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Old 07-19-2011, 09:25 PM   #61
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Well I have sat here for an hour and read through your entire TR. Guess I'm enjoying it Seriously, great report so far, Looking forward to more!
Hi. Thanks for reading! I'm so glad that you're enjoying my trip so far. I will try to get another segment up soon.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:33 AM   #62
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Wow, you got some great close-ups of the lion and the giraffes. I couldn't get good close-ups of either, so I am jealous. And I am in total awe of your ride totals for EE and Kali. That is amazing. Great update!
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:09 PM   #63
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Wow, you got some great close-ups of the lion and the giraffes. I couldn't get good close-ups of either, so I am jealous. And I am in total awe of your ride totals for EE and Kali. That is amazing. Great update!
Thanks! Each safari 'trip' truly is different and sometimes you get lucky. I actually saw the Cheetahs up close on this trip which was a first. Usually they say that they are in the area but I never see them.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:11 PM   #64
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Extreme Couponing and Disney Fruit Bars

Hi. I'm breaking into the trip report to bring you an Extreme Couponing moment.

On a day that is yet to be written on the trip report (spoiler alert), we stopped to buy frozen ice cream bars to keep us from passing out from the heat. We bought strawberry ice cream bars. We had never had them before and despite being loyal, devoted fans to Cream Cheese pretzels, Carrot cake cookies and all things chocolate, we pronounced these our new favorite treat at WDW!

I have been a bargain CVS shopper for several years. I declared that I was taking a break this summer from the mad coupon clipping and pressure to get to the store first thing in the morning. Well that leads me to yesterday - I realized that I had a whole bunch of CVS money (extra care bucks=ECBs) that expired last night. We were running low on food so I decided to spend them at CVS to get groceries.

Guess what? The new-favorite frozen fruit bars that Disney sells are in the freezer at CVS! And they are on sale! I printed a $1 off coupon for the bars before I left and coupled it with a $1 off 2 tubs of Edy's ice cream. CVS price for the boxes of bars and tubs of ice cream is 3/$10 and they will give me $3 back in ECBs for buying them. With my $2 in coupons and $3 in ECBs that I already had from a trip last month, that makes them 3/$5 plus $3 back to use next time. Pretty cheap compared to park prices!

I scanned my membership card at the store at the little coupon kiosk and I can't believe it - it printed out $4 off a $20 grocery order. I seriously did not expect that. I'm sure it's because they are having a big sale on groceries this week and maybe every CVS shopper is receiving one but for me, it felt like the store knows me and knew what I was here to buy. Thank you, store, for sensing my presence and knowing that I needed free money!

My whole order:
3 12 packs of Pepsi products - 3/$10 with $3 ecbs back
3 packages of the aforementioned Edy's products
4 Bumble Bee albacore tuna cans
6 boxes of CVS brand pasta
2 'imitation' vanilla extracts (on sale as BOGO so .99 for both)
2 Giant instant noodle bowl things for the boy in my house about to go to college
2 boxes of microwave popcorn (also for boy listed above)
2 tubes of Crest toothpaste - 1.99/each with $1 back on each - $1 coupon. Normally, I would never actually PAY for toothpaste. I always get it for free with coupons and sales but these two boxes have "$10 in coupons" listed on the box so I 'paid' .50 for each box of coupons and got the toothpaste free.

I used $3 in coupons and the $4 off coupon and $31.48 in ECBs that I had from last month that were going to expire tonight anyway.

My total out of pocket $2.13. And I earned $8 back for next time. And we have delicious frozen fruit bars that we can pretend came from Disneyworld, not CVS.

Ok. Enough about my coupons. I'll be returning you to the trip on the next update.
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:30 AM   #65
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your trip report is awesome!

I just found your trip report and find it an amazing read! Great job at keeping us hooked! I can't wait to read another installment!!
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:35 PM   #66
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AK Day Continued

We completed 10 hours of park touring at Animal Kingdom but we didn't have time for dinner. It's only 7 o'clock and way too early to call it a night so we decide to head to Magic Kingdom for dinner. We had our hearts set on Peco's Bills Pork BBQ sandwiches last Friday night but if you recall, we arrived after they had closed for the night and had to settle for 6 pound ice cream sundaes at Mrs. Potts. To our delight, a Wilderness Lodge/Contemporary Bus was sitting waiting for passengers. We hopped on that thinking that it would stop at CR first (since those are the more expensive rooms and would get better service, right?). Nope. First stop, Wilderness Lodge. That's ok. I've stayed there before so we are easily able to blaze a trail thru the Wilderness (ahem, Lodge).



We breezed right thru the Lodge with only a brief stop at the pin trading kiosk. This is Nick's first trip with pins. I gave both Alex and Nick 3 pins at the beginning of the trip. Alex was apathetic to the pin trading game and immediately gave his pins to Nick. So far, Nick has made 1 trade and doesn't seem to be able to find any others that catch his fancy. Not because I bought him limited edition/one of a kind pins or anything either. I bought 1 random assortment from ebay and he seems to be very fond of those.

On the boat ride over to the park, it's obvious that Alex is pondering something. I ask him what he's thinking about and he starts explaining a concept to me about time travel or light speed or well, I'm not exactly sure. I guess his mind is still in Naboo.

If you are a scientist or a Star Wars junkie, you might understand this and if so, could you explain it to me? Otherwise, enjoy the sounds of arriving at MK on the WL boat. It Makes Sense to Alex Videoclip

We succeeded in obtaining dinner and a table on the patio at Peco's Bills. We called DH during dinner to let him know how our day had been today and then went to Haunted Mansion to play in the new queue.


After HM, we headed back to Pop for the evening.

We just have to stop off at the front desk to get our keys reprinted. Look familiar?

Even though it's not even 9 p.m., he's sleeping. Poor baby. More than likely, his body remembers napping here at 2:30 in the morning last time and assumed he should conserve resources just in case 1. this takes all night and/or 2. we have to make a series of repeat visits for keys that won't work. Good news - It didn't take long this time AND these keys worked on the first try!

We have not used the Pop swimming pool on this trip so I suggested a night swim (no 'illegal' pool hopping for us today!). The boys changed into swimsuits and I dropped them off at the pool on my way to the food court. They were splashing in the flower fountain area of the main pool when I returned with their bedtime hot chocolates. To be sure and save me any grief, I 'tested' the ability to charge goods and services on these new keys and bought a nice little adult beverage to enjoy while they swam. I gave them a time limit of 30 minutes which would be around 10 p.m. Coincidentally, this is the approximate time 1. it takes me to nurse one beer and 2. the lifeguards go off duty.

Tomorrow is Nick's birthday and he turns the big 1-2! I wanted to make sure that we used our early evening to get rested. He has high expectations and is counting on me to make this one surpass his experiences from his last birthday at Disney!

The swim and the tall cool one did the trick. We were all very relaxed when we went to the room and fell asleep immediately.

Does Nick's 12th birthday turn into Nick's best day ever? That's for next time!

Last edited by bizeemom4; 07-21-2011 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:57 PM   #67
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I just found your trip report and find it an amazing read! Great job at keeping us hooked! I can't wait to read another installment!!
Wow and thanks! I'm glad that you are enjoying the report! I see that this is your first post on the Disboards! Welcome!!!
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:04 AM   #68
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Whew, I'm all caught up. Love the trip report and of course you left me hanging to see if Nick's birthday was the best ever. How can you not have a wonderful birthday if you are at the happiest place on earth? A belated Happy Birthday to you Nick.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:48 PM   #69
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Whew, I'm all caught up. Love the trip report and of course you left me hanging to see if Nick's birthday was the best ever. How can you not have a wonderful birthday if you are at the happiest place on earth? A belated Happy Birthday to you Nick.
Sorry. I did kind of leave everyone hanging! I'm finally back to writing and I'll post a new installment in just a few minutes.
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:21 PM   #70
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Happy Birthday to Nick!

Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday, dear Nicholas
Happy Birthday to You

Today is Nicholas's 12th birthday! I have a whole itinerary planned that I shared loosely with him. Here is his schedule:
8 a.m. - extra magic hours at Studios
10:30 - birthday party breakfast at Cape May
A Brief Nap
Magic Kingdom - 3ish to get a FP then
5:30 - 'OHana for dinner then
MK - after dinner til midnight

You'll notice that I have Nap listed on his birthday. I felt guilty about scheduling that (of course I would) but I thought there's no way he's going to make it from 8am until midnight without some kind of rest. I don't think I really shared that part when I gave him a brief overview of what I had planned for him. I assumed that I could skillfully weave that into our day and he would agree to it somehow.

The Cape May breakfast reservation is a ressie for my DSis and her birthday girl and another one for Nick. DSis and I could not book a reservation for seven people at Cape May at all. She had a reservation for 5 at 10:20 and I told her that I had booked a reservation for 2 at 10:30. It was actually for three but I hadn't told her that because she would have figured out that I was bringing a plus 2 instead of a plus 1 on the trip. The 'Ohana reservation is an ADR for 7. DSis booked it and she was so pleased with herself when she snagged a ressie for 7 people at 'Ohana a few weeks ago. I couldn't tell her then that we really needed it for 8 but I assumed it would be ok because most tables that seat 7 will also seat 8.

Before the trip, I purchased a giant Happy Birthday banner and decorations that I wanted to set up around the room. I actually cried a bit in the store when I was selecting the decorations because I could envision Nick waking up on his birthday at Disney so happy to see the room decorated for his special day. I also cry reading greeting cards in the store too so I guess I'm a little sentimental. Or unstable. Let's go with sentimental.

I didn't buy him a big present - just a teddy bear that I found in the candy shop on clearance during my Ocean City girls weekend. I'm pretty confident that getting surprised with an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney for your birthday is quite enough for a person of any age so no guilt over just one little present (she types out so all will read and believe her but secretly she doubts that this is true and why didn't she buy the new Legos Star Wars game for his DS and get him a $100 Disney Gift card so that he could buy himself a very nice gift also?).

Nick is a gatherer of bears and all things plush. It is to his advantage that his DSis is putting herself through college as a manager at a 'local-retail-establishment-that-lets-you-make-a-new-best-friend." I'm not listing them by name because that expensive make-your-own bear store isn't a sponsor of this trip report.

I brought a plain white t-shirt and some fabric paint to make a Happy Birthday t-shirt for Nick. As I’m standing in the tiny Po' Century bathroom at 6 a.m. reading the directions on the paint, I realize that the shirt has to sit for a few hours before he can wear it. We have to be at a bus stop in an hour so no Birthday t-shirt.

I also waited until the last minute to assemble the gift bags for the party. I bought Minnie Mouse treat bags and filled them with kiddie sunglasses, a sheet of Star Wars stickers, and a Minnie Mouse blowout for each person. I brought party hats but they are buried in luggage somewhere and I can’t find them. I also brought mini tubes of bubbles as well as Cars and Winnie the Pooh crayons for the bags but I can’t find them either. The bags would have been spectacular if I’d been more organized and had everything ready to go the night before but I had shrugged off that responsibility last night in favor of sleep.

We brought a present for Zoe too. Her Aunt Lala is dying to buy her Barbies and Coach purses and girly things but she's only 2 so she's not quite ready for the good stuff. Last year, my family made fleece blankets to donate to a local pediatric ward as part of Disney's Give a Day promotion. I am the least 'crafts-y' person ever so it was astounding that I was able to make 6 blankets with DH and the boys that were donate-able. I had to watch the how-to video a few times on Youtube until I understood you know, how-to do it.

And now finally today is their big day. I woke up and began quietly opening the Happy Birthday banner and setting out Nick's present and other decorations. I kissed him on the cheek and woke him up and told him Happy Birthday!

He loved the decorations and laughed at how big the banner was. I couldn’t find the tape that I had packed so I draped it over the chairs and table and across the top of the TV center. He opened his present and picked out his outfit. I thought it was cute that he picked out Yoda's "Judge me by my size" t-shirt to wear on his birthday. We piled on the lanyards and the birthday buttons and headed to Studios. We also had to bring Zoe's gift and the gift bags for the breakfast. Weeks ago, I had suggested buying a Sponge Bob piñata for the party but DSis had vetoed that. I just wanted this to be the very bestest birthday ever and for him to be full of joy even if I had to drag a Sponge Bob piñata all over Disney World.

Next Up: Birthday Party Breakfast!
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:07 PM   #71
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WDW, our birthday place

I think a surprise trip to WDW is the perfect present. It is a little hard to choose which special extra to do-- a character breakfast, fancy meal or gifts? We to Matthew for his birthday when they were giving away those big gift cards for birthdays two years ago. Boy, I wish they would do that again!

The famous birthday button was really used this year. Other guests were saying "Happy Birthday" to each other more than I have ever noticed before. We also saw several birthday Wishes cruises go out with streamers from the Grand Floridian. People were really celebrating this trip.

P.S. When you make a blanket using Disney printed fleece like the OP did, it looks so awesome! Kids will even want to cling to it in June.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:00 PM   #72
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I'm very impressed by the couponing. I so want to do this, but I still haven't quite got the hang of it. I will have to look for those Disney fruit bars, but there is no CVS nearby.

It looks like Nick's bday surprise is off to a good start.
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:08 PM   #73
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I think a surprise trip to WDW is the perfect present. It is a little hard to choose which special extra to do-- a character breakfast, fancy meal or gifts? We to Matthew for his birthday when they were giving away those big gift cards for birthdays two years ago. Boy, I wish they would do that again!

The famous birthday button was really used this year. Other guests were saying "Happy Birthday" to each other more than I have ever noticed before. We also saw several birthday Wishes cruises go out with streamers from the Grand Floridian. People were really celebrating this trip.

P.S. When you make a blanket using Disney printed fleece like the OP did, it looks so awesome! Kids will even want to cling to it in June.
How is Miss Zoe doing? Maybe you could take a pic of the blanket and post it since I didn't get one when we were together?
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:11 PM   #74
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I'm very impressed by the couponing. I so want to do this, but I still haven't quite got the hang of it. I will have to look for those Disney fruit bars, but there is no CVS nearby.

It looks like Nick's bday surprise is off to a good start.
The couponing is something that really takes a big committment of time. I used to spend every Saturday getting my lists together and matching the coupons to the sneak preview of Sunday's sale flyer. I'm taking a break because I'm a bit burned out. I'm waiting for the older kids to clean out my stockpiles when they leave for college so that I have space for more stuff when I start up again in the fall.
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:48 PM   #75
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Nick's Birthday Party Day

We arrive at the bus stop for Hollywood Studios and it is pretty full which is surprising at this hour (around 7:45). We waited a few minutes and then this bus arrives and parks at our stop.


Mears bus

We were in the ’World’ during Easter Week 2010 when DD was doing her College Program and these buses were running to supplement Disney transportation. We’d never ever seen them being used before that trip and we associated Disney utilizing Mears buses with crowds. Seeing a Mears bus pulling up this morning makes me wonder if this is an indicator of how busy the rest of the trip will be?

We end up being stopped just as we are the next family to board. There’s only 1 seat left and the driver won’t let anyone stand on the bus. Really? No place for the birthday boy? We are literally shut out as the bus driver closes the door and drives away without another word.

We eventually did get another bus and got to Studios after 8. Security didn’t stop us from bringing in the birthday bags and Pia’s blanket. Fortunately, the BPFH (back pack from well you remember) has the capacity for all of our party goods so we don’t look to conspicuous walking thru the park.

As is our usual protocol, we hit Mania for a FP and then a ride via standby. The boys then want a ride on Star Tours which we did. Alex says I hope we go to Tatooine this time. That’s one of the places that he wants to go on the new ride but hasn’t had it in the random scene selections and it didn’t happen again today. Shut out of Mears and Tatooine.

It’s soon time to get to the birthday breakfast. We arrived at Beach Club 15 minutes early and Dsis and family have already checked in and the kids are in the kiddie section of the lobby watching TV.


Although the kids are on their best behavior this morning, it seems as if it’s taking a long time for our beeper to go off. I notice DBIL is a bit antsy, as he wonders out loud about why it’s taking so long. Dsis goes to the podium to find out the status of our table and comes back with bad news. Unfortunately, they have given our table away. Good thing she stopped to ask! We are given reassurance that now we are the very next table. The beeper goes off, we round up the troops, and head off into Cape May (a first for my family).

They are planning to sit us at two separate tables, close but too far away. Our hostess heads off to see if there are any tables that are closer together, leaving all eight of us standing in the middle of the restaurant staring at the other guests eating their breakfast.

Okay okay. Enough whining. They locate two tables side by side, by the buffet (who was sitting here 2 minutes ago when our buzzer went off?). Everyone hits the buffet for food and then it’s time for visits with the characters.







It was a very nice breakfast, in spite of the rocky start, and our server ended up going above and beyond to be nice to the birthday kids. Goofy and the restaurant patrons sang happy birthday, and each birthday child received a chocolate birthday cupcake with a candle. What a great way to celebrate a birthday!!


We were still eating and partying when they were starting to close up for the morning. Our server had extra birthday cupcakes in the back, and brought them out to share with the rest of the boys. Everyone liked their gift bags, and loved the sunglasses.


We managed to leave before they kicked us out.


Dsis had moved to Yacht Club that morning so she went back to her room; Alex, Nick, and I went back to DHS to use our Fps for TSM.

Here we are sitting on the dock of the bay waiting for the boat to come our way.

We had fun finishing off our morning at Studios. Can you believe that I am THE next American Idol! IF you had ever had the chance to hear me sing, you definitely wouldn’t believe it.


I LOVE these guys. Their skit with the cat food is so hilarious.




It’s at this point that I tell Nick that I think it would be a good idea to go back to the room to lay down. They don’t have to sleep but we need to get out of the heat and relax so that we can party the night away at Magic Kingdom. That’s what you really want to do tonight right? He agrees and we take the quick bus back to Po Century.

We made a quick mug run when we got back to the hotel and it was so stinkin’ hot that we stood in the food court filling the mugs and guzzling down lemonade, green tea and Powerade. The heat coupled with all-you-can-swallow fountain drinks brought on this slovenly behavior. I think three or four refills later and we were satiated enough to go back to the room (with an extra mugful) to get some rest.

There is no free WIFI at Po’ but I pull out my laptop to work on organizing pictures. 6 days into the trip and I’ve managed to completely fill a 4 MG camera card. That’s what I get for riding the safari multiple times yesterday! 7,000 pictures of rare nocturnal animals and giraffes that keep changing direction. I spend naptime pulling off precious bird pictures and sorting them on the laptop while the boys…get this…. Are Sound ASLEEP. Yep. Out like a light.

Now please reference this thread where I asked for advice on whether or not a 12 year old was too old for napping. As you can see, I wasn't sold on the nap idea. Does a 12 year old take a Nap?

The definitive answer that I can deliver to you now is “If you are at the parks, they won’t sleep. If you take them out of the 100 degree heat and put them in a comfy, air conditioned room, YES! They will sleep." They will sleep so well, in fact, that you will have to awaken them 3 hours later and say “We Really have to get up and get going guys!”

Next Up - 'Ohana with Real Cousins
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