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Old 03-07-2013, 06:35 PM   #1
snuggly duckling
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It’s beginning to look a lot like (time to plan a trip for) Christmas…

I've never done a pre-trip report before, but I've enjoyed reading others'.

I need somewhere to talk through my thought process and strategy before I drive someone (ok, really, myself) insane. My husband loves Disney as much as I do, but he is so not a planner. He doesn't realize the amount of research and planning that goes into a trip. (It all just happens magically, right?) We've only just started even talking about the possibility of this trip and he's already totally over my incessant questions about which restaurants, which parks, how many days, etc.

I'd also greatly appreciate anyone's insights, advice, or support.

So here goes... come join my crazy. I've got spreadsheets.


Part 1: Backstory. We got it.
Part 2: The big questions: When? How? Where?
Part 3: Ideal park days and ADRs
Part 4: Disasters averted
Part 5: The new plan* (subject to availability)
Part 6: The time has come, my little friends...
Part 7: Check that off the list... then uncheck... then check...
Part 8: Christmas in Jul, er, August!
Part 9: Epcot dining shuffle
Part 10: What should Santa bring?
Part 11: Just Desserts!

Last edited by snuggly duckling; 10-01-2013 at 10:28 PM. Reason: Added link to next post
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:39 PM   #2
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Backstory. We got that.

So who is involved in all this, anyway?
The cast of characters includes me, DH, DS5, and DD3. We live just outside Philadelphia. I work in the marketing department of a credit card company (not evil! I swear!) and DH is a pediatrician, finishing up his hematology/oncology fellowship (not rich! I swear!) If it happens, this will be our third trip as a family. DH and I also went to WDW on our honeymoon in 2004, and once each before then (DH in 1984 and me not until 1999!) We have become mad crazy obsessed. (Don’t tell him I posted this, but DH has watched a YouTube video of Wishes pretty much every night since we got back from our last trip.) Even with our (ok, my) semi-commando planning and touring style (I’m a project manager – it’s what I do!), Disney is a magical and relaxing escape for the insanity of our regular life.

And the backstory…
After our two recent trips, I fancy myself to be a Disney trip planning expert (basically thanks to obsessively reading the DIS, easywdw, and other sites.) The two trips we’ve taken have been during marathon week 2012 and 2013. (We didn’t/don’t run. We went with our bestest friends who did/do.) During these trips, we honed a solid strategy that works for us. The 2013 trip was so easy to plan. We basically dusted off the 2012 plan, made some tweaks, and called it a day. First off, we are DxDDP people - we love food. We love sit-down meals. We love knocking out character visits while we are eating. We also like the added benefit of a little down time for the kids (and us!) to be off our feet. We use the time to strategize the next chunk of the day. Each day, we book an ADR in the park of the day at 8 am to get in before the park opens, then we hit all the good stuff before the park gets too busy. We make a 1 pm ADR for a sit-down lunch and a dinner ADR around 7 pm. Our afternoons and evenings are more relaxed and flexible, generally with the kids napping in the stroller at some point. We rock out in the park as long as we (more so the kids) can tolerate it. One day this past trip we were in the MK from well before open until after close (7:45 am until 11:30 pm.) The kids are troopers.

And the rest of the backstory…
We spent Christmas 2012 with my family in MA, as we do every year but this year, it was an absolute nightmare. My mother does not let us open presents until everyone is there. Usually this is around noon and then we eat. Not the pre-dawn wrapping-paper-flying chaos of some households, but bearable, even with the kids since they can play with the toys Santa left. This year, my sister and her two kids (5 and 1) were visiting from Chicago. We were up from Philly. We were all staying at my parents’ house, so we were there and ready to go with 4 super-excited kids. But my brother who lives right in town has to make the rounds with his wife’s family before they come to my parents’ house. They did their own little family Christmas at their house. Then they went to her mom’s house. Then they visited her dad. Then they went to her grandma’s. Then to a cousin’s. They did not show up at my parents’ house until 3 pm. And then my SIL insisted on putting my nephew (18 months) down for a nap. In the room with the tree and all the presents. By then, the food was ready so we had to eat. So we still couldn’t open presents. The kids were going insane. DH was so annoyed (my sister and I were too, just to a lesser extent.) We didn’t open presents until well after 4 pm. DH and I vowed that we are done with extended family Christmas. After our most recent trip to WDW, we jokingly said we should come back for Christmas. But we really weren't joking. Soooo here we are.

Christmas week is the peakest of peak (how very Dr. Seuss!) Our pre-opening ADR trick is not going to work when the parks all open at 8, or even 7 am. And the parks will be open a lot later than we are used to. We need a new strategy. I feel like a Disney novice again. I am back to poring over old threads, obsessively taking notes, toggling between like 8 different sites at the same time, and generally driving myself (and DH) crazy. But I love it.
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:06 AM   #3
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The big questions: When? How? Where?

It’s really hard to plan a trip without several critical pieces of information, but I am trying. Since we’re so far out, I don’t have the park schedule or the park recommendations to do the more detailed planning. But even more challenging is the fact that I don’t have next year’s school schedule. We pulled DS5 out of kindergarten for a week for the 2013 trip and got all kinds of grief for doing so. As he moves into higher grades, I don’t want to pull him out. He has ADHD and struggles with school already. He needs to be there as much as possible so he doesn’t fall even farther behind his classmates. I am just guessing at this point, but I am assuming the last day of school before Christmas break will be Friday, December 20. I am also hoping it will be a half-day (it was this year.) Fingers crossed. So that gives us an earliest check-in day of Saturday, Dec. 21.

Our 2012 trip was 5 nights and we wished we had more. Our 2013 trip was 6 nights and we wished we had more. Christmas break affords us a little more time off than a normal vacation would. We definitely want to stay longer this time, especially knowing it will be even harder to get it all done with all the crowds. The extra time also gives us a choice in how to get there. For the two previous trips, we had to fly. It’s a 15 hour drive and we couldn’t sacrifice 2+ additional days to travel. We were also able to score some pretty cheap flights the past two times, but that’s not going to happen at Christmas time. The best I’ve been able to find so far is $370 per person which is more than double what we’ve paid for our January trips. Given that we have a bunch of family in Virginia and South Carolina, we have built in places to stop along the way. It may be crazy, but we have decided to drive.

So then we need to decide how long to stay – really it’s a question of how many nights can we afford. I estimate that driving is going to save us almost $1000 (less if we decide to rent a car instead of driving our own.) After discussing it, we think we want to see what 8 nights is like.

The basic schedule would be:

Fri. 12/ 20: Drive as far as we can (to VA or SC ideally, to score free lodgings with family)
Sat. 12/21: Get up early and finish the drive; check in to resort that evening

12/21 – 12/28: Stay and play onsite – 7 full days of fun, plus 2 partial days for check-in and check-out

Sun. 12/29: Check-out, drive to VA or SC for the night
Mon. 12/30: Finish to drive back to PA (and start planning next trip!)

The last big question is where to stay. Given how much time we spend at the MK, I would love to do a monorail resort, but that’s not going to happen without an awesome PIN code (c’mon awesome PIN code!) We’ve gone moderate the past two times: POFQ in 2012 and POR in 2013. In the absence of an awesome deluxe discount, we will probably go moderate again. Of the two, we preferred POFQ, so that’s where we’re leaning this time. Part of me wants to try another resort, but the other part is clinging to the comfort and familiarity of POFQ. Advice?

Tentatively the big questions are answered:

When?
12/21-12/29

How?
Drive

Where?
POFQ
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:09 PM   #4
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Ideal park days and ADRs

Note: all subject to change once official park schedule and recommendations are published. Also based on what ADRs we can actually get. I’m just too impatient to hold off planning. Must get it perfect in time for my 180 out day.

Assumptions:
  • 7 day park hoppers
  • DxDDP (8 nights x 3 credits/night = 24 credits)


Fri. 12/20
  • Drive to Newport News, VA (about 5 hours); maybe we should drive farther, not sure
  • Crash with family (would have to shell out for a hotel if we drive farther)

Sat. 12/21
  • Drive, drive, drive to WDW (about 11 hours from VA); leave at the crack of dawn in order to arrive in time for dinner
  • DH and I can take turns driving / resting and kids will rest / watch movies
  • Check in to hotel
  • Have dinner at DTD. We’ve never eaten there. We’re thinking T-Rex or Raglan Road.
  • Maybe go to park (would have to add another day to tickets) or just watch Wishes from one of the resorts, depending on how tired we are (kids will sleep in the car and will be ready to go!)

Sun. 12/22
  • Light breakfast in the room (we’ll stock up at BJ’s before we go)
  • Rope drop at MK. It probably will not be a recommended park, but if we don’t hit MK first, the kids will ask incessantly when they are going to the real Disney World. Also important to DH.
  • Late breakfast ADR at CRT, maybe 10:30 am?
  • No lunch ADR, just use snack credits as needed
  • Dinner ADR at BOG, around 6 or 7 pm
  • Stay at MK until we’ve had enough

Mon. 12/23
  • Light breakfast in the room
  • Start at AK for rope drop
  • Late breakfast ADR at Tusker House, around 10:30 am
  • Late lunch ADR at Yak & Yet, around 2:30 or 3 pm
  • Hop to Epcot
  • Dinner ADR at San Angel Inn around 7:30 pm

Tues. 12/24
  • Light breakfast in the room
  • Rope drop at DHS
  • Late breakfast ADR at H&V, around 10:30 am
  • No lunch ADR, just use snack credits as needed
  • Dinner ADR at HBD, around 6 or 7 pm
  • Fantasmic (never seen it!)

Wed. 12/25 (Christmas!!)
  • Early breakfast at O’hana (like 7:30 am if possible)
  • Start the morning at MK. I know this is the last place in the world we should be, but it is DH’s #1 requirement for this trip. He knows it’s going to be crazy.
  • Hop to Epcot late morning (hopefully it won’t be at capacity)
  • Lunch ADR at Akershus, around 1 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Le Cellier, around 7 pm
  • Assuming MK is not closed for capacity, back to MK for Wishes (DH’s #2 request)

Thurs. 12/26
  • Light breakfast in the room
  • MK for rope drop
  • Late breakfast ADR at Crystal Palace, maybe 10:30 am?
  • No lunch ADR, just use snack credits as needed
  • DD does BBB at some point (early morning? after CP? I don’t know)
  • Dinner ADR at CRT, around 6 or 7 pm
  • Stay at MK until we’ve had enough

Fri. 12/27
  • Light breakfast in the room
  • Start at AK for rope drop
  • Late breakfast ADR at Rainforest Café (kids’ pick), around 10:30 am
  • Late lunch ADR at Tusker House, around 2:30 or 3 pm
  • Hop to Epcot
  • Dinner ADR at Biergarten around 7:30 pm

Sat. 12/28
  • Early breakfast ADR at 1900 Park Fare, around 8 a.m.
  • MK all day (but it’s our 3rd full MK day so it can be more relaxed)
  • Lunch ADR at LTT, around 1 pm
  • Dinner ADR at 1900 Park Fare, around 7 pm
  • Back in to MK for as long as we want

Sun. 12/29
  • Check out of hotel
  • Breakfast ADR at Boma (never been!)
  • Maybe go to a park (would need to add extra day to tickets)
  • Drive to Columbia, SC (about 7 hours)
  • Crash with family

Mon. 12/30
  • Drive back to PA (about 11 hours)

Other things I need to think about:
  • Do we want to do a Fantasmic dinner package?
  • Do we want to do a Candlelight Processional dinner package?
  • Do we really want to eat at 1900 Park Fare twice in one day?
  • Are we rolling the dice with so much hopping? Are capacity closures going to be a problem? Especially since we are so ADR dependent.
  • And my favorite, how is FP+ going to impact all this?

Clearly this could all shift around based on park recommendations and ADR availability. But I think it’s the right division of time between parks for us: 3+ days in MK, 2 partial days in AK, 3 partial days in Epcot, and 1 day at DHS.

I am officially crazy.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:31 PM   #5
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And now I have a ticker. That means we have to go, right?
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:48 PM   #6
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Subbing!! Be back to read up on it in a minute!
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CtinaDitty View Post
Subbing!! Be back to read up on it in a minute!
Welcome! Glad to have you aboard!

I am overdue for an update... it's been a crazy few weeks. Maybe tonight I can find some time?!? I hope!
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:59 AM   #8
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Disasters averted

Holy cow. It’s been a while…

A lot has happened over the past few months.

DH had a mini midlife crisis and briefly pondered a new career direction (complete with moving the whole family to the Outer Banks.) If that had happened, we wouldn’t have been able to go to WDW for Christmas because he wouldn’t have had any seniority and likely could not have gotten the holidays off. After a few months of hemming and hawing (and basically driving me crazy,) he decided to stay put for now. The bad news is that I don’t live at the beach, but the good news is we could still go to Disney World!

Then we had a tax scare. My first attempt at our taxes had us owing an obscene amount of money (like 4 WDW trips worth) to the IRS. Eek. That definitely would have killed any discretionary spending, including a trip. But we sucked it up and went to an accountant who got us all squared away. Phew.

So we booked our trip! Woo hoo!

We watched the planning DVD with the kids a few times and both of them were super excited about MVMCP. Unfortunately, as ours plans stood we would be arriving the day after the last party. We thought about it, and decided to just head down 2 days earlier. We will have to pull DS out of school for 2 days to do that, but that last week before Christmas break is an entire week of ½ days, so really he wouldn’t be missing much of anything. We still planned on driving because airfare remained insane, even on Southwest, Jet Blue, and Air Tran. We would leave right after school got out on Wednesday, stop somewhere along the way, finish the drive on Thursday, and check into the hotel Thursday night. Neither of us were super excited about driving all that way, but we just couldn’t justify the costs of flights.

But then I learned that Frontier Airlines is starting a new Wilmington, DE to MCO route in July. I work in Wilmington, so it’s really not that far out of our way. I stalked the Frontier website waiting for December dates to become available. Last week they finally were and I could not believe it – we could get the whole family of 4 on direct flights to and from MCO on days that worked with our schedule for $1000. Considering what we would have spent on gas and potential hotel rooms if we drove, it is really only costing us a few dollars more to fly and it is saving us a TON of time.

Booked the flight and bought MVMCP tickets!

Progress!
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:42 AM   #9
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The new plan* (subject to ADR availability)

So with the decision to fly instead of drive and the addition of MVMCP into our plans, we had to move some things around. It also sneakily extended our vacation from 8 nights to 10 nights. Shhhh. Don’t tell DH.

And since the original plans were drafted, the easywdw recommendations came out. Things actually stacked up pretty nicely. Yay!

So we’ve tweaked the plan… This is the “pie in the sky” ideal plan. Given how hard it seems to be to get December ADRs, we are / will be ready with assorted back-up plans. And if we can’t get the meals we want, we can always ditch the DxDDP. Got to admit I’m kinda freaking out about it.

I really, really, really want to get that free dining PIN that’s out there. I fear that our dates would end up being excluded if it turns into a Visa and/or general public offer.

Assumptions
  • 10 day park hoppers
  • DxDDP (10 nights x 3 credits per person = 30 credits)

Thursday, 12/19
  • 8:50 am flight out of ILG, arrive at MCO at 11:10 am
  • Magical Express to POFQ
  • Check-in to POFQ (assuming the room is ready; if not, we’ll stash our carry-on items with the hotel until later)
  • Epcot day #0.5 of 2.5 (Josh’s most recommended park)
  • Late lunch ADR at Tutto Italia (trying something new!) at 2:00 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Akershus around 8:00 pm (now apparently a family tradition, as we have hit Akershus on day #1 for three trips running)

Friday, 12/20
  • Magic Kingdom day #1 of 4.5 (Josh’s most recommended park)
  • Assuming MK will open at 8:00 am
  • Light breakfast in the room (we’ll have a Garden Grocer order delivered)
  • Rope drop at MK
  • Late breakfast ADR at CRT, around 10:30 am
  • No lunch ADR, just use snack credits as needed
  • Dinner ADR at BOG, around 5:00 pm in order to be out in time for pre-MVMCP waiting
  • MVMCP

Saturday, 12/21
  • Animal Kingdom day #1 of 1.5 (Josh recommended)
  • Assuming AK will open at 9:00 am
  • Pre-park opening breakfast ADR at Tusker House at 8:00 am
  • Lunch ADR at Yak & Yeti at 1:30 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Boma at 7:30 pm (another new to us choice)

Sunday, 12/22
  • Hollywood Studios day #1 of 1 (Josh’s most recommended park)
  • Assuming HS will open at 8:00 am
  • Light breakfast in the room
  • Rope drop at HS
  • Late breakfast ADR at Hollywood and Vine, around 10:30 am
  • No lunch ADR, just use snack credits as needed
  • Dinner ADR at Hollywood Brown Derby, around 5:00 pm
  • Fantasmic (hoping for an 8:00 pm show)

Monday, 12/23
  • Animal Kingdom day #0.5 of 1.5 (Josh recommended)
  • Assuming AK will open at 8:00 am
  • Light breakfast in the room
  • Rope drop at AK
  • Late breakfast ADR at Rainforest Cafe, around 10:30 am
  • Late lunch ADR at Tusker House, around 2:30 pm
  • Hop over to Epcot for another 0.5 day (1.0 of 2.5), (Josh’s most recommended park)
  • Dinner ADR at Biergarten, around 7:30 pm

Tuesday, 12/24
  • Magic Kingdom day #2 of 4.5 (Josh’s most recommended park)
  • Assuming that MK will open at 7:00 or 8:00 am
  • Light breakfast in the room
  • Rope drop at MK
  • Early BBB reservation for DD4, like at 8:00 am
  • Late breakfast ADR at Crystal Palace, around 10:30 am
  • Dinner ADR at Cinderella’s Royal Table, around 5:00 pm
  • Wishes Dessert Party (do they do this at the holidays???)

Wednesday, 12/25 (Christmas!!)
  • Magic Kingdom day #2.5 of 4.5 (NOT even close to being recommended but DH will not budge on this.)
  • Assuming that MK will open at 7:00 or 8:00 am
  • Early as possible breakfast ADR at ‘Ohana, like 7:30 am
  • Hop over to Epcot fairly early for Epcot day #1.5 of 2.5 (also not recommended, but whatever)
  • Lunch ADR at San Angel Inn around 1 pm (ideally a Candlelight Processional package)
  • Candlelight Processional (do have other days as back-up if need be)
  • Dinner ADR at Le Cellier at 7:30 pm

Thursday, 12/26
  • Magic Kingdom day #3.5 of 4.5 (Josh’s most recommended park)
  • Assuming that MK will open at 7:00 or 8:00 am
  • Early as possible breakfast ADR at 1900 Park Fare
  • Lunch ADR at Liberty Tree Tavern around 1:00 pm
  • Dinner ADR at 1900 Park Fare around 7:30 pm

Friday, 12/27
  • Epcot full day #2.5 of 2.5 (Josh’s most recommended park AND the first time we’ve ever spent an entire day at EP)
  • Assuming EP will open at 8:00 am
  • Breakfast ADR at Akershus at 8:00 am (never done breakfast there!)
  • Lunch ADR at Marrakesh at 1:00 pm (another new to us choice)
  • Dinner ADR at Coral Reef at 7:00 pm

Saturday, 12/28 (last park day)
  • Magic Kingdom day #4.5 of 4.5 (Josh’s most recommended park)
  • Assuming that MK will open at 7:00 or 8:00 am
  • Breakfast in the room
  • Rope drop at MK
  • Lunch ADR at Tony’s (another new to us choice) around 1:00 pm
  • Dinner ADR at ‘Ohana around 7:00 pm (never done dinner there!)
  • Back to the MK to close the place down…

Sunday, 12/29
  • Breakfast in the room or at the resort (snack credits or OOP)
  • Check-out
  • Magical Express back to MCO around 9:00 am
  • 11:55 am flight out of MCO, arrive at ILG at 2:10 pm
  • Cry because it’s all over. Then sleep.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:31 AM   #10
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The time has come my little friends, to talk of other things…

Ok, not really not really other things. Still ADRs. I’ve just got major Alice-brain right now.

Saturday was our -180 day. It was also my daughter’s way-too-elaborate (my fault, of course!) Alice in Wonderland unbirthday (but really 4th birthday) party. Mommy went a *tad* bit Pinterest crazy, and basically got no sleep Friday night. But, the good news is the party was awesome (maybe I can finally figure out how to post pictures?)

I was completely, totally stressed about pulling off the party. But I was even more stressed about ADRs. With it being Christmas and with so many free dining PINs out there, I assumed I was going to have a hard time getting what we wanted. Then you add on all the concerns about the stability of the MDE site, and I had basically convinced myself I wasn’t going to get anything I wanted and would be stuck eating QS every single meal.

I was ready and logged on at 5:45 am. I had pencils and scratch paper and print-outs of my target plan and bazillion back-up scenarios. I had the MDE site up in Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Chrome. The site never seems to load for me in Firefox. I decided to try Chrome. That really seemed to work. MDE is still really slow, but I powered through. A couple of times I jumped over to IE but that was even slower so I just went back to Chrome.

Here is the breakdown of what we wanted (in blue) and what we got (in pink):

Thursday, 12/19

Wanted:
  • Late lunch ADR at Tutto Italia (trying something new!) at 2:00 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Akershus around 8:00 pm (now apparently a family tradition, as we have hit Akershus on day #1 for three trips running)

Got:
  • Late lunch ADR at Tutto Italia at 2:00 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Akershus at 8:10 pm

Originally, due to some website booking challenges with Le Cellier on Christmas night (see below) I booked LC for this night and moved Akershus to Christmas night. But I called in at 7 when the phone lines opened and got squared away.

Day #1 = success!


Friday, 12/20

Wanted:
  • Late breakfast ADR at CRT, around 10:30 am
  • Dinner ADR at BOG, around 5:00 pm in order to be out in time for pre-MVMCP waiting

Got:
  • Late breakfast ADR at CRT, at 10:20 am
  • Dinner ADR at BOG, at 4:55 pm

Originally, I nabbed a 5:10 at BOG but then read some posts saying that was “too late” to be able to be done in time for MVMCP waiting, so after DD’s birthday party I tried again and moved it up 15 minutes to 4:55. I had no problems getting BOG either attempt. That was the one I was most worried about. Phew.

Day #2 = success!


Saturday, 12/21

Wanted:
  • Pre-park opening breakfast ADR at Tusker House at 8:00 am
  • Lunch ADR at Yak & Yeti at 1:30 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Boma at 7:30 pm (another new to us choice)

Got:
  • Pre-park opening breakfast ADR at Tusker House at 8:00 am
  • Lunch ADR at Yak & Yeti at 1:30 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Boma at 7:55 pm

Boma is a bit later than I wanted but I am totally fine with it. It will actually give us a bit more park time at AK.

Day #3 = success!


Sunday, 12/22

Wanted:
  • Late breakfast ADR at Hollywood and Vine, around 10:30 am
  • Dinner ADR at Hollywood Brown Derby, around 5:00 pm

Got:
  • Late breakfast ADR at Hollywood and Vine, at 10:10 am
  • Dinner ADR at Hollywood Brown Derby, at 5:05 pm

Pretty darn close!

Day #4 = success!


Monday, 12/23

Wanted:
  • Late breakfast ADR at Rainforest Cafe, around 10:30 am
  • Late lunch ADR at Tusker House, around 2:30 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Biergarten, around 7:30 pm

Got:
  • Late breakfast ADR at Rainforest Cafe, at 9:45 am
  • Late lunch ADR at Tusker House, around 2:20 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Biergarten, around 7:30 pm

The last breakfast seating at RFC is 9:45 so we couldn’t do a 10:30ish. But, this is our 2nd AK day so I think we are ok with an earlier breakfast.

Day #5 = success!


Tuesday, 12/24

Wanted:
  • Early BBB reservation for DD4, like at 8:00 am
  • Late breakfast ADR at Crystal Palace, around 10:30 am
  • Dinner ADR at Cinderella’s Royal Table, around 5:00 pm

Got:
  • Early BBB reservation for DD4, at 8:00 am
  • Late breakfast ADR at Crystal Palace, at 10:20 am
  • Dinner ADR at Cinderella’s Royal Table, at 5:15 pm

Christmas Eve at CRT!!! Yay!! Got right through to BBB at 7 and easily snagged the 8 am appointment in the MK. I am hoping that being one of the first appointments of the day will minimize the amount of time the whole thing takes. I’m a little worried about being done in time for our 10:20 at CP, but think we’ll be ok. Originally, I couldn’t get anything early at CRT (6:40 was the earliest I could get) but I just kept trying and eventually a 5:15 was available. We’d still like to do the Wishes Dessert Party this night (if it’s offered on Christmas Eve?)

Day #6 = success!


Wednesday, 12/25 (Christmas!!)

Wanted:
  • Early as possible breakfast ADR at ‘Ohana, like 7:30 am
  • Lunch ADR at San Angel Inn around 1 pm (ideally a Candlelight Processional package)
  • Candlelight Processional (do have other days as back-up if need be)
  • Dinner ADR at Le Cellier at 7:30 pm

Got:
  • Breakfast ADR at ‘Ohana, at 7:30 am
  • Lunch ADR at San Angel Inn at 1:30 pm (hope to exchange for a Candlelight Processional package once those are out)
  • Dinner ADR at Le Cellier at 7:15 pm

The website was showing absolutely no availability for LC for dinner. I tried every time slot between 4 pm and 9 pm. I tried just searching dinner. Nothing. So I swapped out our LC and Akershus dinners and made ADRs based on that. But I kept trying all weekend. Still nothing. I just assumed LC was a popular Christmas meal and assumed others had beaten me to the punch. Then it finally dawned on me to call and ask. Amazingly we were able to get a 7:15, so I switched LC and Akershus backed to their original nights. Yay! Now I just need the CP booking to open up so I can trade out our regular San Angel Inn lunch ADR for a CP package.

Day #7 = success!


Thursday, 12/26

Wanted:
  • Early as possible breakfast ADR at 1900 Park Fare
  • Lunch ADR at Liberty Tree Tavern around 1:00 pm
  • Dinner ADR at 1900 Park Fare around 7:30 pm

Got:
  • Breakfast ADR at 1900 Park Fare at 8:00 am
  • Lunch ADR at Liberty Tree Tavern at 1:30 pm
  • Dinner ADR at 1900 Park Fare at 7:30 pm

No matter what I tried I could not get anything at LTT (just like LC above) but I was able to get it easily when I called. I really seems like the MDE site is not showing all the times that are actually available. Making ADRs online is certainly more convenient (and you get the extra hour) but it seemed like the phone agents had more times available than the site was willing/able to show.

Day #8 = success!


Friday, 12/27

Wanted:
  • Breakfast ADR at Akershus at 8:00 am (never done breakfast there!)
  • Lunch ADR at Marrakesh at 1:00 pm (another new to us choice)
  • Dinner ADR at Coral Reef at 7:00 pm

Got:
  • Breakfast ADR at Akershus at 8:00 am
  • Lunch ADR at Marrakesh at 1:30 pm
  • Dinner ADR at Coral Reef at 7:30 pm

I decided to push back our desired lunch and dinner times by 30 minutes. Just like LC and LTT above, there was absolutely no availability showing for Marrakesh. But I called and easily got when I needed.

Day #9 = success!


Saturday, 12/28 (last park day)

Wanted:
  • Lunch ADR at Tony’s (another new to us choice) around 1:00 pm
  • Dinner ADR at ‘Ohana around 7:00 pm (never done dinner there!)

Got:
  • Lunch ADR at Tony’s at 1:00 pm
  • Dinner ADR at ‘Ohana at 7:20 pm

Same troubles as above… nothing available on the website. Called and what exactly what I wanted.

Overall, a resounding success. The MDE site is maddening, but not nearly as bad as I had feared. I definitely got the “server is busy” message a few times, but I would just click back and try again. Eventually it worked. I did not get confirmation emails for a few of my ADRs, but they do show up in MDE and I confirmed them with the agents on the phone. Seemed to be the best approach – make as many ADRs as possible online at 6 am, and then just call at 7 to fill in any holes.

So now we need Candlelight Processional and Wishes Dessert Party reservations to open up. Oh, and a Disney Visa and/or GP free dining offer would be nice too
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:42 AM   #11
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Your plans sound great! We're arriving right before you leave (on the 28th). Thank you for posting about your ADR experience...my ADR is a week from today. It's so weird - and annoying! - that not all of the times seem to show up online.

I booked ADRs for a different trip about a month ago and MDE didn't work for me at all...so it sounds like they've worked out some of the kinks. Progress?

Glad you got everything you wanted, even if the times aren't perfect. You'll love 'Ohana dinner, it's one of our favorites.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:51 PM   #12
snuggly duckling
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariel484 View Post
Your plans sound great! We're arriving right before you leave (on the 28th). Thank you for posting about your ADR experience...my ADR is a week from today. It's so weird - and annoying! - that not all of the times seem to show up online.

I booked ADRs for a different trip about a month ago and MDE didn't work for me at all...so it sounds like they've worked out some of the kinks. Progress?

Glad you got everything you wanted, even if the times aren't perfect. You'll love 'Ohana dinner, it's one of our favorites.
Thanks for stopping in! I hope you got all the ADRs you were hoping for!

I have 2 (ideally 3) tasks left for trip-planning:
  1. Book a Candlelight Processional package
  2. Book Wishes Dessert Party
  3. Add Visa or General Public FD offer to package (wishful thinking!!)

I also have a shiny new ticker, since I realized my old ticker was based on our original pre-MVMCP plans.
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:02 PM   #13
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Don't mind me...

Just trying to see if I can post photos...

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Old 07-02-2013, 09:43 AM   #14
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Check that off the list... then uncheck... then check...

After seeing a post on a CP thread I subscribed to, I discovered that people were able to book online reservations for CP packages this morning. I shot out of bed and downstairs to my laptop so fast. (I knew checking the DIS on my phone before even getting out of bed each day was a wise thing to do!!)

With minimal trouble, I was able to book us a 12:50 pm CP ADR at San Angel Inn, for the 5 pm CP on Christmas day. Victory!

I was hoping to get something closer to 1:30 so I tried again. The system showed a 1:30 so I pounced on it, letting my 12:50 go. Yay!

Until I looked at the confirmation... the 1:30 was just a regular San Angel Inn lunch, not the CP package. Eek. Boogers. And other non-DIS appropriate expressions of displeasure.

I scrambled into action. At this point it was after 7 so I immediately called and got on hold. I also kept trying to get a new CP package online. My faithful Chrome browser failed me and wasn't showing anything for 12/25 at San Angel. Stress level rising. I totally had the reservation and screwed it up. Rawr.

So I logged on to MDE on Firefox and tried there. Success! Got my 12:50 CP package ADR back.

Roller coaster ride. And I'm not even at WDW yet!

Now to wait for Wishes Dessert Party slots to open...

And that Visa and/or general public free dining would be nice too...
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snuggly duckling View Post
Thanks for stopping in! I hope you got all the ADRs you were hoping for!

I have 2 (ideally 3) tasks left for trip-planning:
  1. Book a Candlelight Processional package
  2. Book Wishes Dessert Party
  3. Add Visa or General Public FD offer to package (wishful thinking!!)

I also have a shiny new ticker, since I realized my old ticker was based on our original pre-MVMCP plans.
Thank you...I did! It was a very successful morning.

I'm debating on trying to book the dessert party too...so I'm right there with you on waiting for that to open up! Congrats on getting your CP reservation (twice!)!

Last edited by Ariel484; 07-02-2013 at 10:02 AM.
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