Hello! I've been waffling back and forth, trying to decide whether to start a PTR, and finally realized that it was better than bouncing all of these ideas off my kids. The tipping point was today, when my kids were playing with Legos, and I overheard the following conversation: DD: This is the Howard Johnson. DS: NO! Its the Hyatt! DD: No, it is HOWARD JOHNSON!! They have the water park AND another pool. DS: Yeah, but Hyatt has the long hallway that goes on forever!!! Can you tell we've been looking at Trip Advisor a little too much and waffling on where to stay? So here's the cast: Me: Divorced mom, newly vegan, part time teacher (going to be more full time sooner rather than later), celebrating a birthday a week before our trip. I didn't LOVE Disney (was neutral) until I took DD on her first Disney trip when she was 15mo and I was 19 weeks pregnant with DS. I was separated from my (now) XH, and DD and I really bonded on that trip and I saw the magic in her. From then on, I've been hooked. DD: 7yo, larger than life, sensitive feeler, learning to take risks, the sweetest thing alive. Her teacher this year said she could be a character on a Nickelodeon show. I wanted to correct her and say DISNEY show, but that didn't feel appropriate. DD loves pretty much all things Disney. She can worship the princesses and talk light saber battles without batting an eye. She takes after me in that respect. I suspect she will come home with a Duffy bear, and insist on meeting Duffy, because she first saw Duffy bears at WDW in December and she fell for him hard. DS: 5.5 (will almost be 6 on our trip), processor, thinks he is at least 8yo, matter of fact bottom liner, cautious adventurer. He has the sass of a jaded 14yo boy, but can charm a female of any age. A deadly combo. He likes Star Wars, super heroes, but LOVES Transformers. He doesn't dig the characters, but if they lure him in he will totally participate. He is more concrete, and likes *real* things. The biggest smile I've ever seen on him was when we met Chris Kratt, of the Kratt Brothers (or Zaboomafoo). Despite his distaste for characters, he loves Disney and asks to go throughout the year. Also LOVES Phineas and Ferb, so I'm hoping their stage show/meet and greet/whatever it is will still be there in August and will make him happy. Oh, and I think he will love the TRON thing at DCA, if it happens to be kid-friendly. He was really into the TRON characters etc when the movie was out, and he likes lasers, music, etc. We are going to Anaheim in mid/late August and staying a week! Last time we went to DL was in 2009, and I was so sad to leave, not knowing when we would return. This time we are going to Sea World, and possibly Legoland. The kids LOVE Legos, but they are opening a Legoland near my mom's house in FL and we are visiting her in December, so we might just go to LL then and skip it this time. I'm also considering a day trip to the SD zoo, because DD's teacher was *obsessed* with pandas, and they have a panda. However... I've already been thinking about/planning a return trip to SoCal for 2012, when I turn 40. I was thinking we would spend maybe 10 days, and stay in SD and Anaheim. I really want to spend time in SD, do the zoo, the safari park, LL, and SW, and enjoy being near the beach. And I want the kids to be old enough to appreciate it and remember it. Then we will finish our trip in Anaheim, and do DL and see Carsland for the first time (a year after it opens, so hopefully the hype has died down. We also typically go to WDW in December. Or, we did last year and plan on doing it again this year. My mom lives 2 hours away, so we are flying in to Orlando and staying 2-3 days, then she will drive up and spend a day with us, then drive us to her house. She likes spending time with us, and likes helping, but isn't that into Disney (and can't really keep up with our pace, though she respects and appreciates my planning abilities and has commented on how I saved us time and planned well). Last year we stayed at Pop, and loved it, but we might stay at a moderate this time to be closer to Epcot (didn't go there last year, definitely going this year) and DHS (did it last year, liked it, but for us it is a 1/2 day park). So there it is, the beginning of my TR. Right now we have reservations at 2 different hotels: Park Vue and Hojo. I am still considering another (Hyatt). So now you can see why my kids were playing "Which hotel is this?" earlier today. Yeah, I should narrow it down. I will write more about that later, just wanted to get things started here. Previous trip report link in my signature, if you're interested in seeing what we did on our last trip. So... welcome!