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CourtneyV's Wedding Review w/Pics!!

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So this is more of an “entire process review†than a wedding day one! Iâ€ve been writing this review since I started because I didnâ€t want to forget any details (I know, Iâ€m a dork!). Iâ€ve just been adding to it as everything happens, so hopefully this should help any future brides (and grooms). I know this is incredibly long, so just skip to the parts that apply to you. If you have any questions about anything, please ask!



Wedding Date: May 9th, 2008

Travel Dates: May 1st – May 11th

Honeymoon Travel Dates: May 11th – May 24th

Number of Guests: 23 (including one adorable toddler!)



Planning and Organization:

Honestly, I think those planners that they sell in the bookstores are a rip off. I looked through all of them, and some of them were handy, but they got pricey and I couldnâ€t find one that was specific to DW. So, I just made a binder and made specific tabs (Tammy Correspondence, Mariana Correspondence, Ceremony, Budget etc). I think I ended up having 24 tabs including DIY projects and honeymoon. This was easy and cheap and catered to my organizational needs… unless you find an amazing one, donâ€t get a planner! It helped me with the important stuff that I wanted a hard copy of, but mostly I stored everything on my computer (my list of “Favourites†was outrageous!!)


One thing I did do was print ALL of my e-mails that applied to scheduling, décor, prices, or any other arrangements that may require proof that we spoke about it! In the long run, Mariana had her stuff together and there was no need for the emails. Better to be safe than sorry I guess!



Our Website:

I personally didnâ€t want to spend any money on our website. I knew we wouldnâ€t have a lot of people attending (and therefore checking it) and some of our guests donâ€t even have the internet. We signed up with Wedding Announcer (Free Wedding Website!), it was really easy to work with and I donâ€t think I ever had a problem with it. I never had a problem with anyone finding it; we included it on our STDs and e-mailed it to those who requested it. Hereâ€s our website: Welcome




Originally I wasnâ€t going to do a save the date, just the invites. After getting a lot of questions about details about the wedding, I thought Iâ€d send them out anyways and hopefully answer most questions – at least until the invitations are sent. I really loved the boarding pass idea, even though itâ€s common on this site, I knew itâ€d be new to my guests, so I used it! I forget which template I started with, but I used one that was previously posted and I kept getting frustrated because I really couldnâ€t personalize it the way I wanted to. I finally found the PERFECT save the date boarding pass courtesy of BDWâ€s own Anny. She posted a link a while back that is no longer up and running, but I completely loved the design – I thought it looked exactly like an airline boarding pass, and my guests wouldnâ€t be wondering what the heck Iâ€m sending them! Lol.


The template I used is on my other computer... and since the link I had no longer works, Iâ€ll be sure to return and update my post with the template!


For those of you wondering when to send out STDs, I sent mine out as soon as I knew enough information. After I set my room block and knew 110% that Iâ€d be having the wedding at Dreams, I finalized my save the dates. I sent them out pretty much exactly a year before the wedding (towards the end of May).





Ok, I have to admit it – my invitations were inspired mostly by Jessalynâ€s. I saw hers and was blown away. She helped me so much and Iâ€m incredibly grateful, because if it werenâ€t for her my invites would have been a huge disappointment! Here is Jessalynâ€s thread for her invitations: http://bestdestinationwedding.com/forum/t3451


I also got inspiration from these websites: http://www.paperbyolga.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=27 Starfish wedding invitations Seaside Elegance Starfish invitations - Seaside Elegance beach wedding invitations in a box Hana Hou Productions - Tropical Hoku in Brown [LETTERPRESS STARFISH INVITATION + HANDMADE ACCENTS] Hawaiian



I only made about 30 invitations, but it took a lot of time and a lot of money. I spent about $400 on everything; some were surprise costs, like the how much the customs cost was when I bought the starfish from the U.S. I purchased some mulberry paper from a local art store. For those Calgarians on the board, the store was reasonably priced and they went out of their way to make sure I had everything I needed. Itâ€s a local, family own place called Mona Lisa Art hereâ€s their website: Welcome to the Mona Lisa Art Resource Website - from Mona Lisa Artists' Materials, Calgary Alberta


I made two pocket trifold invitations out of every sheet of mulberry paper. I canâ€t remember my exact measurements, but if you need them, let me know and I can look them up.


I had four inserts, not including the actual formal invite which was placed in the center. The four inserts were the rehearsal dinner invite, the resort info, we including contact info (ours and our TAâ€s) and the RSVP… which was my favourite part by far.


For our RSVP, we did it “Mad Lib styleâ€. I got the idea from Heidi and absolutely loved it (thanks Heidi!). I honestly didnâ€t expect many RSVPâ€s to be returned, and with the Mad Lib RSVPâ€s, I thought itâ€d take even longer for people to reply with the added “workâ€. I was pleasantly surprised when all but 6 were sent back!! I loved reading what guests filled in for the advice. If youâ€re struggling with what to do with your RSVP, I 100% suggest this. I know itâ€s not for everyone, and not everyone will reply, but those that do are so much fun to read and well worth it!!





My invitation in the center turned out great as well. I printed it on paper I found at the scrap booking store, apparently itâ€s their standard product. The paper had a bit if a shimmer to it, but nothing cheesy. I think it was called “Bling†paper (which, I know… it just sounds cheesy!), and the colour name was Prince Charming (dark-ish blue). Behind the paper, I attached burlap (which sounds weird, but I think it turned out great!). I glued a sand dollar with twine wrapped around the top.


Overall, I loved my invites, but I probably would simplify them if I had to do them again. My guests loved them and I got a lot of compliments, but the total money and time spent wasnâ€t worth it. I plan to frame one of my invites with a few wedding pictures. If you were to make similar invites, Iâ€d suggest using less expensive paper (the delicate paper was part of the reason it was so time consuming as well).


Hereâ€s a thread I posted about it with pics: http://bestdestinationwedding.com/forum/t6225



My Site Visit:

Hereâ€s the thread to my review, but Iâ€ll reiterate some information here just because I can – itâ€s my thread and Iâ€ll reiterate if I want to!!






My Dreams site visit was great because it got all of those “did-I-choose-the-right-resort†nerves out of the way! Aaron and I had so many plans to go out and see Cabo, but once we got to the resort, we totally hit relax mode. The service was amazing; I had previously read some reviews on tripadvisor about the poor service, but I didnâ€t see it once. I guess the “worst†service we got was the room service; they did get our orders wrong once or twice, but whatever it wasnâ€t that big of a deal.


My biggest pet peeve (as I mentioned in the site visit thread) was easily the reservation of the lounge chairs by the main pool. It got a little out of hand. 80% of the chairs werenâ€t used throughout the day and yet, people seemed to be up first thing in the morning to reserve the spots – I mean, come on… get a life! It got worse when people would take the blue floating lounge chairs and reserve them when they werenâ€t using them. Iâ€m sorry if you do this, but I just think this is so ridiculous and greedy. I have no issues marching right up to you and taking the floating lounge chair! Lol


Other than that, everything else was great. There were some times where I thought the food wasnâ€t the best, but that was mostly at the Seaside Grill… and only during the day, because we had one of the best steaks there Iâ€ve had in my life!




Engagement Pics with Leigh Miller:


I was a little nervous about the engagement pictures, mostly because I donâ€t really think Iâ€m photogenic, but I knew I wanted them done so we planned our site visit around when Leigh was in Cabo (I still canâ€t believe how well that worked out!).


Leighâ€s resort was just down the beach from Dreams, so on the day of, we walked down the beach to Leighâ€s resort (Las Ventanas: Luxury Beach Resorts | Las Ventanas al Paraiso | Los Cabos Vacations & Spa Resorts), hopped a cab to the art district in San Jose Del Cabo and had a blast! She was so great to work with, and omg – hilarious!! I had so much fun with her, which made working with her a breeze. She has such a unique vision and I was SO pleased when we got the pictures back.


Leigh Miller Photography


For those of you who might be considering Leigh Miller, I would recommend her in a heartbeat. Itâ€s not normally my thing to have my picture taken, but she made both of us feel so comfortable. We went to dinner with her that same night (RIP Coopers: SJD location), I swear we just talked for like two hours – and the time flew by. It was like two friends catching up on good times.



My Photobooks:



I did two photobooks. The first I did was engagement pictures as a gift to our parents for Christmas. I was on my way with using SharedInk, but alternatively I found a Canadian website called PhotoInPress. Theyâ€re located in Quebec and promised to ship in 2-5 days, which relieved the stress of getting it in time for Christmas. I was a little nervous about quality; I knew SharedInk provided quality, but PhotoInPress had excellent prices, shipped quickly and was easy to use, so I though it was worth a try.


I ordered four books in total; one for my parents, one for each of Aaronâ€s parents (since theyâ€re divorced) and one for my collection! The total for all four books, including shipping was $75. Books start at $14.99 (and range up to $44.99) and include 20 pages; each additional page is $0.99. All selections are hardcover, suede or leather, and offer a variety of colours to choose from for the cover.


Designing the books couldnâ€t be easier – honestly. From the website (PhotoInPress.ca : livre photo | photo book) youâ€ll download a program to design the pages. You can use their “collage†format and upload your pictures, but I first used Lumapix (fully expecting to upload to SharedInk afterwards) and just uploaded those images to full-page format in this program. If youâ€d like your pages to be full-bleed, itâ€s literally the click of a button.


Once youâ€ve finished designing, you can submit your book through the program, which will conveniently tell you if youâ€ve forgotten to do anything and will shortly after follow up with e-mails as your project is submitted, printed and mailed.


The books were good; maybe not the best quality, but definitely worth their price. I would have paid 3x that price for what I got.



First off, Iâ€d like to say how great it was to work with Chris from SharedInk. Every time I had a question and frantically e-mailed him, heâ€d reply often the same day, if not within a few hours!! He was great.


Creating my book was pretty easy. Iâ€m not savvy with this kind of stuff, but I had very few troubles… and like I said, when I did, Chris was a huge help. I completely misunderstood some instructions he gave me, and I was about to submit my book and he edited the error for me.


I have to be honest, when I received the book I was a little disappointed as to the quality. In part, I think it had something to do with the fact that I had just received our engagement album from Leigh, which was outstanding. Mostly, I felt like the cover of the album looked a little cheesy, but it really wasnâ€t that bad. Given the opportunity (and based on the excellent customer service), Iâ€d use SharedInk again.


OOT Bags:

I kept an ongoing list of OOT bag items that I loved. I think my favourite item was the towels we got. I wasnâ€t originally going to get towels, but right after Christmas we found this really great sale at Linens & Things, and found the towels in the perfect colour. I couldnâ€t resist! The most popular item among guests was the towels for sure. I did see quite a few people using the bags as well. Everyone loved the idea – Iâ€d do it again in a heartbeat. If there was one item I would have left out it probably would have been the pashminas. A few people used them here and there, but I donâ€t think it was worth the expense. It was also incredibly hot even in the evenings, so there was really no use for them. I also wish I had waited until all of my RSVPâ€s had come in before I started buying stuff. I bought after-sun care that was suggested on this forum because the eBay price was too good to pass up (and I didnâ€t even end up bringing them!), and I bought a lot of pashminas because Ann had organized a mass-BDW order… but I definitely got too much of each. I guess people are going to be getting pashâ€s and after-sun care for Christmas gifts for years to come!!


I got my bags from Zellers (do they have Zellers in the US?). Theyâ€re braided raffia bags, with a little starfish “clasp†(totally the wrong word!). I loved them!



My Dress:


The day after I got engaged, my mom took me dress shopping; we didnâ€t expect to find anything... and we didnâ€t, but it was fun. After that, we went as often as possible. I fell in love with a few, but never really felt really thrilled about one for more than just that day, I always had my doubts. We (and yes, I say we – my mom came with me every single time and thank goodness.. because you WANT to know when you try on a dress that “looks like packing tubes†rofl)… we knew we wanted to find the dress by October and started going dress shopping once or twice a month. The beginning of September we really started to feel the pressure from certain bridal salons and it was really annoying and frustrating. I found my dress at The Bridal Center in Calgary. I tried it on in pink and loved it… and Iâ€m not even a “pink†person. The funny thing was I almost told the lady I wouldnâ€t like it. I didnâ€t like the way it looked on the hanger at all and even though Iâ€m all for trying everything on, I just didnâ€t like it… but omg, once I tried it on, I was in love!! It was between two, so I took a week to decide and went to put a deposit on it the following week. I have to say, I never searched for a dress by designer – that has just never really mattered to me. Iâ€d heard a lot about Maggie Sottero dresses, mostly from this forum, and have always loved her dresses… so it was pretty exciting to find out that my dress was a Maggie dress. I love it, love it, love it. While waiting for it, I probably looked at it online every single day. Wedding dresses are expensive, but I thought the $1,000 for the dress was pretty reasonable (umm… especially since mom paid- Thanks mom!). This dress has everything I want; the sweetheart neckline, strapless, the wrap around rouching (sp?), the pick-ups (that my dad calls curtains). It made me feel like a princess. My high school grad dress was ivory and sort of DW-like, so I wanted something very different for my wedding and this was it exactly!


I guess my only complaint about where I got my dress was they told me itâ€d be here by the end of November, but then once I followed up they said not until January. When the girl on the phone heard my shock she said, “ya, but your wedding isnâ€t until Mayâ€. I felt a little bridezilla-ish here… yes, I knew my wedding wasnâ€t until May, but have you never dealt with a bride before??! Seriously, I was so excited to finally see my dress, only to learn Iâ€d have to wait 2 more months. It all worked itself out in the end when it actually arrived on time. Unnecessary drama!



Let the games begin...




As I mentioned above, we had gone on a site visit prior to our wedding, so itâ€s not like we were in for any major surprises. The site visit definitely put my mind at ease and helped me visualize and plan better. Iâ€m amazed by those of you who plan your weddings without a site visit; I saw countless pictures of Dreams, but still couldnâ€t imagine it – I just donâ€t think I could see myself doing that and staying sane!!





I didnâ€t get the chance to meet Mariana on my site visit; she was out of town due to a family emergency so I didnâ€t get to meet her until we were at the resort for a few days. On my site visit, we had met with Yesica, but didnâ€t make any decisions with her – I didnâ€t want to have to rely on her to get our selections to Mariana. Iâ€m sure she would have done a perfectly fine job of relaying the information, but the OCD bride in me wanted to tell her everything myself! lol


Through the planning process with Mariana, I was constantly pleased with her; she ALWAYS replied to my e-mails within 24 hours or less – she had great suggestions and she was incredibly patient with me, especially since I kept changing my mind!!


Mariana was amazing. When I did finally meet with her, she was SO easy going. Aaron, my parent and I met with her and we had last minute ideas flying around left, right and center and she was so patient with us. We had decided on a reception set up during that meeting and throughout the remainder of the week I had changed my mind. So on the day before the wedding I spoke to her about it and there were no worries – just like that she changed it. No hassles at all. Sheâ€s seriously amazing!


On the day of the wedding, Mariana was pretty much hidden in the background. I saw her a few times, running around making sure everything was going as it should. She had the wedding party meet in the lobby 10 minutes before my dad and I went downstairs. She asked us to wait so that any remaining guests running a little late (or even Aaron!) wouldnâ€t see me yet.


We got to the lobby and she was there with her radio making sure everyone was seated and ready for us before we started. Aaron says he felt like he was waiting a while for us, but I swear we were in the lobby the entire time waiting for the go-ahead!! Apparently Aaronâ€s dad made some wise-crack about how I must be a runaway bride!


The lovely Mariana herself:


Click the image to open in full size.


Welcome Dinner


We struggled a bit with the welcome dinner. I really loved the idea of a bonfire on the beach, but was a little disappointed when I saw what Dreams idea of a bonfire was. I think the most you could seat around the bonfire would be about 5 people – tops!


We ended up setting up tables at the La Cascada Terrace, in the lower level. We had a Mexican themed dinner with “show cookingâ€; they fried up the flank steak right before our eyes. The set up was better than I imagined – another thanks to Mariana!



The Wedding Day!!!!


Suzanne Morel:

I know her services are expensive, but the price was well worth it to put my mind at ease! I booked her services about a YEAR before the wedding, and oh-my-god… Paulina can call a lot! Like, sometimes multiple times in a day. I am, of course, at work and I come home to 2 or 3 voicemails from her! Kind of funny/annoying. I did tell her that I was best available by email and I think she started to get my hint after so many unanswered phone calls. But, Iâ€d have to say, itâ€s much better to have her following up so many times, than trying to get in contact with her with no avail!


I booked my hair trial for the day before the wedding/rehearsal dinner and Iâ€m glad I did. I thought I was prepared; I came armed with ONE picture (as per the poll I posted here before with the back shot of the up-do) and thought that it would be sufficient enough… boy was I wrong. I didnâ€t even think of how I wanted the front done!! I looked through Dianaâ€s album and we merged a lovely up-do creation.


When Diana was done, I loved it. Suzanne came in to talk to me and my mom and she re-worked the hair-do a little with a few suggestions. I couldnâ€t believe the difference Suzanneâ€s suggestions made. I genuinely loved the original up-do, and then Suzanne came along and recreated something that looked totally different, but so much better!




Everything is such a blur; the day went by so quickly. We had our hair and makeup done starting at 11am and they were done by 2:30. Originally they were supposed to take up until 4pm, so Leigh was going to stop by the room for getting ready pictures at 3. Since they were done and packed up so early… they just left. That is my one regret; I wish I had asked them to stay for the getting ready pictures.


Throughout the entire day I felt this strange sense of calm. I was totally expecting to feel nervous and anxious – Iâ€m not sure if it just didnâ€t hit me yet, or what, but it was nice to be relaxed the entire time! I started to feel nervous when my dad and I started heading downstairs. We were waiting in the lobby for the go-ahead from Mariana and people were watching us and smiling, giving us their congrats… and then I felt nervous. From then on, I donâ€t remember much. I hardly remember walking down the aisle. I saw my mom and my ring bearer walk ahead of us together… apparently while they were walking, on of the rings dropped off the pillow – Iâ€m so glad I didnâ€t know that until after the fact!


Of the ceremony itself, I remember very, very little. I cried, I remember that! I had to try to cool it during my vows because I felt like my crying was making my voice too shaky. Lol. Aaron was so sure heâ€d cry, but he didnâ€t (until the reception!).


After the ceremony, we walked back down the aisle, and there was a waitress with champagne for us. When we got there, she must have gotten excited (or flustered!) because she spilt the champagne, some of which landed on my dress, but I honestly didnâ€t care. I actually felt kind of bad for the waitress because she seemed really upset she did this. Seriously, I could have cared less!


Mariachi Trio


To be honest, I donâ€t remember much about the Trio. I had hired them through Mariana, I remember them playing at the beginning of the cocktail hour before we left for more pictures. My guests seemed to have loved them… and apparently THEY are the reason the ceremony ran late. Not because they werenâ€t ready on time, but because my guests enjoyed their music so much they wouldnâ€t sit down!




Dreams was amazing; the reason why I chose this resort was because I fell in love with the gazebo. On our wedding day, the waves were particularly aggressive and made for a breathtaking backdrop. Not so close that they were too loud or in the way, but close enough that it set the tone for an amazing destination wedding.





For the reception, we chose the Oceana Terrace. We sat at the far side of the pool. The only down side of this location was the fountain – it was beautiful, but loud! Although, I didnâ€t notice when they shut the fountain off partway through the night, so it didnâ€t disturb the reception at all!


Speaking of disturbing the reception… keep in mind that the Oceana Terrace is located directly below a row of balconies. We were part way through dinner when all the sudden we could hear a couple CLEARLY enjoying each otherâ€s company… loud and clear!


The rest of the night is a pretty big blur. My brother was our MC, and he did an outstanding job. We played the Newlywed game, he SANG to Aaron (“What a Wonderful Aaron†and play on “What a Wonderful Worldâ€), they had memories sent to us by guests that couldnâ€t make it and even letters sent. It was so much fun and went by far too quickly.



Leigh Miller



I consider myself lucky to have booked Leigh for our wedding. As I mentioned before, we had our engagement pictures done by her when we went for our site visit and couldnâ€t have been happier. She and Amy were so much fun to work with. So far, Iâ€ve only seen two teaser photos and I love them both… I canâ€t wait to see the rest. Both Leigh and Amy blended in with my family so well; they even helped Aaronâ€s side (aka the cheating side) win Family Feud on the rehearsal dinner night.


This is the teaser Leigh posted on her blog last week...


Click the image to open in full size.


Trash the Dress:


As I mentioned before, Aaron and I had our engagement pictures done by Leigh in the Art District of San Jose Del Cabo in August. There were some really neat places there, and so for the TTD we returned. It was fun to revisit some of those places, including one where we had been before; itâ€s an old little hotel with a small lobby with one couch… and one old Mexican man wearing his cowboy hat. We returned there for TTD and the same old Mexican man wearing his cowboy hat was sitting there. When Leigh asked if we could take some pictures, he stood up this time, so I donâ€t think he made it into any pictures this time, but it was still fun.


Click the image to open in full size.


The TTD was a blast – my dress didnâ€t get too trashed; itâ€s pretty dirty and a bustle broke, but other than that itâ€s fine. We didnâ€t do any in-the-water type TTD, but even if we had it still would have held up.


My Honeymoon


So, I was lucky enough to book a honeymoon at Disneyworld. It wasnâ€t the best idea location-wise, but Aaron and I had gone to Disneyworld 2 years prior with my family and knew it was THE honeymoon location, so it was worth the additional travel.


I booked my honeymoon with Tammyâ€s help, and she was fantastic! She went above and beyond to help me get the honeymoon I wanted, so I owe her one big thank you!


At first, we wanted to book our honeymoon accommodations at Regal Palms (Regal Palms Resort Official Web Site) this is where we stayed when we went 2 years ago. Theyâ€re nice, updated townhomes and really reasonably priced… but this isnâ€t how it worked out. Since Aaron and I are under 25, renting the townhouse, a car and paying the extra fee because of our age, it ended up to be more expensive than the package we ended up going with.


We booked at Disneyâ€s Coronado Springs Resort with the park-hopper option and the meal plan. The meal plan was definitely worth it, I havenâ€t sat down and calculated how much we actually saved, but I wouldnâ€t be surprised if it was in the hundreds. Dinners especially were incredibly expensive. We had a great restaurant right in the resort and we enjoyed steak dinners often thanks to the dining plan!




Not much has changed since our last visit in 2006. Theyâ€ve added a few new features like the Photopass, one which we found came in handy. Throughout the park, Disney has set up several photographers at the hot spots (i.e., in front of the castle in Magic Kingdom). Start by asking the photographer for a Photopass card – each picture that the photographers take throughout your vacation, the photographer will scan to the card. It came in handy for us, because apparently itâ€s quite a burden to ask other guests to take your picture for you (seriously, some of the rudest tourists visit Disney!). We had the photopass photographer take several pictures of us… of course, they sell them on their website for a pretty penny, but for us we now have several more pictures of the two of us that we wouldnâ€t have.


Theyâ€ve also updated a few of the rides; on Pirates of the Caribbean theyâ€ve added Jack Sparrow in a few scenes. He doesnâ€t do much, or say anything, but it is an interesting new addition.



The line ups in May were very short, with the exception of our last day, which was the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend, when it got pretty busy (as expected). We hardly used the fastpass because the lines were so short. Iâ€ve only been to Disney in February and May and I found the crowds to be fairly similar, Iâ€d suggest either time to visit.




Cinderella Castle: The Royal Table Dining:


When it says on the website to book 180 days ahead of time, book 180 days ahead of time!! Ok, thatâ€s not true for all restaurants (although it does list that for all full service dinners), but itâ€s certainly true for the Cinderella Castle. I literally booked 177 days ahead of time, and there were only two times left – albeit they were both good times (5:15 and 6:30), but Iâ€m glad I didnâ€t leave it much longer.


The dinner itself was nothing too amazing. The appetizer (corn and crab soup) was really good, but it pretty much ended there. The desert wasnâ€t too bad either, but again, nothing to write home about… so I wonâ€t!


The best part was the picture with Cinderella included in the package and the little show they do at the end! Was it worth it? Ya, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us – something to enjoy on our honeymoon. Would I do it again? Probably not. Maybe when we return with our own children, if itâ€s something they want to do.


Coronado Springs Resort:


Iâ€ve previously stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort as a child and loved it, but we decided to stay at the Coronado Springs Resort instead. Itâ€s quite a large resort; the rooms surround a decent sized man-made lake. We were on the opposite side of the lobby, so we had to hike to the restaurant every morning… but it took 10 minutes tops – on a lazy day! I read a lot of reviews complaining about the size of the resort, but it honestly isnâ€t that bad. If you wanted to walk the perimeter of the lake, Iâ€d say itâ€d take you under 30 minutes.


The resort is primarily geared towards conventions, but itâ€s great for families too. It had a really cool main pool called the “Dig Siteâ€, which had a huge pyramid with a waterfall… hard to describe, really cool in person.


Other than the table-service restaurant on site, it also has a seated “quick-service†(much like a food court) called the Pepper Market. When seated, each person is given a ticket. Whatever you order, your ticket is stamped and when you leave the restaurant, you pay for everything stamped on the ticket. The only confusion came along when we either used one ticket for both of us (when we only wanted to use one “quick-service†on our meal plan) or other what we could have that applied to the meal plan. FYI – cake is not included on the meal plan (cheap bastards!)… but we went one night fairly late to the Rix Café, where the manager honored cake as a snack to our meal plan. Apparently, if you have the meal plan, trying this towards the end of the day works well since theyâ€ll likely discard the old cakes anyways.


Our room was nothing special itself, but the location was great. Like I said, we were a bit away from the lobby, but everything else was in our favour. We were located in Casita #4, right off a pool and right near bus stop #2. Bus stop #2 is usually the first stop the buses make and therefore youâ€re more likely to get a seat than at bus stop #4 or #1, which is the last stop.


If youâ€re looking at staying at Coronado Springs and would like some more information or some pictures, please feel free to PM me!


Universal Studios:


For those of you who have visited Universal Studios Orlando before – do you remember the Back to the Future ride? I loved that ride as a child (heck, it was a big hit in our family only two short years ago!). Ya, itâ€s gone! I was shocked when I read this. Theyâ€ve turned it into a Simpsons ride. Naturally, this was our first stop when we got to Universal. I have to say, itâ€s SO much better than the Back to the Future ride. Itâ€s very cool; theyâ€ve added some great new features to the ride. Other than that, Iâ€m not sure of any upgrades. Last time we were there a lot of rides were closed down, so I donâ€t have much to compare to.


We spent only two days in Universal, both were incredibly smoldering hot and the Jurassic Park water ride came in handy!! It was also definitely my favourite ride; simply for the T-Rex at the end … heâ€s so cool!



Cirque Du Soleil – La Nouba:


Neither of us has ever been to a Cirque Du Soleil show before, so we were both really excited for this. We had planned for a day in downtown Disney (since this is where the show is located). We ended up spending the only the afternoon in Downtown Disney, and that was too much time! Every store there sells pretty much the same crap (aka the same crap found in the parks!). We purchased very little when we were there and ended up needing to kill time before the show.


Also, if youâ€re planning on booking tickets, make sure to book well in advance. When booking online, you can choose your category of seating, but not the exact seat (say, as you would be able to with ticketmaster). We booked our tickets a little over 5 months before our trip; the first category had already been sold out. We still got awesome tickets, only a few rows back and just off-center to the stage. When I checked back quite a few weeks later, almost all tickets were sold out!! We paid just over $100 USD per ticket. In the end, it was totally worth it. Words donâ€t do it justice, but the show was fantastic. I have no idea how it compares to other Cirque shows, but we were both blown away. I donâ€t think Aaron was expecting much, but it was definitely one of his favourite stops. If youâ€re considering it, itâ€s a must-see!!




I think thatâ€s pretty much it!! Ha!! I challenge anyone to write a longer review!!!



And now for some pictures:


Getting ready:


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Relaxin', waiting for the show to begin!


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Lol... Aaron, his best friend/GM Devon and his Dad/GM posing while waiting for the ceremony to begin!


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My mom and my ring bearer


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This is Aaron's reaction when I was filling him in on the details about the BD book he'd received just before the ceremony!


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I think my mom is excited lol


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My lovely BM


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I was totally blown away by the cake, which wasn't a big deal to me. I just told Mariana the kind of cake I wanted and this is what she made of it! I was so impressed, I really wasn't expecting anything - just a boring cake.


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