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Old 08-10-2010, 03:51 PM   #1
Mommy2LittleVols
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Dakoda Turns 3 At Disney World! ~ May/June 2010 ~ FINISHED! 8/31 Post#72

Dakoda Turns 3 At Disney World!!

LINKS ARE IN THE SECOND POST!!!

Hi everyone and welcome to my trip report! As the title suggests, this trip was to celebrate my son, Dakoda's, 3rd birthday. We stayed 5 nights in Orlando - 1 offsite and 4 at AS Sports - and spent 5 days in the parks. We had a wonderful time, despite a few snags, and I can't wait to share our stories and pictures with you!! First things first, though - introductions:

First up, there is my husband, Darren. He is an electrical engineer by day and an assistant football coach for our local high school by night. Oh, and he likes the Tennessee VOLS a little, too!


Next up is our son, Dakoda. He turned 3 years old on May 30. This trip was taken to celebrate his birthday. Just about a year ago, Dakoda was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), which is an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Basically, that means that he displays some signs of autism and/or Asperger's Syndrome, but not enough to determine where exactly he might fall on the spectrum. We don't worry about that, though. Most people can't even tell that he is "different." He is the sweetest, most loving, fun to be around little boy I know.


Let's not forget Sarah Kate, aka Sassy. Sarah Kate was 15 months old on this trip. She is spunky, full of life, and a drama queen. She is our little princess.


And last, but not least, is me. I'm the wife, mom, and Disney-vacation-planner of the family. I'm a stay-at-home mom, but I spend a lot of time not at-home. I volunteer in Dakoda's preschool class, serve as an adviser for my sorority (Delta Gamma) at the University of Tennessee, and occasionally substitute teach. Sarah Kate is a social butterfly and loves to be out and about, so we also go on lots of playdates.


If you would like to know more about us and how this trip came to be, the link to my (unfinished) PTR is in my signature.

Alternate Titles for this Trip Report included:

- How to Enjoy Disney World with a Reluctant Husband, Autistic Preschooler, and Drama Queen Toddler
- Grumpy Says "Never Again!" -- to Everything!
- We Have to Get Up at WHAT Time??



Last edited by Mommy2LittleVols; 08-31-2010 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 03:52 PM   #2
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TR Links
Day 1 - Traveling to the World

Day 2, Part 1 - Hollywood Studios

Day 2, Part 1 - cont

Day 2, Part 2 - Room Changes, SWW, Fantasmic!

Day 2, Part 2 - cont

Day 3, Part 1 - Chef Mickey's

Day 3, Part 2 - Magic Kingdom and The Crystal Palace!

Day 4, Part 1 - Animal Kingdom - Boma, FOTLK, Finding Nemo!
Day 4, Part 2 - EMH at Animal Kingdom!
Day 5, Part 1 - Epcot - Sunshine Seasons and Living with the Land!
Day 5, Part 2 - The Seas with Nemo, Club Cool, Le Cellier
Day 5, Part 3 - Resort Fun, Illuminations, Epcot EMH
Day 6, Part 1 - Crystal Palace Breakfast, Fantasyland Fun!
Day 6, Part 2 - Tomorrowland, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen Meet, Afternoon Parade!
Day 6, Part 3 - Dinner with Sonny Eclipse and Dakoda's 1st Rollercoaster Ride!
Final Thoughts


Family Updates and Other Fun Things!
Sarah Kate is 18 months old!

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Old 08-10-2010, 06:45 PM   #3
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Day 1 - Friday, May 28, 2010

I got up around 6 am and finished packing all of the bags and doing my last minute checklist to make sure that we weren’t forgetting anything. I think Darren slept in a little longer and got up between 6:30 and 7. After he showered and got dressed, we loaded up the car and got the kids up and dressed. Then we went through the house making sure all the lights were off, appliances unplugged, computer was shut down, etc. I wanted to be on the road by 8:00, and I think we pulled out around 8:15. Not bad!

The kids were all strapped in and ready to hit the road!


We stopped for gas at the convenience store in town and grabbed some breakfast at Hardee’s, and then were on our way. We took highway 27 to Chattanooga and then caught I-75 and headed into Georgia. We hit Atlanta right around lunchtime – and the traffic was HORRIBLE!! I would say that Atlanta traffic is probably the worst part of the whole drive for us. It just feels like you sit there barely moving forever. Ugh! We finally made it through, and decided to grab a quick bite to eat in Stockbridge.

I don’t remember much of the next few hours. Darren and I played a trivia game on my phone while the kids watched various Disney movies. We stopped for dinner and gas in Tifton, and then continued the drive all the way down to Orlando. I’m sure we stopped several times for potty breaks, but I couldn’t tell you where. It was a fairly uneventful drive. After about 8 hours, the kids started getting REALLY restless. I couldn’t blame them. To be honest, Darren and I were getting pretty restless ourselves!

We finally arrived at our hotel for the night – the Radisson Hotel Orlando-Lake Buena Vista. I booked it through Priceline a couple of days before we left. We got a pretty good price on it and had a comfortable stay. But we were sooo ready to reach our real destination tomorrow – DISNEY WORLD!!

Last edited by Mommy2LittleVols; 08-18-2010 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:12 PM   #4
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Day 2 – Saturday, May 29, 2010 - Part 1

We were headed to Hollywood Studios today, and I wanted to try and make it there by 8 am for EMH. Since we needed to stop by All Star Sports first and pick up our Key to the World cards, that meant an extra early start. I got up and started getting ready around 5:30, and got Darren up around 6. He showered and got the kids ready while I put on my makeup and repacked our overnight bag. Thanks again, honey! We left the hotel around 6:45 and headed towards the World. It wasn’t belong before we saw this beautiful sight.



Here is where it got a bit tricky. You see, the navigation system that is built into our van is in need of an update, so when we put in the address for All Star Sports, it sent us in the ENTIRELY wrong direction. I knew that the All Star Resorts were in the Animal Kingdom area, so when I saw that it was taking us over by DTD, I knew that something wasn’t right. I tried to tell Darren to go ahead and take the AK exit, but since I’m not always the best with directions, he chose to follow the GPS. Needless to say, this is one time that he should have listened to me. We ended up way over by Pleasure Island before I finally called AS Sports to get directions. Unfortunately, the cast member that I spoke to wasn’t very helpful. I just kept telling Darren to follow the signs to the AK area until we started seeing the All Star Resort signs. We eventually found our way, and soon we saw this.



Darren let me out by the door and parked the van while I went inside to check in. I had done online check-in before we left, so I figured that it would go fairly quickly. Unfortunately, there was only one cast member working at the check-in desk that morning, and several people already in line. After about 10 minutes, another cast member came up and started helping out, quickly followed by a third, which was a good thing since the line had kept growing behind me while I waited. Finally it was my turn. I gave the cast member my name and told her that I had done online check-in. At first she couldn’t find my folder, which made me a bit nervous. She went to another area of the counter and found it there. Whew! Then she went to find my gift card and came back a few minutes later and said that they were locked in the safe and she wouldn’t be able to get to it until a manager came in, but that I could come by and get it later. That was fine with me. She gave me our folder and our KTTW cards. I had requested Hoops Building, first floor with a VIP cleaning for my son’s allergies. We were in the Tennis Building on the second floor and the room wasn’t ready yet, so she wasn’t sure if it would receive the VIP cleaning or not. I was a little disappointed, especially about the cleaning, but I figured I would just wait and see how it turned out. By this point it was after 7:30 and I was eager to get to the park!

We left AS Sports and stopped at the nearby McDonald’s for breakfast, then headed to DHS.

We needed to pick up Dakoda’s GAC before we began touring the park, so our first stop was Guest Services. We got there around 7:55 and there was a short wait. We were inside the park by 8:10. Since the masses were headed to Pixar Place for Toy Story Mania, we decided to head down Sunset Boulevard for mine and Darren’s favorite attractions – Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The wait time for ToT said 13 minutes, so I rode stand-by while Darren picked up FPs for RnRC. When I got back, he had consulted the Times Guide and made out a schedule for us so that we could hit all the shows that morning. I was so proud of him!

We headed over to the Animation Courtyard to get in line for the 9:15 showing of Voyage of the Little Mermaid. We made it over there by around 8:45, so I walked around and took a few pictures while Darren stood in line with the kids.





I went to find Darren and the kids and they were already inside the building. The kids were getting restless, so we sang a few rounds of “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Winnie the Pooh”, which I’m sure the people around us appreciated.

They opened the theater a little after 9. We got great seats (for us) – back row close to the exit in case one of the kids freaked out. I was especially nervous about Sarah Kate since she wasn’t very fond of Ursula last year. She didn’t seem to mind her this year, though. Both kids really enjoyed the show. (And Ariel has since become her favorite princess.)

Our next stop was Playhouse Disney Live. The show was going to start at 9:40, and we were able to walk right in with no line and get great seats! As usual, the kids LOVED this show. PHD is on a LOT at our house, so they’re both familiar with all of the characters. It was so much fun to watch them dance and sing along!

Continued in next post.
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Last edited by Mommy2LittleVols; 08-18-2010 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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Day 2, Part 1 cont.

After PHD, we wanted to try and catch the first Beauty and the Beast show of the day. It was scheduled to start at 10:15 and it was after 10 when we got out, so we hurried over to the theater. We must have still had a bit of Disney magic with us because once again we were able to walk right in and get great seats! We were on the front row on the right side. Darren held Sarah Kate so that I could take some pictures of the show.


























After the show ended, Darren decided to go ahead and use his FP for RnRC. The kids and I got some ice cream at the Rock Station booth right outside the coaster and sat in the shade to wait for him. Dakoda was all about some ice cream, but Sarah Kate didn’t want any, which surprised me because she never turns down food. The next thing I knew, she was fast asleep! I guess the early morning plus all the excitement had worn her right out! When Darren got back, I decided not to ride the coaster on a full stomach, so we headed over to TSM to see if there were any FPs left. To no surprise, they were already out (this was a little after 11 am). Since it was Star Wars Weekend and Sarah Kate was still sleeping, we decided to just walk around for a bit and see what characters were out. We saw Darth Maul; one of those characters that looks like a pig (sorry, my SW knowledge is limited – LOL); and the big man himself, Darth Vader. Darren wanted to get a pic with Vader, but the line was super long, so we decided to come back later. We walked through the Star Wars store and I fell in love with a stuffed Ewok. Seriously, it was sooo cute! I also wanted to get a Jedi Mickey for Dakoda. I am a notoriously bad decision maker, though, so we didn’t end up buying anything.

At this point, Sarah Kate had woken up and we were all hungry. We decided to head over to Pizza Planet. Darren and the kids fought for a table while I waited in the long line with a hundred or so other hungry people. We got 2 pepperoni pizzas with salads, a cookie, apple slices, a coke and a diet coke (2 CS). We had juice in the diaper bag for the kids. While we ate, we got a text message that our room was ready – yay! We decided to go ahead and head over there to settle in and (hopefully) get the kids to take a nap. We ended up following the High School Musical show up Hollywood Boulevard, which the kids loved.

One last picture before we left.


We got to our car around 12:35 and headed to the hotel to check out our room.

Last edited by Mommy2LittleVols; 08-18-2010 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:21 PM   #6
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I am here too! Great start to your report. It is funny to see you guys checked in the same day we checked out. A sad day for us but surely happy for you.

Those were great seats you got at Beauty and the Beast. I love that show.

I cannot wait to read more.

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Old 08-10-2010, 09:16 PM   #7
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Hi Queila! Thanks for stopping by! So sad that we arrived as you were leaving.

We had wonderful seats at B&tB! We really love that show, too.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:41 PM   #8
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Hi I'm subbing.
I'm a preschool teacher 2s 3s and 4s

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Old 08-10-2010, 10:11 PM   #9
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Joining in!
Your kids are too cute.
Wow, I can not believe you checked out of one hotel, got lost, checked into a new hotel, and still made AM EMH?! You're my hero. It's a struggle with my family just to make normal rope drop.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigger822 View Post
Hi I'm subbing.
I'm a preschool teacher 2s 3s and 4s

Lisa
Hi Lisa! to my TR! I used to be an assistant in a 3 year old room at a preschool. They keep you busy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by disney<333 View Post
Joining in!
Your kids are too cute.
Wow, I can not believe you checked out of one hotel, got lost, checked into a new hotel, and still made AM EMH?! You're my hero. It's a struggle with my family just to make normal rope drop.
Barbara
Hi Barbara! about being your hero! I practically pushed them out the door. I don't think it would have happened had it not been our first day and we were still fresh and fairly rested.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:25 PM   #11
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I love catching A TR from the start! Makes it so much easier to follow. Your kiddos are too cute and I'm loving reading so far. You did awesome getting all that accomplished right away with two little ones. I'm impressed! LOVE the Beauty & the Beast show pics!

Can't wait to read more!!
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jc040404 View Post
I love catching A TR from the start! Makes it so much easier to follow. Your kiddos are too cute and I'm loving reading so far. You did awesome getting all that accomplished right away with two little ones. I'm impressed! LOVE the Beauty & the Beast show pics!

Can't wait to read more!!
Hi and Thanks for the sweet compliment about my kids! We did get a lot done that morning. I owe most of that efficiency to my husband. He planned it all out with the Times Guide that morning.
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:29 PM   #13
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Day 2 - Saturday, May 29, 2010 - Part 2

We headed back to AS Sports (without getting lost this time, thank goodness). When we got to our room, the first thing I noticed was that it smelled a little funny, but I thought maybe it was because it had just been cleaned. I also found that they hadn’t brought up the fridge or bed rails that we had requested. I went ahead and called down to the front desk to request that those be brought up. I stayed in the room with the kids while Darren went back down to the van to get the rest of our luggage. At one point I happened to step down onto the carpet between the beds with my bare foot and realized that it was wet – and not just a little bit wet, but enough that I could see the water when I stepped there. I knew that we hadn’t spilled anything, so I checked both of the kid’s diapers to see if maybe they had soaked through, but they were dry. I called down to housekeeping to let them know. They asked if we had spilled anything, and I said no, that we had just checked in. I asked if maybe it had something to do with the VIP cleaning and the cast member said that she didn’t think that room had had that service that day. She said that she would send someone up to check the carpet. By this time, Darren had brought up the rest of our bags and was getting the kids settled down for a nap.

A few minutes went by and the phone rang. It was the housekeeping manager checking about the carpet. She said that she was sending someone up to shampoo the carpet but that we could change rooms if we wanted. I asked her if our room had had the VIP cleaning, because if it had, then we didn’t want to change. She said that she wasn’t sure. I told her that I would talk to my husband and let her know if we decided to switch rooms. Almost as soon as we hung up, the guy showed up to shampoo the carpet. When he was done, he asked if we wanted to leave the door open so that it would dry. Um, do we want to leave the door to our second floor balcony open when we have two toddlers running around? No, not really.

Now that the entire carpet was wet, instead of just the one area, I decided that it was a good idea to just go ahead and change rooms. I called the housekeeping manager back to let her know, and she said that she would tell the front desk and they would call when our new room was ready. While we waited, the kids fell asleep and we decided that no matter when they called, we would wait until they woke up from their naps to switch rooms. It was only about 20-30 mins before they called to let us know. Darren stayed in the room with the kids while I went down to get our new keys. While I was there, I was able to pick up our gift card. On the way back to the room, I stopped in the food court and bought a resort mug.

Our new room was in the same building, on the same floor, on the opposite side. Here are a few room pictures. (These are actually of the first room, but they looked exactly the same, just swapped sides.)













Dakoda trying to see where Daddy was


And some pictures of the kids playing before their nap.






Continued in next post

Last edited by Mommy2LittleVols; 08-18-2010 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:56 PM   #14
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Day 2, Part 2 cont.

The kids woke up around 3:30 and we lugged all of our stuff over to the new room. Thank goodness this room was in much better shape than the first one. Darren and the kids played and watched TV (Phineas and Ferb, I believe) while I unpacked.

Around 5 pm, we decided to have dinner and head back to the park. We ate at the AS Sports food court and we both got the Chicken Alfredo, which was really good. It looked like it might rain and we realized that we had forgotten to pack our ponchos. So we picked up two Mickey ponchos in the Sport Goofy gift shop. While we were in there, Dakoda found a baseball that he wanted, so we got that for him.

We arrived back at DHS around 6 pm. We walked over to Pixar Place to check the wait time for TSM. Of course, it was something outrageous, like 80 minutes, which was just not happening for us with two toddlers.

We walked back over to where we had seen Darth Vader earlier. He was still there and the line was really short, so Darren went over to get his picture taken. Unfortunately, Vader was getting ready to go on a break, so he missed out on the picture again. While he was standing in line before they announced Vader’s break, some Storm Troopers came out and I took some pictures. One of them noticed me taking them and started walking towards me in a somewhat menacing fashion. I got a great picture of him and then quickly scurried off. Even though he knew he was just an actor, they creep me out in those suits!



After they announced Vader’s break, I asked Darren if he wanted to hang out and wait till he came back, but he said he didn’t want to waste our park time. We decided to go catch the American Idol Experience finale. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much out of this attraction, but it was actually a lot of fun. One of the performers in particular was extremely talented, and I really hope to see him on AI next season.

When the finale was over, we decided to head back down Sunset Boulevard to get in line for Fantasmic. I still had my RnRC FP, so Darren volunteered to stay in line with the kids while I rode.

When I got off the ride, I had a text message from him saying that they were already seated in the theater. He also casually mentioned that he was thirsty, so I bought a frozen lemonade at the rock station (love that place!) and then headed to find them. They had gotten really good seats, and the show was great, as always. I was able to take a few pictures, even though I was holding a squirming baby.

Sarah Kate was in a silly mood.


I don't know where she gets it.






He was just totally into the show.




















After the show, the park was getting ready to close, but we decided to go ahead and make a couple of purchases. First up was Dakoda’s Jedi Mickey. We tried to go back to the shop where we had seen it earlier, which was where Vader’s character meet had been, but it was already closed. Darren told me to run over to Tatooine Traders and get one and he would meet me near the front gate. I’m really not sure why we thought that it would be a good idea to split up, especially considering that my sense of direction is not great. I somehow managed to get completely lost and was wandering around the Streets of America pretty much by myself in total darkness. It was a little creepy.

I eventually found my way over to the gift shop and purchased Jedi Mickey, then headed to meet Darren. Thankfully, I did not get lost again. On the way out, we noticed that the gift shop outside the gates carried Jedi Mickey.

Darren saw this mug that he fell in love with and decided that he wanted it for his desk at work.



We got to our car around 10:15 and headed back to the resort. It was a pretty quick trip and we were in bed by 11:15. Tomorrow was going to be a very exciting day – it was Dakoda’s 3rd birthday!!

Last edited by Mommy2LittleVols; 08-18-2010 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:07 PM   #15
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Glad to see that everything worked out with the rooms.
Sounds like a GREAT first day,too!
Can't wait for more!
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