Friday, July 16, 2010

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

by: NicoleMarie

After 15 Disney trips in five years, the NMs were finally convinced at the end of last summer that our love affair with the Mouse wasn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it was getting even more intense with every trip under those happy arches. So with uncharacteristic financial spontaneity, without even seeing Bay Lake Tower in person, or even being in the World when we signed the contract, the NMs bought some DVC points at Bay Lake Tower and finally became members of the Best Kept Disney Secret (really?): the Disney Vacation Club. We took our first DVC trip this past Thanksgiving, stayed in a 1 BR villa at Bay Lake Tower, and loved every minute of it.

Like the full on rednecks we are, we ooohed and ahhhed over the villa and all the space it afforded our family of four. We put snacks in the cool pull-out pantry. We loaded the full size fridge with drinks. We listened to our iPod tunes through the iPod dock while we got ready. The hubby and I threw the “loser” sign at the kids as we shut the door to the master bedroom every night and fell asleep on the big, comfy king bed. We put our dirty laundry in a laundry basket in the LAUNDRY ROOM, and we came home with mostly clean clothes after our vacation. Because the Florida temps were COLD this past Thanksgiving, I’d fill up a nice, hot Jacuzzi bath when I needed to take the chill off. (After running two tubs full of water through the jets on the day we checked in. The first tub containing the entire contents of a small bottle of bleach. Oh yes Ma’am. You didn’t think I’d just get in there WITHOUT doing that did you?) The kids got ready in the mornings in their OWN bathroom, and the husband and I got ready just like we would at home – in the privacy of OUR own bathroom. Get where I’m going with this? Staying in the 1 BR villa at Bay Lake Tower was an AWESOME way to vacation at Disney World.


For those of you who don’t know us, let me give you a little introduction. A very little one just so you can get the NM family dynamics in your head. My husband and I both turned 40 this spring, and we’ve been married for 18 years in December. (!!!!) We have two children – a girl and a boy. Our daughter is 11 and going into the 6th grade (!!!!), and our son is 8 and going into 2nd. You’ll learn more about us as we go, but that’s the basics. On with the show.

So now that we own DVC, we are GUARANTEED (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise) to take – at this stage in the game – at least one trip per year. I’m sure there will come a time we’ll bank points and go every other year. Or possibly every THREE years if we bank AND borrow. But not now. Especially not this year. Because this year we had not only our 2010 points, but some leftovers from 2009 as well.

And so it was born.

A milestone trip of sorts for the NM family. A trip that shifted the NM ‘s Disney Vacation tide.

For FOREVER, we’ve taken our main family vacation in September. We’d pull the kids out of school and enjoy a week at the beach or at Disney World, paying cheaper rates and mingling with less folks.

But when the girl entered 5th grade this past school year, we felt like it was best NOT to pull her out of school for a full week, and instead, take our vacation during school breaks.

So we started discussing summer dates, and right away I thought of the 4th of July. For the last five years, I’ve wanted to be in the World on the 4th of July. Whether we were in a boat on the lake watching some not-as-awesome-as-Disney fireworks, or whether we were lighting sparklers and grilling hamburgers by the pool with good friends, or even last year, when our plane was descending into Atlanta just as really nice fireworks were going off all over the city, I would ALWAYS say to my husband that one year, I would love to watch the 4th of July fireworks at Disney World. In my mind, there would be no better place to celebrate the birthday of this great Land.

With that thought, my mind turned into a calendar and I started mentally drawing a long line starting on Saturday, June 26th, and ending on Monday July 5th. Monday the 5th was the federal holiday for the 4th - and an EXTRA day of vacation for the NMs. Oh yeah, baybee!! Go ahead and tell the office you’re gonna be off, Mr. NM. Cause we are GOIN’ TO DISNEY WORLD!!! FOR TEN DAYS!!! Our longest trip ever.

Now that the dates were agreed upon, it was time to decide resorts. I could make this paragraph really detailed and boring to read – kinda like the rest of my TR – or I can save you the grief and just give you the final outcome of the resort decision making process. We decided on 6 nights in a Kidani 2 BR, moving over to a 1 BR at BLT for 3 nights the weekend of the 4th. So now we had not only moved up from a hotel room to a villa, we were going TWO BEDROOMS.

TWO BEDROOMS? AT DISNEY WORLD? Country has come to town, my friends. Country has come to town.

We looked at online pictures of the 2 BR villa, and the kids started dancing a jig all over the kitchen as they realized they would each have their VERY OWN BED! In their VERY OWN BEDROOM! DH and I were dancing a jig all over the kitchen when we realized that there would be not just one, but TWO doors - AND a big living room - separating ours and the kids’ sleeping space for 6 nights. Oh, yes. This was shaping up to be a trip like no other Disney trip the NMs had ever taken. We might actually slow down and enjoy things this time! Sleep in! Rent some movies! Take a day off to hang at the resort! All while knowing the parks were ready and waiting whenever we wanted to be in them.

The excitement and anticipation of this seemingly "best Disney trip ever" would continue to build for the next seven months. We'd play Disney Trivia at restaurants, look at Disney websites, measure my ALMOST 48" son every month and in general, talk about our trip constantly. Until finally, the time would arrive. We would pack the bags, put them in the car, and head off to Disney World.

I promise, next installment, we'll get there.

Thanks for reading, friends.


  1. Personally, I always thought it was more like "The more things stay the same, the more they change" But whatever.

    NM, I LOVE the title of your new TR. And I'm loving all the pics you're bringing. Already. How awesome is that Bay Lake Tower?! You could float a whole flotilla of Donald Ducks in that tub. Not that you'd want to. But you could.

    I'm so pumped you're writing another TR and I can't wait to experience Disney with the NMs!

    Figuratively speaking, of course.

    Heh heh.

    Bring it, girl. I'm so IN!

  2. I'm in! Love to hear all about BLT. I have a studio booked there.

  3. Great start! I'm really looking forward to hearing all about your experience at BLT! --praisehisname

  4. Oh the irony! The comeuppance. The reaping and sowing. FOR YEARS, LaLa has been plagarizing my work and NOW it's happened to her.

    The more things change, indeed!

    Why no pictures of your insanely large 2 bedroom at AKL? What's the pool look like over there?

    All snark aside (for this brief moment), I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes. Your writing (when you're not lifitng verbatim from LaLa) is very good and you manage to spill just enough details on us to keep it interesting.

    Although I'm already bored.

    If you don't get to WDW by your next installment, we'll have to close this thread.

    Big grin.

    Whatever that means.

    Don't we have an upcoming trip to WDW sometime? When do we leave for that?


  5. NM, I am so looking forward to hearing all about your awesome trip.

    Is Z ignoring the photos that you already posted of the AKL 2 bdrm or is he just being characteristically snarky? It is amazing how big those suckers are, isn't it? I love the photos of the BLT, too. It looks beautiful. I am DED at the thought of the NMs feeling squished in the 1 bdrm there after living in luxury over at AKL. After our last 2 bdrm stay at BWV I don't know that we'll ever be able to go back to 1. But my kids are much bigger than yours. For now anyway ; )

  6. Love the update!

    Why is it when I hear the phrase 'dance a jig' I envision bare feet, suspenders, straw hat, corn cob pipe and less than a full and complete compliment of dental work?

    Of course the soothing sounds of the twang of a banjo and an elderly gentleman blowing into a jug resonate in the back ground of my mind too.

  7. Angelmav - That's just the vision you SHOULD get as it relates to the NMs. We are rednecks through and through. Except since we've got a dentist in the family, we all have full sets of teeth. Bleached to a nice shade of white, too. :) Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Ash - Either ZZUB doesn't read his own blog, or he's being characteristically snarky. Probably both. Girl, I hear ya! The AKL 2 BRs are HUGE!!! They are no doubt the best square footage value of DVC points on the entire resort property. We're spoiled for sure.

    Z - Thanks for your kind words. And the snarky ones, too. I will post pics of the insanely huge 2 BR when my TR actually makes it to WDW. Patience, Young Grasshopper.

    Hi Denise! Thanks for checking in!

    Hi Steph! BLT is awesome. You'll love it. Fully Disney in every way. And BE SURE you visit TOWL. Incredible!

    La, girl, thanks for reading and hanging around. Yes, BLT was awesome. And after I bleached that big ole tub, I sure did enjoy soaking my cold self in it over Thanksgiving weekend. But the pull of the serenity and African "vibe" of Kidani is much stronger than I thought it would be. So I'm looking forward to comparing the two in my TR. Stay tuned...

    Thanks again for reading, y'all! It's fun to share our trip with all my fellow Disney geeks!

  8. Loving the TR NM!

    Great photos. Even if they are of the wrong resort.


    I can't wait to hear about the 4th of July fireworks at The World. Though the prospect of the crowds such explosive wonders no doubt drew fills me with a bit of dread.

  9. GB said:

    Though the prospect of the crowds such explosive wonders no doubt drew fills me with a bit of dread.

    Don't you just know this is exactly how ZZUB's wife must feel? Ditto the co-workers.

  10. Thanks, GB! Yep, wrong resort this time.

    And yes, the anticipated crowds on the 4th of July were quite a cause for anxiety. I spent A TON of time worrying, planning and reading up on the best way to handle them. But I'll say this, I'd do it all over again in a HEARTBEAT, and I'll probably try and convince my husband to do so next summer! :)

    Poor ZZUB's wife. Just thinking about her plight makes me want to spray some air freshener in her honor.


    I think we all say this when we finally take the DVC plunge!

    < In my mind, there would be no better place to celebrate the birthday of this great Land. >

    Your mind is 100,000% correct. :)

    < We might actually slow down and enjoy things this time! Sleep in! Rent some movies! Take a day off to hang at the resort! >

    Hmmm. I’m really looking forward to hearing how this turned out for you guys. We were there about the same time. I had the same ideas. Fate and a small child felled most of the ideas. ;)

  12. I'm guessing Mrs. Z also breaks out the Chlorox at the resort, but for VASTLY different reasons.

    Hey V!

  13. “So we started discussing summer dates”…….” Now that the dates were agreed upon”…….” "We decided on 6 nights in a Kidani 2 BR”

    I am new at reading these trip reports, but ever since NM showed me this blog, I will admit I like to pop in and check them out. I literally laughed out loud in my office when I read the comments above.

    I love my wife more than anything on this planet and I love the fact that we stopped doing the week at the beach where we just did the same thing every day for a week and replaced it with trips to WDW. I am a “doer” and like to stay on the move. I am fairly passionate about most things in my life, but when it comes to WDW and planning of our trips, I don’t hold a candle to the passion NM takes. I think she enjoys the plan as much as the trip some times.

    I would welcome anyone to try and get in her way or try to plan around her when it comes to planning a trip at WDW. I even asked her one time if I could plan our next trip and let it be a surprise for her. The mere suggestion made her itchy for 3 days.

    We have 2 kinds of money in our house – her money and “our” money, and we have 2 kinds of “WE” when it comes to planning WDW trips – her way and “our” way (if you know what I mean)

  14. Roger sad:

    We have 2 kinds of money in our house – her money and “our” money, and we have 2 kinds of “WE” when it comes to planning WDW trips – her way and “our” way (if you know what I mean)

    Sounds like the recipe for a happy home to me!

    All I can say is I am DEDDER than DED (that means I laughed really hard, Roger) at Roger's posts.

    That wouldn't be Roger Rabbit by any chance, would it? Just wondering.

    You mean NM is a rabid (NORogerRabbit) Disney planner?! We had no idea! Of course, that really is half the fun of taking a trip to Disney. The planning, the dreaming, the ADR switching. It's a Disney Geek thang. We live for that kind of stuff. We can be laid back about most things in life, but when it comes to Disney, you better step back.

    And that was very sweet of you to offer to plan the trip for NM. I don't think my husband has ever offered to do any actual day to day planning for any of our trips. Mainly because he'd rather have me 'fool with it' instead of him. And he refuses to dwell on it too much until we're a few weeks away.

    Also because he knows it would make me itchy for three days.

  15. Hello "Roger" -

    Glad you could make it.

    And yes, I may be laid back and relaxed about every single other thing in our family's life, but NOT about our Disney trips. I love to plan them, and when there isn't one in the hopper TO plan, I'm planning how I can change that ASAP.

    Roger indulges my heart for the Mouse, and possibly enjoys it every bit as much as I do.

    Hey V! So glad you came by and posted your thoughts! Yes, you are correct. If you've been bitten by the Disney bug, DVC is THE WAY TO GO. The only thing that doesn't make me regret our "late" purchase, is all the cool places we stayed in the meantime. It's hard to stay at the Poly when you have DVC points. Not impossible, but harder.

    And yes, you will have to stick around and see how successful we were at chillin' out a little bit. You might even be inspired!

    Everybody have a good one!

  16. Wow,this is like Maelstrom mini-reunion!

    Can't wait to read all the great updates.

    Big thanks to GB for posting the link in his siggy :)

    Marita - aka Backstage Gal

    PS: sorry to post as anonymous, I can't figure out what log in to use here...

  17. I don't think I ever read a NM trip report. Looks promising. I would love to vacation with my clan in a DVC resort, but I'm afraid if we want "like home" accommodations it'll have to be an off-site house. Blech.

  18. Marita's in the house!

    What up! How is life in The World these days? I saw they are finally finishing the Pop...well...more or less. The new concept sounds pretty cool. Do you still get over that way for the flatbreads? I still can't believe I never tried them, but my mom declared them her favorite counter service offering.

    Hopefully the heat isn't too overbearing for you guys. I was in Houston a couple of days ago and the heat and humidity was very Orlando-ish.

    There are a couple of options for posting. The one I use is my Google ID. If you use gmail, you would use the same login. Or if you use AOL Instant Messenger, you can use that login as well. Once you get logged in, you can change your options as far as display name, avatar, interests and such.

    Glad to have you here!

    Hey MommyP - you'll love NM's writing. I highly recommend her prior TR's. (Use tab at the top of the page for the links.)

  19. Hey Marita and MommyP!

    Roger, you are hysterical! And almost every word out of your mouth could just as easily been from my husband's. Though he's never offered to plan a surprise trip. He has, however, admitted that the thought may have crossed his mind and was then quickly dismissed. He knows that I love the planning as much as the trip, and he wouldn't want to take that away from me. Either that or he knows he would mess something up ; )

    Having just come back from a trip to the beach where we did the same thing everyday for a week, I have to agree with you that Disney World (especially with a Disney Geek) is the way to go! Especially if you have a Frogg Togg or two. Right, NM?!

  20. R said: her money and our money.

    I am ded. She needs it all. To hear her tell it, she does not own a pair of earrings smaller than hoola-hoops. Is this true Rodger?

    Many times you hear people say, "stay at the value and save least you would be at Disney!"

    For the most part, I would agree. Until I packed up my family and we stayed in a 2BR at SSR. I will probably never pack the 6 of us in a hotel sized room ever again. My husband loved the fact that we came home with clean clothes from a 10 day trip across the US of A. With four daughters in tow, no less.

  21. Hey Marita and Mommy P!!

    Thanks for reading and posting here. Hope you'll stick around as LaLa, GB and I tell our tales. Mommy P, how many kids do you have? You really need a house, huh? You know, the Kidani 2BR claims to sleep 9. How comfortable that would be is another matter!

    Ash, I'm DED. The beach is a great vacation for a few days. But only if you have AC. ;) And give Mr. Ashclan my best for knowing to steer clear of the Disney reins. Those belong to us, right?

    MomofMNM - I do have earrings that are smaller than a pair of hoola hoops, thankyouverymuch, but why would I ever wear them? ;) And yes, I can imagine that with 6, no hotel room will ever be the same after the SSR 2 BR. I really like SSR.

    Thanks again for stopping by everybody!

  22. We have yet to cough up the points to stay in a 2BR. I think that if we brought friends and family, then we'd use the points that way. One of my favorite things is not having to deal with all the dirty laundry during or after the trip!

    So what's next on your journey, NM?

  23. I'm late to the Par-Tay. I was at the beach, doing the same thing every day. But, I liked it.

    NM isn't is so sad that we can't yank them out for a long trip anymore! We would totally be excused, but the make up work would be absolutely frightening. sigh. I'm jazzed that you've cranked this baby up and got it going!

    Roger, I think it is the sweetest thing ever that you wanted to plan the trip! If that happened here, I would bypass itchy and go into full blown hives. Here's what our day would look like if Mr. Frick planned a three day trip for us.
    1. arrive at Disney at 5:00
    5. dinner at O'hana
    6. pool
    7. bed

    Day 2
    1. arrive at park at 10:30
    2. leave park at 11:30
    3. Golf
    4. dinner at Cali Grill
    5. bed

    Day 3
    1. pack up and leave by 7:30 am

    See why I would fear it!?

    Bring it on NM!

  24. NM~ Love the AK pho-toes!

    DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let your DH plan a Disney trip. It will drive you INSANE! A few years ago I found some sweet $39 fares to MCO and the only way the DH would go back so soon (we had just been there 3 months earlier) was if I let HIM plan it ALL. While he did good, (several tours and great eats) it just about KILLED ME to not know what we were doing until we woke up each day.

    I can't wait to get to Disney! Hurry up!

  25. Frick, I am DED over Mr. Frick's idea of a fun Disney vacay!! That's classic! Although for the first time ever, this year every time Roger passed a golf course, he would lament that he was really itching to play some golf at Disney. Little Man NM has a couple of years to go before he's a good golf partner. But I foresee some tee times in our itinerary in the future. They will all be planned by me, of course.

    Shell BEEEEEE!

    You didn't know the Disney plan until you WOKE UP? Girl, that's some serious trust. But good for you. I'm sure your man loved taking the reins, and if he ever tells you he wants to do it again, you can just say that one time was plenty.

    Steph, we had extra points this year so a 2 BR was possible. When we purchased our contract in August, we got all of the 2009 points. We didn't use them all at Thanksgiving, so we banked some. We are taking my parents with us for Spring Break 2011, and we will have to borrow a little bit to have a full week in a 2 BR. But it's worth it!!! SOOOOO much space!

    We will get to Disney next installment!

  26. DED Frick. I knew Mr. Frick had to be encouraged to sip the Koolaid, I didn't realize it was such a severe case. Roger, I find it touching you would want to treat your wife to a Disney gift of planning. Early in our marriage, a wise couple told us (ME) that in marriage you can have control or surprises, even in certain areas. Gifts are one of those areas. Disney planning is another clear line. Mama don't want no surprises in a Disney plan, unless it's an extra night at the Poly Concierge added the last day of a trip, as Shrek did for us one time.

    NM, I'm glad y'all are in awe of that Kidani sprawlin' villa. It sounds like you quickly confirmed the DVC plunge/secret we've resisted because Dave Ramsey scared us away from anything called a timeshare.I'm in, my friend. It's also good to see lost-touch (not old) friends and get to know others (Hi GB!!) .

  27. Who's Dave Ramsey? ;)

    Yep, a Poly concierge night at the end of the trip is my kinda surprise. Hear that Roger?

  28. NM - sorry I'm WAY late to the party. I read but didn't post - sorry won't happen again!

    Mr. YAK has Mr. Frick way beat.

    Here is what it would look like if Mr. YAK planned a 1 day for us.
    1. arrive at Disney
    2. go straight to Chef's de France for food
    5 1/2: Leave right when Illuminations starts, "we've seen it a million times, forget it"
    8. Stay off site. Way off site.

    There you have it.

    NM - we are very Borg on Kidani. LOVED IT!

    Waiting on the next installment.


  29. NM - We have six now. We would have to buy a gazillion points to be able to take a vacation at a 2-bedroom. And renting is a lot too. And honestly I'm just not sure that I would even use the kitchen for cooking. I have to cook every other day of the year, I do not want to cook on vacation. :)