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Old 02-15-2011, 09:54 PM   #121
stephielela
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Originally Posted by jenseib View Post
I kno what you mean about trying days. Sometimes kids have a whole mind of there own....who is allowing them to do that?
I am laughing at the pictures of this day too, because i don'tthink there is even one of him smiling. We had a trip liek that, where Claire refused to smile in any pictures...yet she was having a fabulous time.
Jack has most definitely hit the fit throwing/pouting/screaming stage of the terrible 2's. I am hoping he grows out of it, but looking back I can see that it was starting when we went to WDW. I know a lot had to do with being tired and not getting to do all the things he wanted, but I am hoping that whe it's just the 2 of us, it will be better. It makes it so much harder because you are thinking to yourself that this kid is at WDW, the happiest place on earth, why are they not happier!!!

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Great update! Sorry the fits are still are going on, that's toddlers for you!
That cupcake looks so good!
I would like to try Pizza Planet on our next trip.
I am so over the fits, they have actually gotten worse lately, but we are taking steps to nip those in the bud!

The cupcake was amazing!!

We do Pizza Planet every trip. I really think they could have done a bit better with the theming, but especially for older kids (and adults) it's great to have all the video games etc.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:38 PM   #122
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I wish we could do the pirates and pals...but it will be overbooking for us too that day, so I have chosen to skip it. Did Jack like it?
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:54 PM   #123
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I wish we could do the pirates and pals...but it will be overbooking for us too that day, so I have chosen to skip it. Did Jack like it?
He really enjoyed it. I think it will be better when he is older since he isn't really old enough to understand trivia, but he had fun, I think just being on a boat was enough for him!
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:53 PM   #124
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December 21st- Our last full day


We spent our last full day at my favorite park, Epcot!! We had been out late the night before, but we still headed to the park in time for 8 am EMHís! When we got there, so few people were waiting I started to worry the hours had been switched on me again, but we asked security, and they assured me the park would be opening at 8 am. It was weird though, they had everyone grouped together and kept half the turnstiles closed. I think we probably waited about 20 minutes before the park finally opened, and we all rushed in.



The plan was for my dad to head to Mission:Space and the rest of us would head for Soariní. My mom LOVES Soariní and it really makes me homesick (we lived in California longer than I have lived anywhere else). I knew Jack might not quite be tall enough, but I had read another TR about a mom who was holding her son when they got in line and no one questioned them (of course they later discovered their son was tall enough) so that was my plan. The eagle eye CM had us pegged when we were still about a mile away, and sure enough, Jack was just a tad too short, so my mom and sister went on, I got a babyswap pass, and Jack and I headed to Living with the Land, where there was no line whatsoever. My dad caught up with us just as we were boarding and we spent a nice leisurely boat ride looking at plants. I am not overly fond of this ride, but itís a nice way to pass the time.






Afterwards, we met up with my mom and sister, and my sister stayed with Jack and got a snack at Sunshine Seasons while my mom, dad and I went back on Soariní. We got front row center so our view was perfect! I wish Jack had been able to go, but by September he should be tall enough. When we were done, my mom and sister went on Living with the Land while I went and got some carrot cake for breakfast (it was yummy!).

Next we headed over to Nemo and friends at the Seas pavilion. My mom had never been on this ride. I think itís pretty cute. I had wanted to do the Turtle Talk show after but no one else did and Jack was being pretty crabby.


We headed over to Spaceship Earth next. We actually had to wait for a while, I think about 20 minutes. Jack and I rode together, and I donít remember what language he picked, but it most certainly wasnít English.


After the golf ball, we headed over to use our FPís for Mission:Space. First my dad and sister rode. While we were waiting for them, I went off in search of popcorn. Of course the stand right by the ride was down, so I had to walk all the way over to the one by the Land pavilion. By the time I got back, my dad and sister STILL werenít done. Eventually they came back out and my mom and sister and I went to ride. My dad took Jack over to the test track car cool off area to play a bit.

After we were done on Mission:Space it was time to head over to the World Showcase. We were actually running a bit behind for our Via Napoli ADR. It is an extremely long walk when you are in a hurry, especially in the crowds. My sister walked ahead of us and checked us in just a minute late. We got there and were seated pretty quickly. We sat on the right side (if you are facing the building) at a nice big table. It wasnít very crowded, but by the time we were done, the crowds had picked up. For appetizers my dad got calamari, which we discovered that Jack loves. My sister and I got the risotto balls which were AWESOME. I really canít remember what my mom got. My sister also got an Italian margarita, my dad got a beer, and my mom and I got the pitcher of Sangria which was yummy, especially because it was pretty warm that day. For lunch both of my parents got pasta, my sister got the 4 cheese pizza, and I got the Italian sausage pizza. For dessert my sister and dad got gelato, I got the donut type things, and my mom got tiramisu. We all really enjoyed this meal, I will definitely be going back.

When we were done eating we took turns shopping in the crystal store. I ended up splurging on a necklace and earring set. While I was in there, a man knocked over what sounded like a very breakable display. I felt so bad for him, and at the same time so relieved that Jack was outside where he couldnít get in trouble.


After we were done shopping we had a parting of the ways. My mom and sister went to France to check out a few things, and my dad and I headed to Germany. I tried unsuccessfully to shop at Karamel Kuche again, but the crowd was too much for me. My dad decided to get a beer at the German Christmas market area, and I decided to call and see if I could get a later ADR at Kona Cafť, so we wouldnít have to be up so early. I was successful in getting it pushed back and my dad enjoyed his beer.

My parents wanted to see the American Adventure show, and I felt like leaving to go back to the hotel would be silly, so Jack and I decided to take a ride on the monorail instead. On our way out we stopped by Innoventions to see about the Disney Visa Meet and Greet, but the line was longish, so we just played on the fire truck instead.



After we did a round on the monorail we headed back in to meet up with everyone else at the art shop in future world. It was right about then that Jack fell asleep! I parked the stroller and we took turns in the art store and Mousegears.

Jack woke up and we went over to see Figment and take a journey into his imagination. Jack is not particularly fond of this ride (which also had a wait) so I figured he would chicken out, but we rode it and he did fine. Then my mom and sister and I went to see Captain Eo, which was hilariously outdated, but entertaining nonetheless.

It was time to mosey on back over to the World Showcase! First we stopped for some photopass pictures, which turned out pretty well.


We walked over and then my sister and I made a beeline for France becauseÖ I decided to buy the Givenchy Very Irresistible perfume!!! It was our last night and I had money left, so I figured this would be a great souvenir for me. Of course my sister decided she wanted it too, so she got the same box set. We also ended up with a TON of free samples, including one for the Photo Perfexion foundation which I have since fallen in love with and ordered from Sephora. My complexion is very warm. I never wear blush because my cheeks are always pink. As a matter of fact I almost never wear makeup at all. This stuff is amazing. It completely evens me out. I love it. I also ordered their Phenom Eyes mascara, which is equally fantastic.

Anywho, we made our purchases and headed back to the UK. My dad went and got some drinks while I checked into our reservation. We were a bit early, but I wanted an outside table, so I told them I was willing to wait. We sat on the curb and I enjoyed my Shandy immensely. I think we waited for about 10 minutes before we were seated in a great spot! I asked the waitress if we had good seats for Illuminations. She told me that our spot was good, but if we wanted, there was a small observation area below the restaurant where only diners could go.

At this point we started checking out the menu. We knew we had plenty of credits left so we order Jack an adult meal. I had the Potato Leek soup, Sunday Roast, and the Chocolate Scotch cake. Jack had the Yorkshire Dale, Chicken and sweet potatoes, and ice cream. My mom had the apple stilton wedge salad, fish and chips, and the Bakewell tart. My dad had the cheese board, the Sheppardís pie, and the chocolate cake. My sister had the Yorkshire Dales, Sheppardís pie, and probably the chocolate cake as well but I canít remember. I thought the food was great. Iím not really a fan of traditional British fare, well at least what I have had in the past, so I was pleasantly surprised. I was the only one though, it seems the rest of my family thought the food was ok, but not great. We finished up just in time to head below to watch Illuminations, which was everything I knew it would be. I got pretty sad, knowing our trip was basically over, and thinking about all the silly arguments etc, but it was a good trip and I was sad to see it ending! We left with the masses after Illuminations and went back to the hotel to pack and crash!!

DO ride Soariní itís an awesome experience!
DO take your time exploring the World Showcase! Itís so cool to be transported to another culture just by walking into a shop!
DO go out on a limb and try new foods! I thought the Yorkshire Dales sounded gross (I mean really, ďtoad in a holsĒ??) but they were delicious!
DONíT underestimate the amount of walking involved in Epcot. It is quite expansive!
DONíT put off things until the last day. I didnít do the Visa Character meet the first day, and we didnít have time the last day either! I am making it a priority on our next trip.
DO use the monorail as a break time. Of course, if itís crowded you might need to get off and get back on, but usually itís not a problem to ride a complete circle.
DO try for last minute ADRís. I was so relieved to know we could sleep in a bit before our Kona reservation! Plus throughout our trip we canceled at least 4 reservations, so someone could have picked those up last minute!
DO catch Illuminations! Itís amazing, and the holiday addition will totally move you!
DO use photo pass photographers. You can get some great shots without fiddling with your camera settings while trying to keep your 2 year old stillÖ
DO see Captain EO. At the very least you can laugh at the 80ís style!
DONíT expect to see everything in one trip. There is just too much!
DO shop the World Showcase. Itís a great place to get unique souvenirs and gifts for people who maybe arenít into the idea of a Disney sweatshirt or coffee mug!
DO split from your group if thatís what works best. Iím so glad we did, it led to happiness for all, and less bickering. If only we had started that at the beginning of our tripÖ
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:19 PM   #125
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Hey! Just read your DHS and Epcot updates!!! They were both great!

I do understand how you felt about Jack's "terrible 2's" stage at the parks. Unfortunately Luke went through the same thing last trip. I'm hoping he outgrows it before September, but honestly I don't know if he will or not. I have 2 nephews & the one went through the terrible 2's exactly at age 2 and is unfortunately still going through them (he's 3 1/2)...whereas my other nephew is 4 and he didn't start the phase until he was 3 and is still slightly going through it. I guess they all go through that phase at their own time!

It can be very frustrating! Trust me, I have a fair amount of pictures of Luke laying on the ground at the parks. It really embarassed my husband whereas I was just completely frustrated & tried to make Luke feel better. It definitely adds alot of pressure to the trip! But don't worry, its just a phase & Jack will get through it! Regardless of that, he still looked like he was enjoying himself!

I'm so glad you enjoyed your meals at Epcot!!! That's our favorite park to eat at & we still have a few of the "favorite DIS restaurants" to try out!!! Walking through World Showcase is my absolutely 2nd favorite thing to do at Disney...my first favorite is the moment when I first walk into Magic Kingdom & see Main Street & the castle!!! My husband and I both LOVE walking through World Showcase & last trip we basically spent 2 days just doing that! We probably will do the same thing this trip! Luke's favorite part of World Showcase last trip was the ducks!

The Pirates cruise looks really neat!!! Unfortunately I'm trying to save up some extra money for some other surprises on the trip, so I don't think we'll do it this time...but I will definitely keep it in mind for the future! It sounds & looks really neat!!! Thanks for sharing it! I'm sorry no one else in your family enjoyed the cruise...its always hard to enjoy yourself when others aren't happy! I know we had some moments on our trip like that too...don't feel bad, it happens to all of us!

Nice picture of Jack on the Test Track car!!! Its super cute!

Its really great that you were able to do so much even with the MVMCP being sold out! I'm a little afraid to experience Christmas crowds at Disney, but I definitely want to experience it at least once in my life! Just thinking about the dessert party is making me hungry!!! And that muffin you got at Starring Rolls....oh my!!!! I'm still obsessed with the chocolate croissant, but with everyone posting pics of their muffins, I might have to try one of those instead!

Great updates!!!
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Old 02-23-2011, 05:13 PM   #126
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Hey! Just read your DHS and Epcot updates!!! They were both great!

I do understand how you felt about Jack's "terrible 2's" stage at the parks. Unfortunately Luke went through the same thing last trip. I'm hoping he outgrows it before September, but honestly I don't know if he will or not. I have 2 nephews & the one went through the terrible 2's exactly at age 2 and is unfortunately still going through them (he's 3 1/2)...whereas my other nephew is 4 and he didn't start the phase until he was 3 and is still slightly going through it. I guess they all go through that phase at their own time!

It is frustrating! Everytime I think to myself, well, at least I know this is as bad as it gets... it gets worse!! Last week he sarted throwing these unbelievable mega fits I have never seen before... but I think we nipped that in the bud, I haven't seen any lately. Of course it makes me that much more nervous since I am trying to find a babysitter... Because we live with my parents and so close to ALL of my family and some really good familt friends, he has never been with anyone else... but there is a birthday party for my cousin that he can't go to (at a bar) and my backups will be out of town! Hopefully he won't scare the babysitters away!
It can be very frustrating! Trust me, I have a fair amount of pictures of Luke laying on the ground at the parks. It really embarassed my husband whereas I was just completely frustrated & tried to make Luke feel better. It definitely adds alot of pressure to the trip! But don't worry, its just a phase & Jack will get through it! Regardless of that, he still looked like he was enjoying himself!

I'm so glad you enjoyed your meals at Epcot!!! That's our favorite park to eat at & we still have a few of the "favorite DIS restaurants" to try out!!! Walking through World Showcase is my absolutely 2nd favorite thing to do at Disney...my first favorite is the moment when I first walk into Magic Kingdom & see Main Street & the castle!!! My husband and I both LOVE walking through World Showcase & last trip we basically spent 2 days just doing that! We probably will do the same thing this trip! Luke's favorite part of World Showcase last trip was the ducks!

The whole reason I am ordering a World Showcase passport for Jack is so I can get him interested in spending more time there this year!
The Pirates cruise looks really neat!!! Unfortunately I'm trying to save up some extra money for some other surprises on the trip, so I don't think we'll do it this time...but I will definitely keep it in mind for the future! It sounds & looks really neat!!! Thanks for sharing it! I'm sorry no one else in your family enjoyed the cruise...its always hard to enjoy yourself when others aren't happy! I know we had some moments on our trip like that too...don't feel bad, it happens to all of us!

The cruise was great, but I do think Jack will appreciate it more when he is older. He was by far the youngest kid on the boat, probably by at least 2 years. It's something to look forward to!Nice picture of Jack on the Test Track car!!! Its super cute!

Its really great that you were able to do so much even with the MVMCP being sold out! I'm a little afraid to experience Christmas crowds at Disney, but I definitely want to experience it at least once in my life! Just thinking about the dessert party is making me hungry!!! And that muffin you got at Starring Rolls....oh my!!!! I'm still obsessed with the chocolate croissant, but with everyone posting pics of their muffins, I might have to try one of those instead!

Great updates!!!
As I was looking through my pictures I am thinking I might have not remembered things in the right order, lol! I will definitely take notes next time, because I am also positive someone rode Test Track, but I can't remember who went and when!! The one thing I didn't add was that the line for Maelsrom was never less than 20 minutes I think both days we were there. I thought Jack might get scared anyways so I wasn't too concerned about riding it, but it surprised me a bit.
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Old 02-26-2011, 09:55 PM   #127
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Here we are at the dreaded last day. Luckily we had a late flight, so we didn't have to pack and leave right away. There are very few pictures from this day...

We had managed to get a later reservation at Kona, so we had time to get packed and checked out before we left.

Check out/luggage check was kind of a pain, but mostly because we had 9 bags between the 5 of us (have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE Southwest??). What seemed to be the trickier part was the fact that we weren't taking the ME. For some reason that threw a kink in their system, but after about 10 minutes we were on our way to Kona. We were running a few minutes late, but we got in and got seated right away.

All together we had 10 credits left... We figured we would all get a breakfast and then use the remaining 5 credits for a QS lunch before heading to the airport.

My dad got the Tonga Toast, and the rest of us got Big Kahuna platters, except my mom and sister got the pancakes without the special sauce. It was a TON of a food. My dad and I also got the press pot of coffee and I got the special juice, everyone else got OJ. I LOVED this breakfast. Everything was great!!! I am definitely going back there in September!

After breakfast we decided to take the monorail over to the Grand Floridian to see the decorations. Once we got there we stopped by Basin White. I have always loved Basin products, but I have never been to the Basin White store before. I bought Jack some bath bombs and some gingerbread Mickey soap.

Then we went to get our photopass pictures taken. These turned out really well.


I LOVE the GF. I would love to stay there sometime!!!

When we were done at GF we headed into the MK. We had a few things left to finish up, Jungle Cruise, Monsters Inc, and Tiki Room. Plus I HAD to get my Dole Whip!!! It was my first time doing Monsters, Inc and I thought it was super cute!



We did all those things and shopped around a bit. We also took the train. We managed to buy enough krispy treats to use up all of our credits, but we were runnign really late, and we didn't have time to get lunch with our last 5 credits, so we sadly left them behind.
Jack carried around his Basin purchases all morning!


We headed back to the airport, Jack fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep through the transition from carseat to stroller and into the terminal area. Naturally our flight was delayed, but only by about 20 minutes or so. Once Jack woke up we went to grab some lunch at some random little restaurant/bar area. Then I headed to Starbucks, where they gave me the wrong drink, so I ended up with 2! Finally it was time to get on the plane.

The ride home was irritating, but uneventful. Jack was pretty difficult for some parts, but we made it home in one piece. Once we got back, my dad, Jack and I went on the shuttle to get the car. Then he dropped us and the carryons off at the house and went back for my mom, sister and the luggage (we only live about 10 minutes from the airport). It was pretty depressing to be home, but I snuggled up under my castle dream lights blanket to try and keep some happy thoughts!!!

DO plan for a later flight if possible, so that you can get some time in for shopping or finishing up a park!

DO try Kona Cafe! It's cheap (for Disney prices) and super yummy.

DON'T plan on a last minute meal unless you know for sure you will have time. I am still mad I wasted those last 5 credits!!!

DO resort hop during the holiday season. All the decor is great!

DO be prepared for the post Disney letdown, it can be brutal! One way to fell better is to DO a TR!!! Oh and planning another trip never hurts...
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:35 PM   #128
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The stuff we brought home with us...

Here's a compilation of all the stuff I managed to bring home with us... I am super proud of myself, since I managed to NOT spend my whole gift card. I think I left with around $50 left... for our next trip!!

Castle Dream Lights Throw


jewelry from Italy


Givenchy perfume set


Jack's Basin purchases


Set of 3 reusable totes (they were on sale!)





Glow Buzz from Jack's drink at 50's PTC


Jack's "Tatoheads" Christmas ornament


Jack's new "Tatohead" pieces


My Christmas ornament


Infamous reusable bags (we got 3 of these)


Jack's newest plushes!


Zsa Zsa's new chew toys


Holiday placemat (I really wanted the frame that matched but of course I couldn't find it by the end of our trip)
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:54 AM   #129
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Hi!

Really enjoyed reading your trip report.. we do the same as you, get the latest flight possible on the last day - maximise those Disney park hours!


Emma x
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:51 AM   #130
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I love when people post their souvenir pictures!! I have the same castle throw as you....as a matter of fact, I'm wrapped up in it right now....it doesn't get any better!!! Love the ornaments, I too always buy ornaments if nothing else!!!
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:34 PM   #131
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He really enjoyed it. I think it will be better when he is older since he isn't really old enough to understand trivia, but he had fun, I think just being on a boat was enough for him!


I have two sons, 14 and 9. Think they would like the cruise? The DS14 is a good sport and would do whatever. DS9 is at the age where he doesn't like doing "kid" things. I would hate to spend the money if they wouldn't enjoy.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:10 PM   #132
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Final Thoughts

I can't believe it has taken me over 2 months to finish this TR! I have probably lost some readers along the way, but anyone still left, I will be starting a PTR for my September trip tomorrow, andI will post the link here!!!

So to wrap up my TR, here are my final thoguhts-
Overall it was a fabulous trip, and I am so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to experience all of the different things we did. Even though we had our fair share of "downs" we had many more "ups". Some of my favorite experiences were...

Le Cellier. While the experience was not fantastic due to Jack's behavior and our exhuastion, the food was amazing. Unbelievable. I really wish I could eat there again in September, but it's not in the cards for us. I highly reccommend it to anyone who has considered it though.

California Grill. The combination of atmosphere, service, food, and fireworks is phenomenal. While it is best without children, the staff does a great job of trying to keep kids happy for the 2 hour long meal. I would love to try this again, but due to the cost, it would need to be a special occasion!

Candlelight Processional. It's free, it's full of holiday spirit, and pretty beautiful. I would only do this on the dining package (which is not free, but with the DP it is) because the standby line looks long and forms early, and I am not a person who likes to waste time waiting.

Wishes Dessert Party. Everyone should do this once. I probably wouldn't do it on a party night again, just because there is so much to do, but we didn't have any other options.

MVMCP. I would do this again if we ever go during the holidays again. I know a lot of people don't think it's worth the money, but especially if you are going earlier in December, I would try it. I would actually do it in place of a park day, since you can go in at 4, and that way you pay for one less day of tickets.

Before the park opens breakfasts. It's a great way to get in early and be full and ready to go full steam till afternoon! I especially liked Tusker House.


Things I would do differently-

Dining plan. I think the Deluxe plan is great if you do a signature dining experience every day. Otherwise fitting in 3 meals a day is pretty hard. I also feel like the standard dining plan isn't worth the cost anymore. Obviously if it is free, then great, but if you are paying for a plan, I would go with QS and just pick a few TS restaurants to pay OOP for.

Resort. Possibly if we had spent more time at our resort I would feel differently, but since we barely used the amenitites in the resort, I didn't feel like it was worth the extra $. I didn't feel it was twice as nice as a value resort, so for people on a budget (like I am for our fall trip) a value is the way to go!

Less. I would just try to plan less. We had too many late night/early morning combos.

Splitting up. When it became obvious the priorities in our group were so different, we should have started splitting up more often. That way everyone is happy, there is less bickering, and no one feels like they are missing out.


So would I do it again? We probably will not go during holidays again anytime soon. The cost, the crowds, and the unpredictable weather just factor in too much. Especially now that I have discovered the wonderfullness of the off season. For our family, it was the only time we could all get away, and the holiday atmosphere is great, but my parents haven't experienced a fall Disney vacation yet, and we are taking our next big family trip in April 2013 since we are going for Jack's 5th birthday and my dad's 51st.

For anyone who hasn't experienced the holidays at Disney, I highly reccommend it, but in the first half of December for sure! The decor and special events are phenomenal and one of a kind, but if you've done it already, try another season and compare!

I hope everyone enjoyed my TR and I hope it was at least a little bit informative. I probably whined too much, but the next one won't be like that because I have my Do's and Don'ts to remind me what works, and what doesn't.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:13 PM   #133
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I have two sons, 14 and 9. Think they would like the cruise? The DS14 is a good sport and would do whatever. DS9 is at the age where he doesn't like doing "kid" things. I would hate to spend the money if they wouldn't enjoy.

I think they would enjoy it. They do a pretty good job of making it fun for everyone. It's free snacks anyways, and I don't know a kid who would pass up unlimited cotten candy and chocolate coins!
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:32 PM   #134
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Thanks for sharing your experiences. I have really enjoyed your trip report.
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:40 PM   #135
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Thanks for sharing your experiences. I have really enjoyed your trip report.
Thanks!!!!
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