The Disney Finale: We're Cancelling Christmas PTR (Updated 10/4)
We're cancelling Christmas this year and going to Disneyworld instead! We're so excited for our first ever magical Christmas at Disneyworld. But before we get into specifics, here's the cast of characters:
Me :wave2:- Annette, 35 and lover of all things Disney. I get in full Disney-planning-mode before vacation and it drives DH crazy! By day I teach preschool, by afternoon I am a professional scrapbooker and by evening I am a volunteer and chauffer. It's a busy life.
DH :cool2:- Brian, 35, ready to take multiple runs on RnR and ToT! He's a big bad policeman with a teddy bear living inside. He also loves riding his motorcycle.
DS :music:- Chase, 13, my fellow Disney freak. Knows as much as I do, if not more. Has already asked to plan the schedule for our next trip and will be doing that with a little guideance from me. He loves drama and is super smart. He plans to produce movies someday, much in Walt's footsteps, by opening a movie studio with his brother.
DS :mic:- Tristan, 11, loves to laugh and laugh during fun rides. I love hearing that! (He'll be leaving the horns and braids home this trip. LOL) He's a Taekwondo freak and loves to play basketball too. His lifes ambitions are to be a Dad and make movies with his brother.
DD princess:- Carissa, 8, our total princess. Loves all things girly and pink. She's her own little strong-willed person but is still sweet and loveable. She loves dance, cheerleading and is excited for her first year of basketball.
And now to the part about the finale. We're quickly realizing how fast our kids are growing. This will be our 3rd WDW trip and we've done DL with them once too. But we all really love Disney and just have never wanted to go anywhere else. Until now. We really want to take the kids to Washington DC, to see all the historical artificats, the monuments, the museums. So we've decided that has to be our next trip. And seeing how we're not made of money and live modestly on a police officer and part-time preschool teacher salary, it will take us a few years to save up the money for another trip. Our oldest is 13 now so we'll probably be able to do DC when he's about 16. I just don't know if we'll have time to sneak in another Disney trip after that and before he moves on to college. So this could very well be the grand finale of Disney for our whole family. Oh, Brian and I will still go together once the kids are gone. And if we win the lottery that will surely change (as if! I only buy tickets 3 or 4 times a year. LOL). So we're treating this trip like it's the last one and planning and splurging like there's no tomorrow. Because for our family, there might not be a tomorrow in WDW. :guilty:
Anyhow, here's a few pic of us from our WDW trip in January 2008.
Here's a link to that trip report, in case you're interested in reading up a little on who we are and what we like.
Jan/Feb 08 WDW Trip Report: Curiouser and Curiouser
Why cancel Christmas? And do the kids know?
How do I keep it a secret from the kids? And when will I tell them?
When to go?
Here or There???
And the Winner is...
Sharing the Secret ... how we tell the kids.
The Big Reveal...
Dancing and Thinking
A Dining We Will Go...
Long Time, No Update...
Woohoo! I want to cancel Christmas too - but we'll see!
Great start. I'm ready for more! popcorn::
Why cancel Christmas? And do the kids know?
Why cancel Christmas? Really, why would any parent of Santa-loving, holiday-cheer-giving, magical-Christmas-memories kids want to cancel their favorite holiday?
The answer is simple. Because Christmas to them is still magical and wonderful and the epitome of childhood happiness to them. And we want to make this one as memorable as we possibly can. Thus our trip to Disneyland this year.
We're a modest family. He's a police officer, I'm a preschool teacher. We both love our jobs but we're not really in it for the money, if you know what I mean. So there is no way that we're going to scrimp and save for a trip and still be able to afford a big Christmas for the kids. It was one or the other and we decided on a magical Christmas with the mouse.
Besides, the kids have 3 sets of grandparents who will fill in where Mom and Dad left off this year, providing most of the video games, music and toys that the kids put on their lists. And they're getting older and it's harder to buy for them anyways, so this helps in that respect too.
That's not to say that the kids won't get anything this year at our house. Santa will still pay them a visit, I'm sure. And we'll buy them a few books and a small gift each child, but it won't be as extravagent as it has been in previous years. They'll survive and will come out of it with some wonderful memories instead of more gifts. A pretty good trade off if you ask me!
Do the kids know? No. They don't. And they won't for a while. But when we finally get around to telling them we'll discuss how we're making the choice to enjoy Disneyland at Christmas instead of buying a bunch of gifts. They all love Disney and ask weekly when we can return, so I don't think it'll be a hard sell.
What a great pre trip report!:goodvibes
You have a great family! I can't wait for you to write more!
We've talked about doing this before.....doesn't seem strange to me at all!!!
We talked with our older boys (19 & 22) & they said they'd be fine forgoing the gifts to spend a week at Disneyland & as long as "Santa" comes Christmas Eve its no biggie.
Can't wait to see how this report progresses over the months leading up to the big surprise!!!!!
Great pics of the family too!!
You have no idea how happy I am to see this PTR here :rolleyes1
Hope you have a great trip - I might sit down and put together my own little PTR soon as I'm quite excited about my own December trip but didn't want to write it yet as I thought it would be too early. Having seen this one though, I no know it's not :banana:
How do I keep it a secret from the kids? And when will I tell them?
How do I keep it a secret from the kids? That is the question. How do I plan, plan and more plan, peruse the DIS and make arrangements without the kids knowing? The answer is, I don't know.
My rather astute 12yo ds must already have an inkling in his mind. I am never on the DISboards as much as when we are planning a vaction. Yet he hasn't asked me about it yet. And when he does I'll ask him questions right back, like "Why do you think that?" or "That would be nice, wouldn't it?" without really committing either way.
Now, the beans almost got spilled when my 8yo dd looked at what I was typing (the beginning of this trip report) and went around the house saying "Mom's cancelling Christmas". :confused3 DOH! Of course, the boys didn't believe her one bit and I don't think she believed it either. Whew.
When will I tell the kids? Another good question, but one to which I don't have a good answer. I don't want to tell them too soon and worry that if something catastrophic happens that we have to un-tell them. KWIM? And as much as I'd like to make it a "hey kids, lets go to the airport and fly somewhere" surprise I know that won't happen. There has to be some middle ground here.
I did attempt a surprise to tell the kids we're going to WDW. It was a flop. Seriously! I don't know if it was the timing or what, but it just didn't work. I took all this time to make a sign that said we were going to WDW. I cut it into 3 puzzle pieces and hid them around the house where we have Disney stuff (pictures, memorabilia, etc.). Gave the kids each a clue for their piece. They had to find it and bring it back then assemble the puzzle. They did, they read it and then went "oh" (OK, all except my Disney-freak 12yo ds, who went YEAH! and jumped up and down).
Sooooo ... I'm on the lookout for a REALLY FUN way to tell the kids we're going to Disneyland for Christmas. I won't tell them until at least October, but I'm compiling ideas now. If you have one, please share!
When to go?
The dates for our Christmas trip are still up in the air. I've reserved the Hojo for two different weeks in December and now have to decide which one to go with. I want to go earlier in the month, before it gets busy, but I'm torn between two dates.
Nov. 30-Dec. 4 (give or take a day on either end)
Dec. 7-Dec. 11 (give or take a day on either end)
I know I have to keep in mind the Candelight Processional on Dec. 4 & 5. I also vaguely remember someone saying the DLR closes early a few nights for cast member parties. Does anyone know what nights those are?
Just trying to plan the right time to get the most out of our vacation.
Here or there???
So allow me a moment to indulge myself. Trip planning is something I really throw myself into and really do enjoy doing. But it's the big decisions that are the hardest for me to make.
So, all was going well in my little trip-planning world. Our savings account has been steadily growing, a little bit at a time, and it looks like the vacation is a sure thing. Then the van breaks down. Holy cow... if I have to dip into our vacation money ... :sad2:. But we got it fixed and it didn't cost as much as we figured. Crisis averted. Whew!
So I'm on my merry little trip-planning way again when another bump in the road comes along. But this one is a bigger bump for me. You see, last night I got an email from Disney with a PIN code for free dining in December at WDW. Ugh! Seriously?!? Do I really need more to think about? But think about it I do and eventually I call and get prices and now I'm sitting here entirely undecided.
Option 1: Go to Disneyland. By my calculations we'll spend roughly $3500 for 6 days and 6 nights of Disney fun. That includes all the transfers and some spending money, as well as a small sum each day for food. The small sum will buy us mostly counter service meals with only 1 or 2 table service meals the entire trip.
Option 2: Go to Disneyworld. Stay onsite (I've never stayed onsite), eat all their yummy food (one table service, one counter service and one snack each day) and take the sting out of our last almost-disaster trip there (my MIL has health and bad attitude issues and made the vacation nearly disastrous because of them). Spend about $4000 for 7 days and 7 nights of fun at the world.
Option 3: Stay home, save the money and just go on with life as normal. Right, like I'm even entertaining that though. :rolleyes:
So, here's my pros and cons.
Pros: Closer to home (no time change/jet lag), haven't been since 2006, we really liked it then and had a great time, love how close the parks are to one another.
Cons: Smaller, less to do (though we get to do our faves lots and lots of times), walking to and from hotel, no Christmas party to attend, eating counter service the whole time (I am soooo tired of burgers, chicken and pizza by the time I go home! LOL).
Pros: Huge - lots to see and do, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party (I've never been), the fabulous dining plan (we almost always eat counter-service while on vacations, so this would allow us to eat table service and enjoy several character meals), getting to enjoy it without MIL (who I truly love but has too many issues to vacation with), Rockin' Rollercoaster (yes, it deserves it's own pro mention).
Cons: Jet lag and spending most of a day flying to and from (we're in Oregon ... it's a long flight!), were just there in Jan. of 2008, hotel we could afford offers only bus service to the parks (not as good as the rest of WDW transportation), more money ... even if it is only slightly more, no California Screamin (again, deserves it's own mention).
So now I'm at an impasse. DH isn't much help deciding, just keeps telling me we need to decide. Sheesh, lots of help there! Of course, it doesn't help that it's summer and the kids are always around when we try to talk about it. Talking in code around a 12yo doesn't work so well anymore, so we really haven't been able to talk about. The kids don't know yet, as I don't want to share anything until it's set in stone, so they are no help either.
Soooooo ... what do you think? I'd love to hear opinions. Maybe I'm missing something here...
I love this idea of cancelling Christmas. I just haven't been brave enough to do it...yet! Our DS is also 12 and I think he is almost to the age where he would be OK with skipping Christmas. Maybe another year or two and we will take the plunge.
I am leaning towads Disneyland for you for a couple of reasons. First you haven't been there since 2006, there have been several changes. We live in Washington so I know how you feel about traveling cross country and jet lag. Almost two whole days will be lost to it, but from Oregon its only a couple of hours flight...easy and you still have most of the days to play. Also $500 is $500, maybe you can add something special to the Disneyland trip like doing the Christmas tour or even adding an extra day or a Character meal or two?
If you were really looking forward to your Disneyland trip, I say stick too it! I am sure you won't be disappointed.
But it's only Disneyland that closes early for the parties; DCA is kept open later. And since your big draw is Screamin', well, I doubt that "having" to go to DCA more will be that painful. :)
I'd stick with DLR!
Now, about the pricing, are you looking at packages only, or a la carte? Have you thought about having one person get an AP, to get the discounts? With an older group of kids and a family of 5, that discount could add up! Then there might be a great rate onsite, or the AP 20% discount at HoJo (or even the special entertainment book rate for HoJo Anaheim).
Anyway, if you've only looked at packages, be sure to price it a la carte as well.
And the award goes to...
After much consideration, much back and forth and debate with the family (stealthily with the kids, as they still don't know - I just proposed the hypothetical "which one is your fave") we still couldn't make a decision. The kids were leaning towards Disneyland. DH liked it too. I think I was the only one secretly leaning toward WDW. What it ended up coming down to was the fact that there is so much renovation happening at DCA right now and that we'd miss some of the big stuff by a few months (namely the "World of Color" show). In the end we decided to book ...
We booked December 3 - 10 at the POR. We've got free dining, 8 days of park passes (no hopper option this time - that was money we wasted last trip as we didn't park hop) and 7 nights in the hotel.
We're planning on either flying a very early flight or the red-eye. The very early flight leaves 6am our time and gets us there 4pm EST. But after DME, checking into the hotel, etc. we might not get anything done that day. And we'd still have to adjust to the time change.
The advantage of the red-eye is that we get in at 9am EST and have a whole day to spend at the park. We also adjust to the time change quickly because our sleep schedule is so messed up from the start. The disadvantage is that we just don't sleep on the plane. Brian and I were so exhausted after our last red-eye flight that we vowed never to do it again. Yet here we are, thinking about it... that extra day at Disney makes all the difference.
Beyond that, we're doing good on getting prepared. Our savings account keeps growing and we're optimistic that we'll have the financial part taken care of.
Now, as a little side-note, we've kept our ressies at DLR just in case a financial issue comes up and we can't afford the extra money for WDW. I don't anticipate that coming up, but it's our backup plan.
I think if this is now a Pre-TR for a WDW excursion, we have to move this over to the WDW Trip Reports section.....unless DLR is still on the table??
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