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Trip Report COMPLETED! Our First Family Trip...Oh, and My Disney Wedding! A PeoplemoverTTA Trip Report.


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Original Poster
Okay, we’ve been back for two weeks now, so I guess it’s time to get started on my TR. I’ve been feeling the post-wedding blues, so this might be some good therapy ;)

For a rundown on the trip and my Disney wedding, here’s my wedding planning thread. There are lots of details over there! Also, Todd and I went to WDW for a long weekend to celebrate our 1-year dating anniversary. If you’re bored and love TRs, you might enjoy it :)

But here’s a really quick rundown anyway:

Me - 33 y/o VP of a marketing firm (I just merged my social media marketing company with a full service firm, effective August 1 - lots going on this summer!)
DH - 40 y/o healthcare employee
DS - 10 y/o stepson who has never been to WDW before (or anywhere, really)

Friday, July 11 through Monday, July 21

Disney’s Boardwalk Villas (we rented points through DVC Rental Store)

The Wedding
Oh yeah, so the wedding was on Tuesday, July 15 at the Walt Disney World Swan. Right smack dab in the middle of our trip (it was designed that way, so we could enjoy a family trip with my new stepson, enjoy the wedding festivities, then have a short honeymoon - it worked out perfectly!).

So, our trip kicked off on Friday, July 11. Our Southwest flight from BUF to MCO left at 6am, so that meant a bright and early, 2:30am wakeup. My brother in law took us to the airport, and we checked in at about 4am. Ugh.

Still, my boys were feeling pretty chipper - we were heading to WDW!

Moving walkways are an adventure:

Checking out the plane outside:

Brandon was nervous about flying for the first time, but he did very well, and was cool as a cucumber as soon as we were comfortably high in the air:

Just in case we had long lines for DME, I scheduled a town car pickup with Tiffany Towncar. We had used them back in 2004 (before DME) and had a great experience, and we weren’t disappointed this time either. Our driver, Abdul, was a really friendly guy and was waiting for us at baggage claim as we came down the escalator. We quickly gathered our luggage and hopped into our Lincoln. Todd is a car guy, so he was excited to ride in one :)

Even loading luggage is fun - we’re in Orlando!

Todd wanted to ride shotgun and explore the Lincoln, and he was snapping pictures the whole way.

He was so excited to get this shot (isn’t everybody?):


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Original Poster
We finally made it to the Boardwalk - I have wanted to stay here since it opened, and I was SO excited for my first stay here to be for my wedding!

A very nice CM at the entrance offered to take our picture:

So here’s the thing about Brandon - for some reason, he clams up when strangers want to take his picture. If I ask him, he’ll offer a genuine smile, Todd too (although he tends to be goofy when Todd asks). But a stranger - well, that sometimes gets a slight uptick, or perhaps a flat out straight line. You’ll see in some of our Memory Maker photos - he looks like we kidnapped him and subjected him to the horror of a theme park! Yet the kid had a BLAST. Go figure.

Rebekah checked us in (although we technically had online checkin), and we sat in big, comfy chairs while waiting. She added my passholder magic band to the room, and also came back with celebration pins for Todd and I, and one for Brandon for his 1st trip. She was great! I also suspect she put a note on our reservation, for reasons I shall share with you later :)

We left our bags with bell services and were off to the Magic Kingdom. We had ADRs for Kouzzina at 5 and it was about 9:30 by this point, so I was hoping for some solid hours in MK. I was really careful, not having traveled with a child before, to be sure we didn’t burn Brandon out. It was hot, we were tired, and it’s a lot to take in. I resisted the urge to show him “everything” and instead focused on doing key things, and going “all in” - just enjoying them. This strategy worked out really well!

Todd got this obligatory shot on the bus:

And captured this moment - Brandon’s first glimpse of the castle:

Then it was time for an obligatory family castle shot. Remember what I said about Brandon and pictures? Hello.

There are several more like that, so the CM apparently gave up and cropped him out, lol.

Going through memory maker when we got home was very amusing!


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Original Poster
It was about 10am by this point, so what should we do now? Have ice cream! Brandon’s first Mickey Bar :)

Todd and I split a Mickey pretzel, lol. I have a serious and genuine addiction to pretzels. Pretzel rods, sticks, bites, soft pretzels. Doesn’t matter. Todd does too, but not as bad as me. We enjoyed many a pretzel on this trip!

Solid snackage!

Leading up to the trip, Brandon earned money to spend. We also sold his Power Wheels and Big Wheel, so he had $150. His grandfather gave him some additional money, taking his total to $200 - that’s a lot for a kid! But, he knew that once it was gone, it was gone. This included all his purchases - including a spray fan. He only fought us once, and it was on some junky glowing thingy, but he ended up using that money for an Olaf so he was over it very quickly!

Anyway, his first purchase was while Todd was taking his time on the pretzel - a sheriff’s badge with his name on it. Here is his looking very authoritative:

Our first FP was for Haunted Mansion, so after our snacks, we made our way to Liberty Square. I hadn’t posed in this since I was 5 :)

Brandon was REALLY into the pressed pennies during the trip. Here’s his first one:

Todd was super excited to ride the Haunted Mansion. As I mentioned, Todd is a car guy, and he owns a 1984 Trans Am. He actually converted it into KARR - KITTs “evil twin” from Knight Rider. KARR was voiced by none other than Paul Frees (aka The Ghost Host). So it’s a random geeky thing that we share :) He was excited for Brandon to ride the Haunted Mansion to “hear KARR,” lol. It’s hard with 3 people riding stuff, but I was glad that we all fit in one doom buggy.

After Haunted Mansion, it was time for a special treat we promised Brandon - the Pirates League!


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Todd and I agreed that, even with Brandon’s spending money, we would buy him one special thing on the trip. When the CM told us about the zombie pirate outfit, Brandon got super excited, so we offered him that as his special gift. He enthusiastically said yes :) After putting on his outfit, he spun the wheel to determine his pirate name.

So did Todd:

There isn’t one of me, lol.

Todd did take this one of us getting our pirate on, though!

So, you all know I’m a Disney person. Why not go all in? I’m not a princess, so I got the Captain Hook - Lol!! Todd got the same, and Brandon was the zombie, I think (one had really thick makeup, so they did one that looked similar but was less heavy). And here we are - should this be our Christmas card? ;)

Let me tell you something: The CM put that clip on earring right on my earlobe - Todd and Brandon’s put it on their scarves. I didn’t even feel it, and took it out a few hours later, but for a few days after my earlobe was rock hard and really sore. Don’t put that thing on your ear! I’m just sayin :)

After the Pirates League we went to my favorite place for lunch. Casey’s :) Todd and I ate here on our 1-year dating anniversary weekend last year, and he was hooked. Todd LOVES the old goofy sport cartoons (we watch them on YouTube all the time - Brandon loves them too!) and we ate on the bleachers while watching cartoons. He was so sad when I told him about the changes this year. Still, it is our favorite.

Brandon was really into the zombie zone while we waited in line:

Here’s another weird running trend this trip - Todd has an obsession with wanting to pet wild animals. He is convinced they are all cute and adorable like our cats. He misses the point of the words “wild animal!” He wanted to pet this duck so badly, and I refused to let him (hello - it assumes you’re giving it food and will likely snap your fingers!). Even Brandon was like, “Seriously Dad, it’s a wild animal!”

Thank you Brandon. You have learned so much from your new stepmother already :)
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Our final FP was for the Mine Train, so we took it slow and explored a bit. Our next stop was the carrousel - I literally had not been on this since I was 5 (and I’ve had about 35 trips since then!).

My handsome pirate :)

Obligatory shot for first-time kid:

Then, it was time for a sentimental favorite of mine, Philharmagic:

Finally, it was time for our Mine Train FP. I hadn’t looked at any spoiler videos, so this one was brand new for all of us.

I thought for sure I took some exterior shots, but oh well. Here we are waiting to board. Brandon really enjoyed getting into the zombie frame of mind, lol:

I thought the mine train was cute. I personally thought the dwarfs faces looked odd, and although it was cute, I would never have waited more than 30 minutes for it. I couldn’t believe people were waiting 2 hours!

By this point it was around 3:15, so we headed back to the hotel to check into our room and change before dinner at Kouzzina.

Our room had a nice view of the Boardwalk and the top of Spaceship Earth:


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I know that a lot of people don’t like Kouzzina, but we had an awesome meal there in August 2011 - I loved it. My dad is a big Iron Chef fan and had never been to Kouzzina before, so I had to make an ADR.

Oh, to fill you in - my dad and brother got in the day before us - they were making a weeklong vacation out of the wedding. Most of my family was coming in on Sunday, but they were all staying at All Star Sports. We met them at Kouzzina at 4:45 in preparation for dinner.

I’m sad to see it go!

All the CMs do a little Greek celebration outside to open the restaurant each night:

I really tried to take food pics this trip but didn’t get to take too many.

My dad had cut up his bass (I think it was bass), but he hadn’t eaten it yet so I didn’t think it was officially “gross” to take a pic, lol.

Todd is a REALLY picky eater, but he managed to find something he liked - steak.

I ordered the lasagna - OMG this was heavenly! I had the cinnamon stewed chicken last time, but this was in another league. I hadn’t taken a bite yet, but I did move my fork around the cheese - sorry!

We had the dining plan - only to save us from worrying about tracking more spending than we needed to, and although he is an “adult” by WDW standards, he ordered a kid’s meal this time (and several times) on the trip. He got mac and cheese. My brother got the ratatouille, I believe (is that right? it was a vegetarian meal, I think). No picture there.

Todd liked his steak and my dad raved about the fish (Brandon found the eyeball - ah, having a 10-year old!). Brandon wasn’t hungry for dessert (I think the heat and his zombie outfit were taking a toll on him), so we used our three dessert credits and shared them all among us.

Donut thingies (yum):

The world’s tiniest baklava (good though!):

Yummy cheesecake with a bale of hay...or something like that (I think the cheesecake may have been sugar free, but Todd wanted it anyway):

They also brought out a cupcake for Todd and I and made an announcement to everyone that we were getting married on July 15, which was nice :) Our server was great (I wish I could remember her name!). I had cleaned off most of my pirate makeup before dinner (the black is IMPOSSIBLE to get off!), but Todd kept his on. I think he look so handsome with a full beard!

When we were being seated, actually, I saw on their little printout of our reservation that it said "Wedding - Diana and Jonathan." Um, Jonathan is my brother. I pointed this out to the server...how random? I thought nothing of it, but keep it in mind for later in this trip.

Oh, and I must share my favorite part of the meal - the Ouzotini! I had never tried one before, but it was so good, I had two :) If you’ve never had it, Ouzo is apparently an anise liquor, so it was like a licorice cosmo. SO AMAZING!

We walked around the Boardwalk for a bit when my brother (twin brother, actually - Jon) had us pose for a pic…I have no idea why he chose such a Brady Bunch-like pose!

I could not get enough of this view the entire trip!

Dad and Jon were exhausted and so were we, so we bid them farewell until Saturday at DHS. We showed them our room first, and I also gave my dad my mug to save him some money. I never drink pop, and we had two mugs for Brandon and Todd as well (they were all included with DDP), so I gave mine to my dad. It’s good at any hotel, so he got free pop the entire trip and saved $20 on another mug.

Todd, Brandon and I hung out in the pool for a few hours then called it a night. Clowns are evil and disturbing, but we chose to ignore the clown and just enjoy the pool and the awesome slide :)

Tomorrow: Brandon’s first ride on Star Tours, and an awesome day at DHS!


Active Member
Love how all three of you got decked out at Pirate's League. I bet it was a huge highlight for your son!


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Fellow Buffalonian checking in:). Looks like so much fun! My H is bad at smiling for pics too..but not that bad haha:). That is too funny. Can't wait to read more!


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Great trip report with some really good pictures. The pirates league was a hit for my family also. Will be following along.


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Original Poster
Love how all three of you got decked out at Pirate's League. I bet it was a huge highlight for your son!
It was so much fun! He wanted to wear the outfit the rest of the trip but it was so hot and honestly, that outfit wasn't made very well. He was very big on the zombie gloves though, lol.

Fellow Buffalonian checking in:). Looks like so much fun! My H is bad at smiling for pics too..but not that bad haha:). That is too funny. Can't wait to read more!
Thanks! It's so weird how he can give a big grin for me but clam up with strangers....kids are funny :)

Great trip report with some really good pictures. The pirates league was a hit for my family also. Will be following along.
Thanks! Our trip was more than 10 days, so I have my work cut out for me, lol. I have to get moving on this or I'll never finish!


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Original Poster
Joining in. Great start to your trip!
Thanks! I'm working in spurts...day 2 is done, but I might not get it all posted. It's fun going through the days again :)

1) Yes, please make that Christmas picture.
2) Brandon looks like he adores you, and was so ready to have you as his stepmom.
1) Lol - see?! Todd said we have to use a wedding photo. So boring ;) Last year, I kid you not, our Christmas card was a family photo with David Hasselhoff at a comic con event. We are a family of geeks! And we had tons of family members call or text us to tell us it was the best Christmas card ever. We have a reputation to defend, and I feel the Pirates League does an admirable job. *sigh*
2) Thank you :)
3) Lol, it's only been 2 weeks, but I had to start...I have serious post-trip depression going on!


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Day 2 - DHS/DtD

Staying at the Boardwalk has its perks, but my favorite is the ability to walk to DHS and Epcot. A) I love walking (I wear a Fitbit Flex, and I averaged about 22,000 steps during our trip!), and B) It is a peaceful way to start a busy day - so much nicer than waiting for, then cramming into a crowded bus. Plus, it’s much quicker to walk 15 minutes than to wait 5-15, then another 10 in the actual bus (unless you have to go to the Yacht & Beach Club and the Swan & Dolphin, by far the worst part of busses at BW).

Anyway, so we enjoyed our walk. I was hoping to get to DHS by park opening, but Brandon loved watching the ducks, fish, spiders - every living being we passed on the walk. We weren’t in a rush - if he wanted to stop and enjoy things that Todd and I wouldn’t normally look at, then we would stop and enjoy them. That’s what a vacation is all about! So it took about 25 minutes to walk, but that’s okay.

Okay guys, so Brandon LOVES Frozen. LOVES it. He especially loves Olaf. So of course we had to pose for a picture with Sand Olaf in the “Frozen Is Taking Over the World” park. And for his favorite character in his current favorite movie, how excited is Brandon? You tell me.

I swear, this is a happy kid. He really is!

Into DHS we go - first things first, we went right to check Brandon in for the Jedi Training Academy. There are a few passions this kid has: 1) Star Wars, 2) Legos, 3) Spiderman. On this trip, we would definitely get our fill of Star Wars (in a good way!). So we checked in and were in the 2:20 show, I believe. We had to be back by 1:50. Good to know.

On the way, Todd made me pose with some Golden Girl heads (well that sounds odd…). I love that show, and we are strange, so I posed like this. Don’t judge.

Next, we headed over to Star Tours (of course). We had FPs, but not until 10:30ish, so knowing that everyone was at Toy Story, we went over and got on Star Tours with no line.

He has his serious, Star Wars face on, lol (this is intentional, not “unhappy looking child” pose, lol).

I, of course, made him pose several times:

Oh, can you tell that pirate makeup is freaking HARD to get off? He looks like a ghost child!:

Once again with the serious Jedi pose:

I knew we were in for the long haul between Star Tours and the gift shop. First, we decided to do something goofy, cause that’s how we roll:

Then, Brandon built his own droid (and lightsaber, but no picture of that - note the pirate zombie gloves - he loved those things, lol):


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Then, we rode Star Tours again…and were the only people in our tour! So, of course, Brandon ended up being the rebel spy (yay!). We were going to buy him the t-shirt, but they didn’t have his size.

My dad and Jon (late risers) made it into DHS by this point, and my brother had scheduled his Star Tours FP so that we could ride together (my dad can’t do thrill rides because of back and neck problems). My brain was a little scrambled from two consecutive rides, so Jon, Brandon and Todd all rode together while my dad and I sat on a bench at the ride exit, in the nice, air conditioned store (3 rides on Star Tours for Todd and Brandon that morning, lol). It was a scorcher, folks!

Dad and Jon headed to the Brown Derby for an early lunch, while we headed over to Muppetvision. I personally can recite the entire preshow and main show - I love the Muppets :) We skipped this on our anniversary trip last May because we wanted to wait for Brandon - Todd and Brandon love the Muppets too (we are such a perfect family for each other…I’m just saying). I was so happy that we waltzed in literally as the pre show was beginning. For me, that is a major part of the experience - it’s all the “show!”

I have no idea why, but I didn’t take any pictures in the preshow or outside - odd for me!

Anyway, as we came out, Phineas and Ferb were taking pictures and Brandon and I both love that show, so we hopped in line.

I was seriously excited:

Brandon even managed a small smile!:

By this point, it was time for our ADRs at a restaurant where Todd and I had an awesome time last May - Sci Fi Diner. I know folks don’t care for their food, but I actually think it’s okay (I’m not really a foodie though, lol), and it’s right up Todd and Brandon’s alley - burgers and chicken fingers, essentially (they are so picky!).

First, Todd had to pose in the car - even fake, dinner table cars are fun for him!

Brandon and Todd both got cheeseburgers, and we all got milkshakes for our beverages (the curse of the dining plan - dessert and milkshakes whenever possible!). I had cookies and cream, Todd had the special of the day - key lime pie, and Brandon had vanilla.

My meal, though, is a culinary delight. One that is both disturbing, yet oddly amazing. Here is what I had for lunch (in words…I am so sorry I didn’t take a picture!).

A hamburger….with a grilled hotdog ON TOP…with sauerkraut and grilled onions.

Yeah. So much for losing all that weight, lol! I managed to eat about 2/3 of it, plus some fries, although I felt like I was literally in danger of exploding. Live and learn! I’ll tell you what, though - that thing was delicious! Would I do it again? No. Was it worth it? Totally!

So of course it’s time for dessert and we paid for that dining plan, so you bet your sweet bippy I ordered some! It was this candy bar thing - chocolate ganache, chocolate stuff, chocolate shavings…chocolate napkin…it was all chocolate! And it was amazing. And I ate it all.

Oh dear, let’s recall I have to fit into a wedding dress in 3 days!

I’m sure that walking 22,000 steps per day burns an extra 10,000 calories…right? Or should we go with the whole, “Disney calories don’t count” stuff? Ah well - moving forward!
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We had some time to kill before the Jedi Training Academy, so we stayed cool-ish and went into some stores.

Best Father Ever:

I’m sorry, but my (now) husband looks good in a fedora! He refuses to wear anything but a baseball hat, though *sigh* (which he still looks good in, but still, I love him in hats!):

Todd loved the WWE when he was a kid, and transferred that love to Brandon, so we had him pose with Hulk Hogans handprints. They are slightly bigger than Brandon’s hands, lol (I suppose that’s an “Angry Wrestler” expression!) :

Okay guys, it’s time for the Jedi Training Academy - woo hoo! I knew this would be a highlight of the trip for Brandon. First, we met in that building on Mickey Avenue (or whatever it’s called now), and they had movie previews and stuff to occupy the kids. Except the kids were all running around and generally trashing the place. Apparently, parenting is on pause in WDW for some people, lol.

Brandon got his Jedi on once they handed out the robes (he was also prepared with his Star Wars Lego shirt today!):

One parent stayed behind to march over to the stage, so I snapped this “covert” pic of them waiting. I don't know why, but I find it amusing. Then I hightailed it to get a nice spot in front of the stage.

Okay guys, so it was HOT today. And extremely sunny. It was wearing me down for sure, and I knew it was getting to Brandon. I repeatedly made everyone stop for drinks, but I knew it was catching up to us. As you can see, the sun and heat were wearing down poor Brandon up there:

He was in the back so it was hard to catch him with the camera, but I got some good ones. The Photopass photographer did too!

This is my favorite picture of the whole show - I have my long zoom on, so he doesn’t even know I’m taking his picture - he’s not posing. The host just said something funny, so he’s looking for us to see if we heard it. It’s so hard to get a natural, easy smile from him - my favorite picture!

Great Photopass guy shot:

And finally, defeating Lord Vader:

Vader was defeated, the Stormtroopers left (seriously, some funny moments in this show for the parents) and we had just a little more time before TSMM - our final Fastpass of the day.

Let’s stop for fun little details!:

Refreshingly cool!

So I asked Brandon if he’d like to go here - I had never, ever been in here!:

Spider boy!:

You can see that his cheeks are really red - the Jedi Training Academy just did him in. It was SO hot. Poor kid:

But then he summoned up a little more energy, lol:

But now it was time for our TSMM Fastpass, before heading back to the hotel. On the way, we found this guy just hanging around in the shade:

Oh, and my soon-to-be-husband had to pose with his most favorite thing in the world (besides me and Brandon, lol):

My boys were ready to rack up the points!

Now I’m not a huge fan of this ride, I’ve only been on it like 3 times, but even though Brandon wanted to ride with me, I rode alone. Why are you such a horrible (in 3 days) stepmother, you might ask? Because I knew I’d probably beat his score, and I didn’t want him to feel bad.

I wallopped both of them…by like more than twice their scores (I told them it’s all about speed and not necessarily aiming, but you really need 2 or 3 times to get it). See, I’m really a nice soon-to-be stepmom! I didn’t want to make Brandon feel bad.

By this point, Brandon was really bad. His face was so flushed, and he was just totally roasting. It was beyond time to go back to the hotel. We had a low key night at DtD planned, which was perfect. First, we stopped at the picture place to add the Jedi Training Academy pictures to our Magic Band. The boys sat down in the AC for a bit, but Brandon was still in rough shape. And although there were only two people ahead of me in line, I waited a half hour :/ At last we were done, though, and we moseyed on back to the Boardwalk.

I fully intended to go to the pool with Brandon and Todd, but I was so tired…I fell asleep and enjoyed a nice nap instead :)


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Eventually, it was time for a late (for us - 7:30) dinner at DtD. We waited about 5 minutes for a bus, but it took forever to get there because of all the stops. At least we had a seat! Then, we stopped at a personal favorite for dinner: Earl of Sandwich. Todd loved it on our anniversary trip as well, but there was something very exciting for me this time: I could finally try the Holiday Turkey Sandwich. I hadn’t been there since it was made a permanent menu item, and I was pumped.

It may not look special, but it’s all sorts of goodness:

Dear God in Heaven, it was amazing. DELICIOUS! I loved it :) I had a brownie for dessert as well…yum. I guess Todd had a hard time using the Magicbands for dinner, though, and we almost had to pay cash. This was a recurring theme at every store that night - they either had spotty use of Magicbands or none at all.We literally heard this no less than 5 times that night - it was out completely at Starbucks and the Lego Store. Both blamed it on the construction. Not good, considering Disney is pimping out the convenience factor of the MBs across property (and admittedly, it was super convenient for us, at least).

We popped into the Christmas Store, the Pantry (Todd bought a nice mug that he loves) and Once Upon a Toy, then we headed into Goofy’s Candy Co. Brandon loves sour gummy worms, and he decided to spend $146 on some (give or take - such a ripoff, lol, but when you want sour gummy worms, you want sour gummy worms!). He used his own money and just bought a few.

Then he used them properly:

Todd bought a few Dr. Pepper and Cream Soda Jelly Belly beans. We still have them at home - he bought like 5, and never ate them!

Where we found true magic; however, was the Lego Store. At one point, Brandon proclaimed, “I’m in Lego Heaven,” and gave me a big hug, lol.

He was a little freaked out by Nessie:

Building a Lego masterpiece:

His favorite thing to do was build the little Lego people - he loves the people more than the actual Legos, lol. We spent awhile there, and building random stuff. Then he carefully decided between Spiderman, Superman and Star Wars for the Lego set he was going to buy. We told him he could buy two if he wanted, but then he wouldn’t have much money left for the rest of the trip. So he carefully deliberated and went with a Spiderman set.

All in all, a successful day in Walt Disney World :)

Tomorrow, we head to Epcot!


Active Member
LOVING the many faces of Brandon!! Especially the ones at Star Tours and the funny faces. See, he really was having fun, lol!
The non smiling face is the typical "I'm too cool for pics, Mom" face. We get that all the time!
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