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Old 04-19-2013, 11:41 AM   #1
Carable
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My Deep Descent into Disney Madness/May 2013...updated 6x 1/1 and completed

Welcome to the Madness, my friends! This is my first official Trip Report, brought to you by the completely Disney-obsessed reporter, ME. My parents were so generous this Christmas and gave us the gift of a family vacation with them, and when I mentioned DISNEY, they were completely on board even though they have never been there. Now, my obsession was still dormant at Christmas time when they gave us this trip, but that would quickly change. Oh, how quickly. My main reasoning at the time was that my daughter is 5 and very quickly moving out of the Disney Princess Obsession and I didnít want to pass up this once in a lifetime opportunity for her. Ha, such noble beginningsÖ

Let me give you the details:
When: May 11-18th, 2013
Where: Bay Lake Towers, 2-bedroom villa
Why: Because my parents are awesome, and we are celebrating
their first visit and my kids birthdays (turning 6 and 8 in June)
This is a SURPRISE trip for the kiddos, they wonít know until the night before we leave
Who: Me, DH, DS 7, DD 5, and my parents
Here is the starring cast:



Me (Cara)
Iím a 41 year old teacher turned grad student and stay at home mom. I taught elementary school for 9 years and then took a sabbatical while the kids were young. I went back and got my school library degree and Iím hoping to be either in a library or classroom next fall, so this is my last time I can travel off season anywhere (sigh) and have this kind of ridiculous time to devote to my obsession. I love to read, write, Irish dance and drink ridiculous amounts of British tea and pretend that I am in a Jane Austen novel. ( Apparently, the descent into madness was a pretty short one.)
Favorite character: Ariel & Belle, Eeyore
Favorite Movie: Beauty & the Beast, Tangled, Incredibles
Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom
Favorite Ride: Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion
Favorite Food: Disneyland Churros (hate the ones at WDW, but hoping to find new favorites this trip)

DH (Chuck)
DH is not a Mickey convert, but Iím hoping to open his eyes a bit on this trip. Of course, that also means he doesnít have any opinions about the planning, so Iíve been free to take that on as I wish. (hee hee) He is our schoolís Planetarium Coordinator (can you say best. Daddyís office. Ever?) and is super involved with the kiddos. He likes to golf, play poker and fantasy baseball and generally hang with the family.
Favorite character: Jake Skellington and Mr. Incredible
Favorite movie: The Incredibles, Toy Story 3
Favorite Park: doesnít have one (YET)


DS Nolan, age 7
My little man is all boy and is currently in love with Minecraft, Lego Star Wars, golf and baseball. His obsession has been Star Wars for a couple years now, although I see that waning a bit, Iím hoping Star Wars weekend will rejuvenate his interest. He was 4 on our last trip and remembers some things, although mostly the resort pool.
Favorite character: Darth Maul & Clone Commander Cody
Favorite movie: Right now, The Avengers & Iron Man, does that count?
Favorite Park: Well, heís only been to Magic Kingdom.
Favorite ride: Buzz Lightyear

DD Finley, age 5
My perfectly imperfect princess, who has been deep in Disney princess obsession since age 3 (we had 3 princess birthdays in a row), but is now liking Harry Potter and vampires. I have no idea what sheís learning about in Kindergarten these days, but she still dresses up and likes to play princess with her friends, but I can tell this princess gig is almost up. She was only 2 on the last trip and doesnít seem to remember anything.
Favorite character: Ariel (followed closely by Jasmine & Pocahontas)
Favorite movie: The Little Mermaid



Nana & Jampa (my parents)
Donít they look great for a couple of 60 somethings? Theyíve both lost 15-20 pounds this winter, so they look even better now. Super generous to their only child and her family (lucky me) and having a grand time being retired and grandparenting. They both had high stress jobs, and Iím glad they were able to retire relatively early and enjoy these golden years by traveling and pursuing their interests. They relocated to the Mid-Atlantic after retirement to be closer to us. My momís a great actress, and played many different roles in our hometown theatre group and my dad is an amazing gardener and carpenter. Their 50th anniversary is right around the corner and they are not avid travelers like I am, but enjoy going to new places. My momís a bit of a schedule nazi, so Iíve had to rein her in on this trip a bit. I like going with a ďflexible planĒ, you have to be willing to stop and enjoy the magic or rework plans as issues arise.
Favorite anything: ?????
Nothing since theyíve only been to Disneyland twice, but Iíve made them watch all the important Disney movies this winter and Spring, so hopefully they will find some favorites by the end of this trip report!

I promise loads of planning pictures(I have bins upon bins of stuff hidden away that has been bought or made by me), detailed plans, resort and DDP drama, and of course an almost certainly loopy trip report itself.

Well, welcome on the Journey and I hope to keep you entertained by the strange and weird during my deep descent into Disney madnessÖ.
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Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013

Last edited by Carable; 01-01-2014 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:41 AM   #2
Carable
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Reserved for Chapters:

PTR portion
The Backstory
Resort Smackdown
I'm So Confused - ADR's
The Blueprint
Surprise!
The Super Secret Surprise Mickey's Grand Welcome
Crafty Time
The beginning of the end....of waiting

Trip Report
Surprise!!!!
Pardon the Interruption...some Cara opinions

Day 1 - Arrival - Saturday, May 11th

Part 1 - You Brought WHAT in your backpack?
Part 2 - Room Ready Text Wait Purgatory
Part 3 - Seriously, we get to STAY here?
Part 4 - Getting our Mouse on at Chef Mickey's
Part 5 - Ending the Day on a High Note

Day 2 - Magic Kingdom - Sunday, May 12th
Part 1 - The Day that Started with a Hiccup and ended with a Bang
Part 2 - Bippity Boppity Ariel
Part 3 - What do you know about my dreams, Gaston?
Part 4 - Dining with Royalty
Part 5 - Another Run-In with Royalty
Part 6 - Best. Mothers. Day. Present. EVER.

Day 3 - Epcot - Monday, May 13th
Part 1 - The Perfect Beginning
Part 2 - Bonjour, Mickey!
Part 3 - Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming...until you pass out
Part 4 - A Quiet Poly End

Commercial Break - Job Update

Day 4 - HS & Epcot - Tuesday, May 14th
Part 1 - A Dream DIS Day
Part 2 - The ADR I'd been waiting for
Part 3 - Oh Where, Oh Where does the little Mulan hide?
Part 4 - Dining With Royalty

Day 5 - Blizzard Beach and Downtown Disney - Wednesday, May 15th
Part 1 - A Breakfast to Die For
Part 2 - Skiing with Sharks
Part 3 - Getty Jiggy with It

Day 6 - Magic Kingdom - Thursday, May 16th
Part 1 - A Very Big First
Part 2 - A little Bit of Everything
Part 3 - An Enchanted Evening

Day 7 - Hollywood Studios - Friday, May 17th (1st day of Star Wars Weekends)
Part 1 - May the Force be with Us
Part 2 - A Quick End

Day 8 - Animal Kingdom - Saturday, May 18th
Part 1 - Let's Finish with a Bang
Parting Thoughts
__________________
Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013

Last edited by Carable; 01-01-2014 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:05 PM   #3
Carable
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The Backstory

So, let me bore you a little on my past Disney experiences. I grew up in the Southwest and had no idea Disney existed until we visited Disneyland when I was 14. I was HOOKED. Pirates was my favorite part of the whole trip. I didnt go again until college, and then I made up for lost time. I had 3 or 4 trips with friends, or dorm trips, during that time to Disneyland. It was 8 hours away from the University of Arizona where I attended. SERIOUS addiction folks. I desperately wanted to do the college program, but I was out of state and needed my Resident Assistant job to make it happen. Taking off a semester was not an option. Looking back, I should have gone after I graduated for a semester, but oh well. My best friend from high school did do the CP and went back as a cast member after graduating, she was the Backlot Studio Tours guide and a friend of Mickey and Minnie. She was amazing and I got to visit her twice during my college years, and even staying with her at Buena Vista and went behind the scenes with a fake cast member ID. That so wouldnt happen today, but Im glad I got to experience the behind the scenes.

THEN, real life happened. I had to get a job, pay bills, pay off student loans, try my hand at some international traveling, have back surgery, get married and have adorable and exhausting children. Disney got lost in the shuffle, and while I have loved my life thus far, I still felt the quiet of the Disney siren in the back of my mind.

When my kids were newly 2 and 4, we went in September and stayed off site with my in-laws. Epic Fail of a trip. Traveling with in-laws was difficult, and DH was in a golf tournament a lot of the time. Now, add record-breaking Sept. temperatures, a resort far away, a side by side stroller allowing easy access to annoy each other, and the fact that they refused to leave my side the whole trip and you can kind of see where this was heading. I did some research but not NEARLY enough. We could only do 2 days at MK and my MIL was set of doing Sea World for our 3rd day. We had to haul it back to the resort for naptimes each day (b/c my kids were the ones that wouldnt nap in the stroller and needed sleep at that age) and that commute just ate up what little time we had. We didnt eat at the world at all; barely even a snack or two. I just didnt get the feel of the magic; it was just a stop during our vacation. Sigh. I wanted a do-over, and it seems this time will be IT.

P.S. Here is some useless trivia for you: My DIS name is Carable (rhymes with terrible) because that was my one and only nickname in life. My college roomie came up with it and since my obsession was last is full blast during my college years, I thought it was an appropriate forum name.

Here are some funny college time pics of me enjoying the magic!







All I can say is the 90's were awesome, baby!

Continued in next post
__________________
Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013

Last edited by Carable; 04-21-2013 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:18 PM   #4
mickeymouse108
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Hi I am joining in the fun.
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Mickeymouse108

1977 Magic Kingdom,1978 Magic Kingdom,1987 magic kingdom, epcot, 1991 Magic kingdom, epcot, MGM, 2000 Magic Kingdom, epcot,MGM, Animal Kingdom POR, 2006 Magic Kingdom, epcot,MGM,Animal Kingdom,2010 POR Cant wait, 2012 POP everywhere in the world we also go to see our daughters High school band perform at epcot melody gardens it was great :
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:23 AM   #6
Carable
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeymouse108 View Post
Hi I am joining in the fun.
Thank you so much, that means a lot to a newbie like myself. Hope I can entertain you. I've already got my trip journal ready to go and it fits perfectly into my new park bag. I wonder which one I got?
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Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:24 AM   #7
Carable
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jecskc View Post
Ahhhhh .... Disney Madness. Welcome to the club.
Thank you, thank you very much. (said in a Elvis tone). I appreciate the welcome!
__________________
Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:46 AM   #8
Carable
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Resort Smackdown

I left off with a very boring dissertation on my Disney background, which was kind of fun to think upon for me. But let's get into the Disney details you might be interested in...

So, the surprise trip offer was delivered casually over the phone and I thought my parents were kidding me at first. After the initial shock wore off, and we decided Disney was a go, then came what I like to call “Hurricane Planning”. I had very dated prior knowledge and my mom wanted to book it NOW, since it was January (AAA Disney month) and she was worried we’d miss out on something. So things were crazy, every spare minute spent trying to take a crash course on Disneyworld.

First, dates took a little while. I knew enough that Spring Break or the week after school let out between my kids birthdays sounded nice but would be CRAZY BUSY. So, since it was my last year off, we decided to go in May and just take the kids out of school. (a bit of deliberation on that, as I hate to do it, but I felt this was a once in a lifetime trip). We then had to make it the week that coincided with state testing as that is the only week my DH would not have kids in his planetarium, and my kids are still too young to participate in the testing themselves.

Now on to the resort smackdown. You must remember that I had NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE of Disney resorts, I’ve never stayed at one. It was always on CP property (shhhh, don’t tell) or in Disneyland. And even there, the closest property we stayed on was CALLED Peter Pan Inn, but a better name might have been Hobo Druggie Inn. Seriously, even as invincible as my college friends and I felt, we were petrified of going back there each night and shoved all of our luggage and chairs in front of the door each night. What we will do on a college budget.

I digress, so we poured over the Disney site and tour books (I only had the Unofficial 2013 Touring book) and tried to narrow it down. I had yet to discover the beauty of DIS. We needed a 2 bedroom villa, so that narrowed options, but still WHERE? I really wanted proximity to MK because distance was such a problem last trip and we aren’t planning on renting a car this time. I secretly wanted Poly, but since my parents were paying this part I was just a researcher. In the end, we narrowed it down to….



VS>



(thank you, Disney.com, for these pics).

We even tried to “rent” points from a reputable site, and got WL. So we were all set to go there, when my mom see-sawed back and forth. See, she secretly wanted to stay at BLT. We both have very modern decorating tastes, so that one appealed the most to her. And since it was her dime and her trip of a lifetime, the BLT won out. We lost our $100 deposit at the rental site, but we were happy, we were going to WALK to MK. The kids might have liked a more themey place, but we’re going to visit Wilderness Lodge for an ADR later in the week, so we'll see what gloriousness we've missed out on and come back another time to stay there!

Now, with a few months of research and the DIS in my back pocket, I am still waffling with thinking the WL would have been a good option, but I am still uber-excited to be walking to MK. I envision getting the kids down and going back for some extra hours in the evening with hubby. I definitely want to do Wilderness Lodge, Yacht Club, Poly CL, and Grand Floridian before it is all said and done for me.

So, whew, after a few weeks we finally got the when and where figured out. Now on to the Park Ticket and DDP debate…..


Continue in the next post...




__________________
Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013

Last edited by Carable; 04-22-2013 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:51 PM   #10
Carable
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jecskc View Post
We stayed at BLT a few weeks ago and we LOVED it !!! I have a bunch of photosin my TR if you want to see. It's called Just Keep Swimming ...

This resort is the bomb-diggity. We can't WAIT to go back !!!
LOVE your TR, can't wait to hear more. THANKS.
__________________
Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:55 PM   #11
Carable
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Im SO Confused  ADRs
So, after the chaos of choosing a resort, we now had to decide on park tickets and dining plans. The AAA talked my parents into a 7 day park hopper, although I think we could have done fine without it, but definitely see some benefits with flexibility. Then we decided to add a water park on a non-park day, so we added the water parks and more option. STILL dont think we need that one, but now that weve paid it off its kind of a moot point.
Then we had the Dining Plan discussion, I was initially against it, didnt want to race around to ADRs all week. But, you must remember, I had no knowledge of what glorious foods were out there in the World. We spent a week back and forth, back and forth, it was like the Prince Charming Carousel around and around the options. Finally, we decided we wanted it all paid for up front and wed go with the regular DDP. Well, then, all of a sudden we needed to get ADRs and we were less than 180 day out. PANIC. So, in the course of one morning I read everything I could about the table service restaurants. Then, I realized I needed to know which park wed be at each day to minimize travel so I had to quickly sketch out our week. DOUBLE PANIC. Here is what I came up with after some tweaking here and there:

5/11 - Arrival at 10:00am in Orlando, DINNER Chef Mickeys
5/12  DINNER 1900 Park Fare dinner
5/13  LUNCH Le Chefs de France lunch
5/14  DINNER Akershus dinner
5/15  BREAKFAST Ohana
5/16  DINNER Whispering Canyon
5/17  LUNCH(no dining credit, just doing dip and milkshakes)
5:00  DINNER Mama Melrosess with Fantasmic package
5/18 leave the world at 8pm  will eat CS at AK.

I had a Raglan Road and a La Hacienda ADR that Im about to cancel. Id really like to try Raglan Road since Im an Irish Dancer myself, but next time. Some places that I couldnt get into that I would like to try: Le Cellier, BOG for dinner, and Contemporary Grill (will be closed while we are there). It is heavy on the character buffet, but I know my kids will love it, especially DD and by the time were back they will have grown out of it. So, we are taking one for the team there. Im hoping to sample some F&G booths while we are there for some grown-up tastes. Also, I felt like if we were going to have to BE somewhere, I wanted some entertainment value out of our dollar. Will I live to regret this???

Continued in next post...
__________________
Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013

Last edited by Carable; 04-23-2013 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:20 PM   #12
Carable
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The Blueprint



Ok, so I sketched out our initial days based on early morning magic hours and when I could get certain ADRs. I tried to look at crowd calendars, too, but I couldnt always follow their advice. I was sinking deeper into the internet by now and was on the DIS, Touring Plans site and easyWDW site trying to gather information. This is late January/early February. Im still working on touring plans, but here is the schedule as of now.

5/11  arrive early into MCO, take ME to BLT arrive around noonish if all goes well. This is a play day, we can go to the pool, miniature golf, Downtown Disney, whatever we want. All we have to do is make a 6:55 ADR at Chef Mickeys and turn in at a decent hour.

5/12  MK Mothers Day  will be a madhouse, but at least we can walk to the madness. 8:05 BBB appointment, primed for 9am opening at Fantasyland. YeeHaw. Will focus on Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Will take a rest around 2pm. ADR at 5:50 at 1900 Park Fare. Back for MK nighttime fun.

5/13  Epcot  focus on future world, maybe start World Showcase for noon ADR at Le Chefs. Mid-day rest. Evening-???? Open, we can go back to Epcot, or walk to MK.

5/14  Open morning  parents will want to do Epcot, we may do MK or DHS. Mid-day rest. Evening we have 6:55 Akershus ADR, so will spend the afternoon in the World, take in Illuminations if we didnt do it the night before.

5/15  Open Day  have an 8:50 ADR at OHanas (I heart Stitch). Then we think well go to Blizzard Beach for awhile and then maybe Downtown Disney. I definitely want an Earl of Sandwich sandwich, it was my favorite thing from our 2009 vacation. The kids want to go to the Lego store. May end up back at MK that evening, not sure.

5/16  MK, early morning hours. We have Pirates League appointments and we will focus on the Adventureland, Frontierland and Liberty Square. Mid-day break. We have a 5:00 whispering canyon ADR, hope others will be there so it will be rowdy for the kids. Then back to wherever&MK, Epcot?

5/17  Seriously early morning at DHS  Star Wars baby. This is my DH & DSs day, they love Star Wars. I have to get on Toy Story Mania. We may try to squeeze DHS in one other morning just for this ride. I know the kids will love it too. We have a noon ADR at Sci-Fi for the milkshake only and then 5:00 Mama Melroses + Fantasmic package. Not planning on taking a break, may just watch Muppets over and over in lieu. LOL. Well see how that works out.

5/18  Last Day, 8pm departure  AK finally. Should be able to get all we want done there and still make the 5pm ME to the airport. Well probably just take a cab back to the hotel to grab it.

I strongly emphasized to my family that these were blueprints, and we would be changing them as we could around ADRs, weather, crowds, and personal interests. I also strongly encouraged my parents to take some time away from the chaos of our family to enjoy some Epcot/MK touring of their own. PLEASE, Oh, PLEASE I hope they take my advice and we all arent glued together. I am an only child, so they are sometimes overwhelmed with the kids sibling interactions that well, um, may not always be so sweet and lovey.

What do you guys think???

Continued in next post...
__________________
Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013

Last edited by Carable; 04-25-2013 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:45 PM   #13
Carable
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OMG

Real Life Update: After 2 1/2 months of searching, downloading and photoshopping I FINALLY have printed out all the transfers for my homemade T-shirts. They are drying overnight now. I made 18 shirts in all (including some super special ones for myself, because I KNOW I'll wear them). I can't wait to iron them on and take pics to show you guys. They turned out even better than I hoped! More planning details and pics coming soon too.

ONLY 16 days left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
__________________
Cara

DL - '85, '91, '94
WDW - '93, '95, '09 (1st time for kiddos)
May '13 - BLT
April '14 - CBR Pirate Room
Aug '14 POR Royal Room & Cruisin' on the Fantasy

Current TR: Mortimer Walt! A Spring Break Success Story
My 1st PTR/TR...My Deep Descent into Disney Madness...May 2013
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:02 PM   #14
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Your plans look good. Ahhhh, the best laid plans. We usually follow ours for the most part.

I can't wait to see how it turns out.

I have made several shirts over the years with the transfers. There are so many free designs available that are so cute and fun !!

Post photos if you get a chance so we can see.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:00 AM   #15
wiigirl
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Your plans look great!
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