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Trip Report THE ONE WITH THE CREW AT CHRISTMAS; December 21-28, 2018 **COMPLETE**

When I returned from our vacation I had the “Disney bug”. You know, when you feel tired and blah and listless? Then you vomit. Oh wait...
Turned out it was more of a flu bug....
I was off wdw magic for a couple weeks then I started up again at a feverish pace (see what i did there?). There are so many great trip reports to read! So here is another (trip report, not sure if it will be great. It is my first😎)

For those of you who did not read my pre trip, don’t bother. You will catch on/up.

Who went:
Husband Ant
Sons: X 19, AJ 15, Dre 13
FIL or Gpa
Their children, my nephews A 22, JJ 15, and niece Ash 20

Let’s do this!

We had a group reservation flying Southwest from our local airport to Tampa on Friday, December 21st. Why Tampa? $$$$
It was a 7:30 flight so the kids all went to school and I cleaned the house. I always clean before a trip because I hate coming home to a dirty house but this time I really cleaned. My son has a team mate who lives in Maryland and he and his family were going to NYC for a few days and their place to stay fell through. The mom and I get along really well so she asked if her party of six could stay with us. Perfect timing as we will not be home so they could have the place to themselves.
Did I mention I have 3 boys? I spent the day CLEANING!!!

Then we dropped off this guy

Ate some pizza with my Father in law

Loaded these:

Into here:

And we were on our way.

Not the best pix but you get the idea.

The airport is about 13 minutes from our house so we made it there in about 10. My husband is the WORST driver!!!


My FIL was in a wheelchair because his knees are garbage. My son was on a knee scooter with a broken foot. SIL just got cleared from her broken hip. And when it was time to pick up the pizza my husband was on the phone. I was giving him “the look” to get off so we could keep to our schedule. Turns out it was his doctor. Ant had tripped on one of the dog’s bones

And tore tendons in his ankle. I had ordered a scooter for my FIL and gave everyone else a last chance for me to add on to the order. All declined and we headed for security and our gate.

FIL and AJ got pre boarding and they could each take one person with them. My husband and his brother went with strict orders to save us seats. The lady who issued the pre boarding passes messed up however and Ant had two boarding passes while AJ had none.
This would be a common theme as we had 3 Alexanders, 2 Anthonys, 2 Johns and a partridge in a pear tree.

We managed to get it sorted out and got on and left without incident.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Day one/travel day/Dec 21 con’t

Once we landed Ant, BIL and AJ went to get the mininvans while the rest of us gathered the luggage and used the restroom. 5 flights were on one conveyer belt. There were several empty belts but all the flights were on one. Madhouse! Worse than MK Christmas week!
We got all the luggage and I started counting noses. Dre was STILL in the men’s room. I sent X in to hurry him along. 5 minutes later and still no Dre. I sent his oldest cousin A in to get him. That did it. Two minutes later Dre came out to meet us. Boys!

We loaded up in the vans and put my FIL in our front passenger seat. Dre climbed to the third row. X jumped in the second row seat behind his GPA. I was not going to make AJ climb into the third row with the boot on his foot so I went back there and he took the seat behind the driver.
Why am Intelling you this? Well, earlier I might have hinted at the fact that my husband is not such a great driver. I know the people on these forums like facts. And pictures, sooooo.....

The problem with the seating arrangement was there was no copilot. My FIL wasnt going to do it and X, my oldest has no clue he would need to help. Ant had waze on but did not turn the sound on. I have no idea why. The hotel was .5 miles away. About a 5 minute drive, according to waze. Ant missed the first turn. X pointed it out just when it was too late. As Ant is arguing with X that it was not his fault he misses the turn that will put us back on track. Estimated arrival time is now up to 12 minutes. Driving. Driving. Making a left under the freeway overpass to get back on the freeway to drive back to where we came from. Then police lights in our rearview!

Yep, we got pulled over. Seems Ant forgot to turn on the headlights. The officer ran Ant’s license and let us go.


Well-Known Member
I have to admit I will be going back to post #1 to try to keep track of who is who

But this one sounds like it is going to be fun - "gotta make some popcorn" kind of fun!!!

We were there at the same time and I looked for a big group with matching sweatshirts with American flags on the front and a young man with a knee scooter

No luck in MK or HS (which were the days we might have been able to see each other)

Following along



Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
I have to admit I will be going back to post #1 to try to keep track of who is who

But this one sounds like it is going to be fun - "gotta make some popcorn" kind of fun!!!

We were there at the same time and I looked for a big group with matching sweatshirts with American flags on the front and a young man with a knee scooter

No luck in MK or HS (which were the days we might have been able to see each other)

Following along

I looked for you as well. Especially HW day as our plans seemed to line up a bit. I have been following your report looking in the background of all your pixs for my family. None yet. Keep em coming!

On a side note, I would have done that cool read trip report “here” thing where “here” is blue (like @bee does) and then you click on it and it takes you somewhere else, but, I dont know how to do that. So for now I will try to be clear about who is who.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Day one still con’t (sorry)

A few months before the trip my FIL asked me how many more days. I did not know and he could not believe it. I made a group chat for the fam and started a countdown which I also did here at how many days for you part to infinity and beyond. (It started with day 99). I sent posts of news or food pix etc. I tried to keep everyone in the loop and part of the planning. My BIL left the group shortly after it formed due to “phone issues”. It is his work phone so ok.

I had to share the pix of us with the po po on the fam chat. My SIL calls laughing and saying she wondered where we were. With the way Ant drives she cant believe we didnt beat them there. Then she admitted, when they pulled up they noticed their headlights weren’t on either. Ha ha!!!

Then she tells me they are trying to check in but the guy at the front desk is being a real jerk. Huh? The reservation is in my name. He is not being a jerk, he is doing his job. I tell her we are five minutes away and to wait.

My FIL paid for this trip as our Christmas gift. He and my MIL had always been very generous at Christmas not only with the gifts but the big seafood feast on Christmas eve for the extended family. My FIL said this trip would be cheaper than doing all that and gave me a budget. This first night was outside the budget and my SIL and I agreed we would split the three rooms between us. But my BIL was making such a scene when we arrived to check in (the BIL who removed himself from the fam group chat) that my FIL threw his credit card down. It was almost 11:30 pm and I was not happy but I was not going to get into it with my BIL on day one!

This was in the lobby. I took it to juxtapose with the GF gingerbread house I hoped would come later.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Day two/ Dec 22nd

I slept terribly. The pillows were awful. I woke early showered and dressed.


We went down to have breakfast.

This was a concoction my son made but I thought it looked like POG juice.

Then I saw a hidden Mickey in my fruit:

Then this picture popped up on my husbands facebook. It was his most liked photo or something like that from 5 years earlier.

That was us checking into Aulani. When I was still taller than my boys.

I was getting very excited for Disney World!

When we made our plans origionally, we could not get a flight down to Florida. We decided on Sunday, December 23 as our check in date for AKL. That way if we had to drive we had all day Saturday to do it. But I found the Friday night flight to Tampa which left us with Saturday to kill. For me it was a no brainer, I was going to see my Dad. My FIL also wanted to see him. My crew, plus my FIL would drive over to the East coast to see my Dad while my SIL crew would visit her Aunt not far from Tampa.

We finished breakfast, my youngest, Dre giving us a good arguement as to why sausage is a fruit. He said because it has (fennel) seeds. Ha ha!
My FIL asked what time I wanted to leave and I told him 8:45. (I really wanted to leave at 9).
He came down after 9. Then there was a problem loading all the luggage in a way that we could get the door to close. I sat there and sobbed quietly as I watched the minutes pass. Now you may think I was being a bit over dramatic, and you might be right, but my Dad is 93. I barely get to see him and the precious minutes were ticking away.

I told my Dad we would be there at 11:00. He lives in an assisted living building and lunch is at 11:00. We got there, I jumped out and race walked to his room (I think I qualified for the next olympics). It was after 11:00 and I banged on his door. His hearing isn’t that great but his neighbors is. She came out and told me he went to lunch.
The boys and I race walked (now with obstacles as the residents made their way to lunch) to the dining room. There he was, sitting at a table with two younger women. I said, “Dad, did you forget about lunch?” He said, “I thought you were going to call”. “I have been trying to call. Where is your cell phone?” “Back in my room”. Ugggggh!!!

We had a great lunch at Sonny’s

I am not usually a fan of chain restaurants but I do enjoy Sonny’s pulled pork sandwiches.

I brought him some “supplies”

Provolone, sopressatta, olives, sundried tomatoes, caponata and bruschetta. Merry Christmas indeed! He was born and raised in the Bronx before moving to LA after the war. He loves this stuff and I always bring him some.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Day 2/Dec 22nd cont

The time with my Dad was too short and flew by. We had to leave to head to WDW. Today was Saturday. But we wern’t checking into AKL until Sunday so there was some back and forth as to where to stay during our planning. My crew go away at Christmas every other year but this was suppose to be our “home” year. We also go away every other February break with our friends and 2019 was a go away year. Our friends and I decided we would do WDW this time so I had put points away to cover a grand villa for 5 nights. But, we both have one off at college and instead of a grand villa I booked us a treehouse at SSR for a lot fewer points. This is the long way for me to say, I had some points to play with so we booked this night at SSR. When I made the reservation I tried to get 3 studios but they only had two. For the third room I booked a one BR. (For those of you who are not DVC let me just say SSR always has rooms! So I knew WDW was packed if even they were completely booked!!!)

I was hoping to arrive at 3:00 but because of the late start that morning our whole day was pushed back. We had to be there by 4:00 however, because that was when my FIL’s scooter was being delivered.

On the road I got this:

Why do they do that?

My SIL texted to say she got a room ready text. According to waze we should be pulling in about 5 minutes after them.
Then I got a call from the scooter guy saying he was making another delivery and was in the area, were we around? I told him we should be there in about 30 minutes. He said he would wait. I gave my SIL the heads up and our ETA and asked her to meet us in the lobby and wait for me to check in. (Last night they had not and I did not want any confusion today-plus I wanted to make sure we were together and was going to see if a grand villa was available)
When we pulled into the parking lot I saw the scooter truck pulling out. Seems as though my BIL had put two and two together and taken possesion of the scooter. Ok, now teach your Dad how to drive it.

Did they wait for me to check in???
Do you have to ask?
No. No they did not. And my SIL tells me the guy at the desk is being a jerk. 2 for 2?
He was not being a jerk, they kept interrupting him because they didnt understand what was going on. That’s why I told them to wait.
One of the studios had the three Alexanders, or as I referred to them, the 3 Alejandros or the 3 cabellaros. My son, X was the name on the reservation. But my nephew A, checked in and got the paperwork with the room number which he promptly misplaced.

My niece Ash and I:

We thought we got it straightened out then made our way outside to our minivans.

Ummmm, what are we going to do with the scooter? I gave X a map and the key, told him good luck and sent him off. We were staying in a section we had never stayed in before.

We found our way.
As did X:

This next part is confusing even for me but this highlights why I should have been the one to check us in:

We got to the 3 Alejandros room but none of their magic bands work. I am with them trying to figure it out. From 3 doors down my SIL and BIL say their magic bands dont work either. Housekeeping must have just finished as there was a group of them as well as what appeared to be their team leader. He helped us out and opened our doors and called someone to come to our rooms to help us. So nice!
The other two rooms were side by side and in all the confusion I didnt realize:
The front desk CM pixie dusted us! We got a lockoff 2 BR! Perfect. (Stll think he was s jerk? I asked my SIL)

I really hate these tubs! It is not the honeymoon suite. In fact I am not a fan of these bathrooms at all. So many doors. So complicated.
Living room was already a mess so no pix. But this is the studio portion of the room:


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Day 2/Dec 22 cont


We returned one minivan then headed to the grocery store.

In hindsight we bought too many snacks. We had the free dining plan but had never had it before and over bought. Now we know.
What to do for dinner? There was a Buffalo Wild Wings next door so the men headed in there to order while my SIL and I loaded up on breakfast and beer.

I needed this!!!

Only 3. The driver did not partake.

A word about beer.
There are some beer aficionados here (@lostpro9het and @wdisney9000 come to mind). Lets just say, my BIL works for a very large Macro brew company. Here is a hint from a few months ago in my town on main street:

You may not like the beer but the horses are stunning!!!

Beer can get tricky for us. However, Kona Brewing Company is distrubuted, locally by a company which is like a cousin to AB so it is allowed. We have found some common ground. Beer wise anyway 😉


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In the Parks
Oh my gosh. I am just realizing I told you the story of how the 3 Alejandros and my SIL’s crew magic bands wouldn’t work to open our doors but I never told you why. Remember when I told you my nephew A checked in then lost the map with the room number? My SIL had it plus hers and she mixed them up. So they were all trying to get into the wrong rooms. Not to sound like a broken record but, if they had just waited 5 minutes for me to check us in......

That is why I needed to drink a beer in the grocery store parking lot.

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