The Never-Ending-Anything-Goes PTR

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by stephielela, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    I'm about to start dissecting your TR for planning purposes :rotfl2: Can I swipe some of your pictures? I will totally give you credit!

    I know! It's almost overwhelming... almost :rotfl2: I really NEED a vacation, my boss is driving me INSANE! She is being super irritating on a daily basis and my whole team is feeling the strain. She's actually going on vacation the two weeks before me so it will be a nice break for all involved :rotfl:
     
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  3. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    you sure can! :thumbsup2
     
  4. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    Thanks!!!
     
  5. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    Since I have so much going on I am just going to do a really abbreviated version of our DC trip and hit the highlights…

    When I left off we were having people over for a party in our hotel. We have a TON of friends in the DC area, both from living there and Army contacts that have migrated there after getting out of the service. My best friend Melissa lives there as does my cousin Joey who is an actor with a Shakespeare group there. We wanted to make sure we saw as many people as possible in our short visit so we invited them all over.

    I had promised Jack that we could take a quick swim first though so we hit the pool for about 20 minutes and then headed up to the room to shower/change.

    It was really nice to see everyone again, and people were in love with Jack, most had never met him before. He was super shy at first but quickly warmed up once someone offered him their iphone to play Angry Birds on. After several hours of catching up we headed down to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner… let’s just say we didn’t make that mistake again… it was less than delicious.

    It had been a looooong day so we were ready for bed right after dinner. I will say the bed was the MOST COMFORTABLE BED ever. Now if only Jack would learn how to sleep on his side of the bed!

    The next morning we got up and ate breakfast and split up for the day. My sister, Melissa, Jack and I headed to GW (George Washington University) where I went to college. I wanted to hit the bookstore and get a tshirt and look around. There was a lot of “Look Jack, that’s where Mommy used to live” etc. It was kinda surreal.

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    Eventually we met up with Joey and we all walked over towards the White House.


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    We had tickets for the White House Garden Tour. The line was loooong but it moved relatively quickly. I will say I didn’t find it thrilling, but getting to wander around right next to the White House was cool! Jack was not intrigued and it took much persuading to get him to stop whining and pose for pictures.


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    That’s my cousin Joey.

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    Jack did NOT understand why he couldn’t play!

    This is the new National Christmas Tree. I think the old one was damaged in a storm a couple years ago. I’ve been to the lighting ceremony and it is fun. This one isn’t looking so good either though…


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    Joey left and Jack finally got the ice cream he had been promised… Which he promptly dropped on the ground!


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    Then it was time for monuments!


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    My sister, Melissa, and Jack
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    My sister, me and Jack
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    In case you were wondering…
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    WWII


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    I LOVE this memorial. I was living in DC when this was built and I used to go running at Night down by this monument frequently. I know some people get mad that people use the pool to put their feet in, but I am pretty sure I read somewhere it was intended that way. There are no signs or anything saying you shouldn’t, and I wish this had been there when I was younger because kids don’t really get a thrill out of walking miles and miles in the heat, so this helps.


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    I wouldn’t let Jack splash in it or anything though, it was strictly a feet cooling place!


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    There was a bridal party getting pictures taken here that day. Jack thought the bride was “beautiful”.
     
  6. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    Next up was President Lincoln!

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    My dad got some more pictures of Jack here but I don’t have those loaded yet…
    We met up with my parents here and then headed back to the hotel. My mom was going out with some friends so the rest of us went to happy hour at the hotel and freshened up before heading to dinner at Pentagon Row. This time we went to Tai-phoon which was yummy!
    After dinner Melissa and Katie and I hit up a pub I used to go to frequently when I lived there. IT was nice just reminiscing, though it made me feel super old! We were pretty exhausted from all the walking so we hopped the shuttle back to the hotel relatively early.

    The next morning was gross and rainy. We got up, ate breakfast and headed to the Smithsonian museums. Our first stop was Air and Space

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    You can tell how thrilled Jack was about museums in general here. He just doesn’t have a lot of patience yet, and we didn’t have that much time to spend getting him excited about it. I’m hoping in another year or two he might get more into it.

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    After Air and Space we met up with Joey and headed to Natural History, literally to JUST see the dinosaurs.

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    It was cold and rainy and yucky and we actually had to hurry and meet up with my parents and sister so Joey could hang with them while Jack and Melissa and I went to see an old friend from college.

    And this is where the pictures end for some reason! We visited with my friend for a while. Jack LOVED him and his partner. Both of them are very friendly and great with kids. My friends partner is also into Phineas and Ferb so we all sat around and watched a few episodes and caught up. After a bit we met back up with my parents and cousin for dinner and then headed back for an early night. We took Jack to swim, and Melissa tried her best to teach him, but all he wants to do is jump in. Melissa had to leave to go to work the next day so we ordered room service dessert (which was gross) and then she left. We got all packed and went to bed.

    The next morning was CHILLY. Luckily it wasn’t as rainy. We all had some last minute things we wanted to do so we headed into the city and went our separate ways. Jack was intent on getting an Obama bobble head. This kid wanted NOTHING else. Naturally the one at the hotel was like $20 and I really didn’t want to pay that since we had seen it at the street kiosks for around $8. After our third attempt we finally found a kiosk that had one! After we purchased our various souvenirs we headed back to the mall by the hotel and ate in the food court. Shortly after Jack and I met my parents and sister and we headed back to the hotel to catch the shuttle to the airport! At the airport I naturally bought a few more items and then we waited… and waited… I hate getting to the airport early for that reason. Eventually we got on our flight (Frontier) and had the rudest flight attendant ever. But we made it home, safe and sound and ready for our next adventure!
     
  7. Leshaface

    Leshaface DIS Veteran

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    Nice updates!

    I totally regret not having enough time to see the White house or the WWII monument. We only had one day, got to see a lot, but clearly not everything. I would love to go back there one day. It's all so fascinating! It never really intrigued me back when I was younger, but as you get older, you learn to appreciate things more. I'm pretty sure Jack will get there one day:thumbsup2

    I LOVE the picture of him in that basket! :lmao: He looks so amused! :rotfl:


    Also, I have a question, not pertaining to your TR..
    I was going to ask you about Frontier. Is it a pretty good airline? I've never used them before and haven't heard much about them, but I keep getting email alerts for the dates of the flights i've been looking at and they seem to be the cheapest (Southwest hasn't come out with December dates yet) Also, is it true the best times to book flights are Tuesday and Wednesday mornings/afternoons?
     
  8. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    I can remember being a teen and bring dragged around museums in NYC and getting the glazed over look...Now I want to go back and see them. LOL
    sounds like Jack did pretty good with a lot of adult activity.
     
  9. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    There is so much to see in DC it's hard to fit it all in, even in a week or two!

    As for Frontier... I'm not a huge fan of them. I really love Southwest and so naturally I compare everything else to them. I also love Jet Blue, but they don't fly out of here. I don't HATE Frontier, I just haven't had fantastic experiences with them, but I would choose them if they were significantly cheaper than SW... I have heard that the best times to book are Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and I think that's true sometimes, but there are always exceptions. I would look around, see what fares are looking like and then come up with a price (within that range) you are comfortable with paying. The other nice thing about SW is if the fare goes down, you can get a SW credit for the difference. I don't know if any other airlines offer that.


    I know! I used to HATE the museums but now...
    Jack did pretty well, he is pretty impatient but then again so am I and I don't even have the excuse of only being 4 :rolleyes1
     
  10. Leshaface

    Leshaface DIS Veteran

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    I figured you were going to say Southwest. I've only flown one roundtrip with SW and I really do like them! We have the credit card with SW so we're constantly charging things to that card to rack up points. Thanks for the tips!
     
  11. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    Lol, I DO love SW! I am actually planning on getting a SW credit card on the next few weeks.
     
  12. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    I can't believe it is June already! Time is flying by! Only 24 more days until our trip!!

    We've had several discussions in our house about planning, and we have a few things figured out...

    Wednesday June 27th

    Our flight doesn't leave until 7 pm, so we are all working a normal day. Well, except I will be on my 8th straight day because we are ALL taking vacation this month so our schedules are a bit screwy. My mom and dad will both probably come home a bit early, and I will get home, take the dog to the groomers and then we will all pick up Jack, where we will surprise him by heading to the airport! My sister is driving to the airport and parking her car there since she will be coming straight from work. Someone will probably grab sandwiches or something to eat on the way.

    I bought a couple things at Target for Jack, a little Spongebob reusable bag, a Cat in the Hat movie and some glow sticks. I'm considering making him some tshirts, but that will depend on how much free time I have before our trip.

    We aren't getting in until 10:40pm. We are planning on taking some snack and cereal etc in a suitcase and then we will stop at a gas station for soda and milk. Once we get to the house I am sure we will dump our stuff out and I will put Jack to bed before getting our stuff ready for the next morning.

    Here are some pictures of the condo

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    Most important feature...

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    I know it's not a huge pool, but it will be perfect to lounge in and let Jack splash around in. I will have to make sure he doesn't see it until we get back from the park the next day...

    Thursday June 28th

    This day my mom has her 1 hour presentation for work, (the whole reason we are even going on this trip...) I have 2 plans in mind right now.

    1. My mom can drop my dad and sister at Universal on the way to her meeting. It would probably be 7:30 am or so, they would probably heave to leave by 6:45, since we know nothing about traffic. They can have breakfast or whatever while they wait for the park to open. Jack and I would get up around 8 and I would let him swim a bit, eat breakfast and be ready for my mom to pick us up around 10:30 and we would meet my dad and sister at the park.

    2. Jack and I would go with my dad and sister in the morning, my mom would drop us and then head back to Universal right after her meeting.

    The reason I am considering skipping the early morning drop off is because Jack doesn't do well on little sleep. We had many tantrums and fits on our December 2010 trip, and while he is much older now and better behaved... he still is a 4 year old boy who gets cranky when he's tired. I haven't run this plan by my parents yet, but I know they are not looking forward to a repeat of our December trip...
     
  13. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    I bet the sleep in option is probably better with jack...I know the feeling of wanting to get there early though!
     
  14. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    Funny you should mention that Jen...:cool1:
     
  15. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    You know I've really started planning when my plans chage, lol.

    After posting here the other day I mentioned to my parents about the sleeping in idea. My mom suddenly realized that getting 6 or fewer hours of sleep before a work presentation wasn't a great idea...

    So we looked at changing flights! We found a non stop (my mom only likes non stops) that left here at 11:55 instead. My sister would still have to take the late4r flight because of work, but having only one person coming in late still guarantees more sleep for everyone since there will be no waiting at the airport for bags, renting the car etc, just picking her up and going.

    Here's where it gets complicated... I had to call SW to get my sister split off our confirmation since when you go to change flights online it changes everyone associated with that number. My mom is seperate since she had to book through work so she had gotten it switched first. Once I got my sister split I went online to make the changes... and the price for 3 people is $22more than the price for 1, since there are only so many fares available at that price. We were already looking at a $34 increase, but a $56 one was too much... so my dad, Jack and I are going on a different flight... at 7:35 am :rotfl:

    So now we get in at 11:15. We will get the car, and pick up the groceries and hang out until my mom gets in around 3:30. I'm thinking a round of golf at Fantasia Gardens?Lunch at EoS? :laughing: Then once we get my mom we will head to the house, unpack, swim, make dinner etc. Then my mom, Jack and I will go to bed early while my dad goes to pick up my sister. This way we will ALL be able to get up at 6 and head to the parks! This also means I get out of an extra day of work! :woohoo: It also means an easier surprise for Jack, nothing like waking a kid up and saying "we're going on vacation today!" :cloud9:

    I am FINALLY getting excited about this trip! i mean I was excited before, but now that I am really getting into the planning, it's getting more fun. My heart will still hurt from not being at Disney, but since I am deep into my planning for our fall adventure, I think I will survive :goodvibes
     
  16. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    I like the way you think
     
  17. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    :rolleyes1 me too!
     
  18. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    Another sure sign that I'm getting serious about this trip... shopping! I wanted to get Jack a couple things for the trip, mostly tshirts so I went on a hunt yesterday. I had seen a few shirts at Target that were only $8 and would be perfect. Then I considered making some myself, but after really thinking about the time and effort, I realized it wasn't that cost effective. Thank goodness! Because when I went back to Target the Despicable Me shirt was on clearance for $2.40! Then I had to go to WalMart for redbox so I checked there and they had a Spiderman shirt for $4.88! Yes please! SO much better than making them myself! Now he has a shirt for each park day and I didn't break the bank!

    I'm also on the hunt for mini personal fans. I know Target has had them in the past in the camping section, but they didn't have any yesterday, so I will check another Target this weekend. I remember they were pretty cheap and came in different colors, and I know they will come in handy.

    I have to break the news to my boss today that I am leaving earlier so I can't work that day :cool1: Probably something I should have checked on BEFORE I changed the ticket but I am 99% sure it won't be an issue...
     
  19. stephielela

    stephielela DIS Veteran

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    OK, let's try this again...

    Wednesday June 27th

    My mom will drop my dad, Jack and me off at the airport on her way to work. We will take all checked luggage with us (there won't be much) and will probably get there around 6:30. For our DC trip I stopped and got donut holes the night before for the plane, and it worked out well so I will probably do that again.

    Our flight lands at 11:15 am. We will pick up the rental car and head off to do something fun. My current thought is to drive to Disney and eat at Earl of Sandwich, and then play a round of mini golf. My dad said he doesn't want to celebrate Father's Day too big since we are taking this trip, so this will be his gift from me and Jack. I know we've done Fantasia Gardens so I am thinking I want to try the Winter Summerland one. Any advice/recommendations?

    Then we will swing by the grocery store, then pick up my mom from the airport at 3:45. Once we have her, we will head to the house, unpack, make dinner and lounge by our "baby" pool for the evening. I figure if I let Jack swim to his hearts content, he will pass out around 8 pm, giving him a good night's rest before our early park morning. :rotfl:

    My dad will still have to go pick up my sister, but at least they can just come to the house and crash, they don't have to worry about getting the "park bag" ready or anything and unpacking.

    On an interesting note, our flights went down $7 each on the way there (we are flying Delta back :sad2:) The way I see it, that's $7 towards my next vacation! :lmao:
     
  20. Leshaface

    Leshaface DIS Veteran

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    :lmao: I love all the modifications already! No worries, i'm like that too!

    Uh-oh, you don't like Delta either? We've flown with Delta I think once or twice and it wasn't too bad. We're doing United to MCO then SW back to LAX.
     
  21. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    Did you find a reasonable Delta one way back? I always find their one way prices so high...at least here they are. So I never even look anymore for that option with them.
    I think last time it was just slightly cheaper for a 1 way verses a full round trip price. No thanks. :laughing:
     

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