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Old 04-02-2011, 05:48 PM   #1
mphalens
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Christmas Comes Early PTR Nov 27 - Dec 3 2011 **What's YOUR Opinion?**

I need your opinions on a couple of things:
Clothes
Lodging

More opinions/suggestions needed:
Dining

WooHoo!!! Celebrate With Me!!!
ADRs Have Been Made!!!



Gotta Love Free Dining!
Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes!


I've been busy. . .
My Soapbox Update



We Now Return To Our Regularly Scheduled PTR
Who wants to look at fabrics???





Welcome to my PTR! This is my first PTR and I'm excited to get lots of imput as I try to plan a magical trip for my family! I've been roaming around the disboards for a little over a year now . . .

I was raised in Rhode Island by a complete Disney nut (as we lovingly refer to my mom -aka Mimi- ) and my Dad (-aka Papa- who tries his best for his grandsons) and first visited WDW at age 4. I returned at age 11 for a super quick trip on the way to visit my grandmother in Florida. I didn't get to go back to The World after that until I was 22 and married to DH (aka Dave). The trip ruined "Disney on the Cheap" for me ... my mom, who was a travel agent at the time, had won an all-expense paid 4 day, 3 night trip to WDW that she gave to DH & I to use. This was back in 2002 when Disney was trying out different Dining Plan ideas ... and the one they gave us was INSANE! EVERYTHING was INCLUDED... we stayed at the Yacht Club, we were given all kinds of extras . . . it just ruined us
Anyway! Even DH, a Florida-raised boy, was impressed. His parents are Disney-Haters so he had only really gotten to experience "The Magic" once or twice with extended family or friends.

Needless to say, we were shocked when his parents suggested a family trip to Orlando for DS1's 3rd birthday. DH told them we didn't really want to go to Orlando without going to Disney and we didn't want to take DS1 to Disney for the first time without my parents (the Disney lovers) along ... so all 7 of us ended up on that trip ... really, it was all 8 of us, because I was 4 months pregnant with DS2 by the time we were at WDW.
That trip was a lesson in how NOT to do Disney for DH & I. We were off property, which wasn't a huge deal, but with that many people, having to travel back & forth to our condo was a huge undertaking! We weren't on the dining plan (obviously) and the only reservations we made were for Chef Mickey's on a day we didn't go to the parks. Oh yeah! and those Disney-Haters we were traveling with? Yeah they sucked lots of the magic out of everything

So, imagine our surprise when they wanted to go BACK to Orlando for DS1's 5th birthday! WHY? They obviously DON'T like Disney, they even said they didn't want to go to Disney AT ALL for that trip! Yet their ONLY grandchildren LOVE Disney and wouldn't want to be in Orlando without going to WDW! So, we stayed off property again (but Bonnet Creek this time) and WE got park hoppers for 5 days while they only purchased 2 day tickets. I had joined the disboards by then and knew to make a couple of ADRs and about some other fun things but still, stressful trip.

So... why all that backstory? Well, you need to know where I'm coming from in the planning of THIS TRIP. My mom (I'll refer to her as Mimi from now on) and I have been talking about taking my kids to Disney for as long as I can remember. We'd agreed we wanted to wait until age 3 at the earliest. We knew we'd want to stay on site. After my 2002 trip, we decided we wanted the Dining Plan. From our two previous trips with kids, we had a few more ideas of what we wanted (and didn't want) this trip to be.

I started trying to get a pin code last fall. I tried all the tricks and suggestions I could find here on the boards. I sat down with a local Disney specialist and got some prices and more suggestions. Mimi got out of the travel business a couple of years ago, but still has friends that work for AAA Southern New England, so she had them run some numbers for her as well. We hoped to be able to stay in a DVC Villa and my first choice was the Boardwalk area.

I'll pause here and introduce our cast of characters...
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Marianne
On the Go Mommy to Phalen (2/05) & Finn (6/08) - my two little Disney Maniacs! Happily married to DH since 7/02!
We can NEVER get enough of the Mouse!

You Want Me to Sew WHAT? A Photo-Journal Trip Report
Christmas Comes Early PTR Nov 27 - Dec 3 2011

Last edited by mphalens; 10-23-2011 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Title edit
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:42 PM   #2
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There I am! I'm Marianne. Almost 32, I cannot WAIT for this trip! I'm in charge of most of the planning. I have friends that are lucky enough to get to do Disney trips just about once a year, so between them and the help I hope to get from all of you, I know I can make this a very magical trip for the 6 of us. We homeschool our older son "because he asked to be" and our little guy goes to preschool 3 mornings a week. I also work for Soccer Shots of Charlotte teaching soccer to the preschool set. In my spare time I like to shop for bargains, take photographs, scrapbook, read . . . oh! who am I kidding? WHAT spare time? I LOVE Figment! In fact, that was the only disappointment of DH & my 2002 trip - it was during Figment's "exile" I'm not much of a "thrill ride" girl ... I'm more into getting to meet as many characters as I possibly can I'm still Daddy's Little and I love that having boys means I'm Queen of my Castle Hahaha! Yeah right, these boys rule the roost



Dave. AKA DH. AKA Daddy. He's a golf professional, and before you get all excited and ask me if he's on "The Tour", he's a COURSE professional, which means he works at a private country club and gives lessons, runs tournaments, etc. Right now he's an Assistant Golf Professional at his current place of employment, which pretty much equals not a lot of $$$ for a LOT of hours on the job. He likes to play golf (obviously), have a good time with his family, and ride a few thrill rides. He'll give his opinion when he absolutely must, but pretty much leaves the planning up to me.




DS1 is Mr Cool Attitude. He's your typical 6 year old. This will be his first trip that isn't during his birthday week. Not sure how he'll take NOT getting a Birthday Button. I love him, but lordy! do we push each other's buttons! Mostly because we're exactly alike (and just like Papa too ). He loves Jedi Training Academy, TSM, and is a HUGE Camp Rock fan.




DS2 is Sheriff Shortstuff. He'll be almost 3 1/2 on this trip. He talks about "When I go DisneyWord" all the time! His favorite thing to watch on Netflix is the WDW movie. In love with all things Mickey, Buzz, Woody . . . well, pretty much anything Disney.



Mimi. My mom. She's been dreaming of this trip ... well, for a LONG time. She used to be a travel agent and is in love with all things Disney. She's short, she flat out refuses to admit her age, and she's great to travel with. She loves Mickey, will beebop her way around The World singing (out of key) It's a Small World and other assorted Disney tunes, and can't wait for all the pixie dust she just KNOWS will make this trip magical.


Papa. My dad. He wanted to take his grandsons to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone. Mom & I told him that vacation had to wait - Disney needed to happen first! He's a general contractor by trade and shows no signs of slowing down as he hits his mid-60s. He pretty much goes with the flow as long as he can sneak in some golf and some beers and a few thrill rides along the way. He can be a Cranky sometimes though . . . so we try to keep him happy. Lucky for me, I'm still Daddy's and I've learned how NOT to butt heads with him over the past 30 or so years.
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Marianne
On the Go Mommy to Phalen (2/05) & Finn (6/08) - my two little Disney Maniacs! Happily married to DH since 7/02!
We can NEVER get enough of the Mouse!

You Want Me to Sew WHAT? A Photo-Journal Trip Report
Christmas Comes Early PTR Nov 27 - Dec 3 2011
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:45 PM   #3
mphalens
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Please excuse the mis-matched pictures! I'm not sure why photobucket doesn't seem to want to display them the way I want

Of course, now that I've left it alone for a while it all seems to have fixed itself! Don't mind me, just talking to myself !!!
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Marianne
On the Go Mommy to Phalen (2/05) & Finn (6/08) - my two little Disney Maniacs! Happily married to DH since 7/02!
We can NEVER get enough of the Mouse!

You Want Me to Sew WHAT? A Photo-Journal Trip Report
Christmas Comes Early PTR Nov 27 - Dec 3 2011

Last edited by mphalens; 04-03-2011 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:13 PM   #4
mphalens
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Travel Plans

So, now that we've been properly introduced ... on with the show!

We currently live in Charlotte, NC. If we're still here in November, we'll drive to Orlando while Mimi & Papa fly from Rhode Island. We have family in Miami and haven't decided yet if we'll head down early to spend Thanksgiving with them or not. No matter what, Mimi & Papa plan to fly in on the 27th and take the ME to our resort, Saratoga Springs!

Currently our plan is to be at our resort in the early morning so we can get our tickets and head to the Magic Kingdom while we wait for our 2 bedroom villa to be ready and for the G'rents to arrive.

Assuming M&P fly in sometime in the morning, we're hoping to have plans to meet for lunch if the timing works out. I can't decide if I want this to be a TS meal or not. Any suggestions for this are greatly appreciated! We'll probably end our first day at the MK a little earlier than usual so we can make a trip to the store after M&P arrive and so we can have a nice family dinner at O'Hana on our first night. My dear friend, Amber (ambergreenawalt on the dis), says O'Hana is on their "can't miss list" of places, so I'm really looking forward to this!

We'll be staying until December 2nd (Mimi & Papa will fly home that day and we will probably spend as close to a full day at the park as we can before driving home).

Let's see . . . what else do I need to tell you? Oh! I booked our room using a 40% off pin code. We have a 2 bedroom villa at Saratoga Springs. I REALLY wanted the Boardwalk Villas or the Wilderness Lodge but they didn't have any rooms left with that code when I called. Right now we have the DDP and 7 day park hopper tickets. I'm trying to decide if it would be better to upgrade to the DDxP or to pay out of pocket for the extras we'll probably want at meal times. I'm also trying to decide if we really want to spend $300+ on MVMCP or if all of the other holiday happenings will be enough to get us in the Holiday Spirit.

As a family the 6 of us enjoy having a nice meal together, we tend to stick together as a group or let the menfolk go off on a thrill ride while Mimi & I take the kids to do something else. Oh! And my boys LOVE to shop :cloud9 It's actually part of the reason I chose Saratoga Springs when given my options -because it's right across the water from DTD. Disney isn't Disney unless they get to browse in as many shops as they wish. We plan to load gift cards for them with their spending money and ask friends and family to do the same for birthdays, etc. between now and then.
On our last trip they fell in LOVE with the penny presses thanks to the great tips I learned here about m&m tubes and the like. We plan to add to their collection on this trip as well.
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Marianne
On the Go Mommy to Phalen (2/05) & Finn (6/08) - my two little Disney Maniacs! Happily married to DH since 7/02!
We can NEVER get enough of the Mouse!

You Want Me to Sew WHAT? A Photo-Journal Trip Report
Christmas Comes Early PTR Nov 27 - Dec 3 2011
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:25 PM   #5
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Sounds like a wonderful trip in the making
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:34 PM   #6
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I didn't mean to post twice, but when I posted the first time an error came up and it didn't go through (or so I thought), so I commented again only to find the first comment went through! Being fairly new to these boards I have no idea how to delete one!!
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:36 PM   #7
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LOL I'm pretty new myself!

Thanks for reading along!!!
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Marianne
On the Go Mommy to Phalen (2/05) & Finn (6/08) - my two little Disney Maniacs! Happily married to DH since 7/02!
We can NEVER get enough of the Mouse!

You Want Me to Sew WHAT? A Photo-Journal Trip Report
Christmas Comes Early PTR Nov 27 - Dec 3 2011
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:42 PM   #8
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Sounds like super fun! And your boys are completely adorable.

You mentioned having a TS for lunch on the day you arrive... the only qualm I see about this is what if your parent's flight is delayed? Maybe if their flight is for early in the morning and there would be no trouble for them to get there in time to meet the rest of you for lunch. I, personally, don't know if that's a risk I'd want to take. Unless you were thinking about a TS meal for just you, DH, and the boys?
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:02 PM   #9
mphalens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PixieMama View Post
Sounds like super fun! And your boys are completely adorable.

You mentioned having a TS for lunch on the day you arrive... the only qualm I see about this is what if your parent's flight is delayed? Maybe if their flight is for early in the morning and there would be no trouble for them to get there in time to meet the rest of you for lunch. I, personally, don't know if that's a risk I'd want to take. Unless you were thinking about a TS meal for just you, DH, and the boys?

Aw! Thanks! I think they're prettydarncute, but I'm a little biased

That IS my concern ... if they're delayed. My other concern is that we will most likely make our ADRs BEFORE they book their tickets due to a little cash flow issue ... so I'm leaning more and more towards either a CS meal or a TS for just DH, the boys & I. Maybe a late breakfast at the Crystal Palace?
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Marianne
On the Go Mommy to Phalen (2/05) & Finn (6/08) - my two little Disney Maniacs! Happily married to DH since 7/02!
We can NEVER get enough of the Mouse!

You Want Me to Sew WHAT? A Photo-Journal Trip Report
Christmas Comes Early PTR Nov 27 - Dec 3 2011
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:23 PM   #10
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Sounds like the early stages of a wonderful trip
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:42 AM   #11
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I just came across your PTR!! Your family is adorable! Another Charlottean here..I don't think I have come across anyone on the DIS from our area except a little boy who took a MAW trip a while back. Couldn't resist saying
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by blessedmom4 View Post
I just came across your PTR!! Your family is adorable! Another Charlottean here..I don't think I have come across anyone on the DIS from our area except a little boy who took a MAW trip a while back. Couldn't resist saying
yay!!!! another Charlottean!!!!

I wonder if the MAW trip little boy is my Mr CA's bff ... was the trip in Fall '09???
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Marianne
On the Go Mommy to Phalen (2/05) & Finn (6/08) - my two little Disney Maniacs! Happily married to DH since 7/02!
We can NEVER get enough of the Mouse!

You Want Me to Sew WHAT? A Photo-Journal Trip Report
Christmas Comes Early PTR Nov 27 - Dec 3 2011
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:41 PM   #13
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yay!!!! another Charlottean!!!!

I wonder if the MAW trip little boy is my Mr CA's bff ... was the trip in Fall '09???
I had to go back and check the dates. This little boy had a Wish Trip December 6-14, 2008. His name is Sebastian. I found his TR and his Mom's Blog last year and he is so cute!!!!
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedmom4 View Post
I had to go back and check the dates. This little boy had a Wish Trip December 6-14, 2008. His name is Sebastian. I found his TR and his Mom's Blog last year and he is so cute!!!!
Yup! That's my older DS's BFF!!!!! My kids are actually in her blog a lot (and her blog is AMAZING, isn't it???) Golly! I can't believe it was 2008 ... it still seems like it was just last year ... The things their family has gone through in the past 4 years would be enough to make many give up, but they just keep becoming more and more amazing.
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Marianne
On the Go Mommy to Phalen (2/05) & Finn (6/08) - my two little Disney Maniacs! Happily married to DH since 7/02!
We can NEVER get enough of the Mouse!

You Want Me to Sew WHAT? A Photo-Journal Trip Report
Christmas Comes Early PTR Nov 27 - Dec 3 2011
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:16 PM   #15
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WE BELIEVE IN MIRACLES! ~~Nearly twice as many children die from Congenital Heart Defects in the U.S. each year as die from all forms of childhood cancers combined.
 
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Originally Posted by mphalens View Post
Yup! That's my older DS's BFF!!!!! My kids are actually in her blog a lot (and her blog is AMAZING, isn't it???) Golly! I can't believe it was 2008 ... it still seems like it was just last year ... The things their family has gone through in the past 4 years would be enough to make many give up, but they just keep becoming more and more amazing.
That is so cool! I just went back and it looks like you AND your children are in the Discovery Place photos?? Am I correct? (I love that place). We have had a few trials ourselves, it is so incredible to just let go and let God work out the details. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to watching your plans unfold!
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