The Darling Family's Endless Summer Vacation: August 2013 New 1/24

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by dismagiclover, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    Hi everyone. it has been a long while since Ive done a trip report here on the DIS. Life gets crazy and I dont always have the time Id like to relive our awesome Disney vacations. Im sure most of you out there havent read my previous trip reports because they are kind of ancient history here on the fast moving DIS. So Ill introduce the major players.

    First up is me. Im Jenny and I love vacationing at Disney World. Then there is my wonderful DH. He too loves vacationing at Disney World, just not maybe as much as me. This picture is from our trip in January 2012.

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    Then we have the three Darling children. They have all pretty much grown up going to Disney World so it is in their blood and they love it.

    This is Wendy. She is now 13. An official teenager. She is often my laughing buddy. We had tons to laugh about on this trip.

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    Here is John who is now 11 years old. I keep thinking the time will come when Disney is too little kid for him, but that hasnt happened yet. He still loves it.

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    Then we have Michael who is 8 years old for 3 more weeks. We sometimes forget that he is still a little kid, but he reminded us on this trip. It was so fun to watch him still having fun and loving all of the characters.

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    This trip was a doozy. The kids and I left home on July 31 and didnt return until August 24. So get ready. This is going to be a looong ride!



    Day 1: Travel Day

    Day 2: A Morning at All Star Sports
    Checking in at Arts of Animation
    Swimming at Arts of Animation
    A Magic Kingdom Evening

    Day 3: Good Morning Magic Kingdom
    More Crystal Palace
    Getting our Ride on at Magic Kingdom (and lunch too)
    Michael has a Girlfriend!
    Meeting the Princesses
    Meeting the Main Mouse
    Home Sweet Home

    Day 4: Our Very First Visit to a Disney Water Park
    Back to Epcot
    Michael's Favorite Dog
    Wendy is Reunited with her BFF
    An Epcot Evening with Friends from Home

    Day 5: Ohana Means Breakfast
    Hanging out at the Boardwalk

    Day 6: An Epcot Morning
    Italy
    A Not So Successful Blizzard Beach Trip

    Day 7: Hello to Hollywood
    Hot, Hot, Hot
    Our Last Evening Staying at Boardwalk Villas

    Day 8: An Extra Early Extra Magic Hour
    More Animal Kingdom Fun
    Camp Minnie Mickey
    Bay Lake Tower Here We Come!
    An Afternoon and Evening at the Resort

    Day 9: The Boys Head off on the Dream
    Downtown Disney Shopping Spree
    A Hollywood Studios Evening
    Dinner and Two Shows

    Day 10: Breakfast with Princesses
    Enchanted Tales with Belle
    Belle's Village and a Visit with a Mermaid
    More Girly Characters
    A Girly Tea and an Epcot Evening

    Day 11: Back to the Grand Floridian for Breakfast
    Yay! DH is finally here.
    Hoop Dee Doo and More

    Days 12-16: A Little Break from Disney

    Day 17: Back to the World
    A Visit with Old Friends

    Day 18: A Blizzard Beach Re-do
    Animal Kingdom Villas

    Day 19: A Trip to the DVC Models
    An Afternoon/Evening at Animal Kingdom Kidani

    Day 20: Back to Epcot
    More Future World Fun
    Just a Little More Epcot
    Downtown Disney
    Girls Night Out at the Magic Kingdom

    Day 21: Good Morning Hollywood
    A Little Bit of Drawing and a Lot of Star Wars
    A Water Park and Ice Cream

    Day 22: Another Magic Kingdom Morning

    Flashback Posts
    Alaskan Cruise Days 1 &2
    Alaskan Cruise Day 3
    Alaskan Cruise Day 4
    Alaskan Cruise Day 5
    Alaskan Cruise Day 6
    Alaskan Cruise Day 7
     
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  3. ShellieB

    ShellieB Mouseketeer

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    Reading!! Your trip report was the first I ever read :)
     
  4. LMN

    LMN DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to reading your TR!! I think I remember reading one or two in the past! :)

    Welcome back!
     
  5. Queenofallthings

    Queenofallthings DIS Veteran

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    So great to see you back! You know I am in for this one!
     
  6. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    Welcome! I'm glad you are here and you remember me. It's been a while since I've been around.

    Thanks for the welcome back! Hopefully I can post regularly enough that I don't have to be welcomed back over and over. LOL

    Hello old friend! It's nice to see a familiar face! I know I can always count on you.:goodvibes
     
  7. norybell

    norybell DIS Veteran

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    Yay, a Darling report! Welcome back, Jenny! I actually for some reason was just thinking the other day about how cute your kids were when they were Wendy, Michael, and John for MNSSHP. Why I was thinking about it, I have absolutely no clue...maybe it was when I was looking at the adorable yet expensive kids' Halloween costumes in the Pottery Barn catalog? I can't remember.

    (And now I'm second guessing myself. That was your family, right? I'm just back from a very long DIS-break, myself, so hoping I'm not confused about it all.)

    But anyway: can't wait to read more!
     
  8. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    Another old friend! Good to see you again! You are remembering right about my kids at the MNSSHP. That was such a fun trip and everytime I ride Peter Pan I think about how adorable they all were. Great memories!
     
  9. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    Today was a travel day. So lots of words and few pictures. Sorry. The plan was to leave by 5:30 am and stop for the night in South Georgia. The first part of the trip was just the kids and I. I teach at the local community college so I have summers off, but DH isn’t so lucky. So we were leaving him behind. We packed the car the night before so that we could just hop in and drive off the next morning. And that is pretty much what we did. My alarm went off at 5:00 am. I quickly dressed and then woke up the kids. John sleepily asked if he could bring his sheets. I told him no and assured him all of our hotels would provide adequate sheets. We said goodbye to DH and were pulling out of our driveway at 5:20 am. Yahoo! We were on our way to Disney. We punched Disney World into the navigation system on my phone (we call the voice Suzy) and headed out. We made incredibly great time as we headed South. Wendy is now 13 so she can officially sit in the front seat. She was the perfect co-pilot. Her role was to serve me and she did it perfectly. I could just point at my empty cup and she would fill it with Diet Dr. Pepper. She happily doled out breakfast food to the boys, plugged in electronics and even changed the CDs as instructed. (Yes, our car still has a CD player.) I could boss her around all I wanted and she loooved it because she was sitting in the front seat on a road trip. DH doesn’t take to my bossiness quite as well. Anyway it was around 9:30 and we were well into Virginia. Everyone was feeling good. Suzy the phone was telling us arrival at destination in South Georgia was set for about 4:00. That just didn’t seem right to any of us. What would we do that evening? I hatched a plan. Why not just drive all the way to Disney? We were feeling great and making great time. Granted we were only about 4 hours into a 14 hour trip, but whatever. I instructed my copilot to get on the phone and call Disney. We needed a room for that night. Michael started hollering about staying at Sports. So I told to Wendy to inquire about a room at All Star Sports. That is how Wendy made her very first Disney reservation. She was actually a bit nervous because she had never done it before, but she did a great job and at the end of the phone call we had a reservation! Woo hoo! So we changed Suzy’s instructions and we were set for arrival at destination around 7:00 pm. Now we had a mission and boy were we focused. We only stopped three times the whole trip and no stop was longer than 15 minutes. We would fill the tank, use the restroom and once we went through a drive thru for lunch, but we ate in the car. No time for smelling the roses! Disney was calling us. At about 7:30 we saw this lovely sight.

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    This picture is from a previous trip, but it looks the same. I can’t believe we made it in basically 14 hours including stops! We were all so excited. I parked the car and we headed into this building.

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    Check in went smoothly. We were in football which was a cute section. We were on one of the outside wings on the 1st floor which was nice. It made it really easy to bring the luggage in and it would have been a bit loud in the center section. This was our first time in a value and it was great for the night. We headed over to the food court to get dinner and I took this picture on our way.

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    I have no idea what we had for dinner. We were all feeling pretty tired. It had been a long day so we settled into bed. The best thing about going to bed that night was that we would wake up in Disney the next morning! That was totally worth the commando drive down. :goodvibes
     
  10. debelfish

    debelfish Mouseketeer

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    I am so glad to see you posting on the trip report board. Your reports were some of the first ones I read too. My Dh ran some of the same races at Disney as you so I would look at them to see what it was like on the course. Although I never post on trip reports I can't wait to read this one. We were back in Disney in June and I am suffering from post trip blues.
    Elizabeth
     
  11. norybell

    norybell DIS Veteran

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    I can't believe you drove 14 hours straight, without anyone to take turns with! :faint:
     
  12. 1000HappyWishes

    1000HappyWishes I know every mile will be my worth my while.

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    I'll be joining in on the TR! Your DD sounds similar to me, and I'd like to hear how a vacation this long went!
     
  13. chattadisser

    chattadisser Mouseketeer

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    Yea! Another Darling family TR! Can’t wait to read all about your adventures, the kids have gotten so big! How exciting to turn a 2 day drive into 1. Yea for Wendy making the reservation, that must have made her feel so grown-up.

    Christine
     
  14. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along. :)
     
  15. Queenofallthings

    Queenofallthings DIS Veteran

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    Love that you did the 14 hours in one shot....when Disney's the destination I would totally do that too!

    I still boss Shanleigh around in the front seat and she'll be 21 in October:lmao: Yesterday we were going to my sister's and we got to the end of the street and I said "can I have my sunglasses please" to which she replied "you knew it was sunny 8 houses ago when we left, why didn't you put them on then":rotfl2: the novelty of the front seat apparently has worn off!

    Can't wait to hear about your first day!
     
  16. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    Thanks so much for the kind words and welcome. I would love for you to post regularly on this report. It is always fun to hear from everyone.

    I'm one tough cookie!:laughing: It really wasn't bad. Wendy always is full of things to talk about so she kept me from getting too bored. At one point, John gave me a neck massage too. My kids really are good to me.:)

    Welcome! The more the merrier so I'm glad to have you along for the ride.

    Welcome! I'm glad you're here. My kids really have grown up. Wendy was taller than lots of the characters this trip. Really made me realize how grown up she has become!

    Welcome! Happy to have you.

    So you're telling me I only have 8 more years that I can boss Wendy around. I better take advantage of it while I can.:laughing: In another year or so John can sit in the front seat too. I'm thinking that may keep the kids in line because I will let whoever serves me better sit up front with me. Before you know it they will be hand feeding me grapes and waving palm fronds to cool me off.:rotfl2:
     
  17. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    Our original plan for this day was to drive for 3-4 hours and arrive around lunch time when we would check into Arts of Animation with 1 day park passes (which would be upgraded) and one day of deluxe dining (which we would spread out over 2 days.) Arts of Animation was a little add on I made during trip planning so we could check out the new resort before we started our DVC stay. Obviously plans changed a bit because there was no need for a 4 hour drive. However, we didn’t have park tickets yet so we weren’t going to be rope dropping either. So we really didn’t have any morning plans. We just winged it. That is what can happen when you know you have a really long vacation all still ahead of you. I woke up around 7:00 and went for a run around the all star resorts. I know that sounds like crazy talk, but I have big plans for Marathon Weekend this January. Like real Dopey plans. I’ll be doing races four days in a row: the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and the Full Marathon. So even though I was on vacation it was in my best interest to keep running as much as I could. The All Stars was actually a pretty good place to run. I went through all the resorts and there were plenty of fun things to see. I noted a few things I wanted to show the kids before we left and I also noticed a few people in some of the pools. This gave me a fabulous idea which I used throughout the vacation. There is nothing more refreshing than a dip in the pool after a run. So I headed back to the room where the boys were beginning to stir. They always wake up before Wendy. I shushed them and told them to put on their suits and we headed out to an empty pool for a morning swim. (This next picture came from the All Star Sports picture thread.)

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    I can’t even explain how fabulous this was. The water felt like silk, the pool was completely empty and we still had our entire vacation ahead of us. It was so great that I felt it was worth waking up Wendy. So I ran back to the room, woke her up and told her to join us at the pool. Notice the three beach balls in the background of the picture above. One for each kid. It was as if the pool was meant for us this morning. We splashed around in the pool for well over an hour and no one else ever joined us. It was the baseball pool and Michael loves both playing and watching baseball so the kids played water baseball using the bases in the corner. They let me be catcher so I could just plop myself down on home plate and do nothing. It may sound crazy, but that morning swim is one of my favorite memories from the trip.

    All good things must come to an end, so eventually we hauled ourselves out of the pool and back to our room to get ready for check out. After we were cleaned up we went to breakfast at the food court. It was the standard Disney food court breakfast. Our check out time was creeping up on us, so we went back to the room, packed up, and took everything out to the car. Then I took the kids on a walk around the resort to see a few of the icons I thought they would like. First we headed over to Music so I could show John the giant saxophone. (He is a sax player.)

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    I really liked Music. I thought the landscaping over there was really lovely. It seemed a step above the landscaping at both Sports and Movies. Then we headed back to Sports so I could show Michael the little ducks playing baseball (in the tennis section.)

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    Somewhere during this walk the boys decided they wanted to climb up the icons that are the stairwells. It started with the Coke can.

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    So Wendy and I sat on benches at each stop and they hoofed it up the icons. At some point John quit climbing because it was hot, but not Michael. He had to climb up that tennis ball canister.

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    There was one more stop I wanted to make in the resorts, but it was over in Movies. So we headed back to the car and drove to Movies so I could get a specific photo. To appreciate this photo you must first see the flashback shot.

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    This was taken in January 2008. Here is the 2013 picture.

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    What a difference five and a half years make! It was getting close to noon so we figured we better get on with our day.

    Next up: Arts of Animation

     
  18. katt789

    katt789 DIS Veteran

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    I'm in!!

    Sounds like a great way to start of a vacation!! Nice smooth trip all the way down to Disney, heck yes!! All Stars are nice enough, the one thing I like about the Value's is how they're still "Disney" themed, where as the mods/deluxes feel more...well..deluxe lol!! I do love the giant Icons of the All Stars! Glad you guys enjoyed them!

    Dopey plans! Ah! Sounds insane!! I was reading up on Disney races, but think a five K would be the only one I'd want to do, maybe the Everest challenge. Who knows!!

    The pool must've been such a great morning of fun!! Everyone else racing off to the parks while you've got the pool completely to yourselves, how great! Awe! The ducks playing baseball is SUPER cute, I completely missed that when I was there, glad you showed it to me haha!

    Excited to read more!

     
  19. norybell

    norybell DIS Veteran

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    My goodness, Jenny, that is one ambitious and impressive marathon plan!

    What a wonderful first day...I want to be floating around in an empty WDW pool right now!
     
  20. chattadisser

    chattadisser Mouseketeer

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    Isn't the themeing at the All-Star's wonderful? We stayed at Sports last summer for a quick trip and it was all so cute. Love the photo in the TV. That would be a photo-op that I might make a special trip for each time just to document the changes.

    I have to give it to you for signing up for the Dopey, that is a lot of training dedication! :eek: I wanted to do the 10K but didn't get registered fast enough. Who knew the 10K would fill in one day? I think the 5K and 10K would almost be more fun because more of the race is in the parks and less highway time.

    Can't wait to read more!

    Christine
     
  21. Ariel484

    Ariel484 DIS Veteran

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    Love your report so far, Jenny! You guys are very brave for driving the whole way through in one day. Sounds like it was definitely worth it.

    Great pictures at the Music TV, so cute!

    Good job keeping up with the running while on your trip! I can't wait to hear about your Dopey experience. I'm cruising on Sunday (!!) and am hoping to run a few times during the trip...we'll see if that happens! :rolleyes1
     

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