"Honey, I want to see the Gin Blossoms. BTW it's at Epcot." Oct/Dec PTR -Update 11/30

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by holleypie, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    In our family, my husband is the Disney planner. He keeps track of our DVC points, knows when to make ADRs, and informs me of new stuff and ride closures and whatnot. I typically don't even get excited until a month before our trip. Until then, I won't entertain any ridiculous questions like, "Where do you want to eat dinner on a Tuesday night six months from now?" because I don't even know what I want to eat TONIGHT.

    So, between that and being a total lurker, I am probably the person on the disboards least likely to ever start a pre-trip report. But something happened to me recently. After five years with Brian, I've been assimilated. Our next big trip is six months away and I can't wait. No, really, I literally can't wait, so we're taking TWO trips this year: A quick trip in late October and then a 12-day extravaganza in December.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    Introductions
    Past Trips
    All About the October Trip
    October: Basic Itinerary So Far
    October: Food!
    MNSSHP Costume Ideas
    My F&W Checklist! & Brian's list
    Last Minute Itinerary Changes
    All About the December Trip
    December: Basic Itinerary So Far
    December: Food!
    Candlelight Processional: Narrators Announced!
    Where Are We Going to Eat Cake???
    Fretting About the Fantasyland Expansion
    Four More Months! (just some general thoughts)
    Three More Months! (updated itinerary and dining plans)
    Top Ten Snacks
    Vacation Traditions
    Our First Disney Movie Night
    Two More Months! (Halloween costumes, flights booked, etc)
    Our Pin Collections
    One More Month!
    Life Update: Running and Zombies (And Cake)
    December Update (Added two extra days!)
    Magical Thanksgiving Update
    29+1 things to do on our birthday trip


     
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  3. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    I'm Holly. I'm a medical transcriber and writer. I like reading, running, and eating. Here's a picture of me a few days ago right before I ran (/walked) my second half-marathon:

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    Favorite Disney Park: Epcot
    Favorite Ride: Tower of Terror
    Favorite Character: Winnie the Pooh
    Favorite Princess: Cinderella
    Favorite Disney Movie: Toy Story
    Favorite Disney Song: When You Wish Upon a Star
    Favorite QS Restaurant: Columbia Harbor House, Earl of Sandwich
    Favorite TS Restaurant: Sanaa

    My husband Brian is a customer service representative. He likes movies, TV, games, and a bunch of nerdy stuff. Here's a picture of him with Roy Disney and Mickey Mouse at the WDW dedication ceremony.

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    Favorite Disney Park: Magic Kingdom
    Favorite Ride: Haunted Mansion
    Favorite Character: Donald Duck
    Favorite Princess: Snow White
    Favorite Disney Movie: Aladdin, Jungle Book
    Favorite Disney Song: Les Poissons
    Favorite QS Restaurant: Columbia Harbor House
    Favorite TS Restaurant: Sci Fi Dine-in (for atmosphere), Sanaa (for food)


    We have an adorable six-month-old named Luke. He likes going places, being a good boy, and sticking things in his mouth.

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  4. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    In September 2007, a few months after we started dating, Brian and I took our first trip to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure, and decided to do one day at Disney. We debated between MK and DHS and picked DHS. We rode a few rides, saw a few shows, and decided we were done. But the day wasn't even half over, so I suggested that we buy a park hopper and head over to MK.

    As we walked down Main Street, it felt just like that commercial where the grownups turn into little kids. I'd never seen Brian so happy (The first time I saw him smile at Luke I thought, "OMG, that's his Disney World smile!")

    We had a fun time, but Brian was disappointed that his favorite ride was closed.

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    And I was disappointed that the line closed before I could meet my favorite character.

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    So we had to go back!



    We went back to Orlando in May 2009 and did Universal plus all four Disney parks. We'd just gotten engaged, so to further solidify our lifelong commitment to each other, we dropped some big bucks and became DVC members.

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    We got married on May 2, 2010. I wanted to do something different and special for our honeymoon, but we also had all these DVC points to use now, so we compromised and took our first trip to Disneyland. We spent nine nights in a studio villa at the Grand Californian with side trips to Knott's Berry Farm, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica.

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    In October 2010, we had our first WDW DVC stay--three nights at Old Key West then ten nights in a one-bedroom at Animal Kingdom Lodge (our home resort). My younger sister Tabby and our friend Tom joined us for the first week of the trip. This was our last trip before we started trying for a baby, so we wanted to do it ALL. We celebrated Brian's birthday, did all four Disney parks, both water parks, both mini-golf courses, both Universal parks, Downtown Disney, Disney Quest, the Food and Wine Festival, and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party.

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    I was jealous that Brian got to wear a birthday button around Disney World, so we started planning our 2011 trip for my birthday week in December. My parents and my youngest siblings also planned to come along. Then early in 2011 we found out I was pregnant! And the baby was due...December 9th. Right in the middle of our trip. I loved the idea of giving birth in Cinderella's Castle, but due to concerns regarding out-of-network insurance coverage, we decided it would be prudent to bump up the trip. So we spent eight nights at Old Key West in late September/early October, and our last night in a studio at Bay Lake Tower.

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  5. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    I always imagined that my kid would be four or five on his first trip to Disney World. But Brian? Well, he had other plans. Since we had to skip our December 2011 trip to bring Luke into the world, Brian wanted to take him to the World in December 2012 for his first birthday.

    In the interest of compromise, I told Brian there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I was taking a one year old baby on a plane. I didn't want to be those annoying people with the screaming kid. So, we would have to drive.

    Surprisingly, it wasn't too hard to talk Brian into a road trip. Since we want to stay at all the DVC resorts anyway, he decided we could stop on the way down and visit...

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    The beach probably won't be a whole lot of fun in December, but it looks like a nice place to relax.

    After that, we'll spend nine nights in a studio at...

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    Our 2010 visit to AKL was in a one-bedroom, so I hope it won't feel like too much of a downgrade. This time we'll be staying in Jambo House instead of Kidani, so that will be new.

    When my mom found out we would be at Disney for Luke's first birthday, she decided she needed to be at Disney too. My dad was still bitter that he missed Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in 2011, so he agreed that they could come down with my four youngest siblings for a long weekend.

    Since my parents were going, Brian invited the other two sets of grandparents. Brian's mom said she'd rather wait until Luke is a bit older to accompany us on a Disney trip. Brian's dad was very interested in going because Brian's brother and sister are only 11 and 6 and they've never been to Disney, but their mother didn't want them to miss school. We also extended invitations to our old traveling companions, our friend Tom and my sister Tabby.



     
  6. artemis908

    artemis908 EPCOTnaut

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    Four YOUNGEST siblings? Wow! How many do you have? And as someone who had to just sit behind a crying baby on a 7 hour flight, thank you for taking others into consideration when bringing a baby on a plane :)
     
  7. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    Six! I'm the oldest and the rest are 24, 20, 14, 13, 5, and 4. Plus my brother and his wife have a three month old. So yeah--big family. :)
     
  8. Alysa

    Alysa DIS Veteran

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    A road trip - great idea! I always wanted to check out HH - people say it is so fantastic!
    Looking forward to hearing more!
     
  9. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    I love road trips! Most of my family vacations as a child were road trips so it just feels like the proper way to travel. Brian and I have really only taken one road trip together (to Texas in '08) and have flown everywhere else so I'm really looking forward to it.
     
  10. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    Our usual strategy is to meticulously plan which parks we'll visit each day, taking advantage of late hours and evening extra magic hours. But since we'll have annual passes with park hopping (and the baby), we can (and must!) be a lot more flexible with our plans.

    Saturday December 1: Leave Baltimore early early early and drive to Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort. It's an 11 hour drive, not accounting for stops. God help us.

    Sunday December 2: HHI.

    Monday December 3: Check out of HHI and drive the last six hours to Disney World. Check into Animal Kingdom Lodge. Maybe MK depending on how we're feeling.

    Tuesday December 4: AK?

    Wednesday December 5: Epcot? DTD?

    Thursday December 6: My birthday! My family will arrive at some point and we're going to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party that night.

    Friday December 7: Spend the day at DHS with the family. Maybe EMH at Epcot.

    Saturday December 8: The main event, Luke's birthday! Go to Magic Kingdom with the family.

    Sunday December 9: Family leaves this day, I think. AK? DHS?

    Monday December 10: MK?

    Tuesday December 11: Epcot?

    Wednesday December 12: Check out of AKL and start the long drive home.
     
  11. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    Brian came home from work one day about two or three weeks ago and said, "There's going to be a new vegan booth at the Food and Wine Festival this year!"

    My first thought was, "That's awesome!" I've been a vegetarian for five years, so my food options at the F&W Festival are limited to the desserts and the occasional veggie dish. Last year I couldn't even indulge in any adult beverages due to the incubating fetus.

    My second thought was, "Stop being a big tease. We're going in December this year." But I didn't waste any time looking up the F&W article and then I saw that the Eat to the Beat Concert schedule was already up. And the band playing October 18-19 was...

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    I had a very disappointing experience last year when I looked at an erroneous concert schedule and thought the Gin Blossoms would be appearing during our visit. It turned out they were playing at the end of OCTOBER, not September, so we missed them by a whole month. I also squandered an opportunity to see them when I was 18 (ten years ago? Oh my God) and I'm still bitter about that.

    So, vegan food and Gin Blossoms. And I'm MISSING IT.

    I spent the entire next day pouting.

    Then I started thinking, "We're getting annual passes this year anyway. It's a shame we can't afford to go down just for the weekend."

    Then I thought...well, can we?

    I LOVE to daydream about vacations I can't take, so I started working out the details of this imaginary trip. I have credit card rewards saved up, so I could use them to pay for our flight. And I could use my Disney Visa rewards to pay for our food. If we stayed on site we could use Disney transportation and skip the rental car. So our biggest expense would be accomodations. I looked up availability at the value resorts and it looked like we could get a room for three nights for about $400. Not GREAT, but I could definitely find room in my budget for $400 over the next four months.

    Brian's birthday is October 15th, so I toyed with the idea of giving him this trip as a surprise. Then the logistics of planning a trip myself and keeping it a secret while getting him to take off work just gave me a headache. Also it just seemed kind of self-serving. "I wanted to go to the F&W Festival, so that's going to be YOUR birthday present. Surprise!"

    So after Brian got home from work, I started talking about this imaginary trip. Non-stop. Brian looked up accommodations too and said, "For just $200 more, we could stay at a moderate!"

    Oh wow...JUST $200 more?

    I said, "It's a shame we don't have any DVC points left, then the trip could be practically free."

    And he said, "We have DVC points."

    "WHAT? Let's use them!"

    Between banking and borrowing and use years, understanding our DVC points is something I just have no interest in. Brian tried to explain to me that if we want to go next year for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler, then we need to save some points for September. I DO want to run the race next year. But...they haven't even ANNOUNCED the race yet. They could do it on the same date as this year's race, or on another date entirely, or not at all. So, like a responsible grownup, I said, "We can worry about next year, next year!"

    To humor me, Brian looked up DVC availability. There wasn't anything for the dates I wanted (Thursday to Saturday) but we COULD do Friday to Sunday.

    For the next day, I debated whether we should stay at a moderate like Brian wanted, or if we should use our DVC points, or if we should even go at all. I wanted Brian to say, "This is a great idea. We should totally do it. I will make all the decisions from now on." But he kept doing that annoying "whatever you want, dear" thing.

    Finally, I think he got sick of hearing me talk about it and he stood in front of his computer and said, "Do you want to go? If you want to go I can book it RIGHT NOW."

    I said, "Okay!"

    So we booked three nights at...

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    I'm very excited about this resort. We've been on the grounds before briefly, once to visit the DVC sales center in 2009, and I had a massage at the spa in 2011, but we've never stayed or spent much time there. I love Old Key West, and for some reason SSR feels like OKW's "cousin" resort in my mind.

    After we had our room booked, the next order of business was our flight. Apparently I haven't booked our airfare since 2007 and I was expecting it to be a LOT cheaper. After redeeming my rewards points, I would still have to pay about $180 cash. There were cheaper options, but they were either the wrong times or involved two hour layovers. As much as I love saving money, there is no sense in having a two-hour layover for a two hour flight, especially on such a short trip.

    Of course I didn't book it right away, and the next time I checked, the price was up to $260! I freaked out. But then people told me to check back later in the evening and it would probably drop again. So I did. And it did. Now it was only $120! I wasn't going to get burned this time, so I started to book it immediately. And then I got a pop up message that said the price had now risen to $160. Really? A $40 increase in thirty seconds? It irritates me so much that the price can't just be the price. But, whatever. I was still saving a lot of money with my rewards points.

    Now that the room and flight were taken care of, I could turn my attention to the last major pressing issue...

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    As you might remember, we're driving to Disney in December because I refused to take a one-year-old on a plane. The most annoying thing on a flight is definitely a small child kicking the back of your seat, but I think a screaming baby is a close second. My mother would have no problem keeping him for the weekend, but could I actually leave him?

    I've never been away from Luke for more than 16 hours or so. He's spent the night at my parents' house at least a dozen times, but they literally live right down the street and I could be there in five minutes if he needed me. When he's gone, I spend a lot of time missing him. A LOT. I don't know how much fun I could have being so far away from him for so long (yes, when there's a baby involved, three nights is suddenly an eternity!)

    There's also the feeding issue. I could pump and freeze enough milk for him to eat while I'm gone, but then I would have to take my pump and pump at his usual feeding times unless I wanted my supply to drop. Then I would either have to dump the milk (devastating!) or carry it all back home with me. We're trying to pack light and avoid checking any bags on this trip to save money, so dealing with a pump and bottles of milk will be a HUGE hassle.

    So, at this point, I definitely want to take him. I'm not looking forward to the plane ride, or dealing with a stroller (especially on the Disney buses!), or any of the other inconveniences that go along with toting a ten-month-old around an amusement park, but I can't imagine leaving him.
     
  12. osu2k1

    osu2k1 Disneyland Veteran | Disneyworld Newbie

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    Wow! How fun! I love your DH's Green Lantern shirt. Mine has the same one, and I have Wonder Woman. LOL!
     
  13. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    He wears a different lantern shirt pretty much every day of our vacations. SO MANY people comment on them. One time, we were standing there watching the Pixar parade and one of the Toy Story soldiers was like, "Nice shirt." Hahaha.
     
  14. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    For this trip, my main priority is obviously Epcot, plus Magic Kingdom since it's Brian's favorite park and this will be Luke's first trip. Brian thinks we can squeeze in all four parks, but I'm mostly only interested in DHS for Tower of Terror, and I would be okay skipping AK completely since we'll be at AKL six weeks later. My friend Tom is thinking about coming down too and is a willing babysitter, but I'm not sure how much I can dump the baby on him. For example, if Tom wants to hang out at the resort with Luke, Brian and I could do EMH at DHS on Friday night or maybe even MNSSHP on Sunday. Plans are still pretty nebulous at the moment.

    Friday October 19: 8AM flight from Baltimore to Orlando and Magical Express to Saratoga Springs Resort. Then take the bus to Epcot for F&W and the Gin Blossoms!

    Saturday October 20: More Epcot. Lunch at Le Cellier. Survivor (Eye of the Tiger!).

    Sunday October 21: Magic Kingdom, or maybe AK in the AM and MNSSHP that night?

    Monday October 22: Maybe Downtown Disney or DHS in the AM. Catch Magical Express at 3pm for 6pm flight back to Baltimore.
     
  15. Reddog1134

    Reddog1134 DIS Veteran

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    Brian, the DH. here with a couple of comments.

    I never ask what she wants to eat 6 months from now. It's at least 7 months. I like to be prepared when that 180 day mark rolls around.

    In case you were wondering, I'm not really standing there with Roy and Mickey. Roy was sick that day so they had an Audio-Animatronic fill in for him.
     
  16. Reddog1134

    Reddog1134 DIS Veteran

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    Green Lantern reporting for duty at Space Ranger Spin.
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    White (water rapids) Lantern
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    Indigo Lantern at Mickey's house.
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    Violet Lantern having breakfast with a fox (she's not pictured). Also this guy.
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    Orange Lantern at Italy pavilion enjoying an adult beverage.
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    Yellow Lantern with Pooh.
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    Red Lantern at Knott's.
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    Passing the torch (of nerdity).[​IMG]
     
  17. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    One of the only reasons I'm sad about not having a car on this trip is that we won't be able to make a run to the supermarket and keep breakfast and snack foods in the room, so we're probably going to end up eating out more often than I'm used to. We don't have much planned--the "plan" is mostly just to eat counter service wherever we happen to be. I'm sure we'll try Artist's Palette (quick service at SSR) at some point. The salads and flatbreads sound pretty good.

    On Friday, I figure we'll just make lunch out of the F&W booths. All of the booths and menu items haven't been announced yet (I think they do it in late July?), but the two items they announced for the vegan booth sound good: Trik’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice, and Chili Colorado with House Made Chips and Cashew Cheese. I am SURE that Ireland will have my old favorite again this year--Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Ganache. I can't wait to see the full menu so I can make a checklist of what I need to get. Because I am a huge dork.

    On Saturday, we're having lunch at

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    Brian wanted to eat there last year, but since we had to bump the trip up, he missed the beginning of the booking window and couldn't get a reservation. So this year he tried to make a reservation for our December trip right at the 180 day mark...and there wasn't anything available. But there WERE openings during our October trip. Go figure.

    If we don't end up having a meal at Earl of Sandwich, I would at least like to go there on Monday before we leave and grab a sandwich for the road. My sandwich is the All American without turkey and cranberries...so basically it's just a glorified cheese sandwich. But the bread is SO GOOD. Back at home, I miss Earl of Sandwich more than anything else at Disney.
     
  18. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    As much as I hate making decisions months in advance, I love looking at and thinking and talking about food, so I waste entirely too much time over at the Disney Food Blog, looking at restaurant menus, and reading food reviews. Here are my thoughts so far. Suggestions welcome!

    Hilton Head Island: The resort doesn't have a real sit-down restaurant on property, just a counter service kind of place that closes at 5pm. I haven't really looked into our options yet, but I read about a pizzeria called Mellow Mushroom that looked intriguing.

    Speaking of Pizza: I LOVE pizza, but the pizza at Disney...well, it's not so great. So we've found two off-site pizzerias that we love.

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    Flippers (my pick) which we learned about...on the disboards. :)

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    and Giordano's (Brian's pick). Brian went to Giordano's in Chicago a few years ago and then told my parents how much he liked it, so they ORDERED A PIZZA FROM CHICAGO and liked it too, so we all went to Giordano's on our 2011 trip.

    Birthday Meals: I considered having my birthday dinner at Sanaa, since Brian and I both really liked it. But I felt like we should try something new, so I decided on Boma for breakfast. For Luke's birthday, we're having breakfast at 1900 Park Fare. I feel like we need to do something "special" that night for dinner too, but my family will be on the quick service dining plan so I'm not sure yet what we'll end up doing.

    Old Places I Would Like to Visit Again:

    -Earl of Sandwich (DTD)

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    -Columbia Harbor House (MK)

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    The vegetarian chili is sooooo good.

    New Places I Would Like to Try:

    -Wolfgang Puck Cafe (DTD) I've always been turned off by the 1980s look of the building, but the menu looks really good.

    -The Mara (quick service at AKL). I figure we'll end up there at least once, if just for convenience.

    -Landscape of Flavors at the new Art of Animation resort. I can't believe that the restaurant I'm most looking forward to is a resort food court. But the menu! Looks so good! It has the kind of selection I would have expected at The Mara. My family is staying at AoA, but even if we don't end up eating there with them, I still want to go.

    -Restaurantosaurus (AK). Mostly because the decor just looks really cool.

    -Starring Rolls Cafe (DHS) Brian has gotten a cupcake there once or twice, and I think I might get one this trip.

    -Tortuga Tavern (MK). If it's open.

    We wanted to try one new restaurant at each of the parks on this trip, so I think we're still missing Epcot and DHS. Or maybe Brian already picked places and I forgot. Haha.

    Suggestions?
     
  19. Disneyfreak508

    Disneyfreak508 Frumpy Princess ♥ <br><a href="http://www.disboard

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    I read about the plans for your upcoming trip! They sound great! I love all of your pictures, too! I'm sure you guys are going to have a magical time! :goodvibes
     
  20. glennbo123

    glennbo123 DIS Veteran

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    Hello Holly, Brian, and Luke. First, congrats on little, adorable Luke. I did not realize you were so busy since I'd last followed your adventures at Disney World. :thumbsup2

    This is hilarious! :lmao: If I find myself here, I may have to steal this pose. Too good.

    I'll have to catch up on your planning later -- we're packing and heading to Disney World soon!
     
  21. holleypie

    holleypie Mouseketeer

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    Usually Brian tells me everything, but this time I got the scoop myself: Yesterday I saw that the celebrity narrators for the Candlelight Processional have been announced! Ahhh!

    You might recall that I really wanted to see this guy:

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    Really, really, really, really REALLY wanted to see that guy.

    But it looks like I'll be missing him again this year. :( His dates are November 26-29 and we won't be arriving at WDW until December 3rd. Oh well.

    So who IS narrating the Candlelight Processional during our trip???

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    Yeah. Only 5 of the 13 slots are still TBA, and three of those nearly cover the entire span of our trip. Jodi Benson will be there our last night, but should I admit that I didn't even know who she was until I googled her just now?

    So that's disappointing. I wanted to start making some real plans!
     

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