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Old 07-01-2009, 06:12 PM   #1
missliberty
Earning My Ears
 
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Single Mom & Teenage Son - WDW 1st Timers Nov 09 w/Free Dining!! Shuttle Launch Too!

CAST DETAILS
Me (MissLiberty) - 31 year-old single mom who really likes tech gadgets and wanted to work for NASA someday (I haven't quite given up all hope)
Son (SonnyBoy) - 14 year-old dirt-bike riding, video-game loving teenager

WDW DETAILS
Hotel: Pop Century (9 nights)
Tickets: 10-day MMY Park Hopper with Water Fun
Dining: Basic Plan (FREE – Yippeeeeeeee)
Restaurants: None yet. Suggestions? California Grill during Wishes sounds nice.

OFF-SITE DETAILS
Hotel: Thinking of using Priceline for remaining days. Scared though. Thoughts?
Seaworld: 1 day (Probably not Aquatica though)
Cirque du Soleil La Nouba: Talked the kid into it finally after a special on Discovery Channel
Daytona Speedway: Used to be NASCAR fans pre-restrictor plate nonsense so nostalgic for the track
Shuttle Launch: GrayLine Tours bus to NASA causeway viewing area
Kennedy Space Center: 1 day of touring
Universal Studios: Undecided if this is necessary. Probably skip this time & plan trip for his HS graduation
Beach: Neither of has ever seen the Atlantic Ocean so it would be nice to kick around Cocoa Beach 1 day

OTHER COSTS
Food - $30 a day per person for 4 days (is this reasonable?)
Souvenirs - $300 Hopefully this can be Christmas presents for family too
Car Rental - $220 for 1 week from Dollar
Flights - $1500 (flying out of MT is a costly adventure)

RESOURCES BEING USED TO PLAN (WEBSITES)
Mousesavers.com
Allears.net
Trouingplans.com
Mouseplanet.com
Passporter.com
Guide2WDW.com
Laughingplace.com
And of course… Disboards.com

RESOURCES BEING USED TO PLAN (BOOKS)
The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2009 edition
PassPorter Club

That's all I can think of for now. More to come soon! I can't even begin to imagine the horror of booking ADRs.
-MissLiberty

Last edited by missliberty; 07-10-2009 at 09:34 AM. Reason: Changed post info layout
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:36 AM   #2
missliberty
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The Story Behind the Trip of a Lifetime

THE STORY
7 years of planning and no money to make my dreams come true, I am finally able to say my vacation package to WDW is booked and I have a conf number in hand! Where did I get the money? A small settlement from a work-related back injury. How sad is that? I had to permanently ruin my back in order to afford this trip, lol. We’ll pretend I was able to save up the money over the years and was fiscally responsible and skipped eating out once a month for 5 years to pay for this. It’ll be our secret.

On to the plan at hand…My main endeavor this past year has been to plan a trip around a Space Shuttle launch window. This is no easy feat. Up until this morning we had planned to be in Orlando in Dec 2009 for the launch that was supposed to happen on the 10th. That date has been scrubbed and moved to Feb. 2010. Another mission is planned for Nov so I changed my planning to coincide with this date instead. I can only pray this one doesn’t get scrubbed as well. I am waiting to buy airfare for as long as I can in case these dates have to change again.

During all the planning I decided it would be a fun option for my “foodie’ teenage son to get to eat at all the fancy places on WDW property by using the dining plan. He is looking forward to eating at Kouzzina since he is a big Cat Cora fan! Of course they didn’t offer free dining when I planned to be there but I figured we would get our fill and it would be worth the cost.


But then, in some extraordinary pixie-dust miracle I opened my mail last night when I got home to see a bright yellow flyer from DISNEY with my name written all over it! I opened it up and began to cry. (My son thought I was insane) It was a PIN code offering free dining in Dec and Nov just for me! Well, I don’t know if it is just for me but it sure feels that way! A short trip to my local AAA office later and I have a 2 week trip booked and a confirmation number in my hot little hand! Yay!!

My planning is all in my head and on about 13 thousands pieces of paper and a dozen notebooks from over the years. I need to take a deep breath and really start to hammer this out so I will be posting planning details here for my sanity more than anything. If anyone wants to share their experiences with me or has any tips for a single mom and a teenage boy for their first trip to WDW, please share, share, share!!

~MissLiberty
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:22 PM   #3
Raecheal
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I"m completely in... I"m really excited to read through your plans, see what you dining restaurants you end up with and your park scheduled..

Ohhh... I'm so jealous you received a free dining for November/December.. Congrats! This is going to be the time of your livess.....
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:07 AM   #4
EastYorkDisneyFan
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count me in on this one too.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:22 AM   #5
missliberty
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"Shuttle launch still a go" and "Finding multiple ways to embarrass my teenager"

For a while there I thought I was going to have to change my plans yet again but it looks like the launch might actually happen on schedule. The shuttle had a knob stuck in the window and it had to be removed with dry ice and pressurizing the cabin. You can read about the ordeal here. -->NASASpaceFlight.com

I made my first payment on my little Free Dining package deal at WDW on Friday. I'm very excited and completed the day by ordering custom maps of the parks from their website. These should really put us in the mood once they arrive. I also got a free Dinsey pin from the gal at AAA so now I can become even more obsessed and start pin trading too.

I also did something a little silly for SonnyBoy. I had Tigger call him.

I used the Disney Enchanted Calls website and had Tigger call him to tell him what a great job he did at school. It was SonnyBoy's last day of Driver's Ed and he passed with flying colors. Well, Tigger called his cell phone and SonnyBoy's eyes got REALLY big when he heard who it was. Then he started laughing hysterically. He thought it was crazy and funny and keeps telling everyone about it. I know the site is designed for much younger children but what a great way to keep the magic alive. And it sure was unexpected!

I'm printing out a cool worksheet for keeping track of ADRs from the PassPorter Club website and will be going through restaurant reviews with SonnyBoy the next few weeks to get an idea of where we want to go. We can't make reservations until 90 days out right? Has anyone taken their teenage son to a character breakfast? I'm wondering if it would be a waste or a perfect opportunity to embarrass him with face-time from some princesses. Do they pay attention to older kids or do they really only cater to the smaller set?
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A single mom and first-time WDW visitor. Watch me struggle to make a coherent pre-trip report!


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Old 07-13-2009, 12:37 PM   #6
OhMari
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We were at WDW last Nov. and we had great weather.
We also did the Space Launch. It was the highlite of the trip for my sons and they were 21 and 26.
Glad you got the Free Dining Pin. I just told someone else on the Budget Board, that WDW may extend the free dining like they did last year.

You have on your first page of $30 a day for eating. That is plenty for the 2 of you, especially with the Free Dining. Use your snack credits and pick up things in the Bakery's for snacks and breakfast. Especially when you go over to the Space Center and the Beach. I thought Nov. weather would be chilly, since I am from the north too, and we actually had really warm weather.
The stations would say, how the mornings would be 50 degrees, so I was prepared to be chilly and cold. The 50 degrees was probably at 4 in the morning. We had 80 degree days and higher every day.

Looking forward to your plans.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:10 AM   #7
missliberty
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Hi Raecheal and EastYorkDisneyFan. Thanks for viewing! I'm looking forward to both of your post-trip reports if you plan to write them. Do either of you know which rooms at Pop let you view the fireworks?

Hi OhMari! Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad I am not the only one who has tried to fit a shuttle launch in with WDW. At least now I know someone has survived intact mentally. I'm constantly worried the launch in Nov is going to be scrubbed and with the launch attempts this last week that worry just got stronger. I just keep watching and hoping and I guess I can always try and reschedule the whole thing if need be, I just really don't want to.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:28 AM   #8
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I'm actually writing a TR right now in my Disneyland trip in May I will eventually add in my WDW trip once I get the Disneyland one finished.

As for what rooms are good for fireworks views at Pop, I don't really now as this will be my first time there.
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You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make the dream a reality.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:16 PM   #9
missliberty
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Crazy Car Rental Deal and Fridge Share @ POP

Updates In This Issue:

Car Rental
Added another Night at POP
Reservations off-site
Sharing Fridge
Getting ready for 90 day mark for ADRS

Last week I did a little more digging for car rentals and found a great rate for Enterprise for the entire 2 weeks we are planning to be in Orlando. The total after taxes is $284.27. Since I had some reservations about using Enterprise (I heard they do not maintain their Orlando stock of cars very well) I decided to go back to AAA and see if they could have Hertz beat their offer. About 24 hours later I received an email from my agent stating that they could not beat the offer from Enterprise but that they would match it. Awesome!

I had Disney extend our stay 1 more night so we have the full 10-days at POP now and then I browsed the Budget Board and found a great deal for our off-site hotel. They had a great offer at the Quality Inn Plaza for an anniversary special of only $35 a night! What a great find. I am addicted to that board now.

I also found a POP fridge share so we will have a free fridge our entire stay at POP and that will help us maximize our free dining plan to the hilt. Speaking of food…SonnyBoy and I have made our list and checked it twice for our ADRs. 10 more days until I get to make them! I will post that list next.

That's all for now. We hit the 100 day mark this past weekend and I created a countdown calendar for our fridge. It sure feels good to mark off each day!
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A single mom and first-time WDW visitor. Watch me struggle to make a coherent pre-trip report!


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Old 08-06-2009, 01:49 PM   #10
missliberty
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Countdown Day 94 - Cheap Sharpie Pens for Character Autographs

Only 94 days to go! I'm going to TRY to do a post a day now that I hit the 100 day mark. Try is the key word. Today I found a great coupon on the Budget Board for those great clickable Sharpie markers that you can use for Character Autographs. Check it out at the link below!

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2249582
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A single mom and first-time WDW visitor. Watch me struggle to make a coherent pre-trip report!


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Old 08-07-2009, 12:30 PM   #11
missliberty
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Countdown Day 93 - 6% cashback on Disney Gift Cards to pay off the trip!

I was just browsing the Budget Board again this morning and came across a post for getting 6% cash back when buying gift cards from the DisneyStore.com. I called AAA to make sure they could take the cards as payment toward the remaining balance on my trip and they said YES! So today I spent the most money online at one time in my entire life, and that's saying something since I work in IT! I bought $2000 worth of cards (4 $500 cards) and when I get the money back from FatWallet I will receive $120! Total awesomeness!

Check out the link below to the post...
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2251158
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A single mom and first-time WDW visitor. Watch me struggle to make a coherent pre-trip report!


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Old 08-26-2009, 11:07 PM   #12
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I"m currently writing a TR on our trip from HELL... the link is in my signature...

for POP, I suggest the 50's buildings, building B i guess... or you could just flat out ask for a firework view/non pool view.
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:44 PM   #13
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Just checking to see If there were any new updates to this one.
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You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make the dream a reality.
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Old 10-24-2009, 01:05 AM   #14
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15 days away, have you started packing yet?
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You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make the dream a reality.
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