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Old 03-21-2009, 03:54 PM   #1
cjackearl
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The Earls meet the Princesses:A June PTR *6/13 WE LEAVE IN THE MORNING!*

Ok, actually I have a confession. We are indeed the Earls, all of whom I'll introduce shortly, and we really are going to WDW in June. princesses. Here are a couple of pictures from our last trip, before they lost that lovin' feelin'





Now on to who's who in the crew for this trip:

Me, Christine, age 39, avid reader, music lover, compulsive Disney trip planner. I'm obsessed with creating the "perfect" Disney vacation for my family. I discovered the Disboards about a year ago and have loved collecting tips and tricks from my fellow dis-ers and reading pre-trip and trip reports. I tend to be a tad scattered, so I thought writing a pre-trip report would help me gather my thoughts. Hopefully it won't confuse anyone.

DH, George, age 38, teacher, tennis coach, history buff. He tolerates my Disney ramblings and even sometimes pretends to have an opinion. He enjoys ribbing me about the Dis boards but has also thanked me for researching our Disney trips so well. He thinks this will be our last Disney trip until grandkids! Silly, silly man.

DD #1, Madeline, age 11, avid reader and story writer, silly beyond belief, thrill ride junkie, a little scattered like her mom. She's super fun to have around.


DD #2, Amelia, age 9, deep thinker, nature lover, girly girl. She can't wait to pick a pearl at the Japanese pavillion in Epcot.


DS, Ian, age 3 (4 next month), pure energy, loves to make up songs and dress up as anything and everything. He can't wait to meet Buzz Lightyear.



Table of Contents
Your baby is HOW old? Are you crazy?!
The Resort Saga, or Thank you Disney for the 4/3 Deal!
The Earl's Carriage will be a...Taurus?
ADRs
Room Pressies
The Drive
The Intinerary
April Fools!
Why this Trip is so Special to Me
Mail!
Our newest additions...chicks!
Happy Easter!
Epcot: Looking Back
Epcot: Looking Forward
Show Me the Money
Magic Kingdom: Looking Back
Magic Kingdom: Looking Forward and Ian is 4!
Random Disney Stuff
MGM: Looking Back
DHS: Looking Forward
Stroller Stress!!
Spring has Sprung and Disney Hair
Animal Kingdom: Looking Back
Animal Kingdom: Looking Forward
Disney Odds and Ends
Downtown Disney:Looking Back and Forward
The 5 Scariest Disney Minutes
Revised Itinerary and ADRs
The Packing Room
Hair Cuts and T-shirts
5 DAYS and shopping results
4 DAYS and schools out!!
2 DAYS, car boxes and t-shirts!
Leaving tomorrow!!
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Old 03-21-2009, 03:58 PM   #2
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Um, why aren't my pics coming up as pics?

Got it!
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Old 03-21-2009, 05:16 PM   #3
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Your baby is how old? Are you crazy?!

This trip has been in various planning stages for a little under 4 years. I have a son who will be 4 next month. Aww, you may say, his first trip to Disney World. Nope. You see, we found out about our little um, unexpected blessing just a few short weeks after we'd decided that our girls were at great ages to go to Disney World. After a day or so of hysteria, I looked at my husband and said, "We're still going to Disney!" He looked shocked, but knew better than to try to reason with a hormonally crazed Disney lover whose world has just been rocked. Planning that trip while planning for our baby was great fun. George Ian (He goes by Ian. One George per family is enough. was born on April 22, 2005. We left for WDW on June 10, 2005. Ian was 7 weeks old. We got lots of questions about our baby's age that trip, but know what? It couldn't have gone more smoothly. At 7 weeks Ian was sleeping 6-7 hours straight at night, napped a lot during the day, and nursed. I fed him all over Disney and we rigged his stroller up with a fan and he napped happily in it. Here's a photo at the resort pool:

Here are a couple more pictures from our 2005 trip:
O'hanas

At Chef Mickey's the characters were so sweet with the baby:

My favorite Disney photo. See Ian smiling?

We had a wonderful vacation and decided, as soon as we got home, that we'd go back when Ian was 4 or 5. Ok, my husband said 4 or 5 but I only heard 4. So my baby turns 4 next month and we'll be back at WDW when he's 4 years and 7 weeks old.

Next post: 7/4 deal, I love you!!
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:12 PM   #4
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Yeay! You started a pre-trippie!!! Your girls and Ian are just adorable!!!
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:04 PM   #5
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Yea! CP's here! I think my kids are pretty special, but I'm just the teeniest bit predjudiced.

Next installment coming up, as soon as I get some pics uploaded. Hopefully I
can figure out why my pictures are so huge.
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjackearl View Post
Yea! CP's here! I think my kids are pretty special, but I'm just the teeniest bit predjudiced.

Next installment coming up, as soon as I get some pics uploaded. Hopefully I
can figure out why my pictures are so huge.
What photo site are you using? On photobucket I always resize mine to the "large" one.
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:46 AM   #7
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The Resort Saga or Thank you Disney for the 4/3 deal!

Here are some pictures of our stay at our first Disney resort as a family, ASMo, which was a great fit for our family in 2005:
We stayed in the 101 Dalmation building


The Sorcerer Mickey pool was utilized daily in the June heat


Swimming sisters


When we left Disney in 2005 with plans to come back in 4 or 5 (4) years, I already knew 2 things about the resort we'd pick:
#1-It would be onsight, and
#2-It would be Deluxe
Onsight=lots of nice Disney perks and added vacation magic

Deluxe=room for a family of 5, all over the age of 3

For two years, whenever Disney schadefreude would hit, I'd check out all the Deluxe resorts in my old Birnbaums. This was PD (Pre Disboards), so I was making my decisions based on like 2 charts and some pretty pictures. The Beach Club just seemed to call to me every time I looked at it. We Earls are a beachy family. Christmases on Sanibel Island, growing up on Lake Michigan, seeking out water and sand every chance we get. My kids drooled all over the pictures of SAB and we all loved the idea of being so close to Epcot, one of our two favorite parks. I daydreamed about strolling over the International Gateway in the evening, having a No Way Jose for lunch, playing with my munchkins in the sand bottomed pool, and catching a movie on the beach, perhaps with a pina colada in my hand.

About 18 months ago I sat down to figure how much we'd need to save (a lot!) and how we'd do it. I called Disney to get some figures and it was then I found out about POR, the one moderate that could accomodate 5 people. I wanted to plug my ears and say "la, la ,la, la" when the CM was telling me about POR, because now I knew the financially responsible part of me "should" consider booking here versus BC. It would be 1/2 the price, and it looked pretty nice. We'd like it, I'm sure, but...I just couldn't let go of BC. Hmm...how about a compromise.We can do a split stay! 4 nights at POR/ 4 nights at BC. I'd decided to book as soon Disney opened up our dates, which were June 15-23. Unfortunately, the financially responsible part of me (who invited her to this party?!) just kept thinking about all the money we could save at POR. August came along and I had my AAA TA book 5 nights POR/ 3 nights BC with the DP added to the first reservation. Yea!!

By this time I was on the disboards daily, discovering all kinds of helpful information, so when the buy 4 nights get 3 free deal hit, I knew about it right away. I did some quick math. I called my TA and told her to please book us in at BC for ALL 8 NIGHTS with the Dining plan for the length of our stay. YEA!!!!! I got 5 more nights at BC and 3 more nights of the dining plan for $200. Thank you Walt Disney World!!!!

Forward to February of this year. That darn financially responsible part of me (why can't she just leave me alone?!) started looking at that 8th night. The 4/3 deal is technically only saving money on the first 7 nights, so that 8th night is really rack rate. I'd only originally planned on 8 nights because it would make an even number of nights for a split stay. If we dropped that
8th night, plus the 8th night of the dining plan, we'd save over $600!! Sold. With that change, I could mail off my final payment to AAA. We're payed in full!! No more changes for the Earl clan. June 15-22 Beach Club, here we come!!

Next post: The Earls carriage to Disney World will be.....a Taurus?!
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:04 PM   #8
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You started a TR! It makes me sad to see your daughters too old for princesses!! I don't want to think about Ainsley getting that old. I'm looking forward to more!
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:10 PM   #9
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and by the way - you are way better than me - I'd take that $600 you'd have saved and figured out how to spend more time in the world!!
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:14 PM   #10
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We have never explored Beach Club but from everything I have read and seen, it is just lovely -- it was our first choice on the 4/3 deal before I went with my heart's desire of Animal Kingdom Lodge.
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura.bora View Post
You started a TR! It makes me sad to see your daughters too old for princesses!! I don't want to think about Ainsley getting that old. I'm looking forward to more!
I don't think they'd run the other way, but they don't hold them on a pedestal anymore. They grow up way too fast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura.bora View Post
and by the way - you are way better than me - I'd take that $600 you'd have saved and figured out how to spend more time in the world!!
It was that darn alter ego that made me save the money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charleston Princess View Post
We have never explored Beach Club but from everything I have read and seen, it is just lovely -- it was our first choice on the 4/3 deal before I went with my heart's desire of Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Gotta go with the heart's desire! You'll be on at AK Lodge. I know my kids would like that resort also, but there are too many of us Earls. I can't wait to get to BC!
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:43 PM   #12
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The Earls carriage will be....a Taurus?

Between SW Michigan and WDW there are 1200 miles. An airplane will get you there in 2 hours and a car will get you there in 18 hours. Guess which way we're going?

Actually, every horribly long black driving cloud has a silver lining. We'll be leaving WDWto go visit my dad and step-mom, who moved to NC in October.


What will we be driving? That has changed in the last month. We own a mini van which we lovingly refer to as The Beast. We bought it right before our son was born and it has suffered no end of major, expensive and unusual repair nightmares. We've considered on more than one occassion whether we should just cut our losses, but every time we've decided we didn't want to take on a car payment and, after all, nearly everything had been replaced now, what else could possibly go wrong? Answer=always something else
We'd decided we'd have The Beast checked out before we drove it to Disney and that would be that.

Anyway, about 2 weeks ago my in-laws called and offered to let us drive one of their vehicles to WDW. They'd realized they'd have plenty of lease miles left over and so, did we want to take it? Seriously?! YES!!

Here's the possible "issue": we'll be going from a mini van to a Taurus X with 5 people and our luggage.
Here are pictures of both said vehicles:
This is the type of van we own. Our actual van would have an evil twinkle in its headlamps.


This is a Taurus X, which is a crossover that has an optional 3rd row of seats.

Here's where I need your help, please. I need suggestions to keep the troops content on our long drive, and I need some packing suggestions. Pretty please?


Next post? ADRs!!
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:20 PM   #13
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Hi! The cars look pretty similar in size? Maybe just the photo, I am sure there is more headroom in the mini-van, and amenities... re the trip, let me think on that. I know there is a fun game called car travel bingo -- I bought it for my kids, I will go find it to get the info for you, it is fun. anyway, let me keep thinking.
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:31 PM   #14
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The Taurus is more of a station wagon type vehicle, so not as much verticle space. If we didn't need the third row of seats we'd be in great shape, but all three of my kids right next to each other for 18 hours is a recipe for a very unhappy mommy.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:17 PM   #15
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To be perfectly honest our lifesavers have always been the DVD player and the Nintendo DS. Also, last year I made Disney fun books for the kids with word searches, coloring games, mazes, Disney trivia, etc. Mad Libs are also a big hit for us on car trips -- the kids manage to crack themselves up with them.
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