Thursday, 25 November 2010


Today, we celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time. Lanella, our au pair, is from Texas and she generously offered to cook us a Thanksgiving meal. She spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen and prepared us a beautiful meal made with love! It was a little tough and we had difficulty sourcing the necessary ingredients but the end result was scrumptious!

Our special treat!
Sweet potato casserole
Pumpkin pie!
Now you see it...
...soon you won't!
Lanella with the children

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A Romantic Interlude

This morning, Malcolm and I, spent much needed time together. It was a romantically charged session of researching transport, LAX hotels and surrounding attractions. Unfortunately by 6am, the sun had already started to rise and it was too bright for candles. We have decided to head straight towards LAX after the cruise and get a room at one of the surrounding hotels. From there we can play it by ear and perhaps find our way to Santa Monica or Venice Beach. We managed to acquire ourselves a room for $56.94 at the Travelodge. It is right on the route of the big blue bus #3 which goes to Santa Monica. One less thing to do. 15 days to go! Yay!!!!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Panama Canal & Beyond on The Wonder

This cruise from Port Canaveral bound for Los Angeles a much anticipated cruise .

The whole tribe will be congregating at Port Canaveral on January 4. A pre-cruise bonding session to remind ourselves of why we really want to be around each other for 15 days on end has been arranged for the 5th. We are heading for the Kennedy Space Centre for the day. The bus has been booked and discount coupons acquired. We are devising a strategy for boarding the Disney Wonder on Jan 6. The same bus company from the previous day's excursion has been re-deployed for morning transfer duties. We have a target time to be at the port. We have decided to maximise the power of numbers after embarkation. We shall divide and conquer. One has been allocated the duty of acquiring PALO reservations, another has been set the task of registering the children for kids club. The rest will have to battle with the feeding the children. A rendezvous point has been set by the pool. The research to finetune our approach continues.

Shore excursions have taken up a big portion of our meeting schedule. The ports of call include Castaway Cay, Aruba, Puntarenas, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. We seem to be bucking the general trend by choosing to do excursions either ourselves or with our own private guide. That is, we are only doing 2 excursions with DCL. Many other cruisers who are not doing DCL run excursions appear to not be doing excursions at all and staying on the ship.

Our first stop will be at Disney's private island hideaway, Castaway Cay. I can't wait! I have heard so much it and it has all been good. Next up is Aruba in the West Indies. We have arranged our own MarioKarting adventure for the boys and the girls will be touring the island in our air-conditioned private van with our friendly private guide, Sunny. The plan is to meet up for lunch and then explore the town before heading back onto the ship.

We will then travel through the historic Panama Canal emerging at the Pacific Ocean. Malcolm and I watched a documentary about the building of the Panama Canal and have been fascinated ever since. We jumped at the chance to sail through it. I am in the process of acquiring a book about the Panama Canal. I have been told to try to be less obsessive...

Puntarenas in Costa Rica is one of the ports where we have elected to do a shore excursions with Disney, one of the reasons being is that it is one of the few ports which:
1) offer excursions suitable for all ages
2) offer excursions suitable for all ages of interest
We will be heading into the rainforest for a ride on an aerial tram.

Our first port in sunny Mexico will be Manzanillo where we have lined up another private tour, this time with Paco. For a bargain price of US$300 total, he will drive us around and be our private guide, as well as providing cold water and refreshments.

Puerto Vallarta is slated for our other Disney run excursion. We are embarking on a Tequila making journey! Still not quite sure why I am doing this as I don't drink alcohol...

Last but not least, we have Cabo San Lucas. Our plan is to DIY. We will bargain for our own boats to the famous rock formation at Land's End and then explore the town at leisure.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to and end. That, for us, will happen at Los Angeles, where 14 of us have to figure out how to spend the day and transport ourselves around before boarding a 14 hour flight at 1045pm, with 6 children and our luggage in tow. Plans at the end of the cruise still undetermined! Wish us luck.

P.S. We have been allocated stateroom 7088, the same stateroom number as on the Disney Magic back in April! How cool is that?

Washington DC

In light of recent stresses...I have relinquished all control of planning for Washington DC. And that is probably a good thing! Although I am super excited to be visiting the setting of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, it will certainly be nice to just "wander" around after our "GO-GO-GO" schedule in WDW and New York.

We will be flying back into Orlando on the 2nd of January. We're not game to take on snowstorms and blizzards. I will NEED that cruise after 4 weeks of hectic madness. I will not risk missing the boat for anything. Besides, I also need a full day of outlet shopping in Orlando. I don't think Malcolm has been informed yet of his all day fatherly duties on Jan 3. I am wondering if I will be able to cover both Prime and Premium outlets in one day...A dinner rendezvous has been organised at Raglan Rd.

We will then head over towards Port Canaveral the next day, picking up passengers along the way and meeting the rest at the motel near the port. Someone else has also volunteered to take over organising the group dinner. Hurray!

A New Home

It has been rather remiss of me to not have mentioned that we are currently in the process of planning for our new home. We have to finalise the plans and submit it to the local council for approval by December 8. To cut a long story short, my parents have generously offered to give us our inheritance early. So my brother and I will be subdividing the property and building new homes. Because of laws that will likely change with the upcoming election (assuming a certain political party wins...), plans have to be submitted before Christmas and so for us, that means before we leave. This has added a somewhat intense element to our already jam-packed schedule before our departure. However, we feel so blessed to have been given this amazing gift.

The ball only started rolling officially 2 weeks ago, when the town planner, surveyor and architect determined that the project is feasible. We have been meeting regularly since. We went to a satisfying session at the architect's last week where they presented 3 concept designs for us to peruse. After a rather stressful week of arguing about what we want for our new home, we were pleasantly surprised at what came back!

We have decided to go green and build an ecologically friendly home. The plan is to only use passive heating and cooling to keep the house at constant temperatures of between 18-22 degrees celcius all year round. So we'll have huge waterbags underneath the house, super-insulated everything, roofs to maximise solar panelling, rely on evaporative cooling and solar hydronic underfloor heating. Ok so the underfloor heating is not so passive! But it will only cost only about $5-$6 to run per year thanks to the lovely sun.

We are both heat averse people. DH virtually lives in a 19 degree environment being in operating theatres most of the time. So we are somewhat nervous about dropping our beloved air-conditioning unit. The other thing that I may have to give up is the bamboo floor which I love so much. It apparently doesn't have enough thermal mass...

Today was a presentation of the "amalgamated" plan. They have taken elements out of each of the 3 designs and consolidated them into the one plan. I LOVE it! The next step is to configure the whole design in 3D. I can't wait until next Monday. We still have 17 days to finalise everything...piece of cake!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Trivia Update

7th out of 12 teams...dismal! Will do some Disney dialling instead now me thinks.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Conference Calls!

We are officially going to Hong Kong Disney! Malcolm has a 4 day conference there in May next year and he has finally given me definite dates! We booked our airfares today with the Qantas special...I checked our plane, Boeing 747. Even better still, my parents are coming along too. Babysitters AND tour guides all in one. Yeehaw! This will certainly help combat the big post holiday blues come January next year.

Tonight will be a busy night of preparation for our last Disney Meeting before we leave. Family Y will be dialling in on skype from Canada. Everyone is busy updating their relevant spreadsheets, including myself. I also have to study my allocated topics for the trivia night of champions tomorrow afternoon. Yes, our team is representing our local trivia haunt competing with other trivia nerds for the crown of trivia champion. That's right, this is serious business. We are dropping off our children so we can concentrate on Disney talk as well as focus on trivial matters so to speak! Let's tomorrow, I will need to have covered Bond films and the states of the USA. DH has committed to memory the books of the bible and flags of countries beginning with the letter T. He needs to move on to flags of countries beginning with other letters...

Wish us luck!

Friday, 19 November 2010

New York, New York!

20 days to go!

It is somewhat of a relief to have a rough plan for our time in New York. . It has been so overwhelming trying to decide what to see, where to go and what to do in New York. We have been blessed to have been given helpful and useful advice by friendly fellow DISboarders. However, the choices are endless and the time short. Reading so many fabulous Australian trip reports have also made it worse…the number of to-dos has increased! Ok so here are the definites…

We will arrive in the morning on Dec 21. We have a private van booked for pick up from LGA to take the 11 of us to the Novotel Times Square where we will meet up the rest of Family M. Nothing has been planned for the day so far. I am thinking that perhaps some shopping may be in order. Macy's, Century and B&H are on my radar.

We’ve purchased our Statue of Liberty Crown tickets for Dec 22. I have been madly taking the stairs at work to prepare myself for the 354 steps needed to reach the top. After our Ellis and Liberty Island expedition, a visit to Pastis for lunch might be nice followed by a stroll along The High Line Park. If the weather is wet, we can head straight for the Museum of Natural History.

We have also finally decided on which Broadway show to watch. The winner is …Wicked! And we’ve decided to buy our tickets early to avoid disappointment. So the deed is done! On the evening of Tuesday, December 22, Malcolm and I are booked in for a date at 8pm at the Gershwin theatre, which is conveniently only half a block away from our hotel. Sweet! It wasn’t an easy decision. It was tough making the call to not to take the children to a Broadway show. Fortunately, we have Family M and K to help in the babysitting department. To make it up to the children, we are all going to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular! Woohoo!

On Dec 23, we are going on a 6 hour guided “Royal of New York” in our own minibus of 14. Hopefully, this “highlights” tour will stop me from obsessing about what I don’t get to see. Hmmm… unlikely!

The Empire State Building has been slated in for Christmas Day visit. Brunch at Balthazar's will be followed by a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to help move the food along before dinner at Ninja. Japanese served in a ninja castle by ninjas. Could there possibly be a better way to end Christmas Day?

Elliot's Birthday will be a Central Park based day with dinner booked at the Landmarc @ Time Warner. The children's menu looks divine. Fillet mignon for the littlies...mmm! Elliot would love it!

This would have been enough for a normal person, but as my dear husband keeps reminding me, I’m not normal! So I’ve pinned all our planned activities, colour coded them for different days, made sure links to websites are attached and included recommended restaurants in the area. I’ve also included alternate activities just in case we change our minds or we have time to do more!

Rather than me posting more drivel, I will just include the link. Please feel free to comment and make suggestions/recommendations. I am very open to everyone’s thoughts!

New York Itinerary in a larger map

Start spreading the news...

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Importance of Being Fed - Free dining and ADRs

When we made our WDW reservations, we were hopeful that free dining would be made available in December this year as they did for the first time last year. Our dreams came true! It does mean that we have to check in on Dec 9 for our room only reservation and then check in AGAIN on Dec 10 for our “free dining” package but no matter! Any inconvenience is made up aplenty by the amount of money that we’re saving.

For those not in the know about free Disney dining, here's quick run down. Essentially we get allocated 1 snack credit, 1 counter service credit and 1 table service (TS) credit for each night that we stay at a Disney resort. We can then choose to spend them as we wish. Some dining establishments are worth more than others. Others include character interactions or shows. Guests are allowed to make reservations 180 days in advance hence the term ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations).

I am highly excited as I am keen to try the various Disney dining options. If free dining had not been offered, I fear that the frugal side of me would have taken over and we would not have stepped into any Disney dining establishment. I was also overcome with sheer relief when I saw the infinite number of restaurants to choose from. Relieved that I don't have to make the choice!

Our Dining Colonel did us proud and when the 180 day mark rolled up, he provided our friendly Disney specialist travel agent (TA) with a list of our preferred ADR choices, along with alternative dates, venues, times (all ranked of course and tied in with our theme park strategy). I felt sorry for our poor TA. She wasn't just given instructions, she was given a complete algorithm. If you can't get A, then try for B. If B is also not available, then C and D won't work, in which case you'll have to get E and F instead. If you can't get H, then we'll have to swap days for J and A (or B depending on which one we get),...

Well, she managed to get most of our first choices! Here's what we've got booked.

Dec 10: Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom) @ 8:15am - Breakfast with Pooh and the gang prior to rope drop
Dec 10: Wolfgang Puck Café (Downtown Disney) @ 6:00pm
Dec 11: Biergarten (Epcot Germany) @ 12:20am
Dec 11: Bibbity Bobbity Boutique (Magic Kingdom) @ 3:30pm - Some princess beauty styling for Lara in preparation for baby K's 3rd Birthday party at CRT
Dec 11: Cinderella Royal Table Dinner (Magic Kingdom) @ 5:35pm - Dinner with the Disney princesses at the awesome centrepiece of WDW which is THE CASTLE.
Dec 12: Akershus Princess Storybook Breakfast (Epcot *Norway) @ 8:05am - another princess breakfast
Dec 12: Coral Reef Candlelight Processional Dinner Package @ 5:05pm - Dinner "in" an aquarium followed by a nativity narration by Steven Curtis Chapman
Dec 13: Hollywood Brown Derby Fantasmic Lunch Package (Hollywood Studios) @ 2:00pm
Dec 14: Donald’s Safari Breakfast (Animal Kingdom *Tusker House) @ 8:05am - a meal with Donald and friends
Dec 14: Artist Point (Wilderness Lodge Resort) @ 7:00pm for a Mums' night out
Dec 15: California Grill (Contemporary Resort) @ 7:20pm Dad’s turn
Dec 16: MVMCP - Not really dining but counting it here for the cookies...
Dec 18: Chef Mickey’s Breakfast @ 8:15am - Breakfast with Mickey and friends
Dec 18: Le Cellier's (Epcot) @ 6:45pm

The only reservation we're not completely sold on is the Fantasmic Lunch package at Hollywood Brown Derby. We're torn between a more sensible lunch hour and not having to wait in line for Fantasmic. Also we're not sure if it is worth 2 TS credits just to keep the lining up to a minimum. The risk is that it will be extremely busy as it is close to Christmas and there is only one show scheduled for that day.

On Dec 19, we have organised a non Disney dining experience...GASP! We are going to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, where we'll eat a whole chook with bare hands, drink out of goblets, and be served by wenches whilst cheering our knights onto victory! The tickets have been purchased and the bus booked. There is no turning back! Go blue knight go!!!!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Ready, Steady, SHOP!

I received a most wonderful parcel today! I picked up this hunk of a box and lugged it home to find...

My babushka Samsonite B-lite cases!

I bought a set designed to fit inside each other so that I can take empty suitcases to the states to bring home my goodies. We loved our 4 wheeler suitcases from our trip to Europe so much that we bought Samsonite's newest soft-sided suitcases. The 4 wheels really help with manoeuvrability. And the suitcases are light. The largest 77cm case weighs 3.9kg, the 67cm weighs 3.3kg and the carry on 55cm only 2.6kg. Ok so its no where near as light as the cosmolite but I can't afford $500 per suitcase!

I was going to buy these in the states but was surprised that 1) they were hard to find and 2) the ones that I did find were more expensive. So we'll now be taking 5 suitcases with us with the aim of 3 of them being empty. If we buy more than we have space for, well...the shops are there for a reason! I think Malcolm is really starting to worry about how much I am planning to buy!

Oh, and I do not work for Samsonite...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A Mini Shopping Expedition

The shopping bug has bitten early. We made our first purchase yesterday! Land's End had a 30% off and free shipping offer, along with an additional $10 off down jackets. So we stocked up for Malcolm, Jonah and myself. With a 650 fill jacket only costing $60, how could one go wrong?!?! If we are still cold in New York, we can always buy some more! Besides, I haven't been able to find any for Jonah and I managed to get one for him for only $28. Bargain!

We arranged to have the parcel shipped to Port Orleans Riverside. It will arrive about 2.5 weeks before we check in. I hope that this will be ok with the hotel as there will be many more parcels coming their way shortly!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Glorious Walt Disney World

The original reason for the whole trip! I have to be eternally grateful to our Theme-park strategist and Dining Colonel who have coordinated this segment of our trip with distinction. I should have known better than to doubt their anally-retentive obsessive compulsive traits that all medics own and that is needed to be a true Disney planner!

They dutifully bought and studied the Unofficial Guide to WDW. Trawling through the DISboards for information is a given. Next up we subscribed to Fred Hazelton’s site for access to the crowd calendar and touring plans. To not employ the services of a statistician for planning what seemed to be a strategy for battle would be sacrilege. Thanks to Fred, we re-arranged the days that we would be at WDW. The original trip schedule was much shorter. It consisted simply of 2 weeks at WDW prior to the Panama cruise. However this would put us smack bang at WDW around Christmas and New Year where crowd ratings were the worst for the whole year. Although we dearly wanted to experience the atmosphere WDW at Christmas, we didn’t want to spend hours just waiting in line. Time is precious! Besides, airfares just before Christmas are ridiculously priced.

So a solution was put together. We will leave in early December so as to avoid peak season airfares. We’ll spend around 12 days in WDW before having a 2 week hiatus before the cruise. This will mean that we get to experience the WDW Christmas cheer just before the peak crowds appear. As it turned out, our 2 week hiatus became a trip to New York and Washington DC. Christmas in New York has always been a dream. And as everything remains open on New Years day in Washington DC, it appears that end Dec/early Jan is a good time to visit! Things appear to be falling into place until the announcement came that family Y was unable to get enough leave. This was a big disappointment. The Canadian leave system was not as generous as the Australian. Dad will only get to join the gang for WDW. Nonetheless, mum and baby will come back for the cruise.

I digress…back to WDW! We’re booked into Port Orleans Riverside (the only moderate that will fit 5 into a room), our park tickets purchased and we’re all paid up in light of the recent strength of the Australian dollar. Our park days are mapped out complete with rest breaks, dining, tours, shows and parades pencilled in. A rough touring plan is in place for each day, and contingencies also drawn up incase the parties are required to split up (whether by children’s age or gender preferences). We’re squeezing in the Candlelight Processional with Steve Curtis Chapman, Spectromagic, Illuminations, Fantasmic, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with Mother Hen “M” also doing a solo backstage tour. There will, of course, be no time wasting. We have the evening of our arrival day to recover (we arrive at 5:43pm on Dec 9). We will then hit the ground running with a scheduled character breakfast to meet Winnie The Pooh and friends at the Crystal Palace at 8:15am the next day, right before exploring the Magic Kingdom. In an attempt to pace ourselves, we will take a short afternoon rest before heading toward Downtown Disney for our evening meal. Then we are likely to crash from exhaustion. We are hopeful that this will be a cure for any jetlag that we might encounter.

We will end our time in Orlando with a visit to Harry Potter World and Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. We farewell Family Y and fly off to New York on Dec 21. I would show our spreadsheet but fear that you may stop reading my blog...

Saturday, 13 November 2010


The one thing that I am truly dreading is the flight to America and the jetlag that follows. 11 of us will be leaving Sydney at 1130 in the morning on a 13 hour and 45 minute flight to LA where we’ll have 3 hours and 45 minutes to go through immigration, pick up our luggage, go through customs, drop them off again for our next flight, go through security and then find our way to our next boarding gate for our connecting flight to Orlando…with 6 children in tow. Hopefully all flights will go ahead as planned and we will be in Orlando 5 hours later unscathed. We arrive at 543pm and who knows what our stomach will think that we’re up to by then. Hopefully the Magical Express won’t take too long to take us to Port Orleans Riverside. We’re hoping to catch a quick bite to eat and then crash. I keep telling myself that if I could survive flying to Europe, then I can survive this…I know I can. I know I can. I know I can.

The flight home should be marginally better as we’ll be flying out from LA and will only have the one plane to catch to reach Sydney. The flight leaves at 1045pm and so here’s to hoping that the children will sleep most of 14 hour flight away!

We’ve tried to include as many domestic legs as we can on our international ticket so that we can utilize the more generous international luggage allowance. How could we possibly pass up the opportunity to take 10 pieces of luggage per family? Think of all the shopping that we could do! All joking aside, I am actually starting to wonder how light I can pack for a family of five given that I’ll have to cater for the extreme cold of New York and Washington DC as well as for the tropical weather of Central America, not to mention the fact that we will be away for over 6 weeks. I am so tempted to just buy everything over there. Not sure how well that will go down with DH…

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Meet the Adventurers

There will be 5 families involved in this madness.There is our fabulous family of course! And then there is...

Family K

Our “gaming”, “church” as well as “dinner at 530pm” buddies with 3 children whose ages are similar to our children. They are also in for the whole hog! We’ve been on many holidays together but never for 45 days straight! Let’s hope our friendship won’t be tested too hard over this long trip...

Dad – A colleague of Mal’s who enjoys the finer things in life. Let’s hope he survives the non-espresso coffees in the States. He has been assigned to be our Dining Colonel, the one in charge of organizing our ADRs for WDW and for finding restaurants elsewhere.

Mum – A clinically retired medic like me! An amazingly capable woman who always manages to keep all juggling balls in the air.

7 – A high school musical fan and a keen soccer player!

5 – A little girl who is as sharp as a tack. Can’t trick this little one!

2 – The princess lucky enough to have a birthday while we’re at WDW. We will be celebrating in style at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Family Y
Our other “gaming”, “church” and “dinner at 530pm” buddies. Close friends who have recently moved to Canada for training/work for a year. Unfortunately, because of work commitments, the whole family can only join in for the WDW

Dad – Yet another medic…but of the bone carpentering sort. Our theme-park strategist, he has dutifully created wonderfully complex spreadsheets full of minute details and will be on hand to shepherd us around at WDW.

Mum – The last of the clinically retired medic! One of the main reasons for the whole group going is fulfill our promise to take her to a “Disney Park”. Yes, she has incredibly NEVER been to ANY Disney park EVER! This trip also serves well as reunion of sorts. We would not have seen each other for about 6 months when we meet up in Orlando.

1 – A most precious little boy conceived after years of trying. A real cutie and babbling away non-stop is his current past time. He is on a crash course to survive the nursery on the cruise ship...

Family M
The “older” family and the only non “Drs.” on the trip. They have generously offered to help with the younger children to give the parents a break, thus have a most pivotal role on the journey…The family will be on the New York leg as well from Port Canaveral onwards.

Dad - A fine wine lover and fishing enthusiast

Mum - The mother hen, and the other Disney nut. She will be in for nearly the whole hog except for the Washington DC leg where the whole M clan will head to New Jersey to visit family friends.

21 – A talented “media” person, handy with video, graphics and all things techy.

18 – A hit with the “little” ones, we have high hopes that this will bode well for babysitting opportunities…

Family P
The last family making up our group for the cruise. Also “Drs” but of the dental kind. They will be bringing temporary fillings in case anyone chips their teeth as well as Ultra Carbon in case anyone poisons themselves. They will be doing their own thing but will be joining the rest of the crew for the cruise.

Dad - another coffee connoisseur and also a lover of fine wine.

Mum – A lady who has lost in incredible amount of weight and is now our fashion trendsetter! The woman by the pool looking great in the Monroe-esque 50’s style bathers will be her!

7 – A space enthusiast and lover of the garbage truck. His career of choice until recently had been garbologist much to the horror of his grandmother.

3 – Another dear little girl whose favourite princess is…Daddy!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

It's Time

Yes, the time has come. We are officially only 30 days away from our American Adventure. So lets spill the details on what has been in planning for well over a year now. If you've already read all this on my DISboards pre-trip report then you can read it again!

This trip will be mammoth in more ways than one. The most obvious gargantuan factor is the length of the adventure. We’ll be away from home for a total of 6 weeks and 3 days. The next factor contributing to the epic nature of this journey is the number of people going. There are 21 travelers going on various portions of the trip. Brave or stupid? Time will tell…

Quick recap...We zoom back to 2009. Malcolm and I had only just discovered the existence of of DCL a few months prior to our Mediterranean cruise! Prior to our April cruise, our Disney travel record had been sadly dormant and confined to pre-kids-still living with our parents-era. We came upon DCL by chance whilst doing research to take the children on their very first trip to WDW in Dec 2010.

The original plan was to tack on a Caribbean cruise at the end of our WDW stay. And then…the kids sail free offer for the Mediterranean cruises came up. Malcolm decided to “try before we buy”. Yep, my arm was twisted. We embarked on our 11 night Mediterranean cruise on the Magic for our Disney “preview” to whet our appetite. Besides we needed an opportunity to book our “real” cruise whilst onboard for the extra savings. By then, the Caribbean cruise had morphed into a Panama Canal cruise and the plans had evolved to include New York and Washington DC. The number of participants had also slowly grown from just the 5 of us to the magical number of 21. It appears that we sell the idea of Disney very well! They all couldn’t resist wanting to come along with us for the magic…

Here's a run down of our Adventure!

Dec 9 We leave for Orlando!
Dec 21 Fly to New York
Dec 28 Catch the train to Washington D.C.
Jan 2 Return to Orlando
Jan 4 Transfer to Port Canaveral
Jan 6 Hop on to our Panama Canal cruise
Jan 21 Fly home
Jan 23 Arrive home

Feeling the need to squeeze every single bit of value into the expensive airfares and long traveling times, and not to mention the chaos that we’ll be putting our body clocks into, we have decided to go for as long as our budget and leave will possibly permit us to go for.

We’re beginning our journey on December 9 on a 13 hour and 45 minute Delta flight bound for LA. We chose to forgo continuing on the “international” flight to Atlanta (where we’d have to connect to a flight for Orlando) and opted instead for a direct 4 hr 45 min flight from LAX to Orlando. This means no more on-demand inflight entertainment…Hope we don’t regret the decision!

Our first stint at Orlando is solely dedicated to Walt Disney World. Sorry, I lie. We’ll be spending our last day at Universal Studios to satisfy the Harry Potter fans.

We then head to the bright lights of New York for a week where we’ll spend Christmas. It is then a train ride to Washington D.C where we’ll stay for 5 days before heading back down to Orlando.

Following that is a transfer to Port Canaveral in preparation for the Panama Canal cruise, a necessity for our journey west to LA. Sadly our adventure will end there as we board our flight back home to Sydney.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Princesses & Pirates

I am feeling rather overwhelmed. We have so much going on at the moment. We have an event to go to on every single day of every weekend until we leave for the USA. To add on top of that, we also have to submit our application for our new home before we leave. Malcolm has been busily engrossed in completing his take home exam for his ultrasound course. So yesterday, the rest of the family attended a very fun Princess and Pirate party. The pictures below speak for themselves! Thankfully today Malcolm announced that he had completed his exam, my parents hung on to Lara and Elliot which meant that we only had Jonah to contend with while we trotted off for lunch at the Woolwich Pier Hotel. As usual, it was a relaxing and wonderful way to spend the afternoon, eating and chatting with friends. So relaxing that I forgot to take photos...

Happy Birthday Annelise!

Ethel's labour of love...a beautiful cake befitting a princess!

The birthday princess with her 2 of her guests

Lara, delighted to be Snow White again


Reluctant pirates

A princess busy making her tiara...

...and her treasure box

The boys with their own version

Concentrating very hard

The generous spread provided by the Kohs

Mrs Koh's special yam cakes

Fried wontons

Jonah doing his own thing as usual

Waiting to decorate cupcakes

Cake time!

A princess trying to find some a quiet place to enjoy some nibbles

Waiting in line for a bash at the castle pinata

Lara showing off her muscle

Its finally broken!

Uncle Jason making sure there's nothing left inside

The rush for the treasure!