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Old 06-09-2010, 03:09 PM   #1
dallastxcpa
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AKL - 9 days - Down to single digits!

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Cast Members

Cast Members, Part II

The 20 Hour Drive with 3 Teens

Disney's GAD and Y.E.S.

Day One: Sunday - Arrival

Day 2: Magic Kingdom

Day 3: Epcot

Day 5: AK and YES Classes
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:19 PM   #2
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The Cast

On July 29, 2003 I married the most perfect man at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion. Life has thrown us lot’s of curve balls in the last seven years but it’s all been great.

Hello fellow DISer’s. Welcome to my pre/trip report. While I have started pre-trip and trip reports I have never finished one. I however have great confidence that this one will receive more time than the others.

Dates: July 25 – 30

Accomodations: AKV Jambo 2 bedroom value

Tickets: Disney Yes Program – more to follow

Our Cast:


Me: Lorrie - almost 40



I love Disney vacations. My first trip was at 28 with 14 other members of my family. I went back the next year with a smaller group of family. At the time of the first trip I was the DM of a then 3 year old who was recently seperated. After the second trip my thoughts were on how will I get back? And at that time my dream was to do a land/sea package.

Flash forward four years. It had been a long time since my last Disney trip. I had met a wonderful new man (DH) and he had proposed, even knowing all the bagage I had. Our initial plans were to get married in Hawaii with just the two of us, my little sister, and the our respective kids. Well, somehow the idea struck me to get married at Disney. I think one of my co-workers had married at the Swan a couple of years earlier. So we begin planning a Disney wedding and somehow our small affair wound up being 23 people.

That year we were fortunate to stay in a two bedroom at the Boardwalk which we had booked through CRO on special buy four get four (included room and park tickets). It was still pricey but well worth it. This was my first stay onsite and I knew I never wanted to stay offsite again.


DH: Dave – older than me, much older than me…..







Dave was reluctant about Disney at first but we decided that this was a great place to bring our three kids together to really get to know each other and it was so much cheaper to get to Florida than to Hawaii. This is an important factor. My DH is a very economical man. When I first met him and we began dating he had a pickup truck with manual windows. I didn’t even know they made those anymore.

Well, I did a very bad thing about a year after we were married. Without discussing it with my DH I called our guide and put a big fat deposit down on a DVC contract. Now don’t get me wrong the money was from a bonus I received from work and I have made all the payments on the contract. Now Texas is a community property state so when the paper work came in I presented it to Dave and said, “we have to go to a notary to sign this.” Well, I guess the love of Disney must have already set in because I got no arguments from DH.

Dave is truly the closest thing to a perfect husband you can get. In my book he is a saint and you will see why as this report progresses.



Courtney: DD 15



Courtney is actually my neice. She came to live with us three years ago but as far as we are concerned she is our kid. Courtney is one of those kids who usually does things before you even ask her. Her last trip to Disney was in 2008 when we stayed in a GV at OKW. Courtney is adventurous and loves the coasters.
Skylar: DD 13



Skylar is my daughter. While Skylar is extremely intelligent she often forgets to turn in papers and actually failed Algebra for one six weeks this year. It was a hard lesson to learn because she was out of tennis and cheer for six weeks. It was hard for me too. As a parent you want to shelter your kids but if you never let them fall when they are in your care then they are going to have a hard time in the real world later. Skylar is also a bit of a piggy. While Courtney’s side fo the room is pretty much spotless Skylar can go into the room and five minutes later there are 15 pairs of jeans on her bed. Skylar also loves the thrill rides but likes to slow down with her Momma every once in a while to take in the little details.

Skylar and Courtney:



Jacob: DS 13



Jacob is my nephew. He came to live with us last August but had gone on vacation with us to Hilton Head last year. He has not been to WDW since he was four except to attend our desert party in Epcot when Dave and I were married in 2003. Jacob has tested our patience and parenting skills this year many times. Deep down he is a wonderful young man but he has pushed the limits many times this year at home and school and has just done stupid stuff at school that has gotten him into trouble. He is extremely intelligent. He never has homework because he finishes everything in class and he makes all A’s and B’s. He is in advanced placement classes but I often wonder if he needs to be placed in the gifted and talented program. Since he was little he has had a fear of thrill rides including water slides but every time we talk about the rides he says he will go on the coasters. We will have to wait and see when we get to the parks.



Like I said above I think my DH is a saint. When I met him his kids were pretty much raised and either in or on their way to college. Dave is now raising three children who are only related to him through marriage and in my opinion he is doing an outstanding job.

CONTINUED - CAST Part II
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:33 PM   #3
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Cast - Part II

GMA: aka Grandma






My mom, aka Gma, always worries that we are hauling her along because we have to. The truth is she makes everything fun and the kids, even though they’re teens, love spending time with her.

DSis: Peggy



Peggy is my little sister. She is Mommy to Dakota who you will meet shortly. She has also gone back to school this year to become a nurse. I am so proud of her for being a Mom and keeping her grades up in her program. Peggy loves all things Disney. I have no doubt some day she will also own DVC. I think her favorite ride is Rockin Rollercoaster. Her DH who was on our trip in 2008 will not be joining us this year due to the fact that he is a Disney hater. He is an awesome father to Dakota and a great DH to Peggy so I am working on converting him. I feel slightly bad as we will be gone for his birthday. (Just think he could have spent it in WDW) Peggy’s last trip was in 2008.

Dakota: 2.5






Ahhhh the last free year. I told my sister to enjoy it. Dakota is a typical two year old that will melt your heart one minute and have you wondering if you lost your sanity the next . (I think I just described my teenagers too) Dakota loves the Princesses and already has several dresses thanks to Aunty Lorrie. Peggy and I had gone to see a movie a couple of weeks ago and we stopped in the Disney store. When Peggy saw the prices on the dresses her mouth hit the floor. I have warned her they are even more at WDW. Fortunately, I live less than ten miles from a Disney outlet and can often find the dresses for $19. This will be Dakota’s second trip. I can’t wait to see her reactions. It has been so long since I have been to WDW with one this young.

DN: Michaela 19



Michaela is a student at Texas A&M university and took the summer off at the insistence of Peggy and I. Michaela lived with Peggy for a year and a half while she finished her associates at a local college. She has been at A&M since January. Michaela is a great kid who has worked since she was 15. She is like Courtney because no one has to tell her what she needs to do she just does it. Michaela has been to Disney several times but hasn’t been since my wedding in 2003. This trip is a special treat from Peggy and I and we are taking care of her expenses
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:18 PM   #4
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The 20 hour drive with Three Teenagers

Only 46 more days until we are at WDW!

THE PLANS – Vacation -2 THE DRIVE

Friday July 23

We plan on leaving the Dallas area on Friday July 23 and driving approximately 8 hours to Jackson, Mississippi. There is a really nice Staybridge suites that had great rates on our way to Hilton Head last year. Depending on what time we cross the Mississippi state line we will probably stop at the welcome center. It is one of the prettiest:











SATURDAY JULY 24

On day two we will get up and have some delicious breakfast at the hotel and then hit the road by 9. I am not sure how that will work as 2 year olds tend to have their own schedules. Our goal on Saturday will be to get to Tallahassee. It is estimated as a seven hour drive but we will have to stop occassionally for meals and biological breaks.

Also, I would like to stop and tour the USS Alabama. Normally we are passing it between 4 – 6 am in the morning long before it is open. According to the website it is $12 for 12 years and up. Although the last battleship I toured had some pretty steep steps so that might not work with the little one. Has anyone ever toured this ship? Does anyone know where I can get a discount?



The worst part of the drive for me is the stretch between Pensacola and Tallahassee. It is long and there is nothing to look at. It reminds me of driving in west Texas.

SUNDAY JULY 25

Hopefully we will have gotten a good nights sleep and will be able to hit the road at a respectable time today. The drive time according to mapquest is 4 hours. This should put us at Disney just in time for lunch and Dakota’s naptime. Hopefully the room assigners will be smiling on us and they will tell us at the counter. Your SAVANNAH view value room is AVAILABLE. Okay not likely but it could happen. Does anyone have suggestions for a quiet type place to lay a baby down if you don’t have your room?


UP NEXT OUR PLANS FOR THE FIRST DAY!
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:09 PM   #5
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Wow, kudos to your guys for taking on all those kids.

My uncle is a prof at A&M. What's your DN studying?

AKL has a ton of quiet, out of the way spots if Dakota's asleep. Laying her down might be iffy, but there are nice rocking chairs overlooking the pool/savannahs just off the lobby. There are also a bunch of couches and cushy chairs in the lobby.

For our first trip, my DH said, "Let's do it up right," and now he won't stay anywhere but AKL.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmp1111 View Post
Wow, kudos to your guys for taking on all those kids.

My uncle is a prof at A&M. What's your DN studying?

AKL has a ton of quiet, out of the way spots if Dakota's asleep. Laying her down might be iffy, but there are nice rocking chairs overlooking the pool/savannahs just off the lobby. There are also a bunch of couches and cushy chairs in the lobby.

For our first trip, my DH said, "Let's do it up right," and now he won't stay anywhere but AKL.
Michaela is getting her teaching degree and plans to enter the Peace Corps upon graduation.

We've visited Animal Kingdom before but haven't stayed there since our honeymoon in 2003. It just amazes me how friendly the staff is there. Last summer my Mom and I were walking around looking at all the art and the staff would just stop and tell us about the different pieces of art.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dallastxcpa View Post
Michaela is getting her teaching degree and plans to enter the Peace Corps upon graduation.

We've visited Animal Kingdom before but haven't stayed there since our honeymoon in 2003. It just amazes me how friendly the staff is there. Last summer my Mom and I were walking around looking at all the art and the staff would just stop and tell us about the different pieces of art.
Very cool. My uncle's in genetics, so she probably wouldn't have him.

We love AKL, too.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:27 PM   #8
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First off, you BOTH must be saints for taking in your niece and nephew. Not many people would do that, but the fact that you did is absolutely amazing. They are very lucky.

Second, Dakota looks ADORABLE! I always have a tendency to coo over babies, but she really is precious! Too bad her Dad is a Disney Hater!

I can't wait to read more! The drive sounds uber long, but it'll be worth it at the end.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyncecelia View Post
First off, you BOTH must be saints for taking in your niece and nephew. Not many people would do that, but the fact that you did is absolutely amazing. They are very lucky.

Second, Dakota looks ADORABLE! I always have a tendency to coo over babies, but she really is precious! Too bad her Dad is a Disney Hater!

I can't wait to read more! The drive sounds uber long, but it'll be worth it at the end.
Far from Saints. There are times when I just have to take a break and just have a little quiet time. Thank you though for the compliment.

It is hard sometimes. My sister only lives about 30 miles away, but you add in the traffic in Dallas and it makes it a bit of a trip. So i don't get to see Dakota nearly as much as I would like. This vacation will be nice to really get to make memories with her and the rest of the family.
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:28 PM   #10
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Our plans are flexible for the first day. I do have to pick up our tickets at guest relations in DTD.

Dave and I have annual passes and I purchased special discounted tickets for the rest of the group.

Dinsey Youth Educational Services (YES) offered open enrollment this summer for individuals wanting to enroll their children. When you enroll you get discounted tickets that include the price of one class per child.

The total for a six day park hopper was $166.52 with tax. So for 6 - six day park hoppers and two additional classes I spent just over $1,050.

I enrolled the kids in the following classes:

DISNEY'S CAPTIVATING MOMENTS - Dave & Skylar will attend.

Journey with us and discover Disney story places and proven tools and techniques to create photographic images with impact. The program has been developed in conjunction with Jostens, a leader in custom products and services that inspire and help people to express themselves, celebrate experiences, recognize achievements and share stories.

DISNEY ANIMATION MAGIC - Skylar and Jake will attend - not sure which adults will attend this class.

The art of animation comes to life as students discover the history, creativity, and innovation behind the creative process of bringing characters to life.

CAREER DISCOVERY - Courtney and Michaela will attend.

Blast off in search of career path insights. Students discover how to navigate unexpected career highs and lows as they identify barriers to career development and formulate strategies for personal and professional sucess. School to work training has never been this much fun!

I will go over these classes more on the day of the classes.

GAD VOUCHERS

Within the first weeks of registration opening I had found us an opportunity and signed everyone up for the GAD program. On a weekend in January we all met at G-ma's house and made blankets for the Linus project. We all spent the whole weekend at G-ma's house and had a great time. We made 16 blankets that were delivered the next weekend. I had told other people I knew to get signed up early because everyone was predicting that the program might not last all year. Then sure enough in March the program shut down.

Originally I had planned to have four vouchers to exchange for the fast pass option. Dave & I have AP's and Courtney and Skylar have one day tickets from a previous trip. However, when I learned about the YES program and all the wonderful classes they had I couldn't pass those tickets up.

SO NOW WE HAVE 8 VOUCHERS TO USE FOR FAST PASSES. That's two sets of fast passes for each park. Between those and the regular fast passes and baby swap I don't anticipate waiting in too many lines.

I do need to read up more on the baby swap as I still don't understand how it works.

Up Next: What will we do the first day?
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:31 PM   #11
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Our tenative plans for Sunday afternoon and evening are as follows:

We plan on arriving at the Animal Kingdom Lodge around noon and getting lunch at the Mara. I will head to DTD to pick up the tickets. We will spend the afternoon resting/napping including some pool time.

At 4PM we have reservations at the Gardenview Lounge for the ladies. Maybe the guys can go out on one of the watermice. We will order al la carte at the tea because we have reservations for 1900 Park Fare at 6PM and don't want to be so full that we can't also enjoy the buffet.

I would like to make or find Dakota a shirt or dress that has a cute Step Sister design on it. Any ideas?

After dinner we will head to the MK for extra magic hours. Not all of us will stay the whole time. Gma and the Dakota will probably head back to the room about 10PM.

NEXT UP: Day Two - Magic Kingdom
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Old 06-26-2010, 02:37 PM   #12
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Shoe Dilema

For my September trip I bought myself a pair of Teva Mush sandals like these:



They are ohhhhhh so comfortable and the strap between the toes doesn't bother me at all like normal flip flops.

So the other day I was out looking for a new pair when I came across the Skechers Tone Up Electric Slide:



They are also super comfy. So now my dilema is which one do I get or do I splurge and buy myself both? What would you do? Oh and remember I have three teenagers to feed so keeping somewhat budget friendly is important.
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Old 06-26-2010, 04:22 PM   #13
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Can't wait to hear more!!

We have the exact dates as your family but we'll be at CBR. I already feel like we have so much in common. We will also be taking my 2 neices (8 & 10) and my DS is 12 and DD is 15. And from your comments, I think my DH is just as amazing as yours. We'll also be joined by other family members - 15 of us total.

It'll be good to read along to see how your plans are coming along. I keep wanting to change park days so it'll be interesting to see your perspective since we'll be going the same days.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:31 AM   #14
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Can't wait to hear more!!

We have the exact dates as your family but we'll be at CBR. I already feel like we have so much in common. We will also be taking my 2 neices (8 & 10) and my DS is 12 and DD is 15. And from your comments, I think my DH is just as amazing as yours. We'll also be joined by other family members - 15 of us total.

It'll be good to read along to see how your plans are coming along. I keep wanting to change park days so it'll be interesting to see your perspective since we'll be going the same days.
Ohhh awesome. CBR is such a fun resort. I stayed there once right before a business trip at the Swalphin.

15 is a lot of people. Our very first trip was 15. I hope we see each other in the parks or around. I need to make myself a lime green mickey head to go on my purse or back pack. I am really trying to stay away from the back pack this year and just use my Vera Bradley mini hipster but my kids are already making plans to load me down with sunscreen, towlettes, and other stuff.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:48 AM   #15
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The Bag

So about a month ago I got an email from Vera Bradley and picked up this style of purse, the mini hipster:



in this pattern:



The first pattern, night and Day is actually my favorite. And about a week ago I could have kicked myself. They had the Night and Day Hipster on sale for $29 and I completley missed the email. Now they are out of them.

I have to give a big shout out to Lynn5700. It was through her trip reports that I learned of the Vera Bradley purses. So thank you. They are so cute and practical too.
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