More Fun Than Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock-Adventures of the Sweet 16!New8-15

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by FairyGodmotherJen, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. FairyGodmotherJen

    FairyGodmotherJen DIS Veteran

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    Welcome!!! Our Grand Gathering (dubbed "The Sweet 16" in our PTR - found here) just returned from a full week in the World, and we couldn't wait to share our adventures! I'll be writing this report jointly with my DSIL Shelley, Belle8306. Our DH's might also chime in from time to time, but they're not quite as interested in posting on the DIS as we are (they have another word for it besides "interested"...more like "obsessed" :rolleyes1).

    (By the way, the title is a reference to The Big Bang Theory, which is a great show if you haven't seen it. The game mentioned in the title is explained on Youtube here. I don't know how much discussion we'll have of the show, but we thought it made a good title!)

    I suppose introductions are in order, especially since we were such a big group. Don't worry, there's no quiz at the end, even though Shelley and I are both teachers. ;) (To those of you who read our PTR, sorry for using some of the same pictures, but I'm still working on uploading pictures from our new cameras. They're much higher quality, and so upload muuuuccchhh slower!) Our crazy bunch includes....

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    Shelley and I (she's on the left), the master planners/unofficial travel agents/obsessive Disney planners...you pick the adjective! We have been to Disney upwards of a dozen times between us (two of those trips together now), and we both love planning. I'll let her introduce herself a little more once she chimes in, but I had to post this picture from last winter, as this is one of our favorite things to do!

    My DH and I and our three kids: Haley, 8, Jack, 6, and Will, 2

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    DH (Bryan) is an IT guy who helps me get passed my limited tech abilities. Luckily for me, he has embraced my Disney obsession with open arms, and was just as depressed as I was to be leaving at the end of our trip. I am a fourth grade teacher at our local school, and I'm also getting my master's degree on-line right now through Ball State. Yes, I'm insane.

    Haley - 8 (almost 9, and we celebrated her birthday a bit on this trip)
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    She loves the fairies, the princesses...and Star Wars, thanks to her Dad. She's trying to navigate that transition between little girls and (gasp!) pre-teen. She watches Playhouse Disney with her little brothers every morning and then begs me for Suite Life on Deck in the afternoon. :rolleyes:

    Jack - 6
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    All boy, all Star Wars - all the way! He actually brought home more weapons than anything else from this trip, which you'll hear more about later. He also, however, bought a stuffed Baby Goofy which now sleeps next to him each night. He definately has a soft side, and is still known to (try to) crawl into my lap for a snuggle. I hope he doesn't loose that anytime soon!

    Will - 2
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    Don't let his cute smile and dimples fool you...there's a reason he's nicknamed "The Monster" in our house! He is personality plus, and was known to get people that we didn't know dancing during this trip. He's a ton of fun, but also the source of most of my exhaustion these days!

    The rest of our group, with minimal introductions only because this post is going to be miles long if I don't keep it that way...
    My mom:
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    Mom took us to Disney three times, but this is the first time going with her grandkids. She also just retired after 35+ years as a pediatric nurse, so she was ready to celebrate! She roomed with her sister:
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    My aunt Dee, who is a ton of fun. She used to live very close to us until I was a junior or senior in high school, so we got to be very close. They don't live as close anymore, and it's hard to keep in touch. But Dee pretty much makes fun wherever she is, and she was a blast to have along for her first trip. Besides, she got my mom to do more! ;)


    My in-laws:
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    (this picture is from 'Ohana on our 2007 trip) They're incredibly supportive - DFIL actually spends three-four days a week with us babysitting in our home. They live in NW Indiana near Shelley and Tim. I really lucked out as far as in-laws go!

    DH's Uncle Tim, Grandma, and Great-Aunt Jane:
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    (Grandma and Aunt Jane are the two on the left)
    It was Uncle Tim's first trip. Grandma and Great-Aunt Jane had been before. Uncle Tim (Un to my kids...It's what Haley called him as a baby) lives in NW IN. Grandma and Aunt Jane live in New Mexico most of the year, but come for extended visits to IN.

    DH's cousin Norah and her goddaughter Ruby
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    (yes, this is Norah and Haley...pictures of Ruby to come) Norah and Ruby live in Texas. It was Ruby's (age 6) first trip to Disney, but Norah had been there several times before.

    Shelley has better pictures of herself and Tim (all the recent ones I have involve Star Wars characters at our Children's Museum from early June). She'll be along any time now to introduce herself.

    So, as you can see, we're quite the group! The details of our trip: We stayed at CBR June 13-20 (most of us arrived the afternoon/evening of the 12th). We planned the trip so that we could accomodate Shelley and I's school calendars, but also to hit Star Wars Weekends! We had park hopper tickets and the basic dining plan, so we went all over and ate some really great food. Most of us flew, but my little family drove, as well as Norah and Ruby. So that's what I'll start with here pretty soon. Come along on our adventures with us!
     
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  3. bmb3

    bmb3 Mouseketeer

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    Big Bang Theory is great! I'm a math and physics teacher - so I find myself laughing at the 'nerdy' stuff :)

    Whew! That's quite a group! My DH and I would love to go during Star Wars weekend, however after dealing with the awful heat and humidity last August, we don't want to go in the summertime again!

    Looking forward to hearing more!
     
  4. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

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    :woohoo: Am I first? Do I get a Disney prize?

    Our trip is 17 days away; I look forward to reading about your trip to help add to the excitement...okay, really, as if I need any additional excitement!:rotfl2:
     
  5. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

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    Okay, a prize for second? ;)
     
  6. FairyGodmotherJen

    FairyGodmotherJen DIS Veteran

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    Welcome!!! :wave2:
    DH and his brother are definitely sci-fi nerds (and I don't fall that far behind them, to tell you the truth). Tim and Shelley got us hooked on it this season. It's a great study/paper grading break!

    I am with you about the heat...DH knows that I don't want to go in June next time! It's harder with a teacher's schedule, but we need to figure out a way. We almost melted even though it's early in the hot season for them. One day of our trip there was a heat advisory/warning because the heat index was up around 105-110 degrees. You just can't do much more than sit at the pool in that kind of weather!

    Thanks for chiming in!
     
  7. FairyGodmotherJen

    FairyGodmotherJen DIS Veteran

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    You get a prize just for sticking with us through all the nuttiness! :thumbsup2

    Glad you came over - we've got lots to share!
     
  8. Disneymama1

    Disneymama1 Mouseketeer

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    Great start! I be watching for upcoming episodes. I'm from NE Indiana and my daughter and I are going in October. Can't wait to hear how you coped with such a large group.
     
  9. FairyGodmotherJen

    FairyGodmotherJen DIS Veteran

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    :wave:
    Hi! Welcome aboard! We might not be your typical large group, because we tend to get along well. Though we did feel like a traveling circus at times! :rotfl:
     
  10. Lady Lallie

    Lady Lallie DIS Veteran

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    I'm here!

    I love Big Bang Theory, it's such a good show! :yay:

    I can't wait to hear about all of your adventures. :cool1:
     
  11. FauntleroyFAN07

    FauntleroyFAN07 Commander of Donalds Crew Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy

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    all rightim in on the first page.

    :thumbsup2
     
  12. FairyGodmotherJen

    FairyGodmotherJen DIS Veteran

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    :welcome:

    Welcome, guys! Glad to see you. I promise to work on an actual report installment...as soon as I work on my project for class :-)crazy2:). It's my incentive to get to work...;)
     
  13. belle8306

    belle8306 DIS Veteran

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    Welcome!! We love Big Bang Theory. We did have trouble with the heat. I am with you no more summer trips! Even though we had a great time it was just hard to deal with.

    Thanks for hopping over!! 17 days!! I am so excited for you!

    Welcome! October has been my favorite time to go. Thanks for joining!
    Hi Leslie! We have a lot of adventures to share!
    Hi Dan, glad you found us!
     
  14. belle8306

    belle8306 DIS Veteran

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    Hello! I am Shelley, the other coplanner of this trip. Our week at Disney went by very quickly but it is filled with lots of great moments.

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    This is my DH and I on a cruise we went on in March.
    This is our sixth trip to Disney together. DH went as a child. My first trip was on our honeymoon.

    Our trip started on Saturday June 12. We drove to Indy to catch our flight. We live in NW Indiana so it takes about two hours to get there. The Indy airport is brand new and really easy to navigate. We flew Southwest and we got lucky to get the emergency exit seat. We always like the extra leg room.

    Our flight was delayed for about 40 minutes. We were so anxious to get to Disney. By this point almost everyone had arrived already. We couldn't wait to join them. The flight was uneventful. After landing we took the airport monorail and we found the ME desk and checked in quickly. We had to wait for 20 minutes before they put us on a bus. We did see a family that was a large gathering like ours. They had 20 people in their group. We got on the bus and we were happy to hear that we were the first stop. We called everyone to let them know we were close and they told us, that our room location was really good. Check in was great. The odd thing about CBR (to me anyway) is the main check in building is not connected to the food court like other moderates. We got our maps and our keys and we were off to find our building. We were in Martinique which is close to the food court and pool. We made it to our building and we met up with the rest of our group. We were so excited to finally be there!! We loved our room. The Nemo decor was really cute. Here are some pictures:


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    We went over to the food court to get our mugs and have dinner. I had Alfredo pasta and chicken. DH had a meatball sub. They were both good. We explored the gift shop and looked around the resort a little. We went back and hung out with our family. We all wanted to go to bed early so we could get an early start at Star Wars Weekends the next day.
     
  15. Lady Lallie

    Lady Lallie DIS Veteran

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    Woo Hoo!! You are in Disney. :banana:

    What style Vera bag do you have? Is it a hipster? That is the same pattern as mine, :lovestruc that pattern.
     
  16. belle8306

    belle8306 DIS Veteran

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    It is a Hipster in Mod Pink. I loved how roomy it was. It was the perfect travel purse.
     
  17. Lady Lallie

    Lady Lallie DIS Veteran

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    I have the Saddle Up and it's perfect for what I need in the parks. I love those Vera Bradleys!
     
  18. belle8306

    belle8306 DIS Veteran

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    The Saddle Up is also cute. I am trying to decide what my next one will be.
     
  19. FairyGodmotherJen

    FairyGodmotherJen DIS Veteran

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    Day one for my crew started before dawn on Friday the 11th. Honestly, it almost was just a continuance of the 10th, my packing day! Taking a page from Dan (FauntleroyFan07), it was a lesson learned: never plan to leave for Disney at the end of a week that includes writing a 6-page research paper, gymnastics camp and swimming lessons every day, and two half-days worth of technology in-services for me, plus two evenings out of the house for my DH. By the time Thursday morning arrived, I was in full panic mode. My to-do list was still miles long! And so much of it was things I should have done waaaaay before hand. I don’t know what I was (or wasn’t) thinking. I got the van packed (and packed was the word…I wasn’t completely sure that the kids would fit in there!) and I finally fell into bed on Friday morning at about 12:30 a.m., only to set the alarm to wake me up at 3!

    The plan was to hit the road at 4 a.m. The theory was that this would allow us to get through Atlanta between the witching hours of 10 and 4 to avoid traffic snarls, even though our Trip Tik had us going around the city and not through it. In reality, with my husband (and all the adult males in his family), I knew in my head this probably wouldn’t happen, and I’d be happy with 4:30. But 5 a.m. was make-or-break for me…we’d either have to cut our stops short or really push the speed limit if we didn’t. DH hadn’t gotten to bed much earlier than I had (not great when you’re the only two drivers), but I think that adrenaline kept us going that day. I wasn’t much better than DH that morning, though, as there were still too many things on my to-do list. At four, I looked at him and gave him a warning. At 4:30, I got my teacher look going and informed him that I was going upstairs to get the kids, and he needed to get himself ready. :rolleyes: We’d put the kids to bed in comfy clothes the night before, so I basically got them up, got shoes on the older two, and loaded them into the van. Will was last, as I wasn’t completely sure he’d go back to sleep if he woke up all the way.

    We made it – we pulled out of the driveway at 4:52 a.m. :thumbsup2 I know, we were cutting it close. But I think we did pretty well for what we were up against! The older two kids immediately settled into their cramped quarters and tried to go back to sleep. Will, on the other hand, sensed an adventure and was wide awake. At one point, when the van was silent and DH was making his final last check of all the doors and windows, he suddenly shouted, “Yites!!” (lights) Apparently, he’d noticed the neighbor’s house had its lights on. We won’t mention the fact that they’d been on the whole time we were sitting there…

    Eventually, he did go back to sleep for a few hours. So did I, I’m almost ashamed to say. I’ve always been like that – if I’m sleepy in the least and I get into a moving vehicle, I’m out like a light. It’s a good thing DH is used to it. We were all up about 7:30, though. We stopped at a McDonalds in KY to have breakfast and jumped back on the road. We really were making good time. Not many people on the road, as you can see...
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    Things were pretty uneventful, thankfully, and we stopped for lunch at a rest stop north of Atlanta. After dragging out the cooler, the kids mainly snacked on fruit and pretzels while Bryan and I ate sandwiches and took pictures of them exploring.

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    Back into the van, and Haley and Will both fell asleep.

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    We navigated around the west side of Atlanta around 3…and hit some pretty bad traffic. Indy gets crowded and stop-and-go every day at rush hour, but this was worse. It really slowed us down – I shuddered to think of what it would have been like had we gone through the city! Then, after getting back on 75, we hit construction traffic. I guess it evened out the smooth sailing we had up to that point. We finally made it to our hotel in Byron, GA and were very glad to check in. Just for the record, we’ve decided that Byron might just be the nicest town we’ve ever visited. Even the guy at the drive-through at McDonalds asked us how our day was going as he took our change. The hotel was clean and comfortable (the room was huge – especially compared to what we expected at Disney – I highly recommend Comfort Suites if you have more than four people traveling!) and the staff was great. Here's a not-so-great picture of the room (and me after 12 hours in the van...):

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    We grabbed a quick dinner and ate at the little seating area in our mini-suite (again, I recommend Comfort Suites – the room cost us $100 and change including tax with our AAA card). The kids were so glad to be out of the car. Will literally ran in place as he at his chicken nuggets! The pool was pretty darn chilly, but it served its purpose.

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    We got back to the room, washed and jammied-up, and the kids fell to sleep pretty quickly despite having been cooped up all day.

    Ok, I’ve gone on long enough. I’ll cover our actual arrival day in the next post!
     
  20. FairyGodmotherJen

    FairyGodmotherJen DIS Veteran

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    You guys' park bags are much more stylish than mine! I think those are pretty...I just couldn't ever find a print I liked on sale. I ended up spending about $35 on a Baggalini. It worked really well for us...it just wasn't pretty. Although I think DH would have had a bit of a problem carrying it on Friday when he went to the parks with the kids and without me if it'd been a pretty Vera Bradley print! ;)
     
  21. FairyGodmotherJen

    FairyGodmotherJen DIS Veteran

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    Day 2 – Saturday

    When I left you, we were drifting off to sleep at the Comfort Suites in Byron, GA. We were up bright and early the next day, had breakfast, and jumped back on the road by 8:30 (again, the back end of my preferred departure window, but I’ll take it). Here’s a picture of Will relaxing in the room watching Playhouse Disney before we left…just makes himself at home, doesn’t he?

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    No traffic woes today…but I tell you, sometimes it felt like GA (and then FL) would never end! Will was getting pretty sick of being in his seat, too. We’d been checking in with family in various points of departure (most of our group flew in that day) all morning. My mom and aunt had ended up being placed on an earlier flight, and we now thought that they would probably be at the hotel at about the same time we would! We stopped at a rest stop just before getting off of I-75 so that the kids could take a potty break and I could make sandwiches. We hadn’t planned on staying to eat to make better time, but that idea was reinforced when I saw the signs every 200 feet or so saying, “BEWARE POISONOUS SNAKES.” Ewwww! So Bryan kept a close eye on the kids as he let them stretch their legs as much as possible.

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    It was still a pretty place, though.

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    We jumped back in the van, and all of a sudden the distances on the map seemed to start feeling shorter. I started seeing signs for familiar places (probably from listening to the DIS Unlpugged podcast), and we got more and more excited. Just after we got back in the van, though, Mom called – they were on Magical Express already! They were going to beat us! I think Bryan took it as a personal challenge, because we kept getting to new points on the map quicker than we’d expected to. Finally, we saw this sight:


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    Now we were all excited – even Will was grinning, though he had no clue why. I started taking pictures of everything – street signs…

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    Our first bus (I couldn't get a good one – they were either too close or the pictures turned out blurry)…And finally, we were pulling in to the Caribbean Beach Resort!

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    We were dancing in our seats at this point! I had been texting with my mom and knew they’d just checked in, so Haley and I jumped out of the car with our AAA packet and headed into the Customs House. (I do have to agree with Shelley…what’s the point of having two different buildings?) The building was lovely, though.

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    My mom and aunt came out of the restrooms and were mobbed by my children before everyone settled down to watch cartoons (and enjoy suckers from my mom – the indulgent grandma thing was starting already!) while I got us checked in.

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    All of our requests had been taken care of, and we got into our room, though it was only about 2. My mom and aunt’s room wasn’t, however. So they had signed up for the text message and decided to hang out with us for a little while. We left them at Bell Services (I swear, our van was so packed there was no way they’d fit) and went to find Martinique 26.
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    We were very pleased with the location of the room. It was extremely close to Old Port Royale (we’d paid for a preferred room, especially for our group), and there was a nice little courtyard behind it that we thought would be good for visiting. Before we knew it, Mom and Dee had joined us (they’d actually walked because Bell Services told them it would be at least 10 minutes before they would load) and we were checking out the room (sorry…my kids had already descended before I took the pictures!).

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    We were pleased with the room, especially after spending our last three trips at All Star Movies! The kids were complaining they were hungry (lunch wasn’t eaten well again), and we knew they probably wouldn’t eat well where we’d planned to eat dinner, so we headed to the main building to get them some food. We enjoyed getting a good look at the resort on our way! The kids really were excited about it.

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    The kids’ second lunch/early dinner consisted of two pails full of chicken nuggets and fries. I’d heard about these meals here on the DIS, and was glad they were there (chicken nuggets are usually a staple for my older two, who are insanely picky) with applesauce and jello. I’m sure being cooped up in a car for 5-6 hours had something to do with it, but they just didn’t eat well. Will wouldn’t have anything to do with sitting down. While we were there, my in-laws called to tell us they were on the ground and headed for Magical Express, and Shelley and Tim called to tell us they were delayed – what a bummer! As it was after 3 when we left, we went ahead and checked on Mom and Dee’s room…no luck.

    We wandered a bit more until everyone got there. To our surprise, everyone else was assigned a room! Now, there had been a housekeeper still working near the room we were assigned to before we left for OPR. But she was gone now, and my in-laws had been assigned to the room we’d last seen her cleaning. So why didn’t my mom and aunt have a room yet? We didn’t want to leave for Downtown Disney until they had their room, so we ended up hanging out until 5 when they would send someone out to check to see if the room was clean in person. I managed to unpack most of our things while we were waiting. Once we finally had everyone settled, we hopped our first bus of the trip – we were headed to Downtown Disney! (We actually had to run for it!) This is my FIL, MIL, Will, Jack, and Bryan's Uncle Tim (Un to my kids)

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    Dinner was at Earl of Sandwich. I took the kids to Goofy’s for a snack, since they had already eaten (I figured it would make everything a little easier) and then met up with everyone else. We had fun catching up with each other while we ate (I had the Hawaiian Barbeque sandwich – yummy!), and the kids did fairly well despite the fact that the place was packed.

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    We then headed to World of Disney to get the kids their traditional “huggies” (that’s what Jack calls stuffed animals). Bryan and I have gotten one for each kid every trip, and we have started out with a shopping trip the past few times so that they could have it the whole time we were there. We ended up with a stuffed Wheezy (the penguin from Toy Story 2), a stuffed Rosetta (one of the Fairies), and a stuffed Mickey in a Sheriff Woody costume.

    We took several more pictures,

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    (This is one of those "every trip" shots)
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    but it was getting later and we still needed to make a Wal-Mart run. So we hopped the bus back home and went back to the room. Bryan finished cleaning out the van and asked at the desk for the nearest Wal-Mart, and my MIL and I took the kids to try out the pool. Wal-Mart ended up being quite an experience – Bry texted me at one point to say that the crowd there put the after-Thanksgiving crowds we were used to experiencing to shame! Stoney (Bryan’s dad) called his mom to say that every single shopping lane had been open with a line at least 7 or 8 people long – insane! Apparently, Wal-Mart is the place to be on Saturday nights in the Disney area! They eventually got back (My mom and aunt, as well as Bryan’s grandmother and great-aunt, had also gone along with them) and we all settled down for the night. We had to be up and at ‘em pretty early to be ready for Star Wars Weekends!

    Coming up – would the Force be with us??
     

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