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Old 04-12-2011, 06:39 AM   #1
SweetSerenity
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I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars Was for Babies and Crazy People Updated 8/22

Hello and welcome! Though it has been more than six months since our trip to Walt Disney World in September of 2010, I think I've finally recovered enough from the trip to get started on my first attempt at a trip report (though I did complete a dining report last year for February, 2010.) This is going to be a collaborative effort between my Prince and I, and we will be incorporating a full dining report seen here. We're going to try to be thorough with details and provide tons of pictures, though I must give a warning: I am in no way a photographer. Heck, sometimes I'm not sure I can even claim being a camera operator.

The Cast:

There's me, Miss Charlotte. When you see this avatar , I'm doing the narrating- which will probably be the majority of this report. The definition for "collaborative" is a little skewed. I'm 26-years-old and have been a Disney fan since my toddler self first uttered the words "Mickey Mouse." As a child, I was fortunate enough to visit Disney World with my family upon several occasions but in 2008 I experienced by first "adult" trip. It had been more than eight years since I had last visited, but I think I enjoyed it even more then than I did as a child. I've been addicted ever since. Well, some call it obsessed but I like to use the term "passionate" instead. As you can probably tell from the "theme" of our report and my avatar, The Princess and the Frog is one of my favorite Disney films. The other two to round out my top three are The Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty. Eeyore is absolutely my favorite character- True Blue and whatnot. I think that pretty much covers the basics about me.

Then, there's my sweet Naveen, 27. In 2008, he made the long drive with us to Florida for his first ever Disney visit. He enjoyed it for the most part, but it isn't very high on his priority list. I thought the Star Wars aspects in Hollywood Studios would convince him to come to the Dark- I mean Disney- Side, but it didn't quite work according to plan. His favorite character is Goofy and top Disney movies include The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. When you see , he's speaking.

Also traveling with us was this mischievous guy:


And we couldn't write this report without mentioning our own little Disney Princess. This is Dixie, our four-year-old "Dachshund." She's more like a little Greyhound with the long legs and lightning fast gait to prove it. She's shown here posing with her pillow that we purchased back in 2008.


So, welcome aboard, thank you for reading, and hope you enjoy sharing this incredible experience with us!
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Experiencing the Disney Magic since the 80's
December, 2008: All Star Sports- First on-site stay!
August, 2009: All Star Music- Country Fair
February, 2010: Pop Century- The 50's
September, 2010: Port Orleans Riverside
Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck, Cherie-First Dining Report
I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars was for Babies and Crazy People- TR
This Gonna Be Good- Second Dining Report


Last edited by SweetSerenity; 08-22-2011 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:40 AM   #2
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Chapter Links

Table of Contents:

Pre-trip Details:
Is It September Yet?

Day One: Wednesday, September 15th
Away We Go!
Welcome Home!
The Hunt for Lunch
A Magical Kingdom Awaits
'Ohana Means Thirsty?

Day Two: Thursday, September 16th
Precious Memories
An Unexpected Tour
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Experiencing the Disney Magic since the 80's
December, 2008: All Star Sports- First on-site stay!
August, 2009: All Star Music- Country Fair
February, 2010: Pop Century- The 50's
September, 2010: Port Orleans Riverside
Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck, Cherie-First Dining Report
I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars was for Babies and Crazy People- TR
This Gonna Be Good- Second Dining Report


Last edited by SweetSerenity; 08-22-2011 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:28 AM   #3
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Count me in! How can you remember last September, I can't remember yesterday
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:07 AM   #4
SweetSerenity
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Originally Posted by Goofy442 View Post
Count me in! How can you remember last September, I can't remember yesterday
Welcome! I'm the same way! I actually took a small notebook with me and made a lot of notes because I knew I wanted to write a report. I just didn't think it was going to take me this long to do it.
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Experiencing the Disney Magic since the 80's
December, 2008: All Star Sports- First on-site stay!
August, 2009: All Star Music- Country Fair
February, 2010: Pop Century- The 50's
September, 2010: Port Orleans Riverside
Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck, Cherie-First Dining Report
I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars was for Babies and Crazy People- TR
This Gonna Be Good- Second Dining Report

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Old 04-12-2011, 01:01 PM   #5
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Is It September Yet?



Now that introductions are out of the way, on to the real beginning of this report. And what's a beginning without a, well, beginning? I didn't write a pre-trip report so I'm going to spend this post filling in all the mundane details we had to take care of before we could finally visit Florida. This part may be a bit boring so feel free to skip it, but I'm writing it in because other people from this wonderful community of fellow Disney lovers helped me more than they will ever know because they took the time to elaborate on areas some may deem as unimportant. I promise to make it as quick and pain free as possible! So, shall we?

I've covered the Who and the What, but how about the When and the Where?
Dates: September 15th- September 22nd, 2010
Resort: Port Orleans- Riverside

As for Why? Well, my official reason was to celebrate our five-year anniversary, but does Disney World really need an excuse for going?

How this vacation that almost wasn't came to be!

In August of 2009, we took our first free dining trip. We were about halfway through the trip when I noticed a piece of paper on the table. Turns out, that sheet was a golden ticket: The Bounceback Offer. I asked Naveen if we could book another trip, but the answer was a pretty firm no. After some convincing (and "Pleaaaaaaaassssseeeee, baby PLEAAAAAAAAASEEEE!) he agreed we could book it on the condition that it was our last trip for a while. After all, there are plenty of other places in the world that are outside of The World. Really? Who knew! I think he just didn't want to see me like this:

I made the call and booked for September 15-21 for Free Dining at All Star Movies Resort for our 5-year anniversary. I chose these dates because not only do I love fall, but it's also a low crowd time of year and value season. Oh and there's the free dining, too! I'm pretty thrifty and with this economy, who wouldn't want to save a little for vacation if he or she was able to do so? On New Year's Eve, we changed our minds and called to add a day so that our dates were now September 15-22 and upgraded from a Value to our first ever Moderate stay at Port Orleans: Riverside. With seven nights being spent at WDW, this was officially our longest trip to date.

From there came the long wait and the pre-trip planning. I'm a pretty meticulous planner when it comes to vacation, but I find that to be almost as enjoyable as experiencing the trip itself. However, upon Naveen's advice (ultimatum, really) I tried to really slow down and not plan out every single detail of our day so that we could enjoy our vacation more without a constant schedule. However, that still left plenty of mundane decisions to be made such as traveling, snacks and drinks, and even how we were going to handle our money.

Being in Tennessee, we could make the drive to Orlando in about twelve hours- give or take a few. The pros of driving are traveling at our own leisurely pace and not worrying about how much or what we pack in our suitcases. The cons were the distance and added expenses. With it being half of a day's drive, we knew we'd have to stop for meals or take our own and eat at a rest stop. Also, as we all know, gas prices are ridiculous. So we toyed around with flying. Southwest Airlines had amazingly low fares in comparison to other airlines at a little over a hundred dollars each way. Plus, it was a non-stop flight with about an hour and a half of air time. We considered our options and realized we would be saving money by flying, even if neither of us were keen on it. I'm terrified of heights and hate the hassle of airports. Still, it was definitely the best plan and came with the added advantage of now being a participating airline with the Magical Express. So, we booked!

Drinks and snacks. Though we were covered under the free dining plan, we knew we would need breakfast items so we purchased Poptarts and granola bars for the mornings and packed them in our suitcases. Also, I tend to drink about a gallon of water every day so it just wasn't economical for us to use all our snack credits on water. We decided to have it delivered to our resort. Back in February of 2010, my mom and I flew down to Disney World for my 25th birthday. We used a local drugstore called Turner Drugs to have water and Diet Cokes delivered. Because it was such a hassle-free experience, I called and ordered a case for us again. With the delivery charge, it came out to be fifteen dollars, which is a huge savings compared to the price of each bottle of water inside the parks.

To Photopass or not Photopass? That was the question I couldn't stop asking myself. I knew about the discount for pre-ordering the cd at ninety-nine dollars, but I wasn't sure if it was going to be a wasted splurge. In the past, we haven't used it except for maybe a photo here and there that was additionally captured on our own camera. After consulting the boards and a long deliberation, we decided not to pre-order it. Big, giant, HUGE mistake. I'll elaborate more on why we used it so much later, though we never intended to do so. So, I ended up coming home and paying full price to order the cd.

Speaking of paying, we deliberated a while on the best way for carrying our money. I had a Disney gift card that was going to pay for a couple of out-of-pocket meals. Because my bank does not charge for ATM usage and will reimburse if there is ever a fee, we decided to mostly rely on my debit card and the Key to the World Card. We did take some cash with us for various carts inside the parks and other unexpected expenses just in case, but not very much.

With September being hurricane season, we were concerned about the weather. However, we all know that's something we cannot control. We packed a couple of inexpensive ponchos that could be tossed if ruined. Amazingly enough, with the exception of a five minute sprinkle, it didn't rain! The humidity, however, was terrible and fried my hair to a nice golden brown.

In March, I was able to book our ADRs. I was up the moment the website opened each day, and we were able to book all the restaurants we were hoping to experience. Of course, someone changed them a million times before September but that will be discussed in the dining report listed here.

Over the past few years, we've found several references to be extremely helpful. I've sort of been collecting the Birnbaum's Official Guides, but have since discovered the Passporter- which I hope to use one day. Honestly, though, I have to give a huge shout out and THANK YOU to the disboards. I have learned so much while being here and appreciate every ounce of information given to me. This community is truly wonderful, and I sing its praises every chance I get. to you all! Lastly, we both have Verizon so we wanted to use the mobile application but later found out it isn't (or wasn't at the time) compatible with the Blackberry Curve. I found out about the free mobile version of the website and used it instead. Though not as detailed as the purchasable one, it did help us with wait times at other parks, along with a few more small things.

Lastly, we decided to set certain missions for this trip which mostly meant attempting to do certain attractions we had never done before. Were we successful? Stick around and find out! These missions were:

Attractions:
Test Track
Beauty and the Beast- Live on Stage
Jungle Cruise
Kim Possible
Swiss Family Treehouse
Hall of Presidents
Explore China in the World Showcase
Rafiki's Planet Watch
Main Street Electrical Parade
Tom Sawyer Island- Mission Accomplished
D' Vine

As a child, I had seen the Beauty and the Beast production but had done the Hall of Presidents, Jungle Cruise, and Swiss Family Treehouse as well. Naveen had done none of these so we added them to our mission list. We started Kim Possible in 2009, but were only able to do the Mexico pavilion so we wanted to do more of the countries this time.

Food
Les Chefs de France
Beignets
Club Cool
Other various snacks

Since we were staying at Riverside, we really wanted to make our way over to French Quarter to try these little treats. Being that I look at way too much Food Porn, I had made a list of some of the snack items we wanted to try to maximize the snack portion of our plan. Les Chefs de France was a restaurant I couldn't wait to try, and was so excited it was our final dinner ADR.

Super Important Mission
Fairy Tails.

When I went with my mother to WDW in February of 2010, I bought a tin of the Fairy Tails dog biscuits for my dog. She's somewhat picky about her treats but absolutely loved them. I intended to buy her a new tin in September, but I had no idea at the time how much trouble that was going to be!

So, this includes the "pre-trip" portion of this report. Any readers left? Thanks for sticking with us if you were able to do so!
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Experiencing the Disney Magic since the 80's
December, 2008: All Star Sports- First on-site stay!
August, 2009: All Star Music- Country Fair
February, 2010: Pop Century- The 50's
September, 2010: Port Orleans Riverside
Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck, Cherie-First Dining Report
I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars was for Babies and Crazy People- TR
This Gonna Be Good- Second Dining Report


Last edited by SweetSerenity; 08-22-2011 at 02:46 AM.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:55 PM   #6
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Away We Go!

Day One- Away We Go!

Wednesday, September 15th


It was finally September 14th, and the hours were slowly ticking away to our arrival day on the 15th. Our bags were packed, our precious dog had been dropped off at my grandmother's house, and Stitch was waiting patiently by the door. I hadn't been sleeping very well so I went to bed early at 7 expecting to snooze right on through to 4 A.M. Wrong-o. I woke up two hours later at 9 and stared at the ceiling until 4:05. I counted sheep, tried to drink warm milk, but nothing worked. I'm pretty sure the fact that we were leaving in only a few hours had nothing to do with it. . .

We drove out to my grandmother's house where we left my car. My mom and grandmother drove us to the airport, but on today of all days my mother decided to take the "shortcut." Yeah, that usually means the exact opposite of what it's supposed to. What should have been a half hour drive took us almost an hour and a half. Our flight was 8:05 A.M. so as the clock was getting closer to 7:00 I was starting to get a little anxious. I'm a bundle of nerves when flying anyway, but I'd already had nightmares about missing our flight.

Around 7 A.M. we pulled into the terminal. After brief hugs and kisses, we went inside to check our bags. Security was a breeze and with around forty minutes to spare, we sat down at our gate to wait our turn. Because Southwest does not have assigned seating, I purchased Early Bird Check-In for us on the way to Orlando just to guarantee we were able to sit together. With boarding passes A21 and A22, it was our turn fairly quickly. After settling into our seats, we were joined by a lady who was taking a solo trip to WDW and staying at All Stars Music Resort. We chatted with her while our flight took off about 8 minutes late. I guess the child behind me was either extremely excited or bored- or maybe both- but she kicked the back of my seat throughout the entire flight time Our flight attendants were absolutely fantastic. Because we were in the front seats, we were able to talk to them. As we were descending into Orlando ten minutes ahead of schedule, they began to sing a familiar tune. M-i-c-k-e-y M-o-u-s-e. Of course their version went a little something like this. "Why? Because we love you- and your money!"

Finally, we touched down! Toto, we are so not in Tennessee anymore because the humidity is like a slap in the face and we haven't even stepped off the plane yet! We exit and make our way toward the "monorail" to ride across to the other side of the terminal. At last, I spotted this:


At the Magical Express queue, we waited for about fifteen minutes until we were able to step onto the bus. I wanted to settle in and watch the welcoming video, but the bus was very loud. It didn't matter, though, because Port Orleans Riverside was the first stop!

Then came that moment- the one where we all go through that magical sign and flash a picture to capture the memory of revisiting the world again. Yeah, I didn't get that. Oh well, I definitely remember what it felt like to go under it again.


I had no problems sleeping of course. Being a third shift worker, I have the uncanny ability to sleep whenever and wherever, no matter the circumstances. Though in this case, Miss Charlotte's excitement (psychosis?) was starting to affect me as well, and even with my robust ability to sleep through a hurricane, I found myself anxiously awaiting our departure from home. After assuring Miss Charlotte that everything was packed, we set off on our early morning journey. While it was heartbreaking to leave my little pup behind, I knew I personally needed a vacation, and it would be nice to have a getaway with my Miss Charlotte without having to worry about anything, though that didn't exactly work out as planned, that's the topic of a future post. The drive to the airport was, in a single word, agonizing. I don't get motion sickness, ever. I came pretty close to it during this ride. The proceeding plane ride was less bumpy and vertigo inducing than this drawn out trip into Nashville. The airport, in general, was a breeze, and the plane ride was rather uneventful, though having to sit between two Disney fanatics who liked to converse was a bit, daunting. With our arrival to Orlando, I felt a certain weight being lifted off my shoulders. I was, more or less, officially on vacation, and more importantly, Miss Charlotte could stop counting the days until we arrived. While the wait for the Magical Express bus was a little longer than I would have liked, once I was in the capable hands of Disney Service, I knew my week would be quite magical. Though for all the hoopla over entering the front gates to Disney World, it was nothing compared to getting to see my Miss Charlotte grin from Minnie-ear to Minnie-ear.

Finally, after about twenty-five minutes, the bus pulled into the resort and we were welcomed to our home for the next week.

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Experiencing the Disney Magic since the 80's
December, 2008: All Star Sports- First on-site stay!
August, 2009: All Star Music- Country Fair
February, 2010: Pop Century- The 50's
September, 2010: Port Orleans Riverside
Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck, Cherie-First Dining Report
I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars was for Babies and Crazy People- TR
This Gonna Be Good- Second Dining Report

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Old 04-13-2011, 06:49 AM   #7
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I'm in!!!
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:31 AM   #8
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I'm in too! Gotta have something to do to pass the time until June!
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:21 AM   #9
SweetSerenity
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoohGal05 View Post
I'm in!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by sahm2two View Post
I'm in too! Gotta have something to do to pass the time until June!
Welcome! I know, the closer you get to the vacation the more agonizing it is to wait! I'm pretty certain time actually starts to go backwards just before it's time to head off to the World.
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Experiencing the Disney Magic since the 80's
December, 2008: All Star Sports- First on-site stay!
August, 2009: All Star Music- Country Fair
February, 2010: Pop Century- The 50's
September, 2010: Port Orleans Riverside
Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck, Cherie-First Dining Report
I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars was for Babies and Crazy People- TR
This Gonna Be Good- Second Dining Report

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Old 04-13-2011, 08:37 AM   #10
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Great start! The anticipation is what kills me, all that planning and it goes by so fast. We love Southwest Airlines , never had a problem with them.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:28 AM   #11
SweetSerenity
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Welcome Home!

Day One- Welcome Home!



The moment we stepped off the bus and into the lobby, I was awe-struck. I couldn't even see the grounds as of yet, but something about this resort just felt. . . different. Maybe that was excitement. Or hunger? The lines were full and moving rather slowly, but I had already checked in online so once it was our turn it didn't take very long. We were thrilled that our room was ready so we could drop off our carry-on bag and get this vacation started! When I called to book the resort I had made two requests: I really wanted to stay in the Magnolia Bend mansions and a king bed. However, I was expecting neither one, but was ecstatic to learn that we were staying in Acadian House- a Magnolia Bend mansion! After checking to see if our water had arrived from Turner Drugs, we were on our way to see our room. Here's a small view of the lobby.



Not only is Acadian House one of the buildings farthest from the lobby, but we were staying on the back side facing the parking lot. It was about a ten minute walk, but what a beautiful one!





Finally, we saw this sign!



After countless twists and turns, we found room 8021. On the ground floor, the room was located on the back corner. It always felt quiet and isolated there, for which we were grateful. Also, we were extremely close to the North Depot. When we walked in, we were greeted by the overwhelming fragrance. . . of bleach. The room was worn, but it was extremely pretty. I loved the cherry furniture and just "Old South" atmosphere of the entire resort. I felt right at home, really. But wait, where's my towel Mickey? No sign of him anywhere. After taking a few moments to inspect for bed bugs, we had to resist the urge to face-plant into our beds but our growling stomachs convinced us to have lunch instead. As we were walking out the door, our water was delivered to us. Hoorah for hydration!

Our lovely room view. You just don't get any better than this!


I didn't get very many good pictures of the room, but here are a few.





In all honesty, I'm not a big fan of resorts. All I need out of a hotel room is a halfway decent bed and a bathroom, everything else is just a bonus as far as I'm concerned. That being said, when I first walked into Port Orleans Riverside, the rustic, down played charm, instantly impressed me. The lobby was laid out well, and did a good job of introducing a new guest to the general feel of the resort, all in a tasteful manner. While the layout of the grounds themselves was a bit confusing, Miss Charlotte is correct in saying that the walk was delightful, and this is coming from someone who doesn't care to walk too much if he doesn't have to. While the charm of the old manor houses wasn't totally lost on me, what I enjoyed about the location of our room was the relative isolation of it. It was on a corner on the ground floor, meaning we only had once neighbor, and thankfully, that room remained vacant for most of our trip, as far as I can remember. The room itself was right up my alley. It was clean and suited my rather spartan needs well, with just enough decoration and embellishment to remind me that I was in a moderate resort hotel, but not too much as to appear overly fancy or gaudy. The long walk to our room was a blessing in disguise, as we were located not more than a hundred or so feet from the north bus depot. Considering how busy the main south depot always was, it was amazingly convenient to have a nice, quiet depot waiting for us every morning and at the end of every day. With the room more than adequate to our specifications, we headed out to lunch, for this frog prince was hungry, and everyone knows, "A frog cannot live on half a can of Dr. Pepper and airline peanuts alone."
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Experiencing the Disney Magic since the 80's
December, 2008: All Star Sports- First on-site stay!
August, 2009: All Star Music- Country Fair
February, 2010: Pop Century- The 50's
September, 2010: Port Orleans Riverside
Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck, Cherie-First Dining Report
I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars was for Babies and Crazy People- TR
This Gonna Be Good- Second Dining Report


Last edited by SweetSerenity; 04-13-2011 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Goofy442 View Post
Great start! The anticipation is what kills me, all that planning and it goes by so fast. We love Southwest Airlines , never had a problem with them.
I know! You spend the better part of a year or so working out every little detail while the seconds start to drag by like hours. Then, you get there and it's over before you can even mutter "Mickey Mouse!"

I've only ever flown Southwest, but I enjoy the smaller flights. And despite the recent events concerning the planes, I think we'll continue to use them. I can't argue with an inexpensive fare and non-stop flight!
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Experiencing the Disney Magic since the 80's
December, 2008: All Star Sports- First on-site stay!
August, 2009: All Star Music- Country Fair
February, 2010: Pop Century- The 50's
September, 2010: Port Orleans Riverside
Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck, Cherie-First Dining Report
I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars was for Babies and Crazy People- TR
This Gonna Be Good- Second Dining Report

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Old 04-13-2011, 12:32 PM   #13
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I'm in and can't wait to read more. I love little Miss Dixie. My own "Ellie" has that same Diney Princess pillow. I wonder where you got it?
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:38 PM   #14
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I'm in and can't wait to read more. I love little Miss Dixie. My own "Ellie" has that same Diney Princess pillow. I wonder where you got it?
Yay, welcome! Aww, thank you, she is our pride and joy. And believe you me, she knows it! Hopefully, your Ellie took better care of her pillow. She may look sweet laying next to it, but she ripped into that thing the moment we weren't looking. Of course, we bought her the white one to replace it and she tends to be more gentle with it. No no, she's not spoiled at all!
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Experiencing the Disney Magic since the 80's
December, 2008: All Star Sports- First on-site stay!
August, 2009: All Star Music- Country Fair
February, 2010: Pop Century- The 50's
September, 2010: Port Orleans Riverside
Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck, Cherie-First Dining Report
I Was Starting to Think Wishing on Stars was for Babies and Crazy People- TR
This Gonna Be Good- Second Dining Report

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Old 04-14-2011, 08:08 AM   #15
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I love the southern charm Port Orleans has, we have stayed there once. They put us in the back by the water, which was fine by me. Far away from everyone else.
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