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Old 06-24-2007, 03:55 PM   #1
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The Parrot Meets the Mouse: Sept 07 free DDP w/pics. Now finally finished!

[I]Table on Contents

Pretrip begins in this post

Trip begins here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....1576806&page=6

My very first pre-trip report. Bear with me, this could get lengthy. I pride my self on my efficiency but that does not translate to efficiency (or profficiency) with the English language.

OK, backstory. Where to begin, where to begin. At the beginning? Of course not, what a very stupid idea. Practical people whose mind travel in straight lines begin at the beginning. I shall begin way before the beginning.

I am not a Disney fan. I am above that. I am a world traveller whose first memorable travel experience was at 4 when we went to northern Quebec. My second was at 7 when we went to Israel. You get the idea.

However, my not being a Disney fan is quickly becoming a lie. My parents viewed travel as a way to expand the mind & to enlighten us as to our place in the world. I love this and agree with their philosophy. But they also felt that Disney World was an important part of Americana so while we toured the Rocky Mts & the Grand Canyon & stuck our toes in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans we also took a trip to Disney every time they opened a new park.

MK when I was 5 (I don't remember this but have been told I kept saying, "Now that's real, right Daddy?" which both parents LOVED and therefore sealed my fate of going to Disney every other winter.) Epcot at 7 or 8, Universal Orlando at 13 or so (when it opened), etc.

My grandpa is in a wheelchair & like to visit Tampa once a winter. We would drive down together & stay in a condo on the Gulf. This wasn't our real annual vacation, & I believe my grandparents paid (we were quite poor, despite our extensive travel, my parents just spent every spare cent on travel & we stayed in youth hostels & ate picnics.) But every time we went my parents would splurge & one day we would drive up to a Disney park for the day. We would eat breakfast on the way up at McD's, take snacks & water in with us, eat one CS meal, splitting 2 meals between us (my dad, mom, older sis, & me) and then eat dinner the moment we left at McD's. We never bought anything in the parks other than the 2 meals. No souvies.

On a side note, we also never bought popcorn at movies, never got things out of candy machines, & didn't have cable nor did we play video games. My parents felt all "extras" were expendable & the more you saved on the little things the more you got to do big things. I think this is true, but as you will soon see, I may not be raising my children with the same values .

Whew. Moving on to DH. His parents spent one month a year camping at Disney. That is right. One month. Every year. They pool hopped at resorts & chilled at River Country & did whatever parks there were. After we were married, his sister rented a house & we flew down for a long weekend & did Disney with them.

I told my sis (who was married) & we went on vrbo.com & found Orlando rentals cheap. Mom & Dad agreed to do that for a winter vacation. And we were off. Good fun. Then we had kids. We went a few more times from Tampa coast for a day at a time when we had our first babies. And then 2 years ago we rented a house just my sis & her fam & me & my fam & a couple with no kids. We didn't take our parents & their values. We discovered theDis & scoured the budget boards. We did Disney cheaper than you can ever imagine.

Our rental house was $200 a week per family. We ate almost no meals in park as we came home for lunch & dinner most days. And those we did eat in park were totally stripped down, shared, and all counter service. We are talking CHEAP! We baked oven french fries & ate hotdogs (& drank beer) at our house while swimming in our own pool. Man was it amazing. We paired it with a week long Carnival cruise (now you see the reason the whole thing had to be CHEAP!) & all still say it was one of the best vacations of our entire lives. Definately the most relaxing. Which when you are a parent, relaxing trumps educational any day. Really, what were my parents thinking when the sacrificed their relaxation for my education? Who knew?

Our one exception to the cheap trip was a CRT breakfast splurge. We had an 8:05 ADR & it was amazingly magical for our own little princesses (2 at the time, 3 & 4.) Amazing, amazing. We also ate at Marakesh one night as a whole group, tho I admit this was on the cheap too as we seriously shared food & didn't get appetizers nor dessert.

A little bit of the good life travel wise has suddenly entered my mind. Backtracking just a bit, we did once stay in a balcony room on a cruise ship (which we got for free... long story, no time for it here) & thoroughly enjoyed the little splurge. Another tiny taste of the good life.

So back to this year. We now have a 16 week old baby. Right after she was born we started discussing vacation. I asked the four of us who can voice opinions to list their top five places they'd like to visit in the next 2 years. Everyone pondered this for a day & we reconvened for discussion. Not one person, that is right with 20 different slots open, not one slot read "Disney World." England. Seattle. Williamsburg. California. The beach. But not one Disney World. That's right Disfolk. With 5 & 6 year old girls & parents rich in the history of Disney, not one said Disney.

So why on earth are we going to Disney? And why am I now addicted & thinking the dark thoughts of ANOTHER tirp before this trip is even anywhere close to being here?

Can't tell ya. Gotta a dinner date at my educational vacation friendly parents. Stay tuned.....

Last edited by estherhead; 02-09-2008 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 06-24-2007, 10:21 PM   #2
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Why choose the Mouse?

OK, so we're pondering where to go on vacation. Actually, I'm pondering. I'm the planner in this family. A BIG planner. Always have to have a plan. Always. Generally I plan with other people but this time DH & I decide we need to go on vacation with just our immediate family of 5. No extended family. He has 4 sisters & their DH's & they all have kids, some married. And I have 1 sister & her fam & my best friend & her DH & my parents & his parents. They all love to travel so we always end up with one of them somewhere.

But not this time. Wherever we ended up, it must be just us five:

Me: 33, extroverted, impatient, (goodness it is hard to describe yourself isn't it?) a bit eccentric but seem normal on the outside. Can be a commando. Indecisive but always in the decision making spot.

DH: 33, introverted, patient, hardworking, normal on the inside but can seem eccentric. Didn't even understand the word itinerary when he agreed to marry me, decisive but makes sure he isn't in the decision making spot (what if we hate what he chooses?)

As you can see we are opposites. But we have two things in common: We love to laugh & we love to move our bodies. Or in other words, we LOVE fun! And we seriously love family. And especially our sweet 3 girls:

Mulan, age 6. Serious, dedicated, studious, independant.

Ariel, age 5. Totally lost in her own world. Sweet, already ironic sense of humor, impulsive.

The Baby, age 4 months. All I know so far is she has a good sense of humor & she is fascinated by fun. Bring on the entertainment could be her motto from birth.

So there we are. It's my money that we vacation with, and I'm the one who will be taking care of everyone's needs, coming up with the plan, doing all of the planning, the packing, etc. What to do? Where can I go where everyone will be entertained, I won't have to work too hard to keep them happy & people from 6 months to 33 yrs old will have simultaneous fun? And not too expensive. And not miss too much school.

You've got to be kidding me, right?

So just about when I'm gonna give up on this crazy idea & call up DH's parents & say, "Will you vacation with us this year," I get an e-mail from Disney Visa with a title "Free Dining." I find a bunch of links to the official brochure & start reading it to DH.

It takes him a while to truly understand what I'm saying. Once he grasps the TS, CS, snack credit idea he stops what he is doing and looks at me full on,

"What are you waiting for? Count me IN!"

So the next am I get up & call Disney & book 7 nights Sept 2nd-9th at ASMo with base tickets & free dining. $1400. Are you kidding me? What an amazing price! We could seriously have a fantabulous vacation without me having to cook a single thing for $2000???!!!!???!!!!????

And where do you think my second stop on this crazy Disney mania, Disney is the greatest, oh my goodness we're seriously going to Disney do not collect $200, train was?

The Disboards.

I know NOTHING about DDP. Nothing about buses. Nothing about ADR's. Nothing about Nothing. Or something like that.

That was 2 months ago & lets just say my little Ariel said to me today while I was typing the first section of this pre-trippie, "Mommy, how long are you gonna be planning this Disney trip anyway?"

She knows I've spent A LOT of time of the DIS. Everyday. Thank you to every single one of you!
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:04 AM   #3
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Adding a few photos of Disney past:

Sorry, no face on people shots.

Riding with Goofy

What's in this microwave

I love Disney! They even do roses well.

This giraffe was in the road & blocked our way for a while. Very cool.

MGM opening. Us not exactly rushing in.

Last edited by estherhead; 06-25-2007 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:11 AM   #4
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Early December= NO CROWDS!

How about some RockNRoll?
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:25 AM   #5
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Disney gets put in my fav numbers:

So. I'm without a real plan & stressed. I subscribe to UG & start to figure out what in the world I'm doing. I call Disney & put park hoppers on our tickets. Next day, I call & take it off. Next day I call & put water parks on our tickets.

I call & change day #1's ADR's.

I read more Dis.

Then call & change again.

I read more Dis.

Then day #2's ADR's.

I read more Dis.

You get the idea.

After a week I have a pretty good idea of what is going on & what I think are pretty good ressies for meals.

Then I start looking for airline tickets. My original idea is that we will just wait till right ahead of time & buy Priceline which from my area you can often get to Orlando for $100.00. But after pondering for a few weeks I finally decide to catch a direct flight with Southwest & skip the rental car to save money.

This will require me to totally hand myself over to Disney transportation which I hate the thought of. Noooo! Waiting at bus stops? Having to transfer to get from resort to resort. This just seems so stressful.

However, I then see on Southwest's website that there is a direct flight on Friday night instead of Sunday. That mean 2 extra days of Disney with no extra days of school missed. Hmmm. 2 extra days.

I call Disney (big suprise, right?) and ask if free dining would be available at a value on Aug 31st. The only spot is at ASsp. I take it.

I buy the airline tickets. Cancel the car rental, we're gonna take the Magical Express. DH is thrilled! He loves public transportation. And he gets 2 extra days.

But I bet you can guess what kind of panic I went into. And who do you think I called? Come on, who???? Wait for it:

Disney dining. I need more ADR's.

So. I'm currently 67 days out from vacation. Oh my goodness, that can't be right. Only 67 days! And I already have a 21 day schedule (with menus & photos so it is family friendly.)

Wanna see it? Well ya can't. Some stuff at least. But here is my basic plan:
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:45 AM   #6
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Disney planning.

It's a crazy, crazy thing!!

But I LOVE it!
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Old 06-25-2007, 01:03 PM   #7
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Friday Aug 31st Pick the girls up from school at 1:30pm. Drive directly to the airport. Our plane leaves at 5:40pm. Arrive at Orlando airport at 7:50pm take the Magical Express to All Star Sports Resort. Try to get rooms in the Home Run Section, facing the trees or parking. SLEEP!

Saturday, Sept 1st Wake up at 7:00am Me: go get breakfast & eat in room. Be at the bus stop by 8:15am to go to Blizzard Beach. Mommy & Daddy get drinks at Polar Pub & Eat lunch at LottaWotta Lodge.

Go back to hotel to change. Nap.
Tony’s Town Square at 7:15pm & then Spectromagic & Wishes.

Sunday, Sept 2nd Wake up at 7:00am, wear 2 piece bathing suits under our clothes. Be at the bus stop by 7:30am for Chef Mickey’s buffet. (Bus to MK & then take monorail.)

Go to Typhoon Lagoon from Chef Mickey’s. (Bus from Contemporary.)

Go back to hotel & decide between Downtown Disney, MGM, Epcot, or napping. See Fantasmic if we choose the nap or MGM. Do DisneyQuest & Raglan Road at 4:00pm if we choose D.D.

Monday, Sept 3rd : Be at Epcot by 8:30 to get stroller and do Soarin’ side of Future World. (Or sleep in) Lunch at San Angel at 11:30am.

Then enjoy that side of World Showcase, do Kidcot stations & Be at Wilderness Lodge by 5:20 for dinner.
Do as many of the following as possible there:
Wear a Hat or T-Shirt from Universal or Sea World
Ask your server where his 6-shooter is
Ask for ketchup
Tell the server who's birthday or anniversary it is
Have your kids "egg him/her on"
Have one of the males in the group ask where the restrooms are
Challenge your server to a pistol fight and ask for a gun
Claim your straw is not long enough or for a large Coke
Chew gum
Ask the server where you can buy some chewing gum in WDW

Tuesday, Sept 4th : Free day. Aloha Luau at 5:15pm.

Wednesday Sept 5th : Be at MK by 7:30am for Little Ones Early Morning in Fantasyland.

Be at Tomorrowland rope drop by 9:00am for Space Mountain & cars
Be at Toontown rope drop by 10:00am.
Lunch at Crystal Palace 1:10pm. Go back to rooms. Come back to MK for Spectromagic & Wishes if we haven’t seen it.

Thursday, Sept 6th: Be at AK by 8:30am. Stay till we decide to leave or stay for parade if we feel like it.

Go home & rest. Be at Ohana by 7:15pm

Friday, Sept. 7th : Be at MGM whenever & get FP’s to either ToT or RnR. Do whatever we feel like. Only Star Tours, ToT, & Backlot Tour are priorities to kids.

50’s Primetime at 5:15pm. See Fantasmic if we haven’t already.

Saturday, Sept 8th : Go to Epcot leisurely & finish Kidcots & Test Track side of Future World. Le Cellier at 1:20pm.

Go home & nap. Come back for Illuminations.

Sunday, Sept 9th : Eat at breakfast at our resort. Pack up to go. Leave on the Magical Express by 11:00am
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Old 06-25-2007, 01:23 PM   #8
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Soooooo EXCITED!

So as you can see, the above schedule is all about the food. ALL ABOUT THE FOOD!

Why? Cause I am all about the food. Always. Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy. We have ore ADR's than we have TS credits but there is no way we'll be able to eat all that food so sometimes I think we'll share. Plus, we may not make all of them depending on how everything goes. Plus, we'll just pay OP if we run out & end up eating more than I thought.

And I get to visit a few resorts. See, as many times as I've been to the parks, I've never experienced:

ANY RESORT! Except the bus stop of POP.
Almost any sit down restaurant.
Blizzard Beach
Typhoon Lagoon
KidCot stations
Almost any store
Almost any parade

But I've riden Space Mountain more times than I could possibly imagine. You can see where our priorities normally lie. Bring on the rides, baby.

THis time however, as previously pointed out, it's ALL ABOUT THE FOOD! And maybe a bit about the ambience.

I think before we leave on a Disney trip we have a dream. A vision that we hope will come true.

Here is my dream. I see my family laughing together. I see me sitting on park benches in the shade nursing my baby while chitchatting with the other pooped Disney tourists. I see me casually walking in the am through a bizarre football field to get eggs & potatoes for my family. I see us connecting with characters & CM's. I see my girls saying hello at the Kidcot stations to the CM's in their own languages and then truly taking the time to chill out & color & enjoy.

We also have a $300.00 rewards card from my Disney Visa. So also in my vision I see DH & I spending that money on yummy alcoholic drinks & letting my girls actually shop a bit. I want to wander aimlessly through the stores.

Quite honestly, I want to wander aimlessly in general. And I've promised my family to take paperback books so I don't freak out while waiting in line & riding buses. I'm gonna people watch & read & play Princess Uno & not be impatient.

So that's the plan.

What da ya think?
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:06 PM   #9
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Ahhh, the shopping.

One of the TR's I read had different matching t-shirts for everyday (which, by the way, I'm still waiting for the conclusion for, if you'e reading this.) Well, I thought this was just the bomb of an idea but wasn't sure DH would go for it. He used to be cool, long ago, and I guess I haven't adjusted to him being a goofy dad up for anything as I cautiously mentioned it to him and he just thought it was a super idea.

So I ran out & bought 2 sets of 5 t-shirts & iron-on papers & we tested a few patterns on some old yucky t-shirts & settled on a Bengals-Mickey design for one day & then a Star Wars Mickey theme for another day. They aren't done yet but DH so owned the project he asked if he can be in charge!

Then, a week ago he came home with a Disney Store bag. Inside were 5 matching t-shirts. "Just adding to the collection," he said. What a man. I love geeky guys, don't you? Oh, and they were only $4.99 a piece. So then we went back together & bought another set so now we have 4 sets. Just 5 more days to go.

We also are going to do Tinkerbell presents so I have that to shop for.

But best of all... I bought my girls Disney suitcases with their names on it from disneyshopping. It was a carryon, toiletry bag, and backpack with free names. I got my eldest the Princess theme one & the youngest a Tink one.

Yippee skippy! They came UPS two days ago & there was a tremendous amount of excitement when the box had Disney on it. They keep asking me when they get to have a sleep over so they can use those bags.

I also am losing weight for this trip, did I mention that already? I've lost 25lbs of the 40 I gained with this baby & I have 15 more to go. I'm on fire right now as I'm feeling the pressure of only 2 more months!

But once I'm close to what I'm gonna weigh I'm gonna buy myself a new swimsuit.

Here is the rest of my shopping list:
Buy hooks & shower curtain for bathroom area.
Buy a collapsable cooler.
Ziplocs & Tupperware.
Water spritzer fans.
Little pillows that will fit in backpacks for stroller.
Water shoes.
Slim Jims//goldfish.
Underwater cameras,
water in bottles,
rum for the room,
granola bars,
light for me to read with
Clip on battery fan for the stroller
clothespins to keep shielding blanket in place
9 $5.00 bills for tips
Ponchos & stroller cover

Hmmmm.... if only there were other things to add. I'm not normally a shopping person but I shopping for vacation.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:52 PM   #10
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Enjoyed your report! We're going during Free Dining too and your report's getting me excited.
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:16 PM   #11
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IlMickey: Isn't it weird that planning the Disney trip is what is making me an excited Disney freak, not the actual being at Disney all those times in my life. And I know that if my actual trip turns out half as good as my plan I will be hooked on WDW for LIFE! Watch out moderates, here we come!

Vacation Lover: What are your ADR's??? Have you been to any of the restaurants before or are you a Disney Dining virgin like me?
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:26 AM   #12
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The Tinkerbell presents:

My girls are too big for most surprises. They understand the people in the character costumes, etc. So I was very surprised when I told them about Tinkerbell that they bought it hook line & sinker. This is our first time in a resort (we've always stayed offsite) & I told them the big bonus of staying in a resort is Mickey Mouse calls every morning to wake us up & Tinerbell leaves present every night after we're asleep.

The car got very quiet as they pondered this. My eldest, always sceptical, said, "That isn't possible. Mickey Mouse is just a cartoon." So I reassured them that every morning the phone would ring & it most certainly would be Mickey (& Stitch?) on the phone so they could judge for themselves but I was NOT lying.

So the car gets really quiet again. My youngest then says, "How could Tinkerbell get in the room?" So I told them that bugs get in our house all the time & Tinkerbell isn't bigger than that. Bugs just find a way, through cracks, under the door, etc. The conversation then ended & I wasn't sure where we stood.

Well, the next day I heard them telling my sister in very animated voices & gestures that Tinkerbell leaves presents every night for the little kids and Mickey calls to say good morning.

So, this may be a little bit of the magic that they actually buy this year, thus the reason it is SO important I go over the top & also that the presents are thin/tiny, not just because of the packing but they somehow have to be small enough to slide under the door

I have a thread on the Family boards for advice on this one. I'll post once I get them all the bought, probably not till August.

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Old 06-28-2007, 09:31 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by estherhead View Post
IlMickey: Isn't it weird that planning the Disney trip is what is making me an excited Disney freak, not the actual being at Disney all those times in my life. And I know that if my actual trip turns out half as good as my plan I will be hooked on WDW for LIFE! Watch out moderates, here we come!
Oh, I know. And once it's over, it's like what the heck do I do now??
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by estherhead View Post
IlMickey: Isn't it weird that planning the Disney trip is what is making me an excited Disney freak, not the actual being at Disney all those times in my life. And I know that if my actual trip turns out half as good as my plan I will be hooked on WDW for LIFE! Watch out moderates, here we come!

Vacation Lover: What are your ADR's??? Have you been to any of the restaurants before or are you a Disney Dining virgin like me?
Heh--I'm beginning to worry that I'm having more fun with the planning than I will at the parks!

We went for a few days just before Thanksgiving last year, but stayed in a suite offsite. That was the first time we'd been to Disney since, both, my husband and I were kids and our first trip there as a family. I'm excited to try all of the restaurants on this trip--we're doing Chef Mickeys, WCC, Narcoossees, Akershus and O'Hana's. Can't wait!
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:23 AM   #15
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Hello EH

I occasionally come to this pre-trippie board to troll for familiar names; this time I found yours!

Your girls are just the perfect age for Disney pixidust! My DD was seven by the time we could afford to go for the first time and I was afraid that she would be "too old" to enjoy Pooh-bear, Tinkerbell, and the princesses.

I was so wrong!!

Oh, one more thing to add to your shopping/packing list: a nightlight for the room. It gets so dark; my kids were happy to have one. (And hubby didn't stub any toes in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom!!)

Oh, sorry, one more thing: Lots and lots of quarters for the laundry room. (Seems like you always have to run those Disney dryers twice to get the clothes dry.)

Eagerly awaiting more,


(I just love being in on the report from the beginning! )
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