an explosion of nerdy awesome

Author Archives: Terri Hodges

So we’ve had a couple of questions posed to us so I thought I’d answer some…

My personal favorite: If you can’t afford to adopt a child how can you afford to raise one? (and her follow up comment, I’m just concerned).
This one came over as an anonymous question in the IndieGoGo. (and Tom posted a response publicly on his Instagram)

Well Ms. Anonymous, let me get personal…My husband and I make an OK living. We are not rich people, but we have roof over our heads in the way of a small but respectable house. Pets who are kept in kibble and vet visits (and more than a few of their favorite chew toys). We rarely miss a meal, and when we do it’s because someone was working on a deadline. We probably spend a little to much money on nerd toys and collectables (and I might collect more purses than is reasonable) but I’m willing to redirect that into something more appropriate.
We’re both employed. Tom is a successful working artist (who works from home!) and I work for a entertainment company that’s known in every corner of the world. I’ll say it: My job is to make magic and I’m pretty okay at it.  We’ve already raised a kid (to adulthood) who is awesome (which is mostly him, and just a smidge of us).
Despite all of this, we’ve not managed to have an extra $40,000 laying around. I know, right?!?!
Face it, I don’t know many people who have an extra $40K hidden in their coffers. Adoption is expensive…so freakin’ expensive! None of that actually goes into buying baby stuff, like cribs, and diapers and formula and cute baby clothes with dinosaurs on it. Not.A.Single.Cent.
It’s all lawyers fees, and agency fees, and filing and a plethora of other things.
And here’s the kicker…I didn’t ask anyone to GIVE me $40k I asked people to consider perks that we had set up for purchase. If you pledge, you’re getting art (and my unconditional love and appreciation)!
(on a side note, some people have pledged, perkless – I’m pretty smart, I know who you are and I’ll still manage to give you art!)

How do I know that the money I pledge will go to this adoption process?
Well, I’ve opened a account at my company FCU, that only I have access to, and that the IndieGoGo proceeds will go directly into (meaning PayPal won’t also take a cut). Since I don’t really buy Nerd Toys, I think we’re safe. Additionally, and since you didn’t ask, a percentage of my income goes directly to that account. Tom and I are currently applying for a loan to help with the costs. We’re looking at adoption grants and my company has a reimbursement program that may assist with some of the money we fronted after the adoption goes though.

There are 5 days left, take a look and see if there’s anything that interests you.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tom-terri-s-adventures-in-adopting

If you have any additional questions ask them below in the comments.


Tom and I have put up a fundraising site for the adoption!!

Click for Awesomeness

We wouldn’t feel right just asking someone to open their wallets and give us something without working for it so there are plenty of art perks to choose from, hopefully there is something that you’ll find enticing!


Please pardon my pixie dust while this blog stops talking about my adventures in fertility and begins talking about our adventures with adoption.
There may be changes in the way this thing looks and most probably the tone, but I hope it’s all for the better.
Thank you!


So on the 11th I went to my Doctor to begin treatments, sadly it didn’t work out for this cycle. Will try again next month.

That is the short of it. If you are the tl:dr kind of person you’ve got the whole story there. If you’re that adventurous kind, continue on….

The will be TMI bits here, I’m giving you a 2nd chance now to opt out and take the easy road.
I’ll give some detail and there will be talk of  vaginas and other female organs. If this is too scary for you, you may want to stop here. This is your last warning.

Still with me? Awesome! Here goes.

We drove down to my awesome Doctor, early in the morning, filled with anticipation and a bit of fear. From a technical standpoint, I know the process, but there are the unavoidable feelings tied up in this. Science fills me with comfort. Emotion is unpredictable and unyielding.

I start by peeing in a cup, because isn’t that always the way it starts. I’m assuming it was a pregnancy test, just in case nature was finally on our side. (Stupid nature!). It may have also been a ruse to get me to empty my bladder completely.

We then go to an exam room with a procedure table-bed thingy. All girls know this table, the one with the foot stirrups. We all hate this table. My husband likes this particular table though. It has a light on it that is foot controlled, so he has been known to wave his foot back and forth, under the sensor to make it go on and off. Never while I’m actually having the exam though, at least not that I’ve noticed. I wouldn’t put it past him though.

I’m told to disrobe, everything waist down. I can keep my socks on (I know because I asked). I always wear cute socks and hell, my feet get cold. As I sit there I realize my super cute socks have a hole in the toe. How embarrassing. I also realize I failed to shave my legs before this trip. These are the things I’m thinking about. I’m compartmentalizing. I’m a spazz.

Dr. M comes in. She is, like always, funny and a bit sarcastic. If I had picked her personally as a doctor I couldn’t have done better (She was referred by my insurance). Her personality fits us. If I wasn’t going through this, we might be friends.

Dr. M is encouraging. She doesn’t know this but I hate the ultrasound machine. I relate it to my ER visits and the miscarriages I’ve had. Many of you have seen an ultrasound procedure, where they roll the little curved bit covered in some sort of silicone gel goo, over a pregnant woman’s stomach and they find the healthy spawn, reaching out. Mom and dad may also get to learn the gender of said spawn. They show this on TV and in movies all the time. This has never been my experience.

There is another kind of ultrasound, it is done with something that looks more like a wand and it is done vaginally. During my first miscarriage, I got both kinds, first the less invasive and then the more. I was penetrated by this thing and then given the worst news ever. You can understand my misgivings. But science, I am giving in to science and attempting to let these memories go.

We settle down for the transvaginal ultrasound to make sure my ovaries look good to begin treatment. The right one first. It seems to look good, this is encouraging. The left one next. Not so much. There is a circular void on the screen. Apparently I have a cyst. She measures it’s diameter. It looks to me like like she’s selecting an area in Photoshop. It even had the little cross-hairs and dotted line.  We’re told it’s too big to proceed this cycle.

I had 2 choices, attempt to let nature take it’s chance on me again, try an OPK (over the counter ovulation kit) knowing that my hormones could be affected by this cyst and maybe it doesn’t go away on it’s own this cycle or take medication to make it go away and try next month. The one kicker is, the medication is birth-control pills, so no trying on our own. I went with the pills.

So for the first time in 20 years I’m taking Birth-control pills again. Crazy and counter intuitive.
My cyst explains a couple of things. My hormones have been all over the place recently, I’ve had nausea and cramps. Back pains. I might have equated it with early pregnancy if I hadn’t been completely sure I wasn’t. I was beginning to think it was psychosomatic. At least I’m not completely crazy.

I’m disappointed. I feel like I’m losing time, but the logical part of me knows that this should be under the very best possible conditions and this cycle wasn’t. So here’s crossing our fingers, toes and whatever else you’ve got to next month and here’s to waiting for my period to begin again.

Next time, though, I’ll make sure to shave my legs.

 


The last couple of weeks I’ve been planning for a positive outcome for my fertility treatments (more on that in a moment)…but I’ve also been planning for events, should the treatments work, I’ll need to cancel or reevaluate.
Why am I doing this? Because I’ve put my life on hold several times in the past couple of years either because I became pregnant or we were in the process of trying.
My husband and I have plans to return to Walt Disney World in the fall for The Food And Wine Festival at EPCOT. We had an amazing time last year and when (if) we go this year, I’m sure it’ll be just as great.

I’ve put my deposit down on the hotel. I’ve begun planning what parks I want to go to on what days, where I want to dine and when (even though we can’t make reservations until 180 day out!). Which day we want to go back to Universal to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion. I even know which is our quiet pool day. Doing this keeps me calm. This is how I compartmentalize.
I’m seriously looking forward to it, but I totally hope we don’t go.

TMI for those who don’t what to read about girly issues….

Now, for anyone who may be going through this, this is what is happening so far…
We are beginning daily, multiple injections shortly after my cycle begins. (for the very first time, in the last 3 years I am praying for my period to come! Weird!)

In the mean time, I’ve applied, and been approved for Family Medical Leave because I will erratically have to see my doctor and I can’t pre-plan around those appointments with my job. I’ll often only know a day or 2 in advance when I’ll need to be seen. My employer has been incredible. I’ve asked for concessions regarding being able to receive some of my injections while on the job (because I can’t self administer all of them), rather than calling out, leaving early or coming in late and they are being incredibly flexible. I really do feel like I work for the best company in the world.

So hopefully, in the next couple of days, I get to start being stabbed with small metal spikes in both my stomach and ass, frequently, so that I won’t be able to imbibe in alcohol, caffeine or sushi (and so many other things) for more than a year and be tied down to a needy crying, pooping, little human for 18 (or more) years.  Oh, and have to call Disney and let them know that I need to cancel my plans for Food and Wine, because life got in the way.
Sounds like paradise.


I hope you haven’t been sitting on the edge of you seats waiting for my infrequent posts….

We’ve reached the next step. I’ve had an incredible number of tests, related to both my infertility and my genetic condition. It’s been a long road but I’m clear to begin fertility treatments on my next cycle.

I don’t want to get into to many gory details just yet. Just cross your fingers and toes. Let’s see what the next few months bring us.


If you read my post from October 10th this is an update to that…

It’s a good news bad news situation. I’ve seen doctors, I have more appointments but I have a diagnosis and thus a reason for our fertility issues.

First the good news…my Von Willebrand diagnosis, of which I’ve known about since I was in my mid 20’s, is not a contributing factor, and in fact may be assisting in my fertility.  (Who knew!)
I’m in a very good place to be able to conceive and carry a child especially in my very advanced age of 40.  With a caveat, of course.

My husband is perfect (I’m sure he’ll be noting and referring to this for years to come).

Now the bad news…
I’ve been diagnosed with a chromosomal issue called Turner Mosaicism or Mosaic Turner syndrome. It’s hard to find much info on the issue because more is written on Turner Syndrome, which seems like it’s much worse counterpart.
My OB/GYN said that based on the tests that I’ve taken over that last couple of months, in her evaluation, I have a 25% higher chance of miscarriage in the first trimester than would be normal because of chromosomal issues with some of my eggs.
Our next step is to see a genetics specialist, who will then evaluate our chances of conceiving a healthy nerd-spawn. We have an appointment in early January. If that appointment goes well, I might be put on fertility drugs to give me a higher chance of conceiving.
We were told that this doesn’t affect my ability to carry a healthy pregnancy, so one of our options might be IVF from a known or anonymous egg donor. That is outside of our insurance so I’m a little terrified of the cost if it comes down to that. Of course there’s always adoption.
So there you have it. I know that many of my friends have been concerned about me and I appreciate it. It’s been a rough time, but we’re getting through it. At least, hopefully, we’ll have answers or a least a direction sometime soon.


Reposted from my personal Facebook page because Autumn is upon us and I love to bake during this time of year!

French Apple Coffee Cake

Pre-heat oven to 350

It is also helpful at this time to melt the 7 TBSP of butter for a later step so that it has time to cool before incorporation.

In a small mixing bowl combine the following for the crumble top

  • 1/3 cup each Packed Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Stick (4 TBSP) unsalted butter, softened but not melted
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon

I’ve found that the best way to combine the ingredients is the get your hands right in and squish between your fingers until the mixture looks like large crumbs. Set aside.

Peel and dice tart baking apples until you have about a 1 1/2 cups.

In a small bowl toss apple dices with some cinnamon until the apple are lightly covered. Set aside. (I have also, tossed in a TBSP of lemon zest before with good results).

In a large mixing bowl whisk together:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP Baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

then add

  • 1 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 7 TBSP of previously melted and cooled butter

Mix together with a rubber spatula gently, so that there are no dry lumps, but do not over mix, gently fold in the apples (The mixture will be fairly thick)

Divide into 2 greased 9 inch round pans. Spread mixture so it is even in pans. Sprinkle with Crumb mixture.

Place pans in center of pre-heated oven.

Check at 25 minutes using a toothpick test cake in the center. Toothpick should come out with crumbs attached but no batter. If toothpick is completely dry you have over baked it.

Baking time will depend on your oven and elevation.

Cool in pan at least 15 minutes before cutting (this will be the hardest part)


Reposted from my personal Facebook page because Autumn is upon us and I love to bake during this time of year!

My husband seems to think that I make the best Pumpkin Pie in the world. I wouldn’t know, I hate the stuff but I can tell you that I do make one hell of a Pie Crust and I believe that the crust is the key.

Use whatever pie filling you want (but it’s better if you use fresh spices rather than the premixed “pumpkin pie spice”.

The Vodka in this recipe is key…DO NOT eliminate or substitute it

Terri’s Double Pie Crust

(Makes 2 single or 1 double-crusted Pie)

  • 2 1/2 cups All purpose flour (do not use bread flour, there is a difference)
  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 12 TBSP Unsalted Butter, Chilled and Cut into several pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Shortening, Chilled and Cut into several pieces (I use the butter flavored Crisco that comes in sticks, easier to measure)
  • 1/4 cup vodka, Chilled (don’t worry about using the good stuff just make sure it’s not flavored!)
  • 1/4 cup ice water

-In Food Processor mix, 1 1/2 cup flour, 2 TBSP sugar and 1 tsp salt until combined, disperse butter and shortening pieces into food processor and pulse until mixture is unevenly clumpy and the flour is completely incorporated. (10-20 seconds)

-Scrape the mixer and sprinkle the remaining flour in, use your machine’s pulse function until completely incorporated (this will take just a few pulses) Your dough will be somewhat smooth at this point but should have visible chunks of butter and shortening…this is normal and essential, do not over-mix.

-Transfer into a medium sized bowl. sprinkle the chilled water and chilled vodka (it is very important that both be very cold) over the dough and mix with a spatula (although I just get in there with my hands) until the dough sticks together. if it is too sticky/wet, pat some flour on your hands and gently knead into the dough.

-Divide into 2 even pieces and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour but you can make it up to 2 days ahead.

-When ready to use let sit on counter for about 10 minutes before rolling out.

Depending on what kind of pie you’re making determines whether you pre-bake the crust or not (you don’t for pumpkin pie) but if you do need to pre-bake I suggest you get ceramic pie weights (they look like little ceramic marbles) and make sure you put tinfoil over the pie crust before you pour the weights on, I know from experience that picking 50 hot marbles off of the crust with your fingers is painful and makes you feel a little stupid.


First the Business stuff……. All opinions in the following post are my own (just as they always are!) and have nothing to do with my employer or it’s subsidiaries.  I am writing as a guest/fan and not as a Cast Member.

And now for the fun stuff!

I checked so many Blogs and travel sites before we left, just as I did last year before our Disney Cruise, that my head swam. Some of the advice I took, some I didn’t. Here’s what worked and what I’ll probably do next year (yes, we already have our dates picked out and I’ve requested vacation time).

Pants/Shirts/Dresses

  • 3 pair Jeans   Next time: I would take just 2 pair; 1 tight, 1 a bit looser for the flight home
  • 2 pair of black leggings  Next time: I might add a pair of yoga pants
  • 1 pair black clamdiggers  Next time: good, but better with pockets
  • Sun Dress, Long flowing Dress, shorter dressy dress  Next time: This I did well with, maybe another sun dress, stay away from restrictive clothing
  • Shirts: hand-full of T-shirts, 1 button up, 1 fancier pull over  Next time: You’ll buy t-shirts there so maybe a few less
  • Shorts: 4 pair  Next time: because of recent weight loss all fit awkwardly and looked terrible on me (I have pictures to prove it) Better planning next time 
  • Bathing suit  Next time: If you plan on swimming a lot, bring 2, I may even bring a beach towel as they don’t give them at the pool so you need to bring the bitty ones from the room

Lingerie:

  • 4 bras in various colors  Next time: at least a couple more 
  • Underwear, the number of days staying +1  Next time: whatever you think you need, you need more, because of the heat,  focus on breathable materials, opting for functional, and not cute
  • Socks: I pair for each day, a couple of long pairs, a few ankle length, mostly short bootie socks  Next time: all ankle length all the time, 1 for each day + a few extra (The bootie socks kept slipping beneath my heels, and it was painfully annoying. I’ll avoid them from now on)

Shoes

  • Flip Flops, mine are dressy, these will work when dressing up provided you’re not in a dining location that bans them altogether
  • 2 pair converse (I normally live in my converse, but next time, I may just bring one pair)
  • dress flats (I didn’t wear mine at all, and I bought a Chinese silk pair in EPCOT’s China Pavilion that I loved better and wore twice)
  • I almost took a pair of UGG’s, in retrospect, that would have been stupid
  • I didn’t bring heels because of the resort nature, but if I was planning a special meal I might
  • Next time: Very lightweight running or hiking shoes, regardless of how ugly I might think they are  

Haircare/Cosmetics/Body care

  • Hair Conditioner (I’m picky, the stuff in the room doesn’t cut it, the provided shampoo is ok)
  • Moisturizer (bring a good thick lotion for your arms and legs too)
  • Foundation (something that can survive the deep moist heat, or a tinted moisturizer if your skin can get away with it)
  • Eyebrow pencil (that’s because of my deep eyebrow obsession) and eyeshadow
  • Something to keep the hair frizzies at bay, but much more isn’t needed
  • Hair-ties, bands, barettes – I was constantly trying to keep my hair off my neck because of the heat
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash (Duh)
  • Facial cleaner (again, the provided soap doesn’t cut it for me)
  • Lipbalm for daily use, lipstick for dressing up
  • Face powder, blotting papers
  • Disposable wipes and/or hand sanitizer (to carry in your bag, there will always be a call for them)
  • Flushable wipes for the bathroom (do I even have to explain this)
  • Tweezers
  • Nail file, clippers
  • hair brush
  • hand mirror (I like to sit while I’m doing my makeup)
  • Baby powder
  • Razor
  • Aloe or skin soother

Electronics and Accessories 

  • Laptop and charger (free wi-fi!)
  • Kindle and charger (mostly for the plane, I didn’t end up reading at all on my trip – maybe if I spend more time at the pool)
  • iPhone and charger
  • Portable back-up battery for electronics (specifically my iPhone in the parks)
  • fitbit charger (I wear it on me all the time.  I walked over 70 miles on this trip)
  • Power strip (extra outlets to charge my many electronics)
  • Camera / standard and long lens/ battery charger

Suitcases / Purses / Bags

  • large checked bag (with room to add stuff on the return)
  • My inflight roller bag  including : 1 change of cloths for arrival, makeup remover, pajamas, all electronics and chargers – essentially, anything you might need if your checked bag doesn’t arrive with you
  • Personal carry-on (I take a large purse that I can fit my laptop in, but a good backpack will work too)
  • Backpack or daypack – I would have liked something lightweight with a cellphone pocket on the strap
  • lightweight purse for nights out

Misc.

  • Gum (you can’t buy it anywhere on the resort)
  • I would have loved a case of bottled water, Tom goes through it like, well….. water. You can have groceries delivered and I may do that next time
  • candy or snacks that are portable and cost prohibitive on the resort

I feel like I’ve missed a bunch of things, so I’m sure I’ll add to this later

I would love to hear other suggestions in the comments section 🙂 


First the Business stuff……. All opinions in the following post are my own (just as they always are!) and have nothing to do with my employer or it’s subsidiaries.  I am writing as a guest/fan and not as a Cast Member.

Magic Bands! The system is still in beta, but you wouldn’t have known it at the parks. It seemed like everyone was wearing one of the these colorful bands.

I had limited use for mine for a couple of reasons:
For tickets, as a CM, I use my credentials to get myself and my guests in. The new CM system at WDW is even easier than before, with RFID chips embedded in the media (DLR is still on the old system) but our bands are not tied into it…crossing fingers… just yet. In fact, the turnstiles at the  four WDW parks move so quickly, it doesn’t feel like there are lines at all. It’s kind of amazing!
Because my ticket media isn’t tied into the bands, I couldn’t use the FastPass+ system either. The old system is still working for the time being so it didn’t make much difference to me, but it was neat to see people scanning through.

I was able to use the band as the key to my room at the hotel and as a point of pay for both my Disney Dining Plan (DDP) and to buy things to charge back to my room/credit card on file.
There is a learning curve, you’ll hear the phrase “touch Mickey to Mickey” constantly, referring to Mickey on the face of the band and the Mickey on the point of purchase machine that lights up green when done right. I was finally able to do it first time every time by the last full day of our trip. Next time I’ll be a total expert! When making purchases we put in the pin code that we chose at pre-check in. You can make them all the same or give each guest their own.

The bands come in “One size fits all” but the grey part peels off to make the bands fit kids wrists better (or me, because I have the wrists of a 5-year-old). I found it hard to take the band off at the end of the trip because it had become such a part of me.
My one complaint, give this goth-at-heart girl a band in black or even purple. My orange band just didn’t go with everything I wore! They also sold add on’s for the bands so you could bling them out. I opted to keep mine in its natural, blingless state.

I’m told there are those who are a bit paranoid about the bands in a creepy, Big Brother way. I see the point but I see so much potential in these bands.  In the parks, they could know where guests are going, and what they’re avoiding. This could be a great way to know when to improve on an under utilized attraction or location. I have no idea if that is a capability of the bands, I just see the potential.
From a lodging standpoint, a guest never has to say their room number out loud, a privacy issue, or even remember it (because we know that you memorize the path to your room, but not always the number). When making an inquiry at the front desk, you scan your band, “Mickey to Mickey”, and your reservation comes right up on their screen. This is great for making dining reservations as well. I could see a touch-point set up in each building or in the lobby where guests could touch to check out and receive their final list of charges.
Everything syncs to My Disney Experience (MDX), an App and a website. I can’t tell you how many times I saw guests pull out their iPhones to check wait times, dining reservations or character locations.
If I could ask for any improvements, besides other color choices, I would ask that the DDP have better tracking in the MDX app. I’d like to know how many meals & snacks I have left and which band scanned for them and where. But I’m one of those people who keep crazy track of things like that.

My other issue is that I was unable to cancel dining reservations, even within the acceptable timeframe, online or through MDX, I had to go to guest services at my hotel to make those changes. Disney’s Art of Animation has almost 2000 rooms, which meant the lines at the front desk were almost always busy. Canceling reservations took time, every time. It’s a glitch, I’m sure, as the option was there, it would just time out.
The other hidden benefit to the bands it the WDW wide wi-fi that is now accessible to guests. It was told to me, by someone who should know, that the wi-fi is in place because of the bands and the system it runs on. Free wi-fi for guests doesn’t suck…not even a bit.


First the Business stuff……. All opinions in the following post are my own (just as they always are!) and have nothing to do with my employer or it’s subsidiaries.  I am writing as a guest/fan and not as a Cast Member.

And now for the fun stuff!

We returned from Florida a couple of days ago and had a marvelous time, but sadly I’m sick as a dog, presumably from touching something that some sticky flu-ridden person had touched before me. It was unseasonably humid for October (or so we are told) and there were days that it was just painful to me. On the upside, EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival was insanely fun. It was exciting trying out food that I might not have tried otherwise and most of the food, but not the wine or other adult beverages,  is considered a snack if you have the Disney dining plan (and OMG, did I mention there was WINE too!). We had some great experiences and met some really awesome people.  One night we cancelled dinner and just went from booth to booth trying this and that. France and Ireland were real stand outs for me. China had this nomm-able steamed bun with Mongolian beef that had just the right amount of heat to it.  Tom, not surprisingly, stayed close to anywhere that served taco’s.

We stayed at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (DAAR) and it’s A-MAZE-ZING!! So cute. The Cast was awesome. The theming and show are better than anything Disney I’ve ever experienced. As a CM myself, I was totally jealous of their spiel and will be stealing what I can!

DAAR Lobby

A view of the Lobby as you walk in

We stayed in The Casa Della Tires building in the Cars section and I loved it.
For those of you thinking of staying, make sure that regardless of which section you stay, walk the entire property, as each section is highly themed both inside and out.
DAAR is 3/4 Family Suites; Cars, Finding Nemo and Lion King. The other 1/4 are standard rooms themed to Little Mermaid.
There are 3 pool areas  The Big Blue Pool and it’s companion bar “The Drop Off” are just behind the main building that includes the Lobby, The Ink & Paint Shop and The Landscape of Flavors (DAAR’s fast casual dining location).
The Cars section has its own pool themed to the Cozy Cone. The pool is a little less busy but much smaller. You walk down Rt. 66 to get to your building (and watch your speed because the sheriff is out and about!). You may also run into Ramone, Flo, Sarge or Fillmore (my personal favorite!). Lightning McQueen & Sally, Mater and Luigi and Guido are stationed outside of their own buildings.
The Lion King section has the Elephant Bone Yard,  Simba, Scar and many more. It has no dedicated pool, but is halfway between the Big Blue and Little Mermaid Pools. It’s also the absolute closest walk to the resort bus stops, if that’s important to you (not that anything is terribly far away).
The Family Suites come with a small fridge (that is slightly bigger than many resort hotels seem to offer) a microwave and a selection of disposable plates, cups and utensils.
At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, getting a suite here for the price of a standard room at a moderate resort,it was totally worth it. I’d stay there again!

The lights that hang above the lobby at DAAR

The lights that hang above the lobby at DAAR

 

Concept Art on the wall of DAAR in the Lobby

Concept Art on the wall of DAAR in the Lobby

Concept Art on the wall of DAAR in the Lobby

Concept Art on the wall of DAAR in the Lobby

Concept Art on the wall of DAAR in the Lobby

Concept Art on the wall of DAAR in the Lobby

Concept Art on the wall of DAAR in the Lobby

Concept Art on the wall of DAAR in the Lobby



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