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Old 06-01-2010, 11:51 AM   #1
annmarieda
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Labor Day Weekend, a labor of love?

I have been reading along and enjoying several PTR's. I have never done one myself. I decided that doing one would be another great way to fill my time between now and when our next trip is.

As the title suggests, we will be going over labor day weekend 2010. 9/1 to 9/8 to be exact. As for the labor of love, who am kidding? I have my own selfish reasons for going. After all, it is Disney and I love to go to Disney! That being said, I did begin planning this trip for the benefit of two people in my life whom I love dearly. Each one deserves this trip. I will explain as I go along.

On to the travelers....

First, there is of course me. My name is Ann. In 2000, my family of 5 took our first ever trip to Disneyland and I became forever hooked on trips to Disney. We have gone once a year to either WDW or DL since that trip except for the one year that my youngest dd was born. I have 4 children, 2 girls/2 boys. The oldest is almost 20 and the youngest is 5. (no accidents there) I have, for the most part, always been a stay at home mom. Currently though, I work as a in store field rep. I have been married to my wonderful husband for nearly 21 years.

Second, there is my oldest daughter. Kira is almost 20. She is in college and engaged to be married. She is as much if not more addicted to all things Disney than I am. She is planning to go to WDW for her honeymoon.

Third, there is my youngest daughter. Zoe is just 5 years old. She is such a joy. She was born with a birth defect that has left her with a physical disability. You would never know it!

Finally, there is my own mother. Mom will be 71 when we go on this trip. She has never been to WDW. I did take her on a trip to Disneyland once, but she has never been to florida even.

thanks for reading!

Last edited by annmarieda; 06-20-2010 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:56 AM   #2
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I will give you some background on the planning for or reasons behind this trip.

The most important reasons surround the inclusion of my mother. She and I do not live near each other. The physical distance between us makes it so that we see each other, if we are lucky, once a year. As I mentioned, she is getting up there in years. She recently had a minor stroke and has lost partial sight in one of her eyes. I fear I will not have her around for many years to come. I would hope, but I know that life is short. My father, her husband of 17 years died when he was only 45. Her current husband of 14 years is away from her and has already received his last rites as it is thought he will die soon. She has had a hard life in general. This last year has been nearly unbearable for her. I know there have been many times she has just wanted to give up. Her husband was taken away. (this is a far too long and personal story) Her dog of 10 years shortly after fell ill and passed away. She sold a travel trailer to someone who was to make payments on it who of course did not. Instead, that person left town with the RV and has not been seen since. She fell under public scrutiny and had threats against her own life. Her own health, as I mentioned has been a struggle this year. I desperately wanted to offer her something to look forward to and spend some quality, positive time with her. She is a giving, wonderful woman and she deserves some happiness. Where better to get some than Disney?

The next set of reasons include Kira. With her in college, she was unable to go on our trip in February 2010. She was crushed and heartbroken. She survived though with the thought that she and her fiance would take a road trip down to Disneyland. Around the time I began to think about a trip with my mother, her plans for the road trip began to fall through. I knew it would be good to try and include her. Not only would this help her spirits, but she is a huge help with Zoe. I love most of the rides, but there are a couple that I just can NOT do. Kira is a planner like me. She likes to stay organized. I missed her on our last trip since the guys are not at all like this. It made the last trip less enjoyable for me in some ways, so I felt having her there would be an excellent idea.

As for the minor reasons, they are selfish. My husband is such a dear but he is "disney'd out" He told me our last trip was our "last trip" This of course put me in a panic. I am always on the lookout for a way to go to Disney. I plan and dream and hope. Last trip? Couldn't be! So when I began planning a trip to anywhere with my mother and free dinning was offered, I knew I had to return!

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Old 06-01-2010, 02:27 PM   #3
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How We Came to booking another WDW trip.

The first step was just to decide I wanted to plan a trip for my mother and I. At first it did not matter where. I knew that I need to bring Zoe along so it had to be kid friendly. I priced various things out. I knew that there was talk that free dinning would be offered at WDW, so I priced out a trip there assuming fd. No matter where I looked, the stay at disney always seemed to be the cheapest option. Even airfare from WA was about the same to florida as it was anywhere else.

The next step was to talk to dh. We had just spent our vacation budget in February but he agreed I needed to do something with my mother. He is always buying gadgets and I rarely buy anything for myself. It was agreed I could have x amount out of savings to put in the pot for the trip with my mom. Outside of that I would have to pick up extra hours, have a yard sale..etc. to pay for the rest.

Next began the wait for the announcement for fd. The plan was if it was offered this would be our destination. If not, we would go somewhere else.

Once fd was announced, I played around with times more seriously. I do not get any vacation time at my job. For the most part it is a part time job. Occasionally it is full time (last three weeks have averaged 40hrs). I do not however get any vacation time. The job is task oriented and so there are open dates and end dates for tasks to be done. Usually, they run monday through friday so I can play around and get all of one weeks jobs done by wednessday and then wait to do the next weeks work until I get back. There is one week out of the month that makes this little to impossible. This is the one week that I have to put in a weekend just to get everything done. So I looked on the calendar and saw that I had only a few options. I could go over the first weekend, third or fourth weekend. The first weekend was complicated with the fact I have a work meeting on the 9th so I would have to be back in time for that. The third weekend was complicated by the fact it is my anniversary and while dh is wonderful, he really would prefer that I be with him and not my mom on my anniversary. (i can't say I blame him) Finally, the 4th weekend pushed into a time when Kira was going back to school. Until this point I had not "officially" decided to include her but I was beginning to see that it might be a good thing to do. I decided on 9/2 to 9/8 and planned to book at Pop since it was our most affordable option.

Next I offered Kira the chance to go. She about lost her mind at the thought of paying for herself. She still lives at home and has little to no expenses. Given that I was paying for my mother and Zoe and myself, I just couldn't swing paying for her as well. Plus, I thought it would be good for her to spend some of her money on something. Not just buying a candy bar here or there, but actually making a grown up purchase. She held her ground and said ABSOLUTELY NOT!

So I booked Pop from 9/2 to 9/8 for my mother, Zoe and I.

I know, you look at this and think..but wait, Kira is going and those are not exactly your dates. I will get to that next.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:29 PM   #4
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Kira decides to join us!

I no more than paid the deposit on the trip with just my mother, Zoe and I when Kira broke down. She agreed that she could make it work. I knew she could. I also knew she would not pass up going when it was at time that she could go. That is after all, why I scheduled it when I did. She instantly became a huge help in the thought process. She has wonderful input when it comes to what parks to go to on what day and what adrs to make.

I called and made our first change, and added her.

Next I would have to come up with airfare plans. Flying from the west coast takes up the better part of a day so Kira and I were thinking about a red eye flight so that we could check in on 9/2. She and Zoe would do just fine with a red eye. We have done them before and while I have survived, they have been less than fun. Mom thought it would be a good idea, a way to cut costs. I worried that it would be too hard on both her and I.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:08 PM   #5
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Air Fare

As a way to cut costs, I knew that I would be booking my ticket as well as Zoe's on Alaska. I have an Alaska Visa for the companion fare. The rate used to be $50 for the companion. This along with the annual fee being lower made it a good card for me to have. The thing is, the companion fare was about to expire and the new one for the year was about to be issued. I did not have very much time to decide on a flight before the companion fare would be $100. The problem was that the fare between Seattle and Orlando was one of the highest I have ever seen. To have two full fares at that price was going to be outside what I was budgeting.

I started to look at other airlines. I found that Southwest actually had the best rate, and with 2 bags free...seemed to be the best deal. That would mean that Kira and mom would have to fly out separately. I toyed around with that idea. I actually thought it might work. Then I noticed that the times they got in would be so different. Taking a red eye on Alaska was one thing when it was all of us. Mom and Kira would have to fly out earlier and thus get in on the 1st.

I then noticed that my husband had a companion fare that, if he purchased the tickets, could be used for two different passengers. (yes, I know that means we both have cards. For a family of 6, it has made sense so that we could use the companion fares) That was the best idea yet. This actually saved quite a bit since it was almost like paying for just 2 fares total. With that savings I decided we should NOT fly a red eye. and we would pay the extra on two of the tickets to fly out earlier and...dant da da duhhhh... stay one additional night.

I called to make the next change from checking in on 9/2 to 9/1. This also meant that we had one ts more to make an ADR for!
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:59 PM   #6
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Talking Hi Ann!

Great to see you starting your PTR! I am looking forward to more background and more planning! Your mom sounds like she's been through some hard times, I can't imagine going through what you described. I am sure she will have an amazing time. That's great news that your oldest dd can join you as well!

Definitely post some pictures! the img tags you posted should work. I post my pics on photobucket and then link to each picture from there.
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chunkymonkey View Post
Great to see you starting your PTR! I am looking forward to more background and more planning! Your mom sounds like she's been through some hard times, I can't imagine going through what you described. I am sure she will have an amazing time. That's great news that your oldest dd can join you as well!

Definitely post some pictures! the img tags you posted should work. I post my pics on photobucket and then link to each picture from there.
Thanks so much for reading! I am not so sure that what I have to write is all that interesting to others, but it is my events leading to my next trip so interesting enough for me.

as for the tags, I tried that. It just didn't come through. I will try again.

I got it to work!

Last edited by annmarieda; 06-02-2010 at 10:44 AM. Reason: adding to what I previously posted
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:46 PM   #8
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This is my Zoe.

Yay, I got it to work!!!

Last edited by annmarieda; 06-02-2010 at 10:43 AM. Reason: finally got a picture inserted!
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:13 AM   #9
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Minor Change, but advice needed...

So when I made the change to add 9/1, the cm urged me to change our park tickets as well. I started to insist that we didn't need to. We had 7day base tickets. I could tell he thought it strange of me to not want the 8th day. It was after all, only $12.xx more. I told him how we were arriving late enough in the day that we just wouldn't use it on 9/1. He then told me that we would have another 6 hours that the park was open. Not having checked into the hours for each park on that day, I thought that seemed reasonable. I mean, I knew Kira could enjoy some time alone in the park with her sister if nothing else. So I agreed and added the 8th day.

As you can imagine, once I checked I realize that the parks are NOT open that late. I believe that MK stays open the latest and that is only till 9pm. Our flight arrives at MCO in the 5pm hour. We will use ME and the luggage service so that will cut down some time, but I still think we will not be ready to go to a park before 7pm..if not 8pm.

Kira's vote is to keep the 8th day. She thinks that going to MK if for only an hour will be a great way to give my mother and I a chance to get settled into our room.

My mom's vote is to save any money where ever we can. (she is even planning NOT to check any luggage. something I could NEVER do, just to save a few $$)

I am undecided. The amount is really nothing. I mean...$12 is only a fraction, right? I think I get hung up on the principle of the matter. I feel a bit conned into it for one. Second, I hate to add something that we flat out won't use. I wonder if by the time we get to Florida, after such a long flight and needing to have dinner and unpack...will Kira really want to take Zoe to MK? Would I want to go with her? Seems wasteful.

Any thoughts?
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:25 AM   #10
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Unveiling the ADR's

I am not convinced that these are set in stone. It seems so funny that 7 ts meals would seem too few, and as though I need to have more just to fit in the places that we want to eat at.

In any case, here they are....

9/2 3:10pm Mama Melrose's for the Fantasmic Package.

9/3 7:50pm Coral Reef

9/4 2:00pm Tusker House for the Finding Nemo Package

9/5 5:00pm Boatwrights

9/6 5:05pm Kona Cafe'

9/7 2:00pm Le Cellier

9/8 8:15am Donald Safari Breakfast at Tusker House

I am contemplating paying oop for the breakfast and adding in something else on another day or perhaps doing a dinner show instead of one of the others. The problem is with my mother having poor eyesight and hearing, I wanted priority seating at the two shows. (Fantasmic and Finding Nemo) Kira HAS to HAS to HAAAAS to have Tusker. Le Cellier is a must. That leaves Coral Reef and Boatwrights. Which to cut out in order to do a dinner show? Who knows though, at this point there may not even be a way to get into a dinner show.
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:42 AM   #11
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Pictures of us

I finally got a picture in. I am not sure why it wasn't working before. Lets see if I can get some more in here...

This was this year (February 2010).

Me




These are last years trip (February 2009)

Kira and Zoe



Zoe



Kira

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Old 06-02-2010, 01:58 PM   #12
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by annmarieda View Post
Minor Change, but advice needed...

I am undecided. The amount is really nothing. I mean...$12 is only a fraction, right? I think I get hung up on the principle of the matter. I feel a bit conned into it for one. Second, I hate to add something that we flat out won't use. I wonder if by the time we get to Florida, after such a long flight and needing to have dinner and unpack...will Kira really want to take Zoe to MK? Would I want to go with her? Seems wasteful.

Any thoughts?
Hmm, do you know if there are extra magic hours that night? If there are, it might be worth it, but if not, then I wouldn't pay the extra $$. Especially if your flight is delayed so you may not even get there in time to partake of the full day at the park. If you guys want something to do at night, I think it'll be a great time to go to DTD or check out your resort grounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by annmarieda View Post
Unveiling the ADR's

I am contemplating paying oop for the breakfast and adding in something else on another day or perhaps doing a dinner show instead of one of the others. The problem is with my mother having poor eyesight and hearing, I wanted priority seating at the two shows. (Fantasmic and Finding Nemo) Kira HAS to HAS to HAAAAS to have Tusker. Le Cellier is a must. That leaves Coral Reef and Boatwrights. Which to cut out in order to do a dinner show? Who knows though, at this point there may not even be a way to get into a dinner show.
I love Fantasmic, but I have yet to see Finding Nemo! We are paying OOP for our breakfast at Kona and Lunch at Sci Fi, because we calculated that they would be the cheapest meals of the trip, and we can put the rest of our TS meals on the Free DP, but I don't care because I really really want to go to them anyways. I have never been to Boatwrights, but Coral Reef is great!
Great ADR choices!

BTW, I cannot believe you have a 20-year-old daughter. You look amazing! I can see where your kids get their good looks from!
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chunkymonkey View Post
Hmm, do you know if there are extra magic hours that night? If there are, it might be worth it, but if not, then I wouldn't pay the extra $$. Especially if your flight is delayed so you may not even get there in time to partake of the full day at the park. If you guys want something to do at night, I think it'll be a great time to go to DTD or check out your resort grounds.
MK and Epcot are open till 9pm that night. Our flight arrives about 5:15pm. If it is at all delayed or if ME takes a while it could be pretty late by the time we get to the hotel. When we stayed at POR in February, check in took well over an hour. So even that could keep us from the park. I think that was a fluke though since it was late and the computer went down and our reservation was lost. (luckily I had hard copies).

I think DTD might be an excellent option. We are always trying to spend so much time in the parks when we go that we have only briefly gone to DTD, for lunch before we had to leave for the airport.

Another thought is to try and go to Epcot for dinner. I am sure we are going to need to eat. I could see us eating at Pop, but with the 8th day ticket we could get into the park for a late TS dinner. Course, we could do the same at DTD without the extra day park ticket.



Quote:
Originally Posted by chunkymonkey View Post
[COLOR="black"][FONT="Century Gothic"]I love Fantasmic, but I have yet to see Finding Nemo! We are paying OOP for our breakfast at Kona and Lunch at Sci Fi, because we calculated that they would be the cheapest meals of the trip, and we can put the rest of our TS meals on the Free DP, but I don't care because I really really want to go to them anyways. I have never been to Boatwrights, but Coral Reef is great!
Great ADR choices!
Finding Nemo is a must for us. We really enjoy that. I think my mom will as well, assuming she can see and hear it.

I wanted Kona for breakfast. I have read good things about it. Course, I have read good things about lunch and dinner as well. I guess we will find out. I am excited since this will be a new one for us.

I have not been to Boatwrights either. We stayed at POR last trip and I regretted not making an ADR for there. I think the bananas foster is what is calling to me there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chunkymonkey View Post
BTW, I cannot believe you have a 20-year-old daughter. You look amazing! I can see where your kids get their good looks from!

That is sweet of you! There are days I can't believe she is almost 20..but then again, there are definitely days I FEEL like I am old enough to have a 20 year old. Zoe keeps me going so at least maybe I look a bit younger than I am.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:03 AM   #14
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The Binder

Each trip, I have something to organize our plans. Some years have been more creative than others. In February, when we last went, I did nothing but buy a 3 ring binder. I think I needed something a bit more creative for this next trip.

In all honesty, I searched esty and found that someone was selling a binder that I really liked. I could see elements to it that I thought I would like, and others that I didn't. So I have begun to work on a version of my own. I am really liking it so far.

This is the outside. It is made using a plastic pocket folder. I hope that since it is plastic it will be more durable.



This is how the inside is coming along. I plan to make "cards" that fit into each pocket. There are four pockets, so each days plan in each of the four parks will slide in and out for easy viewing. In the center is still the 3 brads that bind it. I am thinking I will things we need, but wont want to remove in the center.

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Old 06-03-2010, 10:40 AM   #15
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Let the purchasing begin

I am not sure why I am like this, but before each trip I begin buying things. I justify by saying we/I need xxx for the trip. In some cases, it may be just a bit crazy because we already have the item from the last trip or maybe we have enough of something, but I feel it isn't "Disney worthy". However the shopping and buying is something that helps me plan for the trip and so I will add in here.

Some of the goals for this trip

1. Swim Suit for me
2. Swim Suit for Zoe
3. Items to help organize the room -
4. Sunglasses for Zoe
5. Sunglasses for me
6. Hat for me
7. Hat for Zoe
8. Hat for Kira
9. Couple new shirts for me
10. Couple new shirts for Kira
11. Socks for Kira
12. Shoes for Kira
13. Disney themed activity books for Zoe
14. Disney themed snacks
15. bag for me
16 New jammies for Kira
17. New jammies for me
18. Swim goggles for Zoe
19. Pocket sized hand sanitizers
20. Sponges for cleaning mugs
21. Room organizing items

I am sure I will come across other things I must have before the trip, but that is the list for now. As I take items off this list, I will highlight those in pink. The list is also likely to grow....

Last edited by annmarieda; 08-05-2010 at 11:42 AM. Reason: updated list
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