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Old 08-04-2012, 11:16 AM   #16
shalom
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I'm diabetic and I swear my blood sugar went up 50 points scrolling over that chocolate cake!


I am clearly a carrier for diabetes (Mr. Cool is diabetic), but fortunately I haven't shown any traits yet. Knock wood The chocolate cake was good but definitely deadly. I tried a slice later in the afternoon and

I didn't finish it, but I gotta say it was much nicer and moister than the gummy worm chocolate cake Ballet Girl got at the Contempo Cafe later that week. Admittedly, I am not the audience gummy worm cakes are aimed at, plus I have no gripes about Contempo Cafe's cupcakes.

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My son also loves Sea World. We are trying to decide whether to do Universal or Sea World and he told me that there's more "stuff" to do at Sea World. LOL!!
I'd really like to see the Harry Potter land at Universal, but I just can't figure out what I'd do with the rest of my day. I think Universal is much more of a "rides park" than either SeaWorld or WDW, and I am not much of a rides person. Sadly, neither are the kids most interested in the Harry Potter stuff, so they don't want to pay to go by themselves or with their dad, either (we pay half the ticket price -- and at SeaWorld, half the cost of the dining deal -- the first time we go anyplace that pricey, but the kids have to provide the rest).

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Actually we drove there because DS needed pictures for a report and wanted to learn more about it. what better way to learn than to go??


Field trips with the family are a great tradition to start.

The rest of our St. Augustine beach pictures are all of kids digging holes and kids pretending their legs are stuck in the holes. When the kids were little, I'd drag all kinds of buckets and shovels and molds and stuff to the beach with us and we'd build sand castles, but digging the moats was always their favorite part, and then one day eldest son got into digging holes he could stick his leg into. And now no one wants to build castles with me. Where did I go wrong? (For those of you concerned about sea turtles, I do insist they fill their holes back up before we leave -- however, in the Great Lakes area, we fill them so people don't trip over them, rather than to keep turtles safe!)

I've got a couple more Castillo pictures I think I'll post, though. Pretty sure I'll skip the two pics of a big weed on the other side of a partially opened door.
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:14 AM   #17
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Few More St. Augustine Pics and some History

Picasa is being a total pain today! But I uploaded most of the stuff I mean to use yesterday, so we'll see if I can pry the last few pics out of it before I get done here.

Since there's some interest, thought I’d put up a couple more St. Augustine pics. Here’s the gun turret from a bit further away:



That's kind of dark, but mostly I wanted to point out the "Bridge of Lions" to Anastasia Island in the back there. That's highway A1A, which goes pretty much the length of Florida along the Atlantic coastline. If I had three or four lifetimes to play with, driving the length of A1A would be on my bucket list.

And here is a shot of a couple of kids with a re-enactor:



In my experience, some re-enactors are really on top of things and have a lot to offer; others kind of have their little spiel on their uniform or gear, and they’re done. This guy could answer some of the kids’ questions on the cannons, so he gets points.


When you enter the fort, this is over the door:



That’s actually a replica; the original was moved to a museum in 1958. And then somewhere a bit further in, you see this (I have totally cranked the contrast and things because it was in a deep recess and hard to see, so the colors are pretty quirky -- I don't remember that red off to the right, for sure!):



That older, more worn one is the royal Coat of Arms of Spain, best I can tell (some sections I haven't a clue what's really there!). The castles symbolize the kingdom of Castile, and the lions the kingdom of Leon. We tried to get a good picture of it because it’s so different from the one at the gate – the crown and shield parts are the same, but it doesn’t have the ring of what the Hermit called crabs around it, and it doesn’t have the sheep hanging from the bottom. So I went looking to find out why they’re different.

Turns out Charles II was king when construction of the coquina fort began in 1672, so the shield over the gate is his shield; the decorative ring (the “collar”) and the hanging sheep indicate he was in “The Order of the Golden Fleece,” which is one of the oldest chivalric orders. It’s called a “collar” because it’s named after those big gold necklaces you see on a lot of pictures of guys from the middle ages, like the hunk of metal on this guy:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ch...%27Amboise.jpg

Turns out those gold “collars” are knightly insignia. News to me! Both the gold chain and the collar on the coat of arms are supposed to be alternating “briquets” (aka “firesteels”) in the shape of a B (for Burgundy), linked by flints. So the things that look like crabs to the Hermit (and flowers to me) are really supposed to be flames, and those curvy interlocking c-shaped things were once b-shaped things. Obviously, the design of the briquets and flints can vary greatly, as can the shape of the sheep – look at the poor mutant sheep on this one:


http://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/pain...mo-de-Medici-I

A bit more research and it turns out that the skinny middle is supposed to show that it’s just an empty fleece; the one on the Castillo is an older style where it looks like a ram in a hoist who could stand on his own four feet if you’d just put him down. I suppose the empty fleece makes more sense but it just looks weird to me. I like the collar on the Castillo gate better than any of the other versions I’ve seen, but if you want to draw your own conclusions, here are a bunch more (jewelry sets, though, not carvings).

http://www.antiquesatoz.com/sgfleece/symbols.htm

I tried to find a picture of the Old City Gates that looked like what I saw, but all I could find was ones like this:


http://www.tampachanging.com/rephoto...d-city-gate-3/ (some nice history stuff where I got this photo)

-- which is much more stark than I remember -- or overly romanticized ones like this:

[I clipped the actual picture because it was stretching the page so much, but the link's there if you want it]
http://www.etsy.com/listing/41391170...old-city-gates

If you can imagine something about halfway between those, that's what I remember seeing.

And here’s a few kids with their feet (or entire legs) in the sand:










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Old 08-05-2012, 11:35 AM   #18
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I love the Castillo pictures!! Of course I love history and Florida was my birth state so... LOL!!

The pictures of the kids and there legs in the sand is too funny!! LOL! Makes me smile. Why? Because it reminds me of my brothers and me. LOL!!

Right now we can't decide whether we want to do Universal or not. So, we are kind of putting off deciding right now. I wrote about it in my ptr, but basically we are thinking about driving to South Florida, where we are from, to meet with some of our friends. We are still undecided about that also. LOL!!

Can't wait to read more about your plans!!
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Old 08-05-2012, 03:57 PM   #19
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PLANNING STUFF for JANUARY 2013 WDW TRIP

PICKING THE DATE:

So things are looking uglier at Geek dad’s workplace. Not in the sense that he’s not getting along with his co-workers or anything, but in the sense that he may be out of a job by January! Probably not, though. But he is going to be out of a job sometime in the next year; the original plan we heard about a month or so back had him there until May, however the original plan has been massively rearranged, best I can tell. But unless things percolate along a lot faster than they have been, I’m guessing late winter or spring at the earliest.

I’ve seen this coming ever since the original owner sold the company to a conglomerate. Geek dad assured me that he’d been promised, “no big changes,” but the first thing the conglomerate did was to start selling off the various branches (it’s not a huge company but there were a couple of different things in different states). Even if there wasn’t going to be a massive reorganization at the home company (which there is, as it happens), hubby’s the “network administrator,” and every time they sell off something, there’s less network to administrate! So for me, it was just a matter of when the ax would fall, not if. And I think hubby’s recognized that the last six months or so, too.

Geek dad says he is not worried because he thinks he’ll be able to get another job. I have no doubt he’ll get another job, although I have some doubts if it’ll pay as well as the one he has now! The company has promised us a three month notice and pretty good severance pay, at least, so that’ll help. Our only debt is in the houses and we have the same payment on the house we live in that we had when he was working at a job that paid a lot less; granted we now have teenage appetites to deal with, but my older two will both be over eighteen, so if we get pinched financially, we could always start charging them rent! Except for that long-standing promise about helping them with their education thing, but right now neither is planning to commit to college anyhow. And we could always move Geek dad’s stuff into a much smaller portion of “his” house and rent part of it out – it’s an old house that was broken down into three units for rent before we bought it and we haven’t torn out the dividers yet.

Anyhow, we’ve decided that, unless Geek dad loses his job before mid-December, we’re going to WDW in January. But until we’re three months out, we’re not going to make any reservations. Which is killing me! Man, I want those reservations in hand! But right now, our plan is to drive out January 5 & 6, drive back the weekend of January 19 & 20 (although we usually leave Friday morning and take our time coming back).

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Old 08-05-2012, 04:04 PM   #20
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Sending hugs and good thoughts your way. Nothing is scarier than facing the prospect of being out of a job. I'm looking at that myself and it's nerve wracking.

I love your positive attitude! It made me smile when you posted about charging your kids rent. My dad did the same thing to me. If I wasn't in school and was working, then I was expected to pay rent. Nothing made me go back to school quicker. LOL!!

The dates that you picked are great. After the Christmas rush and still cool enough to enjoy yourselves. I think the decorations should still be up.
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:11 PM   #21
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Justified craziness?

So, are we crazy?

To be honest, feedback indicates we’ve always been a little off. Maybe we are crazy to go on a vacation when hubby’s losing a job – my mother certainly thinks so! And of course some part of it is just that we’ve been to Orlando twice now, doing stuff Geek dad and the kids wanted to do, and it’s my turn, doggone it!

But mostly it’s that we’ve long seen this trip as the last, and in some senses, first, big vacation we’re going to be able to take as a family. When the kids were young, we simply didn’t vacation; hubby’s vacation time was used visiting family with a few days here doing projects on the house or helping friends or just taking the kids to a Big City museum on a weekday. There were a lot of reasons for that, but one big one is that we don’t live in the same state as any of our relatives, and we wanted the kids to know their grandparents!

And we don’t regret that. Life is short, family is important. OTOH, we really enjoy vacationing with all five kids, which is a totally different experience than visiting relatives with them, and we really didn’t start doing that until a few years ago.

Also I remember how it worked when I was a kid --- oldest kid hits their late teens, and that’s it for visiting distant relatives as a whole family for some years, let alone vacationing, because it’s just about impossible to coordinate when you’re working around all the projects and events and part time jobs/new career. Ballet Girl has already missed one vacation before because things came up, and this past week she got an opportunity to go somewhere she doesn’t want to pass up, but she’ll only have the “excused from ballet days” she needs if she doesn’t go with us, so she’s going to miss our next vacation, as well! Plus a lot of our vacations we enjoy ourselves muchly, but they’re kind of laid back and similar to stuff we take the occasional day off to do at home and thus blend a bit in the brain, while Ballet Girl sees the other stuff as one time opportunities (which the current one probably is). And I can see her point.

So our thinking is, if we want to have our last, big, blow out vacation where everyone gets to come and create Special Memories of Family Fun, this is it. It’s not going to get any easier, especially if Geek dad is going to be job hunting and going back to “new job” type vacation time right along with the older two!

Maybe we’re wrong. Maybe our older two will still be lounging around the house two, three, five years from now, with plenty of free time to vacation with us. Supposedly 85% of graduating college kids move back in with their parents, and there are tons of people still living “at home with mom” when they’re in their thirties, so who knows?

I’m thinking not, though. Geek dad would get a job delivering pizzas before he’d stay home living with his mom, and I think Mr. Cool is a chip off the old block in that department. Actually, I can see the Hermit still being here in five years if we don’t give her a boot , but Mr. Cool is going to be on his own a.s.a.p., and vacationing with his siblings is not going to be a priority with him again until he has kids of his own and wants the cousins to get to know each other!

So I say, if we can swing it without going into debt or biting into that severance package, we are going to Disney World. I sometimes suspect hubby is only good with that because he knows the last Orlando vacation I didn’t get to WDW because I was indulging his interests, but whatever his motive, he’s good with it.

On the upside, if future WDW vacations don't involve all the kids, we might get down to what we consider a DVC-sized family! Always a silver lining.
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:40 PM   #22
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I wrote about it in my ptr,
I'm reading through that, but I keep losing focus. I've been reading a dining trip report for about four days now. I'm enjoying both of them, but I just get antsy. Writing is more calming for me, somehow, so I guess it's productive. I hope I am not this fidgity for the next six months, though!

Also pushing buttons I wasn't aiming at; posted that way before I was ready, doggone it! I'm just going to edit it instead of reposting...


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but basically we are thinking about driving to South Florida, where we are from, to meet with some of our friends. We are still undecided about that also. LOL!!
I do long, involved planning, and even share it with people, but the truth is there are usually a couple of things I am ABSOLUTELY going to do, and the rest of it is pretty much up for grabs until the last minute.

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Sending hugs and good thoughts your way. Nothing is scarier than facing the prospect of being out of a job. I'm looking at that myself and it's nerve wracking.
I'm doing my level best to ignore it, for the most part. Which is Geek dad's usual approach, and I'm usually the one trying to figure out how we're going to cope! But he knows the job market better than I and all, plus he makes more per hour as a consultant than he does at his normal job, but of course consulting jobs are few and far between, and there's no insurance. When I got married, a couple of people pointed me to Romans 8:28, which basically says things will work out for good, and sometimes I think I heard that then because things were going to get pretty ugly sometimes!

But so far it's been true. Things don't always work out the way I want them to, but in the long run, I have seen a lot of positive outcomes even from very negative things. Positive enough to justify the pain? Eh, that's more debatable. But worries just multiply the pain, and you can't change what's going to happen, I guess.

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My dad did the same thing to me. If I wasn't in school and was working, then I was expected to pay rent. Nothing made me go back to school quicker. LOL!!
My dad probably would have gone that route with my brother and I, but he moved out of state, instead. When he was a kid just out of high school, he told his dad that he figured he'd skip college and be a farmer. He'd been a farm kid his whole life, and worked pretty hard, too, and he figured he could hack it. College, OTOH, was scary. His dad eyed him for a long moment (his dad wanted him in college), then said, "Great, then I can back off and let you start taking over!", and then his dad started working him harder than he's ever worked before or since. After a week or two, dad finally said, "You know, maybe I should give college a shot after all."

And that was the end of any talk about dad not going to college.

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Old 08-05-2012, 07:10 PM   #23
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So, are we crazy?

To be honest, feedback indicates we’ve always been a little off. Maybe we are crazy to go on a vacation when hubby’s losing a job – my mother certainly thinks so! And of course some part of it is just that we’ve been to Orlando twice now, doing stuff Geek dad and the kids wanted to do, and it’s my turn, doggone it!

But mostly it’s that we’ve long seen this trip as the last, and in some senses, first, big vacation we’re going to be able to take as a family. When the kids were young, we simply didn’t vacation; hubby’s vacation time was used visiting family with a few days here doing projects on the house or helping friends or just taking the kids to a Big City museum on a weekday. There were a lot of reasons for that, but one big one is that we don’t live in the same state as any of our relatives, and we wanted the kids to know their grandparents!

And we don’t regret that. Life is short, family is important. OTOH, we really enjoy vacationing with all five kids, which is a totally different experience than visiting relatives with them, and we really didn’t start doing that until a few years ago.

Also I remember how it worked when I was a kid --- oldest kid hits their late teens, and that’s it for visiting distant relatives as a whole family for some years, let alone vacationing, because it’s just about impossible to coordinate when you’re working around all the projects and events and part time jobs/new career. Ballet Girl has already missed one vacation before because things came up, and this past week she got an opportunity to go somewhere she doesn’t want to pass up, but she’ll only have the “excused from ballet days” she needs if she doesn’t go with us, so she’s going to miss our next vacation, as well! Plus a lot of our vacations we enjoy ourselves muchly, but they’re kind of laid back and similar to stuff we take the occasional day off to do at home and thus blend a bit in the brain, while Ballet Girl sees the other stuff as one time opportunities (which the current one probably is). And I can see her point.

So our thinking is, if we want to have our last, big, blow out vacation where everyone gets to come and create Special Memories of Family Fun, this is it. It’s not going to get any easier, especially if Geek dad is going to be job hunting and going back to “new job” type vacation time right along with the older two!

Maybe we’re wrong. Maybe our older two will still be lounging around the house two, three, five years from now, with plenty of free time to vacation with us. Supposedly 85% of graduating college kids move back in with their parents, and there are tons of people still living “at home with mom” when they’re in their thirties, so who knows?

I’m thinking not, though. Geek dad would get a job delivering pizzas before he’d stay home living with his mom, and I think Mr. Cool is a chip off the old block in that department. Actually, I can see the Hermit still being here in five years if we don’t give her a boot , but Mr. Cool is going to be on his own a.s.a.p., and vacationing with his siblings is not going to be a priority with him again until he has kids of his own and wants the cousins to get to know each other!

So I say, if we can swing it without going into debt or biting into that severance package, we are going to Disney World. I sometimes suspect hubby is only good with that because he knows the last Orlando vacation I didn’t get to WDW because I was indulging his interests, but whatever his motive, he’s good with it.

On the upside, if future WDW vacations don't involve all the kids, we might get down to what we consider a DVC-sized family! Always a silver lining.
I don't know how to do the whole multi-quote thing, so I just quoted it all. LOL!!

You aren't crazy. You know, I say go for it. I've learned that sometimes you have to do things that not everyone is going to agree with. Because if it's right for you and your family then it's a go.

I'm looking forward to the day that DH and I can go to Disney together. Just the two of us. We probably won't ever do DVC, but it would be nice. Not going to happen, but it would be nice. LOL!!

We are going to Disney and I'm not sure if I will have a job in a month or two, but it's nice to have something to take my mind off of the stress of what might happen.

I'm glad that your DH is willing to go with you to Disney. I have a feeling that he will end up liking it just as much as you do. Once you're there the Disney bug hits and it hits hard. LOL!!

I think it depends on what they study as to whether they move back home or not. I'm not sure. I have no idea what my son is interested in. He's not sure that he wants to go to college. I'm sure that something will hit him in the next three years. At least I hope so. LOL!!

You just need to make the right decision as a family. Vacations are important and I hope if I only teach my son one thing, I hope that it's that family is important.

Sorry for rambling. LOL!
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:41 PM   #24
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Where are we going to stay?

The pics in this were all lifted off the Internet.

When we were planning to go in May, I intended to stay at Wyndham Bonnet Creek. We love lazy rivers, and theirs look pretty nice, and in May we were likely to spend a fair bit of time in the pool. My one concern is that we tend to like really quiet resorts – Ballet Girl liked the Fountains alright, but she also describes it as “noisy.” Not in a bad way, but it just had a lot more energy going on in general. On the top floor, that was totally not an issue. On a lower floor...

Bonnet Creek looks to me to be about as busy/high energy as a Disney resort. And although I’d love to stay in all the Disney resorts someday, there are some I know I don’t want to stay longer than a night or two. Since we were going to commit to Bonnet Creek for the whole vacation, I was a little worried, but only a little. I’m guessing my odds of getting my request when I ask for “somewhere quiet and away from the action, preferably with a view of the lake” were way higher than those of someone asking for a Theme Park View.

But since we’re staying in January, I’m thinking about Vacation Villas at Parkway. It’s a big resort, and while there are a lot of buildings gathered around the “party” pool, which I have heard can be loud:


TripAdvisor


https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/345325


International Timeshare Network

... there are just as many or more that have quiet pools, and I’m guessing that the party pool isn’t going to be that noisy in January as it can get in the summer anyhow.

People don’t like it because it doesn’t have a “resort” feel, and seems more like a bunch of regular condos, but that’s the vibe we tend to prefer anyhow. And it has “nature” trails (raised wooden walkways through swampy areas between the different sections of the resort), which are just the sort of thing we get a kick out of – we like to watch the turtles and birds and stuff.

Another thing some people don’t like is that the 2BR units are “lock offs”; two units with a common entry. One option is larger on one side than the other:


from Advantage Vacation

The other version (and probably the one we’d rather have, in terms of which buildings they’re in), the two sides are about equal:


Vacation Village Resorts

Does anyone else love floorplans? I love floorplans. Also maps. But I digress.

I tend to prefer “dedicated” 2BRs, where it’s all one unit, because the main rooms tend larger, but the kids like lock offs because they get their “own” living room to mess with. In terms of the floorplans, I like the A/C one a bit better (assuming it has porches, although they aren’t on the floorplan). And if the pictures on the VV@P Flickr are to be believed, I’d prefer their décor, as well.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vacatio...oto_5266391741


A/B. White walls, how I hate you. Although I guess they're actually a very pale peach, now I'm looking at while fully awake, which makes it look a bit warmer. Still not liking it much. And there’s another version of this unit with a dreadful striped couch, but it's ugly, so I won't bother offering it.



A/C Unit. I like this living room better. Not loving the bed spread.


No idea which bedroom belongs to what (the dining area tables provide a clue for the living rooms).




Oh, I take it back – this wonderful room belongs with that wonderful striped couch!

I actually kind of like the colors in that, although I'm not crazy about those plastic-feeling spreads.


That's an A or C-Side spread


That's a B-Side Spread

If they were Disney resorts, I’m thinking maybe both those bedspreads belong in the Ugly Bedspread thread in the Disney Resort Photos forum. [And, wow, I must've been tired last night, because I posted that comment but not the two spreads that inspired it!] But they’re king beds, which I prefer on vacation (we have a queen at home, which I like, but on vacation I sleep better with more space). Although at least one review said the beds were soft, while I prefer firm. When I was in my twenties I used to sleep on the floor if I thought the bed too soft, but I don’t think I’d care to try that today!

But really I expect we’d be fine there. It’s closer to the parks than some of the Deluxe resorts, so that part’s good. And there’s a twice-an-hour Lynx bus route near there that goes into WDW, so Mr. Cool could come and go as he pleased. I hate buses, myself, and will use the van, but he is pretty patient about bus schedules and transfers and stuff. I think he enjoys bus rides just as he does wandering around SeaWorld and looking at stuff.

There’s availability right now, and has been for a while. The problem, of course, is that we don’t want to make reservations yet, and I have no idea if there’ll be availability when we do. Timesharers tend to reserve further out than people using motels or the like. This resort tends to have availability longer than average, though.

And the flip side of reservations disappearing sooner is that you can often get deals further out – where the best hotel or motel deals are often the night you want the room, the best Timeshare deals can be available a few weeks, or even a month or two, ahead of time. So I’m sure we’ll find something we’ll be okay with. But I’d sure prefer it if it was a nice place at VV@P.

Last edited by shalom; 08-08-2012 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:51 PM   #25
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I don't know how to do the whole multi-quote thing, so I just quoted it all. LOL!!
Multi-quoting the way I do it is fiddly and takes forever. I quote the original, then put [/quote] where I want to make a comment, then go back and copy that first bit with "QUOTE=NAME" and all that. Then I just keep pasting that little bit at the beginning of any section I want to quote, and closing each one by typing it out.

Not really sure it's worth the effort, to be honest. Even though I do it all the time.

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Originally Posted by CatNipRules View Post
I'm looking forward to the day that DH and I can go to Disney together. Just the two of us. We probably won't ever do DVC, but it would be nice. Not going to happen, but it would be nice.
Yah, we won't be staying DVC unless we can trade into it. Right now that brings the price down into Moderate range for us, but you never know when that will change. But then, we aren't likely to stay in any of the resorts without a discount. If all the discounts go away, oh, well. I'm just not willing to pay anything like rack rate. We can still visit the resorts and use the restaurants, I reckon. They're brilliantly themed and the food is good whether you're sleeping there or not.

Well, most of the food. I've had a couple of things I could do without trying again.


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Originally Posted by CatNipRules View Post
I'm glad that your DH is willing to go with you to Disney. I have a feeling that he will end up liking it just as much as you do. Once you're there the Disney bug hits and it hits hard. LOL!!
I hope you're right! And I hope it bites the boys, and Warrior Girl, as well.

Last edited by shalom; 08-05-2012 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:12 AM   #26
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Bit more on seaworld monday

I write fiction, but I am not one of those writers who start at the beginning and write through to the end. I usually start with a scene that ends up buried in the middle, then after I have various scenes I go back and stitch them together in a fairly coherent order while adding all the stuff that goes in between that excites me, and then I go back again and fill in the stuff like, "oops, I forgot to mention" and "Oh, by the way, since that's kinda confusing, she knows this because they met over here that time..."

I'm starting to think my trip reports will be the same, except the readers are reading the first draft instead of the final.

So, here's all the stuff I meant to include the first time!

SEAWORLD TIP Hubby got an AP because it would totally pay off since it includes free parking and a discount at the SeaWorld shops. And we knew we'd be hitting the shops. But if you're going two days, paying the parking was about the difference between the two kinds of tickets anyhow, so even if you aren't much of a shopper it was worth it. Plus I think we got in with just the voucher, which I wasn't sure about. And obviously I'm still not , but if we paid for parking at the gate then he got the money back when he traded the voucher in for his pass.

SEAWORLD TIP They’ve been running the second day free offer at SeaWorld since I’ve been paying attention, however not everyone realizes it only works if you take your ticket to guest services and get it punched or something before the end of your first day.

Geek dad thinks I should point out that Mr. Cool did see Blue Horizons, just not with his younger siblings. Matter of fact, I think he saw the same show the Hermit and I went to, but we were on opposite sides of the stands.

Geek dad took the younger kids to feed the stingrays, sharks, and seals. Feeding the critters costs extra, and the kids are supposed to pay for their own critter food, but I have my doubts that really happened. Geek dad is a soft touch. Also, he forgets to write it down.

The Hermit and I missed the pets show when, on our way there, my glasses popped apart on one side because the screw fell out. And of course we then couldn't find the screw, even though the Hermit is a total Eagle Eye. I am legally blind without my glasses, so we had to find a way to fix them in order for me to see a show… or much of anything else! We were near a little shopping kiosk but the clerk was off getting things to restock the shelves or something so we had to track her down; I was hoping she might have a paper clip that I could stick through the hole the screw fell out of for a temporary fix. She looked and didn’t have any, finally sent us off to the shop by Arctic Adventure.

They didn’t have any paper clips there, either, so I was trying to think of another approach when the lady behind the counter suddenly grabbed the stapler, stapled two pieces of scrap paper with it and handed it to me, saying, “Use the staple!” I had my doubts – staples are pretty thin, and it had to hold the two metal pieces pretty tightly around the lens – but it worked great! Yay for unnamed SeaWorld employee! Totally should have stopped in and given her kudos at customer relations (or whatever it’s called) on our way out, but of course we were late for meeting the troops and ran off before I even thought to get her name. FAIL.

Warrior Girl was the only one young enough to get the kid’s Dining Deal, which comes with (or came with) a plastic plate shaped like a whale (the tail is a handle – I thought it was kind of cute) and a plastic cup. She rinsed them off after using them and stashed them in her backpack – I think they were about the only things in there, I have no idea why she brought the thing along. Then she lost her backpack after we sat through A’lure, and blamed me for not reminding her. I told her I am totally not responsible for her backpack. We raced back but by the time we got there, it was gone.

After the last orca show, Ballet Girl realized she didn’t have her backpack when we were about halfway across that path over the lake and blamed me. I suddenly remembered she hadn’t wanted to take her backpack into the splash zone and I totally WAS responsible for her backpack. We raced back and managed to retrieve that one. Whew!

Mr. Cool (and his dad, I think-?) went up in the sky tower, and Mr. Cool said I could post some of his pictures.



He was all excited back then to be able to see the Fountains from the park, but when I asked him to point out its general area in the pictures he’s all, “Mom, that was two years ago.” This is not him being all teenager – Geek dad is the same way when I ask him what he had when he went out for dinner the night before. “You expect me to remember? That was yesterday.”

The roller coaster in this next one is Kraken.



Unless you count the carousel, that building with the gold dome there is the only ride anyone went on – “Journey to Atlantis.” It’s a flume ride, about on par with Splash Mountain I’m told, and Geek dad, Mr. Cool and Ballet Girl did it first thing in the day. Geek dad enjoyed it, Mr. Cool claimed to enjoy it but wasn’t really enthused about another go round, and Ballet Girl thought it was TERRIFYING.



Journey to Atlantis had one of my favorite aquariums, “the Jewel of the Sea.” It’s a teeny tiny thing back behind the gift shop; that grey dome, below and to the right of the gold one. None of the Jewel ones are my pictures, but I’ll still defend this first photographer by saying I expect it’s only blurry because it’s kind of dark in there.

[IMG]http://************************/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/The-Jewel-of-the-Sea-Aquarium-at-SeaWorld-on-a-Flex-Ticket-Adventure.jpg[/IMG]
Orlando Vacations Now

The really cool part is that there is an aquarium in the ceiling:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/shyzaboy/2778154741/

And one in the floor:


Have Fun in the USA

I have no idea how that guy got that ceiling pic with the sharks in it, because I could barely make out anything up there with my eyes, let alone a camera! But I liked the light effects it creates in the room, so I'm all for it. The floor one is way cool, and it’s fun to watch infants and toddlers discover and try to interact with the fish down there.

I said earlier that the only airconditioned show is A’lure, but most of the aquarium areas are cool, particularly the one down below Manta, which was another fave. Much of it is underground so it was bigger than I expected. Also, I really like the waterfall you walk by to get there; admittedly, I have yet to meet a waterfall I didn't like. SeaWorld has lots of waterfalls. The Magic Kingdom had some I didn't know about (what! My research was incomplete? ), but the main reason I'm way excited about the Fantasyland expansion is the new water features.

Bet you don't hear that sentiment very often.

So anyhow, we saw most of SeaWorld in one day, hubby got our tickets set up for our second day while I filled out the paperwork on the lost backpack, and we headed back to the condo. I crashed, but Geek dad and the younger three (four?) went swimming. I was right that the unheated pool was warm enough for them and they loved the slide, however they weren't much for the area with the cups tipping over with water and stuff because, while I would assume that it was technically the same temperature, "that water there was too cold."

Although we had enough for next day's breakfast, we were running out of food in the condo, plus that staple wasn’t going to last long in my glasses, so Tuesday was going to be shopping day. WalMart in the morning , but Downtown Disney and the Lego Store in the afternoon!

Last edited by shalom; 08-21-2012 at 01:37 PM. Reason: 'cuz I spelled our with a 't'.
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:23 PM   #27
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Do you write fan fiction or regular fiction? I write a bit also and just wondering. LOL!

I think you've pretty much made up my mind for me!! I think we are going to do Sea World instead of US or IoA. To me it just sounds like much more fun.

I love the ceiling and floor shots. I never get good shots like that when we go.

It's funny to hear you talk about kids trying to get to the fish in the floor one. When DS was little there was a part of Mousegears that had balls in the floor. Everytime he saw it he would try to get the balls out of the floor. LOL!!
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:40 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by CatNipRules View Post
Do you write fan fiction or regular fiction?
Mostly I write my own stuff, but the last thing I actually finished was fanfiction, a Firefly story for the last issue of a fanzine a friend of mine had been publishing for over a decade. The Internet hasn't killed fanzines yet, but they're dying out. OTOH, there's a ton of readable stuff on the Internet for free -- fanzines are expensive!

I probably would write more fiction if I didn't write so many posts on the Internet.

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I think you've pretty much made up my mind for me!! I think we are going to do Sea World instead of US or IoA. To me it just sounds like much more fun.
Well you know I'm all for that. We actually had a second SeaWorld day on that trip, or rather most of us did -- I think I just went in the morning, but if I remember rightly the Hermit didn't go at all. So there'll be more SeaWorld pics.

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I love the ceiling and floor shots. I never get good shots like that when we go.
Yeah, both people who took those shots must have known what they were doing. I haven't taken my camera to Orlando yet, but I've played with it enough to know I probably wouldn't have gotten good shots in that dim room. Geek dad gave me a camera for Christmas and it's actually exactly what I wanted (purple! ), however I googled to show a picture of it to a friend and the first thing that came up was some guy slamming it as pretty worthless. All I know is, if I drop it, I won't be out as much money as I would buying the one he recommends. And me eventually dropping my camera is more of a certainty than a possibility.

I should be posting some pictures I took with it when I do our trip to Walmart, because I'm going to post pics of some of our Disney loot.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:53 AM   #29
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on the lifted photos of Vacation Villas. The place looks lovely, even with the ugly bedspreads. When do you think you'll decide about staying there and commit to the ressie? I've heard good things about Bonnet Creek also (I think there's an entire thread dedicated to the love of it down on the Orlando board).

We haven't been to Seaworld in such a long time, so I'm really enjoying all the photos and commentary from there.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:50 AM   #30
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When do you think you'll decide about staying there and commit to the ressie?
Probably not until mid-October. Geek dad is supposed to know three months out before his job ends, and while he doesn't care if we go on vacation the day after he's let go, he doesn't want to commit to the vacation and then lose the job a couple of weeks beforehand.

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I've heard good things about Bonnet Creek also (I think there's an entire thread dedicated to the love of it down on the Orlando board).
I've kind of checked into a couple of them -- IIRR there's the "we love" one, and a photo thread, and a room views photo thread. And I think there's now a "Bonnet Creek basics" thread, which would be nice because the other one is massive; we'll see if that one sinks or if it stays around as long as the photo threads have.

Bonnet Creek looks fine, but going through RCI it looked like there would be a considerable difference in price (Bonnet Creek is lower than predicted while VV@P has gone up, so right now it's a difference of about $30/night), and I wasn't convinced I liked Bonnet Creek that much more for January. One of the reasons I really hope we get VV@P is that Mr. Cool feels strongly about being on a major bus route, which VV@P is, and Bonnet Creek isn't. I might have told him to just tough it out at Bonnet Creek if we were going in May, but for me the real draw at Bonnet Creek is the lazy rivers; with those potentially out of the picture, the bus routes thing becomes a much higher priority.

Although neither one of them is going to please him as much as the last place did. *sigh* The Fountains is about halfway between Sea World and WDW, and would make us both the happiest on that front, but while the Fountains isn't tough to get into, units that sleep 8 at the Fountains are pretty thin on the ground.

If we can't get a condo close enough to WDW for well under $100/night, I may look into rental homes. Last I checked they were running a bit over $100/night, however I was looking into units available in May; I would guess we could get a better deal in January but I have no idea whether October is a good time to be looking into a January rental or not. Guess I better get posting to the Orlando board!

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We haven't been to Seaworld in such a long time, so I'm really enjoying all the photos and commentary from there.
Glad to hear it. If I write up the 2011 trip, we have even more pics from that one, because SeaWorld son had my camera on that trip and made pretty good use of it. I also like his pictures because he's more prone to take the kind of pics I would than his dad is. He sometimes takes pictures of his food! Unprompted! I actually had no idea other people did that until I saw the Dis dining reviews board.

Although I think he does it more when he's bored than on principle, since most of them are when he's on the road. Not sure if he took any of the food at SeaWorld, but we'll see. I think restaurant photography is tough because so many places the table isn't well lit, and you don't want to be using your flash and bugging everyone around you. And now I think on it, I wonder if SeaWorld son is more likely to take pics of his food when he's got enough light.

Last edited by shalom; 08-07-2012 at 11:06 AM.
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