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Disney World Bound: Our 2014 Pre-Trip Planning

I love Disney World.

I love the rides.

I love the shows.

I love the parades, and I'm totally that person that's waiting on the sidewalk a good 45 minutes before the thing even starts.

Call me weird, but I even love the way the buses smell. I know I'm smelling diesel fuel exhaust, but something about it just screams VACATION! to me.


Couple all of the above with the fact that the rest of my family loves Disney as much as I do, and it's not hard to imagine that I started planning Britton's first Walt Disney World vacation before she was even born.

Sweet baby mouse at six months old
We're planning a family affair for this December--my parents and my sister will be tagging along with us. I was a little concerned about taking Britton this young since she still can't ride many of the rides, which meant that Landon and I had to switch off using the single rider option or skip many of our favorite rides. However, my mom hates going on thrill rides (and once nearly got us kicked out of Magic Kingdom for jumping off of Splash Mountain when she freaked out), and she would much prefer to hang out with the baby while the rest of us tackle Tower of Terror and Space Mountain. I'm excited about being able to share the magic of Disney World with Britton AND go on my favorite rides with Landon, my dad, and my sister.

Princess Britton at 2 months old
So, how's the planning coming along?

We're still in the early stages, but it's firm enough that everyone's asked off from work during our vacation period. (So, basically, we've got our bags packed and waiting in the foyer.)

I love Disney at Christmastime, but my mom's never been then. I wanted to go on a Christmas trip with her, so we decided to combine the awesomeness that is a Disney Christmas trip with Britton's first trip and go in early December.
My sister and I on our sisters' trip to Disney in December 2008

Plus, the crowds are super light, the hotel rooms are cheaper, and all of the Christmas activities are in full swing.

We've started looking at hotel options, but haven't picked one yet. We know we're going to stay on property--definitely at one of the value resorts (what can I say? I'm cheap!)--but haven't narrowed it down any further.

Other than that, I've started scouring Disney blogs for fun tips, and then printing out information by the bucketload. There's no way that we can do everything I want to do, but I'm not worried about that at this point. I'm just basking in the possibilities.

I'll keep updating as bits and pieces of the trip start seriously coming together. But until then, you can shower me with your wisdom on the following topics:
1) What's Art of Animation like? I've stayed at the other four value resorts (Music, Movies, Sports, and Pop), and I like them. Is Art of Animation similar in feel? Is it worth the (slight) upgrade in price?
2) Have you been to Disney World with an 18 month old? Please tell me it was awesome. Please.