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Old 09-22-2009, 12:33 PM   #1
ILuvJimny
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The October 2009, Two Teens and a Mom plan a Last-Minute Disney Adventure

Okay, I've never done a trip report before, so be patient with me and help me if you can!!

First, I shall introduce the cast for this trip: Me, the Disney loving soccer mom. We’ll call me DSM for Disney/Soccer Machine or Deal Saving Magician or Darling Son’s Mom or whatever you wish. Next is DS15, (Smotch) who plays soccer, runs track, works hard at school, is an Eagle Scout and tolerates my Disney obsession as long as it means he can bring a friend on vacation. Lastly, there is DS’s friend who is 18, (Kdub) attends the same school so he has the same time off and gets along well with DS. Unfortunately, DH has no vacation time left after all his scout training so it will just be the three of us this trip.

Here is how it all started:

Once upon a time there was a DSM who loved all things Disney.. Now DSM goes to visit her favorite place on earth - WDW - as often as she can, but it is usually only every few years because life and finances won’t allow otherwise.

One day, she was checking her email and found something about an amazing 3 day sale on air fare, including flights to Florida. She jokingly told her DH about it, even though they had been to Florida recently. He surprisingly said, you should take DS15 and go over his fall school break. Well, this Disney loving soccer mom, could not argue with such a good plan like that so she asked her DS what he thought. He was very willing to spend his fall break on a journey to Florida and maybe even the Bahamas, but wanted to bring a friend to ride the spinning rides with. Now this DSM likes to ride the most dangerous and scarey of rides, but the ones that go around and around, just seem to make her dizzy and sick. DS15 called his best friend and asked if he would like to join them for an exciting adventure to the land of Magic and Celebration. He, of course, said YES!

But all good stories seem to have difficulties along the way, don’t they? That’s one reason we celebrate when they finally make it to the happiest, most magical place on earth for their long awaited adventure. In this case, it was a rather short awaited adventure, but still greatly anticipated, non-the-less. By the time the decision was made to go on the adventure, the flights were difficult to arrange, and they ultimately had to GO on one airline and RETURN on another in order to get the best price available. But still, they were going, and at an incredible price, which was less than ½ of the great price they had paid on their last visit. Oh, I should also mention that DSM had received one of those 5X the Disney Rewards offers and called to activate it and ended up with an extra $40 in Disney Rewards for booking the airfare with it.

Will DSM be able to keep finding amazing deals? Stay tuned......
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:16 PM   #2
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Where shall we stay? Chapter 2

Next came the trial of finding budget accommodations and transportation. For this adventure was planned a bit last minute – compared to previous adventures that were in the planning stage for many years. It also needed to be extremely inexpensive because it was so unexpected. So the DSM started on her new challenge to save money. She looked into Value Resorts using AAA discounts and renting DVC points to save money so they could still stay in the magical land and use the magical transportation to the hotel and the parks. (I know staying onsite is not budget to some of you, but it is a priority to us. After we tried it once, we can’t go back to off site, due to the convenience.)

The party of 3 decided that their perfect trip would entail staying at Pop Century for the first 4 nights, followed by a 3 day RCL Bahamas Cruise out of Port Canaveral, then stay the last few nights at a DVC with rented points. Eventually, the DSM booked Pop Century using her AAA which had expired, but she would spend $60 to renew it just before leaving on the trip so it was current. She had a Travel Agent looking for good deals on a Cruise and a contract in place to rent 16 DVC points for 2 nights in an Old Key West Studio. Life was good…but would it get even better?
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Old 09-27-2009, 12:02 AM   #3
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How to feed 2 teenage boys at Disney- Chapter 3

A few days later DSM received an email announcing Free Dining in October when you book with a Disney Rewards Visa. OCTOBER!!! Two teenage boys to feed in WDW and they offer her FREE DINING? The DSM called right away and was able to change her reservation to a package, which couldn’t use the AAA discount – saved $60 there by not renewing it yet – but did have to add 3 MYW tickets. She could save those for a future trip since they already had 10 day hopper, with water parks and more option that was non expiring that still had 4 days on them. They did decide to do the QSDP instead of the regular plan since the boys did not express any interest in TS meals, nor liked to take the time out a sit down meal would require. In the past, DS15 loved the meals at the Everything Pop and the refillable mug – both which were included in the QSDP. 2 CS and 2 snack credits per day would be just perfect for them.

On previous adventures, the DSM has been able to get in on a fridge swap to have cold milk for morning cereal for DS. One of the first things DSM did was to check the DISboard for any availability on a fridge swap during the brief time they might rest from their adventures at the Pop Century Resort. Alas, there was nothing available. One day, DSM was perusing the Budget Board and happened upon a revived swap that appeared to have an opening at just the right time. She PM’d the new organizer and guess what? There was availability. Yes, things were getting better…but was their story going to take a sad turn?

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Old 09-27-2009, 11:12 PM   #4
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Chapter 4 Flight changes. To cruise or not to cruise.

One day the DSM was working on their itinerary and was checking online for their flight information and found that the airline had changed their arrival time to 20 minutes later so they would arrive too late at night and wouldn't be able to use Magical Express Luggage Service. The airline did not even email them to tell them the flights had changed. They had planned on leaving a couple hours after her volunteer shift at the Library ended so she wouldn't need to get a substitute, but with the flight schedule change they would have to take the extra time, late at night, to locate their luggage and drag it to the hotel themselves!

DSM called the airline to check on the change and just asked if they could move to a different flight that was earlier since the changed times was causing such inconvenience, but knew they wouldn't change them for one so convenient without at least a $50 change fee each and also charge them the extra $100 each that that flight is costing now; but she asked anyway. What's the worst they can do...say NO? The DSM explained the problem the change in schedule caused and told her the flight they would like to be changed to, instead, which left early in the morning since she would have to get the substitute volunteer after all. The Reservation Specialist put her on hold to check with the manager, coming back to her several times to say that she was still checking and asking her to continue to hold. FINALLY, she got back on the line and said that she was working on making the change and that their reservation would be switched to the new itinerary – WITHOUT CHARGE! DSM was so elated and thanked her and thanked her! Life was good again!

All this time the DSM had been researching cruises online, in addition to having a Travel Agent watching out for her, and was unable to find any great bargains, which was the only way they could justify spending extra money on a cruise. Then she realized that if you add in what a hotel, entertainment and food would cost for 3 days, the price she was finding was a pretty good deal after all. Late one evening, she was online looking at cruises one last time before making the decision to book and found that the prices had dropped! It wouldn’t be a Disney Cruise because they were in Dry Dock during DSM’s vacation time, but it was still a cruise basking on the beautiful beaches of the Bahamas! Life was Great!
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:01 AM   #5
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Yeah - found it, have only read the first bit but will be back to read the rest after the school run. Its a brilliant start DSM
Back again to finish off reading, boy you've had a lot of hard work and re organising to sort it all out. Hope you and the boys have a really fantastic time.
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:10 PM   #6
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Just wanted to include our general itinerary. Park hours continue to change so we are going to decide when and where we will be on a day-by-day basis. We have 3 days of Park Hoppers and 2 'other' DQ or Water Parks we can do, so this is how we will maximize our time at WDW. Just a few days to go now!!! We will use Magic Express and the Disney Buses where we can, then get a car from Budget at the Double Tree for a week to get us to Busch Gardens and the Cruise. We will spend the first 4 nights at Pop Century on free dining, then the next 3 on the cruise with dining included, and the final 2 at OKW on rented points.

Monday -10/5 Fly to MCO (may go to DTD or DQ if we are not jet lagged.)
Tues - 10/6 Disney Parks at rope drop
Wed - 10/7 Disney Parks at rope drop
Thurs - 10/8 DQ or resort, then MNSSHP at 4pm
Fri - 10/9 Sleep in, then head to Port Canaveral for RCCL cruise
Sat - 10/10 Nassau
Sun- 10/11 CocoCay
Mon- 10/12 Return to Port Canaveral and head to Busch Gardens
Tues- 10/13 Final day at Disney Parks - rope drop
Wed- 10/14 Fly home

No, ADR's or definite parade/show plans as we are just going to do as much as we can and let our friend determine what he wants to experience since we have done pretty much most everything before. We look forward to an amazing, jam packed 9 days.

Any observations or suggestions?
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:28 AM   #7
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Just one suggestion for Busch Gardens, don't ride Gwazi, its a real boneshaker, was really glad to get off that one! Other than that, sounds good, personally wouldn't go to DQ, didn't like the place but I know that you do so go and have a brilliant time, will be thinking about you on Monday. What time is your flight?
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:14 AM   #8
ILuvJimny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzy Lemon View Post
Just one suggestion for Busch Gardens, don't ride Gwazi, its a real boneshaker, was really glad to get off that one! Other than that, sounds good, personally wouldn't go to DQ, didn't like the place but I know that you do so go and have a brilliant time, will be thinking about you on Monday. What time is your flight?
We leave at 7:45am and get in to Orlando at 4pm.

Yes, unlike your boys, my boys seemed to enjoy DQ and had no interest in the waterparks - probably because they don't swim well, but love video games!

I don't remember Qwazi at Busch. I'll have to see what the boys thought of it. I didn't ride much of the wild rides there before and will be certain to avoid Qwazi this trip.

After weeks of September weather, with most days at 90+ degrees, Sept 30th shot down to a high of 60 degrees, with a threat of snow tomorrow. Even though the weather looks like it will be humid and rainy in Florida, we will be anxious for WARM weather!
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:29 AM   #9
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Wow you're leaving tomorrow! And you are doing the 2 things I love most-Disney and cruises! Have a great trip!
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:58 AM   #10
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Hey,
How did everything go.
I hope you come back on and reply.
Especially the cruise part.
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