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Old 05-23-2009, 12:34 PM   #1
Sunset Cliffs
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It’s been 3 years. We are SO ready for this trip. June 09 PTR

I realized today that I must like making my life difficult. Here I am 3 weeks away from our first trip to Florida in 3 years and I have just decided that I would like to try my hand at my first PTR ever. I recently discovered the DIS and have really enjoyed reading other people’s PTR & TR and thought, “that looks like so much fun!” So after debating about it (with myself, mind you) for a few days, I decided to give it a go. Have I mentioned that I have not started packing in any way, I don’t have all of the important details nailed down for the trip yet, and I have a 1 ½ year old son who is a big ball of energy? This is going to be a fantastic experiment!

Some background for your reference: My husband and I got engaged at Disneyland in front of the castle right after we graduated college. Then we went to Florida for our honeymoon 12 years ago. To get a good rate on our hotel, my husband booked us at a place where we had to visit a time-share presentation. Of course we were thinking, it’s only 2 hours…they can’t honestly think that someone on their honeymoon would buy one of these….we live in California and this is all the way in Florida….we can’t afford to even consider it….you see where this is going, right? Nine hours later and a lot of negotiating on price, and we had ourselves a time-share. We called our parents that night and you should have heard the response. “You’ve been married 3 days and you bought what?” In the end, it has been a great investment for us, as it allowed us to travel to Disney World every year for many years.

A couple of years ago I got pregnant with our son. We were so excited but realized that the Florida trips would have to stop for a while. We have gone to Disneyland a few times since he has been born since it is closer to us here, but we have been itching to get back to Florida. The main concern was the flight over there w/ such a small child. Well, we’ve decided to bite the bullet & do it, so here we go!

Our cast of characters:

Alison, me (35) – main planner of trips since I like details and can generally be an organized person. Disney lover my whole life and I love vacationing. Lucky for me the two go hand in hand.

Todd, my husband (35) – has been converted into a Disney lover w/out too much resistance. He loves to talk about what we want to do on each trip but leaves most of the details to me.

Us at a King’s game.



Dylan, son (20 months) – our very active baby boy, who already has a great sense of humor and a happy personality in general. He loves to run and play and does not like to be held down, so I am a little concerned about plane rides, standing in line, etc. Distracting him will be key!


A couple more of him just playing & getting dirty. (Sorry, I just love my little guy)




Susie, my mom (she would not be happy if I post her age for the world to see) – she has been a teacher for 30 years and has decided to retire this year. I would want to retire after teaching 8th graders English for 30 years too! Actually, she loves her job and it was a tough decision for her, so we have decided to use this retirement as an excuse to have a celebration vacation.

Ed, my dad (if I state his age, you would be able to figure out my mom’s ) - he has a convention in Orlando at the end of our trip, so it made for an easy decision for us all to go together. He loves spending time w/ Dylan and I’m sure he will enjoy all of the time he will get w/ him.


My parents @ Disneyland w/ Dylan last Thanksgiving.


The plan is for Todd, Dylan & I to fly out on June 13th and my parents will follow a couple of days later. We are staying for 2 weeks!!! This is a first for us as we usually stay for just one week. Since the airfare was so expensive, we decided to make the most of it and stay for the whole 2 weeks. When you live in California, it takes a whole day of travel to get there & to get home, so when you only go for a week that truly leaves you only 5 days to have fun. Since this is our first time w/ Dylan and we know we are going to need to take things slow (as well as get adjusted to the 3 hour time difference), I’m so happy that we were able to work out a longer vacation. We go home on June 27th.

That’s probably enough for now. Hopefully some people will want to follow along on our journey. If not, that is ok. I will plug along anyway, and have a great record of our first trip with Dylan. If you do join in, TIA and please comment a lot! I love getting tips & comments from others who know their way around the World.
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:31 PM   #2
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Yea, you started a pre-trippie!! It's really quite addicting and a great way to keep thoughts, plans, etc. organized AND to share in the excitement of Disney planning with others who are just as excited as you!

2 weeks?! Lucky!! You'll have time to experience everything at a very relaxed pace, which will be key with such a little guy.

Speaking of the little guy, he is adorable!

I took that long plane ride once, when my oldest was 18 months. My SIL lives in Folsom, CA and we went to see their new baby. It wasn't too bad. Does your son have his own seat? Once my daughter was strapped in, she did fine. She actually slept most of the way. Good luck with that one.

Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by cjackearl View Post
Yea, you started a pre-trippie!! It's really quite addicting and a great way to keep thoughts, plans, etc. organized AND to share in the excitement of Disney planning with others who are just as excited as you!

2 weeks?! Lucky!! You'll have time to experience everything at a very relaxed pace, which will be key with such a little guy.

Speaking of the little guy, he is adorable!

I took that long plane ride once, when my oldest was 18 months. My SIL lives in Folsom, CA and we went to see their new baby. It wasn't too bad. Does your son have his own seat? Once my daughter was strapped in, she did fine. She actually slept most of the way. Good luck with that one.

Can't wait to hear more!
Yay! You are my first responder. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, we are thrilled that we have 2 weeks. We just got really lucky w/ air miles & time-shares, so it made it affordable to stretch the trip out. I didn't want to go commando-style when we took Dylan for his first time, so we will actually get to go at his pace and leave when he starts to lose it!

Unfortunately we did not get him his own seat on the plane when we booked our flight. We used air miles and did not have enough to cover him, and since he is free we figured, why bother? I started to reconsider but I checked w/ the airline and now it is a full flight. So...it's just going to be a long ride. He is a good boy though, so we are just keeping our fingers crossed.
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:08 AM   #4
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Details, details

Now we start getting to the good stuff. All of the details that I drive myself crazy over just to ensure that we have a great trip. Do you ever have those days where you just think, “It’s not worth it. I’m going to wing it this year and have no plan.” ? I do that every once in a while but it makes my right eye twitch and I have to restore order in my Disney universe.

So let’s discuss the where & how of our trip (since the who & what have been answered, and the why is an unnecessary question). We will be using our time-share for the entire length of stay, and we are getting a 2 bedroom condo for the whole time. We haven’t used our points in a couple of years and that is why we were able to get 2 weeks out of it. Since we have to pay yearly maintenance fees, etc., this has already been “paid for” over the last few years. The only thing we had to pay for right now is the trade fees (because we are not staying in our home resort). Plus, my parents are staying with us so they are paying ½ of the trade fees and they are paying us for ½ of our yearly fees. In the end, I think they are paying us less than $500 for 2 weeks lodging, so it is a great deal for them and it is helping us out financially. Win-win situation! The only bummer thing about the time-share situation is that we have NEVER stayed on-property at Disney, which is something that we would like to do some day. It has just never made sense when you crunch the numbers because our time-share initial buy-in is already paid off.

We are staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort, which is right off the 535 freeway. It is on the opposite side of the I-4 from the Crossroads area, but the same exit. It is a wonderful location and we have stayed here on 3 other occasions in the past. It is probably less than 5 minutes to the entrance of DW property, and it takes about 5 minutes to get to DTD. We love the resort because it is HUGE! It has at least 5 pools, a few on-site restaurants, it’s own mini-golf, a general store…. I have read how some people have not liked the property for whatever reasons, but we have never had a problem in all of our stays there. It is nice to have a full kitchen and living room to come home to every night.

Here are some pictures of the condo we stayed in before. I’m not sure which section this is in…I think it was the Cascades. This was probably 5 years ago and I have heard that they have been remodeling the whole resort over the last year or so. It will be interesting to see the changes when we get there.

Entryway



Dining room & living room



Looking back at kitchen & front door



Master bedroom (horrible “vacation” bedspread, right?)



Huge bathtub in Master bedroom



Todd on the balcony w/ a breakfast of champions



Our balcony overlooked the pool


You can see why we like the place. It is roomy & clean and you can’t beat the location for an off-property resort.

Next up….all sorts of transportation. Flying, driving, strollers, probably others that I am forgetting right now.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:49 AM   #5
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Your accomodations look great! Although I love staying on Disney property, there is something to be said for having room to spread out, especially after a day in the parks. With Grandma and Grandpa staying with you, will you and Todd get to go on any Disney dates? I considered leaving the kids at a kids club and going out for our anniverary, but for 3, it was going to be $$$ and my oldest kind of balked at being left in a "kids" club. Oh well.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:45 AM   #6
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I saw in Kristen's (xoktenox) trip report that you started your own PTR so thought I'd come on over and join in! Can't wait to hear more about your plans, your trip is so soon!
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:51 PM   #7
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Heyy I'm joining in!! Dylan is sooooo adorable!!!!
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:24 PM   #8
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Heyy followed you over from Kristens TR..... Your son is adorable! The accomodations look really nice and it will be nice to have somewhere big like that to relax after the parks!

I also commend your bravery taking Dylan so young to disney I don't have kids but I just don't know if I could handle it even tho millions of ppl do and have a great time!!
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Old 05-25-2009, 04:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjackearl View Post
Your accomodations look great! Although I love staying on Disney property, there is something to be said for having room to spread out, especially after a day in the parks. With Grandma and Grandpa staying with you, will you and Todd get to go on any Disney dates? I considered leaving the kids at a kids club and going out for our anniverary, but for 3, it was going to be $$$ and my oldest kind of balked at being left in a "kids" club. Oh well.
You know, I am hoping that we will get a date night or two out of it. We have some friends who really take advantage of their parents for babysitting duties and we don't want to be like them. Therefore, we go to the other extreme and don't ask at all! I'm sure my parents will be happy to do it...we just need to ask. It would be nice to go to one of the parks for a few hours in the evening and ride the big rides w/out doing the baby swap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwgirl03 View Post
I saw in Kristen's (xoktenox) trip report that you started your own PTR so thought I'd come on over and join in! Can't wait to hear more about your plans, your trip is so soon!
Hi welcome! Thank you for joining in. I see in your signature that you have a PTR going on as well, so I will be sure to jump over & check it out. My trip is almost coming too soon, as I am furiously trying to get all of our stuff organized & ready to go!

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Heyy I'm joining in!! Dylan is sooooo adorable!!!!
Thank you! Dylan is such a blessing to us. We waited a while to have kids and now we always say that if we would have known how great he would be, we would have done it sooner. We can't wait to take him on this trip. Thanks so much for coming over!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibedancin824 View Post
Heyy followed you over from Kristens TR..... Your son is adorable! The accomodations look really nice and it will be nice to have somewhere big like that to relax after the parks!

I also commend your bravery taking Dylan so young to disney I don't have kids but I just don't know if I could handle it even tho millions of ppl do and have a great time!!
How funny! I just made a comment on your PTR before I came over here to mine. Welcome!! You know, we used to look at people with all of the crying kids at Disney and say that we weren't bring our kids until they were at least 5 years old. Yeah....that didn't happen. We took Dylan to Disneyland when we was 4 months old, then again when he was just over a year, and now this trip. He has handled it all really well, or we wouldn't be pushing it. But I know that we will be "those people" at least a couple of times on our trip.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:10 AM   #10
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Transportation

So….the most dreaded part of the trip for me. All of the ways that we get to transport ourselves on our vacation. Don’t you ever wish that you could just teleport somewhere and get there in an instant? It would save so much time & stress.

Whenever we start booking a trip to Florida, the airfare is always the first thing that we look at. It is always a challenge when you live in Northern California and you want to fly anywhere. The closest large airport to us is Sacramento and that is over 2 hours away. Then you have the Bay Area (S.F. and Oakland). Finally, due to where we live, sometimes we can find a decent rate out of Reno, NV, but it is a long drive to get there. Basically, anytime you fly anywhere, you have to prepare for at least a 2 hour drive to get to the airport…the Bay Area is up to 3 ½ depending on traffic. So when you start looking at prices, you have to take into account how long it will take you to get to the airport, gas to get there, parking fees, etc. There are small airports all over Nor Cal, but the prices are usually sky-high to leave from one of those places (although they are much closer to us).

So this time around, we were not finding anything that was less than $500 per person. Todd was constantly checking at all different airports. One day, he checked a flight out of our little airport in the town we lived in…it would fly to S.F. and then take a direct flight all the way to Orlando. It was actually around $350, so he thought, “well if it’s that cheap leaving from here, I’ll see how much it would be if we drive to S.F. and book the second leg of the flight all by itself.” Would you believe it was $100 MORE to just fly the S.F. to Orlando route? So after all of that, we are flying out of Redding for the first time ever. The airport is 15 minutes from our house and we will be able to have a friend drop us off & pick us up so that there will be no parking fees either!

Now here’s the kicker…. We use our credit card for everything to rack up the air-miles. Todd owns his own business and he runs his whole business through that card as well. We had quite a few miles saved up and looked into it…. and we were able to use our air-miles to pay for the whole flight. So basically we were able to get our plane tickets for free this time around! I can’t even believe that it worked out.

My biggest concern on the flight will be Dylan. He has flown w/ us to Southern Calif before but it was a 1 ½ hour flight. The flight from S.F. to Orlando is 5 hours, and we did not get him his own seat. He is a really good boy, but keeping him sitting still that whole time is going to be tough. I am searching for anything to keep him busy on the plane. Any suggestions?

When we get to Orlando, it will be 9 pm or so. We have always rented a car due to staying off-property. Again, the prices for rental cars were much higher than we are used to paying. So after a lot of research this is what we have decided to do. We are going to get a car service to pick us up at the airport and also to take us back at the end of the trip. We haven’t booked this yet, so that is something I need to take care of this week. (Does anyone have a suggestion of which company we should use???) We will then pick up a car the next morning at the Hilton hotel in DTD, where we will also drop it off. Even though the car service will cost us about $100, doing it this way will be cheaper than getting a rental car from the airport by more than $300!! I am kind of glad that we will have someone pick us up & drop us off because after the long flight I’m assuming Dylan will be tired and it would be awful to ride a shuttle to a car location. So this will be another first for us on this trip, not picking up the rental car that night. I have a feeling that I will like it.

Stroller…we are absolutely bringing our own stroller. The airports, the parking lots, walking all the way to the front gate….all of this would be too hard to carry Dylan. He is really good about staying in his stroller and that way he is contained so much better, it gives him less opportunity to make a run for it. We talked about getting a smaller stroller than the one we have, but I like the extra room underneath to cram stuff in. Here is a picture of it.




I know it looks big, but it is extremely light weight, and since we will not be riding the buses we won’t have to keep opening & closing it. It is the perfect size to fit in the truck of the rental car.

So I think that’s it! We have transported ourselves. I hate that part of the planning so I’m glad it is over. Next up….ADR’s
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:01 AM   #11
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Just wanted to say hi! I just found this PTR and loving it so far. Dylan is adorable!

I'll be there June 22-July 1 so our trips overlap some!
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:57 PM   #12
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Just wanted to say hi! I just found this PTR and loving it so far. Dylan is adorable!

I'll be there June 22-July 1 so our trips overlap some!
Hi! I saw your PTR and saw that we are going to be there at the same time. I have been reading your PTR and have been waiting to comment until the end, but it's taking me a while to read it all. I am loving the idea that you had about Attraction of the Day, and there have been some great stories. I want to read them all! So I've been meaning to say hi on your report, thanks for coming over to mine. You beat me to it.

I am going to post my schedule soon. I wonder if we will be at the same parks at all?
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:16 PM   #13
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Hello. Hope the planning is going well.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:42 PM   #14
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Hi! I saw your PTR and saw that we are going to be there at the same time. I have been reading your PTR and have been waiting to comment until the end, but it's taking me a while to read it all. I am loving the idea that you had about Attraction of the Day, and there have been some great stories. I want to read them all! So I've been meaning to say hi on your report, thanks for coming over to mine. You beat me to it.

I am going to post my schedule soon. I wonder if we will be at the same parks at all?
Aw, thanks for reading along with my PTR! Yeah, I love sharing my stories with everyone on here!

Can't wait to see your schedule to compare it to mine!
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:31 AM   #15
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Hello. Hope the planning is going well.
Hi! We are plugging along. I tried to do some shopping this weekend to take advantage of the sales. We got some good stuff for Dylan (clothes-wise) for the trip. Have you started packing yet?

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Aw, thanks for reading along with my PTR! Yeah, I love sharing my stories with everyone on here!

Can't wait to see your schedule to compare it to mine!
I am going to try to post the schedule this week. I got a good start on my PTR due to the long weekend, but now that I have to go back to work it is harder to find the time.
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