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Old 01-04-2010, 08:39 AM   #1
MommyMcQueen
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You're Livin' the Dream, Mater Boy! *Aug 2010*(WE'RE HOME and HAD A GREAT TRIP!!!!)

Hello and welcome to my first pre-trip report! I’m Karen and I’ve been planning my families’ first Disney World trip since July 2009…and I finally did it – I booked it! I booked on Christmas Eve day, it was so exciting and scary at the same time – but it’s now official…we’re actually going! We seriously looked at going last summer after the 4/3 deal came out, but really wanted to wait 1 more year for our youngest child to be a little older. This will probably be our only trip to WDW while our children are young, so we want to make the most of it and hopefully they will be old enough to remember some of it.

So, here is our cast:

Myself, Karen, 34 years old and I’ve never been to any Disney parks. I’ve been staying home with my kids for the last 3 years and work part-time from home. I’ve been obsessively planning this trip since July and feel like I finally have my itinerary all worked out – until hours are released then I’ll probably need to rework it all again! I’m an avid scrapbooker and take tons of pictures and actually found the DIS when searching online for Disney scrapbook layout ideas…yes, I was planning the scrapbook BEFORE the trip!

My DH is Dan, he’ll go by the name Grumpy, (which he’s really not but has a good sense of humor about it – I got him 2 Grumpy t-shirts from the Disney store for Xmas and he loved them!). He just had his 40th birthday, and has never been to Disney either. He seems to think this trip is all about the kids, but I have a feeling he’ll find himself truly enjoying his own experiences, and not just finding joy in their experiences.

DS6 is our racecar loving McQueen! He has been completely in love with Cars since he was 2, and I couldn’t even guess how many times he’s watched that movie or how many hours have been spent playing with his Cars vehicles. He’s artsy and crafty and loves to draw and I can’t wait to take him to the Animators Studio at HS.

DS3 is our little Mater. Another Cars fanatic, he’s goofy and stubborn and a “don’t-care-what-nobody-thinks” kind of kid. He’s loud and passionate and silly and sweet. He hates to walk long distances (“walkings tough” he cries) and as much as I don’t want to, I think we will need a stroller on this trip.

So that’s us!




Other info about us – we live in Wisconsin in a pretty small town, don’t travel much but do lots of camping, day trips and weekend trips. WDW will be our families’ first “real” vacation and there are times when I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!

Please join in and follow me on this journey – I’ll be asking for lots of advice along the way!

Up Next: When and Where

Last edited by MommyMcQueen; 08-30-2010 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:23 PM   #2
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When & Where:

So there’s the cast….here are the details:

*Booked at POP Century from August 20th to August 29th, 2010.

Where to stay? So I did what every good WDW trip planner does – I changed my mind about 100 times on which resort to stay at! First I wanted CBR – just liked the look and feel of it, but the size quickly turned me off after reading some threads about how big it was. Then I had my heart set on POFQ, the whole feel of the place really appealed to us and I loved it’s small size. But then I got worried that the kids wouldn’t like it – not the most kid-friendly as far as theming goes, and I thought the kids would really like the theming of Pop more. So I decided to go with Pop and if we ever go back when the kids are older, we’d definitely do POFQ.

When to go? We knew we didn’t want to pull McQueen out of school, so that meant going in summer. School doesn’t start here until after Labor Day and gets done in early June. Usually our summer is filled with camping - we have a permanent campsite at a campground about an hour away from home and we’re looking to sell that this summer to be able to start traveling more. It’s been great to have while the kids were little, but now we want to travel and see more of what’s out there. Our anniversary is in August and also Value season starts in late August so we choose August and are keeping our fingers crossed for Free Dining…and no hurricanes. (We did get trip insurance just incase!)

How long to stay? I originally planned for just a week – typical 7 days. Then I started reading and seeing how much there was to do and quickly realized that we were going to need a few more days. I wanted to have a day or two of non-park days to just relax and take naps and wanted to have 2 days each for MK and Epcot, so I settled on 10 days – a day of travel on each end and 8 days at WDW.

And getting there? We’ll be flying from Milwaukee to Orlando on Southwest. They just started flying out of MKE and have the lowest rates around. We could have flown out of Green Bay (like 15 minutes from home) but it would have cost over $600 more and we would have had a layover somewhere, so we decided to do the 1.5 hour drive to MKE instead and get a nonstop flight. They have such good times for flights that it won’t be too bad having to drive – we fly out at 11am and when we fly home we’ll arrive about 11am, so plenty of time for driving there and back.

The planning begins…So being a complete Disney newbie can be tough, and trying to plan a first trip is fun and challenging and completely exciting to me! I’m so glad I found the DIS so early and I’ve had so many of my questions answered on this board, been given so many ideas of things to do, and lots of tips on what NOT to do! I have made many plans already, I’m hoping that when hours are released that some of the things I have planned will coincide with when the parks are open, and when shows, parades, and fireworks are shown. I’m sure I’ll have to do some re-planning, and I’ve made the itinerary somewhat flexible as far as what days at what parks. So, we’ll see…another month or so and I can start finalizing things.

One thing I forgot to mention is that we are doing the Quick Serve Dining plan. We are not big restaurant people and when we do go out it is to very casual restaurants, we’re really not “fancy” restaurant people at all. Plus to be completely honest, I’ve never been totally comfortable with taking the kids in restaurants unless it’s a family place or a causal dining place (Applebee’s type place). They generally do behave very well (and have done great the last few times out to dinner), but I always worry about meltdowns, dropped food, spilled drinks…just annoying other patrons in general. I think it stems from a bad trip to Perkins when McQueen was 2 – he was starving and we were eating late and he sat in the restaurant screaming “My French Fries! My French Fries!” Nothing we could do or say could distract him from screaming for french fries. It was just mortifying…it took us a year to go back to a sit-down restaurant after that. So it’s Quick Serve for us and that fits us just fine.

Anyone have tips on Pop Century? Anything to be sure to look for or do there?

Next: The Itinerary!
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:24 PM   #3
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I thought I would add a few more pictures just for fun...here are the kids in their costumes from last Halloween:





The looked so great together. We decided on the Woody costume first for McQueen, and as soon as Mater got wind that his big brother was going to be Woody, he wanted to be Buzz. It was a great idea until the costume came and he absolutely HATED putting it on - kicked and screamed the entire time. Once he had it on he liked it...but even now, months later, he won't put it back on! At least I got a few cute pictures of him in it.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:13 PM   #4
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Disney Nightmare

So last night while sleeping I had my first Disney World dream! Or more like nightmare I should say!

In my dream it was the first day of our trip - we arrived late the night before and didn't have time to go to MK as planned, so we were planning for RD the next morning. Well that morning we all overslept, the kids didn't want to get ready, everyone was cranky. My DH wanted me to give him a haircut!!! All I wanted to do was get over to MK for rope drop on our first day! I kept looking out my hotel window seeing hoardes of people heading over and we needed to leave! After tons of dealys, we are then driving in our car trying to find MK (even though we flew...not sure how our car got there) we have no map, no idea where to go, just following the crowds. Along the way I'm excited because I keep seeing signs for restaurant and hotels I've only ever ready about.

The next thing I remember is that we're there and inside and it is just packed with people, long lines everywhere and we're just trying to make our way through the crowds. I don't think we got on any rides, I just remember being packed in like sardines and trying to make our way to Dumbo! I was mad that we missed rope drop and now the lines were all too long...we should have got there earlier!

I hope I don't have 7 more months of dreams like this one!
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:21 PM   #5
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The Itinerary: Week at a Glance

The Itinerary – Week at a Glance:

Well, here it is…the grand plan! Please feel free to let me know if this is way too ambitious or anything that is just completely ridiculous! I’d really love any feedback and planning tips! I know everyone says “you can’t do it all” but we want to see and do as much as we can while still having some down time and not being rushed from ride to ride and show to show.

Here is our week at a glance:

Day 1: Arrive 2pm, check in POP, late afternoon MK for dinner, watch Move It Shake It or Dream Along with Mickey (no plans to do any rides that first night)
Day 2: MK: all day (leave after dinner, early bed)
Day 3: MK: morning. Break for afternoon nap/rest, back to MK for Spectro or Wishes (if showing)
Day 4: Day off: sleep in, DTD, swim, nap, relax
Day 5: AK: all day (leave after dinner, early bed)
Day 6: HS: morning & early afternoon, break for later afternoon nap/rest, back for Fantasmic (if showing)
Day 7: Day off: sleep in, Character Breakfast, swim, nap, relax
Day 8: Epcot: all day (leave after dinner, early bed)
Day 9: Epcot: morning. Break for afternoon nap/rest, back for Illuminations (if showing)
Day 10: Come home

I didn’t really plan for nap breaks every day, but will have some downtime most days. My kids rarely nap now (even Mater who SHOULD be napping), and we are morning people (kids are almost always up by 6am) and we would rather leave the parks a little early and get to bed early. I hope I’ve built in enough other breaks that we can manage a few days without them…there’s really only 3 days with no nap breaks but on those days we’d leave the parks probably around 5-6pm (and they are after our days off so we should be somewhat rested).

All that I really have set it stone is that I want to do MK first. I just want that to be our first experience at Disney and take our first couple days to really see and enjoy that park. Even though it falls over the weekend and it’ll probably be busier, we do want to do MK first. The other parks I can sort of flip-flop their days depending on what hours come out to be and when which parks are showing fireworks and stuff. Definitely want the day off after 2 park days (and ideally after our late nights). I think those days off will break it up nicely and give us and the kiddos a chance to rest and relax.

Thanks for reading and any tips are welcome and appreciated!

Next: Itinerary Details - Days 1 - 4
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:26 PM   #6
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Hi Karen! I jumped right on over after you posted on my PTR! First off, the Halloween costumes totally rock!! Second, where in Wisconsin are you from? My husband is from West Bend so we know a lot about Eastern Wisconsin! I love hearing about first timers trips and plans! Sounds like you are really on top of things! I would love to spend 10 days at Disney! We aren't huge table service people either, especially with the kids young, they don't like to sit too long in restaurants. What character breakfast are you thinking about?? We did Crystal Palace Pooh Breakfast last trip and really liked it and enjoyed getting into the MK before park hours. This trip we are trying Donald's Safari Breakfast in AK, should be fun! Pop is a great resort, the boys will love it! It's really kid-friendly and has three fun pools and Pop Jets too! The food court is great and has lots of selections! Can't wait to read more!!!
~Beth
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cory's Gal View Post
Hi Karen! I jumped right on over after you posted on my PTR! First off, the Halloween costumes totally rock!! Second, where in Wisconsin are you from? My husband is from West Bend so we know a lot about Eastern Wisconsin! I love hearing about first timers trips and plans! Sounds like you are really on top of things! I would love to spend 10 days at Disney! We aren't huge table service people either, especially with the kids young, they don't like to sit too long in restaurants. What character breakfast are you thinking about?? We did Crystal Palace Pooh Breakfast last trip and really liked it and enjoyed getting into the MK before park hours. This trip we are trying Donald's Safari Breakfast in AK, should be fun! Pop is a great resort, the boys will love it! It's really kid-friendly and has three fun pools and Pop Jets too! The food court is great and has lots of selections! Can't wait to read more!!!
~Beth
Hi Beth! Thanks so much for joining! I'm so glad to have a reader! We live just south of Green Bay, we've also lived in Appleton. We have family in the Milwaukee area but we've never been to West Bend.

The halloween costumes - I have this sickness where I like to dress them in costumes that go together...last year they were Diego and baby Jaguar (technically I think he was in a leopard costume, but who really knew)...Mater was in love with Jaguar at time:


and the year before they were a fireman and dalmation:


The Buzz and Woody were my favorite though - so cute! I just love halloween with little kids, it is so much fun.

Anyway - back to the Disney planning! I haven't completely decided on which Character Breakfast, but I am leaning toward Chef Mickeys. It is hard to pick just one but that's all the budget will allow! So, I will need to go back and read a little more on each of them and make a decision. Donalds Safari Breakfast looked really cute too, if I don't do Chef Mickeys I will probably do that one.

I'm really happy we decided to go to Pop - I think we'll all really like it - there seems to be so many good reviews of it. I'm trying to stay on top of the planning - I can't wait for hours to come out. I'm a planner by nature so this is like the ultimate for me!

Thanks for the info on Pop and I'll be checking your PTR for your next update as well!
Karen
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:17 PM   #8
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Itininery Days 1-4

I spent some time this weekend working out a more detailed plan for our first few days – the day we arrive and our next 2 days at MK.

Day 1: Friday – Travel Milwaukee to Orlando
-Arrive at MCO about 2pm, take ME to POP and check in.
-Take bus to MK – check out Main Street USA (get our First Visit Buttons, do Photo Pass pix)
-Grab a bite to eat – thinking Caseys for dinner (it’s an icon, right?), grab some ice cream (we are big ice cream people, we are SO looking forward to our first ice cream on Main Street!)
-See Dream Along with Mickey Stage show or Move it Shake it Celebrate it? Maybe both if showing?
-Maybe ride the train, walk through the castle

I really just want to take it all in that first afternoon/early evening – sit back and look around and enjoy the experience of being there…and not rushing to rides right away! Plan to head back early for bedtime.

Day 2: Saturday - MK – Rope Drop
We hope to get through Fantasyland, Toontown (if it’s still there) and Tomorrowland our first day. I think it’s pretty doable.
-Do Fantasyland first. Ride Dumbo, Pooh, Teacups, Peter Pan, see Philmagic. Basically want to do it all! Will Fastpass what we can and ride others in between.
-Head to Toontown after it opens at 10am (Please still be there!), do the meet and greets. Finish Fantasyland after Toontown, grab lunch at Pinocchio’s Village Haus.
-Plan to do Tomorrowland in the afternoon, FP Space Mountain and Buzz, ride others while waiting.
-Want to see Dreams Parade at 3:00pm. Grab a snack and find a spot. Finish Tomorrowland after parade and do dinner at Cosmic Rays.
-Head back to Pop after dinner, early bedtime for all.

Day 3: Sunday - MK – Rope Drop
Today we do Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Adventureland.
-Head to Frontierland first, ride or FP Big Thunder Mountain, do country bears and Tom Sawyer while waiting. FP Splash for later – will go on it before we leave.
-Then over to Liberty Square – do Haunted Mansion and Riverboat.
-Lunch will be somewhere along the way, depending on where we are and when.
-Finish up with Adventureland – FP Jungle cruise, do Pirates, Aladdin, Tiki Room? Go back and do Splash?
-After we’re done with what we want to see and do, we do plan to go back to the hotel and rest today. I’m not sure how long it will take us to get through these lands (if anyone could give me an estimation that would be great). I’m hoping we could be out by early afternoon? Is that possible?
-Go back to hotel, clean up from the water rides. NAP. (*Please let the kids nap*)
-Dinner at POP after naps and head back to MK for Spectro and Wishes.

Yes, we’re going to attempt a late night! The kids love parades and fireworks and I really hope to be able to see both Spectro and Wishes on the same night. We’ll see if this can happen when hours come out. We’ll be okay with a late night here since tomorrow is a….

Day 4: DAY OFF
-Sleep in (If anyone wants to take bets…I’ll bet you my kids will still be up by 6:30am even after a late night
-Breakfast at Everything Pop
-Morning: Check out Downtown Disney, eat lunch there. (Try not to spend ALL morning at Lego, I do need to find scrapbook supplies, after all)
-Afternoon: Back to hotel, swim, nap, relax. Ahhhhhhh…no commando here!

So that is the plan for MK and our first day off. I *hope* I’ve allotted enough time to see and do most of it without having to really rush and be pushed for time. I think our second day there worries me more, and we may skip some rides like Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion or Splash if needed to fit in the nap time that afternoon. I haven’t really worked out a great plan for those 3 lands yet.

What do you think? Can all of this be done in 2 days?

Next: Itinerary Days 5, 6, and 7
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:53 PM   #9
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Your Itinerary looks great Karen! It's so nice that you have a "day off" built into your trip! If you are looking for a great ice cream treat, our favorite is the homemade ice cream cookie sandwich from the Main Street Bakery! They are huge and so yummy!!

We are planning two late nights during our trip too! I want the kids to see Spectro and Wishes (same night) and then Illuminations too at Epcot. Hopefully I can get them to nap or at least rest in the afternoons!

I am a Vikings fan, but my DH is a Packer fan so he says "Go Pack Go"!
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:29 AM   #10
MommyMcQueen
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Your Itinerary looks great Karen! It's so nice that you have a "day off" built into your trip! If you are looking for a great ice cream treat, our favorite is the homemade ice cream cookie sandwich from the Main Street Bakery! They are huge and so yummy!!

We are planning two late nights during our trip too! I want the kids to see Spectro and Wishes (same night) and then Illuminations too at Epcot. Hopefully I can get them to nap or at least rest in the afternoons!

I am a Vikings fan, but my DH is a Packer fan so he says "Go Pack Go"!
Hi Beth! You sound just like another family I know - my friend is a Vikings fan, her DH a Packers fan. Their DS5 loves the Cowboys and their DD2 likes the "Pink Bears"!?! Lots of competition in that house!

Thanks for the tip on Main Street Bakery - I knew there were places to get ice cream but didn't know where....I'll be sure to check it out!

Yeah, we too are hoping for Spectro and Wishes on the same night, and we'd love to see Illuminations too. Actually we'd like to see Fantasmic as well, but I don't know if we'll get in all 3. But 2 out of 3 would be great! I'll skip Fantasic to make the other 2 nights work if I have to.

I keep going out and checking for hours but they're not posted yet for August. I read somewhere on here to check about a week before the end of this month...I know I'm early but I just keep checking, just incase. I can't wait to see those hours!!!

Last edited by MommyMcQueen; 02-01-2010 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:47 AM   #11
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Joining in! Now to go back and read
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:02 PM   #12
MommyMcQueen
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Joining in! Now to go back and read
Hi Jennifer!
Thanks so much for joining in! Looks like we will be there right about the same time! Where are you staying? What are your plans?

Karen
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:27 AM   #13
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Day 5: Animal Kingdom

Day 5: Animal Kingdom

After our day of rest we should be all set for Rope Drop again! I’m very excited for AK – we love going to traditional zoo’s and my kids love learning about animals…we recently spent 6 hours at the Milwaukee Zoo and only got through about ¾ of it, so I’m hoping we’ll have enough time to get through most of it in 1 day…we will be skipping a few of the headliners – EE and Kali for sure, probably skip Dinosaur as well.

Last August when we went to the Milwaukee Zoo and I used that as an opportunity to see how the kids would do walking and how we would all do juggling the exhibits, meals, snacks, rides, bathroom breaks, etc. We were there from 10am to 4pm and did a lot of walking, criss-crossed the zoo a couple times to see a show, and when we left at 4pm no one was really tired and they kids did great…Mater complained about walking (which was completely expected) and Grumpy and I took turns carrying him for short periods, just to give his little legs a couple minute break. We stopped for lunch, snacks and other breaks, did a show and a train ride that allowed us to sit for a while. I left there feeling very relieved, and thinking that the kids will be 1 year older when we do Disney so they will be able to go even further. The zoo is about 200 acres, which I think I read is about the size of MK, but less than half the size of AK.

I know many people say AK is easily doable in 1 day, but I’m worried we may not get through it all! We really want to do the Kids Discovery stops along the way as well, which I know will take up some time.

Here is what I am thinking for a plan so far:
-After RD, go to Africa and ride Safari, do Pangani trail. Ride train to Rafiki’s, do Rafiki’s for a bit.
-Back to Discovery Island, early lunch at Pizzafari 11-ish on the way to…
-Camp Minnie-Mickey - get in line for Lion King by 11:30am. Hope to get to 12:00pm show. (Is 11:30 early enough to be in line?) After the show do character meet/greets.
-Back to Discovery Islands, do the tree, Tough to be a Bug show.
-Head to Asia – try to see Birds of Prey Show (2:00pm). My kids especially love birds, hawks and eagles. We are lucky enough to often see hawks in the field behind our house and occasionally see eagles as well, so the kids always have an eye to the sky around here. Do Mahajara Trail before or after.
-Over to DinoLand. I should mention that Mater is in LOVE with dinosaurs, which is why we’re coming here last, we’d never get him out if we came here first. We want to try to see the Nemo show (luckily Mater loves Nemo too), but I’m not sure how that will work with the parade at 3:45pm…I think we’ll just have play it by ear, if we can get in the 3:00 show we’ll do it, otherwise we’ll try for the later show after the parade.
-We’ll fill in any free time before/after parade and show in the boneyard, ride any of the smaller carnival rides there, again if time allows. I’m sure the kids will want to play a while in the boneyard. Not sure about doing Dinosaur – maybe I’d grab a FP earlier in the day and see if we can get on it…a little worried about the kids freaking out on that ride (so IF we do it we’d probably do it last just incase)!
-Would like to grab dinner at Flame Tree before we leave, really want to try the ribs and chicken!
-Head back to Pop after dinner, early bedtimes again tonight, I’m sure we’ll all be tired.

If anyone knows the best way to fit in both the parade and Nemo in the afternoon please let me know any thoughts…I’m always looking to improve the plans!

Thanks so much for checking out my plans and reading along!
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:12 AM   #14
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Another Trip in the works...

I've been sort of MIA the last few days - not doing too much reading and planning for Disney as I usually do. Last week my sister and I decided to plan a suprise trip to take our mom out to Washington DC in April. My mom lived out in DC when she was young - she was in the Army and worked at the Pentagon. Throughout the years she has often talked about her time in DC, how wonderful it was and how much it meant to her. She has never been back. Mom is in her later 60's and may not be able to travel much longer.

A friend of mine had recently taken a trip with her mom, and shortly after that her mom suffered a stroke (she has recovered well but it was a huge scare for the family), and after seeing the pictures from her trip, it inspired me to do something with my mom. So, I immediately knew DC was the place to take her. I called my sister and the planning began! We are meeting at her house to tell her today. We are just going for a long weekend - Thursday thru Sunday, and we are going during the Cherry Blossom Festival (mom often spoke of the cherry blossom out there and how much she loved them). So, it will be an exciting day today, surprising her with the trip and just seeing her reaction. I think she will be completely shocked.

I am so excited to take her back to DC (and see it for the first time myself, I've always wanted to go), and hear her stories and share her memories of her time there. I think it will be a wonderful weekend and something that both my sister and I will cherish when mom is no longer here.

Well I'm off to go get ready to go to moms house! I can't wait to tell her!

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Old 01-19-2010, 08:15 PM   #15
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Hi Karen!

I am new to your PTR--just found it tonight. We are taking our first family vacation to Disney in September--though DH and I have each been one time (together back in 2005). We are really excited to taker our DD down.

We stayed at POFQ--it was a great resort! There were a lot of kids there and the pool is great but I understand about you wanting to stay at Pop this go around. POFQ is not going anywhere!!

I am a scrapbooker too!! I have already started to collect materials for our trip. Mouse Memories in DTD is the place to go for scrapbooking materials. You will see some here and there in the parks (paper packs and such) but if you want a specialized album, that is the place to go. I am toying around with trying my hand at digital scrapbooking, though I cannot image completely giving up traditional scrapbooking. Are you making anything for the trip?

Washington DC--I love it!! I am waiting until DD is older and then we want to go there as well. But it is going to be awhile before we make it there. Have a great time planning your trip.
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