Pre-Trip Report Part 2 - Added 8/12 ◘ Part 3 - Added 8/12 ◘ Part 4 - Added 8/13 ◘ Part 5 - Added 8/14 ◘ Part 6 - Added 8/15 ◘ Part 7 - Added 8/19 ◘ Part 8 - Added 8/24 ◘ Part 9 - Added 9/2 ◘Part 9.5 - Added 9/2: Memory Lane ◘ Part 10 - Added 9/20 ◘ Part 11 - Added 9/26 ◘ Part 11.5 - Added 9/30 "Not an Official Update but I had to tell you about my day" ◘ Part 12 - Added 10/5 The actual Trip Report: Chapter 1: The Arrival Chapter 2; Part 1: No more bagels, Erika's first ToT & RnRC ride, and Mike gets a freebie Chapter 2; Part 2: No Beauty & the Beast, No Dinner, and the Mess at the Pepper Market Chapter 3; Part 1: Stitch's Bodily Functions, Attack Ducks, and Mike Gets Another Freebie Chapter 3; Part 2: RWI's, Dinner at Tony's, and Injury # 1 Chapter 4: Speed Safari-ing, lunch at Rainforest Cafe, and MNSSHP! Chapter 5: Review of CSR, & (Most of) The Videos I Promised You Chapter 6: Erika & Mike try Beverly, Dinner at San Angel, and a Broken Necklace Chapter 7: The Worst Morning Ever, Ride Buddies, and My (One & Only) Screw Up Chapter 8: A Fun Day at AK, The Cirque du Soleil Episode, More Freebies, and Injury # 2 Chapter 9: Another Late Start, A Late Lunch, and a Great Dinner Chapter 10: Waiting for Ariel, Dinner at LTT, Injuries # 3 & 4, and the Extra CS Credits Fiasco Chapter 11: Going Home Welcome to my Pre-Trip Report everyone! I started writing this a few weeks ago, but I wasn't sure if I would have enough to talk about before we left. I am now finding that I have MORE than enough to blabber on about so here we go! Wednesday 07/18/07 Pre-Trip Part 1 The first thing I want to do is introduce the cast. Anyone who read my last TR will remember me and my boyfriend but for this trip we have two new guests along for the ride….and what a ride it will be…. Me: Ali - The Obsessive Planner, age 24. DBF: Lumar - the Ex-Army Soldier, age 23. (For those that did not read my December TR, his parents’ names were Luis and Maria so they just combined the two names. It is pronounced LOU-mar) DB: Mike – The Marine, age 20 DSIL: Erika – The Drama Queen, age 20 Here is a little background info on all of us: Hello, my name is Ali, and I am an Obsessive WDW Planner. I never used to be this way, at least not this badly but the DIS has done something to me that I cannot explain. It’s strange because I am the kind of person that never plans anything….I get up and go to work everyday and besides that, I have no idea what else I’m doing. I decide at the last minute on everything but most of the time, I can't make decisions for myself. But when it comes to WDW, I just can’t stop thinking about planning. I decided when we came back from our December trip that I wanted to go again but we weren’t sure at the time if we could afford it. Then Mike found out that he was being deployed and he decided for us that we were going to WDW when he came back. It was ON from there. He left the day after Christmas and within a week I had already picked out the week we would go, & the resort we would stay at. The week after that, I made out our temporary schedule for what parks we would go to on what day, and then I started making a list of all of the extra stuff we wanted to do: DTD, Cirque du Soleil, MNSSHP, etc. I kept checking the website looking for ride closures, schedule changes, and sale dates for Cirque and MNSSHP tickets. As soon as those dates were confirmed I bought our tickets, therefore setting most of our schedule in stone. As soon as we were 180 days out, I called and made ADR’s and then a few ago, we decided to add the DDP on to our package. I’m also a “worrier.” Before every WDW trip, my mind starts picking up on every possible thing that could wrong (besides issues with the airplane which we do not discuss in order to prevent me from packing everyone into my two-door coupe and driving us 1168 miles to WDW). But for example, I always worry that we’ll run out of money, or that I’ll forget something VERY important, or that our favorite rides will all be closed….stuff like that. Lumar is Lumar….there is no other way to describe him. We often refer to him as “The Lumar” like he is a pet or something. For example, when we went to WDW back in 2004, my family kept checking to make sure I “had my Lumar.” And if he got lost somewhere we would stop to wait for The Lumar. He likes to know his schedule in advance. Not that he will actually remember it, but he likes to know anyway. Here’s another example for you. He writes down his work schedule on the calendar at home so he knows what time he has to work for the rest of week. But then asks me “what time do I work tomorrow?” Or, for another example, we made plan two weeks ago to go to the local aquarium this past Sunday. On Saturday night, I picked him up from the movies where he was with some friends from work, and I could hear him making plans with them for Sunday. I was like “Um hello? Does that mean you don’t want to go to the aquarium with me?” Of course we went, but it’s stuff like that that bugs me. He gets upset that I make plans off the top of my head but he doesn’t remember anyway if I tell him in advance. I think that his need for a schedule comes from the fact that he was in the Army a few years ago…he did his two years so they would help him pay for school and then left so he could work full time (although they still stalk him....they call him all the time and even showed up at his mom's house to try and re-recruit him). This is me and him on our December trip waiting for the train to RPW: Mike is my baby brother and the Marine. He was going through a rough time in his life (teen angst and all) when he got to his senior year of high school, and he decided that rather than make a decision about what he wanted to be when he grew up and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars going to college only to decide that he didn’t like that job anymore, that he would “make life easy” and join the Marines. Don’t ask, I’m only related. I have no idea how this decision makes life easy. But anyway, Mike is the one who really cemented this trip for us. He was deployed to Africa back in January and, of course, after I made the decision to stay at CSR, which is a moderate, instead of a value, he starts complaining via email about how broke he is. Meanwhile, we get a package every other day that contains items he bought online because he was bored. Now in his defense, it’s so hot out where he is that his sunglasses and digital camera melted. And I do mean MELTED, like into a bubbling heap of blah. And when it’s that hot there isn’t much you can do in your spare time that won’t cause heat stroke. So he sits in his air-conditioned tent and buys stuff online then has it sent home….to collect dust until he comes back. Speaking of Mike coming home, this brings me to my first “WDW Worry”: Mike is, at this point in time, scheduled to arrive stateside on 09/26/07. That’s a Wednesday and exactly 9 days before we leave. He is supposed to go for “debriefing" and that can take 3 or 4 days. After that he has to fly to his home base for “relocalization” which is supposed to take 2 weeks but he has cleared it with his CO to leave early for our trip. However, as it stands this poor kid is going fly 18 hours to the US from Africa, get on a plane 3 days later to fly from his debriefing unit to his home unit, and drive home 2 hours to CT the day before we leave for Florida…where we will be flying to. I never really thought it was possible to spend more time in the air then on the ground but it sounds like he may accomplish it during this week. Mike is extremely passive, has no thoughts one way or another on anything we do, ever. And it takes A LOT to make him angry. So when I asked him things like “where do you want to stay, where do you want to eat,” etc, and he kept saying “it doesn’t matter to me” I took that and ran with it….but then he complained that the resort was so expensive…. Erika is my future sister-in-law and she is one of the greatest people I know. She and my brother were together in high school, then they broke up, then they got back together…and you can repeat this process about 4 more times. Erika is going to a private college in NYC for acting and singing (and boy, can she sing), and she is currently working on an independent film with her best friend who directed it, which has been chosen for an independent film festival in NY (it’s not as big as Tribeca but it’s like the next best thing). My brother says he is going to propose to her next summer…he wants to buy tickets to opening day for the NY Mets (I don’t like baseball but my entire family is Mets fans) and propose on the giant TV screen. She’s not really a “Drama Queen” in the sense that we all know it, but since she is an aspiring actress, it seems fitting. This is Mike & Erika: I know, so cute you want to vomit I'll post part 2 tomorrow! Thanks for joining me!