Fun at the Fort (wilderness cabins, that is)–lots of pics-Last entry-Final Thoughts

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by lklasing, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. lklasing

    lklasing When being chased by a bear, you don't have to out

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    The Background to this trip:

    I’m a 41 year old mom of two girls, and at least partially thanks to the Dis, am now an official Disney nut. :disrocks: I start planning the next trip before finishing (or starting) the one prior. My girls are the direct beneficiaries of my obsessive-compulsive disorder, and my DH Ray tolerates this problem pretty well.

    My first trip to Disney as an adult was 5 years ago, in May of 2003, when my dad and step-mom (“Paw Paw” and “Buddy”, as those were the names their grandkids gave them and now everyone calls them that) decided they needed to take their grandchildren that were old enough to not require a stroller (almost 5 in the case of the youngest that went on that trip) to WDW. (Between Buddy and Paw Paw, they have 4 kids and a good number of grandkids – 4 then but 8 now.) Buddy’s parents had a trailer, which they pulled down to Fort Wilderness, along with a tent for housing those that didn’t fit into the trailer on any given night. The campers on that trip were Buddy and Paw Paw, my step-brother Michael, his son Brad (who was 8 at the time), my two girls Danielle and Jodi (almost 7 and 5, respectively, at the time), and me.

    Here the kids are on the last trip:

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    It was a great trip and everyone agreed at the time that it would have to be repeated at least every 5 years with whichever grandkids met the no-stroller criteria.

    Flash forward to present time - Brad is now 13, Danielle is 11 and Jodi is 9, and the newcomer to this group trip is my nephew Evan – now 5. He went to WDW last year with his parents (we were there at the same time – a very fun time – see trip report in my signature for a little extra bedtime reading), so as he said when he found out about this trip, “I’ve been there – I know all about that place.” :rotfl:

    Michael couldn’t make it this trip, and neither could either of Evan’s parents, so that left as the cast of characters this group of adventurers:

    Buddy – my wonderful stepmom for almost 24 years now – a retired second grade teacher :teacher:, which makes for a very fun grandmother.

    Paw Paw – my dad, who absolutely adores all his grandkids and they adore him back.

    My DH Ray – He must like Disney pretty well, as this is his third trip there since 2005, but he’s always only stayed at the Poly, even as a kid, so FW will be a new experience for him. In addition to him only having stayed at the Poly, he is not the camping type – never even went to summer camp or anything. Hope he can take to the completely different atmosphere at FW!

    Brad – my 13 year old nephew – we don’t get to spend enough time with him, but we have certainly spent enough to know that he’s a great kid and would be a lot of fun to have on this trip.

    Danielle – our 11 year old daughter – lots of fun and definitely turning into an older kid. Very responsible and loves all her cousins to death.

    Jodi – our 9 year old daughter – still a kid – not as much a rising teenager as her sister. Very much still a momma’s girl. (Gotta love it!)

    Evan – my 5 year old nephew – unlike Brad, we do get to spend a good bit of time with him and he’s an absolute nut! Our favorite Evan saying from the trip was “Do it again!”, which we heard from him every time anything funny happened. Even more than my girls, Evan has the biggest dimples you’ve ever seen.

    And, me – a regular old working mom, who loves her family more than anything, but Disney is a pretty close second. (Just kidding, I think!)

    Buddy, Paw Paw and Brad drove their trailer (a newer one since the 2003 trip, thank goodness – I think the last one was 30 years old then!) down over two days and arrived the afternoon of Thursday, May 22. :drive: They were in loop 300, since they brought a dog, a very small yappy one. :dog2: They got settled in and enjoyed FW for the evening, and then hit the MK without us (imagine that!) on Friday, May 23 while we were on our way down.

    Buddy, Paw Paw and Brad at the MK without us (sorry about the white out on the shirt - I'm whiting out identifying info):

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    Us on our way down:

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    We made it down on time, landing at MCO at 9:30. We were using a towncar service, which was especially nice staying at FW since we could go to the Publix and get much needed supplies.

    A welcome sight:

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    Checkin was very smooth, but alas, they couldn’t give us a 100 loop cabin as they were both booked, but we were assigned cabin 2107 which was ready and waiting for us! :thumbsup2

    A FW van took us and all our belongings to our cabin (other than the 2 suitcases Buddy and Paw Paw drove down for us). I was thrilled to see it! It was just like they look in the numerous pictures I had seen on the web. Interestingly, at first it looked smaller than I had initially been thinking but it wound up feeling more roomy than I initially thought. The kids loved it, and Ray and I did too.

    I left Ray making lunch for the kids and walked to the bike barn to pick up the golf cart – an absolute necessity in my opinion for FW. It was a very nice walk and I was able to get the cart and a life jacket for Evan with no problems.

    After settling in for a few minutes, Buddy, Paw Paw and Brad showed up to deliver the luggage and other necessary junk I had shipped down with them. I didn’t bother to unpack any of those suitcases at the time, which was no big deal other than the fact that the ponchos were in one, an oversight which would come back to bite us on the butt before the day was through. :headache:

    We walked to the bus stop where we had fun waiting on the bus to the Outpost.

    Brad and Danielle:

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    Buddy, Paw Paw and Evan:

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    Brad, Jodi and Danielle:

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    Ray:

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    On the bus to AK:

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    My Dad (Paw Paw) and me:

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    Part 2, Day one coming up in just a minute!
     
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  3. lklasing

    lklasing When being chased by a bear, you don't have to out

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    We finally arrived at our first theme park of the trip – AK! :cool1: I had a mental checklist for each day of the trip, and my main to-do for this day (other than getting there safely!) was to get Brad onto EE. He had never ridden it before and I knew he would love it. The wait was only 30 minutes, which I thought was pretty good for 2:00. First I grabbed FPs for KRR, and then we lined up for EE. The line is very neat and wasn’t really a problem to wait in. (Do, however, make sure to take some pennies to try to toss into the pots in the middle area, especially if you have young kids.)

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    Everyone rode EE, even Buddy and Paw Paw and Jodi and Evan. The littler ones (Jodi and Evan) got a little scared but still had a lot of fun. Next, the oldest 3 did Primeval Whirl a couple of times while Evan enjoyed the Boneyard and Triceratops Spin.

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    Next, we headed off to KRR with our FPs in hand, and had a blast with our own raft with just our family of 8. :woohoo: Brad and I got soaked to the bone, while my DH managed to stay virtually dry, but that wouldn’t last for long. Afterwards, we talked about what to do and decided we would head back to FW. However, Mother Nature had different plans and the bottom fell out on us as we were trying to make it to the front. Remember how I had forgotten the ponchos? This is when we really could have used them. We took refuge in a shop for a few minutes, but finally decided to make a run for it. Thankfully, the store gave us bags to put our fanny packs and my Baggalini in (BTW, I loooooooove my Baggailini) to try to keep them dry.

    The trip back was much easier – a bus was pulling up when leaving AK, and we only had a 2 minute wait for settlement bus.

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    Once back, Buddy, Paw Paw, Brad and Danielle headed to the trailer to dry off and clean up while Ray, Jodi, Evan and I did the same at the cabin. It was so nice having so much room (and several different rooms!) for everyone to dry off and change in. Eventually, we headed over in the GC to the trailer for dinner. Buddy was sweet to take everyone’s wet clothes to the comfort house to dry them, but somehow in that transaction, I managed to lose my photopass card from AK. :sad2: Don’t do what I did and forget to write down the number – I was so sad to have lost those pictures. Oh well, at least it was still day one and we would have lots of opportunities to get more at other parks.

    Hanging out at the trailer was lots of fun – the kids rode bikes, Jodi collected lots of shells (one of her favorite pastimes is collecting anything), and then we had a big dinner of quesadillas.

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    This is what a small, yappy dog looks like doped up on Benadryl:

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    Danielle looks like she had some of that Benadryl too:

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    After dinner, we headed back to the cabin (love that golf cart!). While I think it may have been a minute or so faster to go around the perimeter, we loved to go down the main drag in the center of the campground to see all the campers and their decorations. This was one of my favorites – way high in the sky – did anyone else see it?

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    Even though the cabins don’t participate in this as much as the campsites, I couldn’t be left out of the decorating, so as soon as we got back, we whipped out our rope lights and decorated the porch.

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    Here’s a tip, though – make sure to always either take a key with you or jimmy the deadbolt so you don’t get locked out when you’re hanging out on the porch. That lockout was unfortunately only the first of 2 on this trip. :rolleyes1

    Right around the time we got back into the cabin, my best friend from college arrived with he husband and son (they live in Tampa), and we had fun chatting in the den while the kids played outside with walkie talkies and some cheap beach balls we brought. Finally, we had to run them off so we could get a good night’s sleep for our big day tomorrow.

    Initial thoughts about FW –

    We hope to not do the internal bus system again much – it just added enough time in trying to get to AK to annoy me. Instead, we just took the golf cart to the dock or Outpost – that’s why we got it. Buddy and Paw Paw started driving to the Outpost and parking there and of course were able to just walk to the Settlement from their site in Loop 300.

    The cabin got both bigger and smaller as we went along. It certainly wound up bigger than it seemed at first blush. The shower was nice and strong, with curved curtain rod. Very nice after a long day at the parks. There was much more room than we were used to at Poly. And, with the GC, there was honestly not much difference in transportation from the Poly, except obviously the lack of the monorail.

    Brush clearing – I had read a lot about it on the Dis. Honestly, it was pretty obvious everywhere except in our loop. I don’t know if our loop hadn’t been hit yet or if it’s being spared. Regardless, it looked great.

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    Up next: Chef Mickey’s, the MK and matching shirts! (I turned into a complete gooberhead on this trip.) :rolleyes:
     
  4. Sonoma

    Sonoma <font color=deeppink>It's always good to know wher

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    Great pictures! I'm looking forward to more.
     
  5. reelmom

    reelmom DIS Veteran

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    Great TR. You have a beautiful family.
     
  6. alan_renfroe

    alan_renfroe DIS Veteran

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    Great trip report! Subscribing.
     
  7. lklasing

    lklasing When being chased by a bear, you don't have to out

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    Thanks, y'all! Day 2 should be coming tonight.
     
  8. VACAMPER

    VACAMPER <font color=blue>We make the kids walk and strap b

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    Love the report. Great pictures. You have a lovely family.
     
  9. DISNEY4XMAS

    DISNEY4XMAS DIS Veteran

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    Oh I love staying at the cabins shhh don't tell my kids that one!Or my mom for that matter. The cabins are the only cheap place for the 6 of us to stay when we go! I can't wait to hear more! I also decorated our cabin with christmas light (we were there for christmas) It makes it a lot easier to find the cabin at night!
     
  10. jeeperwy

    jeeperwy Mouseketeer

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    I look forward to reading all about your trip. We stayed at a cabin last April, and loved it. I think the cabin (and the golf cart) is the only reason my DH is wanting to go again!! :)

    Kari
     
  11. tam626

    tam626 DIS Veteran

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    Great pics! I am staying at a cabin in Oct. Also stayed in one 8 years ago. I loved it.
     
  12. DznyRulz

    DznyRulz I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go . . . to finan

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    I love reading the trip reports and seeing the pictures. You're off to a great start. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment.
     
  13. momofsarah

    momofsarah Earning My Ears

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    I love your TR so far; we are headed to the cabins next Thursday and cannot wait. If you don't have the lights on the cabin, is it very difficult to find you cabin at night? Are there lights you can turn on outside?:confused3
     
  14. lklasing

    lklasing When being chased by a bear, you don't have to out

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    Thanks, guys! Aren't cabins the best kept secret at Disney? I really think they are worth every dime and more (again, especially if you can get the golf cart). About the lights, they are totally not a necessity - just fun. While the cabins all look alike, you quickly get a feel for exactly where yours is and won't have a hard time finding it at all. The sites are well marked, too.

    I'm so jealous of you that still have your trip to FW ahead of you!

    Next installment coming up in just a sec.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  15. lklasing

    lklasing When being chased by a bear, you don't have to out

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    Saturday, May 24

    We had a 7:00 wakeup call which came entirely too early for me. The kids, however, popped right up with excitement for the MK.

    Today was the day for everyone to wear our matching white shirts that I made from designs provided by a very nice Disser. We got compliments on them all day, but we had problems with colors bleeding when they got wet. (More on that later…)

    We met Buddy, Danielle and Brad at the Settlement dock for our trip to the Contemporary to go to Chef Mickey’s.

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    (BTW - The shirts were much cuter in real life without all the “real” names whited out!)

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    Paw Paw was supposed to go too, but got stuck working on a switch for something that wasn’t working right at the camper. Happily, FW sent someone to help him and they got it fixed in time for him to join us just as were were leaving CM’s for the MK.

    After the boat ride to the Contemporary, we took a few pictures at this cute Mickey in the back of the resort.

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    After checking in for CM, we just had about a 10 minute wait before we were led to our table. The breakfast was great (don’t miss the vegetable lasagna – Mmmmmmmm!), but the character interaction was even better.

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    The napkin twirling thing was fun.

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    Even Ray got into it:

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    Goofy liked Ray’s shirt, as it had Goofy on it

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    but not as much as Donald loved Buddy’s shirt, with Daisy on it.

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    Ray and I generally don’t like loud crazy buffets (we hated 1900 Park Faire), but really loved CM’s. I’m becoming more and more of a fan of character meals to avoid standing in character lines in the parks, and CM’s will definitely be on the list of places to try to get to every trip.

    Once Paw Paw arrived, we got the photographer to take a picture of all of us:
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    We got Paw Paw some breakfast at the Tempo Grab and Go, and then headed off to the MK, only a little behind schedule.

    (The walk from the Contemporary to the MK):

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    Aren’t they cute? They've been married 24 years and counting:

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    Day 2, Part 2 coming up next...
     
  16. lklasing

    lklasing When being chased by a bear, you don't have to out

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    Not wanting to make the same mistake as yesterday, we brought plenty of ponchos this time, but we sure didn’t need them at the start of our day. It was sunny and hot as Hades. Once at the MK, we headed toward Evan’s favorite ride, Splash Mountain, but not till after we got some Photopass pics (I didn’t lose my card this time!).

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    I died laughing when I saw this one – I don’t think even the photographer realized that Buddy’s face was completely hidden:
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    I promise that the idea behind this one was not ours – I think the Photopass photographer was bored!

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    The wait for Splash was posted to be 20 minutes, but was probably 25. But next, we hit Thunder Mountain which had another 20 minute posted time, but actually only waited 10 or so minutes. Then, Ray and I took the 3 big kids on the HM while Buddy, Paw Paw and Evan took a break. The updates since last May were great, especially the M.C. Escher room. Next, we headed toward Tomorrowland so Ray, Danielle and Brad could do Space Mountain, while Buddy and Paw Paw took Jodi and Evan on the Teacups.
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    I grabbed FPs for Buzz while all this was happening, and then Buddy, Paw Paw and I took Jodi and Evan on the Tomorrowland Speedway, assuming Ray, Danielle and Brad would be forever on Space Mountain since they didn’t have FPs. Amazingly, though, they were given 3 FPs from a sweet stranger pixiedust:, so they were waiting on us when we got off the race cars. I had thought we might get away without needing the ponchos today, but once again, we wound up drenched. This time, the bottom fell out while we were actually on the race cars, which makes for a loooooong trip back to the start when you can only go about 8 mph. Once we all found each other again, I did pull out the ponchos, but it was pretty much too late. There we were right by Buzz with FPs in hand, so of course we weren’t going to let a little rain deter us from that. But, after Buzz, we had pretty much had enough of the park for the day, so we headed for the front in the pouring rain (this was starting to become a habit). The ponchos helped a little, but I think it was mainly just a mental help as we were once again soaked to the bone.

    In case you have ever wondered whether the boats keep running in a lightning storm, the answer is yes.
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    We survived the rain and lightening and happily made it back to FW just as it was starting to stop raining. It was wonderful to get back to FW, where everyone got some lunch at either the cabin or trailer and had some enforced rest time, although I don’t think anyone really slept. Next, Buddy, the 4 kids and I headed to Downtown Disney, where we met my college friend and her son again. We went to Once Upon a Toy, where everyone found something to spend their souvenier money on, and then to Goofy’s Candy Company, which was a huge hit.
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    Next, we headed back to FW where the kids wanted to go swimming, inspite of (or especially because of?) the rain, which had by then started up again.
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    They especially had a great time going down the slide at the playground and landing in the dirt, while wet from the pool. After showering off at the pool shower and then jumping in the pool, they repeated this cycle about a dozen times. (You know how it is – if something is fun the first time, it can only be more fun the 20th time.)

    We finally made it to Buddy and Paw Paw’s for a spaghetti supper. On way, I saw 2 golf carts of Dissers (as evidenced by their Fort Fiends signs in the front window), but I didn’t have my sign taped up so they thought I was crazy when I tried to say hey. (My college friend, who was with us for dinner, thought I was crazy too.)

    The Memorial Day FW Grand Gathering of Dissers was tonight. I had hoped to go, but couldn’t pass up a chance to catch up with my college friend, as we were always best friends and just don’t get to see each other nearly enough anymore. At this point in the trip, I was still hoping to meet someone from the Dis.

    After supper, we pretty much all headed for bed, with big plans for the Studios tomorrow.

    :offtopic: BTW, here’s a note about the matching t-shirts. We all loved wearing them (even DH thought it was fun!), but beware the bleeding issue. I have no idea why they did it, but they bled anywhere they got wet (which was everywhere with the rain), and they somehow managed to bleed colors that weren’t even in the shirts.
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    The worst part, though, was that the color got on my Baggalini, which in turn transferred it to subsequent shirts. Ugh.

    Up next: Will Jodi and Evan get picked for Jedi training? And, will California Grill live up to my very high expectations after last year’s visit?
     
  17. BigDaddyRog

    BigDaddyRog <font color=red>Ask me about my cartoon pitch<br><

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    CMs looks like a blast...we tried to get in without a ressie but had ZERO luck.....gotta make sure to get that ressie in early for our next trip. Leslie...you guys look GREAT in the matching shirts....Im silly like that too, I love to embarrass my kids and make them wear the same thing as me once in a while. I cant wait to hear about why the colors ran on you though, thats never happened to me.
    It was really nice meeting you, I wish we could have spent more time, but I know its tough trying to find spare time when the kids are playing in the parks all day, it can sure wear a parent out!!
     
  18. OK GRUMPY

    OK GRUMPY <font color=darkcoral>And that is some useless chi

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    GREAT TRIP REPORT! My family is grown know but we use to go with my parents too! We all seemed to have a great time and many wonderful Memories of FW.
    Your family look so Happy:thumbsup2
     
  19. Sonoma

    Sonoma <font color=deeppink>It's always good to know wher

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    I love the CM pictures. We have dinner reservations in September but the breakfast sounds good too.
     
  20. DISNEY4XMAS

    DISNEY4XMAS DIS Veteran

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    I had to laugh when I saw your table at CM because it was right across from where we sat in December!
    I love the picture of you guys with Captain Hook. I didn't have any imaginative photo-pass people. I have seen some with stitch and some in AK holding baby simba we NEVER got anything like that I can only hope for the next time!

    I love the Shirts! I will have to do those fore our next trip! It will be by brothers first trip!
     
  21. lklasing

    lklasing When being chased by a bear, you don't have to out

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    It was great meeting you too, Rog! I wish I had at least gotten a picture to commemorate it. I was so glad you and your family were able to make it and have such a long stay.

    I highly recommend the t-shirt idea as a means to embarrass your family. :thumbsup2 Honestly, the colors running baffled me though. If you look at the pic of my dad in the teacup, you can see his doing it too. For me, it was really just where it got wet and was in serious contact with my body (like under the baggalini strap), but for my dad, it was just in random spots. The kids' shirts didn't have the same problem.:confused3 Even though my bag then transferred some of the color to subsequent shirts, it came out of those so it wasn't a complete disaster. And, even with all that, it was still fun!

    Thanks! We really were every bit as happy as we look. That's why I love going to WDW - everything is happy without any of the usual stresses from home.:goodvibes

    You'll have a great time! The characters really were full of personality, especially Goofy who hung one of the kids' hats from his nose and tried to sign Brad's head!

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    I loved the fun photopass pics! My DD11 Danielle, though, is seriously mortified about the kissing one. She instructed me last night that I was not allowed to post that one, and of course I delighted in telling her it was too late. :lmao: I think she's scarred for life from posing for that.

    That guy I just spotted near the Pirates ride. He's worth seeking out!

    Thanks for reading guys! I should have the next installment tonight (I'm not one to drag things out, obviously). :)

    Leslie
     

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