First Christmas Trip to Disney 12/07

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by pjstevens, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    Our First Trip in December – What an amazing deal we got!!!!

    We have been to Disney five times (one of those was without the kids). BUT, we have only gone to Disney in August!!!! :eek: The hot hot heat of August is a killer, but it’s the most affordable time to go. We did the free dining twice, so it made it even a better deal.

    Our dd, Aubre princess: , is in the Walt Disney World College Program (cp from here on). She went to work for the mouse ::MickeyMo on September 5th and is returning home on January 4th. I didn’t think we’d make it that long without seeing her and not being able to celebrate Christmas with her was going to be heartbreaking. Soooo, I talked dh (Dale) into an early December trip. I’ve read before about Pop Warner being there the first week, so we decided on the second week of December. We will arrive December 10th and leave to go home on the 15th.

    Now for the really good news…. Because dd is in the cp, she is considered a cast member (cm), she is able to get discounts on rooms for us. But, at this time of year there is a special Disney Family Holiday discounts!!! WOOHOO!!!! :cheer2: :woohoo:

    I guess I need to do an intro:

    Me – Patty (the mom) the Disney obsessed planner. I work 33 hours a week as an administrative assistant. I have some slower days where I then surf all the Disney planning sites and plan and plan and plan some more.

    DH – Dale (the dad) the one who puts up with all my planning and obsessing.

    DD – Aubre our princess who is doing the Walt Disney World College Program. She is working at Sunshine Seasons in the Land at Epcot. She LOVES being in this program. She is meeting so many awesome people from all over this great big world.

    DS2 – Tyler, our youngest (he’s 16 and now driving by himself :scared1:). He likes going to Disney, but isn’t obsessed like his mom.

    DS1 –Dale, Jr. our oldest. He has been married a little over 1.5 years and still comes home all the time to ‘eat our food’, lol.

    DIL – Stephanie, our daughter in law. The love of our sons life. She is a wonderful addition to our family.

    Back to our wonderful discount… When we had first decided we were ALL going to Disney during December, we thought, we better get something booked since we don’t want to get stuck without a value resort. So we actually booked two rooms at AS Sports in late August. Then when dd was officially a cm, we were able to get a great rate. We got our room (since she is staying with us) for 50% off and our ds & dil's room for 40% off. This is a friends and family discount that Disney offers to their cm’s.

    The weekend of October 19th, Dale and I were able to go to see Aubre for a weekend. We attended our very first MNSSHP!!! I was so excited. It was great to see where our dd was living and how well she was being taken care of.

    Shortly after this trip, Disney released a new discount for their cm’s. The Disney :santa: Family Holiday Discounts!!! These discounts were up to 65% off a room. There were also offering the Disney Dining Plan for $21 per person!!! You know you cannot eat for $21 a day, no matter what you eat there. When we called Disney to see if we could add the dining plan on to our existing reservation (since DS and DIL were in a separate room, wasn’t sure if they would qualify for that deal). While talking to the reservation cm, she said we would have to cancel and rebook our rooms (this is normal to get a new code or discount offered). When she put our info in the system, she said, I can’t get you in AS Sports, but I have a family suite in AS Music or two rooms in AS Music!!! WHAT DID SHE SAY!!!! :cool1: A suite was available? I asked what would that cost us? With the cm discount, we are paying $405 (total, w/tax) for the five nights!!! Can you believe this?

    Granted I know it will be close quarters, but we honestly are only in the room to sleep. The room has a small fridge, a microwave, small (4 cup) coffee pot, two bathrooms, two TVs, a queen size bed in the master bedroom and the other room can sleep four (the full size sofa sleeper and a chair and ottoman that fold out to beds).

    Up next, our itinerary.


    Itinerary

    We leave in the morning!!

    We're Back - Day One Part 1

    Day One - (Epcot) Part 2

    Day One - Part 3

    Day One - Party 4

    End of Day One (FINALLY) - Boy was this a long day!!

    It's Our Christmas at Disney (a few weeks early)- Day Two Part 1

    Photopass

    Day Two - Magic Kingdom

    Magic Kingdom part 2

    Grand Floridian Cafe

    Grand Floridian Photo Shoot

    Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party

    MVMCP Part 2

    Holiday Wishes video

    MVMCP Parade

    Day 3 - MGM & DD Graduation from the WDW College Program

    Lunch at Sci-Fi Dine In

    Hollywood's Holly Day Parade (MGM)

    MGM (Stitch)

    The Osborne Family Specticle of Dancing Lights

    Video of Osborne Lights (short)

    A Better video of Osborne Lights

    Day Four - Animal Kingdom

    Kilimanjaro Safari

    Rafiki's Planet Watch - Great photos

    Rafiki's part 2

    Animal Kingdom continued

    Mickey's Jingle Jungle Expedition Parade

    Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade (part 2)

    Animal Kingdom Lodge

    End of Day Four

    Day Five - Magic Kingdom

    End of Day 5!

    Our Last Day & A Trip to the ER!!!
     
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  3. stacy347

    stacy347 I carried a watermelon?

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    Congrats on the great rates!! :thumbsup2 Looking forward to reading more. :)
     
  4. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    Thanks Stacy. I've never started my trip report ahead of time (oh, of course I have mentally, but never on paper). I thought if I got started on it this week, I'd have some done so when we get back I'll be able to stay caught up.
     
  5. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    Day 1 - 12/10 – we have a very early flight from Philly (7am), praying for good weather (it’s snowing here today). We should arrive in Orlando by 9:30. We’ll be renting a minivan for this trip. Some of us may use magical express as we’ll have to swing by and pick up dd from her apartment (Disney owned – Vista Way). We’ll go to AS Music to get checked in. If our room isn’t ready, no big deal. It’s off to Epcot. We have a late lunch reservation for the six of us at Chef’s de France (this was dd pick). I want to see the Candlelight Processional, but we could not get a package. Hoping to get a seat standby.

    Day 2 – 12/11 – Magic Kingdom in the am. We have a lunch reservation at the Grand Flordian Café. After lunch we have scheduled a photo shoot with the Photopass photographer at the Grand Floridian. This is normally a $50 fee, but if you pre-order the Photopass cd, it’s only $25. Being the first vacation with everyone in a very long time, I wanted to do this. What’s even better, the prepurchase price of the cd is just under $100, but with DD being a cm, guess what we got????? Another wonderful discount. I preordered the photopass for $60!!!!
    Later on our second day we have tickets to MVMCP! I can’t wait. We have never been and want so badly to enjoy this. I’ve recently read some not very good reviews, hoping we’ll have a wonderful time.

    Day 3 – 12/12 – MGM – Hollywood Studios. It’ll be a while before I get use to that. This day, DD will be ‘graduating’ from the College Program. She isn’t done until January 4th, but they have graduation early (when they can get time off for it). We’ll be having lunch at Sci Fi. The key points to this day are that I want to see the Hollywood Holly Day Parade and the Spectacle of Dancing Lights (Osborne Lights).

    Day 4 – 12/13 – Animal Kingdom. Main thing here is Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade. We have a LATE dinner at Ohana planned, but we may do an evening at the Boardwalk and try the ESPN for dinner.

    Day 5 – 12/14 – This is an open day. Probably Magic Kingdom in the morning since we didn’t have a lot of time there on Tuesday. We have a late lunch at Whispering Canyon Café.

    Day 6 – 12/15 – We have to say good bye to our DD once again this day, but luckily we have a late flight home (not til 8pm). We’ll probably go to Epcot for some

    During this week, we’ll be having a small Christmas celebration since we won’t have our dd home with us. I’ve bought stockings for everyone, Disney gift cards for all the kids. Got everyone their Christmas pj’s (a tradition in our house). I have a tiny tree to take, Christmas light for the window along with lots of other little decorations. We'll also hit DTD at some point.

    I know I have a LOT crammed into a little time, but unless DS decides to do the CP program when he's in college, we'll never get back at this time of year (especially for these great rates)!!!
     
  6. OhMari

    OhMari WDW PreTrip and Trip Moderator Moderator

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    I wish my dd would have gotten into the program. She tried for Security in the Corporate Office. I told her she should have put a 2nd or 3rd choice to work in the parks as a regular CM.

    Have fun on your trip.
     
  7. momof2boyz12

    momof2boyz12 Earning My Ears

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    Your trip sounds absolutely fabulous. I am jealous. I was a CM at the Magic Kingdom ions ago, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I think I grew up a lot during that time of being away from my family. Have a great time. I have always wanted to visit during the holiday season.
     
  8. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    I have heard that if you put more choices it is easier to get in. Aubre wanted to do 'anything' to go, so she didn't care. I've heard some stories about how bad the quick food service is, but she has LOVED her job. Maybe your daughter can try again (not sure if she's still in school).

     
  9. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    I think my daughter also has grown a lot during this time. Our relationship has also grown. I am sure she'll be coming home with such wonderful memories. If it weren't for Aubre and the College Program, we'd never be going at this time of year.

     
  10. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    In 12 hours we should be in the air heading towards Disney. I can't believe it's here already. I had to take my 'girls' (Abbey & Snoopy - our dogs) to my sisters house for the week. We adopted Abbey from a rescue about 18 months ago. She's never stayed any where but our house since then. When we went away, my son would come stay with her. I was really worried about leaving her, but know she'll be getting lots of love this week. Snoopy is actually our sons dog, but she lives with us.

    I've got just about everything packed (except for the last minute stuff that you can't throw in the suitcase until morning).

    This time tomorrow night, I hope to be watching the candlelight processional.

    I'll be sure to update as soon as we get home!!! Can't wait!!!


    :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:
     
  11. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    Sorry for the delay in starting this TR, but with Christmas one week away and me not even remotely ready, things have to be prioritized.

    Oh my goodness, Disney is beautiful in December. I can’t believe how pretty everything looked. I took tons of photos (like more than 700) so it will take me a bit to get this TR going along with Christmas and I haven’t done a thing to prepare (no tree, no decorations, little shopping done, etc!!!!)

    Day 1 – December 10th
    Boy was it quiet without our ‘girls’ last night. Being they both snore, it is obvious that they aren’t here. Also, that extra room in the bed is a big hint, not that I was in the bed much last night.

    DH awoke at 3:30 and was so kind to wake me to get moving (remember we have to leave by 5am)!!! 3:30 am is an awful time of the morning, considering I didn’t get to bed until midnight or later. Needless to say, excitement makes all things possible. We called DS around 4:30 to make sure they were up and getting ready. I get knots in my stomach when ever we are going to travel (nerves I guess). I really don’t think I am nervous, but my stomach does. We actually were in our car and picking up DS and DIL by 5am. Had to make a coffee run to prepare for this day.

    We always have someone who can take us to the airport (remember we live only about 15 miles away), so we don’t normally park at the airport. This was our first experience using a park and ride service. I had doubled checked all my papers, directions, coupons etc before leaving. Now we are traveling I-95 and I can’t find my directions to the stupid park and ride. What’s up with that? I was so organized. Needless to say, we found it pretty easily going from memory, but I was annoyed with myself. Of course, once at our resort, guess what I found?? You got it, the directions!!

    Having never used this service, I can’t believe how easy it was. No dragging the luggage through the rain. Oh did I mention that? It was raining! The van pulled right up to the back of our van and transferred the bags and off we go to the airport.

    We breezed through the incredibly long line at security. Something I did not know until this day was that with the five terminals Philly airport has, they only have ONE security check point. Luckily for us, it was at the entrance to our terminal.

    Dale and Steph before our flight

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    Tyler

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    Hubby
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    Me (as a friend said, the only proof I was on this trip, see I’m the photographer in the family)

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    We had an uneventful flight (thankfully) and arrived in Orlando just after 9am. I checked the kids into the Magical Express. Since five of us flew down and we were picking up our daughter, I knew there wouldn’t be enough room for all the bags and people. We rented a minivan from Alamo for $230 for the week (this was the best deal I had found for months). Within a short time, we were off to pick up Aubre!!!

    YEA, we’re spending time with our daughter!!!!

    Up next, checking into All Star Music!!
     
  12. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    We arrived at Vista Way to pick up our daughter (Aubre). I can’t say enough good things about the College Program and how safe I feel my daughter is there. The guards are all nice, but stick to the policy of getting id’s, signing in guests, etc. We even got them a fruit basket to say ‘thanks’

    This is the main building at Vista. I love the banners.

    [​IMG]

    Aubre’s apartment is more prepared for Christmas than our home. Like the mickey ornaments.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We left Vista with all of Aubre’s ‘stuff’ and went to check in at All Star Music. I love when you see the first Walt Disney sign!!!

    [​IMG]

    Checking in was a breeze (especially the money we saved with her being a cast member). It was only 11am and our suite was already ready!!! YEA!!! I was so glad, just to be able to put our stuff somewhere. We got to our room and what was there to ‘surprise us’?

    A ‘towel’ wreath hanging in the window….
    [​IMG]
    And a Mickey head on the bed (made out of towels)…
    [​IMG]

    Up next, we are off to Epcot.
     
  13. Bama mom to 3

    Bama mom to 3 Disney World....Here we come!

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    can't wait to read more.

    I love the towel wreath.
     
  14. tinawv

    tinawv If I had a penny for everytime I wished to be in W

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    Congratulations on getting such great rates on your room. I know you will miss your daughter on Christmas Day, but what a fantastic opportunity to work in the CP at WDW. Looking forward to reading and seeing more. :)
     
  15. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    We arrived at Epcot and headed straight to Soarin. The wait time was 70 minutes with the FP return time of 6:35-7:35. It was only around 1pm at that time. The first thing we see (not counting Spaceship Earth) was these lovely creations.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    We got some wonderful Photopass shots but my cd won’t come until the end of this week. I’ll update when I get those. After getting our fastpass, we walked over to Mission to Mars. The wait was 10 or 20 minutes (sorry don’t remember). Only our youngest, Tyler decided to ride this (he loves to ride the orange side). The rest of the family walked through the gift shop and then sat outside in the sun until Tyler came out. While sitting by the door, there was a mom sitting there eating her lunch while her children ran in and out of the store WITH ITEMS they wanted to buy or show her.

    I wanted to get our Disney Visa Cardholder character photo (and meet and greet), but I couldn’t remember what time and where. I knew it was Innovations, but wasn’t sure if it was East or West. We ended up walking through the wrong one and looked all around. Finally asked a cast member and found it was in West and we had been in East (I think) and it was only at 1:30 and 3:30. I thought it was 1:30 until 3:30. Glad I found someone to tell me this info. Just hoped we’d find it this trip. While in Innovations the boys loved the Create a Robot. There was a short line, so DS1 & DS2 stayed there while we started our walk into the World Showcase.

    In all our trips to Epcot, we have never gone through the Mexico. We took the boat ride and had a relaxing visit in Mexico. When we came out, who did we see but Mexico’s famous DUCK!!!

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    Tyler’s favorite character is Donald! Of course they weren’t back yet from playing with the robots. I love cell phones!!! A quick call and found they were in front of Mexico. We got in line and by the time Tyler got around the corner, it was our turn to see Donald. Of course the good pics are on the photopass, but this is one to hold until then.

    [​IMG]
    We continued our travel around the World Showcase and saw these wonderful musicians (I think we were in Norway). Of course we had to go check out the trolls.

    [​IMG]
    Further around the world and we saw these two cuties

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    It was getting close to time for our AR at Chefs de France! So we made our way further around the world until getting to France.

    Up next, dinner (or very late lunch) in France.
     
  16. Echo queen

    Echo queen <font color=darkcoral>I like the idea of being clo

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    Love it,:surfweb:
     
  17. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    Stacy.... if it weren't for these great rates, we'd never be able to do this trip.

    Mari... we had a blast (as you'll see along the way).

    momof2boyz... I know my daughter has grown a lot during this time away from home. She is so independent now. I know it will be a bit of a trial when she comes back home (living back at home with parents and rules, :lmao: )

    Bama mom... All our trips to Disney and we never had a towel animal (or any decoration). I'd read about them, but didn't count on them, so this was a nice surprise.

    Tina... I know Christmas day will be hard, but knowing she'll be home soon will make it a bit easier.

    Echo queen... welcome aboard. I'll be posting more this afternoon.
     
  18. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    We continued around the World, passing Germany
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Oh, did I mention we were on the Dining Plan for only $21 per person (due to DD being a cast member). :goodvibes It was only 3:00 and our reservation was at 3:40 at Chefs de France. So we headed in that direction. We checked in just before 3:30 and were told it would be a few minutes as they don’t ‘open’ until 3:30. :confused3 There were already people in there and it hit me that these people were the end of the lunch time, we were the start of dinner. Now I have to tell you, our oldest DS is a very picky eater! Why were we eating at a French restaurant you ask? Well, Aubre has been here for more than three months and honestly other than counters and a meal out with friends, she hasn’t experienced much and really wanted to try this one. So, that’s why we are eating here.

    On the other hand, youngest DS will try anything so he tried the ‘snails’ :eek: (yuck)! DIL had the tartare of raw salmon, DH had the imported cheese plate and I had the flatbread (which I shared with DD and DS1). DS2 didn’t really care for the snails, but at least tried a few of them. DD tried them also, and then started dipping her bread into the snail (sauce or whatever the liquid was). It was garlicy and she loved that. Everyone enjoyed their appetizers (for the most part).

    For the main course the following was enjoyed; DH had the duck, DS1 had the ½ chicken, DIL had the tuna, DS2 had beef short ribs (as did I) and DD had the vegetarian lasagna. We all enjoyed everything.

    Of course we had to check out dessert (and of course we had to tried each others). I’m trying to go from memory (as I didn’t write anything down during the week). DH had the sorbets, DS1 had the Chocolate tart, DIL had the Puff choux, DD had the fruit salad, and DS2 and I had the crepes.

    After a relaxing dinner, it was time for the first showing of the Candlelight Processional. We did not have a package, so I knew we wouldn’t get seats (and it was just after 5:30 when we left Canada). This night was Steven Curtis Chapman as the guest narrator. We did get to see part of the show and if you look closely you’ll see Steven in the photo below. We watched the lighted singers file in. They looked and sounded so beautiful. I really wished we had more time to enjoy all of this. :guilty:

    [​IMG]

    I don’t understand how rude some people can be. One, you are enjoying this lovely program and someone is talking very loudly on their cell phone. :confused3 If you don’t want to enjoy the program, take your phone elsewhere to talk, honestly! Then, the parents who don’t teach their children manners. Kids who push to stand in front of you and then their parents come join them. Where did these people come from??? After getting annoyed and not really be able to enjoy the program, we headed the rest of the way around the world.

    We worked our way towards the UK and saw these cuties. :santa:

    [​IMG]

    Then in Ireland, I saw this santa telling about the Christmas traditions. Being ½ Irish, I always love to learn more.

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    It was starting to get dark and we wanted to see the tree lighting, so it was off again.

    Up next (the conclusion of a very long first day).
     
  19. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    The Epcot Christmas tree

    It was getting dark so we started towards The Tree…

    [​IMG]

    Needless to say, I was not prepared (remember no previous holiday trip experience) for the crowd at the front of the tree. It was actually roped off so you couldn’t walk down the main walkway if you wanted to leave at that point. So, we just stood behind (more to the side) of the tree and waited (and waited).

    Then the ‘bus’ came….

    [​IMG]

    and the celebrities were ushered to the front stage. We could hear the show, but unfortunately we could not see what was going on (wish they had one of those big screens that they have a sporting events so you can see what’s happening).

    Then there was a tiny bit of light (and then a little more)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Finally a beautiful lit tree

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    It was now time to finally use our fastpasses for Soarin. We have all done this before and we have always been fortunate to be in the front row. This time, we were in the last row… we saw FEET!!!! Hey I never knew someone could see my stinky feet when we were up front!!!!

    We then did Living with the Land. As anyone knows this is almost always a walk on as it was again this time. But this time, there were Christmas decorations also!!!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Well it’s time to head back (granted we didn’t see Illuminations, nor did we do a lot or rides), but we’ve been up since 3:30 am and we are all beat.

    When we got back to our suite we had a the lovely ‘surprise’ of the Christmas elf who had left us all our new Christmas pjs. This is a tradition in our home and since we were here to celebrate Christmas with Aubre, we had to have Christmas Eve tonight (so of course the elf had to bring pjs). When everyone went to bed (very quickly), I put all the stockings together. In the morning when they awoke, each one had a stocking by them (in their bed).

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Don’t they all look so cute when they are sleeping!

    Up next Christmas Day (our Christmas Day)!!!
     
  20. tinkerbell87512

    tinkerbell87512 <font color=green>I would love to hear all about t

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    Loving your TR! Glad you had such a wonderful time and got the great CM rates! :goodvibes

    We do the Chrismas eve PJ's too! :santa:

    Can't wait to read more :thumbsup2
     
  21. pjstevens

    pjstevens Had our DFTW Vow Renewal on the Wonder

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    Tinkerbell,

    Welcome aboard. We've done pj's for quite a few years and it's something I think they kids (as you can tell are all older now) still look forward too.

    Hope to have another update tonight.

     

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