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-   -   We won a trip to Disney World! Now what...? (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3194845)

UConnFan 11-03-2013 08:42 PM

We won a trip to Disney World! Now what...?
 
Hi! pixiedust: I've never written a trip report of any kind, so I'm excited to jump in and share our planning! My husband and I were lucky enough to win a trip to Disney World recently, but more on that later. First, let's introduce ourselves.

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I'm Belle* a 20-something Disneyphile. I'm a third grade special education teacher who loves books, podcasts, yummy food, playing outside, and mild athletics. This will be my eighth trip to Disney, including an upcoming short trip this December for an amazing experience.

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This is Kevin, my hunk of a husband. He's currently working toward becoming an actuary. He loves playing video games, watching sports, and completing complicated math. He came to me as a past Disney traveler, but not (yet) a fan. After two trips together, including our Disneymoon in May of 2013, he's becoming quite the Disney convert.

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This is Dobby. She's our 7-month old lab puppy and the light of our life. We love her quite dearly, and I'm sure I'll mention her constantly. She loves chewing anything, her food bowl, being chased by other dogs, and cuddling. She's very intelligent (an unbiased opinion, I swear!), so she's a blast to have around.

Now for the good part - our trip!

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Kevin and I were beyond amazed to win a 6 night, 7 day trip to Disney World. That story deserves its own post. This just happened on Saturday, November 2nd (also my birthday, as if it couldnt get any better), so we are very much in the beginning of our planning process.

Here's what you can expect some rambles on in the near future:
- I'm a teacher, so our timeframe is somewhat limited. Hmm...
- We get to stay in a moderate (fancy living!). We've only ever stayed in a value, so this is a *big* deal for us. Where should we stay?
- We also get the dining plan. What new restaurants should we try? Will we go back to some of our old favorites? How will we find the time!?!
- How will Fastpass+ and Magic Bands play into this trip?
- Should we add extra days to our trip and make it a dream 10-12 day trip?
- Will we find time to give back to our favorite charity while we are there?
- And so, so much more, I'm sure!



Table of Contents
Winners!
Let the Planning Commence

Calendar Conundrum
It's her birthday! (Podcast Recording)
Port Orleans Showdown
Adding on Time
Eating our Way Through the World...and a change of plans (already)
_____________________
* This isnt my real name, but as a teacher, I try to keep a very clear line between my personal life and my professional life. I have a sort-of common name with very a uncommon spelling. If anyone searched my first name, they would easily find me. For that reason, I will go by Kevins nickname for me here. If you do know my real name, I ask that you please not post it on the boards.

Applemomma 11-03-2013 09:05 PM

I'm in! Can't wait to follow along!! And I vote for POFQ! Small and romantic ;)

Imbri 11-04-2013 12:48 AM

So awesome! Can't wait to hear about how you won your trip. =D

Hubby and I did POR for our Honeymoon, and I'm in love with it. Part of what we loved was the river transportation. <3

Our next trip (in Feb!) we'll be at Pop, which I'm pretty excited for, because it's one of the value ones I've been wanting to stay at for awhile (I've only been twice, once in All Star Movies and once in POR).

UConnFan 11-04-2013 07:07 PM

Winners!
 
I'm an avid follower of the Dis Unplugged Podcast. I love the team members as if they were friends and I love the people we have met through the podcast. We're fortunate to have attended five Dis Meets. If you aren't a listener to the podcast, go download it now. It's the highlight of the week.

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Pete Werner, the CEO of the Dis and the host of the Dis Unplugged, announced a challenge a few years ago. His goal is to raise a million dollars for the organization Give Kids the World. This is a dream resort in Kissimmee, Florida, where children who are suffering from life threatening illnesses can escape real life for a magical week in Disney World. This organization is consistently ranked as one of the most fiscally responsible charitable organizations in the country. Through Petes challenge, I've come to love this organization , and I take every opportunity I can to support them.

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A few times a year, friends who have met on the Dis come together to plan a weekend of fun and fundraising for this worthy cause. We call them Dis Meets. These events happen all around the country and have raised thousands of dollars for GKTW. These weekends are a blast and Kevin and I go to as many as we can. We've been fortunate enough to attend 5 Dis Meets. We've been to Nova Scotia, two New England meets, New Jersey, and now Delaware, where this fateful trip was born.


The Delaware meet took place November 2nd in Newark. As is common with these meets, there was an impressive array of raffle and silent auction prizes to be won and even a live auction, something I had never experienced. The meet also included a recording of the podcast, which is the capstone of the weekend. At the last few meets, Pete has offered a raffle for a trip to Disney World courtesy of Dreams Unlimited Travel. I had heard of these raffles before, but had never been to a meet where this had happened. I was hoping Delaware would include this opportunity.

Lucky for us, Pete did announce a raffle for a trip. Tickets were $10 a piece. I tried to convince Kevin to buy $100 worth of tickets, figuring we either pay $100 for a trip to Disney or we donate $100 to GKTW. Win, win. He didn't love the idea, so we stuck with $40 worth, instead. After buying tickets, I saw a few people with long strings of tickets. I knew our chances were slim and I told myself not to get my hopes up.

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When we reached the end of the podcast recording, it was time to pick a raffle ticket. Everyone in the room stood, hoping their number would be called. As numbers were called, more and more people sat down. Finally, it was just us and one other couple standing. My heart was racing. I couldnt believe I was *this* close to winning a trip to Disney. As he called the last number, my heart sank. The first ticket in our strip ended in a 7 and they had called a number ending in a 4. Surely, we had lost. But wait - Kevin had just announced that we had won! Confused, I glanced quickly at the rest of our tickets. Sure enough, we had the winning ticket! For some reason, the tickets were ordered in reverse sequence. I was immediately in shock!

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This was the best birthday present I've ever been given. I stood there, with 80 other people watching me, and whispered in disbelief to Kevin. I cant wait to go back and listen to this moment again on the podcast.

We received lots of congratulations and even began to get advice on where we should stay. I have to admit, when we finally got back to our hotel room, I danced and jumped on the bed with excitement. I'm really not sure how to adequately describe the excitement and disbelief I feel about winning this trip.

Immediately, the gears started turning. A moderate resort - where should we stay? When should we go? I knew I needed to chronicle this experience with a pre-trip report. Thanks for joining in on the fun - now lets get the party started!

UConnFan 11-04-2013 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Imbri (Post 49995586)
So awesome! Can't wait to hear about how you won your trip. =D

Hubby and I did POR for our Honeymoon, and I'm in love with it. Part of what we loved was the river transportation. <3

Our next trip (in Feb!) we'll be at Pop, which I'm pretty excited for, because it's one of the value ones I've been wanting to stay at for awhile (I've only been twice, once in All Star Movies and once in POR).

We love pop! That's where we always stay when we ware paying our way. It's great that is has its own bus system and I really enjoy the theming. The food quart has always been good, too. Then again, we've only stayed at Pop. This trip may ruin us forever...

ShesAPirate 11-04-2013 10:01 PM

I was there, I was there! :rotfl: Looking forward to reading all about you're planning!

tankgirl427 11-04-2013 11:00 PM

Joining! What an awesome story so far! I stay at Pop for my go to value resort. But I second staying at POFQ. It's a small resort and there is one bus stop. Unless you go to get on the bus at weird hours you typically do not share with POR. I think all other mods have multiple bus stops, which I'm not a fan of. The boat to DTD is awesome and relaxing. Congratulations and can't wait to hear about your planning!

blessedmom4 11-05-2013 04:03 AM


Joining, in, this is so exciting!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

As a Wish Alumni Mom who has spent a good deal of time enjoying GKTW, I simply want to say THANK YOU for supporting this amazing place!
:goodvibes:goodvibes :goodvibes

Imbri 11-05-2013 01:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UConnFan
We love pop! That's where we always stay when we ware paying our way. It's great that is has its own bus system and I really enjoy the theming. The food quart has always been good, too. Then again, we've only stayed at Pop. This trip may ruin us forever...
Yesterday 07:07 PM

I hear that Pop has some sort of cheesecake that everyone loves? Lol, i'm exicted to try that. :cool1:

Quote:

Originally Posted by tankgirl427 (Post 50003194)
Joining! What an awesome story so far! I stay at Pop for my go to value resort. But I second staying at POFQ. It's a small resort and there is one bus stop. Unless you go to get on the bus at weird hours you typically do not share with POR. I think all other mods have multiple bus stops, which I'm not a fan of. The boat to DTD is awesome and relaxing. Congratulations and can't wait to hear about your planning!

The boats are so much fun, aren't they? =D I love water/anything related to it, so when I saw the boats when we got there, I was so happy.

We were in POR, and the buses back to our resort were always super packed (and we went in Sept), most nights you'd have to wait for 2-3 buses before getting on. The second day, we noticed that while there was a loooong line for POR, there were maybe 3-5 people for POFQ, soooooo.
We totally hopped in their line everyday! And then took the boat back to POR from POFQ.

UConnFan 11-05-2013 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blessedmom4 (Post 50003961)

Joining, in, this is so exciting!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

As a Wish Alumni Mom who has spent a good deal of time enjoying GKTW, I simply want to say THANK YOU for supporting this amazing place!
:goodvibes:goodvibes :goodvibes

We just love GKTW. I'm really hoping we can volunteer on this trip. What were your favorite aspects of the resort?

Quote:

Originally Posted by ShesAPirate (Post 50002889)
I was there, I was there! :rotfl: Looking forward to reading all about you're planning!

Woo hoo! I'm glad you're joining us! :cool1:

Quote:

Originally Posted by tankgirl427 (Post 50003194)
Joining! What an awesome story so far! I stay at Pop for my go to value resort. But I second staying at POFQ. It's a small resort and there is one bus stop. Unless you go to get on the bus at weird hours you typically do not share with POR. I think all other mods have multiple bus stops, which I'm not a fan of. The boat to DTD is awesome and relaxing. Congratulations and can't wait to hear about your planning!

Thank you! The more I think about it, the more Port Orleans appeals to me. I'm going to write a separate post on it later this week. The bus situation is definitely something we need to consider...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Imbri (Post 50006812)
I hear that Pop has some sort of cheesecake that everyone loves? Lol, i'm exicted to try that. :cool1:

The boats are so much fun, aren't they? =D I love water/anything related to it, so when I saw the boats when we got there, I was so happy.

We were in POR, and the buses back to our resort were always super packed (and we went in Sept), most nights you'd have to wait for 2-3 buses before getting on. The second day, we noticed that while there was a loooong line for POR, there were maybe 3-5 people for POFQ, soooooo.
We totally hopped in their line everyday! And then took the boat back to POR from POFQ.

We finally tried the tie dye cheesecake last time we were there. It was really good! It wasn't my favorite cheesecake ever, but it was certainly delicious. It was also super fun and the perfect Disney treat :hippie:

Do the boats only run to DTD? It's interesting that the buses were packed in September. You'd think with lower crowds, the buses would be better. I hate standing on the bus when we've been in the park all day (but, who doesn't?). This seems to be a common concern...that may have a big impact on where we decide to stay.

UConnFan 11-05-2013 05:53 PM

Let the Planning Commence!!!
 
Iíd like to get our email in to Pete solidifying the details of our trip as soon as possible, so itís time to really start planning this trip. First things first, when should we go?

As a teacher, my options are somewhat limited. I could go during my April vacation. The temperatures are cooler and it would be wonderful to escape during the school year. Iím worried about a few things, though. First of all, going away right as school ends and returning right as school begins again is very stressful. I would have to make sure all of my lesson planning and side work was complete for the next week before I left for Disney. Secondly, we all know Disney is an exhausting trip. It would be challenging to come back from a trip to Disney just to jump right back into teaching.

The other alternative would be to go during the summer. The most enticing part of traveling during the summer is the flexibility we have with dates. If I go during the school year, I am limited to the dates we have off. During the summer, we can take advantage of a free trip by tacking on extra days. Never mind the ease of having time before our trip to get ready and after our trip to rest.

Of course, going during the summer means fighting the crowds and the oppressive heat. Itís hard to determine which factor weighs heaviest and which will finally tip the scales.

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(Hot trips look like this!)

Iíve been during the summer once, a few years ago. Although it was very hot and very crowded, we still had a wonderful trip. Additionally, every time we go, I wish we could stay longer. There is just never enough time to do everything we want to do. We have dreams of water park days, sleeping in, Harry Potter expansions, and a leisurely trip. The more I think about it, the more I think I want to brave the crowds and heat in favor for a longer trip.

If you had these options, what would you do? Would you brave the crowds and heat and stay longer, or would you go during April? If you did add extra time, how long would you stay? Would you go in July or August?

On a side note, can we talk about how amazing it is to be in this part of the planning process??? Things are so brand new and exciting. There isn't much in the world better than planning a trip to Disney. Am I the only one who thinks the planning is one of the best parts of the trip? Never mind the fact that we won't have to worry about the financial aspect as much for this trip...I'm thanking my lucky stars so hard right now.

zianha 11-05-2013 05:54 PM

I'm in! How exciting for you two!! I can't wait to hear about your planning and then about your trip! It's gonna be awesome! I can just feel it! :cool1:

Nermel9 11-05-2013 07:30 PM

Joining in! I live in CT too, so it's always nice to talk to other DIS'ers from the same area! :thumbsup2

I can't believe you won this trip, how amazing!! :cool1: I would definitely look into Port Orleans Riverside for your moderate choice, it's amazing! I know people say it's big, but it's really not, the mansion section is beautiful and romantic!

As far as your dates, I'd go with April, even though it might be crowded, the weather will be so much nicer than July or August, and you have the Flower and Garden Festival going on! :thumbsup2 If not, I'd say go late August if you can, but avoid July all together, it's just way too hot!

Applemomma 11-05-2013 10:17 PM

Just watched the Delaware podcast! You can hear Kevin say "That's us!" I was smiling thinking "I know that gal!".

I say go in the summer...plan accordingly for the heat and plan to explore all the indoor stuff much, much more thoroughly... I would think less stress by going in the summer always trumps being exhausted.

Imbri 11-06-2013 02:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UConnFan (Post 50008723)
We finally tried the tie dye cheesecake last time we were there. It was really good! It wasn't my favorite cheesecake ever, but it was certainly delicious. It was also super fun and the perfect Disney treat :hippie:

Do the boats only run to DTD? It's interesting that the buses were packed in September. You'd think with lower crowds, the buses would be better. I hate standing on the bus when we've been in the park all day (but, who doesn't?). This seems to be a common concern...that may have a big impact on where we decide to stay.

I'm picky about cheesecake, but not in the way most people are. I loooove the fake, out of the box, instant cheesecake, and I'm not really fond of "real" cheesecake. :rotfl2: So we'll see how that goes...

Yeah, the boats run just to DTD (and between POR and POFQ). I think the buses were packed because it was during a free dining deal period, so there were more people than usual at the moderate resorts. Although I'm not sure why everyone chose Riverside over FQ, lol! They were PACKED in the mornings, not gonna lie. Me and husband toughed it out, but we heard a lot of complaints, especially from the people with kids.

And as far as when, I'd go in April, personally. I become the BIGGEST baby when hot. We went to Universal Studios 2 summers ago in July/August. Neeever again. :faint:


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