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Old 03-11-2012, 05:09 PM   #91
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This time at Living with the Land they had all new stuff. Probably seasonal, I've not been in June before. It was nice to see different plants.

Awww, I love Living with the Land.

After this we went to ride Soarin'. There was a long line at the FP return. Hopefully they take that into consideration with the new plan.

It was Boo & Jack-Jack's first time.

OK, wait. I have to take a moment and reiterate something about June. I have been to WDW in (hopefully I hit them all, because I've been going a long time) January, February, March, August, September, October, November, and December.

I choose when to go to WDW based on off- season and weather. Thus you see I have avoided in the past April-July. I'm willing to suffer crowds. And I'm willing to suffer heat. But I'm not willing to do both.

But because we'd already been twice in the year and this was the two weeks we could go, we went in June. Dead summer. Both heat and crowds.

Here is the thing, however. We are GOOD at WDW. The whole new FP thing, I'm totally not worried about. We'll do whatever we want to do anyway. So even with the heat and the crowds, we were not slowed down and if you can only go in June or July: Follow our tips to a T and you will also have a great time.

The reason I bring this up is this was my first time going during high season. The people who go during high season do NOT live on the Disboards. They've never heard of the Disboards. They've never heard any of my rules. And best of all, they have never been to Disney World at all. They are 100% new.

Sure, this had it's frustrations since they never knew what they were doing. But it also was amazing. I LOVED touring with the Newbies. First, they didn't get there early. Sure, there was the pack of people who knew the drill at Test Track and Soarin' in the morning. But the true hoards didn't arrive until 11 am. Allowing us to enjoy the "cooler" mornings with much shorter crowds.

The best thing about this group of Newbies, however, was that they have never ridden any of the rides before. Can you imagine? Do you remember the first time you rode Splash Mountain? The first time you saw the Festival of the Lion King? The first time you hugged Mickey Mouse? That very first time you saw the castle and all the emotions of being a kid all over again hit you right the heart?

When you go in June, that's who is there. Tears in their eyes, mouths fallen open. Standing about everywhere gawking at this magical, magical place.

So back to our story: It was Boo and Jack-Jack's first time of Soarin'. And Emmy's first time on Soarin'. We got great seats and we took an entire row. Boo was nervous. But Milo had worked on her in the line, teasing her about her big girl shoes and calming her down. It worked pretty well. Guess he's as good at manipulating Boo as I am at manipulating McQueen.

I'm sure I have a picture of Boo's first ride. But I can't find it on my computer nor phone, so it must be on Donald's and he's napping. So no photo. But you know what Soarin' looks like and and what Boo looks like, you can imagine.

We put the seatbelt through the little thingy between her legs. And we flew.

And this is where my above description comes into play. No one in our room had ridden this before. So when we Soared up, they screamed. When we flew over the orange groves they laughed. When we went through the pine forest down the river, they gasped. And when we went over Disneyland, though I couldn't see them, I'm pretty sure they teared up. And when the fireworks went off they cheered their heads off. And at the end of the ride they applauded with all their might. And so did we. And so did Boo and Jack and Emmy.

And that is when I knew, I'd be back in June again despite that icky heat and crowds. Because Disney was built for cheers and gasps and crowded theaters. It is a theater. And performances are best ended with roaring applause.

Tears in my eyes, we headed off to Imagination. There was a bit of discussion as Buzz had informed us that is WDW trip would not be complete without seeing the Circle of Life. Last time I went to the Circle of Life. it was the scariest thing Boo & I did that week. I was on a high and didn't really feel like watching sewage spew into the ocean. So Milo sacrificed and they went to see it. All of the rest of us hurried onto Figment.

It was a walk on and our CM's name was actually Mickey. What are the chances? Boo giggled at Dr. Nigel Channingway as always. I love the upside down room. And the song.

Up next was Captain EO. Can't remember who all did this and who didn't. But Emmy and I did I know. Donald doesn't really like it.

We walked in with perfect timing at the very end of the preshow and so were ushered right in to our seats. This made Emmy miss the explanation so I summed it up quickly. I love the whips in this thing. Indiana Jones had come out in 1981 and this was made (arrived at WDW in 1986) shortly there after so whips were all the rage. It's a weird thing to be "in". Michael Jackson and George Lucas truly, truly were geniouses, no matter how cheesy this is, it's impressive. They invented this stuff. I George Lucas. It's true. I do. I love innovators.

Emmy also love it. I knew she would. It's right up her alley.

Wherever we all were, we met up at Nemo. The sign said a 30 minute wait, but by this time it was BLAZING hot outside and you know how long it takes to just walk through the turnstyles at Nemo? We figured that alone takes 15 minutes. So 30 wouldn't be so bad. As we walked towards it, the sign flipped down to 20 minutes. So then it was a no brainer. Into the A.C. we went. Epcot Future World is so nice on a hot or rainy day because you only have to suffer in between buildings.

There were more people in here than normal, but it's a constantly loading ride so we never stopped walking, we just didn't super fast walk like normal. I timed it, cause I'm a geek and because I love you all and want you to be informed. Your welcome. It took 11 minutes. And was very enjoyable. It's a great room. And everyone in it was new. So they were very much enjoying the posters and theming. And I was enjoying them.

It was lovely as always.

We then joined the crushing Crush crowd. We looked in the aquariums a bit. But it was hot and I was kind of miserable in there. I put Mulan's Mickey ears on Boo and schooled her on how to get called on during Crush. Raise your hand really high. Be persistent. And we practiced her question "Where were you born?"

In we went. Mulan went to supervise Boo & Jack. They got sat on aisle. Everything was working well.

Matching t-shirts. Check. Cute kid in Mickey antennae. Check. Hand raised high constantly. Check.

But no go.

Crush this day was annoying and self absorbed. He called on almost no one. And he said stupid self absorbed things. The crowd LOVED him. But they were new. They didn't know that the wonderful interaction was the best thing about this show. Even the two kids he called on, he didn't interact with them at all. Lame. Boo was sad. But, in typical Boo fashion she simply said, "I not cry." And that was true. Yeah, she's gonna bottle up emotions and explode as an adult. But whatcha gonna do? She is who she is.

We then were off to ride Spaceship Earth. On the way Emmy wanted to stop at the Fountainview Ice Cream shop. But. I was mean and said no. Yup, I say no even adults. There was a HUGE line and we had one more ride before we were taking the entire night off. I mean, come on, surely you can give me another 30 minutes before our break. Ok, ok, so I'm mean. 7 kids makes you that way.

At Spaceship Earth there was a 10 minute line which said it was longer than that. It wasn't bad at all. We mostly played on our phones (me writing my notes). Because of this & the lethargy that heat makes you have, we were not the well oiled machine that we normally are and we got to the front without a plan. That is NOT a good idea. Because you are on a moving platform that has an end. You really need to know who is going with who in which order before you get onto the platform.

Tip Time!! Use the time you stand in line (no matter how limited that is if you are following our "no lines" tips to organize yourself. Because MANY rides at WDW are constantly loading. This means you cannot stop to hear little Johnny's argument about sitting on the left side once you are at the ride. Work that out in line. Most rides take two people. Ask the people around you the seat configuration of the ride you are about to go on (Like Mission: Mars is 4 people.) Then pretend your on Survivor and quickly conference to make teams.

Truth? I don't know who I ended up with. Probably McQueen as when there is confusion, we gravitate towards each other.

We played for about 10 minutes on the interactive stuff and then went to potty before heading home. But, as always, we went out the wrong door. Seriously, EVERY time. It's best to have a plan in here and meet inside the building after the ride and then exit together. Otherwise there is 100% chance you will be waiting for your party on opposite sides of the building forEVER and it is HOT outside. We all just turned right around and walked right back through the building to the other side.

Then we walked to the van. We were super close due to our early arrival.

Want to know the best thing about arriving super early on a hot June day?

Being back at your air conditioned home base by 4 PM for the whole evening!

We drank, we ate. We ordered Outback and sent someone (other than me) to get it. But they went to the wrong one. Whoopsies. We watched dumb reality shows on the On Demand cable. Sweet, sweet luxury.

Me and Figment:

A few trips earlier Boo had fallen in love with taking bubble baths with Jack-Jack. She loves taking bubble baths in general, but to have a friend join you? Amazing. So the moment she laid eyes on this bad boy, she had plans. So straight from the pool: into the tub. A wrinkled prune for sure.

After the bath, we had the dinner and we were all done with:

Epcot Future World
Eating three meals

by 7:30 p.m. So the rest of the night was for 100% chilling out. It was one of Donald and Milo's favorite nights of the whole trip and Milo said it was that night when he knew he was on vacation. The sweet spot of relaxation came early on this trip.

Many hours were spent in the game room. Bringing Emmy gave Charming someone to play with as well. She and Donald spent lots of time playing with the game room.

But here is the infernal mess of which Suzy spoke. Here she is the night before talking Boo into helping her clean up. We later (meaning about 5 minutes later) changed this strategy to Suzy and I just taking turns. And yes, we did remind the other one when it was their turn, just like sitting in the front seat of the car as kids. Ugh!

We also did laundry and I braided everyone's hair. Emmy was wistful that I would braid hers. But I just don't know ANYTHING about black hair. Sorry. I don't have those skills. I guess I could have watched a Youtube video, buy I didn't. Maybe next time.

The other thing we did was rehearse Emmy & Charming's songs for their AI auditions.

Then an early bedtime. DHS and our American Idol contestant's were ready to try out.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:13 PM   #92
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Early to bed, early to rise, makes a Disney girl happy and shows she's super wise.

We were ready to go by 7:45.

Today was the day we were gonna try to get Emmy & Charming into American Idol: the Experience. So we were wearing our special tshirts. Except for Charming as he didn't want to be a goob when he tried out. Emmy's parents, who have supported her through MANY years of singing & music lessons, kept calling her. Her father and she have a very strange relationship and I learned just HOW weird when I listened to her side of the conversation the entire drive to DHS. He's one weird dude.

It wasn't until 8:00 am when we pulled into DHS that we realized we had no ponchos and there was a chance of rain. Hopefully that wouldn't be a big deal. At 8:30 we got to the turnstyles just as they started opening up. And the moment people were through the turnstyles they ran. This utterly confused Emmy who is not used to crazy Disney mentality. We had warned her about this morning, but she just couldn't understand.

It was a small street, and at the end you are simply stopped again. Why would you run?

She does have a point.? We did not run. We got a pretty good spot.

Is it crowded in June? Yes, yes it is.

The rope dropped and we were off. It wasn't too crazy of a pace. With so many Newbies and crowds there were more security than normal and they seriously kept everyone in line.

The TSM line was way outside the building and long. Buzz was freaking out that Star Tours would be so crowded we'd never get to ride. Which is, of course, silly even with the new updates. It was 9:01 am and CLEARLY everyone in this park was here to ride TSM. We'd be fine. But he was a MESS! In addition to the crazy line & Buzz, Emmy's mom was now calling her constantly (Emmy is in her late twenties but I've heard her mom freak out when she doesn't call for 24 hours. Drives Emmy NUTS!) so after ignoring it for 15 minutes, she finally just had to answer or else her mom would be afraid she was dead.

I know the TSM maniacal march is crazy, but it's not literally deadly.

So pretty much calming Buzz down and reassuring Emmy's mom that she hadn't bizarrely died overnight took our entire TSM wait. I decided to absorb Buzz's freaking by taunting him that he couldn't beat my on TSM. This, of course, led to him being with me when we boarded. He was ahead the entire time but I refused to give up as I may not be good at target practice, but I am FAST. So I was hoping to beat him at the end when you just need to be a speed demon.

Sure enough, the very LAST target of the speed demon part, I hit. I beat him by 1,000. Oh yeah, sweet victory.

We were done & splitting up by 9:20.

Charming & Milo and Emmy headed to AI auditions and I RACED (not because it was necessary, but I promised Buzz) to get Star Tours FP's. They were for 10:10. Whew, that WAS an emergency.

I met up outside the auditions.

Donald had gotten his second breakfast.

And, yes, on vacation there is second breakfast. Writer's Shop usually provides ours when we are at DHS. LOVE Writer's Shop.

He also spent the extra time to get Boo a Donald tattoo. I would never have even stopped at one of these kiosks. But that's why I love my Donald. It was so cute. And a cheap way to brighten a day.

I amused myself by calling my mom back (yes, my mom also was calling me) but I was giving her directions and information about our beach house as she and my dad were packing and getting ready to head out. They were going to the beach house before us to settle in and enjoy a brief bit of quiet before all of our chaos descended on them.

Fairly quickly (within 15 minutes) Charming and Milo were back out. Charming had been told his Pokerface was too mellow. He was sad, but that was the reason we were doing 2 days of DHS in a row, so we could get the feedback and start over.

Boo and Jack-Jack amused themselves by getting in a knock down drag out fight about whether the Sci fi Drive-in was a ride or a meal. So... we decided to amuse all ourselves by doing this:

Emmy had gone on to meet the producer and was being prepped to be on the show, so we left her to ride Star Tours and got more FP's for it for later so she wouldn't have to miss it.

This was the right move in all ways. We LOVED the new Star Tours, it brightened everyone's mood. We got the Chewbacca on the windshield version. And Charming got to be our rebel spy. Perfect bonus for being rejected so quickly from AI.

Seriously? Who rejects this kid?

Donald & Ariel ran over to get RnR FP's. They were for 1:00. While he was doing that, we staked out seats in Indiana Jones for the 11:00 show. Except it was actually an 11:30 show. Ooops. It was like 10:45. So we headed to the Great Movie ride so that McQueen would be happy. (Buzz loves Star Tours, McQueen loves the Great Movie Ride, and Jack-Jack loves Indiana Jones.)

We chose the left line and there was quite literally no one in it. The right side of the line was about a 10 minute wait. You could see this and you can go under the poles to switch lines. But no one was. Because they are all new. Odd. So we just walked right in. Boo was not scared at all. Woo-hoo! She's a big girl! While we riding, Emmy texted that she, too had been rejected. She got through to the producer who said it was the wrong song choice. She had been really nervous because she said the girl in front of her was AMAZING and way better than her and had told her that she had got to the finale the day before but not won it and was going through again to get the golden ticket. She felt intimidated.

Donald, Ariel, and Emmy watched Disney Channel rocks while they waited for us and Ariel went ahead and joined the show (they love when you do.) She got specifically chosen so that made her happy. They also traded vinylmations.

We then went into Indiana Jones at the right time. We got seperated upon entry and so I tried to space things out so we could all sit together. But with such big crowds, they would not let us save seats or leave any space. Bizarrely, we all ended up being directed to opposite sides of the same row. So that worked out. Match tshirts at work? You be the judge.

Once the show began, Boo immediately was VERY frightened. So we just left, her and I. Donald gave me our tickets and we went to ToT to get FP's. They were for 3:40. We then went into the potty right there next to the ToT FP building. As I walked in I yelled as I thought a bird had pooped on me. But not so. It was a GIANT raindrop. Uhm, now whose the idiot who didn't bring the ponchos?

So we went into the stores and killed some time. I bought a scarf and then I sat facing the big hat under an awning. It was a really nice moment for Boo and I.

And just like that the sky was bright blue. I saw a dark grey cloud moving towards us. And I knew my time was limited. Our plan was to meet at the Backlot Tour when Indiana Jones was done.

I had a great idea. I dashed to Indiana Jones, texting Donald to hurry and meet me. I knew if I could get there before it was done there would be no lines. Funnel cakes. What could possibly be more Disney than your parents letting you have dessert before lunch? Or maybe even for lunch?

Sure enough, there was no line. I ordered two giant funnel cakes with strawberries and ice cream. There was a slight delay which worked perfectly. The CM was handing me the first one when Donald walked up. It could not have been better.

We hussled to Backlot Tour, hoping the rest of the family would arrive before the ice cream melted or the storm came or both. Because the wind was seriously picking up.

We rushed in and Milo was already there with half the kids. But we couldn't find Suzy. She showed up and as they crossed into building, it began POURING! In the mayhem we lost Jack-Jack ( he was quickly found.) And we lost Emmy completely. Charming was exhausted and there was a slight bit of panic. It was POURING!

But overall, we had made the perfect choice of meeting spot, time, and food choice.

Right before the absolute downpour began.

I wish I had a picture but we had to keep moving because the rain was coming sideways so I didn't pull out any electronics.

The Moms went to get real lunch. We ate.

And just like that. It was over.

Tip Time! Watch the sky in the summer at WDW. Pop up storms that last less than an hour happen in the early afternoon all the time. They are a minor, minor inconvenience and sometimes even pleasurable if you are watching from a safe spot. The sky itself tells the story better than weather.com.

Off we headed to Star Tours again, this time with Emmy.

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Old 03-11-2012, 08:08 PM   #93
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Star Tours FP return line was easy again. We got Darth Vader and Tatooine pod racing with a cool Naboo star fighter at the end.

Once done with that what should we know? Muppets it is. Oddly, having never been here when there was crowds, there is a line queue. Who knew? Pretty cool one, too. It moves very fast and has current(ish) or future movie posters. Frog style.

Sam was giving instructions as we walked in. It was so fun to watch this with a theater full of people who had never seen it. The Muppets ARE funny and so is this show. And hearing pure laughter at all the jokes was a true delight. It took us 14 minutes from deciding to get into the line until we were seated in the theater. And entertained thoroughly for the entire 14 minutes.

At the end of the show as we were getting our strollers we had our first true melt down of the day. It was Suzy. Had she been 10 and not almost (shhhh) 40, she would have flat out cried. Between the raindrops and losing Jack-Jack, and the emotion of Charming be rejected, and Buzz freaking out at the beginning of the day and now it was hot and 100% humidity and the kids were WHINING. She nearly totally lost it. I handed out Caprisuns. We discussed part of the group going home as Charming and Mulan and Suzy were TIRED. We discussed this as we walked towards TSM. Why? We hadn't gotten FP's for TSM, right?

Well, when you are rejected by the producer at AI you get three of these little babies:

So our entire trip got to ride a ride of our choice! Hmmm, what should it be?

When we went to park the strollers fat rain drops were falling again. So we found a super secret spot out of the rain. It seemed like we were waiting on Suzy & McQueen forever to come. Evidently there was some issue. We then handed over our FP's and the CM read them forever. I guess they really are special.

Obviously, we wanted Charming and Emmy to get in the show, but if they both tried out tomorrow and both got to the producer? Two sets of those bad boys? Oh yeah.

I rode with Boo. So I got to steal all her bonus's.

After TSM, we sent the exhausted & cranky people home. Which was quite a few people. Mulan had burst into tears in the line of TSM. And I informed her there would be no RnR for her this day. I promised we'd do the next day but she needed to hitch a ride with Suzy back home. Charming had fallen asleep at 1:00 at Backlot Express. McQueen and Suzy had both melted down. People were tired.

Tip Time: Sometimes the best thing to do: quit and go back to your home base. Not because it's raining, or crowded, or hot. Those aren't valid excuses. Tired or crying are valid excuses. Because hot, crowded, or raining can go away at a moment's notice. But tired and crying won't go away on their own.

We then went to Little Mermaid with our remaining group.

We got a great Ariel this time. But Eric was dorky. Good voice. But not a compelling price. Emmy laughed and laughed at him. She said she could just imagine being in music theater class with him. Gleek!

That's another great thing about June. WDW had it's A team performers in all the shows.

Donald, Ariel, and Emmy went to ToT. I took Boo to meet Pooh. There was no line because it's stupid to have another Pooh in the Animations building. He's everywhere.

Boo then wanted to meet Mickey. There was quite a line but we had plenty of time. It really only ended up being 10-15 minutes and we got to watch all the other kids meet him too which was fun.

Just as we met Mickey, Donald texted me they were just getting off ToT. So we hurried as I got to do RnR. Beauty and the Beast was just letting out so hurrying was not really very hurried.

I got in the FRONT row with Ariel. Front front. I thought I was gonna puke it was so intense. AWESOME! Sweet Emotion was the first song which is my fave. Donald said we could go ahead and ride again so we hopped right into the single riders line that was empty.

This time I got put with a Newbie. SO MUCH FUN to be on rides with new people. Fun, fun.

Donald and I went to hand out the rest of our FPs. He found a dad and two tweens getting ready to get in the standby. Then I found a group standing at the FP return trying to have baby swap explained to them and staring down at the baby swap ticket. I walked up and it took just a minute to explain exactly how Baby Swap works and why they still needed our FP's. The CM watched as I explained. I walked them back to the CM and the 5 that weren't watching the baby got right in the line. The dad gave me a grateful thanks. I love newbies! Love 'em.

I think because it had rained all day it didn't feel nearly as hot as the day before. I was still in a great mood. And those that had gone home were all calmed back down. Mulan had slept the entire time we'd stayed.

I sucked down a Corona, and made a sandwich. We had bought a ton of lunch fixings but after long hot days in the parks, our lunch fixings were more appealing than a hot meal. So instead of packing lunches we adapted our plan to just eat in the parks and have lunch at home for dinner. That was a stinking good sandwich.

More laundry was done. We worked on Emmy's and Charming's songs. There aren't a lot of choices. There was much conversation about going back to MK. But I finally put my foot down and said no to Donald. If he went back, Mulan and Charming would want to go and they were just WAY too tired.

We cleaned up a bit. Milo got an annoying phone call from home. Yuck. He and Suzy's day was not the perfect WDW day. We watched the Voice. And then we went to bed. I was feeling dreamy and climbed into Boo's magical bed with her. She fell asleep in my arms, sweet baby girl. I climbed off to my own bed ready for another day.

Last edited by estherhead; 03-11-2012 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:31 PM   #94
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I'm loving all these flash postings! You're a great writer (and Disney Park Tourer)! Thanks for sharing them here!

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Old 03-11-2012, 09:29 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by preschoolmom View Post
I'm loving all these flash postings! You're a great writer (and Disney Park Tourer)! Thanks for sharing them here!

Blushing! I've got the next day's pictures uploaded. Hoping to keep this party going into Monday.
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:47 AM   #96
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I'm really enjoying your TR. I can't wait for another installment
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:21 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by Little Flower View Post
I'm really enjoying your TR. I can't wait for another installment
Thanks. I love your quote under your name. Walking right down the middle of Main St USA sounds like something I enjoy doing.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:32 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by estherhead View Post
Thanks. I love your quote under your name. Walking right down the middle of Main St USA sounds like something I enjoy doing.
its quite possibly my favourite place in the world, despite all the other great things you can do on a disney holiday, walking down main street is definately the best
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:01 PM   #99
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I forgot something very important. It happened on our way home from DHS the night before. So Mulan wasn't with us. But Emmy was.

As previously mentioned, my family plays the license plate game. Many of you probably don't. So you don't know that there are harder to get states than others. For example, Maine would seem hard. But in reality it is a big shipping state so MANY semi-trucks have Maine. Rhode Island, on the other hand, is hard to get. It's tiny so not many live there which means a smaller percentage of Rhode Island cars exist out of Rhode Island. North Dakota is another tricky one.

The ultimate prize, however, goes to Alaska and Hawaii. Seriously. Alaska has lost it's allure to us as someone from Alaska actually lives in our town so we see it about once a month or so.

Hawaii, on the other hand, well, you can imagine.

So imagine what happened in our car when we saw this:

The reason I have such a great picture of it is because I started screaming "Hawaii, Hawaii!!!!!!!" and Donald wouldn't believe me. It was parked in Windsor Hills right next to our house, so we actually turned around and I got out. He then proclaimed that is was on the front of the car, not the back and so not valid. I then walked around the back, and darn it, he was right. So the chances are this car was never actually in Hawaii. The person who owned the car was from Hawaii.

We counted it, as we voted and agreed it should count. But it lost a bit of the shine off it's glory by the car not having to get across the Pacific Ocean.

However, 2 months later in August of 2011, I discovered THIS within 10 miles of my house. Look closely and you'll see the rainbow.

Sadly, it didn't count towards any trip. But from now on I can say I have now seen a license plate from every single state in the USA. And I have never been to Rhode Island, North Dakota, Hawaii, nor Alaska.


And now, back to the conversation at hand:
DHS, day two.

The next morning I again awakened at 6:00 am. Bad habits are hard to break and even on vacation and even when we are supposed to be having an easy morning, I tend to stick with my internal clock.

Since there was no reason to get up, I just laid there and pondered my life. I was at a crossroads. We had not yet actually let the previous manager go. And so his coming back was on the table of discussion. And I was utterly stressed out by my current situation. Did I want to run a failing HVAC business? I love my dad and mom dearly, but was their happiness worth mine? Was it simply a difficult transition to be fully adult, to be a business woman, quickly approaching 40? A midlife crisis, so to speak, being thrust upon me? Or was I sincerely being asked to do something impossible that I should decline?

And if we had the manager come back in a few months time, would Donald, Suzy, Milo, and myself all just need to quit and find new jobs? Was I sacrificing my health and happiness for the benefit of others only? Or was I saving my life as I knew? Protecting a family tradition that was essential to our staying together?

This was what I pondered. And really, I made no progress whatsoever in said pondering.

At 7:00 I got out of bed, still firmly in the center of the crossroad.

If you're gonna be at a crossroad, might as well stand at the intersection of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Since I was up, I made waffles, bacon, and sausage. It was such a nice, gentle way to be awakened for everyone and sleepy, happy people began finding their way to the kitchen. Charming and Emmy were nervous in a way they had not been the day before. Rejection had left them on edge. Milo was having Charming practice and Emmy had had another freak-out conversation from her father.

At 8:45 just Milo, Charming, and Emmy and I left the house.

Donald and I had an emergency. So I dropped off Milo, Charming, and Emmy and headed to the grocery store for bleach. Here is why:

Can you see the poison ivy? He had it EVERYWHERE. And we'd been told bleach would do the trick. So I went to the store and bought bleach and every type of poison ivy cure you can imagine. I also bought a bag of almond croissants. Yum!

I got back home and it was only 9:30. The kids were swimming for just a little while, as swimming needed to be done every day and this day we were staying to see Fantasmic so there would be no night swimming.

We collected the ponchos. You cannot fool us twice. We are quick studies. We also got the American Idol update on our way. They had both gotten to the level where you are primed for the show and were waiting to meet the producer.

We parked, and hopped on the waiting tram. Seconds later, it pulled out. Great timing! I had lost my Annual Pass the day before. But, you can imagine, this was not too big of a deal for me.

Tip Time!: Take photos of your tickets on your phone or camera. Then when you lose them, just show your camera/phone to the CM at the ticket booth and they will print you a new one lickety split. Absolutely no reason to panic, it takes seconds if you have a picture. They can also do it just from your driver's license and the credit card which you used to buy the tickets. But that is way more complicated.

I'm not sure Disneyland will replace your lost tickets at all, but at Disney World, we've multiple times lost one or had the magnetic bar quit working and they replace them with a smile.

Bag Check:

And then we got the news: both Charming and Emmy had been rejected. Charming was told that the truth is, they never accept 14 year old boys. Only 14 year old girls. What??!! That's just weird. Emmy was told that the could listen to her all day long and her voice was too sweet for the AI Experience. What? So young boy musicians and trained opera singers are not accepted. We were all really confused.

The good news, we had two sets of magical FP's for our entire group. Let the good times roll.

It was super muggy out and we headed to Beauty and the Beast. McQueen and Mulan chose the seats and they were dumb, super hot seats. So Donald, Emmy, and I didn't sit with them. I don't really like to be tortured while enjoying my WDW entertainment. Suzy went and got FP's for ToT for 2:00 and at 1:00 we could get RnR ones.

Our Belle this day was a good actress, her voice was not too sweet, however. Gaston was also ok, but he wasn't big nor intimidating. I have a favorite Gaston we get almost every time in the fall so i may just be spoiled. It didn't matter though, as Emmy had just arrived and she and I spent almost the whole show whispering about her AI audition.

After sitting outside for an hour, we headed into the bathroom and AC just smacked us in the face. But it didn't cool us down. It couldn't. It just couldn't help how hot we were. So we just went ahead a dealt with the heat as we walked to Star Tours.

Star Tours was a ZOO! But we had magical FP's. Jedi Power FP's. You will let us ride.

This time Milo was our rebel spy. We got Darth Vader, Chewy, Jar Jar. No pod racing this time. It was a great combo.

And then we rode again and got pod racing again. 4 times in 2 days? Hopefully Buzz was happy with that.

Maybe this was why we were so hot. Ugh. 7 Kids out in the sunshine getting their picture taken here.

Better make that 8:

Donald had been mostly working through this morning. With the poison ivy, the heat, the AI disappointment, and the working it was his morning to not really be having any fun.

We then headed into Sci-Fi for our 12:40 ADR. We got seated right away in a car upfront.

It was wonderful. Air conditioned. Awesome. The kids were cranky. We were all so sweaty. But it's amazing how the beer in Donald's belly and the milkshakes in the girl's bellies cheered everyone right up. I got an Oreo milkshake and because that is so filling, Donald and I just shared a chicken sandwich and onion rings. Who is that hungry when you're that hot?

Donald & I texted work through this entire meal and the meal is a blurr. He and I are really partners in crime, so with Milo (a salesman) Donald (our purchaser) and me (time management) all together our business could text one of us and get the whole picture when we all conferred. But it wasn't too Disney feeling.

So we worked, not really magical, but we worked in an environment where the kids were watching fun B movies, drinking milkshakes, eating lunch and all of us enjoyed the blissful AC. And best of all, we used our Disney Rewards card and the meal was free. It's on the cheap side anyway, and then we all split meals. Not too shabby.

The milkshake and the phone lassoing me to work and responsibility:

Yup, still over heated here, but the sweat is beginning to dry:

Our food arriving. Emmy looking content. She liked this place a lot.

The license plate on our car was New Mexico. Since we had counted Hawaii the day before, we all voted and agreed it counted too.

Isn't this place great?

I will echo the advice of others: you don't go here for the food. It's basically just high quality fast food. But it's COOL. Both in AC and in atmosphere. You don't have to talk. You can just sit there and soak in the environment. Definitely order a special beverage, milkshake or beer. And a sandwich with fries or onion rings or both. Kind of like Chef Mickey's, but cheaper. It's the only place in DHS that is sit down that I personally recommend.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:22 PM   #100
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While we finished up our meal I dashed off to get RnR FP's as it was after 1:00. The girls went to the potty and Donald and Emmy and Boo went to the playground. Suzy and Milo were still finishing their meals. Somehow, my girls got confused and therefore abandoned in the bathroom. Suzy went out to cover her stroller and found the two of them standing there wondering where their parents had run off to. Whoopsies.

Tip Time! In the spring and summer it's a good idea to cover your stroller between 1:00-5:00 even when the sky is blue. You just never know and kids get a little cranky when their stroller seat is soaking wet.

By that time I was back and we all just went back into the Sci Fi for a minute to gather ourselves. When I went back out, the first rain drop hit my arm. I turned to the girls and said, MOVE! I texted Donald to meet us at Animation Studios, I grabbed the empty stroller, and we TOOK OFF. Good luck to everyone else. I covered the stroller, and we were inside.

Tip Time: If you can find one to fit: buy the real stroller cover for your stroller. It's worth the money to avoid the hassles. I have only once had a stroller that had a cover. And that is the one Donald trashed. Yup, still bitter. So if, like me, you have weird stroller, a $ shower curtain from the Dollar Tree and a bunch of plastic clothes pins. You then can clip the shower curtain to your stroller and it will be dry as can be. If you don't properly clip it, the wind will grab it and it's worthless. In a pinch, ponchos will do, but secure them properly or it's all to no avail.

We got there dry as dry. They all got there in shifts, wetter by the minute.

Jack-Jack wanted to meet Pooh.

Then they all just played. Milo, Charming, and I sat on a comfy and delightful bench and watched the wet people come in. Oh it was wonderful. The drawing class holding tank was opening up so we headed in. Milo, McQueen, and Ariel were a little delayed and got stopped outside the holding tank in front of a very long line of people. The matching tees were not gonna make the cut. Rain had driven people in and there were LOTS. They finally let them in and we all were guessing the drawings on the tv.

Someone (probably from our group) started on purpose guessing the wrong thing. The entire holding tank then thought it was funny so we all were guessing crazy things that the drawing clearly wasn't. This upset Jack-Jack BIG time and he started having fit and yelling at strangers that it WASN'T what they were saying it was. Good thing the doors opened, because he was about to lose it. He's very cute when he's mad.

I volunteered to sit in the front on the floor with a lap board. It is actually harder than the table. We got Daisy Duck who we haven't had before. I did a pretty good Daisy Duck and came to the conclusion that I should quit my job for sure and work for Disney since I clearly was born to be an animator.

It was truly raining, so at the store when you leave I asked for a rubber band and a bag.

Tip Time: They actually keep rubber bands and bags for this purpose in the store. Just ask the CM at the register and you'll have the proper container to keep your drawings safe from rain and wrinkling. Put them all together as they are sturdier.

I actually did have a bit of trouble getting my things as the CM was deaf. And evidently didn't read lips. So I rolled up the drawings and pretended to snap a rubber band on them and he quickly gave me the right stuff. Maybe I should quit my job and become a mime. I clearly have many secret and hidden talents.

We stood just under the awning between the door and potties and tried to figure out what exactly we were going to do. It wasn't just raining, it was lightening. Decisions decisions.

Did we make fun of them?

Yes, yes we did.

Obviously, we needed to run to somewhere inside. We broke into two teams: the ToT team and the TSM team. But a few of the TSM team wanted to see One Mans Dream. We were Jack-Jack, Boo, Buss, Mulan, and McQueen. And yes, I was one who wanted to see the movie. Jack-Jack fell asleep in my arms. Everyone was happy because we are all Disney geeks. Except Mulan who knew for a fact that she had chosen the wrong group. But it's because she gets scared and didn't want to do ToT. I tried to reassure her that she doesn't like ToT and isn't One Man's Dream at least better than being struck by lightening? Well, who can argue with that logic?

They were all coming around the corner as we exited the ride. Jack-Jack had to be awakened as we were going to ride TSM. Again we found our great dry stroller spot (but put the covers on them anyway.)

For once in our lives, we opted for the couples to ride together. A little 3 minute date. You gotta take what you can get.

Playing Donald, I didn't stand a chance:

When we got outside, sure enough our strollers had been moved into the rain. But they were still dry and it had stopped raining. So we packed up the ponchos. We left the stroller covers though as it was still thundering a bit. We had a drink and potty break and pushed on.

It was finally time to see what amazing contestants had gotten through on American Idol. We had decided that since school was out there would be an influx of amazing singers and the reason we always got bummer shows was because we were in off season and they had to take what they could get.

Charming and Emmy were on tv. Small consolation prize. Our contestants were a 15 year old Oriental girl, a super cool black guy, and a crazy Brazilian. The 15 year old was not nearly as good as our two. She was adequate. The black guy was really good. Not an amazing voice, but really good. And his stage presence was great. And the crazy Brazilian was AWFUL. In every way. He won.

To say our group was outraged is quite the understatement. It is Disney World. It's a theater and they are casting entertainment. We should have known that. But we didn't. We thought they were looking for singers. But they aren't. They needed someone awful. And we suddenly realized in retrospect, that in every show we'd seen there was a deliberately placed horrible person. And a 15 year old girl. And one actual good singer. Who never really gets through.

Not only were we sad personally, it kind of ruined it for me. Normally when I see behind the scenes I love it more, as I'm a practical and logical person. But seeing behind the scenes at AI and realizing the truth, that they need some one awful to send their Simon Cowell zingers to. That they needed a 15 year old girl who would cry on stage so they could boost her self worth. And that a trained opera singer and a kid that was born to be a musician didn't fit the profile, despite being told it was a singing competition, well that was disappointing. And now that I know the formula, I have no real big desire to see the show. It became tired in my eyes.

Tip Time: If you would like to be on American Idol you need one of three things: a terrible singing voice but a huge, energetic personality that will own the stage. A high school choir trained voice and a shy demeanor. Or truly amazing. And if you are truly amazing be warned, you might get on the show, but you won't win. Thus the girl ahead of Emmy the day before who was better than her but still didn't win the ticket.

Now you know where the goobers who get in to meet Jennifer, Randy, and Steven come from.

There was a good 2 hours that the mood soured just a bit in our group.

McQueen, who is sensitive to bad mood and tries to one up you if you are in one, insisted that he be allowed to take Emmy on the Great Movie Ride and no compromise would work. Emmy would agree to ride the Great Movie Ride with him that very second or he would have a fit. Well, McQueen may come off as a brat from time to time, but Suzy and Milo are not raising a brat. And so once such a line is drawn into the sand, then you know for a fact that that is exactly what WON'T happen. Yes, even as Disney World.

So to protect the rest of us from the discipline being meted out (no reason for everyone to be grounded, just the party who did the bad deed) Suzy and Milo volunteered to take McQueen, Boo, and Jack-Jack so the rest of us could have fun. They went on the Backlot Tour which ended up being a super lame Backlot Tour. Milo kept getting work calls. And they just in general had stopped having fun.

The rest of us did ToT and RnR. But first, Emmy had been jealous of Boo's Donald tattoo and there is a tattoo kiosk right outside RnR.

Who says you can't get no satisfaction?

Milo was not having a great afternoon and doesn't really care about Fantasmic and so suggested that a group go home with him. Only Buzz volunteered as the rest of us, including McQueen, had changed moods and were now OK. The ponchos were put away, it was cooling down, and the bad mood surrounding American Idol Experience had passed. Well, Milo thought going home with Buzz while the rest of us continued to have a great time seemed not a very good plan.

So we continued with our original plans. Dinner. At the corner of Sunset, outside of the Fantasmic theater, is a plaza of food choices which is a great place for families as you can all get what you want and not have to agree. There were no lines when we got there. Woot! Bonus.

Ariel got ribs and I tried to warn her there were no side dishes with it. Just ribs. You have to go to another kiosk to get french fries. I happened to be at that area getting Boo french fries so it wouldn't have been any big deal. But no, Ariel didn't need side dishes. She really can be quite stubborn. And though she loved her ribs, she kept trying to talk Boo out of some fries. No cigar, missy. Boo ONLY got french fries. Shoulda gotten a side dish.

Buzz spent the entire meal trying to convince people to go home. Finally Suzy had to get mean with him and he was bummed.

You guys know these are temporary, right? Hope I didn't shock you earlier making you thinking Donald let Boo get a real tattoo!

People were lining up for Fantasmic at 6:50! But we don't mind the back seats so we passed the line by and headed to the Great Movie Ride. Finally McQueen could have his wish without it being on his terms. Excellent parenting, in my personal opinion.

We parked right beside the building which I'm pretty sure isn't a real spot, but we risked it. It was a good ride and Emmy sat next to McQueen and he told her all about the making of movies, truly in his element. She loved it. Our villain and driver were both great.

Our strollers weren't moved. Back to Fantasmic and it was open now and moving in. We got great seats, bizarrely enough. Where were all the people? There was a slight bit of rain. Charming spilled Donald's beer. Emmy went to get him another one, she's a true friend. Our spirits had all 100% come back. All of us were in a great mood and the conversation was flowing and the puns, sarcasm, and general wit that comes out when you are on vacation began. The guys in front of joined in and we were soon a real party.

The inclement weather announcement came on that it might be cancelled. And then they made an announcement that if you used a laser pointer they would evict you. We all discussed who on earth would do that? But sure enough, 5 minutes later green laser idiot was messing around. The announcement came again. Due warning kid, due warning. And then 5 minutes after that, the laser pointer was no more.

Donald had brought up the Doppler map. Here is Mulan looking at it and me looking at the sky:

Obviously, the show going on was becoming a lesser a lesser chance. But the storm might go on. When should we leave? Should we leave? When would it get cancelled? Milo said, "Once they've sold all the beer." Then Donald said, "Shrewd is the on who has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself." And at that moment, we decided to be shrewd. Because if it got cancelled, it was gonna be chaos. And there was a good chance it was gonna be cancelled.

So we began to exit. Ponchos on, strollers gathered. No one else had left so it was just us and we were in good moods and laughing and in general poking about.

And that is when the giant shot of lightening lit up the sky.

Well, we knew it WOULD be cancelled. And those 6,000 people were right now getting up from their seats. Not to mention, we could very well be struck by lightening in the parking lot. And so we started moving quicker.

Milo was yet again on the phone with a customer. And so the Suzy clan were behind us a bit. Donald turned to see how far back they were and said, "Run!!!" So I looked behind me and lo and behold all 6,000 people were RIGHT behind them as was a constant lightening storm.

Suzy and Milo had also heard his exclamation and gave a quick peek behind. Milo said, "I've gotta go" and they too took off. At the end of the street the main door wasn't open yet so the CM, who saw us coming, took us to a secret exit behind the main street that dropped us at the main exit. The other 6,000 were guided through the main Fantasmic exit.

We rushed through the exit (the park in general was exiting too) and the tram was right there. Milo and Suzy barely made the tram, but they made it. It wasn't raining yet but it was just nonstop lightening. Boom, boom, boom. Boo was VERY happy Fantasmic was cancelled as she was crying. It was pretty scary.

The doors on the vans closed and the heavens opened up and POURED! When I say poured, I mean a hurricane without the wind. The traffic was nuts and terrifying. Donald is an experienced NYC driver and Milo was right behind him so we zipped here and zipped there and we were home.

The short walk into the house soaked us.

Wow! Our timing had been absolutely perfect. But it was intense.

So You Think You Can Dance was on tv and we added to our beer with some other yummy drinks. Donald and Charming played games in the game room which we thought would make the other kids go in there. But the lightening and thunder was so loud and so scary they mostly sat on our heads.

After finishing our drinks, we switched to the big bags of M&M's and watched the Top Chef master finale.

And that was our day. The next morning was our sleep in day but we were pretty early to bed anyway.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:53 PM   #101
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We play the license plate game too! Alaska is never a problem for us as my brother was stationed there and still has AK plates as does his wife. Several of my cousins do too as they also lived there and kept them (not sure how they do this?).

While we don't have hawaii plates, we recently bought a 3rd car for our oldest dd to drive and it started its life as a rental car in Hawaii. Its a cute little green convertible so I can imagine it would have been fun to drive around there!

I am so enjoying this trip report! My youngest dd is turning 13 and can't wait til she can audition for AI next year!
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:06 PM   #102
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Good for you for seeing it and getting out ahead of the crowd!

We had a similar experience while waiting for Wishes on our last trip. We watched the clouds, we saw the lightening, and we calmly walked with our kids out ahead of the announcement that it was canceled.

I have a strict "no one gets trampled" on vacation rule
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:48 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by estherhead View Post
Tip Time! In the spring and summer it's a good idea to cover your stroller between 1:00-5:00 even when the sky is blue. You just never know and kids get a little cranky when their stroller seat is soaking wet..
I also bring a small hand towel or two (usually from the hotel ). Because in the summer you will need one either for drying off stroller handles or any part of the stroller that got wet under the cover or, if it doesn't rain, we use it to cover up black parts on the stroller that are SCORCHING hot before little bottoms and legs sit down.

Originally Posted by estherhead View Post

So You Think You Can Dance was on tv and we added to our beer with some other yummy drinks. Donald and Charming played games in the game room which we thought would make the other kids go in there. But the lightening and thunder was so loud and so scary they mostly sat on our heads.
This was one of the worst lightnening storms I have ever seen. The lightening was just so intense. And as we were sitting in the fantasmic theatre, I think it was Milo that announced to us just before we left, "Do you think it might be a bad idea to be sitting on metal seats in a metal outdoor theater in a lightening storm?"
Me DH DS (17) DS (14) DS (10) DS (6)

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Old 03-12-2012, 06:01 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by taymaesmom View Post
We play the license plate game too! Alaska is never a problem for us as my brother was stationed there and still has AK plates as does his wife. Several of my cousins do too as they also lived there and kept them (not sure how they do this?).

While we don't have hawaii plates, we recently bought a 3rd car for our oldest dd to drive and it started its life as a rental car in Hawaii. Its a cute little green convertible so I can imagine it would have been fun to drive around there!

I am so enjoying this trip report! My youngest dd is turning 13 and can't wait til she can audition for AI next year!
Fellow road trippers. Hopefully she can get in. It really doesn't take that long to audition (under an hour) and it was good at least for Charming who hadn't auditioned truly before (just a high school and he was a shoe in for that.) So it's a good experience either way, but don't let her get her hopes too far up!

Originally Posted by preschoolmom View Post
Good for you for seeing it and getting out ahead of the crowd!

We had a similar experience while waiting for Wishes on our last trip. We watched the clouds, we saw the lightening, and we calmly walked with our kids out ahead of the announcement that it was canceled.

I have a strict "no one gets trampled" on vacation rule
I love that! We are going to adopt a no trampling rule. We don't currently have one. We have been working on our emergency evacuation and fire plans. We live in a place that really isn't in too much danger of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or flooding. So we haven't worried about it too much. But lately it seems no place is safe. So we had a family meeting on it this week.

The next day we watched Super 8 which is about a group of kids roughly our girls age who are making a film and catch an alien invasion on camera. They do EVERYTHING wrong according our new family plan. After watching and making several comments about these kids not knowing what to do in an emergency, Mulan said, "But we didn't cover an alien invasion in our meeting." So Donald said we'd do that this week.

Originally Posted by houseful of boys View Post
I also bring a small hand towel or two (usually from the hotel ). Because in the summer you will need one either for drying off stroller handles or any part of the stroller that got wet under the cover or, if it doesn't rain, we use it to cover up black parts on the stroller that are SCORCHING hot before little bottoms and legs sit down.

This was one of the worst lightnening storms I have ever seen. The lightening was just so intense. And as we were sitting in the fantasmic theatre, I think it was Milo that announced to us just before we left, "Do you think it might be a bad idea to be sitting on metal seats in a metal outdoor theater in a lightening storm?"
Golf towels work really well too, as they are super absorbent and you don't have to "borrow" them. And yes, we definitely felt strongly that both the crowd was on our heels, as was the actual storm. I am not really scared of storms too much, but I'm not a fool and some storm are genuinely frightening. This one was pretty scary. And it chased us before finally catching us.

I might write more tonight. We'll see. I'm working on my budget right now. We spent money on Spain in January. We spent money on a trip to NY in February. And we are going to Cali in May. We also are still working on the basement apartment. I'm just saying. The budget is in shambles and I have no idea what is going on with. Boring, boring, boring.

Suzy, on the other hand, is planning a trip to WDW! At first it was just a dream, but I think it's going to be a reality. Bargain basement pricing WDW trip as they don't want to ruin their Canada trip they have planned nor take away from our next group plan once Fantasyland is all open. But what if they could do a week at WDW or $2000.00? For 6? What if?????? Yeah, you can see the appeal.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:14 PM   #105
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Your trip reports always brighten my day, but this one was especially awesome for me because, last May, my family and I were the newbies! The only difference between the average newcomer and I was that I did live on the disboards for a full year before our trip, so I was a (sort of) smart newbie - and the things I learned here saved me quite a few times!

I found myself getting teary as you described the emotions of a newbie seeing the castle for the first time. When we walked down Main Street on our first day at MK, my husband, who deeply appreciated my year of planning and researching, turned to me and said, "There it is honey - your castle." and I cried like a baby!

Should you ever find yourself in need of a good laugh at the expense of an overwhelmed WDW first timer, take a gander at my trip report blog. I'm too embarrassed to make an actual TR thread because we made so very many rookie mistakes and I don't want them on display on the dis. lol http://grammyandthegangwdw.wordpress.com of course, being a blog, you'd have to read from back to front.
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