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Old 02-05-2013, 07:44 PM   #1
Happy Duck
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Smile April and August. It's a 2 for 1 PTR deal! (Updated 4/19 --- TRIP REPORT LINK!!!)

Welcome to my first EVER Pre-Trip Report, leading to my first EVER Trip Report! Basically, it is the BEST DAY EVER!!!! Im so happy right now, its absolutely ridiculous. My level of Disney (Toy Story) Mania, already at an all-time high, has increased to Epic (Mickey) proportions.

A Tale of Happy Ducks, Minnie Mice, and Little Woodland Creatures


Chapter One: Introductions

There is good reason to be so joyful, as we just booked a mini-trip for April 2013!!! Who is we, you might ask? Well, take small children by the hand, refrain from dancing, and come along for the ride!

First up, let me introduce myself. My name is Lauren, I am 22 years old, and in the past year and a half my love of Disney has grown from mildly interested to full out obsessive.



In the daylight hours, I am a first year music teacher for Pre-K through 8th grade students. I absolutely love my job and I couldnt think of a better way to spend my days.

This will be my 4th trip to the World, my second in 15 months, and my first as (drumroll, please!) an ANNUAL PASSHOLDER! Thats right! This may not be my only trip of 2013 Stay tuned to find out more!

Now that you know the basics, lets get into more advanced knowledge&like my Disney favorites!

Favorite Characters: Donald Duck and Rex
Favorite Princess: Pocahontas
Favorite Movies: Pocahontas, Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast, and Tangled.
Favorite Restaurants: Tusker House (breakfast), Cindys, and 50s Prime Time Café
Favorite Music: Colors of the Wind, The Wishes Soundtrack, Kingdom Celebration and When will my life begin?
Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom
Favorite Ride: Mount Everest

Next, Id like to welcome Mama (also known as MinnieMomma) to the fun!


She is pretty much my twin. We say things at the same time, think things at the same time, and even burst out into random song&.we have the same brain, and more importantly, the same love (obsession) for all things Disney!!! This will be her 5th trip to the World. We are also helping each other along the journey of becoming healthier and happier. What a better way to celebrate then by going to Disney World???

Mamas Favorites are&
Favorite Characters: Minnie Mouse, Gus Gus, Rex, and Thumper
Favorite Princess: Cinderella
Favorite Movies: Cinderella, Bambi, and Finding Nemo
Favorite Restaurants: Cindys, Tusker House, and Coral Reef
Favorite Music: Part of Your World and A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes
Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom
Favorite Rides: Teacups and Splash Mountain

Finally, we have my younger sister, Sarah.



Dont let her towering height fool you; she is 13. (Sometimes very 13.) Sarah is such a sweet-heart and she cares for anybody and everybody. One thing I love about her is that she lives her own life and doesnt blindly follow the not-so-great model set by other teenagers in this day and age. Mama and I tend to live life through a childs eyes and she enjoys life right along with us!

This will be Sarahs 3rd trip to the World. Her first trip was when she was only 2 ˝, so she doesnt remember anything from it except the stories weve told her. The most memorable is that during and after Fantasmic, she kept wondering if the people guys (her spontaneous name for the villains) were going to get Mickey. For days after, she would ask us about the people guys&it was so cute! Like Mama and I, her love of Disney has also soared and she is enjoying her chance to help in the planning process of this trip!

Sarahs Favorites are&
Favorite Characters: Mickey Mouse, Rex, and the entire Hundred Acre Wood
Favorite Princesses: Merida, Rapunzel, and Mulan
Favorite Movies: Lion King and Brave
Favorite Restaurants: Rainforest Café and 50s Prime Time Café
Favorite Music: Wishes Soundtrack
Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom
Favorite Ride: Toy Story Mania, Dumbo, Teacups

I hope you enjoyed meeting all of us! Come back soon to discover more about our magical plans!

*Chapter links in Post 3*

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Old 02-05-2013, 07:50 PM   #2
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What a fun start! And I love the adorable title, can't wait to hear more!
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:47 PM   #4
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.....and so it begins!

In a little more than 2 months we will be walking right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Eating one of these!

Watching her at Cinderella's Castle

Getting autographs from my two favorite mice

Let the festive crazy joyful fun commence!
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:24 PM   #5
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Chapter Two

Chapter Two: A hopefully tantalizing history of how this whole trip came about

Note: Pictures are intended to provide a splash of color for your viewing pleasure in an otherwise wordy explanation and may not always refer to the topic at hand. Enjoy anyway.



As Ive said before, our family wasnt terribly into Walt Disney World until relatively recently. We had gone once when I was 12, but there was never any push to make our way back to Florida. (Back then, we didnt know what we were doing, which sometimes worked out to our advantage. Daddy planned the whole trip&and not knowing what it was&booked us at the Animal Kingdom Lodge!! And then we got upgraded to Savannah view!!) We had always loved Disney movies, but in an enjoyment sort of way. Not in an obsessive sort of way

THEN. IT. HAPPENED.

The summer of 2011 came and changed our lives forever (okay, not quite that dramatic, but you get the idea!)



Mama came across a Groupon deal for an off-site hotel near Disney World. She jokingly told Daddy about it, saying we could take a quick 3 day trip, and have a fun weekend. Well&.my problem is when Im presented with an opportunity, I run with it. I was all aboard (the Monorail, of course!) and full speed ahead! I was calculating (and recalculating) everything. It was my goal to make the cheapest but longest trip possible that would be most likely to convince Mama and Daddy that a trip to Disney World was an actual possibility. I had us staying at a Quality Inn for goodness sakes.

After about a month of my going crazy, (staying up until 1am looking at cost spreadsheets isnt weird, is it?) Mama let me have a little bit of hope. She started bringing up the idea of staying at a Value resort. It wouldnt be that much more expensive, we wouldnt have to rent a car, and (even better) wed be immersed in the Disney Magic!



As if we needed more motivation, we also decided that it would be smart to take a trip before my imminent graduation and entrance into the world of teaching.



This single act, while wonderful, would guarantee that any future trips would be based around my school schedule, and therefore only at peak times. So, in order to celebrate my upcoming foray into adult life, we decided to take the trip at the beginning of January, right before my final semester of student teaching.

Ahhh, January. How I love thee. Low crowds, great weather, lower cost...perfection.



As the trip neared, our love of Disney eventually catapulted us into the world of DISboards. Throughout our meanderings of various trip reports, we came to the conclusion that the Value resorts may not be quite what we were looking for. They are generally larger, louder, and also (as Ive heard) the beds arent quite as comfy. (Also, we found out that cheerleaders would be in attendance during our stay&.shudder.) After a bit more number crunching, we decided it wouldnt be that much more to upgrade to a moderate (!!!)

Now comes the big question...which one?????

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:37 PM   #6
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Chapter Three: Details, Details, Details

As we browsed through the pictures, room tours on youtube, and reviews, we decided upon Port Orleans French Quarter. It was a match made in heaven. It was small, quaint, and had such a friendly staff! We didnt need all of the bells and whistles offered by larger resorts, so we were fine without things like a sit down restaurant on site. We had Sassys! (Our pet name for Sassagoula Fireworks )



The trip itself was January 8th  January 14th, 2012. We even had a day visiting the world of Harry Potter! It was an amazing trip filled with amazing new memories. Mama, Sarah, Bryan (my brother), and I went on the trip, leaving Daddy at home. Dont worry. He didnt want to go anyway



One thing Mama and I learned after we got home is that we didnt know enough! We werent as schooled as we are now. For example, we missed the School Bread! For that matter, we didnt know you could go into the big Mexican pavilion. We also didnt know about the Three Caballeros! And for a Donald Duck fan like me, that was just not right. We completely missed the animation class&and for an art lover like my sister, that was sad. We didnt watch a single parade, and we barely took the time to breathe, let alone enjoy the ambiance of Magic Kingdom. Dont even get me started on not knowing about Starring Rolls or not getting anything at all from Main Street Confectionary. Apparently we took pictures without actually purchasing any deliciousness!



Now, dont think we were completely clueless. We did know enough to make ADRs! We ate at lots of fun places: Cindys, Tusker House Breakfast, 50s Primetime Café, Coral Reef, Chef Mickeys, and Rainforest Café. Free dining definitely came in handy!



After such a magical trip, experiencing everything and enjoying each moment, it was obvious to us that it wouldnt be our last trip to visit Mickey and the gang. The question was...when would we be back?

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alysa View Post
What a fun start! And I love the adorable title, can't wait to hear more!
Thanks! I'm having fun FINALLY writing one of these!
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Duck View Post
Chapter Three: Details, Details, Details

Oh my goodness, what is that?!? I must order it!
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alysa View Post
Oh my goodness, what is that?!? I must order it!
That amazing creation is the French toast at Cinderella Castle. Sooooooo good.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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Chapter Four: Were Coming Mickey!

The rest of 2012 was a Disney blur. Mama and I grew more and more in love with all things Disney. We would have Disney nights where we watched a movie and had a themed dinner, headed to the Disney store often (we used to have two near us until recently&now we only have the one ), and became more in love with the DIS.

By May, we were both itching to schedule another trip. But that was just silly! We used to be those people who saw Disney commercials and thought, Why would anyone go there every year? Our family trips to see the Mouse had been in 2002 and 2012. (Mama and I did go on a band trip to Disney in 2006&but it really didnt count as a full trip in my book.) So we were making a pretty consistent schedule of every 10 years.

One thing I knew without a doubt was& I CANT WAIT 10 MORE YEARS!



Mama and I hatched a plan. At the time, we were both trying to lose weight and become healthier. Not above bribery, we thought, what if we made a trip to Disney as our reward???



That was all of the convincing we needed! So we set out to plan a week-long trip to Disney World. But wait. It is just going to be the two of us. And I had not yet spent any of my graduation money. And we would have a long time to save. What if we have a TWO WEEK trip all to ourselves? No convincing necessary! We were sold!



Then came the hard part of all Disney plans. Waiting. Remember, this plan was hatched in May of 2012. We still needed to lose about 60lbs each. That would take at least a year, plus having this massive trip line up with vacation schedules. That means that we would not be going until August of 2013. As of right now, we are STILL about 7 months out (the trip is at the end of August) and we each have a lot of work to do.



November through December was a very stressful time for me as a new music teacher, and I freely admit I didnt have as much success as I would have liked. Post my unfortunate holiday season gain, I still have about 45lbs to go. Yuck. Doable, but definitely still a tight schedule. Even worse? Mama and I made the rule that if we dont lose the weight we have to cancel the trip. That would be way too sad!!!



Now, Im sure you are wondering. If this trip wasnt scheduled until August, why are you going in April??? Stay tuned to find out why.

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April 2013 Trip Report: It's EXHILARATING in the BIG BLUE WORLD!

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Old 02-07-2013, 09:12 PM   #11
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Chapter Five: Awesome April leads to Amazing August

When we last left off, a big question was asked: Why are we going in April if the big reward trip isnt until August?

Well, the explanation is actually rather simple. Relatively recently, my sister began to be intrigued about our new, healthier lifestyle. She began to become aware of what she was eating, started moving more, and even joined us at the gym! One day, I innocently floated the idea that if she joined us and became healthier, maybe she could come along on a trip!



Now, some of you are thinking, why dont you just take your sister along for the 2 week trip? Well, first off, Id really like the chance to have the trip of a lifetime with my Mama. Also, Sarah will probably be headed elsewhere on an amazing Sarah-Daddy trip of her own at the same time. Its a win-win situation! So we are sticking with our original plan&.and adding a mini-trip into the mix for Sarah!



Sarah is absolutely over the moon. We are making this trip geared toward her&giving her lots of control as to what we plan and what we do. Shes in Disney heaven!



First thing we had to do was choose the dates that we would be going. I only have 2 days left to use at work, I have a few class plays coming up in the next few months, and Mamas schedule is in a word, ridiculous. The absolute best dates were April 11-15. Wed be getting to Orlando around 9pm on the 11th, sleeping (yeah, right) and waking up for a full day in the Magic Kingdom!



A short trip, but enough for one park a day, a few ADRs, and a lot of fun! Unfortunately, a work conflict for Mama has left us with a big unknown. If we had to, we would push it off to April 12-16, but it would be harder because I would be missing a busy day of my week. Will our dream dates work???

The eternal optimists, we decided to go ahead and book a trip for April 11-16th, knowing that if we had to change to the 12th-16th it would be fine, as well as knocking off the extra day if our original plans prevailed. Unfortunately, this meant that while we could reserve the room, we couldnt get plane tickets! As one of the most difficult details arrange, we are still biting our nails waiting to hear from our respective employers before we take the plunge and book the flights. When at last we see the light, we will be able to finally (officially!) book the plane!



The whole process of booking the trip was super dee-duper fun. With two trips totaling at least 18 days in Disney World for this year, it made absolute sense to become Annual Passholders! We could have waited to actually purchase them in April when we were there, but I saw that there is currently an AP room discount deal available. No way am I going to pass that up! So I went online, filled out the information, and voila! I was a passholder!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EEEEEEEEEEEEK! I danced around the house, had a huge grin on my face, and couldnt sleep that night. Im too excited to sleep!!!

Now comes the sad part. It turns out that the number of rooms booked under the AP was already at its limit.



While talking to the Cast Member, she said that I could still apply the Spring Offer (which was 25%) and could call back over the next 2 months and hopefully snag one of the AP rooms.

Now, you might be asking&where exactly are we trying to book?

Originally, Mama and I had planned on staying at French Quarter again. It was just the perfect resort for us. However, one night I just happened to say, Sarah, is there anywhere else YOU would like to stay? Since it is HER trip, wed like all of her wishes (within financial reason!) to come true! She went online and started looking at other resorts and other rooms. Once she came across the Royal Rooms at Riverside, she was hooked!

She light up like a light bulb and was so excited at the possibility of being booked there. The Cast Member I was talking to while booking asked if I wanted to look for AP discounts elsewhere since one was not available for a Royal Room. Of course, we said no. It is worth it just seeing the joy on my sisters face!

By the way, when I got on the phone at first to book the room, I must have sounded so giddy that the Cast Member asked me, You are so happy; you must work for Disney, right? No, kind lady. But I am joyful all the same!
So to bring you up to speed: we have a hotel reserved, no flights, and still no definite okay from the bosses. What to do next? Be patient? Make wishes on stars?

Nah. Lets make ADRs! Optimistic doesnt even begin to describe us!
There were many factors that went into our ADRs. First thing, we wanted to make sure that we had as much park time as possible. While we want to be able to enjoy sit down meals, we want the chance to do as much as we can as well since we only have a total of 4 days (really 3.75 in the parks). Wed also like to minimize travel time in between places. Then we thought about whether or not we wanted to go to the same restaurants as the last trip, or try new ones. Then the most important piece of the puzzle came into play: SARAH! This is her trip so we want to make sure that she is getting to choose the restaurants.

So far, this is our schedule:

Friday- Crystal Palace (8:20am)
This was one of Sarahs absolute musts. She loves Pooh and the rest of the gang (enter: Little Woodland Creatures), so this was definitely going to be one of our restaurants. As the park doesnt open until 9, we are hoping to be able to finish up and make it to Fantasyland rope-drop to make it to ETWB quickly. Im going to keep an eye on it and hopefully well be able to move the time up to 8:00 if possible to give us a bit more time to eat (and then walk around and take people-less pictures!)



Saturday- 50s Prime Time Café (1:30pm)
We all loved this experience last trip and Sarah really wants to return. She says she will get and finish a milkshake this time! We think well be able to do everything we want to at Hollywood Studios since well be there 9am-8:30pm. A lunch break will be very nice!



Sunday- Yak and Yeti (6:45pm)
This is the reservation that has a possibility of changing. Its not a wow restaurant, although Im sure those fried wontons will taste heavenly. Since Animal Kingdom closes at 7pm that night, we have plenty of time to head to a resort restaurant for dinner if we would like to. Sarah likes the look of the menu, although she definitely did not have the same reaction to it that she had for Crystal Palace. I did let her know about the idea of eating at a resort restaurant and she asked me, You can do that? Eat at another resort? Why, of course sweet girl! As of right now, the appeal for Yak and Yeti is that we can eat at closing and then leave through an empty park. Picture time! Also, we wont have any extra travel time so Sarah would have ample time to swim that night. She is a fish!



Weve chosen not to schedule any ADRs on our last day (Epcot) because wed like to be able to eat around the world. A little of this, a little of that. It will be great having the time to enjoy lots of delicious goodies (and yes, some actual lunch food, too!)



Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? Any input is appreciated!

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The Wilderness Must be Explored (for 15 days!)- A Mother/Daughter Trip!

April 2013 Trip Report: It's EXHILARATING in the BIG BLUE WORLD!

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Old 02-07-2013, 09:39 PM   #12
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Hi, I'm in for your ride (or multiple rides) over the next few months! Sounds like a fun year!!! I'm jealous you are doing 18 days at Disney... I think I'm just gonna retire there myself. Maybe in the Poly Hotel. When I strike it rich!!!

We love Prime Time as well & haven't been there in YEARS - it's on our list for our November trip. That is my one 'for sure' along with Ohana Breakfast (my fave breakfast!). I've never tired Yak & Yeti-- I"ll watch your trip report for a thumbs up or down!

And good luck with your 'get healthy' motive. I always fine good incentives (a trip to Disney) go very, very far in success rates!

Love all your pictures too! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:25 PM   #13
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And good luck with your 'get healthy' motive. I always fine good incentives (a trip to Disney) go very, very far in success rates!

Love all your pictures too! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the good luck! I'm mostly back on track and feeling great. In our house, whenever we want something that we're not supposed to have, someone else just has to say "Disney" or "Mickey" and most of the time we think better of it This is also helping. Gives me something to do! (As if I don't have enough to do as a teacher.....)
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April 2013 Trip Report: It's EXHILARATING in the BIG BLUE WORLD!
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:23 PM   #14
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Chapter Six: The Most Magical Store on Earth


February 3-5



Argh! This waiting is driving me crazy. Why cant people just respond and say, Of COURSE you can have those days off. It will be no problem at all. Every day I worry that the flights will sell out. Or worse, that they will say no!

To keep ourselves from going insane, we did what any Disney-crazed people would do---- go the Disney Store!

It just happened to be that on Sunday 2/3 we happened to go out to dinner, to a restaurant that just happened to be three doors down from the Disney Store.

I'm trying to remember to take applicable food pictures. This was the only one I took. Meet my salad from the salad bar.



I think I need to work on my food pictures!

Dinner was lovely, but Mickey was calling from afar. This Disney Store is actually an outlet store and we have found awesome deals there. This particular day had a Buy 1 Plush, Get One Free deal. Under normal circumstances, that deal is ridiculous. Add it to the fact that there was a whole CLEARANCE section with Conductor Mickey and Holiday Mickey, and youve got an amazing find.

I guess technically, Conductor Mickey is Guest Star Mickey from Mickey Mouse Club, but as a music teacher, I look at him in those tails, and I see him as a conductor all the way.

With the lovely BOGO deal, I ended up getting both Mickeys for UNDER $10. Right? I know! Amazing.

Sarah found Dumbo and fell in love with him, but we had a coupon in possession that didnt become valid until a later date. She was sad to say goodbye Will they ever be reunited?

You would think that would be the only Disney Store trip that week? Well, you would be wrong. Tuesday, Februrary 5th was the release date for Peter Pan. Of course we had pre-ordered it, so we had to go and pick it up. And use that lovely $10 coupon!

Before we went to the Disney Store we stopped at Subway for dinner.





They didnt have Broccoli and Cheddar soup, my favorite But otherwise, a very satisfying (and healthy) dinner. I ended up trying a Veggie Delight for the first time. Italian herb and cheese bread, no cheese, toasted, tomato, spinach, red onion, sweet peppers, and pickles all with sweet onion sauce. It was very good! I had a side of Jalapeńo chips&they were okay.



A little too hot and not enough flavor. As you could tell, Im still learning about taking food pictures. I have to practice for April!

Next, we pulled a Tigger and practically (perfectly) bounced all the way down to the Disney Store!

Upon entering a Disney Store I have a pretty standard procedure. First, I get all giddy. Then I try and focus. There are so many things to look at!
I try and take it shelf by shelf, but you know, its hard. So I usually end up taking another lap or two (or three) around the store.

Sorcerer Mickey! I always look at him, but never buy him. Maybe someday.



Mama loves Minnie!



REX BOWLS. Seriously, best bowls ever. We already have 2 of them in the house...but these were on sale for $0.99. YES. I said 99 CENTS! So I had to buy two more. Im not crazy, I swear. But I do think they make food taste a bit more magical



Which dwarf are you Mama?



Dopey! Not on sale, so she said goodbye to her doppelganger.



PANCHITO! I may have missed the boat, as it were, but Im excited to officially meet those Caballeros in person soon!



Cutest PJs ever! They didnt have my size. Boo. So I settled with a Medium that I will wear at Port Orleans Riverside soon!





Im 22 years old. And when at the register, I ask for a sticker. Yay! (Please ignore the hair. We were going to the gym&.)



Oooh, last minute purchase! Pocahontas was on the bag! Therefore, we must buy it.



You see, Pocahontas is a much under-appreciated member of the Princess club. As she is my all-time favorite princess, if I ever see her on anything, it is pretty well assured that I will buy it. Hear that Disney? Want my money, appreciate Pocahontas!

The (little one) also got her wish. She came home with some new friends! Sarah ended up with both Dumbo and Squirt, courtesy of BOGO. So cute!



Though I wonder why Squirt has flowers all over his shell. Any ideas? He doesnt have them in the movie!


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Last edited by Happy Duck; 02-09-2013 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:36 PM   #15
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