supposed to go to bed EARLY so we can hit the Magic Kingdom EARLY.

We'll have to think about that schedule. Yes, indeed we will.

Anyway, after adding $500 to our package, we wrapped up the call. She was excited that she had come up with the name for our "Fourth of July Celebration" and now we were going to be celebrating the Fourth in style. She said it had been "absolutely delightful" to help me today. I know they are supposed to be really polite. I know it's in their job descriptions. But Harriet in grand gatherings is an absolute doll, and she fills that job description to a T. It made my ENTIRE day to get a dose of pixie dust without the 16 hour trip.

Who knew I could be so happy to spend $8000???
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:05 AM   #10
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Woo Hoo! Glad you have it booked! Oh, in past 4th of July trips, they usually have a 'dry run' of the 4th fireworks on July 3rd so if you want to view in in park and then on water, I'd recommend that!

If you can plan to avoid driving through the DC metro area between 4 - 7pm you should be fine with traffic.
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:10 PM   #11
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Can't Leave Yet.... Might As Well Shop!

Picked up some fun things at Michael's last night for the trip. First, I found this bin full of Disney Princess/Fairy stuff for $1.

I got all of the little girls a lanyard:


And a notebook for their road trip buckets:


Course, now I gotta find something similar in pirates or Star Wars or Mickey for Nick.

I don't intend for the girls to carry their own KTTW/Fastpasses, but I thought if I got pouches for the lanyards, they could keep their Disney gift cards for souvenirs in there. I might tear them apart and sew velcro on them to make them break-away. It would be easier to steal that way, but they won't get hung up on something and choke to death, either! (I'm thinking that's the more important consideration!) My two got gift cards for Christmas from a very sweet co-worker of Scott's. The other girls are getting them for their spring birthdays. (shh)

Then I found these star shaped chipboard albums for $1.



I decided they would make perfect autograph books. Today, I have a snow day, so I created the first one:



I had planned to make one for each child, but I wasn't sure five stars would be enough space for the number of character dinners we have planned. Also, it occured to me that other visitors would be HATING us if we took the time to have each character sign five autograph books! So I decided to make two books, each with half of the stars I bought. That way, my kids and my sister's kids can each have a book.

I just hope they'll be big enough for the characters to sign. They're about 5-6 inches across. We actually NEVER bothered with autographs - didn't even tell the kids you could get them. But last trip, one of the prizes the kids got when we were chosen as family of the day was an autograph book and pen. And once they got started, that was the end of that!
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:39 AM   #12
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Is It Monday Yet?

I have been on edge since I heard they were extending the 4/3 deal through August 15th. I'm thinking the 4th is likely to be a blackout date, but I just cannot wait until Monday to call and find out. Getting an extra day and an upgrade to Coronado Springs if this deal works out is just too darn exciting!!!!

*breathe*

Of course, then we'll have to change our WHOLE plan, but that just gives me something to do for the next four months.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:42 PM   #13
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Woohoo!

I got my upgrade!!!!!!

Thanks to the 4/3 deal, and an additional $340, we now have 8 days and 7 nights at Coronado Springs!!!!!!

I'm so happy!

Now I've got to plan all over again!
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:36 PM   #14
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Once More, With Feeling

Okay, so just when I was getting a handle on the first plan through, I decided to completely re-plan. Ah well, gives me something to do.

Right now, we're mostly still in we've-got-to-pay-for-this mode. We've never had a trip price of this magnitude before, so we're having to tighten our budget and do some Ebaying of stuff we've MEANT to sell for years to finish up the trip funding. We're not worried - we just might have to lose some extras like park hoppers or the fireworks cruise if we screw up. But it's going to be much more fun planning for this trip after May 20th when it's all paid off.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure my best plan of attack for getting one of those gorgeous newly renovated rooms at CSR. I mean, have you SEEN these??



Yowsa! Much better than the garish look the rooms had before. That was always my one qualm when I saw pictures of the resort. Clearly, they fixed that. But I SOOOOO want a renovated room for my stay. So I think I will try the faxing a request routine a few days before we arrive.

We also think we've fixed up our dining plans. I'm still not completely happy with them, but at the moment, here's the revised plan:

Saturday, July 4th
Arrive in Florida
Check In
Pick up Priority Seating Printout
Verify Hours of Operation
Explore Coronado Springs
Dinner at Chef Mickey’s
Magical Fireworks Voyage

Sunday, July 5th
Breakfast at Resort
Magic Kingdom
Lunch at Cosmic Ray’s
Nap, etc. at Resort
Dinner at Pepper Market
Magic Kingdom

Monday, July 6th
Breakfast at Resort
Epcot – Future World
Lunch at Sunshine Seasons
Nap, etc. at Resort
Epcot – Le Cellier Dinner

Tuesday, July 7th
Breakfast at Resort
Animal Kingdom
Lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue
Nap, etc. at Resort
Dinner at Whispering Canyon Café

Wednesday, July 8th
Breakfast at Resort
Disney Hollywood Studios
Lunch at Toy Story Pizza Planet
Nap, etc. at Resort
Disney Hollywood Studios – Mama Melrose Dinner
Fantasmic!

Thursday, July 9th
Breakfast at Resort
Magic Kingdom
Lunch at El Pirata Y El Perico
Nap, etc. at Resort
Dinner – Crystal Palace
Spectromagic
Wishes!

Friday, July 10th
Epcot – World Showcase
Lunch – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Dinner – World Showcase Counter Service

Saturday, July 11th
Check Out
Magic Kingdom
Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern

Of course, to be honest, I have no idea why I'm even posting that, since it's totally dependent on July hours and Fantasmic times, which will be published mere days before our 90 day mark. *sigh*

Meanwhile, the kids heard me mention "MFV" to Scott. I was trying to hide the fireworks voyage from them, and everyone else - for two reasons. One, if we have to drop it off the reservation to pay for the trip, I don't want anyone disappointed. Two, I'd like to have some surprises. Our last trip was a total surprise, and I enjoyed the magic of that. Anyway, so they heard me mention it, and decided it stood for "Magical Fairy Vincent". I have no idea where they come up with these things. So anyway, Magical Fairy Vincent has become a running gag in the house. I'll just blame anything Disney that goes wrong on him.
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:06 PM   #15
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100 Days Out - Happy Dancin'



I think I'm really going bananas here. I've planned our itineraries, I've planned our dining (6 or 8 times), I even have a list of directions to myself for calling for ADRs two Sundays from now. (Reads something like "Book Chef Mickey's. If not available, try earlier. Try later. Try lunch. Try alternate dates x, y, and z. Try lunch on dates x, y, z. Book Le Cellier. If Chef Mickey's date is....) You get the idea.

Do you suppose there are psychiatrists for Disney-triggered OCD?

Now I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to obsess about the half of the vacation I'm not allowed to plan. I've been looking at reviews of my sister's timeshare, trying to figure out Universal's ticketing, worrying that the timeshare people will want Scott and I to listen to a pitch (which is SOOOO not happening)....

What I HAVEN'T done is made progress on my weight loss. *sigh* I'm going to have to break out my dreaded workout DVDs, that's all there is to it. If only I could DIS while I exercise.

I'm still looking for little Disney toys and games for the road, but am changing my mind about flying vs. driving every few minutes as rates change. Nick (8) is deathly afraid of flying, though, and it's not exactly my cup of tea either. Then you see headlines like the terrible one this week and think "what if?"

But man, 3 hours by plane - so tempting.

My sister has bought the most ADORABLE outfits for her girls for the Fourth of July. She always has the cutest clothes for them. We're not going to try and match everywhere because it would just be WAY too much hassle, but we are all going to wear red, white and blue on the Fourth. I figure that will look great in the group portrait at Chef Mickey's.

It's even more stressful waiting since we can't really spend much right now, as all our discretionary money is going right into the Disney fund. We did win the free Universal super bowl ticket, though, so that's cool!

So I guess, to sum up... at 100 days out... we're still waiting.

Man, I better not have to wait in any lines once we get there after all this!
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