Okay, I know I have ridiculously few posts here, but I've been lurking obsessively ever since I booked our trip last spring, and you all have inspired me...so I hope no one minds me butting in with a trip report. The Family: Me: 31, the catalyst for our trip. Ive been obsessed with making it to Disney for years now, but for one reason and another, never managed to make it happen until now. My WDW fixation is sort of strange and out of character, actually, as Im generally far too cynical for such things. I was worried that Id built the trip up in my head too much and it would be a let down. But no! We had a great time! I loved WDW in all of its consumerist glory! I managed to maintain my non Disney identity enough to make occasional ironic comments, but, other than that, I was completely sucked in. Dave: dh, 30. He would have been content to never go to Disney World, but, lucky for me, hes very open to suggestion. He had a great time, too! Ari: ds, 5. I read a description in the Unofficial Guide early on in my trip planning about the type of kid NOT to take to WDW, and Ari fit the description exactly. He is shy, moody, and easily overwhelmed. But he did really well! Hes a cautious kid, but he constantly surprised us with how much he was willing to try. Now that were back, hes hard at work making a chart with tiny pictures of all the rides he went on. Milo: ds, 3. My relatively easygoing child, though he can throw a tantrum like nobodys business. Became obsessed with space travel just days before our trip, which made some parts of Dis-a-ney World (as he calls it) all the more exciting. Gus: ds, 9 months. The stereotypical laid back third baby. He is difficult to faze and is nearly always in a good mood. We discovered on the ride home that hed popped out a new tooth while we were at WDW, but wed heard not a word of complaint out of him about it. Angelbaby. Hes never going to grow up into a tantrumming, defiant toddler. Nope, not my Gussie. Saturday and Sunday: Driving/Magic Kingdom and Epcot We left around 9 (from somewhat north of Atlanta) on Saturday, which was precisely when we planned to leave, so things started off smoothly. Dropped Lucy the dog off at the kennel then hit the interstate. Then hit a lot of traffic for about 30 minutes. But that was the only traffic we saw on the way down, so all in all not bad. We took things slowly and stopped a lot stopped at an outlet mall at lunchtime, then at the Florida welcome center for free orange juice, then for dinner at Cracker Barrel. I had read on the Disboards about someones family tradition being to stop for free orange juice and thought, oohI want that family tradition, too! So now I have it. It had been years since I ate at Cracker Barrel. It is much, much worse than I remembered. We originally planned to drive somewhat more than half way and stop at a hotel, but at the last minute we decided to do the whole drive at once and booked a room at an Amerisuites in Orlando on Priceline (for $35 whoo hoo!) Everyone went to sleep and was up again by 6 the next morning. We went down for the free breakfast and then were all ready to go by a little after 8. We drove uneventfully over to the Wilderness Lodge and checked in. It being just after 9 AM our room was not ready. Okay, so now what? We had no plans for the day until our 4:50 dinner reservation, but we had shiny new park passes burning a hole in Daves pocket, so we decided to take the boat over to the Magic Kingdom and check it out. There was a boat waiting for us when we walked up to the dock. Hooray! Traveling with monkey boy Milo makes me wonder how its possible that children dont die in freak accidents every day at Disney World. How can so many 3 year olds go on that boat every day and not a single one of them manages to climb out of the window and drown? Is it more an issue of parental vigilance or of most 3 year olds being less inclined than mine to climb every vertical surface they encounter? Perhaps some combination thereof? Anyway, we made it to the MK without losing a single member of our party and caught our first glimpse of the castle. It should be noted that both of my speaking children had been, up until this point in our trip, acting pretty much exactly as I would have predicted based on their respective personalities. Ari, my jaded, cynical, and grumpy child, dubbed WDW yucky world and spent a lot of time doubting aloud that he would have any fun at all. Milo, the easily enthused, on the other hand, could often be heard saying, in the days leading up to the trip, were going to Dis-a-ney World! And Im going to be EXCITED! (although it was clear that he didnt really understand the concept terribly well when he asked me, a few days before we left, is Disney World inside or outside?) Their initial reactions to seeing the castle up close and personal fell right in line. We went to the stroller rental place and paid for a length of stay rental for a double stroller, perhaps the best money we spent the whole week. I had read that the strollers were more or less worthless for babies, but Gus could sit in it just fine; I dont really see why any baby whos sitting well independently wouldnt be able to. He still wound up spending most of his time in the Ergo on my back, but when he did ride in the stroller it was fine). Then we made our way up Main Street and through the castle. Milo spotted the carrousel right away and of course wanted to ride. Lets lookno line? Sure, why not?! We have no plans! After the carrousel, we talked the kids out of Dumbo (not much of a line, but we were coming back at least twice, so we didnt really want to wait at all). We opted for the lineless Its a Small World instead. I commented at one point to Dave, this looks like the sort of ride we could set up in our basement what with all the thin plywood cutouts doused liberally with glitter that would have fit right in at a high school homecoming dance but the kids were quite enamored. Gus sat perfectly still in my lap and gazed around, enraptured, the whole time. It turns out Gus is the ideal Disney World companion. Hes sort of like a heavier and less informative version of Pal Mickey. I found myself wishing wed gone when Ari was 8 or 9 months old, too, so we could have enjoyed the advantages of a portable baby without cute yet demanding older children around. After Small World, even Ari was excited. We crossed the street and rode Peter Pan. Milo was temporarily freaked out by the dark, but by the end was talking giddily about how much he liked it. Since everyone seemed to enjoy sitting in a vehicle and looking at animatronic dolls, we checked out Winnie the Pooh next. I think we waited about 5 minutes for that one, our first wait of the day (it was a little past 10 by now). (I know this is blurry, but it's us getting ready to ride Small World, and it demonstrates the very different personalities of my two eldest pretty well, I think). Then we went over to Toontown. This is where our extra morning came in handy; I wanted to put Ari and Milo on Goofys Barnstormer and see how they did to get an idea of how theyd do on some of the bigger rides. Milo was hesitant (at that point we werent sure hed even be tall enough for anything more intense than that, so I definitely wasnt going to push it if he didnt want to go on) but he finally decided to give it a try. I waited with Gus while Dave took the kids on .when they came out Milo was as enthusiastic as ever but Ari declared it, NOT my favorite ride. It was my MEDIUM ride. Good enough. The kids spotted Donalds boat next and wanted desperately to run through the fountains there, but I wanted to eat lunch soon, preferably without dripping wet kids, so I vetoed that idea to loud protests. We went quickly through Mickey and Minnies houses (I think Minnie will like PINK, Milo had guessed before we got there and was happy to find he was right. Pink is also Milos favorite color). Then we went over to the train and took it two stops to Frontierland .I had it in my head that we were going to eat lunch at Columbia Harbor House, but I couldnt remember where it was. We wandered a bit and then Dave asked for directions and we finally found it. It was after noon by now, so it was fairly crowded inside, but the kids and I found a table upstairs easily while Dave got the food. Milo was melting down quickly and there was some sort of hold up on the chicken fingers, but we finally managed to get everyone recharged and happy again. We left intending to head back to the hotel, but then I spotted the Haunted Mansion across the street. Heyhardly any linewhy not? Because Milos three is why not. He started screaming as soon as we got inside, so Dave went straight across to the exit and took him out. I stayed with Gus and Ari. The stretching room freaked Ari out a bit; he was pretty mad that he hadnt left with Dave, but he was fine about 2 minutes into the ride and was having a great time by the end. Two days later, he keeps asking when were going to go back to the ghost ride. Now we left for the hotel for real (well, after stopping to let Milo buy a cheap plastic sword and to get embroidered mouse ear hats for all three boys). (very excited about the mouse ears, as you can see) The boat was once again waiting for us when we got to the dock; Milo again managed not to fall to his death, and our room was finally ready! (we had called a couple of times while we were gone and it hadnt been; in the end it turned out they had been waiting on two rooms together, as no one had bothered to forward the info to them that my mother in law, originally slated to come with us, had cancelled her trip months before. We got up to our room (2030; second floor, north wing, very close to the elevators) and were all pleased. We would later discover that we could see Wishes through the trees, too, which was a nice bonus. The kids had bunk beds and immediately started climbing all over them. We tried to get them to lie down and rest, but it was hopeless. We settled for some semi-quiet TV watching while Dave went down to get all the luggage up to the room. By now it was getting to be time to head over to Epcot for dinner. We took the bus (without the same stellar timing luck wed had with the boat, sadly), and found crowds at least as light at Epcot as they had been at MK. We had a few minutes before our ADR, and the kids were pretty intrigued by Spaceship Earth, and, of course, there was no line, so we hopped on that. Milo had a moment of panic before we went in, insisting that it was going to be scary and he didnt want to ride. I promise its not scary, I told him. is it going to be fast? he asked. I assured him it was very slow (even if Spaceship Earth had not been one of the few rides I vaguely remembered from my childhood trip to Epcot, the signs all said SLOW MOVING in big, underlined letters, so I was pretty confident about this). We got on, and Dave started to put Ari and Milo in a front car and then get in back with me and Gus. What are you doing?! I asked, shoving him back towards the front. Perfect opportunity for Milo to climb out and get lost amidst the animatronic figures averted. I kept leaning forward to check on Milo during the beginning of the ride, since I had foolishly PROMISED him it wouldnt be scary when, really, theres little rhyme or reason to what scares or delights a three year old. But I neednt have worried; Milo LOVED it. Were in SPACE! he shouted gleefully at the end. Ari liked it, too, in his own, considerably more reserved, way. Time for dinner. The waiting area of the Coral Reef was packed when we got there. I theorized hopefully that this was because it was so early that they hadnt started seating yet and, sure enough, within 10 minutes or so nearly everyone waiting had a table. We were on the second level, so we had just an okay view of the fish; the kids were mostly unimpressed until the divers showed up. Those they liked. Kids were restless, so dinner was not as relaxed as one likes, but the food was good. We were delighted by the $150 tab that cost us all of nothing. We decided to push our luck a bit more after dinner and try to get Turtle Talk out of the way so we wouldnt need to worry about it the next day. We turned up just as one show was starting, so we had awhile to wait (the kids were wild and frenzied so Dave took them over to terrorize the manatees while I waited in line) but scored front row seats when the theater opened. Ari and Milo were relatively unimpressed (Milo kept jumping around restlessly and only got interested toward the end when Dory showed up. He really loves Dory. Ari watched politely but didnt seem terribly entertained. Gus exhibited his first signs of impatience with Disney World). Dave, on the other hand, LOVED it. Quotations from Dave about Crush: I was laughing so much I was crying. And, later in the evening, I cant stop thinking about Crush. So it was a definite magic Disney moment when .Dave got to talk to Crush! How about that kind of tallish dude in the front row with the dark shell, said Crush, and the woman with the microphone headed straight for Dave. Crush asked Dave his name, referred to him as Wavy Dave and wanted to know whether Dave liked to swim fast or slow. (slow). Dave was completely star struck. Now it was well past the ideal time to head back to the hotel. The kids were fascinated by the monorail, so we decided to take it to the Ticket and Transportation center and catch a bus from there back to the Wilderness Lodge. This may not have been the best idea we had all day, but we did finally make it back and got everyone off to sleep with minimal protesting. Leaving Epcot: Next up: back to the Magic Kingdom!