A very overdue Holiday TR ~ A toddler, a reunion & Thanksgiving ~ Update 9/17

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by Sunset Cliffs, May 29, 2011.

  1. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    To write a TR or not write a TR? That has been the question for a while. Our trip happened 6 months ago and I have been feeling the pressure to write a TR for quite a while. As you can see, I have ignored that pressure pretty well, since 6 months have literally flown by since we have gotten home from our trip. And I’m starting to say to myself, “Will anyone want to read a TR about Thanksgiving / Christmas holidays now that we are getting into the summertime?”

    The problem is that it was an amazing trip. Not one that should be allowed to be forgotten without proper documentation. I don’t want to forget the details of this trip that came together to allow a family reunion to happen that spanned 3 generations. At holiday time, no less!

    The other problem is that I have had no time to write it, much less take the time to sort through all of the pictures that were taken by multiple family members. Do you know how many pictures a family can take when there are no less than 3 cameras taking pictures most of the time? PLUS Photopass? Not that I’m complaining….but I have written a TR before and I know it is a lot of work. Work that is totally rewarding at the end, as well as while you are writing it.

    I finally gave in today and I am taking advantage of my son’s nap time to get it started. I really hope you choose to follow along, but if you do I am warning you that it is going to be a long journey. We were at the World for almost 2 weeks so there is a lot of ground to cover. On top of that, my son was the highlight of my trip (in my eyes, of course), so you are going to see a lot of pictures of my adorable toddler, Dylan. This is him :

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    The final hurdle for me is the time commitment. I promise that I will do my best to keep this moving along, but there might be times where I have a long gap in between updates. I apologize a head of time, but there are certain times of the year that are crazier than others for me and I tend to disappear a little bit during those times.

    So if you are willing to stick with me, let’s get this show on the road! I actually wrote a PTR for this trip. It feels like a very long time ago when I was planning for it, and it was really fun to go back & read it to get ready to write the TR. I am just going to include a link to the PTR so that you can familiarize yourselves with all of the people involved (there are a lot of us) and I don’t have to do introductions all over again. I put links in the PTR so you can scan it pretty quickly, if you choose to. Here is the link. http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2559965

    For a quick recap, here are the cast of characters that went on this reunion trip.

    This is me (Alison), my husband (Todd) and our 3 year old son (Dylan)

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    This is my sister (Angelynn), her husband (Bryan) and my nephew Elijah. The main purpose of this trip was that Elijah had graduated high school last June and he got to pick a place to go on a trip to celebrate. He picked WDW and we all were complimenting him on what a great choice he made.

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    My parents Ed & Susie

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    One shot of the whole group

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    That sums us up. Here are a few more details to get me started.

    When : Our trip was from November 21 – December 4, 2010. We were in Orlando over the Thanksgiving holiday, so we got to take advantage of all of the holiday decorations around the World.

    Where : We own a timeshare, so we have never stayed on-property before. Due to a very lucky set of circumstances, we were able to get some great deals and try out a few hotels during our time there. We started out at Port Orleans Riverside for a few nights, then moved to a timeshare at Marriott Grande Vista, then moving to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for 2 nights. :thumbsup2

    Hopefully you will read along and let me know that you are here. I love getting to know people on the Dis and have made some really good friends here.

    Thanks for reading!!
     
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  3. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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  4. BookTrout

    BookTrout Earning My Ears

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    I know it will be a lot of work but, we'll all enjoy reading along. I'm in!
    Sharon
     
  5. Disneymoon09

    Disneymoon09 DIS Veteran

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    Your TR's was one of the first I started ready when I joined the DIS, and I loved every bit of it. I am absolutely joining in for this one! I cannot believe how big Dylan is now!
     
  6. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    I'm here and can't wait to hear about it!:goodvibes
     
  7. LilAnn

    LilAnn DIS Veteran

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    Hi Alison! You know I'm in. Even though you gave me a "sneak peek" a few months back, I am totally excited to read this. I love that we have similar experiences with our kids being the same age.
     
  8. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    Welcome! You are my first reader. Thank you so much for reading! :goodvibes


    Oh wow. That is so cool that you read my first one too. Thank you so much! Yes, Dylan is a giant now. When he was born he was big, and he has never stopped growing. He is 3.5 years old now and he is taller than a lot of his 5 year old friends. He definitely doesn't look like baby anymore!


    Yay! Thank you for stopping by. It's about time, right? And I am assuming that you had a great time on your recent girl's trip?


    Hi Ann! I was going to send you a link if you didn't find me in the next few days. When I saw that you started your TR, it got me more inspired to get going on mine too. I'm excited to read yours too!
     
  9. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie DIS Veteran

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    I love seeing photos and hearing about WDW at holiday time so I am along for the ride! Looking forward to hearing all about it.
     
  10. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    Welcome!! Thanks for joining in. I was just looking at your signature and it looks like we were at WDW around the same time as you last time...June 2009. That was Dylan's first trip to WDW when he was 1 1/2 years old.
     
  11. eecteacher82

    eecteacher82 DIS Veteran

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    Count me in! SO glad you decided to do a TR!!! I can't believe how big Dylan is!
     
  12. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    we had a BLAST!
     
  13. tinkgurl

    tinkgurl DIS Veteran

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    I'm here! You know I wouldn't want to miss this! :)
     
  14. Purple Opal

    Purple Opal Mouseketeer

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    Hey Sis,

    How funny. I haven't been here in a long time but decided to stop by this morning (think it is just that i don't want the 3-day weekend to end! :lmao:)

    And here you've just started this yesterday! I'm looking forward to looking over our trip photos again. Let me know if you need any, but I think you got them all from our camera...

    :love:
     
  15. Dugette

    Dugette DIS Veteran

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    Oh, yay! I'm so happy you're starting your TR! I've been waiting to hear about this trip! Don't worry about taking a long time, I'm only just starting to write about the third day of our December trip (so, you won't be the only one covering holiday stuff!) Looking forward to following along!
     
  16. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! I'm so glad to finally get started. Now that I have actually done it, I have gotten excited to write it. Dylan is such a big boy now. He is SO tall, and everyone that meets him thinks he is 4 or 5.


    I just subscribed to your combined TR. I had so much fun reading the updates that have already been writen.


    Yay! Thanks for reading. I have a lot of pictures of Dylan that I know you will appreciate. ;)


    That is so weird. I was going to email you today & tell you that I started it. I have really not been on here since our trip. Over the long weekend, I decided to just start. It has been so much fun looking at all of the pictures. I am trying to sort the pictures for each day as I am writing about it. There are certain things that I have where we all took exactly the same picture! So I'm trying to pick the best one & delete the others. It will be slow going, but I will gain space back in my computer. :thumbsup2

    I feel like I am missing pictures, but it could be that you just didn't take any during that time. I am missing the whole first 4 days from mom, so I am working on getting those too. Hope you enjoy reading, and if you feel like you have good pictures to add after I finish an update, you should add them!


    Hi!! Oh, good. I'm glad I'm not the only one who will be writing about the holidays. I need to check out your TR's! I am hoping that since the summer is coming that I will have a little time to dedicate to this, without stretching it out forever. Fingers crossed. Thanks for reading!
     
  17. Sunset Cliffs

    Sunset Cliffs DIS Veteran

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    The start of our trip was a welcome break for everyone. Since I work at a high school, the levels of “busy-ness” fluctuate depending on the time of year. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we have just gotten through the first 3 months of school and also volleyball season (which Todd coaches). The students get a whole week off for Thanksgiving, which means I can take the time off too. For this trip, I added the week after Thanksgiving as well, and my principal was nice enough to let me take that extra time off.

    My sister Angelyn and her family flew out from San Diego on Saturday morning, Nov 20. They got to WDW in the afternoon that day and checked into the Polynesian for a few days. Angelyn had gotten a PIN code from Disney for 40% off deluxe resorts & took advantage of it by booking the Polynesian for them. For the rest of that day & night, she texted me a ton of pictures of what they were doing all over the property. It was a good kind of torture, but it made me just want to get there to be with them!

    On the West coast, we were dealing with a couple of problems. First, Dylan had caught a cold and we were really concerned about his ears while flying. Also, Northern California was going through a cold storm and it was supposed to snow overnight. We were worried our flight to San Francisco would be delayed.

    I woke up at 5:45 that morning and looked outside. It was freezing out but it had not snowed, thank goodness!! I got ready to go and finished packing up my stuff. Then I work up Todd, & Dylan got up around 7:30. Our friends had offered to drive us to the local airport and they were at our house by 8:00. We loaded up their car and said goodbye to our dog Mickey. This was so hard because our other dog Pluto had just passed away suddenly only 3 weeks earlier. We had a very sweet girl coming to house sit but Mickey was still very depressed about his brother not being around anymore. :sad1:

    We drove down the street and I suddenly remembered we had not packed Dylan’s stroller! We flipped a u-turn and got it in the car. It would have been awful to get all the way to the airport & realize that we didn’t have it! We got to the airport at 8:30 and the flight was scheduled to leave at 10:00. When we checked in, the nice woman told us they had moved the flight up to 9:45. She really liked Dylan & we realized he had the same birthday as her son. We checked in all of luggage & sat down to wait.

    Our first vacation picture of the trip!

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    We got through Security without any hassles. This was during that time period where they had just started all of the “pat downs” and invasive body scanning stuff, and it was all over the news. I was relieved there were no issues. The TSA agents really liked Dylan and gave him an honorary TSA badge (a sticker) for his shirt which he proudly wore all day. lol. We waited for our plane to arrive and they announced the flight was delayed due to winds in S.F.

    Showing me his TSA badge.

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    I told him to try & look tough and this is all I got.

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    You will notice that Dylan was going through a phase of not knowing how to smile naturally for the camera. We would have to take a ton of pictures just to get one that didn’t make him look like he was in pain or with his eyes closed. No idea what that was all about!

    Out of the blue Dylan says, “I don’t want to fly on a plane, mom.” I told him we had to fly on a plane or we would not be able to get to our vacation. He kept saying he didn’t want to fly & that it was too scary. I let him hold his plane ticket and said he had to use it to get on the plane. We also went & watched the plane pull up to the building & he got excited to see it.

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    He watched another little boy get off that plane and he had a backpack with him. I made a big deal about how that boy had SO much fun on the plane and he was such a big boy. Dylan had a total change of heart right then and said, “Let’s go get on the plane! It’s fun, not scary!” Whew! Crisis avoided.

    Our flight didn’t end up leaving until 11:00. We loaded up on the small plane and noticed that we were in different seats than we had booked online. We were right at the front of the plane though, so we didn’t mind.

    Dylan listening to the flight attendant.

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    I had gotten him all new toys for the flight, so he had fun finding them in his backpack. Playing with his new airplane during the flight.

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    It was during this time that I had my first really happy moment of the trip. He was having a good time playing, his ears had not bothered him at all, he wasn’t scared. All of the things that had been stressing me out just went away and it really felt like we were ON VACATION.

    We landed & let everyone else off the plane first because many people were close to missing their connecting flights. We got some food really fast at a food court and hustled it over to our gate. They were already boarding so I took Dylan to the bathroom and then got on the plane. We realized that we had been upgraded to the Economy Business class section on the plane. 5 extra inches of space!!! We realized the nice lady that checked us in had upgraded all of our flights without telling us. We were so grateful to her.

    Our flight left a ½ hour late. Dylan did great on this flight too. We spent a lot of time reading books, coloring, and playing with his new toys. I also had just gotten an iPad, and I had downloaded a lot of games for toddlers on it. He spent a ton of time playing with that. I will never fly on a plane without it again! It helped the trip go by so quickly! He finally slept for about an hour. So did Todd. I tried, but just couldn’t fall asleep. We landed about 20 minutes late but we had made it!

    We love the blue rings!! It means you are in Orlando.

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    On the monorail to the airport.

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    We had no problem getting our luggage and we went out to pick up our rental car. It was so easy to get our car!! We walked across the street to the parking garage. They had all the cars parked with the keys in them. We went to the Compact section, picked which car we wanted, loaded up our stuff, and drove away. At the gate, they checked our paperwork and let us go. I have never had it be SO EASY to get a rental car.

    We left the airport at 10:30 pm and we pulled up to Port Orleans Riverside at 11:00. We were so excited to get here. It was our first time to stay on-property. Plus, it was supposed to be decorated for the holidays. I sent my sister a text to let her know we were there and then we went to check in.

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    We made it into the lobby…and didn’t see any decorations. But it was still so pretty!

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    I checked in with a very nice CM who could barely speak English. I told him we would need bed rails delivered to our room and he did not know what they were. I tried to explain it to him for a few minutes. I even drew him a picture of what they looked like. Finally another CM came over to help and we got all squared away. We had requested Partierre Place building and that is where they put us. Room 9803. We drove over to our room & hauled all of our stuff in. I called my sister, who was at the MK for EMH.

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    Our original plan had been to get checked in and then go over to the MK to meet them there for EMH. We were still on West coast time, so it was about 8:30 our time. That was before our plane was delayed and we were all pretty hungry. Todd & I talked about it and made a decision.

    What did we do? Did we go to bed or did we push on and go to the MK?
     
  18. Queila

    Queila DIS Veteran

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    Signing up!

    You have a beautiful family and I have to congratulate your nephew for his great choice of destination!! :thumbsup2

    I totally understand your reluctance of writing a TR. I was only able to finish the TR from my May, 2010 trip a couple of weeks short of my MAY 2011 trip.:rolleyes1

    That means it took me almost a year to complete it but I am so glad I did it.

    As for your son being the highlight of your trip... well... of course he was! I have a 3 year old girl and trust me the trip and, therefore, the TR end up being all about her. :rotfl:

    Cannot wait to read more. :)

    Q
     
  19. Disneymoon09

    Disneymoon09 DIS Veteran

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    Even with the early delays, it sounds like it was a pretty smooth trip!
     
  20. ScrappyRN

    ScrappyRN Mouseketeer

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    Joining in! My son and I were there from 11/18 to Thanksgiving and stayed at POFQ, so curious to see if we were at any of the same parks on the same days. Your son is too cute! The picture of your family is so beautiful, it must have been nice to have everyone together.
     
  21. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Nice start but it does sound like a very very long day between 2 flights and the huge delay. Thank heavens you didn't miss the connecting flight. Arriving late is such a challenge on the food front. I can't wait to see what you guys did, tough call when you are hungry and still on west coast time!

    Really surprised at the lack of decorations. I stayed at POR for one night on the girls trip, looking forward to see what you think of it.
     

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