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Old 03-30-2010, 07:45 PM   #46
alaskanabbott
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Originally Posted by cajunfan View Post
Yeah an update!

Teens...they are a special breed aren't they?! Espicially teen boys...

I am really enjoying the pictures and hearing about your trip. I hope the retal car helps!

Lynn
Teen boys are great! yes, we have our share of nonsense, usually involving teen-girls, but overall they are great. Macylea and James will be teens this summer, so we will be officially outnumbered by teen-agers.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:53 PM   #47
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Fabulous trip report. One of the best I have read. I can't wait to hear more. Sounds like you had a great time so far. Thanks for all the pictures too.
Really, I go back and re-read it and am not sure I'm making sence to anyone...it good to know I am. I just ordered the photo pass cd from Disney, and will will have about 50 more pictures.

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Originally Posted by cantwaittoseemickey View Post
Great update I'm sorry about James feeling embarrassed. Ty is that way too. He doesnt like attention being called to him. How cool to be picked for the pirate show I love your villa view. Dumbo is My all time favorite ride. I cannot wait to ride it.
James gets over it quickly enough, seriously we can distract him with a shiney penny I couldn't believe she got picked either. I'm not sure if it was the Panama Jack/ GKTW shirt or just her pretty little face . I love Dumbo, but I think my fav is Peter Pan. The kids let Mike and I ride alone on it together

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Originally Posted by Wee Annie View Post
Amber,

I am so loving your trip report! Not only is it extraordinarily fun to read, but it's really informative for those of us going on wish trips in the future. The info you've provided re the shuttle is in the "really good to know" category, and it's truly nice to see that things can go "not as planned" and you can still get a whole lot done and really have fun. It relieves my stress level a bit, for sure (especially since I haven't really planned much yet, and we're leaving in less than three weeks...).
:

I am so very happy you like the TR. I'm trying to put my personal tips into it because that's why I read TR's. Wait until you find out just how "not as planned" things go.....I had my original idea of where I wanted to go on what days, and the first few days stayed pretty on course with it until IT happened...sorry for the mystery, you'll soon see what IT was

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Originally Posted by yinyanggirls View Post
Great update! I'm glad the village buildings are in walking distance. The shuttle does seem pretty inconvenient. Especially if they only have room for two chairs. Don't they keep track of how many people don't get rental cars? I'm glad they are so generous as to give rentals to anyone who wants one.

The girls flirting cracked me up, as did the excitement to ride even the most childish rides. Looks like a great day!!!
The villa's were all within 5 minutes on the side with Mathews Boundless Playground. We never went to the other side though...The rental car was paid for by our wish org. I'm going to write about that next.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:10 PM   #48
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Loving your trip report so far!!Your family is lovely!I love Caelan's hair!!
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:16 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by alaskanabbott View Post
Just when they become helpful they leave, how fair is that?! And you are blessed with two 18 year old brothers! My second oldest is pretty great too, and has a wonderful sense of humor, which is always appreciated
I know College... Hopefully, they will still want to help me this summer too :-) I only trust Ashley with very few people and they are two out of 8. One of them is my 8 year old. He is so good with her. He could totally take care of her himself .. even better than DH

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Old 03-30-2010, 08:31 PM   #50
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Amber,

I am just loving your TR!!! I love how you share the details that make us feel like we're right there with you!

What you wrote about Dakota was heartwarming and it sounds like you guys had a full day of fun at MK!

Can't wait to hear more!!

Best to you all,
Beth
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:03 PM   #51
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Oh no.....out of TR...its like reading a good book and loosing the pages...ha. I cant wait to read more updates.

Please know that prayers from Alabama are with your son and your family.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:48 AM   #52
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You have such a lovely family! I'm enjoying your report so much. I love the "Yes!" attitude (ice cream for breakfast even!)

Can't wait for more
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:45 AM   #53
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Love the report! Thanks so much for sharing it!!
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:29 PM   #54
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Wow, you guys were able to get so much done! Great job ob the reporting.
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:33 PM   #55
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Hearing about all you got done at Disney makes me very excited for our trip!! I'm loving your trip report, and can't wait to read more!!
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Old 04-05-2010, 03:19 PM   #56
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St Patricks Day

DAY TWO- WEDNESDAY

Today we decided to do Hollywood Studio’s, then if we had enough time, we thought we’d bounce over to Epcot. Mike really wanted to see the Illuminations show, and the kids wanted to do Test Track! Before going to bed, I had called the front desk and told them we were not super happy with the shuttle and if it was possible to change our mind and get a rental car. I was told I’d get a phone call back, and left it at that. Mike woke me up at 7am, again with the coffee and an offer of a little alone time on the porch. We sat and enjoyed the quiet of the morning, outside in the warmth of Florida. We figured that we were still using the shuttle today, and figured we had some time, since we couldn’t leave until 10am for Disney World. We finally pulled ourselves away from the peacefulness of our little porch retreat, and woke up kids. It’s funny how easy kids are to wake up when they know they’re going to Disney World! About 8am I got a call from the office, they had the rental car for us, buts since we have so many kids, they had to rent us a 15 passenger van…and it was at the airport. Then I found out that our wish org had agreed to pay for it. I guess I had just assumed that GKTW had a deal with rental cars. I’m not sure why I felt so bad about WUNS paying for the rental, I think it’s because they already did so much for us, and had given us such a generous expense check, and then dished out another $500 bucks for us to rent a car. Gee these people are amazing!
To get the van, an “angel” was going to drive me to the airport at 9am. We all finished getting ready for the day and went to breakfast at the Gingerbread house. Of course we had to do the carousel after we ate..it was becoming a tradition…
James in the snail (we seemed to find this hilarious)


Mackenzie

Macylea eating an apple while taking a ride

Dakota and Caelan, smiling 

and then it was time for me to leave. Mike stayed at GKTW and let the kids play. It was Wednesday, at GKTW which means….PONY RIDES! Macylea, James, Elijah and Mackenzie all took advantage of the pony rides. They even received cowboy hats and certificates.
Macylea

James


Elijah


Mackenzie


After the pony rides, they went to the Castle of Miracles and played. I had wanted to be there when they made the pillow, but I told Mike to go ahead and let them do it without me. I really wanted his star to be a family affair though so we waited for that until we were all together. The rental car took awhile to get and then it dawned on me that I had no idea how to get back to GKTW AND I had brought my wallet with my driver’s license and credit cards but no cash…and the highway back was a toll road! Add to this that the biggest city I’ve driven in is Anchorage, and I get a little scared driving there. The angel, Jim, who was truly that, handed me ten dollars, and said he would lead me back to GKTW, even though he was technically done for the day. He explained how to pay the tolls and then we were off. I was white knuckles and sweaty, but having Jim in front of me gave me something to focus on. I made it back to the village and was so proud of myself, I just drove in Florida!

The family waiting out front of the main office for me (by the mini golf)


We were walking in slow motion here. It’s our family saying “We’re off, like a heard of turtles”


The kids and Mike were over ready when I got back. It was now 11am and everyone was anxious to start the day’s adventure. We loaded the kids into the van when James realized he had left THE BUTTON in the bathroom at the villa. We were parked at the front office, so Mike ran back to get the button and I had the bright idea to grad sandwiches from Katie’s Kitchen for the road. It took about ten minutes for the sandwiches. We ordered a mix of chicken salad, chicken, and meatloaf, and for side’s fresh fruit. Since I was still waiting for the food, Mike went over to the front office to ask about the video camera rental. About the time the food was done, he had been trained on how to use the camera, and we left for Disney Hollywood Studios. The media center gave us the camera, the carry case, two spare batteries and three disks. We were told if we needed new batteries or more disks to stop back by. We don’t own a video camera so we were super excited about this. Finally, we were ready, and it was only…noon? Okay ready and a little late. Here’s another pointer. Bring your GKTW guide book with you at all times. It isn’t very big, but I can almost promise you will want it at some point. For us it was when we became hopelessly lost and had to turn around and start over from Bass Rd. The directions to the parks are all pretty good, if you follow the book. We made the mistake of following road signs that first day, bad idea! Next left does not always mean the very next left. All of this in a humongous 15 passenger van. Maybe some of you city folk will fare better than we did, but for us, let’s just say, I arrived at the Disney parking lot in tears, and not from joy! Hubby brought out the camera and began recording right off the bat. He started every recording with “Star date….this is the captain Mike A…and these are the voyages….” So we dubbed our 15 passenger van the Enterprise. The first day of the trip Elijah was beginning to feel a little left out. From the going away dinner, where James was given gifts and interviewed by the news, to the plane ride where the flight attendants are gushed over him, and then the arrival at GKTW, Elijah was feeling a little green with jealousy. This wasn’t manifest in a mean way, rather Elijah being a little gloomy and sad. DH, who is very in tune with the kids, sat Elijah down and told him that he needed his help. He asked Elijah if he would be the camera man. Well of course Elijah was overjoyed with this responsibility and from then on we never had another moment of jealousy.
It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm, exactly what we’d been hoping for. Mike forgot his beanie and was worried his bald (-ing) head would burn so the kids decided to help him out…


James and Elijah having fun at the huge soda bottle

We wandered a little at HS, and then started to ride some rides. Here’s a little side bar for those who are tech savvy. Caelan texted a family friend who had asked what we were doing. Caelan wrote back that we were at Disney World riding rides…and sent it. But apparently his predictive text sent “we’re at Disney World riding sheep”. Our friend still can’t figure out why we were riding sheep at Disney World! We got to the Aerosmith ride and found out it’s an upside down coaster. Mackenzie and I went into the gift shop instead and played around. This was everyone’s favorite ride at all the parks, so if you have coaster fans, don’t miss this ride! We made it through HS in pretty good time so we decided to do Epcot. We took the ferry from HS to Epcot. It took about 15 mintues of waiting for the ferry, and then another 20 minutes to get to Epcot. It isn’t the fastest way, but it was a fun ride, and you get to see a lot of Disney World.
Dakota on the ferry ( I got up to take his pic and the lady next to him stole my seat!)

James looking at the Epcot map on the ferry

The rest of the family in the back of the boat

Elijah and Macylea

DH Mike and Mackenzie with her new Jesse doll


Once in Epcot, which by the way we were told stands for Every Person Comes Out Tired, lol, we went to Soarin’. After that everyone was ready for food so we did burger’s again. We went to a burger place right in front of the BALL and the dancing fountain. It had an outside eating place so we enjoyed the fountain and atmosphere of Epcot while we ate. These were terrific burgers! Great buns and very filling. There wasn’t a condiment bar like at MK, but still for $8 a burger with fries it was pretty good. We did a little looking around Epcot, but there wasn’t enough time to do any rides, by now it was getting time to go “line-up” to get a good spot to watch ILLUMINATIONS. We found the row right in the front area, and asked two young men where the best place to watch was. These guys were pretty camped out and obviously had either done this before, or had some good info about the show. What they did next was truly wonderful. They actually offered to switch us places and let us be in the front. We had started to get use to Disney treating us like royalty, but these two guys, about 19 or 20 at the oldest, were just sweet young men. In front of where we stood was a stage type area that was blocked off with ropes. After about 45min some Disney cast came down the line and told people that if the weather co-operated, they would open the roped off area. Now we were getting to be pro’s at the WISH thing, so I mustered up the courage and asked the Cast member that IF they were going to allow people up onto the stage to view the fireworks, would they let us onto the stage just a minute earlier. I envisioned them dropping the rope, and us trying to scurry in with James’ wheelchair, ending up worse for trying. The cast member was very pleasant and told us to go wait be the rope, and right before he allowed anyone else up, he’d let us go. Here’s the one caveat…up in that viewing area you must be sitting…so we were going to have to carry James up the steps, then fold his chair. No problem, we were excited to be getting the absolute best seats in the house for the show. We gathered our stuff, which when you have 8 people tends to be a lot of stuff, and told the two young men they could have their spot back. We thanked them again for their generosity and went to stand by the rope. Now this place by the rope had zero visibility, but that’s ok because we were going to be on the stage. WRONG! The cast member came back about 20minutes before the show and told us that it looked like it was going to rain, and if it did then they would NOT open the stage. So where does that put us? We couldn’t see a thing from where we were, we couldn’t go ask those nice guys to give us the spot back, and it was 20 minutes before the show, which means all of Epcot was lined up in rows to see Illuminations. The cast member said there was still some space in the wheelchair viewing and we decided it was our last and only option. The wheelchair viewing is just to the right of the “stage” we had greedily wanted to be on. Usually in the wheel chair viewing area the disabled person is allowed 3 guests, but again James’ magic button spoke louder than rules and the whole family was ushered in. James had a front row spot with his chair and the kids even had room to gather around him. It turned out to be a perfect place to watch the show.

Obviously pictures do not do it justice


DH Mike and I watching the show

Mackenzie, Dakota and James waiting for it to start (we waited 1.5 hours)

We were not disappointed. It was so amazing even Mackenzie, who was 3 hours late for bed, was glued to her spot. I highly recommend taking a little time for these shows. I wish we would have factored in a few parades during our trip too. I hadn’t thought we would care about them, but looking back I think it would’ve been fun. After the show the park was closed and we headed quickly back to the monorail to catch a bus to find our car which was parked at Hollywood Studios. This took about an hour. Everyone was hungry, as always and it was 10:15pm. Pizza stops delivery at 10:30, and it’s a solid 25-30 minutes back to the village. We called the pizza place and asked if they were allowed to leave it at the desk, but apparently it isn’t…we asked if they could put in on our porch, but again, nope. Oh well, we had some fruit and snacks in the room. The kids all fell asleep in the van and by the time we got to our villa, everyone was too tired to eat anyway and day two was officially over.

Next: Day 3: Sea World and Christmas Together
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:29 PM   #57
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Yeah! An update! I am really enjoying your trip report and all the pictures!

Lynn
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:35 PM   #58
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Amber,

LOVE the TR and LOVE the tips! Thanks so much for throwing in some advice here and there for those of us with wish trips coming up.

Question: aside from the rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios, what other rides/show did your kids really like? Did you see the stunt show (that's new since the last time we went to WDW).
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:37 AM   #59
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So happy to read another update! Sounds like you guys are having a terriffic time! I'm glad you got the van...I bet it makes the rest of the trip a little less stressful. Can't wait to hear more!! You are telling a great story!!
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Old 04-06-2010, 02:45 PM   #60
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Great update! Looks like the whole family is having a great time.
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