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Old 01-05-2013, 10:25 PM   #1
AnnieDan_Artlover
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Technically, it's not twice in the same year... - BACK ON!!!

Let's see how I handle writing both the previous trip's TR AND this! But I just couldn't WAIT

This is a classic case of FDM otherwise known as Fuzzy Disney Math.

Hi all, I'm Annie-Danielle aka Dan, I'm 33, and I'm crazy.

As proof, let me start by copying (yup, I'm gonna copy-paste my own TR) our introductions :
Im 33, both very mature and a big kid and the most important thing to know about me, I guess, is that I suffer from a chronic illness called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which, to make it short, means bad connective tissues (ligaments, skin, that kinda thing), bad immune system and lots of problems most of the time. Thus, I cant work, not even part time and I live in an extension of my parents house.

My favorites
-Thing to do in a theme park: thrill ride, the crazier the better
-Disney food: Pretzel bread
-Disney movie: Fantasia
-Disney character: Can't choose... as long as it's fuzzy!
-Disney park: Epcot



And with me is my mom aka Mama.
She is (ok, she asks that I say in her young sixties, says it shall be enough).
Her favorites
-Thing to do in a theme park: people watch
-Disney food: Casey's mini corn-dogs
-Disney movie: Cinderella
-Disney character: Can't choose, but like me, prefers the fuzz balls!
-Disney park: MK

I love to write and it's not even a bad day... but how many ways can you write "I'm 33 and love Epcot", really?

Mostly, I know it's important to give you that info... and was anxious to get to the FDM!

See, we are just back (not even a month!) from WDW... where we had been using an ANNUAL PASS. Because for the time we were there, was the most economical option.
Well... as long as we have that...

PLUS, we already paid for a Tables in Wonderland card, also valid for a whole 12 months! So it's like it's FREE! 20% off all our sit-down meals, for FREE! (see how that fuzziness is working?)

And on top of it all, since I'm a DISer, I knew that even though I was staying in a DVC resort on rented points, I could have access to a bounceback offer if I dialed #8844 from the room while checked-in...
And indeed we got a very good offer, better than the one we had on the table in the room (free dining I think) or the ones I got since.

It was 35% off any deluxe, for almost exactly the dates we wanted.

Because of course, being the DISer I am, I knew about this, we had talked about this before we even left, and I had done all my research so the only thing which could've changed our decision would've been an awful trip (not wanting to go back... happened in 2008) or no good bounceback offer.

So when you add FREE park entry, FREE 20% discount on sit-down meals and 35% on the room... things look very, very interesting!

And if you add Halloween AND the Food & Wine Festival... well... we just HAD to go back next fall!

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 09-27-2013 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:40 PM   #2
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Smile When and where

Alriiight.

When are we going? NO! Don't look at the ticker! You are ruining the fun!

Well, I know I already said "Halloween and F&WF" but that leaves a pretty wide window.

As I said, before we left I had done my research, crunched the numbers, etc, etc.

I knew, for example, that the Halloween decorations should be up starting around mid-September until mid-November, same dates as the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP, from now on, as everyone knows it anyways).
I also knew that the Food & Wine Festival (F&WF) is usually from the end of September to mid-November.

I knew that there is Columbus day mid-October that is to be avoided even though it sadly usually coincides with the Swan and Dolphin's F&W which I would've liked to try...

I knew that the MNSSHP closer to actual Halloween were the busiest.

I knew the predicted crowds were the lowest in September (past the 1st week) and then not so bad but not as good...

I also knew my health doesn't play well with high temperatures and high humidity, so the latest would be the best for me...

I knew the pricing was going from Value season (until Sept. 26th)
to Regular season (last week of Sept. to the end of Oct.)
to Fall season (Oct. 20th until Thanksgiving)

And finally, I calculated that 7 days would be enough, since we would've just been there less than a year prior.

Factoring everything, our choice was : Arriving Oct. 2nd and departing Oct. 9th.

We thought we would stay at the Contemporary this time, since we didn't want the risk of renting points and not be able to cancel. Since we wanted to ask my dad to come with us (not being sure what we wanted his answer to be...), we needed a room that could accomodate us either way, and also which wouldn't make it complicated if he changed his mind either way last minute. So DVC was pretty much out of the question.

When we got in the room at the Bay Lake Tower, on our rented DVC points, there was indeed an offer on the table. It was up to 35% off on selected nights, on selected Deluxe resorts. None of the resorts we wanted, and not the season we wanted either. If I recall correctly it was for next spring.
There was ALSO a free dining plan offer. But I had already crunched the numbers for that, and even a FREE dining plan was not worth it for us. Because it meant taking a full-priced room and buying at least one-day park admission for each of us... and paying a few meals and snacks OOP. Right then and there, it was much more advantageous to hope for a good bounceback offer or wait for a good Annual Passholder deal on a room-only!
Plus... the free dining plan offer wasn't for the right dates either... Well, I think anyways. One thing is for sure : it wasn't worth changing our dates or wait for another similar offer!

One thing changed just before I called #8844 for my bounceback offer though: Mama said she thought we should go for 10 days. I wasn't going to argue with that! It's not like I don't pay a dime, but given our situation, she pays the bulk of it, so if she says she'd rather we stay longer, I'll go for it!
I figure, it's perfect: 2 days for each park, plus 2 days to choose which ones we'd rather revisit! Altough it's not really what we do, since we always park hop.

So I called, and it wasn't like I thought it would be. I thought I'd get a recording telling me what the offer was, and then I would decide if we wanted it or not, and book something with the code, online or otherwise.
Instead you get a booking agent who asks you what you want... what resort, what dates... I was a bit stumped, because the resort and dates were largely dependant on the offer! And she was NOT telling me anything about it. She knew I was calling about it... I clearly mentioned "bounceback offer", but she didn't mention any percentage or anything.

So I gave her my planned dates... and finally she said the only offer she had for the moment ended on October 5th. So having all my info fresh in mind I knew it should be fine, just the weather might be slightly warmer (still, it's so unpredictable!) and told her to go ahead and book me for 9 nights and 10 days up until the offer ended.

Which meant check-in on Sept. 25th and checkout on Oct. 4th.
With the 35% discount it got us a Garden Wing with standard view (aka parking, who cares?) for about 2500$.
250$/night for the Contemporary, we'll take it!!!

All in all, almost exactly what we wanted! The only thing is the F&WF won't be started when we get there (unless they change something from last year).

Being the 3rd trip and the 2nd one so soon I'm happy I'll have research to do on that and the Halloween stuff, because otherwise I would be there wishing I had things to do preparing the trip!

I must point out though that for us it will more be the FOOD festival, no wine implicated. I don't drink any alcohol, and Mama doesn't drink a lot. She might taste a wine here or there, but she isn't very into the tasting thing and doesn't like to drink a lot (no wonder, with my dad being an alcoholic... and it's something I'm very grateful for, as it would be hellish). In fact, last trip, a few times she decided not to have that glass of wine with our meal because it was too hot outside and she didn't want to feel queasy, or because she wanted to be sure to be able to ride Soarin' (she's very prone to motionsickness), etc.

I can't wait to learn more about it! I really enjoy tasting foods!

So, let's review :
Our stay will be at the Contemporary, Garden Wing (standard view), Sept. 25th to Oct. 4th
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:30 PM   #3
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Yay! I'm in on this one too! We would love to go for F&W this year, but I can't plan that just yet until we get the rest of our year of travel straightened out...
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:14 PM   #4
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Food and transports

Hi Susan!!!
Wouldn't it be AWESOME to be able to meet?!
I hope your year travel plans make it possible!

Today I learned one very important thing:
Researching F&WF makes one hungry!!!

Mama and I decided, after looking at the DIS official video and seeing the choice and size of offerings that except maybe one or 2 restaurants, we would skip a most sit-down dinners to do that instead.
We found we loved to do a park during the day and then go to Epcot to eat dinner... and this is what we'll do... but without any ADR!

Of course we'll have to look at the restaurants list to make sure we don't forget any must do's (or repeats), and of course we'll enjoy F&WF for lunch on our Epcot days... but out of thin air, I'd say we will skip a few to snack there.

Of course we did like sitting down at a restaurant to take a nice break, and Mama hates eating while standing... so we'll (I will) just have to figure out a nice, balanced, schedule.

On another subject, we were toying with the idea of transportation. In 2008 we took the plane. Mama, flying for the first time in about 20 years, remembered she was phobic... it was awful, she almost crushed my hand and it ruined her last few days of the trip because she couldn't stop worrying about the flight back. She vowed not to ever fly again.

Still, she doesn't like to drive so driving is my sole responsibility, and still stresses her out a bit, and since we rely on just me... we rely on my health. Which is highly UNreliable.
And it costs more. I'd say around 1250$ for driving (hotels, gas and meals), not counting the wear and tear on the car... compared to about 500$ flying if we cross the border to fly out of Burlington.

Since it's been 4 years, Mama kinda forgot how bad flying is... and is almost willing to give it another go. But I remember. And the flight out of Burlington is not direct... and take offs and landings are the worst part...
PLUS, we had planned on maybe adding a night or 2, in a value, to make it a "real" 10 days. If we fly, we get more a "8 days and a half" since you get there late on the day of check-in and you leave at least mid-day on the day of checkout...

So it looks like we're going to hope for good health on my part and drive.
So we can do just that, and arrive on the 24th in the evening, stay in a value on property (which isn't pricier than a Hampton Inn anyways)... I'd like to try Art of Animation... then the next morning check-in at the Contemporary as planned before starting our day (wouldn't matter if the room isn't ready yet).
At the end of our Contemporary stay, on Oct. 4th, we check-out and check-in at a value so we can enjoy one last day (and that one I'd try the All-Star Music). The next morning we leave.
With that we really have a true 10 days in the parks, and we even get to check out 2 new resorts!
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:16 PM   #5
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The ever-changing plans dance starts now!

You all realized that when I laid out a plan in the previous posts, it was so I could change them, right?

Already... we are thinking of adding a day (or 2...) at Universal.
Mama didn't like the parks... and there isn't much there for her motion-sick-prone-self (the few attractions she can do, she didn't enjoy much, like Twister! ) ...but she isn't one to mind hanging on to the bags and people watching while I'm enjoying myself, especially if it's just 1-2 days out of more than 2 weeks... especially since it's the kind of attractions I love and we don't plan on going anywhere near Florida for years...

If we are lucky, we will have enough AirMiles points to pay for at least 1 of our Universal park admission, and unless we get a great offer somewhere, we would stay offsite to save money. We might take the Express ticket, but just for myself as Mama rarely rides. I'll have to crunch the numbers.
It was fun to have it with the hotel, but 250$ or so a night just for that and WWoHP early entry wasn't worth it, especially since it was low season. And it will be low season again.

I'm thinking either just one day, and pay for the Express ticket and ride just the faves like crazy and skip everything else... or 2 days without the express and do smaller days not to overexert myself, and have a chance to ride my faves a few times... It will depend on the cost difference too.

On another topic, the FOOoooood topic, I started a tentative ADR list... turns out we will just have to check out the Food festival as snacks and lunch, because we have too much restaurants we want to check out! The list has somewhere around 15 options... even counting for just one the likes of "Jiko OR Sanaa"... It's just crazy.
We will face some very hard choices!

Oooh, and guess what we had as an appetizer for dinner? A curried cauliflower soup, just like we had at Boma! I found the recipe online (not the Boma recipe, sadly I couldn't find it) and it tasted very similar, it was AWESOME!

Here it is:
Curried Cauliflower Soup

INGREDIENTS:

- 2 Tbsp. butter, plus more for optional garnish
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped chives or fresh cilantro for garnish, optional

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat so onions are cooking but not browning, until onions look starchy and a bit creamy, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add curry powder and cayenne, if you like, and stir to combine thoroughly, about 30 seconds. Add cauliflower, stir to combine, cover and cook 3 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes. Purée soup with a hand-held blender. Or, whirl in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth (place a kitchen towel over blender to prevent potential burns). (Note: At this point the soup may be cooled, covered, and frozen for up to 4 months.) Add cream and cook over medium-low heat until hot. Serve soup hot, with a sprinkle of chives and/or a pat of butter, if you like.
(makes 4 cups)
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:40 PM   #6
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Num, the cauliflower soup sounds good. Thank you for sharing. And aren't plans made to be changed?
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:45 PM   #7
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Welcome happybelle!
Most DISers plans definitely are made for changing, especially when they start so early! That's half the fun of it!
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieDan_Artlover View Post
Welcome happybelle!
Most DISers plans definitely are made for changing, especially when they start so early! That's half the fun of it!
Thank you. I absolutely agree!
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:07 PM   #9
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Feeling some pressure

Isn't in great? And crazy?
I have been, dare I say it... procrastinating!

I have not checked which restaurants to make ADRs to with Mama yet... but we will have to make the ADRs in about a month... which means we'll have to have made our choices, and I'll have to have made the rough schedule by then!

Of course... knowing doing that takes less than a few hours... well you realize while I'm not in panic mode.

Also, the fact that I'm writing the previous trip's TR and not wanting to ruin the fun for those reading both the TR and this PTR make me almost want to try to push one before doing the other... of course I realize it won't be possible to finish the TR before doing schedule and ADRs... those who read both will just have to deal with it.

I'll try not to explain all my decisions by examples of what happened in the trip, though.

The main reason why I haven't done much, though, is my health AND my computer(s) health.

My own health is always sketchy, at best... and the holidays is always a bad time, and I'm pretty much always sicker afterwards.
Well this time was no different. Except I caught my second bronchitis just before the holidays, was just back from a Disney trip... and now just caught my THIRD bronchitis (in 4 months). Being bedridden, again, doesn't make it easy to do TRs, PTRs and organize trips.

I do have a new laptop (got it at the beginning of January), which makes it all much easier, as it's faster, holds battery longer, etc. But when I'm too sick to even concentrate on watching TV... well you get the picture.

As for computer(s) health. Well, I did get the brand new laptop, so what could go wrong?
Well, the main, desktop computer, did almost die this fall. I got it to run again, finally. Which is good, as the laptop runs better with less stuff on it, and in network with the big desktop one.
But the router I was using for the network... it died on me. And in the process almost killed a few external disks. I spent days (no exaggeration) bringing them back to life... and while that happened, and waiting for my new router, I had sketchy internet and bad connection between the computers and couldn't use my laptop in connection with the external hard drives.

Ah, technology... love it, can't live without it... but it could kill ya!
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:24 PM   #10
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Love that you are going with your mum!
Can't wait to try the cauilflower soup!
Looking forward reading along!
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:05 PM   #11
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Looking forward to reading more of your plans. Sadly, it looks like our trips wil miss each other by 1 or 2 days. We haven't yet secured our dates (I'm still working on renting DVC points) but we are planning an Oct. 5 or 6 arrival!

So far your trip sounds AMAZING! I will admit I'm a little jealous about the length of your trip. We are shooting for 5-6 nights.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:30 PM   #12
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The big plan, updated

First off, welcome Alysa and Pixiedust530!

Alysa, we just ate some cauliflower soup again yesterday (I had made a bunch and froze 2/3rd) and it's just as delicious the 2nd time! A bit on the spicy side though... but that's why it's CURRIED clauliflower soup, and not just a regular one!

Pixiedust530, don't be jealous on the lenght of the trip... because we are going so long thanks to my poor health! If I was healthy, I'd have a job and not enough time off to go that long... or I'd do so much in a day that I simply wouldn't need it and be bored! I'm pretty sure if I was healthy and would go to Orlando for that long, we would simply do other things! I'm a big Disney fan, as is Mama... but having finally been able to do all we wanted during our last trip, which was 15 days in the World... well our last few days we realized we had enough and were not even sad to leave!

I was sad not to have more time to check out more foods, but that was about it... Of course I was getting sick by the end, doesn't help!

I'm sad too that our trips won't coincide, it's always fun to meet other DISers!

First off, we definitely decided to add TWO days at Universal!
Since RipRideRockit is now my favorite roller coaster EVER (yup, even compared to those in Cedar Point), I am very happy!
I thought I'd never get the chance to do it again... and now going 2 days I will get to ride it more than twice! woohoo!
And I'll also get to do the other rides I liked, and maybe do the 1-2 rides I passed.

I had thought we would just stay at a cheaper hotel, like Hampton Inn, in Orlando, or even add more days in the Disney value, and take the car from there... but Mama decided it might be more fun and practical to stay on site again.
I reminded her that it was around 250$/night on-site (unless I have the luck of striking a deal...). She said maybe it could be my contribution, to pay that hotel...
Now I definitely need to strike a deal!
I still wanted to check... so I looked for the location of the Hampton Inns (they're our favorite hotel/motel brand and I have points with HHonors)... it's not far... but just looking at the map made me realize we WOULD have to get in the car and drive to the park... leave our stuff in the car, pay for the parking... no way to take a short break in the afternoon or go change clothes, etc.

The convenience factor is definitely appealing. But still.
We also wouldn't have the 1 hour early-entry in WWoHP, but as I think I said before, we didn't mind, as we had the chance to experience it once before, and because it's not supposed to be busy at all.

Now the other thing to consider is the express pass.
I thought maybe we could just buy ONE for me, maybe for just one of the days... (I know, I'm repeating myself! argh, sorry).
So I checked the price... it's at least 35$. And it's limited!!! WHAT?
Yup. I noticed on the website that it says if I buy the Express Pass, I can only use it once per attraction!
WOAH. Stop right there.
That was what made me go for the on-site hotel!

Just in case things are not how they are predicted to be and there is a crowd. Maybe there is a brasilian tour group that day... and I couldn't do RRR 3 times in a row, because of a 20min wait?! I know 20min isn't long, but for me over 15min, especially in September-Floridian heat, is too much...

After a quick search, I learned that you could buy a Unlimited Express Pass, but it seems you have to buy it bundled with your tickets, and the price looks to be at around 70$ per day...

When you add the 115$ of the cheaper hotel, the parking and the 70$ of the Unlimited Express Pass... it's getting closer to the 250$ hotel room... especially if I can find a deal.
Sadly most deals are for packages when you stay more nights. I still have plenty of time to check that.

Then, we realized we could put Universal at the end of the trip as well as at the beginning... and we really didn't know what to do!
...Until I checked the calendar, and realized if we put it at the end, we would be there during the weekend... While if we go before, we will be there on a Monday and Tuesday. Case closed!

Mama had also toyed with the idea of adding more nights in Disney, at the value hotel... but then she remembered how, like I just said, we felt we had had enough at around the 10th day, and it will be our second time in one year... so she decided not to.

She can still change her ming until the week before we leave... since, technically, all hotel reservations will be canceleable (is that even a word?), and if she decided to add 2 more nights, say, a month before we left, I would just have to cancel all up until or after our Contemporary ressie (which we can't change because it was booked with a bounceback offer), and rebook everything with the modified dates... and add more ADRs with what would be available.

But I honestly don't think she will decide to do that. It's a lot of money and I really don't feel we need more time in Disney.
I would rather go to SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens and/or the space center.
Discovery Cove (including SeaWorld admission) would be 170$ per person (ouch!). Not even sure Mama would like it... probably not.
Kennedy Space Center, Mama already did some 40 years ago... she says it's a boring museum, but last time we had talked about it said she wouldn't mind going again if I really wanted to go... This is 55$-105$ a person, depending on what we chose to do.
Busch Gardens, now that I look at it, is a bit over 1 hour drive. Meh. Not so sure. And it's another thrill park where Mama can't do anything.

...Reminds me we didn't talk about it this time... we will, and we'll see what she decides! I'm guessing... We won't do one of those things!

So... the new plan, as from today and until we change it again

Friday Sept 20th: We leave home and drive to Harrisburg, PA (that's tentative... we'll see if we can find a better middle stop)
Saturday Sept 21st: We drive to Greensboro, NC and I have dinner with my good friend Becca! Eeeee, can't wait!
Sunday Sept 23rd: We drive to Orlando, or near Jacksonville, or between those 2 cities...
Monday Sept 24th: We check-in to one of the Loews Universal Orlando hotels... probably Hard Rock Hotel, we really liked it, and the price difference
is minimal (25$/night), while HRH is a bit shorter walk to the parks. And we really liked it. And its not like Disney... I'm not curious enough of the Royal Pacific to try it JUST to try it.
Then it's all day in Universal parks!
Tuesday Sept 25th: Early check-out, and all day of fun in Universal parks!
At the end of the day, we drive to Disney and check-in at a value. Probably Art of Animation.
Wednesday Sept 26th: Check out of AoA and check-in, FINALLY, at the Contemporary, where we can finally bring all our stuff in and relax for 9 days!
Maybe we can't, though, as it's early... but at least we do the check-in right away, so we can hit the parks and don't worry.
Thursday Sept 27th to Friday Oct 4th: Just, simple, Disney fun!
On the morning of the 4th, we check out of the Contemporary
And check-in to the other value of the trip, probably AllStar Music. Once again, we might not be able to move our stuff in... but we won't have to deal with that after the park day.
Or maybe we do... since it's so quick when you do early online check-in... we'll decide eventually!
Saturday Oct 5th: Check-out of the value and drive up to Florence, SC, or about there.
Sunday Oct 6th: Drive to Harrisburg, PA
Monday Oct 7th: Visit Hershey's World! and drive home.
Maybe :
Tuesday Oct 8th: Drive the last stretch home if I couldn't do it the previous day...

Now I'm going to do the detail work of the DISNEY plan in the next post!
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:52 PM   #13
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Disney detail plan, ADRs included (long post!)

Side note... last trip almost all our dinners were late. Like closing park time late. Because I wanted to maximize our time in the parks... especially since we park hopped a lot, or ate at resorts. But Mama decided she really hates eating past 7pm. She loses her appetites. Or she just can't take it at her usual dinner time and eats a snack, sometimes we can't find a reasonable one and it's almost like dinner... and then she's not hungry anymore. And I can understand. It happened a few times where my appetite wasn't there, or I had to snack and wasn't that hungry once it was 9pm!
We usually eat between 5-6pm... so anything past 7pm is really late... so we decided to try to go with more normal meal times for us, while still trying to maximize park time as much as possible. It made for a more complicated thing... but I think I did it!

And of course, all ADRs are what I will try to get... My 180 days will be at the end of March.

This plan is based on 2012 dates and times, and predicted crowd levels... I'll have to update that plan when the actual 2013 times are released at the beginning of next month... and once again one month prior when Disney updates their park hours...

Here we go!
1st day - Wednesday Sept 25th
Switch resorts
Magic Kingdom (MK) day, all day. Yay! It's the first trip (well, on a total of just 3...) where we can actually start in MK! Not that we physically could not before, of course... just that it would've been stupid to start with the worst crowded park...
Unless changing resorts takes a long time and we get into the park later than we think, we might take a mid-day break, especially if it's real hot!
And since it's one ADR Mama's really looking forward to, our first ADR will be for Be our guest for dinner at about 7pm. Since there are no parades and just Wishes planned for that night, we will probably make it an early evening to unpack things and make ourselves at home.

2nd day - Thursday Sept 26th
Epcot day, all day. And we start by going back to Le Cellier! The most expensive meal of our last trip, but one of those we enjoyed the most as well! We plan on going to mostly new restaurants, but we will be going back to a chosen few, and this is one of them. Altough we will go for lunch instead of dinner, to break the cost a bit. Wait, scratch that... it costs the same now for lunch and dinner! Damn. At least my favorite dish is there both menus. mmm... I need to make some cheddar cheese soup next week!
If I do and it's good I'll post the recipe here.
We'll still go for lunch... but a late lunch, at around 2pm, to start our late day. Late start, because it's supposed to be late extra magic hours at Epcot that night and I really like those!
We might also do a mid-day break in the late afternoon if it's a hot day and we feel a break would be nice... but we'll have to consider if it's really worth the 90-120min roundtrip...

3rd day - Friday Sept 27th
Animal Kingdom (AK) day, all day. We start with a late breakfast at Tusker House (around 10:30am). Late, of course, because we went to bed late the night before! ...this is the worst part of my whole plan. We might have less than 8 hours of sleep and might have to rush in the morning. Of course few people sleep 8hrs in Disney, but I'm sick and Mama's not young... but since it's the only time in the whole 10 days where this happens, we should be fine!
We are not fans of character meals in particular. I don't plan on doing autographs at all, Mama doesn't want pictures with any of them, I don't always do... but we get tired of eating croissants or breakfast bars in our room, and the food court isn't too pleasing. Crowded and noisy, few places to sit... few choices... and it's cold if you bring it back to your room... so instead we chose to schedule a few breakfast ADRs in the middle of the trip. And it seems all the breakfast buffets are with characters!!! (we prefer buffets for breakfast... I feel much more satisfied and can choose more easily and get more variety for just about the same price).

We might go to Rainforest Café at the end of the day, at about 6pm, when AK closes. I might even schedule and ADR even if it's not necessary.
We like the volcano dessert, the food isn't bad... but we didn't think of going there. But last trip we bought a Landry's Select Club member card, which was to save us money on our next meal in a Landry's restaurant... thing is, except T-Rex, Rainforest Café or Yak & Yeti... there just aren't any. And there aren't any in our area, or on our drive down to Disney either.
So we'll use the card and it'll be a cheap meal. Cheaper than quick service (we'll get 25$ off).
We had difficulty choosing between that and Yak & Yeti, but Yak & Yeti times made it harder. We could've went at the same time, closing time... but last time we did that it was too obvious it was closing time and was very unpleasant. So Mama insisted we go only much earlier, or not at all. Since it didn't fit the plan, no matter how I tried... and since we are not going to Downtown Disney, where I would've loved to try T-Rex... it's Rainforest café.

Depending on how we feel, we might go the Hollywood Studios EMH that night, which should end at 1am... would give us PLENTY of time!
I do have a feeling we might not make it.

4th day - Saturday Sept 28th
Hollywood studios all day.
If we went to the EMH the previous night, of course it'll be a late arrival...
Last trip we noticed that 5-6 hours in a park is plenty for us... so arriving around noon at a park that closes early is enough. Which means I'm not worried of having enough time! The park closes at 6pm, and I plan on making an ADR at Sanaa in Animal Kingdom Lodge at about that time. No need to be in the flood of people leaving at 6pm. We can leave at 5pm and take the bus to AKL!

Last trip I booked the AKL meal we had on our AK day... and I was going to do the same when I realized there was no need... as you have to take the bus like any other hotel guest. It's not like you're just walking there... Sure, the bus ride is short, but... once you've waited for the bus and you're on it, 5 more minutes isn't a big difference. The biggest problem is taking the bus to the TTC or MK, or another park, to go back to your hotel after the meal!

I decided for the 6pm meal time at Sanaa as I heard you could see animals on the savannah, and animals are more active close to sundown... and at that date sundown is at 7:15pm. Timing should be perfect!

After that, since we need to take the bus to MK anyways, if we feel like it, instead of walking back to the hotel immediately, we'll go inside MK to watch Wishes and catch the second MSEP!!! It's one of 3 nights where there will be 2 parades, which I LOVE so much... I don't get tired of seeing it... especially since we found a good spot to watch (Frontierland!)... and I want to make sure we get to watch it at least once. So I put every opportunity on the plan.

5th day - Sunday Sept 29th
Late start with a lunch at Akershus. Yup, the princess storybook dining thingy. Nope, we don't care ONE BIT about the princesses Awful but true.
But I wanted to try the norwegian food! Mama... not so much. But she's willing to try. And it says "lots of bread and salads" on the menu, so she feels safe.
After that we will go to the hotel to get ready for... drum roll... Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, better known as MNSSHP!!!!!

We didn't want to do the party too early, but we didn't want to wait for me to be pooped out or sick at the end of the trip either. So middle of the trip it is!

And if we behave as well as we did for the MVMCP, we should be able to do all there is to do before it ends at midnight.

6th day - Monday Sept 30th
Late breakfast at 1900 Park Fare (around 10:30am). Yup, to break the breakfast routine again. I heard good things about the cold-strawberry soup and the nice decor... and honestly it's just a quick-to-get-to breakfast buffet!
All the rest of the day will be spent at MK, with, hopefully, a Tomorrowland Terrace Wishes Dessert Party!
Those are not held all the time, are very hard to secure when they are... so I'm hoping. If they're still doing it but I can't have it that night I'll try for another one, definitely! We both love desserts and I love the fireworks! And it's one setting where Mama would love them too, hehe!
And after the fireworks we'll go watch the 2nd MSEP! (even if we did watch it 2 days ago!)

7th day - Tuesday Oct 1st
AK day all day.
Probably a late start... or late-ish, between 10am and noon.
Once it's done we will take the bus to AKL and go back to Boma, at around 6pm, which we love so, so much! And we will make sure to be super hungry!
Then it probably will be an early night off.

8th day - Wednesday Oct 2nd
Hollywood Studio day, all day.
We might get there early, especially if we go to bed early the previous night.
The park closes at 8pm, but I planned to have an ADR at Tokyo Dining at around 7pm...
But... we might scratch that and just take advantage of the Food & Wine Festival! ...I just realized we won't be spending enough time in Epcot for F&W unless we skip a few of the ADR meals we had planned. This would be one of them. My reasonning is that it's easy to get japanese food... norwegian, not so much!
After Epcot, we might make one more stop and go to MK, if we didn't get to see the MSEP a second time yet! (even more so if we didn't get to see it once, as it's the last chance!!!)

9th day - Tuesday Oct 3rd
Epcot day, all day
I want it to be early so we can get Fastpasses for the things we won't have been able to do yet because we got there too late the previous days... of course all that could change with the new Fastpass+ system... we'll have to see...
Still, even if we go watch the second MSEP the previous night we would get up and be at Epcot early enough.
I am planning a mid-day break both in case we feel we need it and it's a hot day... and for packing!
As for dinner, I had planned Hacienda de San Angel timed for Illuminations... we missed the boat last trip with Rose & Crown, but maybe this would be the one time it works! We don't plan on watching IllumiNations at all this trip, simply because it's too hard for us to just stand up and watch it, and Mama isn't a fan (it's not like the Xmas add-on is there either)... but having it while we eat, that would be something else!

10th day - Friday Oct 4th
Switch resorts.
MK day until dinner. Yay once more, we are able to finish with our favorite park!
Dinner in Epcot, and I had planned Via Napoli at around 7pm, since we had heard good things about it, and we both LOVE italian food.
But, once more, I wonder if we should skip this one, as italian food isn't that special or hard to get... and concentrate on F&W food!

Or we could skip Le Cellier in the beginning of the trip (when there is no F&W yet) and eat at Via Napoli or Tokyo Dining instead... and remove the other Epcot ADRs.

I think I'll leave it all to Mama... I make pretty much all the decisions, I really don't mind either way, so I'll leave it up to her.
I'll put my prediction here and we'll see next time if I was right :
I think she'll decide to put Via Napoli instead of Le Cellier, so we try something new (and cheaper)... and she'll decide to remove all the others, including Akershus which she isn't excited about!

And that's it... Making the plan I wish we were staying longer, just so I could have more wiggle room, but I don't worry.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:09 PM   #14
Alysa
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Your trip sounds so great and I am jealous you are doing MNNSHP! So fun!!!
Do you have costume ideas?
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:56 PM   #15
AnnieDan_Artlover
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Value hotels and PIN codes

Ah, Alysa, you hit it right on the nose.
Nope, no costume idea.

Mama isn't a fan of dressing up, and while I am, I'm not a pro of making my own, and the budget is limited (sounds crazy when you're going to Disney... but still).

When we went in 2008, we hit the now defunct Pirates & Princess Party, for which we had dressed up. Mama wore a Pirate Goofy hat and a simple tank top and long skirt that could look wench-like... she wasn't too happy about her look... except the hat. She does like wearing funny hats, for just a bit, it turns out.

I had decided to wear a princess dress, which I had found online... difficult when you're plus-sized, so I was happy.
Since we were flying, it was all messed up, I had to pay to have it steamed by Disney, I almost didn't get it in time, and the fact that it was a pretty cheap dress (altough it didn't look it, in my eyes, when I received it) became obvious quick... the bottom started unraveling before we even left our room...
I had even shopped all around for a decent-priced tiara, and found one in Epcot (Mexico, I think)...
I liked the look, altough it did nothing to make me look better... I just looked silly. And when I had the picture beside Belle, in her SAME dress... well it was just ridiculous.

So I think I might go for a non-Disney costume this time...
The cat was tempting me, I'm such a fan of cats... I could've gone for Marie! ...but it'll be so HOT!

I'll start looking soon... I'm open to ideas... but so far I'm thinking I'll just add cats ears and makeup, and a tail I have that's attached to a sleeveless coat (it was made for a Cats performance I did years ago... but the rest of the costume is way too hot for Florida weather).
Or I'll find another tail (especially since that one is leopard-like, I couldn't be Marie, that's for sure!)... or will do something else entirely.

Costume aside, I really was on fire yesterday... And now I'm pooped!

I did all the hardest steps in planning...
Using the DIS restaurants list, I had already made a tentative ADR list, in which I had put the restaurants we wanted to visit again and those we hadn't tried yet and wanted to.
Then with Mama we went through that and cut the list down so it would fit into 10 days.

Using past years park hours and transposing those in a spreadsheet I have to list all park hours for the duration of the trip.
Then use the crowd predictions for each park and input those, as well as special events (like, when are MNSSHP, MSEP, EMH) in another spreadsheet, so I can start a rough plan... what park to hit what day, make sure we hit each park at least twice (and AK and HS not more than that or Mama will die... ).
Then try to fit that schedule so we don't hit the same park 3 days in a row, don't go to bed at 1am and get up at 6 the next day... Add our ADRs choices and moving things around so everything fit : we could go everywhere, see everything we wanted and still sleep and relax!

Once that is done, I transpose that schedule in my "final" plan spreadsheet where everything is laid down (but only the final choice is entered, compared to the previous spreadsheet, where all choices are entered, and I simply highlight what I intend to do).
I color code things, input the most crowded and "to avoid" parks, and that is what we'll bring with us every day.
That way, we have the plan with us, but also we know the other parks opening hours and which one to avoid, in case we decide (or have to) change plans.
Doing all that took me about 6 hours. The first time it took me much longer! I've had practice now... and the last time was not long ago so it's still fresh.

As if it put me on a roll, today I decided to check if the "come see us again soon" PIN code I received in the mail a while ago could be useful for our stay in the value resorts.
At first I had put it in the recycling bin, but had immediately put it out and set it aside...
The PIN is good for many dates starting this month, all the way to September 28th... so it could be good for our first value night, on Sept. 24th.
But it says it's not good for AoA... which I had planned as our first night, because it costs more, and the prices are higher on Oct. 4th.
It also doesn't say exactly how much it would save us on a value... just the usual "up to 35%". I would have to call to know exactly... but I'm guessing it would be the usual 20% off for a value.

So I put the numbers in and compared :
AoA on Sept 24th (133$) and AllStars Music (ASM)(127$) on Oct 4th = 260$
ASM on Sept 24th (111$) and AoA on Oct. 4th (150$) = 261$! But with the PIN... we save 21$ and it ends up 239$.
So tomorrow I'll call and book that. (yay for Skype, or it would cost us just as much in long-distance!)

...Either I did my math wrong when I first checked the prices, or they changed them... since it now seems it's exactly the same price doing it either way. (without the PIN).
I'm super bad at math, it takes Disney to make me do some... so if you see that I did a mistake please tell me!

OK, last thing : remember how I left the Epcot ADRs choice to Mama and predicted the outcome?
I was 100% right!
Even if I almost convinced her to keep Akershus by reminding her norwegian food is not common and hard to come by... the fact that we'll replace it (and 3 other meals) by F&W with a TON of crazy special food... made the point.

So on that front, as predicted :
Le Cellier is now gone
Instead we'll go to Via Napoli on our first Epcot day, since F&W won't be started yet.
And all other Epcot ADRs which occur during F&W are out. No more Akershus, Tokyo Dining or Hacienda de San Angel... altough we might just keep that one to try and get a nice, seated view of IllumiNations...
We'll discuss that one!

As for the other side-trips (SeaWorld, etc) we haven't discussed them yet. I'm not even sure myself I want to go that badly...
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