A Disney-Addicted Mom runs W&D, Dopey, and cruises Europe *update 5/9*

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by DrMomof3, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    I'm B-A-C-K! And trying another PTR which I hope to be more diligent about this time. No promises except a promise to try. :thumbsup2

    This is Amanda. I'm a 42 year old mom who loves to run (especially at Disney) and works full-time as a pediatric urologist. I started running because of runDisney and in 5 years I've finished 4 full marathons (26.2 miles), 10 half marathons (13.1 miles), 3 10Ks (6.2 miles), and one 10 miler (the inaugural Tower of Terror). Last year with bought into DVC with the Villas at the Grand Floridian as our home resort. I'm the trip planner in the family.

    My husband is Tom. He just turned 45 and is an adult urologist. That's not to say that he's an adult but that he takes care of patients over the age of 18. :lmao: He's a closet Disney fan. He blames me for all the trips but he has Disney withdrawal as much as I do.

    Nathaniel is our oldest child. He's 10 years old and finishing 4th grade. He is one of these amazingly gifted children who sometimes struggles to function in the real world. He's challenging and impressive all at once! He's an artist, musician, and talented tae kwon do participant. At Disney he loves catching the little lizards that you see everywhere and we have lost him more than once as he follows a lizard.

    Jessica is our Princess. She's 8 years old and in 2nd grade. Jessica is good at everything and is willing to try anything. She does ballet, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, tae kwon do, and plays flute. She is nice to everyone and very popular. Jessica loves Disney and is amazingly knowledgeable about all things Disney. She especially loves roller coasters but hates scary rides like Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror.

    Zachary is the youngest. He's about to turn 6 and he's in kindergarten. Zachary has mild cerebral palsy but you wouldn't know if I didn't tell you. He is a walking, talking teddy bear ("I like warm hugs" could have been said by Zachary!). Zachary has an incredible memory especially for anything Disney related. He loves characters and Disney Junior Live on Stage! is his favorite Disney attraction. He's not a fan of roller coasters but we're hoping he'll grow into them.

    Sven is the newest member of our family. He's a 4 month old Golden Doodle puppy and he is a handful! He's sweet but a wild puppy still. Trying to teach him some manners.

    We also have 2 cats: Oreo and Munchkin. They aren't really into people but are still part of the family.
     
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  3. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Jessica and Nathaniel with a lizard.

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    Zachary posing with Mary Poppins and Bert.

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    Tom and I running the 10k in January.

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    With our medals.

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    Running the Disney Marathon.

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  4. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Here's a list of trips I'll be discussing in this PTR:

    August 14th - We leave for France. Most of the trip is not Disney-related but we will be spending one night at the Disneyland Hotel in Disneyland Paris. We have 2 day tickets. I will discuss planning the whole trip, including the DL Paris portion. The main purpose of the trip is to visit my brother who lives in London but owns a house in the French countryside. Details to come...

    October 11th - I run the Hartford Marathon. Not Disney-related except that several runDisney friends will be there with me.

    November 7th - We head down to Disney for the Wine & Dine 5K and Half Marathon. Taking advantage of the Veterans Day school break.

    December 14th - I run the Inaugural Jeff Galloway 13.1 in Atlanta, GA. Disney-related because Jeff Galloway is the official training consultant for runDisney (and my coach!) and also because there will be lots of runDisney friends at the event.

    January 7th - Head to Disney World for Marathon Weekend. Zachary and Jessica are running the 5K. Nathaniel and Tom are running the 10K. I'm running the Dopey which is the 5K, 10K, Half, and Full Marathons. My step-dad and his girlfriend will be joining us.

    June 29th - The Disney Magic departs Copenhagen for an 11 night cruise ending in Dover, England. We stop in ports in Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.

    Amanda
     
  5. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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  6. luvpoohandcompany

    luvpoohandcompany DIS Veteran

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    I'm here-going back to read :thumbsup2
     
  7. luvpoohandcompany

    luvpoohandcompany DIS Veteran

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    :woohoo:Great start Amanda-and I'm first here!!:banana:

    Can you tell I'm not often 1st :rotfl:

    Cant believe how many races you have completed :worship:
    Keep thinking I'd like to do some sort of race (dont think running after kids counts though oftentimes it feels like it should :lmao:). Maybe I need to take a leaf out of your book and make it a RunDisney event-might be just the carrot/stick I need ;)

    Cannot believe how grown up the kids look-especially Zachary:)
    Looking forward to hearing your plans :goodvibes
     
  8. chattadisser

    chattadisser Mouseketeer

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    Yea another TR! Or PTR!

    Can't wait to hear all about this year, especially the cruise! That itinerary looks amazing. So jealous!

    Christine
     
  9. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    You found me!!! :flower3:

    I definitely became a runner because of runDisney. No doubt. And I'm someone who needs to have races on my calendar to keep me motivated. I don't think I'd be as dedicated if I were just running to stay in shape. I love that runDisney has added some 10Ks as that is a great bridge between the un-timed 5Ks and the longer distances.

    The kids are getting so grown up. Zachary is super tall but also pretty immature so it's a tough combination.

    Welcome and THANK YOU!

    Amanda
     
  10. firecracker725

    firecracker725 Somethin' Clever

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    I'm here! Vive le France.
     
  11. ZellyB

    ZellyB DIS Veteran

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    Joining in. I love to read all the running reports!
     
  12. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Wanna meet in DL Paris??? :love:

    Thank you! And Welcome!!!

    Amanda
     
  13. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    If I were really good I would color-code each trip to make life easier for the readers. The problem is that if I make life harder for myself, I'll give up posting updates! :lmao: Instead I'll try to keep track of chapters and title each post appropriately. We'll see how I do.

    Our trip to France was born last October (2013) when I traveled to London for my youngest niece's baptism. My mother died over Christmas in 2012 and she had been a true matriarch. While I knew that my step-dad would attend the baptism, I also knew that none of my siblings would go. I'm very close to my brother who lives in England so I decided that I should go. My brother has 3 children: Sasha (boy, age 5), Tristan (boy, age 3), and Ariane (girl, age 10 months). They live in London where they rent a flat but they own a house in rural France. Every summer my sister-in-law spends a lot of time with the children in France and my brother goes to visit whenever he can. Sasha's birthday is in August and is always spent in France. Other than his younger siblings, Sasha has never spent his birthday with other children. While I was visiting London for the baptism, my brother asked me if we could please come to his house in France during Sasha's birthday so Sasha could celebrate with his cousins. My brother asks very little of me and this seemed like a reasonable request. It took a little convincing to get my husband on board but he finally agreed.
    Airfare was very expensive and we will be flying a discount French airline called XL. It's a direct flight from JFK to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. The flight leaves NY around midnight on Thursday, August 14th and arrives around noon on Friday, August 15th. We have booked a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment near the Louvre for 3 nights in Paris. There is a full kitchen and the apartment sleeps 6 people.
    I haven't figured out our Paris touring yet. My children really want to see the Eiffel Tower so that will be on the list. I've heard the Jardin de Tuileries is great for children and is a short walk from our apartment. We will also see Notre Dame and maybe Sainte-Chapelle (one of my favorite sites in Paris). I think we'll at least visit Musee D'Orsay (for the Impressionist paintings) and the Louvre (at least to peek at the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo). We may not have time for anything else.
    On Monday morning we will take the train to Marne la Vallee Station. We will pick up a rental car here and head to the Disneyland Hotel. We have 2 day park tickets and one night in the hotel. I have not even started to consider what we will do!!! Anyone been to DL Paris and have advice??? :rolleyes1
    On Tuesday we will leave DL Paris (morning, afternoon, ????) and drive about 6 hours to my brother's house in the Dordogne. We will stay in the guest house. They have a swimming pool and plenty of outdoor space. There is a ruined castle in the general area as well as the original prehistoric cave paintings (like you see on Spaceship Earth - except the real ones!). Those are on our list of things to do. Beyond that we hope to just relax.
    On Sunday morning we will start the long and sad drive back to Paris to fly home. :sad1:

    Amanda
     
  14. firecracker725

    firecracker725 Somethin' Clever

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    Maybe. We have family visiting in August, so we'll have to coordinate that.
     
  15. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Let's touch base as the dates get closer...

    Amanda
     
  16. ddluvsdisney

    ddluvsdisney DIS Veteran

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    Can't wait to hear about all your great trips Amanda!!
     
  17. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you!!!

    Amanda
     
  18. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Since today DCL announced an itinerary change to my June, 2015 cruise, I thought it would be an appropriate time to talk about our upcoming (in the distant future!) cruise.
    Two years ago we went on our first (and only) Disney cruise. We did a 5 night cruise on the Disney Dream with a double dip (2 separate stops) to Castaway Cay. It wasn't our best Disney experience. For starters Nathaniel had a terrible year in 2nd grade and hadn't fully recovered from the experience. He was still a bit edgy and very clingy. Tom made the mistake of trying to force the kids to go to the kids' clubs and I think it backfired. Next problem was our choice of cabin. We had a family suite with veranda. I was super nervous about letting the kids, especially Nathaniel who likes to climb, go out on the veranda. So we barely used it. Zachary is terrible about going to sleep and does poorly with sharing a room with his siblings. Since we were all in one cabin it meant they fought every night.
    We didn't have the best cabin attendant or servers at the restaurants. Although I had heard stories of the assistant server always having the preferred drinks waiting on the table, this never happened. Our servers couldn't keep our kids and our table-mates kids straight so we would have to move the names around. Every night. (We loved our table mates and still talk to them.) I thought there would be enough "entertainment" at dinner so I initially banned electronic devices from the table but the kids were tired and bored at dinner. After 2 nights of bad behavior, we started bringing ipads and ipod touches to dinner.
    The next problem was Castaway Cay. Our first docking was in iffy weather. It had been stormy and it was super windy. They cancelled the shore excursions. It was hard to let the kids swim because they were getting blown down wind. Tom eventually took Zachary and Jessica to the swimming pool on the ship and Nathaniel and I stayed on the beach. The 2nd time it was super hot and sunny. Tom has 2 colors: ghostly white and lobster red. He hated being in the sun and, again, took the younger kids back to the ship to get out of the sun. A cabana would have made ALL the difference but it's almost impossible to get one.
    Tom and I, mistakenly, thought the kids would love the kids' clubs but the boys didn't want to go at all. Zachary would have liked it but he was influenced by Nathaniel. And, in all fairness, he was a little young for the club. I think our expectations were off about how much adult time we would get. The ports of call were nothing exciting - Castaway Cay is a very nice beach but it's basically a beach and we didn't even get off the ship at Nassau. We didn't plan our family activities well enough until later in the cruise (Tom and Nathaniel did the towel animal folding class and we all took a cooking class and a mad science class together).
    Needless to say I didn't expect Tom to ever agree to another cruise. I forwarded him an email from DCL about the upcoming 2015 itineraries including the Northern European ones. I'm dying to do a Mediterranean cruise but apparently Tom has no interest. So I was SHOCKED when he told me to look into it. We would have preferred a shorter cruise (maybe one of the Norway itineraries) but they were all during school. With Nathaniel graduating from elementary school next June, we don't want to risk missing any special events - even for an awesome cruise.

    Amanda
     
  19. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Hi Amanda! I'm glad I noticed you started a new PTR! We will be at W&D and the Jeff Galloway half in Atlanta with you, so I'm looking forward to your planning!

    Did you buy your airfare for Paris yet? If not, we just got back from Rome with the kids and found taking the later flight really helped with the jet lag. We've done the 7pm flights out of JFK and now this is the second time doing the 10pm and it makes a huge difference!

    I'll be back to catch up once I'm over my own jet lag :)

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
     
  20. natebenma

    natebenma DIS Veteran

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    Subscribing!

    I'm not great about keeping up with pre-trip reports, but if you are promising to try to keep up with this, I promise to try and follow!

    :lmao:

    I'm getting ready to go out for the day, so I will come back to check on your current plans for upcoming trips.
     
  21. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    How was your trip to Rome??? I'm sure Easter was memorable for sure!!!
    We bought our plane tickets to Paris. They were SO expensive. We're flying XL which is a discount French airline out of JFK. Our flight is actually close to midnight and we land around noon. We should be able to get into the apartment right away.
    Are you running the Mini 10k? I can't remember. I think you had a conflict?

    You are awesome! I am trying to be a good PTRer but life sometimes gets in the way....

    Amanda
     

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