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This was our dream vacation (well mostly mine as I am a BIG Disney fan). I thought I would document this process and the trip into separate posts. This will hopefully help me in the future when I’m ready to go back, and hopefully help anyone else who is looking for information. And I find it would be helpful to document each day so that when I finally get around to scrapbooking this, this will help me organize the album in some kind of order!

So we finally decided to take the plunge and go to DisneyWorld. Since it’s on the East Coast, we knew it was going to be expensive in terms of flights.

So I decided to do some research. Leaving from Vancouver, BC, there are no direct flights to Orlando. There would always be a layover, which results in a minimum 7.5 + hour day, not including having to be at the airport at least 3 hours in advance since it was considered an “international” flight. If I ever have to do a layover during a flight from Canada to the USA, I will ALWAYS do the layover in the US and not in Canada. The reason is if I need to take a connecting flight in Canada, I would have to leave the plane, collect my luggage, then go through customs before being able to board my plane. If my flight is late arriving, then it can cause all kinds of panic of whether I’ll catch my connector.

If I were to do a layover in the USA, I would’ve already gone through customs in Vancouver. So when I connect the in US, I would just have to find my gate. Since my luggage was already checked, the airlines would just pass it along to the correct flight (hopefully), so there is virtually no fuss to catch the connector.

With that being said, I did NOT want a flight that had a layover since I had my two daughters with me. Though they are 12 and 9, it is still a lot of stress with getting them off the plane with all their belongings, running to a new gate and boarding again.

So I looked to see if there were direct flights from Seattle, WA (our closest big US airport) to Orlando. I lucked out and found that there were some direct flights so it would only be 5 hours + the 2 hours arrival prior to departure.

When I compared prices, it would cost approximately CAD$2800 (for four passengers) to fly from Vancouver to Orlando (with 1 layover). If I were to fly from Seattle to Orlando (direct), it would cost USD$1800. Since Seattle is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Vancouver, I had to factor in the cost of a hotel room and long-term parking.

After much research, I decided on the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Centre as they had a Stay and Go rate. for USD$180 per night, they offered 10 days of parking included. plus they offered a shuttle to and from the hotel. So I booked one night at the start of our trip and one night at the end of our trip. Combined, it gave me 20 days of parking (I needed 18 days), plus this was a bonus as we had to be at the airport by 7:30am, and we wouldn’t arrive back until 11pm on the return flight (though technically it would be 2am since we would be still on East Coast time).

For this additional $360+ cost! it was still worth it to do the 3 hour drive to Seattle and back. As we were able to go down the night before, it gave us a chance to relax in the morning and not stress about leaving in the middle of the night and whether we would arrive at the airport in time. Also, this took care of parking for us so we didn’t have to worry about finding a airport parking lot. The best thing was that we were able to come back and be rested prior to making the drive home the next day at our leisure. Who wants to be making a 3 hour drive when you’ve been up for almost 18 hours?! We were already exhausted at the end of the trip when we got back to the hotel, and were happy that we didn’t have to worry about falling asleep at the wheel.

Updates 2012 & 2013

Okay…I know I’ve been bad about keeping this blog alive.  Life has been busy with renos and life in general.

Let’s see…

May/June 2012 – my sister Cindy is the best!  For my 40th birthday, she took me to the one place I’ve always wanted to go (well, maybe two places) – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and DIsneyWorld!!!  We went sans husbands and kids and we got to play, play and play some more.

So we spent an entire day admiring Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.  We had yummy Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks (frozen is much tastier than just the cold one).  We went on rides, and shopped till we dropped at Dervish and Banges, Filch’s Emporium, Honeydukes (yummy chocolate frogs) and Ollivanders (yes, I bought a wand!).

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We then spent the rest of the week at DisneyWorld. We stayed at the Disney Coronado Springs Hotel which was quite nice.  However, the next time they ask if we want help to our room, I’m going to say “yes!”  It took us 20 minutes to walk from the front desk to our room – I didn’t realize how huge this property was!

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Fall 2012 – The girls started playing ringette for Burnaby New Westminster.  They are just learning to skate, so we were a bit worried as some of these girls and boys started playing at the age of 5 or so.  However, the entire team was very welcoming and the coaches are sweet and patient.  The girls really enjoyed their season and made many friends.  This meant that Wil and I became VERY good Starbucks customers!

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Bye Bye House

It’s been a crazy 8 months.  I’ll break it down into a few posts as there is so much going on.

In January, Wil started looking at houses for fun (c’mon, we know that this is probably a bad idea…).  So after going to a bunch of open houses, and going in to see a couple of houses, our real estate agent and good friend, Jitesh Rana convinced us to put our house on the market in February.  We thought that it would take a while to sell, and thus give us lots of time and opportunity to find a new house.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it), we put the house up on a Wednesday night and it was sold by Saturday night.  How crazy is that?  Fortunately, we were able to stay in the house until the end of March (though still…can I find a house in 1 1/2 months??).

Thus, came the next month of “GO GO GO” when it came to looking at houses.  It is so scary, the amount of yucky houses out there – let’s just say that I had to throw away a LOT of socks.  And the prices of houses is unbelievable!  I honestly feel sorry for those new couples starting out nowadays.  How anyone can afford a house, much less a starter home in Vancouver is beyond me.  Luckily, Wil and I have some equity built up otherwise we would be in the same boat.

During the next month, we found a house near our old place that we liked.  We put in an offer, it was accepted and we thought all was well.  After spending the money on an appraisal and inspection, there were issues.  The other real estate agent spoke with his clients and we agreed on a lower price.  However, the real estate agent was incompetent as he neglected to get a signature on the price (even though my agents kept asking him to get it in writing) so we lost the sale in the last hours.  After speaking the Real Estate Board of Vancouver, we were told to re-offer the last offer but again, their agent was incompetent and the sale was never made.

We gave up and started looking again.  We once again found another house, thought everything was okay but then we couldn’t get the financing.  Not because we didn’t have the money, but because it turned out that this house was a drug house from over 10 years and 1 owner ago!  The current owners had all the documentation from City Hall that showed that the house and renovated and re-inspected, and that they also issued a permit for re-occupancy but the banks still said no!

Sigh.

Anyways, we now found a house and the sale has gone through (thank goodness).  Now all we have to do to find a contractor and get the house renovated and we’ll be good to move in.

In the meantime, we can NOT drive past our old house.  The girls get sad.  Especially Ori. She cries and cries and cries, saying “I miss our house”.  The funny thing is, before we sold, she was very excited to look at houses.  Every house we went into, she would declare which room was hers.  So once she found out that we sold, she got every upset and cried.  When I asked her “but you were so excited when we were looking at houses”, she replied “BECAUSE I though we would keep our old house too!”.

So bye bye my sweet home of 10 years…

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Disneyland 2011

Wil, Ori and I headed off to Disneyland while Bel was in Hong Kong & Thailand with my parents.  Luckily, we had the chance to meet up with our favourite people: Mike, Nina and Linda. Once again, we flew with Allegiant Air out of Bellingham as they had the best prices.  For transportation from LAX to the hotel and return, we used the Disneyland Resort Express as they run regularly, are reliable, and since they are luxury motor coaches, I don’t have to worry about a carseat for Ori.  It was especially attractive once I found a $5 discount coupon (per person) on the Anaheim Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau  website. Once again, we stayed at the Sheraton Anaheim Hotelas we loved the restaurant service staff (especially Zeke), and the fact that the hotel had private shuttle buses to and from the park.  Though I found that the restaurant service staff to be as fantastic as last time, I was less impressed with the front desk staff.  When I asked the front desk if they had packing or duct tape I could use (long story), they said that I can come and pick it up any time.  Yet when we went down to get it, they told us that they had none and never had any.  The worst was the Concierge (male).  I had asked if he could contact the Disneyland Resort Express for pickup, and he told me that since I already had pre-paid tickets, that there is nothing he could do.  He just told me to call Grayline and confirm it myself.    So I made arrangements to use my cousin’s phone (so I wouldn’t incur long distance charges from mine or hotel phone charges).  The next day as I was waiting for the park shuttle, I noticed a courtesy phone in the lobby where I could’ve used to call Grayline to confirm my pickup.  Hmmmmm….the concierge made no mention that this was something I could’ve done.  Oh well…

Disneyland Castle Christmas 2011

 

Disneyland itself was wonderful!  The park was so beautifully decorated with Christmas lights and trees.  The lighting of the castle was spectacular as were the fireworks.  At specific times, it “snowed” on Main Street and near the castle — it was funny to see how excited people got to see snow. I guess since I’m from “up north”, I’m not as impressed with it as we see snow at least once a year.

 

 

 

Here is a picture of Ori eating a Mickey shaped ice cream.  This is one of the things that we always buy in Disneyland.

For some reason, if it’s Mickey shaped then we have to have it (or I do…).  Needless to say, on this trip alone, we’ve had Mickey shaped marshmallows (well it was a snow Mickey), chocolate truffles, cake, pretzels, ice cream and a beignet.   I’m not sure what it is, but no matter how gimmicky it may sound, it appeals to me and calls me out to buy it….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Character Sightings:

Winnie the Pooh Christmas

 

Of course, a trip to Disneyland is never complete without posing with some of our favourite characters. Winnie the Pooh is absolutely adorable with his winter hat.

No matter how old I get, I still love Pooh.

 

 

 

 

 

Stitch

 

 

And Stitch decided to brave the cold and join us.  Isn’t he so cute?

After complaining about how I never got to see him last time (October 2009), we made sure to visit the character breakfast he was most likely to be at — so we got to see him!

And wouldn’t you know it, we spotted him in California park as well.  So here we are on our second visit with Stitch!

 

And of course, what is Disneyland without rides?  I have to say that Ori certainly got her “fearless” genes from Wil.

California Screaming

One of her two favourite rides was California Screaming (a high-speed roller coaster with a loopy-loop).   Everytime she went on (almost every day at least once ..the last day there, she went on three times!), she was in the front seat!  Crazy daredevil!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ori’s second most favourite ride was the Tower of Terror.

Tower of Terror

This simulates you being in an elevator where the cables break and you fall to your death…except that it can’t seem to decide whether to let you fall or not.  So you basically go up and shoot down and then up and down…over and over and over again.

My little adrenaline junkie LOVED this ride.  She would ride it over and over and over again.  On our last day there, she was on FOUR times…the last three times in a row.

What really made her day was that on one of her rides, the bellboy started singing Happy Birthday to her, and then the entire car full of strangers continued the song throughout the ride.  And when the bellboy opened the door at the end, he finished off the song,  How cool is that?

 

 

 

 

Terror on the Tower of Terror

While I can say that I have not been on California Screaming, I am sad to say that I have indeed been on the Tower of Terror.   All I can say is “NEVER EVER AGAIN!!!”  I have never been on a ride that have so thoroughly terrorized me to the point of having tears in my eyes. I’m surprised that I didn’t suffer a massive heart attack from the fear.  Here is a picture of us from that ride…  As you can see, my cousin Mike thought it would be funny to bug me throughout the ride just to scare me that much more!

 

 

Disneyland Christmas

Thank you so much to Nina, Mike and Linda who met up with us.  We miss you!

Ori sometimes truly cracks me up.  The other day as we were walking, Ori has this conversation with Wil:

Ori “Bel and I need to go the spa”.

Wil “What do you and Bel need to go to a spa for?  You’re just a little girl”.

Ori “To get spa stuff like a manicure and pedicure!”

LOL…as if that wasn’t bad enough.  Later that night we had gone out for dinner.  After dinner, Ori lies and Wil and asks her her tummy and head to be rubbed.  As Wil massages her scalp and rubs her tummy, Ori says “Ahhhh…I don’t need to go the spa.  I have my own personal spa worker!”

 

Whew…I forgot how nice it was to scrapbook on a regular basis.  So being a guest designer at Sketches in Thyme  this month sure has been keeping me busy.  Here is my 2nd sketch. 

I thought I would dig into my stash and only use whatever I had at home.  I found this cute paper from Doodlebug that I bought eons ago, and some lime green Thickers that I loved but never knew what to do with until now.  I hand-drew the pumpkins from two different colours of Bazzil and then hand-drew the purple bats – I copied the designs from the Doodlebug paper so it all coordinates.

BTW — these are pictures of Bel from her 2nd Halloween (she was around 1 1/2 years old).  It was the first time she had ever had candy and she loved it!

 

 

I’m excited to be the October Guest Maven at Sketches in Thyme.   When they sent me the first sketch, I knew immediately that I wanted to do a layout with the Echo Park papers that I purchased a few weeks ago.  I loved how the bright colours of the paper perfectly matched the bright colours of the amusement park, and perfectly suited the mood I wanted to convey in the photos.

I wanted a row of tickets to go across the bottom of the page but couldn’t find any in my house at 10pm on a Sunday night.  So I decided to make my own.  I cut a strip of paper (12 x 1.5 inches) and then perforated them every 2 inches (with my Cutterpede cutter blade).  Then I carefully hand-drew the lines and wording using a variety of Zig pens.

For the sun, I just cut out a circle, and then using two different yellow cardstock, I cut out triangles.  I alternated the two colours around the circle, mimicking the sun in the pattern paper.

 

Supplies used:  Echo Park Summer Days, Bazzill, Zig Pens, Quickutz License Alpha, small circle punch, Cutterpede Perforated Blade, small balloon punch