Sunday, February 27, 2011


Ever surprise someone with a trip to Disney????

The past few months, Disney has been showing those surprise commercials and they make me tear up each and every time!! I soooo want to do that one of these days!!! If I get that emotional over some stranger on TV, just imagine me doing it myself!!

I love love love surprises!! I love to surprise people and I love being surprised myself. We didn't want to know the sex with either of our kids and we love planning surprise parties. That moment, where the suprisee gets clued in on what's going on...just priceless...

And to do that with a trip to Disney!! OMG! We like to do an early flight...the last two years we've had to get up super 4 am. Can you imagine just randomly waking your kids at 4 am and yelling "We're going to Disney today!!!!!"

Sounds like so much fun!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The waiting game!!!

So so hard..especially when you're waiting for a Disney vacation to start!!

For me, the trip planning process always seems to start with a whirlwind. As soon as I find out the trip is a our upcoming trip in November that my parents (especially my dad) have finally decided to take with us, I go crazy. We're 9 months away from the trip and I am already planning which days to go to which parks, possibilities for dining, checking on flights. This usually lasts til ADR day. By then, everything is kinda set in stone. I rarely change ADRs once they've been made. Once air is booked, and we usually do Southwest, I keep an eye just to see if fares drop so I can get a credit, but other than that, the trip planning stage is done.

Years ago, I used to make detailed itineraries and would spend the rest of the waiting time perfecting them. Now, I'm not talking down to the minute type stuff, but a list of attractions and what order, when to get Fastpasses, when to eat, when to go get a parade spot. It was a basic guideline that we usually deviated from, but it was a security blanket. I just had to have it. But I don't do it anymore. I do type up a mini itinerary for each day, but it's very basic- which park, dining confirmation # and time, if there are any shows we want to see and their times. We know the parks now...we know what stuff we can skip, and what ones are important and need to be redone several times each trip. We know what counter places we like to eat at and which ones we pass by.

So now that I don't do these itineraries anymore, that leaves practically nothing to do as the trip draws near. And the time just drags.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Show Me the Love Blogfest!

Participating in a blogfest today!!!! (My apologies if you have already seen these answers posted on my main blog!) Please click here the list of blogs to visit!

1- What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?

This is going to sound super silly, but one of the most romantic things my husband does for me is warm my side of the bed. No one likes a frigid bed, but sometimes my hubby will go in before me and lay on my side and get it all toasty. Then when I come in, he rolls to his cold side. Is there anything sweeter than that??

2- What is your favorite love song?

Well, there are so so many great love songs out there. Hubby and me have many that we love, but I have to pick Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. It was our wedding song..timeless and classic.

3- Do you have a favorite romantic movie or book?

I am a huge fan of rom-coms..that's what I watch, what I read, and what I love to write!! Movies that make me swoon: Overboard, You've Got Mail, Pretty Woman, the Wedding Planner.

4- Do you have any romantic plans for Valentine's Day this year?

We've never been ones to go out and spend tons of money to show each other how much we care. In the past, we've gone out to a nice dinner, but if you've ever done that in V-day, you know how crazy busy restaurants are. With the actual holiday being a Monday this year, we probably won't do much. We usually go to the gym after hubby gets home from work, so I really can't see us deviating from that!! LOL!!

5- What's your favorite romantic treat?

One treat that seems very romantic to me is fondue. But it's probably more the ambiance and conversation than anything. Most times, when you go out to dinner, you talk, and then the food is laid in front of you and silence hits the table as you dig in. we love to visit The Melting Pot a couple times of year, They have these super romantic "pods" we call them. They're little booths for two and they are pretty private. Since you have to wait for your meat to cook, the meal takes a while. We are usually there for 2 hours and love every minute!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Favorite Ride!

I think everyone has a favorite ride in Disney World. I love many different rides....some for the actual thrill and fun of it, others for the story, others for the fantastic theming and authenticity.

For me, Tower of Terror has all those things! It is perfection!

I remember my first time riding it. I was completely impressed with the hotel and the decor. The eeriness of the all looked so completely real! The library and the little TV so cool. The boiler room, so authentic and scary. Then I actually got on the ride. Now I had been on drop rides 'em. But none do what Tower of Terror does! Up and down, again and again! LOVE that free-fall feeling! Gotta go no hands!

I've ridden many many times since that first time and I still love it! Sometimes I feel a little bummed when I have a Fastpass and the line moves so fast. I don't get to soak in the hotel's grounds and the lobby!

Each trip, I try to get on Tower of Terror as many times as I can. Sometimes that is kinda hard and I don't get to ride as much as I'd like. The kids are still little, and even though my daughter is tall enough, it's not a ride she loves. Hoping that will magically change one day!! I can hope!! My son will most likely be tall enough by our next family trip in November, but he won't even be 4 might be too scary for him. So, for the last few trips, Hubby and me have had to take turns riding alone. It's so much more fun riding with someone! We did bribe our daughter and got her on once though.

But when Hubby and me went alone, just the two of us, last April, oh did we ride!! The first day at Hollywood Studios, we rode it over and over. The line was non-existent!! We had a Fastpass, but they didn't even take it the first few times. Then they did take it, but even after that, the standby line was barely 5 minutes! We didn't count, but I bet we rode 10 times that day!! Our second day there, we weren't so lucky. :( It was a Fantasmic night, so the park was more crowded that day. We only got to ride 5 times.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Where do you find like-minded Disney lovers?

When I was planning my first "real" trip to Disney World in 05, I bought a planning guide: Passporter Walt Disney World. I loved how it was organized. It had awesome info. I used it with every step of the process. It was my Bible!

And then a few months before our trip, I noticed they had an online community. I had been a member of a Mom's community for a few years and I liked it. I figured I'd check it out. WOW! These people knew EVERYTHING! I was in awe! I soaked up every bit of knowledge that I could. Most of our planning was already done by that point, but I learned tons of stuff and stockpiled it for later.

And the more trips I took, the more obsessed I became, and the people in that community became so important to me. When my friends in real life were sick of hearing about Disney, I had a whole bunch of internet friends who would never tire of talking. When I kept one of our trips a secret cause I was sick of hearing everyone in our lives say "AGAIN?" or "Aren't you sick of that place?", I had my internet friends to talk to and share my joy with.

I love having this community, where I can go with any question imaginable, and someone will know the answer!

I know there are tons of other communities out there, but from what I've read, Passporter is one of the most moderated and friendly. There are somewhat heated conversations from time to time, but from what I understand, ours are NOTHING compared to how nasty people can get on some of the other message boards.

So, if you're looking for a friendly Disney community, stop by the Passporter Boards! I'm sure you'll see me around!! (SARH7 is my screen name!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

My pressed penny obsession..

Yes, I even have obsessions within obsessions....

I have always been a fan of pressed pennies, ever since my trips to San Fransisco in the 80's and early 90's. My mom used to live there and I'd visited in the summer. I remember being at Pier 39 and men would stand on the street with hand crank machines that pumped out the pennies with a press of the Golden Gate Bridge on it or other San Fransisco icon. I had to have every one.

From time to time over the years, I'd see them in other locations, usually museums, amusement parks, etc...and I'd gotten them. But nothing prepared me for the plethora of machines at Disney World!!!

If you're not familiar with these fabulous little souvenirs, basically, you put two quarters and a penny into the machine. Some are hand crank machines, meaning you must provide the power to physically press the featured design onto your penny. While others are electric. What you receive is a smooshed, elongated coin that no longer has Abe's face, but that of Mickey or Donald or some other Disney Character or attraction.

It all started quite innocently. In 2000, I saw the machines and cashed in some bills for change and got a few. In 05, what I consider our first "real" trip, I got some more, but hadn't really prepared, so again I just got a few. But the next trip...oh boy was I ready! I'd saved any quarters I had (which wasn't many, since we rarely use cash to pay for's usually debit card). But I made sure I went to the bank and got a roll of quarters too. I was so proud of the 40-some pennies I had gotten that year. After that, I made sure I had plenty of quarters and pennies for the machines.

Sadly, it was to the point where I would steal them from wherever they were in the house. Quarters in the car for tolls??? Nope. Quarters for my daughter's lunch? Oh no. My best trip ever was getting about 85.

But after a couple trips, it was getting confusing. Which ones did I already have? I found a fabulous site called And I could print a list, an alphabetized spread sheet. It was in anal organizer's heaven! I printed the list and highlighted all the pennies I already had. And then when we went to Disney World, the list came with me and each new penny was highlighted on the list as I got it. The list is revamped every few months, so before a trip, I print the new list, highlight all the ones I already have, and check for any new machines.

There are also quarter machines, but in the past, those were just too rich for my blood. I only have 4...for now.

I am quite proud to say I now have 339 pressed coins from Disney World, pennies, a few quarters, and the four dimes they currently have. That is not including the doubles. I have about 20 or so of those too. I have pretty much every penny from the four main parks and Downtown Disney. The challenge is getting the rest at the resorts!! I store them in fabulous little books that they sell at the parks!

And I might break down and start shelling out $1.25 for the quarters. YIKES!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where to stay?

Deciding where to stay when visiting Disney World is an important decision. Many things factor into what is best for you. Money, is probably the biggest, at least for us it is.

Of our eight trips to Disney World, 1 was off-property (our first trip), 5 were value, and 2 were moderate.

We mainly stay at the values for the price. We're not rolling in dough, so most of the time, to be able to afford a Disney vacation every year, we have to stay as cheaply as possible. But it works out great for us. We love the theming of the value resorts, the larger than life icons, and bright colors. Tons of Disney magic!! And great photo ops! The pools are fun and the food court is great. We usually only eat there once or twice a trip anyway. We spend very little time at our resort, as we'd rather spend our time at the parks. So for us, spending more money on a place to basically sleep and shower is just silly.

We have stayed at a moderate resort twice and had our reasons for the upgrade, which I'm sure are the same reasons many people stay there as opposed to value resorts. The first time was our 10th anniversary trip. We wanted something a little fancier and since our son was only 9 months old at the time, we figured we'd spend more time at the resort and take advance of the amenities more, like the water slide and hot tub. (We didn't though. We still spent most of our time at the parks and only swam once.) The second time was just me and hubby, so we decided a resort with a hot tub was a valuable upgrade. We used it every single night. The moderate resorts do a really fantastic job of transporting you to another place. You do lose the Disney magic, but the resorts are pretty peaceful and serene and really relaxing.

We have never stayed at a deluxe resort, but have visited plenty of them. They have the best restaurants!! Everything is high class all the way and transport you somewhere really fabulous. Most have at least two forms of transportation, so that's nice..not always having to take the bus.

So, where do you stay?? Do you always stay in a certain category, or do you like to try different ones? Is money a factor in your decision?