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Old 01-15-2008, 09:03 PM   #1
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Wink Pre-Trip Planning: Danielle's 2008 WDW Christmas Adventure

This is my first post to disboards (though I've been lurking around a bit ...)

MY DW, DD, and I are planning a trip to WDW in December 2008 for the Christmas, Hannukah, and other Winter Solstice-type festivities, so I'd best start by introducing the Main Cast of Characters:

Me - Joel - age 48 (going on 12 ... especially when we're at WDW!) ... The picture is from our trip to WDW last May (well, I couldn't insert the picture - have to work on that ... and I can't wait to take Danielle on Soarin! now that she's tall enough!!) I'm a research scientist with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, play drums and percussion in my FIL's Klezmer band (... we were up for a Grammy this year!! ... ... but didn't make the final five ... ), and am an avid every-other-day runner ... Also, "Chief WDW Planner" for this crew.

Vicki - my DW (whose age shall remain a secret ...) She loves WDW, too (especially Boma!!), and seems to get something stuck in both eyes everytime she tells someone about our May trip, resulting in blurred vision ... She's a Planner with the Ocean County Department of Planning, does some web site design on the side (see the Odessa Klezmer site above ... couldn't insert the web site URL either ... something else to work on), and will be amazed that I could somehow manage to insert pictures and Smilies into this post ... (she thinks I don't know how to use a computer too good - but I think I know more than she thinks I thinks she thinks I know ...

And last - but not least - (but the shortest, youngest, and best looking ) is

Danielle - our beautiful DD - who wants to be Princess, but knows she's not (though most times she really is!!) Last year she was crazy about Cinderella, and was so awestruck when we went to Cindy's Castle for lunch that she couldn't bring herself to meet her ... but eventually did after some wonderful words of encouragement from the Fairy Godmother
She'll be turn 5 in November - and our December trip will be a birthday surprise for her (and I guess that's a good enough reason to let her whear a WDW Birthday button ...)

Time for a short break - gotta put the laundry in the drier ... (really - and so I get to use another Smilie ...)

Anyway, so far for Halloween she's been (1) a Philadelphia Phillies cheerleader (my idea ...), (2) Belle, (3) Cinderella, and (4) Sleeping Beauty ...

Our basic plan is to travel to WDW on December 6, and somehow manage to drag our butts back to Jersey on December 13. This is from the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend (which is late this year - November 27) to the weekend before the weekend before Christmas (when I suspect WDW will be CROWDED!!!) And if you go to the WDW web site and check out the listed "Great Times to Visit", this week is highlighted in yellow as being a "Great Time to Visit" ... why? I don't know ... but I'm guessing (and hoping) it's because the crowds will be smaller than usual ...

We're thinking of spending the first 4 nights in a Value Resort (probably Movies - Danielle likes the pictures she's seen ...) and then move over to a Deluxe Resort for 3 nights (probably AKL or WL). This turns out to cost about the same as 7 nights at a Moderate (we stayed at POFQ in May and LOVED it!! but want to branch out this trip ...)

So the first question I have for you disboards folks is: Of the two resorts - AKL or WL - which has the "better" holiday theming (decorations, "spirit", etc ...)?

I'm leaning towards AKL - because it is beautiful (we had dinner at Boma last May ...) and we plan to hit Boma for dinner the next trip, too

but I've been reading some great things about WL, too - and it may be more conducive to a 5-year old girl ...

So - what do you think?? Movies and AKL? Movies and WL? Movies and one of the other Deluxe Resorts?

I'll be back ... (there's still a bunch of Smilies I haven't used ...

Last edited by joelp; 01-15-2008 at 09:17 PM. Reason: Could not insert picture and wen site URL
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:15 AM   #2
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Sounds like a nice trip plan, as for input on the rdeluxe resort it sounds like you enjoy the feel of both buildings equally, I would SUSPECT, that Wilderness Lodges Christmas decor would apeal to ME more that AKL's just because you don't have an American Holidays traditions imposed over another culture (or group of cultures), so it would feel more Christmasy, that said the Savanah view rooms would be very special especially with a small child as you will have with you and one who i'm thinking that may REALLY be at the age to appreciate and remember it for the rest of her life so tailoring it more to your group I think Animal Kingdom Lodge will be perfect.
I notice that the last few days of your trip overlap with the beggining of the "land" portion ofMousefest the annual fan gathering of Disney Internet folks and webmasters, this past year the Dis even was thoughtful enough to schedule a couple of meets that, though not on the official Mousefest schedule, were a FANTASTIC compliment to the Mousefest events already occuring at that time, though it looks as if you will be arriving back home on the day of the "Main Event" the Mega Mouse Meet where you can go around and meet many of the authors of books on WDW, talk to podcasters who do shows about Disney and meet many Disney fan site web masters (not the dis but may of the others)

SEA: 4-Night Disney Wonder Cruise -- December 7-11, 2008
LAND: Walt Disney World Events -- December 11-15, 2008
Mega Mouse Meet - December 13


The week you are attending is indeed a great time to vist because of lower than average crowds, but it still pays to get to the parks early and ride the things that will have the longest queue wait times later in the day early before the crowds grow, especially trvelling with a small child that way you can get a lot done early then perhaps get out of the park for a more leisurly lunch (or perhaps even a little pool time if the weather cooperates (as it may or may not that time of year) before getting in a few more hours before the parks close in the evening (and they do close earlier that itme of year). For planning purposes you may want to remember that the MK will close early 4 days a week Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, then again with a small child that might be the day to go since if the park closes early it will be a sure way to make sure you don't overdo it, or alternately if the party is something you want to do you can take an extended mid day break/ naptime.
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:54 AM   #3
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I'm liking it already! Perhaps because we'll be there the 7th-15th! My DD will be 5 in February, though she's not quite the Princess yours is. She's a little more Charlie Brown, Buzz Lightyear, Woody with a hint of pirate, Goofy and Donald thrown in. That said, she will almost certainly wear a Princess costume or two during our stay. (Since the Halloween costumes capture it well - 1. Snow White, 2. Jojo, 3. Buzz Lightyear, 4. Charlie Brown Ghost.)

We finally hit tall enough for Soarin' and the such last year at Disneyland. Terra :loves: Soarin' and also Star Tours now. Our next feat is trying the coasters.

Loving your plans so far. We'll be at Pop, but Movies is a close 2nd for us. For Christmas, I think I'd definitely go with WL. They have some of the most beautiful decorations. AKL was nice last year when we visited for dinner and the tree is really unique, but I think that WL captures the season the best among them all.

You know, I think that I may have the same affliction as your DW does. Something always manages to get in my eyes too. It seems to happen alot at WDW...near the castle, during fireworks, during parades, during shows. Hmmm...

Oh yeah, and it just dawned on my about your picture issue. You need to have a minimum of 10 or 15 posts before you can post pictures or URLs. So once you hit that, you should be able to go back and post pictures and the URL to the band.

Happy planning! Maybe I'll have to start a ptr of my own. With DH going along for his first trip, this should get interesting.
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Old 01-22-2008, 03:53 PM   #4
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Before you book an AllStar resort for that week you should read Nebo's report, the AllStars are mobbed with unruly Pop Warner players then.
This should take you to the right page:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread....673993&page=14

It's post #210. If you don't want to read the whole thing just start reading after the picture of the pool. He does say later on that the crowds in the parks weren't bad, but someone else who is a local said they were heavier this year than in past years during the Pop Warner tournament. I'm sure that's just a difference of perspective. I'm planning to go for my Birthday that week but I'm staying away from the value resorts.
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:45 PM   #5
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Talking

Thanks for the link - I'll definitely check it out. I was aware of the cheerleaders and had heard various things about how "annoying" it could be. We stayed at POFQ last May and loved it!! So, trying to keep within the same general budget - and get the DW excited about heading back to WDW after only 19 months (she loves it there - she just doesn't quite have that "12-year old WDW mind set" yet ... but I'm working on it!! ) I figured for the cost of 7 nights at a Moderate Resort, we could spend 3 nights at a Deluxe if we spent 4 nights at a Value ...

Plus, we want to do something different this time - which means not going back to POFQ (or POR - I'd go back to POFQ first) - and CB and CS don't really excite us ... So we might just suck it up and do All-Star Movies as "payment" for AKL or WL ...

But combined with how splitting resorts messes up using the DDP, and maybe also results in other additional costs and hassles, (I'll have a post on that shortly), you've definitely given us something to think about ...

Thanks again!!

Joel
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:54 PM   #6
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Smile

This reply is to tmfranlk:

Thanks for the WL/AKL comparison - it's a tough choice!!

DW and I had dinner at Boma last year and she loved it! So we definitely have to go back in December (or my WDW planning days are over ... )
So, from a practical standpoint, staying at AKL would work better.

But I keep hearing great things about WL, too ...

What do you think about staying at a Value Resort when the cheerleaders are there? - since you'll be staying at Pop I assume you don't think it is too bad ...

I should have 5 posts buy the end on the night, so I'll be 1/3 along the way to pictures. I figured there was some kind of intitial "accepatability" criteria, since I couldn't even insert a link to another web site ...

Thanks again!!
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelp View Post
Thanks for the link - I'll definitely check it out. I was aware of the cheerleaders and had heard various things about how "annoying" it could be. We stayed at POFQ last May and loved it!! So, trying to keep within the same general budget - and get the DW excited about heading back to WDW after only 19 months (she loves it there - she just doesn't quite have that "12-year old WDW mind set" yet ... but I'm working on it!! ) I figured for the cost of 7 nights at a Moderate Resort, we could spend 3 nights at a Deluxe if we spent 4 nights at a Value ...

Plus, we want to do something different this time - which means not going back to POFQ (or POR - I'd go back to POFQ first) - and CB and CS don't really excite us ... So we might just suck it up and do All-Star Movies as "payment" for AKL or WL ...

But combined with how splitting resorts messes up using the DDP, and maybe also results in other additional costs and hassles, (I'll have a post on that shortly), you've definitely given us something to think about ...

Thanks again!!

Joel
PopWarner is not the cheerleaders, I've been at an AllStar during a cheerleader competition and that's not bad, but that's in Jan. Pop Warner is baseball players, and I hear it's pretty bad, beer and pizza boxes everywhere, fighting, bad language that you wouldn't want your DD to hear. Nebo and Smidgy were up calling the front desk 3 times during the night. Just really don't want you to encounter that. I wonder though if they are at Pop Century or just at the AllStars, it's worth finding out, that could be your answer.
Whatever you decide I hope it's a wonderful stay.
Lynn
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:53 AM   #8
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I haven't been online all weekend and am just reading your post from 1-24, your description of getting to the airport has me
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Old 01-28-2008, 08:00 AM   #9
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and keep trying on the pin number, have you gone on their website and gotten quotes? It's all just speculation of course, none of us really know why we get pin codes.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:05 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by castmemberb4 View Post
and keep trying on the pin number, have you gone on their website and gotten quotes? It's all just speculation of course, none of us really know why we get pin codes.
Oh Duh ! If I would stop posting before I read all of your posts I'd have my answers.
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:42 PM   #11
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I stopped by AAA today with the DD - and my math was good - roughly $3,000 for the week (including $135 for travel insurance and $125 for MVMCP ...)

And fortunately the DD was too occupied with pulling the drawstring on my hooded sweatshirt to pay attention to what I was doing ... (this trip will be a birthday surprise for her, too ... and she wants to go back to WDW ... )

However, all the standard rooms at WL were ALREADY booked for the week we want to go in December (at least the AAA rooms were booked) - and Courtyard Views were another $250 ...

And at some point, you just have to say - "This is the budget - no more" and stick to it ... otherwise, when you keep adding a $100 here and a $100 there ... you end up a couple of trillion $$$ in debt ...

So -by "default" it looks like it will be AKL (which I think was DW's first choice anyway ...

Can't go wrong at either place ... but I think the DD would appreciate AKL more when she's a little older ... We'll just save WL for the next time ...

So I just gave AAA a call and told them (well - left a voice message ...) to "hold" a room for me at AKL - we can do that for 2 weeks without putting down a deposit. And I'll have the TA check every few days to see if something opens up at WL - i.e. if someone else put a "hold" on one of those AAA standard rooms and changes their mind ... ... maybe we can end up at WL after all ...

Or should I just go with the "flow" and stick with AKL (and make the DW even happier ... ? You know - go where karma leads you? (or have I been watching too much "My Name is Earl"? ...)

... and keep waiting for that 40% discount PIN to arrive ... :
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:46 PM   #12
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Good for you
I think you should just go with the flow, b/c you'll love AKL and you can stop stressing about it and get on with the planning
Lynn
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:27 AM   #13
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Pictures!!

Way back in Post #1 -when I started this diatribe - I wrote the following:

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelp View Post
This is my first post to disboards (though I've been lurking around a bit ...)

MY DW, DD, and I are planning a trip to WDW in December 2008 for the Christmas, Hannukah, and other Winter Solstice-type festivities, so I'd best start by introducing the Main Cast of Characters:

Me - Joel - age 48 (going on 12 ... especially when we're at WDW!) ... The picture is from our trip to WDW last May (well, I couldn't insert the picture - have to work on that ... and I can't wait to take Danielle on Soarin! now that she's tall enough!!) I'm a research scientist with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, play drums and percussion in my FIL's Klezmer band (... we were up for a Grammy this year!! ... ... but didn't make the final five ... ), and am an avid every-other-day runner ... Also, "Chief WDW Planner" for this crew.

Vicki - my DW (whose age shall remain a secret ...) She loves WDW, too (especially Boma!!), and seems to get something stuck in both eyes everytime she tells someone about our May trip, resulting in blurred vision ... She's a Planner with the Ocean County Department of Planning, does some web site design on the side (see the Odessa Klezmer site above ... couldn't insert the web site URL either ... something else to work on), and will be amazed that I could somehow manage to insert pictures and Smilies into this post ... (she thinks I don't know how to use a computer too good - but I think I know more than she thinks I thinks she thinks I know ...

And last - but not least - (but the shortest, youngest, and best looking ) is

Danielle - our beautiful DD - who wants to be Princess, but knows she's not (though most times she really is!!) Last year she was crazy about Cinderella, and was so awestruck when we went to Cindy's Castle for lunch that she couldn't bring herself to meet her ... but eventually did after some wonderful words of encouragement from the Fairy Godmother
She'll be turn 5 in November - and our December trip will be a birthday surprise for her (and I guess that's a good enough reason to let her wear a WDW Birthday button ...)


I'll be back ... (there's still a bunch of Smilies I haven't used ...
And since it looks like I've reached the "Magic" # of 15 posts, here's the picture to go along with it ...




and here is the Odessa Klezmer web site: http://www.odessaklezmer.com/

In addition to the "Main Cast" of characters, I suspect (hope!) we will be joined by quite a few other family members during the week, including my "little" brother Jed and his daughter Nina who is 6 months younger than Danielle - and as you can tell, the two cousins look nothing like each other (but they are "best" cousins - even though they only see each other 3-4 times a year for short periods ... cause Nina lives in FLA - [and gets to go to WDW a lot!!]



And why is Nina blond and blue-eyed? Cause her Mommy - Mindi -is!!



The pictures are from our May 2007 Mother's Day trip - and Danielle's first - to WDW ...

Now that I can insert pictures, I'll have more of them - and tales and woes (not too many - it was MAGICAL!) - from the May trip ...

Until tonight, when I'll update the planning ... have a fun day!!
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Old 01-31-2008, 06:34 AM   #14
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Nice pictures Joel, I'm glad you got to the magic number of posts:-)

It looks like you are the tallest in all the photos, How tall are you? (I'll make a guess at 6'2")
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:06 AM   #15
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The girls are Beautiful Joel !

And I'm guessing more than 6'2"
DH is 6'2" and you look taller to me
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