HELLOOOOOOOOOO, HUMANS!!! (I imagine you're all waving your hands around and screaming, "Ahhhhh!" Humor me.) We've done it again. We rounded up our three monsters and spent over a week at the Happiest Place on Earth, and we survived to tell the tale! That's no small feat, I assure you. Who are we, you may ask? (Or not. I don't know you.) We're these people. Don't we look wonderful? Don't we look excited? Don't we look...ready for breakfast?? For those who don't know us, I will do what every good and redundant TR writer does and list off tons of useless information about each of us and about our trip in the 5 W format. Here we go! What: Trip to Walt Disney World, obviously. Where: Caribbean Beach Resort for 6 nights, Polynesian Resort for 3 nights, hence part of our title--Island Hopping--from Caribbean Islands to Polynesian ones. Also, we have an unhealthy (but awesome) obsession with Magnum, P.I., and if you catch that reference then we are instant friends. When: September 14-23, 2012 Why: We can't help ourselves. I'd be willing to wager that you can't either, since you're here reading. And now... WHO: This is Brandon, my DH. Take a good look, cause you won't see much of him during this TR. He's the man(iac) behind the camera and only rarely makes an appearance in front of it. By day he's a Civil Designer for an engineering company dealing mostly with dams and levees, and by night he's an artist/photographer/philosopher/dad extraordinaire. His love for Disney World nearly equals mine, and he throws himself fully into being as corny as possible on our trips. He's that guy wearing coordinating clothes, a gigantic camera, and the occasional pair of mouse ears. He's wonderful. This is me, Jenn, stay-at-home mom, over-planner, Queen of my domain. I'm responsible for the coordinating clothes mentioned above, and darn proud of it! I love making lists, Soarin', monorails, and filling up my resort mug with the citrus-flavored Gold Peak white tea. I am the level-headed one in our group...most of the time...and can usually calm down any child in the middle of a meltdown. I think that must be my superpower. This is our beautiful first-born, Julia. She's 6 and in first grade, and she was our first princess! In fact, her love of princesses at the tender age of three is what first led us to WDW. Silly us, we thought it would be a one-time trip! Julia is definitely what you think of when you imagine a gifted child--intelligent, organized, and EXTREMELY bossy! She tends to get a plan in her head and have a big, fussy explosion if things don't go her way. At this tender age, she already thinks her parents are crazy and embarrassing. (We are.) She likes to try things once just to prove she can do it, but after that she has no problem turning down rides she doesn't like. Her favorite rides/shows are Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (duh), Soarin', Star Tours, and Primeval Whirl, and she LOVES having her face painted. She's a great big sister and probably more responsible than the grown-ups. Oh, Brynn, sweet Brynn! Our middle child is 4 and one of the most entertaining people on the planet! Her energy, sense of humor, and absolute constant happiness is infectious! Brynn has Aspergers, which is on the high-functioning end of the Autism Spectrum, and she also deals with paroxysmal spells. What this means for her is that she has social difficulties, sensory issues, motor skill problems, processing problems, and muscle weakness. I'll go into more detail about that as issues come up during the trip, but please know that this in no way slows her down! She is the smartest four-year-old I know (she's an avid reader and has a vast array of math skills and scientific knowledge), never stops talking, and loves to tell jokes, which is why she discovered a love of Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor this trip! People with Aspergers tend to develop interests in certain topics that border on obsessions, and thats certainly true of Brynn. Her obsessions are sea creatures (ask her anything about any animal) and...wait for it..."its a small world!" Some people are annoyed by the song. We are all immune at this point. We listen to it on repeat and watch a DVD of the ride on repeat. We have toys, books, stickers. Her room is decorated with a huge, glittery mural of the smiley face/clock/castle thingy. It is pretty much the most awesome obsession EVER. She is one cool kid, for sure. And last, but certainly not least, is Sawyer! He's our baby, and he is so...so...TWO! I'm not sure what's going on in this picture. He has a whole repertoire of silly faces, and this looks like one. No matter the face, you can't argue that he's a cute kid, and sometimes that's what saves him. Sawyer loves Disney as much as the rest of his crazy-obsessed family. He's a big fan of the characters, the food, the shows, the food, boat rides, and the food. Before the trip, I was worried about how he'd react to a major change in schedule. Stay tuned. A few random notes that may not fit in anywhere else in the TR, though that might not stop me anyway: The pictures in this intro are not great, and that's on purpose. I tried to pick photos that weren't the most spectacular ones and photos that didn't give away too much right from the start. But what I CAN tell you is that Brandon took over 5,000 pictures on this trip, and they were without a doubt the best photos EVER. I seriously think Disney should use some of them for an ad. Inevitably, someone always ends up asking what kind of camera and lenses he uses, so I have that info for you now, right up front, like a good little TR writer. His camera is a Canon 5d, and the lenses he used this trip were a 50mm/1.4 and a 14mm-L/2.8. I have no idea what that means, other than you are about to see some kick-booty photos! Secondly, for those of you who know the saga of our last trip, I will tell you all upfront that there is NO SICKNESS in this trip, except for one really nasty headache. I thought you might read with less trepidation if you knew that this is not a repeat of last year. Sorry for that spoiler, folks, but I assure you that there will be plenty of other surprises along the way. And the last bit of business...please, oh please, shout out and let me know if you're along for the ride! Don't be a lurker! (Okay, you can be a lurker if you absolutely have to. I'm often guilty of that, and quiet reading is better than no reading at all.) Join in on the conversation and madness that's sure to ensue! And remember, the less you laugh...well...we may not have enough power to open the exit doors... I can tell we're off to a great start... Links to Updates. You're Welcome. Friday, September 14 Getting There is Half the Battle. Saturday, September 15 Part 1: Good Morning, Good Morning! Part 2: Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me! Or a Mermaid's Life. You choose. Part 3: Photo Shoots, Fast Coasters, and Freakin' Wet! Part 4: A Fantasyland First Morning Part 5: First Flatbreads and First Haircuts: An Afternoon of Emotion Part 5: Candy Obsession is normal...right? Part 6: Just try to get me out of this park! Part 7: Chef Mickey's Chaos, And Chef Mickey's Chaos, Continued! Part 8: MSEP, and Old People Smell Sunday, September 16 Part 1: A Morning in The Land Part 2: I SPEEEEEAK WHAAAAAALE!! Part 3: Hola, Amigos! Part 4: I Know What We're Gonna Do Today--Build the Great Wall! Part 5: Around the World and Back Again Part 6: Garden Grillin' and Rome Burnin' LINK TO TRIP VIDEO!!!! Monday, September 17 Part 1: Main Street Morning and Crystal Palace Part 2: Crystal Palace, continued...Because FOOD! Part 3: Fantasy of a Morning. Mahna Mahna! Part 4: Splashin' and Suckers Part 5: Tomorrow(land)! Tomorrow(land)! We love ya, Tomorrow(land)! CRT, not so much. Tuesday, September 18 Part 1: Playing While We Dine Part 2: DHS Day: TSM, VOTLM, MV3D...OK? Part 3: Muppet Mania to the Movies Part 4: Singin' In the Rain, With No Umbrella Wednesday, September 19 Part 1: Open the door, get on the floor...Everybody do the Dinosaur! Part 2: You're an Animal! Part 3: The Obsession with Output. Boom, indeed. Part 4: Have Animals, Need ARK! Part 5: ALOHA-HA-HA-HA! Thursday, September 20 Part 1: Checking into Poly. We belong! Part 2: A Morning of Epcot Firsts. Part 3: Around the World, Counterclockwise. Part 4: Just a bunch of characters! Part 5: Sandwiches and Splashing--Who needs face paint?! Part 6: An Epcot Evening with Character(s) Friday, September 21 Part 1: A Visit to Scotland, Wonderland, and the Daytona 500 Part 2: HAIR! Harmony Barber Shop and Our Sparkling Personalities Part 3: Candy Bliss. Let's Party! Part 4: You Can Dance if You Wanna Part 5: From Tomorrow to Yesteryear Part 6: It Really is a Small World! Part 7: Meeting a Celebrity!! And Resort Room Relaxation. Saturday, September 22 Part 1: Morning=Thumbs Down 'til Characters Cheer You Up! Part 2: ALL ABOARD! A Sneak Peek of New Fantasyland. Part 3: She's a BEAST!! Part 4: What time is the 3:00 parade?? Part 5: There's a great big beautiful tomorrow...tomorrow...tomorrow... Part 6: Arrrrrrrr there any pictures?! Sunday, September 23 Part 1: Downtown Disney (To Keep Us From Getting Down) Part 2: This is the end. I've never been good at goodbyes. LINK TO NEW TRIP REPORT!! Join us! Real Life Update: It's Fall, Y'all!!