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Old 08-23-2014, 09:13 PM   #1
Suziannie
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 288

Talking Two Years In A Row Means Its A Tradition Right? 10/3 FINAL ADR LIST

Well...I'm back to write up my Pre-Trip Report and I'm super excited about this one.

It's a short trip compared to a lot that I read about on here but I think it will work nicely.

Before I get into that though, a little about me and who "we" are.

I'm Suziannie. I'm getting fairly "old at being young" (Points to who can name the tune that comes from!) so I think I'm compensating by doing my best at being young at heart.

My favourite Disney park is Magic Kingdom, although to be fair I've yet to venture over to Disneyland or across the oceans and see Hong Kong Disney ,Disneyland Paris etc. So I may need to reserve judgement for a few more years.

My favourite ride? Hands down Haunted Mansion.


Photo was via a Google Image Search

I love everything about it!

My husband joins in my Disney fun and says that his favourite ride is It's a Small World. Here he is on his best Disney day though...the day he got up close and personal with the trains via the Magic Behind Our Steam Trains tour:



And finally, my daughter who started fairly early in life learning about the magic that is Disney. She'll be 3 this year and we can't wait to see how she enjoys WDW this time around. Here she is on what was one of her favourite moments last trip...dessert at Be Our Guest:



Here we all are together, on one of my most favorite Disney Days....at the very end of our last Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party:



So that us in a little Disney themed nutshell!
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Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!

Last edited by Suziannie; 10-04-2014 at 07:51 PM. Reason: Fixing photo links & resizing where needed;)
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:15 PM   #2
Suziannie
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 288

Table of Contents

Pre-Trip Planning:

A little history on why I'm heading to Walt Disney World At Christmas
The Budget
ADR List and a Few Extras! Updated 9/3
An "extra" night at Disney World? Why not!!
New Camera!

Itinerary:

Basic Trip Plan

Travel Days!!
First Day at Disney World!
& Update #1: New Plan, I made some changes!
It's Going to be a Magical First Day in the Magic Kingdom! & UPDATE #1
This Day is Even MORE Magical that the last one!
It's a Very Merry Fourth Day at Disney World!
Pirates & Princesses!
Our Last Full WDW Day Is A Magical Animal Kingdom Day!
Say Good-Bye to Walt Disney World!

Weight Loss and Fitness:
Background on my lifestyle changes

Coming Soon:
ADR List!
Disney Days 1-5!
Weight loss & Fitness! Part 1
Pre-Trip Purchases! Camera!
Sewing Projects!
Surprises in store for our trip!
1) Tour & Haircuts!
2) Sleigh Ride!
What did I do this summer? A little detail about our Non-Disney trips this year!

Changes!
Changing ADRs around and Candlelight Processional Plans
Changes to our first full day in the park!
Update 10/4: Final ADR and other meal plans!
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Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!

Last edited by Suziannie; 10-04-2014 at 07:52 PM. Reason: Adding links!
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:29 PM   #3
Suziannie
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 288

How the trip came to be

Way back in December of 2012 I got the BRILLIANT idea to take a trip to Disneyland for a short little pre-Christmas fun. For 2013 I mean. Over the next few months that little trip shifted and grew and changed, as many Disney trips seem to do. You can read all about the trip in great detail HERE.

Well I think we were hooked once we took that stroll down Main Street in the "snow".


No it's not snowing in that photo. But isn't it inspirational?


As we got close to that December 2013 trip my dear husband and I had the following conversation:

Me: Wouldn't it be great to go to Disney before every Christmas?
Him: Well yeah, but I can't see how that's possible.
Me: Right. Probably. But it would be awesome.

Once we got back last winter we almost immediately started planning a trip back in an effort to squeeze one more in before our little girl turned 3. We'd also completely ignored not one but TWO parks. Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios! So we really needed to go back right?

But...as things often do they sort of fell through and we ended up scrapping the plans. For a while it was because I was sort of dreading the idea of going in June. But then I ended up having surgery. My sister decided to set a wedding date for this August, and my mother and I decided to go "home" in July. More on those trips later.

But here's a little sneak peek of "Home":


So we decided to cancel our little June trip. However both of us were bummed so we talked, ran numbers and decided to push it back.

Back to the first week of December! So now that we'll be going a second time for the same week it's a tradition right?

Right!


Save a dance for us Woody! We're heading your way!

I've got a ton of things in mind and I'm super exicted to share them.

This is our first full trip staying at Shades of Green. Which means it's also our first trip with NO dining plan! Eeek!

We're planning on driving and spending a day at the beach before AND afterwards.

I've also got some neat little things like an appointment for my dear husband at the Harmony Barber Shop, a tour for me (since I missed out last year) and a fun little family surprise.

Or two.

But probably three.

I mean it's Christmas right?
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Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!

Last edited by Suziannie; 08-23-2014 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:36 AM   #4
Suziannie
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 288

Let's Get Down To Business!

Let's Get Down To Business!



Although I imagine this will be much more fun to talk about than defeating the Huns would be. Can you tell my daughters a bit of a Mulan phase right now?

So here's my basic Itinerary:

Day 1: Travel
We'll leave Dallas and ease on down the road towards....



Vicksburg. My husbands a Civil War fan so we're planning a route that lets us have a short picnic and exploration in a historic area.

We won't stay long though because Day 2 is a relaxing beach day and we'll need to be on the road sooner than later.


Day 2: Beach Games!

Day 1 should end with us checking in to the Navy Lodge in Pensacola Florida. And Day 2 should be starting with us heading down a path much like this one right here:



Our room has a little kitchen so we'll be eating in there breakfast and dinner but hoping to venture out for some seafood for dinner. And well be in bed early because...


Day 3-7 Are Disney Days! I'll leave those days out to break down one by one.

Day 8:
A sad sad day. We'll be heading back home.



Still not quite sure if we're taking the same route the whole way back but we'll have another night near a beach for sure. My 3 year old is wonderful in the car but I'm not about to drive straight through! I need a break.


Day 9:
We've got this day planned to relax at the beach again.

I think we all know how much Disney can take out of you. This is also why we're considering stopping in Gulfport or maybe even just heading over to Clearwater or something. Would make for a longer travel day the last day but my husband loves road trips and I don't mind either way.


Day 10: Finally headed back to Dallas. Lots of books, I may do a little cross stitching in the car and my daughter will certainly watch movies.


So that's the gist of the trip. I'll break down specific ADRs and a Day By Day Disney breakdown in the coming posts! I hope this is entertaining for some!
__________________
Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!

Last edited by Suziannie; 08-24-2014 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:08 AM   #5
Suziannie
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 288

The Budget

There's a lot of posts about money and how to pay for Disney trips here so I thought I'd share a little insight into how Suziannie does it.

So let's talk about money!



My husband and I are following the Dave Ramsey plan, but somewhat loosely. We've eliminated a huge portion of our credit card debt and have an agreement to NOT add more. So it's cash only in our world. I go a little batty without a vacation so a line item that cannot be moved (but it is often adjusted if something comes up) is my Vacation Budget.

This year we're doing our first full offsite stay here:



We'll be at Shades of Green. A quick glance at the map tells you that this "offsite" property really is closer than most of the WDW resorts.

Last year we opted for the more expensive pool side room. This year we found a great special, $89 a night! Woot!! So no pool-side room but I asked for one as close to the parking garage as possible.

We'll still have EMH and transportation to the parks. But no Magic Bands, we'll need to wait until the 30 day mark to book our FP+ and...the biggest impact to our budget. No Dining Plans.

I'm a big fan of the Dining Plan, specifically the Deluxe one as we can pay it all off before the trip and only bring a little spending money. Then we can live well and not think about money at all for the most part.

So here's my Offsite Dining Plan:


A huge stack of gift cards! I've been buying them at Sam's and Target in smallish amounts each visit. I am still a little bit nervous though. Our relationship with food has changed a great deal as a family this year though, and I'll get into that soon. But I think we'll be ok. I have to be confident about this I think.

A few days before my 180 Day mark I sat down with some Disney menus, my receipts from last year and came up with the following:
  1. Food Budget
  2. Spending Money Budget
  3. Cash that we'll need

Now this is all just for the Disney portion. I took a long road trip (right under 4000 miles) in July so I've got a fairly decent number planned for the travel days of our trip.

I'm almost done buying the gift cards-just 6 more are needed.

And as far as park tickets go. We're lucky enough to be able to take advantage of this deal, which was recently extended to cover our trip dates:



I've got the cash set aside for this already, I'm just waiting on the tickets to actually arrive on base. I think the cost went up slightly though but I've got that covered for sure.

That's my budget plan right now. Not a lot number wise bur I think we're in great shape!
__________________
Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!

Last edited by Suziannie; 08-24-2014 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:22 AM   #6
ach222
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Hi! Subbing in - I'd love to see WDW decked out for Christmas! Love your budgeting plans as well.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:46 AM   #7
Suziannie
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Posts: 288

Quote:
Originally Posted by ach222 View Post
Hi! Subbing in - I'd love to see WDW decked out for Christmas! Love your budgeting plans as well.


Christmas is indeed an amazing time to go. In 2007 I was lucky to go the week of New Year's. When my daughter is older we'll brave those crowds again I'm sure but until then the first week of Dec is perfect! Short ride times and still lots of Christmas everywhere you look!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ach222 View Post
Love your budgeting plans as well.
Thanks! I think I'm in the right track!
__________________
Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!
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Old 08-24-2014, 01:59 PM   #8
JoeyEmmaMomma
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Location: North Florida
Posts: 401

Following along, from the December FB group!
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~Angela

Me DH and our kiddies J (8) E(4) and W(11 months)



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Old 08-25-2014, 09:04 AM   #9
Suziannie
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Posts: 288

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyEmmaMomma View Post
Following along, from the December FB group!


Hope you enjoy it!!
__________________
Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:34 AM   #10
Suziannie
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 288

ADR & More List

This is our first trip without the safety net of a Deluxe Dining Plan, I've also made some significant changes to how I eat (more on that later) so this is sort of a new Disney Dining Experience for us all.

My changes are fairly simple, NO sugar (Dr's orders on that one), very low-carb, very high Protein. All ordered by my Dr. I'll be on the phone with the Special Dietary department once I get closer to my trip but normally eating in restaurants isn't an issue for me at all. So with that...here's where we're planning on eating right now:


Table Service Meals:

Beaches & Cream
Whispering Canyon Cafe
Liberty Tree Tavern
Cape May Cafe
The Plaza Restaurant
Hollywood & Vine
Tusker House
Restaurant Marakesh


Planned Quick Service Stops:

Captain Cooks
Pizza Planet
Gaston's Tavern
Columbia Harbor House
Starbucks



So nothing too fancy. I keep waffling on a Signature Meal. I'll make a reservation at Hollywood Brown Derby, Le Cellier or Narccoosee and then cancel it a few hours later. Maybe because I've been reading the Disney Food Blog a lot, but there are a lot of Quick Service and snack items I want to try this trip so I think I'm trying to keep the ADRs light. On the other hand I think I'm concerned about money since there's no Dining Plan.

I also have a few extras planned that involve food:


Campfire Sing A Long with Chip & Dale
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Pirates & Pals Fireworks Cruise

So I think we're covered for special things, even if it's not so fancy.

Are there any Quick Service/Snacks that are a Must Do for you? I love talking about Disney Dining and would love to hear from others!
__________________
Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!

Last edited by Suziannie; 09-03-2014 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:45 PM   #11
Suziannie
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 288

Trip Update: Adding a Night!!

I made the executive decision today to add a night to our stay at Shades of Green.

Our final day, our departure day was a half day in a park then lunch then we'd hit the road. But I decided that maybe that might be too depressing-to "waste" a ticket on a half day and then drive away from my beloved WDW!

So....I started thinking about what I wanted to do that night. Checked the available reservations for dinner that night and made a choice. Then got on the horn and extended my stay at SoG by one night!



Now...we get to see Whoopi Goldberg doing this:

Photo from a Google Image Search

As the ADR I made was the Candlelight Processional Package. It's not at an ideal restaurant for us, but given the fact that I didn't want to move anything around that day I think it will work just fine!
__________________
Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!

Last edited by Suziannie; 09-03-2014 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:46 PM   #12
tink2304
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Following Along... love the budget ideas!!! Also, Can't wait to here all about the Magic of a Disney Christmas.
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:46 PM   #13
Suziannie
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Posts: 288

Travel Days 1 & 2

Were planning on heading out fairly early so it will likely be dark out when we all load into my car.

This summer I went on a long road trip with my mother and daugther and I very wisely invested $22 in one of these:



And it made the trip easy and smooth. Its amazing how many electronics we need in the car right?

Plugged into that will be at the very least my daughters portable DVD player. Who can say what shell be watching though.


Ultimately, day 1 of travel should end with us walking into a hotel room here:



And Im told theyve got a fabulous beach and lots to do!

But once we have a room well make a quick commissary run for some breakfast and lunch foods and Im sure well have forgotten to bring something with us so well likely head to the NEX too.

Day 2 of our trip is going to start late I think.

I have no qualms about saying theres a REALLY good chance Ill be waking up just long enough to fix my dear little one some cereal, find a movie or something for her to watch and crawling back into bed for an hour. Shes prone to waking up really early while we travel. And since its a lazy day Ive promised my husband there will be NO wake-up call or alarms set.

Im also going to be fighting really hard to not make the adjustment to head over to WDW a day early as this Day 2 of our trip happens to be the last day Haunted Mansion is open. If you think the cost alone of taking on another days ticket to our trip would be enough I can tell you youre absolutely wrong about that. Ill justify it somehow!

But back to our late start.

Eventually Ill get up and make some coffee. Hopefully theres a balcony or at least a window I can sit in front of and enjoy my cuppa as I stare at the ocean.

If this is our view from bed Ill be propping myself up on some pillows and enjoying that!



One of the things Id like to do is make a nice breakfast for my family so once theyre both awake Ill make something. Likely just a nice omelet and some bacon. But its nice to have a good breakfast.

When were all fed well head out to the beach! Im told it looks like this:



Looks perfect to me!

Once we get bored of that well head over and check out the Fort or the Lighthouse. Then decide what to do from there.

Dinner will eventually roll around and Id love to find someplace we can relax and spend a few hours. Maybe watch the sunset with a cool drink in our hands?

Who can saybut well be in bed early because Ill be too excited about Day 3!
__________________
Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:56 PM   #14
Suziannie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tink2304 View Post
Following Along... love the budget ideas!!! Also, Can't wait to here all about the Magic of a Disney Christmas.
Thanks and !
__________________
Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!
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Old 08-26-2014, 03:35 PM   #15
Suziannie
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 288

Day 3 Or Is It Day 1? First Day In The "World"!

Our current plan is to leave base around 6am. Google maps tells me its about 6 hours to Downtown Disneywhere this will be our first stop!



Bens going to wait in the car at the curb again while I run over and exchange our vouchers for real live tickets! Woo!
Next up.lunch!

Ive selected a fun, casual and hopefully delicious first time restaurant for us:


Beaches and Cream!

Ive heard a lot of good things so we thought this would be a fun place to stop before heading over to our hotel.

Speaking of which
Last year we were so tickled to drive under this sign:



After years of staying at Value Resorts and one stay at CBR we were so happy to have the change to be so close to our favorite park! Honestly we didnt realize how close we would be. Tears of excitement may have been shed.

By someone. Not naming names though.

It wont be night time but hopefully these guys will still be there to welcome us into Shades of Green!



Once checked in and settled down well take a bit of a break in the room for a few hours. But not too long as well be heading over to Whispering Canyon Caf for dinner. Another first time dinner ADR for us!

Its rather early, but I booked it that way so we have some time to check out the Christmas decorations, and head over to visit with Chip and Dale at the campfire!



Were all really looking forward to this one! Cant believe its free!
After the campfire, well hang out and maybe catch the movie. But we may also head back towards SoG. Not too sure, depends a lot on what time these will be floating by:



Hopefully well be able to catch a glimpse of Wishes that night too. We may try to catch either from the GF or Poly as those are closer to SoG than Ft Wilderness is. It all depends on the clock though!

However Id REALLY like to try to take something like this so setting my tripod up on the beach in just the right position for an hour or so might be something I need to do.



But well see. I think for the lighting to be right it's going to have to be fairly late and with such an early start, plus an early morning ADR the next day I'm not too sure. Also, Im a complete novice when it comes to photography but Im pretty excited to try some new things out!

Then its bedtime for us as weve got lots more in store for the next day!
__________________
Pre-Christmas Time Extravaganza Trip Report In The Making!


Completed Christmas Trip Report: December 2013

Resorts I've stayed at so far:
Caribbean Beach 2007/2008 Christmas & New Year's Eve
All Star Movies 2008 Food & Wine, 2011 Honeymoon, 2013 Christmas trip
Art of Animation 2013
Shades of Green 2013

Upcoming: Shades of Green December 2014!!!
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