Hi everyone! I've made a few posts here on the dark side forums but not many. We've been talking, thinking, tentatively planning and fantasizing about a trip to UO for a while now and I decided that it's time to put some things down in writing. I was hesitant because my trip is just over a year away (leaving home 9/21/13) and I've noticed that here on the dark side people just don't seem to start PTRs as early as those who are visiting Mickey and the gang. But I'm a planner. An obsessive planner actually. I love making and fine tuning plans only to completely upend everything and make new plans. Hopefully you guys won't get too frustrated with me and my constant plan tweaking! So, lets get started with a little background about us... That's me, Hope, on the far right with my mom, Bobbi, son, Jace, and daughter, Kya. This pic was snapped in July 2011 at the American Girl Cafe in Chicago. My hubby likes more laid back (think beach or mountains) vacations so when we want to venture to a theme park or large city we usually take my mom along. My hubby has been to WDW but didn't really like it! Yes, I'm still married to him, even with this unthinkable character flaw. What can I say, love is blind. Anyway... we decided that this trip is definitely more of a Grandma trip than a Dad trip, especially since my mom loved Harry before Harry was cool. It's great fun AND saves us some money since she helps pay for hotels, gas, food, etc. A little about each of us. As I said, I'm Hope (I know, my username is sooo creative) I teach GED classes part time while I also homeschool my kids. I have a bad case of Wanderlust that just doesn't match up with my budget... but right now time with the kids is more important than traveling to other continents so I make due with finding fabulous places to visit with a classic road trip once or twice a year. My mom, Bobbi, works at a bank and had always been happy to stay home. We didn't take family vacations when I was a kid and that suited her fine. However, now that I've started dragging her along with the kids and I she's gotten a bitten by the travel bug. She's actually headed out for a cruise with 7 of her friends in just a few weeks only to turn around and go to the beach a week later with my family (hubby and my dad are going along for that trip). I'm really happy that we've been able to share our adventures with my mom and that it has inspired her to go out and find some of her own. She's a typical self-sacrificing, always-putting-everyone-else-first lady from her generation and it's nice to see her doing things for herself. If we had anything to do with that it makes me extremely happy. My son, Jace, is 13 (14 now!) and pretty much the inspiration behind this trip. He loves all things Lego- still- and I don't think he'll ever outgrow it. He's even looked into conventions for AFoL (Adult Fans of Legos) and researched the degrees and skills he'll need if he wants to work for Lego someday. We've been to the Legoland Discovery Centers in Chicago and Kansas City and he loved them both! But he's really always wanted to see Legoland. When the new park opened in Florida I figured we could pair it with a trip to WWoHP and he'd finally get his wish. Honestly, none of the rest of us are all that excited about Legoland (though we do enjoy the elaborate builds we've seen in other places) but he's so looking forward to it that we'll make it work. (We may also sneak in a trip to the Lego store at DTD since we haven't seen the new one.) In addition to Legos Jace also loves sci-fi, gaming and all things technological. He's a self described geek and happy to have that label. He's fiercely intelligent and in addition to inspiring this trip he's also the reason we homeschool. My daughter, Kya, is 12 (13!!) and she definitely inherited the wanderlust gene. She dreams of Paris and starts each day with the same question, "Where are we going today?" She also loves classical ballet, animals and, most of all, her friends. Though she inherited a love of travel from me she definitely got her sense of humor from her dad. She is a completely silly girl who takes most things in stride and never takes life too seriously. She is the perfect balance for me and a reminder not to spend too much time in my head. So, that's us in a (rather large) nutshell. More about our tentative plans in my next post along with some questions for you experienced dark siders. (Just threw that last smiley in because he has a bowtie and bowties are cool).