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Old 12-09-2012, 02:23 PM   #16
mnmrmustard
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Day 0 - Best Laid Plans

It is Wednesday November 28th and the weather is starting to change from cool and clear to a bit blustery here in Southern Oregon. There is a storm moving in sometime early Thursday and I'm hoping our flight will get off the ground before it hits us.

My wife and daughters head off for one last day of work and school. My day was going to be pretty open. All of our bags are packed except for the toiletries that were used when everyone got up this morning. All reservations are made and the pre-trip checklist has checkmarks by everything except the stuff I can't do until the afternoon. I'm thinking I may even go get a haircut before I head out.

I just have to stop by the store and pick up more cold meds and some stuff for MiL and run by the bank to cash the checks I had been holding for our daily spending at the parks. However, MiL suddenly needs her nails done. Not a big imposition since she gets them done at a salon attached to Wal-Mart. So I shop while she gets them done.

She even comes along on my bank run. But then she starts dropping hints/doing the 'I wish you had more time' thing to eat lunch with her. I say no problem and we go back to the Suites where she lives and we sit down for a lunch which goes as fast as you would imagine it would when you're at a table with 3 older ladies eating a salad, entree, and dessert.

We finished and she had a couple of things that she needed help with in her apartment. I ended up calling Roxy to see if she could pick up the girls. Luckily she was going to leave at 3pm anyways and went straight to get them. I said my good-byes to MiL from all of us and got home and helped Roxy load the toiletries. I then made up our daily spending envelopes and did a couple of last minute things with timers for the lights (both Christmas and interior).

We finally loaded up and made our last stop at Beans (DD2s) friends house to drop off keys so she could stop in an take care of our cats. We made it to Medford and to our friends/dog sitters place sometime around 6pm. Then it was off to Abbys pizza for dinner. It was about 6:30pm by the time we started eating.

I pulled out my phone for some quick pics - Bean was happy because there were spuds


This theme actually repeated throughout the trip &spuds = happy Bean

PumpkinGirl was less enthused but we finally goaded a sarcastic smile out of her


Roxy was a good sport


And I used the forward facing cam to take a pic of myself, which Bean photobombed lol


After eating it was off to the Super 8 a few miles down the road!


Check-in was pretty painless but by the time we got bags unloaded and settled in it was almost 9pm. My original plan was to be here closer to 6pm and the girls had been promised pool time. But Roxy and PumpkinGirl were sick and exhausted and I was waayyy too full from dinner to get in the pool. Bean reeeeaaaaallllyyyyy wanted to swim though so I agreed to accompany her to the pool area. By that time of night it was empty so she had it to herself. I was posting my first update on this TR and took a little video. My apologies for the shaky camera and weird angles, I was using the Duo's built in webcam and filming while looking at the screen isn't an easy undertaking:

Bean gets some pool time

I let her swim for about 30 minutes, then it was back upstairs for quick showers and bed. The ladies were fast asleep with cold meds on board. They had maybe 7hrs sleep and Bean and I got about 6 before the 4:30am wake-up started the first real day of our adventure!

Tune in next time for Day 1 Traveling to MCO and getting a glimpse of AoA!



Click here for the next chapter: Day 1 Part 1 - In the Air, On the Ground, and a Peek at AoA
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:29 PM   #17
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Welcome Home

Can't wait to hear all about it

First installment is up!
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:36 PM   #18
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Day 1 Part 1 - In the Air, On the Ground, and a Peek at AoA

The day we had all been waiting for was finally here. The girls had been anticipating it for almost a month and I had been jonzing for it since May. 4:30am came mighty early and Roxy and PumpkinGirl were unfortunately not any better. As a matter of fact PumpkinGirls voice started to cut out

Still we got ourselves up and dressed and did all that wonderful bathroom stuff. We were downstairs a few minutes late for the shuttle but the driver was waiting for us. Unfortunately he was waiting in a compact station wagon for 4 of us plus 4 big bags to check and our carry-ons. He tried packing it and I finally had to ask him to let me give it a try and thanks to the packing skills taught to me by the Army I managed to get all of it and us into the rig. I was just thankful that it was only 2 miles down an empty road to the airport!

Bag check went fine other than that pinch you feel when you hand over a crisp $100 bill for Delta to get your bags to your destination. This is the first time that we got to use the WDW baggage tags to have them delivered to POP, so that was cool. Security was a breeze and the wait to board wasnt long.

We took off on time and were in the air before the sun


I had hoped to get a shot of the sunrise but our angle was bad and there was frost on the window so it turned out a bit fuzzy


We dozed a bit on the 1 1/2hr flight and arrived in SLC on a crisp morning around 9:05am and were walking down the gangway for our MCO flight at 9:28am


I was in a row with Bean and PumpkinGirl and Roxy was right across the isle for the 4 1/2hr trek to Orlando




The girls were still a bit tired but in a good mood overall. Roxy and PumpkinGirl had earplanes in to keep the sinus pressure from being an issue. That and a bunch of cold/sinus meds kept them going




They couldnt find the in-flight movie, which was good as it was some sort of RomCom that we hadnt heard of. Instead they played Mr. Poppers Penguins which the family likes. I had set aside cash to pay for food/snacks on the plane only to find out that they only do credit cards now  grrr. At least the Disney card was there for us. There was a lot of iPod and laptop game play and video watching to pass the time.

We were on the ground on time and were walking thru MCO by 4:15pm. They had a nice Christmas tree as you came out of the gate area


Beyond that was everyones favorite little monorail




I even stole a bit of the Simpsons monorail song to my familys mild embarrassment
MCO Monorail

Soon enough we were at the other end and passing thru the Hyatt and its tree


Elevator down and a quick jaunt to the ME area, I had my AAA paperwork in hand so we went straight to our line and were on a bus within minutes. As had been our luck in the past we got a cruise line bus again. They are cool to look at but much harder to take pictures from due to the smaller porthole-style windows.

Our driver was nice but we couldnt understand him very well.


It was a beautiful blue-sky day, with a temperature around 76 degrees and nearly no humidity  w00t! Bean was happy as she knew it was raining back in Oregon (it rained at home the whole time we were in Florida).


The on-ride movie hadnt changed since last year


Roxy took a shot of Bean and I


&and I took one of her and PumpkinGirl


After a bit we literally had signs of Disney!


We were half way back in the ME bus so this was the best shot I could muster of the entrance gate


Our bus had several stops, of which POP was second. The first was our new neighbor the Art of Animation Resort. I handed the camera over to Bean and let her take some shots. You should all know that Bean took quite a few of the pictures you will be seeing throughout the TR. Shes got a good eye, as does her sister. PumpkinGirl would have taken more pics but being sick we were trying to limit contact between the sick pair and the well pair.

Anyways, here a Beans pics of AoA starting with a Cast Member pulling off some Michael Jackson moves


Then on to the characters










We left the AoA zone and rolled on around the bend to POP, which is where well pick up next time!



Click here for the next chapter: Day 1 Part 2 - Back home at POP and checking out AoA
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:33 PM   #19
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Mike...

I"m in... and excited to read about your trip... (in somewhat real time) I don't know how I missed this...

Oh MY- I am really sorry about the illness... I really hope that Roxy and PumpkinGirl are starting to rally a bit at his point...


I'm with Bean on the potato thing... I haven't met too many that I haven't liked..

(So wait - where is SLC?) before you took your second flight?

I saw that tree in the Orlando Airport...

Ah... when you see that mini monorail you know that you're almost there...

I hope you're having fun....
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PracPerfPatricia View Post
Mike...

I"m in... and excited to read about your trip... (in somewhat real time) I don't know how I missed this...

Oh MY- I am really sorry about the illness... I really hope that Roxy and PumpkinGirl are starting to rally a bit at this point...


I'm with Bean on the potato thing... I haven't met too many that I haven't liked..

(So wait - where is SLC?) before you took your second flight?

I saw that tree in the Orlando Airport...

Ah... when you see that mini monorail you know that you're almost there...

I hope you're having fun....

No worries, time flies when we're having fun aye?

They had better days and worse days and even now they're both still sick and Bean is down with it too

Yup, spuds rock! She'll take them any way she can get them

SLC is Salt Lake City. There is no direct flight from Southern Oregon to MCO so it is either hop to SLC or San Fran or Portland. And at least hopping to SLC gets us going in the right direction. instead of following the west coast and then heading east

That was a nice tree in the airport, it was a good welcome to the Christmas season. Love the mini monorail on the way in and dread it on the way out as the last spark of the vacation fading out :P

We got home yesterday at about 9pm. Both Bean and I woke up before 6am after about 5hrs sleep because our brains thought it was almost 9am - lol. I have a start on the PhotoPass+ pics and am soooo happy I made that investment. Got so many ride pics
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:06 AM   #21
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Sorry Pumpking girl and Roxy were sick. Hope they start to feel better as the days go on

Glad Bean got to get some swimming time as that slide looks like a lot of fun

Pumpkin looked thrilled with your singing in the Fakeorail

Great shots by Bean

Can't wait for more
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:27 PM   #22
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I saw on the news that awful shooting at mall in Oregon and thought of you and your family

Is that anywhere near you?
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:35 PM   #23
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keep up the good work, enjoying it.

did they offer any free snacks on the plan? usually you get at least a small snack bag.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:39 PM   #24
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Yeah you made it. Looking forward to hearing about it.

Nice pics so far.
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trentmom View Post
Sorry Pumpking girl and Roxy were sick. Hope they start to feel better as the days go on

Glad Bean got to get some swimming time as that slide looks like a lot of fun

Pumpkin looked thrilled with your singing in the Fakeorail

Great shots by Bean

Can't wait for more
The ladies were unfortunately sick the whole trip and then some, but we made do.

Yes, Bean loved that slide. She enjoyed climbing up it just as much as sliding down it

Bean took some great shots throughout - I was very proud of her camera skills


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trentmom View Post
I saw on the news that awful shooting at mall in Oregon and thought of you and your family

Is that anywhere near you?

The shooting happened up in the northern/metro area of Oregon. We are down in the rural southern area of the state. Thank you very much for you concern. Our prayers are with the victim's families along with those of the school shooting back east. So sad to have such things happen

Quote:
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keep up the good work, enjoying it.

did they offer any free snacks on the plan? usually you get at least a small snack bag.

Thank you Dan. Free snacks? Oh, on the plane? Yes, you had a choice of pretzels, cookies, or peanuts. On the trip back we cashed in QS credits so had all kinds of extra snacks on the return flight

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottny View Post
Yeah you made it. Looking forward to hearing about it.

Nice pics so far.

Hey Scott! Yes, it was quite the adventure. I'm getting back in the saddle today to make some progress on it.


To any of you that have been following along, my apologies for starting up and then disappearing. I caught either a more severe version of what DW/DD1 had or I caught something different on the return flight. We got in on Saturday and by Monday morning I was starting to feel bad. By Tuesday I was in bed with a fever/body aches, sinus issues, and a cough.

I was down for the count and missed work all week. During that same timeframe DD1's cold got worse with a chronic cough and DD2, who had caught a small cold, relapsed and was out a couple of days herself

It was a double bummer for DW as she was in charge of her work's Christmas party, which was yesterday evening. Usually the whole family helps with it but we were all in quarantine. Fortunately the party was a great success due to great planning on her part including a great Santa, a wonderful face painter, who painted this on Roxy



...and a balloon animal maker who really kicked butt. Roxy brought us home some chocolate cake and Bean got a dragon balloon animal and PumpkinGirl got a black cat. She even surprised me with this cool Mickey!



We are all finally feeling better and all of us should be back to work/school tomorrow. And I finally have the energy and focus to sort and upload the pics we took and to go through the photopass pics. I can tell you that for us

PhotoPass+ was SOOOO WORTH IT!!!

Just in ride photos if we had just gone with the $14.95 digital downloads it would have cost us $464. That's right, we came away with 31 ride photos boys and girls! We had over PP 160 pics total, which I am going through and adding borders to.

I'll get the next batch of our own pics uploaded now and get on with this TR!!!!!
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:43 PM   #26
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So sorry you all have been so sick

Hope you are all on the mend now

What cool balloon animals
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:10 PM   #27
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Day 1 Part 2 - Back home at POP and checking out AoA

When we left off we had just left AoA on the ME bus and were rolling around hourglass lake to our home resort, POP Century! The front gate had a nice holiday wreath on it



Right around the corner was the resort main entrance just as sunlight was fading from the sky.



There was a CM outside to greet us with bubbles!






We headed in the door and immediately saw more Christmas theming


Registration wasn't too busy


And to make things easier I had done the online check-in so it was a quick trip through the reserved line for that I soon had our packet in hand. I had done 50s preferred which gave us a 1st floor room that unfortunately did not have a pool view, but was literally in sight of the front entrance. Heading out for food and transportation was a snap the whole trip :-]

I had reserved an ECV for Roxy from Apple Scooter Rentals. This is the 2nd time we've used them and I highly recommend their company. They even waved the delivery charge since we were a returning customer. It was right around the corner from the luggage area and on the way to our room. It was a brand new one, a real sweet ride.

We settled into our room, unloading our carry-ons and setting up who was using what drawers and sleeping arrangements. As had been discussed Roxy and PumpkinGirl were sick, so they took one bed and Bean and I had the other. They also had half of the dresser-top for meds and other sundries.

We then talked about what we wanted to do. We had enough days of park tickets to take in a couple of hours at one of the parks. And that included EPCOT and the Candlelight Processional hosted by NPH that evening. We decided to go get dinner at the POP food court while we figured out our next move.

We came in just in time to see the Hustle put on by the CMs and a few brave guests. I took a video of them with my Canon Rebel, but looking back at it the file size was just over half a gig so I need to edit it down to make it viewable on the web.

For dinner I had a favorite of mine, the meatball sub and salad. Dessert was the tye-die cheesecake which I had missed having on our last visit. It was a fine meal. Bean and Roxy had bacon cheeseburgers with fries, PumpkinGirl had soup and crackers.

Roxy and PumpkinGirl were just too wiped out from the trip/their colds to do anything other than head back to the room. Bean and I didn't want to go to a park without them so we decided to just walk around POP and AoA.

Here was our first night-time look at part of AoA, taken from the bridge that connects the two resorts


Coming off the bridge the first thing you see is the Nemo area with a 4 story hunk of coral


There were cool fish lining the walls as we walked forward towards the hub of the resort.


As you may have heard, everything you interact with is set to a scale as if you were Nemo's size. The first thing we came across was a cute little play structure.


Bean really liked the feel of the ground of the play area. It felt amazingly like oversaturated beach sand and almost squished under your feet


Squirt said 'hi' from the top of the structure


Bean tried the slide


...and laughed at how small it was - she barely fit down it.


Off to the side was the giant Crush




The next area was the pool, which started off with some jellyfish


I loved that they had the goggles there


When we got to the hub we turned right and saw 'them'


Mine?

Beyond them was a cool montage of Dori


The next area was the Lion King! Rafiki gave us a lively welcome :-]


He was standing on the back side of Pride Rock with Mufasa on the other end


Next was the 3 friends practicing a little Hakuna Motata





Next up we'll finishe our journey thru the Pridelands and take a journey Under the Sea with some mermaid friends!



Click here for the next chapter: Day 1 Part 3 - A Walk thru 3 Memorable Movies at AoA
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:12 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trentmom View Post
So sorry you all have been so sick

Hope you are all on the mend now

What cool balloon animals
Thank you Kelly!
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:50 PM   #29
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Hey Mike,

Sick on vacation... is not fun... I hope it wasn't too terrible for them...

Sorry you were sick too...I think something is just going around everywhere... DD had a respiratory thing last week... still lingering... DS had a stomach thing... DH & I caught the variety pak from them... so I can empathasize with your plight...

Hopefully everyone is healthy for Christmas...

Anyhow... I think being closer to the front of POP was probably better than the pool because I think it was kind of cold to swim although DS is crazy for the water...he swam & loved it...

You got some great photos of AoA-the Nemo section is very cute... it's over the top Disney at its best... That whole area now with POP and AoA combined...must be really photogenic

Really can't wait to read about your CP experience...... ours went a little differently than planned so I hope that you had the traditional CP experience...


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Old 12-16-2012, 11:10 PM   #30
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Sounds like you got perfect room location

Sorry roxy and pumpkingirl were under weather still, but looks like you and Bean had some fun exploring AOA

Great pics

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