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Old 07-30-2007, 10:32 AM   #1
DisMomAmy
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October 2007-WDW or Bust! The End... (New 11/17)

Hi Everyone – I have been enjoying reading many of the pre-trip reports and thought I would share mine too. If nothing else, at least it will help me organize my thoughts!

First, let me introduce the main characters:
DH - 34 - Tim, IT Director who works too hard & doesn't take enough vacation. Can't decide if Eeyore or Grumpy describes him better.
Me - 33 - Amy, At home mom - PT child care provider. Life-long Disney lover.
DS6 - Alex, First grader - diagnosed with autism when he was 3.
DS3 (4 when we go) - ACTIVE and very curious preschooler.

Supporting Characters:
DMIL - 63 - Gramma Nancy - DHs mother - great mother-in-law and Gramma. Lives next town over from us in NH.
DBIL – 42 – Uncle Joe – DHs older brother –live in Florida with the next three.
DSIL – 40ish – Aunt Lilly
DNephew – 15 – Joey – Has turned into a teenager!
DNiece – 12 – Katie - Almost a teenager! Zachary adores her – even though we haven’t seen her in a year and a half (last trip to WDW 3/06).

Well… last year we decided it would be a great opportunity to go to WDW and visit family in Florida since it would be Alex’s last year before kindergarten at the “big school”. We had only been once since we had kids, when Alex was a baby. This would be the first real trip for both of the boys. So we decided to go with Gramma Nancy during Florida school vacation week and spend some time with visiting DBIL and family and combining it with a group trip to WDW for 2 days. We were really nervous about how Alex would handle the crowd and how we would handle his gluten/casein-free diet, but the trip was amazing! We were there at a very busy time and it could have been a disaster if the CMs and chefs hadn’t made it such a great experience! We really felt like a regular family enjoying our vacation to the fullest! Thanks Disney!!

So, long story short, I decided we should do it again. Since it is the most wonderful place on earth – why wouldn’t we want to go back? Can’t really afford it… but the kids are only 4 & 6 once, right?! It was probably around February – just as everyone was making the mass exodus out of New England for vacations in a warmer climate. I thought about February or April school vacations in 08, but that seemed so far away – and it is such a busy travel time. The parks would be really busy - we went during a busy time last year, but we were only there two days - we would need to pace ourselves this time. I looked at the 06-07 school calendar and noticed that there was an in-service teacher training day scheduled the Friday before Columbus Day weekend. Would they do it again? Yup. As soon as I got my hands on an 07-08 calendar the deal was sealed.

Where would we stay. We had always stayed at a condo – we own a week at a resort in Maine (never been to it), but we had never stayed on-site. That could be so much fun!!! With Alex’s autism we really needed a rental car. When he is ready to go, he is ready to go. Strapping him in to his own seat, in his own (or rented) car, with his own stuff, is definitely necessary after a day at the parks. After comparing all of the costs and thinking about the space issue – my boys are very active – we decided to go with the condo again. We were hoping that DBIL and family could join us and they wouldn’t have an excuse with free accommodations. Plus, Gramma Nancy would be there for part of the trip (more on that later). So we checked out the timeshare availability. Since our home unit only sleeps 2, we would have to wait until 60 days before our trip to book the condo if we wanted something bigger. (The 60 day mark is next Sunday night at midnight – I’ll be setting my alarm since I’m sure to fall asleep in front of the tv.)

We didn’t want to wait until 60 days out to book the airfare. We knew we wanted Southwest – they fly direct out of NH to Orlando. (I hate going to Logan Airport in Boston.) Since most of the timeshares are available on Friday or Saturday we booked the air for Friday – Wednesday. Going down on Wednesday or Thursday would have been cheaper, but I didn’t want to gamble on having nowhere to stay if we couldn’t get a timeshare with a Wed. or Thurs. check in date. I knew there was a chance of some specials on the airfare but didn’t want to risk it since it was a holiday weekend.

Now we just had to wait for the condo…

Oh yeah – ADRs. Oh, I don’t have to worry about that until 90 days before our trip – I’ll call in July, right? WRONG!!!!! (I’m sure it used to be 90 days????)

I’ll get into that next time!

My First Trip Report (Not my first trip):
Table of Contents
Day 1: post #188 (page 13)
Day 2, part 1: post #196 (page 14)
Day 2, part 2: post #201 (page 14)
Day 2, part 3: post #205 (page 14)
Day 2 part 4 (and day 3): post #215 (page 15)
Day 3: post #220 (page 15)
Autographs: post #230 (page 16)
Day 4: post #233 (page 16)
Day 4, part 2: post #236 (page 16)
Day 4, part 3: post #243 (page 17)
Date night & visit to Great-Gramma: post #249 (page 17)
Day 5: MNSSHP: posts #256 & 257 (page 18)
Day 6: AK & MK: post #263 (page 18)
Day 6, part 2: More MK: posts #266 & 267 (page 18)
End of Day 6 & Day 7: post #272 (page 19)
The End! Final Thoughts: post #277 (page 19)

Last edited by DisMomAmy; 11-17-2007 at 06:44 AM. Reason: Edit Table of Contents/Title
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:59 AM   #2
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Where to go? Where to eat?

So my intention was to avoid becoming obsessed about my upcoming vacation. I did everything I could to avoid my WDW library. I wasn't going to do any online research yet. I needed to get closer to that 90 day mark before I got too crazy. Oops That backfired! When I finally got around to accepting that it was ok to start the more detailed planning of the itinerary I discovered that I was supposed to make my ADRs at 180 days!!!!

I frantically began digging through all of my research materials to determine where to go when. I hadn't signed up for TGM yet but found a crowd level chart somewhere online and came up with this itinerary:

Friday - travel day
Saturday - MK/break/MGM with the whole crew (Fantasmic)
Sunday - AK/break/Epcot??
Monday - visit DH's grandmother on east coast. If not, Epcot & early night
Tuesday - MGM (character lunch) & night at MK (spectro & wishes)

Now where to eat?
I'm not getting much help from DBIL & family about when exactly they are coming or what they want to do. "We'll come, we'll do whatever" is about all I am getting from them. If noone else will, I'll just have to decide where to eat...

Saturday - Since I was sooo late in calling - we have a 3:00 "dinner" reservation at Hollywood & Vine for the whole group for the Fantasmic package. And that's at 2 tables!
Sunday - Couldn't make an ADR through Disney at Rainforest Cafe because our group is too big. I'll need to call them directly.
Monday - Made a lunch reservation at the Garden Grill for the whole group, just in case they are still around. The cousins have school, but DBIL said he might let them skip a day. This ADR is actually at lunch time!
Tuesday - Back to Hollywood & Vine for the Little Einsteins character lunch at 12:10. I hate to go to the same restaurant twice, but it is the cheapest for the Fantasmic package and we have to see the Little Einsteins. Plus we had a great experience there last time. I think a buffet is a good choice for us. Alex has a very hard time waiting for too long. Alex is obsessed!! I don't dare tell the kids about this little secret or the whole vacation could be ruined with non-stop questions about when we are going. are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet...
Tuesday pm - Crystal Palace at 6:30 (late for us but so is the lunch ADR so it will probalby be ok).

Glad to have that out of the way. The 3:00 dinner is a little crazy, but otherwise it worked out ok. Now if I could just get DBIL to commit! I would prefer to go to Fantasmic Sunday night if they are going to be around since we will probably be off-site on Monday and the kids can sleep in the car if they need to. We went to Fantasmic last year with them - I hope they don't mind going to that again. Oh well - if they would tell me what they want to do I can plan for it, but they haven't yet!

I'm sure I'll be calling back. Even if we still go to Hollywood & Vine on Saturday night I am going to keep trying for a later time.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:15 PM   #3
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Smile Hiya, Amy!

You go girl! Jumping in with both feet and starting a pre-trippie on only your 4th post!




Don't you just love, love, love how WDW helps autistic kids to experience the magic?

You're right, it used to be 90 days before the days of the Dining Plan. Don't give up; lots of people change their ADRs around constantly and some cancel at the last minute. Keep calling to try for the meal times you want!

Looking forward to more....

Kathy
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Old 07-31-2007, 07:44 AM   #4
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Thanks Kathy - I tried to reply to your PM but apparently I'm not allowed to PM until I have 10 posts. So instead I started a pre-trip report! Why not... I need something to do for the next week until we can reserve our condo. I'm glad someone is reading it!!
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:21 AM   #5
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Too many things up in the air!!!!

So I have 5 days until we can reserve our condo. If we get the one we want (2BR at the Marriott Grande Vista) we will probably have a check in date of 10/4. Our flight is for 10/5, hmmm..... Luckily Southwest doesn't charge a fee to change your flights! I can pull Alex out of school for a half day and we can fly down on Thursday afternoon and gain another full day for the parks!


Last night I assigned DH a mission - he needs to talk to his brother to confirm the dates they will be in Orlando! I have to know so we can figure out what we are going to do. Of course, he didn't answer his phone last night - he is a tough man to get in touch with!!

The next issue that has come up is whether we should go to MNSSHP. My first thought was "no" because the only night we could have gone would have been Monday 10/8 (Columbus Day) and we were planning to visit DHs grandmother on the east coast that day. DH has offered very little input with the exception of saying that "the kids would LOVE that!" Even after I told him how much it would cost on top of the $900+ we are paying for park tickets he still thinks it would be worth it. If we go down on Thursday we could go to MNSSHP on Friday night - or Monday would even work because I don't think we will be gone to the east coast for the whole day. But I need to know how many of us are going to be there to get the tickets... I should probably just buy ours and let everybody figure out what they want to do - but I feel like the boys only see their cousins every year or two so we should spend every minute together when we can!

Now here's the other tricky part - Gramma Nancy... (DH's mother)
Her original plan was to fly down to Orlando with us, hang out in Orlando through the weekend when DBIL and family come to visit. On Monday DBIL would leave and we would go to the east coast to see DH's grandmother. Gramma Nancy would stay there for the rest of the week and figure out her own way back to Orlando to fly home separate from us. But... now DH's grandmother might be coming to New England for the rest of the summer! If that's the case we probably won't be going over to visit her. I did make an ADR at the Garden Grill just in case we don't go to the east coast that day. So I guess I can live with the uncertainty of that.

I better get off the computer and go do what I'm supposed to do while the kids are both at camp this morning!

Can't wait for it to be next week and hopefully all of this will be figured out!!
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:30 AM   #6
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It sounds like you guys are going to have a great trip! (once you get all the details figured out).

I am always so impatient to figure every detail out. I would be going crazy with the uncertainties!
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisMomAmy View Post
If we go down on Thursday we could go to MNSSHP on Friday night - or Monday would even work because I don't think we will be gone to the east coast for the whole day.
If I had the choice, I think I would go on Monday night. The special ticket parties are very popular with locals and the Friday night will probably be more crowded.

Kathy
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:47 AM   #8
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Swans Love Disney: Thanks! That's why I love the DISboards - nobody here thinks I'm crazy! Everybody at my house does!

KathyRN137: Thanks Kathy! I think we will aim for Monday night. I was wondering if it would be just as busy being Columbus Day. But hopefully most Florida kids have school. The cousins have school that day. If we do go over to the east coast, the kids will have had plenty of time in the car that day and will be pretty well rested for a late night at MK.

Thanks for reading!!
Amy
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:52 PM   #9
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Hi Amy! I found your trip report! It sounds like you are planning an AWESOME one! I have to vote for you to check out the MNSSHP. It was a big highlight of our Halloween trip! There is special Halloween "Wishes" and Parade. The kids get to trick or treat. It's just too fun! My only word of warning..there is alot going on..so you kind of have to pick what you want to do especially when you have the little ones. (parade and wishes....trick or treat....ride the rides--which are usually walk on at this point--)

October is the PERFECT time to go! You are going to have a blast!! I'm going to keep following your report!
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisMomAmy View Post

KathyRN137: Thanks Kathy! I think we will aim for Monday night. I was wondering if it would be just as busy being Columbus Day. But hopefully most Florida kids have school. The cousins have school that day.
And even if they have off on Monday, they'll still have school the next day and won't want to be out late the night before!

Kathy
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:27 AM   #11
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We're going to MNSSHP!

Thanks Princess & Kathy - we are going to MNSSHP! And we are going on Monday night. I'm sure you're right about the crowds - and the tickets are also cheaper on Monday night. I don't dare buy them until we get our flight dates confirmed on Monday after we book the condo. But I'll be all over it as soon as I can! Can't wait!

Alex has been walking around the house in his "Leo" (Little Einsteins) costume for 2 days. As soon as he decided that Leo was his choice I have been on the look out for orange cargo shorts. Wouldn't you know - Walmart - first place I thought to look! Only $5 on summer clearance! And I bought black and orange t-shirts ($3 each). I'll cut the orange one to make a stripe across the black shirt. (I don't sew so this is as advanced as I can get - Kathy - I'm jealous of your outfits!) For now, Alex has cut a stripe out of construction paper and taped it on his black t-shirt and I made him some glasses out of green pipe cleaners. He's quite a sight! I have to find some round green glasses... Maybe I can get some Harry Potter glasses and paint them somehow?? And I'll have to get some red Halloween hairspray... Now he wants some orange crocs!

It really is a big deal that he is wearing this costume. Because of his sensory issues related to autism, he NEVER wears short sleeve shirts. In the spring we go right from long sleeves to tank tops and back again in the fall. The fact that he is wearing a short sleeve shirt around the house, by choice, is amazing! More of that Disney Magic!!

Amy
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisMomAmy View Post
It really is a big deal that he is wearing this costume. Because of his sensory issues related to autism, he NEVER wears short sleeve shirts. In the spring we go right from long sleeves to tank tops and back again in the fall. The fact that he is wearing a short sleeve shirt around the house, by choice, is amazing! More of that Disney Magic!!
...And so it begins...

Kathy
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Old 08-04-2007, 01:52 PM   #13
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Bought My Tickets!

I just called to change our ADR for the H&V character lunch to Sunday... I'll write more about that later. But the big news is that I just bought our tickets!! When I was on the phone the woman told me that ticket prices are going up tomorrow. About $9 each for the 5 day hopper passes I purchased. You Disers probably already knew that... but it was news to me so I got them right away. I also got our MNSSHP tickets for Monday night (10/8).

Tomorrow night is the big night for the condo reservation - I'll write about that on Monday. What to do to keep myself busy for the rest of the weekend...

Amy
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:37 AM   #14
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Amy,

Good luck with the condo ressie! Here's a little pixie dust for 'ya!

Kathy
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Old 08-05-2007, 08:15 AM   #15
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Amy, how the heck did I miss this? I am glad you are doing a pre-trippie!



Quote:
Originally Posted by DisMomAmy View Post
Glad to have that out of the way. The 3:00 dinner is a little crazy, but otherwise it worked out ok.

I like the early dinner/late lunch. Maybe you can just do a light breakfast this day and have a snack and then dinner will be at the perfect time?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DisMomAmy View Post
Thanks Princess & Kathy - we are going to MNSSHP! And we are going on Monday night.


Awesome! I wanted to go too but it will have to wait until our next trip. I can't wait to see pics!

BTW, where are the pics in this trippie?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DisMomAmy View Post

Tomorrow night is the big night for the condo reservation - I'll write about that on Monday. What to do to keep myself busy for the rest of the weekend...

Good luck on the condo reservation! Let us know how it works out!
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You bet your aft we had a good time: a Disney Wonder trip report
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http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3200081
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