The following is a quote "based on" one of my favorite movies...it is also edited for content.... "This is not a vacation . . . it's a QUEST! IT'S A QUEST FOR FUN! I'm gonna have fun, and you're gonna have fun! We're all gonna have so much darn fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our smiles! You'll be whistling Zip-a-dee-doo-da out of your behinds!..... I've got to be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a mouse! Praise Mickey Mouse!" ~Clark W. Griswold~ One of the reasons I find the above movie quote so darn funny is because it is so very close to what our family vacations were like when I was a kid. The way my dad behaved on vacation is scarily close to Clark W. Griswold himself. I remember driving to Walt Disney World for my very first trip ever when I was in the 4th grade. Clark was right. It was not a vacation. It was a quest for fun!! Back then there was no such thing as ADR's. There wasn't even a time when we made hotel reservations!! We got in the car at 5am and we drove to Florida. When it started to get dark we'd pull into whatever town we were next to and start going to hotels one by one to see who had vacancies. This didn't always lead to the greatest of places to stay but one thing is for sure, we always met interesting people. I remember one trip in particular where we drove from Louisiana to Colorado to visit family up by Denver. Remember, this is my dad so we didn't just shoot up diagonally to Denver. He wanted us to "see the land" and stuff. So we drove half way across the United States.....uh, I mean we drove across the state of Texas because my dad wanted us to see the "nothing" in El Paso. We were on our way to New Mexico to see Carlsbad Caverns. Somewhere around San Antonio or so, he decided to skip El Paso and just go to Carlsbad. Thank goodness!!!! Because I'll tell ya, the desert was not kind. I swear there were times we may have run off the road, which I firmly believe has contributed to me never ever being able to fall asleep in a vehicle again. I also became a "woman" while driving through that desert which lead us to have to pull over at a "town" with a sign that said population 0.007. It was a small store/gas station/mechanic garage/someone's house all rolled into one. My dad was actually mad at me that God decided it was time for me to recieve the gift of woman-hood. If you've seen the movie National Lampoon's Vacation, then you are laughing your butt off right about now....and yes, my younger sister almost "stabbed her brain" at one point. Eventually....2-3 days later we made it to our destination in Colorado. This crazy "vacation" was the longest we had ever taken before and there has never been another one that long since. I think we were gone for over 2 weeks! Here is a couple of pictures of us coming into New Mexico. While taking the first picture by the "welcome" sign, I believe it was my dad who discovered that on the other side of the sign, it said that you were now leaving New Mexico. He had the idea to take the last photo of us being "tired" because we were "on the way home". (see what I mean about my dad?) Finally at Carlsbad Caverns we had to do the typical photo with the Ranger.... Somewhere in New Mexico...... "'Clark'!!! If we back up anymore we will fall off the cliff!!" So my friends, new and old, I welcome you to my new Pre Trip Report!! Hi, I'm Cherie! I'm an OCD Disney Vacation Planner. I truly believe that my planning obsession is directly related to my insanely crazy, fly by the seat of your pants, childhood vacations. I'm so obsessed with planning our Disney trips that I am now a part time travel planner on the side of being a stay at home mom. I'm 36 years old and I've been married to my DH for 15...almost 16 years. We have one son who is 5 and in Kindergarten. I am room mother for his class this year and I'm loving every crazy minute of that. (again...the planner obsession!) Up next I will introduce the cast and explain what makes THIS TRIP so special! __________________________________________________________ CHAPTER LINKS: CAST INTRO OFF TO RIDE THE POLAR EXPRESS A RIDE ON THE POLAR EXPRESS!! POLAR EXPRESS RIDE CONTINUED TA-DA!! INTRODUCING THE NEW BINDER!! A TRIP WITH FOOD ALLERGIES! DATES, RESORTS, & DINING PLACES DINING CHANGES & MEETS LOUISIANA SNEAUX!! A FEW PICS FROM PAST TRIPS CUTE CHRISTMAS VIDEO MERRY CHRISTMAS & PAST PICS PART II PAST PIC'S PART II - CONTINUED CHRISTMAS PART 2 & INTRODUCING THE COUNTDOWN CALENDAR!! A GIFT FROM DVC, A NEW BAG, & PAST PICS PT. 3 CONTINUED FROM LAST POST SHOPPING FOR DISNEY!! past pics pt. 4 PLANNING & TRAVEL ITEMS 30 DAYS LEFT- START THAT COUNTDOWN!! SHOPPING & MORE PAST PICS LETS CATCH UP PLUS PAST PICS TWO WEEKS FROM NOW PLUS MORE PAST PICS MORE PLANNING & PAST PICS BLAST FROM THE PAST A SEMI-LAME UPDATE LAST FULL UPDATE!! LIVE UPDATE!!!