Hi, everyone, I'm Whitney. This is my eleventh post here after about a week of looking around in wonderment. Man this place is big! This is obviously my first pre-trip report, so it's going to stay small-ish compared to others. I look forward to lots more to share with you guys over time, though, so stay tuned! So now, the relatively small cast of characters! Don't worry, I make up for the small number of people in this story with HUGE descriptions. Me: Hi! I'm a 23 year-old living in Tallahassee, Florida, with my boyfriend, hamster, and dog. I work at the front desk of a hotel here, and love the internet, comic books, good television, and recently Disney. It's amazing! I used to think I was cynical and too mature for this kind of love, but I am NOT. The last time I went to Disney, we went on It's A Small World, and I was so happy I cried. I'm not kidding. It was happy and beautiful and cute and perfect. It's now my favorite ride. I always figured myself as more of a Islands of Adventure girl, since it has the super heroes and the thrill rides, but Disney is just so special and unique in a way I don't think I understood when I went way back in middle school. I think kids that age tend to get trapped trying to define themselves as different, and if everyone likes Disney, well, I can't like Disney! So I decided I wasn't into all that. Sure, Pixar was pretty cool, and I used to be really into Belle, but I was growing up now. I'm happy to say that now that I'm in my 20's, I'm less concerned with what other people think of my "uncool" hobbies. If I'm having a good time, that's all that matters. In the picture above you can see me being uncool and having a GREAT time at the Jacksonville Zoo. Ryan: My DBF, as he'd be known around here (there are a LOT of acronyms to learn around these parts!). Ryan's mom works for Disney, so he's been there about a million times. I'm so jealous, but what I love is that he's a 23 year-old man who's been to Disney more times than he can count, and he's still totally excited. He worked in the Animal Kingdom dinosaur carnival area a few years ago, and he STILL likes the place. He loves the parks and he's willing to review or suggest different attractions, but he's also willing to take a back seat to let me run the show, something I'm very excited for. Like I said, his mom works at the parks, and that's been the reason we've had the chance to go twice in the last year. Before that I think it had been...*whips out calculator* holy moley, like seven years for me! And that was for a one-day trip to MK with a school group. Before that there were a couple trips as a family (I distinctly remember a character breakfast at the Crystal Palace and very little else), so yeah. We met, he mentioned he could get me into Disney, I suspiciously fell in love with him right after that, and it's been pretty awesome since then. Ryan works for a big electronics and appliance retailer, and he loves writing, reading comic books, all cinema, and good music. In his picture, he's also at the Jacksonville zoo, impersonating an alligator puppet we found. Monte: Monte is a seven month-old boxer we bought on a whim at a pet store. I know. I know you're supposed to plan and I know you're not supposed to get dogs from pet stores, but he was just perfect. My parents had boxers since before they had kids, and every pet thereafter has been a boxer, so I had a pretty good idea what kind of dog I wanted whenever Ryan and I would talk about it. He wanted a little dog, though, since his family had two shih tzus. When we met him in the store, though, Monte was just so sweet and cute and lovable and weird that we had to have him. Finally Ryan knew boxerlove like I did. The pup's a challenge, since he has so much energy and we both work long hours, but he's the sweetest boy in the world, and he is an absolute lover after he's had his exercise for the day. If he hasn't been taken for a good long walk or run, though, watch out! Edmund: Edmund was our first pet together, and he's a pretty happenin' dwarf hamster if you ask me. Despite the fact that his name was originally Lucy (the pet store told me they only sold female hamsters, hmmmm), he's surprisingly well-adjusted. Edmund likes to run around on Ryan's back, explore new tubes as soon as I can buy and connect them, and poke his head out of his bed when he hears my voice. He also likes yogurt drop treats. Background information: So that's me and the boys. As for the upcoming trip, Ryan and I are going to Disney World on Tuesday and Wednesday for a little trip to visit his family, check out a house we may be renting that's 35 mins from Orlando, and just generally having a mini vacay. Yes. Tuesday and Wednesday. This Week. It is literally right around the corner! We're both pretty broke, so this is going to be one heck of a cheap trip. I'm talking gas and tickets to see Up with his friends and that's all. We've got the ticket situation taken care of with help from his mom, we're staying with his parents while we're down there, and Monte will be staying with my parents instead of a kennel. He loves their dog and they'll play together the whole time, anyway, so it's not too bad for him or them. We're packing snacks and peanut butter sandwiches for the parks and having breakfast with his family. I've decided that I'm not allowed to buy any pins, and can only satisfy my sick addiction with trading pins I already have. (Unrelated - does anyone else think an addiction to designer drugs would be more frugal than getting into pin trading? Seriously, what is in these things that makes them so irresistible?!) Crawling out of credit card debt is a challenge at this age and pay grade, but not digging the hole any deeper is an important part of that. Yes, it's fun to have things, but I'd rather DO than OWN, so while Disney's important to me, I'm okay with missing out on the trinkets and expensive meals. Plus we won't be there long, so we don't have time to wait 20 minutes to eat a $10 hamburger and fries. The plan, loose as it is: I want this trip to be Epcot-centric, since I've never really had a chance to explore the different countries, nor have I been on Soarin'. Since we're planning to hit the parks at opening this time, I'm hoping we can grab a FastPass to Soarin' right off the bat, then have some time to really explore Epcot. Ryan borrowed a really nice camera from a coworker and is excited to take lots of pictures at the park, something I'm alright with. I hope that, because the last two times we went we were in a rush to do everything possible, we'll be able to relax and enjoy the atmosphere and street-performances this trip, with less emphasis on rides. Except Soarin', of course. The second half of the first day will be spent in Disney's Hollywood Studios, maaaaaybe seeing Fantasmic. Day Two will see us at the Magic Kingdom all day, unless I get a wild hair to head to Animal Kingdom, though I don't see that as particularly likely. I absolutely must ride It's A Small World again, but other than that, I'm open. I'd like to go for attractions we haven't done in our last couple shows, but if he insists on Pirates, I won't be too mad. I think as 20-somethings we can be a bit too goal-oriented when it comes to riding EVERY cool ride, so I'm willing to do less and experience more this trip. Above all, it's about figuring out what's best for us. In September we'll be moving no more than an hour away from Disney, so there's no reason to act like this is our last trip ever. So that's it! In a few minutes I'm going to clean out Edmund's cage and give him new food and water, put the finishing touches on cooler o' food and drink, and pack my last bag. Ryan's already packed and is hanging out with some friends right now, so it's up to me to fret and pace and pull my hair out wondering if we've forgotten anything. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we'll be hitting the road, so expect an update sometime soon. Hopefully at the end of the day I'll have enough time and energy to post an update, but even if I'm behind, I WILL update this. Also, I'm going to tell Ryan to take lots of pictures of the trip, not just cool Disney sights, so my next post can be more visually appealing. In the meantime, thanks for letting me share my story. With any luck, I'll have a fabulous bite-sized trip report for you all in a few days, and just a few months down the road I'll be able to share our moving journey and maybemaybemaybe if I decide to apply to be a cast member in the parks. Thanks again! Oh, and here's a picture of our first trip together for the road. Bye for now! Mine? Mine?