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Old 11-07-2012, 02:06 PM   #16
traceyg
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It's his second birthday?!!!

We plan on arriving at WDW on December 29th. I'm not sure when we will actually arrive so ADR's are out of the question. On December 30th we have reservations for all 9 of us at Chef Mickey's. I REALLY want Blake (the 22month old) to meet Mickey up close and personal. I'm going to let them know also that we are there for a birthday celebration.

His actual birthday is Jan 12. He will be 2.

What else can we do to celebrate his upcoming big day?


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Old 01-09-2013, 01:11 PM   #17
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There should be a song titled "We survived" in dedication to our vacation

I think I"ll start the journey off with the food... it kinda all started with the food. There were 9 of us and the baby- so there was enough food for a herd!

Two weeks ahead of time I bought all the non-perishables (plastic forks, paper plates, laundry detergent, soup, spaghetti sauce, ranch dressing, etc etc).

The day before we left I bought the somewhat perishables (tortillas, meat, etc) I froze all the meats and we have a cooler that will keep things for days on end. Everything was still frozen when we arrived.

The day we arrived I bought the fragile perishables (bread, eggs, etc)
All in all I spent about $400-$500 at the grocery stores total.

Our menu went like this:
Day 1 arrive at 4 pm, Dinner with Chef Mickey, put sausage in crockpot to cook overnight
Day 2
Breakfast-
Breakfast roll ups
I broke up the sausage, scrambled a dozen eggs and laid out paper plates, cheese and tortillas. Everyone got to wrap their own sausage rolls as they cycled through their showers and such.
Lunch-
Sandwiches
back to the room for a nap and a sandwich. I made the sandwiches and set them out on the dining room table for everyone to grab and relax.
Dinner-
Tacos and nachos
I put hamburger meat with taco seasoning in one crockpot and nacho cheese in another crockpot before we left that morning. It was ready and waiting when we returned. I put out paper plates, taco shells, tortillas, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and tortilla chips. Everyone got to make what they wanted.

Day 3-
Breakfast- Pigs in a blanket
My DH made them the night before and cooked them until they were lightly brown and still somewhat doughy. After they cooled I placed them in a gallon ziplock bag and put them in the frig. The next morning I placed them on the cookie sheet and finished cooking them. It worked out perfectly!
Lunch- leftovers and sandwiches (this will be the theme for every day from here on so I will leave it out from now on).
Dinner- Brisket, baked potatoes and green beans
I bought three medium sized preseasoned bags of trimmed brisket. I cut them down to size to fit in the two crockpots and cooked them all day. I also put potatoes in the crockpot and let them cook all day as well. That evening I placed the brisket on a plate, the potatoes on another plate and heated up the green beans on the stove. I laid out sour cream, grated cheese and the nachos cheese from the night before. Some of the kids had a loaded baked potato. Again- it was laid out and done so that everyone could easily make it the way they preferred.

Day 4-
Breakfast- Sausage biscuits
The sausage patties were already cooked so I just heated them in the microwave. I cooked two packages of biscuits. I cut the biscuits in half, added a slice of sandwich cheese on the biscuit and added the sausage patty. I then placed them on a plate on the table and let everyone help themself.
Dinner- Crockpot Lasagna, french bread and salad
I layered all the ingredients- spaghetti sauce, lasagna noodles, uncooked hamburger, noodles, sauce, ricotta cheese, noodles, sauce, shredded cheese. I worried for a moment that it would be greasy from not precooking the meat but it was fine. Everyone complimented on this meal. The salad was the lettuce and tomatoes leftover from the tacos. I brought some ranch dressing for it as well.

Day 5
Breakfast- Sausage roll ups again
Lunch- 50's Prime Time Diner... we had a blast!
Dinner- Creamy Chicken and potatoes, left over green beans
I used two crockpots. Each crockpot contained a bag of chicken breasts, a large can of cream of chicken soup, half of the remainder of the left over sour cream, 1/4 cup of lemon pepper seasoning, cup of milk, half a bag of red potatoes cut into fourths.

Day 6
Breakfast- scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy (my husband cooked all of the eggs and what we didn't eat he placed in a baggie and put it in the frig)
Dinner- left overs

Day 7- Breakfast- left overs
Lunch- Earl of Sandwich on the way out

We had a crockpot going most of the time. I always use crockpot liners so it was as simple as throwing the bag away, wiping the bottom and lid and relining it.

We spent $50pp at Chef Mickey's and almost $300 for lunch at 50's PT. We didn't scrimp on snacks or drinks while we were in the parks. Since the baby was with us we had the stroller. Mom and Dad had ECV's. Every day we would load each with a few bottles of water. We bought a Coke here and there, some of those beloved Mickey head ice cream bars, some cupcakes, candy from Goofy's, funnel cakes and a host of other goodness. With the money we were saving on food I didn't mind splurging somewhat on snacks. (We had snacks in the room as well- but there's no comparison to a yummy ice cream bar!). I cannot imagine what our food bill would have been had we not cooked meals in the room.
Let me end by saying that I did not mind "cooking" as long as it was 20-30 minutes or less. Every day I would wake up and start the meals. Usually my husband or mom would come in and finish things up so I could get ready. As I was getting ready and being the last one in the shower by this point, it gave me the opportunity to collect towels and throw them in the washing machine. There was also a standing opportunity that if you needed something washed to put it on the washing machine lid. I would throw various things in with the towels. At night I would throw them in the dryer. We always had fresh towels. 30 minutes of my vacation every day for cooking and a load of laundry made for a well oiled machine.
Side note: We put bottled water, cokes, sprite and dp in the door of the frig to drink. Being Texans, we also make iced tea. Funny story: my husband prefers unsweet tea and the rest of us prefer REALLY sweet tea. There was only one tea pitcher though. I noticed that we didn't have a can opener so I knew I had to ask for Mousekeeping to deliver one. While I was on the phone I decided to ask and see if they could deliver yet a second tea pitcher. Always hospitable, of coarse they said yes. Mom answered the door when they came by and I could hear her laughing...turns out that they brought me a tea kettle! lol Not wanting to bug Mousekeeping I looked through the cabinets to see what if anything I could use to improvise. I found the blender. From then on we had a pitcher of unsweet tea and a blender of sweet! lol
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:05 AM   #18
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The room...ohh the glorious room!

So after three days of traveling (we took our time and we stopped in West Monroe, LA to see the Duck Dynasty headquarters) we finally arrive to OKW.

I wait my turn and finally get up to the desk. She gets my name, driver license, types a few keys into her magic computer and then hands me the map. We ended up in building 62. Glorious 62! It was perfect! Close to the HH, had an elevator and we could see Illuminations fireworks at night. It was room 6222 to be exact, a 2bd. It was even a number I could remember! And our view was both water and golf coarse. How perfect can you get?

She hands me our STACK of key cards- yes, stack and says those magic words "Welcome Home!" H-E-A-V-E-N!

One of the kids grabbed the baby while the rest of us started grabbing stuff. I got the chore of unpacking everything, groceries, baby stuff etc while they did the grunt work of unloading the car. It worked out pretty good because I'm more meticulous about "where things live". My DH is more a "its somewhere over there" kinda guy.

If you remember, I was concerned about not liking OKW. But in the end we all enjoyed it very much. "Quaint" is a good adjective. The room was beautiful! The grounds were pretty and it was soooo quiet. We were on the second floor and I was concerned we'd hear neighbors but we never heard a thing.

My DH declared that he'd like to stay at each property one time to get a feel for them all. SOLD! He even started talking "add ons"! Of coarse he was in the jacuzzi with the bubble bath I'd just bought from Basin and some Texas Tea I'd bought from Publix, but hey, HE was the one talking! We decided that when we start getting grandkids that we are going to need more points.

Mom and dad were pretty much in awe. When I explained to mom our rationale of buying I think it eleviated her intial fears of thinking "time share". They really enjoyed being with the kids and having a place to actually relax.

Enough food for sustainable life.... check
Perfect room............................ check
the tickets....
ECV service...
the parks......
meeting Mickey Mouse....
did the surley 14 year old and grumpy 17 year old end up having a good time.......
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:31 AM   #19
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Sounds like you had an amazing trip. Can't wait to read more
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerKeeks View Post
Sounds like you had an amazing trip. Can't wait to read more
Thanks! The only thing that would have made it any better was the crowd level. I decided not to stress over it though so it was no big deal.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:48 AM   #21
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tickets!

My dad is a retired Navy veteran. 22 years of active duty service. It made for an interesting childhood to say the least. I am a speech language pathologist. I kid people who ask why I chose this profession that I like to talk so much I made it into a profession...lol In actuality I don't think I ever had a chance to be shy. I constantly had new friends, experiences, and experienced new cultures growing up.

Disney has a promotion going for retired and active duty service members for 4 day PH tickets for $156 each. If you buy them at Shades of Green or a base's ITT office (travel agency on base) there is no tax added to that amount. Each service member and their spouse are limited to 6 total (that's per family, not per person). Since mom and dad needed two of those tickets we were eligible for the other four. My son didn't need a ticket as he was still carrying his Blue Maingate pass. My daughter and I had left over tickets from a previous trip. My son also had a few days left to be able to get family or friends into the park on his maingate pass too. For two days my daughter and I took advantage of this. His pass was under a blockout at MK so on the MK day we ended up using our own passes. All in all, our tickets for WDW cost $624. Mom and dad spent $312

Universal Studios (btw) has a promotion going for active and retired military members for a two day, park to park for free. Free is good..lol Mom's ticket was like $150. I had bought four Universal tickets a long time ago that were no expiration. I think I paid around $60 a piece for them. They've been sitting in my body fanny pack thing that I bought when I went to Europe for a while collecting dust more or less. (In some tourist areas of Europe there are Gypsies who like to pick pocket. I bought a garment that wraps around your waist under your clothing. It has pockets to hold your cash, credit cards, passport, etc. This makes it harder for people to steal from you. I figured I was being overcautious but when we went to the Eiffel Tower we were approached numerous times by Gypsies and a few times I actually felt "stealthy" hands on me. Sorry I digress- back to WDW or rather US). When my husband, son and I went in July I bought season passes to US. So other than Mom's ticket we didn't have a ticket expense to US/IoA. Dad's military WDW hoppers were blocked out until Jan 1 so we needed something to do on the 31st. We ended up at IoA. I wasn't thrilled with starting the girls off at US instead of WDW but I didn't really have a choice. In the end I think they appreciated WDW all the more. That's not to say we didn't enjoy US, but we have Six Flags at home so it just wasn't as unique to them as some of the rides at MK.

Food...check
room...check
tickets...check
ECV's or rather "dad gets a Nascar mobile" and "mom moves to the speed of hungry turtles"!
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:31 AM   #22
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ECVs have pep!

Dad made the arrangements for ECV's through an outside company. It ended up saving them lots of money. I think a week for both scooters ended up costing $175 total. Money well spent! Dad said that in all the information I shared with them about WDW that my recommendation for them to rent scooters was the best. lol And I thought all this useless Disney knowledge was going to come in handy someday

The ECV's were dropped off at OKW bell services a few hours before we arrived. My DH and son went down and collected them and drove them back to our villa. We dropped them back off the morning of our departure at bell services. Everything else was handled over the phone.

The 31st (our first full day) we went to US/IoA. We had a luggage rack on our trailer hitch so we loaded one on it and the other we folded up and put it in the back of the Expedition. With the scooter sitting in the cargo area we didn't have room for everyone to sit so we ended up taking both ours and mom and dad's cars. Problem was we only had one handicap pass. None of us are handicap (besides mom and dad- who are in their own car) but if we have the scooters in our car and if mom and dad park in handicap then how are we going to get the scooters to them.... ugh. US had it all figured out for us! They were awesome! When we pulled up mom and dad were behind us so we stopped and talked to the gate person and explained our problem. He told us to put our hazards on and follow the handicap parking signs. We ended up parking in the handicap section right next to mom and dad. The flagger for the area told us to put a sign in our window that said we were with the car next door. I wasn't keen on taking someone else's parking space and asked about needing to move our car. I was assured that it would be ok. Turns out they were right because there were tons of handicap spaces left when we returned later that evening. Even though we were at "the other theme park-eek!, it truly was a Disney moment. They had it all figured out before we even had to ask a question.
My DH was such a trooper! He said he was the "Scooter Patrol". He did all the loading and unloading and once when dad's scooter quit working he even "towed" it.
I went to Guest Services and got the wheelchair pass. Dad is scheduled for both knee replacements starting in March and mom has rheumatoid arthritis. We started our treck off at Harry Potter land which is insanely crowded. The back side of HP land is blocked off too, so all foot traffic has to double back and come out the front. This made it 2x's as insane. The area is very cool but I don't know what they were thinking by blocking the exit on that particular day. Mom and dad got experienced on their scooters really fast!
The baby decides that the best ride in all of the 6 parks he got to visit was the ECV ride on grandpa's lap. Mr. Toad doesn't have anything on dad btw. We ended up pushing around an empty stroller for most of the day.
We didn't think about the scooter not being fully charged when we got it. you can probably guess where this is heading..... We picked them up, brought them home, loaded them up the next day and took them to IoA. Long about 6pm dad starts complaining that his scooter is broken. Turns out that his battery was dying. Mom's was fine because when we got to attractions she would sit and wait. But dad, oh no.... he had to do donuts everywhere. Mom would do a managable speed limit down the walkways, but dad, oh no.... Mario Andretti would have been proud of his speed and manuevering abilities. Long about 6:30 his scooter dies. I mean D-I-E-S! My poor DH put it in neutral and pushed it all the way back to the handicap section where our cars are parked. Thank goodness we hadn't moved our car afterall. The next day my DH puts tow straps in mom's ECV.

Other than this experience, the entire rest of the trip was pretty drama free. When I went to get the wheelchair pass at WDW my DS went with me to Guest Relations. When the CM asked what we needed the pass for my DS blurts out "grandpa had a stroke!" Then he looks at me like a deer caught in headlights. I'm like "what?!??" The CM kind of gives a quizzical look and marks "wheelchair access" and we move on with our life. We meet up with mom and dad and I tell dad about our adventure and he looks at DS who at this point apologizes and says "its the only thing I could come up with!" I was like "how about knee replacement?!!!"
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:03 PM   #23
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the parks......
Other than the crowds the parks were perfect as always! I'm not sure about the new Fantasyland yet. I love the theming, I love the fact that Dumbo is now Dumbo squared, I think I just wish that along with all the "newness" that there were more rides. I tried to squeeze in the Ariel ride but it was down for the only time we could make it over there, otherwise it was over a 120 minute wait the rest of the time we were in the park.

Blake really really loved IaSW! He was mesmerized! I look at it as taking a nap while the TV is on- you can zone out but there's those voices inside your head that just keep you somewhat partially awake. I have a new perspective to it now. All in the eyes of a child! He was ok with Winnie the Pooh, liked Buzz, liked Dumbo a lot, liked Peter Pan, and liked the Carousel, but IaSW.... wow- totally in awe. Funny story- he turned two a few days after we got home, so at this point he is still one. The que to IaSW was about 10-15 minutes long. We finally make it to the front and Blake sees and understands the process by this point I'm guessing. The CM asks "how many in your party?". I say "us" she says "Ok stop right here". Everyone in front of us go on and board their boats. Blake looks her in the eyes and says in a very clear, very articulate voice "I want to get on the boat please!" Yes, there was even a "please". She is now dumbfounded that he's not three as she originally guessed but still really only one. lol

This morning was the only one that I actually made it to rope drop, actually rope drop on a EMH so we were ahead of the game. No one wanted to get up that early so it was just Blake and I. Whatever we paid for the entire trip was worth these absolutely fabulous few hours that he and I shared.

We hit the gates at 7am, went straight to Buzz and got a FP, then headed over to Peter Pan. PP was already 40m by this point..crazy! I knew that it wasn't going to get any better so I parked the stroller and away we went. After PP we had a few minutes to kill between being able to return to Buzz and getting new FP's. We rode IaSW then the Carousel. I headed back to Buzz, and tried to grab a new FP at WtP. What's up with the FP for WtP being over at Philharmagic?!?? The CM at WtP pointed in some obscure direction and said "it's over at Phil". I ended up at a gift shop and asked a CM and she walked me over and explained that she gets this all the time. I guess my persistance pays off at this point because we got a bonus FP for Dumbo! Yippee! We head back to Buzz, grab a snack at Cosmic Ray's and kill a few minutes before we head back to WtP. We do WtP and then head over to Dumbo. By this point mom and dad and poor DH are at the parks so Blake and I meet them at PoC. PoC, HM, Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise and HoP all make it on our check off list. My dad is a military/history buff. Normally I don't do HoP but for him I put it on the list. It was a nice 30 or so minute reprieve from the crowds. After this we head back to the "house" for lunch. Later on we go back for Wishes and some of the bigger rides with the older kids. GREAT day!!!

Enough food for sustainable life.... check
Perfect room............................ check
the tickets....check
ECV service...check
the parks......check
meeting Mickey Mouse....
did the surley 14 year old and grumpy 17 year old end up having a good time.......

Last edited by traceyg; 01-17-2013 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:33 PM   #24
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Thank you for sharing your vacation with us. You are a very good writer.
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:01 PM   #25
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THANK you!!!
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:10 PM   #26
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Meeting the Mouse!

We have been "practicing" for this moment for quite some time....

It started at Christmas when we visited Santa....


ummm, not a good experience...sigh

So we tried again.....



nope...... let's try this again....



There!!! (and I have to add that Santa in this picture was awesome! He wasn't great with parents but with the kids he rocked! He picked up the ball and started playing with the baby until he was comfortable enough to get near him)

So that brings us to-


He LOVED Mickey!

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Old 02-07-2013, 02:46 PM   #27
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A cast of important characters...









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Old 02-07-2013, 03:06 PM   #28
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Did the kids have a good time?

Well...the 14 year old asked over and over what each ride was about and whether it turned her upside down or not. I incorrectly told her twice that although the ride was fast it didn't go upside-down...oops. Some things she chose to forgo, others she just closed her eyes when it got too overwhelming. She declared that next time she will have a blast since she knows what each of the rides are about now.

The 17 year old really got into it at the end. At one point she stated that if she had to be a princess to live in the castle then she'd do it (she's NOT girly-girly at ALL). She was also very disappointed that we somehow missed Tinkerbell flying overhead during Wishes. It is on her "to-do" list for next time.

They went off to DTD for dinner by themselves one night. I was very proud of them for venturing out!! They also wanted to ride the monorail one night so they got on a bus and rode over to MK and rode the monorail around. The 17 yo called and asked how to get back from AK and that somehow the monorail dropped them off there.... umm no... I THINK they got off at the TTC but I'm still not sure. They had to ask a security guard how to make their way back to OKW. Just about the time I was going to start heading their way to find them they called to say they were on a bus.

(My bonus kiddos aren't world travelers. Actually they've led a pretty sheltered life. Instead of big vacations like I did with my kids, they had horses and rodeo'd around the country. Stock shows and such they can handle.... subways, taxis, airports, etc aren't too familiar to them. Someday we need to do a big city trip to someplace like NYC. My own kids have been a few times. Each time they've been there they have been handed a map of the city that included points of interest, our location and subway maps and told they had to navigate us to a location of their choosing.)

Here's a picture that they took. They initiated talking to the photographer and everything. The older kids took the younger two under their wings and showed them WDW through the eyes of teenagers.

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Old 02-07-2013, 03:15 PM   #29
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more pictures...















I had to add this one because I don't know that I've ever seen my boys this happy.... we were at Monster Cafe in US and the baby looked over at his brother and said "I NEED my bubba!" Being seperated for 7 months was tough for both of them.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:16 PM   #30
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Love your report! I have never considered cooking while on vacation but with your methods I might. Especially since our kids are getting older and would like to bring friends and or boyfriends with them too. Also, our daughter is interested in the. College Disney program too. I hope that she will be able to participate in it. It seems like a great opportunity!
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