All it took were a few suggestions and I decided I would go ahead and get started on a little pre-trip report for our very first trip to WDW which will be coming up in December. Just what I really need... another good reason to avoid all the other things I should be doing... and like you should be doing... but oh what the heck! Here we go! Guess I should start with a little back ground.... how far should we go back? I was born in Lake Worth, Texas at a tiny little hospital that is no longer there. NO! NO! NO! NOT that far back! Okay.... fast forward.... almost 40 years.... My Disney madness was unknowingly about to begin in connection with a trip my family took to Schenectady, NY in 2000. Short version... we traveled via Amtrak to pick up an RV, blizzard hits, we end up delayed 24 hours which is not good since we have limited time to drive back to Texas, almost flip the new RV as it slides through the snow into a ditch, manage to SOMEHOW make it home in one piece, write letter to Amtrak expressing disappointment in our trip, FABULOUS customer service guarantee, we are issued a complete credit for travel via Amtrak, we decide to head as far away from the east coast as possible, and PRESTO, our very first Disneyland trip becomes a realization. Unfortunately, that was WAY back before I had any idea that there were boards where so many Disney lovers shared their stories so I don't have a trip report to share. (As a matter of fact it took me several years to get around to writing a first trip report but once I got started it sure was a lot of fun!) But let me just say that that very first trip was the start of something AMAZING! I don't think I ever imagined that I would love a place so much but Disneyland did have that MAGIC and I am now a fan for life! So that first trip was the start of many. I also have my DH to thank. In 2005 he decided he wanted to get his pilot's license. Not being one to do things half way he also decided to buy a airplane. At first, I thought about fighting the idea and then I had this brilliant idea! Why not make this work for me too? So, we discussed it an reached an important compromise. For as long as he has a plane I get a guaranteed annual family trip to Disneyland! Not bad, huh? As of now, we have currently made it to Disneyland 8 times. We have had so many wonderful times! Tons of cherished memories. You can check out my past reports if you would like: Nov. 9-23, 2008 http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2021554 Sept. 3-13, 2007 http://www.disboards.com/showthread.....php?t=1588869 Dec. 3-14, 2006 http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...-part-1-a.html Guess this would be as good a time as any to insert a photo of my family from our last trip to Disneyland so you can see just who is involved in this here trip report. Here's the whole crazy bunch! So, now that I have gotten all that out of the way I suppose I should quit reminiscing about the past and get to the more pressing matters... the upcoming trip! Every year almost as soon as we get back from our guaranteed annual family trip to Disneyland I start thinking about the next trip. This year was no exception. Somewhere along the way, before I had anything definite in mind, my DS-18 made the suggestion that we give WDW a try. He has several friends that live in Florida and thought it would be fun to meet up with them so.... me being the sweet and considerate mother that I am... sometime in January I mentioned the idea to the rest of the family and the decision was made. We are going to Disneyworld! After several rounds of changing dates we finally decided on the dates of December 2-16, 2009. As any good planner I started delving into all things WDW. I bought the Unofficial Guide to WDW and the Passporter. (which I still have not finished readin) I started checking out all the WDW postings on the boards and eventually joined TGM. I started asking questions, pricing airline tickets, researching houses and getting rental car rates. Things really started taking shape in March. My first big venture was to purchase our AA airline tickets. After watching fares rise and fall and then toying around with different departure days I found what I thought to be the best deal. For many years we always left on Saturday but I found that by leaving on Wednesday the airfare was about $70 cheaper per seat. Worked for me! (At the time it was a-ok with DH too. Of course, now he is wondering why in the world we would leave in the middle of the week and then have him go back to work for one day before the weekend. Oh well.) I booked our seats and was extremely happy with our total round trip airfare price of $876.80 for the four of us. Our last year airfare to DL was $1284.00 so I felt like I was getting a huge bargain! Lesson learned: If your schedule is flexible check to see if a weekday departure will help save a few dollars. Next on my list... lodging. Staying on site was simply out of our price range. There were also several other deciding factors for staying off site to consider so I began looking around at Windsor Hills because it came so highly recommended. (Gotta tell you I was really impressed with their website. After I filled out the lodging request form I received something close to 50 offers in about 10 minutes.) From there I branched out looking into full sized rental houses and then pool homes. One of the first places that really caught my eye was a Homeaway property named the "Peterson Paradise". I showed the family the website and even though I shopped around for awhile longer to make sure I couldn't find an even better deal the rest of the family was adamant. They loved my first choice and were all hooked. So, I made a few inquiries, exchanged a few messages and made our deposit. Looks like this is our Homeaway from home for 2 weeks. We are even on the calendar! http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p219739 So that's got my report started. Gotta run for now but I will post more on the continuing saga again as soon as I have a chance.