Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2 months, 3 weeks, 5 days...

Partner's Statue - Disneyland 2011 - Photo by
Photography by Antonia
Since I am so horrible at keeping my blogs up to date, I figured the sooner I start the pre-trip reporting for Disney the better. Planning is at a stand still as Disneyland is a shorter timeframe to book things that Walt Disney World. We can't begin to book out until 60 days before we go (which is sooooo far away!) and it's not like Disney World where you can add up to 10 days from the first night of your trip so you can book your entire trip's extras together. It's a call down (or, now, email!) every day at the individual 60 day marks if we want to be one of the firsts to get into whereever it is we want to be in.

So what to do to tide me over? Well, I've been reliving last year's trip for one. Deciding what to do again, what to do different. Reading blogs, trip reports of others, and just keeping busy (the Seavey job helps greatly in that department!). Now it's time to me to start blogging. This place is once again dull. I'm not wanting to get rid of the Iditarod theme just yet, and I'm debating if I go to a Disney theme yet or maybe wait and after this weeked in Seward working and taking pictures I might get a summer sled dog theme going. I'm not sure.

For now, though, I will blog on the plans as they stand so far. They are very rough to non-existant, but I have the cast of characters ready to play out this fantasy, as well as some for sure extras. Tonight, though, I introduce the faces of our family trip.

We will have a total of seven in our group this time around. Two princesses at the age of six will be the stars of the show. This is a blended family trip of sorts, and I feel like an interloper (only reason I'm going is Haille begged).... Anywho...

The Cast of Characters:

I LIKE FLUFFY! - Stitch & Toni 2009 WDW
Tonichelle: Aka your's truly. This will be the fourth trip to the Disneyland parks, and the ninth Disney trip overall (five WDW trips, I believe that means I've "arrived" as a Disney traveller). The family generally defaults to my being the trip planner, I love the "job" as I get to start my Disney magic before everyone else. However this also means I end up driving everyone up the wall with my OCD travel planning, and obsession with all things Disney. I, in turn, get frustrated that no one wants to nail down a plan and then follow it. If that's the biggest complaint we all have, though, then we're doing pretty well, IMO!

When not going crazy with trip planning, I am a professional photographer, and sometime sled dog fanatic (you won't find me on the back of a sled, but I try to be involved with the sport in supportive roles). I'm also an active figure skating fan, and self proclaimed movie buff. Some of my favorite Disney films include Sleeping Beauty, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mary Poppins, and Tangled. Favorite characters include Donald Duck, Stitch, Jack Sparrow, Maleficent, Merryweather, and Chip.

Haille Rae - Nevada City 2011
The Rae: aka Haille Rae. My how time flies, I remember when this kid was just a few days old, with a horrible fro that could not be controlled, and wondering when we'd get to sleep through the night when we started babysitting for her parents. Haille is my "neice" - which means it's an easier title than "my step-cousin's daughter", which is impersonal and does not truly reflect our relationship as it is - and is six years old. Her first Disney trip was last year for her fifth birthday (can you imagine turning FIVE in Disney?!). Disney is my polar opposite, and yet so many say she's a mini-me. I don't see how that is, the child is a girly-girl, she can put together better outfits than I ever could. Last year at Disney she was the one who gave me hair and make-up advice. Gah!

Haille is the reason I'm coming this year. She asked if I would be coming with her when she goes to Disney, and at the time I wasn't sure. Every phone call after that had her telling me that if I had to come because, "Aunt Toni, you know Disney." It wasn't that I didn't want to go, I just wasn't sure I could swing it with my cousin's wedding in California happening a couple weeks before Haille's trip. When I finally said I would - mainly so that someone could fly back home with the child afterwards - that's when the real party started. All of our phone calls have her reminding me that I am coming with her to Disney. Like I could forget! Ha ha! Haille's favorite characters - as far as I know - are: Mickey Mouse, Belle, Ariel, Pluto, and Dale. Her favorite Disney movies, last time I asked anyway, are: The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Sleeing Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast. When she is Disney'd out and needs a change she enjoys - of all things - The Transformers, Justin Beiber, Hannah Montana, and Taylor Swift (I try not to hold it against her).

Newlyweds @ Disneyland - 2011
The Grandparents: Judy & Gaylord. The ones that make these trips possible. Judy is my aunt, Haille Rae's grandma. Judy has been a part of my life much in the same way I've been in Haille's. I lived with Judy (and Gaylord) while I was in Anchorage going to college (and then working for the Feds). She's more than "just" an Aunt, and I love her - even when we argue. Judy is the reason I am obsessed with Disney travel (though she's come to regret that I think). Gaylord came into the picture a few years ago, and they married last year. They spent their honeymoon in Disney for Haille's fifth birthday (we'd promised the child for four years she was going to go, couldn't back out or postpone!). He was a good sport about it, and is being a good sport (I think) about this year's trip. I'm not sure he knew what he was getting into when he married into the family, but we'll get him Disney trained in no time.

They moved to Northern California last summer, and Haille and I miss them big time. Haille is going to visit for two weeks this summer, which is how this trip started in the first place. Haille equates California with three things - swimming, Memaw, and Disney. She's getting all three this summer. Haille said that the part she's most looking forward to is, "seeing gramma in a swimsuit."

The Trio: Aana, Brandon & Haile Elizabeth. To make it an even bigger family affair, Gaylord's bringing his granddaughter and her parents to Disney as well. One of the coolest parts of Judy and Gaylord's story is they have granddaugthers that are the same age AND have the same first name. Too weird, right?! The girls met for the first time at the wedding, sharing the duties as flower girls. They became fast friends and the hope and plan is that going to Disney together will give the girls a great experience with Haille Rae being the veteran showing Haile Elizabeth as the newbie how Disney is done. I think Judy and Gaylord are most excited to see how the girls respond to Disney and all it has to offer.

I don't know Haile or her parents too well. I only spent a few hours with her mom Aana, and I don't believe her dad came to the wedding. Haile Elizabeth, though, is a doll. So sweet and funny. She and Haille Rae get along well together. Because their names are the same we're going to have to use their middle names to make sure the right one responds! Ha ha! So, it's not that I don't want to give you insight to the rest of the travelling party, I just don't feel comfortable talking about folks I don't really know - or sharing pictures. Haile Elizabeth may make quite a few of the twitter/instagram photos that will be shared through out the trip as I have a feeling the two girls will be inseperable or close to it.

So there's the cast as it stands so far. Seven Disney travellers with all levels of experience. The next part of the pre-trip report will be the plans as they become available. Not that this is compelling blogging or anything, but it's what I've got going on.

This will probably be the last Disney trip I take with this gang for a while. Next year I am going to WDW with the parents and sib (depending on when he goes to bootcamp he'll go or he won't, it's up to him). The following year I go on a Disney Cruise for an early 30th birthday with the bff - this is the longest I've gone without a trip with Erin, and I'm not happy about it, but I will deal. The next promised trip I've made with Haille is when she's 10, and she will experience the Florida Disney experience for the first time - and that may be the next time this travel party gets together.

Next stop? Adding a little bit of EXTRA magic...

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