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We’ve upgraded!!!

I photographed a beautiful wedding today.  The brides are so much in love that it just radiated off of them.  Their joy was infectious.  And even me dragging them into the snow in -30something temperatures couldn’t dampen their spirits.  I do have to admit, jumping back into the car after being out in that cold made me think about how great the temperatures in Florida are going to feel this January.  LOL

It was a freezing cold Yule, and today was just as frigid, but like our two brides?  Nothing is going to put the chill on the excitement I feel about our upcoming Disney trip.

Our big reveal yesterday didn’t go exactly as planned.  Mostly I think the girl was just overwhelmed and didn’t really process the news.  Damon took a video, and I’m hoping he’ll get it to me so I can share it before too long.  It really was cute.  And honestly?  We may have surprised the kid, but she surprised us right back!

We thought all along that staying in a Little Mermaid room at Art of Animation was HUGE for her.  It’s all she’s talked about whenever we’ve talked about Disney World.  So we booked at the AoA resort, in an Ariel room.  It wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I knew it would make her sooo happy.  So when we told her where she’d be staying we were both shocked when she asked if we could stay at a different WDW resort “with different things to explore” we were shocked.  But I have to admit, I was kind of excited.

As of last night we have upgraded from a value resort to a moderate one.  We couldn’t afford to get the Royal Room at Port Orleans (which the girl fell in love with) but we were able to get a standard room – and they are just beautiful.  So grown up, with the most beautiful linens…  and a double vanity (two sinks and mirrors).  It’s going to be a dream come true.  And with the free dining plan that is being offered it only ended up being an extra hundred dollars or so over what our stay at the Art of Animation would have been.  And get this!  Instead of the quick service dining plan, we get the regular dining plan.  Know what that means?  CHARACTER DINING!!!

I am over the moon!  We are going to be eating with Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, some of the princesses, the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood…  it’s going to be amazing!  I was excited for this trip before.  But now?  Now?  OMG!  Waiting just got a whole heck of a lot harder!  LOL

Shiny New Shoes

More than any other item you pack for a Disney vacation, your shoes have the potential to make or break your trip.  You will be walking more than you’ve likely ever walked before.  Disney is not a lay around on the beach vacation, it is a get up and move and don’t stop until you drop vacation.  You will come home exhausted (yes, you may need a vacation after this vacation).  And your shoes will either keep you in good spirits or have you grumbling and miserable.

We are a DAWGS family.  The classic beach/garden clog is ugly as sin… seriously, they are the most butt ugly shoes out there, but they are so stinkin’ comfortable.  And they have gotten a whole lot better.  Half the time when I’m in DAWGS, only other DAWGS fans even recognize them.  They’ve come a long way from that first ugly shoe (though they still make them, and we still love them for putzing in the back yard or at the lake).  So when I decided the girl and I needed new shoes for our January Disney trip, the DAWG store was where we went.  And seriously, how cute are these?!?!

And yeah…  get yourself some new shoes for WDW, but break them in BEFORE you go.  Trust me!  😉

WDW Here We Come… again!

We are now one month our from our second trip to Walt Disney World.  We loved our first trip (in January/February of 2013) sooo much, that shortly after returning we began planning for a return visit.  This time we’ll be heading off on January 14th, once month from today, and will again be staying for ten days (two of which are devoted to travel).  Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to bring my sister along this time, but I’m sure it will be just as magical though very different without her.  Oh!  And the girl doesn’t know about the trip yet, so don’t spill the beans.  We’ll be revealing the surprise on Yule!  hehehe

Anyway…

To get in the spirit of things I’m planning to blog “30 Days of Disney”.

I realized in my WDW posts from our last trip that I had barely scratched the surface.  There was still SOOO much I hadn’t shared, and just a ton of pictures that never made it onto the blog.  I can’t wait to start talking Disney with the kid, but until the 21st I’m stuck trying to keep my excitement bottled up.  I’m hoping y’all won’t mind being a bit of an outlet for me.  I am crazy excited about this trip.

So this is the first of 30 Walt Disney World posts.  For now, let’s just recap where we’ve been and what we’ve seen:

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/disneys-magic-kingdom/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/disneys-animal-kingdom/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/disneys-hollywood-studios/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/epcot/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/downtown-disney/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/disneys-art-of-animation-resort/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/character-meets-at-walt-disney-world/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/from-youngling-to-padawan-at-disneys-hollywood-studios/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/disney-nighttime-magic/

Each of the above posts is graphic-laden.  Tons of photos!  And I highly recommend clicking on the pictures to see them a little larger than the thumbnails allow.  They are worth it!  I promise.

And just for good measure, here’s a favourite post of the Pinterest crew:  https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/doing-disney-the-smith-way/

Doing Disney the Smith Family Way

I’m a planner.  I like to know what’s going to happen and when.  It takes away the chaos that is present in so many activities when you have an AD/HD family, and just ups the enjoyment factor immensely.  So it wasn’t long into our Walt Disney World trip that I developed my own way of doing things.  And as promised, I’m going to reveal a few tips and tricks to make your Disney trip stress-free and a whole lot more enjoyable too.

I’m all about keeping things simple, easy, and stress-free.  Thus my tips are all about doing just that.  And one of the BIGGEST helpers are those kitchy little maps they have for all the Disney parks.  GRAB THOSE MAPS!

The night before you head to a park, sit down with the map and figure out your MUST HIT attractions, character meets, rides, and dining experiences:

Our must do list for day two at the Magic Kingdom park.

Our must do list for day two at the Magic Kingdom park.

I just laid on the bed in our Finding Nemo room at the Art of Animation resort, and using one of the pens from our room sketched little brackets around everything that we really wanted to do that second day in the park.  We had already spent one day there, so it a lot of our must do’s, but there were still a lot left on our list.  I tossed in a question mark on any attraction that we really wanted to do, but that wasn’t a top priority.

Then I went through the map, and drew stars beside each of the must do rides/attractions/events/dining spots, and a question mark on the want to do ones:

The Disney map, with all my notations on it.

The Disney map, with all my notations on it.

Lastly, but SUPER important not to miss, go through and mark an FP on all the places you’ve marked so far that offer a fast pass.  Using the fast pass system makes your life SOOO much easier.  So be sure to take note of which spots actually offer them and mark them on your map.  You can see them on the map above, but here’s a close up of Fantasyland and New Fantasyland:

Here you can see we have three attractions marked - two with Fast Pass.

Here you can see we have three attractions marked – two with Fast Pass.

When you first hit the park, go directly to the closest area and get your first fast pass.  Take note of what time you need to be back there, and then decide to do the remaining STAR attractions/rides now or closer to when you need to redeem your fast pass.  You can only get a new fast pass once every hour, so once you’ve gotten one, then hit some of your starred rides and attractions that don’t offer fast pass while you wait until enough time has passed to get your next one.

Having these maps, and your choices charted out on them, really is a small thing.  And honestly?  It only takes about twenty minutes to do – and is a great relaxing activity for the adults in your party to tackle after any younglings are asleep.  It’s a small thing that makes a BIG impact on your park experience.  So take that little bit of time the night before each park visit.  It saved my sanity and made our trip SOOO much more enjoyable.

Out Sick.

So, right after I promise to get y’all caught up on our Disney trip with all sorts of tips and stories I end up sick in bed…  and I’m still sick in bed.  I’m hoping in the next day or two to be right as rain, but until then I’m afraid I’m not much use to anyone.  I’m just grateful this flu bug decided to wait until we were back home before it settled in and knocked me out for the count.  😉

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