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Old 07-31-2012, 09:55 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by JennisSilly View Post
Wishing you lots of baby dust!

You could always:

1) Book your trip as soon as your booking window opens... then I mean you'd want to use your points in that use year right? (even though technically I suppose as long as you're not borrowing points you can cancel and get your points back...) So then if you got pregnant, you'd either "use" or "lose" your points, so you'd get to go earlier...

2) Move to AZ. We don't have winters. Even if you had another January baby, after 6 weeks, we'd be in the 80's.

I feel those are two very viable options
Thank you so much

Ah, I so wish we were moving to AZ. Unfortunately, that is no longer in the cards. It was for a possible work expansion which they have decided to put the ax on. This made me so much more sad than I expected it to

So, it looks like option 1 will be the winner. I've actually already discussed it with Candi and he agrees that a trip next year is in the cards either way
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:49 AM   #62
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Changes ... maybe

So, I saw the dates announced for the Osborne Lights yesterday, for 2012 of course, but it got me thinking. I originally didn't plan on there being a chance that the Osborne Lights would happen while we were there, and while this saddened me, I let it go because we are so pumped about doing both holiday parties. However, when the party dates were announced for this year I started looking at the potential dates for next year's Osborne Lights. Well, the way our trip is currently planned we would have two options:

1. Go to MVMCP and miss the Osborne Lights
2. Go to Osborne Lights and miss MVMCP

Since this trip was planned around the parties I knew the answer already ... skip the lights. But, since we don't have plans of ever trying to conquer Christmas crowds I was sad about missing the opportunity. So, I started looking at changing our dates around.

I've come up with the possible scenarios:

1. October 30 - November 9 (our current plan)

* At Disney on Halloween
* Last night at MK for MVMCP
* Fly home on Saturday giving Candi Sunday to rest and recover
* No Osborne Lights

2. October 31 - November 10

* Fly in on Halloween (still time to trick-or-treat at resort)
* Last night at HS for Osborne Lights
* Fly home on Sunday and Candi has to go back to work on Monday for a full week

3. November 1 - November 12

* Last night at HS for Osborne Lights
* Possibility of going to Osborne Lights on 2 nights
* Not there for Halloween
* Fly home on Tuesday and Candi has to go back to work on Wednesday for a partial week

What do you guys think? What would you do?
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:34 PM   #63
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So, I talked to Candi about the Osborne Lights possibility and he said he absolutely wants to make sure we see them. We haven't decided which for sure, but we are definitely going to be going with Option 2 or 3 on the date change. Is it sad that I'm upset my ticker number will go up when we officially change the dates

We have also decided what we want to do for costumes for MNSSHP. It isn't Disney related but I'm still super, super excited for it
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:57 PM   #64
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A New Plan

Yesterday was not exactly a great day in terms of personal situations. Hubs messed up his foot that he has had multiple surgeries on so he is now in a "boot" for at least 3 weeks, the baby is cutting more teeth and at some point in the day Candi's wedding ring went missing. The first two items resulted in us being home bound most of the day, which is not my favorite way to spend a weekend. But, it did give us lots of time to watch movies and plan for our trip Now if only we could figure out where his wedding ring went ... pretty sure James hid it, just can't figure out where

The (it's still too early to be making a plan) Plan:

We both decided we think it would be great fun to spend Halloween at Disney so we are going to stick with the plan of leaving on October 30.

I am hopeful that we will be able to take a flight that leaves later than 8:00 and arrives earlier than 4:00. However, this isn't always a possibility, so we will have to weigh out our pros and cons of flight departures and arrivals when next year's times are released.

Once we arrive at MCO we will make any necessary stops, including a snack break if needed for James, before grabbing the Magical Express to our resort. I am really, really hoping that James will not be so tired that he has a breakdown in line like he did earlier this year. Thus, my hope for a flight that leaves later in the morning. However, as before, I am certain that once we board our bus and the video starts playing he will be calm and content (and possibly fall asleep) while we enjoy our ride to our first resort.

Here, the first of many changes already for this trip. After laying out a better idea of a plan and deciding to forego park hoppers we realized staying at Bay Lake made more sense for the first portion of our trip.

Once we arrive at Bay Lake we will check into our studio for the next five days, where there should be a room ready. I am hopeful for some pixie dust as we will be booking a standard view, but I'm not relying on it. Regardless, we will be stoked just to be there!

After we get settled into our room, which for us is really just checking out the view and taking pictures we will make a game plan for the rest of the day. There is a slight possibility that Candi and James will take a nap and I will unpack. But, after a long flight I'm guessing it is more likely that we will grab a quick bite to eat

I don't want to do anything to0 heavy as we have a big dinner planned for that night. So, lunch on arrival day is definitely quick service, perhaps even sharing a meal.

After lunch is complete, I imagine we will explore the resort, perhaps even taking a dip in the pool for a while

After an afternoon of exploring we will head back to our room to get cleaned up before we grab the monorail over to dinner, a past favorite of ours

Candi and I ate here on our honeymoon and absolutely loved it! I know the story line is a tad bit cheesy, but we still like it and found the food thoroughly enjoyable. Definitely going to be on the lookout for fun outfits to wear here when time gets closer

Once dinner is wrapped up, we will more than likely call it a night with a quick monorail ride back to our resort followed by baths and bed for everyone
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:20 PM   #65
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Misc Life Update & Day Two

Two Months?!? Really? Two Months? Yeesh, how have I been away from planning my beloved vacation for that long?

Flying to Kansas to meet my Niece

Visiting (James') Great Grandma

Booking photo shoots

Trips to the zoo

"learning" to cook via Pinterest

Work conference in Charlotte

Opening our local Disney Store

Ok, I guess I can see how it's been two months since I've had time to really sit with the Hubs and plan out a trip that is now just under 400 days away

Luckily, we had the chance to do just that on our laid back Saturday!

The (it's much too early to be making a plan) Plan: Day Two

After an (out of the ordinary) relaxed plan for arrival day we have decided that day two absolutely must be, well, completely relaxed In the past we have always planned for our first full day to be spent in Magic Kingdom, complete with a before-park-opening breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table and a great signature restaurant for dinner.

In theory, it's a great way to kick-off the vacation. In reality, however, we are still exhausted from travel day and not yet adjusted to the time change. The time difference has us jumping forward two hours so waking up at 6:00 a.m. for a coveted breakfast reservation feels like waking up at 4:00 a.m. for us.

No bueno!

So, in the nature of planning a vacation that leaves us feeling refreshed, rested and happy at the end of the day means getting rid of the old plan and starting new traditions.

We plan on sleeping until we wake up on our own or when the alarm goes off at 9:45, whichever happens first. In reality, James will probably wake us up before either of those can happen, but a girl can dream right Once we are all up for the day we will get ready in our casual (yet presentable) clothing of choice and head over to a meal I haven't been to in over a decade

I think this is the perfect choice for this day. It allows James to still meet his BFF, Mickey, on the first day of vacation; is located in our resort; and, offers breakfast reservations until 11:30 allowing us the opportunity to sleep in

My hope is to be able to make a reservation for 10:30 so that there is still a good selection of breakfast foods and we aren't there while they are flipping over to lunch. I'm not a fan of buffets for anything but breakfast and I must have my Mickey waffle!

Once we have all thoroughly stuffed our faces and filled our bellies we plan on grabbing a bus and heading to Downtown Disney. We usually go here on our first night, but since we will be doing the luau we will be foregoing that tradition as well. The plan of attack for DTD today is simply to go into whatever stores grab our attention. I'm not sure we will actually be purchasing much this day - this is more of a leisurely stroll around plan.

The one thing we will be doing, however, is taking James to Ridemakerz. He is beyond obssessed with "vroom vrooms" and I cannot wait to let him build his own dream car. I have to admit, the price possibility of this scares me beyond belief, but it's vacation and I will relent and let go of my budget crazed mindset We are also contemplating allowing the baby (can I still call him a baby at almost 2? ) to build 2 additional cars. One for his Gampa (my Dad) and his Uncle (Candi's brother) as their Christmas gifts from him. They are both car fanatics to the core and we are always joking that he must have gotten that gene from them!

While Downtown I have Basin and the Kitchen Store on my wish list, but I may save them for another day when I actually anticipate making purchases. I'm not big on purchasing things my first day, as I like to see how much is spent in other areas (food, drinks etc) as well as see what all is out there before I decide what to buy.

If we get hungry while still out and about we will hit Earl of Sandwich (yum!) otherwise we will head back to Contempo Cafe at some point while relaxing at the resort.

I'm assuming (wishing?) that James will still be napping at this point so if he doesn't do so while walking around we will take a nap break in the room when we return. The rest of the day is filled with absolutely no plans; possibly a dip in the pool or taking time exploring the resort and grounds?

That night, however, we are going to get dressed up in our Halloween finest to go celebrate! If you recall, we had debated attending MNSSHP this night, but I am still too worried about it being absurdly crowded and am not a fan of paying the price mark-up for the occasion. The one thing that was swaying me towards doing it anyway is because I wanted James to be able to participate in Halloween activities on the actual day. I know he wouldn't know any difference, but I would, and things like that bug me

Imagine my excitement when I was doing some research and read that a lot of the resorts do Halloween activities and set-up trick-or-treating stations for the kiddos!! So, with that information discovered, it sealed the deal for me. We will not be going to MNSSHP this night. Instead, we will remain at our resort and enjoy the festivities there

Based on last year's agenda trick-or-treating goes from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. So our plan is to hit the stands earlier in the evening (6ish?) allowing us plenty of time to eat dinner at a decent hour. Currently there are two ideas that we are throwing around. The first, is to get pizza and take it up to the room while relaxing with a fun DVD in the room. The second - heading over to our favorite resort (Wilderness Lodge) and eating at Roaring Forks. Not that Roaring Forks is that spectacular, but it gives us a good excuse to go explore over there!

Either way, we are planning to be bathed and in bed at a decent hour because the next day finally has us walking through park gates ...
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:06 PM   #66
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The 'B' Word

It is impossible to plan a vacation without that dreadful 'b' word rearing it's ugly head .... budget ::shudders:: I'm about as frugal as they come, but when on vacation I would like to be able to throw caution to the wind and not think about the dollar signs. However, for us, that is not a possibility. So, last night I started one of my beloved spreadsheets to see where this trips stands. And, yes, I really do love spreadsheets. It's a sickness. Don't judge

Going forward I will tack this onto the end of our daily plans, or maybe as the following post. But, I wanted to back up and cover the two days we have already discussed.

A few things to note. First, I tend to overestimate on things. A lot. It makes me feel better when we come in under that number and I don't stress (as much) if unplanned items occur and take away some of that money. Second, I tend to plan down to the nitty, gritty. It's that sickness again, so every little detail is usually, well, detailed out in my budgets. Apologies ahead of time for anybody that I bore

Ok, let's get started...

Flight to Orlando: $241 x 3 people = $723 (this is based on Orbitz' current rates for our departure date)

Breakfast in airport: $10 x 3 people = $30

6 day park tickets: $278 x 2 people = $556

WPF&M option: $57 x 2 people = $114 (we originally were gonna leave this off; reasoning for adding in future daily plans post)

Park hopper option: $22 x 2 people = $44 (originally not adding this either, but since we are adding WPF&M it's only an extra $22. so, why not )

Contempo Cafe (arrival day lunch): $28.66 (for all 3 of us)

Spirit of Aloha (arrival day dinner): $117.98 (for all 3 of us)

Spending money (arrival day): $60 (snacks, cokes, souvenirs etc)

Day One Total: $1673.64

************************************************** ********

Chef Mickeys (second day breakfast): $61.76

Earl of Sandwich (second day lunch): $30.71

Ridemakerz (Cinco, Gampa and Brian): $517.50 (I put together the most expensive possible car online and multiplied it by 3; felt like I might be sick and quickly filled out the online "send me offers" email link with shaking hands )

Basin Shopping Spree: $122.01 (once I picked myself off the floor from my virtual shopping experience at Ridemakerz I went on a virtual shopping spree at Basin as I'm certain I will need the nice, calm and relaxing items from there to revive me from the boys' purchases And, yes, I absolutely signed up for their email offers program too )

Roaring Forks (second day dinner): $36.44

Spending Money (as if we need more this day ): $60

Day Two Total: $828.42

Grand Total (so far): $2,502.06

As an aside, the cost of Gampa and Uncle's cars will actually come from their Christmas gift budget as opposed to our vacation budget

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Old 10-11-2012, 05:20 PM   #67
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Day Three Plans

Day three of vacation has us up and at 'em bright and early for the first (and one of the only) times this trip. If you've followed along with any of my other trips it should come as no surprise that our first park of the trip will be none other than Magic Kingdom

First order of business will be breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table. It's a tradition of sorts of ours and something that we both want to make happen this trip. I've been swaying back and forth on whether or not to make it as a before park opening reservation or a later breakfast one. But, we have always done the former and I think we will stick with it on this trip too. That's one of the great things about being at Bay Lake for the first portion of our trip - MK is a quick walkway away from us. No need to wait for a bus or monorail or boat, causing us to have to get up even earlier

I do have to say that I am super bummed to see that the menu has changed. I know plenty of people complained about the food versus the cost of the meal. But, I've always understood and accepted that the premium charge is
for the ambiance and experience, not the food. Plus, I really loved that potato casserole and stuffed french toast. I'm very sad to see that it's gone

Ah well, it is what it is. I'm still excited to be eating in the castle on my first park day, hopefully by a window while watching the park "wake up" for the day, and crossing my fingers that James gets covered in lots of Princess kisses

Once breakfast is complete we will head on out into the park. As of now I don't have a super solid plan in place as far as touring goes. It isn't our only day in MK, but it is our only (planned) full day. So I'm thinking that hitting the new Fantasyland will be high up on our list of priorities

I don't have any plans of making lunch reservations this day. Instead, whenever our tummies start to grumble we will stop at a quick service somewhere. I am hoping to eat at many new ones this trip so I'm thinking maybe Columbia Harbour House. That anchors aweigh sandwich sounds delicious, Candi loves fried shrimp and the baby (currently) loves fish 'n chips. Sounds like a perfect choice to me

I'm thinking after lunch we will all be in need of a break/nap time so we will grab transportation back to the resort for part of the afternoon. If I had to guess I'd say we will grab the boat - such a peaceful, relaxing form of travel!

I'm really hoping that everybody will be willing to nap for a while. Ok, who am I kidding, I know Candi will. So really, I'm hoping that I can convince James and myself to nap But, I will also settle for some mellow time just laying down watching a movie. Regardless, some energy needs to be restored because we are heading back to MK for the rest of the night.

Once we arrive back at the park we will probably pick up wherever we left off that afternoon. Jumping on anything that has an easy line and meets the height requirements for James. He is on the low end of percentiles for height (no surprise since both Dad and I are vertically challenged as well ) so I'm not sure where he will be height wise by then. But, I'm guessing that he will mostly just be restricted from the Mountains No biggy, though I do love Big Thunder at night so Candi and I will need to do a trade off there. Otherwise I'm good to go skipping anything else he can't ride.

For dinner I, once again, resisted the urge to plan on making reservations. We will, instead, grab another quick service when we start to feel hungry. I would like something towards the front of the park, so, perhaps, Cosmic Rays. We've eaten here before, but always hit the burger bay. I'd like to branch out and try ribs or chicken this time, as I've heard it's pretty tasty!

After dinner we will stay near the front of the park as I'm sure it will be getting close to parade time. However, we won't be scrambling for a superior spot. Instead, we will be heading over to the Terrace Station as I'm hoping to have reservations for the Dessert Party this night. This is also my reasoning for not having a dinner reservation; I don't want to eat a super large meal at a sit-down restaurant, as I'm hoping to actually enjoy the dessert buffet I'm super excited to try out the dessert party. I know it gets a full range of reviews, but I absolutely adore Wishes and love seeing it from every angle possible!

I'm not sure how long they allow you to hang out once the fireworks end, but I'm hoping we can avoid the crazy crowds somewhat before we are pushed out. If the crowds are super bad we will hang around the Main Street shops browsing a bit. Otherwise, straight out the exit for us. Since the lines are usually chaos after fireworks I'm guessing we will just walk back "home" where I'm sure we will all easily fade into a peaceful slumber after a long, awesome first park day
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:17 PM   #68
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Day Three: Budget

I guess I should note that the term "budget" is to be used loosely at this stage. It is more of a "cost list" that I am accumulating so I can, then, determine what needs to be cut to remain within our actual budget (what we are hoping to spend). Confused yet So, initial budget - what it should/would cost. Final budget - what we are actually willing to spend

Now onto day three ...

Cinderella's Royal Table (breakfast): $116.26

Columbia Harbour House (lunch): $37.28

Cosmic Rays (dinner): $39.77

Wishes Dessert Party: $55.36

Barber Shop: $34

Spending Money (snacks, tips, souvies etc): $60

Day Three Total: $342.67

Total Cost (so far): $2,844.73

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Old 10-14-2012, 04:19 PM   #69
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The Great Stroller Debate

Ever since our last visit to the most Magical Place on Earth, I have been having an internal debate with myself on whether or not to upgrade little man's stroller. Ok, if we're being honest I've had this debate out loud with the Hubs, my Dad, my Sister, my Bestie ... anyone who will listen

Currently we have this little beauty

The Pegasus by Safety1st

I fell in love with her instantly when registering for baby gear 2 years ago. Ack, 2 years ago, don't remind me Back to the point, I love her. She's beautiful to me. "Boyish" enough for my little guy, but pretty enough to be pushed around by this girly Mama

Of course, a big appeal was that it was a travel system which came with the infant carseat that easily clicked on top for trips out of the house. Obviously, my 24 pound toddler no longer utilizes the infant seat. And, somehow, once we packed that away, the stroller started losing it's appeal for me.

It's heavy - 21 lbs. It's supposed to be one handed set-up or fold-up - it isn't. The tab that keeps it closed up has bent and no longer stays clasped. It takes up a lot of room in the trunk. It's nearly impossible to jog with. The maneuverability is lacking. But, that was my infant's stroller.

I took James on his first walk in that stroller.

To the park for the first time in that stroller.

We went on our first "date" in that stroller.

Went shopping together for the first time in that stroller.

Pushed him around WDW for the first time in that stroller.

In ways it saddens me to replace that stroller.

However, most days (when I put all sentiments aside) I am ready to rid myself of that gosh darn, heavy, stubborn stroller. Thus, the debate. So what does a stroller have to do with trip planning? Well, everything, actually. Our trip earlier this year is when Candi first agreed that the stroller needs to be replaced. And, we both agree that this trip must be taken with a new, lighter, easier to maneuver stroller.

That's where y'all come in. We have it narrowed down to three and I need your opinons/advice/feedback. Especially if you have any of them or have used any of them or sell any of them

Option 1: City Mini

Pros: Candi loves this stroller; Candi loves the height of the handle on this stroller; we both can actually fold it up with one hand; maximum weight of 50 lbs; awesome canopy; (slightly) padded seat

Cons: I feel the handle height is too high; black (will it get too hot?); 21 lbs (same weight as current stroller); a jogger that states "not meant for jogging" ; child tray and cup holder sold separately; most expensive of the 3

Option 2: City Micro

Pros: James loves this stroller; actually one hand foldable; most compact of the 3; least expensive of the 3; great canopy

Cons: Not much lighter than what we have now (19 lbs); not meant for jogging; side panel fabric when reclining seems like it might not hold up; child tray and cup holder sold separately

Option 3: Britax B Agile

Pros: Perfect handle height (for me); 16.5 lbs; head level padding on seat; great canopy; is meant for jogging/running; great canopy; 55 lb maximum weight

Cons: Handle too low (for Candi); child tray and cup holder sold separately; black (fabric get too hot?)

So, give me your input? What do y'all think? Do you have any of these? Experience with any of these? I need your help!
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:43 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by ariel1025 View Post
Option 1: City Mini

Pros: Candi loves this stroller; Candi loves the height of the handle on this stroller; we both can actually fold it up with one hand; maximum weight of 50 lbs; awesome canopy; (slightly) padded seat

Cons: I feel the handle height is too high; black (will it get too hot?); 21 lbs (same weight as current stroller); a jogger that states "not meant for jogging" ; child tray and cup holder sold separately; most expensive of the 3
Hands Down, my favorite stroller.

We have this one, and it's AMAZING. Until I read this post, I had no idea it was 21lb's. I used this stroller by myself in Disneyland the first time DD went. I was able to get her (at 4 months), the diaper bag, and the stroller collapsed and on the monorail by myself with no problems. I seriously adore this stroller and it has been to Disneyland 5 times, Denver, Utah, and Tennessee with no issues.

It is the absolute best purchase baby gear purchase I've made. Ours is the crimson/grey which is a darker color but it doesn't get too hot, and we live in AZ.

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Old 10-17-2012, 03:25 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by JennisSilly View Post
Hands Down, my favorite stroller.

We have this one, and it's AMAZING. Until I read this post, I had no idea it was 21lb's. I used this stroller by myself in Disneyland the first time DD went. I was able to get her (at 4 months), the diaper bag, and the stroller collapsed and on the monorail by myself with no problems. I seriously adore this stroller and it has been to Disneyland 5 times, Denver, Utah, and Tennessee with no issues.

It is the absolute best purchase baby gear purchase I've made. Ours is the crimson/grey which is a darker color but it doesn't get too hot, and we live in AZ.
Thanks so much for your opinion!! Thus far the only feedback we have gotten is from the employees at the stores. And, I was worried they were pushing the Britax and City Mini because they were more expensive. Makes me feel better that you support their comments on the Mini
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:46 PM   #72
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Day Four: Plans

The (it's too early to be making a plan) Plan: Day Four

Since we will be at Magic Kingdom until after the fireworks the night before I don't have it planned to get up super early this day. I do, however, plan on setting an alarm to ensure we get up at a reasonable hour (8ish ) as we are hitting two parks this day.

Once we get up I don't expect it will take us too long to get ready (I plan on using the ziploc packing method for James again) so I expect we will be out the door within 30 minutes or so.

I think we will hit Contempo Cafe for a quick breakfast since our first park is Hollywood Studios and I haven't heard of any great (quick service) breakfast locations there. Please speak up if you have any recommendations

Once we have consumed our breakfast of choice we will grab our first bus this trip (not counting Magical Express ) and head on over to HS. Saturdays are morning EMH (this year); if that holds true next year I'm not expecting a super huge line to get through security or into the park. I do know, however, that it puts us at a huge disadvantage for having a low wait time for Toy Story Mania. I'm certain it will also decrease our chances of grabbing a Fastpass for a time before we leave the park for the day. It's a ride I definitely want to take Cinco on since he loves Toy Story so we will have to play it by ear on what wait time we decide to hop in line for.

The other must-do, for the family, is the Disney Junior stage show. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Little Einsteins are all played on the iPhone daily, as chosen by the little man, so I am certain he will love this!

In addition, HS is the one park where we want to partake in rides that James can't enjoy with us so we will be doing some baby swapping at some point in the day. Rockin' Roller Coaster is my favorite ride so I need at least one spin in that stretch limo - possibly more if the lines are short. And, Candi and I are both anxious to check-out the new additions to Tower of Terror!

As far as lunch is concerned, we are planning on making a reservation at Hollywood & Vine for around 1ish. After our horrid honeymoon dinner experience I swore I would never, ever eat here again. However, I would do anything to make James happy and with his love of the characters present there I will suck it up and hope for a better experience this time around

After lunch I am pretty certain that we will head back to the hotel for a couple hours of nap/relaxation time.

Then we will hop on the monorail and head back over to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

I am so, so excited to go back to this party as we really loved it last time! I am hoping that we can get to the park no later than 6, but we will see how the day pans out first. I definitely want to be there by the start of the party at 7 though; otherwise I will feel like I didn't get my money's worth on the extra cost of the tickets

Even though it's over a year away we already have our costumes planned out for this night; but, I promised Candi I wouldn't share them out. He is super excited about them and doesn't want them revealed until the TR

I don't have a mega list of must-do's for the party; but I am hoping that we will be able to hit Fantasyland with minimal wait times. In addition to that we will ride whatever has a super short line and strikes our fancy.

Of course, at some point we will want to eat dinner. Tonight will be another quick service and in my quest to eat at as many as possible in one trip, I'm gonna go with Pecos Bills for this one

I would also like to take James down a couple of the trick-or-treat paths and catch the parade and fireworks. Hallowishes is Candi's absolute favorite fireworks show in Disney! Although I would rather grab seats for the second parade, I think it would be wise to see the first one in case James can't make it late enough for the encore one

If we can make it through the first parade and Hallowishes I will be beyond thrilled and consider the party a complete success. However, whenever James has had enough and gets sleepy/fussy/cranky we will call it a night and make the walk back to Bay Lake for a good night's rest ...
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:53 PM   #73
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Day Four: Budget

Day Four: Pre-Budget

Breakfast at Contempo Cafe: $22.07

Lunch at Hollywood & Vine: $67.94 (Have I mentioned how glad I am that James will still be free at buffets )

MNSSHP Tickets: $54.95 x 2 = $109.90

Dinner at Pecos Bills: $26.03

Spending Money: $60.00

Day Four Total: $285.94

Grand Total (so far): $3,130.67

Not even halfway through the trip and already "spending" over half our anticipated budget

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Old 10-27-2012, 11:23 PM   #74
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Day Five: Plans

After a (potentially) super late night at MNSSHP the night before I am starting to doubt my plans for this day. But, based on location and plans earlier in the week it seems to fit the best so, for now, we are going with it

The (it's too early to be making a plan)Plan: Day Four

We will be setting our alarm clock for around 8:00 - only this time it isn't for a park - it's for an appointment. My plan is to make a reservation to have family pictures taken this day. I'm not sure what the temperatures or lighting are like this time of year, but it is my understanding that mornings are the best time so ... an earlier than preferred day it might be. When deciding on doing family pictures I went to the Disney Events page and was incredibly bummed to see that if I didn't want to pay for the higher priced package I would only have the option of doing pictures at Grand Floridian, Beach Club or Polynesian. I'm not saying any of these are bad locations, but they just aren't the location I had my heart set on - Wilderness Lodge. If you've followed any of my prior reports you know that WL holds a very special place in our hearts and I would love to do our session here. However, since that wasn't an option we both agreed that (out of the given choices) we should go with Polynesian.

It has a beautiful lobby, awesome beach area, you can get the castle in the background. Perfect! Or, at least, it should be.

After much communication with the Hubs we decided that it may be worth it to pay for the higher priced package. We could go to our preferred location and they would do all the edits, meaning I wouldn't have to do them myself

So it was set ... more money, but, in this case, happier family.

Until it dawned on me - since we are looking at doing pictures at a resort we could use an outside photography studio

So now I am busy researching options. At first I went to my old faithful, google, but became overwhelmed and turned to my Disney bible - the Dis of course! More specifically, the wedding boards, where I started searching for photographers brides utilized that also do family portraits at WDW. I currently have my list narrowed down to five:

* Jen Stevenson Photo
* David & Vicki Arndt Photography
* Studio 222 Photography
* KMD Creations
* Randy Chapman Photography

When the trip gets closer I will reach out to these individuals to get specific pricing and what it includes and make my choice at that point. I am hoping to be able to locate a photographer that will do the session within the same budget as Disney's (higher priced) package, will include the CD (hopefully edited) and be willing to go to multiple resorts (2, maybe 3).

As it stands right now, we are budgeting and making the plan as though we are utilizing Disney Event photography. In that case we will plan to head over to the Polynesian about 45 minutes before our scheduled session so that we can grab breakfast at Captain Cooks - mmmmmm tonga toast

After breakfast we will run to the restroom to change into our picture clothes (no clue what our attire will consist of yet!) and then meet our photographer for our photo session. I believe the sessions are an hour, after which we will most likely change back into our previous clothes before heading out for the rest of our day.

Depending on the time we will either head back to the resort for a power nap or head directly to Downtown Disney. The plan is to make a reservation for lunch at T-Rex. Candi has been wanting to eat here for a while and I think James will love it. Currently things like that don't scare him, so hopefully they won't a year from now either

The rest of the afternoon doesn't have a set plan. We might do some more shopping Downtown or go explore some resorts we've never seen, or head back to BLT for some rest. Really unsure.

That night we will have dinner at Contempo Cafe because we have a major, major surprise planned for James!

Remember how I've mentioned (several times) how he is a major fan of Jake and the Neverland Pirates? Well, his favorite episode ever, as in watches it every single day, is Peter Pan returns. He is specifically in love with Captain Hook!

So, we are planning on booking the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Cruise

I am so, so, so excited to do this. Candi has always wanted to do a fireworks cruise and even though it isn't the one we've always pictured I think it will be absolutely perfect. It's a fireworks cruise, I get to see Wishes and Cinco gets to mingle with Peter and Hook

At the completion of the cruise I have no doubt that the early day, packed afternoon and exciting evening will be having us ready to hit the hay the second we get back to the room.

However, I won't be lucky enough to go to sleep right away as I have one more task to complete that night ...
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:53 PM   #75
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Day Five: Budget

Not only does the early wake-up hour of this day have me scared, but the anticipated expenses do as well

Breakfast at Captain Cooks: $24.39

Photo Session (Disney Event Photography): $350
Portrait package purchase: $300

Lunch at T-Rex: $71.43

Dinner at Contempo Cafe: $28.99

Pirates & Pals Cruise: $54.99 x 2 = $109.98

Daily Spending money: $60

Day Five Total: $944.79

Grand Total (so far): $4,075.46

No bueno

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