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Old 12-05-2012, 07:58 AM   #16
kittylady1972
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So yes still need to get started on this trip report...and what did I do last night instead? Well started planning another trip to WDW of course. I priced out a few resorts for 3 nights in January...and was able to get a GREAT rate at Shades if Green. Another new to us resort but we do qualify for it. I hear it is very close to the Poly. I think it would be great. And maybe we would break up the drive by stopping in NC first for one night...and visiting my brother and his family at their new house.

I have yet to pitch this complete plan to my husband yet, but I have sent some emails about costs for SOG. His annual pass expires in March so I'd LOVE to squeeze in one more trip on those passes. I think we could do it pretty cheaply too. We will see if I can convince him.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:44 PM   #17
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So...what about Disneyland Paris?

Yes there are some very serious talks happening in our house right now and they are centered around us moving...temporarily...to England. There is a position out there that would be perfect for my husband, it would be a 2 year assignment (with a possible 3rd year) and although in the past I have absolutely REFUSED to consider it...suddenly I've changed my mind. I can't explain why but I think part of it has to do with the fact that there are really no real family ties for me here in Maryland any longer. Now that my brother and his family have moved to NC and my parents are in NC and my dad always lamenting about the drive here I'm just thinking perhaps it's a good time to go elsewhere for a while.

My husband and I now work for the same company and that makes my decision a little easier. Before it would have meant me giving up my job but now...well there's a possibility that a position could be found for me in the same place.

Don't get me wrong...it's actually all a bit scary to think about...especially that part about packing! And moving! But having just left a job that I had for 15+ years and realizing that it CAN be done...it just makes it a bit easier for me to consider. There are many, many pros to this opportunity and until all of the details are worked out I can't say how likely it is that it will happen, which is why I won't even MENTION it to anybody right now, including friends and family. Yet there's a part of me that really wants to start looking into the whole situation more and more and start planning because if it happens it would mean we'd move in JUNE!

All the more reason to squeeze in ONE MORE WALT DISNEY WORLD TRIP next year because it may be a while before we come back. Until then...there's always Paris I guess and I think the chance to see more of the world would be awesome for the kids.

So there you have it...another NON-TRIP update from me. I do plan on getting these kiddos to bed soon and REALLY starting my trip report though! REALLY!
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:40 PM   #18
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Ok Let's get this party started!

Ok, time to get this trip report kicked off! This first post will be the boring non-photo post for the most part but after this there will be some photos...promise!

So our morning began with the usual chaos. We got all of the kiddos on the bus to school...and then the fun began. We were mostly packed but I had the last minute stuff to throw together such as electronics, snacks, get the cats prepared for a week or so without us, etc. My husband insisted that I be the one to take the dog to the kennel so around 9am I left to do that.

When I returned there was much fuss around the packing. My husband and FIL were trying to figure out how to get the luggage on our rear luggage rack and in the limited space in the back of our Honda Pilot. The most difficult pieces appeared to be the two large suitcases that belonged to my in-laws and my SIL. Yes did I mention my SIL and nephew were joining us later in our trip so we were taking the luggage for them so they didn't have to transport it on the plane? So there was a LARGE suitcase packed for the two of them...for 4 days.

The final decision was to put the two large suitcases up on the roof rack while most of the remaining luggage was packed on the rear cargo carrier and inside the vehicle. In order to properly protect it from potential elements, the two of them wrapped each large suitcase in an industrial strenght garbage bag...times two...and then packing tape. This rendered them pretty well protected from any rain...and also difficult to handle since...well there were no handles or wheels exposed. Did I mention these were LARGE suitcases? This will soon become very important!

I then took off to pick up the kids from school. When I returned everybody was ready to go! And so we said goodbye to our kitties and headed out!

As we headed down the highway on our hour long journey to the Autotrain station, comments were being made about the luggage. The two bags on the roof were of a concern as we noticed the roof above us from the inside was vibrating quite a bit. At one point my husband, being a smart A$$, made a comment to my FIL in the front seat next to him "which suitcase was yours? the one on the left or right?" When he responded by husband said "Oh...that's good I think that one is still up there!" And THAT is when KARMA decided to do it's first smack down on our vacation!

Not too long later my husband proclaimed "Holy S*#@!" and pulled to the right shoulder...as both suitcases from the roof flew into the highway! Now this was a 3-lane highway with a 65MPH speed limit! One bag was right in the middle lane and the other was in the right lane. I look out the back to see my 70yo FIL in the MIDDLE of the highway trying to get that bag...just as a tractor trailer is coming up fast in the far right lane. I know he won't have time to get that bag and get back to the shoulder..especially since it's heavy, no handles on it, etc so what does he do? He STANDS in the MIDDLE lane of the highway as traffic is flying past him on BOTH SIDES! It is SCARY to watch and my MIL can't see what's happening...and that's a good thing!

Kids are a bit freaked out though.

After what seems like FOREVER and MANY speeding cars later, a nice patron stops in the far right lane with flashers...which allows my FIL to get the luggage and get safely back to the shoulder. That's when I got out and spring into action as we quickly try to repack everything into the vehicle and NOT THE ROOF!

We pack in record timing and are soon back on the road. We arrive at the Autotrain in plenty of time and check in and wait to board. We eat some lunch and just relax, still talking about the adventure we've had SO FAR! My husband comments that at least we noticed the luggage as he came off the roof. It would have sucked to discovered it was missing once we got to the train station!

Up next...our SWANKIFIED train accomodations!!!

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Old 12-06-2012, 06:13 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittylady1972 View Post
So yes still need to get started on this trip report...and what did I do last night instead? Well started planning another trip to WDW of course. I priced out a few resorts for 3 nights in January...and was able to get a GREAT rate at Shades if Green. Another new to us resort but we do qualify for it. I hear it is very close to the Poly. I think it would be great. And maybe we would break up the drive by stopping in NC first for one night...and visiting my brother and his family at their new house.

I have yet to pitch this complete plan to my husband yet, but I have sent some emails about costs for SOG. His annual pass expires in March so I'd LOVE to squeeze in one more trip on those passes. I think we could do it pretty cheaply too. We will see if I can convince him.
We have stayed at SoG before - it is a very nice resort... Definately deluxe accomodations. The only thing I didn't like, was that I felt it was a lot of walking... They do provide transport to all the parks, but most of the time, we found ourselves using the Poly as our hub... So, a bit of a hike. The SoG thread on the resort page is very informational. I definately wouldn't hesitate to stay there again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittylady1972 View Post
So...what about Disneyland Paris?

Yes there are some very serious talks happening in our house right now and they are centered around us moving...temporarily...to England. There is a position out there that would be perfect for my husband, it would be a 2 year assignment (with a possible 3rd year) and although in the past I have absolutely REFUSED to consider it...suddenly I've changed my mind. I can't explain why but I think part of it has to do with the fact that there are really no real family ties for me here in Maryland any longer. Now that my brother and his family have moved to NC and my parents are in NC and my dad always lamenting about the drive here I'm just thinking perhaps it's a good time to go elsewhere for a while.

My husband and I now work for the same company and that makes my decision a little easier. Before it would have meant me giving up my job but now...well there's a possibility that a position could be found for me in the same place.

Don't get me wrong...it's actually all a bit scary to think about...especially that part about packing! And moving! But having just left a job that I had for 15+ years and realizing that it CAN be done...it just makes it a bit easier for me to consider. There are many, many pros to this opportunity and until all of the details are worked out I can't say how likely it is that it will happen, which is why I won't even MENTION it to anybody right now, including friends and family. Yet there's a part of me that really wants to start looking into the whole situation more and more and start planning because if it happens it would mean we'd move in JUNE!

All the more reason to squeeze in ONE MORE WALT DISNEY WORLD TRIP next year because it may be a while before we come back. Until then...there's always Paris I guess and I think the chance to see more of the world would be awesome for the kids.

So there you have it...another NON-TRIP update from me. I do plan on getting these kiddos to bed soon and REALLY starting my trip report though! REALLY!
Wow! This is huge for your family - but what a wonderful opportunity! For everyone! I kind of feel the same way - especially after everyone moved and left us here, but now some of them are starting to move back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittylady1972 View Post
Ok, time to get this trip report kicked off! This first post will be the boring non-photo post for the most part but after this there will be some photos...promise!

So our morning began with the usual chaos. We got all of the kiddos on the bus to school...and then the fun began. We were mostly packed but I had the last minute stuff to throw together such as electronics, snacks, get the cats prepared for a week or so without us, etc. My husband insisted that I be the one to take the dog to the kennel so around 9am I left to do that.

When I returned there was much fuss around the packing. My husband and FIL were trying to figure out how to get the luggage on our rear luggage rack and in the limited space in the back of our Honda Pilot. The most difficult pieces appeared to be the two large suitcases that belonged to my in-laws and my SIL. Yes did I mention my SIL and nephew were joining us later in our trip so we were taking the luggage for them so they didn't have to transport it on the plane? So there was a LARGE suitcase packed for the two of them...for 4 days.

The final decision was to put the two large suitcases up on the roof rack while most of the remaining luggage was packed on the rear cargo carrier and inside the vehicle. In order to properly protect it from potential elements, the two of them wrapped each large suitcase in an industrial strenght garbage bag...times two...and then packing tape. This rendered them pretty well protected from any rain...and also difficult to handle since...well there were no handles or wheels exposed. Did I mention these were LARGE suitcases? This will soon become very important!

I then took off to pick up the kids from school. When I returned everybody was ready to go! And so we said goodbye to our kitties and headed out!

As we headed down the highway on our hour long journey to the Autotrain station, comments were being made about the luggage. The two bags on the roof were of a concern as we noticed the roof above us from the inside was vibrating quite a bit. At one point my husband, being a smart A$$, made a comment to my FIL in the front seat next to him "which suitcase was yours? the one on the left or right?" When he responded by husband said "Oh...that's good I think that one is still up there!" And THAT is when KARMA decided to do it's first smack down on our vacation!

Not too long later my husband proclaimed "Holy S*#@!" and pulled to the right shoulder...as both suitcases from the roof flew into the highway! Now this was a 3-lane highway with a 65MPH speed limit! One bag was right in the middle lane and the other was in the right lane. I look out the back to see my 70yo FIL in the MIDDLE of the highway trying to get that bag...just as a tractor trailer is coming up fast in the far right lane. I know he won't have time to get that bag and get back to the shoulder..especially since it's heavy, no handles on it, etc so what does he do? He STANDS in the MIDDLE lane of the highway as traffic is flying past him on BOTH SIDES! It is SCARY to watch and my MIL can't see what's happening...and that's a good thing!

Kids are a bit freaked out though.

After what seems like FOREVER and MANY speeding cars later, a nice patron stops in the far right lane with flashers...which allows my FIL to get the luggage and get safely back to the shoulder. That's when I got out and spring into action as we quickly try to repack everything into the vehicle and NOT THE ROOF!

We pack in record timing and are soon back on the road. We arrive at the Autotrain in plenty of time and check in and wait to board. We eat some lunch and just relax, still talking about the adventure we've had SO FAR! My husband comments that at least we noticed the luggage as he came off the roof. It would have sucked to discovered it was missing once we got to the train station!

Up next...our SWANKIFIED train accomodations!!!

OMG!!!! That is so insane! I would have been hyper-ventilating in the car, seriously. And if that would have happened to us - I think Josh would have had a major meltdown... So very glad that your FIL wasn't hurt and you were able to retreivet he suitcase.

Can't wait to see your swankified accomodations!

D~
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMGeurts

We have stayed at SoG before - it is a very nice resort... Definately deluxe accomodations. The only thing I didn't like, was that I felt it was a lot of walking... They do provide transport to all the parks, but most of the time, we found ourselves using the Poly as our hub... So, a bit of a hike. The SoG thread on the resort page is very informational. I definately wouldn't hesitate to stay there again.

Wow! This is huge for your family - but what a wonderful opportunity! For everyone! I kind of feel the same way - especially after everyone moved and left us here, but now some of them are starting to move back.

OMG!!!! That is so insane! I would have been hyper-ventilating in the car, seriously. And if that would have happened to us - I think Josh would have had a major meltdown... So very glad that your FIL wasn't hurt and you were able to retreivet he suitcase.

Can't wait to see your swankified accomodations!

D~
Yes the more I run the numbers, SOG just makes the most sense....especially for such a short trip. We mentioned our plans to my FIL at dinner Friday night and his eyes lit up...he is so ready to go back AGAIN! Thing is I was not planning on inviting them since it is a marathon weekend trip but I would hate to exclude them if they really wanted to go. My FIL retires later this month so he will have lots of time to travel. So with that I have looked into two rooms at SOG by nothing booked...yet.

OK I promise to try to get to another real update tomorrow so you can see our train photos...and maybe first day pics too!
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:37 PM   #21
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Ok first and foremost the latest news...the marathon trip is looking VERY likely now. Tonight I booked a room at.....ok I'll tell you later! However I will say there is a room booked for us and a room booked for my in-laws for 3 nights in January!

I still won't say it's 100% but I felt better having a deposit in place to lock in the rate. I will say we are using an Annual Passholder rate for this trip...so that at least lets you know that we have decided AGAINST Shades of Green. My main reason is their cancellation policy. They require a 30-day cancellation notice or you forfeit the entire deposit and for us that would mean $131. That's a bit too much to risk because anything can happen between now and January.

Ok up next...another trip update!
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:10 PM   #22
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Ok so we arrived in plenty of time and got our room assignments. We had some lunch (we had picked up some sandwiches before leaving home) while waiting in the train station. At 2:30pm we were called to board the train.

We each had our own room. The in-laws were in their own Superliner Bedroom and the kids had their own Superliner Bedroom which connected to ours with a sliding mirror/door. We had to wait a bit for our porter, who was new, to come unlock the door and open it for us. DH ended up helping her with that.

Here are the kids in their side of the rooms:


Not the best shot, but here you can see the pass-thru to the rooms:


My first surprise once we settled into our rooms was to give the kids their gift cards:




Next we headed to find a seat for the welcome reception. Since this was not our first rodeo so to speak, we knew there was a larger space in the lower level of the lounge that had two large seating areas where we could all fit. So we headed there and had some snacks...and a few free glasses of wine.

Then we decided to just relax in our room until dinner. We got the early seating for dinner of 5pm, so we didn't have too long to wait. Dinner was pretty good as usual and so was dessert. Afterwards we went back to our rooms. The in-laws joined us in our room and Frank made some Lapu Lapu drinks and we played a round of Farkle (a dice game) before retiring for the night.

I FINALLY got a chance to sleep on the bottom bunk of a train car...and it was HEAVEN especially since it was a bit wider than the top bunk. I think I slept the best I've ever slept on the train, but I did wake up a few times when the train really started doing some rocking.

Next thing you know it was the next morning. We arrived on-time and here is a shot of the train as we exited at Sanford:


While waiting in the station, I took a video clip asking everybody where they thought we were staying...still no clue. Our car was not one of the first ones off the train...and in fact we were probably close to the middle. It wasn't too bad. We were on the road before 10am.

The whole trip in there was a lot of guessing...where would we be headed? Yes they were surprised when we pulled up to the Wilderness Lodge! It was so cool to walk into the lobby and see this:




Our room was not ready of course, but we got the keys and then parked the vehicle. The decision was made to go ahead and have the bags unloaded for us and kept for us until checkin, to that's what we did. Then we headed to the boat dock to catch a boat over to Magic Kingdom. We were STARVING!

On the boat:


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Old 12-10-2012, 05:30 AM   #23
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How awesome that you have your next trip booked! I wish we could afford to go so often, but the airfare is a good chunk of the trip for us - and every time I have checked into taking the train, it's very, very expensive. Cheaper to fly actually. So, if you have any hints about that, I would love to hear them.

Loved all the pictures! You have a beautiful family, and it looks like they truly enjoyed their trip down.

HOw cool that you stayed at WL! Especially when it's decorated for Christamas - if I ever get my coveted Christmas trip, I would love to stay theree for a few days.

Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip.

D~
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:31 PM   #24
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How awesome that you have your next trip booked! I wish we could afford to go so often, but the airfare is a good chunk of the trip for us - and every time I have checked into taking the train, it's very, very expensive. Cheaper to fly actually. So, if you have any hints about that, I would love to hear them.

Loved all the pictures! You have a beautiful family, and it looks like they truly enjoyed their trip down.

HOw cool that you stayed at WL! Especially when it's decorated for Christamas - if I ever get my coveted Christmas trip, I would love to stay theree for a few days.

Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip.

D~
I can't believe it either right now. I'm still not sure I'll go through with it because financially we really SHOULD take a break and save some money.

As for hints...the train is quite expensive. We used some Amtrak Rewards points to book our last trip. Usually one way in sleepers is just as much, if not more, than booking airfare AND renting a car, and I just HAVE to have a vehicle with me there. It's just a security thing. We find it so much more efficient to drive to the parks too.

With this trip, I thought I mentioned it...but we are driving both ways. It is a 14 hour drive or so each way. The plan for NOW is to leave around noon on a Thursday, drive as far as we can, hopefully stopping in Georgia close to 10pm or so and getting a hotel. The next day we'll have a nice breakfast and drive the rest of the way, maybe a 4 hour drive. So we can hopefully be in a park close to noon on Friday, and then have all day Sat, Sun and Monday to do parks. I'm not making ANY ADRs this time...we'll do snacks and counter service to maximize our park time. Plus we will try to limit the park hopping since my in-laws will have to purchase tickets and they may try not to get hoppers.

Again that's the PLAN and we'll see how things go. Today I priced out hotels in Georgia and that shouldn't be too bad. It will cost about $65 for the night for that hotel and then we factor in gas, split with the in-laws most likely. We will most likely make the drive home in one trip. We've done it before, left around 7am and arrived close to 10pm doing very few stops.

So this is hopefully going to be our CHEAPEST trip yet if all goes well! And after Christmas, that's a good thing!
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:34 AM   #25
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So just another quick update from here...I'll have to do another trip report post later this week.

In home news, it looks like our possible move overseas will NOT be happening. The more my husband reviewed the job and talked to the people there, the more it seemed like it may not be a good decision. Plus he talked to somebody else and they seemed to indicate they already had somebody in mind for the position...and so he decided not to apply. I'm okay with it. While I think it would have been a fun adventure, it's okay and we can always look into future assignments later when timing might be better.

With regards to our January trip...it is still on though I tried to convince my daughter last night that we cancelled it. She isn't buying that one. No reason to give you the resort information because in all honestly there's a HIGH HIGH probability it will change! I am a famous resort changer and while I have this booked mostly as a placeholder...we have already discussed rebooking the trip using our DVC points to make it pretty much free. I don't want to book it right now because I'm still not 100% sure we'll go and I'd like to wait until we are a bit closer to our dates to book something. If we can get something...GREAT...and if not...we can keep what we have and I may even consider checking on Shades of Green Resort as we get closer to our dates.
We'll see what happens. Heck even if I bought/transferred points from another DVC member for our January trip it would probably be cheaper than what we will end up paying for our four nights at our current resort.

Right now the focus is on Christmas...of course. My parents will join us for a long weekend around Christmas which will be nice. I have put quite a dent in my shopping for now but still have to come up with some good ideas for both sets of parents.

This weekend we will go visit Santa AND get our Christmas tree. The kids are just ITCHING to get the rest of the inside of the house all decorated. So I plan to start early Saturday morning, pulling stuff out and getting it ready.

Another REAL trip report will hopefully be up in the next few days!

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Old 12-17-2012, 12:26 PM   #26
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Another mundane life update...since I haven't found the time yet to do a trip update!

Friday was dinner with Santa at our local elementary school. As PTO Vice President I try to get as involved as I can with these events and help out the President. So I left work early to go to the school and cook and prepare the baked ziti trays, then returned a while later to actually cook and decorate. It was a success as always...such a fun and inexpensive family event!

Saturday was our Santa/Tree farm day. We had breakfast and then headed up to the tree farm mostly to see Santa. We decided to go ahead and look for a tree, and actually FOUND one this year...and then cut it down and hauled it back home with us. Kids visited Santa as well. It was all good. So the rest of Saturday I hauled all the boxes of decorations up from the basement and decorated the house and the tree and then hauled them back down. That evening I visited a coworker's house and had some girl time while my husband had some guys over for poker night.

Sunday was mostly spent trying to get started on holiday cards. The hardest part was getting the photo card created and printed but I picked that up that afternoon. So the cards are officially started and with any luck 1/3rd of them will be in the mail today! My plan is to stop at the post office on the way home and get stamps and mail the cards I have done.

Also knocked about a bit more shopping this weekend both online and in the stores. I still have things to get but I'm probably about 65-70% done and have some ideas for the rest. I'd love to have it all done by this week and just be able to relax this weekend!

Yet the house chores are falling behind since I did all that other stuff this weekend. Laundry and cleaning need to be done. I need to prepare the basement for my parents' arrival on Saturday. We still need to buy food for Christmas Day dinner and brunch, both of which we will prepare.

I can't believe a week from now will be Christmas Eve already!
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:37 AM   #27
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Ok, so when we last left we were on a BOAT on our way to the Magic Kingdom...and we were STARVING!

Of course, walking through those gates for the first time into the MK...well you know how GREAT that feels!



We had precious time to make it back to Liberty Tree Tavern for our lunch reservation. I wanted to go ahead and pick up my Photopass Plus card so we could start using it. So we were wandering Main Street looking for the photo place...it's so weird NOT knowing where something is in Disney!

Finally we got direction from a cast member, and I sent the rest of the gang ahead to LTT whille I went to pick up the card. I told them I'd meet them at the restaurant.

So I picked up the card and then hurried to LTT, not exactly sure where I was going but having a general idea. I found it easily and as I walked inside the restaurant they were JUST calling our table...AWESOME TIMING!

We were seated at a large round table in the middle of the restaurant. As it was a bit of a chilly day, the soup sounded wonderful. All of the adults and ONE kid got some soup: clam chowder for the adults and a large chicken noodle soup for the girl. It was wonderful but so filling...we should have shared. DH and I decided to split the pot roast meal here which was a good idea. They actually served it split onto two plates for us. Let me tell you...it was DELICIOUS! Kids got standard kids meals which I'm sure they ate, though DD wasn't too thrilled with her chicken noodle soup. I think she had some chowder and some oyster crackers.

Even though we were pretty full I just HAD to try the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake so we split a few of those. OMG I LOVED this dessert!

Honestly I must admit this was probably one of my favorite meals from the whole trip. When the bill came, my FIL insisted on paying and that's when I realized...oops hadn't picked up a new TIW card yet so no discount. It was an expensive lunch but I'd do it again. I just wish they had that same menu for dinner!

Sorry no food pics...but I think I got a pick of the girl looking over the LTT lobby which was pretty cool!



All stuffed and feeling content it was time to hit the park and ride some rides!!!


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Old 01-01-2013, 01:59 PM   #28
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Ok, when we last left this update we had just had a nice full lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern...and now it was time to hit some rides! Without a trip report, I can't say for sure what we did next but I can try to do my best to remember. I know we were right next to the Haunted Mansion, but I think we may have headed over to BTMRR first. I seem to recall a line and us grabbing fastpasses...then heading back to do Haunted Mansion while we waited for our Fastpass time.

So I think we went through the scenic route just to play with the stuff, and before long we were here:


We got on the ride and I was testing out my camera to see if I could get some inside photos without the flash. It suddenly became easier when the ride stopped...and we had a long time to watch these guys:


Then I think it was back to BTMRR for a ride. Beyond that...I don't recall what we did. I'm sure it was late afternoon at this time. We had an early dinner reservation at Sanaa and wanted to check into our room, so I think we probably headed back out of the park at this point. Oh but wait...we had to get that Photopass Plus tested out. So we hopped on this for one ride:





And of course, on the way out we had some family photos taken:




So then we hopped back on the boat for our ride back to the Wilderness Lodge.

Bye Magic Kingdom...for now:


Oh and the boat driver pointed out some of these on the boat ride back...



DISNEY DEER!!!

Soon we were back at the Lodge and ready to check into our room!

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Old 01-01-2013, 02:28 PM   #29
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The Wilderness Lodge is just so beautiful. I only wish we had more time to spend here. It's not an easy DVC Resort to book since there are so few DVC units there, but I got lucky at the 7-month out mark and got it. I think we will have to stay there again sometime.

Some photos around the resort:









This was the pool outside of our building....with the bubbling water it looked SO inviting. Kids were dying to try it...but we would not get that chance.



The lobby of our building had it's own tree...so nice!


View from our floor level of the tree:


We went right to the room but had the guys head to the lobby to have them get our luggage which we had dropped off. It was really nice. My first priority was to have the beds made and ready to go. There were two sleeper couches for the kids, one in our bedroom and one in the main room. We wanted to have them all made up and ready so we could go to dinner and then hit a park and if we got back late the kids could go right to bed. This took quite some figuring out on my part...and probably would have been easier if I had read the instructions with the beds that I saw later! They are very unique in the way they unfold.

Anyway some photos here were taken after we had already set to work on getting the room ready for us later, but you can get the idea here.


(with blankets and pillows stuffed under the table ready for the evening later)

Our bedroom with the couch ready into the bed for later:


Looking from the bedroom doorway into the main area of kitchen and living room:


Balcony with view of the woods:


Our luggage was delivered and we quickly unpacked some stuff. However we had Sanaa waiting for us, so we headed out to Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge next.

We were close to reservation time but I wasn't worried. The lobby here is so nice:



We checked out some animals from right outside the restaurant:






Our table was ready quickly and I think we were right at the table or next to the one where we ate back in June. It was here in June that my father-in-law brought up the idea of us extending our then non-Disney vacation and adding a few Disney days. I could not believe it...but sure enough that was what we did. Does he look happy here again or what?



My FIL and husband love the beer here at Sanaa...and it is ONLY served here at the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney.

The kids were happy too:


And the hubby and myself:


We had a wonderful meal at Sanaa. We weren't terribly hungry after our big lunch earlier, so we shared some things and that worked out well. After dinner, we decided to walk off a little of our food...and so we headed here:



I honestly don't recall what we did here. I think we must have done Mission: Space since I see this photo:


We had no hopes for riding Soarin' and we knew we'd hit Spaceship Earth on the way out of the park. I am sure we didn't do much. At some point I got into it with the 12-year-old son about something...and I know I was angry enough to make him sit OUT of the next ride. It was a ride he really wanted to do too. So I sent everybody else in to ride it while I waited with him:



I think we headed out after this but I know we stopped for another nice photo of my daughter here:


And the kids had to stop and play here:


We were all trying to capture some great photos of the sidewalk here, not an easy task.

I'm sure we took a ride on Spaceship Earth before heading out of the park and snapping one more photo of this guy:


We had to drive back through the gates to get to our resort. Another favorite view:



It was back for some sleep and we had our first FULL day at Disney the next day! Which park would that be?? Stay tuned!

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Old 01-01-2013, 06:08 PM   #30
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SATURDAY NOVEMBER 17th
Our first full day at Walt Disney World had arrived! Rather than push it and try to do rope drop at Hollywood Studios, I decided we'd just take our time and arrive whenever we could get there. So we all got up and dressed and headed over to Roaring Forks for some breakfast.

More scenic photos:


So another side note about the Wilderness Lodge. While this was the first stay at this resort for most of us, back in 2001 my FIL and MIL stayed at this resort. It was Nicolas' first trip to Walt Disney World and we were unable to all stay at the same resort due to availability. So the 3 of us (DH, myself and Nicolas) stayed at a Garden Wing room at the Contemporary and my in-laws stayed at Wilderness Lodge. It wasn't terribly far away so not too bad. It was while visiting them at their resort that we snapped a photo of Frank holding Nicolas. Well it was during this stay that we spotted the same Mickey shaped shrub where that photo was taken...and so we snapped another one now that it was just over 11 years later. Take a peek:



We got a photo this time of the while family too:


Oh and my 12 year old had his hidden Mickey book handy and we had to spot this hidden Mickey in the lobby:



Did you see it? Here's a hint:


So we had a nice breakfast at Roaring Forks and then hopped in the car and drove over to Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Studios Tree:


It was after 9am so we already knew there was no hope for getting onto Toy Story Mania. I decided to pull up the Touring Plans app and see if I could find the best way to maximize our park time. And thus begain our first Walt Disney World park argument of the trip.

I can't recall the exact details. Basically we really wanted to have a chance at Toy Story Mania and it seems that the recommendation was to pull a fastpass for one ride (I think TOT) and then wait in line for TSM which was showing I think 70 minutes, but Touring Plans suggested the wait would be closer to 40 minutes. The problem is that it would mean we'd miss our window for the Fastpass for TOT if the wait was closer to the 70 minutes. The kids did NOT want to wait in line. I told them it would mean we wouldn't be riding that ride (TSM) today if we didn't. They were okay with it. I gave in reluctantly.

I honestly don't recall where we went from there, but it may have been Star Tours since we had the fastpass for TOT to wait for anyway. So I think we rode Star Tours and then headed over to Tower of Terror, passing RnRC on the way and pulling a fastpass there. We must have taken some photos somewhere between:


That's when my youngest child decided he didn't want to RIDE Tower of Terror. WHAT??

He's been on it before. I tried to bribing and convincining and finally we just got in line. I was sure by the time we got on the ride I could talk him into changing his mind. I was still sure of that as we got to the top and walked towards our designated elevator car...and that's when DS8 pulled out the "my stomach hurt" card and I wasn't willing to chance THAT or risk others in that car for that. So I had to tell the cast member we needed to be escorted out, and so I got my first view of the back of Tower of Terror. Great.

The rest of our group got on the ride and of course thanks to my Photopass Plus card we got the photo:



Everybody got off the ride and I was still pretty upset with my youngest, sure it was just faking it. However we noted he seemed a little warm and then I started feeling bad. So we got him a drink in the gift shop and sat outside the ride to see how he felt. It seemed he started feeling better...and what did he want to do? Well he really wanted to ride Rock N Roller Coaster of course!

So we got into line for the ride. As we went through the line and were standing close to where we boarded, my FIL somehow started talking about the fact that this ride had no loops...and we all looked at him like he had three heads? What? Surely he realized this ride had loops, he'd been on it many times. Nope. So then we asked a cast member and her reply was something like yes there were 3 loops...two large and one small. I think that's what she said...and we just had to laugh!

Anyway we enjoyed the ride despite what the photos seem to indicate for some of us:




I think after this we decided it was lunchtime and that meant a turkey leg for me! We all hit the nearby outdoor food court like area and scattered to get something to eat. After lunch, I decided I just HAD to have one of those famous cupcakes so as he headed back over to the other side of the park (I think our intention was Great Movie Ride) I stopped at Starring Rolls and purchase a cupcake and then sat down and ate the whole thing, sharing only with my daughter. It was delicious and worth it! I must stop in there again!

We headed over to Great Movie Ride and looked around and all the sidewalk imprints of famous people for a while. I think we were looking for Carol Burnett's star which was supposed to have a hidden mickey in it according to DS12. Eventually we had to ask a cast member to show it to us!

So we got onto the ride and as we were going through and passed through the scene where the gangsters should get boarding the car...and they didn't...my father-in-law once again was sure for some reason we would NOT be treated to that special little show within a show there. I guess perhaps he had never been on the ride when we had the Western portion of the show so we just waited. As we went into the western scene and somebody did board our car during that part I guess he got to see that for the first time!

We got out of Great Movie Ride and then...we were stumped. We knew Toy Story Mania wasn't an option. Kids did NOT want to see Muppets...and I was quite sad about that one! Nobody was up for Little Mermaid either and we were just too late for the next Beauty and the Beast Show. We were just not sure what to do. I think we may have done Star Tours again? Not even sure but that seems right.

So we had to be at Hoop de Doo Dinner show that day for the 4pm show and I guess we figured it was about time to head back to the room. We'd have a short time to wait there before we'd have to head back out to Hoop de Doo. This would be the kids and the other two adults first time for this show. How would they like it??


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