If it’s Crazy, I Don’t Wanna Be Sane: Just Me and My 2 to Disney-June 2012 PTR
First thing I will do is explain the title of my PTR. Since becoming a single parent nearly 2 years ago, I have taken 4 trips alone with my children. The trips ranged from 2 to 6 nights and 2 have required air travel. I’ve done one 5 night beach trip (ds was 6 months, dd was 7), a 6 night Disney World trip (ds was 10 months, dd was 7), a 2 night trip to Great Wolf Lodge (18mo, 8yo), and most recently, a 4 night trip to visit Sea World (21mo, 8yo) that ended up including an unplanned visit to Magic Kingdom.
I have done two other trips with someone with us. My 17yo sitter came with us on a spring break trip last April and my mom came with us on a 2nd trip to Great Wolf Lodge this past summer, but I love traveling alone with them. After the Disney World trip in particular I got a lot of comments regarding traveling as a single parent. They ranged from the subtle “You didn’t want anyone to go along to help?” to “How in the world did you fly alone with them?” all the way to “You have to be crazy to go to Disney World alone with two children.”
Well, I guess insanity suits me because thanks to the extension of the military salute discount, I’m in the midst of planning a 10 day adventure for the three of us for June 2012. We are also booked on the Dream for a 4 night Bahamas cruise in July 2013. Depending on Disney World’s 2013 prices, I would love to make that a land and sea adventure, but am also toying with the idea of a few days in December 2012 to see the Holiday Decorations again, plus get in one last trip before ds turns 3 and dd turns 10. I’m far from the first person to do it that is for sure. I miss my husband and I always will, but I intend to enjoy my life with my children and traveling is one of the things we like to do. There’s little to no rushing around and I get to just be mom for a few days. But those comments crack me up, so that’s the reason for the title of my PTR.
After we returned from the Sea World trip and I posted the TR for it on the Sea World forum. So with the holidays behind us, I’m officially ready to start the PTR for the Disney World trip next summer since I’ve already done a lot of planning for it. As with any good PTR, when I post again (later this evening), we’ll start with the “Who, When, Where, How and Why.”
When and Where: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...95&postcount=6
How (making it work): http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...50&postcount=7
Lessons Learned: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...91&postcount=9
Trip Outline and ADRs: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...3&postcount=10
Vacation Wear: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...5&postcount=11
Regular life update: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...4&postcount=12
Stroller Update: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=15
BBB costume: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...2&postcount=16
Photopass and other preparations: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...1&postcount=19
Stroller (and other stuff to buy) update 2: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=24
Shopping and Adventures on ebay: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...3&postcount=29
A weekend planning for Disney: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=34
My love for Jiffy Shirts: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=35
My Printed Projects, part 1: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...9&postcount=38
My Printed Projects, part 2: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...9&postcount=39
A date night at Disney for ds and me?: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=40
Safety First: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...9&postcount=41
Thanks to ebay, some vacation goodies, part 1: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...1&postcount=42
BBB and some vacation wear update: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...0&postcount=43
Some thoughts on packing: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=54
Pause for a special announcement: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=61
Plans for the week of Departure: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...3&postcount=69
Paid in full! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=70
Emotional Moment on etsy.com: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...2&postcount=73
Emotional Moment on etsy.com, part 2: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=76
Vacation Time! The plan for day 1: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...7&postcount=77
30 Days to Go, Real Life Sneaks In: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...7&postcount=82
Why We'll Remember the 28 Day Mark: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=88
Vacation Time! The plan for day 2: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...4&postcount=89
Vacation Time! The plan for day 3: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...1&postcount=90
Vacation Time! The plan for day 4: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...1&postcount=93
Vacation Time! The plan for day 5, part 1: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...9&postcount=94
Vacation Time! The plan for day 5, part 2: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=96
Big Change in Plans, but we're still going. http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=97
Clothing Project, part 1: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=100
Preparing for the rain: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=101
Not a good time for a growth spurt. Ebay to the rescue! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=102
Vacation Time! The plan for day 6: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=108
Vacation Plans change. Edit to day 3: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=109
Vacation TIme! The plan for day 7: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=112
Five Days to Go! Coming Together: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=116
A quick note about Customer Service: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=119
Vacation Time! The plan for day 8: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=120
Vacation Time! The plan for day 9: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=123
:sad: Departure Day: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=124
We'll start with "The Who"
Me, I’m the mom. Or maybe I’m the crazy one. This will be my 3rd trip to Disney World, my 2nd one as an adult (if you don’t count the impromptu trip to MK in October). I’m a full-time working mother of 2 amazing children. My favorite park was Magic Kingdom. My favorite ride was Peter Pan. My favorite character is Minnie Mouse. My favorite show was Philharmagic. My favorite moment from the first trip there is hard to narrow down. But I’d have to pick the first full day at MK. We were on the Carousel outside the castle. I was holding ds on the back of dd’s horse and she turned around, put her arm around him and said, “Isn’t this fun? We are so blessed!”
I’m the one who is blessed. We have our challenges, but I love being their mom. I think I’m going to enjoy planning this almost as much as the trip itself. I don’t plan down to the minute or even the hour unless I’m planning around an ADR, but I enjoy the process. I like making planning sheets and activity books, but I have learned how those can go out the window.
This process will be a lot different than for our first trip. I booked that one 3 months out and it was a surprise for dd. I book this one at the end of September after a month of thinking about it and I’m excited to have so much longer to plan, but I’m also going to be using the time to accomplish another goal. Comfort food was big here during a lot of the grieving process. I have a goal to be at least 40lbs lighter when it is time for this trip. So during this PTR, I’ll also be tracking my weight loss progress. Okay that’s way more than enough about me. But then the rest of this PTR and probably the TR will focus on my children so I guess that’s okay.
She’ll be 9 years-old when we go on this trip. This will be her 2nd trip to Disney World (again if you don’t count the one in October). She’s my little diva. She has teenage days, days when she acts her age and days when she acts her brother’s age, but I think that is typical of her age group. She’s the type you love when you meet her. She’s sweet, remembers her manners, and tries hard and generally only acts up with me. We have our struggles, but she’s done well considering all she has been through. Along with dealing with her father’s death, we also discovered a couple of sensory issues she has, so things don’t always come easily to her, but she’s a trooper. She’s my heart hugger. I get emotional almost automatically when I think of her. She’s my mini-me, my love. I know I would not have made it through those years of dh’s illness without her. She can also push my buttons like no one else, but I guess staring in a mirror time machine will do that.
Her favorite park is MK, but before our visit there in October, I would have said it was only because of the castle. If not for that, it would be AK hands down. She’s an avid animal lover and budding science geek. She discovered a love for MK she didn’t have before when we ended up there in October. Our time there on our first trip was cut short due to some stomach issues but we did get to see Toontown before it closed. That combined with Thanksgiving week crowds, we missed some things. Her favorite ride was Safari followed closely by Small World, but on that unplanned day in MK, we rode Small World 3 times, so it may have jumped ahead. Her favorite character changes on occasion but it’s always a princess and right now, her favorite Disney Princess is Tiana. Her favorite show was Philharmagic, followed closely by Festival of the Lion King and she was one of the children chosen to participate in the final number last time we were there. That ran a very close 2nd to my favorite moment of that trip. It was our last activity on our last park day. When the performer came to hand out the shakers she got his last one. I had exactly one minute of memory left on the camcorder’s memory card.
Her favorite moment was seeing the castle for the first time. It was Thanksgiving week, so it was decked out in lights and looked amazing (one of the reasons I’m toying with a December 2012 trip). She even mentioned it when we were there last time. Here’s that picture. I love how she is smiling so hard, you can hardly see her eyes.
My son and snuggle bear will be just under 2.5 when we go on this trip. Because he was 10 months old at the time, several people suggested I leave him behind on our first trip, and I can understand why, but never considered it. Not only was I still nursing him at night, but we would have missed him too much and I would have missed out on some great moments if I had. That first trip was a surprise and the first thing dd did when she found out we were going after she gave me a hug was give him a hug and tell him he was going to Disney World. I can’t assign him a favorite park, but he really did appear to enjoy himself on the first trip and he had a blast on our trip in October. He was thrilled to be on vacation. He laughed on rides and “Oooed and Ahhed” at everything. At Sea World it was “Whoa! Fishie!” I’m more excited about his vacation next June now.
His favorite character beyond a doubt was Handy Manny then. I even stood in line with him just to get his picture taken with him after I had to cancel our Hollywood and Vine breakfast. He was visibly happy. Now, without a doubt it’s Mickey Mouse or “Muckey Mouse” as he calls him. He is pretty much obsessed. If he even sees something shaped like a mickey head while I am reading on here, he squeals, “Muckey Mouse!” He loved all of the shows, but was absolutely spellbound at Festival of the Lion King. I think though it had more to do with us having seats so close. He of course could not tell me his favorite moment, but my favorite moment with him was probably when Ariel visited him during our lunch at Akershus. He’d been smiling at women since he started smiling and his encounter with Ariel even had the people at the table next to us laughing. As she talked to him, she held his little hand and let’s just say he was enjoying himself. Ariel eventually asked dd if she could have ds for her collection. Dd smiled and said no, so Ariel kissed him and left. Here he is afterwards with his lipstick prints. Even at 10 months old he looks very proud of himself.
He is my miracle surprise baby and he has been full of surprises ever since but not in his schedule. He was born on his due date and when he wakes, when he goes to sleep, when he is hungry has all been pretty much predictable since then. But his strength, his adventurous nature, his lack of fear, his curiosity and his ability to make us feel his love at this early age are not things I could not have predicted. There hasn’t been a dull day since he got here that is for sure. He is doing things now at 23 months that my daughter did not even attempt until she was 2.5. He makes everything more fun. My daughter prayed for a little brother every day for 2 years. She is overjoyed to have him around and so am I. He is growing so fast and looking more and more like his father. That smile is going to draw someone in big time one day just like his father’s smile drew me in. Here he is on our last trip on the carousel at Sea World.
So that’s the crew. Day to day is an adventure, but we love to get out and have fun and I’m hoping this trip is no different. Here we are at the end of our trip to Great Wolf Lodge this past summer. This was our 2nd visit there, the one where my mom was with us. Dd loved it so much she wanted to go back and while we were eating preparing to go home, she called from the restaurant to invite my mom on the next trip. She took this picture.
Count me in! Your children are beautiful, and look like they are just a load of fun to have around. Can't wait to read more.
Yay! a reader. Thanks for joining, and for the compliments on my children. They are a riot. I remember when this trip seemed really far away. It still does to my daughter. But with 2012 actually days away, it doesn't feel far away at all. Course once June actually gets here, time will slow to a snail's pace. :rotfl2:
When are we going; where will we stay
When and where
We are booked at the Wilderness Lodge from Thursday, June 21, 2012 to Saturday, June 30, 2012. The one thing we decided before we left Disney World the last time was that when we went back we would need to stay longer. Ariana said, “Mom, we should stay 10 days.” Now, we have taken our share of vacations but unless you could spending a month with my father’s family during the summers growing up, I have never been on a 10 day vacation of any type in my childhood or adult life. I’ve taken a couple of 7 day trips, but never a 10 day trip. My trips with the children have always been 6 nights or less. I think it will allow us to have more down time and I consider that essential when combining Disney World with the heat of summer. Going in the summer time though is the only way for us to do a 10 day trip, not only because it is the only time dd has that much time off from school, but also because the only way for me to afford a 10 day trip and have it fit into the budget is to have 9 months to pay it off. Every school break she has with the exception of Christmas shifts from year to year, so summer is the only season that will allow me to plan ¾ of a year ahead.
I chose Wilderness Lodge for a few reasons. Since I am planning a lot more downtime, I wanted a deluxe resort and with the military salute deal I got 40% off, but even with that, a monorail resort was out of reach. Still I wanted something with some alternatives to bus transportation so AKL was out. From WL we can take a boat to MK. We can take a boat to CR and hop the monorail from there as well. The Fort Wilderness Campground is close and they have some fun activities I might try on one of the days I only plan for us to do a half day at the parks. Another reason is it is flat out beautiful inside, has nice pools and is on the lake so we can have some “beach time”. It reminds me of Great Wolf lodge where the children and I vacationed this past summer.
ETA: On June 3, due to a few unforeseen circumstances, I had to change our reservation to a regular Magic Your Way Package with Tickets and Dining. Instead of Wilderness Lodge, we'll be returning to All-Star Movies. I was looking forward to staying at WL, but at least I won't know what I'm missing. We'll try to stay there on a future and probably shorter trip. More on this change can be found on page 7, post 97 or by clicking the link in post 2 entitled Big change in plans, but we're still going.
How: Some things that will make this work
Fow now, we fly to Orlando. It’s 9 hours from here by car and with my crew, I’d have to break it up into 2 days each way and stop at a hotel. Plus I’d have to rent a vehicle because I don’t drive mine more than 6 hours from home (learned a hard lesson when my car died on a road trip once). Since there are just 3 of us, it’s worth it to me to leave my mini-van at home and get to Orlando in less then 2 hours. We fly Southwest Airlines and :cool1: that part is done. I got the tickets the first day they were available.
For our previous trips, I could always get the outbound flight at the cheapest price, usually $94 or $99, but both times ended up paying more for the return flight, $126 and $146, respectively. I wanted the best chance to get the cheapest flight for both legs, and wanted my pick of times, so I stalked the Transportation forum and logged on the first day SouthWest made the dates available. I did pretty well. The cheapest price was $102 and I got that price for both the outbound and return flights. I had 3 other goals. First and foremost was to get non-stop flights there and back. Another was to get a morning flight that would get us there close to ds’ nap time and the other was to get an afternoon flight back that would allow us to take our time before the DME departure.
I accomplished those goals, but I will admit our outbound flight is just a little earlier than I would like. It’s at 8:10am, which isn’t that early, but it will mean a 6:00am arrival at the airport. That will mean leaving home around 5:30am, an hour earlier than our daily departure from home for school/daycare/work. Dd is not a morning person. She’s not whiney or cranky, but she is not the easiest person to get out of bed. I haven’t gotten her up that early since her stroller days ended and she became non-transferrable. She loves vacations though and when she saw me book the tickets and we talked about it, she said she’d go to bed at 3:00 in the afternoon the day before if she had to. :rotfl2: I told her 7:00 would be fine. She’ll be in summer camp by then, and judging by last summer, falling asleep by 7pm probably won’t be an issue. Our return flight is at 3:30pm, which will mean a DME departure of around noon. Last time we had a noon flight and a 9am DME departure.
Once we arrive, we’ll do Magical Express. I have to say I absolutely adore this service. One thing about being the only adult traveling is I’m pretty much loaded down with stuff. Thankfully dd is old enough to help in some way, but having Disney get the bags and bring them to the hotel room, plus being able to check them in to the airline before leaving the hotel is almost reason enough for me to book an onsite resort. It’s also a great way to start our trip I think. It’s true what they say; your vacation starts as soon as you get off the plane. When I got on that bus and that video started, I immediately felt we had arrived and it was nice to relax and not have to navigate the roads from MCO.
And I’ll admit that while the taxi service we used going to and from our hotel on our Sea World trip was very efficient, I was missing DME while I was dragging our stuff down to the taxi area when we arrived and when I was dragging it into the airport on the day we returned home. People say DME is just another way for Disney to get you to stay onsite. Well, I will proudly say, they have me.
Equipment and Food
I think I’m going to make some changes from my past methods. I have in the past taken my son’s car seat on the plane. I have also rented from Orlando Stroller Rentals. I’m going a different route this time in both of those areas. On the way back from Orlando last trip, I checked his car seat through the fragile check-in Southwest has and ds sat on the plane with just the seatbelt. All 3 of us were much happier on the plane, so in June I’ll be going with the CARES harness. I wasn’t sure whether I’d buy or rent, but upon thinking about what we have planned over the year and a half, I figure I will use it at least 3 times, so I’ll come out even if I buy one, plus I won’t have the worry of trying to return it.
As to Orlando Stroller Rentals, the service was great and I loved the stroller, but this time, I think I’ll need a stroller for the airport. I wore him through the airport in my Ergo baby carrier (:lovestruc:lovestruc:lovestruc) on our first trip. Did I mention I love that thing. I still use it as it goes all the way to 40lbs and ds still enjoys being in it. I'll have it on this trip, but at almost 2.5, ds will be too big for me to wear in the airport with everything else I will be carrying. For anyone in need of a carrier, I'd recommend this one and I don't usually officially recommend anything. I might tell someone what I have, but that is usually as far as I go. But this thing, I'd recommend.
I used a small umbrella type on the trip in October. The small travel stroller (Jet by Safety 1st) was great for Sea World, and I’m sure it will be great when we do any other trip and when we get into cruising (in 2013) but I want something bigger and more comfortable for 10 days at Disney World. He’ll still be too little to walk the airport. Plus, since my daughter pushes the stroller until I get the bags checked, but I don’t think I want to give her the responsibility of holding his hand yet. Orlando Stroller rentals uses the Baby Jogger City Mini :lovestruc:lovestruc:lovestruc. It was almost as hard leaving that stroller as it was leaving Disney World. I'm considering buying my own City Mini, but still have my options open. Britax makes a similar stroller with some features that might sway us that way.
People seem to be curious sometimes how I travel with them, getting through the airport, on and off the plane and such. I posted about that in detail over 3 posts in my Sea World Trip report. If any one is interested, here is the link to that PTR. The specific travel information is in posts 13, 14 and 15.
I will be ordering food and supplies from a grocery delivery service again. I used Garden Grocer the last time. The service was great, the order was there when we arrived and everything was accurate. I am considering We Go Shop for our next trip because they will go to whatever store you want them to go to. I’d send them to Wal-Mart due to prices, but I’m still on the fence and have some math to do because while the items are pricier with Garden Grocer, the delivery charge disappears after you spend a certain amount (and I know I will reach it no problem). With We Go Shop, the delivery charge appears to go up the more you spend.
Why are we doing this?
So, why am I doing this (according to some people) crazy thing?
Well, it's Disney World!
Actually, there’s the short and the long version. The short version: I found that after not doing one at all for years, but having done one each of the past two summers since ds was born, that I love having a summer vacation. We also loved Disney World and even though I thought I’d never want to be there in the summer, going in the summer was the only way to have a long trip. I knew from the beginning I didn’t want our first trip to be our one and only trip, which is why I went ahead and did it even though ds was a baby.
The long version: I had planned not to return to Disney World until 2013 when the Fantasy Land expansion was done, but then an announcement came at church that there would be a group cruise in 2012. Our church and 2 others would be going on a 7 day Caribbean cruise on Carnival Liberty.
In 2010, they did one on Royal Caribbean. When that one was announced, I was 3 months pregnant with ds but the cruise was over a year away, so we signed up immediately because we love cruising. In the back of my mind though I thought, “It’s so far off, so much can happen.” Booking a cruise a year out or more is common practice. Our previous one was booked 9 months out, but not only was I pregnant, my husband’s health had deteriorated since then and planning something that far ahead made me uneasy. That uneasy feeling turned out to be accurate. He passed away 5 days before the final payment was due. I had to use the money we had for the final payment on other things. The travel agent refunded me what we had paid and the airline refunded me our airfare. I already had the days off work though so 3 months later when the date came, I took the children to the beach for 6 days. The rest was nice and we had a wonderful time despite the fact I was constantly popping Advil and went through 2 bottles of Orajel due to a toothache. It really was an amazing trip and I was pretty proud of myself too. My son touched the ocean and got into a pool for the first time.
I thought long and hard about the cruise for next year and eventually came to the decision that it wasn’t for us. The itinerary seemed more adult oriented than was comfortable as did the ship and I feel 7 days is a bit too long for my son’s first cruise when he may or may not be potty trained and there is no splash area except maybe I read there was one in the toddler area in Camp Carnival. Dd loved cruising, but doesn’t remember our last one so it would be new to her too. Adding in, it was going to run me upwards towards $4K before I added anything (plane tickets, excursion, souvenirs, soda, etc.) and for that kind of money I want something I am sure my crew will enjoy. Once I found out the children’s Godparents were not going either, it was sealed.
I thought about a 5 night cruise on the Dream, as it was sailing the same week, but then thought: Why not go back to Disney one more time while dd is still a “Disney child” and ds still gets in free? Then the military salute deal got extended and it was settled. I took my time going over and over the budget, extending it out further and further so I could see each month what would be available. The cruise dates are June 23rd to June 30th, but I decided we’d leave here on June 21st. That gave us the 10 day trip. I want us to have downtime of some sort every day.
I officially booked our trip on September 24th. We’re booked for a courtyard view room with 2 queen beds. Now every time I log in at the Disney World website, a beautiful picture of the Wilderness Lodge comes up with the number of days until our trip. Told you that was the long version.
So, that’s the Who, When, Where, How and Why. Coming up, I’ll share the lessons I learned from our first trip that I’ll apply to this one.
I learn something every time I travel with my children. After our first trip (beach trip in 2010), I learned that I brought too much stuff. I remember taking a picture of the stuff before I loaded the van and was shaking my head. That’s one of the things about driving. You can load up so much stuff. Granted ds was only 6 months old and wasn’t sitting upright unassisted, so I brought his boppy pillow and his rocking chair, so he wouldn’t have to be flat on his back the whole week. I also brought several blankets for him and once dd saw that, she wanted to bring hers along as well. I remember going back and forth to the van wearing ds in front of me using the hotel luggage cart. The last two trips to unload, I had to crawl into the back of the van. As he hung there he grabbed my collar and had the cutest, “I hope you know what you’re doing,” look on his little face. Flying will force you to pack as light as possible and even though I’m not afraid to ask for help, I make every effort to pack with the thought that no one will help me. I never intentionally or knowingly leave home with more than we can carry. Helps me control my packing and control my spending while we are away.
Okay, so, I’ve done a few parks now with my children and it is far better to arrive early. At Sea World we were there at opening both days and it was great to get in and get started with the fewest number of people in the park. I came away with the same conclusion after that impromptu trip to Magic Kingdom. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous heading over there with no plan other than to get to Dumbo as soon as possible, but being there when they opened the place was not only fun (seeing the opening show), but gave us some time with very few people around. I think the rain helped with that too. It was predicted to end by 10 (and it did) so some people probably came late for that. Still, we’ll try to be “rope drop” people for a few days on this trip, except for the day after we see fireworks of course.
I've also learned the best touring style for us is a relaxed one. I don't schedule ride order. Our plan is pretty loose in that we hit a park or part of a park and do what we can. We try to get in bed at a decent time. If there's a late night, it's followed by a late morning. I try to keep meal times consistent with the home schedule and we try to give ourselves plenty of time to get from point a to point b because our everyday lives have enough rushing around.
My son is an early riser. My daughter is not, but will get up early if she's had enough sleep. It just takes some effort, so this trip will have days with mostly early starts with early endings. On our last vacation we logged 30 park hours in 3 touring days, but we moved at a significantly slower pace than probably most other people. We repeated whatever we wanted to repeat and enjoyed the little things. Dd spent 30 minutes playing next to a bubble machine, then another 15 at the same machine later when ds woke up. He loves bubbles so she asked if we could go back to them. Me? I take lots of pictures, and that is something my children have learned on our previous trips. My son smiles now every time I pickt my camera up, even if it's just to move it. I know I need a kick butt SD card for my camera. Our last trip I took over 300 pictures in those 3 days. My dd shook her head. "Mom? Really?" "You're going to take 4000 pictures on our Disney trip aren't you." I laughed and said, "Well, the SD card only holds 2000, but there's still the photopass people." She didn't think that was very funny. :rotfl2:
I'm thankful my children are both good travelers. I started out traveling with them pretty early in each of their lives. They've been good about experiencing new things and places and they both love hotels. Only thing they are not real big on is lengthy car rides. So, we'll continue to fly to Florida if we can afford it.
I also learned I like having a pretty set budget and having the dining plan even with its drawbacks helps that. To supplement (on account of ds not having a plan), I'll load a gift card before we go. At some point I'll drive the hour to the base to get our tickets. Next post I'll talk about how we'll be using our tickets and Dining plan.
Trip Outline and Dining Reservations
So that brings me to my outline of the trip. At this point, the initial park hours have been released and once that happened, I checked and recorded the initial crowd level prediction numbers from Touringplans.com. Then, with dd’s input, I picked which park we would visit each day. We’ll have 8 days of tickets with hoppers (2 military salute tickets each for dd and me). We have a non-park day after 5 days where we will either spend the entire day relaxing around the pool and Bay Lake before going out to dinner or spend the morning in Downtown Disney, then the afternoon relaxing around the resort before going out to dinner. Our departure day is our other non-park day. It breaks down to 3 MK days, 2 Epcot days, 2 AK days and 1 DHS day, with a possible hop over to DHS for evening EMH on one of the Epcot days. Hopping is in the plan as an “if we feel like it” option. We may not, but there’s no non-hopper ticket with this deal. Right now, my plan just includes what time we want to arrive, which part of the park we want to do (Fantasy Land for example), our midday break and where we plan to eat.
As far as eating goes, we’ll use half of our CS credits at Roaring Forks, the CS restaurant at WL. As for CS in the parks, we love Columbia Harbor House, so our first CS credits just like our first trip, will be used there on arrival day. Others on the list for CS and Snack credits include Pecos Bill’s or Diamond Horseshoe in Frontier Land, and either Tomorrow Land Terrace or Cosmic Ray’s in Tomorrow Land and Mainstreet Bakery, Sunshine Seasons in Epcot, Flametree BBQ, Yak and Yeti, and Pizzafari in AK. Possibly Pizza Planet in DHS. Since my son is too young to have his own credits and we’ll be drinking more in the heat and I have a serious addiction to the frozen lemonade there, I’ll be loading Disney gift card to supplement our dining plan credits. I did that the last time and it worked really well.
After consulting with dd, I picked the places we want to use our 9 table service credits. Her input was basically, “I want all of the restaurants we did the last time.” We did 4 character meals on our first trip. After adding those plus two more specifically for ds to see characters he is into, I added Ohana as the one I want for myself. I still had 2 credits left, so it was back to dd with a question to which she answered, “Yes, if I could I would like to do two princess meals.”
Yes, my ADR list is full of credit card guarantee restaurants. I have accepted it. My response to the new policy was to avoid having 2 reservations on the same day, avoid scheduling meals far outside of our regular eating schedule, all of our breakfast reservations are inside a park, and as popular as they are, there are no 8am reservations for us. On our first trip, our earliest breakfast ADR was an 8:40am reservation at Chef Mickey’s which required us to take the bus to MK from All Star Movies and walk over to the CR. We made it to Chef Mickey’s (as in standing there ready to check in) at 8:20, so I set 8:30 as my preferred breakfast time. Preferred time for dinners was 5:30 to 6:30 with a plan to have a snack on hand for any long waits (yes, I’ve read about what can happen at Ohana). The 180 day mark was on Christmas Eve. I set my alarm for 5:55 and let my laptop “go to sleep” with the Disney World website pulled up, so I only needed to wake the computer and log in. The plan was to do the dining reservations on line, then call the Bippity Boppity Boutique line a little after 7am with hopes of getting an appointment 2 to 2.5 hours prior to the dinner I hoped to score at CRT (how I decided to use those 2 leftover TS credits).
So here is the list of the desired places and times I was able to get.
June 22: 5:55pm at Garden Grill
June 23: 8:30am at Crystal Palace
June 24: 4:00pm at BBB
June 24: 6:40pm at CRT
June 25: 8:30am at Akershus
June 26: 5:15pm at Ohana
June 27: 8:30am at Tusker House
June 28: 8:15am at HW & Vine
June 29: 5:50pm at Chef Mickey’s
I think it went very well. It was a bit tedious entering the cc information for every single reservation. It would be nice if once you logged in and linked your reservation and the dining plan if there was a box to check telling it to use the same cc. Or for people not on the dining plan or using a different cc than the one the reservation is under, it would be nice if after you entered it once, there was a box to check on the subsequent ones telling it to use the same one. Kind of like when you order something online and you enter either the billing or the shipping address and it asks you if you want to use the same address for the other. You click the box and everything auto-fills. That would have been nice, especially since not only did the credit card number have to be entered each time, but an address as well. But the morning on the computer was a success and from what I read on here, the success I experienced was a bit of an anomaly. People had all kinds of issues with the site that morning and the mornings around it, mainly the system not recognizing their resort reservation number making them unable to use the 180 + 10 option online.
BBBand a little about vacation wear
First :cool1::banana::cheer2::dance3: It's 2012! I get to say our Disney trip is this year.
Now back to your regularly scheduled pre-trip report.
After I finished making the dining reservations, I went through all the emails and copied my confirmation numbers and actual reservation times into my trip outline document, went to the bathroom and returned to my room to call (407)-WDW-STYL or whatever that number is. The lady that answered was a real hoot for so early in the morning. She praised my planning abilities, commending me especially for calling for the appointment on the first day I could and scheduling it around our CRT reservation.
I learned my lesson. The first trip we took, it took me until a couple of weeks before to decide I wanted to do it after all, but by then, there was no space available the entire week of our trip save one spot at the DTD location and we had no plans to go there that week. Dd knew nothing of it back then so it was no big deal. As you can see from the list above, I got the exact time I wanted. I only wish there was a confirmation email for this like there is for dining reservations. The number went into my plan outline along with the others and I said my good-byes to “grandma” as she called herself during the call.
I am getting the package with hair, makeup and nails. Dd’s already past the largest shoe size they carry, so the big package would be lost on us. Her favorite color is pink, but while she likes her, she’s not that into Aurora that she would choose to be her for the makeover and CRT dinner. She does want to dress up though, so I’ve been looking online for some things to put together a nice outfit. I found some cute accessories on ebay, an adorable handbag on cookieskids.com and I’m currently in a “convo” (as it is called on the site) with a lady on etsy.com regarding dd’s dress.
She also likes the pillow case dresses on etsy.com so I’m looking at a few of the inexpensive ones for other meals (Akershus, Tusker House and Ohana). Most of them only go to size 6 or 7 unless you want to pay more. Dd is currently in 8, but the makers advise they can be ordered 2 or 3 sizes smaller, worn with shorts and be used as a tunic instead of a dress. I think that will work better particularly for Akershus and Tusker House where she’ll be doing park time after the meal.
One of my pre-trip addictions is making t-shirts and other things from the design board. I made 4 t-shirts and a sweatshirt for each of us for our first trip (Thanksgiving 2010). I made us 3 t-shirts each and a stroller tag for ds for our Sea World trip. Not sure how many I will do for this one yet, but I have already had way too much fun downloading designs from the various files and photo bucket sites of different DISigners.
Here's some of my previous projects:
From Thanksgiving week 2010 (RustManFan)
From October 2011 (Amy_Mickey)
Long-Time No Update
I got into a planning lull after I made our dining reservations and then the holidays. Once the new year kicked in, things got crazy busy at work and at home.
My son turned 2 early in January and he's remained a typical toddler.
I have done more planning for the trip. I've built up my Disney folder with all of the designs I am going to use for our shirts, activity books, and character meal autograph books for the children.
Just this week, shadowryter filled my requests for several designs including some name fills which I had not had for any previous trip.
It's amazing usually any trip we take seems really far away, but this one seems to be sneaking up on me a bit. So much going on in my every day life I think. We're coming up on the 2nd anniversary of my husband's passing and I'm completing the donation of his clothing. It was his request, but it wasn't an easy task for a few reasons. It was difficult going through them and seeing him in my mind wearing several things. He loved clothes. He had a lot of them and shoes, but with that, I transformed the man cave into a boy cave and put my son in his own bed in his own room.
Ds has done very well with the transition considering he slept with me the better part of the last 2 years. I had to keep him with me until he fell asleep tonight, but the other 5 nights the bed has been up, he has fallen asleep in there and stayed in there. I'm really proud of him.
My daughter is plugging along despite some learning challenges. My little survivor even helped with her father's clothes, up to and including asking to hand over some ties and hats to her Children's Church teacher.
Once this vacation gets here, we will definitely have earned it.
Just started following your report, and I'm looking forward to another update. Your strength is amazing, and I just wanted to say that you are an inspiration to me.
I was so excited when I got on here and saw my ticker. We are under 3.5 months. :cool1:
Just Ordered My Dream Stroller!
So excited. I have been wanting a Baby Jogger City Mini of our own since we left Disney World the first time in 2010. I rented one from Orlando Stroller Rentals and I have been known to post on here that it was just as hard leaving that stroller as it was leaving Disney.
Despite knowing it would last us at least until ds is 4, (I have a picture of my then 7 year-old dd in it from our first trip), I hadn’t bought one because of the price. And they are never included in the specials at Babies R Us. Every 20% off coupon that comes, every “trade-in” event where you get 25% off of something, whatever, Baby Jogger products have always been excluded. I even had one in my cart once until I looked more closely at the coupon. And the older ds got, the less I wanted to pay $250 (plus tax) for a stroller no matter how much I liked it.
Yesterday, I checked albeebaby.com because I know they tend to mark them down. Last time they did I wasn’t in position to take advantage of it. They have two colors (fuchsia/black and blue/black) of the 2011 model marked down. Of course we don’t want fuchsia. The blue one is marked down from $239 to $159.99. And they have free shipping on all orders over $100. Other colors like black and gray are marked down as well, but not as much. They were down to $199 from $249. It was the day before payday and I pretty much only keep enough in checking for bills and food, so rather than take the money out of savings, I decided to wait until my paycheck went in overnight.
Got up 10 minutes early to do the order this morning. I am so excited to have one of these of our own. I’ve tried quite a few strollers in the stores and ds doesn’t like any of them nearly as much as this one. Can't wait until it gets here.
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