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Old 11-04-2006, 12:45 PM   #1
SusanMomOf2
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Military Wife, Husband Deployed, 2 Daughters **Updated! Single Digits Dance!**

Hi! Where shall I start for my trip report?

I am taking my 2 daughters on a fantastic, dream-come-true vacation to Disney World!

I can't do anything without thinking about it.

We're going November 25th - December 3rd.

I'm sooooooo excited! Oh how wonderful this is going to be. They say, you add the Magic of Christmas to the Magic of Disney... yeah... you get the point! + =

History: The War
My husband, Oliver, is in Iraq. He deployed September 17th. We were stationed at Ft. Polk in Louisiana, but for his deployment, my daughters (Ali 6, Kirsten 22 months) moved back home to Florida (6-7 hour drive to DW) to live near our family. My husband's deployment hit me hard when we found out. I felt far from God, felt depressed at times, and told DH to GET OUT of the Army. But, through faith and by God's grace, I managed to find peace and strength. And now that DH is gone, I've come to experience that it's not as bad as I thought it would be... thanks be to God! Again! And here I am, feeling nothing but elated about our trip in 21 days as of 11/4, a feeling I never thought I'd feel while Oliver's away. In fact, I decided to plan a vacation trip while he's gone so we can have some fun despite everything. So, it's just me and my two daughters going to Disney World. My parents are invited, and I am not sure whether or not they'll be going.

Let's take it back to the summer: Knowing DH was deploying led us to take a WDW vacation this past June/July. We took my 2 older nephews (ages 10 and 14) and stayed at Shades of Green for the first time. When we left, DH and I were ready to go again! I don't want a repeat of those crowds or heat that we experienced pre-4th of July, but I'll take what I can get anytime!

Fast Forward to a Disney Ad: Well, I saw an advertisment on AOL about Disney's Year of a Million Dreams and how a lucky family will be chosen to stay the night at CINDERELLA'S CASTLE! Woo Hoo! So, I entered the contest, of course. So, that got me thinking. I remembered how our last vacation to Disney World left us hungry for more. We were already planning on getting annual season passes and going again the next year. I thought to myself, now is as good of a time as any, so why not? I started thinking about when, found a great message board called the Dis (heehee) , and dug into the wealth of information about Disney World.

A day or so later, I brought it up to Oliver in an email, you know, to get his seal of approval. And he gave it to me as long as "we can afford it." And yes, "WE CAN AFFORD IT!"

So there you have it, that's how I decided to just up and plan a trip... although it really had been on my mind ever since last July! And this is me ever since initial planning began last month:
__________________
Sept 1992 - Parents won a vacation, stayed off site
May 1999 - Grad Night for the class of '99, stayed off site
April 2005 - Hubby home from Iraq, stayed in free timeshare off site
July 2006 - Pre-Deployment Vacation, Shades of Green
November 2006 - Hubby in Iraq, Shades of Green
October 2007 - Hubby STILL in Iraq, Shades of Green
Christmas 2012 - Shades of Green
June 2014 - Hubby home from Afghanistan, Shades of Green, Port Orleans Riverside

Last edited by SusanMomOf2; 11-15-2006 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 11-04-2006, 03:45 PM   #2
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HI, SusanMomof2!!!!!!!

How have you been??

So happy you are getting to take your daughters at the end of THIS month Can't wait to hear all the details!! SOG here you come
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Old 11-04-2006, 03:53 PM   #3
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Hello SusanMomof2,
We also live in FL, about 6-7 hours from WDW. We might be neighbors! We have a 4-day trip to WDW planned for mid-January 2007 and then a 4-day Disney cruise. Our first cruise ever, so of course it has to be Disney.
We are WDW veterans, have gone about 7 times and stayed at various resorts; All Star Music, Caribbean Beach, Contemporary (when SOG was being redone), and in January we'll be at Old Key West for 3 nights, then Port Orleans FQ for 2 nights before we head for Port Canaveral.
I work at the Navy Base in Pensacola so am eligible for SOG, but have never stayed there (yet). We buy Florida resident season passes and get pretty good deals at the Disney resorts during off season.
Have fun on your trip in Nov-Dec. We've visited during that time of year several times and really enjoyed the cooler weather, slightly lower crowds, and beautiful Christmas theming.
Hope your husband comes home safe and sound so you can enjoy another trip soon with him and your daughters.
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Old 11-04-2006, 05:36 PM   #4
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hope you have a great trip. Thanks to your husband for being in the military and fighting for our freedom.
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Old 11-04-2006, 07:15 PM   #5
SusanMomOf2
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Hi Mom2jcc - doing great. I can't believe it's THIS month! 3 weeks!
Tikihula - We live on the Panhandle, also... Fort Walton Beach to be exact. Was in Pensacola Thursday going to see Toby Keith in concert singing "American Soldier" and "Courteosy of the Red White and Blue." I cried and then I got in kick-butt mode. We're buying FL resident annual passes, so I'll have to check out those discounts you speak of. I love Shades of Green for sure, but it would be realy nice to get to stay somewhere else just to experience it. :-)
Hi OhMari - You're welcome, he's glad to do it and we're glad he does it.
__________________
Sept 1992 - Parents won a vacation, stayed off site
May 1999 - Grad Night for the class of '99, stayed off site
April 2005 - Hubby home from Iraq, stayed in free timeshare off site
July 2006 - Pre-Deployment Vacation, Shades of Green
November 2006 - Hubby in Iraq, Shades of Green
October 2007 - Hubby STILL in Iraq, Shades of Green
Christmas 2012 - Shades of Green
June 2014 - Hubby home from Afghanistan, Shades of Green, Port Orleans Riverside
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Old 11-04-2006, 11:41 PM   #6
SusanMomOf2
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Where was I...

After I decided to go to Disney World, I started to think of the dates. Would this Veterans Day weekend in early November be fun? Or would Christmas time be better? Maybe January? Who knows! It was up to me to decide on a general time frame...

And it hit me like a Mac truck... CHRISTMASTIME! I was told that would be an awesome time to go. For example, there are special events, tons and lots of decorations and lights, and get this, "add the MAGIC of Disney to the MAGIC of Christmas..." you can't beat that! (I know, I say it a lot.)

Then I was looking to see when we could find availability at our best resort option: Shades of Green. (The decision to stay at SoG is simple: it's a fine delux/mod Disney Resort exclusively for the military at a much discounted price! (mod stands for moderate... the resorts have 3 categories, delux, mod, and value) Basically SoG is a upper mod, or lower delux at a value price.) Well... Their only "block" dates of availability were in the end of November.

So that's how I figured out when to go. Pick your resort, pick your time of year, and figure out specific nights based on availability. :-)
__________________
Sept 1992 - Parents won a vacation, stayed off site
May 1999 - Grad Night for the class of '99, stayed off site
April 2005 - Hubby home from Iraq, stayed in free timeshare off site
July 2006 - Pre-Deployment Vacation, Shades of Green
November 2006 - Hubby in Iraq, Shades of Green
October 2007 - Hubby STILL in Iraq, Shades of Green
Christmas 2012 - Shades of Green
June 2014 - Hubby home from Afghanistan, Shades of Green, Port Orleans Riverside
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:13 AM   #7
mom2jcc
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What are your daughters' ages again?? Did you request a certain area at the SOG?
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Old 11-05-2006, 01:18 PM   #8
monymony3471
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We are going at the same time! Can't wait to hear what days you will be where etc. Great start. I totally can feel your excitment.
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Old 11-05-2006, 01:41 PM   #9
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I can't wait to hear how your trip goes with your DD's as I am surprising my DD(6) with a Mommy/Daughter trip to MVMCP in December!! Thank you for sharing!!

Trish
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Me DH DS(21) DD (12) DS (7)

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Old 11-05-2006, 08:15 PM   #10
SusanMomOf2
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mom2jcc, my daughters are 6 and 22 months, and no, I didn't request any specific area of SoG... didn't know I could after the fact that I didn't do so when I made my reservations. I wonder how I could. Somewhere near the bus shuttle area would be nice!
monymony, I love your trip report also!
disneydreamer, how do you plan on surprising your daughter? Maybe one day I'll surprise my kids.
__________________
Sept 1992 - Parents won a vacation, stayed off site
May 1999 - Grad Night for the class of '99, stayed off site
April 2005 - Hubby home from Iraq, stayed in free timeshare off site
July 2006 - Pre-Deployment Vacation, Shades of Green
November 2006 - Hubby in Iraq, Shades of Green
October 2007 - Hubby STILL in Iraq, Shades of Green
Christmas 2012 - Shades of Green
June 2014 - Hubby home from Afghanistan, Shades of Green, Port Orleans Riverside
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:35 AM   #11
SusanMomOf2
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Disney, here I come! We've got 19 days until my daughters and I embark on this MAGICAL trip. So, I left off talking about where we decided to stay and when we decided to go.

My first question was "HOW DO I BOOK THIS TRIP?!?!?!" I had never put much thought into any of my past Disney World vacations... pack some clothes, bring comfy shoes, and have enough money to go... and that worked for THOSE vacations. Looking back, though, I see I've missed out on a LOT because I didn't plan well (never got to the parks early, didn't have ADR's, didn't even bring ponchos or moleskin). I'm so glad I found the Dis to help guide me through my planning.

First thing I decided was not to go through a travel agency of any kind. I was going to plan my vacation down to the last detail. That has been half the fun of the whole thing!

Second, I realized that I had to make reservations QUICK! People staying at resorts had been planning their November/December vacations for MONTHS already. I was behind, but I QUICKLY caught up. I made ressies (reservations) for Shades of Green from November 25th through the 30th (later extended it to Dec 3rd). Here's why I booked those particular days: they were all the 'consecutive' days left at Shades of Green. In fact, the night of the 30th all the way through the 3rd of December were booked. But I'll explain how I got them added on later.

Once I had booked my resort, there was ONE thing that popped into my head that I HAD to reserve: CINDERELLA'S CASTLE DINNER (officially known as Cinderella's Royal Table). I called, and they had one night left: the first night we get there, at 9:15 PM. Of course I was EXCITED as all get out, but I was confused as to why my ressie was so late in the night and why I couldn't get a different time or date. Little did I know at that moment, but I was EXTREMELY EXTREMELY EXTREMELY LUCKY to get ANY kind of reservations. Yowzers! Every web site I visit explains that this is one of the most, if not THE MOST, popular place in all of Disney World to eat and reservations fill up fast... 180 days previous, they start taking reservations, so I was 120 days later than everyone else who made their ressies in May/June. So lucky was I to get reservations at SoG, and so lucky was I to get reservations at CRT. All else can fall by the wayside... I'll be at Disney in the Castle... that's all I care about... that Castle. Oooooh that CASTLE!



Until next time... Bippity Boppity Botique and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party... stay tuned!
__________________
Sept 1992 - Parents won a vacation, stayed off site
May 1999 - Grad Night for the class of '99, stayed off site
April 2005 - Hubby home from Iraq, stayed in free timeshare off site
July 2006 - Pre-Deployment Vacation, Shades of Green
November 2006 - Hubby in Iraq, Shades of Green
October 2007 - Hubby STILL in Iraq, Shades of Green
Christmas 2012 - Shades of Green
June 2014 - Hubby home from Afghanistan, Shades of Green, Port Orleans Riverside
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Old 11-06-2006, 04:59 AM   #12
monymony3471
Finally got a chance to come back and crack this thing
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Bravo to you for snagging the adr. One day my DD and I will get to eat there, one day.
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Old 11-06-2006, 08:57 AM   #13
mom2jcc
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Yes, you can request. I requested a quiet area with the golf course view. I have seen pics from people's balconies and the view is beautiful. Of course, there is a chance you may not get your request but I figured to give it a shot.

Congrat's on getting the "Castle Ressie"!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 11-08-2006, 12:28 AM   #14
SusanMomOf2
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A Change of Plans!

17 DAYS AND OUNTING!Whew... I was going to write a normal pre-trip report post, but I just got off the phone with Oliver. When I told him how much I budgeted in for our Disney trip ($3,400), he just sat there in disappointed silence. Now, I really HATE to disappoint him ESPECIALLY when he's in Iraq. He told me that he thought it would be around $1,500. Woooooo, no way. The room alone would be $800, the tickets and gas would cost close to $1,000. Then there's food, extra services (Mother's Helper, stroller, souvenirs)... then what if my parents came with me?

Well, my friends, I must admit, I was feeling a bit hesitant MYSELF about spending so much. Our savings isn't that large, and I don't want to deplete it. We have a credit card, but if I used it all up, I'd have to dip largely into savings. I just hate to not have a safety net of cash under me. I felt like if I went there, I'd be constantly worring about how much I was spending.

Which would suck to worry like that, not to mention it would break the bank.

Ok, so I did some QUICK switch-er-oos. I deleted a night at our resort, I redid our dinner reservations for that day, added them to another day, I deleted a day for the Mother's Helper, I took off 2 days from our stroller rental since they will be half days, I told my mom that if they come, I can't afford them to go to the parks every day, and I decided not to get season passes... maybe next time we'll get those. So... I brought $3,400 down to $2,500. I hope Oliver will be pleased. And as I told him in an email, I'll still do everything I could possibly want to do. It's not going to be a big deal to delete a day. It will just mean that both my full MGM day and full Epcot day will have to be halfed. I'll still have 1 full and 2 half Epcot days. For MGM, I'll just have 2 half days. Magic Kingdom is where it's at... so I'll be there most of the time. :-)

I told my husband about the new cost, and he said it sounded good to him. It sounded convincing. He's doing well in Iraq by the way. We still laugh on the phone, and he's just as goofy as ever. He's a loving husband and father (step-father to my older daughter, but you would never notice any difference in how he loves them both.) He's a strong, unashamed Christian, and he generally always does "the right thing." Oh how I love him. He's responsible AND fun... conservative AND sexy... brave AND sensitive... and he loves me and our girls... WHAT A MAN!

__________________
Sept 1992 - Parents won a vacation, stayed off site
May 1999 - Grad Night for the class of '99, stayed off site
April 2005 - Hubby home from Iraq, stayed in free timeshare off site
July 2006 - Pre-Deployment Vacation, Shades of Green
November 2006 - Hubby in Iraq, Shades of Green
October 2007 - Hubby STILL in Iraq, Shades of Green
Christmas 2012 - Shades of Green
June 2014 - Hubby home from Afghanistan, Shades of Green, Port Orleans Riverside

Last edited by SusanMomOf2; 11-08-2006 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 11-08-2006, 05:17 AM   #15
monymony3471
Finally got a chance to come back and crack this thing
Where did you find those set of ears?
My mamma Jamma is gonna hurt!
 
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There are lots of ideas and codes at mousesavers.com to help you save money. I found a code there and it took almost $800.00 off my package. You should look into that.

My husbands cousion is in Iraq. Where? He's a doctor if that helps. He was deployed at the bedginning of the year. His brother just got married and he couldn't come down for the wedding, but he sent the best video that they played at the wedding. We were all in tears.
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