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View Full Version : The ultimate budget trip to WDW!! Pre-trip report for May 2010


stacy347
12-29-2009, 09:50 AM
Per the usual, we'll start off with the cast:

Myself (Stacy) lets just say late-30s~ collector of all things Disney and just a teensy bit obsessed with WDW :lovestruc

DD16 (Nicole) will be turning 17 halfway through the trip :dance3: ~ loves Beauty and the Beast and has been collecting related items for years

DD15 (Chelsea) sassy, stylish and sensitive would be the best description for Chels...she is not so much into the characters as she is the rides and attractions but she does have a soft-spot for Alice and the Mad Hatter

DD12 (Paige) very much a princess but downplays it these days so as not to get teased by older sisters ;)

DD11 (Amanda) is in the autism spectrum and has a Stitch collection that seriously rivals the gift shop at WDW! I will take some pics of it and post them here ~ it is unbelievable!


A little WDW family history:

We (the DDs and I) have been to the World twice now. Our first trip was in August 2006 and we were lucky enough to do Free Dining popcorn::! I planned that trip for approx. 2 years and that is how I found this board.
I had started a trip report after that trip but sadly, life got in the way and I left it undone ~ NOT going to happen this time! Here are links to the old one if anyone wants to get a little more info on us:
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1202574 (Day 1)
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1230384 (Day 2)

That first trip had us hooked! I was already planning the next one on the way back to MI, LOL. :cool1:

We did go back in June 2007. While we once again had an amazing time, I don't believe we would ever go back in June. We just didn't care for the crowds or the weather (we got pretty lucky weatherwise for our Aug. 2006 trip ~ or maybe Free Dining just made it more bearable, LOL).

I know it won't be a lot cooler in May than June but I'm hoping since we'll be there during school time, the crowd situation will make it more comfortable.
The girls will be missing one week of school for this trip which we discussed at length and decided it would be worth it to do that just once!

This trip is going to be a much more "budget" trip than we have done before. Along with pretty much everyone else we know, our lifestyle has had to change quite a bit over the last few years. Our area of MI has taken quite a hit and we have definitely felt the effects of that. DH used to work for Ford (for almost 13 years) and then awhile back we found out his entire dept. was shutting down. :( We were able to get a buyout package but there just wasn't anything else in his field to replace that income so of course the buyout money only went so far and big changes had to be made. He is in a steady job now and we are grateful for sure, but we now live on about 40% of the income that we had before. Suffice it to say, no extravagant spending for us! ;) This trip is going to be a real treat for us and the first time we've had a vacation in 3 years ~ we're very excited!!

DH will not be joining us as he has collapsed discs in his back and can not do that kind of travel without a lot of pain. My DSis treated us to a daytrip to Cedar Point recently and even after just that 2 hour drive each way, he could barely walk.

Now, I know some people don't consider it a WDW vacation unless you're on property and at a park everyday, but if you came from Michigan and were surrounded by businesses shutting down around you everyday and friends having to move away because they just can't make it anymore ~ you'd realize what a treat it really is just to be able to do a week in Florida and experience WDW in whatever way that you can.

OK, time to move on to the fun stuff ~ the planning!!

I had been trying to come up with a nice little getaway for us that we could fit into the budget (you'll be seeing that word a lot in this report, LOL). We looked into a lot of different things and added up costs for each. I was in shock at the cost of going almost anywhere these days. Honestly, I get that WDW is NOT a cheap place to go. However, it is definitely comparable with the alternatives and IMO, a much better value for the money!

Like many of you, I go way overboard when planning a trip to the World. The first time we went, I planned for 2 years as I mentioned above and I drove everyone crazy. I am trying to restrain myself this time around and it's probably a good thing I only have about 4 months to go till this trip. ;)

I currently have a file going on the computer that is labeled WDW docs. Inside said file are 19 documents keeping track of my plans for this trip. A little excessive? Maybe, LOL. But, it works for me and it gives me something cheerful to look forward to each day. :surfweb:
I've got pages of tips for each park, DTD, resorts that we want to visit, waterparks and restaurants. I also have an itinerary for the week we go and separate itineraries for each day we'll be there. My current document that I'm working on is our food budget and restaurant list for the week. This might just be my favorite part because while I do love taking care of my family, I can not begin to explain how nice it is not to have cook for a whole week!! :cloud9:

We will be heading down Saturday, May 15 and arrive May 16. I am planning on staying in Florida six nights, getting on the road Saturday, May 22 and getting home the 23rd.


Next up ~ Details!! :woohoo:

stacy347
12-29-2009, 10:11 AM
The details so far:

We will be driving down. I have a really good code for a rental and have decided that would be the wisest thing to do as my vehicle has been having some issues and it wouldn't be budget friendly to break down 1200 miles from home, LOL.
We will break it up over 2 days like we did before since I will be the only driver (oldest DD will have her license but the rental companies have a minimum age for drivers).

Our nights on the road will be at hotels that I get with my point rewards. I have been saving up my rewards for just this reason and I love being able to get stuff that I don't have to pay for!

Once we get there, the plan is to either stay at the Regal Sun in DTD (they have an awesome rate for the week we're going) or if there is a really good deal, possibly POR in one of the trundle rooms. I'm not sure they will offer a good enough deal for that to be in the budget but I'll be watching.
We were lucky on our first 2 trips that my DSis and her family went with us and we were able to split 2 value rooms since my niece was under 3 at the time ~ since it will just be the girls and I this time, we need a room that sleeps 5 and I need to do it as budget-friendly as possible.

The girls and I are going to do the Give a Day, Get a Day promo. We are just waiting to see what volunteer events are gong to be in our area. This is a double bonus for me as I was just telling the girls that we needed to do more stuff like this as a family. Gotta love the fact that Disney is offering the perfect opportunity to get kids involved.
So, that takes care of one park day. I read on the Dis that the tickets from the promo will be upgradeable. If that turns out to be true, then the plan is to at least add on the Waterpark and More option ($50 each) which will be used for a day at Blizzard Beach and a day at DisneyQuest.

The girls agreed to give up some of the usual Christmas gift lists to free up spending money for the trip. With that being saved and doing mostly homemade gifts for extended family, we can take care of the hotel portion down there.
As far as food, we will have a room with a fridge so we'll bring breakfast food with us to keep in the room (bagels, honey buns, cereal) and when we get there, we'll pop into WalMart and grab some milk, water and whatnot to keep in the fridge.
I've also started a new household budget and what we save each month will go onto a Disney GC until we go.
We will also have a free dinner at Applebee's one night thanks to a GC from MyPoints combined with a GC from Christmas.
I did schedule 2 ADRs for this trip that I will be saving up for:
Chefs de France lunch on 5/19 for oldest DD's 17th birthday
and
Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare with Alice, Mad Hatter and Mary Poppins because we just really wanted to have some guaranteed character time and with our park days being so limited, this seemed like a good choice (however, if the budget is too tight, this one will be the first to go).

Next up ~ how much can you do at WDW on a budget? ;)

stacy347
12-31-2009, 04:32 PM
First off, I will be ordering an Orlando Entertainment Book soon to hopefully get some discounts at a couple of the places we hope to go.


Sunday, May 16 ~ we are just going to get settled in at the resort, do a little grocery shopping and let the kids swim.

Monday, May 17 ~ this day will be spent resort hopping. I have a file full of things that I want to see and do at the resorts so it will be a very busy day!

Tuesday, May 18 ~ we'll be spending this day at DisneyQuest and I'm not planning anything else for this day because I know my girls and once they get in there, I'll probably not get them out until it closes, LOL. ;)

Wednesday, May 19 ~ this is oldest DD's 17th birthday and we will be spending the day at Magic Kingdom (I just need her to pick out a new ADR for her b-day lunch since we will most likely not be going to Epcot at all now).

Thursday, May 20 ~ Blizzard Beach day!! We have never done a WDW waterpark and we are really excited about this one! They do close at 5:00 p.m. this day, so my plan is to head over to the Poly afterwards, walk around, take some pictures and grab a snack, head down to the beach and catch Wishes and the Electrical Water Pageant.

Friday, May 21 ~ I would like to head over to Gatorland or Central Florida Zoo on this day. I was told that the Entertainment Book has coupons for Gatorland...not sure about the zoo so we'll see which one ends up being more economical for us.

Saturday, May 22 ~ just swimming, packing up, lunch at Applebee's with our GCs and probably going to the Disney Character outlet before we hit the road.


Next up ~ trying to convince DSis and family to go the same week as us yet again...can we do it? :rolleyes1

Juanaiguana
01-07-2010, 07:40 PM
Subbing...

We are also staying offsite, a friend gave us a too-good-to-pass-up deal and made no sense to stay onsite. My kids also really begged to do Discovery Cove this year, which took a very large chunk of my WDW money from me, much to my dismay!! :( But I do what they want to do, right?! :)

I'll be very interested to hear how u pull it off on a budget! It's easier said than done, for sure. I honestly don't know how anyone does it staying at those Deluxes all the time, but many ppl do it.

Excited to hear more!

stacy347
01-07-2010, 08:44 PM
Subbing...

We are also staying offsite, a friend gave us a too-good-to-pass-up deal and made no sense to stay onsite. My kids also really begged to do Discovery Cove this year, which took a very large chunk of my WDW money from me, much to my dismay!! :( But I do what they want to do, right?! :)

I'll be very interested to hear how u pull it off on a budget! It's easier said than done, for sure. I honestly don't know how anyone does it staying at those Deluxes all the time, but many ppl do it.

Excited to hear more!

Welcome aboard! I really did toss around all the options including staying on-site with a room only PIN I ended up with ~ but even with that, I was over budget so here we go. ;)

There have been just a couple of changes in the plans since I last posted (and I tend to waffle a lot when planning WDW trips so nothing is set in stone yet, LOL).
I am actually leaning more toward staying at Seralago at this point. I know it is further down than most people would like to stay but they offer a good size room at a much lower rate than what we are getting at Regal Sun. I have read mixed reviews but more positive than negative and the kids really love the look of Seralago (and as Juanaiguana said above, we do what makes the kids happy :lovestruc).
They have 2 nice size pools, an arcade and a food court that the kids like the look of.
They also have tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, as well as Free WiFi which the girls are happy about so they can use their laptop and Ipod touch down there.

If anyone wants to see more info:
http://www.seralagohotel.com/
Of course, the best part for me is that it is less than $50/night if you go through BookIt! :woohoo:

Right now we are trying to convince my DSis, BIL and their DS11 and DD5 to go the same week we do. They were also looking to do something more budget friendly than the usual WDW trip, so I have been sending them all the info I come up with and I'm really hoping to have them on board soon. Both other times we went to WDW they went the same week and it is really nice to see our kids experience Disney together. Of course we all wear on each other a bit but hey, that's what family is for, right? :rotfl:

I'll be booking the resort and car rental in just a few weeks as soon as I take of care of a few bills so I'm really excited now :hyper:. Once everything is booked, it will finally seem within reach and I'll know I'm going back to the most magical place on earth ~ does it get any better than that? :cloud9:

Ghosthost999
01-07-2010, 09:03 PM
I think your trip sounds absolutely wonderful. :) Being on a budget does not mean the fun of Disney is lessened. The time with your family is what you will take away from this trip.

And I love hearing about other obsessive types who plan their trips as intensely as I do. It helps to know I'm not alone. :rotfl2:

Have a wonderful trip and I will be looking for your post trip report.

stacy347
01-07-2010, 09:35 PM
I think your trip sounds absolutely wonderful. :) Being on a budget does not mean the fun of Disney is lessened. The time with your family is what you will take away from this trip.

And I love hearing about other obsessive types who plan their trips as intensely as I do. It helps to know I'm not alone. :rotfl2:

Have a wonderful trip and I will be looking for your post trip report.

Thank you so much! It really is a trip to get us away from a lot of stuff that hasn't been so nice this past year and no matter how little $$ we spend, we're going to enjoy having that week together with no stress over our heads. :goodvibes

I promised a pic of DD11's Stitch collection ~ here it is:
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/stacy347/Jan72010upload047.jpg

It is hard to see all of it in the picture, but there are a ton of Stitches along with cousins, Lilos, Pleakely, Jumba (David and Noni got lost somewhere :(), a couple of shirts, socks, books, games, CDs, DVDs, notepad from WDW and more that I can't even think of, LOL. It's a labor of love for her. :lovestruc

RachelNinja
01-08-2010, 09:10 PM
Hi there! Found you via TokyoDina's PTR! I'm interested in reading about your trip because it's not as "extravagant" as the typical trips on the board. I've grown up going to Florida quite often, but we were always into saving money. Recently we've only been doing one or two parks when we go visit. We don't make ADR's because it's expensive; we always eat before we leave the condo and we always leave the park to eat dinner.

My father lost his job about a year and a half ago. Then he had cancer this past summer and still isn't in the best of health. He still hasn't gotten a job and probably won't be able to. My mom is searching for a job at the moment. We are still going on this trip because we need to get away considering the stresses of life, but we are definitely going to have to keep a watch on the money spending. We don't buy drinks in the park EVER and the only splurge I'm allowing in terms of a snack is a Dole Whip float.

I work but get paid very little so what I spend on my own will be on stuff that I have thought about. Can never buy things on a whim!

Haha, all that to say that I'm really into following your plans!

RachelNinja
01-08-2010, 09:11 PM
BTW, that picture of all of your DD's Stitch stuff is crazy! Haha, all I can say is WOW!

momof2TNboys
01-08-2010, 09:54 PM
I'm jumping onboard. We will be there the same week. We are actually staying 3 nights at the Hyatt before going to WL. It is crazy how huge the rooms are at the Hyatt for under 70 dollars a night. We just could not justify paying at least 20-30 dollars more a night to stay at a Value before transferring to WL. We plan to maybe go to Islands of Adventure for Harry Potter also if it has opened up or just going for a beach day. Can't wait to hear more!

stacy347
01-08-2010, 10:44 PM
RachelNinja ~ I'm sorry to hear about everything your family is going through (I hope your dad has a much better year in 2010 :hug:). I'm glad you guys are getting to go to WDW ~ it really does help, doesn't it?

I have been scouring all the WDW info sites for things that I can do with my girls that are "Disney" but won't break the bank and honestly, I'm not even sure if we can get it all done in a week, LOL! There is a lot of no-cost/low-cost stuff to do and I can't wait to try it all. :cool1: We will also be drinking a lot of ice water (FREE) in the park(s) and I'll bring KoolAid packets to mix it up with. One of our meals is going to be a picnic we bring in (not a full-on picnic basket, LOL) ~ sandwiches, snacks and drinks that we're going to take over to Tom Sawyer Island and just kick back and eat. :cloud9:


momof2TNboys ~ Welcome aboard and maybe we'll run into each other down there (It's a Small World, right? ;)) ~ I'll be the mom trying to move in 4 directions at once trying to keep all the kids happy. :rotfl2:

TokyoDina
01-08-2010, 11:12 PM
You are going the same time I am!! We had a sudden change in when we could go and so we pushed it back to the same week. We are going to be doing the parks one different days, but I'm sure if one of your DD sees a girl...because I don't look my age walking around with Stitch ears on their head. That would be me! I hope your trip will be enjoyable! We are going to do all the parks to make up for the rain we got last year. No water parks we don't really have time for it.

But I can't wait to see your TR~!!

I love Stitch too! I don't have that many things of course. I've only collected towels and a lamp my DH surprised me with that one! It's uber cute! Maybe we'll bump into each other. I'll be pretty hard to miss my ears bring a lot of attention! Ha!

RachelNinja
01-09-2010, 07:55 AM
RachelNinja ~ I'm sorry to hear about everything your family is going through (I hope your dad has a much better year in 2010 :hug:). I'm glad you guys are getting to go to WDW ~ it really does help, doesn't it?

I have been scouring all the WDW info sites for things that I can do with my girls that are "Disney" but won't break the bank and honestly, I'm not even sure if we can get it all done in a week, LOL! There is a lot of no-cost/low-cost stuff to do and I can't wait to try it all. :cool1: We will also be drinking a lot of ice water (FREE) in the park(s) and I'll bring KoolAid packets to mix it up with. One of our meals is going to be a picnic we bring in (not a full-on picnic basket, LOL) ~ sandwiches, snacks and drinks that we're going to take over to Tom Sawyer Island and just kick back and eat. :cloud9:


Thank you for the well wishes! :hug: I thought it would be a good year, but unfortunately, my dad had a doctor's appointment yesterday regarding the other kidney and his overall health and the news wasn't good. I hope that my dad will still be able to enjoy the vacation and get away from the stresses that we have here. Disney really helps for me though because I can "get away" from everything that's here when I plan or when I read PTRs/TRs!

I love your budget ideas! I only recently read about the tip to bring in stuff to mix with the water. I think that'll work wonders especially since my younger brother does NOT drink plain water willingly. We also go down to Florida and get a box of CapriSun or MinuteMaid juice because they freeze very well and last a long time. We use them to cool off and then when the ice is gone entirely, we drink it. That also means we started off the day with heavy bags, but it's nice not to buy such expensive drinks in the park! Those prices are outrageous!

Your picnic idea is great too! It's not really a special meal to have sandwiches when you're in WDW because you're surrounded by so many choices, but I love love LOVE your Tom Sawyer idea because then it turns a simple sandwich into a planned event! I'll definitely be storing that tip :)

weswife
01-09-2010, 08:09 AM
Hi, I have enjoyed all of your posts! I love saving a few $$$$, I am a budget girl myself!;)

My DS 10 wanted me to tell you he :love: the Stitch collection!!!! Stitch is his favorite!!!!!! We are going to O'Hana's for breakfast for his b-day! He always picks O'Hana's because of Stitch!

wdwgirl03
01-09-2010, 04:46 PM
I'm here! Saw your post on RachelNinja's PTR and decided to join in. May is a great time to go!

Where in Michigan are you from? My dad went to the University of Michigan for law school. :)

stacy347
01-09-2010, 06:00 PM
You are going the same time I am!! We had a sudden change in when we could go and so we pushed it back to the same week. We are going to be doing the parks one different days, but I'm sure if one of your DD sees a girl...because I don't look my age walking around with Stitch ears on their head. That would be me!

LOL, we'll keep an eye out for your ears! :stitch2:


Your picnic idea is great too! It's not really a special meal to have sandwiches when you're in WDW because you're surrounded by so many choices, but I love love LOVE your Tom Sawyer idea because then it turns a simple sandwich into a planned event! I'll definitely be storing that tip :)

I had read about other people doing this and it just sounded like the perfect way to break up a busy day ~ plus we haven't been over to Tom Sawyer Island yet and I'm really forward it!

Hi, I have enjoyed all of your posts! I love saving a few $$$$, I am a budget girl myself!;)

My DS 10 wanted me to tell you he :love: the Stitch collection!!!! Stitch is his favorite!!!!!! We are going to O'Hana's for breakfast for his b-day! He always picks O'Hana's because of Stitch!

Awww, thank you and that is so cool that your DS gets to be with Stitch on his b-day! I think that meeting Stitch has been the highlight of DD11's life so far.



Here are some pictures of DD and all things Stitch!
If anyone knows of other photo ops with Stitch that we could do, please let us know. :flower3:

DD and Stitch at 'Ohana breakfast
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/stacy347/WDW2.jpg

Outside Stitch's Great Escape
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/stacy347/WDW9.jpg

Stitch at the Poly in a gift shop display window
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/stacy347/WDW084.jpg

DNephew, DD12 and DD11 with Stitch in Animal Kingdom
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/stacy347/WDW3.jpg

In the animation building at DHS
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/stacy347/NicsWDWpictures2007108.jpg

With Pleakley in Tomorrowland
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/stacy347/Stacys_WDW2006_Pics066.jpg

With her giant Stitch from the ASMo gift shop
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/stacy347/Nicsdispics003.jpg

She thought this was so cool to come "home" to one night at ASMu
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/stacy347/WDW2007Stitch.jpg

stacy347
01-09-2010, 06:04 PM
I'm here! Saw your post on RachelNinja's PTR and decided to join in. May is a great time to go!

Where in Michigan are you from? My dad went to the University of Michigan for law school. :)

We are actually in southeast MI, the downriver area. My cousin went to U of M for med school and that's where DD16 wants to go for med school as well ~ awesome school! :thumbsup2

Thanks for joining us!! :)

TokyoDina
01-10-2010, 09:03 PM
Please do! I promise I'll be the only one in the park with those on. I've never run into anyone that has them. :P

Can't wait to see what else is going on for you girls! I think we are pretty squared away. Still trying to decide on plane tickets on our side. Still have to make sure work doesn't change it's mind at the last minute you know?

RachelNinja
01-10-2010, 09:17 PM
I'm curious to know why your DD loves Stitch so much! Is it just because she's a big fan of the movie? Weird loves Cars and everywhere we go, he immediately spots Lightning! When I told him that we can take a picture with Lightning and Mater at DHS, he got so excited, haha. I'm just curious to know if there's a story behind why your DD loves Stitch!

stacy347
01-10-2010, 10:35 PM
I'm curious to know why your DD loves Stitch so much! Is it just because she's a big fan of the movie? Weird loves Cars and everywhere we go, he immediately spots Lightning! When I told him that we can take a picture with Lightning and Mater at DHS, he got so excited, haha. I'm just curious to know if there's a story behind why your DD loves Stitch!

That is too cute about Weird and the Cars, LOL!


And yes, there is a story behind the entire Stitch obsession. Amanda is autistic (PDD/NOS on paper but we'll likely be getting her official Asperger's diagnosis this year).
Anyway, we knew from the time she was about 6 months old that there was something going on with her ~ she didn't like to be touched, wouldn't mimic like the other girls did early on, no eye contact, etc.
Lilo and Stitch came out when she was about 4 years old and she immediately became obsessed with it. She would sit with a notepad and draw the characters for hours and anything we could get for her with Stitch instantly became a treasured item. :lovestruc
This carried on over the next few Stitch movies and the TV series as well (we still have stacks of books that Amanda made of all the "cousins" and long, long stories she wrote about them).
Anytime she would have a "meltdown" ~ for example if there was a loud noise, someone touched her when she didn't expect it or she was put into a new environment, Stitch became her "familiar". That crazy little alien saved our sanity many times, LOL!
Even when Amanda went for one of her visits out at U of M with the neuropsychologist and therapists, they wrote up a paper on her fixation with Lilo and Stitch. Every time they tried to get her to talk about something else, she would steer the conversation back ~ they were quite fascinated!

So, fast forward several years ~ she is now a very bright 11 year old and mostly mainstreamed in 5th grade. She still can't function the same as all of her peers in several areas but she tries so hard. She still loves Stitch and is quite miffed at Disney that there will be no new movies or shows coming out, LOL.

Wow, that was a lot of rambling, sorry ~ but thank you for asking. I appreciate that you caught something there (you must be a great teacher!). :goodvibes

stacy347
01-10-2010, 10:40 PM
Please do! I promise I'll be the only one in the park with those on. I've never run into anyone that has them. :P

Can't wait to see what else is going on for you girls! I think we are pretty squared away. Still trying to decide on plane tickets on our side. Still have to make sure work doesn't change it's mind at the last minute you know?

Fingers crossed for you that everything holds together!!

RachelNinja
01-11-2010, 06:36 AM
That is too cute about Weird and the Cars, LOL!


And yes, there is a story behind the entire Stitch obsession. Amanda is autistic (PDD/NOS on paper but we'll likely be getting her official Asperger's diagnosis this year).
Anyway, we knew from the time she was about 6 months old that there was something going on with her ~ she didn't like to be touched, wouldn't mimic like the other girls did early on, no eye contact, etc.
Lilo and Stitch came out when she was about 4 years old and she immediately became obsessed with it. She would sit with a notepad and draw the characters for hours and anything we could get for her with Stitch instantly became a treasured item. :lovestruc
This carried on over the next few Stitch movies and the TV series as well (we still have stacks of books that Amanda made of all the "cousins" and long, long stories she wrote about them).
Anytime she would have a "meltdown" ~ for example if there was a loud noise, someone touched her when she didn't expect it or she was put into a new environment, Stitch became her "familiar". That crazy little alien saved our sanity many times, LOL!
Even when Amanda went for one of her visits out at U of M with the neuropsychologist and therapists, they wrote up a paper on her fixation with Lilo and Stitch. Every time they tried to get her to talk about something else, she would steer the conversation back ~ they were quite fascinated!

So, fast forward several years ~ she is now a very bright 11 year old and mostly mainstreamed in 5th grade. She still can't function the same as all of her peers in several areas but she tries so hard. She still loves Stitch and is quite miffed at Disney that there will be no new movies or shows coming out, LOL.

Wow, that was a lot of rambling, sorry ~ but thank you for asking. I appreciate that you caught something there (you must be a great teacher!). :goodvibes

Thank you for sharing! That was really quite interesting. Isn't it so great that Disney provided something that helped? I think it's so wonderful when I hear all the stories of Disney or WDW helps children come out of their shells or provides a certain level of comfort. That's so cool that they used her in a paper!

I have a student in the 7th grade who has Asperger's so I know a little bit about it. Last year was the first year that he was mainstreamed in my 6th grade class, but he has a para with him so it makes it a little easier. One of his interests is actually Disney, specifically the parks. I remember one day he brought in one of those kid guides (the one you fill in what you thought about the ride and all of that), and we were flipping through it together. It was the day before a vacation so we weren't doing anything as a class. When we talk about Disney, he's actually very calm and he can actually keep a conversation going.

Most of the other times, he accuses other children of things and says he's going to send them to jail. It's such a difference when he's focused on Disney World!

stacy347
01-12-2010, 08:11 AM
Thank you for sharing! That was really quite interesting. Isn't it so great that Disney provided something that helped? I think it's so wonderful when I hear all the stories of Disney or WDW helps children come out of their shells or provides a certain level of comfort. That's so cool that they used her in a paper!

I have a student in the 7th grade who has Asperger's so I know a little bit about it. Last year was the first year that he was mainstreamed in my 6th grade class, but he has a para with him so it makes it a little easier. One of his interests is actually Disney, specifically the parks. I remember one day he brought in one of those kid guides (the one you fill in what you thought about the ride and all of that), and we were flipping through it together. It was the day before a vacation so we weren't doing anything as a class. When we talk about Disney, he's actually very calm and he can actually keep a conversation going.

Most of the other times, he accuses other children of things and says he's going to send them to jail. It's such a difference when he's focused on Disney World!

So you definitely understand the day to day issues with the ASD kids ~ they really do have quite a struggle in life (as do the people around them certainly). Luckily, they usually also have a lot of passion for certain things and if they can stay focused, that is definitely key.

I should clarify, the paper they wrote up wasn't for a journal or anything ~ it was strictly for the educators, doctors and therapists ~ but it was very interesting and I think it's cool that Lilo and Stitch are now a part of Amanda's permanent medical and school records, LOL. That would be the Disney geek in me. :rotfl:

Small updates:

I'm 99.99% sure that I have convinced my DSis and BIL to go to Seralago the same week as us! :woohoo:
It will be so much more fun if they go!!

I booked Seralago yesterday and I was so excited when I got the confirmation ~ I printed it right up and put it in my Disney binder! :cool1:

I was telling the girls about some of the stuff to do over on the Boardwalk and they really seemed to take to that, which made me happy because it is one of the things I am most looking forward to! I wanted to go check it out before but we were always so busy with park days and whatnot, we never got around to it. One of the gals at work has DVC at Boardwalk and she says it is her favorite area in all of WDW ~ can't wait to go check it out! :goodvibes

stacy347
01-13-2010, 04:57 PM
I just got an email from our resort and they are now offering a free night special, so I just rebooked and saved another $52.xx ~ whoohoo!! :woohoo:

I'm trying to break down the entire budget by category and see exactly what I'm looking at for the week (I know I'm getting good deals but it's always a little unnerving to see it all together, LOL). :eek:

So far I'm at:

$270 for the resort
$260 for our tickets (Free park day from GAD and I'm adding on the WPM feature at $52 each)
$400 for food for the week (the $400 is what we will actually be spending ~ doesn't include what we bring with us for meals since that comes out of regular grocery money)
$60 for one of our hotel nights on the road (they raised the amount of HHonors points I needed so I was only able to get one free night)

I still don't have solid numbers for the rental car and there are other incidentals that I will be adding on as well.
The kids are bringing their own souvenir money so that will not be added to my budget.

Wish me luck! :thumbsup2

disneylovin24
01-13-2010, 06:17 PM
popcorn:: Can't wait to read more! So far your budget is looking good! You must be a good saver:thumbsup2

TokyoDina
01-13-2010, 07:42 PM
Wishing you luck~~!

stacy347
01-14-2010, 08:28 AM
popcorn:: Can't wait to read more! So far your budget is looking good! You must be a good saver:thumbsup2

Thank you so much! :goodvibes I actually get quite a kick out of looking for the best deals. I will research something to death to get a good price, LOL.

I'm still actually trying to figure out a way to add another park day on our tix ~ that would be approx. $375 more to the budget. To stay within my self-imposed limits, I'll have to scale back on the dinners out. It would be worth it to me but I need to discuss it with the girls first, since I really want them to have a good time. :lovestruc

Wishing you luck~~!

Thank you! :)

I have a little over $60 in Amazon GCs to spend right now (from doing surveys) and I'm trying to figure out how to use it for the trip. Since our resort does have a fridge, microwave and coffeepot, I may get a big box of food staples from them and take it down in the car. popcorn::

TokyoDina
01-14-2010, 11:53 PM
You should! Or grab a lot of granola bars to take into the park with you for snaking inbetween meals. I always take them it's also a great way to get some sugar into you quick.. I Always go for the peanut better ones cause it's got a lot of protein and sugar. Snaps me back into the real world.

disneylovin24
01-15-2010, 05:49 AM
Thank you so much! :goodvibes I actually get quite a kick out of looking for the best deals. I will research something to death to get a good price, LOL.

I'm still actually trying to figure out a way to add another park day on our tix ~ that would be approx. $375 more to the budget. To stay within my self-imposed limits, I'll have to scale back on the dinners out. It would be worth it to me but I need to discuss it with the girls first, since I really want them to have a good time. :lovestruc

::

I actually wouldn't worry about another park day if I were you. Don't forget that resort hopping is free and so is the pool at your resort:thumbsup2

stacy347
01-15-2010, 08:32 AM
You should! Or grab a lot of granola bars to take into the park with you for snaking inbetween meals. I always take them it's also a great way to get some sugar into you quick.. I Always go for the peanut better ones cause it's got a lot of protein and sugar. Snaps me back into the real world.

I think that's a great idea, especially since I plan on carrying a bag this time instead of a fanny pack (yes, I wore the dreaded fanny pack on the last few trips, LOL :rotfl: ~ I've got pretty severe Fibromyalgia so it's hard for me to carry any extra weight around but, I found a cute little bag on HSN that I am going to order and it expands to fit lots of little goodies)!
They actually sell them in sets of 2 so I'll try to convince one of the DDs to carry one with snacks and I'll keep the essentials in mine ~ Travel Bag on HSN.com (http://home-solutions.hsn.com/cruise-in-2-pack-by-traveltrend-with-removable-straps_p-5417667_xp.aspx?web_id=5417668&ocm=sekw).

I actually wouldn't worry about another park day if I were you. Don't forget that resort hopping is free and so is the pool at your resort:thumbsup2

I really need to keep reminding myself of this! And to be truthful, it is more about me than the girls. They already told me they'd be happy just swimming at the resort and getting out of MI for a week but for some reason, I keep trying to fit more in ~ I need to cut it out, LOL! Thank you!

Colleen456
01-15-2010, 04:43 PM
Small updates:

I'm 99.99% sure that I have convinced my DSis and BIL to go to Seralago the same week as us! :woohoo:
It will be so much more fun if they go!!



So you think!

stacy347
01-15-2010, 05:40 PM
So you think!


LOL :lmao: ~ that is my sister Colleen!


The girls are on a mission to convince Uncle Mike that he really wants to take the kids to WDW in May ~ I think they're breaking him down. ;)
We already know Aunt Colleen will go!! ;)

TokyoDina
01-17-2010, 05:20 PM
I think that's a great idea, especially since I plan on carrying a bag this time instead of a fanny pack (yes, I wore the dreaded fanny pack on the last few trips, LOL :rotfl: ~ I've got pretty severe Fibromyalgia so it's hard for me to carry any extra weight around but, I found a cute little bag on HSN that I am going to order and it expands to fit lots of little goodies)!
They actually sell them in sets of 2 so I'll try to convince one of the DDs to carry one with snacks and I'll keep the essentials in mine ~ Travel Bag on HSN.com (http://home-solutions.hsn.com/cruise-in-2-pack-by-traveltrend-with-removable-straps_p-5417667_xp.aspx?web_id=5417668&ocm=sekw).



I really need to keep reminding myself of this! And to be truthful, it is more about me than the girls. They already told me they'd be happy just swimming at the resort and getting out of MI for a week but for some reason, I keep trying to fit more in ~ I need to cut it out, LOL! Thank you!



Ohh I think all of us did that at one point! I did it when I was younger!

I used to wear them alot but then something happened with backpacks and purses. But I can understand why you'd wear them with Fibromyalgia.

I took granola bars like I said with us last time it worked out great! Keeps DH from being too grumpy. Also pop tarts or something like that would work. I get the ones from Trader Joe's since I'm a vegetarian it's hard to me to digest fat so I try to keep animal fat out of my diet I give into fish every so ofter cause the Omega-3s I can handle.

The cereal bars are good too and popcorn is great! My mom used to do it when we were kids. She'd pop a few bags the day of our trip them put the popcorn in ziplock bags. So we could take them into the park and snack on them that way we were craving the fresh popcorn. It still tastes great!

Geez I have too many ideas! I need to go see Avatar now ha!

Can't wait to read more of what your are planning to do!

princesslily
01-17-2010, 06:29 PM
Great report! I'm lovin' the budget plan!

stacy347
01-19-2010, 08:39 AM
Geez I have too many ideas! I need to go see Avatar now ha!

Can't wait to read more of what your are planning to do!

I appreciate all of the ideas, believe me! So, how did you like Avatar? :)

Great report! I'm lovin' the budget plan!

Thank you! It was very important to me to stay within this budget. :goodvibes


So, I have had a few sit-down sessions with the girls and we switched things up a little bit with the plans. Unless something comes along that adds more $$ to the vacation budget (where, oh where, is my Fairy Godmother?) ;) :rotfl: ~ this is the current plan now.

5/15 ~ we head out, spend the night in GA

5/16 ~ we get to FL, check in at Seralago, do some food shopping and all the kids hang out at the resort with me for the night. This day is my DSis and BIL's anniversary so I'm sending them out to dinner ~ the kids and I will have plenty to do!

5/17 ~ Breakfast at hotel, hang out at the pool for awhile, have lunch in room and then head over to DTD, ride carousel, take some pics, take kids to Lego shop, and also do the fun things listed in the tips we've saved (lots of stuff for FREE!). Take DTD bus over to AKL to look at the animals, take pics and have some zebra domes, grab the bus to Epcot, head over to the Boardwalk for the evening (try to get to Boardwalk by 6:00 pm), grab dinner there from vendors, catch the Boardwalk entertainment, bring list of stuff to do here, see Illuminations (I read here on the Dis that there is a decent spot to see it from the Boardwalk area, we'll give it a shot), take BWI bus back to DTD to get cars.

5/18 ~ Breakfast at hotel, let the kids swim and enjoy our own resort for most of the day (if we feel like heading out, we'll do some more resort hopping at WDW resorts).

5/19 ~ Up at 7:00 am, quick breakfast, in the car headed to Epcot (FREE Tickets!) by 8:30 am (Nicole's B-day lunch at Chefs de France ~ fixed price lunch is $20/person and we will either bring a soft-side cooler to put in locker for picnic dinner later or grab "to-go" foods from World Showcase).

5/20 ~ Breakfast at hotel, head to waterpark, have lunch there, back to Seralago for dinner, head over to the Poly around 8:00 pm, grab a snack at Captain Cook's, head down to the water for EWP and fireworks on the beach.

5/21 ~ Breakfast at hotel, head over to DTD about 10:00. Browse shops till DisneyQuest opens. Hang out at DQ for the day (lunch at DQ) then dinner back at hotel.

5/22 ~ Breakfast at Seralago and get on the road by 10:00 am, go to the Disney Character Outlet, lunch at Applebee's (FREE from GCs we saved!), get on the road towards home. :(


Honestly, I think we are going to have plenty to do on this trip and I don't think we'll feel like we're missing anything. It was a bit disappointing to me at first to decide on Epcot instead of MK, but there is a lot of stuff at Epcot that we still have never done and the two younger ones are really looking forward to doing the Kim Possible mission.
We sat down together yesterday and plotted out our Epcot day and it's going to be a blast. :thumbsup2

RachelNinja
01-19-2010, 03:58 PM
I'm so excited to go to the Character Warehouse outlet! I want to go there BEFORE we go to Downtown Disney because I'm sure I can buy a ton of things there for the price of one thing at DTD.

Despite being on a budget, you have a packed schedule of fun things to do! I know that we usually only do the 2 parks (although I'll probably do 3 since DBF's there), and we end up coming home and thinking, "Hey, we didn't get to use the pool enough!" So it'll be good to have that time scheduled in.

TokyoDina
01-19-2010, 10:00 PM
Ha! We are going to Epcot on different days.

But I love your plans!! Wow! You guys are for sure going to have sooo much fun!!!!

Melani
01-22-2010, 09:23 PM
Here are some pictures of DD and all things Stitch!
If anyone knows of other photo ops with Stitch that we could do, please let us know. :flower3:


I haven't read your whole tr yet, but I noticed we a re going the same time.

Anyway, there is a "Magic Shot" w/Photopass at Hollywood where you point at the ground and Stich will magically appera in your photo popping out of a manhole.
http://www.stitchkingdom.com/disneysphotopass/

disneylovin24
01-23-2010, 06:09 AM
Great plans:thumbsup2 I know I've said it before, but you really are good at the budget thing!!

stacy347
01-23-2010, 01:53 PM
I'm so excited to go to the Character Warehouse outlet! I want to go there BEFORE we go to Downtown Disney because I'm sure I can buy a ton of things there for the price of one thing at DTD.

Despite being on a budget, you have a packed schedule of fun things to do! I know that we usually only do the 2 parks (although I'll probably do 3 since DBF's there), and we end up coming home and thinking, "Hey, we didn't get to use the pool enough!" So it'll be good to have that time scheduled in.

Ah yes, the pool time is a MUST in Florida, for sure ~ the girls always say that's the one thing we didn't do enough of on vacation! :thumbsup2

Ha! We are going to Epcot on different days.

But I love your plans!! Wow! You guys are for sure going to have sooo much fun!!!!

Thank you! Maybe we'll still spot your ears somewhere that week.;)

I haven't read your whole tr yet, but I noticed we a re going the same time.

Anyway, there is a "Magic Shot" w/Photopass at Hollywood where you point at the ground and Stich will magically appera in your photo popping out of a manhole.
http://www.stitchkingdom.com/disneysphotopass/

Those special effects are so cute ~ I do hope we end up being able to do a Stitch one. It doesn't look like we'll be hitting DHS though, so I hope they are able to do it at Epcot ~ thanks for the tip! :)

Great plans:thumbsup2 I know I've said it before, but you really are good at the budget thing!!

Thank you so much!! :flower3:
I'm still crunching numbers and going over things with the girls. We are thinking of skipping TS altogether and just doing CS for the times we don't feel like carrying food with us. That will shave more than $100 off of the budget (which we can maybe apply toward something else). I'll be planning right up until the end, LOL but I'll keep everyone posted!

englishteacha
01-27-2010, 04:54 PM
You'll love Epcot! It's my favorite, and has been since I was 10! We rarely eat TS meals in the parks. We get CS, and our sit down meals are offsite. We like Cracker Barrel especially. We don't have any around us.

Your budget seems good to me. We always travel with a budget, and we have more fun than our friends who splurge!

stacy347
01-28-2010, 07:05 AM
You'll love Epcot! It's my favorite, and has been since I was 10! We rarely eat TS meals in the parks. We get CS, and our sit down meals are offsite. We like Cracker Barrel especially. We don't have any around us.

Your budget seems good to me. We always travel with a budget, and we have more fun than our friends who splurge!

I can definitely see why Epcot would be a favorite! We spent a bit of time on a couple of different days but for some reason we never fully explored this park. I plan on spending more time there than anywhere else this trip now that I realize just how much we missed. :goodvibes

I love Cracker Barrel too! The funny thing is, we actually have one 10 minutes down the road but we eat out so seldom that we only go there on vacation, LOL. I'm hoping that there will be one near one of our hotels on the road this time ~ hashbrown casserole and blackberry cobbler, YUM!! :thumbsup2

I totally agree with you about the budget, too. We have never gone on vacation with pockets full of money and we always have such a good time!

wdwgirl03
01-28-2010, 07:01 PM
I think your plans look great so far!

TokyoDina
01-29-2010, 05:53 PM
Originally I didn't want to see Avatar because of this article. Sorry I meant to tell you how I liked it!

http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/11/avatar.movie.blues/index.html

I enjoyed it. And it was really cool in 3-D but I would really write home about it. It was good...but, it kind of made me feel a little beat down about how Hollywood views the work I do. In a way it's bashing of our efforts over in the middle east. Not really the environmental bashing people say it is.

I would say if you've got nothing to do go see it. But like I said it's nothing to really write home about.

ruthgator
02-03-2010, 01:34 PM
Stacy- your plan looks to be right up my alley... We are planning a similarly budgeted trip. would you mind letting me know where you got all of your budget tips? or, since you're so organized, could you possibly share them with me? I will be there at the end of April and could send your DC's a postcard... message me if you want my email address... tia!!

stacy347
02-04-2010, 06:28 AM
ruthgator ~ :welcome:


The majority of my info comes from right here on the Dis. I have scoured the boards the past few months for any tips I can use while we are down there.

There are a lot of low cost and free activities to do on WDW property so even if you only do one or two park days, you can be busy all week.

Just a few of the free or cheap things we have on our list:

*Swimming (do not underestimate the swimming time ~ it is THE most requested thing the kids ask for on vacation, LOL)

*Resort hopping on WDW property (I highly suggest going over to the resorts board and seeing what each resort has to offer ~ we will be heading over to Animal Kingdom Lodge to see the animals which is free to all visitors and also over to the Polynesian one evening to sit on the beach and watch the Electrical Water Pageant and Wishes ~ I also like to pop into the gift shops at the resorts and check out the pressed penny machines as these are totally different pennies than what you find in the parks)

*On the days you do go to the parks, make sure to get a times guide for the characters ~ you don't need a fancy book for the autographs, just bring along a cute notebook from the dollar store (decorate with a $1 pack of Disney stickers) and a large pen that will be easy for them to write with. Very cheap souvenir!

There is a lot of other info here on the Dis ~ browse the Budget Board, Resorts Board and Theme Parks Board specifically. Good luck!

RachelNinja
02-04-2010, 05:27 PM
Hey Stacy! I don't know if you have a Michael's near you, but they have a $1 section for Disney gifts! Notebooks and pens and a few other fun things just for a buck! They have princess, fairies, Cars, Toy Story, and even some Princess Tiana stuff. I got my fairies trip journal just the other day. I wanted to buy one of everything!

stacy347
02-09-2010, 11:09 AM
Thanks, RachelNinja! I haven't popped into Michael's recently but I will take a trip up there this weekend. :thumbsup2


A few little updates on the trip:

**I ordered my Orlando Entertainment Book this week! :woohoo:
Hopefully, I will find some good deals in there for a couple of dinners and the girls were just asking me last night if there was an aquarium in the area, so maybe there will be some coupons for that as well.

**I was able to use my Entertainment membership for the rental car and got a great deal (9 days, unlimited miles, Full Size sedan for $249 including all taxes and fees). :yay:

**We also dropped off our blankets with Project Linus so we should be getting our vouchers in the next couple of weeks.

**I had a little extra spending money this week so I grabbed $75 in Disney GCs from Kroger while shopping. We'll use these to grab QS meals and snacks when we resort hop.

**Last but not least, we may just end up getting a timeshare for free for our trip. The circumstances really suck (DSis's MIL has to give up her vacation due to a recent cancer diagnosis :sad1: and is checking into transferring her points to let us get a condo for the week). It is really sweet of her, even if it doesn't work out. Also, if anyone would keep her in your prayers, I'd really appreciate it. :goodvibes

Donaldswife
02-25-2010, 09:08 AM
I am subbing, really interested to see how your budget all works out and what you are able to do! :) One thing, don't forget to add parking and tolls to your budget. I didn't see it anywhere, and I know that can add up quickly. :thumbsup2

stacy347
02-25-2010, 09:59 AM
Welcome, Donaldswife!

Luckily the only day we have to pay for parking is our Epcot day but yes, I will definitely be adding that and I usually take a baggie full of quarters for the tolls, thanks for the reminder! :goodvibes

Updates:

We are sticking with Seralago as our resort ~ it was just the best thing all around.

I have been picking up more Disney GCs as I shop so we have all we need for our meals on WDW property now. :woohoo:

I already have my huge Mickey Mouse totebag stuffed with things for the trip:

*5 boxes of Disney fruit snacks
*Campbell's Disney soups
*my hipster bag for the days we'll be doing a lot walking (I found a really cute one on Amazon for $10)
*hangers with clips for drying swimsuits
*an over the door organizer
*a giant Mickey pen for autographs (found at Dollar Tree)
*autograph book (it's actually a Disneyland Paris one that I found brand new at the thrift store for 80 cents, LOL ~ the only signature in it is Mickey on the first page)
*some Disney game books and the Disney Scene It cards for passing the time,
*glow bracelets from Dollar Tree
*some Monsters, Inc. sandwich bags for odds and ends (just bought these because they were cute, LOL)
*Alice in Wonderland book from Dollar Spot at Target which I will be asking Alice to sign for DD15. :lovestruc
*a small tension rod for extra hanging space in a doorway (saw that tip here on the Dis and it is a good one!)

I have all of our days planned with itineraries typed up except for our Epcot day ~ still working on that one.

Only 79 days from today we leave!!

leight
02-25-2010, 11:28 AM
I think this is great! We live in tampa and although we're so close we haven't been in a Disney park since 12/06- we've done a RCCL and Disney cruises in between. We planned on a cruise but Dh took a pay and hour cut so I want to keep this trip budget. We also are going to NY this summer to see his mom and have to keep both trips to the cost that the cruise would have been.

I can't wait to read more!

mommyof3grlz
02-25-2010, 12:21 PM
Great ideas!:)

RachelNinja
02-25-2010, 03:31 PM
Woohoo for the $10 hipster bag!

I absolutely love Dollar Tree and the Dollar Spot at Target! I was really surprised to see how good the stuff is at the Dollar Tree. So many dollar stores sell cheap stuff that falls apart, but I was pleased with all the DT Disney stuff! When I was putting together a box for a kid for Operation Christmas Child (pack a shoebox full of toys to be sent to a kid usually overseas), I went there and got so much stuff! Because there were so many good things (Disney jump ropes, Disney coloring books, etc.), I was able to pack 2 boxes, one for a girl and one for a boy. I know that next year, I'm sure I'll be able to pack even more! Love love LOVE that Dollar Tree!

stacy347
03-10-2010, 08:13 AM
I think this is great! We live in tampa and although we're so close we haven't been in a Disney park since 12/06- we've done a RCCL and Disney cruises in between. We planned on a cruise but Dh took a pay and hour cut so I want to keep this trip budget. We also are going to NY this summer to see his mom and have to keep both trips to the cost that the cruise would have been.

I can't wait to read more!

Good luck with your trip planning...I know it's a lot of work to make a good budget but the feeling of accomplishment is awesome! :thumbsup2

Great ideas!:)

Thank you! :goodvibes

Woohoo for the $10 hipster bag!

I absolutely love Dollar Tree and the Dollar Spot at Target! I was really surprised to see how good the stuff is at the Dollar Tree. So many dollar stores sell cheap stuff that falls apart, but I was pleased with all the DT Disney stuff! When I was putting together a box for a kid for Operation Christmas Child (pack a shoebox full of toys to be sent to a kid usually overseas), I went there and got so much stuff! Because there were so many good things (Disney jump ropes, Disney coloring books, etc.), I was able to pack 2 boxes, one for a girl and one for a boy. I know that next year, I'm sure I'll be able to pack even more! Love love LOVE that Dollar Tree!

RachelNinja ~ my new obsession is the dollar sections at every store I visit! I have found a lot of my Disney treasures that way. And I think that those shoebox gifts are one of the greatest things ever!

I was so happy when I found that hipster bag on Amazon ~ I get a lot of free GCs for them from my surveys so I actually didn't have to pay anything OOP for it :woohoo:. This is the one I got Olive and Fig Hipster (http://www.amazon.com/Olive-Figs-Quilted-Hipster-Sling/dp/B001GSEGTQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=apparel&qid=1268229515&sr=8-1).
You can tell up close that the quality isn't the same as a Vera Bradley but it's still very cute!

Another freebie or almost freebie I just got for the trip: cashed out for a $10 Steak and Shake GC from Mypoints and have a $5 off $15 coupon from the Entertainment book to combine with that so we can go out for a snack one evening (I love their Berry Berry Cobbler A La Mode ~ :lovestruc).

We are down to 66 days now and I'm getting so excited! :yay: I recently cashed out some of my Disney Movie Rewards for a Disney Anniversary Celebration music CD and I've been playing it in the van and driving the kids crazy, LOL. :rotfl:

I'm also calling Seralago today to see about an extra discount ~ they are listed in my Entertainment book as being one of the hotels that will take an extra 10% off of the best available rate. I'm already getting a killer deal but hey, if I can save a few more dollars, why not? ;)

RachelNinja
03-20-2010, 07:13 AM
Those dollar sections really make me want to have kids just so I can put together those little road trip goodies together for them!

BTW, your hipster is extremely cute! I would definitely get that if I didn't already buy my bag and if I didn't need a bigger one. And at that price? Such a steal!

Donaldswife
04-01-2010, 01:15 PM
Good luck with your trip planning...I know it's a lot of work to make a good budget but the feeling of accomplishment is awesome! :thumbsup2



Thank you! :goodvibes



RachelNinja ~ my new obsession is the dollar sections at every store I visit! I have found a lot of my Disney treasures that way. And I think that those shoebox gifts are one of the greatest things ever!

I was so happy when I found that hipster bag on Amazon ~ I get a lot of free GCs for them from my surveys so I actually didn't have to pay anything OOP for it :woohoo:. This is the one I got Olive and Fig Hipster (http://www.amazon.com/Olive-Figs-Quilted-Hipster-Sling/dp/B001GSEGTQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=apparel&qid=1268229515&sr=8-1).
You can tell up close that the quality isn't the same as a Vera Bradley but it's still very cute!

Another freebie or almost freebie I just got for the trip: cashed out for a $10 Steak and Shake GC from Mypoints and have a $5 off $15 coupon from the Entertainment book to combine with that so we can go out for a snack one evening (I love their Berry Berry Cobbler A La Mode ~ :lovestruc).

We are down to 66 days now and I'm getting so excited! :yay: I recently cashed out some of my Disney Movie Rewards for a Disney Anniversary Celebration music CD and I've been playing it in the van and driving the kids crazy, LOL. :rotfl:

I'm also calling Seralago today to see about an extra discount ~ they are listed in my Entertainment book as being one of the hotels that will take an extra 10% off of the best available rate. I'm already getting a killer deal but hey, if I can save a few more dollars, why not? ;)

Did you ever find out about the additional 10% off? It is April now so the trip is almost here. :banana:

I love that hipster bag. I bought a Vera Bradley one online on St. Patricks Day. Someone on the budget board posted they were on sale and posted a discount code and I was able to get for @$20 including shipping. Can't wait to try it out next month on my trip to Disneyland with the hubby for our anniversary. :lovestruc

pacrosby
04-01-2010, 04:22 PM
Hi Stacy -

You had me at 'budget' :rotfl2:

I am planning a trip right now that is turning into a 'budget buster' but we will be planning for another for this December where 'budget' will be the name of the game!

Wondered if you knew about the Orlando Magicard. It's free, just have to sign-up and there's a variety of savings opportunities available with it. Just google it for more info if you're interested. There's also a 'kids eat free' (kids 11 and under) card available for 15 -20 dollars (depends on where you purchase it) that allows a child to eat free at a variety of Orlando area restaurants with the purchase of an adult meal. You can use it over and over again for, I believe, a 90 period once it's activated. I don't know how many times you'll be eating out and about but it might be something to look into.

Just some food for thought:)

stacy347
04-01-2010, 07:41 PM
Those dollar sections really make me want to have kids just so I can put together those little road trip goodies together for them!


LOL, I know what you mean...I get to do a lot of fun stuff by saying "it's for the kids" :rotfl:

Did you ever find out about the additional 10% off? It is April now so the trip is almost here. :banana:


I did call but it only took an extra $3 off because of the promo I had already booked with ~ but hey, that's a Mickey Bar, right? :mickeybar

But, I saved another $50 by switching our on the road hotel, so yay for that! :woohoo: (I was originally using rewards points for the on the road hotel nights but ended up using them unexpectedly on funeral flowers instead :( )

Hi Stacy -

You had me at 'budget' :rotfl2:

I am planning a trip right now that is turning into a 'budget buster' but we will be planning for another for this December where 'budget' will be the name of the game!

Wondered if you knew about the Orlando Magicard. It's free, just have to sign-up and there's a variety of savings opportunities available with it. Just google it for more info if you're interested. There's also a 'kids eat free' (kids 11 and under) card available for 15 -20 dollars (depends on where you purchase it) that allows a child to eat free at a variety of Orlando area restaurants with the purchase of an adult meal. You can use it over and over again for, I believe, a 90 period once it's activated. I don't know how many times you'll be eating out and about but it might be something to look into.

Just some food for thought:)

Thank you! Hope you have as much fun planning yours as I am having with mine!
We are actually only eating out a couple of times with some GCs that we have but I appreciate any tips to save some money, thank you!! :goodvibes You actually reminded me that I ordered one of those Magicards ~ I'm going to go to the website and see if it is good for anywhere we are going! :thumbsup2

44 days left now ~ dug my Mickey luggage out of the closet the other day and had the kids go through all the summer clothes. I'm so anxious now!! :hyper:

TokyoDina
04-01-2010, 09:17 PM
I need to take some tips from you about my planning for DL. I'm trying to find the cheapest way to do it. It looks like getting tickets from base would be better than buying them directly from Disney but so far I'm not sure if the Dinning plan is worth it since it's $104 a person......I'm not sure I tried to go with the Good Neighbor Hotel which is like $284 a person which includes a lot of things...not sure how thrifty it'll be. :surfweb:

Heyyyy we are so close to getting to the World! Almost less than a month away!!!:rotfl:

stacy347
04-06-2010, 05:29 PM
I need to take some tips from you about my planning for DL. I'm trying to find the cheapest way to do it. It looks like getting tickets from base would be better than buying them directly from Disney but so far I'm not sure if the Dinning plan is worth it since it's $104 a person......I'm not sure I tried to go with the Good Neighbor Hotel which is like $284 a person which includes a lot of things...not sure how thrifty it'll be. :surfweb:

Heyyyy we are so close to getting to the World! Almost less than a month away!!!:rotfl:

I know ~ it's so exciting!! :yay:

Honestly, I loved the Dining Plan when we had Free Dining, but, for us it wouldn't be a money saver to pay for it. In your case, though, being that you don't have any children going, it might be a good deal, especially if you really have your heart set on TS meals. :)


Adding all of the last minute touches to my itinerary ~ can't believe it's only 39 days now!! I'm going to try to bid on Priceline this week for a better deal on the rental car...from what I've read, I think I can do better than what I've got. :)

Not much left to do but I just keep going over everything, trying to be sure I got the best possible deals. :thumbsup2

Southerndisney
04-08-2010, 10:32 AM
Sending best wishes for your trip. Your daughter might see Stich at the Poly. You could call the Poly the day you are touring resorts and see what times Stich will be there. When you are touring the resorts know that it is much quicker to take your own car. Just tell the guard at the resort that you want to see the resort and they will let you park. The trip to and from DTD can be a long time, including waiting for a bus and the trip always goes by Blizzard Beach.

stacy347
04-15-2010, 12:48 PM
Southerndisney ~ thank you for the good wishes and advice! Always appreciated! :)


I have tweaked the itinerary yet again, LOL! After much consideration and taking into account that we have such a mix of people in our group, we have decided to use our GAD tickets at Magic Kingdom instead of Epcot. While there are quite a few things we haven't done at Epcot yet, Magic Kingdom is really the best fit for this trip and we all love it, so everyone is happy. :goodvibes

We are also likely going to be taking our own van instead of renting a car. I just don't see all 4 girls being comfortable in a car for 2 days each way and the prices on minivan rentals are just outrageous! DH is going to go over everything in the van to be sure it looks OK for a roadtrip...should be fine. :)

I have decided to add on one little side trip while we are down there ~ I was looking through the book that comes with the Orlando Magicard and saw an ad for Wordspring Discovery Center (http://www.wycliffe.org/Wordspring/). This place looks amazing! They have interactive exhibits showing the history of the Bible and how it has affected each region of the world. They have shows, activities, all sorts of fun looking (and educational, SHHH) ;) stuff.
There is also a coupon on their website that is good through June which is going to allow me to get all 5 of us in for only $26 total!

Pretty much everything has fallen into place now, which is a little scary, LOL!
Fingers crossed that nothing crazy happens in the next 30 days ~ whoohoo ~ I'm so excited, LOL!! :rotfl:

TokyoDina
04-17-2010, 02:50 AM
Southerndisney ~ thank you for the good wishes and advice! Always appreciated! :)


I have tweaked the itinerary yet again, LOL! After much consideration and taking into account that we have such a mix of people in our group, we have decided to use our GAD tickets at Magic Kingdom instead of Epcot. While there are quite a few things we haven't done at Epcot yet, Magic Kingdom is really the best fit for this trip and we all love it, so everyone is happy. :goodvibes

We are also likely going to be taking our own van instead of renting a car. I just don't see all 4 girls being comfortable in a car for 2 days each way and the prices on minivan rentals are just outrageous! DH is going to go over everything in the van to be sure it looks OK for a roadtrip...should be fine. :)

I have decided to add on one little side trip while we are down there ~ I was looking through the book that comes with the Orlando Magicard and saw an ad for Wordspring Discovery Center (http://www.wycliffe.org/Wordspring/). This place looks amazing! They have interactive exhibits showing the history of the Bible and how it has affected each region of the world. They have shows, activities, all sorts of fun looking (and educational, SHHH) ;) stuff.
There is also a coupon on their website that is good through June which is going to allow me to get all 5 of us in for only $26 total!

Pretty much everything has fallen into place now, which is a little scary, LOL!
Fingers crossed that nothing crazy happens in the next 30 days ~ whoohoo ~ I'm so excited, LOL!! :rotfl:


I think your golden! I don't think anything will happen in 30 days! Wow can you believe it! We are almost there!!! I can't wait!!!!:cheer2:

stacy347
04-17-2010, 07:50 AM
I think your golden! I don't think anything will happen in 30 days! Wow can you believe it! We are almost there!!! I can't wait!!!!:cheer2:

I know, it's really close now!! All of a sudden the days seem to be flying by! :woohoo:

RachelNinja
04-17-2010, 12:12 PM
Good thinking with the van! We had a packed Honda CRV with the 5 of us, and I really missed having our minivan! And to think, we were technically 4 adults with only 1 child! Oy, never again!

I looked at the WordSpring site, and it looks really interesting! I like the admission fee too, haha. I'll be keeping that for a future trip. I think it'll just be a reminder of how widespread the Bible is and how much more it can be. It's a great way to open up our world. I did, however, think the video was really funny when the narrator says, ""A huge basket you can sit in" and then "Mushroom." Haha.

stacy347
04-17-2010, 01:55 PM
We were all cracking up at the "mushroom" line! :rotfl:

TokyoDina
05-08-2010, 09:20 PM
Are you getting packed? I am! I told DH to pull out the suitcase! I've got all the outfits I want to ear and then some picked out already! We are almost there just 7 days left! I can't wait! I hope this week flies by but knowing my luck it'll be super slow! I have a ton of things to do before I go!

stacy347
05-09-2010, 07:08 AM
Yep, I am almost ready now, too! This last week is going to be filled with anxiety I'm sure ~ but at least it will be the good kind, right? ;)

So, a couple of new updates:

**I was able to get yet another discount on our Seralago ressie. :goodvibes They ran a 1-day special on Facebook and I was all over it, LOL! So, we now have a 7 day, 6 night ressie for $239 total with taxes! :woohoo:

**It is really looking like my van may not be road trip ready by next week. DH found out what was making the noise we've been hearing and it is a huge job to fix, and of course, he has no time to do it this week with work and everything. So, I may very well be piling all of us into his Taurus. :eek: Luckily, we will be meeting up with my sister 3 hours into the trip and one or two of the girls can hop into her van for the remaining time. It won't be a fun start but hey, it's still a trip to WDW, right? Totally worth it!!
On the plus side, I should save a good amount on gas with the smaller vehicle! :laughing: Gotta stay positive!!

Only 6 days to go now ~ honestly, it is starting to feel a little surreal now and I keep feeling like, is this really happening? Am I really getting to go back? Even with as much of a budget trip as this is, I feel very blessed that we are able to do this! Can't wait to come back and start the actual TR!!

"Talk" to all of you soon!! :goodvibes

RachelNinja
05-09-2010, 01:22 PM
YAY for the 1-day Facebook deal! What a great opportunity that was and for you to snag it when you could!

If it's really that squished in the car, have your kids take pictures of it! It'll be some good memories in the future. "Remember when we were so squished at first?!?" Gotta have fun with the squished situations. I think that's the only way that Weird and I were able to last that long in the car. It was terrible on my back, but we were just silly the entire way down!

I think the budget thing will still be really fun. Although Weird and I are not yet engaged, I've started doing some small "planning" in terms of research for how we can save money. We don't have much now and we'll have even less then when we have to get a place and all that, so budget wedding is a must. But it will be done and I'm determined to make it extremely fun! All in the attitude, right? I'm inspired by your budget vacation! People can still have fun if you choose to have fun!

So excited for you!

akayek31
05-09-2010, 03:09 PM
I did a similar trip last May with the budget. We stayed at a value and I got a advance pay special for the hotel after WDW. I am trying to figure out how to go again this year. I tried to do the budget ADR but still ended up spending a lot more than I expected. I am doing mypoints also and have over 5000 pts trying to get that $50 GC for Rainforest or Trex. I am going to try the GC visa now that we moved and I only shop at Kroger now. Have a wonderful trip. Wish I was going also.

TokyoDina
05-09-2010, 08:25 PM
Well it will only suck for a hot minute and your girls will remember being squashed in the Taurus and then laugh about it one day. I'm sure it's totally worth it in the end and will be forgotten by the time you get there. :P I'm so excited for you! I hope we bump into each other some time! Any changes of plans? I know you said your going to EPCOT and WDW is that right? I can't remember if you said your going to the other parks or not.

stacy347
05-10-2010, 07:33 PM
If it's really that squished in the car, have your kids take pictures of it! It'll be some good memories in the future. "Remember when we were so squished at first?!?" Gotta have fun with the squished situations. I think that's the only way that Weird and I were able to last that long in the car. It was terrible on my back, but we were just silly the entire way down!
So excited for you!

That is a great idea ~ it's always best to try to make lemonade out of lemons, right? :thumbsup2

I did a similar trip last May with the budget. We stayed at a value and I got a advance pay special for the hotel after WDW. I am trying to figure out how to go again this year. I tried to do the budget ADR but still ended up spending a lot more than I expected. I am doing mypoints also and have over 5000 pts trying to get that $50 GC for Rainforest or Trex. I am going to try the GC visa now that we moved and I only shop at Kroger now. Have a wonderful trip. Wish I was going also.

Hopefully you'll be able to come up with a great budget for a trip as well ~ this one has been a bit more work than I anticipated, but it will be so worth it!! :goodvibes

Well it will only suck for a hot minute and your girls will remember being squashed in the Taurus and then laugh about it one day. I'm sure it's totally worth it in the end and will be forgotten by the time you get there. :P I'm so excited for you! I hope we bump into each other some time! Any changes of plans? I know you said your going to EPCOT and WDW is that right? I can't remember if you said your going to the other parks or not.

I have a final itinerary that is a bit different than the original (I knew I would change things, LOL, I can't help it). Epcot is out, MK is in now. ;)

Sun ~ we arrive and go grocery shopping, swimming
Mon ~ Magic Kingdom
Tues ~ hopping around (DTD, AKL and the Boardwalk in the evening)
Wed ~ DisneyQuest
Thurs ~ possibly the Wordspring Bible Center, some downtime at the resort, heading over to the Poly in the evening
Fri ~ Blizzard Beach
Sat ~ Having our free lunch at Applebee's and maybe going to the outlets before we get on the road

I'm ready to go now! Hopefully these next 5 days really fly by!! :cool1:

TokyoDina
05-10-2010, 09:08 PM
That is a great idea ~ it's always best to try to make lemonade out of lemons, right? :thumbsup2



Hopefully you'll be able to come up with a great budget for a trip as well ~ this one has been a bit more work than I anticipated, but it will be so worth it!! :goodvibes



I have a final itinerary that is a bit different than the original (I knew I would change things, LOL, I can't help it). Epcot is out, MK is in now. ;)

Sun ~ we arrive and go grocery shopping, swimming
Mon ~ Magic Kingdom
Tues ~ hopping around (DTD, AKL and the Boardwalk in the evening)
Wed ~ DisneyQuest
Thurs ~ possibly the Wordspring Bible Center, some downtime at the resort, heading over to the Poly in the evening
Fri ~ Blizzard Beach
Sat ~ Having our free lunch at Applebee's and maybe going to the outlets before we get on the road

I'm ready to go now! Hopefully these next 5 days really fly by!! :cool1:


Well tell your girls to look out at MK for someone with Stitch ears on their head. It appears we are going the same day!

I tried DQ one time and I don't think I could go back. The lines were really long and I kept getting motion sick on the simulated rides.

I'm ready to go too! I can't wait! This week is going by pretty fast!

mommyof3grlz
05-11-2010, 05:17 AM
How did you get free lunch at Applebee's. I too got motion sick at DQ. I sat in a booth all day and drank coke.:sad1:

stacy347
05-11-2010, 06:18 AM
How did you get free lunch at Applebee's. I too got motion sick at DQ. I sat in a booth all day and drank coke.:sad1:


That stinks that you guys couldn't enjoy DQ! Simulators are actually some of my favorite types of rides so I'm really looking forward to it!

Our free lunch at Applebee's will be from GCs that we've collected ~ my sister and I each got a $25 GC from MyPoints and my DD got one for Christmas and added it to the envelope. :goodvibes

We are also having a free lunch at Steak n Shake with GCs from MyPoints ~ sometimes I get annoyed going through all of those emails to keep up with the points, but it is definitely worth it! :thumbsup2

4 more days!! :woohoo:

IndianaRRT
05-11-2010, 06:49 AM
Hooray for your deals! (And the fact that you're a Michigan girl. My mom is from Belleville. I love Michigan!) I, too, am a deal-seeker, and I've learned so much from your PTR.

I will be praying for you all during this trip and also hoping that your gang will get heavy doses of pixie dust everywhere you go!

stacy347
05-11-2010, 06:58 AM
Hooray for your deals! (And the fact that you're a Michigan girl. My mom is from Belleville. I love Michigan!) I, too, am a deal-seeker, and I've learned so much from your PTR.

I will be praying for you all during this trip and also hoping that your gang will get heavy doses of pixie dust everywhere you go!

Thank you so much!! :goodvibes And what a small world ~ I actually went to Belleville High during my junior year (many moons ago, LOL) and we don't live too far from there now!

stacy347
05-12-2010, 11:36 AM
I'm so excited ~ my DSis sent me a text last night telling me to make ressies for 'Ohana ~ their treat! :eek:

It is their anniversary on the 16th and I was going to keep the all the kids for a day so they could have some alone time, but she really loves 'Ohana and they want us all to go out to dinner together! :goodvibes This was totally unexpected, so how cool is that? We haven't even gotten to WDW yet, and the magic has begun!! :wizard:

I got the reservation for the night we arrive ~ I still can't believe I was able to book 'Ohana on such short notice!! :woohoo:

3 more days!!

nessz79
05-12-2010, 04:30 PM
Looks like we'll be there around the same time! DH and I are doing an adults only trip to WDW this weekend. We are Fl residents so taking advantage of discounts. I can't wait to see your trip report! I grew up with wonderful parents, but we often didn't have money. However, my mom and grandma would take us to Disney every few years (on a budget, of course) and they were the best memories! Have a great time!!!

stacy347
05-13-2010, 10:38 PM
Looks like we'll be there around the same time! DH and I are doing an adults only trip to WDW this weekend. We are Fl residents so taking advantage of discounts. I can't wait to see your trip report! I grew up with wonderful parents, but we often didn't have money. However, my mom and grandma would take us to Disney every few years (on a budget, of course) and they were the best memories! Have a great time!!!

Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful trip! :goodvibes

I get to pack the car tomorrow ~ I can not believe it is actually time to go! :woohoo:

RachelNinja
05-14-2010, 06:28 AM
YAY for the Ohana reservation!!! That's so great!

Have a safe drive and a fabulous trip! Can't wait to hear about it when you get back!

TokyoDina
05-14-2010, 09:25 PM
Yay! We are almost there! I'm so happy you get to go to Ohana! That's great! I hope your daughter gets to spend some time with Stitch~!!

2BEKs
05-15-2010, 05:02 AM
LOVE this TR!!!

We're heading down on a budget trip in August and while we have 4 park days, I am considering staying a few days longer to pack in all the budget/free things you can do too! (edited to add that the hotel is free w/ points!)

I have copied and pasted your resort/akl/poly day and think that sounds FAB!!!

I'm subbing to see all the magic that unfolds for you and your family and to learn even more! :thumbsup2

stacy347
05-15-2010, 06:39 AM
Thank you for the good wishes, everyone! I'm just waiting for the kids to finish getting ready and then we are getting on the road. :goodvibes

Should be a nice drive today, except maybe TN (they are expecting severe weather later). Hopefully we don't drive through anything too bad.

I'll be back in 8 days to start the TR!! :woohoo:

leebee
05-15-2010, 07:20 AM
I just found your trip report and realized I was reading it as you are packing up and heading out. Good luck with the driving- I am sure you are going to have an amazing vacation! DD and I are booked on free dining for August, but having looked over your plans is making me think I should check out offsite hotels, rental car, etc and see if I can "save" any money too. We rarely stay onsite but chose to this time for "free" dining (if you don't count the upgrade for ts!), but maybe I need to rethink the whole deal. Anyhow, have a great trip!!

RachelNinja
05-15-2010, 07:58 AM
Safe travels! Take TONS of pics please :thumbsup2

TokyoDina
05-15-2010, 04:32 PM
I'll see you at Disney World~! Hopefully the weather clears up by the time we get there!!!! I can't wait!:rotfl:

stacy347
05-24-2010, 08:49 AM
Just popping in really quick to say that we are back, we had a fabulous time and I'll get started on the TR this week! :thumbsup2

A few quick thoughts:

LOVED :lovestruc Seralago! Will definitely go back!

Will NEVER, EVER stay at a Howard Johnson again :sad2: ~ I'm sure there are some decent ones out there but it wasn't worth the $50 savings to deal with what we had to (you'll hear more about this in the TR).

Had an absolute riot at Blizzard Beach ~ I am typically not a pool person, but I still can't get over how much fun BB was!!

Lots more to tell you guys, but I have to get my house in order and do some grocery shopping ~ real life beckons. :upsidedow

RachelNinja
05-24-2010, 06:31 PM
Welcome back! Even though it stinks that you had a bad Howard Johnson experience, those experiences do make for good TR stories afterwards, haha.

TokyoDina
05-24-2010, 08:12 PM
Yay I'm glad your back! I hope the trip was fun! I totally forgot my Stitch ears and only realized that when I was on the plane! However we were the lucky ones to be on Splash Mountain at MK when the rain came in right after lunch. It was awful. We went back to the hotel pretty early that day. We may have seen each other that day and not even known it now!

stacy347
05-24-2010, 09:51 PM
Welcome back! Even though it stinks that you had a bad Howard Johnson experience, those experiences do make for good TR stories afterwards, haha.

LOL, yep, it will add some drama to the report for sure! ;)

Yay I'm glad your back! I hope the trip was fun! I totally forgot my Stitch ears and only realized that when I was on the plane! However we were the lucky ones to be on Splash Mountain at MK when the rain came in right after lunch. It was awful. We went back to the hotel pretty early that day. We may have seen each other that day and not even known it now!

That rain was crazy! We were over by Casey's when I saw the black clouds coming in and we made a run for it over to Tomorrowland. I knew Carousel of Progress was open so we ran up to it and got in just as the wind started blowing really badly. The CM looked out the door and asked everyone to please stay put ~ by the time the ride was done, it has passed, thank goodness.

That stinks that we never ran into each other but I hope you guys had a great trip, too! :)

TokyoDina
05-26-2010, 08:35 PM
Besides that one rainy day at MK the other days were great! I think next time we go I want to just hit the water parks and US. I've never been to any of those. So maybe if I'm inclined to go again and money isn't tight we might go. :)

stacy347
05-31-2010, 08:28 AM
Hi, everyone!

I got the first day finished and up on the TR board:

Ultimate Budget Trip to WDW (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=36823769#post36823769)

Thanks for following along. :goodvibes