Harry Potter, a bit of MNSSHP, Shades of Green - Fall 2017 Pre-Trip AND TRIP Report!

Travelgrrl

Disneybounder
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Long time Disney visitor, one time (prior to Harry Potter!) Universal visitor here. We’re planning an unusual trip this Fall so I thought others might enjoy following along! Join me, if you will, for a Mostly-Universal-But-Also-Some-MNSSHP-Trip!

Cast of characters: There will be 17 of us, but myself, my little sister and her daughter are the ones spending most of our “Disney” trip at Universal, especially the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter! My older sister is the hostess with the mostess of this trip, as she and her retired Colonel husband provide the means for us to stay at the lovely Shades of Green resort! Every few years, we gather (family and friends) at SOG for a terrific Disney trip.

For those who don’t know, Shades of Green is a resort for active and retired military folks onsite at Disneyworld. Your rank determines the room cost for you and a limited number of others, with Generals paying more than Privates. The resort boasts many amenities, including two pools, inexpensive restaurants, a military shop with great prices, and its own buses (though you are entitled to use WDW transportation as well). You’re also entitled to early entry days – but FP’s can only be made when offsite guests can make theirs.

Well, we adore Shades of Green. It’s a restful oasis in the middle of 24/7 DISNEYDISNEYDISNEY, the rooms are large enough to host a square dance in, and THIS is the sort of view you get from your balcony! (SOG golf course grounds) We’ve seen plenty of wildlife over the years!
 

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Travelgrrl

Disneybounder
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
The last time we came was in Fall 2014, and three years later, the same group is going again this Fall! Generally, we all go to Disney parks, and last time we added a MNSSHP or two in the mix, which we loved. We love dressing up; here’s a shot of several of us after Pirate’s League in the Magic Kingdom. Yes, we’re dressed like that on a regular park day; that’s how we roll.

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  • Travelgrrl

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    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    For this trip, my little sister and her daughter 13 are joining me in a bit of a different schedule, as we’re not getting WDW park tickets, instead opting to go to Universal for three days. (Here’s the crazy part:) We’re staying at Shades of Green and shuttling there. SOG not only has its own buses to WDW (free) but a one time bus to Universal, leaving at 8 AM and returning at 6 PM ($10 round trip).

    Now this is going to be difficult for me as I am a “Go To The Parks Early, Leave Mid Day, Rest At Hotel, Return To Parks In The Evening" sort of gal. I REALLY get tired and overwhelmed after about 6 or 7 hours at the parks, and the above schedule has always worked great for us. (I also include: “Have breakfast on the run, eat lunch at 11:00 to beat the crowds, go on rides while others are eating lunch, clear out in early afternoon to the mix.)

    So, I’m a little worried about such a long day, but intend to pace myself with longer rest breaks, linger over lunch a bit more, etc. in order to make it from 8 until 6. (On the upside, I’ll have evenings off to recuperate, and after all, we’re only doing this three times in a 7 day trip.)

    So: for several of the 17 people in our party, it’ll be Harry Potter adventures! I couldn’t be more excited, as I enjoyed the ease of getting around Universal when we were there in 2009, thought the rides were mind blowing, and enjoy the relatively cheaper park tickets! (The rest of us are solely doing Disney, and have their castle breakfast and Pirate League reservations already in hand.)
     

    scoopmorgan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2011
    I think it's awesome that Disney recognizes the military, and offers SOG. Organizing a trip for 17 people is no small task. I struggle trying to please my small family unit. Kudos to your family for dedication!
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    However, you can’t go to Disneyworld, stay onsite, and not visit the Mouse at all, can you? NO, you cannot. We planned our trip to coincide with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and plan to attend two during the week. The tickets have gotten expensive ($80 with tax the two times we’re going) but added to the relatively cheap Universal tickets, the total is still less than what I paid for WDW passes alone in 2014.

    All 17 of us, every man, woman, and child, will having matching costumes for the first MNSSHP: original Mouseketeer costumes from the 1950’s show! We ordered the off white, short sleeved mock turtlenecks; I found an Etsy vendor who made the sparkly letters for the fronts, in a special Disney font; and we’re wearing long pleated black skirts or pants, and of course: Mouse ear beanies! Saddle shoes and frilly socks are optional.

    Here’s a look at the shirts, then I swear I’ll get back to mostly Universal stuff on this TR, I swear! (Yes, my niece chose “Cubby”, the smallest and cutest boy Mouseketeer, and my sister chose “Darlene”, the naughtiest Mouseketeer! I just went with my actual name.)

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    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    Though the trip is still 4 months away, we’ve been planning it for a year so I have all kinds of Harry Potter plans and info worth sharing! I’ll snap photos of a few things I’ve made or done, and upload them as part of my next installment, and promise to keep this MOSTLY Universal based!

    Finally, here’s a pic of some of us, dressing in Minnie Mouse cosplay. (Or “Disneybounding”, if you will.) Did I mention we like to dress up? I'm on the right, looking zaftig, but my toe pointing game is on point.

     
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  • Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    I think it's awesome that Disney recognizes the military, and offers SOG. Organizing a trip for 17 people is no small task. I struggle trying to please my small family unit. Kudos to your family for dedication!
    Yes, I still honestly have nightmares about planning for that many. FP+ was new last time, and I arranged ALL of them for 20+ people last time, with different schedules, different arrival and departure dates, different parks visited - WHEW! This time I believe most will be able to sort their own FP (I hope).

    Yes, Shades of Green is a terrific resource for military vets and active personnel!
     

    angryduck71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 9, 2010
    I'm doing a similar trip in a little over a week. Staying at Shades for the first part, Royal Pacific for the second. Doing more Universal than Disney too. The only way I can afford this big of a trip is to stay at Shades (cheap relatively speaking! But HUGE ROOMS!) and then getting APH discount at Royal Pacific. Have a fabulous trip!
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    I would love to stay at a Universal resort some day (so close to their theme parks!) but Shades of Green it is, therefore no early entry or express pass. However, we'll be going in mid-Sept, so I'm hopeful it won't be too busy and we end up both going on a Forbidden Journey and Escaping from Gringotts!
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    A Few Words About Harry Potter:

    Well, of course I read the books when they came out, and my children were young enough that I read the first 4 to them. In fact, I credit the fact that my kids and I continued the 'nightly reading' habit well into their teens to the advent of Harry Potter. Because we didn't leave off reading aloud when they were small, we ended up reading some great classics like "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn", "A Wrinkle In Time", and "To Kill A Mockingbird" between the Harry Potter books. So: they were important to us at the time, and I enjoyed them myself.

    In preparation for this Fall's trip, I re-read the books and my sister is reading them for the first time (her DD13 has read them in recent years) and I finally watched all 8 movies. The result of all of this? Pure Harry Potter mania, for each of us. How has this manifested? Maniacal park planning (though I know you don't really need to plan for Universal like you do Disney), extensive scrapbook preparation, wardrobe and accessory planning up the ying yang, and other assorted madness that I will detail in coming days.

    I'm here to say that I have my suitcase 70% packed already; it's mid-May and the trip is in late September. It's time for someone to put me away at St. Mungo's with Gilderoy Lockhart!

    Since I'm going to try to illustrate my PTR, here's a little shot of my niece in a Harry Potter robe that older sis hand painted. You just know that kid's a Slytherin.

    alice potter.jpg
    .
     
  • Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    Since we've had ages to plan this trip (certainly part of the fun!) we've had plenty of time to prepare scrapbooks. The last few trips have resulted in Disney scrapbooks, but this year since we're doing Harry Potter and Universal, we decided to focus on HP and Halloween. I got this 'color your own' scrapbook at Michael's for 90% off awhile ago, and got another for my sister. Then I checked out several cool coffee table books about HP, including "The Creature Vault" "The Character Vault", and most especially "The Artifacts Vault".

    I then scanned the coolest images, printed them on heavy stock paper, and we cut them out to use in the scrapbooks. Interior images to come, but I thought some people might get a kick out of the covers of the book.

    Here, I took a full page layout of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, and another for the back. I layered on some stickers, gems and some of the cardstock creations I made. Front of scrapbook:

    Scrapbook 1.jpeg
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
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    Mar 30, 2014
    And here's the back of the scrapbook. As you can see, I only colored in highlights on the scrapbook itself as it's busy enough:

    Scrapbook 2.jpg
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    I'm in........

    You guys sound like a fun gang!

    Mostly packed already???? Wow.........I pack the day we leave for our overnight at airport the day before we fly......lol......but, hey ho.......we're all different........:D

    Looking forward to reading about your trip........
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    I used to have much more vacation time (and money!) and traveled the world for pleasure as much as I could. I always had a suitcase getting unpacked, then right back in with the doodads for the trip (certain things for Europe, things for Disney, things for a cruise).

    Now, there is no godly reason for me to be packing 4 months out, except I wanted to see if the rolling duffel I plan to check would fit within our charter airline's dimensions, even if stuffed. So I stuffed it.

    One (!) thing that's already in there are items for gift bags for the 5 children that will be along for the trip. I think we'll have girl 13, girl 10, boy 7, girl 5 and girl 3, so I've been collecting on clearance sales, looking in my gift tubs, and buying on Ebay little gifties for each of them. Right now I have 17 (tiny) things for each of the youngest four kids, and 17 (slightly larger - like wand sized) gifts for the teen.

    They may be teensy, but they filled up all of the side compartments of the massive duffel! 17 x 5 is 85 little things, but lets round it up to an even hundred with the goofy things I have put away for the 20's and 30's girls!

    Schumigirl, thank you so much for your interest! :worship:
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    Today I thought I'd continue with the scrapbooking theme with a couple of general page interiors. The scrapbook $30 post bound scrapbook I got for $3 had 12 x 12 'color your own' pages that I removed in favor of plain ombre ones I had, putting complementary pages across. I bought a few at the craft store including the cloud pages pictured.

    I have glued down some images and others are just floating in there, waiting to be glued in adjacent to photos after the trip. I think you can see which images are permanently there and which are going to be used later. First, a fall colored spread with the Monster Book of Monsters and the Mirror of Erised, the Hogwarts crest and labels for Pumpkin Juice and Butterbeer:

    scrapbook 3.jpg

    The Monster book, the carriage sticker, the fall stickers, "Fright Night" and the book of runes haven't been attached yet. Empty spaces are for photos of the trip.
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    And then here is the cloud spread with all kinds of sweets from Honeydukes and gags from Weasley's:

    scrapbook 4.jpg

    Here, the hand, the tornado jar, and the entire white envelope of stickers haven't been attached. and will be layered over the trip photos. See above post about how I got the amazing images!
     

    suswa

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 14, 2006
    Fun! We are going in Late Oct for our 15th anniversary. We honeymooned and did Universal and IOA! But so much has changed in 15 years, super excited about Wizarding World!! Cant wait to read your report!
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    Fun! We are going in Late Oct for our 15th anniversary. We honeymooned and did Universal and IOA! But so much has changed in 15 years, super excited about Wizarding World!! Cant wait to read your report!
    I think that sounds like a terrific 15th anniversary, and late October weather is so nice! You'll be as romantic as a Hogwarts student under the influence of Amortentia! (Book 6)
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    Harry Potter Scrapbook - SPOILER!

    (If you haven't read book 7 or seen Part 1 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, skip this post.)

    Well, here's one more post about the Harry Potter / Universal scrapbooks, and then we can leave off that subject until after the trip (barring some amazing sticker find - Haha). Here's another plain 12 x 12 paper insert with a few things glued in (the Cornish Pixie, the Always / Deathly Hallows symbol, and the grave) and several just floating around in the pouches (the Hogwarts crest and the Deluminator) that will be affixed after trip photos are glued in the blank spots.

    This one is shades of blues:

    scrapbook 5.jpg
     

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