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Old 03-31-2012, 05:22 PM   #1
ellajeansmom
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Look at all those Minnie hats!! A 3 generation Nov/Dec 2011 TR - updated March 23

Welcome!! This TR is way overdue as our trip took place Nov. 26 - Dec. 4, 2011 - we had so much fun that I still want to share it, even though it took place 4 months ago!


This is one of my favourit pics of us all, and gives insight to the title of this report:



We are, from front to back:
Jean (DD7, was 6 at the time of the trip) - loves thrill rides (TOT is her favourite) and is a very practical girl
Ella (DD10) - she is the one that likes to live in a fantasy world and still loves her princesses even though her room no longer has princess decorations
Grammy (my MIL) - retired school principal, she loves to spoil her granddaughters (my two are her only grandkids) and was ready to have some fun on this trip
E (DH) - IT software guy and more of a hockey fan than a Disney fan, but he enjoys himself when we are at WDW
me (Lara) - accountant by day, I am the planner in the family, especially when it comes to Disney vacations
Nana (my mom) - retired teacher, she is a kid at heart and loves to play with her grandkids
Gramps (my dad) - retired marketing guy, he enjoys thrill rides (although not the simulator type) and is up for anything that includes his grandkids (as long as it doesn't cost too much!)

We spent 5 nights at Coronado Springs, with 4 days in the parks, then split off into groups...
-E and I spent a day a Kennedy Space Centre then came back to the Swan and Epcot
-Grammy and the girls went on a 3-night cruise on the Disney Dream
-Nana and Gramps spent 3 nights in a condo near Port Canaveral and explored that area

I hope you join along as I relive our fun-filled trip!

Up next, departure day...

Last edited by ellajeansmom; 03-23-2013 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:45 PM   #2
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Departure Day – Fri. Nov. 25

I had booked this day off work, and by the time it got here, I was very glad I had. I had a general idea of what would be packed but going from that to actually getting it all in the suitcases always seems to take a long time!

E headed off to work and the girls hopped on the school bus as normal. I took Nala (our dog) for a walk and then headed out for some last minute errands. There was still a few things I needed for the trip and I wanted to have some groceries (non-perishable obviously) in the house for when we got home. When I got home I had some lunch and put away the laundry that wasn’t going with us. Then it was time to take Nala to the kennel. She generally loves other dogs and was eager to head in to the back where all the barking was coming from – didn’t even give me a second glance as I was patting her good-bye. This was the first time we had left a dog at a kennel so it was hard for me but it made it easier that she was excited about it.

Back home again to try to fit all our clothes into 2 suitcases. At 3:50 the girls came in and Grammy arrived shortly after that. I was still making last minute adjustments in the packing so Grammy put some hot dogs on while the girls were getting their carry-on’s ready. Crazy I know that we were leaving very soon and they hadn’t done that yet, but it was partly because it had been a busy week and partly because I know that the more time they have to pack the more they will take!

We were in pretty good shape by the time E arrived home. We quickly ate our hot dogs and the girls took down the last link in our countdown chain.



The car was packed quite quickly and we were on the road by 6:00. We crossed the border at Sarnia/Port Huron and after a short wait met one of the friendliest border guards I’ve ever run into. I’m sure we spent more time listening to him tell us what not to miss at Disney than we did waiting in line! Turns out he is from Florida and his mother is a cast member who works at one of the kiosks in AK. She is also a member of the Candlelight Processional choir. With admonishments to say hi to Mickey for him we were on our way!

We reached our hotel that was right across from the Detroit airport at 9:30, which was great time. Nana and Gramps had arrived earlier in the day and had requested that our rooms be close together. We brought in what we needed from the car and found our rooms – to get the airport parking deal I had to book a king room so E & I shared that and Grammy and the girls had a regular double room connected to ours. I called Gramps’ room and they were just across the hall so we went over to say hi and have a quick visit before turning in for the night.

Next time...arrival at WDW!
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:42 PM   #3
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Im here!! Cant wait to hear more!!
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:49 PM   #4
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I'm here!!

Thanks for letting me know you started this!! I'm so excited to read about your trip!

Love the picture!! I can definitely see why it's a favorite!

Can't wait for more!!
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:57 PM   #5
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I'm here!! Thanks for the PM with the link
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:45 AM   #6
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Lara I am so happy you decided to start your TR! Thank you so much for the PM with the link.....enjoyed your first post over my morning coffee...can't think of a better way to start my day!
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:14 PM   #7
ellajeansmom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelMel11 View Post
Im here!! Cant wait to hear more!!
Glad you joined in...if I remember you were there around the same time as us, I'd love to hear how things went for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angies1274 View Post
I'm here!!

Thanks for letting me know you started this!! I'm so excited to read about your trip!

Love the picture!! I can definitely see why it's a favorite!

Can't wait for more!!
Hi Angie! I'm happy that you are here to follow along
That pic was our 4th day in the parks (and unfortunately our last day all together) and we were all feeling very carefree by that point!

I see you started a PTR I'll have to come over and check it out!


Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerbellLuvr7 View Post
I'm here!! Thanks for the PM with the link
Hi Megan! As you already know we loved our rooms at Coronado Springs, I thought you'd like to read about the rest of our adventures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Queenofallthings View Post
Lara I am so happy you decided to start your TR! Thank you so much for the PM with the link.....enjoyed your first post over my morning coffee...can't think of a better way to start my day!
Hi Queen, thanks for joining in! I'm working on getting caught up on your TR and you've got a new PTR too, how exciting!!

I've been MIA from the boards for so long I figured no one would find me if I didn't send out PM's When we got home we were right into the busy-ness of Christmas, then it was year-end at work (with some not so minor hiccups this year), then Jean's hockey team started adding exhibition games to our already crazy schedule, and all of a sudden it was the end of March Hockey is now done for the season for our girls, well ice hockey is but they have now started ball hockey...luckily it is a much lesser time commitment.

Anyways I got myself organized enough to start and hopefully I can keep posting on a somewhat regular basis.

I will have the next post up next weekend - I may even get 2 in since it will be a long weekend. Have a great week everyone!
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:08 PM   #8
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Arrival Day - Nov. 26

This post is a little light on pictures as it was another travel day, but there are lots of pictures to come!

We had agreed to meet at 8:00am and go to the Bob Evan’s down the road for breakfast. Unfortunately Grammy hadn’t set an alarm so when we knocked on the connecting door at 7:45 to see how they were doing they were all still asleep! We got the girls up and ready quickly, Grammy had a super quick shower and I think we were actually at the restaurant a little after 8:30.

The greeting at this breakfast set the tone of lots of laughter for the trip! The greeter smiled and said good morning, did a quick head count and said “4 adults and 3 children?”. It took me a minute but then replied “No, 5 adults and 2 children.” She looked at our group more closely and became quite embarrassed when she realized she had counted Grammy as a kid!! With that sorted out we enjoyed a good breakfast with orders ranging from omelets to pancakes and French toast to grits.

Jean took this pic of Gramps and I:



Back at the hotel the girls and Nana & Gramps changed into swimsuits. We had picked this particular hotel as it had a park ‘n fly offer and also had an indoor pool. We all enjoyed the pool area while the kids burned of some excited energy!





Soon it was time to get back to the room to re-pack the bags and load up the car. With the park ‘n fly deal we were able to park in the airport lot and the hotel gave us a voucher for a week’s parking. The parking shuttle bus led us to a couple of empty parking spaces and took us to the terminal where we quickly checked our bags and went through security, which was not a very long line. Kids no longer have to remove their shoes and electronics and liquids no longer have to be pulled out into a separate bin so that made things much easier. One of the guards at security chatted to the girls about Disney and how lucky they were to be going

Our gate was way at the end of the terminal so we had our first attraction of the trip on the Detroit airport internal train We staked out some seats at the gate, then E, the girls and I went to find some lunch. We brought some sandwhiches and fries back to the gate and the grandparents took their turn to get lunch. We did start to worry as it was approaching boarding time and they hadn’t returned but they made it in lots of time having eaten at one of the tables.

Overall the flight was smooth with some minor turbulence. Jean took a pic of Nana during the flight:



The crew kept everyone entertained - they kept announcing football scores (remember it was the Saturday of American Thanksgiving) and then announced that they had some final scores but they had requests to not announce them as some folks were DVR’ing the game at home so if you wanted to know just call for an attendant! As we touched down in Orlando, the pilot came on again over the speaker system with “Whoa there!” while braking on the runway

We all made a bathroom break once off the plane and headed for the baggage claim – our second attraction of the trip being the airport monorail. E headed off to pick up the rental car while we waited for our luggage. It was at this point that Nana realized she had left my jacket on the plane. What had happened was that once we were in the Detroit airport, to reduce the number of things I was carrying, I put my jacket in Jean’s carry-on. Jean was sitting between Nana and Gramps on the plane and at some point decided that she didn’t want my jacket in her bag (the prerogative of a 6 year old ). So Nana took it out and tucked it under the seat, intending to put it back after landing...but she forgot. She went over to the Delta lost and found while we were waiting for the luggage. By the time the luggage had arrived she had talked to customer service – they had not found my jacket but she was given permission to go back to the terminal and look herself. I decided to not bother, I knew there was nothing in the pockets and I’ve had that jacket for at least 12 years – it gave me a good excuse to get a new one!

E then returned from the rental car counter. I had booked a mini-van (using points) but the lady at the desk convinced him that 7 people plus luggage for 7 people would not fit in a Grand Caravan so he upgraded to something bigger. I was not thrilled with having to pay more when I still think the mini-van would have worked but there wasn’t anything we could do about it at that point and we had already spent longer at the airport than I wanted to. Turns out the “something bigger” was a Ford Expedition…now I drive a Civic and E drives a Mazda 5 (essentially a mini mini-van), we drive smaller cars. In comparison this thing was huge! However it was comfortable, there was plenty of room for seating and all the luggage fit with plenty of room to spare. After some grief from our GPS we were on our way – the GPS worked fine once we were out of the cement parking garage

Soon we were driving under the wonderful gates – of which I do not have a picture because it was dark and the lights weren’t on. The girls and I started pointing out landmarks to Nana and Grammy such as the road to POR where we stayed in 2009, the Swan and Dolphin, Jean glimpsed her favourite, ToT and then we were pulling in to Coronado Springs!

E, Nana and Grammy took the girls into Panchito’s to pick out their autograph books while Gramps and I checked in. I had intended to have E or one of the girls take pictures of the lobby but it had been a long day and I forgot, but the lobby was lovely and of course decorated for Christmas.

I had opted to not do on-line check-in but there wasn’t anybody at the online check-in counter and all the other CM’s were busy with guests so they waved us down. Check in went well, I hadn’t made any official requests other than connecting rooms but an unofficial request had been made through a friend of a Dis-friend…that came through for us We were in Casitos 5, which I had wanted (half way between the main building and the main pool and the Casitos look pretty to me). There was a bit of an upgrade thrown in too as we had a water view and we were on the 1st floor.

The CM gave me a couple of anniversary buttons as I had noted that E and I were celebrating our 15th anniversary (even though it had been a couple of months before) and asked if we had any other celebrations. Gramps said well, yes, it was my wife’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and Grammy’s birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, so we got birthday buttons for them. We gathered up the paperwork and met the rest of the group…E was already stressing that it was going to be harder to get Grammy out of the gift shops than the girls!

We wandered down the hall to Pepper Market, which was not busy at all, although it was getting late for dinner as it was after 7:00. When we got to the table we had a laugh because we had ended up with 3 sets of kids colouring pages and crayons…Grammy had once again been mistaken for a kid!



Everyone enjoyed their meals – Nana and I both had quesadilla’s, Ella had pasta, Jean had pizza, and Gramps, E and Grammy all had roast chicken. The grandparents were impressed with the size and quality of their meal and were pleasantly surprised when I reminded them they also got dessert. I think most of the desserts went back to the room with us since we were stuffed.

I left E to help the grandparents with their first time paying using the dining plan (we did not get charged gratuity but this was before the change in the set up of PM) and I went off to track down our grocery order and the stroller I had rented for Jean. Both were in luggage services. It took the CMs some time to find the stroller – it was up on a higher shelf since it had been delivered well before noon, and then I had to go back when I realized I didn’t have the bag with the milk and yoghurt since that was kindly being stored in a fridge!

Finally I met up with everyone at the truck and we drove over to Casitas 5. Following the signs to our rooms of course took us the long way around the building but we were entertained by fireworks (from F!) along the way. We were very pleased with the rooms and the location! After getting things a little organized, Gramps, Jean and I went for a walk to explore a bit…we followed the path to the Dig Site, Jean wanted to go swimming when she saw the pool but I convinced her it was too late for that evening. She did admit to starting to be tired so we wandered back to the room, catching some of Illuminations on the way and got the girls in bed. The rest of us finished unpacking and with reminders that we were planning for rope drop in the morning we settled in for the night.

Next time...DHS - do we make rope drop?
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:51 AM   #11
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Glad to hear you had a smooth flight and you were able to get everything sorted out with the rental!

Sounds like a good travel day overall!! Can't wait to hear if you made it to rope drop at DHS!
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:15 PM   #12
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I'm so glad my friend came through for you!!!! She is such an amazing girl and will do anything for anyone!!!! Can't wait to see some room and resort pics
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:06 PM   #13
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Literally i'm so excited to rad your trip's story and so informative I've enjoyed while read it. Any how thank you so much sharing this story here. There is so many thing I can learn in this.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queenofallthings View Post
You had a great travel day! Everyone looks so happy and relaxed!

I cannot imagine driving a Ford Expedition but I bet it was sure comfy! Can't wait to hear more!
We were pretty relaxed, we were all so excited to get the trip underway For us the Expedition felt ginormous, but E has driven trucks before and it had one of those rear camera thingies so he was OK with driving it, and once we got to the parks it did not look out of place in the parking lots!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angies1274 View Post
Glad to hear you had a smooth flight and you were able to get everything sorted out with the rental!

Sounds like a good travel day overall!! Can't wait to hear if you made it to rope drop at DHS!
I was thankful it was a smooth flight, DH is a nervous flyer but we try to not let the girls realize that because there is no sense in making them think there might be something to be nervous about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerbellLuvr7 View Post
I'm so glad my friend came through for you!!!! She is such an amazing girl and will do anything for anyone!!!! Can't wait to see some room and resort pics
Thanks again Megan It had been such a crazy week before we left, it made my day when I got your messages about her helping us out! I didn't take many pictures of the rooms unfortunately but I do have some of the resort and pool coming up in a couple of posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Armando625 View Post
Literally i'm so excited to rad your trip's story and so informative I've enjoyed while read it. Any how thank you so much sharing this story here. There is so many thing I can learn in this.
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:46 PM   #15
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Love the pic of the group. Too cute, can't wait to read more.
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