Welcome to the first of our “Greatest Hits” trip reports. I chose to feature this trip report from Freezin’ Rafiki’s family trip back in October of 2009, because in many ways it’s a quintessential DIS Dads trip to Disney World. It features two young children, a long-distance car trip, and extended family. This is just the first post of the full trip report. You can read the rest over at the DIS boards.

This is my first trip report, and for some reason, I’m having a hard time starting it. We’ve been back home for just over a week now. I’ve poured over my pictures, selecting just the right ones. Every time I came to the TR board, I would start reading one and get too involved to start my own. Well, I finally made the time and started. Welcome aboard!

2 kids, 2 dogs, 1200 miles: 2 weeks and 2 birthdays in Florida

First things first, introductions are in order.

  • My name is Barry, and I will be your host for this trip report. I’m 31, a systems administrator living in Racine, WI. Including when my family went when I was a child, I’ve been to Walt Disney World seven times.

    Here I am in December of 2008, leading our daughter Madison atop Satin at the Tri-Circle D ranch at Fort Wilderness.

  • DW is Bambi, age 30. She’s a social worker, and we’ve been married for 9 years now. Her parents took her to Disneyland as a child, so her trip count for Walt Disney World is only at six. I’ve reminded her of this several times, and have the bruises to prove it!

    Here’s Bambi and our son Evan at Toy Story Mania back in December

  • DD, Madison. She turned 5 on this, her 5th, trip to Disney. She was placed with us as a newborn foster child. We already had a trip planned with Bambi’s parents to Disney World in December of 2004. We called the airlines, hotels, etc and added an infant to all of the reservations with no problems. Was it easy having a 7 week old at Disney World? No, but it was totally worth it!

    We were taking a break in Epcot when Belle and Beast walked up to us, took Madison and just starting cooing with her.

    Of course, she’s not the little baby any more. The adoption was finalized that summer, and she’s been back four times since. She loves her Princesses and Fairies, and her favorite changes daily.

  • DS, Evan. He celebrated his 3rd birthday on this trip. And his story is just as good as Madison’s. We had planned to go down for Madison’s 2nd birthday in 2006. Plane tickets purchased and everything. And then we found out that not only was Bambi pregnant, but she was due right in the middle of our vacation. With a doctor’s note, the airline waived the ticket change fee and gave us 1 year to use the tickets. Evan was born 5 1/2 hours after Madison’s 2nd birthday. I’m pretty sure she still thinks of him as one of her presents.

    Here he is doing what he does best – climbing things and getting into trouble.

  • Also playing big parts in this TR are Pepper and Allie. Pepper is a 2 year old Spaniel/Lab mix (we think), and Allie is a 1 year old Australian Cattle Dog/Rat Terrier Mix who thinks she’s a cat. We were told that her previous owners had 2 cats, and she learned a lot about life from them. Both were rescues from the Wisconsin Human Society. They’ve traveled with us in the van in the past, and never had a problem. We threw caution to the wind and decided to bring them along for the 2 week trip.

    Allie on the back of the couch, Pepper on the right

  • Bambi’s parents – Dean and Carol. They live in Lakeland, FL – about 40 minutes west of Disney World. Their house would be “home base” for 2 weeks. The plan was to leave the dogs there for 4 days while the 4 of us spent some time at Disney’s Beach Club. They declined to have pictures posted.

So, you have the “who”, here’s the rest of the facts:
WHERE: MIL and FIL’s house, Lakeland, FL, and Disney’s Beach Club Villas. We are DVC members and have stayed here in the past. You can’t beat this pool anywhere on or off property. It’s amazing.
WHEN:October 9 – 24, 2009
HOW: Mazda MVP Van. 1200 miles each way. First time driving.
WHY: Um, why not? Officially, it was to visit Grandma and Grandpa and Celebrate Madison’s 5th and Evan’s 3rd Birthdays.

So, that’s my introduction. In upcoming chapters, I’ll spin the tales of the 2 kids, 2 dogs, 1 minivan drive, the parks, the pools, the food and the fun. Pictures will be included. I have over 1300 from the vacation, and the best of the best have been selected for this TR.

Hold on, it’s gonna be a heck of ride!

If you want to skip over all of the witty banter (buy why would you? It’s good stuff!) you can use these handy links to get to my daily updates
Table Of Contents
Days 1 & 2 – Oct 8 & 9 – The First Drive
Day 3 – Oct 10 – Lazy Saturday
Day 4 – Oct 11 – Coronado Springs & DTD
Day 5 – Oct 12 – Magic Kingdom part 1
Day 5 – Oct 12 – Magic Kingdom part 2
Day 6 – Oct 13 – Animal Kindgom / DHS part 1
Day 6 – Oct 13 – Animal Kindgom / DHS part 2
Day 6 – Oct 13 – Animal Kindgom / DHS part 3
Day 7 – Oct 14 – Off Day: Golf, Swiming
Day 8 – Oct 15 – Madison’s 5th: Magic Kingdom / 1900 Park Fare, Part 1
Day 8 – Oct 15 – Madison’s 5th: Magic Kingdom / 1900 Park Fare, Part 2
Day 9 – Oct 16 – Evan’s 3rd: Hollywood Studios, Whispering Canyon Cafe, Part 1
Day 9 – Oct 16 – Evan’s 3rd: Hollywood Studios, Whispering Canyon Cafe, Part 2
Day 10 – Oct 17 – Another off day
Day 11 – Oct 18 – Beach Club Villas & Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Day 12 – Oct 19 – Cape May Cafe, Shopping, and Disney’s Palm Golf Course
Day 13 – Oct 20 – Universal Studios & a gourmet dinner
Day 14 – Oct 21 – Epcot, swimming and International Food & Wine Fest
Days 15,16 & 17 – Oct 22-24 – Swimming, packing and going home
The Final Entry

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