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Old 09-23-2007, 10:20 PM   #1
desiab
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Talking Disney Through Another's Eyes (updated 2/1) Day 2/Part 2.

I admit that I am late to the game and not usually up on the cool places to be, so I only recently read UtahMama’s trip report from 2006. Sorry UtahMama, but I did enjoy it! And I am going to follow her admonition and not post any “disclaimers, warnings, or apologies”.

So let’s jump right in by introducing the crazy cast of characters:
  • There’s me your storyteller and vacation planner. I am a Domestic Goddess with three genius level children , a miniature Dachshund that I believe has ADHD, and a wonderful husband who deals with my ever changing moods and obsessions. I can honestly admit that Disney is one of those obsessions and at times I have been known to start planning our next trip before we are home from our current trip. I never get postcards or pin codes attached to my name because Disney knows two things about me. They know without a shadow of a doubt that I will keep coming back year after year. And two that I have been known a time or two to pay rack rate. I don't have a good picture of me to post right now.
  • Sonny my DH is the person who started my Disney obsession and he recently told me that some days he wishes that he had never taken me to Disney World the first time! He was only half-way joking. He funds our trips by working as a Drafter for a small company and occasionally does free lance work on the side.


We are planning this trip to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary and I can’t wait to see what surprises he has in store for me. I guess that sounded a bit egotistical, but my DH has planned a wonderful surprise for my anniversary almost every year. Check out what he did one year that we stayed at the BWI.





  • Joining us this trip will be Brianne and her husband LJ who are celebrating their 5th anniversary.



Brianne and I have known each other all of our lives. As most friends do we have experienced some rocky times, but we always manage to get through it. When Brianne and LJ were dating we would all get together and go on date nights. After about 6 months of dating LJ decided he wanted to pop the question, so he asked me first what I thought she would say. Ah…yes!!! So I got to help him plan the proposal and her to plan the wedding.

One of the things they thought would make their wedding special would be for me to be a bridesmaid and Sonny to perform the ceremony! We still talk about how sweet it was to watch their relationship develop and then to have such a special place on their wedding day. Plus, our anniversaries are in the same month 9 days apart.

This past summer Brianne and I worked really hard to surprise her parents with an awesome anniversary party. During the planning phase we would talk on the phone and email each other daily. Once the party was over we found that we really missed talking to each other, so our friendship grew.

Through the course of the daily conversations between Brianne and I, we started talking about plans for our anniversaries. With our recent purchase of DVC, Sonny and I knew that we would be spending a week visiting our favorite cast members at the BWI and Villas. Brianne and LJ are in the process of trying to buy a house, so Brianne was unsure of what they would be able to do.

The last few years we have taken different couples with us to Disney World for our anniversary. One year we took my brother and his wife, one year we took my parents, and earlier this year we took DH’s parents. I don’t remember how we came to the conclusion to invite Brianne and LJ, but I am so glad we did.

Since my first trip to Disney in 2001 I have done whatever is necessary to go back at least once a year. In total we have gone as a family or as a couple a total of 11 times. When someone asks us, “You’re going to Walt Disney World again?!!” we point out all of the new things there are to do and see.

LJ and Brianne, on the other hand, are relatively newbies when it comes to WDW. The last time LJ went he was 10 and has only vague memories of the parks. Brianne was 3 and remembers little to nothing. There is nothing better to a Disney Planaholic than planning a trip as if you are showing someone the world for the very first time. This trip we will get to see Walt Disney World through another’s eyes.

Up next... "Let the Planning Begin"
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Old 09-23-2007, 10:33 PM   #2
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Let the Planning Begin...

One of the hard parts about taking relative newbies to Disney World is impressing upon them the sheer amount of planning and the endless decisions to make the trip magical. Brianne’s first questions to me was, “How much money do you think that we will need for the week?” How do you answer that question? It is almost impossible to succinctly answer that question. So instead I begin to ask her questions. I asked her how many days she thought they would like to go to the parks. What kind of eating habits do they have on vacation? Do you see yourself wanting to do a lot of side things like Disney Quest, PleasureIsland, the WaterParks, Cirque…? Well you get the idea.

Her eyes got big and she said she had no clue as to how to answer any of those questions. So I replied that I didn’t have a clue how to answer her question either because it is not a simple equation one does to come up with a definitive number. My suggestion to her and request of her was to educate herself on Disney.

I pointed her to Mousesavers and Allearsnet to start her research. She called me a few days later in awe. It never dawned on her that Disney was so big and offered so many things to do. As she started reading she started making a list of the places they might like to eat, rides they would be at the top of their wish list, and nighttime activities they wanted to check out.

Let me digress here for a moment. My DH and I have taken quite a few people to Disney with us over the years and we always end up being the designated tour guides. The “keeper of the schedule” as it were. Everyone blindly follows us everywhere we go and never once volunteers preferences or opinions. So every trip we feel responsible for everyone’s’ good time. That is a lot of pressure on two people who are struggling with their own good time. So DH decided to make one condition on Brianne and LJ if they were to come with us. Their vacation happiness was dependent upon them. We were going without our children and so we aren’t planning on babysitting anyone else. Does that sound harsh?

Anyways, Brianne decided that she liked the process of getting ready for our trip, so I ordered her a Passporter to do some serious planning. I also through a recommendation I believe from timandlesley decided to sign up for Tourguidemike. The jury is still out on whether or not I feel like this was money well spent, but I will keep you updated.

Up next: "Where will we lay our heads?"
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:28 AM   #3
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I can't wait to read more about your plans.
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:12 AM   #4
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I can't wait to hear more... It always amazes me how people can no "that little" about Disney. Good call on not being in charge of their happiness on the trip.
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:24 AM   #5
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Sounds great! I'm in too
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lan View Post
I can't wait to read more about your plans.
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsywdw View Post
Sounds great! I'm in too
Thanks for the replies ladies. I hope to update frequently with our plans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deezeealum View Post
I can't wait to hear more... It always amazes me how people can know "that little" about Disney. Good call on not being in charge of their happiness on the trip.
After my very first trip I decided that I didn't want to ever go to WDW again and not know what I was doing. I think that this is why we enjoy ourselves so much when we go.
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Old 09-25-2007, 08:36 AM   #7
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Where will we lay our heads?

The first decision we had to make was when we were going. L.J. had recently started a new job and with no vacation days built up yet, he wanted to miss as few days as possible. The easiest solution was to plan around the holidays when everybody would already have a few off days scheduled. Plus, Sonny and I could get in another trip on our AP’s from January. December 28- January 4 started looking like our target dates.

The first time we celebrated our anniversary at Disney it was right after the Christmas holidays. The crowds were unimaginable and we said that we would never go back to Disney during the holidays. Never say never because here we are. But our reasoning this time is that with four adults we should be able to handle the crowds with proper planning.

We recently became Disney Vacation Club members and our first trip home was this past January 2007 at Saratoga Springs. Then in May 2007 we stayed at BWV. For all of the SSR lovers let me just put it out there: The resort is absolutely beautiful! The rooms are absolutely beautiful! But this resort and the Downtown Disney area is just not where we are absolutely happiest. Given a choice we prefer the Epcot Area and Boardwalk Villas, but every trip we tell ourselves that we will try somewhere new and every trip we end up right back at the BW. This trip I figured there is no sense in pretense—we wanted to stay at BWV again.




So our the challenge now was finding a 2 bedroom villa at BWV for December 30, 2007January 4, 2008. But so did everyone else in the free world! The best the CM could do was to book us at Saratoga Springs for the first and last two nights. We went on the waitlist for the middle days that we needed and hoped for the best.

As any true Disney Planaholic knows, we don’t do well with waitlists or probability. I will play nice for a little while, but I need a confirmation number NOW to write in my Passporter! I sweated my husband something fierce about what I should do about the room situation. Out of desperation the poor man suggested that I just book concierge rooms at the BWI. That sounded really nice at first, but as I started checking out prices I realized that the cost of the two rooms was outrageous during the holiday season. No thanks. I will have to find better way.

To save points I did go ahead and book All Star Movies for the first two days of our trip (Friday and Saturday night). We stayed here last September with the kids and thought it would be a nice start to our trip.


But I started to get really antsy about not having our room booked so I called Member Services constantly. After a few weeks, I was on a first name basis with several of the cast members. Finally, the first of September I confessed to Sonny that I was afraid that the waitlist would never come through. Several phone calls to Brianne and we decided to move the entire vacation back one week. So our dates changed to
Jan 4-11, 2008.


I called Member Services and received the bad news that they could not get us into a 2-br at BWV for the week. We would again have to go on the waitlist, but our chances would seriously improve with this being the start of value season. The waitlist came through for all but the last night! I am so excited that I would not be upset if we were at SSR for the last night.

Up next..."The Trip That Almost Wasn't"
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:46 AM   #8
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UGH, those waitlists drive me crazy too! We just joined DVC in February and our trip next month is our first DVC trip. I really wanted to stay at VWL but could only get the first 3 nights and then would have had to move to OKW. It was driving me nuts not knowing what was going to happen. Finally I got a letter in the mail saying the waitlist came through but let me tell you it was a long 5 month wait

Can't wait to hear how everything unravels!
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Old 09-25-2007, 11:16 AM   #9
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Glad you are taking some good friends along this time instead of your MIL.... Maybe you won't need as many "skittles!" Seriously, the trip sound great, and look at all the great resorts you get to try out - you lucky dog!

Are the kids coming, or just you and DH and pals?

Looking forward to more, woman!!
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Old 09-25-2007, 11:51 AM   #10
desiab
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Originally Posted by Jiminy'sGirl View Post
Glad you are taking some good friends along this time instead of your MIL.... Maybe you won't need as many "skittles!" Seriously, the trip sound great, and look at all the great resorts you get to try out - you lucky dog!

Are the kids coming, or just you and DH and pals?

Looking forward to more, woman!!
Should I retitle this report "Taste the Rainbow"?

There will be no chiluns on this trip, but to pull that off we had to promise to take them later.
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Old 09-25-2007, 12:23 PM   #11
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Look at you figuring out the different ways to receive some Disney magic. Just remember all is well when you are in WDW. And your friends might love to see two different resorts.
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Old 09-25-2007, 04:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Look at you figuring out the different ways to receive some Disney magic. Just remember all is well when you are in WDW. And your friends might love to see two different resorts.
I am addicted to Disney Magic! Every trip I try to find news ways to make fun for my family. Every now and then the family surprises me with some and a lot of the time we are all shown some from the CM's.

I think that Brianne and LJ will love staying at three different resorts. It is hard when you have a personal favorite in resorts not to try to impose that on friends, but they are so excited to be going that I could have told them we were pitching a tent in the back forty and they would have said okay.
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Old 09-26-2007, 08:33 AM   #13
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The Trip That Almost Wasn't...

Sorry there are no pictures for this installment.

I find myself at times throughout the day smiling like a fiend in anticipation of our upcoming trip. In the middle of the day I get calls from Brianne announcing how many days we have until we leave. We tell everyone we come into contact with on a daily basis that we are going to Walt Disney World. We have already started buying clothes for our trip. She and I could not be more excited about a trip than we are about this one.


Then the unthinkable happens!

Brianne and I are having our daily chat when her phone beeps. Normally we would have continued the conversation, but since it is her adorable hubby I conceded her attention and hung up. A little while later she calls me back and I can tell that she is upset and start bracing for the bad news. She tells me the last thing that I want to hear--L.J. has received notice that he will be laid off effective July 31.

We live in a small town that is 40 minutes from New Orleans and about 45 minutes from the GulfCoast. Two years ago when Katrina blew through she passed right over our town and left quite a bit of damage. No where near the damage that others experienced, but we got our unfair share. During the weeks right after the storm the city hired extra hands to handle the clean-up efforts. So now here we are two years after Katrina and the city says that their budget could no longer handle the additional workers they hired. L.J. wasn’t alone because the lay off affected police officers, city support staff, and other city workers.

Brianne was broken hearted that after all of our planning they might not get to go. I mentioned before that these guys are celebrating their fifth anniversary in January, but I don’t think that I have stressed how much this trip means to them. Every year without exception something has been planned for their anniversary and every year without exception something beyond their control has happened to screw those plans up. This was the first year that we thought there was a fighting chance that the plans would actually move on to fruition.

I tried my best to sound positive on the phone with Brianne, but privately I was so disappointed for her. I called Sonny to break the news to him and we discussed what my next step should be. One thing about my husband, he is not prone to making rash decisions. He likes to examine the problem from every angle and look at the possible ramifications from any decision he makes. And too my husband is the world’s worse procrastinator! But in this case he knew that I was distraught, so he surprised me by handling things rather quickly. He told me to hold tight and asked for L.J.’s cell phone number. Within a few hours L.J. had an interview with Sonny’s company. YEAH!!! Within a day L.J. had a job working at the same place and with the same schedule as Sonny. The best part is that he would start his new job August 1st—not missing any days of work.

Crisis averted we went back to planning and researching all there is to see and do in the Land of Pixie Dust and Dole Whips. Fast forward four weeks and we got some more bad news.

Up Next: "More Bad News!"
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:25 PM   #14
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Everythime time I read your pretrip report I smile. Look at your DH spreading some much needed pixie dust. As much as your friends were going to love Disney before, they will appreciate it even more (is that possible) now. Keep those installments coming. I know how it feels with the days. 4 months from right now we are on a plane.
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Old 09-27-2007, 04:44 AM   #15
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No more bad news But I know some magic is coming right?
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