Welcome to the latest and greatest eandesmom and gang (and then some) TR! I struggled with the title on this one. So much to say. So little space. In fact I tried testing to see just how much you can fit in the subject line. Like this Just how many words and characters can you fit in a title anyway? Departure day 1/14 Yep, that fit. Just. Not terribly interesting though huh. Couldn't even get the word "update" in or an extra little dash or anything. Nada. Oh well. The title will make sense. In time. First things first! The BFP As some of you know, I usually have a BFP for each trip. A Big Fat Plan. This one was especially big. 11 people. Or Muggles. Myself, my DH, our 2 youngest boys (13/14) aka the Es My sister Melissa, her 2 boys (12/15) My sister Kerri (with baby on board) and her DH My folks 3 resorts/4 total rooms Boardwalk Villas 2B Boardwalk View/ Treehouse Villas Swan 10 nights/10 days (for us, others had more or less) 12/28-1/7 6 parks WDW and Universal/Islands of Adventure. Plus a little DTD to boot! 14 ADRs Captians Grille Breakfast Rose and Crown Dinner Rose and Crown CP Ohana Dinner Biergarten Dinner Garden View Lounge Afternoon Tea Trails End Dinner Blue Zoo Dinner Raglan Road Brunch Be Our Guest Dinner Olivias Dinner Les Chefs Lunch Via Napoli Lunch Margaritaville Lunch 4 special event reservations 3 harmony barbershop haircuts Candelight Processional 7 special transportation bookings Airport and Universal Transfers Car rentals 196 Fast Pass Plus bookings (kind of crazy when you think about it that way!) 3 per day x XX number of people& 18 MagicBands and...I'm not really sure how many margaritas. I could count but with a group that big and given that some may or may not have been consumed when I was not present well...we will just say it was more than one. Or better yet...maybe someone will want to count as the TR goes along...there could be a prize involved! The gang plus some So who are we? Not to be a spoiler but...here is the one and only picture (I think) of all 11 of us together Not that we weren't together plenty, we just failed at getting a picture of ALL of us at any one time. Plenty of most, or some, just not ALL. Don't panic. There is no shortage of pictures I promise. If you want to read a little more about how this trip came to be, check out my PTR Working the System. First up, me. Cynthia. Certified Disney "freak" as I am affectionately called by many in my real life. The good news is that I am surrounded by them, both at home, on this trip and even at the office. The ones at home include my husband Jeff, our kids Taylor (21), Kendall (17), Evan (14) and Eric (13). We are a blended family but to me, its all family. Jeff's kids get a "bonus" mom (me) and mine well, they get a dad, period. We are very blessed to have 4 amazing kids that get along, love and support each other and most of the time actually like each other. I fell in love with Disney when I was 10, thanks to my mom. Who is technically my stepmom but holds the full mom ranking in my heart and every way that matters. While dating my dad, she somehow convinced him to take his 4 kids, in one small car, on a road trip to California. We camped on the way down and in the days before seatbelts, I sat on her lap the entire way there and back. Not only did we all live, she survived the whole thing so well he proposed on the trip and I fell in love with Disney. I am a full time working mom in sales and marketing for a forensic engineering firm. Which may explain a lot. While not an engineer, I like the geeky side of things and like to think I combine that aspect, with the marketing stuff and as a result have special affinities for things like fuzzy Disney math, spreadsheets and a little graphic design on the side. I have been to DLR 5x, WDW 8x and on DCL twice now. I also have 3 more trips scheduled between the 2 coasts for 2014 plus a cruise. LOL! Hey its not my fault, they are all really different trips! I swear! I love to garden, hike, cook and travel. I also love music; it is a huge part of my life and that of my entire family. This year my travel is more Disney oriented than usual. In April we are off to Disneyland to watch Evan and his high school marching band perform. We found out about this in June and boy, it is a good thing we didn't target the "big" trip for Spring Break as we'd have had a conflict! I am pretty excited for this one, poor DLR has been getting the shaft from my family and Im excited to really go experience it again. Though we are almost as far away from Florida as can be up here in the northwest, our kids have been to WDW many many more times than DLR. I have been known to ditch the family and do Disney girls trips on my own with other DISers. Which will be my May Flower and Garden trip. I've also taken up running, when for health reasons I literally ran out of other options. Of course, that is my August trip, for the Disneyland half marathon. Hey if I am going to run, I need a reward and a goal, right? Never thought Id be running in Florida wearing a fleece and gloves! It felt about this cold... Oh and I like coffee. In cups. A lot. I have a thing about it, and pick my mug for the day based on my mood, the weather, the season. I especially like it outside. On the verandah, the balcony, the patio, the deck , a lanai or sitting around a campfire, on a log on the beach, those all work pretty darn well. I really like to buy a new mug, on vacation, on the first day and use it for the entire trip. Next up, Jeff, my DH The yin to my yang, the half empty to my half full is an aerospace engineer who is building a seaplane in our garage. I support him in this, which gives me a LOT of quid pro quo when it comes to Disney! While reportedly not the Disney freak he says I am, he's been known to suggest retiring to Florida, getting jobs as CM's and recording Disney documentary type shows on TV (for me he says) that I didn't even know were on. For a guy who says a trip every 3 years is enough, he has managed to stomach a trip that has some kind of Disney element (be it WDW, DLR or DCL) pretty much every year since 2009. I have him beat on the WDW trips by several trips but he grew up in CA and went to college there and has me eating his dust when it comes to DLR. Jeff's idea of nirvana. Margaritaville and the Hemisphere Dancer (BIG Seaplane, owned and flown by Jimmy Buffet) at the Lone Palm Airport in Orlando. Needless to say it will be making an appearance on this trip! As will some seaplane flying for that matter. This picture was NOT from this trip...more on that later. He too loves to hike...especially if we can find B51's that have crashed into the woods and carry around parts! Along with planes, he loves other fast flying things. Like the Americas Cup. Or even DCL! Which may not really be fast or flying (though it sure can spin around on a dime) but was fascinating to him. He puts up with my Disney fixation with a smile. And as a result, in 2012 we became DVC owners. Since this trip was all DVC resorts for us, I figured I'd put the Trip Report in that section. We are big believers in "date" trips. While we love to travel with our kids, we also rather enjoy each other and do believe the family is only as strong as the couple. We had a couple of really fun ones last year. Aulani And San Francisco for the America's Cup. Ok, enough about us! Who else is on this trip? We are bringing 50% of our kids. LOL! Not Taylor (21). He is busy finishing up college and working. He is a music technology major, hopes to graduate this spring and is one busy guy! He has added private lessons in voice, piano and trumpet to his course load and manages to also work at a bakery, and a recording studio at the same time. He is connected in his field and has gone on the road with the likes of Ivan and Alyosha and worked in the studio with the Lumineers. He just turned 21, which was weird for us but pretty cool to see what a grounded, cool, young man he is becoming. Not Kendall (17) either. While she "could" have gone, the reality is that a trip with my whole family, which means (on this trip) 4 very loud boys that are all younger than her...unless we also brought a friend for her sounds about as appealing as a stick in the eye. She is a senior and doesn't want to miss time with friends or even a couple of days of school. We did build our last trip around her 16th birthday so she has had some pretty special Disney trips and in particular, the last one so we felt it ok for her to sit this one out. We do have a summer trip planned around hopefully moving her into college that should be pretty special but its early days yet. We did bring Evan (14). Evan always has something to say He is a freshman in high school and it is, shall we say an adjustment for all. Complete with teenage attitude. He is a good kid who works hard but oh, he gives me grey hair! He is very into music and the arts, his current activities include jazz band, marching band (both Trombone), stage crew and a full honors load. He is also a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and heavens knows it is a great sport to release some of that teenage angst! Right now he is also doing swim team but that is going to be short lived for sure, he is counting the days until the season is over. As soon as it is, back to TKD that boy goes. Eric (13) was also along for the ride. Eric and Evan are very different in both temperament and looks. He is our true academic, currently his goal is to teach Theoretical Physics when he grows up. He is also active in music (piano and trumpet) and boy scouts where he spends a lot of time camping and hiking. He loves the water and the sand; he could play in it for hours! He recently completed his first season of Cross Country and while not terribly fast, he had such a great attitude and had fun, it made me happy to see. He is a research hound and a voracious reader of Disney related info, always telling me something I did not know . He is also at that age where it is hard to get a decent picture of him! Which means most of the unguarded ones seem to happen when he's playing in the water or sand. Or lounging at a treehouse. Both boys LOVE Disney and are so excited for this trip. Not for the same reasons I am, but to spend time with their cousins . Which is pretty cool given that they see each other weekly as it is. Before I get to the nephews...let's meet my parents! Tom and Kathi Kathi, my mom is an avid scrapbooker, card maker, generally crafty person. She has a huge passion for Girl Scouts and travel. Tom, my dad is very involved with our church, geneology and giving tours down at the Science Fiction museum here. He loves his sci fi! Both are huge arts and sports fans, with season tickets to the sounders and mariners and attending lots of plays. More than anything though, they love to travel! They are gone at least 2 months a year, sometimes more. My mom is pretty much a type A when it comes to travel, my spreadsheets have nothing on her. Dad...is along for the ride. Put it this way. They stayed longer than we did to visit some friends, had one last park day with just the 2 of them, that just happened to fall on their anniversary and hit 3 parks! My sister Melissa and her boys. Melissa is a teacher, working with special needs kids in a self contained classroom. Her kids can be violent and not always verbal, it takes a special kind of person to do what she does! She's had a tough start this year and really needed this trip. Quin (15) is a sophomore and a bit like Eric in many ways. Q surprised me this trip, he's growing into a lovely (and far less LOUD) young man! He was just a joy to have around. Even if he did wear the same shirt every day . He loves video games and anime...which can be both a problem, and a blessing. Kolby (12) is an imp. A ball of energy, and mischievous to boot. He and Evan together can be dangerous. In classic kid style he refused to pack a 2nd pair of shoes...which made for a few interesting moments. Last, but not least, my baby sister Kerri and her DH Eric. Kerri is the Disney fan of this couple; Eric is a newbie and doing it for her. Eric's mom has Alzheimers, pretty severe and a big chunk of their time is spent dealing with it as it has progressed quite rapidly recently. Thankfully in the past month, her care has increased to 24 hour and its really let them finally relax in a way they havent since they got married. I think that may have something to do with the fact that the trip, while booked for 11, ended up being 12 as Kerri had a passenger with her! This definitely changed their trip as she was limited in what she could do. It was a wonderful trip, full of every kind of weather you can imagine, a lack of drama and an abundance of magical memories. Thanks for coming along for the ride! Let's get this party started!