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Old 03-19-2012, 10:20 AM   #1
andapanda
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: PA
Posts: 152

My First Real Trip, a July 2012 PTR: **CHANGES UPDATE 6/18**

I have always dreamed of a Disney vacation. As a child, I used to go to the local video store and rent every Disney-themed VHS I could find. I remember watching one that did a tour of the park (I’m not sure now if it was Walt Disney World, or Disneyland – it didn’t matter at the time). I came from a family that struggled just to make ends meet. When I was a junior in high school, my dream came true. Sort of. My high school marching band was taking a trip to Orlando to be in a bowl parade (again, not sure which parade) and the Christmas parade in the Magic Kingdom. The drawbacks: We stayed off-site, half a day in the Magic Kingdom, a whole day in EPCOT, and half a day in MGM (as it was then). No Animal Kingdom. It was dreary and rainy the whole time we were in Florida. I can count the number of rides I rode on my fingers. While it was still an awesome experience, I left feeling somewhat disappointed. Fast forward seven years. When my husband and I discussed honeymoon possibilities, we brought up Disney and quickly tossed it aside. We were on a strict budget and didn’t think it would be possible. Looking back, we could have spent less going to Disney World than the beach trip that we ended up taking. But hindsight is 20/20. Our honeymoon wasn’t the greatest experience. We did what we could but everything cost twice as much as we had planned. Fast forward another four years (our 4th anniversary). We decided to make our 5th anniversary special, and finally take a trip to Disney. A second chance at the honeymoon we feel we missed out on.

Cast of Characters
Me: 28 years old, a teacher. For me, summer is the only option for a vacation. My goal is to lose 30 lbs before we go. My emotions regarding our upcoming trip go between absolute excitement and being incredibly sad to leave our 3 fur-babies behind while we’re on our trip. We have three cats, and I’m very protective over them – we don’t have kids, so they are my babies. I will probably cry when we leave.

J: 32 years old, works in the food/beverage industry. He can go on vacation any time. His goal is also to lose 30 lbs before we go. I think he’s excited, but he really won’t show it. J has been to Disney World twice before, but it has been almost 20 years since his last trip.

Deciding on a Date
Deciding on a general time of year wasn’t hard. After all, I have no choice but to go in the summer. I had wanted to plan our vacation for the first week of June – right when school let out. J wanted to go in the beginning of July – he wanted our first day to be on our anniversary. I couldn’t persuade him otherwise, so July it was. We booked our trip almost a year in advance, as soon as we decided on the dates. When the free dining dates came out, we briefly discussed changing our trip to the last week of August – my school does not start until after Labor Day. However, I would miss two orientation days. We quickly decided to stay with our initial plan, and arrive on July 7th. We will be leaving Disney World on July 14th, going to Universal Studios for three days, and finally heading home on July 18th.

Deciding on a Resort
We had discussed resorts many times, even before we decided to go. J and I had always assumed that our only option would be the value resorts, and had decided on Pop Century. While we were both fine with staying at the Pop Century, we just didn’t know if it was what we wanted for our anniversary. We started pricing different resorts, and contemplated staying off-site. I mentioned to J that we might want to look at the Moderate resorts – we had priced a Deluxe resort and knew it was way out of our budget. The problem was deciding on a resort. My picks were Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach Resort. J’s picks were Port Orleans – French Quarter and Port Orleans – Riverside. After doing some research on resort specifics, ratings and reviews, and pricing different packages, we decided on Port Orleans – French Quarter for a variety of reasons, with our main reasons being its small size and romantic atmosphere.

Chapter Links
1. Weight Loss and Dining/Park Overview
2. Part 2: Switch to Universal
3. Off the Beaten Path: Fun Activities
4. Things We'll Miss, Some Changes, and Decisions
5. Countdown!
6. Arrival and Day 1
7. Day 2
8. Day 3
9. Day 4
10. Day 5
11. Day 6
12. Day 7 and Day 8 (Last day at Disney)
13. Weight Loss Update
14. Days 9 - 12 (Universal Plans)
15. Some Changes

Last edited by andapanda; 06-18-2012 at 12:31 PM. Reason: title change
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