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Old 10-10-2011, 09:45 PM   #1
danimaroo
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Seattle Goobers' January '12 Trip! UPDATE 1/30: The TR has begun! :)

Hi guys! So I'm a total nooblet (I could've use "noob" but nooblet just sounded funnier) around the DIS boards, but... Okay, do you ever go some place and start to realize that you just feel like you fit in perfectly? Like, that whole, "Wow, I can't believe there are other people around here who are just as into planning/obsessing about their trips as I am" feeling? That's me. So I've been lurking through TONS of Trip Reports and Pre-Trip Reports, which in turn inspired me to write one of my very own.

Let me back up for a second and talk about how I got into this whole crazy obsession in the first place... Then we'll get on to the whole who, what, where, how, etc. shtick that is totally necessary for these awesome trip reports.. because I don't know about you, but I actually really love learning about the people behind the trip report. It always makes me feel like I know them by the end of the trip, so the intros are always one of my favorite parts. Anyway, onto my journey into becoming a huge Disney fan... (Oh, every post needs some photo love, so I'm throwing in some pictures from our Disneymoon!)



I grew up in Boston, and visited Disney World for the first time in 1991. I don't remember a TON from the trip, but I do remember the most important moment of my life at the ripe age of 6:

Meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time and him giving me a kiss on the cheek. For some reason my 6 year old self had a legitimate crush on a mouse. Normal, right? So when I finally got to meet him and he gave me a kiss, I'm pretty sure my little 6 year old head exploded. I remember blushing, hugging Mickey and then running back to my family with the most ginormous smile on my little face. Nothing could ruin my trip from that point on; my first "celebrity" crush (We're talking Mickey Mouse here, people!) had kissed me on the cheek and I was as happy as a clam.

Unfortunately, my parents divorced so trips became a bit sparse from that point on, as two single parents raising 4 kids could make money a little more complicated. I was fortunate enough to make another trip in 1996 with my Mom, her friend, and my siblings. We had a blast, staying at All Star Music, and I vowed to come back again soon.



Fast forward to 14 years later, and I had not returned. My family couldn't really afford another trip, plus with high school, college, and moving out to Seattle, it just didn't happen. However, when I met my husband back in 2003, I discovered that he and his family were HUGE Disney fans. His parents have been DVC members since the program first began, so he'd been to WDW around 21 times in his life. I was in complete awe of him, and also pretty jealous. I was also kind of surprised he'd been to WDW more than he'd been to DLR, as he grew up in Seattle, but his family just loved WDW so much that they made the trip at least once, if not twice per year.

I guess you could say I owe my obsession to him, in a sense. After he'd proposed in 2008, we talked about where we wanted to get married. Boston? Seattle? We actually then liked the idea of getting married in Disney World... until we saw the price tag. We both had agreed that a smaller budget was better for our wedding, as we wanted to spend our money on a down-payment for our dream house instead of all of it on our wedding. I looked into getting married at the Swan or Dolphin, but soon realized that I wasn't sure I could deal with the stress of planning a wedding 3,000 miles away...

Side note, TONS of credit to all of you guys and gals who have managed to plan a Disney wedding! I don't know how you did it because I just couldn't do it, at least for the budget we were on. That and the control-freak side of me was having panic attacks thinking about coordinating a wedding in a place that I couldn't see in person, etc.



We agreed to have our wedding here in Seattle, as we found a beautiful venue on the beach that was inexpensive. We also agreed that there was no place else for us to go on our honeymoon except Disney World. I hadn't been in 14 years, my husband hadn't been since college, and he told me that he really wanted to show me Disney World from his perspective, which I thought was a good idea since I was 12 the last time I'd gone. While I was excited, I had no idea what I was in for. I let him take the reins in planning our Disneymoon, since I didn't really know much about it/a lot had changed since 1996.

We went on our honeymoon in January 2011, and needless to say, our trip was amazing. I totally fell in love all over again with WDW, but from a very different perspective than from when I was a kid. The moment that I saw Main Street and the castle on our first day was truly breath-taking; it was like seeing it for the first time, really. I instantly felt the magic and knew that Disney World now owned a piece of my heart. I also realized (as did my husband) that late January was an excellent time to go to WDW, as the crowds were amazingly low and the weather wasn't hot/humid (I do not like humidity one bit).

We stayed at Grand Floridian the first weekend, then moved to Old Key West for the final week of our trip, and I really enjoyed both places for different reasons. We went on tons of rides, ate delicious food, went swimming when it was 45 degrees out, got into pin trading (okay someone should've told me this was going to become a ridiculous addiction), and had the best honeymoon I could've ever imagined.



So that brings us up to speed. I knew after that trip that we had to go back. We both wanted to make another trip before we start trying for kids in a few years, an "adult trip" that really was just us running around like two kids going on as many rides as possible and having a blast. But we'll get into that in my next post, with a nice little introduction of me, the DIS nooblet, my husband, and all of that other fun PTR stuff... And yes, I promise you'll get a photo of what we actually look like vs. the back of our heads... But I wanted to save that for the Who part of my introduction!

I hope you'll decide join me in a little pre-trip fun, including figuring out where we're staying, figuring out if we can swing the cost, figuring our airfare, spreadsheets nerdery, and oh so much more! Hopefully I'll have the ability to keep you guys entertained!

Last edited by danimaroo; 01-30-2012 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:54 PM   #2
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Aaaalllrighty! Now that we've got that pre-pre-trip post done (I know, I'm a total dork, you don't have to tell me twice), let's get onto the WHO of this whole PTR!



My name is Danielle, but my husband calls me Dani, hence the name on the back of my Mickey Ears. As I mentioned before, I grew up south of Boston until I was 20 years old, then moved out to Seattle where I've been now for over 6 years (which makes me 26, almost 27!) I graduated from the University of Washington (Go Huskies!) and now work in marketing/PR/media in the financial industry. It definitely keeps me on my toes and I get to do one of my favorite things on a daily basis: WRITE!

I love nerdy stuff like video games and board games, but also enjoy writing, tennis, working out, reading, and hanging out with our dogs AKA our "children" Milo and Anya.




My favorite Disney movie is Wall-E (with Up as a very close second), and my favorite Disney character is Eeyore. My husband is my absolute best friend in the world and we've been together for over 8 years.


(Yes, that is a WDW hoodie!)

Speaking of my husband, and my partner-in-crime on our Disney trip, his name is Matt. He went to Boston College and is 29 years old. Matt works for a Top 50 internet company as an analyst (so he is a spreadsheet expert, even though he made fun of me for my WDW trip spreadsheet, which we will get to later..) He is a dork like me and enjoys video games, board games, reading, Christmas, and playing music. His favorite Disney movie is Ratatouille and his favorite Disney character is Stitch.



Thaaaat's about it for now on the big ol' WHO part of things, so, next up is the What, Where and maybe even a little How! Hoping for that update tomorrow, but we'll see how busy things are on my front.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:09 PM   #3
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WHAT, WHEN, AND WHERE!

Back again today, not sure I'm getting many people reading this PTR, but I can't blame you since I'm really new around here! I'll keep updating and hope that more people start to at least read it (Doesn't have to be full of comments or anything, I'll take views! Haha.)... Otherwise I guess I can look at this as little personal blog about planning our trip for my eyes only.

So let's talk about the WHAT and WHEN. As I said before, after our Disneymoon this past January, Matt and I both had such a wonderful time that we knew we wanted to come back.

We also loved January so much, we discussed doing a January 2012 trip for 10 days to celebrate our one year anniversary, and also something else.

Fun fact about us is that in the past 6 months, Matt and I decided to get healthy by simply watching our calories and working out. We've since lost a combined 128 pounds! We thought we owed ourselves a nice reward of.. a DISNEY VACATION! Anniversary + Celebrating weight loss are pretty good reasons for a trip, if I do say so myself.

We talked and talked about how we would afford it, as last time Matt's parents gave us DVC points for our honeymoon, but we weren't sure what their plans would be for their points for 2011/early 2012. We looked at packages online, realized we could probably swing it, but it would be close and probably meant we'd stay in a moderate, which I was totally cool with.

We talked to his parents who weren't sure about the points, as they were thinking of doing a trip with my SIL and niece (long story on why we wouldn't be going on that trip), but thought they might have leftover points. I started to think about our options and realized how much I really loved staying through the DVC last trip, so I discovered the wonderful world of renting points. After doing research into renting points, we decided we'd do that instead of a package as a back up if Matt's parents used all of their points.

I hoped that his parents wold have enough points for our stay and...

We found out his parents had extra points for us to use for a studio for 10 days in January! Woohoo!

So this is where I get into the WHERE of our trip, as finding and deciding where to stay can be quite a chore. There are so many choices and you always want to make the right one!

We talked about where we wanted to stay, and after some (but not much) debate, we made a list of our top 3 resorts.

1. Beach Club Villas
We decided we'd want to stay here as my husband had stayed here once growing up and loved it. Plus, Stormalong Bay is a pretty awesome perk! Once I looked at photos of the resort, the closeness to DHS and EP, having SAB and a quiet pool, and the overall theme reminding me of Cape Cod, I was sold on it.

2. Boardwalk Villas
Okay so we needed a #2, even though my heart was set on BCV. We figured this would be a close second, as it's an Epcot resort and right near BC, though the clown at the pool scared me a bit (You can thank the movie "It" for traumatizing me when I was a little child. Darn Pennywise the Clown..) We also loved the theming and the boardwalk itself looks fabulous.

3. Old Key West (his family's home resort)
We stayed at OKW last trip for a week and really enjoyed it. Matt has stayed there many times with his family, so he was happy to go back as well. We love the quietness here and the rooms are HUGE, by far the biggest rooms out of any DVC resort.

Not bad choices in my book, though again, my heart really was set on staying at BCV. I wanted to go swimming in SAB and stay somewhere that reminded me of trips to Cape Cod...

We called and found out that BCV had all but 2 days open for us... and they were smack dab in the middle of our vacation. So we decided to book at our second choice, BWV, and asked to be waitlisted at BCV, as we really didn't want to have to move multiple times in the middle of our trip.

I was a little sad, but reminded myself, "HELLO! YOU ARE GOING BACK TO DISNEY WORLD! SNAP OUT OF IT!" I figured if it was meant to be, we'd get into BCV and if it wasn't, I was still going to enjoy the heck out of BWV.

Lo and behold, ONE DAY LATER we find out that we got into BCV! I think I did a little dance in front of Matt and at that point, I could not contain myself. In just months, we will be at BCV for 10 magical days!

Next up, and perhaps later this evening I can get to this part... but I'll get into the HOW of this whole trip, including booking our flights! Later on I'll talk about making our ADRs, some plans for touring, and all the research I've been doing, which has in turn driven my lovely husband nuts at times.


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Old 10-12-2011, 01:37 AM   #4
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I left off with securing our resort, which was honestly the key to making sure we could pull off this vacation. Being that we booked much closer to January, there was a slight chance we wouldn't be able to get a DVC villa, but alas, we lucked out.

Next on our list of "Things we need in order to actually go on vacation" were our plane tickets. Sure, we've got our resort reservations but um, we need to figure out how we are getting there, because we are sure as heck not driving.

Last time we traveled, we flew Alaska Airlines, as they are the only airline that does a direct flight from Seattle to Orlando. We looked into flights and realized we could do the same flights/times as last year. Leave Wednesday night at around 10:45pm and arrive in Orlando at 6:55am on Thursday morning, and leave 10 days later on Sunday at 8 in the morning and get into Seattle around 11am. Talk about perfectly timed flights!

Only thing I don't enjoy about Alaska is the lack of comfort. Our red-eye on our last trip was by far the most miserable flight of my life, and I've flown a lot of transcontinental flights. For the life of me, I could not get comfortable and it ended up leading to a meltdown in the middle of our room at the Grand Floridian (nothing that a 2 hour nap couldn't fix though!) So, I started looking into what it would cost us to fly first class. After extensive research, and receiving a $99 companion ticket from having a Visa Signature card, we decided to just go for it and book our trip entirely in first class. We figured between Matt getting to fly first class for $99 and the fact that I would be able to get rest on our red-eye out, thus avoiding any meltdowns and giving us a solid day in the parks, it was worth the extra bit of money. Plus, Seattle to Orlando and back is a very very long flight, so having the comfort of knowing we won't be squished is pretty nice.

So! We've now got our resort all set, our plane tickets booked... All that is left are ADRs, park tickets, and then doing some planning for our first few days!

Tomorrow should have an update on that front, and hopefully someone can offer me a few answers/advice on some questions I have (though I'm not sure anyone is reading this... yet anyway. )
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:19 PM   #5
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Aaaaand I'm back! Last night I had planned to do a post about our ADRs and how my husband poked fun at me and my spreadsheet-making, but we had a surprise guest come to our house so I didn't have much extra time.

This story is off-topic but made us really happy and might be a fun idea for anyone interested in having some extra fun in their neighborhood around Halloween! Plus, it DOES involve a photo of Jack Skellington, so that's Disney-related enough for me to share this story.

This story starts off with the fact that my husband and I REALLY love decorating for both Halloween and Christmas (but moreso Christmas). We bought our house in 2010, and one of the biggest things we were pumped about owning a house was decorating it! So we put up good ol' Jack Skellington, along with lights, spider webs, some fun cut outs in the front yard, a cute Frankenstein and big spider near our front door, etc. This is what Jack looks like:



He's one of those inflatables whose arms fly all over the place. Matt's parents bought Jack through a Disney store a long time ago but unfortunately didn't really use him anymore, so they gave him to us... which we HAPPILY took, as we are huge Nightmare Before Christmas fans. He is the best part of our decorations and everyone driving by our house always stops to look at him.

Okay so! Two nights ago, we had just gotten home from work and were starting to make dinner when the doorbell rang. Matt went to get it, unlocked the door, and no one was there. He looked down and saw a plastic pumpkin with little goodies inside of it, along with a note.

The note said that we had been "Boo'd!" (Though when Matt yelled to me from the front door, I thought he said we'd been "pooed" and someone through a bag of poop at our house, so I yelled back WHAT! until he repeated himself and I figured out that no, some young teenager had not thrown flaming poop at our house.)



How cute is that? So we put up our "BOO" sign in our window, so neighbors know that we've already been boo'd, along with the cute little ghost that our "boo-ers" had colored and wrote a little "We've been boo'd!" note on.

Last night, another ringing of the doorbell, and it turns out it was the neighbor who'd boo'd us! He has two kids, 2 and 4, and they've just moved down the street from us in June. Apparently they had been boo'd and the little kids immediately yelled, "WE WANT TO BOO THE PEOPLE WITH JACK DECORATION!" Too cute! It made our night, we got to meet a great neighbor who was super nice, and it's a really great way of making another neighbor's day better. It sure helped us, as we'd been in kind of tired moods after a long day at work.

So, just a fun idea for anyone who wants to do something fun in their neighborhood before Halloween! We're going to Boo someone tomorrow night, we're thinking the new neighbors who just moved in a few weeks ago. Hopefully they'll enjoy it.

Okay I'm hoping that either later today or tonight I'll have a post about ADRs. Depends on how crazy things get. Tomorrow we are getting the house cleaned and ready as we're having friends over after we go on our annual pumpkin patch trip! Can't wait!
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:34 PM   #6
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I'm on Board!!

Great pre-trip report! Looking forward to following along as I am also a Disney nerd and a planning nerd and a spreadsheet nerd! Congrats on your upcoming anniversary as well as your fabulous weight loss! We'll also be at Beach Club in January, the 21st through 28th. We'll be celebrating both our 20th anniversary (December 21) and my 8-year anniversary of being breast cancer free! We've always wanted to stay at Beach Club so we're super excited. Everything sounds great so far (loving the first-class flights! ). Looking forward to seeing what else you've got planned!
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by oeshpdog2 View Post
Great pre-trip report! Looking forward to following along as I am also a Disney nerd and a planning nerd and a spreadsheet nerd! Congrats on your upcoming anniversary as well as your fabulous weight loss! We'll also be at Beach Club in January, the 21st through 28th. We'll be celebrating both our 20th anniversary (December 21) and my 8-year anniversary of being breast cancer free! We've always wanted to stay at Beach Club so we're super excited. Everything sounds great so far (loving the first-class flights! ). Looking forward to seeing what else you've got planned!
YAY! MY FIRST READER! Is it totally dorky that I got really excited about this and immediately told my husband (we're talking online while working, haha) that someone finally commented? It probably is, but I don't care. So thanks for posting here; makes me feel better that I'm not sitting over here talking to myself!

Love that you are a fellow Disney and spreadsheet nerd! I just realized as I read your post that I didn't say when we'd be there; and it just so happens we'll be there the same time as you! We arrive at 7am on Thursday the 19th, and we leave on Sunday the 29th. Have you ever been in January? After our honeymoon, I'm going to have a hard time wanting to be in Disney World any other time of the year!

And high five for Beach Club! I'm soooo excited we're getting to stay there; it just seems like such an awesome place to be, with such a great location to DHS and EP.

HUGE congratulations on both your anniversary and being 8 years cancer-free! That is seriously amazing and must be such a good feeling. I lost my aunt to breast cancer a few years ago, so I know how much of a difficult battle it is to beat it.

First-class is seriously really exciting for us. I've flown first a few times, but never on a transcontinental flight with my husband! Knowing that we'll be flying in comfort is a huge plus, as we usually fly JetBlue and their coach seats are way better than Alaska's coach. Though the price is higher, I just tell myself that we're actually saving money since we'll be able to do more on our first day vs. if we'd sat in coach, I'd get no sleep and would be useless upon arriving at Beach Club. Makes total sense, right?

That and I don't think Matt really wants me to have another meltdown like I did last year on our first day at Grand Floridian. Let's just say that I cried over having two Queen-sized beds instead of one King, even though us both sleeping in one Queen was totally fine and spacious. Ahh the things we get upset over when running on zero sleep.

Thanks again for commenting, it definitely made my day!
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:25 PM   #8
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I'm here! I'm here! My name is Karen, we are also going at the end of January! I'll warn you, I'm subscribing now, so you may regret wanting followers...I border on stalker when it comes to Disney stuff! There's no getting rid of me now!

I'm off to finish up reading, but was compelled to post and let you know I was here first!
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:31 PM   #9
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I'm here! I'm here! My name is Karen, we are also going at the end of January! I'll warn you, I'm subscribing now, so you may regret wanting followers...I border on stalker when it comes to Disney stuff! There's no getting rid of me now!

I'm off to finish up reading, but was compelled to post and let you know I was here first!
Today must be my lucky day! So happy to have you here. I actually started stalking your PTR just the other night.. I knew I recognized your avatar. I need to get better about posting on people's PTRs because otherwise I'm just another lurker enjoying following some family around while they plan their trip, haha.

I love reading TRs and PTRs while I workout at the gym on my iPad. Gives me some fun reading while on the elliptical and make the time go by SO much faster! I subscribed to your PTR, as well! So happy you guys are making it back and it's official. Your family sounds like it deserves a magical trip to WDW.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:48 PM   #10
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Today must be my lucky day! So happy to have you here. I actually started stalking your PTR just the other night.. I knew I recognized your avatar. I need to get better about posting on people's PTRs because otherwise I'm just another lurker enjoying following some family around while they plan their trip, haha.

I love reading TRs and PTRs while I workout at the gym on my iPad. Gives me some fun reading while on the elliptical and make the time go by SO much faster! I subscribed to your PTR, as well! So happy you guys are making it back and it's official. Your family sounds like it deserves a magical trip to WDW.
oooooh, you're already stalking ME! I MUST pick your brain about January now! Was it cold? I saw you mention you were swimming when it was 45, I'm hoping the pools are heated enough that my daughter and her friend can swim, even if it's cold! Lines were good then too?!?!? I'm super excited to not MELT and hoping we picked a good week for crowds (last few days of Jan/first few of Feb).

Your pups are adorable! I'm a petsitter and photographer and love to photograph furry kids!
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Old 10-13-2011, 03:36 PM   #11
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oooooh, you're already stalking ME! I MUST pick your brain about January now! Was it cold? I saw you mention you were swimming when it was 45, I'm hoping the pools are heated enough that my daughter and her friend can swim, even if it's cold! Lines were good then too?!?!? I'm super excited to not MELT and hoping we picked a good week for crowds (last few days of Jan/first few of Feb).

Your pups are adorable! I'm a petsitter and photographer and love to photograph furry kids!
Haha YES! I'm a little stalker. And please feel free to ask me any questions about January!

So I absolutely loveloveloved January, and of course enough to go back the same days in 2012. The highs were around 70, lows could be in the 40s-50s. Our first night there, I'd say it dropped to around 45-50, and my husband and I thought, "What the heck, let's go nightswimming!" This was at the pool at Grand Floridian, not the main pool but a quiet pool, and it was heated. Granted it was definitely a little chilly, but once you got in and kept your body in the water, it was perfect. Add in the fact that you can run into the hot tub right after, and it's awesome. As long as your kids are okay with it being a little chilly once you get out of the pool, they will be able to swim for sure!

I have heard of the temperatures dropping into the 30s at night, but this past year we did not really experience that. I really appreciated it being sunny and only in the upper 60s-low 70s every day, and the lack of humidity made walking around the parks so much better.

Lines at that time are GREAT! We did not even need to do fast passes because the waits were so short. The only ride that we had to wait more than 20 minutes in was Toy Story Midway Mania. That was around 45 minutes in the standby line, and I don't think we plan on doing it again. I thought the queue was better than the ride itself. But a LOT of people feel different about it than my husband and I, but I'm okay with that! If you do that, just get an FP and you'll be fine. Otherwise, the lines are really low.

Oh but, you will start to see Brazilian tour groups there, as they have a big break at that time of year so a lot of them show up. My advice is if you see a group of them, walk in the opposite direction. They can really temporarily clog up a line... Overall though, they didn't really affect our trip much at all, but it's something worth knowing about ahead of time. Late January/early February are some of the lowest crowds of the year, if not the lowest... so you guys picked a great time to go.

And thanks! I love my dogs a LOT, as they are pretty much our kids. I took those photos of them as I wanted to have good photos of each of them and had just gotten a new 50mm lens for my Nikon. We definitely miss them when we go on vacation!
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:58 PM   #12
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Hi! I followed you home from your link on the January planners thread. Congrats on the weight loss, that is awesome!

We've been to Disney in January once before and the crowd levels are hard to beat. I'm a little nervous about the weather but the total lack of crowds is a huge upside!
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:10 PM   #13
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Hi! I followed you home from your link on the January planners thread. Congrats on the weight loss, that is awesome!

We've been to Disney in January once before and the crowd levels are hard to beat. I'm a little nervous about the weather but the total lack of crowds is a huge upside!
Yay! I'm glad you followed me over here! Just noticed you have a PTR so I will definitely start following that. Thanks for the compliment! It's been hard at times but overall it's been a wonderful experience. Having Matt do it with me has seriously been such a great help. It's much harder when you are trying to lose weight and not everyone in the household is on board. We are on our way to great things.

The crowds really are hard to beat in January. I hoping the weather is like it was last January when we went; you really couldn't beat it... aside from the one night we had tornado warnings.
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:49 AM   #14
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Love all your posts so far! The getting boo'd thing is just too cute! And I love your Halloween decor! Cant wait to read more!
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:51 AM   #15
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oh and PS. I know the exact feeling you were talking about in your first post! It's an awesome feeling, right?
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