We're off to see the wizards! We leave tomorrow!!

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by -Hope-, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Tink-erin-belle

    Tink-erin-belle DIS Veteran

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    Out of all of the options, offsite does seem like the best bet for the time of year that you are going. That was a good idea to watch wait times on your app to see how things would typically run at this time of year. Your mom sounds like my mom. Love her to pieces, but that woman could (and would) talk ALL DAY LONG if someone would listen. Probably even if no one would listen :lmao: It is important to have your space, even on vacation, because it’s terrible when people start to get on each other’s nerves just because they are on top of each other every day. I think a vacation home is a nice option, but Karen is right: you need a graph, and we uber-planners need to see the graph :rotfl:
     
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  3. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    :lmao: Glad to know my mom isn't the only one!

    Yep, I think offsite is the best option for us on this trip. I was really hoping to get a little more feedback about the need for an EP but I'm just going to go with my WDW experience and my app. :thumbsup2

    And my handy dandy chart...

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    shows me that I can actually buy an EP (though not unlimited like the room key) and still come out cheaper than staying on site. Seems like a no brainer to me. :confused3

    The offsite prices on that chart are from all the research I did yesterday. I pinned tons of options on my Orlando pinboard from HomeAway and VRBO. All have plenty of space, are between 5 and 20 minutes to the parks and are super cheap. Like I said, no brainer! :goodvibes

    Honestly, I appreciate the perks of staying onsite but as macraven said, I have to ask myself what type of vacation I want. And when I really thought it about it the word that kept coming to mind was relaxing. I don't want to be rushing out the door in the morning to get to early entry. I don't want to be on top of each other all the time. I know I'll have to do some light cooking and dishes but we'll bring frozen meals to warm up and buy paper plates. That will impede on our fun far less than stressing about time or getting sick of each other will.

    Now I have plenty of time to sort through all those options and decide which rental is going to be just right for us. :thumbsup2
     
  4. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    ONE YEAR!!!!
    :cool1: :yay: :dance3: :cheer2: :woohoo: :cool1: :yay: :dance3: :cheer2: :woohoo:

    Yep, one year from today we will be on the road and headed to Orlando. (We won't actually arrive until the 22nd but I'm counting down to our departure, not our arrival.)

    We needed to celebrate and those of you who have followed along with my other PTR or TR might be able to guess that to do this we...

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    had a movie night of course! popcorn::

    We had free HBO last weekend and I recorder Despicable Me which just happens to be the latest and greatest attraction at US. We've seen it before but it's adorable and definitely worth rewatching.

    I went with yellow and blue to honor those cute little Minions. We had a blue table cloth, blue cups and blue Kool-aid in our yellow pitcher...
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    We set out some test tubes in honor of the lab...
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    We had a shoot the space monster game (but no fluffy unicorns for prizes, lol)...
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    I found a printable with a maze, word search and spot the differences picture...
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    Which the kids thoroughly enjoyed...
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    And we topped it all of with some Minions for dessert...
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    As I said, I recorded the movie so we could watch... but...


    I accidentally recorded the Spanish version! :rotfl2:

    Seriously, I didn't even know there was a Spanish HBO on DirecTV (we've only had the system a few months) and I just wasn't paying attention when I set the DVR. :confused3 I was worried at first that it was going to be a bust for the movie but then remembered that our new smart TV has Amazon capabilities so I rented it.

    Jace was super tired and Robbie gave up about half-way in but Kya and I are enjoying it right now. Hangin' with my girl, not a bad way to celebrate our one year mark. :cloud9:
     
  5. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead

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    Hope, you need a correction in your graph.
    parking at the hotels cost $17 + tax per night.

    the day you leave, there will be no parking charge as the rate begins at midnight each night.


    are you using the rack rate for onsite hotel costs?
     
  6. reelmom

    reelmom DIS Veteran

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    Too funny about recording the movie in Spanish. We do Countdown Dinners too. They are so much fun to do.
     
  7. Twoboysnmygirl

    Twoboysnmygirl DIS Veteran

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    You had a "Universal Day"...and without me! ;) Looks like the blast, LOVE the twinkies! HAPPY 1 YEAR!!!!!!!!!!! It's gonna fly now. :cool1: Don't wait too long on deciding the condo, the great priced ones book up fast, even a year in advance.
     
  8. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Thanks for the correction! That's the AAA rate. I do realize I might be able to get a slightly better deal but not $400-500. :)
     
  9. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Yep, my family had a good laugh at my expense. :) We love doing the themed dinners! And with a UO countdown I have a whole new batch of ideas since we've pretty much exhausted our Disney days ideas. :)
     
  10. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Haha, I kept thinking it wasn't the same without you if that helps! I figured J would be more likely to get in on the fun if it was just us. :thumbsup2:

    I know, I have at least until the end of the month though because the calendars on the rental sights only show 12 months at a time so next September won't show up until October 1. I'll have to crack that whip soon after though. Tough job. ;)
     
  11. BabyEeyore

    BabyEeyore DIS Veteran

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    Your Despicable Me night looks like it was so much fun! And that is just too funny that you recorded the Spanish version. Sounds like something I'd do. :rotfl:
     
  12. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Thanks! :goodvibes your Brave party was super cute too! We haven't seen it yet but are very anxious.
     
  13. BabyEeyore

    BabyEeyore DIS Veteran

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    Aww, thanks. :blush: We love the movie so much. DD was scared of it the first time (there were kinda scary moments), but we went to go see it a second time and since she was prepared she was able to enjoy all of it more.

    Oh, and I'm sorry, this is off topic, but one of the smilies on here reminded me. lol DH is going to be the 10th Doctor for Halloween/MNSSHP and I made him some 3D glasses out of old ones we had (that were yellow but had the red and blue lenses) and white poster board since I couldn't find any white ones. :3dglasses I thought you might appreciate that... at least more than most people I know. :thumbsup2
     
  14. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Taking a deep breath and trying this again... I was nearly done with this update when I accidentally left the page and now I have to start over. :headache:

    So, first of all, I just heard from my mom (our fellow dark side tripper) and she just arrived in Orlando! She and her friends are cruising out of FL to the Bahamas tomorrow. I'm so excited for her but also trying not to think about how close she is to Harry and Mickey right now! So, I'm focusing on the fact that two weeks from this moment we will only be about an hour or so from pulling up to our beachfront rental in Gulf Shores, AL! :beach:

    I've pulled together a few things for the upcoming road trip and, since many of you road trip to Orlando I thought you might like to see... (Don't you just love how I rationalize this OT post.) :rotfl:

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    I saw a pin on Pinterest that recommended using these baskets...
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    to hold food and drinks in the car for easy reach and to avoid spills. They were in the clearance aisle so Jace gets purple but he doesn't mind. He says real men wear pink and purple with pride. ::yes::

    I also picked up these complete impulse buys from the clearance rack...
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    The beach we'll be at is for the neighborhood, not a public beach, and will be slow since it's October. We should have plenty of room to get these babies up in the air... I've never actually gotten a kite in the air but maybe if we sing Mary Poppins we'll get some pixiedust: all the way in Alabama.

    I also picked up these binders for 50 cents each.
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    I was going to take the printables to Staples to have them bound but now we can reuse these every road trip. And we put in their pencil pouches so they can keep their markers and pens handy. :thumbsup2

    In the above pic you can see a couple of the printables I included, a scavenger hunt and license plate checklist. There are also close the box and tic-tac-toe templates...
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    Car Bingo (with 4 different cards for each of the kids) and mazes...
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    I figured you didn't want to see pics of each page but I also included word searches, vacation themed mad libs, word jumbles and more! Everything you need for a great road trip. :drive:

    I just googled things like "road trip printables", "printable mazes", etc. One of the blogs I found also had this super cute road trip countdown...
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    We'll hang the string along the back of the suburban (being careful not to block the driver's view) and as we cross various landmarks we'll pull one card down. For example, when entering a new state, stopping for fast food the first time, etc. The last one we'll pull down is seeing the Gulf! :cloud9:

    In addition to the snacks, binders and countdowns the kids will also have their electronics to keep them busy. Wal-mart (which Karen and I call Volde-mart because we hate it) has a program now where they'll convert your dvds to digital copy for only $2 each so I guess I'll be venturing in so we can get iPods and iPads loaded up. The kids also both have various games on their devices as well as the Kindle App and I'm going to buy them each a few new books. Jace requested some choose your own adventure and they have them for Kindle! You just click on your choice and it takes you to it instead of flipping back and forth- how cool is that?! :wizard:

    With all those devices (plus all of our phones) we're going to need to keep this stuff charged. I had a bad experience with a cheap charger once (it zapped my mp3 player) so I don't do cheap chargers. I was at the AT&T store to upgrade Robbie and Kya's phones the other day and found this cool device...
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    You plug it in at home and it will hold 480 hours worth of charge while you're on the road! It has 5 USB ports on the side and you just plug your stuff in and use the charge from the device to recharge your other devices. :smokin:

    It was a little pricey and I almost didn't buy it but I was already spending so much that day on cases, adding data, etc. that the girl cut me a great deal. We tried it out today with Robbie's iPod and it worked great! :cool1:

    I still need to buy snacks and drinks for the ride but other than that we are all set for the road trip portion of the trip. :goodvibes

    And completely OT, having nothing to do with the road trip or UO I just have to share the cool barefoot sandals we got for the beach.
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    A toe ring and anklet, connected so your feet get a little bling. I just :love: these! I hate wearing shoes so these are perfect for me.

    All right, I'm done with all the :offtopic: stuff. Off to make dinner.
     
  15. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    That's AWESOME! You guys are totally crossing the timeline though with Amy walking around with the 10th Doctor... If winged bat creatures show up at WDW, I'll know who to blame! :rotfl2:

    Oh, and I tried to talk Jace into being the 10th Doctor. He was all for it for a while but now wants to be some Minecraft character- as if MC trumps DW. :confused3
     
  16. BabyEeyore

    BabyEeyore DIS Veteran

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    I love all your road trip stuff. I love reading about those type of things because it gives me great ideas. I'm not printing off word searches and stuff for Ashlyn or anything, but she loves her travel binder with all her coloring stuff. :) We only need things to occupy her for 2 1/2 hours when we go to WDW, but we're planning a 5 hour trip to AL in November plus some since we're all going to Pine Mountain, GA as well.

    OMG the winged bat creature comment made me laugh so hard! :lmao: I keep explaining that it makes sense... it's just all wibbly wobbly. ;) Plus I have a major crush on David Tennant (Aaron knows this) and so since Aaron so kindly agreed to dress as 10, I let him pick which companion I'd be. He says if he had to pick, he thinks Amy is the cutest. :)
     
  17. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    You should have no trouble finding things for Ashlyn's binder. When I was searching there were tons if things for younger kids. I really had to look hard to find stuff my big kids would enjoy.

    And who doesn't have crush on David Tennant! ;)
     
  18. Twoboysnmygirl

    Twoboysnmygirl DIS Veteran

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    OMG, that roadtrip countdown ROCKS!!! I wish we had one last January...we could have added a few things like... "darkness, pitch black outside & Mom can't see to drive!", "car begins to jerk and break down...for miles on end", "screaming at each other, totally stressed!" ...oh, that would be fun! :lmao:

    LOVE all your roadtrip stuff, I have no clue what I'm going to do without you for a week. I've been happily in denial about it. Will you have email access? I may die if you don't!
    :sad:
     
  19. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Puh-leaz! You are leaving me TWICE in the next 6 months to go to WDW! This is just early payback. :rotfl:

    Yes, I'll have email access. The house has free wi-fi so I'll be all set- probably emailing you to complain about my parents... ;)
     
  20. Tink-erin-belle

    Tink-erin-belle DIS Veteran

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    Ooh! A chart! Your UO day was adorable! Loved loved loved the Minions! I liked all of the stuff you pulled together for your road trip, too. The kids will definitely have fun in the car :goodvibes
     
  21. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Thanks! I hope the car is fun. It's a loooong drive so I wanted to make it as enjoyable as possible. :)
     

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