3 Generations on Free Dining-Both sets of Parents, 9/20-9/26
The title pretty much sums it up. DH and I are going to WDW in September with both sets of parents and my grandmother. We picked this time of year because even though I'm a school employee, I work 12 months, so it only seemed fair that I could have a few days off in September. We wanted cooler temperatures (if only slightly), cheaper prices (love value season, and the FREE dining plan was a bonus), and fewer crowds (although in recent years, I don't think the differences are as great). We are staying at POP. DH and I stayed there for our honeymoon, and it was fine.
Our Cast of Characters:
Me: 25 (26 then), a school psychologist, and a bit of a control freak. I've been to WDW over 30 times and know the parks like the back of my hand. I am all about making sure we see everything and do everything. I've done all of the planning for this trip. All everybody else has to do is show up. DH and I have been actively TTC for over a year, and I had hoped our next trip would be as a family of 3, but I finally determined that I just can't put my life on hold and that I needed a little pick-me-up. I'll be completely happy if I'm pregnant before we go, although that's not looking like it's happening and I'm a thrill ride junky. I'd happily miss out on the rides knowing there was a special someone on the way.
DH: 26, an electrical engineer, and my shy counterpart. When we met, he'd never been to WDW, so during college, he and I went with my grandparents for spring break. He's a reluctant convert. You ask him, he'll say he doesn't like it, but then he'll tell you how excited he is and what his favorite rides are when you're not asking. He was even pulling up Disney 3D on Google Maps! He likes pin trading and mild thrill rides. Not so much the drops...He'd rather have pool time than stay and watch all of the nighttime shows.
DDad: 59, my dad, a retired school principal, and my best friend. My dad has been with me on most of my 30+ trips and he's good for helping wrangle the troops (which will seem necessary as you keep reading). He just wants to be with me and will go along with whatever I plan.
DM: 57, my mom, she has dementia, so she's not at all "there." Ever. I miss her, because she was a terrific, talented, smart woman and besides, a girl just needs a mother. Anyway, my dad is her caregiver and she will be wearing either a bracelet or watch for ID in case of separation. My dad never takes his eyes off of her, so I'm not really worried about that, but we'll have to be careful during bathroom breaks when there are multiple doors out.
DGM: My grandmother, and the reason I've been to WDW so many times. All of my trips, with the exception of my honeymoon, have been with them. This will be my first trip since my grandfather's passing. She has had knee and hip replacements and is unsure if she will definitely end up going or not, but I hope so. It's weird to go without her! My grandparents took me several times that my mom and dad didn't go.
DFiL: Late 50s, DH's dad, a counselor for the military. He has some leg/back issues and is concerned about the walking. He's new to Disney.
DMiL: Late 50s, DH's mom, a librarian. She has some feet issues and is concerned about the walking. She's new to Disney.
Basically, our plan looks something like this:
Day 0 DH and I drive to my in-laws' house after work to spend the night.
Day 1 DM, DDad, & DGM leave from their house. DH, DMiL, DFiL, and I leave from the in-laws' house and drive down. Our car will likely stop through Daytona Beach for a few minutes on the way. My parents will almost definitely stop for gas at this one gas station in South Carolina, where they will get coffee at the McDonald's next door. They will eat lunch in Brunswick, GA, probably at Sonny's Barbecue. Have I mentioned they are predictable? Our car will stop when we get hungry and when we need gas. No planned stops. Dinner will be at POP's foodcourt, Earl of Sandwich, or Wolfgang Puck Express. We will visit DTD and hang around POP.
Day 2 Our first day! We're going to start at Epcot. Dinner will be at Biergarten.
Day 3 We will be at Magic Kingdom. Dinner will be at Cinderella's Castle.
I'll post more tomorrow!!
:wave: I just wanted to say Hi and I will join you in your pre-trip planning! :)
Wow, thanks! I didn't really figure anybody would read all of this!
I guess I'll pick up where I left off last night.
Day 4 We will be at Animal Kingdom, with dinner at Wolfgang Puck. DDad, DM, and DGM are sitting this day out for rest. They'll catch up with us for dinner, but mostly just putter around all day.
Day 5 We will go to MGM Studios (I don't care what it's called now). Dinner will be at 50's Primetime Cafe.
Day 6 Our final park day will be a repeat of Epcot. The dads are going to ride Segways (and I may end up getting the tour for DH for our anniversary). We're eating dinner at Teppan Edo, although I'm going to keep trying for Le Cellier. I haven't eaten at Le Cellier since it was a cafeteria.
Day 7 We will all return to our respective homes, leaving us 2 days to relax before heading back to work.
I'm exhausted already thinking about it!! It seems so far away and yet so close. I've been studying the maps, checking for things that have changed since our honeymoon in 2005. I can't believe it will have been 3 full years since we've been down!! I'm kind of nervous about taking the in-laws for the first time. In a lot of ways, the only way they could go would be with us, because I'm a control freak and always have a plan. In DH's family, people don't make decisions, and definitely don't make them quickly enough at times. Also, without me planning the day around lines, they would get there, ride 2 things, and get sick of lines. I have my routes that I always use in order to maximize rides, and minimize lines.
Now it's just a matter of figuring out what they will and won't do or like. WDW is still something that can't even be imagined for them, because it's so big and so much larger than life. I want them to see and do everything. Also, this is only DH's 3rd trip. There is still so much that I want him to see, that I am having a hard time balancing "it would be nice if we..." vs. "we have to see..." for him and his parents. For example, he's never seen Hall of Presidents. Considering this could be a once in a lifetime trip, there are things that I would want them to see before going to HOP, if that makes any sense.
I'm a little nervous about having both sets of parents together. They've never spent all that much time together, and my mom can try even my dad's patience. My dad's like me, and a little loud and bossy, so I'm not sure how they'll handle that. DH's parents act old, if that makes any sense, and complain about physical ailments, etc. all the time, which may frustrate my family.
Did I mention how glad I am we didn't try doing fewer rooms and splitting by gender? Ugh.
I'll probably start trying to put together a more comprehensive touring plan for each day soon and starting a packing list. Any advice on the weather for September? I feel like it could go either way.
Sorry BellaSwan, I didn't get notification on your response, so I didn't reply.
I figured it was time for an update, so...
My parents and grandmother were here visiting this weekend. I'm realizing more and more that we are going to have to have to split up for pretty big portions of the days. My grandmother has such mobility issues and (her words, I hadn't said this-just thought it) we want DH's parents to see everything since it's their first time. DDad will have the hardest time with this, since he wants to be with me all the time. It's also hard to push my mom. Sometimes she just gets to the oint where she wants to stop for a while, so I want them to be able to do that without holding back my in-laws. We'll definitely do meals together.
My dad's going to bring his swimsuit, so we'll have family night at the pool! That should be funny.
I've been a few times in September, but it was so long ago that I can't remember how the temps were! According to the average temps, we'll be in shorts and t-shirts/tanks daily.
A few more things to add!! Primeval Whirl will be closed during our trip. I'm trying not to get too excited, but I feel like if there was anything major that would be closed, it would be posted by now. PW? Totally cool with that, if it's the worst thing closed during our trip. I emailed DDad, DMiL, and DH the day I found out and it led to a series of funny emails back and forth with DMiL while I was at work. She had written back saying something like "darn, that was the one thing I really wanted to ride" or something (she doesn't even know what it is). So I wrote back and was explaining my relief because I don't love it, but I feel a responsibility to ride all roller coasters, so this just frees me from that...she told me to be careful or it would haunt me in my dreams!
Ok, probably not as funny posted on here, but during, it was funny.
Country Bear Jamboree will be closed later in the month, so again, I think that bigger stuff that's going to be closed would already be posted.
I'm finally starting to try to figure out clothing for the trip. I own almost enough shorts now. I may end up having to re-wear, or wear soffes or something, because I don't really want to buy any more, since I don't wear them all that often. I should be good on shirts (although I have 2 disney non-over the top shirts in my "cart" on disneyshopping) and socks, undies. I think I need a new bathing suit and tennis shoes.
I'm a firm believer in sneakers for disney. I rarely wear them in my normal life, and am a complete flip flop a holic. That being said, maybe it's my retired dancer/cheerleader feet and bad ankles, but I need the support and structure of a sneaker. I worry about my feet getting stepped on and run over, so I always wear sneakers. To DTD, whatever goes.
Ok, that's this entry, I'll write again soon!
Some updates are coming. I've done itineraries in my word file for all 5 days, so I'll post those. I bought a bathing suit from Victoria's Secret that I love with a tankini and bikini top and a cover up swim skirt. I bought a few more pairs of shorts and some new tanks on sale last week. I found new sneakers and I bought a really good new pair of flip flops that I may end up wairing at least once (westcamo rainbows-buy them!!). DH got new sneakers today. I've even started planning out our outfits so we don't clash in pictures!! We both have nice new sunglasses, and I bought croakies today so they'll be easy to take off for a quick ride.
Our disney visa points paid for $396 of our trip. What a great deal!! DMiL has been diagnosed with arthritis in her feet, and may require an ECV for our trip. DFiL has said that he will ride absolutely everything, so I'm excited about that. I'll probably be riding everything, too, since it doesn't look like this whole infertility thing is going away in the next 5 weeks.
I'll post our itineraries soon! Hopefully the lines won't be super long!!
Hello! What is the dates of your trip? We are going 9/22-9/28. Maybe I'll run into your BIG group!
It's funny that you are coordinating outfits to not clash in pictures. I'm lucky if I can get my DH to pack 1 day in advance! He would never let me plan out his warbrobe for the week!
We'll be overlapping for a portion of our trips. I'm going to have to check out your pre-trip report!
I actually started the wardrobe planning while I was in a boring training meeting. I figured he would be annoyed when I told him, but he just laughed and told me to plan it however I wanted.
Ok, I bought the top and middle tops, the bottoms from the first picture, and the skirt in the last picture. I figured that gave me some options. Love the suit/suits!
My flip flops.
I think I should be done buying stuff, other than new bottles of sunscreen!
I will post our itineraries soon.
Love the suit! :)
Thanks! I saw it and had to have it. Now if I could just slim back down to her size...Wishful thinking, especially with all the eating I plan to do on this dining plan!!
The free dining really did us in last year. We even skipped our last ADR for breakfast at Boma because we were just too full from 4 days of non-stop eating! I have Boma breakfast planned again for the last morning. We'll see if we make it :)
Hopefully we'll enjoy eating-and not overeat too badly!!
Ok, so I was shopping again...and I bought the cutest train case by Betsey Johnson! Here it is:
I haven't put in any pics of the group. I won't be adding any of my in-laws because they don't love having their pics online.
Here are DH and me with one of our kitties that we're leaving at home:
Here is my grandmother that is going from our wedding (my grandfather died in 2006):
And here are my parents (a scanned pic from our wedding):
We are leaving from my in-laws' house at around 6am. DH and I are driving to their house the night before. Hopefully we will arrive to POP Century by 4pm at the latest. That night we will go to DTD, eat dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express, followed by a ride from TTC to Epcot on the monorail to give my in-laws an intro to WDW. Maybe some pool time, and BED!
Park Day 1: Epcot
The basic itinerary looks like this:
Living with the Land
Lunch @ Sunshine Seasons
(Circle of Life)
Journey Into Imagination
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
Mexico-Gran Fiesta Tour
The American Adventure-Show
(Turn around when needed for dinner)
Illuminations @ 9pm
Dinner is at Biergarten.
Park Day 2: Magic Kingdom
Carousel of Progress
(Winnie the Pooh)
Lunch @ Cosmic Ray’s
(Hall of Presidents)
(Country Bear Jamboree)
Pirates of the Caribbean
(Swiss Family Treehouse)
Items in parentheses are for if time allows. Dinner will be at CRT.
Park Day 3: Animal Kingdom
My parents and grandmother will be going somewhere else on this day because AK is physically hard on grandmother.
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
Get FP for EE (or ride if line is reasonable)
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Lunch @ Flame Tree BBQ?
It’s Tough to be a Bug
Festival of the Lion King
(Rafiki’s Planet Watch)
Dinner will be at Wolfgang Puck Cafe.
Park Day 4: MGM
Tower of Terror
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Great Movie Ride
Get Fastpass for Toy Story Mania
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
(One Man’s Dream)
(Chronicles of Narnia Exhibit)
Toy Story Mania
Lunch @ ABC Commissary
(Lights, Motors, Action!)
Indiana Jones Stunt Show
Beauty and the Beast
Dinner will be at 50's Prime Time Cafe.
Park Day 5: Epcot
The dads will be doing the Segway tour today. This is the itinerary for the rest of us. It's not very detailed!!
Repeats as wanted
Universe of Energy
The Living Seas
That's our last park day! We'll probably depart around 8am, and I know that DMiL wants to stop at a Corelle outlet on the way home, so we'll see how long it takes to get back! DH and I are undecided about whether or not we will stay at the in-laws' house that night, or come back to ours. It's about an hour and a half from their house to our house, so we may just come on back, depending on how late it is and how tired we are.
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