We had an amazing time in Disney. The decision at the last minute to add on two additional nights was great. I liked having another full two days at the parks plus we got to enjoy the Food and Wine Festival.
I have had a few friends comment on how we go every year (ie affordability and is there really anything new) and why. Here's my answer:
Affording a Disney trip each year for us - We own Disney timeshare, something Ray and I purchased back in 2001 (prior to even being pregnant with Ashley). It was an unbelievably wise investment for us considering how much we enjoy Disney. That also gives us a mini-condo for the week which means we cook many meals in our room. We only ate dinner out three times in 8 nights, once was just eating at the Food and Wine festival, once at the ESPN club watching the VT/NC State game, and once at Le Cellier in Epcot. All other dinners were in our room. We had two character breakfasts, and one those days Ray and I were so full from breakfast we didn't eat lunch. And we also packed lunch 3 days to the parks and when we did buy meals in the parks for lunch, we shared meals. And I love how with the kids meals in Disney they serve carrots and grapes, they made great snacks for later in the day.
We also give the kids a set limit to spend for the vacation on souvenirs. They both had $50 to spend which Audrey blew through by the second day. Ashley was a little more conservative with her spending.
In the end, we were very happy with our room charge bill at the end (we charge everything back to the room). It helped too that as annual passholders we got discounts in many places.
New things to do - We always, always try something new each trip. There was not a new ride this time in a park (although there is normally a new parade or show), but we did get to see construction for the new section in Magic Kingdom. There is so much in Disney World that there are still things we haven't done to save for later trips. We also always try and eat somewhere we haven't before. This year it was Le Cellier in Canada in Epcot. Audrey got to try a few rides that she was finally tall enough for (Tower of Terror being one which she says she will not go on again until she is a mommy...). Ray and Ashley saw Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios one night. We stayed late for the Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom too. Ashley pin traded for the first time and she got into Vinylmation trading too.
Things that were interesting - I saw many men with man-purses. It was actually quite funny. I told Ray I was going to buy him one for his birthday.
Disappointing things - And this had nothing really to do with Disney, but rather with people. We witnessed some really ugly behavior from some adults while waiting for the parade in Magic Kingdom. I think we all need to learn to be a little more patient. I also had a woman completely cut in front of me in line at a store. I normally don't do this, but as I walked past her after that, I said "karma is a bitch". Yes, I am that person. She pissed me off. The state of Americans and their weight was bothersome too. I saw way too many overweight kids and adults in wheelchairs. Pretty sad actually. There were times that the people waiting for wheelchair access was actually longer than the standby line for a ride.
What we really loved on this trip - We stay at Disney's Beach Club, and the pool at the resort has a sand bottom (not real sand, but Disney sand, sand that doesn't stick to you!). Plus it has a slide, a whirl pool thing, and hot tubs. Oh, and a bar which made the most amazing Tangerine Dream drinks that I have ever had. I may have had one or twenty of those. A couple of days we finished early afternoon at the parks and enjoyed the afternoon/early evening at the pool. It was relaxing and the kids loved it.
I still have not downloaded the 1200+ pictures I have taked, so none of those can be shared yet. And I am not sure when that will happen - I have travel for work this week and the big birthday week for Ray and I starts next week (we are both traveling on separate weekends in October). Oh, and throw in fitting in running when I can (like last night 7 mile speedwork on the treadmill at 8:30pm at the gym). I had never run more than 6 on a treadmill prior to last night, that was not fun last night.