This is my first attempt at writing a Trip Report. I'll admit that writing is typically not my thing. I would usually be an easier sell to get me to walk through that infernal Swiss Family Tree house again than to get me to sit down to write about my experiences. I have a couple of motivating factors though to push me forward. First, I love photography and I enjoy sharing pictures and I am primarily using this Trip Report as a vehicle to share my photos. Second, I sadly still can't let go and I am looking for a way to continue to re-live our happier times. I desperately need some mental escapes from the daily grind. Before the trip, there was borderline obsessive planning to be done and during that planning I could escape from the real world by envisioning our perfect trip. Of course in this utopian world there are no over stimulated and exhausted kids, no bad weather, only nice and polite people, no unpleasant public transportation issues, etc. Then comes the actual trip which of course has its own reality with plenty of drama but no matter what it beats our non-Disney existence waiting to swallow us up when we return. After we got back I was able to keep the experience going by weeding though my gazillion photos but I finished that up and thought what next? Most sane people would probably move on but I am hoping to fill a void by writing this Trip Report. So, here we go. This TR is the chronicles of an exhausting but fantastic 12 night stay here Our trip spanned from the end of Aug though Labor Day. This is our family's 4th trip to WDW. We had never been to Pop before but I had read so many good things that I was intrigued. On our last WDW vacation in 2007 we stayed at a DVC resort (SSR) so we know this will be lacking in many of the amenities that we experienced last trip. We will definitely miss the extra space, kitchen, whirlpool bath, etc. We usually dont spend too much time in the room though and there is a lot to be said about the magic and all-encompassing Disney experience of the value resorts with their larger than life icons and the high overall energy. Our first on site stay was at AS Movies in 2003 and in our childrens eyes this was nirvana. What is better when you are a kid than having a Giant Herbie the Love bug to greet you each morning and night or a 35 ft Buzz and Woody to spark your imagination. As a photographer I am also excited to get out and capture some of the magic. Here are some of the reasons I was excited to stay here. It seems that in order to follow proper protocol, I need to provide some info on the players in our story. Me Dad - Age 44. I am the Project Manager of the trip. I am actually a PM in real life and Disney does a wonderful job at fulfilling my need to create detailed plans. Where else do you get excited about getting up at the crack of dawn to book meals months in advance or wait with baited breath for park hours to be finally released as you constantly check day after day when the calendar turns to that critical month. It is pure insanity but at the same time wonderful (well for people with my affliction that is). I am also the staff photographer for our trips. I usually lug around about 20 pounds of camera equipment on our daily adventures. Here is a picture of what I carry around to give you an idea of my mental instability to willingly tote this equipment through the sweltering August heat in WDW. I love photography but still have a heck of a lot to learn. I would like to have more time to devote to this art but I am slowly improving over time. Through brute force and a little bit of skill I was able to get a lot of good pictures that I plan like to share. On this trip I took over 6000 pictures. Yes, the strategy to take a whole lot of pictures and hope something turns out is key in my playbook. I did not good results everywhere though, hence the title of my TR. I know I should be able to get some passable shots on Peter Pan but I was a wretched failure. The "dark rides" were definitely a challenge for me. I have a great camera for this but my most suited lens is adequate but not the best. I did have some limited success in other rides and one particular coup for me was on my last day on HM where I was able to snag some pictures of the ballroom scene that are not a complete blur. This may not look like much to some of you but it was an achievement for me. For the rest of my family we have: My Wife Age 44. She is my outgoing partner. She gets energy from others and is the type of person that will make friends with anyone. She will strike up conversations with people in line and I will stand there wondering how she can talk for so long to someone she never met before. She has a laugh that is instantly recognizable and makes you smile when you hear it. She is a great parent to our children and I would truly be lost without her. Son Age 11. Takes after his mom in that he gets along with almost everyone. He is getting a bit more reserved though as he is getting older. He does take after me in that he is a very sensitive child. Youll see more of that in the TR. Overall he is truly a very good boy but he does have his brotherly moments with his sister that can drive you up the wall. He is also quite handsome and fortunately for him, he does not take after me in that regard. Daughter Age 9. She is more independent than my son even though she is 2.5 yrs younger. She prefers people over possessions and usually does not ask for much. When she does have her mind set on something though she is strong willed. She is adorable and has a spark in eyes that is true magic. In addition we have my SIL (my wifes sister), her husband, my 10 yo niece and my 7 yo nephew joining us for most of the trip and then (if you can follow this) my SILs SIL and her husband join us for a few days towards the tail end of the trip. You will hear more about our group as we go on. Since this was our 4th family trip and we have seen a lot in past trips I wanted to arrange a lot of new experiences for this go around. Some of the events that I was excited about planning since we had never experienced them before were: a Grand Gathering Safari Diner at AK, a Wishes Cruise, MNSSHP, Hoop De Doo Review as well as our first venture to a Disney Water Park. In addition, I planned to hit previously unexplored areas of the parks. We had 10 day tickets so I thought we would have a lot more time to explore than what we have had on previous trips. I also planned out some great meals. In addition to the Safari Dinner and HDDR we planned our first experiences at Le Cellier, Ohana, Narcossees, Le Chefs, 1900 PF. We did make sure to hit some of our old standbys as well like Chef Mickeys and Crystal Palace. Ok, that is enough for now. Hopefully I can keep you interested to read on.