Hitting the Disney trifecta! a Nov 2013 PTR-and then some!(11/27-TR #2 LINK POST 258)
Hi there, and :welcome: to my latest PTR. For those new to my PTRs and TRs, I am a 43-year old engineer living in the Buffalo, NY area and have been a fan of Disney and Walt Disney World literally all my life, but it wasn’t until 2006 when I went with my DW and DD (then 3) to stay on property that we really became hooked on the mouse. Including that trip we’ve done seven trips to the Florida park, and this will be our eighth as a family (10th overall for DW, probably about the 16th or so for me). We are now full-fledged “Mouse-Junkies” and can’t go too long without a fix.
By the time of this trip, we won’t have been to Disney World in 2 years, which is the longest we’ve gone without since then. This picture is from our last trip in November 2011, which also included my mom.
The reason we didn’t go in 2012 was we had a massive trip to Australia, which you are welcome to read about in the 2012 Trip Report linked in my signature. As part of that trip, we were able to get our “Disney fix” by stopping in LA and having our first ever visit to Disneyland. It was very, very cool to do, but I would say we still preferred WDW – perhaps the old “home resort” story.
But, there’s more to this PTR than a trip to Disney World! That’s right, in the next 12 months, we are looking at doing the Disney Trifecta!
“But, SkierPete – what exactly do you mean by the Disney Trifecta?” you ask. “Read on,” I respond!
This TR will actually look at THREE upcoming trips:
Trip #1- June, 2013: (less than 3 months away as I write this) we are joining the DIS unplug themselves in the Adventures By Disney: Backstage Magic Tour, which includes 3 days at Disneyland Resort in California. Our first (and probably only) ever ABD tour.
Trip #2- October or November 2013: 10 days at the Walt Disney World resort. Location and date still to be 100 % determined.
Trip #3- February, 2014: a 5-day Caribbean cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. Our first ever cruise of any kind.
So – the (US) Disney Trifecta that I speak of: Disneyland, Disney World, and Disney Cruise Lines! All right here – and all covered in a single Pre-Trip Report. (with Trip Report links provided).
Next up, how each trip came to be...
Table of Cotents / Links
Trip #1 - DIS group Adventures by Disney Backstage Magic - June 8th to 15th, 2013
How it came to be - 3/17
Flying to LA & First day plans - 3/21
Day 2 plans - 3/21
Day 3 plans - 3/26
Day 4 plans - 3/26
Comments on first ABD Chat - 3/29
Day 5 plans - 4/2
Day 6 plans - 4/2
Day 7 and 8 plans - 4/2
ABD changes the agenda a bit - 4/10
"THE BOX" ARRIVES!!!! - 4/23
What's in the box? - 4/26
Trip #2 - Walt Disney World: Nov 9th - 18th, 2013
How it came to be - 3/19
How we chose our dates - 4/12
Crowd Calendar Out! Some comments - 4/16
Shifting plans and priorities - 4/18
THE PLAN (as we know it) PART 1 - 4/22
THE PLAN (as we know it) PART 2 - 4/26
Flights to Orlando BOOKED! - 5/6
You got a PIN! Nope - Guess Again! - 5/10
Book 'EM Danno! - Trip Booked - 5/11
First ADRs book - two meals with Mickey - 5/12
All ADrs booked - FOR NOW!!! - 5/21
Day 1 Details
Day 2 Details
Day 3 Details
Day 4 Details
Day 5 Details
Day 6 Details
BE OUR GUEST ADR SNAGGED!!!
Day 7 Details
Day 9/10 Details
TRIP REPORT LINK
Trip #3 - 5-day Disney Cruise out of Miami, Febuary 15-23, 2014
How it came to be - 3/19
Is it really happening? - 6/25
Wait, you want to go on Disney Cruise?? - 6/28
Trip #1 – ABD Backstage Magic – how it came to be
I have been on the DIS since 2006 now (almost 7 years!) and started listening to the Podcasts probably around 2009. (I know it was about a year after Bob Varley passed.) While I can’t say I am anywhere near the #1 fan of the show – I sort of pick and choose the episodes I listen to – I do really enjoy the banter of Pete Werner and the podcast crew. In particular, I really found myself extremely jealous when they would talk about the Backstage Magic ABD tours they would put together. (I want to say the first one was in 2010?)
I had never really thought of doing an ABD tour, in general they are way out of our price range for a vacation. However, the Backstage Magic hits a very big soft spot for me. My fascination with Disney is double-layered. I am a big kid at heart, and I loved the rides, theming, characters, all the outside stuff. But, I am also an engineer, and I am totally enthralled with the way the things work. And I’m not just talking about the Omnimover mechanism for Spaceship Earth. I mean how they staff the parks, how they schedule events and everything always starts on time, how they clean up after a parade (have you ever stood around after a parade and watched how within 2 minutes of it passing there is no evidence it was ever there?) I find all that stuff fascinating beyond belief. And the Backstage Magic tour looks to provide as close a view of that aspect of the parks as you are ever going to get without actually going and signing up for it.
Back in 2010 I decided that one day I would get to go on a Backstage Magic trip, and in particular, I wanted to do it with the DIS. Not really because I wanted to meet the crew, though I consider that a bonus, but more because I wanted to have this experience with like-minded fans – ones that will absolutely love the Disney experience.
So, going into 2011, the DIS had 3 Backstage Magic tours on the schedule, but at that point it was not something we could afford, and then 2012 was out of the question. Everything for years was based around saving money for our big 2012 trip to Australia.
But in 2012, they only announced a single Backstage Magic trip, and it seemed like Pete was maybe getting bored with the idea. I at that point wrote a note saying “Please, please do this again at least one more time in 2013!” Well, I guess the trip in 2012 re-kindled Pete’s interest, because he scheduled TWO in 2013. So, back in June of 2012 I put down my $600 deposit for a trip I really STILL couldn’t afford in 2013, but I was determined to do go.
When I discussed the trip with my wife - who is not as into the minutiae of Disney as I but still loves the idea of the trip - we knew that the only way we could possibly afford it was to leave our daughter at home. Fortunately, my mother-in-law lives near-by, and was willing to come for a week to watch our daughter since the trip occurs in June before her school year is over. Now, we have not yet TOLD our DD - who is now 9 - about this trip, we have decided we will only let her know a few weeks beforehand, and we won’t even mention the “Disney” part.
However, we are sort of happy to leave her behind. She is a bit difficult on Disney trips not because of what she wants to do, but what she DOESN’T want to do. Basically, she does NOT like anything that she hasn’t done before OR that she can’t see the entire experience before getting on the ride. Therefore, our stay at DL last year was a little piece of hell because she basically didn’t want to do ANYTHING AT ALL, with very few exceptions. She was willing to try any “shows”, and certain things that she liked already at WDW she was OK with (Small World, Jungle Cruise), and she really wanted to ride the Submarines. Even things like Haunted Mansion, which she really likes at WDW, she refused to go on. Every day was spent fighting with her to get to go on rides,and it kept getting worse. In Carsland, while she rode Luigi’s and Mater’s with no problems (you could see them after all) it took us like 20 minutes to get her in line for Radiator Springs Racers – and we had Fastpasses! And she cried and begged not to ride. And of course she loved the ride afterwards. It’s given me a new perspective on parents dragging their kids on rides. In fact, we missed several things on this trip that I would have been FURIOUS about if I hadn’t know we were coming back in 11 months on our own. So, while I feel a little bad that DD misses out on DL, I don’t feel nearly bad enough not to go without her.
As far as the rest of the money goes…well, it turned out a month after I booked the trip, I was given a promotion that puts me into a bonus program, and while it doesn’t quite cover the whole cost of the trip, it did cover more than half.
So, here we are less than 3 months away (actually just 12 weeks) and most of the details are worked out already. I really wasn’t even going to write a TR about it, but several people reading my DL/Australia TR requested it, so I guess as long as people enjoy reading it, I will try and find the time to write it. Between now and the trip, I will add a few posts with more detailed plans as well. I can't say I've ever had a vacation I felt more excited about, as I have no doubt that this trip will not disappoint.
Looking forward to following your trip Pete. Val & I did the BSM tour last year (the one that prompted Pete to plan more of them) and really enjoyed it. Lots of great behind the scenes stuff.
Looking forward to your report!!! I am wanting to book a BSM tour soon, so this will be great to read!:thumbsup2
I'm in again - looking forward to more of your adventures, especially as I will be on the June trip as well :cool1:
I'm following along too. :wave:
Following along!! I am also doing a Disney trifecta this year as well...can't wait to see what you plan!
No spoilers intended Pete. I'm looking forward to reliving our tour through your eyes. popcorn::
But whatever you do, don't miss the Imagineering day. And bring plenty of money (credit cards) for Mickey's of Glendale!
Joining in! I'm excited to read about your ABD trip because its something that always sounds so fun when they discuss it on the podcast but something we haven't really thought about doing. We are planning to do the ABD trip to Italy next year and it would be cool to get to go with the podcast team but we are going either way.
And a Disney Cruise!!! So jealous. I've never been on a cruise at all, so of course a Disney cruise just sounds like a dream come true lol. Really excited to follow along with your plans and the TRs that will follow!
We just had a discussion on the ABD thread about spoilers. Really there's probably going to be a bunch of stuff that happens on the ABD trip that I will be omitting from the trip report. This is to prevent future group from both knowing what might be coming and also being disappointed when they maybe don't get the same thing.
If you & DH do ABD Italy trip and they run one through the DIS next year, I would already recommend it. It so much fun leading up the trip talking with the people on the trip. It will seem like you already know them before you go.
As far as Disney cruises go, too bad you can't take advantage of the ones going out of Galveston. They are running really cheap relative to the Florida ones, and seems like it would be a lot closer for you too. I am not sure if they are coming back after this year.
Trip #2 – Walt Disney World – how it came to be
Well, 2013 was destined to include a trip to Walt Disney World. While we did get the 3 days at Disneyland last year, it didn’t replace an actual Disney trip. One of the things that really got us so addicted to Disney is the way that an on property stay is so “immersive”, and Disneyland doesn’t do that without a$500 a night hotel room.
It’s been a long, long time since we’ve ended a Disneyworld trip without having a pretty good idea when the next one was going to be. So, back as far as 2011 we pretty much knew we would go again in the fall of 2013. The only question was when. We’ve been three times in our lives in mid-October and really loved it, but in 2011 when we went in mid-November we discovered it might be even better. DD will be in 5th grade, so we still feel comfortable with her missing a week of school.
But, I will save the debate on which week (not yet decided) for another post. For now, the answer to “how it came to be” is simple: It’s been TWO years – how could we not!
Trip #3 – Disney Cruise – how it came to be
We’ve thought about Disney Cruise before, but it’s never been a real priority to us. To tell you the truth, neither DW nor I find much appeal to the idea of cruising. If I wanted something like this, why not just go to an all-inclusive somewhere and not have to be stuck on a boat?
See, here’s the thing – I have a rather peculiar phobia – I have a deep-seated fear of being on or particularly being over water. I do not at all mind being IN the water, but I do not like bridges, piers/docks (especially) and also most boats. The fear is from a few traumatic (to me) events in childhood that have led to a fear of falling into the water. Since I know it is a phobia (an irrational fear) I am mostly in control of it, and generally I can manage it without it getting to me. If you ever ask me what ride at Disney I am most afraid on – it is Soarin’ – and it is only the scenes over water that really get to me – which unfortunately there are a lot of them. I forced myself to go on the ride because I really like it…but it still “bothers” me to ride it.
Basically, the idea of spending any length of time on a cruise ship, regardless of size, is a bit unappealing to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on large boats before – particularly ferries – for hours at a time and been fine with it, so I’m not worried I’m going to freak out or anything….I just am not sure that “enjoy” is going to be a term I’ll be using.
So, why am I planning this? Well, blame it on our child and extended guilt from leaving her home from the ABD trip. DD has been asking for a while to try a Disney cruise. At first I looked at doing our Fall 2013 trip as a Land/Sea, but I just couldn’t see after not going for two years, only getting 4 or 5 days at WDW. We barely find 10 to be enough!
I told her – well, “If we do that next year, then that is our DisneyWorld trip in
2014.” She basically said “OK!” and DW approved, so I started looking into it. I will admit, if I was ever going to get my feet wet and actually try a cruise, DCL would be the way I to start.
In 2014 we don’t really want to take DD out of school. She will already be missing a week of 5thgrade in the fall of 2013, so we don’t want her to miss another week. Then in the fall of 2014 she will be moving to Middle School, and I would prefer to see how she’s doing before we would decide to pull her for a whole week.
So, that really left us with two choices – February break 2014, and August, 2014 as times when the prices would still be reasonable. So, I started looking into pricing. I didn’t really want a 3 night cruise. $1500 to $2000 for 3 nights seems stupid when you would barely get to experience the trip. What I found upon research for cruises I liked was the following:
February 15-22: 7-night Caribbean from Port Canaveral on Fantasy– Approx $4,300 (!)
February 16-21: 5-Night Western Caribbean from Miami on Wonder – Approx $2,000
August 23-30: 7-night Caribbean from Port Canaveral on Fantasy – Approx $3,400
With those three options, it seemed a no-brainer to me. Of the first two choices, the 7 night option was more than double the cost for two extra nights. That’s just crazy! The August trip was a little more on range ($485 / night versus $400 / night on the Wonder) but in August there’s the risk of Tropical Storms/Hurricanes, which I don’t mind the risk in Orlando, but what about on the boat? Also, it doesn’t matter to me if we go out of Port Canaveral or Miami….it’s the exact same flight to Florida from our perspective. Finally, the 5-night appeals to the fearful side of me. What if I get on this ship and I am totally tense the entire time? What if I find after a while I don’t even want to go out on deck? I’d certainly be happier with a shorter trip! Plus, this was the price that best fit within our budget, as I am hoping to keep the whole trip between $3K and $4K. The only concern with February is weather, as it is said the water can be cool that time of year, but hey, it can’t be any worse than the snow we had in Pheonix THIS February.
I got a quote through Dreams Unlimited, which matched the Disney web-site, but included a $100 ship-board credit. I asked for an inside stateroom. We were recommended one with a porthole or a verandah as being nicer. But I like the idea of NOT having a view of the ocean in my room, maybe I can pretend I’m in a nice safe basement instead of on a floating death-trap. Oops, did I just say that?
As you might be able to tell, I’m still rather hesitant of the whole idea. But, I found out that the pricing on DCL is kind of unusual – at least to my way of thinking. As the rooms book up on the ship, the prices go UP on the remaining rooms. (Kind of like an airline I guess.) So, waiting to make a decision might only drive the price up. And I was told that the deposit was fully refundable up until December 1st. So, after talking with DW – we are still keeping this a secret from DD – we decided to go ahead and book it.
So, this is how we ended up with the “Disney Trifecta” in an 8 month window. While I wouldn’t say the Disney Cruise is 100% certain at this stage, it is very likely.
Really the focus of this TR for the next 6 months will be first the ABD trip, which most of the plans are in place, and the WDW trip, which is still coming together. You probably won’t see too much mention of the DCL trip until October or November.
Next up - Goin' Back to Cali, yo!
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