December 9, 2012

There and Back Again

No, this isn't a post about the upcoming premier of The Hobbit.  It's just a quick post explaining where I've been.

Looking at the date of my last post sent shock waves through my body.  Starting that night, life as we knew it changed significantly. We were sidelined for quite a while, but things now seem to be at what I call the New Normal.

I'm sorry to say that I'm not prepared to talk about it in detail here quite yet, but I do want to get back in a rhythm with my posts. I'm even thinking about making some videos, branching out in my subject matter.

A lot is going on around here on many fronts and I'll be incorporating some of that onto these pages.

It's good to be back!

September 6, 2012

Adieu, Mickey Bar

Before you panic and think I'm announcing that Mickey bars will no longer be available in the Parks, take a look at this:

That's what used to be my antenna topper.  It survived drought, rain, freezing weather, temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, and speeds in excess of 70 mph.

Then one day my oldest noticed that it was missing.  All that was left was the brown nubby stick clinging ever so tightly to my antenna.  We were surprised because in spite of all Mickey Bar had gone through, it never seemed to loosen its grip.  So, where could it be?  How long had Mickey been missing?  What evil force decapitated Mickey Bar?  What mayhem snatched it from its perch?

"I wonder if it came off when we went under those trees at the bank the other day?" mused my eldest.

So, the next day we found ourselves driving by the bank and decided to turn in and see if maybe, just maybe, Mickey Bar was there.  We pulled into the drive-through which is a single car width lane that curves around the right side of the bank taking your car literally through an overhang of hefty tree limbs and snaking around the backside of the building to emerge on the left side of the bank where the windows are.

My son got out of the car and began to look around.

What were the odds that this was the place we lost Mickey Bar?  And even if it was, what were the odds that Mickey Bar would still be there instead of whisked away by nature's forces or the local lawn crew?

Then, from my vantage point behind the steering wheel, I saw my son bend over and upon standing exclaims, "Here it is!"  There was Mickey Bar on the wet, gravelly ground underneath the sagging, droopy trees that hang over the lane!

We brushed the dirt off Mickey Bar, celebrated mightily amongst ourselves, congratulated Mickey Bar's hero and rescuer, and marvelled at Mickey Bar's resilience.

So what would become of Mickey Bar?  He would never again be so firmly fused with his stick to serve atop my antenna with such stoic determination against the elements.  What would be his fate?

Fear not, Mickey Bar lovers.  This antenna topper lives on to bring a smile to my face...

Viva, la Mickey Bar!

June 13, 2012

A Vacation "Getaway"?

I just read a 2005 statistic that stated 13% of American employees check their business email while on vacation.

First of all, that statistic is seven years old, so, the percentage has obviously gone up.

Secondly, it doesn't take into consideration personal email or the constant communication of Facebook, Twitter, and the like.

Not that those things are bad, but isn't the purpose of a vacation to get away from our job, our work, our routine?  Does the 21st century job dictate that we constantly stay "on the job"?  Do the folks back at the office not acknowledge or respect our time away?  Or can we not disconnect ourselves?

I contend that disconnection is necessary to actually perform better on the job.  I liken it to Sudoku.  When I'm deep in thought, working a difficult puzzle and get stuck, I find that if I leave it for a day or two, the solution pops out at me when I return to it.

A vacation serves to relax the body, refresh the mind, renew our outlook.  Our jobs, family, relationships, and the activities that flow from them can only benefit from this respite.

May 31, 2012

Hail, No!

It hailed here today.  It's hailed about five significant times since we've lived here.  I think everyone in the neighborhood has a new roof now.

What made today's storm different was that our neighbor's palm tree was struck by lightning.  We saw a bright flash in our house, then before we could brace ourselves for the Crack! of thunder, we heard what sounded like a cannon go off.

Palm tree pieces were all over our backyard and all the hairy parts underneath the tree bark were exposed the full length of the tree.

Good thing we had just turned all the computers off or I wouldn't be typing this right now.

May 26, 2012



I've heard that word twice today regarding the design of Walt Disney World.  Listening to the most recent Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish with Jim Hill where Len Testa and Sam Gennawey are discussing the design of the Magic Kingdom, Sam mentions the "architecture of reassurance" when describing why people come back again and again.

Later on I was reading Since the World Began by Jeff Kurtti and he also mentioned this word 'reassurance' when explaining why the castle needs to be seen from outside the park.  He said that after folks leave the interstate and drive six additional miles onto Disney property, they need some reassurance that the park is actually there.

And I can think of a third mention of reassurance.  The mere title of Karal Ann Marling's book, Designing Disney's Theme Parks:  The Architecture of Reassurance, teases us that there is more to the buildings and their surroundings than we might assume.

May 22, 2012


We were still months away from our trip, but a friend of mine was to the point of counting down the days until her daughter's graduation trip.  Smart girl to choose Disney World for a graduation gift, huh?

She posted their countdown calendar on Facebook.  Cute!  Her daughters used the Mickey shaped paint chips from Home Depot, patterning theirs from an idea they read about on the DISboards.

Now, let me say that I am NOT a crafty person.  I don't have an "eye" for anything and I haven't been able to pick a paint color for over 10 years, but I knew this calendar was something we had to do.  The kids would love counting down the days, and personally, it would help me hustle to get all those last minute things in order.  Here's our rendition:

At the time, I had a tension rod in my kitchen window that served as a display for the kids' artwork.  It proved to be the perfect place for our countdown calendar.  The drapery clips are from either Ikea or Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

I went with black poster board because of the contrast with the colorful Mickeys and I really like the way it turned out.  Once I got all the supplies, I had to decide what order the Mickeys would go in, colorwise.  I laid out all of my chips, took out the duplicates, and realized I had too many dark colors.  Playing around with the brighter chips, I decided that a rainbow pattern would look best - ROY G. BIV!

Then I experimented with different ways to lay them out on the poster board.  Think outside the box.  It doesn't have to look like a calendar.  You could do a spiral.  Stagger the rows.  Columns.

As you can see, I stayed firmly inside the box.  Based on the range of colors I had, 28 days fit perfectly.  Four weeks.  Seven across.  Four down.  Nice 28 day countdown with plenty of room left around the border.

Here's what the paint chips from Home Depot look like:

I didn't want to stick the whole paint chip on the poster board, so I had to remove the Mickey head from the square backing.  I experimented with a couple of extras - oh, yeah, get extras.  It looks like they're stickers, right?  They're not.  I peeled from one side and then the other, ooching Mickey off carefully.

Using a ruler and my Mickey head, I measured off how big each square needed to be, lightly marked off my grid with a pencil, and then drew it on by hand using a white liquid chalk pen.  I thought hand-drawn lines would look better than straight ruled lines.  I've had the chalk pens for a while and never used them much until now.  They were not something I bought especially for this project.

After my lines were dry, I experimented with a couple of different glues for the Mickey heads - glue sticks, craft glue.  I ended up using craft glue, applying it with a Q-tip.  Here's close-up:

You can see how Mickey is glued down nicely on that top row and not-so-nicely on the lower rows.  Running the glue out to the edges of the Mickey head inevitably resulted in some oozing and I didn't like the way the dried glue looked on the black poster board.  After a couple, I didn't run it all the way out to the edges.  I also didn't want the Mickey head to bubble so I used a very thin layer of glue.  I did not obsess over this.  Some I got just right, but most weren't, plus the kids helped.

For the decorations around the border, I found images online, printed them off, glued them to cardstock, and then to the poster board.

You can also see that we used a black punched Mickey head to mark off the days as they passed.  I bought the paper punch at a local craft store with a coupon and used Hermafix tabs to stick them on.  The punch, the black construction paper, and the Hermafix stayed in my kitchen drawer for easy access.  The kids would call dibs every morning on who got to mark off the day.

We had a great time making this calendar together and haven't been able to throw it away yet.

May 9, 2012

Magic Our Way

We're a la carte when it comes to booking our vacation. We purchase everything separately - room, tickets, airfare, rental car.  And the room-only reservation is to blame.

Well, that and the Dining Plan.

Brownie Sundae at 50's Prime Time Cafe
The first time we went to WDW as a family we booked very late - just a month or so out.  We hadn't been to Disney World in over a decade, hadn't been with kids at all, had never stayed on property, so many options, so much money!  I can see why people opt to use a travel agent.  All the choices can be overwhelming.

So I called a friend of mine who is a Disney Specialist travel agent.  Kim quoted me prices for the Magic Your Way packages and mentioned the free dining promotion if we booked by June 15.

Hmm, did I mention we hadn't been to Disney World in over a decade?  In fact, we hadn't taken a big family vacation ever.  So many options!  So much  money!  We just couldn't commit.  June 15th came and went.

I know, I know.  I am hanging my head in shame, but that's just the way we are.  We had just lost the opportunity for free food, but I had to shake it off and move forward.  As it turned out, missing the free dining was a blessing.

After perusing many websites and reading my Unofficial Guide cover to cover, I decided I could plan and book our vacation.  So with a little confidence under my belt, I booked Old Key West with a room-only discount and it proved to put a little extra money in our pocket.  We saved more money on our room than we spent on food.  Granted, we ate a few meals in our room and split some in-park meals after we realized how big the portions were, but...
  1. Having a full kitchen in our hotel was an additional money-saver.  Sure, it meant we had to make a trip to the grocery store, but we actually think that's a fun Arrival Day Activity.
  2. We weren't locked into eating all those restaurant meals which we tire of after a while, giving us much more flexibility in our dining choices.
  3. We didn't have to factor in park time for breakfast and that meant we could sleep a little longer - hey, 30 minutes is critical.
  4. We started the day with a hearty meal - eggs, toast, milk, oj.
  5. The dinner advantage gave us the opportunity to wind down at the end of the day and enjoy a quiet meal, just our family.  We even played games after dinner a couple of nights.
Primo dining area at Old Key West.  Notice that balcony seating is also available!
So faced with free dining again for this trip, we opted for the Magic Our Way package (my invention).  Because we were staying in a deluxe villa, the room-only discount was 40% which more than paid for our food.  Plus, we had the choice of anything on the menu and could eat on our schedule.

We also liked the flexibility of the room-only reservation.  It requires a deposit of one night's stay and can be cancelled for a full refund up to 5 days prior to arrival.  Four days or less, you forfeit your deposit.  You can make changes any time up to 5 days prior to arrival at no additional cost.  We also asked about cancelling mid-trip and were told that you only pay for the days you're there. For example, if we had to check out three days early, they would refund the remainder in full.  Nice!

I made our reservation over the phone and wrote everything down in my spiral notebook - date, booking agent's name, deposit amount, confirmation number, cancellation rules.

Like I said, room-only fit us perfectly. Magic Your Way packages have different rules and may work better for you depending on your preferences, but a room-only is definitely worth looking into when Disney is running a special.

May 4, 2012

And The Answer Is...

Raise your hand if you were surprised.

Yep, we enjoyed it so much on our last trip, we decided to stay at Old Key West again.  Who wouldn't love a private master bedroom with a king sized bed?  And the ability to pack less clothes because you can wash a load or two?  A full kitchen?  Two bathrooms?  And again, great pool slide!

Aaah, transport me now!

May 1, 2012

Digging In - The Big Questions

When we set out to plan our vacation, there are several major questions to answer.

When are we going?  How are we getting there?  How long will we stay?  Where will we stay?  Will MawMaw go with us?

Let's start with that last one.

Will MawMaw go with us?  MawMaw loved going to Disney World with us and was looking forward to going again; however, my husband wanted this vacation to be just our family.  So, I had to make a very difficult phone call.  Not fun.  It was very hard to break the news and she was very disappointed that she wouldn't be going this time, but she understood.  Still.  She was very sad.

Next question, when are we going?  Even though the temperatures are sweltering, the best time for my husband is mid-September. So, we looked at the calendar and picked a week.

How are we getting there?  No question.  Flying.  My husband did not feel it necessary to drive all the way from Texas to Lake Buena Vista again.  And the good news is, flying would get us there quicker, giving us two more days than before.  Seven whole days in the parks!

As far as ground transportation, a rental car is a must for us. CB doesn't like to rely on others for his transportation which is fine by me.  Getting around WDW is very easy - I love those red and purple signs. We could be in the parking lot of any park within 10-15 minutes.  Yes, we might have to take the tram if we parked far enough away, but what's a trip to Disney World without a ride on the tram?

How long will we stay?  Our pattern is to suck all we can out of our vacation so we planned to arrive on Saturday and stay all week, leaving on the following Sunday.

Where will we stay?  We weren't quite sure.  We do have the mad love for Old Key West, but last trip we had lunch at Whispering Canyon at Wilderness Lodge and loved the look of that resort.  Chatting with my husband, we decided to give the Villas at Wilderness Lodge a try this time.  So, I got online to price it out and it showed that the resort was booked during our week.  How could that be?

I don't know what Disney does or why they do it, but their online reservation system will sometimes show that a resort is completely booked.  If this happens to you, don't let it deter you. Call them. That's what I did, and they had rooms available. So, I had them hold an 8-night stay in a 2-bedroom villa at Wilderness Lodge. That hold required no money down and I could either call and cancel it or it would expire on its own in a week.

You may be wondering why I didn't just go ahead and book the reservation.  The advantage to simply holding a reservation is that it let us live with the idea for a few days. We could think about things like:

how far would we have to walk to get to our car?

would we enjoy the resort pool?

what about the layout of the room?

what kinds of views are available?

what are we gaining by staying here?

what are we giving up by staying here?

are we okay with spending that much money?

Ultimately, we decided not to stay at Wilderness Lodge. We felt we'd have a longer walk to and from our car each day and the additional cost just wasn't worth it. We'd rather spend it somewhere else.

So, any guesses as to where we decided to stay?

April 30, 2012

Must-Do's for Right Now

I have some good friends.  They know me well.

They know if they want to talk about Walt Disney World, I'm their girl.  They know if they're even slightly considering a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, it will delight me tremendously.  They also know that I'm always ready to chat about the Vacation Kingdom.  Trouble is - they might not be able to shut me up!

One thing I always encourage them to do is go to the Walt Disney World website and:
1. Register and sign up to receive emails and mailings (
2. Order the FREE Vacation Planning DVD.

There are definite advantages to completing those two simple steps even if you aren't 100% sure it's your family's next vacation destination.

Here's one:

And, here's the other:

When you register, you will begin to receive emails and mailings from different Disney companies or entities.  Don't worry.  They don't inundate you with stuff.  If you get an email from a Disney affiliated company you're not interested in, it's as simple as clicking Delete.

Now, two names that I do enjoy seeing in my Inbox are Disney Insider and Disney Destinations.  The Disney Insider is a monthly newsletter that contains neat stories, but the one email that will make my heart jump is Disney Destinations.  It has its own newsletter, the HELLO, which features all kinds of things relating specifically to vacationing Disney style.

But here's the best part.  PIN codes come in Disney Destination emails.  Yesh!  A PIN code is a special offer available only to the recipient.  It's usually a darn good deal or a good deal during times when they don't normally offer deals at all.  An example of a PIN code I received gave us priority access at Mickey's Meet and Greet in the Magic Kingdom as well as free special viewing and dessert party during Wishes.  Darn good deal!

Something else I enjoy receiving is Disney mailers.  I can pick them out of an entire stack of mail as they're brightly colored and just have that "Disney-ness" about them.  Besides, it's fun to get mail addressed to you straight from Lake Buena Vista, FL!

These mailers usually advertise the latest special offer and occasionally you'll get the coveted PIN code!  Another perk to receiving Disney mailings is that you can use the colorful artwork for your scrapbook.  That is, if one actually scrapbooked instead of letting it accumulate dust on the closet shelf.

Whether it's electronic mail or real hardcopy paper mail, all are personalized with your family's name. It's like they handpicked the offers for you. We're not in the Disney Movie Club, but I received these personalized stickers and labels in a Disney Movie Club mailing.

My #2 on the list is to order the FREE Vacation Planning DVD.  This is a lively expansive presentation of the entire Walt Disney World Resort from parks to hotels to restaurants to entertainment.  You can select which area you're interested in or just watch the whole thing beginning to end.  Boy, do I get excited when this arrives in the mail!

You can order one every year.  I didn't realize this until our 2010 vacation when a friend mentioned that they had quite a nice collection.   Look at the pretty colors---

This DVD really gets the kids excited about our upcoming vacation.  We've been known to pop ours in during lunch for a nice midday break.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go online to the Disney World website (, sign in, and play around with some dates and different resorts or ticket options. Within a couple of days you'll start getting emails. And, who knows?  It might be a special offer that's just the thing to entice you to pack your bags!

Hmmm, it's lunchtime.  Where's that DVD?

March 13, 2012

Where Did Those Come From?

Look at them all!

These lovelies were in the envelope of my vacation binder. I had no idea we had so many!  Many are Fastpasses, but some are Child Swaps/Rider Switch passes.  I think I printed out the Big Thunder ticket just so I'd have one with the Big Thunder logo on it.  We love Big Thunder Mountain.

I was surprised by the shear number of Fastpasses we came home with.  The Toy Story Mania passes went unused as we never made it back to Hollywood Studios that day.  For the rest, I guess we just didn't need to use the Fastpass line once our window rolled around.  But that doesn't explain the lone Peter Pan Fastpass.  I wonder if my oldest opted out of that one.  Maybe a bathroom break?  It definitely wasn't my husband because he loves Peter Pan's Flight.  He thinks "flying" in a ship is cool.

Ah, just look at them.  All the pretty colors!

March 8, 2012

Tools, Most Necessary

For your viewing pleasure - the books I used to plan our vacation extravaganza.

My very first purchase was The Unofficial Guide 2010.  It joined its cousin, 2007, on the shelf.  It makes me a little sad that I got rid of old 1991.  If ever I re-enter the world of the gainfully employed, I've got to figure out a way to get hired by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa.  Gathering and interpreting all that data!

My second purchase was The Complete Walt Disney World 2010 by Julie and Mike Neal.  The glossy pages were full of color photos.  The kids really liked the pictures of souvenirs that were available in various shops.  One of them immediately started making a shopping list.  If you want lots of color photos, the Neals do it right.

I also purchased Steve Barrett's field guide in hopes of finding some new Hidden Mickeys.  Oh, to tour at a nice leisurely pace and enjoy the little things...

Not to leave the kids out of this obsession adventure, I bought them their own colorful guidebook, Birnbuam's 2010 Walt Disney World For Kids.  The ideas inside this guidebook sparked their imaginations and they started making their own countdown activities and must-do lists for each park.

On the far right you'll see my spiral notebook.  This was dedicated to the amassing of information, pricing, and estimating I do before we make any of the major decisions.  I just love figuring up all the possibilities - Magic Your Way package, room only, food, air transportation, water parks, Park Hopper.  Sigh!

On these pages I weighed the value of purchasing a full price package with the free Disney Dining Plan by estimating how much we spent on food on our last trip.  I used the menus from AllEars.  It was tedious, sure, but right up my alley.  Is it disturbing that I remember most of where and what we ate three years ago?  Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Then lastly, I made my own planning notebook.  This binder was a three-ring Wilson brand that I bought at Target.  The binder contained instructions on how to print the tab headings onto one sheet that you then slip into the clear pocket on the inside back cover. Since you don't write directly on the tabs, you can reuse them.

The Disney logo and Mickey decals are from the scrapbook section of my local craft store.  They're made from thread and they're heavy duty, like a monogram, except they have an adhesive backing.  I kept them on the plastic backing so I could use them later in a scrapbook.  In the top right corner you'll notice one of those Mickey Mouse paint chips.  I printed out the cover sheet and slipped it all into the front pocket of the binder.

Inside were custom calendars, packing lists, to do lists, confirmations, flight information - more than my little spiral notebook could handle.  I had tabs for these things:

Those five basic categories let me organize the five major areas of our vacation.

The Planning tab was home to my personalized lists - packing, to do, park hours, parade times.  It was a handy place to keep everything.  Rather than make little lists that end up all over the house (as I'm known to do), whenever I thought of something, I'd jot it down in my notebook.  The kids even enjoyed reading my lists from time to time to see the progression of our planning.

Under Confirms went our hotel booking info and dining reservations.  I printed out these pages straight from the website under My Disney Vacation.

Once I booked our flight, I printed out the receipt and flight information, three-hole punched it, and filed it under Travel.  Same thing for the rental car.

Flipping to the Maps tab would reveal maps of the Orlando airport (MCO) and how to get to our hotel from MCO.  I also included a map of our hotel property and a map showing how to get to the closest Target and Publix.  Although I had looked at Google Earth so much, the directions were permanently imprinted on my brain.  Sad?  Strange?  Yeah, I didn't think so either.

The binder also had a pocket inside the front cover for storing those things you'd need to access easily.  This came in handy at the airport when I needed to get to the boarding passes quickly and then put them away quickly.  It reminded me of getting through the bag check and turnstiles at the Parks all the while zipping up your bag, showing your tickets, then stowing them away.

For safekeeping of tickets, receipts, and little pieces of paper that I knew would accumulate along the way, I bought a three-hole punched 8x10 envelope made out of that poly-vinyl stuff.  I could stow those little pieces of paper in the envelope and seal it closed with the velcro flap.

Especially for this post, I looked in this envelope the other day and found several surprises - things I didn't know I kept.  I can't wait to show them to you!

February 6, 2012

To Surprise or Not Surprise

You know those commercials where the parents surprise their kids on Christmas morning with a trip to Disney World?  They're so fun to watch.  All the clever and creative ways people come up with to let the cat out of the bag.  And the kids' reactions are sometimes almost as surprising as the news they receive.

I have one child who wants to be surprised like that.  Part of it is the surprise itself, but the real reason he wants to wake up and be told, "We're going today!  Pack your bags," is that he doesn't want to have to endure the anticipation.

When I was young, I felt the same way.

But that presents a problem.  A big part of a vacation is all the stuff that leads up to it.  Like I said before, we do a little something every day, whether it's checking EMH's, watching YouTube videos, browsing the Disney website, reading the Unofficial Guide, making lists, checking the Moms' Panel, ordering our free Vacation Planning DVD, watching our free Vacation planning DVD - whew! - I can't imagine not being able to do all of that or having to do it in secret.

Besides, they'd miss out on so many things they enjoy.  Would they really want to miss curling up on the couch at lunch time and watching one of the DVDs from our 6-disc set of Disney Parks: The Secrets, Stories, and Magic Behind the Scenes?

Not being able to handle the anticipation, not having the patience and self-control to wait, is something he'll outgrow.  After all, it is my job to help him develop self-control.

Is it terrible that I might not ever surprise my kids like that?

Like Rapunzel's mother, Gothel, said, "Mother knows best!"

January 30, 2012

First Things First

Planning another Disney World vacation!  Just typing those words gives me goosebumps.

I find that I need a little dose of Disney everyday and perusing the websites, making the ADRs, reserving, confirming - are great ways to experience your vacation even before it starts.

So, it's been three years since my last foray into Disney vacation planning.  Yes, of course, I planned several imaginary vacations since then.  Like the:
  • Extended Family Grand Villa Vacation
  • Can We All Fit Into Port Orleans Riverside Vacation
  • Can We All Fit Into the Contemporary Vacation
  • Dream Concierge Level Vacation
  • Let's Rent an RV And Stay At Fort Wilderness Vacation
and, of course, I played around with the
  • Staying Off Property in a Hotel Vacation, and the
  • Staying Off Property in an All Star Vacation Home Vacation (with variations on the Extended Family Vacation theme)
But this time it was for real and there were a few things I decided to do differently from the outset.
  1. 2010 is not 2007 - must not have definite expectations.  Our 2007 vacation was so wonderful in so many ways - all the Magic Moments; however, I realized I needed to be ready for completely new and different experiences.  We shouldn't expect the same things from this trip and we shouldn't try to make it into the same vacation as before. This one could turn out quite differently and I needed to take it on its own terms.
  2. Books - must invest in more books.  I love buying books.  Most of my purchases are for school, but I'm always scouring used sites for books about Disney World.  The Unofficial Guide has been secured and I've added Birnbaum's for Kids and the Neals lovely full-color tome to my collection.
  3. Countdown Calendar - must make one for this trip.
  4. Photos - must take more.  One thing we realized after our last trip was that we did not take enough pictures.  The good thing is that we were having too much fun to constantly be experiencing it from behind a camera or posing for the perfect shot, but there are so many pictures in our mind that we would love to look at with our eyes.
  5. Organize - must keep better records.  Last trip I jotted everything down in a spiral notebook and eventually ripped out the pages and threw them away.  Eek!  I know!  What was I thinking?  All those price comparisons would be fun to look at next to 2010's prices.
And, there are other things that came up as we went along that I'll touch on.

Planning!  The anticipation!  We're going to Disney World!  Again!

January 28, 2012

Good News!

In early 2010, my husband said something like, "How about we go to Disney World again this year?"  Below is a picture of our reaction.

Then I said, "Are you serious?  Because I'll start planning right now."

He was serious.  So I embarked on a second WDW Vacation Planning adventure.

Okay, now. Deep breath. Where do I start?

The Unofficial Guide, of course!  So off to the bookstore I went to purchase the 2010 edition.  Even though I had already read the entire 2007 edition, I wasn't about to just skim through the current one.  It must be read cover to cover as well as flagged and highlighted and underlined.

The 2010 edition contained a section of color photos in the front.  Nice addition!  Some of the photos compared sections of the Parks at different times during the day.  Unofficial Guide Guys - this is ingenious!  Do more of this!

Ever since our 2007 vacation I have read A LOT of Disney blogs - to the point to where my kids are seriously starting to worry about me.  In all of this reading, I learned of a couple of other books I wanted to add to my collection - Birnbaum's Guide to Walt Disney World for Kids and The Complete Walt Disney World 2010 by Julie and Mike Neal.  My younger boys loved settling down on the couch and reading through the Birnbaum guide.

What is it about planning a Disney World vacation that is so fun?  Personally, I think it adds a whole new dimension to the vacation itself.

So let's get started!