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Old 12-21-2011, 08:41 AM   #46
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Love the look back pictures. And, yes, your little girl is absolutely adorable. That smile is radiant.
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:48 AM   #47
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Hershey Park Update

We had a great visit to Hershey Park! We did not tell Katie where we were going. Partly because we wanted it to be a surprise, but also her attitude and the weather were not completely cooperative, so cancelling was not completely out of the question.

It rained all day here on Wednesday. It poured when I went into the school to pick her up (we picked her up about 15 minutes early because sometimes they are running late for parent pick up, so this made more sense). I kept crossing my fingers and saying little “no more rain” prayers!

It worked! As we headed out on 78, the rain because less and less and finally the windshield wipers were off completely. YAY!!! About halfway there, we did tell her where we were going, and of course she was totally excited. (No picture, I was driving)

And I confess I left the good cameras at home and so only had my cell phone. I did some photoshopping to try to lighten some and to remove some motion blur. They are ok but not photo quality!! Sorry

We pulled into the parking area and SCORE no charge for parking this day. Yes! $8 saved!

We parked so close to Chocolate World we were amazed – we’ve never been there on such an empty day. Chocolate world was empty!

After snapping photos in front of the tree, we headed into the chocolate ride.







We walked right onto the chocolate ride – this is a slow moving ride (like Nemo) where you ride through recreations of the chocolate process, with the Hershey Chocolate cows singing to you intermittently. My photos of this area were so amazingly blurry they were unrecognizable. Katie sat in the front of our car, so here is her photo:



I tried to snap a Disney Cheat photo at the end (they take your picture on the ride_) but these folks are savvy and stopped me. Darn!

Chocolate samples are always given as you exit this ride- this days’ samples were cookies & cream drops. I gave mine to Katie – I only like dark chocolate for the most part. (I know, sacrilege!)

We bought some goodies for Katie’s teacher & the after-care team in the huge chocolate store, and I snapped a photo of “food porn Hershey Style” just for you!









We had a bite to eat –Joe was starving. He got something while I checked out, then I bought Katie’s & went back for mine. No pics here, but Joe and I each had salad with chicken (BORING I know but I was saving calories for a caramel apple!) and Katie had baked mac & cheese. Then it was time to hit the park.

First a size check:



Katie is now Twizzler Height – officially too tall to ride most of the “kiddie” rides at Hershey Park!

I had to laugh because I used my Disney Visa (with Tinkerbell) to pay for our admission and the guy was teasing me a bit about using a Disney card at Hershey. He said something about Hershey being much better (I love Hershey but really? LOL) and I teased back and said that admission just earned me Disney Dollars !(not really, but a portion of a dollar anyway!) Good to keep a sense of humor!

Hershey park decorates everywhere with lights and music and this year they have relocated their antique window decorations to the front:




I tried to google a better photo but could not find one. Their displays are mechanical scenes of Christmas – like the dog tearing something off the tree, mom at the piano, dad rocking in the chair reading the paper – picture mini versions of scenes of the turn of the century scene in Carousel of Progress. They are aged but I just love to see them and Katie watched for a while too.

After a quick shot of the Milton Hershey fountain, we headed to the carousel.






Here is someone else’s FLICKR photo of the same section in the daylight (with a real camera not a cell phone!)


The carousel at Hershey Park was made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1919. Know what else was built by this company? Yup, Cinderella’s Carousel in the Magic Kingdom







We rode a few rides and worked our way back to see Santa.
On our way we caught the light show – lights line the creek and there is a fun display set to music
.








Hershey Park has the REAL Santa. Know how we know?




He rides his reindeer to the park!


But I jump ahead of myself.

This year the “line” was two people. Unheard of! But we had enough time to take a shot or two waiting outside of Santa’s cottage.







as we waited to order a picture, Katie said that she did not think this was the real Santa. We talked a bit about why – timing and how much work he had to do in the NorthPole and all – and she said “Well he can’t be real because his reindeer are not here” to which I answered “OH, but his reindeer ARE here”. I wish I had gotten a picture of her face when that sunk in. I have it in my head – it was great.

So we worked our way over to the reindeer stables, stopping for rides along the way.

Joe rode the Frogger ride with Katie – I have it pictured in my last post with Katie & our friends Madison & Vanessa & Jake. He laughed and rode it two or three times (No wait!) in a row with Katie and said absolutely it is like the Tower of Terror bouncing you up and down. Katie likes Frogger better because there is a huge lap bar and your butt never flies out of the seat! (and no scary ghost movie first)

After frogger, Katie wanted to ride the swings. In the past she has always ridden the kiddie swings and loves them. But she is too big for the kiddie rides now. So we went to the adult swings. Have you seen these?

Well I was still a little queasy from the scrambler, and frankly I needed a bio break and didn’t think this would be a good ride for me (TMI!) so she got buckled in and rode alone. As she was swinging high past us, very high

I

asked if she was freaking out. UMM AFFIRMATIVE! “Yes” “would you like it to stop” “yes” (too nervous to say anything else!) So the attendant stopped the ride for her –s he was the only one on it if you can imagine that!!

We rode the bumper cars on our way. LOVE bumper cars!! That is the only thing I wish they had at Disney World, though I guess purposely smashing your car into someone else’s is not very Disney-esque. The first time, Katie kept getting her car stuck. She was so frustrated. So she and I rode again in the same car – she handled the “gas” and I steered. That was much more fun and she saw that I also got stuck which made her feel better.

FINALLY we got to the reindeer stables…just as the skies tore open and dumped what felt like a ˝ inch of rain in 15 minutes. The rain was coming down so hard that the attendants at the reindeer stable had to initially yell over the sound of it hitting the roof. (Thank goodness we were under roof! It was warm –upper 40’s – but not warm enough to be soaking wet!)

We watched the reindeer, found out that Dasher & Rudolph were a little overzealous in their reindeer games and each lost an antler a little earlier than usual. We got to feel the antlers, and learn the difference between an antler, which comes off and grows back every year, and a horn, which never grows back.
And of course we got to be silly



Joe had an antler too but I have to keep the online pics to a minimum for him. Boo.

As the rain slowed to a stop, we headed out, stopping for deliciously sticky and juicy caramel apples (no picture, but it was GOOD!).

I am so sure I won’t have time for another update before Christmas, so let me wish you a very happy and joyful celebration of love and giving with your families and friends!
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Old 12-23-2011, 12:11 PM   #48
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Great Hershey update! I have been wanting to go there for xmas the last two years but it always gets wiped out by the Disney trips. We have to go next year, those reindeer look adorable.

You seemed to luck out with no people. Isn't it usually pretty crowded?


I love the older pictures. You and Joe both look better in this years pictures. Joe looks a whole different person (I finally took the plunge and joined the WW meetings and have been LOVING it)


It looks like you guys are almost ready for xmas. Caitlin is the only girl her age who has not asked for an American girl doll She has a friend who told her bad stories about her doll and now Caitlin thinks they are evil.

I'm not really sure what that other thing is that Katie wanted. If it's not something mentioned on a Disney xd or Nick commercail Caitlin must not know about it.


Although it is hard to tell in your tiny, teeny picture, it looks like the gingerbread house turned out very nice.

Love the picture of Katie helping with the cookies. I usually love making xmas cookies, but am taking this year off since I am trying to lose weight. I just got some sugar cookies for Caitlin to decorate and some choc chip ones that you dump on a pan and bake. Horrible, I know. I'll have to make tons of homeade next year.

I think that's it. Have a great xmas and winter break!
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Old 12-23-2011, 12:25 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkxray View Post
Great Hershey update! I have been wanting to go there for xmas the last two years but it always gets wiped out by the Disney trips. We have to go next year, those reindeer look adorable.


You seemed to luck out with no people. Isn't it usually pretty crowded?
The whole park is wonderful. but yes Chocolate World esp is usually packed --its outside of the park, so there is no admission to go in there. I would say Christmas at Hershey is like January 10 at Animal Kingdom--crowd levels a 2 on a weekend, 1 on a week night. We had so much rain yesterday & the day before that I think no one wanted to venture out.




I love the older pictures. You and Joe both look better in this years pictures. Joe looks a whole different person (I finally took the plunge and joined the WW meetings and have been LOVING it)

We are going strict again starting January 2. Joe has been writing things down all along, but I have not. I can't seem to get myself back in the food journal habit and that is really important. but I think its fairly easy to follow and you really do learn moderation.

It looks like you guys are almost ready for xmas. Caitlin is the only girl her age who has not asked for an American girl doll She has a friend who told her bad stories about her doll and now Caitlin thinks they are evil.

I'm not really sure what that other thing is that Katie wanted. If it's not something mentioned on a Disney xd or Nick commercail Caitlin must not know about it.


Although it is hard to tell in your tiny, teeny picture, it looks like the gingerbread house turned out very nice.

LOL! thanks

Love the picture of Katie helping with the cookies. I usually love making xmas cookies, but am taking this year off since I am trying to lose weight. I just got some sugar cookies for Caitlin to decorate and some choc chip ones that you dump on a pan and bake. Horrible, I know. I'll have to make tons of homeade next year.

I have not baked a lot of cookies for the past few years - one or two dozen, and a package of Nestle TollHouse pre made on Christmas eve for Santa...for the same reason. But this year Joe and Katie practically begged me to bake cookies. How could I refuse? BUT I only baked a small batch of MY favorite so that I am not so tempted.

GOOD LUCK with WW over Christmas. Challenging season for sure!!

I think that's it. Have a great xmas and winter break!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:16 AM   #50
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:30 AM   #51
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Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family, Mary Ellen.

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Old 12-26-2011, 06:42 PM   #52
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Thanks Kathy! I have had your update open on my laptop for about 2 hours trying to read it.

I hope you all had a wonderful wonderful Christmas too.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:14 PM   #53
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Merry Christmas! Hershey looks so pretty dressed up for the holidays. Are they open year round? We're not so terribly far from PA...I mean, we're in CT, so that is far, but obviously not Disney far. The cookies you baked looked great, too.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:23 PM   #54
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Tina, they are not open year round at Hershey. They have regular hours may - sept, I think they do Halloween during October (though I have never been) and then Christmas from around Thanksgiving till New Year.

If you are ever considering a long weekend type trip, Hershey partners up with Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster with a decent two park price. We have never purchased this deal, as we live 2 hrs from Lancaster & 1 1/2 hrs from hershey and wouldn't do both parks in a close time frame, but if you were traveling & staying at a hotel or campground, it would be fun. Dutch Wonderland is also very family oriented and really focused on the 12 and under crowd.

Hope Christmas was great!!
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:07 AM   #55
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Am I subbed to this????? I don't think so, but I am totally in (even though I am so far behind on all my subbed threads. Do our June trips overlap at all. Probably not, but I'm coming back later to get the scoop!

I see that you went to HP for their winter festivities. Cool!
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:03 AM   #56
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I am all caught up. I made it a priority!

Just as I suspected - you are there the week before me. I plan to arrive on the 9th if we fly or the 10th if we drive (which we might - ).

Denny and I had a 20th anniversary trip in the world and it was fantastic. It was only 4 nights but we had so much fun! We stayed at Pop, rented a car, and did the DXDP. Loved it.

You will feel like a celebrity with your anniversary button on. You will get more happy anniversaries than you have had in the last 20 years. It's great. We even got balloons and a card in our room, which was a complete shock. Loved it.

I admire people who can do night time driving. I can't, but it will sure help with that DC night mare traffic. I learned to take 301 through Delaware and straight through Md and Va to Richmond. It turned out to be a huge stress reliever as I have been stuck in that DC traffic for hours.

I love your ADRs. I love Sanaa. Their customer service is great and the food is great and the decor is perfect. I also love Kona breakfast. La Hacienda is very good - just ate there again in December. Make sure you order a rita because they are fabulous.

And the YC - how I would love to stay there, but it will probably never happen because there is no DVC there.

Great trip!
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:36 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEK View Post
I am all caught up. I made it a priority!

Just as I suspected - you are there the week before me. I plan to arrive on the 9th if we fly or the 10th if we drive (which we might - ).

Denny and I had a 20th anniversary trip in the world and it was fantastic. It was only 4 nights but we had so much fun! We stayed at Pop, rented a car, and did the DXDP. Loved it.

You will feel like a celebrity with your anniversary button on. You will get more happy anniversaries than you have had in the last 20 years. It's great. We even got balloons and a card in our room, which was a complete shock. Loved it.

I admire people who can do night time driving. I can't, but it will sure help with that DC night mare traffic. I learned to take 301 through Delaware and straight through Md and Va to Richmond. It turned out to be a huge stress reliever as I have been stuck in that DC traffic for hours.

I love your ADRs. I love Sanaa. Their customer service is great and the food is great and the decor is perfect. I also love Kona breakfast. La Hacienda is very good - just ate there again in December. Make sure you order a rita because they are fabulous.

And the YC - how I would love to stay there, but it will probably never happen because there is no DVC there.

Great trip!
Hi Mary Ellen! I can never remember exactly when I sub to TRs either, and I have been doing updates slowly as I wait for more details to become clear. I am often behind ...hard to believe that I have things to do other than DIS!

I can't drive like that at night - I get too sleepy. but Joe really prefers it. When he drove from CA to PA this summer with his sister (she was moving back to PA from CA with her 2 dogs in a prius!) they made it in about 4 days because they drive (mostly Joe) at night -- traffic was much lighter, not so hot, etc.

We are both really excited about celebrating our anniversary at WDW. We are pretty darn sure that Lesley and Colin WILL be coming too, and they will be celebrating too. AND Colin will be wearing a "first" pin!!! I am hoping for lots of pixie dust, but will remember this time not to raise Joe's expectations just in case we don't get dusted. (it happens!)
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:48 PM   #58
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Christmas Update

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas shared with friends and loved ones. We celebrated Christmas Eve with my BFF Lesley, her hubby Colin and their wonderful son Adam (I just love how they are all laughing here) along with my parents in law, sisters in law, and nephew. (Notice that Katie is airborne—jumping with Christmas excitement to see her Pappy) We have a lot of fun…and a lot of food. (but I did not take food pictures, too busy cooking then eating and drinking!) Between Lesley and I there was a huge assortment of appetizers, hot and cold, for dinner and snacking, along with pecan pie for dessert. We had a lot of fun, and I didn’t even get sad until late in the evening, after Lesley left, when I realized that this would probably be the last Christmas Eve get together for a long time, as they will very soon be moving to North Carolina. 9+ hours is a bit far to drive for an evening get together.

Joe had to go to work at midnight, so my nephew, sister in law and I stayed up late to see him off to work. Nina headed to bed while Ryan and I visited with Santa and chatted a bit. He is 22 now and has just grown up so much in the past year, its just wonderful.

I snuggled into bed with Katie upstairs so that she would not see what Santa brought until Daddy came home from work. She woke me up about 6:45 wondering when it would be morning (its still dark). I told her not till daddy got home, in an hour and 15 minutes or so. so there was some chatting and anxiousness about whether or not Santa left her anything, and she did drift back off to sleep right before Joe called up the steps that he was home. I do love snuggle time with my little girl.

She was just thrilled with the presents from Santa and mom and dad. --I almost forgot to add that my wonderful neighbor, who visited Disney over Thanksgiving, brought some Mickey rice krispy treats, so Katie, Ryan, Nina, and I all had Disney treats (Joe is not a fan ). Katie loved that Santa must have stopped by Disney AND picked up a very ymmy chocolate pecan covered apple for my stocking as well. (you can see it in the corner of the picture below) She was super excited over her BFC doll and her Fijit newbie. YAY! and mom and dad did okay with monkey earmuffs and paper jamz microphone and amp (Joe insisted all morning that I "must hate him" for giving her an amplifier. I was indeed questioning my sanity.

Thor also enjoyed some gifts from us and from Santa. After demolishing a "reindeer rib" (from one that died naturally of course) I have to share with you the first photo:

9:02 playing with his new toy with Katie.


9:20 utterly exhausted from the great Christmas duck massacre that happened in our living room.



but not so tired that he wouldn't kill another duck if I had one




I hope you all had a Christmas as fun as ours!


BTW, my dear sweet loving thoughtful hubby gave me a Nook Color for Christmas. I was totally surprised! It is a very cool thing and he pointed out that I can DIS from anywhere now on my nook -- much more convenient than my very old laptop with no battery power in it. This could be very dangerous!



(and a real PTR update next!)
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:01 PM   #59
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Day Two: June 5

(Note: I realized how pictureless my earlier post was on day one so I borrowed a few shots from all over the web to help put everything in perspective. )

Tuesday, June 5

Tuesday morning we will wake up refreshed in this lovely room , and Joe will probably get up about 5:30 for a morning run. He has mapped out his running path to maximize distance & view, and keeps it on the table to day dream over. How cute is that?

While he finishes his run, I will head out to the concierge for some coffee and fruit. Maybe a bagel if they look good but I am not big on morning sweets. I plan on taking my breakfast on the balcony to enjoy the sun and whatever lovely view we have (at Disney they are ALL lovely views in my book!) Assuming Lesley & Colin are rooming with us, we will all enjoy some fresh air and maybe a stroll around the grounds depending on Joe's run and cool down time.


Once we get ready, we will head out to
for the day. In May Joe & Katie became converts—we had a great day, Katie and I rode Expedition Everest for the first time (FUN!!!) and saw FOTLK which was just AWESOME


What are we hoping to do today?
For sure, ride as we never have. Katie was too small in years past, and it was closed in May. We had a ride in a local park (Bushkill Park) when we were kids called the Wild Mouse that this reminds us of so we are hoping it’s the same fun ride.

Lunch will be a counter service – I am thinking Flame Tree Barbeque – A plate of St. Louis Ribs & a Fruit Plate with Honey Yogurt – Joe and I will split each so that we get to eat fruit and yummy hot ribs. Joe will of course eat the baked beans (BLECH ) I also have wondered about the Yak & Yeti Café – any feedback? I will have to look on the foodies section of the boards! We like all sorts of foods, I just don’t care for beans, there is a lunch place with very unique foods (pizza is not unique!) let me know! I am up for trying new things, and I know that as long as there is steak or chicken on the menu, Lesley is okay with it. Colin I think will try most things as long as they are not uber hot or have lots of onion on it.


I want to be sure to catch It’s a Bugs Life this year, and I really want to have time to explore all those wonderful little shops throughout AK. Last year I found a wonderful bag and wanted to browse through more shops BUT if you have ever been window shopping with an 8 year old girl, you know how frustrating it can be with the constant nagging “mommy can I have XXX” and the return of “see with your eyes not with your hands”. Ugh. I am totally looking forward to browsing through all the stores this trip!

After a fun day of shows, rides, shopping and seeing our favorite characters we will eat a somewhere new this trip:

I have been so anxious to visit the Animal Kingdom Lodge, especially after KatMark’s trip a few months ago. It just looks so enticing. I am hoping that a visit to the Lodge, some touring time, and a delicious dinner at Sanaa will the ticket to adding AKL to our list of future stays.

more to come….
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:17 AM   #60
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Looks like you had a very nice Christmas Katie looks very happy with her new toys.

I love the picture of Thor after the excitement. We had dog toy stuffing all over the place that morning too.

I'm looking forward to hearing how Sanaa goes. I think I would like it, but I might be the only one. However I am hoping to stay at Kidani one day and how can you stay there and not eat there?
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