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Old 04-20-2013, 09:08 AM   #1
deannaf87
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"You need superglue for WHAT?" A Bloody Magical FIRST TIME Trip Report *6/15 Update*

Nope, I'm not British. I'm talking actual blood here people. You'll have to hang around until the last day report to hear that lovely story.

Anyways, it's been almost a month since we left the World. I want to go back like.....yesterday. So to appease my longing, let's get this trip report under way!

First to introduce you to our group.



That's us, the day my husband returned from Afghanistan December 2012. This Disney trip was our post deployment family vacation. Our family consists of Daniel (DH), Deanna (Me!), Audrey (age 5), and Ezra ( age 1 )

I'll be honest, I was terrified of taking a one year old to Disney. The weeks before the trip I was loosing sleep over visions of his impending epic meltdowns. You know something like this....



Another worry of mine was the husband. God love him, he just isn't a big fan of crowds, lines, and basically public in general. We had originally planned on going to Vegas just the two of us, but about halfway through his deployment he decided he didn't want to leave the kids for a week. Even though he won't admit it, he was the one who suggested Disney World. I of course ran with that idea and had the whole thing planned before he could change his mind. So will he enjoy the trip or will he be longing for that original Vegas trip? Stay tuned

Coming up...driving from NE Kansas to SE Texas to Central Florida and the what we saw right after we drove on Disney property .

Looking forward to sharing!


Disney Day 2 March 19th

Disney Day 3 March 20th

Day 4: Islands of Adventure March 21st

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Planning for November 2015...going through the exciting process of picking a resort





ATTENTION: TR IN PROGRESS You need superglue for WHAT??? A Bloody Magical First Time Trip Report!

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Old 04-20-2013, 09:39 AM   #2
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See Ya Great Plains, Hello Lone Star State

My husband had a full 30 days of leave to take advantage of, so we left Kansas March 9th and headed toward Texas to stay at my parent's for a week and leave the dog there while we headed to Disney the following week.

Has anyone tried to fit a backed booster, convertible car seat, 70 pound Boxer, and a months worth of luggage into a Nissan Altima? I only spent like three hours arranging and rearranging to make it all work.

The back seat ends up looking something like this....



Just picture a large dog on the other side of the baby and a plethora of diaper bags, backpacks, snacks along the floorboard.

This was my son's first big trip since he was 8 months old. Let me tell you, the difference between an 8 month old on a road trip and a 14 month old is night and day. He was.... horrible. I mean the kid basically screamed from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. Yeah, that's about 3 hours of pure torture. That kid just wanted out of the car seat. His screaming upset my daughter, so she started whining. All I could think about was "we have to drive 16 hours from Texas to Disney and back, God help us all".

Then, LIGHTBULB! A DVD player, we need a DVD player. I have a built in one on my Tahoe, but we decided to take my husband's Altima to save gas. Because really, a Tahoe from KS to TX to FL to TX to KS? Do you know how many Disney souvenirs we could buy with that gas money? Anywho, once we made it to my parent's house in the Beaumont, TX area ( a mere 12 hour drive from our house in Kansas), I sent my husband on a mission for a DVD player for his car. Easily, one of the best $100 we've ever spent. My kids are car riding angels now. It only took 12 hours of torture to get us to wise up to the importance of "in car entertainment".

We spent a lovely week visiting family and making final preparations for our Disney trip. Here are some pictures from our time in Texas.

The Houston Zoo





Nana and Ampa's House





Farkle game with my sister and her boyfriend, apparently Farkle is quite popular with the soldiers in Afghanistan





Up next, the trip to Florida and Downtown Disney
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ATTENTION: TR IN PROGRESS You need superglue for WHAT??? A Bloody Magical First Time Trip Report!

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Old 04-20-2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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Don't stay in Chipley, FL and We're at Disney!!!

We left TX bright and early March 16th and headed east on Interstate 10 towards Florida. I had made reservations at a Comfort Suites in Chipley, FL, about 8 1/2 hours from my parent's house in TX. When booking a hotel I was basically just looking for something inexpensive and right off the interstate. I got a military discount on this hotel and ended up paying $76 including taxes and fees.

Well uhh, you get what you pay for people. Chipley, FL Comfort Suites is just no. I had reserved a pack and play when I made the reservations, apparently this hotel does not offer pack and plays. That would have been nice to tell me when I made the reservations, right? Oh well, luckily I packed our pack and play in case of situations like this.

These are the only pictures I took in Chipley, FL.




At least the baby is cute right?


We ordered Pizza Hut to our room and called it a night pretty early. The Pizza Hut delivery guy for some reason did not want to let me sign my credit card receipt. I had no cash on me, so I needed to sign the receipt to add a tip. I literally argued with him for a few minutes about signing the receipt. It was bizarre. Finally once I told him about the tip situation, he let me sign the receipt. I have no idea what that was about.

So we left early the next morning on our 5 1/2 hour drive from Chipley to The House of Mouse. I could not contain my excitement. Everything about that drive was just ... yes, so much yes. The billboards, the trees, I was in love with Florida You know except for Chipley

Our only issue on this section of the trip were the tolls. Like I said earlier, I hadn't pulsed out any cash. Army direct deposits the money and we rarely ever take cash out. It's just become a habit to pay everything by debit card. The toll roads in KS allow you to pay by card, so I was not expecting cash only tolls in FL. After a good scolding by our ever so friendly toll lady, she gave a card to pay by mail and said we had 10 days to pay it or we'd be in violation. I'm not sure what was going to happen if we took longer than 10 days to pay our $3, but I wasn't taking any chances. We're all squared away with the law again, so don't worry.

Within no time we were there!



The sight I'd waited 25 years to see. My husband kept poking fun at my plastered on smile. I was probably more excited than the 5 year old. Look how composed she is....



So we were on Disney property, what magical thing would we see first?!!??!

Buzzards.... scores and scores of buzzards. It looked like a tornado made out of buzzards (or vultures? what's the difference, haha) IDK what died over there, but hopefully it was large enough to feed all those dang unidentified carnivorous birds. We even had to slow down and honk at a stray gaggle( group, troup, herd?) of them on the road fighting over a armadillo carcass. Not exactly what you think of at Disney but hey, I'll just add it to our "animal kingdom" experience.

Can you see the buzzards in this picture? Best I could do while on the move.



Next we were navigating ourselves towards the Magic Kingdom resort area to check into our hotel.





We pulled up to Shades of Green and were very impressed with the look of the hotel. Let me tell ya, it beat the heck out of Chipley, FL

I know I took pictures of the hotel, but can't seem to find them at the moment. I had heard not so great things about SOG, but we were very pleased with our stay. Since Daniel had recently returned from a combat zone, we got a 20% discount and ended up paying $76/night. For a MK resort within walking distance of the monorail, can you really beat that? Sure it wasn't technically a Disney resort, but we would have payed more for a value resort with less amenities and far, far away from the MK. In conclusion, I was very happy with my hotel choice and would stay there again. Well unless we could somehow magically afford a room in the Contemporary with a MK view. My bank account is gonna need some pixie dust for that to happen though.

We got all checked in and settled in the hotel, then headed to Downtown Disney to activate our military salute tickets and find some dinner. Somehow these were the only pictures I took in DTD.





In my defense, it was St. Patty's Day and there were people EVERYWHERE. I was worried about the crowd levels we would see later in the week after that experience.

After we found our way to Guest Relations to activate our tickets, we decided to head off property for dinner. The crowds were killing us. We hopped on some highway and headed toward Orlando. My husband saw a Golden Corral and was all over it. I'm not the biggest fan of the Corral lol, but my kids love it. Audrey can get whatever she wants PLUS she gets cotton candy. I mean what's not to love. This GC was sooo busy. I now have mad respect for GC workers. That was just nuts, but we managed to get our bellies full and headed back to Shades of Green for a good night's rest, because tomorrow we were getting up bright and early for EMH at Animal Kingdom!!!!

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ATTENTION: TR IN PROGRESS You need superglue for WHAT??? A Bloody Magical First Time Trip Report!

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Old 04-20-2013, 01:33 PM   #4
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A bright and early AK Morning

My alarm went off at 6AM We had purchased some cereal and milk from the hotel gift shop so I fed the kids and myself and got everyone dressed and ready. Then at about 6:45 I woke the sleeping bear, AKA my husband. The man gets up at 4-5 AM on a regular basis, but waking him up on his "off days" is the worst. Luckily, he wasn't too grumpy and quickly got dressed and fed.

We were off! We had decided to drive to AK and DHS since Shades of Green doesn't have the best bus transportation. We pulled into the AK lot around 7:15 for an 8 AM opening. I was adamant about this rope drop thing, haha. The attendants weren't even working yet, so we "proceeded to our destination" per the sign on the booth.

We were the 2nd car in the parking lot As we headed toward the gates we saw more people arriving by Disney transportation. We ended up being about 10 people back in the line to get in....not too shabby.



It was cloudly and cool that morning. It did sprinkle on us a little while we waited for RD, but other than that the skies were pretty clear.

While waiting for the park to open, Ezra had a healthy helping of animal crackers, and we talked to a retired Army veteran and a Navy seaman about the joys () of military life.

The CM handed out a paper complete with a list of what would be open during the 8-9 EMH. Now, I had planned out a pretty detailed touring plan. Our first stop was Kilimanjaro Safaris, but uhhh it wasn't on the list. This completely threw me lol. My first day in a park and it was already off plan. NBD, I can handle this

So they let us in the Oasis and we stopped to get a Photopass picture in front of the Tree of Life. Photopass CD hasn't come in yet, so this will have to do for now.



Then we headed towards the right to get ready to head to Expedition Everest when they made an announcement that the Safaris would be open, so we pushed through the crowds to head left towards Africa. By crowds I mean this....



Low crowds mid-March how lucky!

On to Kilimanjaro we went. When we got there a CM told us they wouldn't start up until 8:15. Well buddy, that is 15 precious EMH minutes that I didn't want to waste. I ran over and grabbed some fast passes for KS and then we trecked over to Asia to maybe ride on Expedition Everest.

On our treck we took this picture (or a kind lady did)



Can I just take a moment to praise the City Mini GT stroller we rented? I loved that thing. The kids were comfortable, it was easy to maneuver, and it had a ice chest on the bottom...SCORE! We rented through Kingdom Strollers and it was a great experience. I highly recommend them.

Heading toward EE



We made it EE and it was a 5 minute wait, so we grabbed a child swap ticket and DH went first. This is what the kids thought about that....



Ezra was like "where the heck are the kid rides?!?!?"



Daniel made his way back to us and guess what? A doctor he worked with in Afghanistan was in line for EE too. It's a small world after all......

So it was my turn to ride. I had been really looking forward to this ride. It just looked so awesome. A yeti??? Yes please! Unfortunately the yeti's alarm clock didn't go off or something. He was a no show. Wahhhhhh Oh well, the roller coaster was still pretty fun.

Stay tuned for our safari and an epic 5-year old freak out!

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ATTENTION: TR IN PROGRESS You need superglue for WHAT??? A Bloody Magical First Time Trip Report!

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Old 04-20-2013, 03:29 PM   #5
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Loving the report so far. Being from Houston I love that your dad has an Astros hat and a Ranger shirt that's a Texas fan. The first time we drove to Disney we also stayed in Chipley.
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:06 PM   #6
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Loving the report so far. Being from Houston I love that your dad has an Astros hat and a Ranger shirt that's a Texas fan. The first time we drove to Disney we also stayed in Chipley.
Haha he doesn't know what to do now that the Astros are in the American League. He grew up going to Astro's games and they only live an hour from Minute Maid (remember when it was Enron?) park, so I think his loyalties lie with the Stros.
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ATTENTION: TR IN PROGRESS You need superglue for WHAT??? A Bloody Magical First Time Trip Report!
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:10 PM   #7
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Love your report so far! My DH is retired military and I love to hear the stories of other military families. Your daughter looks SO thrilled with the Animal Kingdom so far lol.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:14 AM   #8
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We have contemplated staying at SOG, especially since friends have raved about it, but this year we are going to bring the RV to Ft. Wilderness. It's good to hear another positive report regarding Shades of Green! I'll file that away for future reference!
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:38 AM   #9
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Black Widows, Triceratops, and Tigers...Oh My!

After our awesome safari, we got some gorilla pics.



We didn't hang out too long by the gorilla. My husband gets really bummed out by gorillas in captivity for some reason. He says they always look so sad. I think that's just how gorillas look man.

I wanted to leave because for some reason gorillas don't like me. Twice, TWICE! at the KC Zoo I've had gorillas walk over and punch the glass where I'm standing. Needless to say, I'm not going be the next Dian Fossey.

Next up was It's Tough to Be a Bug.

By the time we strolled over from Africa to the Tree of Life, Ezra was crashed out. Daniel decided to wait with him and I'd take Audrey in to see It's Tough to be a Bug.

Now, I did see warnings about taking kids under 7 or so in there, but Audrey insisted she would be okay. I saw the DCA version circa 2003, and figured there was a 50/50 shot she would be okay with it.

She was so pumped



She loved the first part. She was laughing so hard at the stink bug.

When Hopper came out, she was a little apprehensive but still making it.

Bug spray part, holding onto me but still in the chair...

Black widows attack? Home girl took off running out of the theater and left me there!

So I trailed after her and we caught up with Daniel and Ezra.

Now the next step on my plan was Dinosaur, but I figured I didn't want to traumatize Audrey anymore.

We headed towards Dinoland, hit the bathrooms, and Audrey set eyes on Triceratop Spin. She was in love.

The wait was non existent, so we hopped in line.



That ride was....short, but we had a good time.

I was still wanting to ride on Dinosaur, so we headed that way. We saw a crocodile. I have two pics of crocs. I think one is from the crocodile in front of Dinosaur and one is from the safari. Any idea which one is which?





I haven't a clue.

It was closing in on 10:00 by this time, so I decided against Dinosaur so we could catch one of the 10:30 shows. I was really wanting to see Lion King, but had also heard good things about Flights of Wonder. I let Audrey choose since she was still kind of freaked out from the black widows. She chose Flights of Wonder, which surprised me.

We walked back towards FOW and there was not a single person in line to get in, so we decided we could fit something else in really quick.

Maharajah Jungle Trek it was!



Tigers are so beautiful, I could sit and watch them all day.



The bats were really cool too. They are so dang big and are like right there, holy moly!



By the time we had finished our trek, it was time for FoW.

This show was really funny and interesting, but Ezra was not amused. I think we went through two fruit cups and a granola bar just trying to keep him happy and quiet.

This is the only decent picture I got during the show since I was busy feeding the sacrificial fruit cups to the tiny god of whine.



After FoW, I was sensing impending meltdowns. Oh, not from the kids, but the adults. We were hungry! You know except for Ezra, he was still on a fruit cup high.

The park was really starting to pick up in crowds, so we headed out. We left property to get some lunch.

My husband was wanting Red Lobster for some reason, so we had a nice lunch. The kids were quite good, the waitress even commented on how well Ezra was behaved.

Red Lobster pic



After our lunch, we headed back to the hotel for some swimming and a nap. We needed our rest, because we were headed to Fantasmic! that night.

Next Update
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ATTENTION: TR IN PROGRESS You need superglue for WHAT??? A Bloody Magical First Time Trip Report!

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Old 04-21-2013, 07:55 AM   #10
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Subbed! Can't wait to hear all about your trip . Thank you to your husband for protecting our freedom.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:07 AM   #11
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I'm from Beaumont too!
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:19 AM   #12
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Reading. Trying to keep from too much lurking. Sounds fun so far!

And thank you to your husband (and you) for his service!!
Thank you Hope you enjoy my TR. Still getting the hang of it.

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We have contemplated staying at SOG, especially since friends have raved about it, but this year we are going to bring the RV to Ft. Wilderness. It's good to hear another positive report regarding Shades of Green! I'll file that away for future reference!
Other than the food , I really don't have anything bad to say about SOG. For the price, the park location really can't be beat, the grounds are beautiful, and the rooms are the biggest regular size rooms on Disney property (or so I'm told). It definitely gets a from me.

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Subbed! Can't wait to hear all about your trip . Thank you to your husband for protecting our freedom.
Thank you

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I'm from Beaumont too!
Yay SE TX! My parents live in Hamshire.
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ATTENTION: TR IN PROGRESS You need superglue for WHAT??? A Bloody Magical First Time Trip Report!
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:53 PM   #13
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Subbing! What a great trip report so far! My boyfriend and my dad are both in the military and my dad has gone overseas twice so I know all about that
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:52 PM   #14
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My GPS does not comply with Disney protocol and Fantasmic!

We woke up from our lovely naps.

I could not get over how well Ezra slept while on this trip. He usually WILL NOT go to sleep if you're in the same room with him.

Luckily SoG had a little wall divider type thing that I put his crib behind and he couldn't see us, so he went to sleep pretty easily.

Plus Disney World is tiring for a one year old, even if they don't actually do any walking.

We drove to the nearest Taco Bell (gourmet right?) and grabbed a quick dinner. Then it was off to Hollywood Studios!

I plugged HS into my GPS on my phone and we were on our way. Too bad my GPS apparently does not take into consideration the way us regular folk get to the HS parking lot. It sent us to a backstage entrance and we were stopped by the security guard, who seemed like he saw that kind of thing a lot. He directed us to the proper entrance and we were ready for some movie magic.

The hat!



Us with the hat!



Monday was one of the nights that week that had two showings of Fantasmic! and since I know my kids wouldn't make it to the late show, we decided to do an early show on a night with two showings.

We walked over to Star Tours and the wait was like 30 minutes and the FP time didn't work with Fantasmic! I don't know if I've told y'all this yet, but we didn't wait for longer than about 10 minutes at any ride our entire trip. It was awesome! FPs, touring plans, and rope drop FTW!



So we headed down to Sunset Blvd.



It was really crowded! The waits for ToT and RnR were just nutty. RnR FPs were gone and ToT's return time didn't work with the Fantasmic! timing. We hung out for a while, much to Ezra's disapproval.



We noticed folks were starting to line up for Fantasmic! (this was probably an hour and a half early), so we jumped in line.

We were let in about an hour before showtime and got seats in the front/centerish.

Waiting for Fantasmic!





That wait was torturous. Ezra was ready to run around, so I tried to appease him with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos on my phone.

Finally the pre-show started and that was pretty cute. We really enjoyed it.

Oh and I managed to hold Audrey off on buying one of those ridiculously priced glow toys. I told her that if she was good while we waited, she could pick out a souvenir at a shop after the show.

Once Fantasmic! started Audrey was so excited. Her exact words were "I'm so excited, I'm gonna puke!!!!"

Ezra was pretty enthralled for about 5 minutes, then he fell asleep.

Y'all are not even going to believe the awesome pictures I got at Fantasmic!

Get ready it's going to blow your mind





So who thinks I should start a photography business?

We loved Fantasmic! I saw the Disneyland version in 2003 (from the balcony area above PoC...which was awesome!), but this one really blew me away.

We waited for the crowds to disperse before climbing up the bleachers, but even then it was stand still traffic trying to get out of there.

Eventually we found our stroller and headed back to Star Tours.

Along they way we saw a gift shop, and Audrey remembered my promise to get her a souvenir. She picked out a Rapunzel hat, which will make some appearances later.

We headed to Star Tours and it was a 10 minute wait, so Audrey and Daniel hopped on. This was one of Audrey's favorite rides, she could not stop talking about it.

At this point it was getting pretty late, but we decided to fit one more ride in.

The Great Movie Ride, which was slightly terrifying to me. I have a thing about animatronics. I know what you're thinking...she doesn't like animatronics but likes Disney World?!?!??!

It's not that I don't like them, it's just that when I get too close they give me the creeps. Sigourney Weaver in the Alien scene made me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry. Those shifting eyes.....ahhhhh.

Then I was uncomfortably close to a midget in the Wizard of Oz section.

I thought the GMR was bad, I had a rude awakening on Thursday......

Besides a slight case of the heebie jeebies, the GMR was enjoyable. We had the gangster scene, which was corny but cute.

After that ride, we headed for the exits. We were exhausted, and tomorrow we had some Mania! to get into.

First day recap...

Weather: Cool and cloudy, a quick rain shower in the morning, but nothing major....very nice!
Highs: Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Fantasmic!
Lows: It's Tough to be a Bug meltdown, Hollywood Studios evening crowds, Great Movie Ride freaky animatronics

I really wish we would have been able to see more shows at AK, since this was our only day at AK. There's always next time right?

Next Update
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Planning for November 2015...going through the exciting process of picking a resort





ATTENTION: TR IN PROGRESS You need superglue for WHAT??? A Bloody Magical First Time Trip Report!

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Old 04-21-2013, 09:03 PM   #15
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Subbing! What a great trip report so far! My boyfriend and my dad are both in the military and my dad has gone overseas twice so I know all about that
Glad you're here!
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