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Old 10-14-2009, 01:47 AM   #1
cbg1027
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Smile A Veteran Shows a Novice the Disney Ropes: Abby and Mark's December Disney Trip

This is my 2nd PTR - I have another one going as well (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2298103) but...I have two trips coming up!

Introducing our cast:

Me, Abby: 24 year old college student, Disney lover, travel nut, and foodie. I live in FL (wooo FL resident discounts!)

Me at AK:


Mark: 28 yr old commercial farmer, Disney novice (), travel nut, foodie, and wine and beer lover. Lives in Missouri.

Mark at a restaurant in Venice:


So your probably wondering how these two people decided upon a trip to Disney together. That my friends, warrants a story on how we met!

In 2004 I was living in France working as a live-in nanny. I was in a village about an hour southwest of Paris, so guess where I spent my weekends? There is a man named Rick Steves who has a series of European Guidebooks and a travel TV show on PBS. I ADORE Rick Steves, he is my travel guru. His book, Europe Through the Back Door, is my travel bible. Well Rick has a website with a message board. One of the forums is 'Travel Partners Wanted'. So I posted there looking for English speakers traveling through Paris on the weekends so I could meet people and play tour guide. Mark, who also loves Rick Steves, responded to my ad. So we met in Paris one weekend in November I think it was. Mark was traveling through several places in Europe alone so he was utilizing the board to find activity partners. We had a wonderful time and found we had very similar travel styles and a shared obsession with Rick Steves. So we stayed in touch after that weekend and would fill each other in on our European travel adventures.

Here's me and Mark at the Trevi Fountain in Rome:


After I moved back home from France, we were still in touch and found that neither one of us had any friends that would go to Europe. So we said we'll go together! It was 4 loooooong years before I finally saved up enough money to go back to Europe, so Mark went a few times solo in that period. Last year I was finally able to commit to a trip, so we spent 2 weeks in Italy together in Dec 08.

I know you're probably wondering is 'did they fall in love'? No, we're just friends, but everywhere we go people assume we're a couple. No big deal though, in Italy it actually made me feel a lot safer because I think it acted as a deterrent to the relentless flirtations of (most!) Italian men.

One day we were in a little paper shop in Florence and the shopkeeper asked us how we met, and when we said we met in Paris, the shopkeeper goes "Oooo how romanteek!". We just stopped correcting people at that point.

So pretty shortly after we got back from Italy Mark was asking where we're going this year. I told him I just couldn't afford Europe again so soon. I ended up going to Disney in late March for the first time in 2 years and just got the idea in my head about going with Mark in December. I had no idea if he liked Disney or not, but it never hurts to ask! So I made the suggestion to him, and to my surprise, he not only said yes, but was excited about the idea!

The reason we always travel in the winter is because that's when Mark doesn't really have any work. Wheat and corn don't grow in the cold...so Mark has a few moths off in the winter every year! Since I'm still in school, I have between semester breaks that I can usually get away. I have to say I LOVE traveling in the winter. It's not hot, and it's the off season so prices are lower and there are fewer tourists!

This trip will mark my 11th time at WDW. Living 4 hours from the Mouse most of my life has been very practical. Mark went once, maybe 15 years ago for a few days, so for all practical purposes, this is like his first trip.
One of the reasons Mark makes a great travel buddy for me is that he's more than happy to sit back and let me do all the planning. I'm pretty type-A and controlling. In a good way of course. So with this trip, I'm the 'expert' - I basically just consulted with Mark on TS restaurant choices and what he can handle ride wise.

That's all for now...stay tuned for the next installment where I will discuss our lodging and the beginning of our itinerary!

Last edited by cbg1027; 10-14-2009 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:48 PM   #2
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First one to post! What a cool story about how you and Mark met. I'm sure you'll have a great time in WDW!
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:11 AM   #3
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Yay, 1 follower!
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:48 AM   #4
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Lodging

So part of the reason this trip is happening is my 40% off a Disney Resort PIN! Couple that with the value season rack rates.....and we're paying a whopping $49 per night!

Orginally I had us booked at ASMu because I've stayed at ASMo, will be staying at POP in Oct/Nov...and of the the values left Music appealed to me more. We had scheduled our dates for 12/13-12/18 because my PIN was only valid for those dates. Well after some budgeting and reasearch, I decided we could add another night on to the trip on 12/12 since I was able to get a FL Resident rate that was like $59 for that night. But it required us moving to AS Sports. Not my preferred theme....but whatever, I don't really care, another night at Disney on the cheap!

With that PIN code, I gave some very serious consideration to going for a Moderate, but in the end, the value won out for us for a couple of big reasons:
We can budget more money for food (More Signature dinners and more wine!)
And we can stay longer!

And there's really no reason for us to stay Mod...we only use the room for sleeping and showering and I doubt we'll have any time or desire to use the pool.

So AS Sports it is. I requested a room in the Touchdown building #10 facing the parking lot or woods. Hopefully this will mean it's quieter. Plus it seemed to be the shortest walk to the main building without being in a preferred location.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:05 AM   #5
wdwgirl03
I'm just a big Disney Freak! :-)
I will throw a party the day I get a tag!!!
I am pretty wimpy when it comes to thrill rides
 
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Wow, that is a good deal! ASSports is nice...we stayed there in '03. It was really different for us since we had been so used to staying at the Polynesian but we still liked it. I think we were in the surfing section.
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'91-Disney villas '93, '95, '97, '99, '01, '02-Polynesian '03-All Star Sports '05-All Star Movies; offsite- Universal/Disney Oct. '06, Dec. '07/Jan. '08-Saratoga Springs May '08-Animal Kingdom Lodge Dec. '08-Beach Club Villas Aug. '09-Villas @ the Wilderness Lodge April '10-Kidani Village Aug. '10-Saratoga Springs Mar. '11-Old Key West Oct. '11-Saratoga Springs April '12-Boardwalk Villas April '13-Bay Lake Tower Aug. '13-Pop Century Dec. '13-Saratoga Springs April '14-Pop Century UPCOMING TRIPS: Dec. '14-DISNEYLAND!!! April '15-VWL!!!
*DVC member since 2006*

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Old 10-16-2009, 10:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwgirl03 View Post
Wow, that is a good deal! ASSports is nice...we stayed there in '03. It was really different for us since we had been so used to staying at the Polynesian but we still liked it. I think we were in the surfing section.
Oooh glad to hear you liked AS Sports. I think as long as I'm at Disney Resort I'm happy though.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:44 AM   #7
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A pre-Disney Stopover

Since Mark lives in MO, we decided it would be best for him to drive to Tallahassee, where I live. Although it's a long drive, we figured he'd actually spend less time traveling because neither one of us lives near a major airport. If you try to fly in and out of Tallahassee, it's twice the price of going to Jacksonville or Orlando. Plus, he plans to spend a night or two in New Orleans on the way over, so that will break up the drive for him. Mark will decide when he wants to leave MO, I just told him to be here by Thursday Dec 10.

I have a friend and former roommate who is from Tampa. A few weeks ago she was telling me about her wedding. She and her husband Jun did a quickie courthouse ceremony in Tampa. But afterwards, they took some of their closest friends and went to a very special restaurant to celebrate. That place is called Bern's Steakhouse. It's consistently ranked as one of the top steak houses in the country. The raise their own beef and grow their own vegetables on an organic farm outside Tampa. The wine list has over 6000 bottles. It's not just a place to eat a steak, it's a very special dining event. I actually went there a few times when I was growing up, but was way too young to appreciate it - and didn't like red meat at the time!

So Caitlin and I decide we should go sometime. So we looked at our schedules and the first time we could both go isn't until the end of finals week - when I'm going Disney. So we have concocted a plan - Me, Mark, Caitlin, and Jun will drive to Tampa on Friday Dec 11 and go to dinner at Bern's that night! Caitlin and Jun still have a house in Tampa, so we will all stay there for the night. Then on Saturday Dec 12, Mark and I will only have a 90 minute drive to Disney - thus allowing us much more time at a park that day! See, there are practical reasons we "need" to go to Bern's.

I'm also going to try and make time to take Mark to St. Pete Beach. I mean, he's coming to FL....gotta show him the water, right?
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:58 PM   #8
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Day 2 - On to Disney!

So we'll be leaving from Tampa to go to Disney on Sat Dec 12. It's only about a 90 minute drive...much better than 4 hours! I think we'll still aim for an early departure so we can get in lunch at the World instead of some fast food joint!

As I mentioned, we'll be staying at AS Sports. Since we should arrive before 3, I'm not going to count on our room being ready. I think they will be having a mass exodus that day because off all the Pop Warner people leaving. Whew....we're just missing them, hallelujah!

We plan to head to Epcot this day. Since we obviously won't be making rope drop, I'm thinking we'll just focus on the World Showcase. We might try driving to the Boardwalk and parking there and then using the IG entrance. Would save a lot of hassle, especially in the evening!
Hmmm wondering where we should eat lunch! We have a 5:00 dinner ADR at Restaurant Marrakesh, so I want something different for lunch.
After dinner we'll keep touring the WS until Illuminations.
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:30 PM   #9
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I'm in!
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:16 AM   #10
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I'm in! You're my first Pre-trip report!

BTW, is it wrong that I totally want y'all to fall in love? That's really why I'm going to follow!
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:17 AM   #11
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Oh and Have a great trip!
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:11 PM   #12
cbg1027
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KateMW View Post
I'm in! You're my first Pre-trip report!

BTW, is it wrong that I totally want y'all to fall in love? That's really why I'm going to follow!
No it's not wrong....I've wanted it to happen myself since we're such good travel buddies....but the lovey-dovey feeling just isn't there.


So sorry I haven't update this PTR in so long. Been busy with my TR and Food review from the last trip!

Not much to report on this trip. I did make our reservations for Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa a few days ago. They will only allow reservations to be made six weeks in advance. Could you imagine if Disney did that? Two of Caitlin and Jun's friends with be joining us, making it a party of 6. Caitlin seems to have a lot of interesting and diverse friends, so I'm sure we will have a fun night. Apparently one of them is a vegetarian. And they're coming to a Steakhouse with us!
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:07 PM   #13
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Split Stay?

Oh boy. I think I have too much time on my hands. It's 3 weeks out and I'm seriously considering upgrading to a Mod for the second half of the trip!

They have open rooms at all of the Mods for the passholder rate of $89 a night!

Should we do it???? I'm really loving POFQ......
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:27 AM   #14
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We're doing it! The split stay!

So we now have 12/12-12/15 at AS Sports and 12/15-12/18 at POFQ!

I'm soooooo excited about POFQ! I'm jsut afraid that if I stay there, I'll never want to go back to a value again!
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:15 AM   #15
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We are doing a split stay that same week. We will be at SSR from Dec 13-16 and then switch to GF from Dec 16-19. I saw your post on the other board about Coral Reef. We will be in Epcot that day, but are doing the Yuletide Fantasy Tour that morning and won't be back to Epcot until after 12:30. It would have been nice to have lunch with another DISer.

We have stayed at POR and absolutly loved it! We didn't go over to POFQ, but I'm sure it is just as nice and you will love it.

Only a few more weeks!!! Hope you have a great stay!
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