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Old 05-28-2012, 12:30 AM   #1
ariel1025
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The Land, The Sea & The Dark Side ... With A Toddler! 9/1 UPDATE!

Hello, and welcome to my fourth TR! If you are new to my TR and if you are following over from my Pre-TR, I'm so happy to talk to you again

A quick intro for all those who are new around here and then we will get to the good stuff



My name is Shannon, and I am the narrator of this whole shindig! I am a 100% Disney addict and am in charge of all the planning, re-planning, and future planning of these trips. When I am not dreaming of, planning or hoping for our next trip I work part-time in the HR Department of a local company. But, most importantly, I am the Mom and Wife to the other two guys you see there

The big kid pictured is my Hubby of 4 years (celebrated on this trip!), Candi (short for Candido). He doesn't consider himself a Disney addict (simply meaning he doesn't spend every day dreaming of the next trip) but he definitely enjoys our trips and never opposes the next one He works full time for the same company as me (and, nope, I didn't hire him He actually recommended me for the job after he worked there for a couple years and now I would be the one that had to fire him if it came to that YIKES ). In addition to being a hard worker, he is also the most caring, loving, playful Dad I could have ever wished for our son!

And, of course, the star of this show is our Son, James (who we also call Cinco, as he is the 5th generation!). He turned 16 months on this trip, and though we know he will never remember this trip, we also know we will never forget the pure joy and excitement he displayed for most of it. He is a major Mickey Mouse fan and would spend all day watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse if we allowed it (which we don't!).


Also joining us on this trip were my parents, Ken and Mary.



I will also refer to them as Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa along the way. My Dad has been working for the same aeronautical company for the last 25 years and my Mom works part-time for a retail store to keep herself busy. Neither of them had been to WDW since our family trip in 1998! And I'm pretty sure only agreed to go so they could get quality time with their Grandson. They live 600 miles away, so we only see each other every 3 months or so

Ok, so maybe that wasn't exactly a short introduction Now you have learned that I like to babble, but can also rest assured that this TR won't be lacking in details (or pictures for that matter - between the 4 of us we took close to 7000 of 'em ).

Now, on with the show ....

Oh, wait, sorry, quick disclaimer - this trip didn't take place solely at WDW (as my title probably gave away) so I will be writing the chapters in the coorelating categories on the DIS (don't worry I will post links so you can follow along ).

Ok, on with the show (for real!)

Day -1 actually started nice and late for me, as James decided to sleep in I had done all the necessary shopping and other running around in the days prior, which means I didn't have to leave the house at all and got the luxury of lounging around in my jammies while getting packed and ready for the trip

I started my day, just like any other, by texting Candi (who wasn't so lucky, and was at worked dressed in shirt and tie )

At exactly 8:47 a.m. I sent him this message


Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

I guess you could say I was just a tad bit excited

The remainder of the day was spent working on all the last minute items I needed to clear up at work (I work from home, so that was done in my jammies too ) and typical day before vacation stuff. Packing, cleaning out the fridge, taking out the trash, emptying the diaper pails, checking and double-checking the packing list ... the usual!

Unfortunately, my little guy was having a rough day with a new molar trying to break in so he was a bit of a snuggle bug



Now, don't get me wrong, at an age where he'd rather run around than snuggle, I will take those moment any way I can get 'em. But, I hated that he was hurting and it did set me back quite a bit in conquering my "to do" list.

By the time Candi got home from work I had crossed off all the work items on my list and started laying out clothes to pack, but hadn't done much else

We decided that we would run out and pick up dinner followed by getting James down for bed, and then conquer the packing together.

The rule in our house is that we don't dirty dishes the night before a trip so it's usually a pizza night. As fate would have it, I got an alert for an awesome Groupon deal for Pizza 9 earlier that week! We had both been wanting to try out their pizza and I jumped on it quick as can be. I happily called in my order and was stoked when they told me it would be ready in 15 minutes. We all loaded into the car (don't worry I put real clothes on ) and entered the address into my phone's GPS. Ooops, in my quickness I didn't realize the new location was 30 minutes from our house. Oh well, what's done is done, and at least I don't have any last minute dishes to do - priorities people!

After getting home we all enjoyed our feast and after getting James his bedtime bath, I proceeded to start packing while Candi put him down for bed. Unfortunately, he had a rough time going to sleep (those pesky teeth!) so I didn't get help as early as I had planned. I had just finished packing up James' suitcase (using the ziploc method of packing) when Candi finally came in saying James had fallen asleep. We got our suitcases packed as quickly as possible, double checked the packing list, loaded the car and took our showers before we got the luxury of putting our heads on our pillows. I'm so grateful I was able to sleep in, but felt super bad for Candi who had been up since 6 that morning!

The last time I looked at the clock before falling asleep it was 1:08 a.m.



Last edited by ariel1025; 09-01-2012 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:26 AM   #2
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Shannon,
I am onboard with you. Cant wait to hear more about your trip. Am I really 1st this time to join in?
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:02 AM   #3
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Subscribing. Can't wait to hear all about your trip.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:12 AM   #4
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I'm following along! Ahhh the day before departure day is always so busy around here too. I'm glad you guys got everything done and remained in one piece! That's the important thing
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:27 PM   #5
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I'm in! James is a cutie!

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Old 05-28-2012, 11:08 PM   #6
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I'm in! Can't wait to hear all about it!
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:14 AM   #7
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reading along... living vicariously through your stories!!
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:00 AM   #8
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I'm here! Excellent start! I am so excited to hear about how James enjoyed Disney and the cruise!
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvEeyore View Post
Shannon,
I am onboard with you. Cant wait to hear more about your trip. Am I really 1st this time to join in?
Hello again! You are the first this time - thanks for joining in

Quote:
Originally Posted by wild.zinnia View Post
Subscribing. Can't wait to hear all about your trip.
I'm so excited to tell the story

Quote:
Originally Posted by archdandy View Post
I'm following along! Ahhh the day before departure day is always so busy around here too. I'm glad you guys got everything done and remained in one piece! That's the important thing
Ack, no matter how hard I try, I am never as prepared as I want to be the day before

Quote:
Originally Posted by jedijill View Post
I'm in! James is a cutie!

Jill in CO
Thanks so much

Quote:
Originally Posted by JennisSilly View Post
I'm in! Can't wait to hear all about it!
Yay! Hi Jen!

Quote:
Originally Posted by udflyer00 View Post
reading along... living vicariously through your stories!!
Thanks!! Telling our story is the only thing keeping me from being thoroughly depressed that it is all over
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOUTHERNtinkerBELLE View Post
I'm here! Excellent start! I am so excited to hear about how James enjoyed Disney and the cruise!
Hi Courtney! Glad to have you here, as always!
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:06 PM   #11
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So, just what were my parents up to the day before our trip?

Unlike us, they didn't have a day filled with jobs, or last minute work, or packing or final cleaning touch ups on the house. For them, this had been done in the days prior (I suppose it's a little easier to get stuff done without a 16 month old to distract you ).

However, just because they didn't have a mile long "to do" list doesn't mean their day wasn't full of adventures too.

In fact, their day was packed full of activities. They left their house at the ripe 'ol hour of 6 a.m. Why you ask? Don't worry, that's what I asked too

The answer? Because they were driving to Dallas (area), TX that day. If I recall correctly, it's about an 8 hour drive from where they live in Kansas. Take into account a stop at the casino in Oklahoma and a nice long lunch stop and they arrived at their hotel around 5 p.m.



They stayed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Arlington. It isn't one of their newer hotels, but my Dad said it was recently remodeled and was great for what they were looking for. It had a hot breakfast included, comfortable beds and shuttles available for all their destinations.

Wait! Didn't I just say they drove? Why in the world do they need a shuttle?

Well, the reason for the drive down to Dallas was so my Dad could take his new car to a mechanic he knows down there for an engine upgrade (or whatever the correct car lingo is ). They took the car to the mechanic immediately after checking into their hotel, which left them without transportation the rest of their stay.

Since they were going to be down there anyway, my parents decided that they should start their vacation a day early, by catching a game





My parents are huge Texas Rangers fans and since there happened to be a game they just couldn't resist attending!

Coincidentally the Rangers were playing the KC Royals, which they found hysterical since they are from Kansas





Unfortunately, it wasn't the Rangers night and they lost the game 8-3 (or something similar)

That's why you should be an awesome Cardinals fan like me - just sayin'

Oops, getting off track here ...

So, while they were sad to see their team lose, they couldn't dwell on it too long. They had to get back to their hotel for a good night's sleep because the next day was (finally!) departure day ...

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Old 05-29-2012, 01:10 PM   #12
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[Clearing throat] The KC Royals are from Missouri! j/k...I'm born and raised in Missouri and a Royals fan from way back...when they were more than the farm team for the Yankees.

That's a long boring drive from Kansas to Dallas! I used to drive from Killeen, Tx to Missouri...Yuck!

Jill in CO
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:08 PM   #13
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I'm in! James is a real cutie!
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:13 PM   #14
ariel1025
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jedijill View Post
[Clearing throat] The KC Royals are from Missouri! j/k...I'm born and raised in Missouri and a Royals fan from way back...when they were more than the farm team for the Yankees.

That's a long boring drive from Kansas to Dallas! I used to drive from Killeen, Tx to Missouri...Yuck!

Jill in CO
I was wondering if anybody was going to comment on that

Well, since Kansas is lame and has no teams of their own, we have to steal yours

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I'm in! James is a real cutie!
Thank you!
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:04 PM   #15
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Travel Day: Part One

*** Quick Disclaimer: throughout the course of our vacation there were 5 different cameras used. A Nikon D5000, Canon Powershot AD750, Nikon D7000, Fuji "somethingoranother" and the ever trusty Iphone camera Needless to say, the pictures will vary greatly in quality. Also, as much as I wanted to, the photos will not be edited ***


It was here! Finally! The day I had been waiting on for over a year! Since James was born if we're being honest! Ok, if we are really being honest, I had been dreaming about it since I found out I was pregnant Problem was, I was still in the middle of dreaming when the alarm woke me up at 4:20 a.m.!

I know everybody says how they hate mornings except on Disney Day. Yeah, well, I hate mornings even on Disney Day I am quite possibly the worst morning person you will ever meet. The hair is a mess, the attitude is less than stellar, the clumsiness is at an all time high ... you get the point right? Does being Disney Day make me slightly happier to get up? Sure! Does it make me leap out of my bed with unlimited joy and energy? Not a chance!

But, what must be done, must be done. And, getting to Orlando before dinnertime requires an early morning flight. So, I moaned my way out of bed (before the sun, mind you) and got ready. Or, as ready as I deemed appropriate for an all day plane ride. The hair and teeth got brushed and clothes were put on ... make-up however, did not make an appearance. So I will save your eyes from that scary picture

Once Candi and I had gotten ready we went in together to wake-up James for his first visit to meet Mickey Mouse However, he is like me when it comes to waking up. He can wake us up at whatever hour he decides is awesome. However, if we wake him up, it's all over. Yep, he's definitely my child


This is how much he helped us get him ready. The little stink went right back to sleep - through the diaper change and all


He was less than happy when we sat him up to try and comb his crazy hair. And, as far as he was concerned we were completely nuts if we thought he was actually going to allow us to brush his teeth.

Once we finished getting the little guy ready we did one last house run through to make sure all lights were off, the AC was adjusted appropriately, the trashes were empty and no bags or items were left behind. After we felt sure enough that everything that needed to be done was done we loaded up the car to make our way to the airport.

It was 5:06 a.m. when we pulled out of the driveway - only 6 minutes behind schedule, not too shabby! I was more than pleased as I knew I had scheduled in extra time in case we ran into a highway closure or anything else unexpected. That week the news kept talking about a huge bike rally coming through town that was going to shut down several roads on that morning. The problem was, we never caught what time that was going to be happening, so I didn't want to take any chances.

The airport is about 30 minutes from our house so I knew that 6 minutes wasn't going to put us behind enough to make a difference. Luckily, we never encountered any road closures or major traffic hold ups along the way and made excellent time.

We decided to use the same parking lot as last time we traveled. It's an off-site lot, but they have shuttles that take you to the airport, costs about half the price as they do at the airport, and Candi is acquaintances with the owner so we trust it.

A shuttle was waiting for us as soon as we parked and we were at the airport in no time. We were one of 2 families on the shuttle, so the driver quickly had us unloaded and on our way. We decided to do curbside luggage check so that we didn't have to haul all our stuff inside. Pre-baby we traveled with 2 carry-ons and a backpack. This time was a whole other story - we had 1 regular size suitcase, 1 medium size suitcase, 1 carry-on suitcase, 1 diaper bag, 1 camera bag, 1 backpack and 1 lunch bag full of snacks for James. Oh, and a stroller In the end we checked 2 suitcases and the stroller. The suitcases were $25 each but at least the stroller was free.

Now to make our way through security - oy vey! It wasn't easy to lug all the stuff we were carrying on, but there was no way I was paying to check more than was required. And, since we were traveling with a lap child we were each allowed 1 carry-on and 2 personal items. So, away we go carrying all the additional luggage and James - while trying to hand over IDs, boarding cards, remove our shoes, get everything on the conveyor belt and retrieve it all at the other end. To be honest, it actually went more smoothly than I anticipated. When we flew last time James was 6 months so we didn't check the stroller and we had formula and baby food, which required us to go through additional screening. This time we just had to wait for everything to go through the x-ray machine and gather it all at the end.

Once we had our shoes back on and ensured we had all our stuff, we made our way to our gate to wait for our flight. It was at this time we realized that the pizza the night before may not have been the best idea. Neither Candi or I had eaten any really large, greasy meals for close to 12 weeks, because we were participating in our work's Biggest Loser competition. Unfortunately, we were both suffering from major belly aches and Candi also had major heart burn going on

I took a deep breath, hoping it would pass before the flight and took off to get James some milk for his sippy cup while the boys waited at the gate.


I was actually pleasantly surprised. I know close to $1.50 for a small bottle of milk isn't cheap, but I expected to pay double that since we were in the airport. I was also thrilled to realize that it was only 6:09 a.m. almost 30 minutes earlier than I had expected us to be at our gate!

When I made it back to the gate James was busy looking for the planes while Candi called his parents to let them know we had made it and would be boarding soon



We took turns taking James to walk around to hopefully burn out his new found energy before we boarded. I'm happy to report - it worked! About 10 minutes before we boarded I posted this to Facebook


Oh Mom, it's TOO EARLY for pictures

That eye rub was a clear sign that he was ready to fade back into a peaceful slumber. And, since they were starting to board the plane, it couldn't have been more perfect timing. When we heard them start to board we gathered our stuff to board, but were surprised to hear they didn't call for family boarding after the first class group Now, we were flying AA with assigned seats so that wasn't a big deal. I was just really hoping to avoid trying to smack people in the aisles while trying to balance all our stuff. That would not be the case, however, since we were boarding group 3. Oh well! I think in the end I only bumped one person with my camera bag and they were reasonably nice about it.

We found our seats - right over the wing - and settled in for our flight. The great thing about our plane is that one side only had 2 seats in the row, so that was what we reserved. This way we could avoid being sat with someone who is annoyed by toddlers as travel mates

Before the plane had even closed it's doors James crawled into my lap and settled in for (what I hoped would be) the entire flight to Dallas










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