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Old 09-14-2009, 02:02 PM   #1
ProPhotoGA
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My first time or What have I gotten myself into?

Well.. as the title implies this will be my first time ever to Disney. I know,
I know, why would an almost 55yo want to do Disney. Well, because I have
never been. So with that out of the was let's set the stage.

The participants:
Me, almost 55, IT manager, professinal photographer and retired Army SFC.
I have had all kinds of adventures but somehow just never made it to
Disney. My kids, my parents, siblings and heck even the ex made it to
Disney(probably on my dime). Me.. I made it to all kinds of fun adventures..
there was Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm... well you get the picture. So
now it is my turn. I hope some of you will will follow along and perhaps even
help us with our planning.

My DW, I won't mention her age. She has been to Disney a LONG time ago.
She is a nurse and the absolute love of my life. We met after I returned to
the states from Desert Storm. Long story that I will not bore you with(she
kicked me out of my room). She is also a breast cancer survivor(5yrs cancer
free 07/18/09). Most important she is a very special woman. Need to find a
pic she will let me post.

We wanted to do something special this year, so we decided that my 55th
birthday would be celebrated with Disney. Which in turn led me to
DISboards....

Our mode of travel and accomodations:
We will be staying at Fort Wilderness and hauling our 5th wheel camper down.
We have our reservations, Dec 12th -18th. We will actually arrive on the
10th and stay off site for 2 days so that I can spend my BD at the park. My
BD is the 11th of Dec.

This is all of the planning we have done so far so now what? Well I start
reading here and looking at all the stuff to do and the thought comes to me,
WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO??? I never had this much trouble
getting things together for a deployment.. why am I so confused.. ADP,
abbreviations, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto... ARRRRGGGH.... I feel
like I am behind the proverbial 8 ball. All suggestions and tips for this Disney
1st timer will be greatly appreciated.

Gene
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06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
My PTR or What Have I Gotten Myself Into?




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Old 09-14-2009, 02:32 PM   #2
ProPhotoGA
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travel itinerary

Well, we have our ressies....

Our planned travel:

Dec. 9th Leave Augusta, GA travel to Valdosta, GA and spend night.(nice KOA, have stayed there before)
Dec. 10th Leave Valdosta, GA(early) and drive to Kissimee.
Arrive at Kissimee, FL KOA and stay for 1 nights.
Dec 11th MY BD!! Spend at Epcot
Dec 12th, up early and drive to Ft. Wilderness. Set up and prepare for the next week.
Dec 13th, MK
Dec 14th, AK
Dec 15th, Epcot again
Dec 16th, Universal for Margaritaville...
Dec 17th, MK again or Epcot
Dec 18th, leave for home.
Dec 19th, arrive home

So, as you can see I am obviously a Disney planning virgin and can use all the help I can get.

Gene
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06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
My PTR or What Have I Gotten Myself Into?




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Old 09-14-2009, 02:36 PM   #3
SilverL
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I highly recommend checking out the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World from your local library or buying a copy of it used online. It would be SO helpful to you. They also have a website, touringplans.com

I've been to WDW three times and I used UG extensively for planning our trip---we're leaving today!
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:39 PM   #4
ProPhotoGA
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Thanks SilverL, I will check that out this evening. I hope you have a
wonderful time on your trip.

Gene
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06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:41 PM   #5
ProPhotoGA
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We have now just learned about a nice program for Military. Until Dec 23
active duty, retired and reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines can receive
a free 5 day pass to the parks plus they can purchase a 5 day pass for up to 5
family members/friends for only $99. Upgrading to Park Hopper is an extra $25.

I already have my BD certificate but will be taking advantage of the park
tickets.

I found this at the shadesofgreen.com site.

Gene
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06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:59 PM   #6
cascarlet
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I was just going to mention the Military Salute!! You definitely need to take advantage of that deal.

You'll find so many great tips and ideas here for planning your trip. Have you thought about your dining reservations yet?

Stay at FW in a trailer seems like so much fun! I would love to do that sometime.

Looking forward to seeing how your planning progresses. As an American I thank you for your service.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:06 PM   #7
Leleluvsdis
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Congratulations on you 1ST TRIP!!!!

My Dad is retired from the army, and we have been MANY times, but we went in may of this year and took advantage of the tickets they are currently offering. THAT WAS AWESOME!!!! Dad was free and DM, DH, and I were $125 each with park hopper. The only downside is you can't ad more days, but it was fine. It was actually nice, because it made us relax and enjoy instead of racing around and trying to see everything like we normally do.

Can't wait to read more!!!
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Old 09-14-2009, 08:10 PM   #8
ProPhotoGA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascarlet View Post
You'll find so many great tips and ideas here for planning your trip. Have you thought about your dining reservations yet?

Stay at FW in a trailer seems like so much fun! I would love to do that sometime.

Looking forward to seeing how your planning progresses. As an American I thank you for your service.
Thank you, my mind is spinning with all that needs to be done. We are looking at the dining reservations and
can't understand why I can book for the week we will be there..

More on that later.

We love our 5th wheel. It is our castle on wheels and I get to sleep in my bed every night.
I also enjoy the camaraderie of fellow RV'ers and campers.

As for my service, you are welcome. I am honored to have served this great country for
the 20 plus years I did. I am greatly who I am today because of my time in
the Army.

So..any recommendations about dining I am all ears!

Gene
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06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
My PTR or What Have I Gotten Myself Into?



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Old 09-14-2009, 08:17 PM   #9
ProPhotoGA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leleluvsdis View Post
Congratulations on you 1ST TRIP!!!!

My Dad is retired from the army, and we have been MANY times, but we went in may of this year and took advantage of the tickets they are currently offering. THAT WAS AWESOME!!!! Dad was free and DM, DH, and I were $125 each with park hopper. The only downside is you can't ad more days, but it was fine. It was actually nice, because it made us relax and enjoy instead of racing around and trying to see everything like we normally do.

Can't wait to read more!!!
Cool, I am really looking forward to this trip. I just happened to be looking at
the shadesofgreen.org site and then my DW said we should check out the
MWR at Ft Gordon. We also learn that they offer discounts on that other
theme park... Universal. We may take one day an go there if for no other
reason than to eat at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Cafe. Now.. if I can only
figure out my dining plans... eat at the park restaurants or eat in the camper?

Decissions decissions. was always easy in the Army.. C-rats,
LRPS, and now MRE's.

Gene
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06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
My PTR or What Have I Gotten Myself Into?



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Old 09-14-2009, 09:41 PM   #10
ProPhotoGA
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ADR's or What do you mean I need a reservation?

Well, I have spent the evening looking at the dining options. There are a
couple of places we would like to eat, but it seems the dates are not open
yet. At least that is what I assume. I went to the dining reservations online
and found that most of the dates of our trip are greyed out. I take this either
means they are totally unavailable or I am not within the 90 day window to
make reservations.

Looks like maybe I will be cooking a lot.

Gene
__________________
Me(55)DW(48, BC survivor)
06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
My PTR or What Have I Gotten Myself Into?



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Old 09-14-2009, 10:35 PM   #11
ProPhotoGA
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Took the advice from above and got a copy of the Unofficial Guide to Walt
Disney World along with The Complete Walt Disney World 2009. These look like
the bibles of guides to Walt Disney World. Now if they were only audio books.
__________________
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06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
My PTR or What Have I Gotten Myself Into?



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Old 09-15-2009, 01:12 AM   #12
cascarlet
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Quote:
We may take one day an go there if for no other
reason than to eat at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Cafe.
Very cool, my dh is a Parrothead which of course makes me one by proxy!

I used to work the Disney Dining line so I would be happy to assist you with any questions you have about restaurants or making ADRs.

If you are arriving 12/11 then the day you can start making reservations would be 9/12. Because you are staying at a WDW resort you can make your reservations for 10 days after your arrival. The reason why it is showing grey when you look at the calender is because you did not put in your reservation number and it's not allowing you because it's not 90 days. But if you put your reservation # in it will allow you to make the reservations. Give it a try again!

My favorites? Ohana at Poly is our family favorite. Great food and fun atmosphere. At Hollywood Studios don't miss the Sci Fi diner. You sit in a replica of an 50's type car at a drive in movie theater and watch silly sci fi movies and cartoons. For fine dining go to the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort and watch the Wishes fireworks display while you dine.

Have fun with your plans!!
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Old 09-15-2009, 01:29 AM   #13
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Hi there, congrats on taking your 1st trip to WDW. the first time can be over whelming but as you can see there are so many people on these boards who are so happy and willing to help you plan and answer any questions.

I am by no means a Disney veteran, but I do have my favorites. Coral Reef at Epcot, The dinner offers a better menu then the lunch one does.

A small tip, if you want to ride Soarin, (a must do if I say so myself) get there first thing in the morning and get a fast pass before jumping in the stand by line.

My Dad is a retired Army 1sgt. I spent my entire life living in Germany and El Paso Tx. We never went to WDW. So I am taking my mother for her 1st trip ever this December. I will be celebrating my B-day at Epcot as well, only it will be the 9th of Dec. (Early Happy Birthday to ya) Anyway, as a daughter of a retired Army 1st sgt I know first hand the sacrifices a soldier has to make. I appreciate every man and woman who has and is still serving this great country. I salute you sir. Thank you

Ty

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Old 09-15-2009, 12:37 PM   #14
ProPhotoGA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascarlet View Post
Very cool, my dh is a Parrothead which of course makes me one by proxy!

I used to work the Disney Dining line so I would be happy to assist you with any questions you have about restaurants or making ADRs.

If you are arriving 12/11 then the day you can start making reservations would be 9/12. Because you are staying at a WDW resort you can make your reservations for 10 days after your arrival. The reason why it is showing grey when you look at the calender is because you did not put in your reservation number and it's not allowing you because it's not 90 days. But if you put your reservation # in it will allow you to make the reservations. Give it a try again!

My favorites? Ohana at Poly is our family favorite. Great food and fun atmosphere. At Hollywood Studios don't miss the Sci Fi diner. You sit in a replica of an 50's type car at a drive in movie theater and watch silly sci fi movies and cartoons. For fine dining go to the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort and watch the Wishes fireworks display while you dine.

Have fun with your plans!!
Wow, Thanks for the great info cascarlet!
As for being a Parrot Head, well.. I have seen Jimmy over 30 times in concert.
I think I own just about every album he had recorded and some that are
not available anymore. Rather obscure albums and we will leave it at that.!

I will definitely be making ressies at Ohana as I have heard great things about
it. We would also like to eat at the Coral Reef and will try for ADR's there too.
Now another question... can you get a table without an ADR?

Thanks again,

Gene
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06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
My PTR or What Have I Gotten Myself Into?




Last edited by ProPhotoGA; 09-16-2009 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 09-15-2009, 01:16 PM   #15
ProPhotoGA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyaddicted View Post
Hi there, congrats on taking your 1st trip to WDW. the first time can be over whelming but as you can see there are so many people on these boards who are so happy and willing to help you plan and answer any questions.
Ty, thank you. I am a bit overwhelmed. But it is fun at the same time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyaddicted View Post

I am by no means a Disney veteran, but I do have my favorites. Coral Reef at Epcot, The dinner offers a better menu then the lunch one does.

A small tip, if you want to ride Soarin, (a must do if I say so myself) get there first thing in the morning and get a fast pass before jumping in the stand by line.
Thanks Great tips... Soarin is definitely on our list as is Coral Reef for
dinner(that is IF I can get an ADR, or can I just walk up?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyaddicted View Post

My Dad is a retired Army 1sgt. I spent my entire life living in Germany and El Paso Tx. We never went to WDW. So I am taking my mother for her 1st trip ever this December. I will be celebrating my B-day at Epcot as well, only it will be the 9th of Dec. (Early Happy Birthday to ya) Anyway, as a daughter of a retired Army 1st sgt I know first hand the sacrifices a soldier has to make. I appreciate every man and woman who has and is still serving this great country. I salute you sir. Thank you

Ty
Early Happy Birthday to you too! I loved Germany and was stationed in
TX(San Antonio) for a while. I think we do sacrifice some but at the same
time we were proud to be Soldiers and knew we were doing what needed to
be done. Wasn't always fun and it was often hard on our families. I also
want to thank you, being the daughter of a career soldier and for the
support and love you gave during that time. While we may not say it often
enough it always lifts our spirits.

Oh and how neat! Taking your mother to Disney for her first time.. You are a
wonderful daughter!!!

How long is your trip planned for? We will be at Ft Discovery on the 11th but
will actually arrive on the 10th. Got to be at Disney for my BD,

Will be reading your PTR here in a bit.

Gene
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06 F350 Dually FX4, 09 Cougar 318SAB, 34' Hunter sailboat(yes, I like things big!)
My PTR or What Have I Gotten Myself Into?




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