UPDATED 4/5/19: The Slowpokes' Guide to WDW aka the kids 1st trip! - A Sept 2018 report

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by dbb727, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. dbb727

    dbb727 Mouseketeer

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    The Introduction

    "The Slowpokes’ Guide to WDW aka the kids' 1st trip to Disney!" Sept 16-20, 2018
    AKA a princess focused adventure
    AKA our first time staying Deluxe !!
    AKA celebrating our 11th anniversary
    AKA the sweatiest, most humid trip ever
    AKA tackling Epcot alone with two under age 5 while my husband is in excruciating pain…….


    Welcome to my first ever trip report!! As you can see, I had a hard time deciding on a title, but the overall theme of this trip was how slow moving we were.

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    There were a few reasons for the slowness that I will elaborate on later. Regardless, it was an AMAZING trip that I can’t wait to retell. I found The DIS sometime last year while dreaming about taking this vacation, well before I had even convinced my husband to go, and I quickly became obsessive about following the boards. I never thought I’d write my own trip report, mostly because I’m a bit ADD and I fear I’ll be one of those people who abandons their report, but I have enjoyed reading so many others and learning from everyone’s experiences so I wanted to pay it forward. And it's also self-serving because it brings me sooo much joy to relive the memories, and extend our short vacation just a little longer in my mind. Hopefully I can entertain you along the way....


    But first, back to the introductions:

    The Author – My name is Diana and I’m a 36 year old Physician Assistant. I’ve been to Disney 5x prior to this trip, last visit was a big trip with my husband’s family (in-laws, brother in law’s family including 3 nieces) in 2012, prior to us having children.
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    I am a Type A personality and used to be a park commando type, but I knew this trip would be a bit different and wanted to be able to live in the moment with the kiddos.


    Husband – Doug, 37 years old, software architect, married to your amazing author for 11years (our anniversary was a day after arriving home from this trip!)
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    I’d say he is a moderate Disney fan; he’s not anti-Disney but definitely DID NOT want to take our kids to the Happiest Place on Earth for another few years (More on this later…). Of course, once we were there he had a blast and didn’t complain once, which is actually amazing considering he was in a lot of pain during our trip (more about this in a bit as well…)

    “B” – daughter, age 4, loves all things princess, mermaids, swimming and being a bossy big sister. She was at the perfect age to grasp the concept of WDW (from commercials, thanks Disney Jr) and be able to get excited about the trip in advance which was fun.

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    “H” – son, age 2, loves firefighters, trains, and the color purple (not joking, his only meltdown of the trip was about not getting on the purple Dumbo). He has been a very easy going baby, until turning two and now is a bit more whiny and defiant at times but still an amazing kid. His only character he was really excited about was Mickey!

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    CHAPTERS
    The Introduction
    Chapter 1 - THE WHY/WHEN/WHERE

    Chapter 2 - Pre-trip Planning & Packing
    Chapter 3 - Travel day & Why DH is in pain
    Chapter 4 - The Poly and 'Ohana
    Chapter 5 - What is with that darn bathroom fan? End of travel day

    Chapter 6 - Can we make it to rope drop?
    Chapter 7 - The plan falls apart
    Chapter 8 - Stranded On the Monorail
    Chapter 9 - HEA Dessert Party
    Chapter 10 -EPCOT DAY
    Chapter 11 -Frozen inspired afternoon: M&G, FEA & Akershus
    Chapter 12 - Who wants to ride The Seas with Nemo for a 3rd time?
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
  2. dbb727

    dbb727 Mouseketeer

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    THE WHY, WHEN, WHERE


    Why did we book this trip?


    Like most crazy DISers, I’ve been dreaming about this trip – my kiddos first WDW trip – for some time. The biggest hurdle was my DH. He is in the camp of “I think it’s a waste to take young kids to Disney when they won’t remember it.” :scared: This literally was an ongoing battle we had for over a year. My reasons were very valid (in my mind of course):

    1. DD will be starting kindergarten next year, making it harder to go in September, my ideal time…or so I thought. Spoiler: it was miserably humid the week we went, more humid than I have ever experienced in FL even in July.
    2. DS turns 3 in February so I wanted to travel before then to get the benefit of him being FREE :flower1:

    3. I think preschool age is the perfect time to be immersed in all the magic and characters.

    4. Our kids already wake before the sun (no joke) so why not take advantage of this age to use rope drop strategy.

    5. The rides/shows /characters that they are into now (ie. Disney Jr) will change in the next 2-3 years so I want to experience those now
    AND......

    6. I really wanted to go! Haha

    Well even though my logic was sound, husband and I are both pretty stubborn so he wasn’t budging for a long time. But alas, he finally crumbled, gave me the go ahead and I started planning about 7 months out.

    Deciding on the length

    I call it a “short trip” because we only did 3 park days, but in total it was a 5 day trip as we had some time on property on our bookended travel days. It actually worked out perfect for us but I know for most Disney fanatics, this length would be sub-par. So why do a “shorter” trip?


    1. I know the limits of our kids’ ages/stamina would prevent multiple park days back to back

    2. I knew my husband was still not 100% on board for the trip, so I wanted everything to be as simple and easy as possible – more than 5 days just seemed like asking for meltdowns

    3. I had made the decision to stay on the monorail loop (for the convenience of using a double stroller and getting to rope drop on time), and those rooms ain’t cheap! Even with a small discount, four nights was about all I was comfortable with spending.

    Ultimately we booked September 16-20, 2018

    Where we Stayed?
    Did I mention we stayed at……THE POLYNESIAN!!! Ahh, so amazing. My husband didn’t want any part of the planning (he knows I’m a major planner and enjoy it), and even though I asked his opinion a lot, he really didn’t want a part in it….so I went ahead and booked my dream location :love: Despite the price, the Poly had lots of selling points to convince husband that the trip was a good idea and would be fun/easygoing. We had stayed onsite with husband’s family back in 2012 and got plenty of experience with the buses and both of us really dreaded having to plan for an hour to travel somewhere within a 10 mile radius so staying on the monorail when I knew MK would be a big focus was a smart move. Also, I wasn’t really sure how long the kids would last in the parks, but I figured we could at least enjoy the resort as a backup plan and feel like we were on a tropical vacation It just seemed like the right location for this style trip, and I’m really glad I took the plunge to stay there.


    Where we ate?

    Food is an important part of a WDW trip to me and I wanted to be sure to include some yummy meals and character meals (and hopefully those two categories could overlap). I researched this like crazy on the DIS and finally narrowed down my wishlist to: Ohana, Crystal Palace, Akershus, Be Our Guest, Sanaa, The Wave, and Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno. Oh and of course a visit to Trader’s Sams, F&W booths and some yummy poolside drinks too. Remember how I said it’s only a 5 day trip? Well luckily we did end up fitting almost all of these in. My motto for the trip was to go with the flow, and while I really wanted to do character meals in order to knock out several visits while sitting in A/C to re-group, I also was afraid that the kids wouldn’t last at a long meal or would be too exhausted to make dinner reservations. So with a bit of trepidation, I made our ADRs 180days out, then revised and tweaked for the next few months, always keeping the thought in the back of my mind that we may have to cancel or re-arrange on the fly. I did have to do a little rearranging while there but overall my family impressed me and we made it to 85% of the reservations I booked.

    So with all those meals, it would make sense to get the dining plan, right?? Actually NO. I went back and forth for a while considering this option, but after pricing it out, even with all those character meals, it was going to be $30-50 cheaper without it. Since I was unsure if we would even keep our ADRs or be able to stay on any kind of schedule, I also didn’t want the stress of possibly wasting money hanging over my head so ultimately I didn’t book the DDP and it was the right decision for this trip. Trust me, it was a punch to the gut when the bill came at Akershus, but I was able to think back to my spreadsheet and know it was ok since I had already budgeted for the cost. Oh, and having a stockpile of gift cards also made the blow a little softer too.

    Why go in September?

    As I stated earlier, I wanted to be sure and get the trip in before the end of Feb 2019 when our son would turn 3. I had narrowed my ideal travel times to Sept or Feb right before his birthday, but ultimately I opted for late Sept in hopes of low crowds and slightly better weather than summer. Plus F&W festival was an extra bonus. We nailed the low crowds/low wait times but the weather was not exactly as I expected…..it was much worse! I had figured, hey we’ve lived in Texas for 12 years, 7 of those in South Texas where it is 100 degrees for 2-3 months, so Florida heat would be fine, right?? WRONG! Darn that humidity, and I swear it was extra humid this week. Seriously though, it didn’t rain a single drop until our 4th day when there was a worse than usual evening storm, and I think that delay of not having the typical afternoon shower, built up the air pressure and it just made things miserable. I’ve since read several trip reports from DISers who were there the same week, all also complaining about the unusually high humidity including @Araminta18’s trip report which is titled ‘It’s less humid today right?” So at least it’s made me feel like I wasn’t crazy and maybe that week was actually EXTRA humid. But I digress… the humidity was my only BIG complaint, you’ll see me mention it again later so I’ll leave it be for now. Otherwise, this time of year was everything I hoped it would be.


    Hopefully I haven’t bored you yet, I’ll be getting to the fun stuff in my next post. Here are some cliff hangers to ponder…

    - Do we end up loving or hating Ohana?

    - Do we make it to rope drop in time?

    - Do we survive the humidity?

    - Can we get the toddler to take naps? Can we accomplish the ever elusive "stroller nap"???

    - Why was DH in excruciating pain for the entire trip and how did we manage?
     
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  4. Lesley Wake

    Lesley Wake May the force be with you!

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    Following along!

    My friends keep trying to use the excuse of their kids are too young to remember Disney, so why not wait! I need to convince them otherwise (the kids are 6 and 4)!
     
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  5. lcc2

    lcc2 Some people are worth melting for

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    I’m looking forward to hearing more! It was not boring at all. I did wait til my kids were able to meet all height requirements but I regret doing so.
     
  6. dbb727

    dbb727 Mouseketeer

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    Those ages are perfect, and they’ll definitely remember their favorite parts! My 4yr old mentions little events from Disney all the time, plus with the amount of pictures and video nowadays it’s easy to relive the memories! I understand waiting maybe another year or two if it’s the ONLY trip they’ll ever take to WDW just so kids have more stamina and reach all the height minimums but if they think they may go more than once than I think it’s awesome to see what different attractions/characters/etc they enjoy as they grow
     
  7. dbb727

    dbb727 Mouseketeer

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    :welcome: Thanks for following along!
     
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  8. jrmint427

    jrmint427 Mouseketeer

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    Following along! I also just got back from a trip with a 2 and a 4 year old. I understand the slower pace!! But I agree it is such a magical time to take them.

    I’ve used these exact reasons to justify a trip back this year! My 4 year old will just barely miss the Kindergarten cut off this year so this fall is our last chance to go before we’re on a school schedule. It was hot when we went in September 2017 but we live in TX so we’re also kind of used to the humidity, unfortunately.

    I’m looking forward to reading more!
     
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  9. KsGiGi

    KsGiGi Earning My Ears

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    Looking forward to hearing about your trip. We were there the week before you, and it was hot and humid then too. We were there right before my grandson's 3rd birthday. My husband was like yours, thinking he was too young and wouldn't remember it. But we will remember, and I will never forget his face the first time he saw Mickey. He still remembers, and asks to go back all the time.
     
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  10. poooh

    poooh Mouseketeer

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    Following! I was there the week right after you and the humidity was just disrespectful! I got into a lot of weather conversations with others while we were there and a lot of FL residents mentioned that this past September was especially brutal. I'm booked for September 2019 so fingers are crossed for better temps. Even if it's the same though, I still had a great time. I'm looking forward to finding out more about your trip!
     
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  11. Bama Mom

    Bama Mom Disney Dreamer

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    Following along. My hubby and I are going in September this year and I'm a bit worried about the humidity. fortunately for us, we live in the very humid state of Alabama so I am hoping that helps us be a bit prepared for it.
     
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  12. mcjaco

    mcjaco Kelp!

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    We were there the second week of September. The heat and humidity were as bad as it was on one of our early August trips (which I have sworn off as a month I'll never go again).
     
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  13. KPeterso

    KPeterso DIS Veteran

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    I'm in. Always interested in trip reports for people who went same time as me. I went 9/15 - 9/28. Honestly, I did not find the humidity any worse than other years at this time and even thought it was not so bad some of the time. I live in SoCal where we can get a lot of heat, but not as much humidity.
     
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  14. dbb727

    dbb727 Mouseketeer

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    I live in TX too, that's why it was crazy to me! I was sure I could handle the heat....

    Well you are more resilient than me obviously! Ha ha
    We are going to have to just agree to disagree.


    I appreciate that so many of ya'll agree is was brutal!! Obviously everyone's experience is different but at least that's the way my family felt. I am fine to be sweaty and we were prepared with sunscreen, but seriously by about 10am each day I would notice everyone getting kinda cranky and irritable. I thought it was odd since it wasn't quite snack/lunch time and even I was feeling irritable. Then as soon as we got into A/C, I noticed the mood improve and I realized we just needed to get from one A/C to the next and limit the outdoor lines. Luckily, since crowds were low, this was not too hard to manage. It wouldn't prevent me from traveling in Sept again, but I might tour differently, especially on an EPCOT day where it is so spread out with limited shade.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  15. dbb727

    dbb727 Mouseketeer

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    Pre-Trip Planning and Packing

    I enjoyed every minute of planning for this trip, even planning out exactly which items to pack. We’ve traveled with the two kids several times now, by airplane about once or twice a year and even braved an international trip when our kids were 6month & 2 years respectively, so I wasn’t too worried about the 3hour flight to FL. Even though traveling with kids can be a bit of extra work, I don’t find it stressful anymore, just takes some extra preparation. Basically as long as we have an endless supply of fruit snacks and those Water Wow books, then we are happy!

    I scoured blogs for “Disney packing lists” and enjoyed gathering and packing everything several weeks in advance as I mentally counted down the days :mickeyjum The most important items that were unique to this trip were: Battery powered stroller(clip-on) fan and themed park clothing! Yes, we were THOSE people who wear matching shirts and I think it is sooo fun to coordinate a themed look. Luckily, my DH went along with it and didn’t think I was a weirdo. Of course, DD loves dress up, and wanted to be just about every princess so she actually had multiple outfits (and hairbow) each day. It only took about 2 minutes each time and it made the pictures from character meets extra special to me, so I’d do it again in a heartbeat even though it meant shoving 3 extra dresses (and coordinating accessories) in the stroller each day.
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    The other item(s) that I was happy I bought in advance were glow sticks and light up toys from the dollar store. I don’t mind splurging on the right occasion, but get pretty upset if I am wasting money. My kids didn’t even notice the Disney vendors selling $35 light up toys and were thrilled with the $1 wand and $1 sword while waiting for fireworks #momwin. They carried them around the next two days also and even played with them at home for a few weeks until I finally secretly threw them out.

    I also bought ponchos in advance, even found a 10pack that included kid size ponchos for $11. Ten ponchos for the price of 1 Disney poncho, yes please!! (I love a good deal). I also bought and packed a double stroller size raincover. And wouldn’t ya know, I packed all that up, brought in in the stroller/diaper bag every single day and NOT ONCE did we need it! I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing honestly…

    The last big planning item was a double stroller. We own a tandem model that is heavy and difficult to break down quickly. It works great for our zoo, mall, etc trips at home but wasn't a good option for airplane or bus travel. So I was prepared to rent one from a third party vendor and had already pre-booked one when a friend who had gone to Disney a few months earlier offered to let us use theirs. I turned them down at first because i was trying to avoid having to bring a stroller through the airport but she insisted that it worked great on their Disney trip and she was right! I'm so thankful I finally agreed because it was slim, side-by-side, easy for the kids to jump in and out, and really simple and lightwieght to collapse and carry when needed. Since we were on the monorail loop, we didn't have to collapse it often, but the one time I had both kids by myself and took them on the railroad, I was very thankful for the easy of use!

    Here is our homemade countdown to WDW:
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    We told the kids 2 weeks before the trip. It was so hard for me to keep the secret while doing so much planning and packing but I didn't think I could handle the "Are we going TODAY?" questions for longer than 14 days. DD loved getting to cut off a square each day so it worked great despite looking very primitive.

    Next up: Finally we get to Disney :goofy::dumbo::donald::tigger:
     
  16. dbb727

    dbb727 Mouseketeer

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    Travel Day- September 16, 2018

    Itinerary: - Flight arrives at MCO 12:40pm
    - DME to POLY, then pooltime until checkin
    - Attempt toddler nap
    - Trader Sam’s at 3:30/4:00
    - Ohana @ 5:20
    - 7:00 Meet the grocery delivery
    - Rest before our first park day!



    So I expected the travel day portion to be pretty short and sweet as I don’t see the point in boring you with details of airport drama. And actually there wasn’t much of that anyhow. But I do have to back track for a minute to the day before traveling….

    This brings us to why DH was in excruciating pain and moving as slow as molasses through our magical vacation. Even at the tender age of 37, my DH has a bad back with degenerative disc disease and “throws” his back our periodically doing simple movements like twisting or shifting the wrong way. Last year, he started experiencing severe sciatic pain for the first time and we found out he had two herniated discs in his lumbar spine. He went through conservative treatment with physical therapy for months and finally had surgery in September 2017. It was a simple, minimally invasive procedure and it worked great for the sciatic issues, but he still is at risk for re-injuring his back and has to be careful with quick movements. Can you see where this is going??

    So of course, THE DAY BEFORE we leave, he was doing something outside and bent over/twisted in a manner that wrenched his back and caused the typical miserable spasms. Luckily, not full blown sciatic pain shooting down his legs but 9 out of 10 low back pain where it usually takes a good 4 to 5 days before he starts feeling better. His type of back pain feels worse when seated for extended amounts of time, so my first thought was he may not be able to go on a 3hr flight the next day. I began mentally prepared myself for the fact that we may have to cancel or I may be taking two kids alone to WDW, but we decided not to make any rash decisions, we could let him rest that day and see how he felt in the morning. In fact, we had a friends bday party that day but Doug stayed home, took his muscle relaxers, pain meds and laid flat as much as possible.

    Fast forward to Sunday morning, DH had proven himself to be a trooper and is ready to endure our travel day. Nothing too much to report about the air travel. DH recently enrolled for TSA precheck, and since our reservation was booked together, we were all able to go through the pre-check line so that was a pleasant surprise. I was stressed for a bit because our seats weren’t together and while I know they are supposed to accommodate families and not let young children fly alone, I just wasn’t sure how it would work out it in reality. We ended up having to take the last row in order for the kids to be seated next to one of us, but I didn’t care. The flight was fairly uneventful and soon we were waiting for MDE.

    Side note – I actually forgot to put the yellow tags on our luggage, I’m not sure why because I had them with me but I think I just had misunderstood the process and it dawned on me after we had left the checked bags. Soooo we had to pick up our luggage at baggage claim but it was on the way so no big deal. Ideally you should NOT make this mistake – just put the yellow tags on at your departure airport, BEFORE giving them to the bag check agents so they’ll magically arrive at your hotel and you don’t have to drag them through MCO.

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    Back to the Magical Express bus – I learned/confirmed an important lesson which is: Don’t just wait in line because everyone ahead of you is doing that. Look around and see if there are multiple lines, often the ones down at far ends have no one in line and I guess people assume “that must be a special or different line since no one is there.” Or people are oblivious, or too lazy to walk to the ends. I noticed this on multiple occasions throughout the park starting with the MDE check-in. There was at least 10-15 people in each line and then there was a podium at the end with no guests in line, just two cast members chatting so we went to that one and were welcomed right through!


    Unfortunately, once we were lined up in the queue for our bus we had a decent wait, maybe 15-20 minutes which felt like forever because I was sooo anxious to get this vacation started. So we took pictures and had some snacks....
    Arrival-bus - Copy.jpg


    We finally loaded the bus for Polynesian & Grand Floridian (& maybe Wilderness Lodge??), there were only two other families and luckily we didn’t have to wait for anymore people to join, we just headed straight out.

    Arrival-bus2.JPG Arrival-bus3.JPG

    Even more lucky, the Polynesian was the first stop! Our vacation had begun!

    Poly.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  17. ADS2508

    ADS2508 Mouseketeer

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    Following along! We traveled with our 4 year old daughter and my 2 year old son in August and stayed at the Poly. It is really a different pace for touring, but so much fun! My husband has to leave for 48 hours for an awesome opportunity. So I did the parks with them on my own for 2 days. We hit EPCOT and MK. It was fun, but a little exhausting.

    I love your count down! Can’t wait to hear more.
     
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  18. jrmint427

    jrmint427 Mouseketeer

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    It just have been really bad then! To be fair, I hide inside most of the summer here, or at least I did before kids.

    Water Wow books are the best!!

    I love it! I am also one of “those” people so I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures :)
     
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  19. amberdc1987

    amberdc1987 To Infinity and Beyond!!

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    Following along!! Y'all are adorable!:lovestruc
    We sound so much alike! I absolutely love to plan for Disney trips. The more I have planned for the better. In my head you can't be to over prepared for it. My husband could care less!! He loves me so he goes along with whatever I have planned.:worship:

    Our girls first trip was in Feb 2017, the day before we left my husband fell backwards at work and landed on the prongs part of a forklift. He was in some serious pain. :crutches:We still went but he didn't ride much. We are going again in Dec this year so I told him to stay far away from forklifts....which is near impossible in his work. So I just pray nothing bad happens before this one.:goodvibes

    I love your husbands Snuggly Duckling shirt!! Where did he get that? (BTW....at first glance he actually looks like Zachary Levi :rotfl2:)

    I am in love with all the bows for your daughter!! Did you make them?! The Ariel ears are my favorite!!

    Keep it coming!!
     
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  20. dbb727

    dbb727 Mouseketeer

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    That’s so interesting, so many similarities between our trips even down to the kids ages/genders! Due to my husband’s back issues, I unexpectedly took the kids to both MK and Epcot for a few hours each day, it wasn’t really as bad as I thought to navigate alone.
     
  21. lauren_elizabeth

    lauren_elizabeth Disney World Lover

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    Oh I’m here for this! We were there the last week in August and yes, it’s so hot and humid! I always say we won’t do that time frame again, but here I am booking Labor Day week! Although, we start school in August this year, so it will be the first year we can experience the super low crowds of that September week!

    You have adorable kids! Excited to read more!
     
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