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Old 11-29-2010, 04:44 PM   #1
kvolk
Earning My Ears
 
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Fourth trip full of firsts: a September TR

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010

After a year of planning, this is the trip where we introduce both sets of grandparents to Disney World. Here's the cast of characters:


i'm katherine (32); i'm a video producer in atlanta. i'm married to brian (37) and we have andrew (7) and lauren (5).

This is our fourth trip in four years. In 2007, my boss took our team on a disney retreat -- great idea, right?! we did the backstage magic tour & all kinds of fun stuff. that work trip won me over and Brian & I came back with the kids & some friends in fall 2008:



last year we took advantage of free dining once again with our friends, and added my SIL and her family. the cousins had a blast together...

well most of the time...

and a fav pic from last year: the three auroras with sleeping beauty. lauren was 4, my niece was 5 & my bf's daughter was 3.

but i digress... back to this year's trip. unfortunately, our friends weren't able to join us this year, so we made it a big old family extravaganza. my sil's family of four plus her parents & mine. that's right, a party of 12!

we decided to stay in the all star suites for two reasons: 1. we love having two bedrooms 2. we love having two bathrooms. we also decided to add an extra day at epcot. our kids loved the KP adventures and we love eating around the world, so it's a win/win. and since we bounced back from last year, we had the free DDP. this year we landed le cellier! oh yes, i'm a planner and logged on at 6am 180 days out for all my ressies!

The trip unfortunately began with a little setback. My dad got sucked into an audit at work & couldn’t get away until Saturday. So, that was a bummer. But the rest of us set out at 8:30am on Thursday, headed to the most magical place on earth. We more or less caravanned with a stop at chickfila for lunch. Then we pulled into all star music around 5:45pm. We got papas scooter, untangled our room reservations and headed to the third floor to check out our suites. After a quick change of clothes we were ready to head to the parks for fantasmic!

sidebar: traveling with papa = handicapped parking passes = awesome.

We arrived to a packed out Hollywood studios. We entered at 7:15pm, and the 8p fantasmic was already full. So instead, we headed to Magic of Disney Animation and took pics with the mouse himself. It was almost 8p & every counter service was closing with one exception: the dreaded ABC commissary. Oh well. Brian & I shared a burger & the asian salad with ginger & edamame. The kids ate chicken nuggets, fries & apple slices with choc milk. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. my nephew even branched out with a chicken curry… that kid eats everything





After a quiet dinner, we headed to voyage of the little mermaid (nana loved it!) while papa, matt & bdv got in line for fantasmic’s 9:30pm show. And it was a packed house too. Standing room only for the second show. We were extreme house left in the last section, but we could still see most everything. Brian broke out the glow toys & we prepped the kids, since that show is pretty scary. But they love it. and of course the power of imagination won again this night.

It was 10:30 when we returned to the hotel; everyone was tired but happy.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:28 PM   #2
lindsey
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Great start - can't wait to read more.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:16 PM   #3
Ducky4Disney
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Hi! I'm in - I love Disney Firsts! I'm also jealous of your short drive there! I have to admit, I'm at least in the same time zone.

Sounds like a great trip and I love the pics thus far!

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Old 11-29-2010, 08:53 PM   #4
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I'm in great start so far.. the kids are all adorable!
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:14 PM   #5
kvolk
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Day 2: Epcot

Friday, September 24th.

So the 6:45 alarm came early. But everyone was fresh & excited for our first full day in the parks. We pulled up front & center with our handy handicapped passes around 9:15am & made our way to soarin. Oh my goodness, everything was walk on! 10 min wait for soarin. Love that ride. this was the gparents FIRST soarin' ride. Nana sat with Lauren & I could hear her telling her all about her favorite ride & all it’s wonderful smells Andrew has developed a fear of heights, so sitting next to a super-happy hailey (my niece) was the perfect cure. And of course we were all thrilled that ben (my nephew) has hit the magic 40”. It was his first ride on soarin' & he loved it. Especially sitting next to papa.

Following a great first ride, we made our way to test track. We used fast passes, but it only saved us 10 minutes vs the 20 min walk-on line. Both kids were skittish, so Lauren sat up front btw dad & aunt steph. I kept an arm around Andrew in the back. Lauren loved it by the end. Jury is still out on Andrew. We’ll see if he wants to do it with my folks on Tuesday.

We played around the playground at the mission space. Andrew was the only kid tall enough, and he wasn’t in the mood. So instead, we headed toward check in for our KP mission. On the way we saw Rafiki, the queen of hearts & posed for a pic with Aurora. She left a big lipstick print on Ben’s face. He was so proud.



for the FIRST time, Andrew, Lauren & Hailey each got their own KP assignments. But we had 30 min to kill before they began. So we hit the 3 caballeros ride. This is hailey’s fav. She hugged Lauren (who was certain there would be evil trolls) the whole time. It was so cute watching her point everything out to her cousins.

Then we picked up our kimmunicators & we were off to save the world. Lauren & I headed to china. it was the FIRST time we'd ever explored that pavilion. Lauren took her assignment very seriously. She was ever vigilant looking for monkey fists’ minions. Seriously. But we gave our code to a certain shop attendant who gave us a fortune cookie with a key inside. Lauren enjoyed her first fortune cookie & then discovered that she is a rooster in the zodiac calendar. A rooster’s big trait is decisiveness. Sounds about right & a lot like her mom

Then we noticed a certain princess moving quickly to her meet & greet spot. Lauren was FIRST in line to meet Mulan! -- another first: mulan is one of four princesses she hadn't met. lauren told her all about the mission and Mulan mentioned that Ron Stoppable was too busy to help b/c he was eating his way around the world showcase. Lauren thought that was hilarious. afterward, we finished our mission and rescued the jade monkey. It was really well done.



Then we made our way to France for our 12:30 adr. On the way we passed snow white, jasmine & Aladdin; but stopped for a pic with belle.



The boys met us in France and told us all about how they rescued Norway. those KP missions are awesome. we'd all worked up an appetite. it was time for chefs. brian and i had eaten dinner here on date nights, but never brought the kiddos. but I had made the adr for lunch so that the kids could meet remy from ratatouille who makes appearances at lunch only. I hadn’t mentioned it to the kids & I’m so glad. B/c remy was "on vacation." Bummer.

I love chefs de france. It’s a beautiful restaurant with my fav kind of food. But I wouldn’t say my kids agree… they are pretty picky eaters. The kids werent’ into their cheese pastry apps. But brian & I enjoyed French onion soup & lobster bisque. The kids had chicken fingers. We had croque monsieurs. Yum. And then to finish off the adults had crème brulee & profiteroles. Lauren had vanilla icecream & Andrew had a choc chip cookie the size of his head the kids did enjoy watching serverur amusant thru the windows. They couldn’t get over the fact that he could balance on top of 7 chairs. the kids did fine, but we won't be bringing them back anytime soon... unless we know for sure that remy is in town. Anyway, I definitely prefer dinner & I definitely prefer adults only!

We dragged out our lunch b/c there were two torrential downpours. As luck would have it, our timing was perfect & we were able to avoid the rain almost entirely. We decided to make one final stop and it turned out to be a huge win.

Sum of all thrills was the last stop of the day, but another FIRST for us. it's a simulator where you build your own rollercoaster, jet or bobsled experience. Andrew was the only kid tall enough, so we left it for the end of the day. He and Brian waited 20 minutes & designed a jet flight pattern. In the meantime, Lauren & I explored the rest of the innoventions pavilion. Lauren created handmade paper, took part in a build your own safety kit game, and then as luck would have it, we were able to watch the boys in the simulator. Andrew LOVED it. It was just perfect for a smart & creative 7 yo boy! Hopefully, we’ll be able to do it again on Tuesday. I’d love to watch him in action.



and here's a great pic of steph's family. i'm so going to request that pose next time!


We chilled in our hotel from 3:45-6pm. The kids journalled their fav experiences of the day. you guessed it: sum of all thrills & soarin'. Before long, it was time to head back to epcot for dinner. another FIRST for us: Mickey’s Harvest Feast at the Garden Grill. Our first stop was pics. you can’t skip the classic ‘hold the world up’ pose. Then we were off to spaceship earth. Andrew & I rode together & it is just amazing how smart that kid is. He was telling me how the word alphabet got it’s name from the first two letters of greek: alpha + beta. My 7 yo! After a wonderful future under the sea, we found an energy game kind of like shuffleboard. it was another FIRST for us & a big hit with the kids. so was sending emails from the future. what a great idea.

Before long, it was time to hit Garden Grill. This restaurant inside the land slowly rotates thru the environments of the boatride down below. We waited 45 min. for a table and then the meal moved pretty slowly. We weren’t out of there til 9:25 even tho we had a 7:20 reservation. With both a slow lunch in france & a slow dinner, the kids were tired and antsy. But the character interaction was pretty fun. Lauren loved meeting Chip & Dale (another FIRST!). She discovered if she rubbed Dales’ back, he would shake his tail. She thought that was awesome. we also saw Mickey & Pluto.



The food was fine. It’s served family style: salad (best part), turkey, tilapia & beef. The chef was super accommodating and made chicken fingers, fries & broccoli for our kids. The usual chicken drumstick wasn’t doing much for them. We ate with loren & sharon but with loren needing to be on one end to prop up his leg, and the kids needing to be on the other end to get up and down for character hugs, it was hard for anyone to really chat with them besides brian, as we were all facing outward in the same direction. But brian and his folks seemed to have a good ‘visit’ as my mom would say.

All in all, a great day with soarin & sum of all thrills being the highlights here's my fav pic of the day... i'm thinking christmas card...



Saturday, September 25th: Animal Kingdom

We started out today ready to go on safari & we were not disappointed. We saw lots of animals including some adorable babies. A baby giraffe came right up to the truck & put her head in. one brave soul even petted her on the nose. Then his mama called him and he returned & started nursing right there next to the truck. After that we saw lots of mandrills, rhinos bumping horns, and Lauren’s fav: two baby elephants. One was only 4 mo & still fuzzy.

On our way from Africa to Asia, we saw DeVine. Andrew was super excited as she features in the kingdom keepers book he’s reading. They weren’t offering fps for kali, so we fp’d everest & then caught the 10:30 nemo show. Love it; i get teary every time. Papa said that was his fav too. After the show, the kids were ready to play. so steph took the lil three on triceratops spin while bdv & adv & I went on primeval whirl. Big hit. He loved it & was so glad to ride it. Then we headed over to boneyard & let the kids run off some energy before lunch.



Lunch was flametree bbq. Food was meh, but the view was spectacular: in front of the lake with everest soaring in the background. From there we went to the 1pm flights of wonder show. It was fine. But I don’t think we’ll see it again. After that, there wasn’t consensus on what to do next. We wanted to hit the 2:30 lion king show, but what to do until then. Brian & I left the kids w/nana & papa & rode everest w/hardly any wait. When we got out, the kids were still where we left them eating icecream w/nana & papa.

hailey REALLY wanted to ride kali. The wait was 50 min. her mom explained that it was kali or FoLK & she chose kali. so matt took her & ben to do that. As we were walking back toward discovery island, adv had a change of heart & decided he wanted to ride kali instead of lion king too. Not to be left out, lauren wanted to go too. Of course the other grown ups didn’t want to get all wet. So, lucky me. Which meant that it was just bdv, steph & the volks for lion king. I think Loren & Sharon were disappointed that the grandkids ran off. later, brian and I had words about not taking the kids away from their gparents so much. But I digress…

kali river rapids has a long but beautiful queue. Even tho the wait was posted 50, more like 35 minutes, we were constantly moving. Of course once Andrew saw the ride, he had a complete meltdown: I don’t want to get wet!! Well buddy, its called kali river rapids. You will get wet. I finally had to squeeze his arm to chill him out. fortunately lauren’s good spirits never wavered. The ride was fine. We all got soaked. Lauren loved it & said it was her new fav. Andrew hated it & kept going on and on about how much he despised it. Lovely.

Soaked to the skin we met up w/the millers at the exit. With half an hour before the lion king got out, we gave the kids the choice to go to tough to be a bug or meet characters. Matt took hailey & adv to bug. Ben and Lauren came with me to meet Minnie, goofy & mickey. They played ring around the rosie with goofy & Lauren told him a joke. The interaction was great. Then she gave mickey flowers. Too cute.



Besides bdv’s frustration over splitting up the family. It was a pretty good day. But man it felt good to get back into dry clothes again
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Last edited by kvolk; 12-09-2010 at 08:09 PM. Reason: thread was closed, but i wanted to add more
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