Friday, July 31, 2009

Orlando Check In #2

Two more busy days have passed since my last update! Our vacation is whizzing by, just like our vacation countdown did!

Thursday morning we did, in fact, go back to Blizzard Beach! The weather was fantastic and we really enjoyed the day! Megan and Shayna both did the Summit Plummet- a free fall slide where speeds average 50-60 MPH! Their faces- as they climbed off the slide- were priceless! I am eager to see the Photopass pictures so we can see the look of terror mid-way during the drop!

We stayed at Blizzard Beach until about 2pm, then came back to the hotel to change and move to Hollywood Studios! We took the bus over and just as we climbed off the bus, it began to rain. Hard. Very hard. It lasted for about 5 hours and really put a damper on the night. :(

One of the bright spots was a great character spot where we were able to meet Jafar, Mr & Mrs Incredible and Frozone!

We had dinner at Mama Melrose's... the food was great and the service was even better! The kids even asked our waiter, Ken, to sign their autograph books!

It finally stopped raining after dinner so we were able to get a few rides in and see the Fantasmic show. I was able to capture this photograph after dark! Dane is enamored with the Sorcerer's hat!

The weather forecast this morning predicted more rain for tonight, so we changed up our water park plans and decided to go to Epcot this morning. This allowed us to get in some rides we missed the other day as well as gather the remaining 6 countries in our passport without being drowned in monsoon-like rains.

Scott took the kids over to Disney Quest tonight for some gaming fun! I stayed behind at the hotel and did some laundry (and iced my ankles)- lucky me! LOL

Since the rain has effected 3 nights so far, we decided to add an extra day to our park passes for the whopping price of $3 per person! Can you imagine? After 4 day passes, the prices really drop!

Tomorrow we plan to visit Hollywood Studios again. If we are able to wrap up our list of "must do's", we may go to Typhoon Lagoon and/or Magic Kingdom! TTFN!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Live from Walt Disney World!

I had hoped to blog each night about our adventures, but unfortunately I have learned the hard way that a vacation at Disney leaves very little time for anything but fun.... that includes blogging and sleeping!

We kicked off our trip on Sunday morning with a limo ride into Boston! I had researched and found a fairly good deal. I cracked and told the girls, but we were planning to surprise the boys. Everyone did a great job keeping the secret until just before the limo was to arrive... Shayna stated "I hope the limo has AC"! ROTFL The boys eyes lit up as they question us about what she said. Within just a few minutes, the limo arrived and we scurried to finalize gathering everything we needed for the trip! I think we look pretty darned good considering these pics were taken at 415am!

The train was long and uneventful. Everyone survived despite their grumblings, LOL We arrived in Orlando around 10:15am on Monday. We were met by a van and driven to the All Star Music Resort where we were pleasantly surprised to find that our room was ready! We checked in, got settled and headed out to Downtown Disney! Our first stop was to get Mickey ear hats! :) We each got a different style, which I think lends itself well to the fact that we all have such different personalities yet we all still coordinate!

Once we had accomplished that, we hit the pin stores where Dane announced "Pin trading is my favorite thing about Disney"! This was before he even stepped foot in an official park, LOL We shopped around and took in all the sights and sounds and then headed to Cap N Jacks for lunch! We ended a delicious meal and were treated to blinking pins and a card from the staff to celebrate the first trip for the boys to Walt Disney World! It was definitely a fun surprise!

Next we were off to Magic Kingdom for our first look at Cinderella Castle! Just as we walked in, we happened to catch a parade right down Main Street USA! It was a great way to start our evening!

The Story Time with Snow White was fabulous! There were only 4 families in attendance so this allowed Snow White a lot of time to interact with each of the kids!

We finished the night with a little swimming in the pool (it doesn't close till midnight!)!

Tuesday we were up by 6am to get prepared for our first full day. We chose to spend the day at Magic Kingdom! I had read online that the first child to run into Tinkerbell's shop in the morning got to "wake her up", so we planned to arrive early and RUN to find that location! If you can imagine, despite hearing other families talk about the same thing while waiting in line, Dane managed to find the store and received the wonderful honor of ringing the bell to wake Tink! He and Dylan both received a special certificate to commemorate the occasion!

Thanks to the Extra Magic Hours for guests who stay on WDW property, we were able to enjoy 5 rides and meet 2 characters before the park even opened to the public! This was a HUGE benefit! Our day at Magic Kingdom was, of course, magical. We went back to the hotel in the afternoon for a quick swim and then went back to MK for the Wishes Dessert Party and fireworks.

This morning we slept in (all the way to 730am, LOL) and then spent most of the day at Epcot! I think our favorite ride of the day was probably Test Track! We also got our "Passport" signed by 5 of the 11 countries in the World Showcase.

We decided to change things up and put off Disney Quest and go to Blizzard Beach instead tonight. One can only endure the Orlando heat for so long & still stay sane! As we boarded the bus, the sky darkened. I was convinced it would be the usual Orlando rain and pass just as quickly as it came. We arrived at Blizzard Beach and the rain began. Then the thunder. And the lightening. One strike was within 3o feet from where we stood sheltered. That one scared us, but otherwise it was just another part of the adventure! LOL (BTW, the rain never did stop and the park never did reopen, so we didn't get to do anything at Blizzard Beach other than watch the rain! LOL)

Tomorrow's plans include a trip back to Blizzard Beach and then our first visit to Hollywood Studios! I will post again when I can!

Please forgive any typos! It's late and I am going to bed! I will correct them at a later date, as well as add more photos and details! :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Counting down...

We have started to count down by the hour now. Currently we are at 40 hours till our train pulls out of South Station! Everyone has begun packing (besides Scott, who likes to stress me out). I have scheduled one more little surprise... I cracked and told the girls... the boys will find out at 4:15am on Sunday! I can't wait!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Documents are in da house!

We picked up the Disney documents from AAA yesterday! What a relief to have them in hand and have all the details of the trip confirmed.

We decided to get VISA travel cards for the kid's spending money. It's safer than carrying cash but will still allow them to be responsible for their own spending money.

The trading pins arrived yesterday. We rolled the dice to see which order we would choose in and then each of us got 4 pins for trading! I currently have a cute collection of Muppets with Mickey ears, but will likely trade them in the parks.

7 days till we leave!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The planning continues...

We bought cool mist mini-fans at WalMart for $3 each at the suggestion of one of Scott's co-workers. He said they can be as much as $20 each in the parks! YIKES!

We booked the Makahiki Luau at Seaworld. We are really excited to get there early and enjoy hula dancing lessons and receive a flower lei!

We are excited to add a Storytelling Time with Disney characters at Magic Kingdom to our itinerary. We recently found out this a perk because we book with AAA. Yeah!

I am getting a little bit stressed that we still have not received our Disney documents. I really like to have all my ducks in a row!

Just 11 more days...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Research, research and more research!

I have spent countless hours researching every aspect of our trip.... what to pack, which rides are best, where to eat, etc. The kids truly think I have lost my mind, but I am convinced to make this the best trip possible!

I pre-ordered our Disney Photopass yesterday. I really enjoyed all the great group shots we got when I went in November '08 and knew that it wasn't something I could pass up this time. We saved about $50 by purchasing it ahead of time!

Today, I scoured for Disney Trading Pins. The kids are very eager to trade with Cast Members at Disney, so I thought I would give them a little jump start by purchasing a grab bag of pins ahead of time so they can use their money to purchase pins they actually want to keep.

Just 2 weeks left until our trip begins! Wahoo!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Survey says...

1. What is your name? Dane
2. How many times have you been to Disney World? 0
3. Which Disney park do you expect will be your favorite? magic kingdom
4. Which "other" Orlando park do you expect will be your favorite? wet 'n' wild
5. Which character meal are you most excited about? Playhouse disney one
6. Which character are you most excited to get an autograph from? Mike Wazowski
7. List your top 3 favorite Disney movies. Cars, Toy Story, The Counrty Bears
8. What is your favorite Disney song? You' ve got a friend in me

1. What is your name? Shayna Elizabeth Purdy Gordon Giallongo Orr
2. How many times have you been to Disney World? 1 almost 2
3. Which Disney park do you expect will be your favorite? Animal Kingdom
4. Which "other" Orlando park do you expect will be your favorite? Sea World or Aquatica
5. Which character meal are you most excited about? Princess storybook dinning at Akershus Banguet Hall
6. Which character are you most excited to get an autograph from? Simba if possible
7. List your top 3 favorite Disney movies. Lion King, Lion King 2, Aladdin
8. What is your favorite Disney song? I have 3. I just cant wait to be king, We are one, and can you feel the love tonight.

1. What is your name?Dylan James Giallongo Orr Purdy Gordon
2. How many times have you been to Disney World? never besides this time!!!!!!!
3. Which Disney park do you expect will be your favorite? Typhoon Lagoon!
4. Which "other" Orlando park do you expect will be your favorite?Sea world!
5. Which character meal are you most excited about?the chip and dale one!
6. Which character are you most excited to get an autograph from?Donald duck!
7. List your top 3 favorite Disney movies.Toy Story 1 and, 2 and finding Nemo!!
8. What is your favorite Disney song?You got a friend in me!!!!!!!!

1. What is your name? Megan Elizabeth Giallongo
2. How many times have you been to Disney World? 1 and another time very soon
3. Which Disney park do you expect will be your favorite? Magic Kingdom
4. Which "other" Orlando park do you expect will be your favorite? Aquatica
5. Which character meal are you most excited about? Playhouse Disney!
6. Which character are you most excited to get an autograph from? Woody! from Toy Story
7. List your top 3 favorite Disney movies. Meet the Robinsons, Toy Story, Finding Nemo
8. What is your favorite Disney song? Little Wonders by Rob Thomas From the movie Meet the Robinsons

1. What is your name? Rachael Giallongo
2. How many times have you been to Disney World? Ummmm, went to Disneyland when I was 7..... went to Disney World and Epcot a few times in the 80's.... went to all 4 parks in November 2008, but am looking forward to this trip most of all!
3. Which Disney park do you expect will be your favorite? Magic Kingdom- love the castle! It's so magical!
4. Which "other" Orlando park do you expect will be your favorite? Universal
5. Which character meal are you most excited about? Cinderella's Dinner at 1900 Park Fare
6. Which character are you most excited to get an autograph from? Any of the princesses since I didn't meet any this fall!
7. List your top 3 favorite Disney movies. Toy Story, Country Bears & Finding Nemo
8. What is your favorite Disney song? Hakuna Matata

Autograph books are ready to go!

Today we finished the covers for our autograph books and took them over to Staples to have them laminated! They are so cute! I got this idea from Ron Plante, a former professor of mine at Hesser College. We used these sketch pads when we took our Disney by Design trip and they worked PERFECTLY for autographs from characters, stamps from the countries in Epcot and other notes!






[Megan's was not created digitally, so I will scan hers and post soon!]

Tonight while driving back from a rained out baseball game, Dylan commented "The rain is making Hidden Mickeys on the windshield"! Yeah, we are obsessed!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Disney Magic

In an effort to start the Disney Magic a little bit early, Dane, Dylan, Shayna and I compiled a master list of all the Disney movies we own. The original plan was to watch 2 per day until we head out for Florida, but due to life's other plans, we are way behind schedule. It has been fun to watch many of the classics, though! We are excited to take several DVDs on the train with us as well!

I also changed my Sidekick theme to the Mickey's Magical World theme and added 2 new ringtones:
  • The Bare Necessities
  • Hakuna Matata
If I don't answer my cell right away, you'll know now that it's because I am singing along! LOL

I then headed over to iTunes and downloaded several of my favorite Disney tunes to keep me energized while planning,packing and traveling! Among them are:
  • You've Got a Friend In Me
  • Under the Sea
  • Be Our Guest
  • I Just Can't Wait to Be King
  • A Spoonful of Sugar

We cashed in the Florida jar yesterday! Dane kept a list of everyone's guess and we decided that the winner would get an extra $5. Guesses ranged from $399.01 to $836.00. Scott won with a guess of $460. The actual total was $476.44. We are excited that the kids will have a little bit of extra spending money that they can choose to do anything they want with!

I can't believe our trip will begin in just 19 days! I know the time is going to FLY by!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dreaming of Disney

We have been dreaming of Disney for as long as I can remember. The infamous "Florida Jar" filled with coins sits in our living room as a constant reminder of our dream, which always seemed just out of reach. Until now.

Now that we have the trip booked, I am enjoying every single minute of the planning! I have fully immersed myself in every aspect of research- from research to scheduling, advanced reservations for table service and itineraries! Dane joked today that I have planned exactly the number of people that will be in line in front of us at each ride, LOL

I purchased 4 books from Barnes and Noble to give us the inside scoop and help us best plan our trip:

Passporter's Walt Disney World 2009: This book has been an enormous help in planning our trip! I love the concept of the pocket pages in the back of the book for planning and storing things, though I think I may need something a little larger to accommodate our needs.

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: This hasn't been my favorite book so far! Many of the "secrets" are quite boring and will be hard to remember once we get to Disney.

Walt Disney World with Kids Another must-have for all Disney trip planners! This book is an easy read with lots of great tips, hints, secrets and info about Hidden Mickey's!

Sea World, Discovery Cove and Aquatica: Since ruled out Discovery Cove due to cost ($1600 for our family for ONE day!), we haven't spent a lot of time looking through this book. It could be because the 2 remaining parks covered by this book need less planning than Disney requires.

Friday night, Megan, Shayna and I went for Disney pedicures at Happy Nails in Derry. We were warned that it may be too soon for a pedicure but mine usually last over a month so I figured we were safe. Besides, we needed a little magic NOW! Mine are the Minnie Mouse style red with white polka dots. Megan is to my left and Shayna is to my right! Aren't they cute?
After we finished with pedicures, we hit the mall for some quick shopping... clothes for the trip and beach towels from Disney Store (on sale!)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tentative Schedule

Our trip is officially booked! After weeks of scouring the internet and studying all things Orlando, we were finally able to come up with the best plan for our family! We will be leaving Sunday July 26th and returning Monday August 10th.

Because of my fear of flying, we will be enjoying a leisurely train ride via Amtrak.

Our tentative schedule is as follows:

Mon 7/27
Arrive in Orlando, Check into All Star Music Resort
Lunch at Cap N Jacks in Downtown Disney
6:30pm Story Telling @ Magic Kingdom

Tues 7/28
Magic Kingdom
Character Breakfast at the Crystal Palace
Wishes Dessert Party @ 9pm

Weds 7/29
Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Disney Quest

Thurs 7/30
Blizzard Beach
Hollywood Studios
Dinner at Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano

Fri 7/31
Typhoon Lagoon
Dinner at Chip N Dale's Harvest Feast at Garden Grill

Sat 8/1
Hollywood Studios
Lunch at Playhouse Disney's Play 'n Dine at Hollywood & Dine

Sun 8/2
Animal Kingdom
Donald's Safari Breakfast at Tusker House Restaurant
Cinderellas Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare

Mon 8/3
Check out of All Star Music Resort
Check into Nickelodeon Hotel Suites

Tues 8/4
Universal Studios
City Walk

Wed 8/5

Thurs 8/6
Islands of Adventure
9am Character breakfast @ Confisco Grille

Fri 8/7
Sea World
6pm Makahiki Luau @ Sea Fire Inn

Sat 8/8
Wet N Wild

Sun 8/9
Board train to come home

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Let the countdown begin!

We are officially booking our Disney/Universal vacation today!! Details coming soon!