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Old 04-22-2009, 11:03 PM   #1
nancy drew
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Welcome to Our Family Time! Lots of pics! Trip in Progress as of 4/30!!!

I keep meaning to start one of these, and then life gets in the way! So now is as good a time as any, seeing as how we leave in a week!

We are a family of 3: I am 35 and divorced, my daughter is 5 and adorable, and my son is 3.5 and quite the character.

When I was pregnant with my son, and recently separated from my (now) XH, I took my daughter to Disney World for the first time. She was 15 months old, and she loved every minute of it.

One of my favorite pics from that trip:


The following year my XH and I were attempting to reconcile, and we took both kids to WDW. We had an amazing time, and I thought this was a new beginning for our family.

Fireworks!


But later that year, things fell apart and I asked XH to leave. It was the toughest decision I have ever made but it was absolutely the best thing for myself and the kids. My mom lives in Florida part time, so I brought the kids to visit her and we took them on a short trip to WDW. Once again we enjoyed ourselves and I took the kids around the parks by myself a few times. I guess that was the beginning of my independence.

A favorite photo from that trip, he wouldn't stop staring at her!!!


Me, after losing a bunch of weight, with the kids:


The following year at vacation time I had a tough time justifying the cost of our annual trip to WDW. But after perusing this board (and exploring forums outside of the WDW ones) I found that a trip to DLR could be less expensive, and that DLR was actually well-suited to families with younger children. So I decided to take the kids to California!

We stayed at the Park Vue, which I would not recommend unless you absolutely do not care about your accommodations. I really couldn't picture the layout of the area, even with all of the helpful maps, so I wanted to be as close as possible to the entrance to the parks. Well, once we got there I saw that other hotels aren't really THAT far from the parks, and they are easily walkable. I had read so many conflicting reports about the walk from the HoJo, for example. Some people say it is SO FAR!!!!! While others feel it isn't that far at all. I'll have further insight on the HoJo after next week .

Anyway, we truly enjoyed ourselves at DLR last year. It was so different from WDW, and yet still there were similarities. I found I could rely on instinct when navigating my way through the park. There were times where I thought "Hmmm, I need to get to Fantasyland, how would I get there if this were MK?" and lo and behold, I was right.

Some of my favorite photos from that trip:











One of my very favorite memories: charades with Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the queen. They were acting out various Disney movies, rides, and characters:


DS cautiously approached the queen...


They huddled to come up with their final charade...


The Haunted Mansion!


So this year I had enough airline miles for us to go on vacation! I couldn't get flights to Orlando to take advantage of the 4/3 promotion, so it's back to DLR! This time we are staying at the HoJo. So many people talk about it, I have to try it out!

So we leave in a week, and this is (hopefully) going to be my pre-trip report, my in-progress report, and my post-trip report. Thanks for stopping in!
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Last edited by nancy drew; 05-01-2009 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:43 PM   #2
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I really look forward to what you have to come. I hope you all have a magical time!
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:56 AM   #3
DizNee Luver
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Thank you for the great pictures!!! I hope you have a great trip & look forward to the updates!!
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:13 PM   #4
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sounds like fun, looing forward to reading more....
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:28 PM   #5
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Great pictures! I can't wait to hear more.
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Old 04-24-2009, 03:46 PM   #6
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Can't wait to read more of your trip report!!! You will love hojos!! Esp with little kids! Have fun!
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Old 04-24-2009, 04:30 PM   #7
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Have fun!

Kudos to you for embracing your independence! I know exactly what that is like! I find that DLR is indeed very accomodating to younger children. I took my DD2 for the first time when she was almost 1! Everyone is my family said I was crazy for taking her b/c she would not enjoy it. Boy were they wrong. She still talks about seeing Mickey's house (SLeeping Beauty Castle). She will be so excited to see it again in July! Hope you and your family have a wonderful trip! Cannot wait to read more!
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:44 PM   #8
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Yay! Visitors!

Disneydreamer74, that is exactly what I was told when I took DD at 15 months. And again the next year, and the next. And you know what? She DOES remember. We rarely look at photos (they aren't stored in an easily accessible place, totally my fault and something I should fix but once she threw a photo album in the bathtub, which was full of water, so I kind of stopped keeping those at her level) but when we do, she will tell me stories about what happened when the photos were taken. She remembers the wildest things.

I pulled the big suitcase down from the attic today. Hopefully I can cram all of our stuff in there so I don't have to pay for extra bags. The kids' carry-ons are already packed, so that's good. I ordered myself one of these bags:



It is made of recycled plastic bottles, and that intrigues me. I paid a ton to have it delivered on time. Not happy about that, but oh well! That's the price I pay for being a procrastinator.

All of our ADRs are set, and I am working on figuring out a rough plan of attack so we can hit the rides we want. We haven't done Peter Pan yet, because DD was convinced it would be scary. Now that she has seen the movie she thinks that and Snow White will be OK. I would do it early, but the only MM days on our trip are Sat. and Sun., and the park opens at 7, which is way too early for us. We'll just have to try to get there at opening another day and hope for the best.

That's about it for now!
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Old 04-26-2009, 08:05 PM   #9
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We have been doing Disney themed Family Fun Nights over the last few weeks, thanks to this awesome thread I found recently. Tonight we had Bug's Life night!

We started off the evening playing Cootie and this bug puzzle I have. Then the kids made caterpillars!



My daughter complimented me on making recycled art. They've been talking about recycling and Earthy things at school lately.

The finished products:



Dinner began with Ants on a Log and Francis' Ladybugs:



There was a real meal, not terribly buggy so no photos of that, and for dessert we had dirt! Chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos, and a gummy worm:



Last thing we did before watching the movie is plant some seeds:



We are watching the movie now!
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:14 PM   #10
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You are an awesome Mom!! How wonderful that you are willing to explore new places with your kids!! What great memories you are giving them! Can't wait to read more of your report -- we leave in 2 weeks for Hojo's and it will be our 1st time staying there too!

Love the Bug's Life night....I plan to look into that post a bit more tonight after I get my own kids to bed!

BTW, where was the picture of Peter Pan on the mast of a ship taken?
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:14 PM   #11
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The Peter Pan photo was from Fantasmic! I'm bummed it won't be showing on our trip this year.

Definitely check out the Family Night thread! I've made a list of all of the ideas from the thread and plan to do one once a week when we are between trips. Right now we are doing 2 or so per week, mainly because I am so excited about the trip!!!

I'm so torn on whether to bring a car seat and a backless booster or just skip it. We are likely going to use Super Shuttle, because it is less expensive and more direct than Disneyland Express, but then I may (or may not) need the car seats. Last year, lugging those things around was horrid!!! I had to pile them on the stroller and push them through the airport while the kids wandered and whined about their backpacks being too heavy. Security was a nightmare, too. I was really looking forward to traveling light this time. Normally I am a safety nut, but it really is a logistical nightmare traveling solo with 2 kids, 3 backpacks, a huge wheeled suitcase, 2 car seats, and a flimsy stroller. Actually, the car seats did permanent damage to my stroller last year. If I could ditch the car seats I could either pile our bags or a kid in there, and that would be great. When we took Super Shuttle last year there were kids who were under 2yo with no car seat at all. Made me think I was silly for bringing mine.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:25 PM   #12
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You are just a too cool Mom!! I hope you have a wonderful trip! What day are you leaving?

I love the Disney themed nights. Such a wonderful idea. I bet the kids love it!
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:33 PM   #13
nancy drew
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We arrive on Thursday. I can't wait!!!
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:16 AM   #14
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The Disney themed nights look like a lot of fun....will have to look into doing some of those myself!!!!

A couple days out........ how exciting!!!!!!
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:07 AM   #15
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Have a great trip! The HoJo's is a great place to stay!
Bugs life night, sounds like it was a lot of fun!
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