Ive been waiting a long time for this a Disney Parks trip in 2013! I had hoped to have reservations by now, but there are Big Changes going on at hubbys work so were waiting to find out a bit more first. *sigh* Were pretty definitely going, but may have to pull it back to January instead of going in May. Im getting used to the idea of January but I never feel committed until we have our unit reservation, and the wait is making me crazy! So Im doing a pre-trip report. Thing is, we've been to Orlando twice without really hitting the Disney parks, so I'm hoping it all works out this time. It's probably our only chance of going with all five kids next time we get out, my older two will be in their twenties! The hard part is, middle daughter and I are the only ones going "Yay! Disney!" Eldest daughter is going "Yay. Disney." (She's merely pleased about it, not excited). Everyone else is looking forward to a vacation, but they're less enthused about the Disney part. It isn't that they don't expect to have fun -- we always have fun. They just think SeaWorld would be better. *sigh* So it's the Anti-Commandos (eldest daughter, middle daughter, and myself), and the Disney Skeptics. CAST OF CHARACTERS Geek Dad, my beloved hubby, the only amusement park fan in the family. His "real job" is in computers, but he can't resist a bargain while I don't like being buried in junk, so his second job is finding bargains and then selling them at the usual price on the Internet. He's long been the family photographer but now has some competition on that front. Hes the fun parent. We were all at a wedding reception once and I was about to tell the kids to quit doing the "Walk Like An Egyptian" dance down the narrow space between the tables -- when I realized their dad was the one leading the parade. He doesn't really see the difference between a theme park and an amusement park, except for the fact that the whole family enjoys SeaWorld but he's the only one who likes roller coasters and other common amusement park rides (with the exception of carousels, which the kids all like). He's going to want to be in the parks from opening to close, both to "get his money's worth," and because he always wants to see everything, which may be interesting because he does not pace himself, we're going to be there for 11 days, and hes not getting any younger . I asked him who his favorite Disney character is and, after requesting a reminder of Disney movies (and rejecting Toy Story as Pixar Disney movies have to be traditional 2D animation. On being reminded of Tangled, he said, Tangled is sort of 2D), he decided his favorite characters are the Car Talk guys in Cars. It's hard to find a pic of Geek Dad without kids in it, so I didn't try. Those are my older two with him eldest sons birthday request last year was a trip to Chicago with dad. The Hermit, 19, my eldest daughter, who would kind of like to spend the entire trip hanging out in the condo by herself (because she doesn't often get that much space alone), but knows she'd regret it afterwards if she doesn't see the parks. The most disciplined member of the family, she has been scheduling her days, as well as setting personal goals and achieving them, since she was six. She also starts eating candy once a week every October to finish off her stash from last year before stocking up again. She has decided she's not growing up so doesn't have to choose a career. Her favorite Disney character is: lots of them. She has issues with one leg that can make it hard for her to walk when it's flaring up, and tends to flag around noon when it's hot anyhow; I'm hoping if I get her out of the park and into a pool at noon that she'll be good to go back again in the evenings. Our tastes are pretty similar (except for her inexplicable appreciation of Yanni ), but she is a tad less tolerant of heat, crowds, etc. than I am. She'll enjoy what she sees and not worry about what she misses. Mr. Cool, age 18 (by the time we get there), my eldest son, once offered to go to Epcot "just for mom's sake," probably because showing interest in WDW for its own sake might ruin his image. It's hard to be the only guy who worries about "what people will think" and who wants to "accomplish things" in a family of non-conformists who make a game of everything. He works part time with computers but has only reluctantly given up his goal of being a soldier (he's diabetic; ain't gonna happen) and is currently planning to create video games for a living. His favorite character is: Im not going to tell you, youll just post it to one of those Disney boards. Not a coasters fan, although he rides them with his dad sometimes because it's the manly thing to do. Loves tall buildings and exploring downtown areas but never trusts anything new -- he was the only one who was none too sure whether he'd like SeaWorld before he went, but he's crazy about it now. With rare exceptions, only goes to shows or on rides the first time if ordered to or to "keep his dad company." Admitting that something he hasn't experienced yet sounds interesting is apparently uncool. Likes to go off either by himself or just with his parents and oldest sister -- the younger three get on his nerves. SeaWorld Son, age 16, who fears that if he goes to WDW, and likes it, he is in some way betraying his beloved orcas. Hopes to be a novelist and always has strange scenarios going on in his brain, which he sometimes shares, and which we sometimes understand. The smiling-ist infant I have ever known, he remains a generally cheerful and easy going guy. His favorite Disney character is Woody from Toy Story. Does not like scary rides and feels no shame in saying so. His older brother won't ride carousels anymore -- "they're for babies" -- but SeaWorld Son couldn't care less what other people say; he still likes carousels and he'll ride them if there's an interesting critter to sit on. His touring style is pretty flexible -- he'll go by himself if he wants to see something (or stay with something) no one else is interested in, or he'll go along with his dad if he's not obsessing on anything. SeaWorld son at SeaWorld Orlando Ballet Girl, age 14, whose dream is to have the whole family go to the Disney parks and have a good time together. Ballet Girl has been taking ballet since she was five and doing Nutcracker every year (and other performances less regularly) since she was six. She used to want to be a school teacher, but has decided that's too hard, and now intends to be an Astrophysicist. That's assuming she doesn't make it professionally in ballet, of course. Her favorite Disney character is Rapunzel. Ballet Girl and I are the only ones who've ever been to a Disney park. We've both done a half day at the Magic Kingdom and a day at Disneyland, however my Disneyland day was in the early 1970s while hers was in 2011. She will happily ride the same thing six times in a row if she likes it, without worrying about what she's missing, however she usually tours with her dad who wants to see everything and is fine with moving on as well, so long as she knows that's the plan going in. Ballet Girl at Pop Century Warrior Girl, age 11, although somewhat bloodthirsty, and generally fearless (she's used to taking on siblings twice her size, y'see), used to dive under tables and other wise seek cover or flee on sighting a costumed character. She says she can handle them now. Let's hope so. She likes animals more than humans and hopes to one day work for the SPCA. Her favorite Disney character is Scar. She usually tours with her dad, because he "does stuff", but then gets frustrated because he's doing things she doesn't want to do, and so switches over to hanging out with mom and the Hermit. Then she gets frustrated because we're walking and looking too much and not doing anything, so she switches back to dad. She'll finally be old enough to spend some time by herself by the time we get there, so that may make it easier on her. Warrior Girl at Downtown Disney The Hobbitess, your narrator. I grew up on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color and have been dreaming of going to Disney World since the day it opened (once Epcot opened, even more so). I'm a homebody, but I like traveling a few weeks a year so long as I have regular access to a full kitchen. This will be our third trip to Orlando, but our first family trip to the WDW parks, for various reasons, so while most of those were "I'd sure like to see the WDW parks someday" kinda years, the last few years it's been "I can't believe we're going to be ThisClose and not go!" wishing. I plan like a fiend, but when planning for myself there's a lot of "hanging around looking at stuff" sort of things in the plan. I deliberately put the important stuff early so I can abandon the plan after a certain point without getting bothered -- theoretically, at least. I always plan more stuff than we actually do, even when we're going to a resort in the middle of nowhere, so planning a Disney vacation I know I'm doomed from the git go. We're going to be in Orlando for twelve days (eleven and a half, really, because I like to keep the last afternoon for packing), which sounds like a glorious long time but I know from our 2011 trip that isn't how it necessarily works out (can you say car trouble? ). Eldest and I have six day tickets; everyone else will only commit to two days. Mr. Cool wants to go to SeaWorld a couple of days, and SeaWorld Son vacillates about that (he'd have to pay his own way, which would cut into his souvenirs stash). The Hermit will probably have had enough at six days, and so will my feet, but we can always kick it up if I guess wrong. Knock wood Dunno if we'll come out of this with some Disney converts or not, but I expect it'll be interesting. Well, to me at least. And Ballet Girl loves to read my trip reports -- because she is usually in them! -- so I'll have at least one reader.