"In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room...in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room...."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Disney thoughts....

 ha...this is actually from spring 2010... I am so rusty at this (today is October 17 2012) I messed up the order of these blog posts...

Today I spent a lot of time in the car running errands....that means time to think.  Aerosmith came on the radio.... pretty funny that I consider Aerosmith "Disney music" but I do!  It takes me to Disney's Hollywood Studios.  So then naturally my thoughts roam to Disney World....and clients.  I have a list in my head of clients traveling next week and in the near future and did a mental run through check list assuring myself that they are all taken care of and ready for memorable and magical travels.   Next week is our spring break, too...but my daughter is going to New York City with the high school band.  We can't go to Disney World without her - she's a huge fan and it would break her heart if we did  - so we are staying home.  We'll make our own magical times here :)

This morning before I left for my running around, I had been reading more about the rumored DVC coming to the Grand.  Did a few miles worth of pondering about that.  I can't get past how I will be so disappointed if Disney builds this DVC.  I enjoy the pathway between the Grand and the Polynesian.  So pretty and quiet except for the Ferry boat horns and miscellaneous WDW sounds now and then.   We often walk it and see nobody...the DVC will nix that little peaceful walkway.   The monorail is already experiencing overloads and breaking down more than ever - I've seen that on the past several trips..... we used to enjoy staying at the Contemporary but haven't even bothered in recent years because of the noticeable difference in the crowd levels there and lines in the monorail station on the fourth floor.   The Contemporary is still a terrific resort, but for people like us that have stayed there over the past 20 years, the changes we have seen have turned us off a bit - and the addition of Bay Lake Tower is one of those changes that has kept us away.   I don't want to see the Grand go down the same path with over crowding in the pool and common areas.   The Grand Floridian was always my little respite from the craziness of the parks...*and craziness of life*.... and I just love the peaceful calm way I always feel at the Grand.   It's such an escape.  Not sure I'll have the Grand as my happy place if DVC comes along.   I don't appreciate that Disney is being cheap and building their DVC onto already existing resorts so that the DVC owners can flood into the resort pools, shops, restaurants, etc. 

AND....along those lines, as I am planning trips for people - many that are first timers to Walt Disney World - I know the cost of a Disney vacation can be a real turn off to people that don't realize the VALUE they will get for their money. Walt Disney World is the absolutely the best vacation destination in the world.  There really is something for everybody.   But there are differences that the  locations of the hotels can mean as far as transportation and view and over all convenience & vacation quality - and price of course.

 We started going to WDW 20 years ago when my son was one year old.   When I was a child and went to WDW with my own family waaaaaaaay back when, we stayed at the Contemporary...so when we took Zack for the first time, that's where I wanted us to stay.  My childhood memories of that absolutely fantastic vacation were all wrapped around the Contemporary and the Magic Kingdom. (most of our family vacations were to historical and natural wonder destinations but WDW was my favorite!)   The Contemporary meant Disney and happy family vacation to me.  So we stayed at the Contemporary and enjoyed the view of the Magic Kingdom, the terrific location, the fun monorail rides...."Please stand clear of the doors"..... and that wonderful feeling of being IN the midst of the magic 24/7 from the morning boat and monorail sounds, to wake-ups with Chef Mickey's music outside our door in the morning - "Celebrate with Mickey Mouse!" -  and again greeting us at night after an exciting exhausting day spent in the parks, to the view of the changing colors on the castle and luminous Tomorrowland glowing in the dark - just so many precious memories of those family vacations.   After that first trip with our first baby we chose a Magic Kingdom resort from then on and had the same magical experiences for years with our daughters, too.   A few times to change things up we would split our vacation time between the Beach Club  and the Contemporary.   But the vacation never felt the same until we had the opportunity to gaze at the castle.   That view means magic to me.  I still equate a Disney vacation with the monorail and the castle. I'm having a hard time thinking of an Easter trip over at the Boardwalk Inn without a split with a Magic Kingdom resort. 

It's hard to tell people how important that aspect of the WDW trip can be  ...especially when they are trying to work within a budget.   Or maybe that part of a WDW trip is just MY perception and idea of what I value about a Disney vacation and not the same for others?  Maybe just due to the memories we made over the years?  I often worry, though, because first timers don't realize how large Walt Disney World is, and how time is money, and convenience makes for low stress.  Or is that just ME again?  And what I find important?   We usually go all out nuts on vacations....I would rather not go to WDW if I have to be on a budget.  Our family had some tough years between 2008 and now.  We were victims of the poor economy, we had high medical bills aquired by my son and also my beloved dog, and we chose to skip our family WDW trips rather than downgrade to a moderate or value resort.   I was thinking I wouldn't get the same magic fix that I've grown accustomed to over the past many years full of trips.  I think all the Disney resorts are fantastic and have terrific theming,  I've tried almost all of them, but I have my favorites and if I can't stay at them I'd rather keep the money in the bank until I can. Years ago we started off our first Disney trips being mega park touring maniacs - we would do 12 hours in a park and come back and pass out, rest and do it again the next day and the next. The past few years we've changed our Disney vacation strategy. As the kids become more involved in activities and sports here at home and our crazy schedule has taken over our lives we really need the down time on vacation. We  love having relaxing time spent at the resort mixed in with the park touring.   So where we stay really has some importance in how the trip goes.   Maybe that's the difference for us  and we know if we don't get to see or do something on a trip, we'll be back again and do it then.  Some first timers don't mind where they stay so much because it's all about being out and about and seeing everything they can on a once in a lifetime trip.  They just need a place to shower and lay their heads for the night.   I remember us feeling that way 20 years ago - we were out in the parks all day soaking in as much magic as we could, always thinking it was our last Disney trip for a while...but we would return the next year and the next.

I hope everybody, no matter where they choose to stay in Walt Disney World, makes magical memories like we did that will last years and bond their families together.   A nice thing about Disney is that they do have hotels for all budgets and vacation styles, and they are all wonderfully themed and fun. 

Happy travels!!
Greetings!! I have let this little part of me go for way too long.  We had some horrible years at our house... hence my "The Magic Doesn't Live Here Anymore" blog... but we are headed for better....I'm afraid to say it couldn't get worse, because I'm superstitious, so knock on wood it doesn't... and we are on a happier path headed for a pixie dusted 2013.

I'll just link my blog at the Grand Floridian Gals site for today... but I have hopes of picking this lost blog memory up sooner than later.  I am getting my magical mojo back and what better way to prove it than by writing about it.  My creativity is low for now... but maybe by practicing and reminiscing while writing, it will return to me.  I have so many bottled up thoughts.. good and bad, but when I look at my old photos the thoughts are mostly happy ones, stirring memories of wonderful family times we had in the magic of Walt Disney World.  Helpful memories :)

Grand Floridian Gals blog - Disney Disney Disney - We love it!

Happy travels,


Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Dogs Allowed....

Time to think about what to do with naughty Miss Penny while we are away.   Disney doesn't have pet friendly hotels like Universal does - but actually I am glad of that.   Too many rascally dogs in one hotel kind of grosses me out.  I love dogs - but I know how Penny is and I can't imagine she's that much different from others of her kind...... well, on second thought maybe she is.   She is a lot different than my previous Newfie....

Our neighbors used to volunteer to have our sweet Tatum over for the duration of our trips.  Not happening with Penny.  I subtly let them know we are planning on being away...... and I am met with silence and then a, "Have a great time!"

How can one fluffy teddy bear dog be so mischievous?  She looks so innocent....

But we know different...... I think she's a diva princess at heart and if we aren't looking at her, talking to her, petting her, walking her, telling her how cute she is, taking her photo, giving her treats, she gets us back for it.   She is an attention seeker and has been since she was a puppy.  She was actually promised to a breeder, but the breeder met her and chose another puppy!!  OMG we should have known what we were in for after that....we could have had her or her brother.  I wanted a sweet little girl puppy..... but I got Penny.  Her naughty ways are well known by our friends.  Maybe we should have kept her habits hush hush.  She is lovable and sweet but so badly behaved.  I guess we had to share her tricks for laughs and our own sanity.  She doesn't have the normal Newfie qualities *calm, sweet, loyal*...she loves to bark, be a pest, moan and squeak to get her way,  she's not a buddy or team player - more a star, and she's bouncy and full of life and energy, and naughty......

I found a fun place for Penny last year for her first boarding experience so looks like this will be where she spends our Disney vacation again this year since volunteers for Penny sitting aren't knocking on our door.  Chasing our Tails is a doggy day care type facility where the dogs are allowed to be free with each other from 9 to 5pm and then they are kenneled overnight til the next day's play time.   This place is pretty local and I appreciate that - when I had Tatum I was driving her an hour away to a similar type of kennel...for twice the price - this other place had a canoe out front, a playground, cute Adirondack furniture for the dogs LOL and even believe it or not, Disney Suites.  Tatum spent a few of our vacations in the Winnie the Pooh Suite.  (my kids love the Pooh characters so they chose that for her lol to help ease the guilt of leaving her behind)   These doggy daycare centers seem to be popping up here and there now as they increase in popularity.   I do feel good about leaving Penny where she can interact with other dogs - maybe get knocked down a few pegs by the older dogs and  learn some better etiquette.   She seemed to enjoy being there, too, and didn't come home miffed at us for leaving her there.  We don't want a pissed Penny......There are horns under that fur....

Disney World does have a newer kennel run by Best Friends Pet Care, but then the issue is getting the dog down there....Who brings their dog on vacation anyway?   I would never consider driving 20 hours with Penny in the car.  She freaks out on a 5 minute drive to her vet.....I can't imagine how she would be in a cargo hold on a flight, either.  Not sure how that works, but it seems mean, too... Penny would be traumatized.  Penny gives me attitude about even being put IN the car...and she's 105lbs of attitude.   Maybe other people have really good dogs?  And good dogs get to go to Walt Disney World.... Penny will never see the castle.

 "There's nothing funnier than the human animal."  Walt Disney

Obviously Walt never met Penny.......

Happy travels!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Life, Disney, Life......

Hey all...wow I have left this blog thing go too long.  Christmas pics greeted me when I signed in to post.   I love to write, but having this blog be ALL 100% Disney has actually kind of sucked the fun out of doing this.  Almost like when you're in school and told to write a 1500 word expository yada yada about XYZ and be able to cite your sources etc.... I LOVE Disney and I LIVE Disney - I am a Disney travel agent and have a few websites, facebook pages, and all, but my life doesn't revolve completely around Disney.  I have three kids, a husband and a dog..... needy people they are.   So between them draining me and having a commitment to write about Disney Disney Disney - the creative juices have run low.  BUT...I have a new idea for this.  I am thinking of just writing about life and stuff I know & experience with a bit of Disney thrown into that mix.  That's more balanced and more my reality and it will come easier to me and allow me to keep this blog up...and no guilt!  I feel horrid that I've let it go.  Can't do that anymore. 

Here's the thing - I am just going to assume you know me.   If you do, great then you're probably some stalker type or a friend.  Fine.  If you don't know me, you soon will.....you'll either catch on and feel good about reading this or you'll think omg .....who IS this person? ha...   I don't think my life is much different than most people.  We all have happy and bad and if you're reading this you have an affection for Disney, too....like I do.   Sometimes I am going about life and things start to really suck and I think OK time for a Disney escape - so the planning starts :0) (for me!)  I almost always have Disney on my mind because I plan trips for clients but sometimes it comes to mind for me and my family too. 

Today for instance....all the snow had melted....it was fairly warmish out for Northern Illinois in mid March.... time for the most atrocious of all household jobs....poop duty.   I have a Newfoundland puppy and this "duty" is no small job, particularly after a winter of heavy snow and months gone by without clean up.  ugh....awful.  Nobody in my family will help me with this disgusting activity.  My dog, my duty.... so I put on my ipod and went at it.   I was listening to WDW Today podcast live show.   A man called in with a question.... he and his family were headed to WDW over spring break, had an 8 am ADR at Crystal Palace (thinking this was a great way to get into the MK early, before the scheduled 9 am opening, and start the day ) and also had on that same day a lunch ADR at Crystal Palace.  He asked the guys' advice as to now that the Magic Kingdom park hours had been updated to have the park opening an hour earlier - 8 am, what should he do? Keep the 8 am breakfast or cancel that one and do the lunch reservation instead?   The WDW Today guys said to stick with the 8 am. breakfast.  I have to disagree.  Why would he do that, if the park now opens at 8 am?  Keeping the 8 am ADR defeats the purpose he intended when he made it....getting into the park early.  So he'd be wasting about an hour and a half sitting in Crystal Palace, getting hugs and cuddles from Pooh and Friends, while the park was at it's emptiest. If it were me, I think I would have ditched the breakfast, headed to MK early (well not really, because I never get to the MK early lol - but I can dream!) and then enjoyed the rides without lines, picked up a cinnamon bun at Main Street Bakery about 930  (LOVE these!) and watched the trolley singers "Good morning, good morning" greeting guests with their dancing and singing, and then headed over to Adventureland and had fun til a lunch ADR at the Crystal Palace. 

Disney has had a serious place in my mind recently. I am in the midst of planning a spontaneous Easter trip with my family, that we just booked last week, and then hopping on the Dream with friends right afterward.   The Easter trip came about because we NEEDED it....yep we needed an escape.  Lots of weirdness going on here recently and it's about time we can take a break from it all and hopefully leave it behind.  Maybe some details of weirdness here to come in future blogs but I didn't want to scare anybody off with this first post lol. 

So anyway...I figure this blog will go in a slightly different direction that previous posts -more free form, journal ish, but Disney sprinkled in...just like my life...free, but a bit cluttered, good, bad, work, fun, and of course the ever present Disney......I need something that comes more naturally to me, is more enjoyable and easier to write and will flow from my speedily typing fingers and let me be me..... take it or leave it!

And for some real Disney mixed into this hodge podge.....

These are the newly released dates for the 2011 WDW parties.  *Fun*

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Sept. 13,16,20,23,27,30
October 2,6,7,10,11,13,16,18,20,21,23,25, 27,28,30,31
Nov 1

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
November 8,9,11,13,15,18,27,29,30
December 2,4,6,7,9,11,13, 14,16,18

"I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter."  Walt Disney

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas in the Happiest Place on Earth!

I am going to be working on this!! Just had to "space save" and take out the Halloween stuff.....but anyway - Christmas in Walt Disney World is fantastic.  What a jolly fun time to visit the wonderful world of Disney.

Be back in a bit with pics and info and more!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fall in the Magic

The autumn months are a fun-filled & magical time to visit the Walt Disney World parks.  I am going to miss my annual October visit to the magic this year and I'm feeling pretty bummed about it.  Especially now that I am looking over all my photos from past trips.  We had so much fun over the years.  I think our first Halloween party in WDW was in 2003....and we were hooked.

In my mind I am plotting HOW...how can I sneak something in.....it just won't work no matter how I finagle options in my head.   I can't sneak away with my Disney buddy kids or without them.  My older daughter is now a freshman in high school and involved in too many things and AP classes (good for her - bad for me!) - she can't even miss a few days and my younger daughter is in sports & busy with her school life - so... my days of quickie last minute fall trips to the magic are done.  (That's a hard pill to swallow) But I love looking at the photos of the Magic Kingdom all decorated for fall even if it makes me envious of others that are able to pick up and leave and head to the world.   There is so much to see and do and with the extras that the months of September and October bring to the parks, it just makes it all the more special a time to visit.

Autumn is in the air  in central Florida beginning in September.  It''s still summery here in Illinois, but you can tell something special is brewing as you enter the Magic Kingdom during September and October!  Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns glow along the roof tops, the buildings are draped in orange and gold, and harvest leaves and fall floral details are placed in every little nook. During Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties, from dusk to dark Main Street glows with orange, violet, and green and later in the evening ghosts drift over the shops and sidewalks as villains voices haunt the air while festive music plays and puts everybody in a trick or treat fun mood.

The Wicked Step Mother and Step Sisters hold a meet and greet

The Villains Mix and Mingle in the Castle forecourt

The lighting on Main Sreet is fantastic
The Magic Kingdom hosts the spectacular Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on 24 evenings during September and October.  These are phenomenal parties.  The parade and fireworks alone are worth the cost of admission.  You will see characters in their Halloween costumes - and rare characters come out to join in the fun, too -  throughout the Magic Kingdom are trick or treat stations lit up with huge glowing signs and ghosts floating overhead, special  shows at the castle and in Belle's story area, dance parties where characters jam to the festive the music with the crowd, the headless horseman racing through the parade route,  the most amazing fireworks display, and more!  Beware of hitchiking ghosts -   Disney knows how to throw a party & they may want to join in the spirit of the fun.   If you are a pin collector, Disney puts out special limited edition pins available only to guests attending these parties.  I have always also seen  other party only merchandise & souvenirs out for sale - and once the party ends, the items are placed in the back until the next party night.  You'll leave the Magic Kingdom with a bag of candy weighing you down and the mega catchy "It's not so very scary - Boo to you...." parade theme song resounding in your head.   Believe me...everybody but the headless horseman will be singing that song afterwards!  We came home with the party music CD a few years ago and that has become a standard in our house from mid September to Halloween.

Party Facts and Information

The event will be held from 7pm-12am September- November, 2010*

Order tickets online now or by calling (407) WDISNEY or (407) 934-7639. Guests under age 18 must have parent or guardian permission to call.

During Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. Even better, you can collect delicious candy as you trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom theme park.

In addition to many favorite Disney attractions, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is filled with special entertainment, including:

* Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade—including Disney Characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman.
* Happy HalloWishes—a spectacular fireworks show where the Disney Villains go trick-or-treating in the sky.
* Many favorite Disney Characters and Disney Villians in special Halloween costumes.
* Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom theme park into happy haunted hollows.

The tone of the event is, well, "Not-So-Scary" and is appropriate for children of all ages.

* Tuesday, September 14, 2010
* Saturday, September 18, 2010
* Tuesday, September 21, 2010
* Thursday, September 23, 2010
* Saturday, September 25, 2010
* Tuesday, September 28, 2010
* Thursday, September 30, 2010
* Friday, October 1, 2010
* Sunday, October 3, 2010
* Thursday, October 7, 2010
* Friday, October 8, 2010
* Monday, October 11, 2010
* Tuesday, October 12, 2010
* Thursday, October 14, 2010
* Sunday, October 17, 2010
* Tuesday, October 19, 2010
* Thursday, October 21, 2010
* Friday, October 22, 2010
* Sunday, October 24, 2010
* Tuesday, October 26, 2010
* Thursday, October 28, 2010
* Friday, October 29, 2010
* Sunday, October 31, 2010
* Monday, November 1, 2010

*Advance Purchase Price not available on 10/8, 10/22, 10/28, 10/29, 10/31. All other select nights, when purchased prior to the day of the event: $53.95 + tax (Ages 10+) $47.95 + tax (Ages 3 - 9); Day-Of Event Prices: $59.95 + tax (Ages 10+) $53.95 + tax (Ages 3 - 9); Premium Pricing (10/29, 10/31 ): $64.95 + tax (Ages 10+) $58.95 + tax (Ages 3 - 9)

Standard Magic Kingdom theme park admission tickets will not allow Guests to attend Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. 

More info, photos, and comments Magic Chat Live

And don't forget the 15th annual EPCOT Food and Wine Festival which takes place
in The World Showcase
from October 1 to November 14th 2010  
*No extra admission required*

There are some terrific Disney deals out now for room and or dining savingsIf you have questions about booking a magical WDW vacation & want a hassle free planning experience, contact me at Channing@TravelWithTheMagic.com for a FREE no obligation quote on my FREE planning services. 

Happy & Magical Travels,
800-670-4312 Ext 124
Come join our friendly forums over at Magic Chat Live! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Magic Chat Live Contest!

I own the website Magic Chat Live and we are now running our very first contest.
  Just for sharing your story, you could win 
a $25 Disney gift card. 

The contest is based on your best or worst 
Disney dining experience.  
Come share the magic of a great time at a restaurant in Walt Disney World or Disneyland-  OR 
come on over and vent about the worst time you've ever had and why you'll never ever be back!  

We've all had good and bad - One thing we can be sure of at WDW is the inconsistency.  Just write a short review or summary, or pictorial - however you think you can get the story across best.  Let's have fun with this one - Photos are always a good thing - a picture tells a thousand words.  There are some sample stories up now posted by members.  It is FAST AND FREE to register for this fun Disney Vacation planning website.   You can be anonymous!  Be creative, colorful (watch the language a little though, though *wink*) and have a good time sharing!  Nobody will be graded on grammar or spelling LOL - just have a good time.

Does this name make you SHUDDER?

Have you had a really bad burger?

Dinnner at the Castle a royal rip?

Was Narcoossee's the bomb?

The voting will begin August 1, 2010. On August 15th, 2010 a winner will be announced.

Dining Contest Rules

Arrow To enter you must register for MagicChatLive (it's fast and free) and start your own thread in this contest forum about your best or worst dining experience at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.  *Have fun*

Arrow Tell us all about your experience (go ahead and let it fly now's your time to vent) and include pictures if you would like - pics are good!

Arrow Come back and vote once a day for your favorite story. Please only vote for your own thread one time. Let's keep this fair -the prize is $25 not a WDW trip. Icon12 Voting will start on August 1, 2010. On August 15th, 2010 voting will close and a winner will be announced on August 16th.

Arrow The winner will receive a $25.00 Disney Gift Card that we will mail USPS priority mail as soon as the winner has been notified and we have their shipping address. The winner will have 7 days to reply to us with their mailing address, if they do not we will ship to the 2nd place winner.

Arrow For extra entries please fan Magic Chat Live on Facebook and post on the wall letting us know that it is an entry for the contest

If you have questions please contact us at WhereTheMagicLives@comcast.net with Disney Contest in the subject line

Magic Chat Live Information
Magic Chat Live is a fun place with friendly Disney loving people that enjoy sharing their trip planning and other tips, information & photos.  Everybody is welcome!  Come join - it's easy and fast!

Do you want to 
Travel With the Magic?
Are you thinking Disney?  Have a trip already planned or maybe you are dreaming of a Disney destination & don't know where to start? Let me help you arrange a terrific trip!
Even if you have a trip already in the works, I can take it over with some simple information from our
Travel With the Magic take over form  
Come "Like" me on FaceBook and see my client reviews -
  Let me add some magic to your vacation! 
We know our Disney!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Plans are Finalized!!!

I started packing yesterday!  Wow what a pain...I guess it's better than unpacking!  Packing for myself is bad enough but packing for a family - *faint* ....it is a little easier now that my youngest is past the princess days.  We aren't schlepping a variety of gowns, crowns, shoes and hairbows.   So we are packing "light".  For us.   (We still have a wardrobe of ears (I am so happy the girls will still wear "ears") and a huge Disney pin collection and of course tons of flip flops.

I finalized my dining.....  I added the princess breakfast in Norway - it's been 2 years since we've done that & Jo is still young enough to enjoy it.  I actually got a "go" from Lucy, too.   In May, I ate dinner in the castle, and I have to say DISAPPOINTING.  I would not do it again for a long time.  I felt like it was dirty, sticky, and just over all bleh - but expensive.  Hopefully the Norway experience will be different.

 I saw a trip report  where there were photos of food and the photos of sticky toffee pudding dessert at lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern tempted me - so I had to add that and do some rearranging to fit that one in.

For the birthday people (my daughter and husband) I listened to their requests, and have a Cape May Cafe breakfast booked and Le Cellier late lunch.  I am one of the people that thinks Le Cellier is way over rated, but last time we ate dinner there it WAS very good.  I am not having any high expectations, though.

Our usual at DHS is the Sci Fi Drive in Diner.  That's a hit with everybody in my family.  The food is OK but the atmosphere is a lot of fun.  Those black and white funny science fiction movies have been distracting my kids for about 15 years now and allowing me ME time while I eat.  It's a must do each trip.

We like eating outside on the patio at Rose & Crown and I was lucky enough to book a 7:40pm dinner reservation.  I hope we wind up outside for Illuminations viewing.   Plus I love the beer there - and their stilton cheese salad dressing & the cheese bread rolls.   My husband likes the fish and chips and honestly, I am not sure what the kids eat there......not a lot of options that are kid (picky eater) friendly.  We shall see.

My youngest is 10 years old - and she actually WANTED Bippity Boppity Boutique.  That really surprised me.....I was able to get her an appointment in the castle.  I figured I'd better appreciate her wanting to do this now.  After this, the next time I get to take a little girl to BBB will probably be when I'm a grandma lol...because I think soon enough Jojo won't want to be done up with fakey make up, colorful hair extensions, and goo put in her hair.  For now, she does - and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.

Ohana.....wow - our last experience there was nasty.  It was a big bummer disappointment because it has been a staple dining place for us for as long as I can remember.  Well....last time we did eat there was 2 years ago and we all agreed NEVER AGAIN.  Just horrid service & yucky food.  Well, I have heard they've made some changes to the staff and it's getting some raves again.  We are giving Ohana another go.  They must be doing something right because the best I could get for us was an 855pm dining time.  Another we shall see in the works.  I hope it's good again because it was a WDW vacation tradition for us for so long.

Another tradition for us 1900 Park Fare.  We have the dinner booked with Cinderella and her wicked step sisters.  Those sisters are the best.  They make the experience what it is.  Looking forward to that again.

My older daughter, Lucy, is a big Eeyore fan, Jojo is a Piglet fan, and Zack always liked Tigger - so Crystal Palace has always been on my ADR list.

We love the trip over to Wilderness Lodge.  It's a little adventure just getting there - so I booked us Whispering Canyon Cafe.  Last time we ate there, Jojo was having attitude and not in the mood to be anywhere except in front of the TV watching Hannah Montana & playing with her Disney Princess Polly Pockets.  Well, that dinner turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.  We had such a fun waiter - he completely picked up on Miss Jojo's baditude and played right up to her.  She was a star and she loved all the attention.  The food was pretty good and the atmosphere a lot of fun and laughs.

OK I even am taking one for the team.  I booked us a dinner at Tony's Town Square...that place gets horrible reviews.....but I have clients that ask about it and I turn them off to eating there.  Well, honestly it's been 3 years or so since we put ourselves thru the Tony's experience, so we're going to have to try it again so that I can give a fair review of the place.  Our last dinner there, our waiter must have been low man on the totem pole, because he was the restaurant garbage guy....we would see him take out the trash, change the garbage bags, *cross our fingers he washed his hands* and laugh...."When he came back to take our order,  my son even asked him, "Did you wash your hands?" and we all just cracked up....I guess you had to be there but that's part of the family vacation fun....all the silly things you remember and laugh about later.  We had fun there, but the food....eh.  Get the Rolaids and the Tums.   I cannot even guarantee my family will suck it up and go along with this one.....

On MY birthday, I figured a little R&R and spoiling so I booked us a pool cabana at the Grand Floridian.  And then later a late lunch at the tea room.   We have done "tea" here a few times before and my daughters really really enjoy it.  Kind of funny, I wouldn't think they would like it as much as they do, but it's such a nice relaxing break away from the park craziness and the other LOUD restaurants.   Sort of like the Plaza Restaurant.  That's a simple one, too - and one of their favorites.  

My favorite vacation drink is a pina colada with a shot of Kahlua drizzled through it.  I can taste it now.....

On our last morning, I booked the breakfast with Lilo and Stitch.  I figure we'll be out monorail shopping and picking up those last minute souvenirs - so a stop over at the Polynesian fits with that plan.

I am getting really excited...but almost the kind of excitement that sends me into neurotic feelings of "Something might go wrong to spoil this trip".  (I am crazy that way LOL) The countdown is on and as of today I have five days left of neurosis....but so far *knock on wood* so good.  Looks like it's all systems go.

  I have a lot of plans I hope we can fit in  - movies on the beach at both the Yacht Club and the Grand Floridian, I wanted to take a boat over to the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and just check it all out and see what that area is like, I'd love it if we made it to Downtown Disney for shopping, a trip up in the hot air balloon, and ice cream, the girls want to do lots of pin trading & expand their immense collection, and then we have to find time for swimming breaks and just relaxing and people watching from our balcony.  

Renting a pontoon boat is always fun in the afternoons, too....  

 My daughters  always like to do the "Pick a Pearl" in Japan in EPCOT - the uglier the oyster, the prettier the pearl is what we learned.  Jojo is a champion pearl picker - she always gets a jumbo or twins.  There are sterling silver settings for a decent price and the jewelry makes a nice lasting souvenir.

This will be a strange trip in a way as my son won't be coming with.  He is almost 20 and pretty much outgrown family vacations. (it's a mutual thing - we've outgrown him, too LOL)   His idea of a family vacation is sleeping til 2 pm and then being on his cell phone with friends.  So...this is it.   Just the four of us this time around. Somebody is going to lose their thrill ride buddy.

Kind of a new step in the family vacation situation - but at least the four of us are all Disney fans and really thrilled about taking this vacation and spending time together.   I have so many memories of past family trips when the kids were young & want to repeat everything - but it gets harder and harder as the kids get older and the experiences pile up.  I guess we'll have to make new memories - just the four of us. That will be easy, though -  we are going to be on the move cramming in all the fun we can handle for 10 days straight. 

Happy travels!

Free dining is back for fall and there are still discounts for summer - Make some family memories!  
Contact me at Channing@TravelWithTheMagic.com for a free quote.