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Old 12-01-2011, 07:46 PM   #1
RalphinSC
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The Second Time is the Charm! School's Out, Disney's In! May 30th-June 13th, 2012!

Introduction/Meet the Cast
So Why June?
Paid in Full!
T-minus 40 days!
Mickey Mail
Finalizing Plans
The Packing War / Epic Trip Growth / And the Case of the Mis-matched Shirts
Late ADR Addition
Caleb's Disney Surprise is Sprung!


Introduction

Hi Guys! My name is Ralph and I have a confession to make.......

I'm a Disneyaholic!



I'm getting on this ball early since if I don't start now, I may never get going. As you can probably tell from the title, this is going to be my second trip ever to WDW, my first being this past March.

As a child I was raised in poverty so I didn't get to enjoy the pleasures of vacations or the excitement of things that many children had growing up. That has largely led me to grow up and remain a big kid at heart. I thoroughly enjoy going to places full of the traditional tourist trappings and making memories for my family that I didn't have in abundant supply growing up. Whereas some people go on vacation to get away from life, I go on vacation to celebrate it and that means diving head first into an avalanche of FUN! The unconventional life outlook and attitude makes me the perfect Disney Dad.

Meet the Cast

So for this first post I get to tell you about the lucky folks that have the priviledge (or misfortune) of being my family and enjoying this trip with me. First is my darling wife Paige...........



Paige is my sweetheart. We've been married for almost nine years now. She was a Disney kid and had several trips in her childhood. One wonderful thing she does in tolerate my many varied crazes that usually cost us time, money, or both. She's always there with the rationality and realism; but as soon as she's satisfied with keeping me grounded, she'll go full bore on any fun adventure and trip. I call her my trooper. She's always going to try something once, even when she's scared of the outcome. Just for example, she argued me back and forth for the finances and making this trip reasonable and affordable. But at the end of the day; it was she who found the code and got us a great deal on this trip.





And now for our little wild thing, Caleb...........



A "Caleb" can usually be found in it's natural enviroment, which is often a very silly place. My son is full of elan and happiness. I hope I've had something to do with that by being a fun-loving dad. I can think of nothing more joyful for me than to bring happiness to his life. These trips really are for him, as much as I enjoy them. I want to give the little guy all the joy in his childhood that I struggled to find in mine. He's my favorite little bear and he's grown up full of love, fun, and sillyness. You literally don't really know what the little guy is going to do next. A Disney trip for him is a perfect way to witness an explosion of love, fun, and happiness.

And did I mention sillyness?



Well that's enough for the first post, I'll get this one up and start working on subsequent information, including things we are looking forward to and what our plans are. I'll also put thoughts out as the process goes along.

And alos, just for a bit of news; this will be our second attempt to surprise Caleb with a trip. Last year's surprise was OK but I screwed up the video and I don't think he really caught into what the whole Disney Experience was about. This year, he knows EXACTLY what to expect and should be itching for a trip by the time we spring it on him. As he grows older, this will probably be the last big thing we surprise him with like this. I hope the video goes better this time, because I love to keep them for future memories....

A couple of links for you guys who have made it this far......

First, the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ralph.m.morris
All the pictures should be public. All our pics from last year's Disney trip are on there, feel free to view.

Second, my Youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/Ralphinsc?feature=guide
Just the typical family fare, including a few videos from our last Disney trip and lots of footage of a "Caleb" in it's natural enviroment.

Enjoy guys! I'll post more tonight as I go along!
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:47 PM   #2
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OK, so back for round 1.5....................

How did we arrive at June?

Well I can honestly say it wasn't my first choice. MY fun and memories-first personality has had me looking to put another booking up almost since I got back home last March. Unfortunately, my finances and a grounded wife has kep me at bay.

But when this woman tells you "No!" you listen or she will kill you with cuteness!



One thing she insisted on was not pulling Caleb out of school this year and making sure we had every penny we needed before we booked. Well she won on both of those counts..........mostly. We are pulling Caleb out of school for the half days to end the school year this year, so I guess I've got that one on a technicality. We also will have all the money we need by the time the final payment is due by doing nothing more that setting aside our vacation funds at our normal savings rate. So I guess I've got the technical voctiry there too.

So I DID win the arguments! At least that's what I'm telling myself (and certainly NOT telling her!) The secret to a happy marriage guys and gals; letting the other person believe they won...........

Meet My OCD

One thing I am is an avid planner. I love planning, researching, digging for info, and basically thinking about a trip almost as much fun as I love going. The DIS has been a big help for me there as I love the boards and the information that I have learned and gleaned off of them. I'm also working on my third complete read-through on this year's Unofficial Guide (aside from being an avid planner, I'm an avid reader too) Just to give you an example of my planning disorder; I've been checking every day for June's park hours for the past couple of months and had a prospective park touring schedule set up before the official hours were even posted. I can tell you right now that on June 1st at this time, I'll be in the Magic Kingdom because that's an EMH night and we didn't get to do any laaaaate nights last year. I also had park days planned out in case we went in March again and even looked an a possible February itenerary when that seemed like a possibility (read: when it seemed like I wouldn't lose that argument ). With that said, I'm also quite capable of throwing the plan away and just enjoying the flow and the moment. The plan itself is not the most important thing in the world. It is pure enjoyment to actually make the plan; but once there, the real thing will overtake the plan every time.


So What Does the Plan Look Like Right Now?

Well right now, in a nutshell, we are looking at two weeks in Orlando. The basic outline is to wake the Caleb creature up on Wendesday, May 30th at 6am, put a video camera in his face, and tell him that unfortunately he is not going to school today. Then I will try to hand him some mouse ears without being bitten, hogtie him while he is distracted, and throw him into the car. We will have a ninja packing and car loading session ahead of time so the seven hour drive to Orlando will commence immediately. (pending breakfast).

Once in Orlando that afternoon, we will check into the dirt cheap great value known as the Motel 6 Main Gate West ($35/night) and head to Downtown Disney. There, we plan on hitting all the stores and picking up our park tickets early from Guest Services (Cheshire Figment said I could! Another victory for research and obsessive planning!) Caleb is a big Lego freak so he should enjoy the newly expanded Lego store. Last year we had to settle for Woodie in a big tent.....lol!



From there, we will probably activate our 6-day tickets with water parks fun and more at Disneyquest, another thing we didn't get to do this past year. Caleb and Daddy should love that. Paige will find a way to survive, lol! Dinner at DTD that night.

We will wake up on May 31st and either go resort hopping around the monorail loop again (paying to valet at the contemporary or Poly) and rent either two SeaRaycers or one Pontoon boat. A second option would be to do the same thing instead of changing the location to either DTD again or the Port Orleans resort and cruise the waterway between the two. I'm leaning towards the pontoon rental from Port Orleans since we did the SeaRaycers last year (and had a BLAST at it)



That night is also at the Motel 6 with dinner either at DTD or offsite. The next morning, we check out before 6am and head over to Pop to check-in. We get the dining plan activated and get set up for a text when the room is ready. From there, it's off to the MK for rope drop, with a mid-day break thrown in to unpack and relax at Pop before we head back for the EMH close.

One thing I am doing this year is spreading out the park days so we don't push too many back-to-back days and don't hit that wall as hard as we did last year. My main-park schedule right now looks like this. Off days could be used to hit the waterparks, Disney Quest, or even to add park days and do some light touring of favorites. I love all the holes because that gives us flexibility and the chance to recover from the long days we plan to hit. (aside from the first day, I doubt we'll be making any mid-day trips back to the hotel. The "Caleb" runs off of sunlight and cold-fusion. Last year he did a sixteen hour day at MK and didn't even seem tired. Paige does like she always does, she troops along. I tend to lean more towards Caleb's touring pattern.....)

So here's the current park itenerary.....

June 1st Check into Pop. Magic Kingdom 9am rope drop- 1am Extra Magic Hour

June 2nd no park

June 3rd Epcot 9am rope drop- 9pm close

June 4th DHS 9am rope drop- Midnight Extra Magic Hour

June 5th no park

June 6th Animal Kingdom 9am rope drop-7pm close

June 7th no park (good candidate for water park day)

June 8th Magic Kingdom 9am open-1am Extra Magic Hours

June 9th no park. Check out of Pop. Check back into Motel 6 or maybe even check into the Beach Club if we can scrounge up a few hundred more bucks to splurge.

June 10th DHS 9am rope drop - 9pm close Star Wars Weekends

June 11th optional park or water park

June 12th optional park or water park

June 13th pack up and head home. Check out of Motel 6.

So the base six days are 2 MK days, 2 DHS days (one purely for Star Wars weekend stuff), 1 Epcot day, and one AK day. We will probably try to hit two water parks and do that first night of Disney quest. We may add a park day at the end to hit one we enjoy (probably MK again).







Well that's enough for this post, up next a review of last year's trip and what we look forward to most this upcoming trip.....
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:53 PM   #3
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Seat's taken......
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My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:55 PM   #4
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More info forthcoming......
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:57 PM   #5
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Who else did you expect? Last saved post at the top! Promise!
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My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:02 PM   #6
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We will be at the POP from 6/2-6/9- booked the ADR's yesterday. Not much of a Star Wars fan so we will not be going to HS on the 8th. Sat the 9th we hit the seas in the Fantasy for a 7 day cruise. I look forward to reading more of you planning tips. Insight is helpful. It's just myself and my 17 year old daughter and since both Saturdays are travel days, we have Sun-Fri at the parks. We didnt do the water parks because she doesnt have the greatest time at them with just "dear old mom". Might pay for Disneyquest separate if we have time, she remembers loving it ( but our last trip was 6 years ago so, not quite sure if she would have the same feelings now)-we're planning our HS day for 6/6 and just waiting for the Fantasmic package info to be released for June so we can firm that up.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:49 PM   #7
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The sixth is going to be a good day at HS. Very low crowds, the lowest of the whole week there. We haven't ever gone to the waterparks at Disney but I know my son is a complete water baby and enjoys every waterpark he gets a chance to get around. He does have a silly fear of tube slides but aside from that is fearless.

I'm so envious of your Fantasy trip! LOL! Have fun! I think we might do a pretty similiar curise and park combo in 2013, so definitely let me know how that experience goes for you and your daughter and give me that last little nudge after our trips are done to book that 2013 cruise and park combo!

Thanks for reading and I'll throw plenty more up here in the future!
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:20 PM   #8
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We have cruised Disney 4 times in the past, the most recent being June 06 (so it's been way too long ). We were fortunate to do the first Panama cruise so, we didnt take the park in at that time. The first I booked the land/see thru the cruiseline and subsequent years did both ressies independent. The last two times, I always wished I had done the park first so, that is the route we are taking this time. I figured it would be more relaxful to be on the ship after a week at the parks. If there is a huge difference in airfare or discounts, I would consider changing the order. Also by us leaving on 6/2 my daughter will not be able to attend summer school ( so hopefully she wont need to raise any grades this year ) Hopefully, it will all go smoothly. I'm on commission only so we also need to have business be steady until then. We booked the Fantasy quite a bit ago and we paid $2400 for what is now $4500 so, I cant dare to let that one slip away. Airfare is so expensive from AZ (Tucson) to Fl that I cant see spending that money just for one week. Totally getting psyched, booked ADRs and praying for things to work out so that we will be able to take this trip. Where did you get the ino on crowds etc? I think my schedule is pretty firm but, it's nice to know what I have gotten myself into.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:31 PM   #9
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I get my crowd info from www.touringplans.com and www.easywdw.com.

The touring plans one is a subscription service, about $10 a year. Easywdw is free. Both have very good information though they sometimes conflict. Both generally agree though that the Wendesday at DHS is the best day of the week to go there. I've still got the Monday pegged due to EMH that night but since I have no ADR's I may eventually change that.

I think we'll be doing the two-week cruise-park deal next year. I agree completely with the sentiment of cruising AFTER a week at WDW. IT makes great sense in helping recharge those batteries!

The one fortunate thing we have from living in South Carolina is that it's a seven hour drive away so we don't have to worry about airfare or car rentals. Although I do admit that I would be really excited to go drive to my local airport and hop on a plane knowing that at the other end of it is a Magical Express bus!
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:47 AM   #10
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joining this group, too!!

Hi Y'all!! We'll be heading back in June, too... the 24th through July 1st, and hoping to stay at CBR, but DH wants to wait to book hotel until the deals open up for possibly free dining... I'm not holding my breath- have they ever done free dining in June??

Should we just book it now and add free dining if it comes out?? the website has deals through the 14th right now, so we figure it should open up through our dates soon????
I know ADR is open for some of our dates, now, so I am chomping at the bit to get booked!!!!!!!
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:00 PM   #11
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Here's a really good link for researching that: http://www.mousesavers.com/historicalwdwdiscounts.html

Just from a quick look through, I see they have never offered free dining in late June and the times that they have offered before have ussually been announced farther in advance than we currently are. With that, it doesn't look like a good possibility so you might want to go ahead and book. If you can move the dates up a couple of weeks, that Spring saver deal is pretty good. That's what we booked with for our dates.

Hope I helped!
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:20 PM   #12
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Had to switch up the plans. There was no Fantasmic show on the 6th and HS was closing early.... So, we will do morning on the 4th at AK, afternoon with Mama Melrose FP at HS on the EMH night. Then we will come back and do EMH morning at HS on the 6th. At least that's where things sit for now. Got all the ADR's made, just waiting for 3/11 when I can check in online and book excursions for the cruise. Prices for next year were released and they are much higher than I think a lot of people anticipated. I want to do Alaska next year but, my daughter wont cruise anywhere where there could be glaciers......
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chinarider View Post
Had to switch up the plans. There was no Fantasmic show on the 6th and HS was closing early.... So, we will do morning on the 4th at AK, afternoon with Mama Melrose FP at HS on the EMH night. Then we will come back and do EMH morning at HS on the 6th. At least that's where things sit for now. Got all the ADR's made, just waiting for 3/11 when I can check in online and book excursions for the cruise. Prices for next year were released and they are much higher than I think a lot of people anticipated. I want to do Alaska next year but, my daughter wont cruise anywhere where there could be glaciers......
Kinda waiting to see how the Fantasmic refurb does to determine whether the 4th will indeed be our day at DHS or not. When thinking about it, DHS just isn't a 15-hour park for us and there are several things there I wouldn't be incomplete if I missed seeing them again. (LMA, Backlot Tour, and INDY for a few. And EVEN TSM if I could be excused the blasphemy ). So our schedule is still not 100% in stone and since we are going with the QSDP this time, we have good flexibility to change park days on a whim. We haven't seen the new Star tours, but you can only ride that and RnRC and ToT so many times before you've had enough, right?

Just got through checking the rates yesterday for a 2013 cruise ourselves on the Fantasy out of Port Canaveral. We still might go with it being our ten year anniversary and all but it's hard to argue how price-friendly a cruise is when I could do a better (and longer) land based Disney vacation for less. It looks like the cruise and travel industry in general is starting to hit a boom due to people rewarding themselves for thrifty spending in the last few years. Not good for prices....

Sorry about the daughter on the glacier thing. I guess one too many showings of "Titanic" for her...
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:44 PM   #14
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Talking

Today was a great day!

PAID IN FULL!!



It's always great to know that your fun is already financed and is just waiting for you to show up at the appointed time!
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March 2011 ASMo
June 2012 Pop Century
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My Family of the Day Experience With Pictures 6/8/2012:http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2939320
My Little Guy's Disney Surprise http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933866
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphinSC View Post
Today was a great day!

PAID IN FULL!!



It's always great to know that your fun is already financed and is just waiting for you to show up at the appointed time!
That is always a nice feeling! We will be doing at split stay at the Grand Floridian and then Pop June 2nd - 10th. I am looking forward to Star Wars Weekends. Thanks for sharing your plans I am enjoying your trip report!
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