We knew going into this trip that we had a lot of kids. 4 adults. 7 kids under 11. 2 kids under 2. But we were surprised by just how many people stopped us & told us we were just like Jon & Kate plus Eight. One woman told me she thought I was amazing. The best mom ever. Ill take it! So, just who was this crazy crew Biting off more than they could chew? Perla: Me! Im a fairly agreeable person, if I do say so myself. I believe in planning but I also believe in going with the flow & taking one for the team. Thats probably a good label for me. Im a team player. Whatever the team needs, there I am. Donald: My dh. Total Disney-lover. Really up for any vacation I suggest as long as it isnt with crazy people (yes, weve tried that: choose travel partners with care.) Adores spending time with his three girls, loves swimming. Mulan: Our eldest: 8 years old. Serious, but loves to laugh. Struggled a little bit on this trip as she knew it wasnt all real and was a bit jealous of those less grounded in reality. But personally, I very much enjoy my feet planted firmly on the ground Mulan. Ariel: Our middle: 6.5 yeas old. Sunny, sunny person, sings constantly but things hurt her feeling very deeply. She is obsessed with thrill rides. Normally likes quiet time but mostly spent this trip chasing her father manically around the parks. Boo: 21 months old. The most observant baby of all of mine. She doesnt talk, she watches. Mamas girl all the way. Suzy: My sister. Shes a mom. And on this trip I think she felt her mom-ness more than normal. Organized, structured, passionate, and adores Disney. Milo: My b-i-l, married to Suzy. Did you know Disney had a movie about a linguist? No? Well my b-i-l is not a linguist, but since he actually knows what the difference between a linguist and whatever he is, than Milo is his best fitting Disney character. You can find Milo in Disney by looking for the only man sitting on a park bench with his nose in a leather bound book that is 20 pounds of boring. He loves Epcot and will hold it against me for quite awhile if I make him go see some unplanned, random nature thing at AK. Charming (as in Prince): 11 years old. Loves to be loved & liked. Quite charming. Quite handsome. Teenager before his time. Spends a huge amount of time listening to country music on his headphones & not listening to anything we say. Very helpful with his younger brothers, almost an adult. Almost. Buzz: 8 year old. He is focused on what he is focused on and completely clueless to anything going on in the real world around him. Because of this he is amazingly happy. Wouldnt you like to be immune to anything happening around you? McQueen: (as in Lightening) 5 years old: Headstrong, hotheaded, and talkative. But super cute. To him, this was his first trip to WDW. He was a big boy & ready to ride! Jack-Jack: 1 year old. One word can describe Jack-Jack. Smile. He is just one giant smile. So that is the whole crew. The adults are all in our thirties and our kids range from 1-11. Perla & Donald have all the girls. Suzy & Milo have all the boys so it should be easy to keep us separate. The planning begins: So, early in 2008 my sister & I decided it was high time we took a real life trip to Disney. We hashed out all the details & discussed all of our options. We settled on a 10 day trip over Thanksgiving and the following week. The kids would only miss 4 days of school & the crowds would taper off after Sunday. 1st Where to stay? We decided to rent a house nearby since we have so many kids & felt they were a bit too young to share a room by themselves. Now, I dont know about you, but I find the search for a vacation rental house to be exhausting. They sincerely all start looking the same after about 15 minutes. In our endless, days long search, one stood out. The Magic Palace in Windsor Hills. It has a princess room, a Winnie the Pooh room, and a Mickey room, as well as its own pool and 2 well decorated adult rooms. And it was super close to Disney. Done. We booked it & paid for it. 2nd we chose ticket options. Donald & I had thoroughly enjoyed our water parks & more option and decided to go with that. So Suzy & Milo followed suit, one big reason was for DisneyQuest. Buzz has Aspergers and video games are his thing. He LOVES electronics. Did I mention he LOVES electronics. Loves. Loves. Loves. And this would be his first time at Disney Quest. The other reason we chose them was for Pleasure Island so we adults could both have a date night. Obviously, that didnt work out so well! Anyhow, we ended up buying 7 day park hoppers with water parks. We used our stimulus checks in the summer to buy them. 3rd we had to decide to fly or drive. We live 14 hours away so it is always a discussion. Weve driven/flown about 50/50. Both are enjoyable. But when the gas climbed to $4.00 we decided that flying was cheaper. We got a great deal on Airtran & booked. We specifically chose not to fly together. We thought it would be a bit chaotic to all be together & we wanted to establish early on with the kids that we were two separate family units, not one giant family. I think this worked well. 4th What to drive while down there. Milo & Suzy were the ones who really had trickiness as they are a family of 6 so they had to have a van. Vans were between $600-1000 for the 10 days. Yikes! They just felt like they could not afford that. So the search continued & continued. Finally, Suzy found a deal & purchased of Hotwire. It ended up being about $350.00 at Alamo (on-site) for the 10 days for a van. After that, I decided to do the same deal & get the van too just so we would have more options on who would go with who. This ended up being genius on our part. But more to come on that later. 5th The itinerary. This is where our title comes from. Our wonderful itinerary. After many months of discussion we decided to have an actual step by step itinerary. I realize that this is not recommended and most people like to go with the flow. But the reality for our families is two fold. One, Milo & Buzz are not go with the flow kind of people. And they have the capability of making us all miserable. So go with the flow was out. And waiting in lines is out too. 10 minutes and less no matter what. Yes, even for Toy Story Mania. That was the goal. Second, we felt that we knew the parks well enough to be able to write a doable step by step plan. We lived on the Disboards. I signed up with Tour Guide Mike & she bought Touring Plans. We came up with an itinerary & made our dining reservations 180 days out. We figured with 11 people we better be very prepared. Of course things changed here & there. We revised things as new info came. But in the end this is what we had printed out & with us: 27th Thursday Arriving Orlando, FL (MCO) at 10:05 AM Alamo: Minivan Go to Blizzard Beach? Check into house around 1:00 p.m. Go shopping at Wal-Mart for supplies Dinner: Tacos 28th Friday 7:00 AM Awaken & dress 8:00 AM Out the door Dumbo Charming & Perla skip & get FPs for PP All of Fantasyland (check Tink line) Teacups Haunted Mansion Get FP for Thunder Mt. Ride Splash Mt. Ride Thunder Mt. with FP Ride Train to Main St. Date night: Milo & Suzy to Epcot Dinner: chicken nuggets and French fries 29th Saturday AK by 8 am for rope drop (enter thru Rainforest Café if there by rope drop) Ride Expedition Everest Ride Primeval Whirl Ride Dinosaur (Get FPs if line) (small kids ride Triceratop Spin & play Boneyard) 10:30 am Tusker House breakfast Table of 8, table of 4 Do Pangani Trail Do the Maharajah Jungle Trek See Nemo See Lion King (depending on show times) See Tough to Be a Bug Get Stroller from swap Date night: Perla & Donald Cirque du Soleil at 6:00 p.m. Raglan Road 7:45 p.m. table for 2 Dinner: frozen pizzas 30th Sunday Dont wake to an alarm but try to be at: Blizzard Beach by 10 am for rope drop if not raining or too cold. Stake out a great Beach spot. Daddies take big kids to wild rides. Mommies play with babies on beach. Meet in Lazy River. Go home for lunch. Disneyquest. Dont try to do big stuff, just mess around on the arcade games. If it is raining, just do Disneyquest & DTD 1st Monday DHS at rope drop Ride Toy Story; Get FP on our way out Star Tours & Jedi Training 9:45 a.m. Backlot Tour/babies to 10:30/11:20 Playhouse Diz? If time: use FPs for Toy Story Split-up: Donald & Perla go to Disney Animation & Little Mermaid Milo & Suzy go to: 11:00 a.m. Indiana Jones & if time Sounds Dangerous Meet at Sci-Fi; One adult go get FPs for Tower of Terror 12:20 p.m. ADR: Sci-Fi Thomas, Esther 11 people: 3 tables Beauty & the Beast at 2:15 while those who need to ride Rockin RollerCoaster (single rider line!) Use FP at Tower of Terror Get snack & take to Lights, M., A. at 4:30 p.m. See Muppets Get Pizza Planet If familys separate during the afternoon, meet here at 6:00 p.m. Fantasmic at 7:00pm (be there by 6:30) 2nd Tuesday MK day but not together Space Mountain Indy Speedway Goofys Barnstormer Mickeys House and Tent Buzz Lightyear Laugh Floor Stitch????? Carousel of Progress Jungle Cruise Swiss Family Robison Tiki Birds Aladdins Carpets Pirates of the Caribbean Dream along with Mickey Free evening. Possibly Downtown Disney, take-out if not 3rd Wednesday Epcot at 9:00 am for rope drop. Ride Spaceship Earth One person get FPs for Soarin & meet fam at Crush Ride Nemo & do Crush Meet the characters Ride Soarin Someone go get FPs for M:Space Split for Figment & Universe of Energy Ride Test Track Ride Mission:Space Pack a light lunch to take into Epcot. Go to MK for: Spectro at 7:00 pm, Wishes at 8:00 pm 4th Thursday Sleep-in Epcot for lunch Rose & Crown 12:10 p.m. 2 tables See Off Kilter at 2:30 See Canada movie Do Kim Possible if available See shows as we wander around Showcase Eat dinner at counter service Illuminations wherever we are 5th Fri - Disneyquest at opening for all the cool big games. Blizzard Beach again for just the beach aspect, or chill at our own pool. Dinner: leftovers or take-out 6th Sat Departing Orlando, FL (MCO) at 12:00 PM Arriving Dayton, OH (DAY) at 02:12 PM Time must leave house is 10 a.m. So that was the master plan. We next worked on a grocery list, making matching t-shirts, and kid's itineraries and presents for every morning. And then packing. It really did take a whole year to plan. Would it live up to our dreams? Could we really follow the itinerary? Would we wait in line longer than 10 minutes? And our biggest question of all, would illness ruin our trip? We had all caught every cold & flu bug that had come near us for the past 3 months. We had our doubts about there being even one healthy person on the whole trip. Stay tune for tons of photos & the whole story and you too can learn How to Disney with 7 kids and no lines.