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artemis908 06-07-2012 02:12 PM

I can't wait to be 30! Feb AND April 2013 PTRs to WDW and Disney Dream (WE'RE BACK!)
Well, this is the first time I'll ever be doing a PTR. I just joined these forums recently but I have been part of several like WDW Radio and WDW Magic for several years. I had never seen a "PTR" section before, came on here and was like "what does PTR mean?!" lol and I found out, it's a place to report on your planning! Well that sounds like fun. :) I really enjoy talking to people about my planning and hearing their thoughts and ideas. So please feel free to jump in if you have any thoughts, tips, or suggestions!

So about me...
I'm 29, I am married and live north of Philadelphia. My husband and I just celebrated our one year wedding anniversary June 4th. We took a lovely Mediterranean cruise in late May. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, I have wanted to go to Athens since I was a little girl and finally I got to go.

We have a dog, Myles. We've had him since he was two, for about a year and a half now. I love him so much!

I am a writer, I write for an advertising agency. My husband is a web developer, he works with conference phone systems though I'd be lying if I understood at all what he did for a living. We typically take one big trip a year and then go to Baltimore for an anime convention in July or early August. We've gone every year for the past 4 years together EXCEPT for last year, when we were getting married and couldn't afford it/take the time off.

artemis908 06-07-2012 02:29 PM

Previous WDW trips...

I would call myself a Disney Fanatic, however since I became an adult I don't go as often I use to. Mostly because i feel like I need to get the big, long distance trips out of the way before we have kids, which we are trying to start having soon. In fact, this trip almost didn't happen because I didn't want the trip to get in the way, but since it's June I think we should be safe for a trip planned in February.

I have been to WDW with my family 13 times. It started when I was 6 and we would go just about every year until I was about 16, and then it became every other year or so. My mother and father were divorced when I was 11, so after that it was mostly just my dad and I. He has to this day never been on vacation anywhere else but Disney World.

For my father's birthday last year I dug through our old WDW photos I have stored away and found some photos to have framed. See, way back when, there use to be these cardboard cut outs of the weasels from Who Framed Roger Rabbit next to the cop car from the movie. Every year my dad would make me stand next to them with my hands up because they were pointing a gun and look scared/surprised. Each year you could see me getting more and more annoyed with the situation. :P I hated it, I thought it was lame and I didn't want to do it every year. Kind of glad I did though because I chose three and framed them and it was pretty awesome because you could kind of see me grow up (and get an attitude!).

We have stayed at Caribbean Beach, Dixie Landings, All Star Sports/Music, and Beach Club. 10/13 times it was Caribbean Beach, it was always our favorite. We've also gone on the Disney Cruise Line which was so awesome! We did it joint with WDW and stayed for about 5 days, followed by a 4 day cruise. It was so cool to leave one vacation to go on another, I didn't feel that sadness I usually felt after leaving WDW.

My last trip was in October 2007 with my mother. My mother had "given" me her car and so she said to make it up to her I should take her on vacation to WDW. :P I wasn't about to argue. I had gotten my first job out of college in May 2006 so I had enough money to take her and I there. We stayed at Caribbean Beach. It was the last vacation her and I took alone together.

My husband has been to WDW twice. The last time was with his ex-girlfriend. That's why we waited so long to go to WDW because he had with her about 6 months or so before he started to date me and it was kind of weird. We just wanted to experience some new things together so we went to Bermuda, the Caribbean, UK, etc etc. He stayed off property though and so in my opinion didn't experience the true magic of Disney. Boy, do I have a lot to show him! ;)

artemis908 06-07-2012 03:11 PM

How we got here...

I am an OCD planner and I LIVE to plan vacations. Hell, I live to plan anything fun! I had been planning that cruise we just took for over a year and so as soon as we got home I started to go through withdrawal!

My husband wanted to go to Japan, he's wanted to for a really long time. I did some research in pricing because I knew it would be incredibly expensive and showed him the numbers compared to several other vacation options: A cruise on the Oasis of the Seas, Walt Disney World, a short trip to Niagra Falls.

When he could see how much money it would cost, he agreed we could hold off on the trip to Japan and suggested we go to WDW. He knows I had been itching to go for awhile so I can say pretty confidently that he was saying this to make me happy. Well, YEAH! I am TOTALLY fine with that. :D

Now, that actually planning...

Now the questions was... when? Followed by... where? I knew I wanted to go around the least crowded times of year, I knew right off the bat that was October and December. Obviously we couldn't go until 2013, it's not even summer yet though and October and December 2013 seem just so far away! I began to do more research and saw that it's also pretty low as far as crowds in January and pre-Presidents Day of February. I have never been to WDW during this time of year. I've been in... April... May... June... August... September... October... November (I grew up in NJ so we went a lot during "Jersey Week")... December... but NEVER February!

My first reaction though was no, February is too soon, that's less than 9 months away we can't go that soon. So I settled on September and figured in the mean time we could go to small places like Hershey PA (2 1/2 hours away) and Cape May NJ (2 hours away). I sat and thought about it, a couple of days past and I started to get antsy... September... that's really far away and if we get pregnant there is no way we could go. My husband and I have been trying for kids for about a year, I am a little... "challenged" in that department, but I am not in a rush to get pregnant either. Right now I feel like we have time to take our time and not get too stressed over it yet. But it would be really difficult to plan for a September trip and still try to have kids. Do I really want to stop trying all together for that long?

It's not like we can't afford a February trip... our vacation time resets in January... so why not? That's when I decided that we should just go in February!

Ok, so next was where. Grand Floridian is just too expensive, I have always wanted to stay there but after looking at the rooms and doing some research I decided it wasn't worth the price. Then I thought about Animal Kingdom Lodge. Well, I'd say AK is my least favorite of the parks but then again, I love animals. That means I'd have to get a savannah view, but really how much time will I be spending at the hotel? So that was out.

I started to remember when we stayed at the Beach Club and how incredibly convenient it was. I am a huge Epcot fan and tend to eat there a lot, so it was so nice to just be able to walk there. I remember thinking while at the Beach Club that the Boardwalk Inn looked really nice so, yeah, the Boardwalk Inn might be the ticket!

Eventually I narrowed it down to Boardwalk and Wilderness Lodge. Wilderness Lodge because it's cheaper, mostly and I had heard it's a gorgeous hotel. In the end though, I landed on Boardwalk, the #1 reason being "location, location, location"!

Next thing to decide was for how long. My husband's grandmother lives in FL so I knew we'd have to see her. I wanted to give us ample time to be at the resort but time to take a day to see his grandmother. My main concern though was just that I didn't want to rent a car, it's expensive and it takes away from the "Magic bubble". It's that bubble you're in when you're at WDW where nothing exists outside of it and you're just happy.

I asked my husband if he thought she would be willing to come to us and we would take her out for the day in Downtown Disney. Right now we are holding off because honestly February is far away but I think she should be in town fairly soon (all of my husband's family lives in the area) so I will probably just bring it up then.

The final count I landed on was 9 days. It meant we only needed to take off 5 days of work we could just arrive on a Saturday and leave on a Sunday.

ginnygi 06-07-2012 04:53 PM

artemis 908 - wow we have a lot in common! We are the same age, I am from upstate NJ (not that far from you) and I too am OCD and love planning vacations. I have to say, I love your positive attitude. I cant wait to read more about your planning!

artemis908 06-07-2012 06:32 PM


Originally Posted by ginnygi (Post 45115696)
artemis 908 - wow we have a lot in common! We are the same age, I am from upstate NJ (not that far from you) and I too am OCD and love planning vacations. I have to say, I love your positive attitude. I cant wait to read more about your planning!

I'm from Monmouth County originally :) Thanks a lot though. When I have a bad day being able to think about my trip and plan it out helps make it better. It definitely helps to keep the positive in my life.

artemis908 06-08-2012 03:12 PM

Ok, now what...

I've been checking multiple times a day for when they will allow us to book our 2013 packages and no go thus far. I've heard that it could be this month or it could be August. I guess last year they had them come out in June, so crossing my fingers they'll be out soon. In the mean time I booked a standard room only for my dates on the phone. Always enjoy speaking to the people at Disney, they are usually very cheerful.

I also pre-ordered 2 books on Amazon for 2013. One comes out in August, the other in September. I shall just have to patiently wait for them! I have always gotten Birnbaum books for a really long time, pretty much since a kid since my parents always got them, so I got one of those along with one of the "unofficial guides".

We've also decided to go with the Deluxe Dining Plan. Last time I was at Disney you got an appetizer AND dessert with your meal, since then they have changed that which I don't like. It made me rethink things and now we are going with the Deluxe Plan, that's three meals a day table service OR counter. It seems like an awfully big jump from the regular dining plan, I wish there was one like that with TWO instead of THREE. And then you could get an appetizer and dessert with that. Since they don't have this we are just going to have do the Deluxe Plan!

There are several reasons why we decided to go with the Deluxe Plan:
  • Like previously stated, I would like an appetizer. I don't feel like I am necessarily going to get an appetizer AND dessert at every meal but I like having the option
  • I don't like the counter service. The way I have been setting things up, I won't have to have counter service any day but the first and last. I typically struggle finding a counter service I like because I don't really like fast food or french fries very much. The only counter service I kind of like is the one in the Land, which is where we plan to go the first day we come in
  • I have never been to a Signature restaurant (we did Le Cellier before it become Signature) so I want to be able to try signature restaurants without having to pay OOP
  • I haven't been to 50s Prime Time or Sci-fi since the Dining Plan started simply because you got one table service a day and I didn't want to waste it on those restaurants, so we can go to these places for lunch now. Also going to add Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex Cafe to that
So that is my thought process around the Deluxe Dining. I am working on a list of restaurants and times now, will share them very soon. My main issue here is just making sure the meals are spread out enough. I am planning two meals a day. Lunch around 11:30 or 12 then dinner around 7:30 or 8. If it's breakfast than breakfast around 8 and dinner around 6. I am hoping these gaps are big enough and I figure if we get hungry mid day we have two snacks to use!

holleypie 06-08-2012 08:51 PM

Oooh, I really want to stay at the Boardwalk on our next trip. I mean...the next trip after the two we're already planning.


Originally Posted by artemis908 (Post 45114185)
See, way back when, there use to be these cardboard cut outs of the weasels from Who Framed Roger Rabbit next to the cop car from the movie. Every year my dad would make me stand next to them with my hands up because they were pointing a gun and look scared/surprised. Each year you could see me getting more and more annoyed with the situation. :P

That is adorable. I would love to make my kids do something like that, but I can't think of a good spot. With my luck whatever place I picked would disappear before our next trip.

Looking forward to hearing more about your plans! :thumbsup2

artemis908 06-08-2012 09:19 PM


Originally Posted by holleypie (Post 45127891)
Oooh, I really want to stay at the Boardwalk on our next trip. I mean...the next trip after the two we're already planning.

That is adorable. I would love to make my kids do something like that, but I can't think of a good spot. With my luck whatever place I picked would disappear before our next trip.

Looking forward to hearing more about your plans! :thumbsup2

There has GOT to be something you can do, like something that couldn't easily be replaced. I am kind of surprised those weasels even lasted as long as they did. It was part of the old Studio Lot Tour. Like maybe something that is part of the rides. First thing that comes to mind is the stuff in front of the Star Wars ride or the Buzz Lightyear when you're waiting in line for the Space Ranger spin. :D

DanniDeer 06-09-2012 09:01 AM

subbing in!

ahhh January and February are my favorite times to be in the parks. I love being able to wear a hoodie!

and I wouldn't force yourself to use your snack credits if it means spoiling your appetite for awesome TS! you can always go snack credit crazy your last few days, and get stuff to take home! that way you get tiny pieces of Disney, even after you're home :]

artemis908 06-09-2012 01:27 PM

When I went onto last night, this was what was waiting for me. Nice touch, Disney. :)

Definitely adds to the excitement. I love it when they send you your little packet of information that has your name on it. This will be the first time we receive one with my married name, which is exciting too. Today is 241 days!

Is it time to book the flights yet...?

There are no flights out yet to Orlando from Philadelphia. I have at least narrowed it down to two airlines based on December prices: Southwest and AirTrans. I am leaning towards Southwest because you can check luggage for free. Since we're going for 10 days and I will need to bring layers for the February weather, I don't want to skimp on checking luggage, especially since I don't even have to handle them once they are at the airport. I tend to buy a lot of souvenirs too, particularly for family so I want to have some added room for that. When we were in Europe for 2 weeks, I was able to get it down to one large suitcase, one small, and a duffel bag. That was kind of annoying though because we had to carry more, I think this time it all goes to the luggage and we spare our shoulders/back (er not so much "ours" as my husband's! :laughing:)

Prices are looking to be around $250-300 a ticket. I have pretty much looked up every airline that leaves Philadelphia. I am not interested in any stops, it's a 2 1/2 hour flight and I don't want it to turn into 4 or 5. I am hoping maybe I can get some discounted flights with Disney, that might end up making up for the price of checking luggage.

artemis908 06-10-2012 12:06 PM

Some of my favorites...

I've noticed that some folks are talking about their favorite Disney stuff in their PTRs, so I thought it might be fun for me to add some of mine! :D

  • Disney Movie: The Little Mermaid
  • Pixar Movie: Finding Nemo
  • Disney Ride: Spaceship Earth
  • Favorite Park: Epcot
  • Disney Restaurant: This one is hard... I want to say Le Cellier, but I've loved Coral Reef since I was really little. Also Garden Grill is a must for the first night
  • Favorite Resort: Caribbean Beach seems to be my fall back. The price is good and I love Old Port Royale. Though I like trying new resorts

Random Facts:
  • I watched all Disney shows as a kid. We had the Disney Channel and I watched Disney Afternoon! Loved shows like Adventures in Wonderland, Dumbo's Circus, Ducktales, Rescue Rangers, etc.
  • I named our family dog when I was little "Chip" and I would always run up to Chip when I saw him at Disney World and tell him
  • Mickey's PhilharMagic made me cry when I first saw it (and I was an adult :P)

artemis908 06-11-2012 10:38 AM

Where shall we dine?

Alright I am starting to finalize my ADR plan. As I said before, I am going with the Deluxe Dining Plan for our trip and so it gives us an opportunity to go to some Signature restaurants. I am trying to plan things out so we have two meals a day with hopefully plenty of time in between to get hungry again.

My husband and I have very different eating habits. He can miss meals without even noticing, he doesn't eat very much, and he can pretty much eat anything he wants and not gain weight. He is super skinny and tall, I hate it. :P I don't have quite the same luck, I love sweets and I love eating out. In fact, one of my favorite parts about going to WDW are the restaurants. I love the themes and the uniqueness of the experience.

Alright so here is the plan!

Day 1: I want to try to get us a 7am flight, which after getting off the plane, finding the Disney Magical Express, waiting for a bus, and arriving at the resort, I think we should be there by 11. Check in should hopefully be easy enough which should allow us to go get Lunch quick service at Boulangerie Patisserie. They have croissant sandwiches and quiche with lots of yummy French pastries and cakes. For dinner, I always go to Garden Grill and will make a reservation for 5:00pm. Reason being that I feel it really kick starts the vacation to have a character dinner and Garden Grill is my favorite place for that. I love the sounds of the Living with the Land attraction and the fact the restaurant rotates, it's so much fun.

Day 2: We will be at Disney Studios (though in my mind I still call it MGM, I can't help it. That's what it was called for most of my life!) We are having lunch at Sci-fi at 11:30. It has been a really long time since I have been to this restaurant. Once the dining plan came out, we typically didn't waste our table services on those kinds of restaurants but having the Deluxe plan will allow us to enjoy all the restaurants we want to go to, so I am really looking forward to this. For dinner, we will take one of the resort buses to the Contemporary to have dinner at Chef Mickey's at 7:30. I am hoping that we'll be able to see some of Wishes while there, I figured 30 minutes would give us enough time to allow for a wait, get seated, and maybe grab our first plate.

Day 3: We are back at Epcot. My husband requested we go to one of the restaurants in Japan so we will be having lunch at Tokyo Dining at 12:00. For dinner, we are staying at Epcot and will have our first 2 TS restaurant at Le Cellier for 8:00. Le Cellier is one of my favorite restaurants at WDW, so really looking forward to this.

Day 4: We're at Magic Kingdom so I want to get an early breakfast reservation at Cinderella's Royal Royal Table at 8:00am. I wasn't sure at first if I wanted to do this one because last time I was there I felt kind of awkward since there were so many children, but I think it will feel different with my husband vs. being there alone with my mother. For dinner, I really want to go to California Grill, but I heard that it's going to be closed, so my back up is Narcoossee's at 7:30.

Day 5: We'll be at Animal Kingdom. So I want to have lunch at the Rainforest Cafe at 12. This is another example of restaurants I wouldn't go to on the normal dining plan. Rainforest Cafe's are all over the place so it's not like you can't go to one fairly close by (there is one in Atlantic City, so that's about 2 hours from me). But I do like it there for the atmosphere and believe it or not, I had some fairly good there, some really nice dessert. For dinner I am really hoping we can get a 8pm reservation for Be Our Guest. Now, depending on how ADRs open for Be Our Guest, I may end up switching Be Our Guest to be during Day 4 so we can just stick to MK that day and not have to leave, but who knows when ADRs will open for Be Our Guest or if I'll even be able to get a reservation.

Day 6: Is a misc. day. We want to have breakfast at Cape May Cafe at 8:00am, so it's a quick walk across to the Beach Club. Then we'll use the day to go whichever park we didn't get to see enough of. Dinner should be at Coral Reef at 4/4:30 being that you have more luck getting a seat by the aquarium if you get there early.

Day 7: Now this is a tricky day. My husband's grandmother lives about an hour outside of Orlando. I don't want to have to rent a car, so I am hoping we can convince her to come to us and take her out for a day at Downtown Disney. I plan on making lunch reservations for 12 at T-Rex Cafe and at Fulton's Crab House for 7:30. I really hope she will be willing to come to us, it'll make things just a lot easier.

Day 8: This is another misc. day to catch up with whatever we missed though I think we'll spend the day at Disney Studios since we'll have a 12pm lunch reservation at Prime Time Cafe. Then for dinner I want to got San Angel Inn at 8pm. I don't think I have ever been to this restaurant before, maybe once, but it just seemed so romantic and I don't want to go to a romantic restaurant with my parents! So I thought this might be a nice romantic spot for my husband and I.

Day 9: Time to go home :( I figured we'd enjoy our room while we had it and order room service for breakfast. Then have a late lunch at Big River Grill or ESPN since they don't take reservations. I want to try to get us a later flight at around 6 or 7 so we won't feel rushed to leave.

artemis908 06-13-2012 01:24 PM

Visiting WDW as a daughter versus as a wife...

For the past 23 years I have only been to WDW with my parents. I never went with friends or boyfriends, it was always with my mom, dad, or both when they were married. I think experiencing vacations in general is different when you are not with your parents. My dad always use to make me get up really early so we could get to the parks as soon as they opened. I didn't have much say in any of that, he'd always bring up that he was the one who paid in the vacation so he had the final say.

When I went with my mom she would need to take a lot of breaks which I have only recently began to understand. I had so much energy when I was younger and really didn't require any breaks but I noticed that during our last couple of trips I needed to sit down for 5 minutes especially when it was hot and the ground was made of stones (we ran into that a lot in Athens and Rome).

When I was a teenager I began to get jealous of all of the couples there and would imagine being at Disney World with a significant other. I just wanted to hold hands with someone and walk down Main Street, it seemed like it would be so much fun. It especially got harder as I got older. My mom would let me plan everything but she didn't want to go on the upside down rides, she wasn't very open on trying new food, and I would feel sad about not having boyfriend there with me (it's odd but I think I only had a boyfriend once while visiting WDW, trips always seemed to coincide when I was single!).

So, how will things be different? How are they different already? Well, for one I have complete control. I don't even really tell my husband what I am planning outside of dates and the resort. He trusts whatever I do and I have honestly never planned a bad trip, he knows that and he loves what I plan. I just tell him the general details and he'll see what we are doing when we get there lol. Especially with the restaurants, he only had one request, which was to eat at Japan. I love sushi so had no problem with that and I've never eaten at Japan before since my mom hates sushi. My husband has never stayed on property and I don't think he ate much at the parks so a lot of this will be new experiences with him, which I am happy to plan and share.

Another difference is I am very aware of how much we're spending and I have been obsessively checking for flight prices. Obviously when it's not your money, you don't care as much but Disney is a lot cheaper than going to Europe so I haven't felt like we are over spending yet.

Another thing I've noticed about vacationing in general with my husband is no matter how many days we are away it never seems enough, unlike when I vacationed with my parents and after some time I had enough. It's very different spending 10 days in one room with your mother, she would drive me crazy after awhile and I couldn't wait to go home after some time. I would miss my friends and my alone time. With my husband though we already share our lives together so as of yet I haven't missed going home. When I told my mom we were going to Disney for 9 days she said that seemed like too much and I just said it's different when I am with my husband. When we were in Europe for 2 weeks I was still sad to go home, I could have stayed there for another month!

I think once we get to Disney it will feel different, but in a really good way. I really can't wait for February to come and I am glad that I decided we go in February instead of September because 7 1/2 months still seems far away but not so far at the same time!

emmabelle 06-17-2012 08:44 AM

we'll be there the same time. We're going Feb 3-9, got the airline tickets, ordered the park tickets through Undercover Tourist, just waiting on the accommodations. I'm not sure where we'll stay because we usually stay in the Epcot resorts, maybe we'll go crazy and stay at the GF since we'll be celebrating my ughhh 50th birthday. ;)

Kathy Z 06-17-2012 01:43 PM

Hi, I was also born in NJ and grew up in Bucks County, PA, north of Philadelphia. But I've lived in MI for the past 47 years. Like you, I am a compulsive planner. :goodvibes

Our next trip to WDW will begin the day after you leave and I'm also anxiously awaiting for Disney to announce their 2013 rates. Last year they did so on June 12th but other recent years were always in August.

We have stayed at BWI and our favorite part about it was that we could walk into Epcot. Also, we were right next door to Flying Fish which is one of our 2 favorite Signature restaurants. We were on the DxDP one time and used it much the same way you plan. Either early lunch and late dinner or late big breakfast and early dinner. Neither of us skips meals so on mornings without breakfast plans we had yogurt, granola bars and juice in our room. The one QS that we like is Flame Tree Barbecue in AK. Many mains come with baked beans and cole slaw as the sides rather than fries. Almost all of our snack credits were saved for treats that traveled well that we brought home to our grandchildren. If you do not feel like eating a dessert after having your appetizer and entree don't order one. Remember that you will be expected to base your tip on the total cost of what your meal's menu prices are. We often ordered just one dessert and shared it. Most servers will encourage you to order a dessert "since it is already included" even if you'll only take a bite of it. I thought that would just be wasteful.

Will you be getting park hopper tickets? Your plans don't look like you need them except for Day 8 when you plan to be in the studios but eat dinner at an Epcot location.

Since I'm plenty old to be the parent of either of you but I expect still younger than your husband's grandmother I have to ask if grandma is comfortable driving at night. If she's fine with it that would be wonderful.

Continued happy planning.:)

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