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Old 06-29-2012, 03:52 PM   #1
emksmama
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NO, Dad, you CAN'T walk between parks!! July 2012 PTR and the whole family's along!

Three weeks til our trip and I'm finally doing a PTR! I'm starting to panic, so I hope that by getting all of my lists, thoughts and concerns in one place, I won't be so overwhelmed I decide to forget the whole thing.




Yeah, right....

Quick intro of our cast of characters, and then into my plans! I'm Amy, age 40, and the only one really "planning" this fabulous family vacation! (more on that in a bit). My DH is Darrell, 42, never been to Disney before, and we have two little princesses...Emily is 9 and Molly is 8. This will be their first trip as well. We live in north central Indiana, about an hour north of Indianapolis. We've been to Florida three times (2005, 2006 & 2011) but always to the beach. We're drivers, so every trip we take our poor minivan!

Darrell and I in Florida last summer at Ft Myers Beach


and my sweetie with his princesses on Father's Day


Also making the trip with us are my parents (late 60's) and my sister (34 and single). My brother and his wife can't get away from work to go, so there will be 7 of us in all. And before anyone asks, NO WE ARE NOT DRIVING together!!! My husband's a saint for even doing a big family vacation, if we were all riding in one car I think he would volunteer to stay home.

This has been the ever-evolving vacation, and just when I think we're set, things change again...heck, we just revamped things yesterday!

Originally, way way back in January or so, my parents started talking about renting a cabin in the Traverse City, MI area. They went last summer for a week and loved it. The four of us prefer going south, but they like to go north. So they emailed some guy a friend of theirs rents a cabin from, to see what was available in July that would sleep 7-9 people. Never heard from him until mid April, when he finally wrote back and said he had some availability, so we all checked our calendars and picked the week of July 23 that works for all of us. And of course, by mid April, NOTHING was available. Sheesh.

So Mom calls me to come over one night to help Dad pick something else around that area where we might like to vacation. He was finding some rentals in the $2000-3000 range. Mom pulled out a map of Michigan, and said "Here honey, where would YOUR family like to go?" I knew we could get a condo on the Gulf coast for that price or substantially less, so I jokingly said "For that money, we'd rather go 1100 miles south!" She said "Well, let's see what's down that way!" My dad is retired from the USAF (1962-1999), so he hopped on the Armed Forces Vacation Club site, and we saw the link about Disney's Military Salute being extended. Dad said "Hey, let's see how much it would be for us to do Disney!" and that was it! Within minutes we were checking out Shades of Green and making plans!

posting before I lose...
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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I texted my husband to let him know we were still going on vacation in July, but no longer Michigan. He threw a FIT about Disney...because my parents are paying, he has wanted to take the girls for years but as a one income house, it's virtually impossible for us to save for a splurge like WDW, and because he wasn't quite sure about the whole 'family vacation' with his IL's in the first place. I pointed out that we were getting 4 day park hoppers for $138 each, a price we could NEVER get on our own, and we'll be in the same hotel resort as my family, but not the same car. About two hours after I got home, he finally said "does it make me a bad person that I'm excited to see palm trees?" and I knew he was on board again!

His one requirement? He was adamant we keep it a secret from the girls. He swore my parents and sister to secrecy, and was not happy that I told friends at school about it...he was really concerned they would find out. His theory was they already knew we were going to Michigan with Grammy & Grandpa, we'll drive straight through, and we wouldn't tell them until we drove past the Magic Kingdom sign. Now, our children are NOT stupid. They are in the gifted/talented school, and read at a 6th & 8th grade level. Not to mention, they've been to Michigan and know it takes about 4-5 hours, and that you do not drive through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia to get there! But I let him have his secret fantasy.

That was on a Tuesday night. There was no school that Friday (unused snow day) and I spent most of that day on here, reading, planning, making lists, etc. I was getting SOOOO excited!!! Saturday night I was up late reading online and watching videos and stuff, and knew I wouldn't last three months. Sunday morning I begged and begged...the girls are at the perfect ages to help plan, and I wanted them to share the excitement! He finally said "FINE! In my next life, with my next wife, I'll do things on my schedule!" Heehee. He asked me to let him handle it....this next bit gives me chills, two months later!

He yelled for them to come downstairs for a 'family meeting'. They came flying, eyes wide. He had them sit at the table and launched into a monologue about how they are old enough to realize that things don't always go the way we plan, and there are big changes coming to our house, and they are growing up and can handle disappointment. DANGER! I could tell by the looks on their face they were thinking "OMG, Mommy & Daddy are getting a divorce!" I shot him a glare, and he quickly said "we're not changing US...but I know you girls have been excited to go to Michigan with Grammy & Grandpa, and unfortunately we can't go this year." Instant tears. I explained that Grandpa couldn't find a place for all of us to stay this year, and DH said that instead we were going to go visit some people. We've taken trips in the past to visit my extended family in Pittsburgh, so I knew that was the leap they were making.

Then he tossed our Cinderella DVD case on the table, and casually said "How would you like to go to her house?" Molly, our 8 year old, got huge eyes and whispered "Disney?" I nodded, and screams ensued. They were freaking out, screaming, crying, running around like mad. After they calmed down, Darrell said "Oh, Grammy & Grandpa are going too." Complete pandemonium!!! What an awesome memory. I didn't get any of it on video, but that's OK....I can still see it all in my mind.

So we are leaving on July 21, a Saturday, to drive to Orlando straight through. We have 4 day park hoppers, so Disney will be Monday through Thursday, July 23-26, we'll go to Clearwater on Friday, and head for Indiana on Saturday....at least that WAS the plan!!!
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:11 PM   #3
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The plans, they are a-changing! Mom told me two weeks ago that my aunt (dad's sister) in Georgia wants to see all of us, so they were going to head to their house on Friday instead of Clearwater. She said if we wanted to still take the girls to the beach, they would pay for our hotel, but they were going to head north. DH and I talked about it, we've wanted to see Clearwater for a while....we love FMB, but that's almost 23 hours, so we'd like a closer beach option. We decided we'd already promised the girls the beach, so we'd go ahead with the Clearwater plan. That also eliminates my dad wanting to use GPS on our smartphones to "keep track of us" on our drive. Um, Dad, I'm 40...I think I can get from Indiana to Florida on my own.

Then last week Mom said they are leaving early instead....she, Dad and my sister will drive down on Thursday to my aunt & uncle's house, staying until Sunday and then heading to Orlando, and we'll all still do Clearwater on Friday. Oy. We started looking at hotels, but I told DH I didn't want to book anything in Clearwater until I talked to Dad...he's adamant (Dad) about paying and booking everything.

Yesterday I asked if he'd found any hotels, and Mom said no because we are booked at Shades until Saturday morning, so we'd go to Clearwater Friday morning and drive back to Shades Friday night, then leave from there Saturday to head for home. I floated around for a while (we were at my brother's pool), thinking, and ...we could do two days at Disney, go to Clearwater on Wednesday, then back to Disney for two days! I mentioned it to Mom, and she thought we'd have to use our 4 day park hoppers on consecutive days. I explained that no, we have 14 days from the first day to use them (hooray for the Dis!!) and she was thrilled!! The girls were thrilled! DH...not so thrilled.

I mentioned it to him this morning, and he said there was no way the girls would be willing to leave Disney after two days. HA! I told him that they were all for it, and he finally agreed, but said there is no way we'll ever do this big family trip again. He'll survive...but to make sure, I'm packing some beer for him!

Next up...the basics of our trip!
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:30 PM   #4
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So as of today, June 29, here's our tentative plan:

Saturday, July 21: depart home around 9pm
Sunday, July 22: hope to arrive at Shades around 2pm, pool time, relax, DTD in the evening
Monday, July 23: Animal Kingdom? Magic Kingdom?
Tuesday, July 24: Epcot? Hollywood Studios?
Wednesday, July 25: Clearwater Beach day
Thursday, July 26: Animal Kingdom? Epcot?
Friday, July 27: Magic Kingdom
Saturday, July 28: head for home

So yeah, our park days are in total flux!!! A friend of mine has a touringplans.com subscription, so we've been talking on facebook and she's going to help me set something up next weekend. We've made our lists of Must Do rides & attractions, and I've been noting the shows and air conditioned attractions that would be a nice break from the heat. My parents plan to go back to SoG each afternoon to rest, my sister thinks we're all nuts, and she plans to spend open to close in the parks each day.

Oh...never explained my thread title!! I went to Disney twice as a kid, once around 1981 or 1982, and again in 1985...both times in July. Our 1985 trip I was 13, and I remember vaguely staying somewhere on property, a Holiday Inn maybe? I know we rode the monorail and I remember going through the Polynesian. I remember some rides...POTC, IASW and Space Mountain, and Dad getting tipsy in France on wine. Other than that, I don't remember much. Dad is adamant that we can WALK between the four parks. I have tried talking him out of this notion, and he doesn't buy it. He keeps pulling up a map on Disney's website, and points to the ROADS and insists those are walking paths. I have given up. He swears that they are all close together.

I told him that I've read (here, in travel books, and from friends) that we need to allow an hour for Disney transportation. He refuses to believe that, and says that if we rely on SoG buses, it won't take that long. OK fine, but what if we don't catch a SoG bus? What if we take the monorail? The ferry? There are other ways to get around. Again, I've given up.

He also says we don't need to know about Fastpasses (which I've explained over and over), we don't need a touring plan, we don't need a schedule, we can just "grab a map, pick a ride, and go!" Thankfully, he did finally agree to download Mobile Magic on his phone, and my mom is now on my side. Her best friend has been to WDW twice in recent years with her DD and family, and Carol told mom they ALL need to listen to me. We'll see.

At this point, the most Dad will agree to is to all of us being in the same parks on the same day. I'm good with that...we can hook up for a few things, and do our own thing the rest of the time.

Also, we aren't on any dining plan. Staying at SoG means we can use Disney transportation and EMH, but no dining plan. I'm OK with that...we're planning to bring a cooler backpack and take in our own meals & snacks. At the most, we'll do ONE QS or CS meal each day, and I'm budgeting $40/day for food. Actually, I'd like to keep it closer to $25. I know my parents will pay for anything...heck, they want to pay for our gas to drive down! But still, I'd like to have some plan of paying for some of our own stuff.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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I've been collecting some things to set aside for our trip, as well as all these cool hints and tips from here on the Dis. Here's what I have so far, in a Target bag on my desk:
glow necklaces
hand sanitizers from B&BW
lanyard for my tickets & gift cards
fingertip toothbrushes
sketch books for the girls to use as travel diaries
four rain ponchos
photo album (gift from some friends of ours for the girls to fill)
list of unusual items to pack such as moleskin, bandaids, neosporin, caribiner clips, gallon ziplocks, plus more I can't remember right now! (just need to pick up and put in the bag)

Here's our list of Must Do's for the Magic Kingdom, in no particular order!
BTMRR
Splash Mountain
Peter Pan's Flight
POTC
Dumbo
Aladdin's Magic Carpets
Haunted Mansion (heat break)
Hall of Presidents (heat break)
Winnie the Pooh
Mickey's PhilharMagic
Jungle Cruise
Tiki Room (heat break)
Mad Tea Party
IASW (heat break)
Monsters Inc Laugh Floor (heat break)

The girls want to see any and all princesses, but Cinderella and Aurora are their top picks, as well as Mickey & Minnie, DH wants to see Donald Duck, and I want to see Belle. As a brunette, Belle is my favorite princess. I think I always was annoyed by Snow White's voice in the movie, but I LOVE to read, so Belle's my favorite.

We also want to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes. If we can see the afternoon parade, great, but I'm not going to go out of my way to see it...I'd rather hit some rides while everyone else watches a parade! I also want to see rope drop at least once while we are there.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:48 AM   #6
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Trying to decide if we'll do Epcot on Tuesday...that's their EMH night, so it's open til midnight. I really think that would work out well, since we're leaving for Clearwater the next morning and the girls can sleep in the van on the way. According to mapquest it's only 90 miles, so I figure if we get up and out the door by 9, we'll have a good portion of the day to spend on the beach, then head back around 4-5pm.

If anyone is reading besides me, are we able to tour other resorts like AoA? The girls have mentioned several times that they want to check it out while we're there, and I'm trying to figure out where to fit it in.

Here's our Epcot list:
Soarin' (I know I'll need FP for that first thing!)
The Seas w/Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk w/Crush
Agent P's Adventure
Mulan (the girls LOVE that movie and I'm pretty sure I read that she only makes appearances in Epcot?)

and of course, IllumiNations. Emily, my oldest, is very into science and nature, so I'm sure we'll do a lot of other things while we're there, and the World Showcase for sure! Molly, our youngest, adores all things France. She was obsessed with the Aristocats when she was 2-3 years old, and her bedroom is pink with Paris decor, so if she spent her entire day in France she'd be fine.

One ride we have specifically eliminated is Space Mountain. DH & I might ride it, but Emily cannot. We also are skipping Stitch's Great Escape. I was going to skip that anyway based on reviews, but after watching the video on YouTube, the flashing lights have us concerned. Em had a seizure in December in gym class playing Dance Dance Revolution and I never ever ever want to go through that again. As a mom, it was horrifying, so we avoid flashing lights around her. She did play DDR again in May (with the neurologist's recommendation) but this time the gym teacher had the house lights on (it was dark in December), so there wasn't a stark contrast in lighting, and she did just fine.

Still need to make our Animal Kingdom & DHS lists...DH says he's willing to give us DHS completely, but I know he'd love that auto stunt show, and the girls want to see the Indiana Jones stunt show.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:59 AM   #7
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hi emkamama!!! ill read alomg. i found your trip report from the 2000 plus mile thread. first off, great story!! sounds like a great trip. tell dad he can walk from park to park if he likes but its a looooooooooooooooong walk with no sidewalks.
you can go to any resort you like. we often take a day and go hotel hopping. just to check it out. it does take time which you may not want to spend.
if you can, do rope drops. use the one hour,am emh for each park on that day. have a plan what rides you want to go on and you will get on more in that one hour than what you will get on all afternoon. less people and alot cooler than the afternoon. hit the big ticket rides early in the am. if need, go back to sog and rest for a few hours and go back and do the not so big rides in the afternoon and night. you wont be as tired.
if your husbands intrested, there is a disdad, dads club here on the dis. we have our own website and podcast. even if he just reads along. its just a bunch of guys talking about disney, our kids and family.( ok, beer, bacon, cars also get into the conversation.)
he can see hes not the only one in his shoes going with the extended family and maybe he will find some good tips. we are a big group from all over the country and alot of us are good friends who have met here. we are having our first convention this january. he will have fun just reading the ribbing and clowning around.
sounds like a great fun filled week and look forward to reading more!!!!
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:13 AM   #8
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Yay, a visitor!!! I started feeling like I was talking to myself....not that I wouldn't if necessary, but it's nice to get some feedback and opinions.

I told my DH about the DisDads section, and he said he might check it out...I'm still amazed he's on facebook most days, so it'd be a BIG stretch to get him on a message board. I've been on boards since 2000 when I started planning my wedding, and am still friends with some of the women I met way back then.

Wanted to share my first official Disney project (yeah I know, we leave in 18 days so I'm a bit behind!) that I finished yesterday. I wanted to do nice covers for the girls' travel journals, so I whipped these up in Publisher and taped to the covers, then sealed with packing tape so they don't get torn. Molly was adamant hers NOT say Disney because she wants to use it for every summer. Um, oooookay....


Tomorrow we'll get our touring plans in place, my friend Jenn is coming over to help me get it set up. I've got my grocery list going for our travel snacks and things to have while we're there for snacks and meals in the parks, and I'll get that picked up next week!
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emksmama View Post
Yay, a visitor!!! I started feeling like I was talking to myself....not that I wouldn't if necessary, but it's nice to get some feedback and opinions.

I told my DH about the DisDads section, and he said he might check it out...I'm still amazed he's on facebook most days, so it'd be a BIG stretch to get him on a message board. I've been on boards since 2000 when I started planning my wedding, and am still friends with some of the women I met way back then.

Wanted to share my first official Disney project (yeah I know, we leave in 18 days so I'm a bit behind!) that I finished yesterday. I wanted to do nice covers for the girls' travel journals, so I whipped these up in Publisher and taped to the covers, then sealed with packing tape so they don't get torn. Molly was adamant hers NOT say Disney because she wants to use it for every summer. Um, oooookay....


Tomorrow we'll get our touring plans in place, my friend Jenn is coming over to help me get it set up. I've got my grocery list going for our travel snacks and things to have while we're there for snacks and meals in the parks, and I'll get that picked up next week!
my dd, now 19, kept a journal on our trips. she did them well into high school.
disdads are also on facebook. we come from all walks of life. doctors,lawyers,farmers,teachers,computer guys,stay at home dads,you name it. yes, dd still goes along with no end in sight. we go in june for eight nights so she can go along and dw and i go in september for 11 nights.
remember to leave the peanut butter cups at home, they dont do well in the florida summer heat. ( yes, dont ask. )
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:34 AM   #10
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No Reese's, I'll remember that! Our family joke is Andes mints...back in 85 (our last Disney trip), my dad dropped a handful of Andes mints in my mom's purse when we left a restaurant somewhere, and they forgot about it. Then the AC went out in the van on the way home, and about 6 hours later she reached into her purse for something and discovered a MASSIVE mess.

Off to a neighboring town for the July 4 parade...our city doesn't do anything. Well, the parade was last Saturday, but it was about 95 degrees and honestly, our city parade kinda sucks so the girls voted we skip it to go to my brother's pool party and cookout instead. After today's parade we'll come back to town and have a cookout at my parents' house, and talk DISNEY!

17 more sleeps.....and like other die hard drivers, I look forward to the drive as much as the vacation itself!
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by emksmama View Post
No Reese's, I'll remember that! Our family joke is Andes mints...back in 85 (our last Disney trip), my dad dropped a handful of Andes mints in my mom's purse when we left a restaurant somewhere, and they forgot about it. Then the AC went out in the van on the way home, and about 6 hours later she reached into her purse for something and discovered a MASSIVE mess.

Off to a neighboring town for the July 4 parade...our city doesn't do anything. Well, the parade was last Saturday, but it was about 95 degrees and honestly, our city parade kinda sucks so the girls voted we skip it to go to my brother's pool party and cookout instead. After today's parade we'll come back to town and have a cookout at my parents' house, and talk DISNEY!

17 more sleeps.....and like other die hard drivers, I look forward to the drive as much as the vacation itself!


have a good time.
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Driven 1100 miles each way, each year at least once a year since 1973. Started staying on property in 1987. Joined DVC in 1999. 41 years, 59 trips, 430 days and still counting!!!!

PROUD DAD OF A DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM DAUGHTER!!! FALL ADVANTAGE 2013 MK-ODF ALUMNI !!!!!
2000+ MILE ROUND TRIP DRIVING THREAD.. DOUBLE DIAMOND DRIVER!

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Old 07-07-2012, 10:48 AM   #12
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Two weeks!!! Two weeks from today we'll be loading the van, and hitting the road!!! I cannot wait...the girls are SO excited. This morning at the grocery, Molly was telling some random lady that we're going to Disney in two weeks.

I've decided that I'm not doing a touring plan or detailed itinerary. My friend Jenn came over Thursday, and brought me maps from her 2009 Passporter, and she wrote in tons of pop up character spots, tips, tricks, short cuts and 'must do' notes. She also gave me her touringplans.com log in, and I played around with it a bit for our first day, July 23, at MK. I first tried doing my own customized plan, but I couldn't get our lunch/dinner breaks to move to the appropriate time, even with the times specified. I think I forgot to click on 'optimize'? So then I tried customizing the Tweens plan, but it wanted us to do Splash at 9am, then Hall of Presidents at 9:20...when I want to do Peter Pan first thing.

So I tried dragging stuff up & down, and discovered that with everything we want to do, including shows, and of course, guesstimating on FP return times, we still have about 3 hours of FREE time in the day, going from RD to close. DH is one of those travelers that doesn't mind having a loose plan, but if I try telling him "we have 4 minutes to get to X attraction!" and try hustling him and the girls, he will sit down in the middle of the path and refuse to budge. No fun for anyone.

We're going for the 'Loose Itinerary' plan! I'm working on which parks/which days still, I'll prioritize and plan our route using my maps, and we'll wing it!

As much as I love looking at all of the cool crafts and months of preparation that some people put into their trips, I think DH would move out if I started planning/prepping for Disney a year in advance. He's just NOW getting close to talking about it, but he's so stressed with work he gets cranky every time I ask him a question. So I suspect we'll do a lot of modifying our plans on the way down.

However, I am getting excited to do a couple surprise things for the girls!! Found a cool blog on Pinterest with directions to make Minnie Mouse ears, and I'm doing those for my mom, sister, and us girls instead of buying the Minnie ears at the park! I have everything I need, so I hope to start on those this week after they go to bed. I'm doing red bows for mine, my mom and my sister, a purple bow for Emily and a pink one for Molly (their favorite colors). I also had a DISigner, RustManFan, create three Minnie heads for us (mom & sis opted out) and picked up the tees today to get those made!

I'll post pics once things are done....back to reading my Hidden Mickeys book and trying to stay cool. It's now 94 but feels like 100 and it's barely noon.
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:41 AM   #13
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winging it is cool!!! we did that a few years ago. the only thing we do is our adrs and what park we are going to that day. which, when its just dw and i, thats just a rule of thumb.
just remember, you wont see it all so enjoy what you do see. all the trips i have taken over all the years, i still havnt done eveything.
as far dh, i find people love or hate the place.
some people look at me like i have bugs crawling out of my eyes when i tell them how many times i have been there and some think its great. you never know, he may walk under that train station and you wont stop him. my dad was a 6'3 , 240lb marine and eveytime he walked under that train station, he turned into a 10 year old.(screamed like a girl on space mtn.) he passed away in 1985, a year after my mom passed. i have alot of great mems. of being there when i was a kid.
great update!
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:54 PM   #14
niknakk
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LOVE the way your DH told the girl!! Sounds like you guys will have a fantastic time, enjoy your trip!!!
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:48 PM   #15
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time is a-tickin' away!!! 6 more sleeps til we leave!!! I think I'm having a panic attack just thinking about it....

Haven't made ADR's yet, was considering trying for Crystal Palace, but I just can't justify dropping roughly $100 on breakfast when I can't eat much beyond an egg and some fruit, and my girls eat maybe a waffle and a few strips of bacon. Just can't do it...maybe someday if the FD fairy visits us? I did check on 50's Prime Time, and we have several days where lunch is available even for a party of 7, so I'll run it by my parents tomorrow. I know DHS is the one park we're willing to skip, but I thought that would make for a fun "last day" lunch.

Today has been focused on getting the girls' surprise shirts done, and mission accomplished! I have to redo mine, I tried taking the transfer paper off too soon and lifted a lot of the black off. No biggie, DH found some Donald DISigns he liked, so I'll pick up another tee for me and two for him tomorrow. I also got our Minnie ears all finished!! I'll get pics as soon as I redo my shirt. I want to cut the sleeves off mine anyway to tie it off with ribbon and make a tank top, so I've got a tee to practice on now!

The girls have VBS all week at our church from 6-8:30, and I'm helping out a couple nights, but then Thursday & Friday are laundry and packing nights!! Saturday we're hoping to hit the road around 7 or 8pm. I've got a bag of non perishable foods already packed, and will pick up cereal bars and a few other things this week.
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