Blended O'HANA: lights, water fountains, and characters OH MY!

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by mFont23, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. mFont23

    mFont23 Mouseketeer

    Aug 1, 2016
    Lights, Water Fountains, and Characters, OH MY!


    This is my 1st trip report! I helped chime in on my Mom's TR of our April 2015 trip. That just so happened to be when my husband and I got married (in Disney). And while we are still reporting on that trip, I wanted to get a timely start to this trip's report. Especially while it's fresh in my mind… because I DID bring a notebook to remember things and did NOT break it out one single time.

    There's a lot of things to know before we talk about the actual trip, itself.

    1. This trip involved a "blended" Ohana: THE WHO
    2. The reason we were on this trip and how/why it changed SO many times: THE WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY
    3. This trip had not 1, but 2 infants!: THE OMG/CUTE FACTOR

    As much as I am just super excited to tell you all about our trip and all the hard work I put into it, I’m really just looking for another outlet to show off our super fun pictures :love:

    ANNNNNDDD I feel like this trip was a big, new adventure for us. And if our trip tips can help anyone else, then my purpose here is fulfilled!
  2. vamassey1

    vamassey1 DIS Veteran

    Oct 13, 2005
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  4. mFont23

    mFont23 Mouseketeer

    Aug 1, 2016
    The Who [read: the playaaaas]

    Bear with me. I'll start with myself.


    I'm Michelle. Self-proclaimed, born and bred, Disney addict.

    *hi, michelle*

    I'm in that part of life where you round to 30, an auditor by day, and I’m Type A with a heavy side of sarcasm. I'm a control freak, but I like to keep life FUN. And I'm “extra”… SOOOO extra. Extra MAGICAL, that is. What can I say; I am my mother's child.

    Number of Disney Trips (including this one): 9, I think

    Favorite Resort: Port Orleans Riverside

    Favorite Character: Belle

    Favorite Disney Movie: Tarzan or Hercules (I'm a 90s girl, and that music can't be beat)

    Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom (used to be Epcot, then AK)

    Favorite Restaurant: Ohana

    Favorite Ride: Jungle Cruise (corny jokes, boat ride, whole family together)

    Favorite Show: Festival of the Lion King or Beauty and the Beast

    Motto: "Where there is kindness, there is goodness. Where there is goodness, there is Magic."

    *sidenote: as I'm filling out this little survey that I created myself, I'm having a hard time answering the questions. I think I've been enough times as a kid, and really grown up in Disney, that my "favorites" aren't my own anymore. My favorites are now based on what my OWN family loves and watching the kids light up at things that once made me light up. That's #momlife I guess*


    My husband is the real "extra" one in our marriage. Diva all the way! And it's no secret. This is Jimmy. He's a hardworking, high maintenance, Italian man with a big heart, big ideas, and great sense of humor. Sometimes he is just so ridiculous that I can't even be mad at him. It's a talent, really. But he plays along with my magical side and helps keep things lite.

    Number of Disney Trips (including this one): 4 (once as a kid, 8th grade, wedding trip, this trip)

    Favorite Resort: Art of Animation (because it’s like Pop, but cooler)

    Favorite Character: Gaston

    Favorite Disney Movie: Aladdin

    Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom, but Animal Kingdom is now a close second with Pandora

    Favorite Restaurant: Be Our Guest

    Favorite Ride: Small World

    Favorite Show: Beauty and the Beast

    Motto: "I was raised to be Charming, not sincere."

    We got married at Luau Beach (between the Poly and Grand Floridian) in April 2015. It was the most intimate, beautiful thing I could ever imagine. I remember walking around LSU, tailgating, the fall before our wedding. We had been going over different options for weddings and how we were going to make this happen. I half-drunkenly said "if we did a destination wedding, we're getting married in Disney!"

    And that was that.

    M J0652 4-7-2015 (1).jpg M J0838 4-7-2015.jpg

    He's been drinking the kool-aid ever since. Our house is COVERED in Disney stuff. I remember as a kid not wanting to really display my love of the Mouse. But now, I mean, it's a part of our story and our life. SO IT IS EVERYWHERE!!!!

    In attendance at our wedding (and, of course, this trip) was Jimmy's 5 year old, Gia. Jimmy and I have been together since Gia was 3, so I've been lucky enough to have a part in watching her grow. She and I have a very special relationship and always have. Of course, now she's 8 and, let's be honest, that's when kids are just total butt-holes MOST of the time. She does still have her moments when it's like "OMG COULD I POSSIBLY LOVE YOU ANYMORE THAN I DO RIGHT THIS SECOND". She is sassy, a little shy, very opinionated, funny, quick-witted, and so many other things all rolled into one. She will always be my first baby, even though I got her after she was potty trained :)

    *these answers are ever changing*

    Number of Disney Trips (including this one): 5

    Favorite Resort:

    Favorite Character: Jasmine

    Favorite Disney Movie: Right now, she’s on a Cinderella kick (the original)

    Favorite Park: Epcot, because it has Test Track

    Favorite Restaurant: not an easy question for a 7 year old

    Favorite Ride: Test Track and now 7 Mines

    Favorite Show: when you’re 8 what’s the difference between a ride and a show?

    Motto: “What are we doing next?”


    Jimmy and I basically wanted kids from the moment we first got together. After an early miscarriage and a long battle with doctors, we finally gave up. That month we stopped the medicines and cancelled the doctor appointments… happened to be the month we found out we were expecting our little man. John Paul (yes, he has a double first name) was born May 2017, and he is perfect. I thought he was just your average baby until I saw him with other kids. He is aggressively affectionate, LOUD, rambunctious, busy as all get out, smart, sweet, and just has this flair for life at such a young age. And he really is SO GOOD! He's my "bye-bye baby" because I can take him bye-bye anywhere, and he's almost always good. He turned 9 months old the day before we flew to Orlando for this trip.

    DSC_0715 (1).JPG

    He doesn't get a cute survey, because, yeah.. He's a Baby. But let me tell you, this boy LOVES him some Mickey Mouse. He says Mama and Dada and Bye Bye, but I think his first real word might be his attempt at Mickey Mouse. This was his first trip to Disney and I was both terrified and thrilled. CANNOT WAIT to tell you how it turned out.

    With having a baby and a kid, we've learned the best way to get through the day is to have more adult hands than you have kids… so we brought my mom on this trip AND THANK GOD WE DID. She had just went in May (WHEN I WAS BARELY 2 WEEKS POSTPARTUM!!!! #stillbitter) to "celebrate my sister's high school graduation"… or that's what she says. We all know she just couldn’t hold out any longer on a trip while we waited until the baby was big enough. But, turns out she got to go both times. It was really hard for me to not have my dad and sister with us on this trip, but it was our first trip as just our, grown up, family. And having mom's helping hands was immeasurably wonderful!

    20180211_064215 (1).jpg

    So, this is my mother, Vanessa. We call her Minnie. She is everything I'd hope to be as a mom, a wonderful and kind person with a love of all things good and magical. She's got a heart of gold and is as selfless as they make 'em. She's also a complete Disney Nut! But is that really a bad thing?

    Number of Disney Trips (including this one): 14

    Favorite Resort: port Orleans Riverside

    Favorite Character: Belle, tinkerbelle, Rapunzel, Minnie and Snow White. Eugene

    Favorite Disney Movie: beauty and the beast

    Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom

    Favorite Restaurant: Akershus

    Favorite Ride: thrills is tower of terror theming is splash. I need another ride on flight of passage to see if it tops tower

    Favorite Show: festival of the lion king

    Motto: rope drop or die

    On this trip we had a 48 hour surprise "prank" appearance from my in-laws. They've had such a huge hand in helping raise Gia that they really wanted to be there to see her dance in Disney. It's important to them that they take every chance they can to support us all. They are wonderful people. They're retired, so they move a little more leisurely than the rest of us. And when my MIL started mentioning they were thinking about going, she said she didn't want to really do the parks unless she could see the kids in Magic Kingdom. LUCKY FOR HER we already had plans to be there the day after the performance. More on that, later.


    Before I mention the last few players in this trip, I want to point out why we keep calling this our "ohana". Yes, it's a Disney thing. But also, it's the meaning.

    Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.

    That being said, we spent half of our trip with Gia's mom (Ashley), stepdad (David), and other little brother (Christian). I believe we are what some would call a “blended family.” But honestly, after all the hard work and love we all had to put in to making this work, I consider it more of a “contouring family”. *WHERE MY LADIES THAT DO GOOD MAKEUP AT?! YOU KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT!* Obviously not an ideal family situation, but we do our best as parents to make life as seamless and easy as possible for a little girl that lives in two different houses any given week. So you know what?! We Disney'd together. Yep. That happened! And you know what else?! We had a lot of fun! I just hope that she looks back one day and remembers how great her childhood was because she didn't have to choose between parents or sides. That she could have everyone she loved be in one place and it be okay. And it's not easy, but we all put a lot of effort into it and make it work.


    Ashley really likes to ride the rides, David is pretty chill and does whatever, and Christian is only 8 weeks older than my little man. So we tried to let them play a lot, but my Bruiser is a bit wild while Christian is more reserved (read: GOOD). They had some really sweet moments, though. And I know it meant a lot to Gia to have both of her brother experience Disneyworld with her. She is AN AMAZING big sister.

    Yep. And here's the whole lot of us, together on Valentine's Day!


    Next up: Basically all the other important info LOL
  5. a1tinkfans

    a1tinkfans Spreading Some Pixie Dust Today!

    Aug 12, 2006
    What a truly beautiful Fantabulous family and start to ur TR. I’m in!pixiedust:
  6. DLo

    DLo DIS Veteran

    Aug 14, 2006
    Following along. Looking forward to reading about your adventures! I think it is great you all traveled together. I have a friend that vacations at least once a year with his ex wife and her new family ( they have been doing this for several years and also travel to their son’s sporting events together )
  7. PittypatBR

    PittypatBR DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    Looking forward to hearing about the trip! I love Disneyholics!

    Very wise and very loving. That is a wonderful way to look at it and a wonderful way to do life. It will definitely pay off in the long run.
  8. amazingact21

    amazingact21 Upendi

    Nov 6, 2010
    Hopping over from your mom's report. Loved reading about your Disney wedding and was looking forward to hearing about your little guy's first Disney trip. I took my son on his first trip around that same age and it really is a magical experience.

    :rotfl2: Such a mom move. It's crazy how tired you can get touring the parks with a baby, resulting in no energy to take notes!

    This is fantastic. Good for you guys for creating such a wonderful memory for Gia, being able to visit Disney with both families AND multiple grandparents. :goodvibes

    Can't wait to read all about your trip!
  9. luvpoohandcompany

    luvpoohandcompany DIS Veteran

    Sep 30, 2009
    Excited to hear about your trip. Loved reading about your wedding. You all look like such a fun bunch of people. Gia is a very lucky little girl to have you all in her life and it’s wonderful that you all make such great efforts to get along together. I’m sure many precious memories were made :)
  10. mFont23

    mFont23 Mouseketeer

    Aug 1, 2016

    Thank you and WELCOME!!!! We're a bunch of nuts that get hangry way too easily and take turns being obnoxiously needy, but it makes for some GREAT stories that I'm excited to share.

    This is great! Honestly, it took years for us to feel comfortable enough to do this. Then I met up with an old friend that has been doing the coparenting thing for years, like a pro. And she taught me a lot about how to thrive in it and it has had a tremendous impact on that little girl's life, and our's for that matter!

    Disneyholics, that-- we are! but since we know and love disney, we were able to take this trip to do some extra special magical things a lot of people don't know about.

    Thank you! And I'm going to say you are right!


    the best of intentions and a bag full of things i MAY need but never use. That's mom life. But seriously, we were all hands on deck when you disney with a baby. you pee, i'll change the baby. you eat, i'll feed the baby. switch. so on and so forth. so basically, no one was going to be able to write in that notebook even if they wanted to.

    grandparents are the unsung hero here.

    sooooooo many.
  11. Woth2982

    Woth2982 DIS Veteran

    Oct 11, 2008
    Joining in! This sounds like it was a fun trip! I know all about missing dad on a Disney trip. Back in 2001 my dad said he would rather stay home and paint the house than go to Disney World, so that is what he did! It was odd without him but still a fun trip. So great that you have such a great family dynamic too. Will make things so much easier for Gia in the long run.
  12. lauren_elizabeth

    lauren_elizabeth Disney World Lover

    Feb 1, 2006
    Totally joining along! I remember you posting a preview of the shirts you were making on the last thread and I can’t wait to see them!

    You have such a cute family! :)

    I love your style of writing. You’re hilarious!
  13. absolutmey

    absolutmey planning epic 2020 trip!

    Feb 20, 2013
    I LOVE THIS! Can't wait to read all about your O'hana trip.
  14. vamassey1

    vamassey1 DIS Veteran

    Oct 13, 2005
    Hi Everybody! I'm here too. I'm Vanessa, Mom or Minnie. I'll chime in a little to help with the report. We really had a great trip with lots of memories. It was a different trip than any we have had in past. I'm so happy I got to share it with the grandkids and the whole big blended family. I don't know how well we'll do on the details. Like Michelle said we both brought notebooks to keep notes but never had time to write in them. Every night we would say we were going to, but we just couldn't find the time. JP kept everyone on their toes the entire trip. It was really good to have so many sets of hands to pass him around to. We even passed Christian around too.

    Michelle is a such a fun storyteller. She's my equal when it comes to loving Disney and planning Disney trips. It's a great feeling when you know you've done your job right and raised a true Disney addict(there are much worse things to be addicted to).
  15. bluejasmine

    bluejasmine DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2005
    Cant wait for more!!
  16. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia DIS Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    I'm looking forward to joining you all on this trip report. I have enjoyed the So Much to Celebrate Trip Report. It's hard to believe that John Paul is coming up to his first birthday. I'm sure extra pairs of hands were very welcome.
  17. mFont23

    mFont23 Mouseketeer

    Aug 1, 2016

    Did we just become best friends?! Thank you!


    Oh, Ma. You're too cute.

    Be careful what you wish for! Kidding!! Thank you for joining in!!

    Thank you!! Ironically, today is our 3 year anniversary... and we still haven't finished that report HAHAHAH whoops.
  18. mFont23

    mFont23 Mouseketeer

    Aug 1, 2016
    Planning, Changing, More Planning, Some Magic, More Changing, etc.

    [ part 1: the reservation]

    What I’ve learned about being a mom is that the road is paved with good intentions… but honey, set the bar a little lower and you’re more likely to meet and/or exceed expectations that way.

    For example: This weekend I planned on putting Little Man in a ridiculous outfit and letting him eat cake for pictures that I planned to take myself. I’ve “pinned” all the right picture examples and lighting techniques. I’ve googled how I want to make the cake for the best pictures. But I also realize it may rain, he may hate it since he’s having surgery tomorrow and may be irritable, or he just may not be his adorable self. So instead of setting myself up for disappointment, I have things planned, but my biggest plan is to WING IT.


    So as much as I wanted this to be THE MOST MAGICAL TRIP EVER, our plans, and my expectations had to change a lot.

    When to go: It started with the time of the trip. We originally had planned to do Spring Break (which, coincidentally is this week) because it was our year to have Gia for the break and it fell perfectly between both kids’ birthdays. And we normally have our taxes done by now to pay for it :teeth:


    Rewind back to early last summer. We hadn’t told anyone yet and the rates hadn’t been released yet for us to book. But in our minds, that’s what we were doing. Then Jimmy’s first cousin tells us she is getting married in April in Sedona. Of course, we have to go to that! No way we would both be able to take off of work for back to back trips.

    WELLLLLLL at that time, Gia had recently been invited to dance in Disney with her dance studio the following February. Her mom decided she was going to go and we had no intention, because we had already planned to go in April. But as soon as we knew about that wedding, the wheels started turning. My husband and I started the “it wouldn’t be THAT weird, would it?” conversation. Next thing you know, we are booking our trip to Disney the same time she would be going with her dance studio and her Mom. Figured, aw-- what the hell! It's Disney, it'll be fun no matter what.

    Then we found out right after that, that Gia’s First Communion was the same weekend as the wedding in Sedona, so we couldn’t go on that trip, either. Basically, had we waited, we could have done our own Disney Trip over Spring Break. But God works in mysterious ways, and this was all a part of His plan, apparently.

    Our Reservations: We decided to go a few days before the dancers would get there, and leave before they left, and just hope to be there for the performance. By the way, the tour person/company that the dance place used was terribly unorganized, and quite frankly RUDE. So a lot of our plans changed because we were at the mercy of the dance schedule, and they didn’t have that solidified until WAY TOO LATE.

    Our plan was to fly out that Friday, the dancers would get there that Monday and Gia would go to be with them after that day in the park with us. We would stay through Wednesday, and fly back out on Thursday. That was all loosely based on the plans the dance studio thought they had. We wanted to see her dance!

    We originally had planned to stay that entire time at either Art of Animation, in a Mermaid Room, or at Port Orleans Riverside (on my friend’s discount) in a Royal room. We had also planned to do the dinning plan, and to just keep Gia on our trip so her meals were paid for during our stay and she had more options for fastpasses. It was seriously about $100 difference if we made another reservation and took her off of our’s, and her meals would end up being more than that, anyway.

    We booked our flights in June. In-freaking-June. And there was very little available. I checked periodically, but there’s just so much traffic in and out of the New Orleans airport at Mardi Gras that all the good stuff was booked up. Once we realized we would be getting in to Orlando about 3, I did that thing where I lower my expectations and decided we would just play at the hotel that evening and take it easy after traveling all day with a baby.

    We ended up breaking up our reservation into 2. Friday night was room only and the rest was a package. We ended up with 2 magic bands each, which was great for accessorizing!

    After a while, I was noticing that the discount never applied. I talked to my friend, and by the time I finally said something, there were no more discount rooms available! We thought about staying at Movies with the rest of the Dance Studio to make exchanging easier, but that was all booked up, too. In fact ALL of the All Stars were booked up IN JUNE! IN-FREAKING-JUNE!

    So now it was on to plan B. I had already paid for the room only, so we agreed to keep that and make it a special night there. Then Saturday morning we would be switching to Pop. We chose Pop because it was the ONLY value with an opening when I was moving the reservation. It was like a random day I checked, called Mom and was like, “IM DOING THIS.” I saw the opportunity and took it. While I love Riverside, we’ve done it before, and the price tag was cheaper at Pop than it would be if I could have even gotten the discount at Riverside.

    Then God did that thing again where he surprised us. That one room that was available at Pop was a pool view room… which meant we were likely going to be in a refurbished room with BIGGER BEDS and MORE STORAGE! *will review later* ummmmm, yes please!

    There was also a lot of back and forth trying to set things up with Ashley. We were going on a trip the same time as the studio, but we were not a part of the studio’s trip. Once we booked our trip, she was able to get her husband and little man added to the reservation, and she also decided to fly. That put her in on Monday much earlier! Then I suggested she just add an extra park day and meet us in the park on Monday. We could do dinner that night. Not going to lie, I was all amped up for them to change their plans to that because it meant we wouldn’t need to leave the park to bring her to another hotel, etc.

    So that was the plan:

    Friday- fly to disney 9am, lunch layover in Atlanta, arrive in Orlando 3pm. Staying at Port Orleans, Riverside. Room Only

    Saturday- switch to Pop, enjoy a park

    Sunday- park

    Monday- park (Gia would come with us and leave with her mom)

    Tuesday- park all together (dance stuff)

    Wednesday- park all together (dance stuff)

    Thursday- fly back home, take it easy!
  19. vamassey1

    vamassey1 DIS Veteran

    Oct 13, 2005
    We started planning the trip really early which gave us lots of time to plan and lots of time to change plans. Not only did we change resorts several times, we changed meals a bunch too. We had time to shop for lots of trip stuff, plan outfits and make shirts to wear. This was the first trip in a long time we truly had time to get ready for, maybe at times it gave us too much time.
    Jenny Sanders and MeghanEmily like this.
  20. amazingact21

    amazingact21 Upendi

    Nov 6, 2010
    That's crazy that all those rooms were booked up over 6 months in advance. I've heard people say things like that, but I guess I never really processed that. Must've drove you crazy trying to figure out your plans.
  21. Stasieki

    Stasieki DIS Veteran

    Aug 13, 2007
    We were there that same time frame with the UCA Cheer Nationals at All Stars, 2/7-2/13. All Stars was packed with cheerleaders. Was this the same time you were there? Looking forward to reading about your trip!

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