Per the usual, we'll start off with the cast: Myself (Stacy) lets just say late-30s~ collector of all things Disney and just a teensy bit obsessed with WDW DD16 (Nicole) will be turning 17 halfway through the trip ~ loves Beauty and the Beast and has been collecting related items for years DD15 (Chelsea) sassy, stylish and sensitive would be the best description for Chels...she is not so much into the characters as she is the rides and attractions but she does have a soft-spot for Alice and the Mad Hatter DD12 (Paige) very much a princess but downplays it these days so as not to get teased by older sisters DD11 (Amanda) is in the autism spectrum and has a Stitch collection that seriously rivals the gift shop at WDW! I will take some pics of it and post them here ~ it is unbelievable! A little WDW family history: We (the DDs and I) have been to the World twice now. Our first trip was in August 2006 and we were lucky enough to do Free Dining ! I planned that trip for approx. 2 years and that is how I found this board. I had started a trip report after that trip but sadly, life got in the way and I left it undone ~ NOT going to happen this time! Here are links to the old one if anyone wants to get a little more info on us: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1202574 (Day 1) http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1230384 (Day 2) That first trip had us hooked! I was already planning the next one on the way back to MI, LOL. We did go back in June 2007. While we once again had an amazing time, I don't believe we would ever go back in June. We just didn't care for the crowds or the weather (we got pretty lucky weatherwise for our Aug. 2006 trip ~ or maybe Free Dining just made it more bearable, LOL). I know it won't be a lot cooler in May than June but I'm hoping since we'll be there during school time, the crowd situation will make it more comfortable. The girls will be missing one week of school for this trip which we discussed at length and decided it would be worth it to do that just once! This trip is going to be a much more "budget" trip than we have done before. Along with pretty much everyone else we know, our lifestyle has had to change quite a bit over the last few years. Our area of MI has taken quite a hit and we have definitely felt the effects of that. DH used to work for Ford (for almost 13 years) and then awhile back we found out his entire dept. was shutting down. We were able to get a buyout package but there just wasn't anything else in his field to replace that income so of course the buyout money only went so far and big changes had to be made. He is in a steady job now and we are grateful for sure, but we now live on about 40% of the income that we had before. Suffice it to say, no extravagant spending for us! This trip is going to be a real treat for us and the first time we've had a vacation in 3 years ~ we're very excited!! DH will not be joining us as he has collapsed discs in his back and can not do that kind of travel without a lot of pain. My DSis treated us to a daytrip to Cedar Point recently and even after just that 2 hour drive each way, he could barely walk. Now, I know some people don't consider it a WDW vacation unless you're on property and at a park everyday, but if you came from Michigan and were surrounded by businesses shutting down around you everyday and friends having to move away because they just can't make it anymore ~ you'd realize what a treat it really is just to be able to do a week in Florida and experience WDW in whatever way that you can. OK, time to move on to the fun stuff ~ the planning!! I had been trying to come up with a nice little getaway for us that we could fit into the budget (you'll be seeing that word a lot in this report, LOL). We looked into a lot of different things and added up costs for each. I was in shock at the cost of going almost anywhere these days. Honestly, I get that WDW is NOT a cheap place to go. However, it is definitely comparable with the alternatives and IMO, a much better value for the money! Like many of you, I go way overboard when planning a trip to the World. The first time we went, I planned for 2 years as I mentioned above and I drove everyone crazy. I am trying to restrain myself this time around and it's probably a good thing I only have about 4 months to go till this trip. I currently have a file going on the computer that is labeled WDW docs. Inside said file are 19 documents keeping track of my plans for this trip. A little excessive? Maybe, LOL. But, it works for me and it gives me something cheerful to look forward to each day. I've got pages of tips for each park, DTD, resorts that we want to visit, waterparks and restaurants. I also have an itinerary for the week we go and separate itineraries for each day we'll be there. My current document that I'm working on is our food budget and restaurant list for the week. This might just be my favorite part because while I do love taking care of my family, I can not begin to explain how nice it is not to have cook for a whole week!! We will be heading down Saturday, May 15 and arrive May 16. I am planning on staying in Florida six nights, getting on the road Saturday, May 22 and getting home the 23rd. Next up ~ Details!!