Greetings! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and check out my latest Trip Report. For those of you who have already read some of the crap I put out there… why did you come back for more? Oh well, welcome back anyway, I’m glad to have you here! And for those of you who are new, welcome! Please feel free to say hi and join the banter. I’ve written a few TR’s dating back to 2011. It has been a fun process to re-live my trips and enjoy some banter with other Disney fans. If you’re interested in checking them out, the links are in my Signature. But if you’re here, I’m pretty sure you’re more interested in the more recent activities. So with that, let’s get on to my latest adventure. This trip was a different sort of trip for us. I had some solo time, I visited Universal Studios, I attended a conference and then part of the family joined me for 3 days at Disney World! Each stage presented its own unique challenges and opportunities. Obviously, not everything went 100% as planned. So… the cast (Insert picture here) - Seriously, is it just me or is the Photopass web app a pain in the rear? I’ve been working on adding some stickers and borders to pictures for a few days now and I’m about to just say screw it and download them as they are. It is S L O W. Let’s start with me, Andy. I’m a 34 year old dad… I’m Disdad #460 if you care to know. If you’re a Dad who is on the Disboards and not part of the Disdads, why not? Get on over there and say hi! We’ll wait for you! My love for Disney and the parks started in 1985 when I was 3 years old, almost 4. My parents took me, and on subsequent trips my sisters as well, every 3 years or so up until the point I went off to college. I had a 10 year Disney drought from 1998 to 2008, but we’ve made up for it since with trips in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016. Next up is DW. She is definitely becoming more and more of a Disney fan every time we go. At first, I was the one kind of trying to talk it up and find a way to make a trip work before convincing her to go along with it. Now, she’s pretty much fully on board and throws out ideas for the next trip about as often as I do. She went twice before our first trip together in 2008, but our trips since then have really brought us to appreciate the parks and all that they offer more than ever before. Oh… and I shouldn’t forget to mention, this is going to be her second visit to Disney World while being pregnant. The last member to join our travel party for this trip is DD. She is 3 years old and loves the princesses. The Disney portion of this trip was essentially planned for her. This is her third visit to Disney World and she’s always just kind of been along for the ride and forced to wait while adults and big brother do as they pleased. This was to be her opportunity to somewhat call the shots and spend some quality time with mom and dad before becoming the middle child. She obviously wants to see the princesses. She wants to see all of them, all the time! But her 2 favorites right now are Cinderella and Ariel. Our other child, DS, didn’t go along with us this time. We thought about it. We considered all angles, but in the end, we felt it was best to keep him at home. For one thing, we’d have had to pull him out of a full week of school to only spend 3 days in the parks. And he’s been doing extremely well in school this year. We would have hated to mess that up. Yes, he’s in Kindergarten. But he also has reading assignments every night. He started the year a little bit “behind” but has made significant strides. It just wasn’t worth messing with his routine and doing something that could hurt his progress. It turned out just fine… he had a blast spending a few nights with both sets of his grandparents. He was excited about getting to do that. And he got a lot of Star Wars souvenirs, so he really wasn’t disappointed about the whole thing. And besides all that, we wanted to give DD a chance to be the focus of attention as he was on a trip just before DD was born. This trip came about somewhat awkwardly though. I’ve known for about a year that I’d be attending a conference in Orlando this January. We’d discussed it and I didn’t know if DW or the kids would go. We’d considered leaving both kids at home while DW joined me and we just attended the conference. We considered leaving both kids at home and doing the conference with just a day or 2 at Disney World and we also considered DW staying home and I’d just go to the conference alone and return home. We also considered taking both kids and making a full Disney trip out of it, but In the end we decided that we’d just go and take DD along to have some time for just her with a quick visit to the parks. And this was before we found out we’d be adding to the family. It worked out well that we decided to go with this plan. In the end, we ended up deciding that I’d drive, leaving on Thursday 1/7. It worked well, because they’d pay enough of my mileage to cover the cost of all of our fuel and then some. If I’d flown, they’d have paid for my flight, but we’d have had to pay out of pocket for a rental car while there, so this actually worked out well for us. It really helped since we were going to have to pay out of pocket for DW and DD to fly. DW couldn’t leave until Sunday morning, and I had to be at the conference by Saturday, so they’d get a 1 way flight on Sunday morning and meet me there. The overall plan for the trip would have me leaving work on Thursday, driving part way to Florida and stop for the night using hotel points. I’d then complete the drive on Friday staying somewhere in Orlando for a night. On Saturday I’d go to Universal Studios solo for the morning until I could check in at our conference hotel at 3 and then register at the trade show. I had then planned to go to the Polynesian to meet up with some Disdads for dinner at Ohana Saturday night. Unfortunately I had to cancel my Ohana plans last minute as I received an updated itinerary from the conference on Wednesday and I no longer had Saturday evening free. Sunday – Tuesday would be all at the Convention Center with Tuesday being a day full of meetings for me while DW and DD went to Sea World. Wednesday – Friday we’d be visiting the Disney parks while staying at Port Orleans Riverside in a Royal Room and on Saturday, we’d return home. Pretty simple, right??? Before we continue, I want to share some background information about DD. She will turn 4 in April. And she just became “potty trained” at Christmas. It wasn’t that we never tried. This girl has ridiculous bladder control. She just refused to go. We’d put her in underwear and she wouldn’t have an accident. She just wouldn’t go. She could, and still can, hold it for hours. She’d be walking around in visible physical pain. We’d sit her on the potty and nothing. We’d finally just put her in a diaper to keep her from getting an infection or something and she’d instantly go. We tried offering bribes. We tried everything. She is just even more stubborn than I am, if that is possible. It just so happened that on Christmas Eve, DW asked her if she wanted to try to use the potty like a big girl. She did. It was an immediate success, and we’ve never looked back. In a way she was ridiculously hard to potty train. In another sense, it ended up being a piece of cake. Up to the point that we left for this trip, she’d never had an accident. If you’re interested in the rest of the story stay tuned. Kick back, relax and hopefully we can have some fun re-living this trip. Just be warned that sarcasm and strong opinions run rampant in my TR’s. And some of it actually comes from me! And for my next disclaimer… there will be lots and lots and lots of princesses. My truck still looks like somebody puked glitter all over the backseat. Table of Contents Boring Travel Stuff - And a Contest! Running Wild at Disney World! Hulk Smashed??? No Twisters or Hurricanes! Good Night, Twin! When Scooters Fly Not Cool, Crush! Carousel Rage Shut Up and Dance Sorry Folks, park's closed. Mouse out front should've told you. Same Old Song and Dance Are There Any Characters We Haven't Met??? See Ya Real Soon Summer PTR Summer PTR - Big Changes!