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Old 06-16-2010, 10:40 PM   #1
BlueEyes78
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Ready to Party with Mickey! -- November 2010 -- The Planning Begins--Updated 10/7

Well, we've got Disney fever again! After our first family trip in August of 2009 was such a success, we decided to go for #2. We are still a family of 4, but a slightly older family - 32 year old parents Shawn and Becky, 5 1/2 year old Caden and nearly 3-year old Connor.

This will be our oldest son's kindergarten year, and we figured this might be the last year it won't be a big deal to take him out of school for a week, so why not try out Mickey's Christmas party? None of us have been out of Ohio during the fall/winter months so this will make a nice change of scene. Another factor - On November 26, Son #2 will turn 3 - and hence cost much more. So let's capitalize on these excuses and go to Disney. Sounds good to everyone else, right?

We got a "returning guest" offer for 40% off for select dates at the end of 2010 and chose Nov 14th for the reasons listed above - we can do the party AND Connor will still "technically" be two. Returning to our former place of residence, Fort Wilderness cabins, was a no-brainer. We loved the quiet, the privacy, the full kitchen, and the separate bedroom.

Here's what's different from our last trip:
1) It's November, not August. So we're assuming cooler - anyone know how much cooler? Like I said, never been out of Ohio in this season, so any advice would help. I'm assuming also, less crowds?
2) Due to school, we'll do 5 days and not 7...this led to the "is it worth it to drive 4 days both ways for a 5-day trip" discussion. Especially when the northern part of that drive could be in winter conditions. The answer was "no, definitely not" but after finding out that just flying the 4 of us down there would cost the same as the rest of the trip, we resigned ourselves to another long drive and decided to just watch airline prices obsessively. And then - AWESOME hubby Shawn volunteered to be bumped from a business trip flight and in return received 2 free tickets anywhere in the continental US. Happy Dance time!! Buying 2 tickets is much more reasonable than buying 4. HOWEVER, this may change what stuff we take. Last time we drove down with all of our frozen dinners...we may still take a small cooler, it'll depend on how much it costs to check items. And we'll need to take the stroller and car seat. We have rented a mid-sized car because with the stroller and the kids being the age they are, we don't really want to rely on the bus system.
3) We've invited some of Becky's family (mom and dad, brother and SIL, who is a Disney fanatic) to come along. The jury's still out. But we don't plan to do anything crazy like have all 8 of us very different people move as one unit throughout the vacation. That would be insane. Instead we thought we'd all go, stay in the campground, meet up in the evenings or occasionally visit parks together...more on that when minds are made up.
4) We don't plan to tell the kids. Last time they knew (or at least Caden did) several months out. We decided to pull off a surprise that they can reminisce about later. The plan is to get them on the plane and then get out the mouse ears from the 2009 trip. Caden will know exactly what that means (and he's been begging to go back ever since we got home). Connor will be like, "Hey, cool. My hat!" But he'll have fun anyway!
5) The kids ages - not too much difference other than a couple of inches in height for Caden, but Connor will have transformed from a semi-talking toddler too short for most stuff to a chatterbox 3-year old who will hopefully be at least 38 inches! I think he was around 33 inches last year, and did a lot of sitting in the stroller. He may even be potty-trained by then which would be cool, and may not need to nap everyday. Also, I think he is no longer petrified of the characters. Time will tell!

So as for stuff we're already talking about - we're definitely doing the Christmas party, on our last night there. No idea what to expect there but am sure it'll be fun.
I think we'll do all 4 parks again, hard to say with only 5 days...but we missed a couple of things we'd like to see this time, namely the Lion King show in AK, Space Mountain in MK (was down for maintenance), and possibly some of the world exhibits in Epcot. The great part about this being the second trip is that there are definitely a few things that will NOT be on the priority list since we've been there, done that, and decided it's not that thrilling (like the Figment ride in Epcot, or the boneyard in AK). I don't know, are the world exhibits any fun for little kids? Should we wait for a future trip?

So to sum up the jury is still out on:
Do we buy photopasses again?
Do we take dinners again or buy easy ones at the Winn Dixie?
WIll we need to pack diapers?
What kind of clothes to pack for November?
Can we keep our mouths shut in front of the kids for 4 months??

Stay tuned!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)


Last edited by BlueEyes78; 10-07-2010 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:10 AM   #2
BlueEyes78
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Update - the family is in! So we'll be a party of 8 now, most likely.
We've booked a second cabin, and my guess is that they'll put us as close together as possible. We even got my Dad, anti-Disney man, two-day passes. At least I think it's my Dad!
We are now in the process of making out our 5-day itinerary.
Tentatively, we're not going to any parks on Sunday the 14th - that's subject to change, though, if we get there and the kids AREN'T exhausted, but the plan would be to swim, if that's possible in November.
Monday is Epcot, Tuesday is Magic Kingdom, Wed is either DHS and Thursday at AK, then Friday at whichever park we feel didn't get enough time at.
And Thursday night is the Christmas party!
Next we'll work on our what to pack list, but I really don't know what kind of weather to expect in November!!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 06-22-2010, 09:27 PM   #3
BlueEyes78
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So today we solved the "what do we do on arrival day" problem - we're going to Downtown Disney on Sunday. We've never been, and I'm wondering what sorts of things might interest the boys there...
Also, my parents have graciously volunteered to watch the boys one night, and we decided that the park we'd most like to explore kids-free is Epcot, particularly the world showcase, since it's open later. So we plan to eat there one night and I was wondering which of the world showcase restaurants are really good...
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 06-22-2010, 09:40 PM   #4
BlueEyes78
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So I thought I should share some pictures to liven up the report.
Here is our family as we looked during our last (very hot, very sweaty) trip to the World:


And here we are now:

Caden is 44 inches now, and Connor is 37. We hope he can eek out another inch in the next 4 months!
And here are my parents, who will be joining us for sure (awww....aren't they cute?)

As a side note, Mom is 5 foot even, Dad is 6 foot 5...we doubt either of them will be growing any more, though!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 07-03-2010, 02:45 PM   #5
BlueEyes78
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Big changes are afoot in the MVMCP trip plans! Secretly I think we must have been looking for excuses to keep thinking about it since we thought we had all the major arrangements made...
While browsing a recent trip report, I stumbled across this tidbit - many people are finding HUGE off-site homes and villas for about HALF of what we paying for 2 discounted cabins.
OK, so apparently lots of people know this but being fairly new to the boards this was news to me. I couldn't hardly believe that these could be decent places, given what Disney is charging. But after doing a little research and finding some great homes, I thought it was worth bringing it up to DH. He was already in bed and half-asleep, but mumbled something about not being close to the parks and some other reasons why it probably wouldn't work...
Next thing I know, he is calling me from work early the next morning having done a LOT of research on the idea (so he at least heard me), and after shooting back and forth a lot of potential houses, he puts in a reservation for Sat to Sat on Romancing the Mouse. Now we just had to convince the family!
We're really not flighty people and didn't want to seem as if we were to the other members of our party that we had convinced to join us with the promise of the scenic campgrounds and Disney shuttle service. It had just never even occurred to us to look offsite. For our first trip, we figured we HAD to be onsite to have the freedom to come and go for our kids' nap times, but seeing how close Windsor Hills and Windsor Palms are to the property just blew us away. At FW, we were about 10 minutes from Animal Kingdom - we're about the SAME distance from AK in the opposite direction at Romancing the Mouse. Since we had already rented a car, getting to and from would be just about the same. And for HALF the cost.
The other benefits are no-brainers. My Mom & Dad and brother and SIL would have been sharing a cabin, so someone would be in the living room and someone in the bedroom - and they have VERY different sleeping schedules. Plus no one was thrilled about full-sized beds or sharing 1 bathroom, but it was a sacrifice people were willing to make for the sake of the trip.
So hearing that everyone would get their own private bedroom, bathroom, and we wouldn't have to take the bus to the pool won everyone over after a day of e-mailed discussions. I am already envisioning sitting out in the hot tub after the boys are fast asleep, or a great family game night...I am even MORE excited than before if that's possible.
Besides getting the house, we found out it was only $100 more than the cost of one cabin to extend our stay. So instead of Sunday to Friday, we are Saturday to Saturday. AND we were able to find Sat-Sat flights at the same cost as what we had booked Fri-Sun...AND there is no layover on the way home, the way there was originally. It just keeps getting better!
We've heard nothing but good things about Romancing the Mouse...I have yet to read anything from anyone who has actually stayed in one of their homes that is not overwhelmingly positive.
Then we found undercovertourist.com and rebooked our Disney tickets (6 days, as opposed to 5, saving $50 from our original ticket package).
We went ahead and made an ADR for the Bistro de Paris in Epcot just to celebrate all the savings. Not much makes me as happy as saving money!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 10-07-2010, 07:44 AM   #6
BlueEyes78
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The Latest Developments...
So the biggest news in the past 4 months that we've had is that our party is getting larger - specifically, DB and SIL are bringing along a stowaway - luckily the stowaway will not make his/her appearance until March so shouldn't cost us any extra money!!
Now we're just hoping the morning sickness is totally gone in the next few weeks...
DB and SIL are officially flying down - we get there Saturday morning, they'll get there Saturday afternoon. Mom and Dad are driving, and will get there Saturday night. They got the 2-day ticket package and will join us at MK and AK and then do their own thing the rest of the time, leaving Friday night for a few days at the beach. The GREAT thing about them driving is that they can bring some stuff for us so we don't have to pay to check the stroller, a cooler, etc. They can also bring down misc items like board games.
With our vacation last month, and then school starting, I hadn't really let this trip occupy my mind too much in the past weeks, but then we hit the 6-week mark last Saturday and I got super hyper about planning again!
I pretty much have the packing list complete, now I just have to wait for the weather forecast to figure out which type of outfits to bring.
As I was unpacking the boys fall clothes last weekend I stumbled across a bathing suit with the tags on it that Caden had never worn - and it's MICKEY MOUSE, with a matching cover up. I can't wait to pack it for Connor, it's just his size now!
Speaking of the kids....so far we have NOT let the secret slip. We've had a few close calls that usually ended up with someone yelping or coughing really loudly, but I think even our most observant child is clueless. I am having so much fun with this...the other day Caden was reminiscing about our trip to St. Augustine that we took just before school started, and said, "Mom, let's go back tomorrow."
"Well now, honey, we can't just take you out of school, and it's such a long drive to Florida and back..." WINK WINK WINK!!
Also, I took Connor to the doctor yesterday and he is 38 inches (in shoes), so he'll be able to do quite a bit. I am a little sad he'll miss Soarin, though!
Caden, on the other hand, is REALLY close to 44 so I think we'll get him on EE, which would rock!
ANd last but not least, I just spent the last two days creating a travel journal for Caden to fill out each day and then show to his teacher in lieu of his normal "homework" (which is mainly writing practice). I found one on themouseforless.com, and then tweaked it with my own format and clip art. I saved it as a pdf and plan on getting it bound at FedEx. I'll have to post a couple of .jpgs on here to show off!
And I found an awesome organizational chart that I am creating my own version of on another trip report - I plan to post that soon also. But the modified daily plan is now:
Sat - arrive, check in, groceries, DTD
Sun - MK
Mon - Epcot - Future World in am and early pm with kids; WS, dinner, Illuminations with DH that night
Tues - AK
Wed - DHS or day off, if kids need it
Thurs - day off, MVMCP in the PM
Fri - DHS if we didn't do it Wed, free choice if we did
Sat - free choice, whichever park we didn't get enough of!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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