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Old 08-16-2013, 02:01 PM   #1
BeckyEsq
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Is She Ready To Be A Princess? Completed 10/12

Who: Mom, Dad, and our almost-three-year-old Princess. I hesitate to call my daughter a toddler, as she is probably more like a preschooler at this age (just turned two is very different from a few weeks away from 3).
If you are thinking about taking a child this age to WDW, this will be an honest assessment of how it went (for us anyway). I will also include some "Mom Memos" with things that might be useful to those planning trips with small children.
When: August 5-10th, 2013
Where: Port Orleans Riverside
How: Southwest Airways, Magical Express, five day park hoppers, Disney Dining Plan with ADRs at Crystal Palace, Liberty Tree Tavern, Ohana, Restaurant Akershus, and Chef Mickeys.

ABOUT US



DH and I both had our first trip to the World on our honeymoon in 1999. Since DH is a teacher, trips of any length have to happen in the summer. Our last trip was in 2006, when we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge. On that trip we had just started the adoption process and we vowed that our next trip would be with a child of our own. That took much longer than we expected and our little princess finally joined our family in the fall of 2010. J I really cant describe what a joy she has been to us, and after all our struggles we are so blessed to have a healthy, happy and bright little girl.

THE PLANS

Last fall, around the time DD turned 2, I started thinking about whether she was ready for her first trip to Walt Disney World. At that point she was talking in sentences and so able to communicate her needs and desires. She was a big fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and because of her books and toys she knew the names of all the princesses. She had already watched a few of the Disney movies, including Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast and Toy Story. She was starting to potty train, and I figured by summer shed be well trained. We had gone to Dutch Wonderland the summer before she turned 2, and she did very well with the car trip, kiddie rides, waiting in lines, sleeping in a hotel and eating in restaurants. From what I had seen with my niece, I knew that the princess phase is fleeting. I knew we would want to take her more than once while it lasted. Then I did a little research and discovered that since she was not yet 3 she would not need park tickets and could eat for free at the buffets and family style restaurants. That sealed it and we booked our trip. The excitement set in and I started spending a lot more time on the DIS boards.

Just a few weeks after we sent in our deposit, our world was turned upside down when my DH was diagnosed with a malignant, inoperable brain tumor at the age of 38. The next few months were the worst of my entire life. DH was put on some medication that really changed his personality while he was on it. I was overwhelmed with fear and exhaustion as I basically became a single working parent and caregiver overnight. DH went through six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, then began a twelve month course of follow up chemotherapy. Throughout all of this, I kept making payments on our trip. I figured that if he got better we'd be celebrating, and if he didn't, then it would be even more important to take the trip and make those memories with our daughter.

Meanwhile, DD continued to become less of a baby and more of little girl, talking up a storm and becoming more independent. She discovered Sofia the First and loved it (the inspiration for our trip report title), watched more of the Disney movies including Monsters Inc., and found a favorite princess that she referred to as Tangled.

Thankfully, by March DH was feeling better and back to himself. His MRIs since March have all shown the tumor shrinking, and he has had no more neurological difficulties since he was diagnosed. We pray that everything will continue this way. As the date for our trip approached, I was filled with an often overwhelming sense of gratitude for every minute that we have together. Our little family really is a miracle.

THE STUFF

Ive read many threads discussing what to bring to WDW and so I want to contribute what worked and didnt work for us.

The Stroller: We have strollers at home that we still use frequently but nothing fancy. I thought it was better not to deal with one in the airport since wed have to be hauling our luggage. So we decided to rent from Kingdom Strollers. After much debate I got the insurance and I think the final bill was $75 for the City Mini Elite. DD weighs 28 pounds and is about 38 inches tall and this was the perfect size for her. As a jogging type stroller it was a very smooth ride and very easy to push. I really liked that the canopy completely shaded her entire body including her legs. The lack of a child tray meant she could hop in and out easily. At her age we didnt think it was necessary to strap her in. It was deep enough that she could sit back and we had no worries that shed fall out, and she enjoyed the freedom of being able to climb in and out on her own. There were a few times we had to coax her to sit in it as she wanted to walk. We definitely needed a stroller though. The walk from the busses to the entrances alone is long for a slow walking child, especially at Epcot. It folded very easily by pulling up on a strap in the middle of the seat. The only difficulty we had was with wrestling our bag out of the bottom of it so we could fold it when the bus was coming. We also ordered a case of water for $9. More on that later.

The Bag: On previous trips I have used the much discussed Bagallini Messenger Bag, which is really a sling-type backpack with a single strap. This worked great for me before we had DD, but I have found in using it on outings to our local zoo etc. that when I bend over to assist DD or check on her, it tends to slide forward around my body and almost wack her in the face. It's annoying. So on this trip I bought a Piazza Day Bag from ebags.com. http://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/p...piazza+day+bag This is a cross-body bag . It is lightweight and has a lot of organizational pockets. I liked that it had a side pocket with mesh that would hold a water bottle. I don't like to put water inside my bag in case it leaks. I used the main compartment to hold my DSLR in this case: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I only brought one walkaround lense and left it attached. The Caselogic case protected it as it hung around my neck, but I frequently put it back in my purse. It fit, but it was a little tight and I did get annoyed sometimes with pulling it in and out. The other pockets of the purse held my iphone, small toiletry case, small first aid case, packet of handiwipes, travel pack of Clorox wipes, card case with KTTW, and an extra pull-up for DD.

I also had a collapsible tote that we kept in the bottom of the stroller with a change of clothes for DD, a zipper bag full of snacks, and DDs folding potty seat (more on that later).

The Shoes: I took three pairs of shoes on this trip, all three of which I recommend. The first were a new pair of Skechers Go Walks. I wore these on the plane with socks for going through security, but after that wore them without socks. They were one of the cushy-est pairs of shoes I have ever worn. Very comfortable and lightweight, and they did not make my feet hot. The second pair were Teva Tirra Sandals. These were my everyday park shoes. They are adjustable, supportive, and great on wet pavement or even when getting rained on. Kept my feet nice and cool. Only bad side is the goofy tan lines on my feet. Third pair were Teva Mush wedge flipflops. I put these on during our afternoon breaks and wore them all evening comfortably, even when we went back to the parks. I also wore them when strolling around the resort or heading to the pool. Definitely the most comfortable flipflops I have owned.

The Snacks: We knew our refrigerator would not be working in the hotel during our stay due to the fridge overhaul, so we didn't order any groceries. I did pack snack bags for each day in the parks, plus a few extras. I used about 8 quart-sized Ziploc bags and put the same thing in each one: a single serving pack of goldfish crackers, teddy grahams, fruit roll up, package of fruit snacks, small box of raisins, granola bar, and package of fruit gushers. Anytime DD wanted a snack or needed to be distracted I let her pick something from the bag. This worked great and I could just grab one each morning on the way to the parks. She doesn't eat that much of this junk at home, but it beat having to buy a Disney snack for her, helped pass time in lines and staved off her hunger if we had time to kill before an ADR.

The Outfits: Back in January I had a friend of a friend make a personalized embroidered Minnie T for DD to wear on our trip. I got a size 2/3 Belle dress for $29 on clearance when they changed the styles. I ordered a lightweight Snow White dress from www.littledressupshop.com for $29 (including shipping). I also picked up some character ts on sale on trips to the Disney Store, in Kmart and Old Navy. I packed each days outfit in a separate ziplock bag and included her matching hair accessories with it. I packed her tiaras in a box inside my suitcase so they wouldnt get crushed. She didn't end up wearing them though they are really too big for girls her age.

Okay, enough of all this and on to the fun stuff: Arrival Day.
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Dixie Landings 8/99
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Is She Ready To Be A Princess? August 2013 Trip Report

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Old 08-16-2013, 02:02 PM   #2
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Monday, August 5th

Day One Part One: Arrival

Day One Part Two: Is This Ride Mike the Knight?

Tuesday, August 6th

Day Two Part One: Does Winnie the Pooh Live Here?

Day Two Part Two: Will Tangled Be There?

Day Two Part Three: Are We In the Dungeon?

Day Two Part Four: They're Afraid of Daddy!

Wednesday, August 7th (Our Anniversary)

Day Three Part One: The Magic Elevator

Mom's Memo: Character Greetings

Day Three, Part Two: What Can We Ride Next??

Day Three, Part Three: I Like These Main Noodles!

Thursday, August 8th


Day Four, Part One: Is The Beast In There?


Day Four, Part Two: I Brought Violet!

Day Four, Part Three: How Fast Can You Change?

Friday, August 9th

Day Five, Part One: I Need a Drink or I'm Going to be Sick!

Day Five, Part Two: Mickey Made Me Dinner??


Day Five, Part Three: Is There Another One?

Saturday, August 10th

Departure Day, Part One

Departure Day, Part Two
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Is She Ready To Be A Princess? August 2013 Trip Report

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Old 08-16-2013, 03:05 PM   #3
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Joining! Great start and great tips - I especially like the snack bag one

And very glad to hear your DH's medical situation is moving in a positive direction. I don't know what I would d o if my DW got a similar diagnosis
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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Following along!
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:52 PM   #5
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Joining in

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Old 08-16-2013, 03:55 PM   #6
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Day One Part One: Arrival

After about four hours of sleep, I got up at 3 am on our travel day (Monday) and took a quick shower. Our luggage was already in the trunk of our car so I just had to add a few last minute items to my carry on bag. My parents had picked up our dog the night before so we were ready to go. I woke up DD at 3:45, a little wary of how she was going to react to being awakened from a sound sleep. Luckily she had gone to bed early around 7:30 pm, and when I told her we were going to Disney World, she was wide awake and ready to go! Our plan was to leave at 4 am for our 6 am flight. We pulled out of the driveway at 4:10 am. Ten minutes later we were looking for a parking spot in Extended Parking.

Here’s DD waiting with all our luggage:


Now came one of the toughest parts of our trip: maneuvering from extended parking to the check in counter with all our luggage and a very S…L…O…W walking toddler. God bless my husband who dragged the two big bags while I dragged the two rolling carry-ons and coaxed DD to keep moving. When we got to the Southwest counter I started to panic when I saw the line. I asked the couple in front of us when their flight was and it was at 7. At this point I started to think we really should have left the house sooner! Luckily there were many agents working, the line moved quickly and by 5 am we were heading to security. We got through pretty quickly and made it to the gate with just enough time for a potty stop before boarding.

Mom’s Memo: My expectation that DD would be potty trained before this trip was overly ambitious. She was about 80% there, but still having accidents a few times a week, and deathly terrified of public toilets and especially the automatic flushers. So I carried this folding potty seat in my carry on: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004OBZLUA/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1. It worked pretty well to convince her to sit on the “big” potty. I also carried sticky notes to cover up the automatic flushers so they wouldn’t flush until she got out of the stall. By mid-week she was no longer as afraid and I started leaving the potty seat in the hotel room. She’s still afraid of all the noise in the restrooms, including the hand dryers. Also, I wore a pull up on her on the plane and in the parks. She doesn’t wear them during the day at home, but I knew there would be times when we couldn’t find a potty in time. It gave us peace of mind and avoided any really upsetting accidents.

I had gotten up at 6 am the previous morning to check in for our flight, so we had boarding positions A38, 39 and 40. We found a row to ourselves just about 5 rows back from the front of the plane.

Mom’s Memo: I had debated about DD’s safety on the plane. I didn’t really want to lug a car seat with us since we couldn’t use it on Disney transportation and were not planning to rent a car. But she is still very small and I worried about turbulence with just a lap belt. As a compromise I rented a CARES harness on Ebay for around $15. This worked out okay. She wore it willingly and never asked to get out of her seat. It did give me some comfort that she was secure in case of turbulence. But even fully adjusted it was loose around the seat and on her:


DD was entertained by some snacks and books but around 7 she fell asleep and slept right through the landing.



After landing and another potty stop we found our way down two escalators to the Magical Express area. We waited about 10 minutes for a bus, then sat on it for about 15 before we left. I was pleased that the bus had seat belts:



Soon we were seeing that magical sight:



Our bus stopped first at French Quarter and then around 9:30 am we were pulling up in front of Riverside. DH and I stayed here on our honeymoon when it was still Dixie Landings. Fourteen years later the memories came flooding in as we walked into the lobby to check in. There was no line and we walked right up to be greeted by a cast member. My only request was for a room in Magnolia Bend, where we had stayed on our honeymoon. We were given a room on the third floor of Acadian House. We embarked on a very long walk, again hauling our luggage and coaxing a slow walking toddler (at this moment she was still a toddler!) In retrospect, we should have picked up our stroller before setting out. Our room was convenient to the elevator and by the next day DD knew how to find it once getting off on the third floor!

First glimpse of our room:




This was our view from outside our room:



Mom’s Memo: At home DD sleeps in a toddler bed in her own room. At other hotels we have taken a toddler cot but that was when we were driving. In POR we requested bed rails which appeared after I called again in the evening. We had to install them ourselves but they just slipped under the mattress and seemed pretty sturdy. DD slept wonderfully in the bed, probably because she was so tired! I liked having her right where I could check on her easily and knew she was safe.

We unpacked our carry ons, confirmed that our refrigerator was out of service, and decided to head to Epcot.
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Is She Ready To Be A Princess? August 2013 Trip Report

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Old 08-17-2013, 10:04 AM   #7
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Day One, Part II: Is This Ride Mike the Knight?

We headed back out across the bridge, past the main swimming pool and into the main building. We stopped at Bell Services to ask about our stroller rental, and they directed us over to the luggage holding area. Our stroller was parked outside with a nice laminated sign with our last name on it. However, instead of our case of water, there was a note attached to the stroller, written on a tag from bell services. It said X family took Y family's water. Y family being us. We were puzzled and asked the people working there but they didnt seem to know anything about it. They said they'd check on it and we decided to look into it later.

We headed to the bus stop at the South Depot and a bus for Epcot came quickly and was nearly empty. I was surprised that DD didn't complain about getting on yet another bus but she seemed to understand we were finally on our way to the parks. A few minutes later we were pulling into Epcot around 10:30 am. The first stop I made once inside Epcot was at the Camera Center to turn in my PhotoPass + certificate . They gave me a card on a lanyard, but I soon realized it was not a very secure lanyard and moved it into my purse with my KTTW. I have to admit I look forward to having a magic band and not having to keep track of these cards. When we were at character greetings it was kind of a lot to juggle the card and my own camera without losing anything.

We asked DD what she wanted to do first and she said meet Mickey. The Character Connection said it had a 15 minute wait, but we walked right in with only one or two families in front of us. DD was so excited when she saw Mickey she was dancing up and down. This was our first test and we were so happy that she was not at all afraid of the characters! We got some pretty good PhotoPass photos here:







Unfortunately I didnt realize until that night when I looked at my pictures that she had apparently spilled water all down the front of her shirt before the pictures. Lol

Next we headed to The Seas to go on the Nemo ride. This line was also short and probably took about ten minutes. It was a cute little ride and DD would have been happy to ride it again. We liked the birds outside saying "mine! mine!"




We spotted the signs for the Imagination pavilion and decided to ride Journey Into Imagination. We got in line and probably waited about 10 minutes. While in the queue DD spotted the pictures of Figment and I guess he just looked like a purple dragon to her. She said to me Is this ride Mike the Knight? I didn't try to explain the difference between Disney and Nickelodeon. Lol DD really liked this ride and talked about it a lot afterward and kept talking about her imagination. At one point she even named this ride as her favorite. DH and I were just happy to sit down in the AC for a while.

We decided it was time to head to World Showcase for our 12:45 ADR at Via Napoli. The park was pretty hot at this point and I felt really overheated. Also, after getting up at 3 am all I had eaten all day was a 100 calorie pack of cocoa almonds. I don't recommend this on your first day at WDW! Luckily we were seated quickly and it was nice and cool in Via Napoli, if ridiculously loud. I couldn't even hear DD when she was talking to me right next to my ear. We had decided to pay for this meal OOP and we all just got ice water to drink, which we gulped down gratefully. We ordered a kids fruit cocktail for DD which was a little expensive but very nice. It had strawberries, blueberries, grapes and raspberries and she ate every bite. I was glad to get something nutritious and also hydrating into her since she had also been existing on snacks all day.

We decided to get two individual pizzas to share. We got a Quattro formaggio which was unique and delicious. DD ate a whole piece herself. We also got a Fungi (mushroom) with red sauce which was also very good.





In all we enjoyed this place but I would not be in big rush to go back when there are so many other places to try in World Showcase. DH and I were on the DDP but we paid for this meal out of pocket.

When we left there we stopped in Karamel Kuche for some candy for dessert. It was so hot the candy was melting while we tried to eat it. When we got to the Mexico pavilion we decided to go in and ride the Gran Fiesta Tour. I love the inside of this pavilion, you really feel like you are in another world.



There was no line for the ride and we all enjoyed it.

On our way back to Future World we passed Duffy the Disney Bear. DD had no idea who he was but she was interested immediately and really liked him.



After getting her picture taken she spotted the Duffy store across the way and asked to go in. I had been thinking shed like a Duffy bear anyway so didn't object. We weren't in that store for two minutes when the skies opened up in a deluge of rain. People started running into the store and it got crazy crowded in there. We did buy DD a 17 inch Duffy bear while in there. The rain only lasted a few minutes and we were able to leave and head to Future World to ride Spaceship Earth.

The line was not long. DD and I rode in the front of our car and DH rode in the back. We all enjoyed the ride on Spaceship Earth. After that we decided to head back to the resort as we were all pretty beat.

We stopped back at the luggage area but our water had still not shown up and nobody knew where it was. Back at our room our luggage had arrived we unpacked, got changed and went swimming in the quiet pool next to our building. I called Kingdom Strollers and they said something about another family accidentally taking our water, but I guess they had been under the impression the family was going to bring it back. He promised to drop off another case that evening.

We headed to the food court to pick up our refillable mugs and get dinner. DD insisted on having her own refillable mug and I gave in and bought one, but it was a big waste of money because she drinks so little. Oh well, we brought it home and she is using it here and its a nice souvenir. DH and I decided to do the Create Your Own Pasta, which was delicious. I planned to share mine with DD but while I was waiting for desserts at the bakery I noticed she was asleep in the stroller. While we ate we tried to wake her but she was out. This is really unusual for her as she is normally a light sleeper and never falls asleep outside of her own bed. I guess we really wore her out! She roused when we got back to the room and ate a chocolate chip cookie. We all went to bed early, ready for an early morning at the Magic Kingdom!
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Is She Ready To Be A Princess? August 2013 Trip Report

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Old 08-18-2013, 02:48 AM   #8
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I love the picture of the pizza with the Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:35 AM   #9
BeckyEsq
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfinpiratee View Post
I love the picture of the pizza with the Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer
Ha ha. Never leave home without it!
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Dixie Landings 8/99
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Wilderness Lodge 8/06
Port Orleans Riverside 8/13
*now planning* POR Royal Guest Room 8/14


Is She Ready To Be A Princess? August 2013 Trip Report
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:01 AM   #10
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Day 2 Part I: Does Winnie the Pooh Live Here?

After going to bed so early, I was wide awake at 5 am. DD woke up at 6. You would think being up so early we would have gotten out of the room in plenty of time, but I found myself having to light a fire under everyone that morning. At one point DD started crying and said she wanted to go home. L I think this was a combination of being over tired, waking up in a strange place and not realizing all the fun we had in store, because once we actually got out of the room she was totally fine. It still made me really sad seeing her cry though as she is not much of a crier at home. We hustled up to the main stop at the South Depot and once we got there, realized we had forgotten both our snack bag for the day and the video camera. We were not off to the greatest start.

We got to the MK a little after 8 and they waved us right through the entrance for those with ADRs without asking our names or confirming anything. Once in the MK we stopped to have a Photopass photographer take our picture in front of the castle:



Then we headed to the Crystal Palace for our 8:35 ADR. I told DD we were having breakfast with Pooh and she kept asking me if he lived there. When we got over there we found a great spot for a photo on the bridge with the castle in the background and had someone take a photo for us there. I checked us in and then DH got to meet the Mayor of Main Street:




I love how they posed like a political picture. Lol


They actually called us in about ten minutes early. Pooh was at the table next to ours so we got to meet him right away:





DD was pretty happy at this point, spotting the characters and getting really excited. The waitress brought us orange juice and then Tigger showed up.


I sent DH to the buffet first and he was gone forever because he took advantage of the omelet station. While he was gone we met Piglet:



When he got back I ran up and got DD a Mickey waffle and some watermelon, then gave it to her before I went to get myself some food. I was pretty excited to try the breakfast lasagna and it was delicious. When I got back to the table, I saw that DD had managed to get watermelon all over her custom made personalized Minnie t shirt.
L Who knew that watermelon would stain so badly? It looked awful and I was really kicking myself for not having a shout wipe in my bag like I usually do. We waited a while to see Eeyore:


We all had more food while waiting for Eeyore and finished our meal around 9:30. NOTE: I have been to the Crystal Palace before and I would definitely go again, but would try harder to get an earlier ADR around 8 am rather than 8:30 so we could get into the park as it opened. The food was delicious, atmosphere is beautiful and characters are sweet.


DH went to get us FP’s for the Princesses in the Town Theater and for Mickey, and I went into a gift shop to see if they sold Shout Wipes or Tide pens. They did not, but they sent me to Baby Care where a very nice CM let me use his kitchen sink, Palmolive and some dish towels to wash DD’s shirt. I was happy that the stains came out, but since it was now wet I changed her into Cinderella T I had in the stroller. I was glad I remembered to bring a change of clothes, but didn’t think I’d need it at 9:30 am! And I was disappointed because we would not be color coordinated for our picture with Mickey. I know, I’m nuts.



We met back up with DH and since we had time before our fastpasses we headed to New Fantasyland. The first thing we did was get in line for Under the Sea.




The line moved very quickly and DD loved the ride. After that we got in line to meet Ariel, which took longer than we thought and I was getting nervous about using our fastpasses. Ariel was great though, very animated and fun:






After this we had to hustle back down Main Street to use our fastpasses.
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Wilderness Lodge 8/06
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Is She Ready To Be A Princess? August 2013 Trip Report

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Old 08-21-2013, 10:45 AM   #11
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great update and glad you enjoyed Crystal Palace. it is one of our favorite - though as much for the puffed french toast as for the characters

Can never have enough Tide pens. I get made fun of for having one in my desk drawer at work - but also have had tons of people come by and ask to use it
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Wait, weren't you just at Disney World? An August '14 Pre-Trip Report - A Pre-Trip Report: 8/25 - 8/29
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Faint hearts never won fair lady - or got all the ADRs you wanted. - A Dining Review 10/8/11 - 10/15/11
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:32 AM   #12
DisMomJill
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Your DD is absolutely adorable! We took our DD when she was 2y7m, and it was a great time. I'm looking forward to reading more about your trip!
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:01 PM   #13
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I finally made it over here, now gotta get caught up.
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:35 AM   #14
Jackiemarie21
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I followed you over here from my TR!
Your DD is adorable! I color-coordinated us all week too, and I would also get upset when DD spilled something and had to change. I totally get it!

That is great that your DH's health is improving. That sort of thing is what makes trips like Disney even more magical. You really appreciate the family time that is all about fun and nothing else! I really hope that everything continues to go well for all of you!

I feel like I have found my twin! We have so much in common! I am totally following along. I can't wait to read more about your adventures and see how your DD did with the princesses!
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:49 AM   #15
BeckyEsq
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Originally Posted by Jackiemarie21 View Post
I followed you over here from my TR!
Your DD is adorable! I color-coordinated us all week too, and I would also get upset when DD spilled something and had to change. I totally get it!

That is great that your DH's health is improving. That sort of thing is what makes trips like Disney even more magical. You really appreciate the family time that is all about fun and nothing else! I really hope that everything continues to go well for all of you!

I feel like I have found my twin! We have so much in common! I am totally following along. I can't wait to read more about your adventures and see how your DD did with the princesses!
Too bad we didn't find each other during the planning stages, we could have helped each other out probably worrying about a lot of the same things! lol

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Originally Posted by DisMomJill View Post
Your DD is absolutely adorable! We took our DD when she was 2y7m, and it was a great time. I'm looking forward to reading more about your trip!
Thank you!

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Originally Posted by ktb2002 View Post
I finally made it over here, now gotta get caught up.
Glad you are here.
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