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Old 01-16-2012, 05:54 PM   #1
Mrs. Sojourner
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From West Africa to WDW; talk about some major culture shock! Sept 2012...ADRs 3/13

Or, as I like to call it: the "You just got back from Africa; what are going to do now?!" "We're going to Disney World!" Reunion Trip. But, that seemed a bit long for a title.

We are the Sojourner family and we have been living the past 2 1/2 years in West Africa. We work for a non-government organization (NGO) that does aid work such as digging wells, teaching English, mosquito net distribution, medical and dental clinics, grain and food aid in times of flood or famine, farming projects, etc.



We love our work here, but have really missed our family and friends, the U.S. (or Western Civilization in general), and most of all....Disney (don't tell our family that). You can frequently find us sitting in the dark on the umpteenth time that the power has gone out playing what we call the "Disney Game" where we ask a Disney related question (What's you favorite Disney movie? What's your favorite Walt Disney World Park? What's your favorite Disney ride? etc. etc.) and then take turns answering. Needless to say, we're Disney fanatics. And, while we're looking forward to things like fresh corn on the cob, Dr. Pepper, grapes, peaches, Chick-fil-A, Target, clean feet, clothes dryers, movie theatres, malls, bacon, etc. etc.- we're most looking forward to going back to Disney World!

We will head back to the U.S. in September 2012 for 6-7 months before returning back to Africa. When trying to decide where we would want to spend those 6-7 months we definitely factored in the family we have in Central Florida, but in the end the Mouse was the deciding factor. Of course we'll love being close enough to see a bunch of our family members and friends in the area, but renting a house less then 20 miles from the World really sealed the deal.

Of course we will be spending lots of time at the World during our time in the U.S. but we decided it would be fun to start our time off with a bang and spend a few days on-site before settling into our rented house and routine for the following months. That was the beginning of a plan that was hatched to rope some of our dear friends from college (and their families) into going with us. One family are as big of fanatics as us so roping them in wasnít too difficult. The other family has been to the World once....about 13 years ago. It was a bit harder to rope them in, but in the end they love us so it wasnít too hard. But, wait thatís getting a little ahead of this PTR...

Tune in next time for The Cast, The When and The Where!
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

Last edited by Mrs. Sojourner; 03-14-2012 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:56 PM   #2
Mrs. Sojourner
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The Chapters

The Chapters:
The Introduction
The Chapters
The Cast
The Where
The When
The Goal
The Booking
The Booking: Part 2
The ADR Wish List
The ADRs
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

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Old 01-21-2012, 09:18 AM   #3
Mrs. Sojourner
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The Cast

The Cast:

Of course our family of 6 are in the cast...


Me: Mrs. Sojourner, Our newest addition: Jr. Sojourner (this will be his 1st trip and he will be celebrating his 1st birthday while we are there!), DH: Mr. Sojourner, DD9: Middle Sojourner, DD11: Ms. Sojourner, and DD6: Little Sojourner.


Mr. Sojourner & Jr. Sojourner.

Mr. Sojourner's Favorites:
Park: EPCOT
Ride: Thunder Mountain
Restaurant: Garden Grill
Food: Lamb Shank at Restaurant Marrkesh
Movie: Aladdin
Character: Donald Duck



Middle Sojourner (top), Ms. Sojourner (right) & Little Sojourner (bottom).

Ms. Sojournerís Favorites:
Park: Magic Kingdom
Ride: Rockin' Rollercoaster
Restaurant: 1900 Park Fare
Food: Mickey Head Ice Cream Sandwich
Movie: Aladdin
Character: Jasmine


Middle Sojournerís Favorites:
Park: Magic Kingdom
Ride: Test Track
Restaurant: 1900 Park Fare
Food: Mickey Head Ice Cream Sandwich
Movie: Mulan
Character: Winnie the Pooh


Little Sojournerís Favorites:
Park: Magic Kingdom
Ride: Nemo
Restaurant: 1900 Park Fare
Food: Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich Head
Movie: Lion King
Character: Cinderella


Oh, and my favorites:
Park: EPCOT
Ride: Soarin'
Restaurant: Garden Grill
Food: Harira Soup at Restaurant Marrkesh
Movie: Cinderella
Character: Cinderella


And, some of our good friends (also Disney fanatics like us) and their family of 5...


The Mill Family: Big Sister Mill (8), Mr. Mill, Little Sister Mill (4.5), Mrs. Mill & Big Brother Mill (6). (This picture was from last Spring, so itís a bit old. IĎm trying to hound them into sending me a new one.)

Mr. Millís Favorites:
Park: EPCOT
Ride: Splash Mountain
Restaurant: Le Cellier
Food: Sweet & Sour Chicken (Yak & Yeti at Animal Kingdom)
Movie: Lion King
Character: Buzz Lightyear

Mrs. Millís Favorites:
Park: EPCOT
Ride: Big Thunder
Restaurant: Le Cellier
Food: Ice Cream sandwich cookie (from the bakery on Main Street!)
Movie: Tangled!!!
Character: Cinderella and Rapunzel (Winnie the Pooh ranks really close up there too!)

Big Sister Millís Favorites:
Park: EPCOT
Ride: Soarin'
Restaurant: Crystal Palace
Food: Cookies (from Main Street Bakery)
Movie: Tangled
Character: Snow White

Brother Millís Favorites:
Park: Hollywood Studios
Ride: Star Tours 3D
Restaurant: Pizza Planet
Food: Popcorn
Movie: Toy Story I, II, and III
Character: Buzz Lightyear

Little Sister Millís Favorites:
Park: EPCOT
Ride: The Barnstormer (soon to be reopened as The Great Goofini)
Restaurant: Crystal Palace
Food: Pop Corn
Movie: Cinderella
Character: Tinker Bell and Goofy


We will also be joined by our friends who havenít been to Disney World in about 13 years. They will be coming with two of there three daughters (the oldest is married and recently had their first baby).


The Fish Family: Baby Fish (8), Mama Fish, Married Fish (not coming on this trip), Papa Fish, & Teen Fish (14).

So, itís quite a crew with lots of variations in our cast...with kids aged from 1 to 14...and from Disney veterans to practically Disney newbies. Itís going to be interesting!

Stay tuned for more trip details!
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

Last edited by Mrs. Sojourner; 02-11-2012 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 01-22-2012, 11:13 AM   #4
Mrs. Sojourner
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The Where

The Where:

We debated about where to stay this trip. We knew it would have to be some place that could accomidate our larger families (4, 5 & 6).

We narrowed it down to these choices:

*The (New) Art of Animation Resort
*The All Star Music Suite
*(4) All Star Movies Rooms (split between the 3 families)
*The Port Orleans - Riverside Resort
*The Cabins at Fort Wilderness

We then decided to narrow it even further to our top three choices:

*The Art of Animation really, really appealed to us because they look so cool, the theming is great, they are going to be brand-spankin'-new, and they are spacious (with two bathrooms each)!

*The Cabins appealed to us because the atmosphere at Fort Widerness is so great, the cabins are spacious, and it would be new to both the Mills and us (yet something we both are wanting to try someday).

*Port Orleans - Riverside; both my family (minus me, because I was at a sudden funeral before we left for Africa) and the Mills have stayed at this resort and loved it, it also has a fun atmosphere, and the price is right (especially for bigger families)!


Mr. Sojourner, Little Sojourner, Ms. Sojourner & Middle Sojourner; May 2009, Port Orleans - Riverside.

In the end we decided upon Port Orleans because it is significantly cheaper then the other two options. Both the Mills and us spend little time in our rooms during a WDW vacation and so we would rather spend our money on other things. Not to mention, for our now family of 6...it's not going to be long before we have to make another choice! This decision effected the amount of days this vacation would be but, again, I'm getting ahead of myself...

Tune in next time for The When...
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

Last edited by Mrs. Sojourner; 02-11-2012 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:35 AM   #5
Mrs. Sojourner
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The When

The When:

The when isn't too hard....

The moment we get back to the U.S.!!!!

Well, maybe not the moment, we don't want to be fighting jet lag at the "happiest place on Earth," so a little over a week after we hit the ground. What better way to start our time in the U.S.?!

So, we will be going the beginning of September. And, because we opted for the cheaper resort option we will be going for 6 nights/7 days!

Our dates: September 9-15, 2012.


This will give us a chance to celebrate Jr. Sojourner's 1st birthday and Mama Fish's birthday as well (not sure on the number, so we'll say 30...)!
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

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Old 01-24-2012, 02:44 AM   #6
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You are right about culture shock!! What great work your family does . The trip sounds fantastic. I love Disney fanatics like myself. I can't wait to read more!!
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:50 AM   #7
Mrs. Sojourner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsksomeday View Post
You are right about culture shock!! What great work your family does . The trip sounds fantastic. I love Disney fanatics like myself. I can't wait to read more!!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

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Old 01-30-2012, 07:37 AM   #8
Mrs. Sojourner
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The Goal

The Goal:

A not-so-Disney-update, but one I'm going to share anyways.

I am starting today with a goal of losing 50 lbs before we head to Disney! This will put me at an optimal BMI, not just an exceptable one. I realize it is a big goal, but I still believe it is quite doable. I have a little less then 32 weeks which boils down to losing 1.5-2 lbs. a week. I've added a ticker to track my progress and I will weigh in once a week to update it.

Before I gratuated I was very active, usually playing two sports at a time. Since marrying and having four kids I have been a lot less active and it has taken it's toll over the years. I am really ready to turn things around and to start feeling healthier and with more energy. Since turning 30 and having baby #4 last year I have felt horrible and know that I need to make a lot of changes.

There are a few obstacles I face in starting all this here. I have been using them as excuses the last two years and am officially done with that. I'll be doing the best that I can where I am now.

One is exercising. I am quite limited in my surroundings by what I am able to do. There are no gyms I can join. And, It is not culturally appropriate for me to be out in public in pants which makes walking or running more challenging. I have some walking videos that I can do inside which I will be starting with and then I hope to work my way to doing my first 5k while back in the U.S. by starting the Couch to 5k program. The only option I will have is to run around my house in the small area between the house and the courtyard wall so I will basically be running in a square the size of our house. Not the best option, but something I can live with for the next 7 months.

The other is a good healthy diet. I find I always do better losing weight when I cut out sugar and carbs. This (especially the cabs part) is really tough to do here. We live in a land-locked country where imported things are quite expensive and what is locally grown or made is limited because of climate. Main staple here are all carbs. Millet, rice, and corn. Even many of the veggies are high in starch. While I was pregnant I did really well with cutting down my cabs and sugars to the bare minimum, doing the best with what was available. (I did this because I have had borderline gestational diabetes in the past and I had complications with a high birth weight baby with my third daughter and I didn't wat to relive that.) It worked out very well, so I know I am capable of doing this again- I just need to get motivated!

This week I'm starting it all with working on two simple but needed changes: making sure I get the eight 8 oz. glasses of water I need everyday and exercising daily. It's 1:00 and I am already on glass number 4 of water...sweet!

If you stumble across my PTR, I'd love to hear your tips for healthy living or goals your working on for this year.
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

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Old 01-30-2012, 04:38 PM   #9
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Happy planning !
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:40 AM   #10
Mrs. Sojourner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aulika View Post
Happy planning !
Thank you, and thanks for stopping by!!!
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

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Old 01-31-2012, 08:15 AM   #11
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your family is beautiful! It's amazing that you are living in West Africa. I'm excited for you and your trip to Disney!
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First Disney Trip 4/1992 ~ 7th Grade with parents and brother ~ MK, Epcot, MGM / 4/1994 ~ 9th grade with parents and brother ~ MK, Epcot, MGM / 3/1998 ~ College Spring Break with then bf now dh ~ MK, Epcot, MGM / 8/2006 with dh and 17 mos dd ~ DLR / 3/2007 with dh and 23 mos dd ~ AK / 12/2007 with dh, 2.5 yr dd and 6 mos ds ~ MK & Epcot / 5/2009 with dh, 4 yr dd, and 2 yr ds ~ DLR & CA /1/2012 with dh, 6 yr dd, 4 yr ds, and 17 mos ds ~ MK & DHS / 11/2012 for my birthday and Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon with dh ~ Marathon & Epcot / 6/2013 with dh, 8 yr old dd, 6 yr old ds, 2.5 yr old ds ~ all!

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Old 01-31-2012, 01:26 PM   #12
Mrs. Sojourner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dara00 View Post
your family is beautiful! It's amazing that you are living in West Africa. I'm excited for you and your trip to Disney!
Thank you so much! We enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by! I am really enjoying your trip report.
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

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Old 02-11-2012, 06:47 AM   #13
Mrs. Sojourner
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The Booking

The Booking:

Making it all the more official is that our family and the Mill family are now booked!


The Mills and us in our 1/2 day Disney vacation overlap; October 2008. (We met and ate breakfast at the McDonald's near Disney, did rope drop at MK, rode several rides in Frontier Land together, took some pics together, and then headed our seprate ways. It was a fun morning together!)

It's a little sad that we won't be getting all the mailing stuff (it'll go to our family in central Florida's) this time around. We're excited, though, that the Mills have booked also and that we have even linked our reservations already! Now to get the Fish family to get with the program...

Stay tuned for The Plan & The Dining Reservations...
__________________
Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

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Old 03-06-2012, 02:51 PM   #14
Mrs. Sojourner
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The Booking: Part Two

To make it even more official; the Fish family is now booked! They went ahead and made the plunge yesterday when the "Free Dining" promo became available.


The Fish Family & Us during one of our last visits with them before we headed to Africa. (My family is in the purlpe with Mr. in black.)

We also added the "Free Dining" promo to our reservation, which makes for a very good deal for this trip!

Stay tuned for the ADR wish list...
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:29 PM   #15
Mrs. Sojourner
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The ADR Wish List

The ADR Wish List:

As we've been looking over all the restaurant choices it's hard to narrow it down to just six! (But, we are hoping that in our six month stay in the Orlando area will give us the opportunity to try more at a later time! )

I have a feeling by the end of this trip we will all feel about like this...


Little Sojourner at a visit to 1900 Park Fare in October 2008.

We are also hoping for some awesome character interaction...


Ms., Middle & Little Sojourner at 1900 Park Fare in October 2008. She loved all their red hair!

And, maybe even some opportunites to dance a little...



Because isn't that what the Disney magic is all about?!

So, here is what we are hoping for:

1900 Park Fare - Dinner
*Le Cellier - Lunch
Crystal Palace - Breakfast
Garden Grill - Dinner
*Cape May Clam Bake - Dinner
*'Ohana - Dinner

And, in a few days we will find out if all of these wishes will come true or if they might need a little tweaking.

*New (to us) ADR

Stay tuned for The Actual ADR Line-up...
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Wife to Mr. Sojourner , Mom to: Ms. Sojourner (11) , Middle Sojourner (9) , Little Sojourner (6) & Jr. Sojourner (6mon.), and lover of all things Disney.
Disney Land: countless visits from 1982-1997 (as a kid)
Disney World: 11/1998, 6/2000 (Honeymoon), 10/2005, 10/2006, 10/2007, 4/2008, 9/2008, 10/2008, 12/2008, 5/2009, 11/2010. Next Visit: 9/2012!

Have Stayed at: AS Sport, ASM, CSR, POR & PBH (USF)
Check out my PTR! From West Africa to WDW; talk about some culture shock!

My Blog: Mrs. Sojourner's Monologues

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