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Old 01-14-2013, 03:56 PM   #1
mommytothreeboys
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3 Boys and 20 Hours in a Minivan,I Must Really Love this Place!*New4/22 TR LINK

I wasn't at all sure I was going to do a PTR for this trip, but found that I am so excited that I need a forum to share all of my planning enthusiasm! This is our 3rd WDW trip as a family....2007 and 2009 being the first two. My DH and I visited the MK for one day in 2010 at the end of a cruise using the Give a Day, Get a Day promotion. So, needless to say, this trip has been a long time coming and we couldn't be more !

First, the trip details. This trip is going to be unlike any of our past trips. We have always flown, stayed onsite and we LOVE the DDP. With 3 growing boys there is no such thing as too much food! For this trip, however, our budget is very tight and if I wanted to go at all I needed to make some sacrifices. We will be staying in a 3 BR, 2 BA condo in Windsor Hills and we are ROAD TRIPPING! From Rochester, NY. Yep....20 hours. Also as a compromise, this WDW stay will come on the tail end of our vacation which will also include a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas. (On a non-Disney cruise line, again to make the trip affordable.) More on how this trip came to be later, but now, the dates.

We will be leaving Rochester on April 2 and utilizing the boys' spring break for travel time. Our cruise is from April 4-8 so we will start the Disney portion of the trip on April 8 and leave to drive home on April 13.

I will introduce my family in the next post and also give more background on how this trip came to be, why it's been (gasp) 3 years since our last trip, and what we are celebrating!

UPDATE LINKS!
Let Us Introduce Ourselves!
Planning Challenges
A Mickey Project!
The Plans--So Far!
Look Who's Joining us in Walt Disney World!
I LOVE a Good To-Do List!
I Interrupt this PTR to DANCE!
Yes, No, Maybe--DHS Edition
Yes, No, Maybe--AK Edition
Disney Nails!
Yes, No, Maybe--Epcot Edition
Snow Break!
Random Planning!
Yes, No, Maybe--MK Edition
Happy Happy Birthday!
ONLY at Disney!
The Countdown Begins!
To-Do List Revisit!
PLAY BALL!
Island Bound!
Dinner and Dancing!
Shoes and Shirts Required!
Touring Plan--DHS
TICKETS!
Animal Kingdom Touring Plan
"10 Days to Vacation Celebration" Plans
CRUNCH TIME!
Epcot Touring Plan
Magic Kingdom Touring Plan
Day 10 Celebration!
Single Digits and Day 9 Celebration!
Days 8 and 7 Celebrations!
Day 6 Celebration!
Final Celebrations and We're Off!
We're HOME!
TR LINK!

Last edited by mommytothreeboys; 04-22-2013 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:08 PM   #2
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Woo Hoo! I'm sooooo in!
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2014 trip report: Disney dangled the visual weinee and Mickeystoontown gobbled it up! Our two week adventure!
http://www.disboards.com/showthread....6#post51642226


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Old 01-14-2013, 07:01 PM   #3
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I'm here!!

I'm so happy that you decided to write a PTR for your upcoming trip!! Can't wait to hear all about your plans!!
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeystoontown View Post
Woo Hoo! I'm sooooo in!
YAY! Hi Lisa! Glad you made it over!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angies1274 View Post
I'm here!!

I'm so happy that you decided to write a PTR for your upcoming trip!! Can't wait to hear all about your plans!!
Hi Angie!

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Originally Posted by DisMomAmy View Post
Yay!!! You decided to write a PTR!! Maybe you are the inspiration I need to start one myself!

I'm so bummed that we are going to miss you by four days!

Can't wait to hear all of your plans!!
4 days?? That really does stink. But I'm glad you're here for all the planning fun! I'd love to read a PTR about your trip...hint, hint!
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:34 PM   #6
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Let Us Introduce Ourselves!



Now that we have our dates, April 8-13, let’s meet my crazy family!


First, I am Missy. I am 42 and the planner extraordinaire of all of our trips, Disney and otherwise. I first visited WDW in 1983 with my grandparents and have been 4 times since then. In 1992, I was blessed to honeymoon there with my fabulous DH and I believe that is when I was bitten by the Disney bug. We have taken our kids twice, 2007 and 2009, and visited briefly (just the two of us) in 2010. Disney is truly my happy place. As I’m sure I don’t have to explain to most of you, it makes me feel like I’m 8 years old and don’t have a care in the world! I never fail to get teary at the first glimpse of the castle and have been known to do the same when a WDW commercial comes on the television. Silly, but true!


Next on the list is my wonderful husband of 20 years, Jeff. He is also 42 and, although he may be reluctant to say it, as big a Disney fan as I am! He’s like a big kid when he steps through the gates! Although he loves our Disney vacations, he really wanted to take the boys on a cruise since he enjoyed our 2010 cruise so much. He is the reason this is a split trip, part cruise and part Disney. Our goal was to be able to afford to combine both into one vacation, so some of the compromises on this vacation reflect our attempt to do that!

Here is a picture of us from our one day visit to WDW in 2010.



And from formal night on our Bahamas cruise.



And finally, a recent pic from our 20 year college reunion.




We have 3 amazing boys. Here are a few “then and now” photos.

2009





2012





Our oldest is Dan who turns 18 next week. This trip is bittersweet as we are celebrating his graduation from High School, but also know this may be the last family vacation of its kind. Dan loves baseball and all things Canadian (strange, I know). He plans to attend college in the fall to study History Education.







Our middle son is Isaiah and he is 15 years old. He is the kid that is going to put me in an early grave! He has an enormous heart and an incredible sense of humor, but he also has the ability to push me to the edge of my limits! Thankfully, he normally makes me smile at the precise time I want to strangle him…so I let him live!







Last, but not least, is our youngest. Jonah is 12. He loves snowboarding, playing the drums, and driving his brothers insane!








So there you have it…all 5 of us! With job changes, home improvement projects, and broken elbows that require surgery, we have not been able to make it back to Disney for 3 long years. But we are on our way now!

Last edited by mommytothreeboys; 01-30-2013 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:32 AM   #7
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Great introductions Missy! The boys have grown so much since you first visited Disney as a family.
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2014 trip report: Disney dangled the visual weinee and Mickeystoontown gobbled it up! Our two week adventure!
http://www.disboards.com/showthread....6#post51642226


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Old 01-15-2013, 11:39 AM   #8
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Great introductions Missy! The boys have grown so much since you first visited Disney as a family.
They really have Lisa. It's hard to tell from day to day, but looking back at those pictures really makes it obvious! And those pics are from our 2009 trip...the ones from 2007 make them look like babies!

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Old 01-17-2013, 04:24 PM   #9
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Planning Challenges


As I mentioned before, this trip is going to be very different than our Disney trips in the past. For starters, we will be driving from Western New York state to Florida in our shiny new (ok, we’ve had it a year, but still new to us ) minivan. This presents several new challenges as far as packing, hotel arrangements, food budgets, etc. But, I love a good challenge and there’s only one thing better than a planning challenge, and that is a Disney vacation planning challenge. So bring it on!

First and foremost on the challenge list...what on earth is this trip going to look like? Jeff and I had talked in 2010 when we came back from our first cruise and decided that we most definitely wanted the boys to experience a cruise for themselves. We had hoped that we would be able to take the boys on a cruise in November of 2011 and had even booked a trip. But, then we got the news that our roof was in desperate need of replacing and so, sadly, had to cancel the cruise in favor of a roof over our heads…literally! We never told the boys about the trip because we knew when we booked it that the possibility was there for cancellation. 2012 brought new reasons for not being able to afford a trip, namely my son Isaiah breaking his elbow and requiring surgery. 5 pins and a metal plate later, Isaiah is fine, but our vacation budget is not! The scar is so impressive that we have told him he needs to go with a much better story than what actually happened. We’ve suggested that he go with a shark bite or an alligator wrestling accident! Below is a photo of his scar and of his x-rays after the surgery. Although it is not gory, it is shocking so if you are squeamish, you can feel free to look away. The scar photo is from when they first took out the stitches. It is considerably lighter, but no less impressive, now.














Back to our vacation problem!

With Dan graduating this year, we knew we were down to one opportunity to take a big family trip, 2013. Jeff REALLY wanted to take the boys on a cruise and I REALLY wanted to go to Disney. So, rather than either one of us having to sacrifice completely, we decided to look at ways that we could do both. A Disney cruise was the obvious compromise, but we were really going to try to combine two trips into one. Budget is always an issue and this trip is no different. We also had the stress of trying to plan a trip around Spring Break, which most of you know, is more expensive. I priced everything out about 10 times in as many configurations. Cruise first, parks second, onsite, with DDP. Parks first, cruise second, flying, offsite, no DDP. You get the picture. Everything seemed WAY out of our reach. Until we had a breakthrough. I had not even considered the option of driving vs. flying because Jeff is NOT A FAN of being in the car for long periods of time. But, when he saw my attempts to make this trip fit our budget, he actually suggested that we seriously consider driving as an option. It would save about $1000 and magically, the trip became a near reality!


Knowing that our kids’ school had Easter Break planned for the week of Easter, we had already made the decision that this trip would involve taking the boys out of school for the week. So as not to get into any debate, let’s leave it at that. I know we all have our opinions and you are welcome to yours so long as you let me have mine! Anyway. We didn’t want to take them out for more than 5 days, so the decision to make this a road trip added some problems. How do we travel in such a way that no one goes insane, while still allowing enough time to enjoy our trip, while still only taking the boys out of school for 5 days? After once again looking for cruises during our desired dates, I found a cruise that would allow us to travel using the days the boys already had off for break and allow us to be at WDW for 5 days before having to head home. YAY!


Now the problem of where to stay…..


We are an onsite family. We love being able to fly into MCO, get on the DME, and forget all of our troubles while immersed completely in the magic of Disney. Part of the appeal of that has always been our lack of vehicle while in Florida and our desire not to spend good Disney money on a rental car! But...we will have a car this time so the idea of staying offsite was not out of the question. I admit, I wrestled with it. But, with the time we are traveling, the size of our family, and the desire to cruise AND do Disney, I knew I had to make some concessions. Using suggestions from the DIS, I was able to book a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo in Windsor Hills for a very affordable price.


So, while this trip is looking very different from previous trips, I am beginning to get very excited about the new things we will be able to do and experience. Those things that started out feeling like “sacrifices” have become some of the parts of this trip I am most looking forward to. Funny how that happens….if Disney is on the line, I’ll do what it takes to get there…and maybe even ENJOY it in the process!


Next up…..THE PLAN, so far!

Last edited by mommytothreeboys; 01-30-2013 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:42 PM   #10
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Eewwww! Isaiah's scar! I can certainly see how an accident like that could cause a dent in the vacation budget. I saw on Facebook that another certain son of your's has broken a body part. I'm thinking that you need to wrap the boys up in bubble wrap before they leave the house everyday.

It's amazing how much planning goes into make a trip to Disney and cruising happen. But, it sounds like you've got it all under control.
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2014 trip report: Disney dangled the visual weinee and Mickeystoontown gobbled it up! Our two week adventure!
http://www.disboards.com/showthread....6#post51642226


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Old 01-17-2013, 09:37 PM   #11
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I'm coming along for another one of your PTRs. Just one question is your oldest still a Blue Jays fan?
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:23 PM   #12
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I'm coming along for another one of your PTRs. Just one question is your oldest still a Blue Jays fan?
Hey! Good to hear from you! Yes...Dan is most definitely still a Blue Jays fan.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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I'm really excited to see how this "different" trip plays out for you!

And OMG... How did your boys get so big!?!? I can't believe Dan is graduating this year. Where did the time go!?!?!?
Thanks Amy! I'm excited too!

I know! Dan turns 18 on Monday. I have no idea where the time goes...it's crazy how fast they grow up!
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:37 PM   #15
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A Mickey Project!



Just a short little detour before I go through our tentative plans....

I was going over the budget yesterday and realized that it might not be a bad idea to start saving our change, etc to help cover souvenirs and spending money. I made this cute jar using a ribbon that came with my Mickey Mouse PJ's from Target and some scrapbooking stickers! A little hot glue and voila!











Now to work on filling it up!

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