Hello everyone.

Having read a few pre-trip reports here on RADP I thought it might be a good idea to try one myself.

I've been lurking around and occasionally posting for about 18 months now. I think I know some of you better than a few of my relatives. Some of you certainly can fight like a family. It might not be pretty at times but it makes for one hell of a good spectator sport. :-)

First of all I will introduce us all.

Kevin (me) 40, incredibly handsome, very intelligent, witty, in fact all round wonderful person. Hey, I could be, you don't know. At least I didn't lie about my age. :-) I work as a Project Engineer in a local factory. It is really me that is the Disney nut and I am slowly indoctrinating my wife. I work on the Chinese water torture principle, a little at a time with amazing regularity will eventually wear her down.

Tammy, 34, still a bit of a babe. Lets hope she reads this, it might put me in the good books for a short while. :-) Oh heck, I'm fed up typing in these smiley things already. Just take everything I write with a large pinch of salt and you won't go far wrong. :-) Dammit, there goes another one. Tammy works nearly full time as a Documents Controller in another local factory. Not the same one as me, that would be pushing togetherness too far.

We have been married 12 years and live in a small town in the West of England. This will be our 5th trip to WDW together and our 2nd with the children. The children! Nearly forget them. (Don't you sometimes wish you could).

India, 7, (8 in November). A bright, happy child, she is very rarely miserable and tends to enjoy most new experiences in life. She is very clever for her age and according to her latest report has the literacy level of a 9 year old. She obviously gets this from her father's side of the family. Oh, in case you hadn't realised by now, I do have a very high opinion of myself.

Georgia, 4, (5 in October). Ah, Georgia, what can I tell you about her. Georgia is best described as a wilful child. Please do not mention the *NO* word to Georgia as it tends to produce bouts of crying interspersed with temper tantrums and sulking.
Poor George, you would think she was an awful child the way I talk about her but she is actually happy most of the time and quite loving as well. She is also a very pretty little girl, now this is one thing I cannot take the credit for, comes from her mother.

The only other member of the family is Duke the dog. He, of course, has to stay at home boarding with my mother. Not that he minds, he probably gets more fuss and attention there than normal.

Now, this might seem like a lot of useless information about us all but I tend to like to know a little bit about the people involved when I read a trip report. Besides which it has a certain therapeutic quality writing about yourself. I'll bet that this is the first that all you RADPers have been used as therapists. Do you charge much?

Right, on to the proper stuff!

We will be leaving the UK on September 17th and returning on October 1st. We are staying at the All Star Music and have Unlimited Magic Passports. (This is what the UK tour companies call the Length of Stay Passes). By the way, you may have noticed that I use very few acronyms, I just think things are easier to read that way. On our previous trips we have stayed at the All Star Sports, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans and a couple of off-site motels. If we had the money it would definitely be the Wilderness Lodge for us but.......maybe next time.

What are we looking forward to?

1. First and foremost having a wonderful time. We are determined to take things easier than normal, relax back a little and take in the atmosphere rather than rushing around trying to fit in every ride and attraction. The length of stay passes will help here as you don't feel you are constrained by timescales and can tour at your own pace more readily.

2. The Animal Kingdom. All that I have read about it seems to indicate that it will be my sort of place. I like the idea of walking around and LOOKING. Hey, I'm not adverse to the odd thrill ride but what I really love about Disney is the fact that the vast majority of it can be enjoyed by all the family. If the balance swings too heavily in favour of thrill rides then I think some of the unique Disney magic will be lost. Not that I'm getting older or anything, you understand.

3. Meeting Ronnie! We are all getting together for a meal in the Biergarten on the last full day of our holiday which will be the first day of hers. Having e-mailed each other for a while now she fully understands how daft I am so the reality should not come as too much of a shock for her. She is such a nice lady that I am sure that she will endure us with great fortitude. I think I may even manage a beer or two in celebration. Purely to be sociable, you understand. By the way, Ronnie, sorry for making you number 3 in the things we are looking forward to list, a typing error only. You know you are the top of the list really. Mines a large Becks, thank you.

4. Attending an RADP meet! Laurie S. (TDC Tink) is arranging a meeting and we are all looking forward to this whenever and wherever it is. If you are attending and see this awkward looking British family stood off to one side please come and talk to us. We have all got RADP pins and are going to wear them whenever we are in the parks. I am really interested to see if anyone recognizes them.

5. Fantasmic! Please let the soft openings be open to everyone. At the present time there seems to be some confusion as to wether it will be for Annual Passholders only. If anyone from Disney is reading this please consider your overseas visitors. We are every bit as passionate in our love for the parks but the distances involved make it impractical to have an Annual Passport.

6. Rock 'n Rockets. We have tickets for the fireworks festival on the 25th of September with the B52's. This should be some sort of event and it seemed like a good opportunity to take the girls to their first concert.

7. Boardwalk. We are going to Gullivers to use our $50 dollar coupon from Rita Aeros book, then on to a night out at the Boardwalk with the girls spending a couple of hours in the kids club at the Boardwalk Inn. I am particularly looking forward to Jellyrolls but, with a voice like mine, it might not be so pleasant for other patrons that night.

8. Food. This is Tammy's area of expertise really. We have Priority Seating for 'Ohanas, Artist Point (this time the long suffering children will be hived off to the Cubs Den) and the Rose and Crown, after all, I have to have a real pint of beer sometime during my stay. Tammy has all sorts of plans to eat desserts until they come out of her ears. Beaches and Cream had better prepare itself for an all out attack. Please note that extra staff will be required to man the counter at the Main Street Bakery. I will endeavour to punctuate her all out attempt to break the record for most food stuff consumed on one trip by dragging her away to ride something every now and again.

9. Pleasure Island. Now, I know this is a hot potato on the newsgroup with pretty much a 50/50 split between people that regard this as a family night out and people who think that this is an inappropriate place for children.
Well if you are in the latter group then, sorry, but my two little horrors are hitting the Island at full speed. After they have been there for an hour or two there may be many who will feel that it is an inappropriate place for adults!
Seriously, I see nothing wrong in children enjoying an evening out at Pleasure Island as long as they don't stay too late, say 10:00.
I have read people say such things as 'You would'nt take you child to a bar at home, would you?' ......erm, well yes I would actually.
I don't know if it is a cultural differance or not but the pub in the UK is very much viewed as a meeting place and it is becoming far more widespread for children to be accepted in these places, especially if a meal is being eaten.
Let me just say in my defence that I do agree that past a certain time it is better for younger children not to be present but to assume that just because somewhere serves alcohol then it will provide a negative experience for the child is somewhat dangerous. I believe if a child is brought up to understand that drinking is a social activity that is acceptable when confined within certain limits then he or she will have a far more balanced outlook when it comes to the time when they are old enough to make their own decisions. Stigmatise it or ban it and rebellion is sure to follow.
My children love to dance and have fun and India in particular will love the Adventurers Club (she has been there before) but I will, of course, exercise the same parental judgement at Pleasure Island as I would anywhere else, that is if I think the climate is unsuitable then we will leave.
Whew, sorry to rabbit on for so long but I had to get that off my chest. Good looking and long winded, what woman could want more.

OK. We've had the good things now what about the bad things.

What we are worried about?

a. LOUD NOISES. If you have ever been to Walt Disney World with children then you will probably know what I am talking about. Everything is soooooo loud.
From the music to the fireworks there is an enormous fright factor for young children. Surprising really, my two spend half their lives running around screaming their heads off but as soon as something is louder than them they don't like it.
I think India will be ok but Georgia may just go off the deep end once or twice. I am trying to head off any potential disasters by taking ear plugs with us, to be brought out only if all else fails.

b. The plane journey. Again, you have to experience 9 hours on a plane with 2 young children to appreciate the hell on earth (in the sky?) that this can be.
Preventative measures have been taken, toys, books, games etc but if you are on the 10:30 Caladonian flight from Gatwick on September 17th and half way through the journey people are begging the stewardess for a parachute then you know that we have failed.
Which brings me nicely on to....

c. The journey home. Same as the journey out but with the added pain of knowing you are leaving WDW far behind.
Actually I usually find the journey back better than the journey out as we travel back overnight and most children sleep at least part of the way.

d. Trying to get the girls to take a nap in the afternoon.
Think of one of those joke tins where you take the lid off and a fake snake leaps out at you. That is what it is like when India and Georgia get up in the morning.
Now think what it is like trying to force that snake back in the tin again. That is what it will be like trying to force them to have a sleep in the afternoon.
OK, I am exaggerating slightly, Georgia will sleep if she is tired enough but India will be more of a problem.
We are going to take a stroller because I know how the distances sap the strength in little legs so they will all just have to push me around whether they like it or not.

e. Our trip report. This is really a worry for you lot in RADP land. Not having written a trip report before I am going to jump in with both feet when I get back.
You may have noticed that brevity is not one of my strong points so you could be in for boredom on an unrecognised scale.

Well, I think I have finally reached the end (hey, there is no need to show that much elation).
If you have stuck with it to the end then you have either enjoyed it or you are a masochist. If it is the former then I am very pleased and if it is the latter take 20 lashes, you deserve it.

Finally thanks to everyone on the group for providing me with both entertainment and information over the last 18 months.
Maybe we will see some of of you soon!