Bumps, bruises, too many teenagers & swimming with sharks! NEW 11/17 pg. 32

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by DisMomAmy, May 5, 2012.

  1. DisMomAmy

    DisMomAmy DIS Veteran

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    Welcome to my latest Trip Report! We just returned from 10 wonderful Disney days from 4/19-4/29. We love spending spring break at Disney and this year didn’t disappoint! We were celebrating DS11’s (Alex’s) upcoming elementary school graduation and also his return from a week at environmental camp with his 5th grade class. It was an amazing experience for him & definitely a reason to celebrate! Also, DS8 (Zach) earned his green belt in karate the afternoon before we left for our trip so I added on that celebration so he wouldn’t be left out.

    Who are we?

    I’m Amy, SAH “Spectrum Mom” to two wonderful boys who happen to be on the autism spectrum. I’m also a part-time bookkeeper, working mostly at home. I’ve spent the past six years running our school PTO and will be stepping down in June to focus more time on my boys. Alex will be transitioning to middle school this summer. It’s going to be a big change moving from our little elementary school to a large middle school with kids from several other towns.

    DH is Tim, a workaholic software engineer. He doesn’t love Disney like the rest of us, but he gets more and more excited prior to each trip! It was his idea to keep this trip a secret from the boys until the morning we left.
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    DS11 is Alex! Or Alexander as he always used to make us call him! Alex is in 5th grade for about six more weeks! This summer he’ll attend a summer program at his middle school to help him with the transition to the big school. Alex is a wonderful kid and has come SO FAR since he was diagnosed with autism (PDD-NOS) at 26 months. He does an amazing job articulating his needs and telling us when he’s had enough of something. Considering he didn’t talk until he was four and used to bite people and bang his head on the floor, this is an AMAZING thing! Alex has a unique sense of humor and has been trying to figure out the social rules of when it is and isn’t OK to share it with people! Alex plays trumpet and swims on the swim team. He also loves soccer & basketball. In his spare time at home, he likes making spreadsheets about anything imaginable!
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    DS8 is Zach! Zach is our sensitive guy. He is an artist and loves to share his creativity. He is in second grade and will be free to roam the school next year without his brother lurking around the corner! Even though our boys are very different than one another, Zach is also on the autism spectrum. Zach was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the end of kindergarten, about two years ago. Zach is a very emotional kid, but he’s also very sensitive to other people and their feelings. Not exactly what most people think of when they hear autism. Zach’s major challenges are reading social cues and emotional regulation. He also has a lot of sensory issues – he’s very sensitive to bright lights/sun, heat, loud noises, etc. Just in the last year, he has come so far and has been doing a great job dealing with his challenges. Zach’s favorite things are baseball, karate & Legos! He loves sports and in addition to baseball and karate, he played soccer & basketball this past year.
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    This was our 7th trip to Disney in the past six years. Our first with the kids was just a few days in 2006 with DBIL, his family & DMIL. We stayed offsite at an awful hotel that we exchanged through our timeshare without much research. We (I) knew we had to go back for a real Disney vacation… which we did in 2007. In 2007 we stayed off-site at Marriott Grande Vista and had a great trip. DBIL & family and DMIL joined us for part of the trip. We got to experience our first (and only) MNSSHP that year. Our next family trip didn’t happen until 2009 when we stayed on-site for the first time at Caribbean Beach Resort. I loved staying on-site but CBR was too small for us. In 2010 we stayed at Sheraton Vistana Resort and had another great trip. 2011 was a repeat at Sheraton Vistana Resort but something was off that trip… we needed a re-do! So in November 2011, to celebrate our 15th anniversary, we took the kids to help us celebrate & we stayed at BWV in a 1BR for five nights! It was an amazing trip & I was afraid we’d raised the bar too high!

    This trip started as most of our trips do, with a few nights visiting DBIL in the Tampa area, followed by a week off-site through our timeshare. We booked Sheraton Vistana Villages. Then, after our November trip, decided to skip the visit & booked three nights at the Hard Rock Hotel to do Universal Studios! Then we worried Zach might not be tall enough so we decided to postpone Universal & stay on-site at Disney. The Beach Club had long been my dream resort so when the spring discounts came out we booked a room at BC, to which I later added Club Level! I was so excited and we made many plans around staying in the Epcot area again. Then that dreaded day in March came… SAB was going to be partially closed! We went back and forth but ultimately decided to change resorts. There were pros & cons to every resort we considered… if we couldn’t stay in the Epcot area, we wanted club level at a resort on the monorail loop… that wasn’t going to happen. One day it finally came to me – Animal Kingdom Lodge! I’d stayed there in January 2011 with the Spectrum Moms (see TR in signature) and knew the boys would love it! We couldn’t get club level so I booked us at Kidani in a 1BR. Finally I could sleep again… At least for a few weeks… Just days before we were going to leave for vacation, I read that the SAB pool work was going to be done early and the pool would be fully open during our vacation. After going back and forth on what to do and getting confirmation that the pool was in fact open, I was thrilled to be able to switch our reservation back to the BC. Our Garden View CL room wasn’t available so we went with Lagoon View CL! Everything felt right with the world again!

    Thanks for reading along!! Up next: Arrival Day!
     
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  3. DisMomAmy

    DisMomAmy DIS Veteran

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    Links to updates:

    We made it!
    Arrival - continued
    Arrival - continued
    The title
    Zach's Photo Tour - Day One
    Day 2 - Our first park (part 1)
    Day 2 - Our first park (part 2)
    Day 2 - Our first park (part 3)
    Day 2 - MK (part 1)
    Day 2 - MK (part 2)
    Zach's Photo Tour - Day Two (1)
    Zach's Photo Tour - Day Two (2)
    Zach's Photo Tour - Day Two (3)
    Zach's Photo Tour - Day Two (4)
    Zach's Photo Tour - Day Two (5)
    Day 3 - Resort Day?
    More on the surrey bike & life update
    Day 4 - Moving Day (part 1)
    Day 4 - Moving Day (part 2)
    Day 4 - Moving Day (part 3)
    Day 4 - Moving Day (part 4)
    Day 4 - Moving Day (part 5)
    Day 4 - New Resort (part 1)
    Day 4 - New Resort (part 2)
    This & That - Life Update
    Animals & Hoop-Dee-Doo Day (part 1)
    Animals & Hoop-Dee-Doo Day (part 2)
    Zach's photo tour of day 5 (part 1)
    Zach's photo tour of day 5 (part 2)
    Zach's photo tour of day 5 (part 3)
    Animals & Hoop-Dee-Doo Day (part 3)
    Swim Time
    The end of swim time & off to HDDR
    Hoop-Dee-Doo!
    More HDDR
    The end of Day 5 (part 1)
    The end of Day 5 (part 2)
    Day 6 - Going on a Quest (part 1)
    Day 6 - Going on a Quest (part 2)
    Day 6 - Night out
    Day 7 - Magic Kingdom!!
    Day 7 - Magic Kingdom!! (part 2)
    Day 7 - Magic Kingdom!! (part 3)
    Off to the Big Apple!
    More MK (part 1)
    More MK (part 2)
    Pool time & dinner with Mickey
    Wishes dessert party (part 1)
    Wishes desert party (part 2)
    Day 7 - Photopass
    Zach's Photo Tour - Day 7
    Swimming with Sharks - Day 8
    Finishing off Day 8 at DTD
    Day 9 - Time for Teenagers (part 1)
    Day 9 - Time for Teenagers (part 2)
    Day 9 - Time for Teenagers (part 3)
    Day 9 - Time for Teenagers (part 4)
    Day 9 - Time for Teenagers (part 5)
    Bad DISer
    Zach's Photo Tour of Day 9
    Day 9 - Photopass
    Day 10 - Our last park day - morning (part 1)
    Day 10 - Our last park day - morning (part 2)
    Day 10 - Last day/last park (part 1)
    Day 10 - Last day/last park (part 2)
    New York City Trip - Day 1
    NYC - Day 2/part 1
    NYC - Day 2/part 2
    NYC - Day 3
    NYC - Day 4/part 1
    NYC - Day 4/part 2
    Final Thoughts
    April 2013 Plans - part one
    April Plans - part two


     
  4. chloe770

    chloe770 <marquee><font color=green>Isn't it just more fun

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    Checking in. Great start!
     
  5. mommytothreeboys

    mommytothreeboys DIS Veteran

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    Yay! I'm here for the fun! :goodvibes
     
  6. MRYPPNS

    MRYPPNS Practically Prefect in Every Way

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  7. JPFamilyMom

    JPFamilyMom DIS Veteran

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    Hooray:woohoo: you started, great start, can't wait to read all about it:goodvibes
     
  8. Reberella

    Reberella Mouseketeer

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    Here and following along!
     
  9. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    Amy, I'm here. :)
     
  10. natebenma

    natebenma DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to reading all about your trip!!! Dee
     
  11. DisMomAmy

    DisMomAmy DIS Veteran

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    :welcome:

    :welcome:

    :welcome: I'm hoping you'll have some things to add to this TR! ;)

    :welcome:

    :welcome:

    :welcome:
     
  12. DisMomAmy

    DisMomAmy DIS Veteran

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    :welcome: You snuck in on me Dee!
     
  13. EastYorkDisneyFan

    EastYorkDisneyFan DIS Veteran

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    Can I sneak in too?
     
  14. MeMom

    MeMom DIS Veteran

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    Great picture! Looks like a certain back seat passenger thinks the car is going a little too fast, though. :laughing:




    Mickey bar smeared on one's face - that's smile worthy. :goodvibes


    I am looking forward to reading all about this nice, long trip!
     
  15. natebenma

    natebenma DIS Veteran

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    And cheated! I didn't read your intro until just now- got to get in on the first page and all.

    Did I post a picture of my son who looked strikingly like your son on a previous report of yours?

    I am also a SAHM, who recently "retired" as treasurer/VP of the PTA after 7 years when my youngest moved to middle school. My husband is a software engineer, too.

    And I must say that I love your taste in resorts!!!

    We so have to get together!
     
  16. Charleston Princess

    Charleston Princess DIS Veteran

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  17. Native NYer

    Native NYer DIS Veteran

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    Joining in!
    Great intro!
     
  18. DisMomAmy

    DisMomAmy DIS Veteran

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    Of course! :welcome:

    :welcome: MeMom!

    :rotfl2: Alex always has trouble with a natural looking smile! But you're right - he looks like he's afraid the car is going to speed away!

    Well you get to be the first person to post twice! :rotfl:

    I think you've mentioned some of the similarities before but I didn't realize there were so many! We'll have to talk with Doreen and work on that DISmeet!

    :welcome:
     
  19. DisMomAmy

    DisMomAmy DIS Veteran

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    :welcome: You snuck in too! Thanks for reading!
     
  20. DisMomAmy

    DisMomAmy DIS Veteran

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    On Thursday, April 19th I woke before the alarm (is anybody shocked), which was set for 4am. I got myself ready and sent Tim to the shower. Then it was time to wake the boys & tell them they weren’t going to school. :goodvibes We went into Alex’s room first and he sprung up and looked at his clock, then proceeded to yell at us for waking him up. We asked him if he wanted to go to Disney. He said, “Are you joking?” with a scowl on his face. Once he knew we were serious, he was more than happy to get up. Next we moved onto Zach. I rubbed his back and he slowly woke up. We told him about Disney and, still half asleep, he smiled and stretched.

    Once we loaded up, we hit the road & headed to the Manchester, NH airport. We love that airport! We ran into some friends in the Southwest check-in line and it turned out they were going to be on the same flight. They too were headed to Tampa, but wouldn’t be at Disney until Sunday. We made it through the line, ditched our big bags and got through security. Once at our gate we ran into Heidi (MRYPPNS) & her family! We knew we’d be seeing them & had been texting back and forth on our way to the airport. We had just enough time to grab some breakfast from Dunkin Donuts.

    Zach & Liam (MRYPPNS DS):
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    Alex & his new sticker book:
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    After some donuts it was time to board the plane. The flight was fairly uneventful aside from Alex’s ears hurting a little bit when we landed, ahead of schedule, in Tampa. We made it to our rental van & said good-bye to Heidi’s family until Sunday. Next stop was the Beach Club!

    After a quick drive-thru at McDonald’s we were on our way to Disney. Along the way I received a text message from Doreen (disneyfan61) letting us know they had arrived at the BC & were upgraded to club level! She gave me their room number & we hoped we’d be able to catch up later. Before long we were seeing this:
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    We made it to the Beach Club in about an hour. The weather forecast wasn’t great for today and we encountered a few sprinkles on our way to Orlando. We hoped the weather would hold out for us since our only plans for today were to enjoy SAB until dinner at 'Ohana.

    We passed through the security booth and found a concierge CM waiting for us to pull up.

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    We unloaded & Tim went to park the van. The boys & I were escorted upstairs to be checked in up at the 5th floor club level concierge. Tim joined us in no time. Unfortunately our room wasn’t ready so Tim went down to get our day bag from bell services. Before he even made it down there, the CM said our room was ready! Yay! I called Tim & he came back up in time to be escorted to our room. We also got to have a peek at the lounge. Our room was 5667 which was funny because Doreen was in 5677 just around the corner. Changing our reservation back to the BC only a few days before arriving, I wasn't optimistic that we'd get our room requests but I made them anyways. I requested to be away from the lounge & other stairs/elevator noise. I also requested a view of SAB. We were several doors down from the lounge so noise was never an issue. We didn’t get a view of SAB but I’m really happy with our view & would request it again! It was a great spot to people watch. We looked right out over the back entrance at the lagoon & Boardwalk area.

    Room photos:
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    Continued...
     
  21. DisMomAmy

    DisMomAmy DIS Veteran

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    We hung out in our room for a little bit until our luggage arrived. We checked out the lounge too. Once our bags arrived, we changed and headed right to the pool! We had signed up for a noodle share on the BC/YC FAQ thread but I forgot to bring down any money so I didn’t want to pick them up yet. I wanted to be able to tip. The boys LOVED the slide & we all took a few turns going down. I also explored the sandy area with Zach and took a dip in the hot tub. The pool looked great after it had been partially closed for repair. The upper deck/gazebo area was closed (just on Thursday) for some paint work. Hopefully all the wet paint didn’t wash off in the rain that came through. There was still one area that looked like they were working on it but it didn’t affect us at all.

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    After about an hour, the sky started to turn black so we headed back upstairs to have some snacks from the lounge & relax. When we got back to the room we found something for each of the boys for their celebrations. They each had a bundle of balloons tied to three large candy bars. I think they had Twizzlers, Starburst & PB Cups. I think I have better pictures somewhere that I’ll post when I find them. They also each had a congratulations card signed by the fab 5 PLUS Daisy! Alex was very excited that Daisy was included – he hates how she is always left out.
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    I got a snack from the lounge & sat on the balcony watching the storm clouds roll in.
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    Delicious Beach Club kettle chips:
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    You probably didn't need to see so many rain photos, since they are all pretty much the same picture! :laughing:

    Continued...
     

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