Thursday, 30 August 2012

Disney planning

As all who've visited Orlando before will tell you the thoughts, dreams and plans for a 'once in a lifetime' or 'never go anywhere else' holiday are truly never ending. As DVC members the accommodation has been sorted for ages..

1st week at Animal Kingdom Lodge - Jambo House. We own at AKL but have only ever stayed at Jambo House (I'll save the Kidani Village discussion for a likes and dislikes post). I'm going to wander off track a moment while I explain our buying into DVC...

So before we bought into DVC I'd always dreamed of staying in Jambo House, what's not to love, it's amazingly themed throughout and is surrounded by animals. Yes, it's a little further out than the other resorts but with free Disney transport and free park parking when you're staying onsite how can anyone grumble (I've heard people grumble!). Some say it has dark decor but it's themed that way with an African feel. Anyway, we were staying at the Boardwalk using a fellow DIBBer's points and out of curiosity had a look around the bigger size villas, got chatting and fancied doing the tour, again out of curiosity - we loved the tour (we toured the DVC place at Saratoga Springs Resort), AMAZING! I loved the storybook room that you enter pretty early on in the tour, I wonder if they've kept this the same? as it really got my attention. Disney never fail to get my attention...
Anyway, so the tour came to an end and we went into a room with our tour guide - Darren from Ireland, very handy to have a guide from the UK as when you start talking money they actually know what you're on about... So as the talks of money begin I feign interest while un-beknowst to me my husband has started working out if we can afford it! Cue childish grin and pure delight when he agrees to it and begins signing all the paperwork!! Wow, were DVC owners and our home resort is my absolute favourite place in the world, I get so emotional when we walk in for the first time each trip - for me this comes so close to entering the Magic Kingdom, the sounds, the smells, the view!!

Back to the planning part, and our 2nd week will be spent at our very close favourite resort, the Boardwalk. We've stayed at the Boardwalk only once before but visit every single we spend hours just watching the world go by. Our boys love the magicians and other acts that are on each night and I must confess we are pizza lovers and so the hatch is a must for us. To make the most of our points we only ever book a standard view and a studio which as a family of 4 with 2 still young boys is ample room. We have tried out other resorts and on one occasion even a bigger room too but I'll leave that discussion for another day...

Today I've started looking into the ticket options and each year I become more disheartened by the increases in prices, I can see why so many people have been priced out of Florida - even though it's way more value for money than a European summer holiday and even Butlins (we've priced up so many other holidays but when it comes to the final costs it still works out better for us to go to Florida off-peak). My husband would like to try out Busch gardens and Legoland this trip as well as the compulsory Walt Disney World, Universal studios/ Islands of Adventure and occasional Seaworld and this has sent costs soaring, so we may later be discussing what we can do without, cue my worried face :( ... dare I say I'm leaning towards talking him out of Busch gardens, somewhere we've never been and suggesting a future trip that doesn't include Disney!!!

Is it wrong to base family planning on the increasing costs of a Florida holiday?!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The countdown to 'D'-isney Day

Today our countdown is 156 days, I know this thanks to 2 things; the countdown chart the kids and I made, and the countdown tool on the DIBB forums.

Even though our countdown to d day began more than 100 days before I made the chart, we didn't start the chart until 200 days. Our chart is drawn out on an A2 and although I've previously used coloured paper I had recently bought a giant sketch pad and so used that instead. I simply drew out a 20 x 10 grid and wrote out each single day from 200 down to 1 so the boys had a visual understanding of how far away their holiday is (I find it works wonders as they start asking over and over as soon as you tell them you've booked). 

As we now have a grid ready this is where the kids joined in, they have loads of Disney and Marvel sticker books, stampers, etc to use so they always enjoy decorating the charts - and the stickers used to fill in the days come from the packs I've bought specially from Hobbycraft - they have loads to choose from but we have gone for  the Sandylion sticker designs of Marvel heroes to denote Universal and the Disney ones, well for obvious reasons... but they do also have princesses, etc. I can't remember how much exactly we paid for them but it wouldn't have been more than £2 each and you get 100 stickers in each of varied designs. However, if one of the kids comes home from school with a sticker we use that on the chart either for decoration or in the countdown - the boys love to look back and recall what their sticker was for. Each day a different family member puts the sticker on, so we're all involved.

So I must confess that we do leave the house sometimes for days at a time and this can lead to confusion as to what number we should be at, this time to prevent the confusion I've also pencilled in the dates for easy catch up, and unless you look up close you can't see it anyway.

Now the other great thing about the countdown calendar is that you can see exactly when it's your 180 day for making Advanced Dining Reservations, and if you're Disney Vacation Club members then it's great for keeping stock of 11 and 7 month tweeking windows - I'll tell you our plans so far next time...

And, once you've finished with your countdown calendar, well it's no use to use as a countdown again then why not use it as decoration for your new savings tub... because everyone who's been to Disney knows that you get the buzz and will want to go time and time again!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

My first day as a blogger....

Today my best friend Sarah and I took our 2 7/8 yr olds to see Disney's Brave. I can say I'm glad to not have taken our 3 yr old as quite simply he'd have been terrified of the dark moments with the witch and the bear, now I wont say anymore on what happens as I don't want to give it away.

i have read mixed reviews on the movie but I and Sarah thoroughly enjoyed it, as did the boys though I doubt they actually understood what the story was about, I'd say family loyalty, though if this isn't the whole point then someone please enlighten me.

As usual Disney have the soundtrack spot on and it's definitely something I'd listen to again. Merida is not your usual girly princess and it was definitely more of an action type, humourous animation than a sing-a-long type love story. There was some magic but not the creepy voodoo that put me right off The Princess and the Frog.

 On another note, husband just arrived home with a kfc, including 'cream balls'... these look amazing...

And, just to demonstrate how much the Disney magic has taken hold of our lives, our 7 yr old manages to spill his gravy after just a few dips and discovers this... good enough for us

We've had so many totally random hidden Mickeys I'll have to hunt for the pics from bruises to eyes on a potato! Where have you found Mickeys?

My 1st post as Disney.On.My.Mind

So I've often thought of starting a blog but never actually know what to write about so when a fellow DIBBer (I'll explain this in a mo) suggested this morning I should write a blog I decided to rise to the challenge.

A little about me then... I'm in my late 20's, and married with 2 boys and our house is essentially Disney mad, you'd be hard pushed to walk in to our house and not notice this fact - the pictures on the walls, the ornaments, bathroom toiletries and even kitchen utensils... oh and the fact that we talk Disney a lot! If I'm not speaking it out loud then I'm on my favourite Disney forum ( reading and discussing it.

Our first trip to Disney World was in 2005 when our eldest was just 14 months and we have been trying to go every year since, having also bought into the Disney Vacation Club it's almost become a necessity but for us simply is our 'Happiest Place on Earth'... As I write our next trip is exactly 161 days, 17 hours and 58 minutes away.

But, I'm not just a Disney geek I have other interests too but these are indeed overshadowed by my need for a little more Disney magic.
I'm currently studying with the Open University attaining my BA Hons degree in English Literature and Language - making me also a bit of a bookworm. I'll read most things though being a huge Bones fan I also love reading Kathy Reichs novels, sadly she doesn't write as quickly as I read and so over the last 2 days have demolished her newly released 'Bones are Forever'. This was made easier by my latest gadgety present from my husband, a Kindle. Now I always refused to have a kindle as I love to have a book in my hand but the fact that we don't have a decent bookshop within at least 15 miles means I have had to go without a book for what seems like eons. So as I sat with my new kindle in my hand, down came Bones are Forever and within a day and a half (along with a busy household to tend) that was that finished with and a need for something else to read, this is where I decided to be a good girl and start on my next module's set books and so have set about Oroonoko by Aphra Behn, which having read all the pre-story bits (which takes up 30ish % of the kindle book) I'm finally ready to begin properly.

I'm writing on a new laptop, freshly delivered due to Dicky breaking yet another (one of his many talents) so I need to transfer my photos across to be able to use them, but watch this space and in following pages they may just begin to appear

If you're still here then thanks for reading, I'm a pretty straight forward kind of person so should be easy to follow. I will warn you I'm prone to rambling though... this is your only warning!