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Old 10-13-2012, 12:48 PM   #1
mommyto3boys
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Talking We are finally going on our first magical family trip to Disneyland!!!

After many years of hoping, wishing, and planning we are finally going to one of the most magical places on earth...DISNEYLAND!!!

Since this is our first trip to DL this is obviously my first PTR/TR. I am so excited to be doing all of this! Hope you enjoy!!!

Travel Dates: December 23-29, 2012
Travel Method: Driving 15 hrs with three boys...yipeeeee!!!
Parks we are Visiting: Disneyland/California Adventures and maybe Universal for hubby
Accommodations: Comfort Inn Maingate (6 nights)
Cast of Characters: Me (35) I have been to DL 3 times (80, 89, 06) and WDW 1 time (91). DH (37) he has been to DL 1 time (91ish). DS (14), DS (12), DS (9)...It will be the first trip for all three boys!!!

Why this trip&Why now:
We have been planning to take the kids for many years but something always comes up. Three years ago my husband received a stock payment from a previous employer and so we paid for a beautiful trip in full. Well, about a month later my mother passed away unexpectedly and we moved out of state, so we had to cancel the trip and put that money towards funeral and moving costs. Canceling that trip was very hard for me because I knew that it would be a long time before we could afford it again, and I felt like my kids really needed a little Disney magic after losing my mom.

Now after three years of nothing going right, (losing our business, losing a few more family members, moving again, living with family, and so on), I have decided that we are going to Disney no matter what. I am going to school full time finishing up an associates degree and decided to take out a small school loan to cover the costs (I know its not the most practical way), but I figure I already have some school loans, so whats a few more. We are not doing anything extravagant just basics. I feel like my kids are getting older and before I know it they will be all grown up, so for me its a now or never situation.

My husband and I talked about dates for what seemed like forever & we finally narrowed it down to sometime during Halloween or Christmas break. We decided on Christmas since the adults and the kids are off for two weeks (perks of working for a school). We know that it is going to be insanely busy and we are ok with that. The mild weather during Christmas is a good trade off for us.

How I Plan to Minimize Cost & Maximize a Buck
I love to save a buck&my husband even laughs at me sometimes. I am the silly girl that will go through a Starbucks drive through and order a Venti Ice Water (they are free), when I am running errands and get thirsty. So, I have already signed my husband (Nov. bday) and myself (Dec. bday) up to get the $30 Patina coupons, and I have been checking restaraunts.com for any deals that I just cant pass up. I also used GAT to book our trip (room, tickets, and character meals). I probably could have saved more getting stuff from different places, but I like having it all in one place so if a problem arises I dont have to call 2 or more different companies.

Since we will be on a tight budget I am making a lot of things at home to make the trip more memorable for my kids. So far I have everything ready to make 4 shirts per kid (one for each day in the park), autograph books, journals, coupon books, snack bag toppers, candy bar wrappers, and some other stuff. I am also putting together a drawstring bag of goodies for the car ride. That stuff I have been picking up at the dollar store or on clearance at other stores. Instead of buying lanyards and pins in the park I bought some off eBay (I used a DISboards thread that recommends reputable sellers and tells how to spot scrappers), they are not a whole lot cheaper, but they do save some money.

We get a free hot breakfast at our hotel, so that will save us a lot of money. I plan on brining snacks to the park with us and getting free ice water from the counter service places. We will splurge a few times and get snacks and drinks in the park. We are planning to eat lunch in the park every day (we dont want to chance the whole hitting capacity thing just for a cheap burger), but we are planning to split some of the meals that are bigger to help save on money. We have one Character breakfast planned and we are going to eat at PCH Grill for dinner on either Christmas eve or Christmas day (again picky eaters (mainly hubby) its the only place everyone will find something they like). Otherwise we will leave the park for late dinners and call it a night.

Our Plans
I am a crazy over-planner! With that being said I like spontaneity. I know what youre thinking...the two dont go together. Well they do. I want to make sure I have all my bases covered and triple covered. We cant afford any errors. Also with the parks being so full during the week of Christmas a plan will be needed to maximize our time and fun! I have been writing down thoughts and plans since April. Yes, they have changed from time to time, but that is why I start early. I will also start packing a week or two before my trip, again it is to have my bases covered and triple covered. I have a 3-ring binder with tabs for reservations, important phone numbers, budgets, and more. It even has the clear see through front so I printed out a cute cover for it. I also included sheet protectors to hold various paperwork.

Reservations Galore&.
12/25 @ 7am PCH Grill, Surf's UP Character Breakfast

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22nd (day before we leave)

The night before we leave & omg, so much is happening that night. That is the night the kids will finally find out that we are going to DL!!! We are celebrating Christmas with my husbands parents. We have gotten the kids new PSP Vitas for Christmas (handheld video game/movie/mp3 player, so mom and dad dont lose their sanity on the drive). We are also giving them a giant wrapped present that will contain a huge balloon bouquet with a giant Mickey head. Attached to the balloons will be a, SURPRISE Your Going to Disney, letter. We figure they wont sleep much that night, so hopefully they will on the drive.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23rd(The day we drive to DL)
This is the big day&.the day I have been anticipating since my first son was born in 98. We are driving to DL!!! We have decided to leave at about 5am. With stops for meals, gas, and potty breaks; I figure that we will get to our hotel by around 11pm. At that point we will call it a night and get our beauty rest for the next day!

MONDAY, DECEMBER 24th(Day 1 at DL)
We will be up early so we can eat and make it before the turnstiles open. I don't want to miss one magical minute at DL. I can't wait to walk through those turnstiles. It makes me tear up every time.

Tuesday, DECEMBER 25TH(Day 2 & Christmas Day!)

7:00 am Breakfast @ PCH Grill Surf Up!

WHATS LEFT TO DO?
There are only a few things left to do before the trip:

~Get the last of the trip supplies (snacks and such)
~Make tour reservations
~Make more specific touring plans
~Make CM Thank You cards
~Make autograph books, coupon books, tote bags, shirts
~Pack and GO!

I saw so many people on DIS boards make CM thank you cards, so I decided that my family would do it too. Since we are going to be at DL during Christmas I started thinking this is one of the most important times of the year for CMs to know how much we appreciate them. Especially since the parks are crowded, people are ruder during the holidays, and not to mention they have families of their own that they would rather be spending the holidays with. If a CM is particularly helpful or nice I plan on giving them a card (I am also hoping my kids will join in on the kind act). It may seem silly, but they work hard to make our time in the park magical, so I believe we should do the same for them!

I hope you enjoy and feel free to tag along on our Christmas journey!!! I will keep updating as the information changes. I will add the rest of our days as I get more specific plans.

~Danielle
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Last edited by mommyto3boys; 11-08-2012 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 10-13-2012, 01:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3boys View Post

Now after three years of nothing going right, (losing our business, losing a few more family members, moving again, living with family, and so on), I have decided that we are going to Disney no matter what. I am going to school full time finishing up an associateís degree and decided to take out a small school loan to cover the costs (I know itís not the most practical way), but I figure I already have some school loans, so whatís a few more. We are not doing anything extravagant just basics. I feel like my kids are getting older and before I know it they will be all grown up, so for me itís a now or never situation.
You might catch some flack for this comment. However, I am a firm believer that you have to live life as well. With a 14, 12, and 9 year old at home. I have no problem with making a "socially incorrect" decision to make a family memory. If your kids were 2 and 1 or something I would have a different opinion. The window to offer your kids this is fleeting, so good for you for seizing the opportunity!

Have a great trip!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:24 PM   #3
mommyto3boys
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I figured opinions would very in regards to that sentence, but it is what it is. I only took out a very small loan (under 2k), and it didn't affect our payments on what we already have.

After losing 5 family members in two years to cancer I decided to start having a live like there's no tomorrow look on life. Don't get me wrong I definitely don't want to charge my family into the ground, but I figure my small loan is really no different than all the other people who charge their vacations, or at least part of them, on credit cards.

Thank you for understanding

~Danielle
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My DISign Thread.....http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2997040
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:00 PM   #4
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Talking Exciting!!

We'll be going to the Land of Disney Dec. 31, staying until Jan 4th. You're going to have a GREAT time!!! We live in Colorado, actually had Annual Passes that expired in July
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:23 PM   #5
mommyto3boys
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzycat80923 View Post
We'll be going to the Land of Disney Dec. 31, staying until Jan 4th. You're going to have a GREAT time!!! We live in Colorado, actually had Annual Passes that expired in July
Thank you for the sweet words....sorry to hear about your AP. That is a real bummer, but it sounds like you are still going to have a blast!!!

~Danielle
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My DISign Thread.....http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2997040
My Photobucket.......http://s161.photobucket.com/albums/t...ney%20Designs/
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:15 PM   #6
mommyto3boys
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All my dining reservations are made ...now I am just waiting to make my Holiday Tour and Fantasmic reservations!

It is getting harder and harder to keep this a secret from my kids. I just want to randomly shout, "We're going to Disneyland ."

I also got a bunch of stuff printed and only have autograph books, coupon books, shirts, and bags. Here is what I have so far



~Danielle
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DL 1980, 1989, 2006 - WDW 1992

My DISign Thread.....http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2997040
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:16 AM   #7
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:28 PM   #8
mommyto3boys
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Originally Posted by alex cook View Post
I am also planning to go to Disneyland with my family at the end of this year.
I wish your family the most amazing magical time in Disney

~Danielle
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My DISign Thread.....http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2997040
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:47 PM   #9
ociana
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Congrats on your trip planning!

We will be there the same week, 24th-27th in park, and my boys are 14 and 12 like your two oldest. It should be so much fun!!
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:59 AM   #10
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