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Old 08-31-2010, 08:23 PM   #1
Cherry Limeade
Earning My Ears
 
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We put the crazy in Christmas! Can we outdo the Griswolds on our Christmas Vacation?

Yes, we are going to Disney for Christmas. Was this a dream of mine? Yes.

Before I introduce the cast of characters I should give you the backstory for how this trip came about:

In February of 2009 DH called me from his yearly sales conference to let me know that the sales conference in 2010 would be in Orlando! We're going to Disney World baby!

I immediately started researching and making tentative plans. Just when I was getting ready to start making bookings DH changed jobs. No sales conference, no Disney trip.

Dh knew how crushed I was and wanted to make it up to me with the offering of a trip at Christmas 2010. A dream come true! I started researching and planning again for the dream trip. To sweeten the pot, Dh invited my parents because he knew that my Mom and Dad have always wanted to go to Disney, but have never been!

Thanks to a small miracle we ended up going in January 2010 at the last minute for we called our "preview trip." We had a good time, but it was only 3 days!

I have been lurking here at the DIS, making plans and doing research all that time, but waited to start a PTR until I actually had something to report. I just really was considering all of you, really. I would feel terribly guilty boring DISers to death with a lack of planning updates...

Alright, with all of that said... up next, the cast of characters!


Chapters for your convenience:

Cast of Characters
Touring Books
ADRs
Housing

Autograph Books
T-Shirt Debate and Little Gifts

Unrelated to Planning

The Adventures of Captain Chaos - Confetti Party
The Adventures of Captain Chaos - Powder POOF!

Last edited by Cherry Limeade; 09-06-2010 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:35 PM   #2
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The cast:

{a note: I use aliases for my family online, just a family policy that I try to abide by}

Me (I go by Cherry Limeade online) and DH (Party Boy)



I am the Disney nut in the family, DH is my enabler. Oh, how I love that man!

MOTS (Mouth of the South) - age 10


A Disney nut in the making. She listens to The DIS Unplugged podcast and helps me plan. She also never stops talking, which is how she got her nickname.

Hollywood - age 8


She has always loved the Fairies. She also love to wear sunglasses, even inside. Hence, her name.

Captain Chaos - age 2


His name is self-explanatory. He is into everything and has a great sense of humor. Something gets broken every day around here and he's never far away fro the action. He can't wait to go back to Mickey's house!

My Mom


Even though it totally gives away her age, she has always wanted to go to Disney because she was born the year that DisneyLand opened. Well, this is the year and I am beyond excited that I get to share her first trip with her!

My Dad


Totally along for the ride. He's excited, for sure, but not at Mom's level by any means. I mean, she screamed when she found out!

That's my crazy crew. We'll be descending on the World this December. And we're bringing all kinds of crazy with us!
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Old 09-01-2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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Okay, so I had posted the pictures and stepped out of the room to go to the bathroom. While in there i am hearing the joyous screams of Captain Chaos from the kitchen.

From experience I know that this is probably not a good thing. I was right.

I walked back into the kitchen to find Captain Chaos standing in a chair at the kitchen table grabbing great big handfuls of rice from the bowl (eating family style) and throwing them in the air.

He looked at me and said, "Yay Mommy! It's a confetti party!" and threw two more handfuls in the air.

There was rice in the window seat, rice on the floor, rice on the table, rice. was. everywhere.

I spent the rest of the night cleaning rice out of every crack and crevice in the room. I guess that'll teach me not to clear the table as soon as dinner is over.
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:28 PM   #4
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Alright, back to the planning madness.

As soon as we got back from our January trip I started planning the December trip. By Goofy, I was determined to be an expert before we went back. Not taht the January trip was bad, but I felt like we missed a lot of the lesser known stuff, you know?

Anway, I started by making some touring books. I got the idea here at the DIS, I think in a PTR, but for the life of me can not remember who it was... My bad.

The cover artwork is all from DISigners (couldn't do it without them! Their work is amazing! I wish I had made better notes on who did what.

Pictures!

Here's the covers of my books - they're little 99¢ photo albums from Target. I printed all of my info out on 4x6 index cards and they just slide right in!





And an example page from inside. I used the maps on the Disney site and took screen shots to include in my books. Since all of the attractions are numbered it made it pretty easy to note what's what. The blurred info came from the Tour Guide Mike site which is why it's blurred. Probably nothing that most of you don't already know, but I did promise not to share...



That's as much as I have printed now. I totally panicked a little when I checked my countdown and it's only 114 days left. That seems so close and I have so much that I want to do!!

Coming up:

ADRs
Flights
Tickets
Obsessing in the DISign forum
Making my planner
T-shirts?
Arts and Crafts Time
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Last edited by Cherry Limeade; 09-01-2010 at 06:52 PM. Reason: Adding pics.
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:33 PM   #5
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So, what are your dates and where are you staying? We are going to be there for Christmas too!
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Old 09-01-2010, 11:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0299 View Post
So, what are your dates and where are you staying? We are going to be there for Christmas too!
We'll be there 12/25 - 1/1. You know, the absolute busiest week of the year (or so I am told). Hehe. I can't wait to see everything decked out for Christmas. Seriously, it's a sickness.
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry Limeade View Post
We'll be there 12/25 - 1/1. You know, the absolute busiest week of the year (or so I am told). Hehe. I can't wait to see everything decked out for Christmas. Seriously, it's a sickness.
We did that week three years ago. New Year's Eve is the busiest and craziest day of them all, but we had a blast. On New Year's Day you'll practically have the park to yourself (at least in the morning).

This year we are going the week before and staying until Christmas Day. So we'll be leaving when you are coming. The decorations are beautiful. Be sure and visit several resorts to see their decorations. You'll have a great time!
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:20 AM   #8
Cherry Limeade
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0299 View Post
We did that week three years ago. New Year's Eve is the busiest and craziest day of them all, but we had a blast. On New Year's Day you'll practically have the park to yourself (at least in the morning).

This year we are going the week before and staying until Christmas Day. So we'll be leaving when you are coming. The decorations are beautiful. Be sure and visit several resorts to see their decorations. You'll have a great time!
Thank you for this. I have been so super-nervous about that week. All of the horror stories about being packed in like sardines on Main Street were giving me a mild case of hives. I am glad to know it is possible to go that week and have a good time!
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:35 AM   #9
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I'm always a bit trepidatious when I first go to someones PTR. I have clicked on some that are 20-30 pages long, so I know I am in for a lot of readying. I was happy that I am getting in on the ground floor with yours.

Wow the week after Christmas. Not sure if I would want to do that. We did the first week of January a few years ago. Great time to go. Crowds were very small.
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:16 PM   #10
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What a great looking family you have, and I love the nicknames.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry Limeade View Post
I walked back into the kitchen to find Captain Chaos standing in a chair at the kitchen table grabbing great big handfuls of rice from the bowl (eating family style) and throwing them in the air.

He looked at me and said, "Yay Mommy! It's a confetti party!" and threw two more handfuls in the air.
That is one of the best things I've heard...probably not great to clean up, but it made me really laugh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry Limeade View Post

Anway, I started by making some touring books. I got the idea here at the DIS, I think in a PTR, but for the life of me can not remember who it was... My bad.

And an example page from inside. I used the maps on the Disney site and took screen shots to include in my books. Since all of the attractions are numbered it made it pretty easy to note what's what. The blurred info came from the Tour Guide Mike site which is why it's blurred. Probably nothing that most of you don't already know, but I did promise not to share...

I make index cards that I can shove inside my purse with all the TGM info as well. It's worked great every trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry Limeade View Post
Coming up:

ADRs
Flights
Tickets
Obsessing in the DISign forum
Making my planner
T-shirts?
Arts and Crafts Time
I have to get cracking now on T-shirts as well, although I'll probably end up ordering from Zazzle again since I'm running out of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry Limeade View Post
We'll be there 12/25 - 1/1. You know, the absolute busiest week of the year (or so I am told). Hehe. I can't wait to see everything decked out for Christmas. Seriously, it's a sickness.
You are brave...although I know people who have gone at that time and survived. Just don't try to do everything and follow all the advice you have and you should have a great trip.
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:45 PM   #11
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So, I left off at my planning notebooks. I really like tham and yes, I kinda flip through them at least once a day.

Okay, so I re-read them once a day. Please don't tell.

Now. Let's talk food. ADRs. Obsessive Disney Dining Reservations stalking. Preparing the credit card holders for sticker shock.

T-REX

This is one that we did during our trip in January. It was also a request from my kids. Their only request. They loved the whole thing - the dinosaurs, the meteor showers, everything. As noted above, part of the pre-trip planning involves adding smelling salts (for passed out payers) and paper bags (for hyperventilating payers), meaning we have no Disney Dining Plan. I'll get into the whys of that later.

Since we have previous experience at T-REX I also know that the serving sizes are gigantic and we can split meals. The plan as of now is to order a couple of entrees for the table (7 of us) and then Extinction by Chocolate for the table. Should keep our cost down and make an enjoyable meal.

Tony's Town Square

I grabbed this one since it looked like a fun place to eat. We like Italian, but aren' necessarily spoiled on it. I only ventured over to the Dining Boards a couple of weeks ago, since before I had thought is was for discussing the Dining Plan and that didn't apply to us. Imagine my horror to discover that Tony's has been getting mixed reviews strongly leaning towards accusing them of hiring Chef-Boy-R-Dee for their head chef. Yikes! We may not be spoiled on authentic Italian food, but after perusing the menu and prices, I wasn't sure that I wanted to risk that much money on a possibly horrific meal. Which led me to...

The Plaza Restaurant

So, this week, after doing some hard thinking, I made a back-up ADR at The Plaza. We ate there in January and really enjoyed the beautiful castle view and the food was good. The kids liked it. We liked it. Seemed like a safe choice. It's an hour after our Tony's ADR, which works well. We can take an extra hour of rest time or not or whatever. I am leaning towards canceling Tony's before we go, but am holding off until maybe I see more recent reviews.

Then I read that The Plaza was boarded up for a refurb, which made it dismal inside. Surely they won't still be refurbing come Christmas, right? And can I just share that I was shocked at the large number of ADRs still available 115 days out? Tony's was booked solid though...

Restaurant Marrakesh

This one is a total "we're gonna try something new if it kills us" restaurant. It's for the Candlelight Processional package, so one of the meals where we won't be splitting meals. Yes, it's pricey. It's also probably the only time we'd do it. It's all about the experience baby!

The Crystal Palace

We're doing this one because I want to. I really wanted to go back in January, but CP was closed for a refurb. The characters were appearing at Liberty Tree Tavern, but it was all booked up when I was trying to get ADRs 5 days out. I can't wait for this one.

Liberty Tree Tavern

For whatever reason, this is the restaurant that I most closely associate with the Magic Kingdom. I don't know why. But that's why we are eating here. Because I said so. And since I'm planning this little shin-dig they all have to mind me. MMMMMWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Donald's Safari Breakfast

This one looked fun. And yes, for those keeping count, we are at 2 character meals this trip, so far. That's right. So far.

50's Prime Time Cafe

I will openly admit that I really wanted Sci-Fi. But since I also really wanted to sit in the cars and I really wanted to sit pretty close together, I skipped it and chose 50's instead. It still works out, I think, because my Dad is a huge fan of 50's TV and will, I think, enjoy the experience and theming. I'll just save the Sci-Fi for the next trip. Shhhhh. Party Boy thinks this is our last trip for awhile.

Hollywood + Vine

Okay, so I have read mixed reviews on this one too. I really wanted a Fantasmic Diner Package. We'll live with a so-so meal. Although I am hoping that such an early dinner ressie and knowing that we'll be seeing Fantasmic will make up for any disappointment on the food front. If there is any.

O'Hana (Breakfast)

That's right. Three character meals in one week! Why? This one was my Mom's only request. She loves Lilo + Stitch. I love Crystal Palace and Pooh. Party Boy is a Donald fan. At any rate, we've got a variety of characters!

Hoop-Dee-Doo

Because it sounded like fun. And because it might really be 5-6 years before we get back to the World. And I don't want to wait that long to see a Disney Dinner show.

So there you have our OOP Disney Dining ADRs. Most of them made at the 180 mark because I was totally paranoid about the cowds at Christmas beating me to the ADRs that I wanted. The one exception was the Candlelight Processional package that I got on the 26th of August after a half-hour hold time. <Funny story and a bit of Disney Magic: My CM is from my town. He hasn't lived here in a long time, so we were chatting about how much has changed since he left. It's a Small World After All! >

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Old 09-02-2010, 12:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry Limeade View Post
So, I left off at my planning notebooks. I really like tham and yes, I kinda flip through them at least once a day.

Okay, so I re-read them once a day. Please don't tell.

Now. Let's talk food. ADRs. Obsessive Disney Dining Reservations stalking. Preparing the credit card holders for sticker shock.

T-REX

This is one that we did during our trip in January. It was also a request from my kids. Their only request. They loved the whole thing - the dinosaurs, the meteor showers, everything. As noted above, part of the pre-trip planning involves adding smelling salts (for passed out payers) and paper bags (for hyperventilating payers), meaning we have no Disney Dining Plan. I'll get into the whys of that later.

Since we have previous experience at T-REX I also know that the serving sizes are gigantic and we can split meals. The plan as of now is to order a couple of entrees for the table (7 of us) and then Extinction by Chocolate for the table. Should keep our cost down and make an enjoyable meal.

Tony's Town Square

I grabbed this one since it looked like a fun place to eat. We like Italian, but aren' necessarily spoiled on it. I only ventured over to the Dining Boards a couple of weeks ago, since before I had thought is was for discussing the Dining Plan and that didn't apply to us. Imagine my horror to discover that Tony's has been getting mixed reviews strongly leaning towards accusing them of hiring Chef-Boy-R-Dee for their head chef. Yikes! We may not be spoiled on authentic Italian food, but after perusing the menu and prices, I wasn't sure that I wanted to risk that much money on a possibly horrific meal. Which led me to...

The Plaza Restaurant

So, this week, after doing some hard thinking, I made a back-up ADR at The Plaza. We ate there in January and really enjoyed the beautiful castle view and the food was good. The kids liked it. We liked it. Seemed like a safe choice. It's an hour after our Tony's ADR, which works well. We can take an extra hour of rest time or not or whatever. I am leaning towards canceling Tony's before we go, but am holding off until maybe I see more recent reviews.

Then I read that The Plaza was boarded up for a refurb, which made it dismal inside. Surely they won't still be refurbing come Christmas, right? And can I just share that I was shocked at the large number of ADRs still available 115 days out? Tony's was booked solid though...

Restaurant Marrakesh

This one is a total "we're gonna try something new if it kills us" restaurant. It's for the Candlelight Processional package, so one of the meals where we won't be splitting meals. Yes, it's pricey. It's also probably the only time we'd do it. It's all about the experience baby!

The Crystal Palace

We're doing this one because I want to. I really wanted to go back in January, but CP was closed for a refurb. The characters were appearing at Liberty Tree Tavern, but it was all booked up when I was trying to get ADRs 5 days out. I can't wait for this one.

Liberty Tree Tavern

For whatever reason, this is the restaurant that I most closely associate with the Magic Kingdom. I don't know why. But that's why we are eating here. Because I said so. And since I'm planning this little shin-dig they all have to mind me. MMMMMWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Donald's Safari Breakfast

This one looked fun. And yes, for those keeping count, we are at 2 character meals this trip, so far. That's right. So far.

50's Prime Time Cafe

I will openly admit that I really wanted Sci-Fi. But since I also really wanted to sit in the cars and I really wanted to sit pretty close together, I skipped it and chose 50's instead. It still works out, I think, because my Dad is a huge fan of 50's TV and will, I think, enjoy the experience and theming. I'll just save the Sci-Fi for the next trip. Shhhhh. Party Boy thinks this is our last trip for awhile.

Hollywood + Vine

Okay, so I have read mixed reviews on this one too. I really wanted a Fantasmic Diner Package. We'll live with a so-so meal. Although I am hoping that such an early dinner ressie and knowing that we'll be seeing Fantasmic will make up for any disappointment on the food front. If there is any.

O'Hana (Breakfast)

That's right. Three character meals in one week! Why? This one was my Mom's only request. She loves Lilo + Stitch. I love Crystal Palace and Pooh. Party Boy is a Donald fan. At any rate, we've got a variety of characters!

Hoop-Dee-Doo

Because it sounded like fun. And because it might really be 5-6 years before we get back to the World. And I don't want to wait that long to see a Disney Dinner show.

So there you have our OOP Disney Dining ADRs. Most of them made at the 180 mark because I was totally paranoid about the cowds at Christmas beating me to the ADRs that I wanted. The one exception was the Candlelight Processional package that I got on the 26th of August after a half-hour hold time. <Funny story and a bit of Disney Magic: My CM is from my town. He hasn't lived here in a long time, so we were chatting about how much has changed since he left. It's a Small World After All! >

Only 3 character meals? I have Tusker House, Crystal Palace, CRT, 1900 Park Fare (My oldest loves Cinderella), Akershus, and Chef Mickey's planned. Of course I also hate standing in line to meet the characters, so this limits those waits, plus we get to sit and relax for an hour.

I forgot to comment on the rice confetti, you need a dog. Then you have nothing to worry about since they are more than happy to lick up all the rice for you.
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:57 PM   #13
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Forgot to mention, I made plans for the Plaza restaurant, I'm glad to see it is a place you enjoyed. It looks really nice, but I was a bit unsure about my choice.
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddy_of_Princesses View Post
I'm always a bit trepidatious when I first go to someones PTR. I have clicked on some that are 20-30 pages long, so I know I am in for a lot of readying. I was happy that I am getting in on the ground floor with yours.

Wow the week after Christmas. Not sure if I would want to do that. We did the first week of January a few years ago. Great time to go. Crowds were very small.
We went the last week of January this year and it was perfect. Super low crowds and great (mostly) weather. The week after Christmas was not my first choice! But, my Mom is a teacher and since we really wanted to bring my parents we had to work around their time off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TyRy View Post
What a great looking family you have, and I love the nicknames.
That is one of the best things I've heard...probably not great to clean up, but it made me really laugh.
I make index cards that I can shove inside my purse with all the TGM info as well. It's worked great every trip.
I have to get cracking now on T-shirts as well, although I'll probably end up ordering from Zazzle again since I'm running out of time.
You are brave...although I know people who have gone at that time and survived. Just don't try to do everything and follow all the advice you have and you should have a great trip.
I am really hoping we have a great trip. I am going in with the expectation that we will not be able to do everything, that we may have to wait in lines longer than I would like, and that there will be some hitches in the plans.

<deep breaths, deep breaths>
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddy_of_Princesses View Post
Only 3 character meals? I have Tusker House, Crystal Palace, CRT, 1900 Park Fare (My oldest loves Cinderella), Akershus, and Chef Mickey's planned. Of course I also hate standing in line to meet the characters, so this limits those waits, plus we get to sit and relax for an hour.

I forgot to comment on the rice confetti, you need a dog. Then you have nothing to worry about since they are more than happy to lick up all the rice for you.
Yeah, we have a dog. He's a bum and wouldn't help with the rice. He did supervise my efforts though. The punk. I am glad you are a character diner too. My motivation was that I figured that the park lines could/would be obscene the week after Christmas. These meals guarantee some character interaction, that way if we never stand in line for one in the parks the kids (and my mom) won't be disappointed. But, I've also seen others state that they won't do more than one character meal per trip too, so I figured maybe I was out of the norm for having 3. Glad I am not the only one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddy_of_Princesses View Post
Forgot to mention, I made plans for the Plaza restaurant, I'm glad to see it is a place you enjoyed. It looks really nice, but I was a bit unsure about my choice.
I LOVED The Plaza! We got a window seat and got to watch a parade go by. It was pretty amazing.
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