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Old 02-13-2012, 04:17 PM   #1
resol37
Tower of Terror, here I come!
It's when they sart calling me "honey" and "darling" that we have problems
 
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To The World In 80 Days (A Countdown)

Eighty is a lot of days. It's eight times ten...ten! It's eleven weeks plus three more days just for good measure. It's almost three whole months.

But that's how long I have until I'm back home again. Eighty days. *sigh*

So this...is my pre-trip report. A little early, but I'm as excited as this kid to get this show on the road.

Who: me, my boyfriend, my dad, my mom, my brother, my sister-in-law and my niece.
What: WALT DISNEY WORLD, BABY!
Where: Off property at a to be determined townhouse (most likely in Windsor Hills).
When: Thursday, May 3 through Tuesday, May 8.
Why: 'CAUSE IT'S WALT DISNEY WORLD, BABY!

Next post...cast introductions. It'll be great! Like the beginning of Can't Hardly Wait. So throw your hands in the air like you care very much!
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:32 PM   #2
resol37
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It's when they sart calling me "honey" and "darling" that we have problems
 
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CAST! (In my head, I say that just like Dr. Horrible says "E-mails!" at the beginning of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Except less syllables.)

Me!
I'm Ashley. I'm 29 and the facilitator of this trip. My parents first took my brother and I to WDW when I was 13 and I've been back 8 times since (this'll be my 10th trip). I also worked in Disney Hollywood Studios (then Disney MGM Studios) as a College Program intern in Spring 2004. My favorite ride is the Tower of Terror. My favorite park varies depending on my mood. This year I'm hoping to have a picturesque day at the Magic Kingdom as I haven't spent as much time there in previous trips.


This is me about to get my fried pickle grub on at Pinky's in Charlotte. Yum!


This is me with Scaramouche of the Tortuga Twins at the Carolina Renaissance Festival last fall. Hot!

Alex!
This is Alex (and our cat Sophie).


Look at that gorgeousness!


This is Alex modeling this year's winter hat. Doesn't he looked excited!

Alex is 34 and has done a great job allowing me to go all Disney crazy. Alex and I have been together for a year and a half on February 19th and are nuts about each other. Or possibly just nuts. Truly, Alex is a great guy. He was raised an only child of a single mother and just met his dad year before last. He's been to WDW twice, once at ten years old with his mom (a trip he chose as either a birthday or Christmas present, I can't remember which, over a computer) and once at 16 as part of his high school band.

Here's us before a wedding for a former co-worker of mine. We clean up nice.


Next up...my little Maryland baby (and her diaper crew)!
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:44 PM   #3
resol37
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Ignore the goofy tall people, look at the baby!

We'll get to the grown-ups later, but for now it's all about...

Ried!
Ried is my first niece. My brother's first child and my parents' first grandchild. So, of course, she's perfect. Ried will be seven months old by the time of our trip. She's a pretty happy baby who really only cries when hungry (and who can blame her?). Doesn't have much to say yet, but we'll get there. I plan on spoiling the poopie out of her.

Ryan!
Ryan is my younger brother at 25. Hasn't been back to the World since 2007 (in fact, he and my sister-in-law had just had their first kiss the night before the trip...isn't that adorable?!). I have no idea of his favorite ride, but I'd be willing to guess either Epcot or DHS is his favorite park. We once rode ToT and RnRC 15 and 13 times, respectively, in one day.


I kid you not, he got that shirt in the women's department of Wal-Mart.

Mallory!

Mallory is 24 (I'm pretty sure) and an amazing mother. She's a special ed teacher working with children between three and six who have Down syndrome and Autism. She's truly hilarious and an excellent addition to our family. We all love her to death.

Ryan, Mallory and Ried live in Maryland near Mal's family so while Alex, myself and my parents will drive to WDW from Charlotte (or the Charlotte area), they will fly.

Next...the 'rents!
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Last edited by resol37; 02-13-2012 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Sinned by forgetting to capitalize the W in World.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:30 PM   #4
resol37
Tower of Terror, here I come!
It's when they sart calling me "honey" and "darling" that we have problems
 
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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Our countdown is now down to 63 days...if I'm doing my math correctly. And there's no guarantee there.

Isn't the baby adorable? Kids do weird things to otherwise sane people. At Christmas, myself, my brother, Alex and my cousin Mike were gathered around her on the floor of my aunt and uncle's house rooting for her to roll over for the first time.

Anyway...



Those are my parents. Jean and Doug.



Dad and Ryan when my brother ran the Marine Half Marathon last year.

Dad retired from the Air Force in 1995 when Ryan and I were 9 and 12, respectively. He's the reason we usually stay at Shades of Green when we go to WDW, though this time it made a lot more fiscal sense to rent a condo (which was just finalized the other day...w00t!). Dad's plan is to do whatever everybody else is doing except for our Epcot day. He will ride Soarin' with us first thing and then head over to the Rose and Crown in England and get hammered while hopefully watching soccer. (Ryan played soccer from the time he was four until college. He'd still play now except he's had five concussions from getting kicked in the head [goalkeeping...iz srs bizness] . So we're a soccer family.)



And Mom. As you can see from the giant toy bag, she loves buying stuff for the kids. While Ried may be her first grandchild, my cousin Jeannette has an 8 year old girl, Alexa and a 5 year old boy, Connor. My cousin Mike and his wife Mandy have a 4 year old girl, Hannah and a 5 month old boy, Carter. My mom's cousin Corey and his wife Katie have a 3 year old boy, Cade and a 2 year old girl, Liberty. And my mom's other cousin Brian and his wife Lisa have a 3 year old boy, Stan. So there's plenty of kids to shop for and my mom loves it.

Mom is my co-conspirator in the Disney planning. She doesn't do thrill rides and will be perfectly happy carrying Ried around in a front pack carrier thingy for most of the trip.

Group shot!



Alex took this gorgeous family portrait of the rest of us last June while on the ferry boat to Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where we usually go on vacation each year with extended family on my dad's side.

My mom hates the pic, but I think it's hilarious. I have no idea what I'm talking about or pointing at, but Dad is obviously intrigued. Ryan and Mal? Comparing tans.

Aren't we gorgeous?

So that's the crew. There was some question as to whether Ryan and Mal were going to be able to make it, but Mom and Dad just visited them up in Maryland last week and it looks like everything's good to go.

Later on...planning details and our pretty, pretty condo!
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:18 PM   #5
resol37
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If life were perfect, I'd never stay off site. Of course, if life we're perfect I'd have won the lottery and be able to spend my time pro bono wedding and vacation planning instead of in customer service, but I digress.

As it is, our little group will be staying off property this trip.

Thanks to my dad's service in the Air Force we usually spend our Disney trips at the Shades of Green resort. It was the first place I ever stayed at Disney and still feels like a home resort to me, even if it's not an official Disney resort.

We chose to stay off site this year mostly for financial reasons. We originally planned on this trip to happen in October or November of last year but delayed it when Ryan and Mal found out they were pregnant. Ryan and Mal are secure enough for sure, but with trying to raise a brand new baby and Alex and I still in the early stages of our relationship (we're living together, yes, but we plan on being together a long time so we're not rushing anything else right now), we figured we could still have an awesome trip without putting ourselves into any debt.

Dad offered to pay for all of our tickets as a Christmas gift. And we're getting those on discount thanks to the military deals. Mom and dad are paying for 75% of our condo rental, Alex and I are kicking in the other 25% so that Mal and Ryan can take care of their plane tickets.

We will be staying in a three bedroom condo in the Windsor Hills area for five nights. We stayed there in 2007 with a group of 10 adults and 2 children (I think seven bedrooms) and we're comfortable with the length of the drive to the parks.

We'll save more money by having our own kitchen as well.

Teh Condo!

Next up! General plans including some special tricks I have up my sleeve.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:06 PM   #6
resol37
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Alrighty, let's get down to some bizness.

Thursday, May 3:
Alex and I will take our (read: his) car (mine doesn't have cruise control or satellite radio so...) while my parents take my dad's car and drive the nine-ish hours from Charlotte (us)/Monroe (them) to our rental home. Ryan and Mal and Ried will fly down, most likely from BWI (to MCO, duh). Mom will use their car to do the airport pickup while Dad, Alex and I head over to Shades of Green to pick up our tickets (and take a good deep breath of Florida water smell since there's a fountain between the lobby and the bus stop).

I'm hoping to fit in some Downtown Disney as it is customary for us to get our Earl of Sandwich on the night we get in but it will depend on timing and ability to stay awake at that point.

Friday, May 4:
Magic Kingdom day. Planning on it being a full day. I've concentrated on Epcot a lot during my past few trips and haven't spent as much time in MK so I want to get in lots of time there during this trip. Planning on lots of rides and Wishes at the end of the night.

Saturday, May 5:
Animal Kingdom day. We have a late lunch reservation for the entire family at Whispering Canyon Cafe so will probably only be in the park until about 1 or 1:30. Making sure to get Flights of Wonder in as I just discovered it during my last trip.

I'm hoping to surprise Alex with a trip to Disney Quest this night. I've never been, but assuming I did my taxes right, I should have the money to pay for both of our tickets and I think he would love it. I'll invite Ryan and Mal, too if they're interested.

Sunday, May 6:
Disney Hollywood Studios day. Another full day. Alex is greatly looking forward to seeing Lights, Motors, Action! so I'll have to make that happen. It looks like Fantasmic! is playing that night so we might stay for that depending crowd and energy levels.

My parents' 30th anniversary is May 1, just two days before we leave, so my dad asked for suggestions of special things to do. My mom doesn't like a lot of fuss made over her and she gets embarrassed easily so it was decided that renewing vows wasn't going to be down. (Plus my dad said renewing vows is "played out".) I'm going to suggest that my dad take my mom to dinner at Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort. My mom loves the beach and they both like seafood, so the clambake would be great and my mom would really enjoy a chance to look around the resort.

Monday, May 7:
Epcot day. Alex is so looking forward to Future World that I'm pretty much scheduling this day around his wants. We'll get Soarin', Test Track and Mission: Space before I let him do whatever he feels. My family's never been much for Innoventions, but I think Alex'll love it so we'll spend some time there, I'm sure. If we spend all day in Future World and never step foot in World Showcase, so be it. (He'll probably want to see Japan though - boy can watch some anime.)

This evening, Alex and I have a reservation for Kona Cafe. I was looking for somewhere for the two of us to have a nice, romantic dinner and while I know Kona's not Victoria and Albert's but it's within our budget and the Polynesian is my favorite resort and the place I dream of staying someday so when I couldn't make up my mind...I chose Kona.

And, of course, we'll end out the night with Illuminations.

Tuesday, May 8:
Time to drive home. And cry. Because it's time to drive home.

And so, to make my shopping list.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:51 PM   #7
resol37
Tower of Terror, here I come!
It's when they sart calling me "honey" and "darling" that we have problems
 
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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I am now less than halfway down my countdown...only 38 more days to go!

And who's federal tax refund came in today? Why, mine! And the shopping for vacation clothes begins. Time to order my Crocs.
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