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Moira222 01-08-2011 11:35 AM

Happy Birthday to Joe, May 2011. . Trip Report Link
Ok folks, this is our third trip but my first time joining the Trip Reports club. I am just so dang excited!!

Back story: we started talking about this year's trip on the flight home in January 2009. Initially we were going to do October -- see Halloween, warmer weather, and my BFF's birthday (she was going to join us). Well BFF and her DH are buying a house this year, which sort of trumps WDW if you can believe that. So as I showered on Monday (it's Saturday) I was thinking of why we were waiting for October. May is DH's birthday, he is SO anxious to return to Disney, why not? I did some research:surfweb:, posted on the DisBoards for some feedback from the masters:grouphug:, and requested a price quote from Dreams Unlimited, a first for me. DH was over the top when I suggested the new time frame.

Ok, vacation from work and school are all approved. YIPPEE. A vacation is born!:cool1::cool1:

So I've been reviewing park hours, crowd times, restaurants, etc to work up a schedule. I get so immersed in it that its a bad thing -- I didn't even wash last night's dinner dishes til this morning, we were looking at restaurants all evening!

I put my deposit down through Dreams Unlimited and scheduled our airfaire from Allentown PA to Orlando. May 13 -May 22. I am doing something contrary to my own beliefs and traveling in the evening, not arriving in Orlando till 8 pm. I like to travel in the morning & make the most of the day, but the flight times and prices at the local airports made this the best choice. We will at least get to swim a bit that night and get a nice fresh start on Saturday.

What I have done so far is review restaurants. You may think that its a strange place to start, but DH and I have been following Weight Watchers since last April. DH has lost 90 lbs :wish90 :wishsize8and I have lost 40 :wishforty. :wishsize2 (I wanted to be down a LOT more than this before our trip, but what the heck!!!) So we plan on enjoying ourselves immensely but strive to make good eating choices even at the world. If any one is interested, last night we reviewed all of the counter service locations at the parks, and rated them according to the number of "good choices" available. the higher the rating, the more good choices. I will share if anyone wants to see! When we go to WDW we get the dining plan, and then bring some shelf stable breakfast groceries. it works great for us, but counter service meals usually throw us into grease and calorie overload so that's why we reviewed the counter service menus way in advance.

So Here is what I have so far for our trip: I will very much be planning this as I post it so will try to just keep this list updated:

Friday May 13 5:40 flight to Orlando WOOHOOOO checking into Wilderness Lodge (WL)
Saturday May 14
Sunday May 15
Monday May 16
Tuesday May 17
Wednesday May 18 Joe's 47th Bday!
Thursday May 19
Friday May 20
Saturday May 21
Sunday May 22 2pm flight home

I just moved my index to this post to make it easier to jump ahead:

Moira222 01-11-2011 05:15 PM

The Cast
I spent some more time reading others PTR's, getting great ideas, and then had to create a flickr account so that I can add pictures! Then I did a big update and the thing didn't save and my internet died. So now I am working on writing separately and submitting updates. Is that how most people do it? I am a newbie to this aspect but just want to share! (note: the flickr images are not showing darn it. now i have to try again!)

Let me give you an official cast for our trip and then update on where we are in the planning process.

The Cast: up is Joe (aka Dad). This is his birthday trip/present. His 48th bday is 5/18. While Joe turns into a big happy kid at Disney World, outside of the world he is a police officer and prefers that things run smoothly and stress free. Joe IS Mr. Incredible and has recently gone from the overweight unhappy schlep in his job guy to the super lean, take charge, happy to be saving the world again guy who always and above all loves his family. --Mary Ellen (aka Mom) the planner ;-) I am pretty easy going. I like to have new experiences at WDW, while not going too crazy because that would bother my hubby. I LOVE Tinkerbell starting with Peter Pan, where she just doesn't take crap from any one, even if it does get her in trouble now and again. I love going to WDW not just for the fun for me, but to see the excitement and enjoyment in my DH & DD's faces. I have been a little stressed lately with $$ concerns. I was layed off for 18 months and when I finally did find a new job, it was at a salary that brings home less than my unemployment check did. sad states in deed. However, we have been planning this year's trip to WDW for two years and come hell or high water, we are going. It will be our last visit for several years and we want to enjoy every moment! is 7 --7 3/4 when we travel. She is 53" tall right now--tall for her age but still a little girl who THINKS she's a tween. She is moving into Fairies, and some of the newer princesses but is having a hard time admitting she still like princesses. Katie loves Hannah, Witches of Waverly Place, High School Musical. As an only child, she is pretty sure the world revolves around her, and DH & I have been trying (not always successfully):rolleyes: to teach her otherwise.

Sadly, Katie does not remember much about her first two trips to WDW. We looked through pictures recently to remind her, and some of it came back. That's a little sad but also not sad because so much will be new and exciting to her again! She is tall enough now to go on just about everything so we are excited to experience some rides that we've not done before (ok I haven't, DH has.)

Thor, our 100lb German Shepherd, is not making the trip. NO fun for a dog in a mouse's play ground. ;-) but we will think of him and buy him toys that he can destroy in 10 minutes. :rolleyes1

Over the past year DH & I have worked hard at eating right to be in better shape. Life is no fun when you have too many aches and pains and tire really easily. Joe's success at weight loss is very apparent, but hopefully mine will be too as we go along!
January 2007 Family:

December 2010 Family

I planned our first two trips myself on the Disney web site and had a blast doing it. This year I am using Dreams Unlimited -- I was really thrilled with the rate (I couldn't' find that on my own) and really don't mind letting someone else wait on hold for ADR's! ;-) SO far it has been a very enjoyable experience. I hope it continues!

Saturday morning I made my deposit & ordered airline tickets. Saturday afternoon I got a PIN CODE in the mail!!!! h:cheer2:ow cool was that! SO now we have courtyard view room at the Wilderness Lodge for less than our original woods view.

Here is my list of preferred ADR's:

Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare
Princess Storybook dining - breakfast - at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Rainforest Café (Katie's favorite place to eat)
Chef Mickey's @ the Contemporary
Disneys Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show @ Polynesian ***(Joe's birthday pick!)
Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot
Turf Club Bar and Grill @Sarasota
The Crystal Palace

I'd like to also eat in The Biergarten at Epcot and The Liberty tree tavern. We've eaten at these before, but in 2007 so it was quite a while ago. Except for Akershus Hall & the Rainforest Cafe, all of our restaurant picks this time are brand new to us and after looking at the menus and the characters at some of them I am SO looking forward to them all!

Moira222 01-11-2011 10:05 PM

wow I just struggled to find a good way to insert the pictures here! now I am behind on actually writing about the planning process & sharing bits of who we are & our past trips with you.

I promise i will get better at this! Now I want to go read a few more before bed time. Its late!

((I moved my list of links to the first post to make it easier))

gallmcduck 01-15-2011 03:39 PM

Joining in :thumbsup2 Firstly well done to you and your DH on your achievements. We have only done a few of your suggested ADRs, looks like a good mixture :cool1:

Moira222 01-16-2011 09:38 AM


Originally Posted by gallmcduck (Post 39551592)
Joining in :thumbsup2 Firstly well done to you and your DH on your achievements. We have only done a few of your suggested ADRs, looks like a good mixture :cool1:

Its so hard to pick, isn't it? there is awesome food everywhere. this trip will be a challenge on the eating end, we will have to be conscious of working it off with walking and swimming. I am also thinking of renting one of those surrey bikes so that while DH is running (yeck) DD and I can do a tour of the resorts that way.

Moira222 01-16-2011 10:16 AM

Not to be missed rides and shows
This time four months from now we will be in Disney World. Just can’t wait to get there. and I have realized that DD doesn’t remember a lot about our first two trips. We’ve looked at photos and video with her and some of it comes back but a lot of if does not. , on FlickrThat will make it even more fun because it will be brand new to her. And now that she is 53” tall we will all get to do a lot more “big kid” rides so there will be a lot of newness for the Nunes family. (that’s a rhyme, our last name is pronounced the same way...:rotfl2: yes I am corny) have been looking at all of the attractions with a different perspective. I am, however, having a hard time removing anything from my “favorites” list so now I have almost every ride in every park marked a favorite. Does that defeat the purpose???? Hmm I may have to create a second favorites list for this trip and narrow down first the rides that we REALLY REALLY want to go on. Some of these we have done and some we have never even seen, and a few my DH did while DD and I did a more kid friendly ride (or while she napped in her stroller). Kingdom:
Tom Sawyer Island
Splash Mountain
Big Thunder Railroad
The Barnstormer
Buzz Light year’s Space Ranger Spin
Jungle Cruise
River boat cruise
Monster’s Inc
Peter Pan
Aladdins magic carpet ride
stich’s great escape
swiss family treehouse
tomorrow land speedway
tomorrowland transit people mover
carousel of progress
O Canada!
Captain EO
Circle of Life
Ellen’s Energy Adventure
Three Caballeros tour (LOVE The Three Caballeros movie, can’t believe I missed this!)
Kim Possible adventures (we didn’t see these till too late last time, so its high on our list)
Living with the Land
Mission Space
Spaceship Earth
Turtle Talk Hollywood Studios
Studio Backlot
Beauty and the Beast
The Great Movie Ride
Honey I Shrunk the kids play ground (Katie loves this one)
Journey into Narnia
Lights, Motors, Action
Magic of Disney Animation (DH missed this last time but DD and I loved it. He draws cartoons and graphic art as a hobby so this is a must for him)
Muppet Vision 3-D
Rock n Roller Coaster
Sounds Dangerous w Drew Carey
Toy Story Mania
Tower of Terror
One Man’s Dream Kingdom (DH is not a big fan here, but I insist on taking him for at least one full day so I have yet to see everything on my list here!)
Affection Section
Conservationj station
cretaceous trail
Expedition Everest
Kali River Rapids
Kids Discovery clubs
wildlife express train

Wow looking at this list you would know we’d been to WDW twice! but some of these were too much for Katie (either content or just attention span) and some we did do, they were just so awesome they made on the Must Do list again!:dance3:

Moira222 01-16-2011 10:47 AM

ADRs and SWW

I was able to get all of the ADR’s I wanted, but now I am rethinking the Turf Grill at Sarasota Bay Resort. It looks pretty out of the way, and the reviews I read basically tell me its hit or miss, nothing spectacular, and not always worth a special trip there. So hmmm where to go instead? I am thinking the Ohana at Polynesian, the Liberty Tree at MK or the Biergarten at Epcot. decisions decisions. I have an ugly head cold right now so picking anything food that isn’t hot soup or tea is not as easy as usual. sad, isn’t it?

Friday 5/13 8pm arrival at Orlando Airport.
Saturday 5/14 Parks: Magic Kingdom and Epcot; 4:30 Dinner at 1900 Park Fare, Grand Floridian,
Sunday 5/15 morning till ?? Epcot; Breakfast at Akershus;
Monday 5/16 Animal Kingdom, lunch at the Rainforest Cafe
Tuesday 5/17 Hollywood Studios, dinner at Chef Mickey’s 5pm
Wednesday 5/18 Joe’s BDay, Epcot, HS, Dinner at Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show 5:15
Thursday 5/19 Downtown Disney Shopping, parks???? Dinner at the Coral Reef 5:50 PM
Friday 5/20 HS for Star Wars Weekend Dinner???? now turf club but maybe change?
Saturday 5/21 MK, dinner at Crystal Palace
Sunday 5/22 heading home today

We’ve never eaten at any of the resorts other than the ones we stayed at – CSR and WL – so that by itself is new, making trips to the other resorts for dinner. I really want to visit and explore other resorts, and this is a guaranteed way to go there.

So which restaurant to swap out for the Turf Club? the problem is that I know that 5/20 starts Star Wars Weekends at HS but I don’t know any of the details for this year – everything on the DW site is for last year, and I haven’t been able to get an idea of what exactly is involved in this or what timing, etc. DH is a SW fan so he was psyched to know SWW were this weekend but I cant really plan it. Jen, our travel agent (and she rocks:love:) sent me a bit of info, and mentioned that the opening of it is “not to be missed” but if anyone is reading this and has info for this year’s SWW, please send me links or info!

gallmcduck 01-17-2011 02:32 PM


Originally Posted by Moira222 (Post 39558651)
Its so hard to pick, isn't it? there is awesome food everywhere. this trip will be a challenge on the eating end, we will have to be conscious of working it off with walking and swimming. I am also thinking of renting one of those surrey bikes so that while DH is running (yeck) DD and I can do a tour of the resorts that way.

Oh everything is so tempting and there is so many choices :woohoo: We tend to do our favs and then add in new locations each trip, saying that there is still lots we have not even ventured into yet :goodvibes I figure with all the walking and swimming that you do whilst visiting WDW you just about break even. We hired a surrey bike during our stay at POR last year, it was really hard work but a great workout, even in the heat, the speed you travel certainly made its own air con :laughing:

gallmcduck 01-17-2011 02:51 PM

We have never been to SWW so do not really know alot about that weekend but from what I have read it looks pretty busy with lots to do, sorry have no links to pass on :)

Have never been here, purely based on all the good reviews I have read, Ohana looks like a good choice to swap for turf club :thumbsup2 We hope to add that into our new list next trip. There is so many lovely places to eat at all the resorts. I was sad this year that our kids didn't care too much for going to chef mickey, we had breakfast at Cinderella Castle and Akershus which DD loved. The pictures you get as part of the package are great too, princess Belle was the fav.

Hope your head cold has cleared up, deciding on ADRs with a head cold, not an easy thing to do.

Moira222 01-17-2011 10:18 PM

Looking back and looking forward!
I just wanted to share a few of our “best moments” from our past trips as I think about touring plans and packing lists for our trip in May.

Picked up unlined index cards & photo albums to match autographs with photos, along with a smaller book for taking our itinerary, today at Target. noo, i'm not anxious....

January 2007 First ever trip for me and DD, DH had last been in the early 70’s, so really a new experience for him, too:

Katie’s first character encounter ever, she was so excited to see Donald and Daisy, and had big hugs for them. It was a great start to our first day at WDW.

Lunch with the Little Einsteins – again Katie was just over the top thrilled, which of course made Mom & Dad really happy too.

Princess of the Day: Our trip was during Disney’s “Year of a Million Dreams”. When we visited Epcot, we had early morning ressies to breakfast with the Princesses at Akurshus Banquet Hall –we were the first group of the day. Katie was dressed up as Belle, and she was invited to be the Princess of the Day, receiving a Private Audience with the real princess Belle. We had a terrific seat for breakfast, catching every single princess as they started visiting the tables, and getting autographs on her princess of the day certificate.

Family of the Day at cosmic Ray’s – we were SOO hungry, and CR’s was packed, so Joe went to go scout out a table for us while Katie & I went to order at the counter. When we ordered, a CM asked if we would like to be the Family of the Day – how awesome! I radiod DH & we were escorted to a reserved table sprinkled with Pixie dust, with a great view of Cosmic Ray’s performance. CMs waited for our food, and brought everything to us along with every condiment we could ask for. They checked back on our drinks (TS at a CS place yippee), and cleared the table for us when we were done.

We had quite a few “dream” experiences that time - we were in the Main Street Parade with Clarabelle (although Katie slept through most of it), and we received glossy photo of Alice in Wonderland & the Mad Hatter (although we never did find Alice to get the photo autographed). Katie learned what a “pinkie promise” was from Wendy, who gave Katie a special message to pass on to Cinderella at the Toon Town Fair.

Our 2009 trip was COOOLLLLDD we started with overnight temps in the 30’s. We traveled with DH’s sister and had a much more leisurely pace. We enjoyed some time at the Fort Wilderness campground visiting with family members who are snow birds.

I finally got to see the Spectromagic Parade at MK. Oh it was magical! I felt like a kid seeing all of those beautifully lit floats go by with all of my favorite characters, and couldn't wait to see who was coming next.

We have very few character photos from this trip, as DD decided that she did not want to wait in line to see them. OOOH I don't care what people say about terrible two's, FIVE was HORRIBLE really. Pluto was the only character that Katie thought was worth the wait -- and really, he is!

So this year I am hoping to experience some new attractions, but really am hoping that my hubby has a fantastic trip for his birthday. He has been talking about it well..since we got back from our trip in January 09!

Moira222 01-17-2011 10:23 PM


Originally Posted by gallmcduck (Post 39577159)
I figure with all the walking and swimming that you do whilst visiting WDW you just about break even. We hired a surrey bike during our stay at POR last year, it was really hard work but a great workout, even in the heat, the speed you travel certainly made its own air con :laughing:

I am hoping to break even while enjoying all the yummy desserts, too. Can I do a surrey bike with a 7 year old or am I going to be sorry? hmmmmm


Ohana looks like a good choice to swap for turf club We hope to add that into our new list next trip.
Ymmm the Ohana does look good.

Head cold much better thanks!

Moira222 01-18-2011 02:39 PM

can I brag for a second
I submitted two photos & stories to the Disney Share Your Memories and they posted them.

just wanted to share

Pinky Promises & Princess Secrets

Daddy & His Princess

very icy and downright icky here in NE I am trying to function at work while my mind is enjoying the sun, fun and pools at WDW

Moira222 01-19-2011 12:31 PM

Special Birthday Surprises?? 1/19 update
We switched our Turf ADR for 50's Prime Time cafe. Looking forward to the look on DD's face when she is too full to finish dinner but still wants dessert. MUYAAHHHAHAHAHAHA:rolleyes1

Slowly Disney is adding EMH for the week we are there. I was a little disappointed at first to see we had no really late nights...I was hoping to take a mid day siesta then stay up late. No matter what age I am, it still feels a little "naughty" to be up at a park very late into the night. :laughing:

SO, question for all of you fantastic WDW experts:

what fun little things (that are not very $$$) can I plan/do for DH over his Birthday trip?? I have already of course included that info on our reservations, and also mentioned it when making ADR at the POLY dinner show. what else???

gallmcduck 01-23-2011 04:26 AM

[QUOTE=Moira222;39584434]I am hoping to break even while enjoying all the yummy desserts, too. Can I do a surrey bike with a 7 year old or am I going to be sorry? hmmmmm

I'd reckon it would be worth a go :thumbsup2 I'm not sure how far I would be able to go and knowing my DD she would leave me to do all the cycling :laughing: The hills are the killers, going down is loads of fun :goodvibes

gallmcduck 01-23-2011 04:36 AM

Sharing your memories were fantastic :thumbsup2

Some special birthday suggestions - birthday button wearing, ordering a bday cake from disney (you will get a cupcake with a candle in a lot of places), watching fireworks from poly beach. Sorry not very imaginative :goodvibes

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