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Old 10-15-2013, 08:03 PM   #1
jedimeg16
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Smile 'Ohana Means Family - An April 2013 TR Updated 8/26!!

'Ohana Means Family – Combined Family Trip April 2013

Thank you to everyone who is reading this! I am a fairly new DISser, and this is my first trip report, so I'm hoping I'm doing it right!

Let's start with the who:

I'm Megan. I am a former Cast Member having completed two College Program Internships (Spring 2004 and Summer Alumni 2005). I had hoped to return one day and continue working for the Mouse, but life had other plans, namely the next three people.


My husband Ryan. We met at college playing Dungeons and Dragons. He likes Disney, but doesn't quite understand my obsession with it. Thankfully he willingly agreed to us having a Disney honeymoon when we got married in 2007.

Next are our two sons, Ian and Logan

Ian is our oldest, born in June 2010. He was identified as speech delayed when he was 2 years old, but through learning some sign language (Mickey Mouse was one of his first signs) and speech therapy he is working on catching up. He loves all things Disney Junior related, with his two favorite shows being Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and The Octonauts


Logan is our little ninja – he decided to sneak up on us and is our little preemie born in March 2012. But despite his early arrival he has caught up and is now thriving. He is taking after his older brother in his love for Disney Junior, but seems to like Doc McStuffins and Jake and the Neverland Pirates the most.

My parents, John and Sue

This trip never would have been possible without them. And I really can't thank them enough

My brother, Brandon, and his fiancée, Rochelle.

Brandon is my younger brother by 3 and a half years. When this trip was just in the beginning planning stages (fall 2011) he didn't even have a girlfriend, but he still asked Rochelle if she wanted to come along with the entire family, they started dating in May of 2012, he proposed in October of that year, and will be married in January 2014.

What: A big family trip to the most Magical place on Earth!

When: April 16-21, 2013

Where: That should be obvious by now…

Why: Because we could! But more about this in the pre trip planning/backstory post
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'Ohana Means Family - My first TR

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Old 10-15-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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Chapter Links

To be updated as we go

Backstory and Pre-Trip Report

Tuesday April 16, 2013
Final Packing and Travel Day (Part 1)
Leavin' On a Jet Plane (Travel Day Part 2)
And Now the Trip Officially Begins (Travel Day Part 3)

Wednesday April 17, 2013
Dining with the Mouse
How many firsts can we fit into one day?
Becoming my little man
Meeting Royalty
The Land of Tomorrow
What about the other family members?
Of Sorcerers and Princesses
Skipper Dan is the name
The Gang's All Here
To Infinity and Beyond!

Thursday April 18, 2013
My name Stitch
Where's the "Choo choo"?
Let's Fly!
Under the Sea and Across the Land
Try the Grey Stuff, It's Delicious!
Flying Again!

Friday April 19, 2013
Breakfast with Royalty
Breakfast with Royalty Part 2
Duuude!
Beef, It's What's For Lunch
A Swim in the Lake
Our Traditional Dinner

Saturday, April 20, 2013
Where the Magic Begins Indeed Part 1
Where the Magic Begins Indeed Part 2
The Magic Continues
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'Ohana Means Family - My first TR

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Old 10-15-2013, 08:11 PM   #3
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I was there almost the exact same time.
Your little guys are cute.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:41 PM   #4
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I was there almost the exact same time.
Your little guys are cute.
I think it's a great time to visit. A few days were really hot, but the lines were manageable and we all had a great time.

Thank you! They are such hams too! That will definitely be obvious as I post more pictures.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:45 PM   #5
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Backstory and Pre-trip

My parents basically raised my brother and I on Disney – the first movie I remember seeing in theaters was The Little Mermaid (Ursula scared the cr*p out of me!). When I was 4 and a half my grandparents took my older cousin Katie and I on our very first trip to Disney World. Because we have that special memory with our grandparents, my parents wanted to do that with their grandsons. But being the Disney nut that I am, I also wanted to be there with my boys when they went for the very first time. So what was supposed to be a trip for 4 has now become a trip for 6, so there really wasn’t any reason to not include my brother and his now wife to be.

I had been mentally planning my oldest child’s first trip to Disney World pretty much from the moment that I found out that I was pregnant. I knew that I wanted them to be young, but not a tiny baby, so that’s how it was decided that the trip would be shortly before they turned 3. Well, life doesn’t always go as you plan, and in between that first decision and trip time that’s how little ninja was 13 months old at the time of the vacation

Then came the logistics of the trip and coordinating 5 different work schedules (I am a stay at home/work at home mom so my schedule was the easiest). My mom requested that we go in April, and after Easter. Since Easter Sunday 2013 was March 31, that was a really easy request to accommodate. Since we were a group of 8 we knew that we would need to stay in two standard rooms since the maximum number of people in a family suite is 6 adults and 1 child under 3. For years we’ve stayed at the All Star Resorts, but I really wanted this trip to be full of new things so our first choice hotel was the brand new Art of Animation Resort, with Pop Century as our back up just in case. In June of 2012 my parents sent Ryan and I an anniversary card with Mickey and Minnie on the front – and a handwritten note that it was good for an all expense paid trip for 4 to Disney inside. I had been planning and budgeting for us to help with our part of the cost of this epic trip, so I was absolutely floored. As a thank you for their gift to us, our gift to the family was purchasing the PhotoPass+ card, so watch for many posts about our experience with it throughout the trip report.

In September 2012 we found a really good price on airfare and were able to book the flights and our Disney reservations. We had 2 standard Little Mermaid rooms, park tickets for the adults, and the Deluxe Dining Plan for the adults as well. Then the countdown began to our 180 day mark, October 19. There were several hard to get ADRs that I was desperately hoping for, so the night before I set my alarm 5:45am (We’re in the Central time zone). Because of my nerves I woke up at 5:15am, so I had plenty of time to get my notes in order and my finger on the call button as soon as the clock turned to 6am. 45 minutes later I was finally done, having secured all 13 reservations we hoped to make all right around the times we wanted. Want to know which ones? Just keep reading! We ate at some great restaurants, plus some family favorites.

Well, a week later all of my planning nearly went out the window. The airline called my parents because the flights we had originally booked were no longer going to be offered. Thankfully we were able to shift everything by one day, including our hotel and what had been a dinner ADR for Chef Mickey’s after a full day at Animal Kingdom became a breakfast ADR to start off our first full day of the trip. Thankfully after that everything else fell into place. A few more last minute plans were added shortly before the trip began, but I have to keep some secrets, right?

All that was left was making shirts, packing, and surviving until April finally arrived.

In addition to me making a few themed shirts for all of us, my mom graciously offered to make the boys some cute shorts and bucket hats. I think she wanted to do this because it made her feel nostalgic for my second trip to Disney, in 1990. She made me an outfit (a button down shirt and a pair of shorts) out of a Mickey Mouse fabric for that trip. There are pictures floating around somewhere, so if I find them I will add them to this trip report.

My biggest project was unofficially dubbed “The Princess Project”. I am a crocheter, and I wanted to do something really fun for this trip, so I made crocheted versions of every princess that I could. The goal was to then find the princesses in the parks to get pictures of the crocheted ones with the real ones. How successful do you think I was? Stay tuned!
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'Ohana Means Family - My first TR
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:04 PM   #6
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I saw your post on Brenda's (emmysmommy) TR that you started this; hope you don't mind if I join in.

***Great intros; I'm really looking forward to following along.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:32 PM   #7
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I saw your post on Brenda's (emmysmommy) TR that you started this; hope you don't mind if I join in.

***Great intros; I'm really looking forward to following along.
Thank you for joining in! I was a little bit worried that no one would want to read about our trip since I am so new to the boards and have only started to follow (and comment on even fewer, but trying to improve on that) a few trip reports.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jedimeg16 View Post
Thank you for joining in! I was a little bit worried that no one would want to read about our trip since I am so new to the boards and have only started to follow (and comment on even fewer, but trying to improve on that) a few trip reports.
It may take awhile, but people will come. Just keep posting and we will keep reading.
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:54 PM   #9
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I'm here as well! Looking forward to following along! I mostly lurk but like you trying to post more. Perhaps one day I will have the guts to do a trip report!
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:48 AM   #10
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Love the title...that drew me in! Can't wait to follow along with your family!
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:01 PM   #11
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It may take awhile, but people will come. Just keep posting and we will keep reading.
Finding time to sit at my computer to post proper updates will be the hardest part. Quick replies are easy through the iPad app, but longer posts with pictures definitely require time to sit and type. But if I use the time when Ian is off to preschool and Logan is down for a nap (like right now!) then I should be able to keep up.

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I'm here as well! Looking forward to following along! I mostly lurk but like you trying to post more. Perhaps one day I will have the guts to do a trip report!
Welcome! I'm not usually a shy person, but sometimes when I'm surrounded by people I don't know very well (in person, or online) I become very quiet. Though I've always been the opposite at Disney - especially during my College Programs and I went to the parks by myself I was always talking to random people!

Quote:
Originally Posted by momabaarjo View Post
Love the title...that drew me in! Can't wait to follow along with your family!
Thanks for joining in! I have LOVED Lilo and Stitch since the movie was released in 2002, and this trip was really all about family so there was no other title that sounded right to me.
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:27 PM   #12
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Final Packing and Travel Day

Final Packing

While we were gone my good friend Kimmie graciously house sat and cat sat for us (we have 2 cats, Menchi and Jennyanydots). She arrived at our house on Monday night so that she could help keep the boys occupied before bedtime so I could finish all of the packing that still needed to be done. Ryan helped as best as he could when he got home from work, but I don't think he understood my level of crazy at the point and mostly stayed out of my hair.

Travel Day/Arrival at Disney: April 16 (Part 1)
If there is a more stressful way to plan a travel day I don't think you could find it. After getting up bright and early and having breakfast we headed off to the weekly chiropractor appointments for Ryan and me. We were all done and on the road to the airport by about 10am. I should have mentioned it before, but my brother has a house in Wisconsin, we live in the Chicago area, and my parents live in Bloomington-Normal. When we were looking at flights leaving from each of the 4 major airports we had to choose from it was determined that it would be best for all of us to fly out of Bloomington-Normal because it was by far the cheapest flight, and the long term parking is free.

Thankfully driving along the Chicago toll roads long after rush hour was over was easy, and we listened to the Pandora Disney station for our 3 hour drive to my grandma's house. Grandma also lives in Bloomington-Normal and she wanted to see us all before we left on vacation, so she had us over for lunch. This gave my mom time to finish sewing the bucket hats for the boys, and for me to hand out everyone's first souvenirs.



I crocheted two luggage tags for everyone with each person having a different background color.

In the repacking shuffle I made certain that all of the members of "The Princess Project" were safely packed away. (This picture was actually taken after the trip because I wanted a group shot after I finally finished the bear)



And I discovered the first forgotten item. I had decorated a red shirt with a Mickey iron on for everyone to wear during our second full day at Magic Kingdom so that we could have a family picture in front of the castle. I had packed the ones for me, Ryan, and the boys, but had forgotten the ones for my parents, Brandon, and Rochelle. In a flurry of panic, I texted Kimmie, and she eventually found them right where I had left them in the master bedroom. My dad proposed the suggestion that we find matching shirts in one of the gift shops and he would buy them for our picture. I wasn't thrilled with the idea, but accepted it since I was 3 hours away from home, our flight was leaving in less than 2 hours, and really didn't have any other options.

After a nice lunch we were off to the airport!
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:06 PM   #13
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Love the luggage tags!

Sorry you left half the t-shirts at home.

Why did I not realize you were in the Chicago area? Where in Chicago?
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:30 PM   #14
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Love the luggage tags!

Sorry you left half the t-shirts at home.

Why did I not realize you were in the Chicago area? Where in Chicago?
I don't think I had ever mentioned where we lived in any of my other posts before this one, and the one talking about the exhibit coming to MSI in your trip report. We live in Waukegan, about 25-30 minutes away from Six Flags.
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:31 PM   #15
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I don't think I had ever mentioned where we lived in any of my other posts before this one, and the one talking about the exhibit coming to MSI in your trip report. We live in Waukegan, about 25-30 minutes away from Six Flags.
My husband umps two or three weekends a year at tournaments in Waukegan.
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