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pjstevens 12-05-2007 07:49 PM

First Christmas Trip to Disney 12/07
 
Our First Trip in December – What an amazing deal we got!!!!

We have been to Disney five times (one of those was without the kids). BUT, we have only gone to Disney in August!!!! :eek: The hot hot heat of August is a killer, but it’s the most affordable time to go. We did the free dining twice, so it made it even a better deal.

Our dd, Aubre princess: , is in the Walt Disney World College Program (cp from here on). She went to work for the mouse ::MickeyMo on September 5th and is returning home on January 4th. I didn’t think we’d make it that long without seeing her and not being able to celebrate Christmas with her was going to be heartbreaking. Soooo, I talked dh (Dale) into an early December trip. I’ve read before about Pop Warner being there the first week, so we decided on the second week of December. We will arrive December 10th and leave to go home on the 15th.

Now for the really good news…. Because dd is in the cp, she is considered a cast member (cm), she is able to get discounts on rooms for us. But, at this time of year there is a special Disney Family Holiday discounts!!! WOOHOO!!!! :cheer2: :woohoo:

I guess I need to do an intro:

Me – Patty (the mom) the Disney obsessed planner. I work 33 hours a week as an administrative assistant. I have some slower days where I then surf all the Disney planning sites and plan and plan and plan some more.

DH – Dale (the dad) the one who puts up with all my planning and obsessing.

DD – Aubre our princess who is doing the Walt Disney World College Program. She is working at Sunshine Seasons in the Land at Epcot. She LOVES being in this program. She is meeting so many awesome people from all over this great big world.

DS2 – Tyler, our youngest (he’s 16 and now driving by himself :scared1:). He likes going to Disney, but isn’t obsessed like his mom.

DS1 –Dale, Jr. our oldest. He has been married a little over 1.5 years and still comes home all the time to ‘eat our food’, lol.

DIL – Stephanie, our daughter in law. The love of our sons life. She is a wonderful addition to our family.

Back to our wonderful discount… When we had first decided we were ALL going to Disney during December, we thought, we better get something booked since we don’t want to get stuck without a value resort. So we actually booked two rooms at AS Sports in late August. Then when dd was officially a cm, we were able to get a great rate. We got our room (since she is staying with us) for 50% off and our ds & dil's room for 40% off. This is a friends and family discount that Disney offers to their cm’s.

The weekend of October 19th, Dale and I were able to go to see Aubre for a weekend. We attended our very first MNSSHP!!! I was so excited. It was great to see where our dd was living and how well she was being taken care of.

Shortly after this trip, Disney released a new discount for their cm’s. The Disney :santa: Family Holiday Discounts!!! These discounts were up to 65% off a room. There were also offering the Disney Dining Plan for $21 per person!!! You know you cannot eat for $21 a day, no matter what you eat there. When we called Disney to see if we could add the dining plan on to our existing reservation (since DS and DIL were in a separate room, wasn’t sure if they would qualify for that deal). While talking to the reservation cm, she said we would have to cancel and rebook our rooms (this is normal to get a new code or discount offered). When she put our info in the system, she said, I can’t get you in AS Sports, but I have a family suite in AS Music or two rooms in AS Music!!! WHAT DID SHE SAY!!!! :cool1: A suite was available? I asked what would that cost us? With the cm discount, we are paying $405 (total, w/tax) for the five nights!!! Can you believe this?

Granted I know it will be close quarters, but we honestly are only in the room to sleep. The room has a small fridge, a microwave, small (4 cup) coffee pot, two bathrooms, two TVs, a queen size bed in the master bedroom and the other room can sleep four (the full size sofa sleeper and a chair and ottoman that fold out to beds).

Up next, our itinerary.


Itinerary

We leave in the morning!!

We're Back - Day One Part 1

Day One - (Epcot) Part 2

Day One - Part 3

Day One - Party 4

End of Day One (FINALLY) - Boy was this a long day!!

It's Our Christmas at Disney (a few weeks early)- Day Two Part 1

Photopass

Day Two - Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom part 2

Grand Floridian Cafe

Grand Floridian Photo Shoot

Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party

MVMCP Part 2

Holiday Wishes video

MVMCP Parade

Day 3 - MGM & DD Graduation from the WDW College Program

Lunch at Sci-Fi Dine In

Hollywood's Holly Day Parade (MGM)

MGM (Stitch)

The Osborne Family Specticle of Dancing Lights

Video of Osborne Lights (short)

A Better video of Osborne Lights

Day Four - Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safari

Rafiki's Planet Watch - Great photos

Rafiki's part 2

Animal Kingdom continued

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Expedition Parade

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade (part 2)

Animal Kingdom Lodge

End of Day Four

Day Five - Magic Kingdom

End of Day 5!

Our Last Day & A Trip to the ER!!!

stacy347 12-05-2007 08:23 PM

Congrats on the great rates!! :thumbsup2 Looking forward to reading more. :)

pjstevens 12-05-2007 08:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stacy347 (Post 22059854)
Congrats on the great rates!! :thumbsup2 Looking forward to reading more. :)

Thanks Stacy. I've never started my trip report ahead of time (oh, of course I have mentally, but never on paper). I thought if I got started on it this week, I'd have some done so when we get back I'll be able to stay caught up.

pjstevens 12-05-2007 08:38 PM

Day 1 - 12/10 – we have a very early flight from Philly (7am), praying for good weather (it’s snowing here today). We should arrive in Orlando by 9:30. We’ll be renting a minivan for this trip. Some of us may use magical express as we’ll have to swing by and pick up dd from her apartment (Disney owned – Vista Way). We’ll go to AS Music to get checked in. If our room isn’t ready, no big deal. It’s off to Epcot. We have a late lunch reservation for the six of us at Chef’s de France (this was dd pick). I want to see the Candlelight Processional, but we could not get a package. Hoping to get a seat standby.

Day 2 – 12/11 – Magic Kingdom in the am. We have a lunch reservation at the Grand Flordian Café. After lunch we have scheduled a photo shoot with the Photopass photographer at the Grand Floridian. This is normally a $50 fee, but if you pre-order the Photopass cd, it’s only $25. Being the first vacation with everyone in a very long time, I wanted to do this. What’s even better, the prepurchase price of the cd is just under $100, but with DD being a cm, guess what we got????? Another wonderful discount. I preordered the photopass for $60!!!!
Later on our second day we have tickets to MVMCP! I can’t wait. We have never been and want so badly to enjoy this. I’ve recently read some not very good reviews, hoping we’ll have a wonderful time.

Day 3 – 12/12 – MGM – Hollywood Studios. It’ll be a while before I get use to that. This day, DD will be ‘graduating’ from the College Program. She isn’t done until January 4th, but they have graduation early (when they can get time off for it). We’ll be having lunch at Sci Fi. The key points to this day are that I want to see the Hollywood Holly Day Parade and the Spectacle of Dancing Lights (Osborne Lights).

Day 4 – 12/13 – Animal Kingdom. Main thing here is Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade. We have a LATE dinner at Ohana planned, but we may do an evening at the Boardwalk and try the ESPN for dinner.

Day 5 – 12/14 – This is an open day. Probably Magic Kingdom in the morning since we didn’t have a lot of time there on Tuesday. We have a late lunch at Whispering Canyon Café.

Day 6 – 12/15 – We have to say good bye to our DD once again this day, but luckily we have a late flight home (not til 8pm). We’ll probably go to Epcot for some

During this week, we’ll be having a small Christmas celebration since we won’t have our dd home with us. I’ve bought stockings for everyone, Disney gift cards for all the kids. Got everyone their Christmas pj’s (a tradition in our house). I have a tiny tree to take, Christmas light for the window along with lots of other little decorations. We'll also hit DTD at some point.

I know I have a LOT crammed into a little time, but unless DS decides to do the CP program when he's in college, we'll never get back at this time of year (especially for these great rates)!!!

OhMari 12-06-2007 12:57 PM

I wish my dd would have gotten into the program. She tried for Security in the Corporate Office. I told her she should have put a 2nd or 3rd choice to work in the parks as a regular CM.

Have fun on your trip.

momof2boyz12 12-06-2007 02:14 PM

Your trip sounds absolutely fabulous. I am jealous. I was a CM at the Magic Kingdom ions ago, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I think I grew up a lot during that time of being away from my family. Have a great time. I have always wanted to visit during the holiday season.

pjstevens 12-06-2007 05:25 PM

I have heard that if you put more choices it is easier to get in. Aubre wanted to do 'anything' to go, so she didn't care. I've heard some stories about how bad the quick food service is, but she has LOVED her job. Maybe your daughter can try again (not sure if she's still in school).

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhMari (Post 22067692)
I wish my dd would have gotten into the program. She tried for Security in the Corporate Office. I told her she should have put a 2nd or 3rd choice to work in the parks as a regular CM.

Have fun on your trip.


pjstevens 12-06-2007 06:25 PM

I think my daughter also has grown a lot during this time. Our relationship has also grown. I am sure she'll be coming home with such wonderful memories. If it weren't for Aubre and the College Program, we'd never be going at this time of year.

Quote:

Originally Posted by momof2boyz12 (Post 22068648)
Your trip sounds absolutely fabulous. I am jealous. I was a CM at the Magic Kingdom ions ago, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I think I grew up a lot during that time of being away from my family. Have a great time. I have always wanted to visit during the holiday season.


pjstevens 12-09-2007 05:26 PM

We leave in the morning
 
In 12 hours we should be in the air heading towards Disney. I can't believe it's here already. I had to take my 'girls' (Abbey & Snoopy - our dogs) to my sisters house for the week. We adopted Abbey from a rescue about 18 months ago. She's never stayed any where but our house since then. When we went away, my son would come stay with her. I was really worried about leaving her, but know she'll be getting lots of love this week. Snoopy is actually our sons dog, but she lives with us.

I've got just about everything packed (except for the last minute stuff that you can't throw in the suitcase until morning).

This time tomorrow night, I hope to be watching the candlelight processional.

I'll be sure to update as soon as we get home!!! Can't wait!!!


:woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

pjstevens 12-18-2007 04:54 AM

We’re BAAAACK!!!! (finally un update)
 
Sorry for the delay in starting this TR, but with Christmas one week away and me not even remotely ready, things have to be prioritized.

Oh my goodness, Disney is beautiful in December. I can’t believe how pretty everything looked. I took tons of photos (like more than 700) so it will take me a bit to get this TR going along with Christmas and I haven’t done a thing to prepare (no tree, no decorations, little shopping done, etc!!!!)

Day 1 – December 10th
Boy was it quiet without our ‘girls’ last night. Being they both snore, it is obvious that they aren’t here. Also, that extra room in the bed is a big hint, not that I was in the bed much last night.

DH awoke at 3:30 and was so kind to wake me to get moving (remember we have to leave by 5am)!!! 3:30 am is an awful time of the morning, considering I didn’t get to bed until midnight or later. Needless to say, excitement makes all things possible. We called DS around 4:30 to make sure they were up and getting ready. I get knots in my stomach when ever we are going to travel (nerves I guess). I really don’t think I am nervous, but my stomach does. We actually were in our car and picking up DS and DIL by 5am. Had to make a coffee run to prepare for this day.

We always have someone who can take us to the airport (remember we live only about 15 miles away), so we don’t normally park at the airport. This was our first experience using a park and ride service. I had doubled checked all my papers, directions, coupons etc before leaving. Now we are traveling I-95 and I can’t find my directions to the stupid park and ride. What’s up with that? I was so organized. Needless to say, we found it pretty easily going from memory, but I was annoyed with myself. Of course, once at our resort, guess what I found?? You got it, the directions!!

Having never used this service, I can’t believe how easy it was. No dragging the luggage through the rain. Oh did I mention that? It was raining! The van pulled right up to the back of our van and transferred the bags and off we go to the airport.

We breezed through the incredibly long line at security. Something I did not know until this day was that with the five terminals Philly airport has, they only have ONE security check point. Luckily for us, it was at the entrance to our terminal.

Dale and Steph before our flight

http://inlinethumb54.webshots.com/25...425x425Q85.jpg

Tyler

http://inlinethumb45.webshots.com/35...425x425Q85.jpg

Hubby
http://inlinethumb48.webshots.com/33...425x425Q85.jpg

Me (as a friend said, the only proof I was on this trip, see I’m the photographer in the family)

http://inlinethumb40.webshots.com/36...425x425Q85.jpg

We had an uneventful flight (thankfully) and arrived in Orlando just after 9am. I checked the kids into the Magical Express. Since five of us flew down and we were picking up our daughter, I knew there wouldn’t be enough room for all the bags and people. We rented a minivan from Alamo for $230 for the week (this was the best deal I had found for months). Within a short time, we were off to pick up Aubre!!!

YEA, we’re spending time with our daughter!!!!

Up next, checking into All Star Music!!

pjstevens 12-18-2007 02:59 PM

Day one continued
 
We arrived at Vista Way to pick up our daughter (Aubre). I can’t say enough good things about the College Program and how safe I feel my daughter is there. The guards are all nice, but stick to the policy of getting id’s, signing in guests, etc. We even got them a fruit basket to say ‘thanks’

This is the main building at Vista. I love the banners.


Aubre’s apartment is more prepared for Christmas than our home. Like the mickey ornaments.

We left Vista with all of Aubre’s ‘stuff’ and went to check in at All Star Music. I love when you see the first Walt Disney sign!!!


Checking in was a breeze (especially the money we saved with her being a cast member). It was only 11am and our suite was already ready!!! YEA!!! I was so glad, just to be able to put our stuff somewhere. We got to our room and what was there to ‘surprise us’?

A ‘towel’ wreath hanging in the window….
http://inlinethumb31.webshots.com/21...425x425Q85.jpg
And a Mickey head on the bed (made out of towels)…
http://inlinethumb47.webshots.com/34...425x425Q85.jpg

Up next, we are off to Epcot.

Bama mom to 3 12-18-2007 05:22 PM

can't wait to read more.

I love the towel wreath.

tinawv 12-18-2007 07:09 PM

Congratulations on getting such great rates on your room. I know you will miss your daughter on Christmas Day, but what a fantastic opportunity to work in the CP at WDW. Looking forward to reading and seeing more. :)

pjstevens 12-18-2007 07:17 PM

Epcot
 
We arrived at Epcot and headed straight to Soarin. The wait time was 70 minutes with the FP return time of 6:35-7:35. It was only around 1pm at that time. The first thing we see (not counting Spaceship Earth) was these lovely creations.

We got some wonderful Photopass shots but my cd won’t come until the end of this week. I’ll update when I get those. After getting our fastpass, we walked over to Mission to Mars. The wait was 10 or 20 minutes (sorry don’t remember). Only our youngest, Tyler decided to ride this (he loves to ride the orange side). The rest of the family walked through the gift shop and then sat outside in the sun until Tyler came out. While sitting by the door, there was a mom sitting there eating her lunch while her children ran in and out of the store WITH ITEMS they wanted to buy or show her.

I wanted to get our Disney Visa Cardholder character photo (and meet and greet), but I couldn’t remember what time and where. I knew it was Innovations, but wasn’t sure if it was East or West. We ended up walking through the wrong one and looked all around. Finally asked a cast member and found it was in West and we had been in East (I think) and it was only at 1:30 and 3:30. I thought it was 1:30 until 3:30. Glad I found someone to tell me this info. Just hoped we’d find it this trip. While in Innovations the boys loved the Create a Robot. There was a short line, so DS1 & DS2 stayed there while we started our walk into the World Showcase.

In all our trips to Epcot, we have never gone through the Mexico. We took the boat ride and had a relaxing visit in Mexico. When we came out, who did we see but Mexico’s famous DUCK!!!
Tyler’s favorite character is Donald! Of course they weren’t back yet from playing with the robots. I love cell phones!!! A quick call and found they were in front of Mexico. We got in line and by the time Tyler got around the corner, it was our turn to see Donald. Of course the good pics are on the photopass, but this is one to hold until then.
We continued our travel around the World Showcase and saw these wonderful musicians (I think we were in Norway). Of course we had to go check out the trolls.
Further around the world and we saw these two cuties
It was getting close to time for our AR at Chefs de France! So we made our way further around the world until getting to France.

Up next, dinner (or very late lunch) in France.

Echo queen 12-18-2007 08:20 PM

Love it,:surfweb:


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