And so it begins our first NOVEMBER visit to WDW! So happy to start the next chapter in our Disney adventure. WHEN: November 8-17, 2012 WHERE: Bay Lake Tower, 2 Bedroom Lockout, Lakeview HOW: Park hoppers, fly and rental car WHO: Me, DH, DS, my parents CAST: Here is a little more detail about our cast. Me: Michelle, 38, Disney obsessed, picky eater, fast walker, hates crowds, ex cast member, full time marketing professional. Favorite ride: Tower of Terror Favorite character: Tinkerbell DH: Alan, 40, along for the ride, early riser, financial real estate (REIT) professional, likes working out and eating healthy, dreads crowds and lines, slowly becoming a Disney expert himself! Favorite ride: Peter Pan Favorite character:?? DS: Will, 4, just turned four day before Halloween, this is his 4th trip to WDW. Hes a happy, easy going kid and very well behaved. Eats anything, hates waiting for anything, loves thrills. Favorite ride: Haunted Mansion (hes obsessed with it) Favorite character: Pooh Bear Mom: 60 something (no need to be specific!), mother of three grown daughters, married almost 40 years, retired day care director. Loves shopping and spending time with grandkids (4 and one on the way). Shes the boss of the family! Shes visually impaired. Favorite ride: ?? Favorite character: Minnie Mouse Dad: 60 something (again, no need to be specific right?), dad of three daughters (God bless him!), retired this past April from the City Traffic division, electrician, handyman, very laid back, goes with the flow, quiet guy. Enjoys fixing up the house and spending time with grandkids. Diabetic. Favorite ride: Test Track Favorite character: ?? So I have some research to do on their favorite rides and characters! BACKGROUND: Weve been so blessed to enjoy many trips to my happiest place on earth and were just recently lucky enough to purchase DVC in Feb 2010. This will be our third trip as DVC members. Our first DVC trip was December 2010 (with my MIL and niece), followed by this past October 2011 (just the three of us). Now for November 2012, we are happy to be able to invite my parents along for the ride. MY PARENTS: My parents have graciously taken us on many trips, first as kids in the early 80s, when my obsession with WDW began. I still vividly remember reading Birnbaums guide and getting so excited. Even then, as a kid, I was already a planner at heart. We stayed in Fort Wilderness in our pop up camper at least twice in the 80s as kids. My parents more recently treated all of us, including my two sisters and their families to 10 days at the Wilderness Lodge in December 2009. This was my sons first trip (2yo) and also when we did our DVC tour and bought a few months later. So inviting my parents along only made sense. They love the parks and the least we could do is invite them to experience our home resort, Bay Lake Tower. My parents are some of the most considerate and giving people I know. They scarified a lot for us growing up so that we could play sports, buy a dress for the dance and have family vacations. WHAT'S DIFFERENT THIS TRIP? Well this is our first time going in November. We loved October so much, we thought we would try November to catch the end of Food & Wine and also MVMCP and some Christmas décor. My mom loves the Christmas stuff, as do I. Secondly, we will be utilizing a wheelchair and/or scooter for all or parts of the trip. Mom has spent the last few years adjusting to life after brain surgery. She had a benign growth on her pituitary gland that was removed twice through surgery, first through the sinuses, then more recently through actual brain surgery. The tumor, while benign was pressing on her optic nerve, causing vision loss. We hoped the surgery would help the vision, but she hasnt regained any really. We dont know what the future holds and if she might lose more vision or not. Another reason why I cant wait to enjoy this trip with her! The loss of her pituitary gland also means lots of hormone replacement type drugs, which have many side effects, leaving her often tired. She cant drive a scooter since she cant see great, so a wheelchair is the option for her. Although at Disney, people run over you anyways, so maybe a scooter would be fun? LOL She does have a white cane and went through training on how to maneuver as someone legally blind. The cane is helpful for feeling for curbs, as changes in walkways; ramps etc. are hard, since her perception is off. Plus it is helpful in cluing in others around her that she cant see well. Although I have noticed many people dont care and will still just run into her or walk in front of her and cut her off. She still has vision- she can read menus if she looks very close, literally right up on top of it. Same with signing her name, she is right on top of it. But seeing stuff far away is tough, and her peripheral vision is totally gone. So someone walking up from behind her, or coming from behind fast with a stroller, well she cant see them. If a waiter tries to set a plate down from behind, she cant see him until it is right in front of her. She explains it as looking through a tube basically, like a paper towel roll, she can only see directly in front of her and then, not good at all. Only one eye has some vision that is useful. She hasnt been able to drive for years, which is the hardest thing on her. So we will encourage her to use a wheelchair for the majority of the trip. I am going to look at alternatives for this- weve rented in park before, but maybe having a rental from off site would be good, so we can use it for the entire trip. Third, my dad is not in perfect health either. He just found out he is diabetic in the last few years and while he is a healthy eater and in good shape, that has taken its toll. He checks his sugar often. He also fights gout and can rarely eat red meat. Between the gout and diabetes, he also has some horrible foot pain, which could mean we encourage him to rent a scooter. Some days the pain can be really bad for him, especially walking a lot. I know he will fight us on using a scooter, since he doesnt want to, but I am going to push hard, because I dont want him to be in pain. I want him to be able to enjoy this trip. I know using a scooter will make life a whole lot easier for him. Fourth- so in using a wheelchair and scooter, that means Alan or I will be pushing mom most of the time. We also still take a stroller for William. However, if we do rent a wheelchair and scooter, we might consider leaving the stroller at home. Will could always ride in his Papas lap on the scooter when tired. Hell be almost 5 when we go and while he does complain about walking sometimes, I figured maybe we can think about leaving the stroller. Something for us to think about. So having a wheelchair and/or scooter will definitely force us to slow down. That isnt a bad thing. We actually slowed down some this last trip. Because weve been fortunate enough to go so many times, weve seen a lot and dont feel the need to rush around as much anymore. Some of my favorite trip moments are stopping and taking in the little details or things that werent planned. So going slow allows us to do more of that. Lastly- the week we are going in sort of a strange one. It is the week before Thanksgiving. Typically not high crowds. However, that first weekend we arrive is a busy one. There is a lot going on: Last weekend of the Food & Wine Festival Festival of the Masters (art show) at Downtown Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Epcot (recently moved to this weekend) End of Jersey week Veterans Day on 11/11 So thats our crew and background. Stay tuned for some initial plans. We are under 300 days out!