The Fratt house Takes on the World! - Sept 2012 PTR

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by Fratthouse, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Hello there! Welcome to my very first Pre-trip Report! First Trip Report for that matter. In fact, the only thing I've done on the DIS so far is to post a few comments on other people’s TRs. So I warn you now - I have no idea what I'm doing!! But I just found out we are for sure going to Disney in three weeks and I'm dying to share my trip details with someone!:woohoo:

    I know what you're thinking:
    Hold on! Wait a second! Did you say three weeks??? And you just found out??? Hannah, this is serious cause for concern! You must be a very impulsive, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl! We're not sure you're going to fit in here at the DIS. You see, we are all hyper-organized trip planners who have the every detail of our perfect Disney vacations planned to a "t" months in advance. This three weeks out thing....well, we're not so sure....:confused:

    I do have a good explanation, but you'll just have to keep reading to find out what it is! But before we get too far into this, let me introduce to you our little cast of characters. First, there's me. And I should probably introduce my little boy at the same time, since I don't have any pictures taken in the last year that don't involve him. Seriously. He is the focus of every picture, and if me or my husband are somewhere in the background, well ....that's just a bonus. So here is us:
    [​IMG]
    I'm a 30 year old ex-accountant - I worked in management for seven years before "retiring" to stay home when we had our little boy. I made my first trip to Disney World three years ago. Even though it was a super short trip (two days!), I had so much fun and immediately became a Disney addict (Insert comments here about how I love Disney so much I want to marry it, live in the Swiss family tree house, when I die have my ashes scattered around the base of the Tree of Life, etc. etc. etc.).

    Favorite Park: Animal Kingdom (I know, I know. This is no one's favorite park. But there's a story. I'm sure I'll get to it at some point in this PTR)
    Favorite Table-Service Restaurant: Yak N Yeti (I'll admit - this one's a little lame. Because our trips are always so short, we have pretty limited experience at table-service restaurants)
    Favorite Counter Service Restaurant: Boulangerie Patisserie
    Favorite Ride: Splash Mountain
    Favorite Non-Ride Attraction: FOTLK


    Next, we have this guy:
    [​IMG]
    We'll call him The Little Frattster (TLF). We just celebrated his first birthday and are so excited to take him on his first trip to Disney. I'm a little nervous about this trip because it's actually a work trip for my husband (WHAT? HE GETS TO GO TO DISNEYWORLD FOR WORK??? Yes, he's like the luckiest person on the planet. I'll explain the details later.) So for a big chunk of the time, it's going to just be me with TLF. On our own. By ourselves. Single-mommyhood. Did I mention that he's 1? Any advice would be appreciated. Prayers, too, for that matter.

    I'm just kidding. He's really a wonderful, easy-going baby. And we'll be in Disneyworld! So we'll have fun no matter what we're doing. Even if it's just sitting in the hotel room watching Stacey! Since he doesn’t really have any fun Disney favorites, I’ll just share with you a funny story about him. TLF hates going to sleep. Like a lot of babies, he screams his head off whenever we lay him down. So nap time and bed time are a lot of fun. We hold him, rock him, sing to him, pour him a glass of wine, follow it up with some benedryl (ok – I’m just kidding about the last two things. Please don’t call social services on me). Anyways, after he finally goes to sleep, he always poops. Then he wakes up because he’s pooped. So we have to change him, and then start the whole routine all over again. No lie. It’s every single time.

    We go through a whole lot of wine.

    Hannah, that’s not a funny story. That’s a gross story. Didn’t you read the posting rules on the DIS? No profanity, no talking about politics or religion, and no sharing stories about your child’s poop habits.

    Oh. Ok. Got it. Sorry. Please ignore above story and we’ll move on. Thank you.

    Last but not least, there's this guy:
    [​IMG]
    My amazing husband - my other favorite person in the world, and the reason we get to take this trip to Disney World! The only negative thing I will share about him is this: He doesn't love Disney (GASP!). I think it's because as a child, he had extreme motion sickness issues (like couldn't ride in a car for longer than short trips around town), so he grew up not enjoying theme parks AT ALL. And even though he's (mostly) outgrown the motion sickness, he just has a bias against theme parks in general. That's not to say he dislikes Disney, but he doesn't really get excited about it, either. And he hates talking about the plans for our Disney trips. On our last trip, I asked if he had any "must-do's" when I was making our plans. He said he just wanted to hang by the pool. Seriously? The pool? THE POOL??? Now I know Disney has some fantastic aquatic recreation areas. But if I am going to Disney World, I want to do some things that I can't do when I'm home. Going to the pool does not fall into that category. So this year I took a different approach and asked him if he wanted to hear about the places I'd made Dining reservations. His response? "Nah. Just surprise me." Boo.

    I should also mention that he is a borderline health nut. He never eats fried foods, fatty foods, and rarely eats dessert. His favorite meal is grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. In fact, on our first date, he ordered a salad as his entree. I momentarily panicked, wondering what the appropriate "date etiquette" was in this situation. Am I required to order a salad, too??? Will he not like me if I eat real food??? What if I order a salad, and then pass out later because I'm still so hungry???? And then I figured, what the heck. No point in pretending to be something I'm not! So I ordered a burger and fries. Then he asked me to marry him on the spot. OK that last part is a lie, but he did ask me out on another date, so it worked out alright in the end.

    I may have made him sound a little dull in this update, so let me throw in some positives as well. He truly is the most thoughtful and accommodating husband I can imagine. And in spite of not loving Disney himself, he eagerly goes along with whatever I want to do and truly has fun watching me enjoy myself so much. So he's pretty fun to have along as a touring partner:) Here's just a few of his Favs:

    Favorite Park: Animal Kingdom
    Favorite Ride: Kilimanjaro Safaris
    Favorite non-ride activity: Hanging by the pool
    Favorite Disney Movie: Aladdin

    With that, I'll close out this first installment. But join me next time - I'll give you a little background on how this trip came about and we'll get to the details of the actual trip. Thanks so much for reading!
     
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  3. WDWCPALUM03

    WDWCPALUM03 Mouseketeer

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    I'll join in, I'm excited to hear how things turn out for you with such short notice. I would panic:rotfl:

    Your lil guy is very handsome!
     
  4. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for joining in! Glad to have you along! To be honest, I'm kind of excited to see how things turn out for me, too:) It may be a disaster, but worst case scenario we'll still be in Disney World, so how bad could it be? At least that's what I'm telling myself:)
     
  5. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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  6. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Ok – so now that we all know each other, let’s discuss a little Disney, shall we? First, how on earth did I wind up planning a trip to Disney three weeks out? You are about to find out.

    I have to confess, I’m really hesitant to even share this story with you. I seriously considered making up a different story to explain the last minute nature of our trip that might make you like me more. Like maybe some great hardship forced us to go – e.g. We had to leave our home for a week while it was renovated due to an invasion of ROUS’s (Rodents of Unusual Size, for any of you not familiar with the movie “The Princess Bride”).
    [​IMG]

    Or maybe it was for a great adventure – e.g. We stumbled upon a treasure map that leads us just outside the city of Orlando. Since we would be there treasure-hunting anyways, we figured we might as well go to Disney World.
    [​IMG]

    Or maybe just something ridiculous – e.g. I have an insatiable craving for Dole Whip, and it’s closer to travel to Disney World than to Oahu.
    [​IMG]

    But alas, none of these are true. What’s that you say? You want the truth? The whole truth? Nothing but the truth? Alright….but just remember – you asked for it. I preferred the treasure-hunting version, myself.

    Here is the true story. I’m sorry, but it’s a bit dull. I’ve tried to insert plenty of sarcasm to make up for it.:goodvibes

    My husband works for company that has a partnership with Disney. Every year, Disney is given the opportunity to attend and take part in their events. In return, two of the company’s employees are allowed to travel to Disneyworld during their Night of Joy event (NOJ). Disney provides hotel accommodations, park hopper tickets, and tickets to NOJ. Three years ago, my husband became one of the two very lucky employees, and we traveled to Disney World for the first time in either of our lives. It was magical! It was only for two days, but they were two of the most fun-filled days of my life! We were also able to go the following year (2010) for three days, which was pretty awesome as well.

    Last year, my son was born in the middle of August. NOJ is the second weekend in September, so we knew that was going to be a problem. Some of you are shaking your fist in the air and shouting, “Why? Why didn’t you time it better? What were you thinking??? Don’t you know you should plan the birth of your firstborn around your free trip to Disneyworld???” We’re idiots, I know.

    We seriously considered trying to make it work. I thought maybe I could just go and stay at the resort the whole time? I imagined myself sitting in a beautiful hotel room holding my three week old baby while eating Mickey Rice Crispy Treat and watching Stacey. I mean, at least I would be in Disney World! And then we pulled our heads out of the clouds and came back to real life. We came to our senses well in advance and just accepted that there would be no Disney trip for us this year.

    I realize I sound a little spoiled after that last paragraph. You must be thinking (insert sarcasm), “You poor thing. You only got to take two all-expense paid trips to Disneyworld and didn’t get to go the third year. We feel soooooooo sorry for you.” (End sarcasm) “What about the rest of us who save all year (or for multiple years) and spend our hard-earned money for an opportunity to experience Disney?” Good point. I told you it wasn’t a great story - which is why I tried to tell you I was searching for buried treasure. But no – you insisted on the truth. It really is overrated sometimes….

    Ok. Since you insist, we'll get back to the story. This year there was a lot of uncertainty about our Disney trip. Without going into too much detail, I will just say that there’s been a lot of financial concern at my husband’s place of work, so the trip to Disney was not guaranteed until this past week! There really aren’t words to express my emotions, but here are a few that come close: Overjoyed, Thrilled, Elated, Blissful, Ecstatic.… You get the idea. I danced around the house, jumped up and down, and burst into song. It was a beautiful medley of classic Disney songs – “A Whole New World”, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”, and “Gaston” all made an appearance. The Little Frattster (aka Baby Boy) just stared at me in wonder and giggled. I thought about posting a video of said medley on here for your viewing pleasure, but then thought better of it. I’m new here and still want everyone to think I’m cool and all….

    So that’s the story. I hope you don’t judge me too harshly for getting an all-expense paid trip to Disney. If it makes you feel any better, it could not go to anyone more excited or grateful than I am! And I promise that if I do come across any buried treasure while in Orlando, I’ll be sure to share it with each of you!

    Thanks again for reading! Next up – Airline tickets…..why I’ve only purchased one, and why it’s one way!
     
  7. CatNipRules

    CatNipRules <font color=royalblue>Overplanner Extraordinaire..

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    Joining in!! We are sort of neighbors. Well, our states our anyways!! LOL!

    I am a major planner, but have planned trips on short notice! Can't wait to read more!
     
  8. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much for joining! It's so much more fun to write these when others are reading:)
    Definitely let me know if you have any advice for last minute planning - I'm pretty laid back and am committed to just making this the best it can be, but would love any thoughts or ideas you might have!
     
  9. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Hello again! So when we left off, my family and I were hunting buried treasure just off the coast of central Florida….

    What’s that you say? That’s not where we left off? That was the made-up story???

    Oh. Yea. Sorry about that. Let’s try this again.

    So after we found out that we were going to Disney this year, through DH’s work, we had some bad news. They would not be paying for DH’s flight to Orlando. Boo.

    Instead, DH informs me that he will be traveling to Orlando with his coworker on this:

    [​IMG]

    Ummmm, what???

    I’m sure all of you are far more intelligent and knowledgeable than I am, so you are probably already familiar with “The Mega Bus”. I, however, had never heard of such a thing, so I will explain it to you here. The “Mega Bus” is essentially a super – cheap but somewhat upscale version of the Greyhound Bus system. It travels between major cities for very very cheap (like $35 round trip verses $300 - $500 to fly). It also has wi-fi on board, charging stations at each seat, and the interior looks similar to a charter bus, I think. So not a terrible option if you’re looking to save some cash and/or hoping to work while you travel. But not an option I was going to consider trying with my one-year-old son. Can you imagine the dirty looks we would get from surrounding passengers if we got on there with a squirmy toddler? I mean, a two-hour flight is one thing. But an eleven hour bus ride? No way.

    So DH suggested that DS and I fly, and he would just meet up with us in Orlando. Now to many of you, that may not seem like a terrible idea. But I instantly had the following vision pop into my head: I’m trying to push a stroller one-handed through the airport while carrying a giant diaper bag, my purse, and pulling my carry-on suitcase. I am already ridiculously uncoordinated, so inevitably I am ramming the stroller into trash cans, walls, and other people as I try to navigate my way through the terminal. Meanwhile, my one-year-old is screaming at the top of his lungs and throwing toys, sippy cups, and pacifiers out of his stroller and onto the ground as I am clumsily pushing him. We attempt to go through security and I take so long to locate my ID and plane ticket that the people in line behind me begin throwing rotten tomatoes at me. Things get only more complicated as we try to navigate our way through the metal detectors, and virtually impossible once we arrive in Orlando and I have to pick up our checked luggage. How on earth would I push a stroller and drag my two checked bags and one carry-on bag through MCO and get to the Magical Express? This is not sounding like a great way to start my Disney vacation.

    Needless to say, I quickly ruled out flying by myself.

    The last option was to drive. And actually, I was kind of excited about it. It’s a 10 hour drive from our house to Orlando, which seems kind of far. The flight to Orlando is only two hours. But if you add up travel time to the airport, the time you spend getting through security and sitting at the gate, flight time, waiting to pick up your luggage, and then the trip on the Magical Express, it usually takes us 6 and a half hours to reach our resort from the time we leave our house. So it’s really not as bad as it seems. Plus, we could bring all of the stuff for our son – diapers, wipes, baby food, bouncy seat, a couple different kinds of strollers….etc.

    I also thought it might be kind of nice to have our own car and not have wait for the buses if we didn’t feel like it. Every time we’ve been at Disney, the buses have been really slow. I have a theory – that is based on absolutely nothing except my own personal experience. Maybe that makes it an idea instead of a theory? I don’t know. Anyways, my theory is that during the slower season, Disney runs way fewer buses than in the busy season.

    Now that I type that out, it seems kind of obvious.

    Duh, Hannah. Of course they run fewer buses when there are fewer people. Gees.

    OK, so that was stupid. The point remains that during the slow season, while you rarely have to deal with crowded buses, you do have to wait longer for your bus to arrive. So having our own car might be a nice perk. And we would save some money by not buying plane tickets – yay! More to spend on souvenirs.

    So it was settled. We would drive our car down to Orlando, maybe leave in the evening and drive late into the night so DS would sleep. I like driving, so I was excited with this plan.

    Then it all changed.

    A few days later, DH called with some news. Guess what? One of the partners of his company offered to pay for his flight to Orlando! So now it’s back to flying. At first, I was a little less than thrilled. But then I discovered that by flying, we would actually have more days at Disney because we wouldn’t have to spend whole days traveling. And with DH with me, I felt a little more confident about navigating the airport with our DS. So it’s settled.

    I immediately went on Southwest to look at flight options. We wanted to leave the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 5. There were several flight options, but only one non-stop flight that morning. It left at 8 and arrived at 11 (it’s a two-hour flight, but we lose an hour because we go from central time zone to eastern time zone). The other flight options all had layovers and wouldn’t arrive until much later in the day.

    Now here’s where things start to get stressful. Normally, I would be very anxious to get on the non-stop flight simply because I want to get to Disney AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I know you all understand. When going to the World, there is absolutely no time to waste on things like unnecessary layovers. But this time, it was even more crucial that we get on the non-stop flight because I didn’t want DS to have to be on the plane any longer than was absolutely necessary. This is his first time flying, and I’m really nervous about how it’s going to go. He’s at that age where he’s mobile and he knows it, so he does not want to sit still in our laps or be contained at all. But he’s also too little to be entertained very long with things like books, tv, or ipad games. So this could be a disaster. And I absolutely do not want to have to be on two different flights if we can help it at all! So it was crucial that we get on this flight.

    DH immediately emailed the flight information to the person who was actually going to purchase his flight. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Every couple of hours I would check back with DH to see if there was an update. And there wasn’t. A day went by. Then two days. I started to get really panicky because I couldn’t book my flight until I knew it would be the same as DH’s. Then the price jumped $100. Ugh. Finally, I just couldn’t wait any more. I talked it over with DH, and we decided that regardless of what flight DH was on, the most important thing was that we had DS on the direct flight. So I just went for it and purchased my ticket on the direct flight. DH will be on some flight Wednesday morning, so we will arrive at the airport and go through security at the same time. I may be on my own during the flight, so that could be an adventure. But we’ll see.

    The return flights really weren’t as crucial – there were several direct options, and the departing and arrival times really don’t matter – so I’m waiting to book my return flight until DH’s flight is booked. So for now, we have one, one-way ticket purchased. It’s a little unsettling, given that we’re supposed to leave in two weeks and five days, but whatever. I’ve got a ticket to Disney, so there’s no stopping me now!

    Up next, we tackle one of the most crucial questions of all Disney planning: What resort should I stay at???
     
  10. CatNipRules

    CatNipRules <font color=royalblue>Overplanner Extraordinaire..

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    I can totally relate to the whole flying with your DS thing. When my DS was 18 months old I flew with him from Florida to Texas. He slept the whole way and he even slept through a soggy diaper. I slept through it to until I realized that his diaper had leaked through and soaked me too. It wasn't a pretty experience. LOL! Then we had the whole diaper bag, stroller and sippy cup thing to deal with. It wasn't a fun experience and not one I wanted to do ever again!! LOL!!

    I love going to Disney in September. It's actually one of my favorite times of year.

    One park related tip that helped us with DS was to keep his stroller from disappearing.

    someone had taken his stroller and it happened again later that week. So, what to do? We went to Target and got another cheaper stroller. Then, I took one of the white plastic bags. Inside the bag I put a diaper that I had poured coke into. Why? It looks exactly like poo. Amazingly it stopped anyone from taking the stroller for the rest of our trip!!

    Another tip as far as the characters go. Take baby steps if you are going to do any meet and greets. DS was terrified of Goofy, but loved Pooh. Mickey was tolerated, but Eeyore was a no go. LOL!

    If you are going to Hollywood Studios take time to watch some of the street shows. DS had fallen asleep one day and we had parked him under one of the trees and DH and I were relaxing when the street performers came and started their show in front of us. It was awesome!! DH and I still talk about it to this day!!

    The baby swap is your friend. Use it. LOL! Seriously though, I know that I love riding the rides with my DH, but back before DS was big enough to ride the rides we used the baby swap all the time.

    Take time to discover the Disney ducks. I swear, even the ducks at Disney are magical. LOL!!
     
  11. MHTeacher

    MHTeacher DIS Veteran

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    Hi Hannah! You have a beautiful family! :)

    Can't wait to hear which resort you've chosen!
     
  12. mommys3

    mommys3 Disney Or Bust

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    Love reading how everything is starting to unfold! You have a beautiful family :goodvibes
     
  13. cfw213

    cfw213 DIS Veteran

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    Hello! Just stop by to say I'm following. I'm an accountant too (yayy geeks!) and we're also going in September.

    Can't wait to read the rest of your plans - your son is adorable!
     
  14. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much for all the tips! Traveling with a baby is an entirely different animal, so it should be a pretty fun experience:)

    I love the stroller idea! We've been debating between the travel system stroller and our cheap-o umbrella stroller. I think we'll go with the umbrella stroller and try the soda-in-the-diaper trick. Awesome!

    We're gonna' go a little easy on the characters this time. I had originally booked a breakfast at the Crystal Palace, but cancelled it and decided to just see how he reacts. There will be plenty of opportunities for character interaction on future visits when we're sure he'll enjoy it!

    Thanks again for all your ideas - I'm going to write them all down in my little micky trip journal so I don't forget:)
     
  15. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, Michelle! So glad to have you with us!
     
  16. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much for joining! I just caught up on your PTR and am following along now! Sounds like you have a great trip planned! So fun to be able to go with your sister:) And I gotta say - I love the T-shirts and love love love the D&B bag!

    And yay for accounting:) I never thought I would miss it, but I totally do! These days I spend hours balancing our checkbooks and analyzing our budget (something I never used to do!), and my husband is like, "you totally miss accounting". Definitely don't get to use that part of your brain much as a stay-at-home-mom!
     
  17. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, Helen! Great to have you along! Looks like you have a trip coming up really soon! Are you to single digits in the countdown??? So exciting!
     
  18. rachel09985

    rachel09985 DIS Veteran

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    Oh my gosh you are cracking me up!!

    Let me tell you I am sooo thankful you do not have to ride MegaBus! I hate them and they have the worst customer service ever. I will never say anything good about them.

    Long story short- my luggage was switched with someones(same exact luggage) and they returned my luggage but everything was stolen from it and MegaBus wouldn't do anything to compensate. Luckily, I had renters insurance and they covered it!

    But thats why I am so thankful you do not have to go on the MegaBus! I am looking forward to the rest of your pre trip report!
     
  19. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    So guess what happened after I finished typing up the last update. Just guess.

    Exactly! I found a map that leads to a buried treasure right outside of Orlando!

    Ha ha. Just kidding. I gotcha for a second, though, didn’t I?

    So, really. What do you think happened? Yup – DH’s flights were booked, and it was not the flight we were hoping for. In fact, it wasn’t any of the flights we were hoping for. Instead of booking one of the morning flights, they booked him on a flight that doesn’t leave until 12:30 that afternoon. To their defense, the direct flight that left at 8:00 am cost $130 more than all the other flights that day, so they just booked him on the second-earliest direct flight. But now not only were we not on the same flight, but we didn’t even need to be at the airport at the same time! Plus, we still had some concerns about me being all alone with DS while on the flight, navigating through MCO, being on the Magical Express, and checking into the hotel. So guess what? I changed my one-way ticket. Now we are both leaving at 12:30 that day and arriving at 3:30 in the afternoon. I’m a little disappointed that we will have four less hours at Disney on that first day, but relieved that DH will be there with me the whole time to help get us settled.

    And our first pixie dust - southwest gave me a credit for the difference in the ticket price, which I applied to my return ticket. So guess how much I had to pay for my return flight? $10.40. That’s right – by switching to the later flight, I was basically able to buy a round-trip ticket for only $10 more than my old one-way ticket. Score! That’ll pay for our dinner at Ohana’s. Oops – I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s not time for ADR’s yet!

    I know I promised the resort discussion in my next report, so I'm sorry to have misled you....I'm working on that update now and will hopefully be able to share that bit of excitement with you tonight!
     
  20. Fratthouse

    Fratthouse DIS Veteran

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    Hi Rachel! Glad you are joining in! And really glad you understand my weird, sarcastic humor! I was worried it might not translate when others were reading it:)

    That's awful about Mega-Bus! Why can't every company take a cue from Disney and understand that providing excellent customer service is good for business? Guess that's part of what keeps us coming back, right? Anyways - looks like you have a fun trip coming up, too! I would love to try the F&W Festival, so I look forward to catching up on your PTR and seeing everything you have planned!
     
  21. TexasBelle

    TexasBelle Mouseketeer

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    Oh my lands... I'm so glad your not flying by yourself... That would be so hard for you!!! Your little guy is so cute... What an exciting trip for you guys.

    Your writing is lots of fun. Thanks.. Always fun to read TR that has lots of fun stuff to them, not the boring. Who what when where and why!!!

    One of these days I want to go to Nights of Joy!!! I love Christian Music... It's my favorite. I love all the groups that will be there...

    So excited to see what resort you pick...

    TexasBelle
    Carolyn

     

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