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Old 10-30-2011, 02:49 PM   #1
Feckless
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From the North Atlantic to the World - a May 2012 Pre-Trip Report

Hey all! Thought I would take a stab at the whole pre-trip report thing, since I am enjoying my planning soooo much. My family thinks I'm crazy, but hopefully in a good way.

Here are the cast of characters:

This is me, mom and hard working professional, who needs at least one nice vacation somewhere warm a year to maintain sanity, with the two kiddos in on our last night during our trip in 2009:



This is my DD, who does NOT like princesses, and loves every thrill ride she can get into, and my DS, who doesn't like things jumping out at him, but otherwise is game for anything! He loves army stuff and Star Wars.



Here's one of the whole family at Sci Fi Cafe:



We had a good holiday in 2009, but definitely I was the one who enjoyed it the most. I had an ambitious commando plan, and it worked really well - we went during August, and it was super busy, but we walked on pretty much every ride. We are from a very temperate place so we found it completely BOILING HOT. In fact, as soon as we left MCO, my DS wanted immediately to turn around and go home! We are hoping that May will be a better time, for both heat and crowds.

We skipped a destination holiday in 2010, but decided to hit Cuba in 2011 and had a great time. The kids did great with the heat (the pool helped) so I decided to try to combine the best things about our Cuban holiday with the best things about Disney and give it another try!

First, the best thing about our Cuban resort was the pool. So, where else should I pick for our getaway but the Beach Club:



We booked our room nine months before our check-in. When we told DH's cousin our plans, they decided to tag along with their family! They have a boy the same age as DS, and a 7 year old DD. They booked the same dates, except at Beach Club Villas. We decided to book Club Level, since I have changed my commando ways (although not my planning ways!) and are planning loads of resort time. For the amount the room is costing, we are going to be spending tons of time there! LOL

Coming up, DINING plans!
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:04 PM   #2
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Contents:

Chapter One: Introduction http://www.disboards.com/showthread....02751#poststop

Chapter Two: Dining Plans! http://www.disboards.com/showthread....03065#poststop

Chapter Three: Discount Central! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...0&postcount=15

Chapter Four: To Dining Plan or not to Dining Plan? http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...7&postcount=17

Chapter Five: Last Minute Tweaks to the Plans! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...2&postcount=26
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751

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Old 10-30-2011, 03:22 PM   #3
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Dining plans made my brain hurt

So, with this new 180 day rule, the next big decision we had to make after the resort, and CL vs. regular room, and dates for travel, was DINING. As the date got closer and closer, I tried to take in more and more reviews, menus, etc. I got some great advice to make ADRs for every night, since I can always cancel but some of these will be difficult to get as time passes! Plus, with all the resort time, the plan was to book a bunch of Epcot restaurants. Luckily I decided that in order to keep my stress levels as low as possible with respect to wasting time in the parks (to tamp down the commando in me as much as possible) we would get the 10 day park hopper passes, so we can have park time every day we are there, even if it is just popping over to WS to do some shopping. Heaven!

The first thing I did was to buy the 2012 Unofficial Guide, and read the restaurant section. Then I renewed my subscription to Touring Plans to check the preliminary crowd levels. Then I spoke to my family and got ideas about our must do places. I tried to get the other family to participate, but they seem to be more sane than I. LOL With the help of IPO, I decided to include them on our reservations - easier to cut them from the reservation than to add them later! I ultimately came up with the following plan:

Day One: Arrive about 1 p.m. Biergarten reservation for 8 pm. Reasoning is that it is a buffet, with banquet seating, and would be a fun way to start the trip.

Day Two: Epcot Day. I am planning all our park days to start early and end around lunchtime. If we have steam, we will hit another park later, but no biggie. At first I wanted an ADR for Tutto Italia, but unfortunately they are not booking tables because of the refurb. We have been waiting for that restaurant since 2009, so that is a big disappointment. We settled on Via Napoli at 7:15 pm.

Day Three: Resort Day. Cape May Cafe character breakfast for 9:30 a.m.

Day Four: Magic Kingdom Day. Crystal Palace ADR for 8:00 a.m. Park opens at 9, wanted to get in the park before it opens and hit rope drop after breakfast if possible. Hopefully the kids will deal with the early morning!

Day Five: Resort Day, maybe after hitting the EMH at DHS if we are up. 'Ohana ADR for 6:30 pm so we can catch the electric water pageant (9 p.m.) and Wishes (10 p.m.) from the beach at the Poly. Meat on a stick - whats not to love...

Day Six: Universal Day. We are hitting it super early as the kids are really excited about WWHP. I am making an ADR for Captains Grille for 8:30 p.m. on the off chance we would be back, but this will probably be canceled.

Day Seven: Animal Kingdom Day. Boma dinner at 6 p.m. Buffet + animals + African flavours = WIN.

Day Eight: Resort Day. Marrakesh at 7:00 p.m. Might change this to Teppan Edo, but I really like the atmosphere in Morocco.

Day Nine: DHS Day. Sci Fi Cafe lunch at 1 p.m. (kids request!)

Day Ten: Resort Day. We are going to end our trip with dinner at Brown Derby at 6:30 p.m. with Fantasmic afterwards. I could NOT handle the thought of doing lunch or dinner at 3:30 p.m. so the package was not for us. Since it seems from the hours published that Fantasmic is every night, we are hoping that it will not be too crowded.

On the resort days, we are trading off with the boys doing a golf day and the girls doing a spa day, while the others have the youngsters.

IPO has all of the plans - just have to call in my CC number and we are all set! Very exciting!!!
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:54 PM   #4
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Joining in. Great plans so far. Hoping it's not as hot in May, but at least you'll have storm along bay to cool off in.
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:21 PM   #5
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Thanks Vikki! Nice to see another Atlantic Canadian joining in. We went to Cuba in May and didn't find the heat half as oppressive as Orlando in August, but there was a lovely sea breeze there. I figure Universe of Energy and Hall of Presidents will have to substitute. LOL It is so nice to be planning a holiday somewhere hot during our loooong winters!
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:44 PM   #6
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A bit more real now...

Called in my credit card number this morning, which was my last step for IPO to make my dining reservations. The CM said that they will be making the ADRs at 5:30 a.m. on November 3rd, which is when my dining window opens. Here's hoping that I can get my 'Ohana reservation! I can live without any of the others, but I have my heart set on that one. Maybe I should move it up closer to the beginning of the trip so that I have the best chance? Overthink much???? LOL

So far, my experience with the concierge service has been awesome - with one glaring exception: THE COST.

Second guessing my Marrakesh ADR as well. I'm thinking that Teppan Edo would be a better choice... We all ate at a similar restaurant at our resort in Cuba and despite the kids' original misgivings, it was excellent.

Rain, rain and cold today. Thinking about sun and pool and parks is making my day better!
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:59 PM   #7
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Heading to Ottawa for a business trip tomorrow, and taking the kids! Looking forward to visiting our nation's capital. Had the option to stay at the Chateau Laurier, on which I think the building in the Canada pavilion at Epcot is based, but I wanted to stay in the hotel where my meetings are. I will get a picture though for comparison since it is just across the street!

Next trip on a plane will be DISNEY!!!!
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:12 PM   #8
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ADRs are MADE!

Got the email first thing this morning from the IPO. Luckily I double checked, and there were some mistakes - primarily that our whole group wasn't booked in to about half the ADRs. Also, it turns out that we COULD book Tutto! Very excited, and I hope the refurb is actually finished. Because of that, I changed our Marrakesh ADR back to Via Napoli. Also, we booked 6 pm for the Brown Derby on our last night, which is great for catching Fantasmic.

Sent all the plans to the other family, told them it was all booked, but haven't heard anything! Oh well, if they don't want to do it, they can cancel... Also reminded them again to book CRT if they want to for their DD. I can't be responsible for everything! LOL

Very strange booking a vacation while on vacation, but given that we are back and forth over and over again about where to eat each day here, I am super happy that we have booked what we have for Disney.
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 11-05-2011, 02:33 AM   #9
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Joining in. Of course my family and I will be at the Yacht Club just a month after you are at the Beach club so I'm more interested in what you are doing than most.

I like many of your dining plans. I also have a copy of the 2012 Unofficial guide (not to mention the 2011 unofficial guide).

You know what I'm wondering about, parks wise, how much of that Fantasyland expansion will be done.

Oh and also I wonder if Test Track is going to be running when either you or I are there.

Guess we'll see.

Allen
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:44 AM   #10
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I'm here!

Great start! Obviously, I applaud your resort choice!

Love your dining reservations! Sci Fi and Boma are favorites! Your plan for the night at the Poly is great. Been there. Done that. Loved it!!! Captain's Grille was a great discovery on our last trip. Cape May is my favorite character breakfast, although CP before park opening is on my Disney bucket list.

We have never been to Tutto, Via Napoli, Biergarten or Brown Derby, but I have read wonderful things about them.

Sounds like your research and planning have served you well.

I look forward to hearing about your plans for Universal. We visited last summer, so I would be glad to chime in with my input!

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Old 11-05-2011, 09:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laffites Landing View Post

You know what I'm wondering about, parks wise, how much of that Fantasyland expansion will be done.

Oh and also I wonder if Test Track is going to be running when either you or I are there.

Guess we'll see.

Allen
Thanks, Allen! I'm already upset that BTMR will be closed so I'm crossing my fingers on TT. I guess you don't mind about BTMR since you have one at DL! It was my kids favorite last time so it sucks for us. The Fantasyland expansion isn't such a big deal for us but it would have been awesome to have the new Seven Dwarfs ride. Oh well, an excuse to come back, right???
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
I'm here!

Great start! Obviously, I applaud your resort choice!

Love your dining reservations! Sci Fi and Boma are favorites! Your plan for the night at the Poly is great. Been there. Done that. Loved it!!! Captain's Grille was a great discovery on our last trip. Cape May is my favorite character breakfast, although CP before park opening is on my Disney bucket list.

We have never been to Tutto, Via Napoli, Biergarten or Brown Derby, but I have read wonderful things about them.

I look forward to hearing about your plans for Universal. We visited last summer, so I would be glad to chime in with my input!
So happy to see you here, Dee!

The Universal plans are definitely the head scratcher at the moment. We are going to get the Express passes and try to hit the best things about the two parks in one day without going crazy. I was thinking of keeping it simple and just doing one park but my kids are Simpsons fans (shhhhhh! Don't tell the perfect parents!! LOL). I'm totally picking your brain!
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:30 AM   #13
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Just heard back from the other family and the reason I didn't hear before is I was sending emails to the wrong frickin' email address! D'oh!!!

So, they are happy about tagging on our plans for now, knowing that we can change or cancel prior to going. They are also planning a CRT lunch (they are NOT early risers! LOL) and are talking about getting the dining plan. I'm not sold on the dining plan - I like the idea of putting $1500 on a Disney gift card before I go rather than paying for the plan, since we are going to be doing mostly counter service and as well using the lounge for breakfast.

Anyway, glad to know that they just weren't answering me because of my obvious mental illness - Disney addiction!
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feckless View Post
Thanks, Allen! I'm already upset that BTMR will be closed so I'm crossing my fingers on TT. I guess you don't mind about BTMR since you have one at DL! It was my kids favorite last time so it sucks for us. The Fantasyland expansion isn't such a big deal for us but it would have been awesome to have the new Seven Dwarfs ride. Oh well, an excuse to come back, right???

I hope they have the BTM back up and running for you in May. I know it's going down for an extended time but that does mean it will be down thru your visit?

I'm pretty sure it will be up for ours in June. My family does want to ride it, if only to compare it to the one out here in Anaheim. I have heard that it's pretty much the same ride but we'll get on it once if it's open.

We just got back from Disneyland over the weekend and rode BTM in the rain. Fun stuff, quite uncomfortable but quite an experience for the whole family. Rain out here isn't like summer rain in Florida. It's cold and often includes a brisk wind with it. We survived to tell about it so I guess that's good.

I'm enjoying following through with you both here and over at the YC/BC thread!
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:29 PM   #15
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So, I was in the shower this morning and I was thinking that I hadn't been maki big enough payments on the holiday, that I haven't booked our flight yet, and generally getting stressed about the cost of BC, and of CL, and dining when we get there, along with the extra cost of going to the Dark Side for WWOHP. Just after lunch, there was the post on my Facebook Page from the Disboards saying that new discounts were announced. I checked and for the first part of our stay, they were showing BC at 30% off and 25% for the second part. I got on the phone IMMEDIATELY (not sure what my office accountant will say when she sees the long distance charges! LOL) and waited and waited to speak to a CM. When I got through, another short wait to check availability. When he came back on (it was only a few minutes but it seemed like hours) there WAS availability for BC CL on our dates and I got a $1880 discount!!!! I was so happy I closed my office door and danced a little jig. My DH can't believe it. It really makes the remaining balance so much more manageable. The CM tried to upsell me on the dining plan because he said with our reservations we will end up saving money. I have to do the math and see!

Anyway, it looks as if a big obstacle was lifted and the trip is a definite GO!
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Latest TR in progress: FROM SUNSTROKE TO A CONCUSSION: a Yacht Club Disney "Trip" to Remember http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post50508748


SMILES, SAND AND SUNSTROKE: A May 2012 Beach Club Trip of a Lifetime! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2927334

First Pre-Trip Report: From the North Atlantic to the World http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1#post43102751
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