We were in Disney in May, 2000 to celebrate my goddaughter, Cierra's 5th birthday. When we came home, we kept talking about the trip and the fun we had. My aunt (and Cierra's grandmother), who was turning 60 in December, wanted to do something special so she decided that she wanted to go to Disney. How could we say no? So the players on this trip were: Dianna, 30 something (me and 2nd trip in 2000) Alice, 60 something (oldest in bunch and my mother) Gloria, 59 soon to be 60 (my aunt and birthday girl) Debbie, 30 something (Gloria's daughter, Cierra's mother and my cousin 2nd trip in 2000) Cierra, 5 (2nd trip in 2000) Grandma E, 60 something (Cierra's paternal grandmother) Aunt Jean, 60 something (Grandma E's sister) Grandpa E, 60 something (Cierra's paternal grandfather who made a cameo appearance) The original memebers of this trip were Alice, Gloria, Debbie, Cierra and I. When we mentioned the trip to Cierra's other grandparents, tbey decided to join us as Grandpa E has a relative living in Florida and he would stay with him while Grandma E and Aunt Jean joined us at Disney and then they would stay through the Christmas holiday with Grandpa E's relatives. Everyone except for Aunt Jean had been to Disney before. During our May, 2000 trip, I did all of the planning. This time I decided to try Dreams Unlimited. We were assigned Carole and she was great. We knew that we wanted to go the week before Christmas because we wanted to spend Christmas at home. We also knew that we wanted to stay on-site. I chose All-Star Music simply because Debbie and Cierra like music. At first we had the Resort Magic package but we changed it to a holiday package as we wanted to attend the Candlelight Processional. Carole took care of the land and air package for us. Grandma E and Aunt Jean only had a land package as they took the train down and booked that on their own. Enough with the premliminary, now on with the story: Saturday, December 16 Day One. We were advised the day before by e-mail that our direct flight to Orlando had been changed to a flight with a layover in Cincinnati, so instead of leaving at 9:10 in the morning and arriving at 12 noon, we were scheduled to leave at 9:35 and arrive around 2. Since Grandma and Grandpa E and Aunt Jean were on the train, I called the ASMU to leave Grandma E a message that we were arriving later than scheduled. My aunt Katherine and Gloria's other daughter, Nicole "volunteered" to drive us to the airport as there was not enough room in one car for the five of us and our luggage. Gloria had packed three suitcases! We left the house at 8:00 and arrived at the airport at 8:30. We did curbside check-in but the skycap said that I still had to check in at the desk. On the way to the gate, the monitor indicated that our flight was on-time. By the time we reached the gate, the flight was delayed to 9:55 a.m. I checked in again at the gate (I don't know why I do this, but I always check in at the gate as well)and the gate agent told me that we were flying first class on the Cincinnati to Orlando leg of the trip. Yahoo. What a way to start a birthday celebration! We finally boarded the plane and left close to schedule. We weren't in the air very long when we all broke out the bags I had packed for everyone for breakfast. Everyone except Alice had an apple cider donut, orange juice, cheese and crackers and an apple. Cierra and I also had yogurt with granola in our bag (no one else likes yogurt). Alice had come down with a stomach ailment so she was supposed to be on a soft/liquid diet so I packed her a bag with chicken broth packets, tea bags, crackers and orange juice. I also packed her a bag with a six pack of Jell-o, but she left it at my house (which I didn't discover until we got home). At first, Gloria didn't want to eat on the plane because no one else was eating, but she soon came to her senses and ate something. By the time the plane landed in Cincinnati, we only had time for a very quick restroom stop as it was time to board the plane. First class was really nice. However, you could tell that we never flew first class before (I am very frugal (some say cheap) and I can't see spending the extra money)as Debbie tried to take the tray with the drinks from the flight attendant. We didn't know where the snack trays were located so we had to wait until someone else got their tray (they are located in the arm rest). We had lunch on the plane which was a chef salad, roll with butter and oatmeal raisin cookie. We all took a nap on the plane and we finally arrived in Orlando. Tom of Tiffany Towncar was there to meet us (I had called TTC to advise them of the flight change). Tom told us that he was from our hometown. We did a quick grocery stop to get water, fresh fruit, fruit bars and chips before arriving at ASMU. After we checked in, we called Grandma E and Aunt Jean from the front desk to let them know that we finally arrived. They were assigned to the Country Building. We were assigned to the Broadway Building and we had adjoining rooms. Broadway and Country are in the back. Next time, I will request Calypaso. Somewhere between the grocery store and the hotel, Alice lost her stomach medication. We called TTC and they searched the car but didn't find it. We debated about calling the doctor on Monday to have a new prescription sent out but Alice decided to wait and see. Our original plans were for us to have lunch with Grandpa E before he left for his cousin's house, but because of our late arrival (it was around 4:00 by the time we got to ASMU) he left as he wanted to get on the road before it got dark. We had a ps for the Villain's Dinner but they wanted to bag it and get something at the food court. We all purchased refill mugs and everyone except Cierra got their money's worth. Cierra's main drink of choice is water. However, she did have a couple of pink lemonades and hot chocolates. After dinner, we decided to take the bus to the monorail to see the resorts and their holiday decorations. We visited the Grand Floridan and Contemporary. We didn't get off at the Polynesian. Cierra had her 35mm Fisher-Price camera and took tons of pictures of the tree and gingerbread house at the Grand Floridan. After touring the resorts, we went back to ASMU to get some rest. December 17, Day Two We rented a scooter from Randy's Mobility and a representative arrived early in the morning to deliver the scooter. He gave us instructions on how to use the scooter and what to do in the event that it rained. The plan was for Gloria and Alice to share the scooter since they both have bad knees and use a cane (in the end, Gloria never used the scooter). The scooter was $150.00 for the week. We paid cash for it. Our schedule for today was the Gospel Brunch at House of Blues and Animal Kingdom. We went to the bus stop and had to wait for a bus that was wheelchair accessible. The wait was not too long, but it seemed like it because the buses for the other destinations seemed to be rolling in one after the other. Alice was very nervous about driving the scooter onto the bus and the job was soon assigned to Debbie who protested about it being her job, but she did it. We finally arrived at Downtown Disney and the driver told us where to get off. We then walked and walked and walked to the House of Blues. Although we left the hotel early, we didn't arrive until almost 10:45. We were able to park the scooter inside the theater as Gloria was afraid that someone would steal it even though we had the key. We were assigned to a center row table. The seats are veryclose together. If possible, request a round table for more elbow room. We hit the buffet immediately. They had eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, jambalaya, red beans & rice, peel & eat shrimp, a carving station, omelets made to order station, muffins, crossiants, brownies and fresh fruit. The beverage choices were orange juice, cranberry juice and coffee. Alice requested hot water for tea which they brought over from the restaurant side of HOB. The cost for the brunch was $28.00 for adults and $15.00 for children. We also had to pay a service charge for ordering the tickets over the phone. Dreamsunlimited obtained the tickets for us. I think the gratuity was included. After stuffing ourselves silly, the Gospel portion of the brunch started. There was a woman singer along with three male singers. They were accompanied by two guys playing guitar and a drummer. The performers were very good and they had the audience participate by standing, clapping and shouting. The CD is for sale after the performance. Cierra wanted to meet the woman singer so Debbie took her to meet her. We rolled out the HOB and headed to the Animal Kingdom. When we arrived at the Animal Kingdom and went on A Bug's Life. Everyone went in except Alice. Everyone did ok with the special effects until the end. The effects caused Aunt Jean to get out of the her seat. Gloria thought her asthma would be triggered by some of the effects, but she was ok. After Bug's Life, we went to see the Lion King Show. We sat in the Giraffe section and were up very high. Everyone enjoyed the show. We also saw Tarzan Rocks. Because we had the scooter, we were directed to the front of the theatre, but the better seating IMHO is the middle. We also stopped for Cierra to see Chip and Dale. When we had first come in, I think Donald Duck was out front and kids (with their parents)were pushing and shoving to get a picture and autograph. Gloria wanted Cierra to push and shove her way, but we insisted that Cierra wait her turn. There wasn't really a line and Donald left before Cierra could see him, but she was not upset because she saw Donald on our last trip. Later, when we saw Chip and Dale and Gloria was again insisting that Cierra push her way to the front of the line, Cierra told her that she would wait her turn. She did get to see Chip and Dale. The park closed at 5:00 and we were hungry. Carole had made a ps for Rainforest Cafe and it was right on time. We were seated in about 20 minutes. I don't recall what everyone ordered, but I know that Cierra had pizza, Alice had mashed potatoes and Gloria and I had the barbecue beef. Everyone said their food was good, but we did not have room for dessert. The total bill, not including tip, came to $105.00 for the seven of us. Our package came with a coupon book and we had a coupon for pins from the Rainforest Cafe gift shop. However, you had to show your receipt. I went back to get the receipt and was given someone else's receipt. That receipt had seven entrees on it so we were allowed to get seven pins. We spent a lot of time in the gift shop. Cierra made photo stickers (we messed up the first set as we didn't see the big, if was a snake it would have bitten you, chair sitting next to the photo machine). Cierra also scored a stuffed monkey from Grandma E. Aunt Jean purchased a couple of shirts. Both Gloria and Alice were going to get shirts but didn't and later regretted not getting the shirts. When we finally left the gift shop, we walked to the deserted bus stop. A bus was just leaving and he said that he would call for a bus to get us. Another family joined us at the bus stop. A bus came and after a pit stop at the food court for beverages, we headed to our rooms to hit the sack. Next installment, the rest of the story... Thanks for reading.