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Old 02-22-2010, 12:38 PM   #1
newtodis
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Bringing the Magic Home for Christmas! - Update 9/6 Lots of updates!

I couldn't come up with a snappy title - I'm just not so good with those kinds of things so it is what it is. We're bringing home our Disney magic for Christmas this year.

Like so many other families, it's been a long year. Our last trip to Disney was September 2009 and it feels like years ago. It's been a long year to say the least and we need a bit of magic back in our lives. Thankfully it's been nothing terrible along the way and nothing we can't handle which is a blessing.

So, who's going on this trip you ask?? Well, let me just tell you! And, you get to see what all of our little mugs look like and the snow we recently had here in the south!

Myself - 28, total Disney lover. I'm the "ultimate" planner and am always planning a trip in my head. Disney is truly my one "happy place" that I can relax at. I'm always going in my "real life" between working full time, being a mommy full time, taking care of the house, being president of our Auxiliary group, PTO and a long list of other things that always get tossed into the mix. I look so forward to our trips and cannot wait for November. It will not get here soon enough!

DH - AKA Dan, Daddy, Dada, basically answers to anything! He loves Disney too but out of my family, I think he loves it the least - the boys and I have him beat out I'm pretty sure.


DS5 - AKA Corbin, Corb, Big One, Terbin (his little brother's name for him). Corbin really loves Disney and is getting into the "big kid" rides but is still staying with the "safer" rides. He's a lot like his mommy and, most of the time, puts a lot of thought into diong something before he actually does it. This is also Corbin's first year of school and the consistant report we've been getting from his teacher is that Corbin is a "lady's man"...he's already married to a girl he rides the bus with - Em (but only Corbin and I can call her Em....it's Emily for the rest of y'all! LOL) because when you kiss someone on the lips it means that you're married and you can't kiss anyone else any more! I'm telling ya'....this kid's well beyond his years in some of the things he says and can get us all rollin on the floor laughing.


DS3 - AKA Carter, Carterbug, Little One. Carter loves Disney as well and his favorite character at the moment is Stitcha (Stitch with a "ya" on the end). He asks just about every day or every time he sees a Disney commercial when we can go to Mickey's house again.


We're also going along with some friends on this trip as well. We work with them and hang out outside of work so it should be a great time.

DF1 - AKA Randy, Stanley, again pretty much answers to whatever! He works in my office and I'm the one who started the nickname Stanley when he started working here. He loves my kiddos which is great and they love him too.


DF2 - AKA Marcia, Marcia May, Miss Marcia, Mommy. Marcia and I pretty much clicked when I started working with her several years ago. She's a wonderful friend and we're a lot alike so it should be "fun times" as she would say. This is Marcia's first trip in many, many years.


DF3 - AKA Brett, Marcia's son. Brett's a great kid and helps so much with my boys when he comes over to the house. This will be his first time going to Disney!!


DF4 - AKA Elyssa, Randy's daughter. Unfortunetly I don't have a picture of Miss Elyssa. She's a wonderful young lady and this will be her second trip to Disney!!!


Index

Page Post
1 1 Who's who
1 2 Why the trip?
1 3 Where are you staying??
1 4 What are you doing??
1 5 Where are you eating?
1 15 "To Do" list
2 16 Menu list
2 17 Food to pack
2 18 Bags to pack
3 32 Pantry List
3 33 Tentative Trip Plan
3 35 Gift Baskets/Cake Chatter
3 41 Non food stuff to buy
3 42 Cooler Stuff to pack
3 43 House stuff to pack
3 44 Park Bags stuff to pack
4 46 Added a Traveler!!!
4 55 Pics of Supplies Already Purchased
5 65 Sea World mini-trip plans added!!!
6 87 Changes, changes, changes
6 88 Trip plans and ADRs
6 89 Welcome Baskets and Autograph Book updates
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Last edited by newtodis; 09-06-2010 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:46 PM   #2
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Why we're going!

So now you know who's going....why are we going?? Aside from just loving Disney in general, this trip was a gift to Marcia for Valentine's Day and her birthday - which happen to be the same day!!

We (Randy and I) revealed the surprise by taping a wonderful DISign (below) inside her birthday card.


She thought she was just coming over for a nice birthday dinner - which we had - but we did the night a bit backwards. We started off with her card to announce the trip and I handed Dan a packet of papers and said "look at where they're staying!!". On top of the papers was this:


YAY!! We're all going to Disney!!!

In case the card didn't say it, we made sure the cake said it as well:


Now that everyone was very excited about our upcoming trip, Marcia got to open her gifts: a Disney "survival" kit and travel bags for everyone in her family. I also made her a copy of my Disney binder which is HUGE so she's got lots of reading material!


Randy and I picked November 27 - December 4 for the trip for several reasons. We'll be there after the holiday rush of Thanksgiving but still get to see the Christmas decorations, his daughter will be here for Thanksgiving and he'll be able to get her back to her mom's before school on Monday when we get back and hopefully not too much will be going on at work or school while we're gone.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:54 PM   #3
newtodis
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Where are you staying??

Due to our large number of people in our group, we're currently looking at renting a house for our stay: http://www.orlandovillas.com/florida...ental-388.aspx. It's got more than enough room for everyone to hang out and have space away from each other when we need it.

Our family's stayed off site before so we're ok with that. We'll have APs so we won't need to worry about the daily parking fee and Dan and I can split up so neither vehicle will need to worry about paying for parking which is pretty nice. I'm also debating joining AAA to be able to park at the front of the lot. Yes I know that's crazy but the small fee to join for the year might just be worth it to me!

My only concern with staying off site is the possibility of free dining which could save us some money if we ate all of our meals at the parks. The benefit of staying off site having the additional space, pool just for our use and being able to make our own food. I think I'll be ok with staying off site. It will just drive me mad that we're paying for meals while people are getting them for "free" (I know it's not really free). And who knows...they may not even offer free dining this year - I hate to say it but that's what I'm hoping for if we don't stay on site!

We'll be getting to Disney in our own vehicles since we're only about five hours away which is not a long drive at all. We can check into the house at 4 which gives us plenty of time to unpack and have some fun that evening both at the house trying out the pool and hot tub and around the "World".
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:08 PM   #4
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What are you doing?

It's hard to say at this point what our plans are without having the park hours or anything out right now. We're going to have a few "Disney nights" to hash out some plans and stuff along the way and get a general idea.

I'm the kind of traveler (remember I'm a planner....which means I'm also a list maker....) who needs to know where I'm going each day. This means lists of things to do in each park, park hours, show times, packing lists, lists on top of lists. (For those who are also list makers, I'll be posting my various lists along the way! ) I don't need to plan minute by minute but I do usually have a general idea of what parks we're going to on which days. I'm able to swap things around if weather changes or whatnot. I just figure that if I'm paying all this money to go to Disney, I'm gonna get my money's worth and make darn sure I'm not spending all my time standing in line or anything. I like to use my time wisely.

My thought is for our first night there to be there by 4 (which means leaving by 10 which should be no problem at all) to get into the house and check it out. I know my kids will want to head for the pool and game room. This should give us adults (we'll probably swap - have the guys haul everything in and the girls organize it) time to get stuff in and put away. From there, we'll either have dinner at the house or head to one of the resorts or DTD for something. My "plan" for the evening is to watch the water parade and Wishes from the beach at the Poly as this is where we'd stay if I could ever part with enough money to be able to afford it. Dan says we'll stay there one day...I just don't think I'd have a good time knowing how much I spent to stay there! Staying at a monorail resort would be wonderful though!

Because we still need to figure out some details, I'm not sure if the other half of our group is leaving Friday or Saturday. We were in the excitement of gift giving and surprise sharing that we haven't gotten to the details yet! I'm planning Sunday through Wednesday to be our "major" touring days which will leave them Thursday and possibly Friday for any "redo" rides.

When our family goes, we always go to a differen park each morning, take a break and hit another park in the afternoon. Our "must dos" for my family are:
MK - Buzz Lightyear ride, TTA, pretty much everything in Fantasy Land, Barnstormer
DHS - TSM, seeing McQueen and Mater
E - Nemo ride, Soarin'
AK - Safari ride, Lion King show

I know things will be different traveling with teenagers and hitting some of the "bigger" rides which shouldn't be a problem getting to.

Our family will probably also attend a MVMCP one night while we're there. We've done a MNSSHP before and had a great time so I'm sure we'll enjoy this too.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:16 PM   #5
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Where are you eating?

I think this will be one of our first "Disney night" topics. I'm an ADR maker as well as changer along the way. I generally try to make our ADRs for breakfast because that's the meal my boys eat the best and they're always up at like 5:30 so it gives us something to do in the morning before the parks open. I also try to make them prior to the park opening so we're already inside the park when it opens. I love pictures of an empty main street and castle without people in front of them.

This time, we're trying to hit the following:
Crystal Palace
Chef Mickey's
Ohana
CRT
Tusker House

(I wasn't kidding about me and my lists! )

I love the character meals and feel the price is worth it because the boys actually eat and get to see the characers which is awesome. We've done them all before but Ohana. I thought we'd try that one this time because Stitch is there. Carter loves seeing him in the park so having breakfast with him should be pretty darn awesome!

I don't know if we'll do all of them or what I'll actually be able to get once I'm ready to make ADRs so we'll just have to see.

Other than some snacks and maybe a counter service meal here or there, we'll be doing most of the cooking at the house at this point. I've got a list - can you believe it - started of things I need to watch for to go on sale and start picking up along the way.

In addition to my OCD about planning and list making, I'm a super cheap person. I generally don't buy things unless they're on sale and I have a coupon. For this reason, I have an entire closet of my house dedicated to my "stockpile". This will really come in handy for this trip and keeping everyone fed and full instead of hungry and grouchy!
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:45 AM   #6
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Ok...you're in for a special treat! You're getting a two for one deal on this PTR! Not only do you get to help me plan my trip, but also my vow renewal ceremony in about six weeks!

Here are the basic details as they stand right now:
Our five year anniversary is Friday, April 16 so we're going to head to the Disney Resort on Hilton Head Island and check into our one bedroom villa there. From there, we're either gonna head to the beach house or just do a very small ceremony on the resort property on the water. Then, we'll do some pictures (not sure how many because it will probably be getting pretty dark so bad lighting) and head back to the villa for cake and some kind of food (still have to figure out if it will be dinner, apps or something easy like pizza). Should be a fun night if nothing else. We could just do the beach ceremony and come back to the house I guess too if we wanted to save the money. I just wanted to try and do something special and out of the ordinary. Traffic will also be a bit rough as the tourists will be here and it will be a Friday evening. The other thought was doing the ceremony and then going someplace to eat afterwards. My only problem with that is that myself and one of my good friends (Marcia!) can't eat too many things due to allergies and such so that makes it harder.

So that's the fun "in the mean time" planning that I'm working on hopefully this weekend. Once we're done with this little event, we've got DS5's birthday party before we head to MI for a week then come home to rest and save our pennies to go to Disney!

Not much planning on the trip side of things yet. We're having our first Disney night next Friday night so I also need to get a menu planned for that as well. We're just gonna go over the "basics" our first night and make sure we all stay on the same page throughout the planning.

We also got our Disney maps in the mail from the Disney site. We'd previously gotten the brown ones (before there was an option) and loved the quality of them. They've held up very well with all of the kids looking at them - which is a lot of looking! This time I ordered the Dumbo ones and they're adorable! Perfect kiddo maps!! So perfect in fact, that Carter took them for show and tell this morning and wouldn't let any of the kids see them!
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:49 PM   #7
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Hi…

Some cute boys you got there. Kid’s say the darndest things, don’t they? My DD cracks me up and a daily basis. ((She’s almost 4)) I have a baby boy too and can’t wait to see his personality come through.

Your plans look great. What a wonderful birthday gift to give your friend…. I would be jumping up and down screaming at the top of my lungs. And the cake was AWESOME!

If you’re a AAA member you get to park closer? I didn’t know that. I might have to join AAA too… My membership just ran out, but would be worth it to renew.

We’re staying off site this year too… It only made sense, since there is 8 of us. I of course prefer staying on property, but I’d rather have more space for us to stretch out. Plus we have a baby and having a washer/dryer and dishwasher will be a life saver.

Look forward to reading more.
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reyasmommy View Post
Hi…

Some cute boys you got there. Kid’s say the darndest things, don’t they? My DD cracks me up and a daily basis. ((She’s almost 4)) I have a baby boy too and can’t wait to see his personality come through.

Your plans look great. What a wonderful birthday gift to give your friend…. I would be jumping up and down screaming at the top of my lungs. And the cake was AWESOME!

If you’re a AAA member you get to park closer? I didn’t know that. I might have to join AAA too… My membership just ran out, but would be worth it to renew.

We’re staying off site this year too… It only made sense, since there is 8 of us. I of course prefer staying on property, but I’d rather have more space for us to stretch out. Plus we have a baby and having a washer/dryer and dishwasher will be a life saver.

Look forward to reading more.
Thank you very much. They are pretty adorable! Kids really do say the darndest things. Last night, we took the boys to a musical at Corbin's elementary school and when it was done, I asked what the best part was. His answer? "I got to eat popcorn and cookies, drink Sprite and you offered to take me to the bathroom." I swear. Everyone around us was rolling on the floor! Not "the kids did good" or "it was fun" but I got to eat junk and I have no clue where the bathroom part came from! I guess we don't offer to take him at home - it's just us so we know no one wants to steal him there!

Thanks! I know I think I'd be freaking out too if I got a trip for my birthday!

Here's a link about the parking - it's down at the bottom of the page: http://allears.net/pl/parking.htm. Now I also feel like I need to say we've never really had "bad" luck parking - especially in the mornings, we're usually pretty close. I've also read on other links and need to investigate if this is still the case but that there are special viewing areas for different things and discounts when purchasing items (http://www.mouseplanet.com/dtp/wdwgu.../aaa_perks.htm, http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1982824). I'm just nervous that those seem a bit older so, like I said, I need to do a bit more investigating before I commit 100%.

I see your ticker says you're leaving in 6 days. Have an awesome time!! I wish we were going now! I'm so in need of a vacation!
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Old 02-26-2010, 04:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by newtodis View Post
Thank you very much. They are pretty adorable! Kids really do say the darndest things. Last night, we took the boys to a musical at Corbin's elementary school and when it was done, I asked what the best part was. His answer? "I got to eat popcorn and cookies, drink Sprite and you offered to take me to the bathroom." I swear. Everyone around us was rolling on the floor! Not "the kids did good" or "it was fun" but I got to eat junk and I have no clue where the bathroom part came from! I guess we don't offer to take him at home - it's just us so we know no one wants to steal him there!

Thanks! I know I think I'd be freaking out too if I got a trip for my birthday!

Here's a link about the parking - it's down at the bottom of the page: http://allears.net/pl/parking.htm. Now I also feel like I need to say we've never really had "bad" luck parking - especially in the mornings, we're usually pretty close. I've also read on other links and need to investigate if this is still the case but that there are special viewing areas for different things and discounts when purchasing items (http://www.mouseplanet.com/dtp/wdwgu.../aaa_perks.htm, http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1982824). I'm just nervous that those seem a bit older so, like I said, I need to do a bit more investigating before I commit 100%.

I see your ticker says you're leaving in 6 days. Have an awesome time!! I wish we were going now! I'm so in need of a vacation!


Cool, thanks for the info. I'll check it out!

Yes, we leave in 6 days. This trip has been 2 years in the making, so it's been a long, long, wait. We wanted to wait until I had another baby.
_______
Baby Jayden is now 10 weeks old, so we're finally on our way!

My DD says the funniest things too... Lately if I ask he to do something, she almost immediately responds with " Two minutes-- Just give me two minutes"" .... I'm starting to think that I say that WAY to much to her and it's caught on. But ever since I've had the baby, it seems like I always need an extra two minutes for something .

She also tells me at least once a day that's she's going to marry a prince. When I ask her if I married a prince, she says..... ""Ummmmm NoOOO..... You married Daddy""
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:32 AM   #10
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Cool, thanks for the info. I'll check it out!

Yes, we leave in 6 days. This trip has been 2 years in the making, so it's been a long, long, wait. We wanted to wait until I had another baby.
_______
Baby Jayden is now 10 weeks old, so we're finally on our way!

My DD says the funniest things too... Lately if I ask he to do something, she almost immediately responds with " Two minutes-- Just give me two minutes"" .... I'm starting to think that I say that WAY to much to her and it's caught on. But ever since I've had the baby, it seems like I always need an extra two minutes for something .

She also tells me at least once a day that's she's going to marry a prince. When I ask her if I married a prince, she says..... ""Ummmmm NoOOO..... You married Daddy""
Have a great time!!! Wow 10 weeks at Disney. I can't wait to hear how that goes! At least they're "easier" at that.

That's too funny about the two minutes! Yesterday I made everyone help pick up the house so I'd finished folding the laundry and helping the boys pick up their room and had sent them out to pick up the playroom and I sat down on the couch for a minute. Corbin walked past and said "we're cleaning mom. That doesn't mean you can just sit on the couch!". Seriously? You are my child!

Corbin's already married - because "if you kiss on the lips, that means you're married and in love". So, because the big kids on the bus dared him to kiss his best little friend Emily, they're now married!

Have a great time on your trip!!! Can't wait to hear how it goes!
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:28 AM   #11
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Ok we're less than a month into planning a trip that's not happening for nine months and we're at change number one already! Lucky us, we're adding three nights to the beginning of our trip! That now makes our trip dates

Nov 24 - Dec 4



Couldn't ask for much better than that!! Hopefully this will give us a day or so to enjoy the house and spend some time together outside the parks. I don't know just yet if our friends will be coming down that soon or not. They're still planning on Nov 27 which is fine.

Now I have a new 180 day mark to make ADRs for so I've got to figure that out. I don't think we'll do any of the parks on Thursday just because they'll be so darned packed! That also means I'll need to do a LOT of my Christmas shopping before we leave (I pretty much shop all year long!) or on line Black Friday morning.

We may try and hit the parks a bit to do things like some shopping or just hanging out before they get super busy on Friday and Saturday. I'm also thinking we're going to try and get in a few ADRs before our friends get there if they don't want to do all of them with us.

My other thought is going down on Thursday and using Wednesday night to pack. I'm worried I won't have enough time to get everything packed working Monday through Wednesday and leaving right after work on Wednesday. I normally would use the weekend before to get everything done BUT that Saturday is Carter's birthday.

Normally I wouldn't worry, we'd have a few people over for some cake and call it good. Well Carter started "school" (day care) this year so he's got a little class of friends to invite and the kids in the neighborhood. I'm thinking to keep our cost down (less on the party, more on Disney!) that we'll just get a jumpy for the yard and have cake and popsicles (we don't genereally do ice cream with our cake - it just gets too messy).

So, with the great news of adding three nights to our trip comes the stress of planning for three more days and our trip down when probably millions of other people are traveling as well.

I'm also going to keep looking for another house too. The other two families we invited don't think they'll be able to go so it's just gonna be our families. I've paid our deposit but loosing the $150 to find something cheaper in the long run might just be worth it. And, if I don't find anything, at least we've got something which is better than having nothing!

Off to waste a bit of time this morning and house hunt!!
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:59 PM   #12
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Ok, we've decided to stay in the house we originally planned on. I found tons of other houses but couldn't find a comparable price to what we're already paying. I also checked into renting DVC points hoping I could get a deal there but no such luck unfortunetly.

I've also updated my ticker in my signature to account for the extra few days we'll be at Disney!!! I could leave tomorrow I think!

I'm hoping for some planning time this weekend so I can post some of my lists and things for those who would like to use them. I had tons of links on my computer before it crashed so now it's a hunt for the links and trying to remember where everything came from.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:29 PM   #13
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That is our favorite time of the year to go!

Kids are funny aren't they! It never seems to amaze me that no matter how much I think they are not listening to me, they always seem to repete the things I say!
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Old 03-07-2010, 02:54 PM   #14
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That is our favorite time of the year to go!

Kids are funny aren't they! It never seems to amaze me that no matter how much I think they are not listening to me, they always seem to repete the things I say!
Yeah I love Christmas anyways and we were there a couple of years ago so I can't wait to go back!!!

Kids are hillarious! My oldest had two magnets in his had this morning and said "look mom! they're like magnets!" because they were sticking together. I almost fell off the couch laughing at him!
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Nov/Dec PTR: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post35542292
Planning a mid Nov - mid Dec trip? Check out our thread: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2399320
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:04 PM   #15
newtodis
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hilton Head Island, SC
Posts: 4,420

Let the lists begin!

Alright - I told you I love lists so here we go!

Let's start with my "To Do" list as it stands right now (I'll update as we go along)

*Get van cleaned out
*Get oil changed
*Figure out how to pack the van
*Finzalie touring plans (this will change until we get back from the trip! )
*Make list of ideas for meals (this one's a work in progress right now)
*Make info cards for each park
*Make countdown calendar
*Update first aid kit
*Charge camera battery
*Do laundry
*Pack Dan
*Pack Lynn
*Pack Corbin
*Pack Carter
*Pack food
*Pack cooler
*Get dvd player fixed in the van (there's another dvd stuck in it )
*Bake stuff in advance
*Get ice for cooler
*Get more mister fans (might not need them but don't want to hear fighting about who has one and who doesn't!)
*Sign up for freebies (travel sized to take with us!!)
*Decide what stroller's we're taking (double, single and umbrella are the options or just renting from Disney)
*Grocery shopping
*Make grocery list of stuff to get once we get there
*Decide on "treats" for everyone
*Get a backpack for the parks (need to do some research to figure out what's best)
*Pay off house
*Get annual passes
*Make ADRs
*Order custom cake (for Carter's birthday and just celebrating the trip in general)
*Plan Disney nights
*Find DISigns for t-shirts
*Make t-shirts
*Make activity books for the kids
*Make passports for EPCOT
*Make autograph books
*Get costumes for the kiddos to wear to the park (we've got Buzz and Captain Hook - hoping to score more after Halloween or at garage sales this summer)
*Get another memory card for the camera

That's it for now...I'm sure there's tons that I've forgotten
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Nov/Dec PTR: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post35542292
Planning a mid Nov - mid Dec trip? Check out our thread: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2399320
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