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Old 07-20-2012, 04:50 PM   #31
murmkc
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Word?
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:41 PM   #32
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Time for an update.

It's 135 days until we're at Disney World.

It's been far too long since my last update. Of course Disney things have happened because I think of Disney and this crazy surprise vacation every single day. I also read posts here on the disBoards obsessively; I might have developed and addiction problem actually. It's just kind of impossible to get enough Disney lately. And reading about or seeing pictures of the world make it sometimes seem too good to be true that we are actually going! But we are, in a little more than 4 months. Time is flying by (as it usually does).

I have several reservations I'm hoping to change just a little bit. Dinner at Sanaa and Prime Time Cafe I'm hoping to move up to make them just a little earlier in the day. My Tusker House breakfast is scheduled during EMH one morning, and I just don't really love that, so I'm still trying to figure out what to do there. I also had a San Angel Inn lunch for later than we wanted, but I've already been able to fix that. Hurrah.

I was excited when I first heard rumors of Free Dining during our trip. My friend who is a Disney travel agent gave me the heads up it was coming, but it turned out since the first part of our trip is heavily discounted and not a package, and the second part is a room only, it wouldn't really work out for us. Dang. I keep telling myself not having the dining plan won't make any difference, but then there's a little voice inside (I don't think it's Jiminy Cricket ) that thinks it would be so much better with it. Looks like I'm just going to have to wait and see. Of course I'll let you know when I get back!

As you may or may not remember, my little brother is a serious Disney fanatic. Last weekend we had a big sibling get together and ended up playing a Disney trivia game. I thought it would be fun to play me and my brother against everyone else, but that got shot down and we were each on our own teams. They thought it would be fair because Brian's more into the Walt and business side of Disney, where I am a big movie and songs fan. But even with the song/movie advantage I was pretty sure Brian would win. He's also been to the parks many more times than I have, and he knows a lot of history.


cards from the game

He won. But not by much. My team did better than I thought we might. The game we played was from the mid 90s, so he suggested we get a current one and try that next time. I'm all for it. Plus it will help work everyone up about our giant family trip we're planning for 2015. I want to make sure everyone actually gets excited and saves up for it. I think the little nieces will be 6, 5 and 4 then and how awesome would it be to go experience the magic with little girls you love - at that age? Super awesome, so my fingers are crossed.


adorable nieces as they are now

135 days. It really doesn't seem like much. Have I mentioned I am super excited? Ok then. 'Till next time, TTFN!
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:40 AM   #33
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Disney trivia was super fun! I am on the lookout for a newer version already.

I also can't believe your next trip is SO soon! Still a year and a half for me - BLEH.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:46 AM   #34
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Turning 46 and my Disney gift (card).


My birthday was a couple of weeks ago. I turned 46 and I have to tell you, I am loving this mid40s thing. I can't speak for everyone else, but for me it's been so much better than being young was. I wouldn't trade 46 for 26 for all the tea in China. (Especially because I don't like tea, and where would I put it all?)

One of the good parts of being 46 is that I already have a lot of the things I want. When my family started asking what I wanted for my birthday, I wasn't really coming up with anything. All I'd been thinking about was Disney and our upcoming trip. It occurred to me one day that all I really wanted was to make sure several frozen mango margaritas were in the budget! I don't usually drink and tend to think of the cost as a big luxury - and at almost ten bucks a shot, those things can add up fast. But I wanted to know that when I was walking through the Mexico pavilion at EPCOT, I could get one if I wanted.

So I asked for a Disney gift certificate! Most everyone thought that was kind of weird, and surely there was something I wanted more. I even started to question myself. Was I sure I wanted to spend a golden gift opportunity on a trip almost 5 months away? Yeah, I was. The gift card prevailed.

No one else really wanted to go online and figure out how to buy one (really? it's so simple), and I'm the one with the card we use for online purchases, I agreed to do it. As a mom, I've purchased my own presents plenty of times through the years. It's not so bad, and you can be sure you get exactly what you want.

I got online and checked out the available cards. I kind of liked the Bambi cards, and an Aristocats one, but I didn't really love any of the designs. And then I remembered reading somewhere on these boards about personalized gift cards. !!! For 4 bucks more, you can upload your own image to have printed on the card. Fantastic!

Here's a link about them in case you're interested.

I tried several photos, from my first trip in the early 90s and my last trip in 2010. I settled on a picture from last time of me with Thumper and Ms Bunny (one of my highlights from that trip!). Oh, I just realized it's my avatar here! Obviously a favorite.

Here's what their website says my card will look like:



I'll show you the real one when I get it!
(131 days!)
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:55 PM   #35
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Great call on the gift card!
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:28 PM   #36
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Great call on the gift card!
Thanks man. I knew you'd understand.

Today's the 125 day mark. I'm trying to decide when it's time to make a countdown calendar, and what I'm going to do to make one for this trip. The one I made the last time was good, but I think I should come up with something new for this time.
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:32 AM   #37
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Gift Cards delivered!

So for my birthday present, you may remember, I chose a personalized Disney gift card.

It came in a plain, greeting card sized envelope. No frills, no decorations - but the return address says DisneyStore.com, so I knew to get excited.

Mine came with a card (which I had picked out) that looked like this:



I opened it up to see this:



Hooray and how fun! I can't wait to use it!




Now my DD19 doesn't have a job. This is sometimes an issue. She is a full time student, even in the summer, so I can live with it. To help motivate her to get a job, her father and I don't give her money and don't buy her stuff. She has some chores she's expected to do as part of the family, and sometimes she earns tiny bits of extra money buy doing extra chores or projects. So far she's fine with that.

But I started thinking about her at Disney. We all know she's going to want to buy at least a couple souvenirs or things for her friends. And I know she's going to want more Diet Coke's than we feel like buying her. I've warned her we won't be paying for that kind of stuff, and told her she needed to find a way to save some money before our trip, but realistically, where's it going to come from? So I decided to buy her her own gift card, and devised a bribe -- I mean incentive plan for her to earn it. I'm pretty sure she'll succeed.

When you buy a predesigned gift card, you don't get to choose which greeting card it comes it, but you do get to add some text if you want. Here's her's:



And inside:



She hasn't seen it yet. Her first chance to see if she's earned it is the 10th of this month. I'll let you know how she does.

So there are our gift cards, so far. I think mine is a big win in terms of birthday gifts. I know I'm going to love using it!

123 days. And counting.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:31 AM   #38
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They're opening FLE just for us!


103 days. I'm so close to double digits I can feel it. I think that deserves a happy dance!



So obviously the big news since my last update is the Fantasyland Expansion announcement. The new part of the part officially opens the day we get there, although "previews" start almost a month before on November 19 (and special previews for DVC and Passholders get their peeks even earlier).

Woohoo, right?

Well maybe woohoo. I mean I am certainly glad we will be riding the rides and checking it out, but I kind of expected it to be open sooner and of course I'm worried about the CROWDS!

I am trying not to worry about the crowds though. It's not like we can change our dates, so what help would worry be? This kind of opening has never happened before, so anyone's guess about crowd level is pure conjecture. And this whole trip has been like a giant surprise gift from the universe so I am choosing to think of this as just another good sign.

I don't know if I'm being naive and living in my own version of fantasyland, or if I'm being rational and positive, but here's my take.

First of all it's the first half of December, so even if numbers double it won't be as bad as later in the month or other super crowded times.

Second, with previews starting so much earlier, surely many locals and frequent visitors will go earlier to check it out.

Third, the park is going to suddenly cover a much larger area, so although the FLE area might be swamped, the rest of the park could be pretty normal. And even more so for the other parks!

Fourth, we'll be there for 8 days. 6 whole days and 2 travel days. I know for many that's not a long trip, but it will be the longest we've ever stayed. By the end of our stay, the crowds will be less, and that should give us enough time to visit everything we want to.

So even thought at first I kind of freaked out a little bit, now I don't think we'll change our plans hardly at all. Here's what we're thinking we'll do (although as always, all plans are subject to change without warning or notice!).

On Thursday our flight from Kansas City lands at 11am. Once we check in, our plan had been to take a quick trip to walk around the FLE (which I had assumed would have opened a few weeks before), and then head to Epcot. Epcot is DX's favorite park, and he hasn't visited since the early 90s. Since he has to work the next day, he got to pick.

I think we'll still do the same. Yes, it might be insane at the MK, but we can't pass up being there on opening day. We realize it could be miserable, and we might only stay long enough to walk through, but we still want to. When we've had our fill of crowds, we'll take off to Epcot.

The next time we had planned to be in the park is bright and early for rope drop the next day (DD and I alone). Again, I understand it could be insane and if it is we will just leave for another park. But I'm thinking 1. EMH limits how many people will be there. 2. Locals probably won't be there bright and early. 3. People who are flying in for the weekend will probably arrive later in the day.

We plan to walk through the FLE, ride the Ariel ride as many times as we can, eat a snack at Gaston's, take a thousand pictures and then enjoy our non Fantasyland favorites across the park. Even DD19, who plans to stay out late and sleep in every morning says she wants to wake up for rope drop that morning, so that's where we'll be.

Saturday is the first full day we'll all be at the park together. DHS has EMH, so that's where we'll start our day. DD and I made the mistake of never starting a day at DHS on our last trip, and we never got a chance to ride TSMM or RNR. Star Tours was being updated at the time, the shows were mostly over for the day, we didn't see any characters and we were bored. So we're going to try to make up for it and give the park a good chance by getting there for rope drop Saturday morning. At least the DX and I are. Who can predict what the DD will do?

But when we're done with DHS, we had planned to head back to the MK. It closes at 10 than night which is the latest of all the parks. But on Saturday night I am sure it will be wildly crowded. Saturdays are always crazy at the MK, right? and I think this one will be a bit too much for us. If we change any plans, this night will be it. But where else to go? AK closes at 5, so that's out. HS is open till 8 but I can't imagine we'll want to spend the whole day at one park. Epcot will be open till 9:30, but we already have a lot of Epcot scheduled. We'll definitely have to just play that night by ear.

Our next scheduled day to visit the MK is Monday afternoon as we have a very early dinner ADR at LTT. Will it still be crowded by Monday? I don't image a lot of locals will be there, and maybe by then a lot of weekend visitors will be gone. Either way we'll be there before 4. There are EMH so it will be open till 11 and at least the last 3 hours should be less crowded than earlier in the day.

Tuesday and Wednesday, at the end of our trip, are way less scheduled and even further away from opening day, so I'm not worried about them. We leave on Thursday the 13th, but late enough that we can stay in a park until noon. Since the MK has morning magic hours, that's where we'll be. Maybe we'll eat lunch at Be Our Guest as a last thing before we head back to unenchanted real life.

So basically I'm not really changing any of our plans because of the opening. Maybe Saturday night, but we'll have to wait and see how it feels when we get there. Mostly, I'm excited. I mean I had hoped it would be open before we went - to escape the crowds and so I'd get to see pictures and read reviews to make plans before I went. But really, with previews opening almost a month before, I will certainly get all that from you lovely people here at the dis!

I'm staying positive. 103 days. I can almost taste how close it's getting!


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Old 09-04-2012, 02:08 PM   #39
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I started a PDR.

I've started a Pre Dining Report. It's crazy but true. I didn't even know there were such things, but I was stuck in bed one day last week and spent too much time wandering around these boards. I checked out a couple and decided my life would not be complete if I didn't start one myself.

It's right over here - just click this link.

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Old 09-13-2012, 09:16 PM   #40
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Still over 450 days for me... sigh.

If we end up with the 1BR at GF you will HAVE to tag along!

Until then I will live vicariously through you and your much more current trip plans.
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:07 AM   #41
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Still over 450 days for me... sigh.

If we end up with the 1BR at GF you will HAVE to tag along!

Until then I will live vicariously through you and your much more current trip plans.

Yes, but how many days since your last trip? Less than me, for sure.

And don't worry brother, if there's any way I can tag along to the new GF expansion, I will be SO THERE!!

Living vicariously is exactly what trip reports are all about.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:08 AM   #42
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I love the pics on your gift cards
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Me (Amy) DH (Brad) DD (Lexi) DS (Levi)

2012 PTR In Progress: 2012 PTR ~ Skipping Skool for Free Dining!
Trip Report: Sept 2010 TR ~ ♥ Vacay with the Lovebugs ♥ ~ 2010 PTR: 2010 PTR ~ 'The Non-Catchy Title PTR'

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Old 09-21-2012, 09:35 AM   #43
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I love the pics on your gift cards
Thank you!

Having the gift cards in my drawer with those fun pictures makes me so much more excited than just having some cash in an envelope! I'm thinking about buying a couple more before our trip.

75 days!!
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:07 PM   #44
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My new camera!

Going to Disney involves so much more fun than the trip itself! There's the dreaming and the planning, the buying stuff to prepare for the trip, and then when you get back there are all the photos and trip reports and memory books! If you do it right, I think you can always be in some phase of Disney happiness.

Lately, I've been in the buying stuff phase. That part is tricky, because if you don't have lots of money you have to consider how buying stuff now gives you less disposable cash to use while you're actually on your vacation. But some things must be purchased! It's a balancing act.

The first thing I want to tell you about isn't really just for Disney at all, although it will make the trip so much more fun, and so much more fun to remember.

I have loved taking photos since I was in grade school. My parents gave me an old 110 and told me to go to town, which I'm sure they regretted later when I kept giving them exposed rolls to develop and begged for another blank roll. They must not have minded too much though because for my 16th birthday they gave me a Nikon EM with an extra zoom lens and a nifty bag to keep it in. I used the heck out of that thing. I wanted to look at everything through the view finder. All the time.

That was my main camera for a really long time. When digital cameras starting showing up, I knew I wanted one of those! In 1996, I bought my first - a [URL="http://www.casio.com/products/archive/Digital_Cameras/QV_Series/QV-11/"]Casio QV-11. I loved it and took a trillion photos. I've had several point and shoot digital cameras since then, but could never come up with the cash to buy a real digital slr camera.

Until this summer.

Around my birthday, I wrote a couple articles for an online magazine and with the money I made I decided to finally splurge and buy myself a long longed for dSLR. I did tons of researched but in the end, chose a Nikon. Of course. I am a Nikon girl.

Here it is, my much loved and much treasured Nikon d5100.



It is a fantastic camera. I still have lots to learn about it, but it is a great camera and I'd recommend it to anyone.

I have the kit lens that came with it. It's 18-55m and it works great. But I often find myself wanting to zoom in a little closer. Luckily my olden days zoom will work on it - I just have to set everything manually. Not too big of a drag, but I still think about buying a bigger zoom for our trip. Or just for life in general. We'll see what happens in the next 7 weeks.

Of course having the camera, I had to buy some things to go with it!

Some books to help me figure it out.



An incredible camera bag to hold the camera, one lens, and my little wristlet so I can wander the parks (and other places) with just one bag.



This one is from a company called Crumpler, and they call it their 5 million dollar home bag. I don't know why, but they do.



If I had another lens and didn't need to put my wallet in there, I could easily fit the lens on one side. There are plenty of other slots for things like extra sd cards and the battery charger. My one complaint is there's no outside pocket that's easy to get in and out of. If I could I'd add a pocket on the back for things like my keys or phone. Sadly, you can't have everything.



A wrist strap.



I don't like to wear the camera around my neck, and just wrapping the neck strap around my wrist several times didn't seem very secure. I found this cute one at phat straps - and nicely enough, the disboard and phat straps added a 15% off coupon at the bottom of a forum page. Thanks internet! I really dig the fabric on the outside, and inside it's lined with a soft, thick brown material that's comfy on my wrist. It seems very secure and I'm never worried I'm going to drop it or let it fall.

And then of course boring things I won't show you, like an extra battery and a couple 32g sd cards. And a new sd card reader. And a remote shutter release. And a lens cleaning cloth.

So there's my big pre-Disney purchase. I'm seriously in LOVE with it. I can't wait to take tons of pictures of the happiest place on earth with it - and then share them all with you!

48 days!!!
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:21 PM   #45
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22 days! or 3 weeks from tomorrow.

It is 22 days til our trip. 22 days! I can barely believe it.

I have our Magical Express package, but I need to call and give them our return info and ask for one more luggage tag. We're flying Southwest so for 3 people we can take 6 bags for free. Luxurious! We're only going to take 4 though, but we only have 3 tags.

I have our Photopass+ package. When I read on these boards that the price had dropped to $149 I went ahead and ordered it. I am super excited to have it, even though I read the thread today about people being unhappy with their photos. I'm planning to stop for a LOT of pictures, and asking for magic ones. We're only doing one meal that includes photos (Tusker House breakfast), but we will get plenty of ride photos. I haven't opened the case up to check out the inside yet, but I have a feeling I will before we leave.

Yesterday I got our Undercover Tourist park passes in the mail and couldn't believe how close and how real this trip is getting!

Several weeks ago I reserved an EVC for the DX. He has Ankylosing spondylitis (which means the discs in his back have fused together) and isn't able to stand or walk for more than a few minutes. Even that he needs a cane for. Thank goodness for Disney and scooters - there really aren't that many vacations he can still manage with his disability otherwise.

Earlier this week I placed our order with wegoshop. I'm not sure if I picked the right delivery time to meet with them and I'm not sure if they'll drop it off with with bell services but I am sure I can figure that out before we go. We're not getting much (water, sodas, some breakfast and snacks), but I'm really grateful that that's an option.

My list of things we need to buy before we go has shrunk down to just a handful of things. I have Disney shirts for me for almost every day, and and some Eeyore pj pants for sleeping. DX and DD have a couple Disney shirts which is all they want. I still need to tie dye matching shirts for the 3 of us, iron on a WallE for a DX shirt and I'm waiting on my Graphic Design student DD to make me a "Strange but Special" iron on.

I'm making myself some Shrinky Dink ear rings (remember those?). Two pair are colored and cut out and waiting to be shrunk. I'm not sure if I'll make more than those. I've thought about shrinking some Mickey heads to glue to a big barrette but with 22 days left who knows if that will happen.

I bought a zoom lens for my (kinda) new camera. I think it should come today (it better come today) and then I'll try to use the heck out of it so I'm comfortable with it by the time we leave. Of course I'm still learning some of the magic of the camera so that might be wishful thinking. I guess I need to finish reading the book I bought about the camera, too.

The dog/house sitter is all lined up.

I am almost ready. I even have our 4th bag sitting in a corner so I can toss things specific to the trip into it as I get them.

Here's some other stuff I still need to do:

Hem some pants! (why does that seem like such a giant chore?)
Find a jacket for DX.
Break in my shoes some more.
Keep practice walking.
If I can lose 3 more pounds that will make 40 total.
Decide which pants to take.
Get a glucagon kit for the DD.
Refill other emergency Rx.

Tomorrow morning I can say it's three weeks til we're there.
Sorry there's no photos in this post. I'm a believer that every post is better with photos! But don't worry, I'll show you some of our Disney clothes asap.
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