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Old 09-16-2012, 10:56 AM   #31
amandaw
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You know I noticed your absence....I'm glad you're back!

That really is a crazy schedule. I mean.....I understand why they do it that way but it just seems like a lot. I'm glad to hear she's doing well. I wouldn't be able to handle the whole bus thing either. Reid always talks about riding the bus when he gets to big boy school. I finally just busted his bubble the other day & informed him that I would be bringing him & picking him up. That is so awesome that your dad offered to take Willow to school! What a tremendous help!

I love the story about the Curious George shirt! Hilarious! Gotta love our "Disney kids"!
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:32 PM   #32
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I'm finally here Roni!
Hi Megan!!!

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Your plans sound amazing! The POR Royal Rooms are so cute! I want to stay in one whenever Tessa gets into princesses. I think that Willow will love it.
Yeah, I think they look very fun. I am getting excited about it! However, if I suddenly got a great discount code for an Epcot resort, well...... :

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A week in Disney then a week on a cruise? that surprise sounds fabulous if you can pull it off. I don't know if I could keep the secret. Willow's face will be priceless!
Yeah, it seems a very luxurious and spoiled trip - two weeks, land AND sea! But man, it does sound soooo good! I have no idea whether I'll be able to pull off the surprise, but I hope so!

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We went the last week of August through Labor Day last year. I didn't think it was too bad. We had afternoon showers everyday but they didn't last long. Most of the time we would get off a ride & see that it had rained while we were inside. We only had 2 days where the rain lingered, but one of those was in the evening when we were done with parks. Crowds were I thought very manageable. Of course I have never been to Disney during really slow times. The only thing I have to compare it to was early May which the crowds were about the same & Memorial Day week which August was less crowded. Schools here start after Labor Day & finish well into June so August is going to be our best bet for future trips too.
August will be best for us too as school doesn't start here until after Labor Day either and, therefore, of course, doesn't get out until late June. I'm glad to hear that you weren't totally miserable. I think I just need to learn how to slow down a little bit (given the heat) - that is something I need to learn anyway - I miss a lot of the little things by always being in such an all-fired hurry (both at WDW and in really life ).

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As far as the heat, yes it is hot. But Disney has so many indoor attractions that hopefully you will be able to stay cool. We always bring lots of water in with us too.
Good to hear that the heat didn't get you down too much. I think it will be challenging, but if we can get out to the parks early and break midday at the pool, I think we will be okay. I hope so!

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I'm so sorry you have been sick but I'm glad you didn't have to go to the ER! How scary, I'm happy you made it through fighting the flu on your own.
Thanks! Still haven't shaken the deep cough, but I'm not totally run down anymore!

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I'm glad everything is going well with Willow & school & you were able to work out a schedule that works out for everyone. How sweet tht your dad can help out. I love having my parents close by for reasons like that.
I am very thankful for my dad - this is the first thing like this that my folks have done, and it is such a blessing for us. I can bank up the credit hours at work for leave while being available to my clients longer each day and still manage to pick up Willow quite a bit earlier.

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I'm sorry I'm so late but I'm excited to read about all your plans!
Oh, no worries! There's no such thing as late on a PTR that starts almost a year before the trip!

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That sounds like a crazy week! I can see the logic in getting the kids used to the new setting, but WOW! is that tough on the parents trying to figure out the logistics of all of that. We're finally getting into a groove here, but mostly because the districts here are all half day. For the first 3 weeks, the teacher sent home daily communication listing another little something that the kids should be working on from home each day (my guess is that it's in order for them to keep up with the rest of the state-which is full day- for testing purposes). So now we do kindergarten in the mornings, and mommy school in the afternoon for about 2 hours.
Yeah, it was a ridiculous week (actually week and a half). Wow - mommy school! I didn't realize that Maddie's kindy was only half day. How nice that you two get that time together though.

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Yay! for you dad! That sounds like a perfect solution. What a relief that must be to you.
It is a huge relief. I am so grateful. And I am happy that Willow has that little extra time with her Poppy. My dad is getting close to 80; I know that we need to spend as much time with him (and my mom) as we can.

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Love the Curious George story. She had a good point...

***
I thought so too! I was cracking up!

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You know I can't wait to start talking dining/show options! I'm already sketching out our next DxDP adventure for the possible next trip.
I will try to get an "update" posted tonight or tomorrow and let you know the kinds of things that I would like to try - I think you and the others should have a lot of helpful tips and suggestions for us.

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And by the way-I noticed.
Thank you! I really didn't mean to whine - I just think it is amazing how dang busy these boards are on a daily basis!

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You know I noticed your absence....I'm glad you're back!
Thanks! See above to Shan.

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That really is a crazy schedule. I mean.....I understand why they do it that way but it just seems like a lot. I'm glad to hear she's doing well. I wouldn't be able to handle the whole bus thing either. Reid always talks about riding the bus when he gets to big boy school. I finally just busted his bubble the other day & informed him that I would be bringing him & picking him up. That is so awesome that your dad offered to take Willow to school! What a tremendous help!
Honestly, it was just straight-out irritating. It wouldn't have been as bad had they given us more than a week or two's notice of the schedule. But they didn't. So those of us who work were just scrambling to take leave and find child care. It was crazy!

I am so grateful to my dad. So far, it is working out really well. And then a good friend of mine (Willow's BFF's mom) has also said that, if it gets so that my dad can't do it every day, she would be happy for me to drop Willow with her three mornings a week. I am so blessed and lucky to have a friend like that.

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I love the story about the Curious George shirt! Hilarious! Gotta love our "Disney kids"!
Dis-centric, I call it!
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:53 PM   #33
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Hi there! I missed your last update, but now I'm back on track. I hadn't seen your thread in my "updated" box in a while and I was worried you had somehow dropped off my subscribed list!

Congrats to Willow on a successful transition to kindergarten! How nice of your Dad to volunteer to take her to school each day, it certainly does make things easier, and you know she is in good hands.

Ok, so let me talk a little about POR. I just love that resort! I think that it is exceptionally well laid out, and really well themed. It is larger than POFQ, but the sections that the Royal rooms are in (Parterre place and Oak manner, if I remember the names correctly) are really centrally located and just a quick hop over the bridge to the main part of the resort.

The mansions are my favorite section anyway, because I really feel like I am living out my Gone with the Wind fantasies. They are so pretty to walk by, and each building has its own personality and unique touches. I think that the fountains in the courtyards are lovely too!

I also really like that POR is situated on an active waterway. I know that CBR and CSR both have lakes and some watercraft rental, but I think that the river around POR is much busy and kinetic. I love seeing the ferries and the water sprites and everything else that goes by.

The whole Marina area is very pretty, and feels like a little town in and of itself. I love the way it looks at night, with the lights reflecting off the water.

POR has a great food court. I think that is a good size for the resort, so it doesn't get as crazy crowded as some, and it has some great choices for both breakfast and lunch/dinner. We've eaten there many times, and I've always been pleased, sure beats any CS place in DHS, that is for sure!

I also really like that they have entertainment, Yee-ha Bob is fun, and his shows start early, so you can catch one with Willow. You can sit back and have a nice relaxing adult beverage, while both of you enjoy the show. It is really interactive and great for both kids and adults. It does get crowded, so I'd get there early to score a prime spot.

Ok, so now that I've gone on and on, I hope that I've given you some helpful info, if not feel free to ignore the above paragraphs.
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:58 PM   #34
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Hi there! I missed your last update, but now I'm back on track. I hadn't seen your thread in my "updated" box in a while and I was worried you had somehow dropped off my subscribed list!
Hi!!! To be fair, I pretty much dropped off the face of the earth! I think I have probably missed some of your updates as well. I will be checking in on your PTR tonight!

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Congrats to Willow on a successful transition to kindergarten! How nice of your Dad to volunteer to take her to school each day, it certainly does make things easier, and you know she is in good hands.
Yes, I am so grateful to my dad. It has been a real saving grace for us - after the first partial week, I knew that there was no way it was going to work the way we were trying to do it. I'm glad that he offered to help, and so far, it is working really well.

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Ok, so let me talk a little about POR. I just love that resort! I think that it is exceptionally well laid out, and really well themed. It is larger than POFQ, but the sections that the Royal rooms are in (Parterre place and Oak manner, if I remember the names correctly) are really centrally located and just a quick hop over the bridge to the main part of the resort.
Oh, this is so great to hear! I am having a hard time figuring it out looking at the maps available on-line, so it is good to know that we will not be a million miles from everything. What is bus service like?

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The mansions are my favorite section anyway, because I really feel like I am living out my Gone with the Wind fantasies. They are so pretty to walk by, and each building has its own personality and unique touches. I think that the fountains in the courtyards are lovely too!
Oh, this really does sound right up my alley! I am getting much more excited about this choice. We have only stayed at one WDW resort, so I am really nervous about everything - I am not a resort and transportation veteran like so many on here.

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I also really like that POR is situated on an active waterway. I know that CBR and CSR both have lakes and some watercraft rental, but I think that the river around POR is much busy and kinetic. I love seeing the ferries and the water sprites and everything else that goes by.

The whole Marina area is very pretty, and feels like a little town in and of itself. I love the way it looks at night, with the lights reflecting off the water.
Oh, this sounds so pleasant and peaceful. I can't wait to check this place out now!!!

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POR has a great food court. I think that is a good size for the resort, so it doesn't get as crazy crowded as some, and it has some great choices for both breakfast and lunch/dinner. We've eaten there many times, and I've always been pleased, sure beats any CS place in DHS, that is for sure!
Great news! We have never stayed at a resort with a food court (or, really, any CS option), so I have definitely been looking forward to the convenience of this. And it is good to hear that the food and atmosphere is actually good!

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I also really like that they have entertainment, Yee-ha Bob is fun, and his shows start early, so you can catch one with Willow. You can sit back and have a nice relaxing adult beverage, while both of you enjoy the show. It is really interactive and great for both kids and adults. It does get crowded, so I'd get there early to score a prime spot.
Now, I have read a little about Bob in a TR some time ago. It wasn't clear to me whether children were allowed because it was a TR not featuring kids. This is really great to know that we can go together and enjoy this! Maybe we will need to build in more resort time this trip!

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Ok, so now that I've gone on and on, I hope that I've given you some helpful info, if not feel free to ignore the above paragraphs.
This has been incredibly helpful! Thank you SO much!!! I am genuinely excited about the resort now!!!
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:01 PM   #35
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Okay, so an update of sorts, I guess!

Hmm, maybe not so much an update as a request for opinions and experiences. Willow and I have never done any of the “show” meals at WDW - like the luau, HDDR, Mickey’s BBQ, others??? I know that I do not want to do the luau. But should we consider doing one of the others? This will be our third trip to WDW, and it will be our first at a busier (and MUCH hotter) time of year, so it seems like a good opportunity to try some new, less park-centric things. I would love to hear from anyone who has done any of these dining experiences. What were they like? Were they worth the cost? Did you feel like your time would have been better spent doing something else?

Second, for anyone who has cruised before, we currently have the early dining rotation. We had that on the Wonder this year, and I think it is generally a good time especially with young children. However, I think the timing of dinner is also one of the main reasons that we ended up passing on shows, and we were never able to chill out with a cheese plate and glass of wine (or juice) on the verandah in the early evening because we had to dine relatively early. Do you think it would be worth risking exhaustion for the younger member of my party and switching to late dining? I do intend to try to get us on a later schedule during our week at WDW, and remember we will be coming from the West Coast, so if we don’t adapt entirely to the time change, staying up later should be a lot easier since the West Coast is three hours behind. What do you think????

Thanks for any and all insight, advice, weighing-in, or stories you can share!
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:31 PM   #36
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I wholeheartedly agree with your choice to skip the Luau!

DH and I did the HDDR on our 'honeymoon', and we loved it. It's a loud, cheesey, funny, and fun show. However--I'm not sure how much a 5 year old girl will love it. I'm really on the fence about booking it for our next trip. It's a longish show, and the transportation to and from the Fort Wilderness area can be a pain. (though I did just read on a TR that you can ferry straight there and back). So, basically if you did it--it would be your whole evening. The food is really good if you like fried chicken, cornbread, etc. though. I think it's pretty expensive for a dinner ($70 for adults and $40 for kids). I really, really want to do it again one of these trips, the only thing that holds me back is the time it takes to get all the way out there, and the length of the show. Maddie is semi-obsessed with Hawaii and loves dancing and the Luau was simply too long for her. She was bored. The Hoop is much more lively and loud though, so maybe it would be better.

That was about as clear as mud huh?

If you decide against a show, I'd suggest Cali Grill (so long as the refurb is done) for a fancy meal/experience. The food is excellent, and Willow can watch the castle change colors as she eats. Plus, it's really easy to get to transportation wise. We LOVED it there (it'll probably take me a month to get to that review ) and Maddie did too.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:21 AM   #37
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I say switch to the later dining! My mom and I do it each cruise and we are able to see all the shows. We end up going back to our room around 10:30ish, but thats because we go to the late night bar shows.
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:12 PM   #38
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I wholeheartedly agree with your choice to skip the Luau!


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DH and I did the HDDR on our 'honeymoon', and we loved it. It's a loud, cheesey, funny, and fun show. However--I'm not sure how much a 5 year old girl will love it. I'm really on the fence about booking it for our next trip. It's a longish show, and the transportation to and from the Fort Wilderness area can be a pain. (though I did just read on a TR that you can ferry straight there and back). So, basically if you did it--it would be your whole evening. The food is really good if you like fried chicken, cornbread, etc. though. I think it's pretty expensive for a dinner ($70 for adults and $40 for kids). I really, really want to do it again one of these trips, the only thing that holds me back is the time it takes to get all the way out there, and the length of the show. Maddie is semi-obsessed with Hawaii and loves dancing and the Luau was simply too long for her. She was bored. The Hoop is much more lively and loud though, so maybe it would be better.

That was about as clear as mud huh?
Well, I'm kind of interested in visiting the area since we have never been anywhere over there. But it does sound like a long evening. Hmmm. It also sounds very expensive. Not sure that this would be the best choice for us. I will have to continue to think about it!

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If you decide against a show, I'd suggest Cali Grill (so long as the refurb is done) for a fancy meal/experience. The food is excellent, and Willow can watch the castle change colors as she eats. Plus, it's really easy to get to transportation wise. We LOVED it there (it'll probably take me a month to get to that review ) and Maddie did too.
Yes, the other thing that I am considering for this trip is our first WDW signature dining evening. Cali Grill is high on the list of contenders.

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I say switch to the later dining! My mom and I do it each cruise and we are able to see all the shows. We end up going back to our room around 10:30ish, but thats because we go to the late night bar shows.
Yeah, I am really tempted. Of course, with early dining, Willow generally likes to go to the kids' club after, so I would have that time to go out by myself a little. If we went to late dining, that would be off the table. But we might end up seeing more of the shows and doing more of the late-night entertainment. It's a tough call!
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:46 PM   #39
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Hi Roni!

Glad you're over the flu! I've been down for a few days myself...not exactly sure what I had. Finally feeling better today.

As far as the dinner shows go.... we've done all three. HDDR is the family favorite by far...done that one twice. Lots of slapstick comedy and good food. We liked the MBYBBQ, too. Great for younger kids like Willow. Here's another thought...and something that won't cost you a dime....the Chip n' Dale Sing a-long at FW The kids did this twice last year and had a ball!!! I believe it's done nightly at FW. You can do smores, also. If you get there early, you basically have Chip n' Dale to yourself

Here are the links to those reviews with pics of course....

HDDR

Chip n' Dale Sing-a-long

MBYBBQ


MBYBBQ part 2

Luau


Happy Planning!!!
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:51 PM   #40
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Oooh, I love the above idea to try out the chip and dale campfire thingy (I'm drawing a blank on its proper name ). I seriously considered taking Everett there on this upcoming trip, but there are metal sticks and open flame and I'm not interested in an extra bonus tour of the celebration emergency room

I have a feeling Willow can handle sticks and open flame without incident, and I bet she would love the characters and the smores!

If you do go the paid show route, I personally enjoy HDDR. I think that it is a much more interesting show and has better food than the luau. I also think it is more kid friendly. There is more interaction, and the songs are folk standards that Willow would likely recognize, like Oh my darling Clementine. It is expensive and long though, and the food is only Ok, (but they do have unlimited wine ) so I guess its about what you want to prioritize.

Oh and you asked about the buses at POR. We've had decent luck (all except for when we went over Thanksgiving week, but that was just overall pretty crazy). The last stop is the main area (with check in and the food court), so it gets tough if you want to get on there. I'd get on at the stop by your room, and you likely won't have any trouble. The bus stops are all pretty easy to get too, and it won't be a big hike from the Royal rooms.

The good thing is that they only stop at POR, so unlike at the boardwalk, you don't have to stop at 15 other resorts on your way to the parks.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:27 AM   #41
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We've done Mickey's Backyard BBQ & enjoyed it. Reid enjoyed being able to dance with the characters: Chip, Dale, Minnie, Goofy, Mickey.

I'll report back to you about HDDR after our trip!

As for late dining on the cruise.....I'm in the same boat as you. Boat...get it? Boat! Okay, sorry....moving along......we currently have late dining for our June cruise. But, we are waitlisted to get the early dining. I can see the pro's though to having late dining: getting the shows done, the kids club picks the kids up from dinner or they can just have dinner in the club & not go to the main dining room if it is too late for them.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:49 AM   #42
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Hope Kindergarden is going well! Great to have family and friends-like-family around to help with the logistics. We had our neighbors daughter every morning for a few years - we loved it! She is 2 years older than my kids and it was like having a well-behaved older sister in the mornings! It also made a special kind of bond - I still feel sort of protective of her even though she's almost 18!
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:35 PM   #43
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Hi Roni! Hope all is well & Willow is enjoying kindergarten & that the new schedule is working out!

As far as your shows question we haven't been to any! So I'm no help there. We have never done a cruise before either but I think I would keep the later dining. With the time difference Willow would probably do ok & it would be fun to do the shows together!
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:38 PM   #44
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Hi Roni!

Glad you're over the flu! I've been down for a few days myself...not exactly sure what I had. Finally feeling better today.
Oh no - glad you are feeling better. I am still not 100%, but we have had a huge number of forest fires in surrounding areas, which have buried us in a fog of smoke for two weeks - so I think that may to blame for my breathing and froggy voice these days! I feel so bad for all the folks who have to evacuate and risk losing their homes.

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As far as the dinner shows go.... we've done all three. HDDR is the family favorite by far...done that one twice. Lots of slapstick comedy and good food. We liked the MBYBBQ, too. Great for younger kids like Willow. Here's another thought...and something that won't cost you a dime....the Chip n' Dale Sing a-long at FW The kids did this twice last year and had a ball!!! I believe it's done nightly at FW. You can do smores, also. If you get there early, you basically have Chip n' Dale to yourself
You know, this is EXACTLY what I think we will do - the Chip 'n' Dale thing. I had thought about doing that last year but never got around to it, and I had totally forgotten about it! The other things are so $$$$ and I'm not sure how much we would enjoy them, so this is the perfect option! I think we will try to do it! And I would love to see FW!

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Here are the links to those reviews with pics of course....

HDDR

Chip n' Dale Sing-a-long

MBYBBQ

MBYBBQ part 2

Luau

Happy Planning!!!
Heather
You are awesome!!! Thank you - I have a feeling I will keep coming back to these as I continue to mull over the options.

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Oooh, I love the above idea to try out the chip and dale campfire thingy (I'm drawing a blank on its proper name ). I seriously considered taking Everett there on this upcoming trip, but there are metal sticks and open flame and I'm not interested in an extra bonus tour of the celebration emergency room
OMG - you are too funny!!!!!

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I have a feeling Willow can handle sticks and open flame without incident, and I bet she would love the characters and the smores!
Yeah, I don't worry about Willow in those situations - she is pretty careful. I really think we may do this - it sounds like a blast, and we won't feel bad if it is too hot or we're too tired because I won't have spent a ton of money on it.

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If you do go the paid show route, I personally enjoy HDDR. I think that it is a much more interesting show and has better food than the luau. I also think it is more kid friendly. There is more interaction, and the songs are folk standards that Willow would likely recognize, like Oh my darling Clementine. It is expensive and long though, and the food is only Ok, (but they do have unlimited wine ) so I guess its about what you want to prioritize.
Definitely no luau for us! And I do think that HDDR would be the top contender for a paid show, but the $$$ amount is kind of getting to me. Although, well, you know I would enjoy some all-you-can-drink wine.....

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Originally Posted by CandleontheWater View Post
Oh and you asked about the buses at POR. We've had decent luck (all except for when we went over Thanksgiving week, but that was just overall pretty crazy). The last stop is the main area (with check in and the food court), so it gets tough if you want to get on there. I'd get on at the stop by your room, and you likely won't have any trouble. The bus stops are all pretty easy to get too, and it won't be a big hike from the Royal rooms.
Thanks for the info! I'm glad to know that we should stick with the local stop. We have never stayed in one of these sprawling moderates with multiple stops, so I am pretty lost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CandleontheWater View Post
The good thing is that they only stop at POR, so unlike at the boardwalk, you don't have to stop at 15 other resorts on your way to the parks.
Oh, that IS nice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandaw View Post
We've done Mickey's Backyard BBQ & enjoyed it. Reid enjoyed being able to dance with the characters: Chip, Dale, Minnie, Goofy, Mickey.
I do think we would really enjoy the BBQ, but I am afraid of the August heat!

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Originally Posted by amandaw View Post
I'll report back to you about HDDR after our trip!
I can't wait to hear about it!

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Originally Posted by amandaw View Post
As for late dining on the cruise.....I'm in the same boat as you. Boat...get it? Boat! Okay, sorry....moving along......we currently have late dining for our June cruise. But, we are waitlisted to get the early dining. I can see the pro's though to having late dining: getting the shows done, the kids club picks the kids up from dinner or they can just have dinner in the club & not go to the main dining room if it is too late for them.
Boat!!!! Butt? Nemo?????

I am really struggling with this one. Right now, I am leaning to asking my TA if she can get us changed to late dining. I think I will wait a bit and see if my mom makes any more noise about potentially joining us - I would want to get her opinion if I thought there was a good possibility that she would come along.

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Originally Posted by HermanTriplets+1 View Post
Hope Kindergarden is going well! Great to have family and friends-like-family around to help with the logistics. We had our neighbors daughter every morning for a few years - we loved it! She is 2 years older than my kids and it was like having a well-behaved older sister in the mornings! It also made a special kind of bond - I still feel sort of protective of her even though she's almost 18!
Stay healthy, and
Keep on plannin'!
Hey there! Happy to see you over here. It is so nice to enjoy your positive experience as the family who was helping out with child care - makes me feel a little less guilty about accepting offered help.

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Originally Posted by megan511 View Post
Hi Roni! Hope all is well & Willow is enjoying kindergarten & that the new schedule is working out!

As far as your shows question we haven't been to any! So I'm no help there. We have never done a cruise before either but I think I would keep the later dining. With the time difference Willow would probably do ok & it would be fun to do the shows together!
Hi Megan! I am really thinking that I may switch it to late dining! I would like to feel like the day was a little longer - we were always racing around in the afternoon to get dressed for dinner. I'd rather have some time to meet characters or something rather than heading straight to dinner.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:08 AM   #45
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OMG I just finished reading your Alaska TR and loved it!!! You took amazing pictures. I can't wait to read your next TR..
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