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Old 09-17-2012, 04:06 AM   #106
KristinU
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Safe travels home!
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:04 AM   #107
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Have a safe trip home.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:25 AM   #108
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Thanks! We made it home (not an especially fun trip home - 4 of the 6 kids had the stomach flu...) But we made it! Yippee! And I have wifi again, so I have the rest of the TR ready to go!
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:27 AM   #109
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Day 6: Today was our day off. It felt so good to be able to stay at the campground and not rush to a park. We woke up late and spend the morning at the pool (we even got to meet Karen, a fellow DISboarder, and her girls!)

We got a Kenny Cart this time again (picked it up on Sun) and it was probably the best money we spent on this vacation (other than the money spent on the actual campsite). He was so easy to work with Ė had the cart waiting for us at the Marina (a day early!) The kids absolutely loved the cart and we took it everywhere. Even when the cart was just parked in the driveway they played on it and pretended to drive. We had originally gotten it from Mon-Thurs, but on Wed we called Kenny to ask if we could keep it an extra day. Iím so glad we did! It made the day so much better!

In the afternoon my parents came over with a cake for DS1, whose birthday was the next day. Then off to the pool we went again. The kids all loved the slide (DS2 and DS3 wanted to go down it so badly but obviously couldnít) so most of their pool time consisted of going from pool to slide over and over again. Even the baby loved the water!

Our night was pretty quiet .We went to the campfire and sing-a-long. By that time the boys had figured out how much fun it was to meet the characters and pretty much flung themselves into Chip and Dale for hugs. We didnít stay for the movie Ė the kids were ready to go to sleep by that point. Once the kids were in bed DH and I sat outside in our chairs and had a couple of drinks. This is the time I miss being able to have a campfire. We know tomorrow is going to be a ridiculously crazy day so we enjoyed the peace and quiet. We have a few squirrel friends (about 4 of them) who like to lurk and see if the kids have dropped anything they can clean up. There are 2 squirrels in particular who chase each other around all day long, which is pretty entertaining to watch. Itís obvious they have no fear of humans, but we definitely donít want to encourage them to spend time by our site. We had an armadillo visit us too but only once. In the 300 loop we saw them every day.

Someone must have figured out that the ice maker at the comfort station was broken. We had been getting free ice (well, we paid for the first $2, but it kept kicking ice out all day long) and when we went over today to do laundry the ice was gone. I donít think anyone else is using the comfort station at all. Our loop is practically deserted. Out of 73 campsites there are only 3 or 4 actually taken. From our site we couldnít see another single person. Iím sure thatís a once in a lifetime event and we appreciated it.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:28 AM   #110
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Day 7: We woke up early today because we had DS1ís YES program. We had to be at Hollywood Studios by 7:45am for the Magic of Animation class. Once again I am so impressed with Disney. Most places would use these programs as income and charge accordingly for them. Instead, Disney actually offers a discount on tickets for being a YES program attendee.

I had read online some reviews that said the program was a bit boring for younger kids, but DS1 really loved it. He got to draw Stitch (and so did I!) and we both learned a lot about the beginnings of Animation. About 50% of the program was spent with the kids actually doing things (creating storyboards, timelines, drawing various things), 20% walking through different places and 30% talking. We were quite happy with it and our tour guide did a great job keeping the kids interested. I think next time weíll try to Chemistry class Ė it sounds quite interesting too!

The program ran through 10:45, and we had an appointment at Pirates League at 1:15 and we still had to go get lunch. I knew it would be tight, but we made it. Pirates League was awesome. Just as good an experience as the Bippity Boppity Boutique is. My only disappointment was that they didnít have a photopass photographer there taking pictures like they do at BBB. Itís probably because the packages are so much cheaper, but I was expecting to have someone there and almost didnít bring my camera with me (I did though Ė thank goodness!) The Pirates League really does seem well priced for everything they got. It took well over an hour from start to finish, so definitely donít schedule it for a time when you need to be somewhere else afterward.

After that we went back to the campground to get dinner. We ate and got the kids changed into their costumes for MNSSHP. The boat going back to MK was very quiet, and so was the bag check. When we got up to the front they scanned our tickets to the party and informed me that I had bought the wrong date Ė our tickets were for the 11th (which had obviously already passed.) I have no idea how it happened and was so upset I could have cried. On a normal day it wouldnít have been a big deal, but this was DS1ís birthday wish. We had been planning this day for months. The CM was so nice and directed us to Guest services. And this is why we love Disney and why it is worth every single penny. Instead of telling us that there was nothing they could do, they simply printed us new tickets. No questions asked. So many places would have given us a hard time or just said ďSorry, you bought the wrong dateĒ. This just reinforces why Disney stands above the rest for us.
We got in and went straight to Adventureland, where we wanted to meet Captain Jack. He only appears at the Halloween party and was the only character DS1 had yet to meet. He wasnít out yet (we were told he would be out at 8pm) so we hit a few rides and came back. By the time we got back the line was quite long (at 7:30) so we waited. At 7:45 they informed us that Captain Jack would be taking a break but would be back at 8:00. Everyone groaned a bit, but most people stayed in line. Then once he got back he met with a few families before heading off to the parade (more groans). We were literally next in line when he went to the parade, but the up side was that he spent a good amount of time with the kids when he got back. He signed DS1ís sword, which made his night.

The fireworks were awesome and the parade was even better. The kids loved seeing all the villans and I loved the Haunted Mansion float. One of the gravediggers came over and scared the kids Ė they all jumped sky high. After the parade we went on a few more rides and hit a few of the candy trails. By then they were giving out handfuls of candy (compared to one or two pieces they were giving out at the beginning of the night) so even though we only went to a few trails the kids came home with bucketfuls of candy! We finally left the park at 11:45, came back and put the babies to bed. Then I took the older kids to the pool for a late night swim before bed.

If you have the chance to go to MNSSHP I highly recommend it! Next time weíd arrange it so the party fell on a day that we didnít go to the parks. It was too much to go 3 times in one day for us. But the kids had a great time and we lasted a lot longer than I thought we would. The villans mix and mingle was great (surprisingly the kids didnít want to meet any of the villans, but they really enjoyed the show). Everyone did a great job in usual Disney fashion.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:48 AM   #111
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Day 8: On the road early this morning. We stopped to see my grandparents for a few hours and then got back on.

It was a great vacation and weíre all sad to be leaving. I really canít think of anything I would do different next time. We talked about doing only 2 or 3 days at a park, but the YES program offers 3+ and the difference between 3 days and 5 days is tiny. The water parks would have been nice to go to, but the kids are still a bit too young to just go off and ride the slides and with 3 babies under 2 it would be a bit much for me. Iím kind of hoping we can go back next year, even though I know that 2 years from now will be the start of everything getting easier (when the boys are 4 and Q is 2). So weíll see. Tonight weíre stopping and hoping to get an early start tomorrow to finish up the trip.

Day 9: Woke up at 3am by DD2 puking all over the sleeping bag. DS1 woke up shortly after with a headache and stomach ache. Then DS2 had it and DD1 had it. DH and I were just praying neither of us got it. That would have made for an even worse trip home.

We had stopped at a Savannah KOA last night (we had been hoping to get farther before stopping, but that didn't happen) so had a very long trip to get through today. Hit almost no traffic until Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where it was dead stopped at 9pm. That wasn't fun (all the babies woke up screaming) and put us home at 11pm. We survived the trip home, which counts for a lot in a case like this.

Random Notes:
We were in 800 loop (had requested either 400, 500 or 700 loop). When we checked in they said the loops we requested were all full, so they put us in 800. It was not as close to the marina as we wanted, but the loop itself was awesome. We literally could not see another camper from our site - it was that empty. I think there were between 3-4 other people on the entire loop. Crazy - and I'm sure it will never happen to us again! It was awesome though and we loved having the privacy!

The loop itself was farther than we had wanted it to be, but closer to the pool and trading post, so that was nice. We picked up our Kenny Cart on Sun (he had us pick it up from the marina, which worked out a lot better than trying to meet him in the overflow lot like last time). I'm always so glad we get a cart. His prices are awesome and we spend a lot of time on it. Even when it's parked in the site driveway the kids play on it and pretend to drive. While we were theoretically close enough to the pool to walk, it was nice to be able to drive.

This was the first time we had eaten at the Trail's End and were surprised it was quite good! Friday we picked up a bucket of chicken, mac and cheese, biscuits and fries (more fries than we could eat!) It was only $25 and we had chicken left over after all of us ate.

The crowds at the park were so low that we pretty much walked right onto whatever we wanted to go on! It was awesome. I think it was even quieter than late Jan/early Feb when we've gone in the past.

If anyone is considering the YES program, it's wonderful and they make it very easy. It's a great way to save some money and let your kids participate in a special program. Like I said before, most places would charge extra for that - yet Disney actually discounts your tickets when you participate.

We're definitely sad to be home and looking forward to our next trip to the fort - whenever that may be.

Oh - and a bit thank you to the person who posted the recipe for Campfire Nachos. They are so easy to make and something that we'd whip up when we got back to the site while we were making dinner. I bought a huge shaker of Taco seasoning from Sam's Club and it made the recipe really simple. Our slow cooker was wonderful to have too. I wish I had planned a few extra meals since there were nights where we just didn't feel like cooking and the meal I had planned was a time consuming one. On those nights we either had pancakes/eggs or PB&Js.

Thanks to everyone who followed us along on this trip. It was a great one and I can't wait to see all the photopass pictures! I have a few more of my own to share once I get my computer unpacked.

And just in case anyone is a photo junkie, I brought along my D700 with a cheap 28-200 used lens that i got from B&H's used section. It's a wonderful walk-around lens. I had a bit of CA, but overall was happy with the sharpness and colors and loved the extra reach I got with it. I brought a 70-300 too and never took it out. And of course a 50 1.4 (don't leave home without it!)
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:00 AM   #112
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Oh - and you'll all get a chuckle out of this. You know how they have the fantastic FW merchandise now? I had been wanting one of those FW blankets (they are like sweatshirts and will be so soft after a few washes) and was waiting until one of the last days to pick it up. On Thursday night I picked one up on our way back from the campfire. Brought it back, laid it on the back of the couch. The next morning we gave DS1 his birthday presents. That night after we went swimming and were driving home in our cart, DS1 looked at me and said "Thank you for a wonderful birthday. I especially love my new Fort Wilderness blanket." :cry: How could I tell him that it wasn't his blanket?! So that's the story of how I lost my FW blanket to my son. He slept in it the next 2 days and absolutely loves it. :lol:
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:54 AM   #113
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What a great trip you had. Full of wonderful memories. Sorry the kids got sick on the way home and I hope the rest of you somehow avoid getting sick. What a good mom to "give" DS the blanket you waited for maybe next trip you can pick up another one. Thanks for letting me come along on your trip. I enjoyed it. Welcome home.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:45 PM   #114
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I love your TR and I am sad to see it end. Thanks for the info on the Yes program. I am looking at doing it with my homeschool girls. I do like how the ticket prices are discounted. Sea World does the same thing. We were going to do it with the GS last yr but they were booked full. Its only $25 and includes park admission. Another plus is if you are a pass holder of any kind its free. Its nice that the parks discount the passes to help encourage education.
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Old 09-17-2012, 04:15 PM   #115
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Thoroughly enjoyed your TR. Glad you had a wonderful time. At least the children didn't get sick while at WDW. That really would have sucked.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:40 PM   #116
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Smile

Enjoyed the trip report and glad you made it safely home.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:03 PM   #117
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Wouldn't that have been awful? Especially if they had gotten it on Friday, since that was such a busy day for us. We're always prepared for car sickness so we had lots of plastic bags and bins handy. Not too much mess. Thank goodness DH and I didn't get it. We'd have had to stop for another night.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:09 PM   #118
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And now some more pictures...

A few from the fort...
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:16 PM   #119
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Entering the park the sun was shining right on the castle even though there were heavy clouds everywhere else. Gave a really cool spotlight effect
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:40 PM   #120
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Glad you made it home

Sorry the kids were sick, very glad ya'll didn't get it.

Question: how easy was it to get your stroller on the boat? Can you roll it on??
We leave Friday and will have DGD's beast of a stroller and the fewer times i have to collapse it the better

sorry to hijack
Ann and family
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