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Old 09-25-2009, 11:01 AM   #1
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Our Sweaty, Stickey, is my BIL on the Phone AGAIN, August Disney Vacation Trip Report

Walt Disney World Trip Report
August 20 Ė August 24 Ė Treehouse Villas
August 24 Ė August 29 Ė Saratoga Spring Resort

Cast of Characters:
Me: Gail, 37, Lover of ALL things Disney and the only reason we go so much
DH: Marc, 39, Only goes because I make him
DD: Haillie, 10, Loves Disney as much as me, would love to go more if she could convince Daddy
MIL: Claudette, 67, DVC Owner, goes to Disney because her sister does (the whole competition thing)
FIL: Paul, 70, DVC Owner, started going when his wife wanted to keep up with her sister
BIL: Alan, 38, Went because he was invited by Mom and Step Dad
Nephew: Zachary, 11, See above, Doesnít eat ANYTHING (you think Iím kidding, wait!)

Ok, a little prequel. My in-laws own at Saratoga Springs Resort. They attended a membersí cruise in October of 2008. On the cruise, they purchased into Bay Lake Towers and part of the incentive was 4 free nights at the new Treehouse Villas to be used between June 1, 2009 and May 31, 2010. Since it slept 9 people, they invited all of us (my BILís girlfriend and her son were invited at the time, but they broke up so they didnít go). It was our Christmas present. We would get the 4 nights, they would pay for our Park Tickets and the Dining plan for each of us. We had to pay for our flights and anything else we purchased. Originally they were going to tell us at Christmas since they were supposed to be able to make reservations sometime in February. Well they got a phone call and were told they could make reservations in November! So they told the adults early so we could pick dates and get the reservations pinned down. Since my DD has not missed a day of school, I told them I wanted to go in the summer as I would not pull her out of school and half of us lived in NH the other half in MA and our school vacations were not the same. I told them it might be better for us to go at the end of August since lots of southern schools go back to school before we do. So they took my advice and we picked Thursday, August 20, to Monday, August 24. Now these strange dates came about because my BILís then girlfriends sonís birthday was 8/25 and he needed to be back to spend the day with his father. So the dates were picked. To my surprise, my DH told them almost right after they told us about the 4 nights that he didnít want to go down there for only 4 nights, so we would probably add days to our trip and stay longer. But we werenít worried about that yet since we didnít need reservations that early for a regular hotel. So the reservations for the Treehouses were made and we were all set. After the holidays, we decided to book a room only reservation for Pop Century so IF free dining came out for our dates like in the past, we would have an easier time getting a room at a Value Resort. Our friends also booked for the same time we were there, Iíll introduce them later. By this time, my BIL was on the outs with his girlfriend and it wasnít looking good that her and her son would be going with us. He then decided that he was going to stay the additional days too now that he didnít have to rush home for the kidsí birthday. So I made his room only reservation as well. We were booked at Pop from Monday, August 24, to Saturday, August 29. When Southwest flights opened, we purchased our tickets and now we waited! Oh yeah, when Free Dining was announced we changed our reservation and added the Free Dining.

Up next Ė Day 1 Ė Arrival Day
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80 & 91 WDW Off Site; 10/95 DL 3 Week Honeymoon; 4/00 & 5/01 DL Off Site; 12/02 WDW All Star Movies - MVMCP; 10/03 WDW Coronado Springs - MNSSHP; 5/05 WDW All Star Movies - F&G; 2/07 WDW SSR (DD turned 8) - P&PP; 08/07 WDW Pop - Mommy/Daughter Trip; 01/08 WDW POR - Dad & Mom Trip; 8/09 WDW - THV & SSR; 08/11 WDW - POP w/Free Dining; 04/13 WDW - Bay Lake Tower; 04/14 WDW - Port Orleans French Quarter
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:02 AM   #2
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Day 1 Ė Thursday, August 20th Ė Arrival day

Ok, this time we got lucky and Southwestís earliest nonstop flight was for 8:10am instead of the butt crack of dawn like they usually are and my DH always wants to take the first non-stop flight out in the morning. I get up at 5am since my BIL and his son stayed at our house and I didnít know who needed showers in the morning. In-laws are already there as they have in in-law apartment over our garage. I was ready to go by about 5:30am and got Haillie up. She just had to get dressed, she showered the night before. DH took a shower and we were basically good to go. BIL got up and dragged Nephew out of bed to get ready to leave. We wanted to be on the road for the airport not later than 6:15am. We packed up the car and headed out, much to my surprise with the other people, on time. The airport is only about 25 minutes from our house, but my FIL has knee issues and walks really slow, so we wanted to be there in plenty of time for him to get to where we needed to be. Plus we like to eat when we get there instead of stopping somewhere. We unloaded on the curb to use the curbside check in for Southwest. The security guard even let us leave the vehicle there while we were checking in, he didnít make one person go park it. There were only a few people in front of us and we checked in no problem! Love the Manchester Airport!! BIL brought the car to the parking garage and we went inside to wait and have some breakfast.

The flight was fairly uneventful, oh other than the fact that my Nephew didnít feel well. He had only flown once in his life and that was when he was like 4 and his parents were still married. He didnít know about the trip until that morning. His mother would have tried to talk him out of going if either of them knew, so we had to keep it a secret (long divorce story for another time!). So we think it was more nerves about not going with Mom, etc.

We arrived in Orlando on time and proceeded to gather up our bags at the baggage claim. After we get all the bags we head to Alamo to pick up the car with the infamous code which gave us a great rate of $198 for our mid-sized car! Every other car rental company was either empty or had a few people in line. Alamo, of course had at least 50 people in line waiting to pick up cars! How is it that everyone arrives at the same rental car counter to get their car at the same time as you do?? OIY! So after at least an hour wait, it was finally our turn. My FIL was renting a van (using the same questionable code) and we were renting a car. We were at opposite ends of the counter getting checked in. He seemed to be having a problem as the clerk was showing him the computer screen and pointing to things. I thought maybe it was because he didnít print out his coupon. So I had an extra one and proceeded to bring it over to him. Oops, wrong move. The woman who was helping him wanted to know who was helping me and she stormed over and told the gentleman helping us to not accept the Code we used for our rental as it was an out of the country code and not for use by us. (Even though she told him, the guy said it would have spit it out when he entered the license info.) So after fiddling with the reservation, he quoted us an almost $500 price tag for the ďAmericanĒ same exact car rental. Luckily I had a back up priced at $216 and told him to use that one. He states ďSo you knew it wouldnít work?!Ē Told him ďNope, anal, always have 2!Ē with my fingers crossed behind my back. LOL My FIL got Lucky. His rental was using the same code, with a price of like $235 for his van. He did have a back up, but it was off airport. They tried to charge him like $600 A DAY to rent him the same vehicle for the ďAmericanĒ price. (Isnít it funny how they screw the Americans?!) A manager came over and he showed them his other rental agreement and told them he was just going to go there and the manager played with the numbers and ended up charging him like $240. So after much waiting and groveling, we were on our way to get the cars and head to the hotel! Finally. FIL got a Toyota Sienna and we got a Kia Rondo. Cute little SUV, but better than just a car. I love that Alamo puts the smaller SUVís in their Midsized car row and lets you choose the vehicle you want.

So off to the Treehouses. Took us less than Ĺ hour to get there. A few tolls later and we arrived at Saratoga Springs to check in. WELCOME HOME!! Of course the unit wasnít ready yet. So we gathered all the bags up and brought them over to get held by bell services so we could go to Epcot for our dinner reservations.

Off to Epcot!

Haillie and Zachary. Notice the excitement and joy on Haillieís face and the less than excited look on Zachís face? This becomes the norm for the trip.

Now I didnít keep notes like I wanted to, forgot to bring a notebook to write things down, so Iíll do my best. So we head into the Park and FIL gets a scooter since he was awaiting knee surgery when he returns.


We toured around


and went into Club Cool. Haillie of course was in heaven because she is not allowed to have soda so this is a treat. Of course Nephew didnít try anything.



Our reservations in China at Nine Dragons were for 4:45pm. It was almost 4:00pm and since none of us had lunch, we decided to head over there and check in to see if we could get in a bit early.


Look who we met along the way....


The acrobats were just about to perform so everyone stayed outside while I went in to check us in. She never asked for my ADR #, name or anything. Just my party size and handed me my paper and told the party to wait and we would be seated. The place was empty at this point. So I ran outside to get everyone and we were seated right away. We had never been here before. Everyone, except Zach, ordered their meals. Zachís dinner was pretzels. Remember I said he doesnít eat anything? Well, his diet consists of aforementioned pretzels, graham crackers, pop-tarts, cinnamon rolls, yogurt and Burger King French Fries and Vanilla Shakes. Now mind you, not only does he only eat these few items, he will only eat certain brands of the particular item!! Not my kid Ė if he were my kid he would have starved to death a long time ago because I wouldnít cater to him! Although if he were my kid it never would have gotten to that point!! AnywhoÖ. Dinner was great. Haillie was all excited because she was now an adult according to Disney so she had many more choices than just mac & cheese and hot dogs (my daughter eats real food). We finished up and head out. We stopped in Mexico and Norway to ride their boats.

We walked over to Test Track to ride that before the night was through.



Iím sure we did a few more things, but of course I canít remember. After Test Track we decided that it had been a long day and we wanted to just call it a night, since we hadnít even been to the room yet to unpack. After arriving and getting our room, DH and BIL headed to find the Walmart to get bottled water and some snacks. Everyone else stayed and unpacked and settled in. Haillie took a shower and then crashed on the top bunk. Zach watched his movie on his laptop (which he did whenever we were in the room, thatís another story and part of the reason that he was never really happy. If what we were doing didnít have a plug attached to a wall or have batteries powering it, he wasnít happy.).

We all crashed in anticipation of our first full day tomorrow.

Up next - Day 2 Ė Hollywood Studios
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80 & 91 WDW Off Site; 10/95 DL 3 Week Honeymoon; 4/00 & 5/01 DL Off Site; 12/02 WDW All Star Movies - MVMCP; 10/03 WDW Coronado Springs - MNSSHP; 5/05 WDW All Star Movies - F&G; 2/07 WDW SSR (DD turned 8) - P&PP; 08/07 WDW Pop - Mommy/Daughter Trip; 01/08 WDW POR - Dad & Mom Trip; 8/09 WDW - THV & SSR; 08/11 WDW - POP w/Free Dining; 04/13 WDW - Bay Lake Tower; 04/14 WDW - Port Orleans French Quarter
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:04 AM   #3
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Day 2 Ė Friday, August 21 - Disneyís Hollywood Studios

We started our day at a fairly normal time. We are not early risers, but we donít sleep in either. I got up around 8am to shower and get ready. DH and DD followed. MIL & FIL were up and getting ready as well. BIL slept on the sofa bed while everyone muddled around him getting ready to leave, eating breakfast, etc. Nephew was up watching TV (of course). Finally BIL got up around 9am to get ready. We left the Treehouses around 9:40am or so. Later than I wanted to leave, but what are you going to do??

On the way to Hollywood Studios with her movie star shades.


We park, of course we have to wait for FIL to get his scooter then we make a b-line to Toy Story Mania to get fast passes. It was probably about 10:30am and our fast passes were for like 4:30pm-5pm in the afternoon! I knew they went fast, but didnít realize just how fast.

The only crowds in the whole place were around TSM!


We then decide to head over to Tower of Terror. MIL and FIL wonít go on, and then Nephew decides he doesnít want to go on. So myself, DH, BIL and Haillie go to wait in the 50 minute standby line (since we just got FPís for TSM). LOVE Tower of Terror!! It was awesome, we got in the front row and went up and down several times!




After that ride, Haillie wanted to try Rock ní Roller Coaster for the first time. Well BIL decides that he doesnít want to wait in another 60 minute line because of course Nephew wonít go on that either. So unfortunately, we skipped it. Nephew didnít want to go on practically anything the whole time we were there. So, we head for rides that are tamer for the wimpy Nephew.

We ride the Great Movie Ride,


then head over to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Play Set

Wow, he smiles!

and then over to the Backlot Tour.


I think it was somewhat in that order.

We ended up seeing the Lights, Motor, Action Extreme Stunt Show at some point Ö.


as well as half of the Indiana Jones Show, they only did half because of an approaching storm.

We had lunch at the 50ís Prime Time Cafť. It was fun.

Sister Emily was our server. She was a hoot!

Haillie and Sis Emily with the GIGANTIC Brownie Sundae!

Of course my BIL tried to pick her up the whole time, but she ignored him. LOL Speaking of BIL, side note, here he is, with his phone plastered to his ear, like it was the whole trip. He was either texting or talking. Trying to hook up with women in FL and back home. Heís a man hoar!


We then went to ride Toy Story mania using our fast passes. What an awesome ride! I knew the concept but would have never guessed it was going to be that fun!! We had a blast.



Well, I canít for the life of me remember what else we did here today so Iíll say we went back to the hotel to relax and rest.

Up Next - Day 3 - Animal Kingdom
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:08 AM   #4
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Day 3 - Saturday, August 22 Ė Animal Kingdom

We had breakfast reservations at Boma this morning at 8:45am so everyone had to get up and moving by 8:00am. Not an easy feat with some, but we managed it. Boma was delicious. A definite must do on our next trip. The food was incredible and there was plenty to choose from. Our server was a blast. I think he was studying to be a stand-up comic, because thatís what he reminded me of. Always coming up with funny things to say to us. He of course ragged on Nephew for his choice of a pop-tart for breakfast. He looked at me and said ďwell why is he that way Mom?Ē Iím like ďOh no, donít put this on me, heís not my kid, this oneís mine and notice her plate was full of real food and is now empty!Ē LOL



After breakfast we head over to Animal Kingdom. Now I know a lot of people donít care for it, but this is one of my favorite parks. I guess itís just because it is so laid back and relaxing to just walk around and go at a slower pace for a while to see everything that is there. Although, today we didnít see much. Of course Nephew doesnít want to go on Dinosaur or Everest and since it was a family trip, paid mostly by my in-laws, we were trying to be nice and stay with them. So we had to skip those rides. My DD was not happy because she still didnít know that we were staying an extra 5 days at the end of the trip. So she is mad thinking that we are missing everything because of wimpy Nephew. I kept telling her to not worry about it and to trust me. I knew we would be back and I knew the in-laws would not be there and Iíd go on whatever we wanted even if wimpy didnít want to, he could wait or go do something else.

So we head over to the Safari to take a bumpy jeep ride. Saw lots of different animals.




After the Safari we headed over to Rafikiís Planet Watch. We met Pocohontas, Rafiki and Jiminy Cricket while we were there.


One of the few characters Zach would go see and he went because his father made him because she was hot!!


Family picture for possible Christmas card photo.

I know we went to the Nemo show


and then the Lion King show, and I canít for the life of me figure out why DH did not take any pictures of the Lion King so I have nothing to post about that!? I prefer the Lion King show, donít know if itís just because I liked that movie more, but I like that on better. Oh wait, I stand corrected, found this picture that DD took of a bug on the floor before the Lion King Show.


We walked the trails and got some great pictures of the tigers and gorillas.


Haillie met lots of characters on the way.








Notice Nephew is nowhere to be seen? Of course he wanted no part of seeing all the characters and he and BIL were sitting on a bench while BIL was talking and texting of course!
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:09 AM   #5
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Funny picture, us in Pizzafari at the end of the evening (around Ĺ hour before closing) with NO ONE else in the restaurant.


After pizza, we decided to head back to the hotel to relax and let the kids swim.





Up Next Ė Day 4 Ė Magic Kingdom
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:49 PM   #6
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Enjoying your trip report. I'm a big Animal Kingdom Lodge fan, especially Boma, although I've never been there for breakfast. I also eat a lot of pop-tarts -- but never would at Boma! Kids.
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:47 PM   #7
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I can totally sense your annoyance with BIL and nephew! Oh my gosh - how frustrating. Its such a good thing you tacked on days to the end of the trip. Do you have any pics of the Treehouse? How was it?
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:02 PM   #8
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Joining in

Your DD looks so cute on the water slide!

A question for you: did you take some photos of the Treehouse Villas? If you did, I'd love to see them
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:39 PM   #9
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Sounds like a fun trip so far. I like your honesty about what it is like to tour with a large group.

Looking forward to hearing more.
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:32 PM   #10
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Thanks for reading everyone.

Here are some pictures of the Treehouses while I put some more of the report together.

Outside. This was the unit nextdoor. Our unit was #7047 a hanicapped accessible with long ramp. (no picture, sorry)


Entry when you walk in facing the Dining & Living Areas and reverse view facing the door.


Bar has the sink, dishwasher coffee maker and toaster. Behind you in the stove, fridge and microwave.


Kids bedroom with bunks, flatscreen and closet.


Bedroom 2 with flatscreen and closet. Master bedroom with flatscreen, closet and bathroom.
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:01 PM   #11
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The treehouse looks really cool! Did the living room sofa fold out?
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sleepingbooty View Post
The treehouse looks really cool! Did the living room sofa fold out?
It was totally cool! Very rustic and fun feeling. And yes the sofa did pull out. And it wasn't like a regular sleeper sofa, it was like thick, thick foam. My BIL slept there and said it was very comfortable. No bars in your back. The chair next to the couch (I think I was sitting on it to take the picture) folded out too. The unit slept 9 people total. The only downfall was that the person/people sleeping on the sofa bed or chair, didn't have any place to unpack their stuff. There were no extra drawers for them to put their clothes. So if you had a big group for a long vacation, you would either have to share space in bedroom drawers or certain people would have to live out of their suitcases the whole time.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:55 AM   #13
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Great start!
How were the August crowds?
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Old 10-01-2009, 12:55 PM   #14
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Great start!
How were the August crowds?
Not too bad. The first part of the vacation (8/20 - 8/23) was a bit crowded. Regular rides were mostly over 30/40 minute waits with the big rides being over 50/60 for the most part. By the second part of the vacation (8/24 - 8/29) I think lots of southern schools went back so the crowds faded. The lines times pretty much dropped in half for the regular rides (some were non-exsistant) and the big rides were still over 30 minutes and longer sometimes. I have been in early August and it wasn't nearly as bad as early in the month. Very manageable! Would definately do it again.

It was HOT though. It doesn't really bother me, so I was fine. I think some of the others were not happy to be there in the heat (the in-laws - think that's why they only stayed for 4 days!).
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Old 10-01-2009, 01:01 PM   #15
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Day 4 - Sunday, August 23 Ė Magic Kingdom

This was the last full day we would be staying with the in-laws. When they booked the trip with the 4 free nights, they had decided that they were only going to stay those 4 nights (they had been in February and are going back next February). They just wanted to spend the few days with the family. And we would get to surprise Haillie in the morning with the rest of the trip.

Of course now that it has been so long, I canít remember too much (I knew I should have bought a notebook to write things down!!). We left the Treehouses at around a regular time, like 9:30am or so, to head to the Ticket & Transportation Center. DH and I & the in-laws probably would have been out the door earlier each day if it werenít for BIL who likes to sleep in.



The parks were still kind of crowded so we didnít get too many autographs as the lines were fairly long. We head in and just walk and ride whatever we come to first. I know we rode Pirates, Small World,


Snow White, the Autopia,


Haunted Mansion, etc.


While we were on Haunted Mansion, my FIL dropped his cane off the ride in the graveyard scene! We get to the bottom and he tells the CM. They wonít stop the ride so the CM walks up with a flash light looking for the cane. She sees the cane, although it is on the other side. She walks all the way down, then back up the other side to retrieve the cane. You would think that stopping it for 30 seconds would have been easier. Oh well!

This took quite a long time, probably about 45 minutes, so by this time, we had to catch the boat over to Fort Wilderness for our 5pm dinner reservations at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue.


This was not my choice and I like the food, like the show, but still think itís kind of hocky and not worth the 2 TS credits. We had fun though.


My BIL got picked to be in the show. He was the Indian Chief.


This made his son laugh out loud for the first time the whole trip. He got a big kick out of that part.

After dinner, we jump back on the boat and head back to the Magic Kingdom since there were Extra Magic Hours and the park was open until 1am.

When we get back we decide to stake out a spot for Spectro and Wishes. By this time, we have been in contact with our friends from work who flew in that day. Iíll introduce them (without most ages, since Iím not sure):

MaryAnn: The mom, her and I planned part of the trip together. Her first time since a really young child
John: MaryAnnís husband. First trip ever, going with the flow
Bob: MaryAnnís Dad. First trip since his kids were little Ė probably over 30 years
Christine: MaryAnnís Mom Ė See above
Emily: 8 DD Ė First trip ever. Found out the day before they left
Adam: 4 DS Ė See above

They were heading to the hotel then hoped to meet us at MK for the parade and fireworks. Iíll admit that I was skeptical that they would make it. They had about 1 hour to get to the TTC, park, get on the monorail/ferry, get in the park and then get to the castle with the thousands of people waiting for the same parade. Well much to my surprise, they made it!! With about 10 minutes to spare. Haillie was so excited when she saw Emily Ė finally a GIRL to talk to! LOL She loves her cousin, but doesnít like him if you know what I mean. We watched Spectro.


We just stood there to wait for Wishes. I was kind of disappointed that the fireworks were so low behind the castle, and we could barely see them from where we were. I guess Iíve never watched them from directly in front of the castle before.


After Wishes we decided to wait for the masses to exit and then headed to Aloha Isle for some Dole Whips! Yummo! DH does not like these so he just sat and watched. A few of us got them to enjoy. Could have kicked BIL in the butt. As he is joking around with DD, he decides heís going to take her Dole Whip Float and push the ice cream in her nose, well, DUH, there is liquid in the cup!! He proceeds to spill most of her pineapple juice down the front her. Of course now she is wet, sticky, and smells like fruit! Always gotta play doesnít he?? I was so mad as was she because now half her Dole Whip was gone too. Needless to say Uncle was not her favorite person for a while.

So after that mishap, we decided we wanted to head for Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. Emily and Adam were having a rough time since they had traveled in that day. They were tired so they decided they were going to head back to the hotel. BIL, Nephew, MIL and FIL also decided to call it a night since wimpy Nephew didnít want to go on those rides. MIL & FIL were leaving in the morning, so they all headed out around 11:15pm or so. We headed over to the Mountains. Splash was still a 45 minute wait. BTMR was about 30 minutes so we decided to hit that one first. After about 20 minutes of waiting in the long, crowded, smushed together line, I started to feel very hot. Mind you it is about 11:45pm and it is still like 90 degrees. I have some water, break out our little fans and start fanning my face and neck. I try breathing in and out slowing to stop the feeling. I was either going to throw up or pass out. Neither of which I wanted to do in that line. Finally we make it to the edge of the line and we were right next to the Fastpass lane. I told DH and DD I needed to get out of line. I told them I would meet them at the exit. I climbed over the rail and went out the Fastpass line and waited for them. I was still not feeling very well and just wanted to go back to the hotel. It was about midnight so we called it a night. Luckily that was the only time the heat really got to me, I was fine the rest of the trip.

On our way out of the park, DD breaks down. She still thinks we are going home in the morning. And she is so upset that Emilly is there now and thinks it would have been so much fun to spend some time with her. She cries/sobs all the way back to the Treehouses. While walking to the unit DH tries to comfort her and tells her he has a secret. He says ďask your motherĒ. Iím like ďask your fatherĒ. He again says ďask your motherĒ. I tell him that Iíll tell the secret if he says ask your mother one more time. Heís like go ahead it was after midnight and we had planned on telling her on Monday. So I break the news that we are staying until next Saturday! She was ecstatic!

So weíre back at the hotel to crash for the night with a very happy child.

Up next Ė Day 5 Ė In-laws go home, we return to Magic Kingdom
__________________
Gail (41) Marc (44) Haillie (15)
Mya ; Kiana RIP 3/6/11 & Rocky RIP 12/28/09

80 & 91 WDW Off Site; 10/95 DL 3 Week Honeymoon; 4/00 & 5/01 DL Off Site; 12/02 WDW All Star Movies - MVMCP; 10/03 WDW Coronado Springs - MNSSHP; 5/05 WDW All Star Movies - F&G; 2/07 WDW SSR (DD turned 8) - P&PP; 08/07 WDW Pop - Mommy/Daughter Trip; 01/08 WDW POR - Dad & Mom Trip; 8/09 WDW - THV & SSR; 08/11 WDW - POP w/Free Dining; 04/13 WDW - Bay Lake Tower; 04/14 WDW - Port Orleans French Quarter
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