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This home of ours is buzzing with anticipation for an annual event that is just around the corner. Now I am certainly not one to rushtime’s passing, but let’s face it…with the hectic schedules of today’s families, time flies. Our departure will be here sooner than later. The calendar with the proposed daily events is hanging in the kitchen as inspiration to make good choices with our expenses until we go. Caitlyn already has an envelope with her savings stored safely away.

We are excited about a million things regarding this trip. We have done some improvements to our motorhome inside and out for starters. One weekend was spent on a growing checklist of items that needed our attention or we felt would be a benefit for future trips. The outer compartments got a nice fresh coat of paint and some aluminum trim along the bottom to help with road salt and rust. All of the compartments also got emptied, vacuumed and reorganized. My handy husband Jerry made some great dividers for those little things that can get lost in such a large area. Some 2 x 4’s, a chop saw and a screw gun can certainly make organization a bit easier. In our golf cart trailer he utilized some nice handles and cable cuffs for securing a variety of camping paraphernalia to the walls. Jerry also constructed and welded a bike rack to mount to the beams in the trailer. Yes I am so darn blessed to have a handy husband! And even more blessed to have a husband that understands my compulsion for organization. (I hear your chuckle now Grandma Tag-Along)

We have begun our tradition of revisiting some moments whereby a situation could have gone better if we’d only done this or that. I think it’s great that we are all open and honest and share our feelings, not only of the great moments but also of the annoying or frustrating times. This really clears the air for a better vacation. We came up with a great shower system since there will be 5 of us on this trip and using a motorhome shower is by far a different experience than being at home with as much water as you need  coming out of the showerhead at a constant rate – not on and off to conserve as in the RV. So, depending on the upcoming days plan, some may shower at night and some in the morning, maybe in the motorhome or perhaps at the lovely Fort Wilderness showers. Hey, if it works out or not, it’s an attempt to rectify at least. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again, right?!

Something I definately recommend is a tentative plotting of the parks and attractions you’d like to see and do. Having this to refer to is helpful for the planning process and can save you some money. This trip we almost purchased more park passes than we could use in the amount of spare days we had (after all the other things we want to squeeze in). It is so very tempting though, to add on Disney Park days as they are so much less expensive the more you add. Again, because I am obsessive, I made that calendar I told you about and used images for the potential plan of the day. Here’s a mock one because anyone will tell you that you should not post vacation information ;-)

Well Disney friends. That’s all for now. Until next time….

Well Disney friends, we are getting so excited in this household as we have begun the countdown until our next Disney vacation. We began hashing out our lists. We have the “must-do”  and ”could live without”  lists.   I won’t tell you which list Animal Kingdom was on but I figured I’d pull this article out of the closet for those who missed it. As you’ll read, I LOVE Aninmal Kingdom. Let me know what Disney Parks will make your must-do list on your next trip.

Let me start this right off by saying that Animal Kingdom is the park at the top of my favorites list. Yes, there are times when you visit and sadly the array of beasts out and about is dismal. But, many more times are the fantastic encounters with many a furry friend. I could just get lost watching the gorillas interact with each other. I can’t tell who is sizing who up, us or them. My son Jacob will tell you he enjoys watching them eat certain things they ate once already (check out his article under the Kidz Corner tab). Me, I will always be in amazement gazing at all the primates – so many species. The lemurs and cotton-top tamarins could keep me entranced for hours - that is until reality sets in and the family is tugging at me to move on.

On our most recent visit, the kids were thrilled because we finally had time (ok, made time) to trek over to DINOLAND U.S.A. You see, it is not my favorite area of Animal Kingdom. Wait, I have to back up,  it WAS not my favorite area…that has now changed. It’s moved up a couple rungs on my ladder. I had a blast chasing Cait and Jake around in the Boneyard area. The tunnels, the slides, the nets, the caves – I just loved it!!! Oh I bet  we covered every square inch of territory playing hide and seek and sliding and running. Please, please, if you have not done so in the past, go there with your kids. (The grown up one too).

One caveat is that they both wanted to play all the “wonderful” carnival type games while we were in Dinoland (quickly overruled by Dad once we found out the extra cost to play them). And of course it didn’t help that we chose the picnic tables centered in the carnival area to sit and have our packed lunches. Oh well, life is full of lessons to learn though right?  Well, I cured the anti-carnival game hum-drums with a well recieved trip back to the Boneyard after lunch. Sometimes you have to stop and give yourself over to an new experience to find those special magic places that hide  in all the parks at Disney.

Until next time…..Melissa

 

The “Year of a Million Dreams” promotion is now a thing of the past. The year long celebration began on October 1, 2006 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California was extended and ended in December of 2008.

The promotion enabled Disney Cast Members to award a million dreams to randomly chosen guests as part of the”Disney Dreams Giveaway” promotion. Many of these dreams were priceless experiences.

Ever imagine having the Magic Kingdomto yourself? The winners of this prize, the Spangler family from Ohio, did just that. These lucky VIP’s toured each land and enjoyed the attractions as the Disney characters greeted them. The Spangler’s were interviewed on Good Morning America and dined with Disney “royalty”.  They also served as the Grand Marshal of the daily parade and concluded their day with a special viewing of Wishes.

No doubt one of the most coveted awards was a one night stay in the royal bedchamber being that it is constructed inside Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World. A comparable Mickey Mouse Penthouse at the Disneyland Hotel had emersed a lucky guest in Mickey decor with spectacular views of the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks. These are just a few examples of the fantastic things Disney has done in real life, but my challenge is to let your mind run free. If you could imagineer your own “Disney Dream” , what would it be like?

My son Jacob would like a VIP bagde that would allow him full access to any theme park ride without waiting in line. My Daughter Caitlyn would like Epcot all to herself, her friends, and her family. My wife and fellow Disney blogger Melissa, says she wants an all access pass behind the scenes to Animal Kingdom so she can have first hand experiences with all the animals there.

Myself, I would like to be able to have a “ friends and family”  weeklong get together at The Wilderness Lodge with park passes for everyone. I have several friends and family that would never be able to go and experience the “Magic” without a little help. As a bonus, throw in a few guided behind the scenes tours, character dinners, free swag, line cutter passes, etc. Is that too much to ask? I would not, however, want the parks all to myself  because I think the people are a major part of the experience.

So the question is what’s your dream?

Who says you need snow to capture the Christmas spirit??? Certainly not the Fort Wilderness Resort campers! When other families are enjoying the crowded parks, we really enjoy making some hot cocoa and hopping on the Haley Fun Buggy…a.k.a. our awesome golf cart. There’s nothing like this I’ve ever seen before.

 

  

 

 

 

 

It’s just amazing to see the hard work and dedication these Disney loving campers put into their decorations. Many of these families are here every year and they love the joy it brings to the passers by. Many of the folks are happy to talk to you and answer your curious questions. Yes, it can take days for the installation of all the lights. Yes, some actually have trailers for storage that are towed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disney castmates remain busy through the wee night hours decorating the entire campground as well. They cover anything and everything that can be adorned with a Christmas theme. Castmates wrap light poles with garland as well as the bus depots. The stores are embellished here and there with hints of the holiday. The decorating is typically complete around Thanksgiving.

       

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you travel around the resort on foot, a bicycle or golf cart, the variety of decorations is astonishing. Some campers have a great number of blow-ups, some have such beautiful lights, numerous folks have the dashboards. of their motorhomes adorned as well. I can’t think of anywhere else you would find such diverse and unique ornamentation. I am always curious as to where some of these neat items come from…ebay, sales, internet…I’m sure anywhere and everywhere! How about the pic below complete with the tree, the fireplace and Santa?!?!?

                                                                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerry always says I’m just biased and Fort Wilderness will always be my favorite (I just think he doesn’t want me to keep talking about it and make it harder for us to secure reservations next year). Perhaps he’s on to something but I can guarantee I’m not alone. Do yourself a favor, take a walk around Fort Wilderness next time you visit Disney World. Disney knows how passionate we are about everything Mickey, so they welcome visitors that want to enjoy the Christmas decorations at the resort and the campsites as well. So grab some hot cocoa and take in all that Fort Wilderness has to offer during your Christmas vacation.   

Until next time…