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Old 01-02-2009, 01:38 AM   #1
ariel1025
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Our "Because I Love You" Trip DVC Style...DAILY UPDATES STARTED 8/8/09

Hello Everyone,

I am currently running a TR on our Honeymoon trip that we took in May, but I just couldn't put off starting a pre-TR for our upcoming trip in September.

However, before I get too much further into this let me make some introductions:

First, my name is Shannon and I am 26 years old. I am currently going to school to get my BBA with my concentration in Accounting. I am toying with the idea of getting my Masters in Accounting, but I will wait to see if I survive the BBA program first . Besides going to school, I also run the Corporate and Dealer division of a private Motor Vehicle Division. I am constantly busy and often overwhelmed and the DIS has become my new stress reliever! When I have free time my hobbies include: photography (not even close to being great at it, but enjoy it just the same), swimming, listening to music (I listen to all types, but am a country girl at heart), watching movies (my favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast and often changes it's top spot with The Little Mermaid and Aladdin and my favorite non-disney movie is Mermaids) and eating...I LOVE to eat!!

Ok, enough about me, next up is my Husband (of 7 months), Candido (but we call him Candi for short). He is 27 years old and he is also going to school to get is BBA but with a concentration in Management and Leadership. He will be the first to admit that he is done after the BBA and thinks I am absolutely nuts to even consider a Masters. Of course, he doesn't need it, he is the 3rd in line at the same company I work for and has been basically guaranteed the COO position when she retires. So, he is correct in the idea that he is better off with the BBA and the rest to be "on the job schooling." He is even busier than I am and doesn't understand how I can find relief from stress by spending even more time on the computer than I have to with school and work His hobbies include: playing video games, watching movies (his favorite Disney movie is Darby O Gill and the Little People and his favorite non-Disney movie is Stand By Me), he enjoys all types of music, oh and I forgot to mention on my little synopsis, but we LOVE to go swing dancing together.

Ok, so that's probably more about us than anyone cares to know, but if you want to know anything else just ask and I'll be happy to answer.

Now that all of that is out of the way let's get to the important stuff...THE TRIP

How It Came About:As I said previously, we spent our Honeymoon at Disney World and even though my Husband enjoys Disney it took a little bit of convincing. He had been to Disney Land several times and just couldn't understand how Disney World could be so much better, crazy right? I know, that's what I told him and in the end he was thrilled with "our" decision. We spent 7 days at the Wilderness Lodge followed by 4 days on a Disney Cruise (link to TR at bottom of page if you're interested). We both had a great time but said it would be a couple years before we could afford to come back. Well, one day (about a month ago) on our lunch break Candi tells me that he would really like to go back to Disney World for our one year anniversary ... he's an angel I tell ya So, of course as soon as I got off work (ok, I might have left work early) I came home and crunched the numbers well, these numbers did not make me happy. It just wasn't a good fit with our other bills and trying to buy a house. Sadly I told the Hubby that we would have to find something else to do for our Anniversary because we couldn't afford it with it being only 6 months away. Well, now both of us REALLY wanted to go so we threw around all kinds of ideas....stay less days? No, we felt like a week wasn't enough time....Stay in a moderate or value? Ok, that helps but Hubby wasn't sold on it, he really, really wanted to stay at WL again....go on a strict budget? he knows my spending habits too well. Then he said the most magical thing ever...Order the DVC information and we'll talk about it then...huh? What? Are you serious? Ok, I know what a lot of people are probably saying (heck, I said it too) You just said you can't afford one vacation how can you afford DVC??? Well, I just ordered the information and figured we would look it over and know that we couldn't do that either. So, the information came we contacted the guide figured out the interest rate we would get approved at, the monthly payments, the incentives etc. We looked at how many points would make sense for us and decided if we did it, then we would do 210 points. So, I called our designated Guide back and found out the monthly payment, that we would get 210 developer points (good for one year) and $1680 in gift card that we could use on the down payment. I nervously did the number crunching again and ran everything by Candi. And then I got more nervous, I couldn't tell what he was thinking, so we talked about it. We could afford the monthly payment, the developer points seemed like the perfect thing for our upcoming Anniversary, the money towards the down payment was awesome...."ok, go ahead and do it." WoooHooo, this meant tons and tons of Disney trips in my future!!! Of course I called and we became owners at AKL. So, we booked for our Anniversary for 10 days at Saratoga Springs (that's the only place the developer points could be used). I was off the wall excited, we were spending our one year anniversary at WDW

Obstacle #1 Well, not even a week after the trip was all set up we ran into our first obstacle to overcome. When we booked the trip we forgot that ALL of Candi's vacation hours had been used up on the wedding and the honeymoon. We definitely couldn't afford to go for 10 days and not get paid for it. Even though I had just had my evaluation and gotten my new set of vacation hours it wouldn't be enough to cover things for that long. So, we had to change the dates but to when? We knew it had to be sometime after June because that's when his evaluation was. However, June was out because of work things. July? Nope, that's when he goes to his Dad's ranch to do branding for a week and he couldn't miss a week for that and then turn around and go on the trip. August? Nope, work conferences. September? YES!!! We got the time off approved, we knew we both would have enough vacation time to cover it and the only down side was that it wasn't during our Anniversary. Oh well, who can complain when they were going back to WDW?? We would just do something nice at home to celebrate that day and knew we would celebrate for 10 days later and it would be well worth the wait!

I'm sorry, who wants to come?? Well, not long after planning the original trip my Mother-In-Law was begging for her and her Husband to come with us. Now don't get me wrong, I love my In-Laws but this was supposed to be an Anniversary celebration and well, you don't do that with PARENTS!! However, after we made the switch to September and I knew how badly she wanted to go we extended the invite and even told them they could use the rest of our points for their room. Yes, yes, I know I am very generious Totally kidding! They do so much for us that it was the least we could do for them.

Ok, so now we had the new dates along with new people joining our group. So, I made yet another call to DVC reservation systems, and then DH decides he doesn't want to stay at Saratoga Springs, he wants to stay at AKL since that's what we are buying into. Ok, did I mention the part that the developer points are only good for one year AND only at Saratoga Springs?? Yeah, he didn't care, he said we should just let someone else use those points and use or "real" points to stay at AKL. So, another call to the dear people at DVC and we are all set. Now the real details:

Who: Me, Candi, his Mom (Flora) and his Dad (Candido).

What: Our (better late than never) Anniversary Trip

Where: AKL (one 1 bedroom, one studio)

When: September 5 - September 13, 2009

Why: Because my Husband loves me and knows it's my absolute most favorite place in the world!

So, there you have it. I hope I haven't bored too many people with the long drawn out explanations of everything. I am just super, super excited and only so many people understand talking about it this far in advance.

Coming up soon:

The Planning Begins

I hope you all enjoy reading and I look forward to hearing from all of you!!

Oh, and just for fun (and because this thread is lacking pictures) here is my favorite engagement shot of us:



Hope to talk to ya'll soon!

Last edited by ariel1025; 08-08-2009 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:48 PM   #2
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Let the planning begin!!

Alrighty, now that all the plans are put into place...and of course they are likely to change at any given time, but for now they are set so the real planning can begin. The first thing I have to point out is that, everything else might change, but the dates will not. It is hard enough to get that many days off work (since we both work at the same place) I would not dare to try and switch them to a different set of dates.

Ok, so the first part of the planning process began with this infamous question: "To Dining Plan It or Not To Dining Plan It?" The first thing we discussed is which plan would be the best for us, and it was quickly decided that if we do the dining plan it will be the Deluxe Dining Plan. You see, we already know from our last trip that we much prefer to sit indoors and relax for a while before hitting the parks in full force for the rest of the day. And, since his parents will be with us there was no question that sit down restaurants will be chosen for most of the meals. So, I go on with my number crunching again and figure out that for the two of us to do the Deluxe Dining Plan will be $1151.84 before tax (I don't know the tax rate there, anybody that can help me out with that??). So, I let DH know the amount and he says, "well let's figure out a meal plan and then we'll decide if it's worth it." Holy cow, did he just say let's plan the meals now??? Geez, I must be rubbing off on him. It didn't take any more convincing and I was on allears.net looking up menus (I just have to point out that I truly love that website). Now comes the hard part...choosing restaurants that 4 people will enjoy...4 picky people I might add. So, I print out menus for any and all restaurants that I think might be approved by all 4 of us and start separating them into proper meal categories (breakfast, lunch, dinner). I ask Hubby to look them over since he knows his parents better than I do and he tells me "It's your choice, this is our Anniversary, the rest of us will just find something we like wherever you choose." Ok, I know this sounds super nice, but it really just meant that he wasn't in the mood to decide at the moment. So, we made a deal that one day a week we would hold a "planning night" where we would make a nice meal, watch some movies and plan one day of our trip. This was his idea, but I actually thought it sounded exciting and a neat way to spread out the planning process. I agreed and promised that any other discussing I wanted to do in between would be done on the DIS

So, that is how the planning process was developed. So far we have made plans for day one and it was exciting and DH loved it because it was just enough planning for him to handle. Oh, it was also a nice way to look back on each day of our honeymoon and reminisce a little bit.

I will go ahead and stop here.

Coming up later:

Day One Plans
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Old 01-03-2009, 01:07 AM   #3
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Tentative Plans For Arrival Day

Well my Husband and I had our first weekly "planning night" and I just had to come on here and discuss them. Of course, these are not set in stone, we don't even know the park hours for September yet. But, who can wait that long to start planning? Not me!!

Ok, on to the plans

Right now we are planning on not doing any of the parks on our arrival day. Currently we have not bought our plane tickets, but based on what I have searched so far the earliest we will get to the Orlando airport is around 2:00. We figure after flying for close to 8 hours, getting to WDW, getting checked in etc that we would rather just take it easy on this day. So far these are the things we have discussed as an alternate to going to a park

1. Going to play putt-putt, going back to the room and changing into clothes appropriate for a nice family dinner
2. Going to play putt-putt then going to DTD and eating somewhere there
3. Getting unpacked, going swimming, showering and going to a nice family dinner
4. Just deciding when we get there

Here is my opinion on each

1. I would love to play putt-putt as this is something we wanted to do on our honeymoon but never found time for. I also like the idea of a nice family dinner but am worried that we will be too tired to fully enjoy a lengthy sit-down meal

2. Again I love the putt-putt idea and I also like the idea of just finding somewhere in DTD to eat. But the over planner in me is worried that we will be wanting to eat somewhere that there isn't any availability for.

3. I think I like this idea the best because if we get really tired while swimming the room is just right there and we can go nap before dinner. I think if we take this option than we will have the opportunity to be rested enough to enjoy a sit down meal together. However, I am sad that we would not be playing putt-putt because I really want to.

4. How can I like this idea? There's no planning involved and then I have nothing to write/talk/plan for

Now, I know that isn't narrowed down very much but we did make some major decisions (i.e. not going to a park that day). We also made a list of potential restaurant choices for arrival day. We have narrowed it down to four (again I know that doesn't seem like narrowing down that much but we started with 8 options ) and they are:

1. Fulton's Crab House (Hubby REALLY wanted to eat here last time, but we ended up canceling so we could spend more time in Epcot) My only worry about going here is that my In-Laws are not fans of any type of seafood other than fish and chips

2. Yachtsman Steakhouse (we are all HUGE steak lovers so I know there won't be any issues with the food) My worry with this one is that we will be too tired to enjoy a nice sit down meal

3. Whispering Canyon Cafe (this is a restaurant we had thought about going to on our honeymoon but ended up choosing Nine Dragons instead) My concern here is that if we are super tired we might find all the noise and "fun behavior" frustrating or annoying. On the other hand it would be fun to go back to the hotel we spent our honeymoon at.

4. Kona Cafe (we didn't even know about this restaurant when we made reservations for our honeymoon, however I LOVE the look of the Polynesian and thought we could watch fireworks from the beach after dinner) My major concern with this choice is that I've read so many mixed reviews about it

Ok, so here is where I need your help...If you could please give me any and all feedback (both good and bad) and possibly answer some of these questions for me

1. Between the two putt-putt courses which is your favorite? And why?

2. What are some of the things that you have done on your arrival day?

3. Thoughts about Fulton's Crab House? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not? Would somebody who doesn't enjoy seafood have enough options here? I've seen the menu on allears.net but it says that it changes daily so I'm not sure how accurate it is?!?

4. Thoughts about Whispering Canyon Cafe? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?

5. Thoughts about Yachtsman Steakhouse? Is it super fancy? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?

6. Thoughts about Kona Cafe? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?

I would greatly appreciate any and all input!! Thanks so much!!
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:54 PM   #4
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Epcot Segway Tour???

In between our "planning night" I have been trying to come up with other things to do (besides the park) but without leaving WDW property. I was wondering if anybody has ever done the "Around the World" Segway Tour at Epcot? My Husband is always saying how he wants to try one someday. I might book it as a surprise to him, but was wondering if anybody could give me any feedback? Any information (positive or negative) is appreciated. TIA!
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:54 PM   #5
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Oops....forgotten introductions and Day Two Plans

Ok, well I don't know if I should keep going since I haven't had any responses But I see that there are people looking so maybe they just haven't gotten around to introducing themselves yet....lurkers "come out, come out wherever you are"

Also, speaking of introductions I just realized that I didn't formally introduce you to the addition to our trip...my Husband's parents


Much better...now you have a face for the names...Flora and Candido (in case you forgot )


In case you forgot what we look like...but mainly because so far this Pre-TR is sorely lacking in pictures...and I LOVE pictures!!

Now, on with the show....

So, we had our second "planning event" this evening (I know a week hasn't past since I posted our planning session for arrival day, but I posted that one a couple days after we had it....I was too excited to wait for this one )

Day Two - Our First Full Day @ WDW

This is definitely a Magic Kingdom day! This is the way we started off our Honeymoon and it just felt "right" to begin the vacation here. Plus, I don't think my MIL would be willing to see another park until she sees the castle in person . I'm not sure if I mentioned this but this is my M&FIL's first time at WDW. We figure that we will spend the whole day at Magic Kingdom (but possibly with a nap break somewhere in between). Here is what we narrowed down for meal selections so far:

Breakfast:

1. Cinderella's Royal Table...this is really the only place we want to eat breakfast at on this day. What better way to start the Magic Kingdom than eating inside the castle?

However, we have back-ups in case there aren't any reservations available and they are:

2. Crystal Palace - if we end up eating here we are hoping to get a super early reservation so we can enter the park before it officially opens. If I can't eat inside the castle than I would love to take pictures in front of it without all the crowds behind me

3. Chef Mickey's - this was chosen because my FIL loves him some breakfast buffet and my MIL requested that our first breakfast be a character one.

Now, another thing I should note is that we are hoping that there will be a MNSSHP this night. I know that information won't be posted for a long time and because we are planning this day/night already I have two possible scenarios for dinner.

Dinner Options (if there is a MNSSHP):

1. Liberty Tree Tavern (we selected this because the menu looks like it has something for everyone on it)

2. Tony's Town Square (we all like Italian food and my MIL loves Lady and the Tramp but I am worried because I've read very mixed reviews on it)

3. Plaza Restaurant (we knew that everyone would want a table service meal and we ate here on our honeymoon and although it was simple we enjoyed it)

Dinner Options (if there isn't a MNSSHP ):

1. Whispering Canyon Cafe (if we haven't already ate here on arrival night)

2. Kona Cafe (again if we didn't decide on this for the arrival night)

3. Grand Floridian Cafe (we are trying to see as many resorts as possible on this trip so this seemed like a good choice at the GF)

Overall, I was very happy with the planning that we have done so far for Day Two. I think we made a lot of choices.... a) which park to visit...b) that we will for sure do MNSSHP if it is offered this night...c) we will eat in MK if MNSSHP is happening (an earlier dinner so that we can enjoy the whole party) but we will eat outside of the park if it is not (a later dinner so that we can stay longer in MK). Oh, we also decided that we will be kids again and dress up for the Party (if there is one). Not completely confirmed but right now we are talking about going as Alice and The Mad Hatter...I still can't believe Hubby agreed to the dressing up part, but I think it will be fun!

Also, we will just "play it by ear" as far as lunch is concerned. I don't want the whole day to be revolved around ADR times. We will probably just do quick service for lunch...possibly Pecos Bills?!? We ate here on our last trip and really enjoyed the food, but we may choose somewhere new also. Guess it just depends on where we are at when we get hungry


Question Time:

1. Feedback on Crystal Palace?? We have never ate here before but I know that it is buffet and Tigger is my favorite furry friend

2. Feedback on Chef Mickeys? We have never dined here either, but as I said previously my MIL requested a character breakfast. We decided on this because the Contemporary is so close to MK

3. Liberty Tree Tavern opinions? I know that it is no longer a character meal and this is ok with us. We liked that they had a different selection from many other restaurants

4. Tony's Town Square...good or bad? Why? This one makes me nervous because the reviews I have read are not consistent

5. What is your opinion on the Grand Floridian Cafe?


Ahhhh...my happy place

Ok, that's all for now. Until next week....

LURKERS COME SAY HI!!!!!!
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:27 PM   #6
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Hey Shannon, just found your TR (not sure how I missed it until now )
Ok I love planning too, and our E-trip had 9 people so I can relate to all the different personalities that can come out lol!

Arrival Day
I always love DTD on our 1st day, you can just go to eat and take a nice walk around before you go back to the hotel.
Now since you are staying at AKL you may also want to spend the night at that hotel (it is gorgeous!) Do the pool in the afternoon and try Boma for dinner. I stayed there a few years ago and I am a picky eater but I LOVED Boma. It has traditional African flavored food and a good mix of American food for the picky eaters. My parents loved it too and my mom is super picky! Just a thought, I know the menu on allears.net looks kinda funky but trust me, you will walk past it and smell all the yummy things coming! Then if some of you were still awake you could always do DTD to walk around...

Day 1
Of course MK especially if you have disney newbies! If you cant get CRT I would def say CP, the winnie the pooh gang is there and the food is very yummy!
Dinner: I was not a huge LTT fan, but they may have changed it... when I went I made the ADR and I saw the sign and it said "Sponsered by Stoffers" I was not too pleased when I ate basically a frozen dinner... but they may have changed it by now. I love Tony's, pasta is always good in my opinion. The Plaza is nice too, it is always simple but satisfying Oh and make sure you save some room for Dole Whip Float too !
Outside of the MK I would vote Kona Cafe, you can watch the fireworks from the beach too, which is very romantic.
We are trying WCC when we stay at WL this August but it looks super fun, and Dave is dying to try the BBQ there!

Now, I know you have some guests on your honeymoon, but try to have at least a few meals with just the 2 of you... Dave and I hardly got any time together during our trip and I really wish we had spoken up and said we were going to dinner alone a few nights, (although now we are taking another trip to make up for it so I guess its all good now heehee) but at the time I really thought a little "couple time" would be nice even if it was just room service on the balcony.

HTH, cant wait to hear more about your plans! I am totally stealing your planning night idea and telling Dave we need to do that too!
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