Our Magical "Mental Health" Western Cruise, March 8-15, 2008

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by disneyfaninaz, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    We just got back from a simply marvelous, well deserved, mental health vacation and I thought I would share it with my fellow DISers who have been so kind in providing informaton and tips.

    Bear with me as I am not up to the standards of Father Force, Ashman or Zwiehund, but I hope to keep you entertained and informed.

    Cast:

    Me 42, Disneyholic and Obsessive Trip Planner
    DH 46, reluctant Disney convert, pirate:
    DD 7, Disney veteran and our little Princess. princess: Shares Mom’s obsession with Disney
    DNeighbors, DNH, DNW, DNDD(15) DNDD(12)

    Background

    A little about myself: I am a Disneyholic. I was raised at Disneyland. I was even ready to go work for them one Summer, until reality set in and I accepted a Summer internship in my field of study. Even though I lived in Arizona, my family would go there almost every summer. My husband, on the other hand, had only been to Disneyland 2 times in his entire life by the time I met him. Well, it didn’t take me long to fix that! He is now a Disneyland veteran with 2 trips to Disney World to boot. My DD, on the other hand, is filling her mom's shoes quite well with a trip to Disneyland for every year of her life.

    I am also a planner. I love to plan things months, if not years, in advance. I will pour over brochures, watch videos, watch the travel channel and search the internet researching vacation spots relentlessly. :surfweb: My DH's favorite chant is: "Gimme an "A"; gimme a "N";, gimme another "A"; gimme a "L", what does that spell? :cheer2: You get the picture. Anyway, he has wonderful vacations because of it, so it's all in jest.

    Now, I have watched, like many of you, the Travel Channel special on the Disney Cruise Line. Like you, I have watched that show many times salivating over the opportunity to one day sail on that beautiful vessel. But, my DH was very difficult to win over. "It's too expensive."; "Our daughter's too young."; "There are other places I want to go first."; yadda yadda yadda.

    Finally, last year (March 2007), our dear neighbors, whom we travel to Disneyland with on occasion, went on a land/sea package to Disney World and the DCL. Now, I have to tell you I was very jealous because I wanted to stow away in their luggage. Regardless, they had a wonderful time and highly recommended it to us.

    That being said, in the meantime, I had been spending a lot of time researching a trip to Hawaii in the summer of 2008. :beach: My DH's father had promised my DH a trip to Hawaii upon his college graduation. Twenty years later, we were going to take him up on it. We were going to ask our neighbors if they wanted to go too.

    Anyway, our neighbors got back and not even a week later they booked their second cruise, a 7 Day Western Caribbean cruise for March of 2008. Now I have my DH's interest. "Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go on a cruise with our dear friends?" Aha, gotcha!! So, guess what happened next? You got it! Aloha Hawaii, Hello Mickey! We booked our first Disney Cruise for March 2008 over our DD's spring break. We have a Category 7 room, obstructed verandah on Deck 7. (Thanks Barb & Tony)

    Remember where I mentioned I pour over the internet researching trips, well in April, 2007, I ran across the DIS boards. I lurked for a while and then I signed in. Boy, was that addicting. To this day, I check the boards every day. :disrocks:

    Next: The planning begins!
     
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  3. JDBlair

    JDBlair DIS Veteran

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    Yay!!!! I can't wait to read all about your cruise!!!
    Howdy Neighbor!! :flower3:
     
  4. pixidustmom

    pixidustmom Dreaming of the World

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    Ok it's gonna be good as I am new to the board and I can now follow along from the first day. :thumbsup2 I will now subscribe to your thread to not miss anything. :surfweb: I have enjoyed some other TR but most were older. popcorn::
     
  5. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Well, the planning commences. We've decided to fly Southwest Airlines and anxiously await to book our flight to Orlando when fares are available in August and October. In the meantime, we had been discussing when to fly down and fly back. We decided to fly down on the Thursday night before our cruise and stay at the Port Orleans French Quarter :joker: . We stayed there for our 5th anniversary :hug: and loved it. Besides, it is very convenient to Downtown Disney and has a fun theme. I thought my DD would love the serpent slide. We also decided that we are going to spend Friday at the Animal Kingdom. Why, you ask? :confused3 Well, we were going to Disneyland in October, 2007 so we don't need to see the Magic Kingdom. We've done Epcot and we have no interest in seeing Disney Hollywood Studios this trip (we have Tower of Terror in CA). Besides, Animal Kingdom has had the most new things added since we were there last, namely Expedition Everest and the Finding Nemo - The Musical. So AK it is. We will then proceed to fly home immediately after the cruise.

    We applied for our passports on June 22nd. We'll see if the State department can get them to us in the 8 months before our trip.

    I bought a Passporter (Love it). My neighbor and I are sharing the Birnbaum’s DCL Guide and Passporter back and forth to get information on excursions and such. I am definitely getting more information from the DISers and share. Meanwhile, one evening my DH went to get the mail and what do you think finally arrived after 10 weeks! You got it, our PASSPORTS! :thumbsup2 I have to admit, I was getting jealous reading about DISers getting there passports back in 4 and 5 weeks. I also found out that ours were sent to Charleston, SC. That’s a long way from Phoenix. My DH and I have also decided that we’re going to try to book a late nonstop flight home from MCO, rent a car in Port Canaveral and see the sights there after we get off the ship. I can either pay $105 for DCL transport back to the airport and wait all day, OR we can rent a car for $26, sight-see and get ourselves back to the airport. :scratchin Sounds like a plan to me!

    In October, we headed over to Disneyland for 3 days over Fall Break to get our Disney fix before the Cruise. Had a wonderful time, but that’s another story on another board. Anyway, on October 24th, “My Cruise Travel Kit” arrived in the mail. Only 2 more months until I can make ressies on line! Woo Hoo! :woohoo: It makes for an interesting read, but between you, me and the fence post, I already found this stuff out on the DIS! :disrocks:

    On November 6th, I stumbled upon the dates for the Pirate pirate: & Princess princess: Parties at WDW. I discovered that a party would be held on the night we arrive in Orlando (March 6th). We are so there!! I did not hesitate and bought my tickets through WDW on-line at a discount and received them 4 days later. Can’t wait!! We decided to keep this a secret from DD and surprise her when we get to the resort. :ssst: “Hey, what do you say we go ride Splash Mountain instead of going to Downtown Disney?” She will be so excited! :yay:

    In Mid-December we made our final payment to DCL. December 20th comes along and the DCL reservation site goes down, and remains down for 4 days. :badpc: Now, I have been waiting 8 months to make reservations on December 24th for our long awaited Disney cruise and their system goes down. I was just hoping that some pixie dust pixiedust: would work its magic and fix the computer problems that DCL was experiencing. Fortunately, on December 23rd, lo and behold, the system comes back up. :yay: Alleluia! At 10:00 PM MST, I was online booking my Palo brunch reservation, :thumbsup2 my excursions in Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Castaway Cay. I was thrilled to be able to finally do this. It was almost too easy. For some reason, the on-line registration forms were not yet available. They must be on a different clock since my 75 day mark actually fell on December 24th. Only because I’m out West was I spared having to stay up until midnight to do my reservations. No worries, I just filled the forms out the next day and we’re done!

    Next: News that almost sunk our cruise!
     
  6. mkmommy

    mkmommy DIS Veteran

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    Wendy

    I am so glad you are doing a trip report, we are having serious post vacation depression and this will help us remember the trip. I am hoping to do a trip report also, but I can't remember half the things we did it is such a blur.

    Lisa
     
  7. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    I know what you mean. I am going through the navigator's trying to remember what we did each day as well. One night I can't even remember.
     
  8. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Amidst all the joy of anticipation and planning, my world came crashing down on December 28th. :scared: For the last few months, along with having fun planning for this cruise, I was also dealing with the fear of breast cancer. :scared1: In October, I found a lump in my breast. By the time I got a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy it’s the middle of Christmas break. 4 days after I made my reservations on-line, I got the phone call from my surgeon that my biopsy was malignant. :sad1: When asked about continuing with our plans, the surgeon said “Cancel.” We decided to hold off on any decisions just yet. :sad2:


    Along with all of the emotions of being told you have cancer, the cruise kept creeping into our discussions. Would we be able to go? Would it jeopardize my health if we went ahead with our plans? :confused: In the meantime, we scheduled my lumpectomy for mid January and waited for word on if the cancer had spread. Fortunately it had not gotten into my lymph nodes. Whew!! While my prognosis is for a complete recovery, I would still need 6 bouts of chemotherapy because of my age :sick: , 6 weeks and 3 days of daily 5 minute radiation treatments and then 5 years of medication. But it is all pro-active and not reactive. My next question to him was, “Can we go on our cruise in March?” “Sure!” he said. What? Did I hear correctly, there’s no problem? :worship: That’s right; my chemo treatments were scheduled so that we can go on our cruise. I should be feeling pretty good by then, considering. Well, you can only imagine how excited we all were to hear the good news, especially our daughter. :goodvibes

    I believe that my mental health at this point is just as important as my physical health. If a cruise in the middle of 6 chemo treatments will help me make it through and give me something else to think about, then by all means I am going for it. :) After having gone through two treatments, without too many ill effects, I felt confident that I would be able to enjoy this cruise and our visit to WDW to the fullest. I was looking forward most to interacting with dolphins with my daughter and spending quality time with my husband strolling hand in hand around the ship. Did it mean more to me now than before, most definitely! When you are faced with news such as cancer, you get a different take on what is important in life. Let the packing begin! :cloud9:

    Next: It's finally here!
     
  9. firemans wife

    firemans wife DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip! I am a breast cancer survivor too -3 years in May:goodvibes . DH and I took a cruise back in Decmebr 2005 to celebrate my health and my life!
     
  10. pixidustmom

    pixidustmom Dreaming of the World

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    Wow what a lot of things you had going on. Having a lump removed when I was 28 was scary but thank God it ended up not being cancer. But that was a very scary time in my life. But nothing like a DCL to go on and keep your mind of what is going on in front of you. Best wishes on your recovery. :flower3:
     
  11. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Congratulations! I am looking forward to many years of being cancer free.
     
  12. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Thank you for your thoughts. The cruise was very helpful indeed.
     
  13. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    I have been watching my ticker slowly creep down to single digits :hourglass and the day finally arrived, the bags are packed and weighed and we are on our way to the airport to catch our 10:50 AM flight out of Phoenix. :car: It was a beautiful day and until we got over the Southeast, a pretty uneventful flight. Unfortunately, due to bad weather we had to swing down to Tampa and then to Orlando, instead of the more direct route. Fortunately our pilot had made up so much time going that we still arrived on time in Orlando. When we arrived we headed straight down to Level 1 to the Disney Magical Express counter. Can they put the counter any further away in the airport? :confused3 It was so nice not having to stop and pick up our luggage. Anyway there was no line and I got checked in and was immediately ushered to the correct bus. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of the Magical Express decorated busses, but it was a motor coach nonetheless. We waited about 15 minutes for the bus to fill and were off to Port Orleans French Quarter, with a stop at Saratoga Springs first. Oh, by the way, did I mention it was raining. It seems to always be raining whenever we land in Orlando.

    Anyway, we were dropped off at our resort at around 6:30 PM. After a quick check in with no lines, and a quick trip to the gift shop to buy my DD a toothbrush, which I forgot to pack, we were off to our room to get ready to attend the Pirates & Princess Party at the Magic Kingdom. When we got to our room, my DD was delighted to find towel animals waiting for us.

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    We were in Building 5 with a great view of the river. We didn’t tell our DD that we had purchased tickets. :ssst: She thought we were going to Downtown Disney. I told her that I felt like going to the bus stops and getting on a bus and just see where it goes. So we went to the bus stop and waited with several families with their children dressed as pirates pirate: and princesses, princess: when the correct bus arrived I asked my DD to read where it was going. She said the Magic Kingdom, that’s when we told her we were going to the party and she could ride Splash Mountain. You should have seen the smile on her face. It was priceless. At that moment, I was the best mommy ever!! :hug:

    We arrived at the park at exactly 7:00 PM. We took our obligatory pictures outside the main gate and proceeded to get our wrist bands.

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    It had stopped raining by now and was a very nice evening. We headed first to Tomorrowland to get our Treasure Bags and to get something to eat.

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    We played a few games, won some tattoos, and got our treasure and headed to Cosmic Rays for dinner. Chip & Dale were dancing at the Eclipses Mini Mixes Dance Party. By this time, my DH was itching to ride something so we headed over to Adventureland, via Fantasyland, collecting treasures along the way, and got on Pirates of the Caribbean. We literally walked on to the ride. We found all of the Captain Jacks. By the time we got off the ride, it was time for the parade. We found a place in front of Pecos Bill’s to watch. It started raining just as the parade was starting. We saw all the princesses, Captain Barbossa and Captain Jack.

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    I particularly enjoyed the pirate drill team with the flags. I used to be a “flag girl” in high school so it was cool to watch them spin and throw the flags in the air. By the time the parade was over the rain was really coming down. Fortunately, I had remembered an umbrella and rain ponchos. My DH took our DD on Splash Mountain. They were already wet from the rain so why not get even more wet, right? She had a blast. In the meantime, I found an empty rocking chair inside the shop outside of Splash Mountain and waited in the warmth and dryness for my family. After getting yet more treasure, we headed over to the Haunted Mansion. I love this ride, however, for the last 7 years we have been to Disneyland it has had The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay and I haven’t seen it in its true form for awhile. I was anxious to see the new improvements made last year. I was not disappointed, they were very cool. It was then time to head to Fantasyland.

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    Unfortunately, Peter Pan was closed for refurbishment and it was still raining, so we headed into It’s a Small World. After we went through the ride, before we get off the boats, we started hearing booms. They had started the fireworks show. The rain was still coming down pretty hard. We ran off the ride and literally stood in the middle of Fantasyland and looked up into the sky to see the incredible firework show in the pouring rain. Only at Disney! We loved it when the pirates started firing canons at the castle to the “Pirates” music. The fireworks literally lit up the entire park like day light at a couple of points. It was amazing. I’m just sorry we didn’t see them from in front of the castle. Anyway after the show we went to ride Snow White and then Winnie the Pooh. Since we were going to be on the ship for a week we didn’t really seek any characters. They weren’t out much because of the rain anyway. We also didn’t get many photos because of the rain. After the Pooh ride we were pretty wet and cold. We headed to Main Street and got some hot chocolate at Casey’s and hit the stores before leaving the park. It had been a long day and we were ready to go. I enjoyed the party, but probably would have enjoyed it more without the rain. I wish we could have ridden more rides, but there are so many other things to do in such a short time that you just can’t fit it all in.

    We arrived back to the resort to find that our bags had been delivered as promised. The Magical Express service is awesome. We got ready for bed and hit the hay.

    Next: Animal Kingdom
     
  14. misslissa

    misslissa DIS Veteran

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    I am subscribing, this is an awesome report! And, I am so glad to hear that you are feeling great :goodvibes
     
  15. JDBlair

    JDBlair DIS Veteran

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    :goodvibes
    You guys certainly had a long day with traveling and the park visit!! Lucky!!!
     
  16. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Thanks! Hope you enjoy. :)

    Well, our clocks were 2 hours behind, but yes it ended up being a long day, but well worth it. :)
     
  17. PURTYPAT1

    PURTYPAT1 DIS Veteran

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    DD 12 & I went to the Princess Party last Feb 07, & we had the best time. She is still talking about it. Talk about a perfect night.

    Looking forward to reading your TP.

    Thanks for sharing :cool1:
     
  18. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    We were up a little after 7:00AM and headed down to Sassagoula Float Works for breakfast. We didn’t have to wait too long this morning.

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    The skies had cleared and except for being a little breezy, it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. :sunny: After breakfast we headed to the bus stop and the Animal Kingdom.

    We arrived at the Animal Kingdom just about opening.

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    We decided to head directly to Africa and ride the Kilimanjaro Safari.

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    There was about a 10 minute wait for the ride. We saw quite a few animals; however, I noticed there were no giraffes on the savanna. After the safari we headed over towards Asia to get fastpasses for Expedition Everest. On the way, Baloo and King Louie were out for a meet & greet. DD didn’t want to meet them so I waited in line while she went to play the drums. While I got my picture and autographs, my DH and DD went to get fastpasses.

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    I took my time taking pictures of the Tree of Life and other interesting details.

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    When we met up we had about 10 minutes before our fastpasses were active so we decided to walk through the Maharajah Trial. The kimono dragon was out, as well as the bats. The tigers were all sacked out, but they were all visible.

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    However, all DD wanted to do was ride Everest. On the way back we tortured her more by having a photopass picture taken in front of Mt. Everest. We finally went through the fastpass return line to the ride. We went straight through and waited maybe 2 minutes to board the tea train. The ride was amazing. My DD screamed the entire time from excitement, not fear. I had never ridden a roller coaster that went backwards before and it was quite an experience. While the ride was very smooth, it was very fast and intense. We saw the Yeti at the end of the ride and were truly amazed. The Travel Channel special doesn’t do it justice. Of course, my DD wanted to ride it again, but my DH and I barely made it off alive. We both felt it. :sick: After taking a few moments to catch our breath and settle our stomachs we headed over to DinoLand USA. After watching Smear, Splat and Dip perform their tricks, DD and I headed over to The Boneyard to work off excess energy and let her play for a while. She loved the slides and digging for Dinosaurs. It was then time to head for lunch. As much as I would have liked to try the Yak and Yeti, I was out voted and we went to the Flame Tree BBQ for pulled pork sandwiches, which were very good. We sat down by the water and had an enjoyable lunch. After lunch DD wanted to see It’s Tough to be a Bug. Now, the last time she saw this show she was 5 years old and dove onto the floor. Well she’s 2 years older now, has more experience with 3D movies so we ask her if she’s sure and she says yes, so we go. I love walking down to the theater and seeing all of the carved animals on the tree.

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    We just missed seating for a show so we had to wait for another one. We were in the second row about center. The show started and my DD started to freak. By the time Hopper came out, she was on the floor. :scared: She did hop up in her seat just in time to feel the magots leaving under her seat. Needless to say, she’s not going to that show anymore!

    After this show my DH took her to ride Dinosaur. Again, this was her idea. Normally she loves the thrill ride attractions. However, she had yet to ride Indiana Jones at DL so she really didn’t know about the vehicles. Anyway, according to my DH, she had her eyes closed the entire time while screaming the entire way. He was very proud of her.

    After they got off Dinosaur we headed over to the 1:45 PM showing of Finding Nemo – The Musical. This was an amazing production. After seeing it on the Travel Channel I couldn’t wait to see it for myself. I loved the movie and found the show to be equally as charming. After awhile you’re just watching the puppets and forgetting there are people making them work. The puppeteers were exceptional, the music was delightful and the sets were beautiful. Overall, I think this is the best stage production at Disney World.

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    Next we headed over to the Pangani Forest Exploration. The gorillas were very active and we saw several silver backs walking around and posing for pictures. Again, another Kodak moment as we got several wonderful photos of these majestic animals.

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    We then jumped on the safari with no wait. We had an amazing tour this time. The vehicles were backed up because of animals in the road. By the time we got to the problem we found out that ostriches were in the middle of the road near the white rhinos. There was a gamekeeper in a truck trying to corral all of the animals out of the way, but the rhinos were within touching distance if we had so desired.

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    It was so cool seeing them so close at a stand still. Needless to say, we got some great pictures. We also saw a couple of giraffes and both a male and female lion on their perch.

    It was now time for Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade to start. We watched it right out of the gate in front of the safari attraction. We waved to all the characters, high fived a few and danced to the music.

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    When it passed us, we headed right back on the safari. No animals crossed in front of us this time, but we still enjoyed it. After that we headed over to Pizzafari for some dinner, did some shopping, explored Camp Minnie-Mickey, except all the characters had left, and headed for the exit.

    When we arrived back at the resort we discovered that the pool, which had been closed for rehab, had reopened that day. DD was thrilled. Remember, we had originally selected the POFQ resort for their pool and had been disappointed to learn that it would be closed during our stay. Needless to say we changed into our suits and headed down to the pool for some swim time.

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    My DD went down the slide a few times and loved spending time in the water. Unfortunately, lightning started flashing in the horizon so pool time ended early. I had read on the DISboards to try the beignets, so we stopped by Sassagoula Float Works for some dessert. While the beignets were good and loaded with powdered sugar, they were very similar to the Navajo Fry Bread which is popular here in the Southwest. Before retiring for the evening, we checked the weather and found out that Orlando and several central Florida counties were under a Tornado Watch for the night. Fortunately, except for the rumbling of thunder we really didn’t have any big storm that night.

    Next: Disney Magic, here we come!
     
  19. LovableGluttons

    LovableGluttons See Ya REAL Soon!

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    What beautiful pictures!

    Congratulations on your recovery to date. What a terrible scare.
     
  20. mkmommy

    mkmommy DIS Veteran

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    I can't believe you stayed for the Fireworks on Thursday night, it just poured. I was thinking of your guys as I watched the fireworks from our room, the smoke from all the rain really took away from the fireworks.

    Good for DD doing EE, I will have to tell mine DD's about that, we did Big Thunder Mtn on the Friday and DD1 loved it DD2 was not impressed.

    Lisa
     
  21. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    You know DD, she's a daredevil when it comes to rollercoasters, 3D movies are another story. If it hadn't been raining, DD would have done Thunder Mtn. too. She loves them all. Anyway, we went all that way and spent the money, we weren't going to let a little rain damper our party or fireworks! ;)
     

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