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Old 07-03-2009, 01:46 AM   #1
kelsbels
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Plan a Trip in T Minus 3 Weeks?..."No Problemo Dadio"

Hi DisBoarders! I'm kelsbels – a long time lurker and a longer time lover of all things Disney. I am addicted to reading the amazing trip reports that are so generously shared on this board and have picked up some great tips and tricks along the way. I think that trip reports are an extra-special way to share the Disney love, while creating an extra-special memory of the perfect vacation. So, because I have just gotten the best surprise ever, I am committing myself to creating my own extra-special memory. I hope you all will come along as I take you with me on my sixth trip to the House of the Mouse. (Note: Please don’t be too turned off by all the warm fuzzies in this first post, I am experiencing Disney euphoria and am channeling a mixture of Santa Claus, Mister Rogers, and Barney…I promise I will censor my use of “extra-special” in the future ).

So, let me tell you how it all started...

A little less than a week ago, my parents sat the family down and gave us two options: Las Vegas or Disney. Two totally unexpected options. To say I was excited would be a rather egregious understatement. I flew out of my seat, jumped on the sofa, and began chanting “Disney, Disney, Disney.” To be honest, there may have been some fist pumping as well. Unfortunately, M (Sis 22) and PC (BF 29) are not as enthusiastic as I am about WDW. (Perhaps, I should have mentioned that I am 24 and a teacher – I cannot even imagine how embarrassed my students would be of my Disney-crazed behavior.)

M and PC think that Las Vegas > Disney. Obviously they are seriously misinformed, but their reservations about a Disney vacation (our second in two years) only spurred my desire to convince them otherwise. So, I set about on a five day Disney propaganda spree. I drew Mickey ears in the dust on our TV (PC was not amused…although it did prompt him to dust), flew paper airplanes around the house carrying messages of Disney fun, and priced out every vacation plan imaginable. And, after much convincing, I came out victorious. Mom, Dad, M, PC, and I were Disney-bound.

…Then the reality of the situation set in. I realized we would have to plan a Disney vacation in less than three weeks time. And when I say “we,” I mean “me.” As the resident Disney freak, I knew it would be up to me to book our flights, make our resort reservations, plan our meals, and to basically get our Disney freak on. So, when my Dad asked, “kelsbels, can you plan our trip in t minus three weeks.” My response was, of course, “No problemo Dadio.”

At this point, let me introduce the fabulous cast of characters that will be partaking in our spur-of-the-moment trip.


It’s me – kelsbels – your somewhat verbose author. My stats: 24, teacher, 6th trip to Disney. Lover of trip planning, thrill rides (ToT!), and Disney dining!


Mom. Her stats: older than 24, teacher, 9th trip to Disney. Lover of Disney nostalgia, ponchos, and the Sci-Fi Dine-In.


Dad. His stats: also older than 24, ??? (does anyone every really know what their Dad does for a living?), 8th trip to Disney. Lover of Typhoon Lagoon, Typhoon Lagoon, and Typhoon Lagoon.


M (Sis). Her stats: 22, teacher, 5th trip to Disney. Lover of the shows, parades, and princesses.


PC (BF). His stats: 29, photographer, 3rd trip to Disney. Lover of…well…me. He is a trooper and has been suckered in to a second Disney trip in two years. Don’t get me wrong, he has fun…just takes him a while to warm up.

*All pictures are from our 2007 Disney trip.*

Now that I’ve introduced the cast, let me fill you in on the details of our adventure. We will be arriving in WDW on July 22 and departing on July 29. After much debate, we have decided to stay in two rooms at the Wilderness Lodge…hopefully with a view of the Otter Pond on the fourth or fifth floor. We will be eating with the Disney Dining Plan and will also spend one day of our vacation in Universal (a first for us all). I have been busy making dining reservations and ensuring that every little detail is taken care of before we arrive…it just makes the trip that much more enjoyable. (One of the many perks of teaching – a summer full of time to devote to the planning of surprise Disney vacations).

I would love to hear from anyone who has stayed at the Wilderness Lodge. In the past, we have stayed at the Poly, POR, and Saratoga Springs. This will be our first time at Wilderness Lodge and we are very excited (if a little unsure of what to expect).

Also, if anyone has any tips for time-crunched trip planning, I would welcome all input. With so little time, I am afraid I am going to forget something important. We all know how that goes…$15 sunscreen in the MK, I don’t think so!

I’ll post again soon with our ADRs and our itinerary.

I hope you are all enjoying my pre-trip and I look forward to taking you along on our Disney adventure. Come tag along.

kelsbels

Last edited by kelsbels; 07-08-2009 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 07-03-2009, 07:25 AM   #2
OhMari
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Okay, you sisters boyfriend looks like Matthew McConnaighy (sp?) and now that I got that out of the way.

You will love The Wilderness Lodge. Take the Ferry over to the MK, not the busses, also you can take the Ferry over to the MK, and get on the mono-rail to TTC and then to Epcot. Just plan on extra time, but it is well worth it.

Me and my dh walked the path between The Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness, spend some time over there. I just wish they would of told us how long it took, but it probably was a good mile if not more.

Have fun, and it will be hot. Get a bunch of poncho's at the dollar store, that you can throw away. They are made cheaper.
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Old 07-03-2009, 01:01 PM   #3
kelsbels
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Believe it or not, PC hears that a lot. We were watching TV the other night and he stopped on the movie "Failure to Launch" (with SJP and Matthew McConaughey) and said, "Hey, it's me." I promptly smothered him with a pillow . But hey, if people think my boyfriend looks like Matthew McConaughey, who am I to complain?

Thank you for the tips on transportation. The boat ride to and from Magic Kingdom is a major reason we decided to stay there. Is the boat a pretty reliable method of transportation to and from MK...do you know how long it takes to get from the resort to the park?

I think PC and I will probably rent bikes for a day and ride around the Fort Wilderness area. The trails sound really nice.

Ok, so about those ADRs...

We currently have ADRs at:
The Garden Grill
1900 Park Fare
Artist Point
The Brown Derby
Sci-Fi Dine-In
The Crystal Palace

I chose the Artist Point because PC and I are major foodies and the menu there looks DIVINE. Anyone have any recommendations for menu choices there?

Also, I was somewhat limited on where we could have a Table Service meal in Epcot, so I ended up choosing The Garden Grill. My Mom, Dad, and M are not adventurous eaters and would not be happy with many of the restaurant in the World Showcase. However, I am not totally sold on The Garden Grill. How's the food there? Is it an appropriate place for five adults to eat? Anyone have a better suggestion for a dinner in Epcot?

We have not eaten at The Garden Grill, 1900 Park Fare, or Artist Point, so any insider information on the restaurants would be great!

Here are a few more pictures from our trip in 2007. I cannot wait until I have new pictures to post!


The "quintessential" Disney picture.


Mom and Dad on the train.


I've been caught! Getting my fill at the Poly Luau. Fun, but not a repeat this year.

kelsbels

Last edited by kelsbels; 07-08-2009 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:31 PM   #4
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Sounds like a lot of fun! Can't wait to hear what happens!
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:37 PM   #5
kelsbels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvdislover View Post
Sounds like a lot of fun! Can't wait to hear what happens!
Yay! I can't wait to share!

T minus two weeks. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I feel like every moment of my time for the past week has been consumed by Disney. My Disney planning binder is starting to shape-up, although it will never be as thorough as I would like. If it was, I would probably have to check it in its own bag on our flight .

Our Magical Express luggage tags arrived today. I was a little worried we would not get them - seeing as we made our reservations so close to our date of departure. But, I never should have feared. Of course, Disney was on top of things and now we can ride (luggage free) to Disney.

Even though the idea of not having to carry my own luggage sounds great, I am a little nervous about leaving the retrieval of my family's luggage to someone else (even if that someone else is working for the Mouse). I always have crazy fears of my luggage being lost, so knowing that my luggage will have multiple opportunities to get lost is making me a wee bit nervous. Can anyone assuage my fears? PC would be very happy if I would let the Magical Express people handle my luggage (so that he won't have to ). I will probably end up using those yellow tags, it's just that I am VERY attached to my clothes.

Our flight from Philly arrives in Orlando a little before 2:00 p.m. I'm hoping we will be able to check-in at WL sometime between 3:30 and 4:00. We are then planning on hopping a bus over the DHS to spend the rest of our evening. I know we will be starving (airport food just isn't going to cut it for our crew), so we'll probably grab a bite to eat when we arrive at DHS (although not before I make a mad dash to ToT to grab FPs...if any are left).

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are on the DDP this trip. We have allotted a CS meal for our first night in DHS...as we do not want to worry about missing a reservation if our flight is delayed (and in Philly...you can assume your flight will be delayed). I am still trying to pin down the best CS restaurant in DHS. As of now, I think we'll plan on eating at Studio Catering Company. Although, their offerings may not satisfy every belly in our group. Too bad DHS gets such terrible CS reviews...I'm sure we'll figure something out. If nothing else, Mickey Ice Cream Bars for all!

I'll give an overview of our "loose" agenda in my next post. For now, I'm off to play Quizzo with my Mom and M. We have won the last two weeks! Not too shabby. A three-peat is going to take some serious brain power. Wish us luck.

I'll leave you with a family photo that was taken while we were in line for the Indiana Jones show two years ago. The water misters were on in full force so we all look a little hazy. My Mom thinks the haze is forgiving .



kelsbels

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Old 07-15-2009, 10:02 AM   #6
kelsbels
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One week to go!!! I am so excited!

PC and I have an out-of-state wedding to go to this weekend, so our weekend is pretty much shot. It's sure putting the pressure on to get the laundry done, make those last minute purchases, and haul our heavy suitcases down the attic stairs.

I'm afraid my Disney binder has been suffering, but I plan to rememdy that tonight. I'm sure my family will when I make them look at it for the billionth time.

So, just a quick update for now. I'll be back later today to fill you in on some more details...and maybe take a vote on what I should wear to the wedding this weekend. I'm in a quandry and PC is NO help!

kelsbels
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:40 PM   #7
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Congrats on swinging the Disney Vote! 3 weeks is CRAZY! My inner park beast would go into shock! Kudos on the dining ressies - you got some great ones! Magical Express went great for us and I didn't even have the yellow tags. I just gave them our baggage claim slips at the ME checkin desk and everything showed up. I wouldn't stress too much.

As to DHS dining, I was in a bit of a quandry myself. I had orig planned on Toy Story PP, but wound up at Backlot Express when no-one wanted pizza. I gotta say I was really surprised by the food. I got the double cheeseburger and it was actually pretty good. Not dry at all like I remembered from our 1997 trip. Min and Sid's Docside Diner just changed their menu a few weeks ago. (I was totally bummed by finding they no longer carry cheese stuffed pretzels.) They have some pretty decent looking Bratwurst / Sausage selections though if you like that sort of thing. Had I known that ahead of time, I would have probably opted for a sausage wrap instead of Backlot.

Cant' wait to see how it all turns out.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:43 PM   #8
kelsbels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatBiscuit View Post
Congrats on swinging the Disney Vote! 3 weeks is CRAZY! My inner park beast would go into shock! Kudos on the dining ressies - you got some great ones! Magical Express went great for us and I didn't even have the yellow tags. I just gave them our baggage claim slips at the ME checkin desk and everything showed up. I wouldn't stress too much.

As to DHS dining, I was in a bit of a quandry myself. I had orig planned on Toy Story PP, but wound up at Backlot Express when no-one wanted pizza. I gotta say I was really surprised by the food. I got the double cheeseburger and it was actually pretty good. Not dry at all like I remembered from our 1997 trip. Min and Sid's Docside Diner just changed their menu a few weeks ago. (I was totally bummed by finding they no longer carry cheese stuffed pretzels.) They have some pretty decent looking Bratwurst / Sausage selections though if you like that sort of thing. Had I known that ahead of time, I would have probably opted for a sausage wrap instead of Backlot.

Cant' wait to see how it all turns out.
3 weeks has been insane. My inner compulsive trip planner almost had a meltdown. But, along with the crazy stress of planning a WDW vacation in 3 weeks comes the reward of actually going on the vacation in 3 WEEKS! Not a bad trade off.

Thank you for easing my mind about the Magical Express. I will try to keep my worrying to a minimum. PC will be ecstatic that he only has to contend with our carry-ons! (...he's such a good sherpa!)

I do love Brats, so I will definitely look into Min and Bill's Dockside Diner. Though, I'm thinking that the crew may just have to split up for dining here. Too many picky eaters with too limited of a selection at each CS. But, as Tim Gunn says, we'll "make it work."


Ok...so about that "loose" agenda. Although, I'm not sure that I'm actually allowed to refer to it as a "loose" agenda as it is currently laminated on cardstock...

Here's the (abridged) run-down:

7/22
Arrive MCO ~2:00 p.m.
Check-in WL
MGM for evening EMH

7/23
MK for morning
Epcot for evening EMH
ADR - Garden Grill (anyone want to talk me out of this?)

7/24
TL for morning (Dad is thrilled)
MK for evening EMH
ADR - The Wave

7/25
AK for morning
MK for evening
ADR - Artist Point

7/26
Epcot for morning
MGM for evening
ADR - The Brown Derby
Fantasmic (YAY!...even this show/parade-hater loves Fantasmic)

7/27
Universal??? (this is starting to look like a rather expensive venture)

7/28
MGM for morning
ADR - Sci-Fi Dine-In (not sure why Mom loves this place so much, she doesn't even like sci-fi)
Epcot for evening EMH

7/29
MK
ADR - Crystal Palace
Check-out WL
Depart MCO ~7:00 p.m.

Now, you may notice that 1900 Park Fare has mysteriously disappeared from our ADRs. Well my fellow DISers...I blame you. After reading several unpleasant reviews of Park Fare, I decided to nix it. But, I have replaced it with an ADR at The Wave - which I am completely stoked on. I am also quite happy ridding the family of our third character meal. Now don't get me wrong, I love a little face time with the characters just as much as the next person, but three character dinners in one week may be even a little too much for this Disney-aholic. So, a big THANK YOU to everyone who gave me a heads up about Park Fare...my digestive track is forever beholden.

So, now that you've seen my plan...any thoughts?


Now, if I may, I would like to request a little non-Disney advice. As I mentioned in my previous post, PC and I will be attending an out-of-state wedding this weekend. The wedding is for one of PC's best friends and PC will be an usher. The wedding ceremony is at 3:00 p.m., with the reception following at 4:30 p.m. It is a church wedding. PC will be wearing a tux, so the bridal party itself will be rather formal.

And herein lies my problem. I have not been to a church wedding in at least six years and I am not entirely sure of the appropriate dress code for a church wedding. The reception will be held at a local country club, and will not end any later than 9:00 p.m. It's not a black-tie affair, but with the bridal party in such formal attire and the church ceremony, I am not sure how "dressy" I need to be. I don't have a great deal of conservative "dressy" attire, so I could use a little guidance.

Anyone care to share their thoughts on the dress code for this wedding?

Let me leave you with a few Disney pictures, because what’s a PTR without Disney pictures?!


Mom and I on Dumbo. The men wouldn’t ride this one…PARTY POOPERS!


Dad and M at the Poly Luau. He is a GOOD sport.


On the monorail back from the Poly Luau. I had too much wine, PC had too much of me, and M…well, whatever she had too much of…I want some!


Standing in line for Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Mom and I are sad…we don’t like standing in line.


M and Walt. See…I knew she liked Disney.


Very nice.

*Again, all pictures are from our 2007 Disney trip.*

kelsbels
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:13 PM   #9
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It's amazing how much better 6 days sounds than 7 days. 6 DAYS TO GO...WHOOPEE!

Well my dear DISers, I should let you know that I plan on making friends out of you all yet. I'm nothing if not persistent. Although, it would be significantly easier to do so if a few of you came out of hiding. So, could you help me out a little? I promise I will make a very good DISer.

More to come later today. I think we may need to talk Boma.

kelsbels


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