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Old 06-28-2010, 09:25 PM   #1
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Smile This time, I walk!!!

Here we go again!

Missed me?
I missed you guys!

Sorry I was AWOL for this whole time, but I couldn't bear stroll around here when I knew my next trip was sooo far away. It just hurt too much and depressed me.

As I told you at the end of my (not-so-well-done, I apologize again ) TR, me and Mama had decided to go back to WDW in December 2012, so we could see the Christmas decorations, as well as visit Universal for the first time (and WWoHP!!! mainly that!), after the big rush.

But things changed... We learned this week thar London, Ontario, got the 2013 World figure skating championships.
What the heck has that got to do with a Disney trip?

Well, we are HUGE figure skating fans. So since it's the first time a Worlds championships has come close to where we live (about 6hrs away), we're going!!!
But it's gonna be March 2013... if we go to WDW/Universal in December 2012, it would mean 2 big trips in 4 months.
If we were doing a trip each year, doing 2 that year would be just fine. But Disney will be our first since... well since the last Disney trip Spring 2008... So it would be sad to have everything happen in 4 months and then over for years again.

So, we decided to advance our Disney/Universal trip from 2012 to 2011! (after all, December 2011 is ALMOST in 2012... )

Which means it's less than 18 months away!!!
Which means I can start planning!
Which means... PTR!

Everyone, old and new Disfriends, you're once again welcome to tag along as I try to remember all abbreviations and learn a whole new world with Universal! (I may also tell you a bit about planning for Worlds, if you don't mind).

Let's go!

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 01-13-2012 at 06:27 PM. Reason: PTR title change!
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:26 PM   #2
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Budget, how long and on/offsite?

Wow, already so many questions...

Mama wanted to stay about one month (4 weeks). YEAH, I know! Cool, isn't it?!
Of course, it's a long time. But for those who are new and don't have time to read previous P/TR... well we have our reasons not to make it a short trip.
First as you may have understood by now, we don't travel a lot and it will only be our second trip to Disney. And our first to Universal. Last time, which will be 3 1/2 years ago when we get there, we stayed about 3 weeks, didn't do a day off, didn't visit anything else... and we still haven't seen everything. Only 2 rides in MK we did twice, some I missed entirely (Splash Mountain!!!) and we missed a LOT in Epcot. Didn't do any of the water parks (we won't either in December... unless it's real hot and we have time... but won't at least one be closed for rehabs?), anyways. You get the point.

Why is that? First off, I was in a wheelchair. And Mama wouldn't MOVE. Argh. But that's another story.

I'm sick. I'm a little better now, actually. We have decided not to use the wheelchair, no matter how I feel, and just use the scooters. As being pushed by my mom is just too hard on both of us. And I'm not talking about the physical strain on her, that was only hard for her at AK. No, I'm one to walk fast and know where I'm going, and if I don't, I ask, or I try something... when in doubt she walks slow, stops, goes around in circle, etc. I would go crazy. In the scooter I'll be able to lead and she'll follow.

But maybe I'll be lucky, and if the weather's not too hot, I'll be able to walk the whole time and just use a... damn, I already forgot the name... those cards for special needs people like me, so I could wait out of the sun, maybe sitting on a bench or something. Because I would hate to have to use a scooter all day when my only problem is waiting standing in the sun. I still have trouble with that.

Of course I still have trouble with walking a lot, but I can walk much more, and there are plenty of benches I will be able to use to take a break and rest my knees, and my heart. (both are problems. In fact, all my joints have problems -I'm having problem typing right now because I had wrist surgery last March).

Hum. That will be a thing to investigate... do Universal have something like Disney for special needs, letting you wait out of the sun if needed? Or if I'll need to use the scooter there? If I have to, how do they deal with it in waiting lines? Is it integrated like at Disney, where you just get off the scooter to get in the ride, or do they have different entrances for disabled people? One thing on my notebook.

Lucky I have 18 months to plan... SO many questions!

Like, last time, our budget was about 8000$ for three weeks.
Included airfare (direct flight), on-site moderate hotel (POR) and annual pass with DDE but no dining plan. And we took the Behind the scenes tour.
We did the trip without being tight on budget, doing most things we always dreamed of, like some character dining, Cinderella's Castle and such.

This time, we want WDW and Universal, as I said.
We will drive, as Mama is airplane phobic (she kinda had forgotten until we took the plane last time and prefers not to try and work on that with a psychologist...) We'd like to take a train but it costs a lot and isn't practical, as we can't take luggage). Since I feel better than 2 years ago, and we have a new car, driving will be cool. I love to drive! And our Cube is great!

As for the rest...
Do we do on-site or off...
Do we do on-site at Universal (I started learning about how on-site has a LOT of advantages there...) but not at Disney?
Do we do off-site halfway between both parks?
All have pros and cons...
I'll have to figure it out and me and Mama will have to think it through.

I figured we need about a week at Universal to be sure to see and do all we want, and about 2 weeks at Disney for the same... Maybe less. But if it's less, we'll just have time to relax and enjoy, or go do something else.

I'd like to go visit Nasa and Seaworld.

So we really only need 3 weeks.
But maybe we'll still go for 4 weeks and take it slow. Skip the busiest days and do smaller days at the parks (depending on the kind of tickets we take of course).

Also, we want to go in early December, to skip the crowds but still see the festive stuff... Ideal would be mid-November to Mid-December... but that includes Thanksgiving!
So the true ideal would be arriving the Monday after Thanksgiving and leaving just before Christmas, like around the 21nd, leaving us time to get home before the 24th. That's a total of 4 weeks gone (short of 1 day), and 23 days in Orlando.

Our budget is about 5000$.
And so far it doesn't seem it's possible. But how could it be so hard to make it happen, when we drive instead of flying, are willing to do less sit-down meals, do off-site if it's worth it and not do tours...?!

We both know, though, that Harry Potter's souvenirs may cost a lot.
Just reading about the stuff makes my wallet cringe!

So... let's get down to bidness.
Let the number crunching begin!

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 11-05-2011 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:27 PM   #3
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Breaking time...

I just spend about 2 hours figuring out how long to spend at each place we want to visit... So we can figure out how much it will cost in tickets, but also what lodging option will be the best.

So far here's the result:
Universal (both Islands of Adventure and Studios) : 4 days.
I know, most people say 2 is enough. But we want to be able to spend time shopping HP stuff... looking around (it's gonna be our first Universal visit!), and do it slow. And have the possibility to go visit something a second time if we liked it, and for me to do a ride twice (Mama doesn't do rides).
So... I doubled it. I looked at how many attractions/rides there were, too, looked at the map...
Gee, how disappointing, ain't it? I mean, WWoHP is smaller than Fantasyland. I was hoping for a whole MK about HP!

It's not gonna be the favorite part of Mama's trip. Well HP will be, but not the rest. It's not themes she's familiar with... We are french and even though we mostly watch american TV, we are not familiar with dr. Seuss (haven't watched Cat in the Hat yet, altough we know about it of course), I have never watch Grinch (but I know a couple songs!)... I hated Beetlejuice and am not sure I watched it until the end... Mama doesn't like the Simpsons...
But most of all she's not gonna enjoy most of Universal because she doesn't like rides, and unlike Disney, it's not a park that can be enjoyed as much, I think, for what's around the rides and the theming... Can't be qualified of whimsical...

In fact, we're gonna buy the 4 days tickets, but may end up not using all of them!

Disney : 10 days.
Breaking in down :
MK : 2 days
AK : 1 1/2 days
HS : 1 1/2 days
Epcot : 2 1/2 days
And the rest, we'll choose as we go along
It was about how we split the time last time... But I don't want to go for the 7 days ticket and feel rushed or miss things, especially since we'll be in Florida long enough.
Instead I prefer us having more time in Disney.

SeaWorld : 2 days
Busch Gardens : 2 days
Discovery Cove : 1 day... That is, if Mama agrees. It costs a lot and she's not into nature and animals as much as I am. She may not want to use a wetsuit (may need it in early December!) and spend a day in water to have the chance to snorkel near a coral reef and meet dolphins... Of course it covers the ticket fee of either SW or BG, but...

I have to figure out cost difference for 2 days SW, 2 days BG without DC, 2 days at one with DC (and thus the other park free), and the cost of the Florida flex tix (which includes Universal, SW & BG... but not DC).

I'd also like to go visit the Kennedy Space Center. I know it may be somewhat dry... Mama had done it the first time she visited Disney, about 35 years ago... and she remembers it as being boring as hell. But things changed since then and I can't be in Florida with a car, have the time, and not go. And she doesn't mind. But I'm not 100% sure to do it yet.

We had decided that, if possible budget-wise, we'd like to go as long as possible between Thanksgiving and Christmas (so as not to pay the holiday price and mostly, so as not to live with the crowds). Dates I have (I may have said, but they changed) are :
Leaving home Saturday November 26th in the morning, sleeping in a motel halfway, getting to Orlando on Sunday November 27th in the evening.
Leaving on Thursday December 22nd in the morning, sleeping in a motel halfway (same thing), and getting home on Friday December 23rd in the evening.
That gives us 24 complete days in Florida and a trip of 28 days.

I counted 20 days of park tickets.
10 in Disney, 4 in Universal, 2 in SW, 2 in BG, 1 at DC and 1 at KSC.
Leaves us with 4 days to do nothing and relax. Or we can do smaller days at some parks and go back more often... for example, if we decide to get the Florida Flex Tix, we could go back to Universal or BG... (as long as we do all of those in the same 14 days). And/or we could decide to buy a single-day ticket for Disney, or buy a 4-days tix for Disney!

Or we could decide to base our time in Florida on that prediction, and go only for 20 days, and leave Florida earlier.

Another option is to find other things to do in Florida, other parks to visit, things like that...

Maybe the budget won't give us a choice.

Initially the plan was to go in Florida for a whole month and play it in relax-mode. Visit the park we felt like visiting that day. Like the people living in FL do.
Rent a condo or a small villa, something that is easy to rent for a longer period, and that saves money... And take advantge of having our car!

But it seems it's not that easy.

I realize tickets are valid only for 14 days unless you get the annual pass (and it's not worth it budget-wise), so we won't really be able to wing it.
No matter what we decide, we'll have to make ADRs for Disney restaurants if we want to go to some (and we do), which means plans.
Mama might want to try the DDP... which means we would have to stay on the site... and would have to go to Disney all those days (not decide to go to universal one morning)...
Mama doesn't like the idea of driving over 30min to get to a park regularly. Once in a while, sure, but not 25% of the time or more...
And I'm getting tired just thinking about all those things, so I'll stop here.

Let's say it's not as easy as we thought.
I'm starting to think of a split stay.
Part Universal on-site. Part either Disney-value or off-site. Part Contemporary. (Mama REALLY wants Contemporary, even f it means finding a way to stretch the budget).

So I'm thinking we could do the 4 Universal days on-site there.
Do either the whole 10 days or just a couple days at the Contemporary (depending on the budget)...
and find something for the rest.

I'm starting to think about renting DVC... which could be a cool alternative...
What we don't like about the value is the fact it's mostly a motel and we fear we won't sleep too well... and it's smaller so after a while we'd be going mad! But if we need that, we'll do it.

I'm gonna start a comparative budget... so many steps, so many variables!

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 11-05-2011 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:30 PM   #4
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Dilemma and Mama's doubts

After number crunching, I came to the conclusion that if driving rather than flying and not doing some of the stuff we did last time would save us money, staying longer would take up all that money (with the options we were considering anyways).
Which means, we're over budget for now.

Also, After listening to the podcast about Harry Potter, I'm not so sure 4 days at Universal is logical. It seems that WWoHP is only worth half a day, and that's total... like, a couple hours one day, and going back a couple hours another day to see it again... MAYBE.
Problem is, going at the pace we may go (nothing sure about anything, sadly), that pace being SLOW... the rest of the parks being a 2 day thing usually (for first-timers who want to see everything even the lamest things, and not rush)... well there aren't 3 days passes! But I feel 4 days tickets would be too much! And it bugs me a lot.
1st in a long line of dilemmas.

In 2008 we spent 18 days in the World, on-site, and 16 going to the parks. Disney only. And we didn't manage to see everything.
This is why I'm thinking 10-days tix... and add a couple more days if we feel like it.
I thought the AP would be a better option than adding another set of MYW base tix... but turns out 2 sets of 10-days tix (so 20 days for 2) costs less than 2 APs.

Of course you have to factor in the AP savings... but they are minimal. The 10% off in selected restaurants didn't do a big difference last time.

A bigger problem/dilemma is the choice of where we're gonna stay.
I already started on this, but it's not over. Far from it.

I crunched numbers, and checked DVC options (for rent, of course, nobody get excited just yet). Turns out renting DVC points is really a good options... but still more costly than other stuff. Still, it could be the only way to be at the Contemporary, if Mama really insists (we haven't talked about that yet).

So far, here's the problem(s).
-I'm not a fan of staying at Universal on-site. It's not cheap, it's not like in Disney where the feel is important to us... and it would mean a split stay (altough it's not the end of the world to do it, I'm even considering splitting the stay in 3!).
BUT. Staying on-site at Universal would give us the Express pass. And mean not driving for those days. And we like the possibility to charge to the room (and have souvenirs delivered to the room!).
Buying the express pass would cost just as much as we would save staying off-site.

-Even with a split stay, we don't save much money because with the Universal hotel and Contemporary DVC-rent, it costs a lot in the end (well... too much for our budget and for us to stay 4 weeks). Even if we stay at a value in Disney or off-site for the middle of the trip.

-Mama wanted to try DDP this time in Disney to save money. I talked about this last post... If we decide to do this, we can't make a split stay, or we have to make it differently. We need to do Disney all in one take and can't wing it. We need to do all ADRs and buy a package (MYW tix, DDP, resort... or with DVC points, but still arrange it). Not as much flexibility. But we would save money, I'm pretty sure about it.
A problem with DDP though... we are more appetizer/entree no-dessert type. Even though I'm not against it, I'm not convinced it would be right for us. I rather think to save money we'd be better off going to cheaper restaurants, using either the kitchenette if we're off-site or DVC or the fridge and small grocery and share food in restaurants (it's always too much anyways!).
Of course I could, again, check the cost-advtantage ratio of getting ONE AP + Tables in Wonderland card like we did in 2008. We didn't feel it did a huge difference cost-wise, but maybe it did. After all, it's like all gratuity is paid for you (since they add a 18% gratuity and you have a 20% discount)... that's some savings. Then you have the AP savings, which aren't huge... but still, a 10% here and there... I need to crunch those numbers again. Even if it's just a 100$, it's worth it.

Next dilemma:
-On-site in Disney, we have again the opportunity to room charge, and to have purchases delivered to the resort. Which we liked a lot last time. Mostly, we wouldn't have to pay for parking. 15$/day add up. And may cover the difference in room cost from off-site! In fact, if we decided to stay in a value, it would cost less than a lot of off-site locations I saw and we would skip the parking fee!
And nothing would prevent us from taking the car to the parks and skip the buses.

-So far, no matter how I crunch the numbers, I get over budget and we either need to find some money or cut a week out.
Unless I find an off-site location that we can rent for a month (weekly or monthly fee) that costs less. I'm sure there are places that rent like that and turn out cheaper. That way, I think might get the vacation we thought of from the beginning, relaxing and not as planned... and having a whole month we'd be able to save on money, not having to spend as much time in the parks we'd have no problem eating outside them...
That's my next research step.

Mama's doubts...
She came into my room the day before yesterday, while I was super ill, sat down on the bed, and started wondering why we were going in December again.
I mean seriously?!
She started finding stupid reasons why she didn't "like" it.
Too close to Christmas.
But we don't do anything for Christmas! We hardly have ONE Xmas party each year, usually on the 24th... so even if we come back on the 23rd at night, we'd be fine... Probably tired, but come on... not the end of the world if it's how we're able to go, right? It's not like we would have time change...
Then it was : I won't have time to buy the gifts.
Hum... she never goes shopping close to Xmas because she HATES crowds. What prevents her from shopping in Orlando? Either in the parks or on off-days? (things are cheaper in the US anyways...). Or why not finish the shopping before we leave, in mid-November? That's not sooo early! I know people who finish their Xmas shopping before fall... (yeah, that's crazy).
I reminded her we wanted to go for Xmas for the decorations and the events, and that if she didn't care about that anymore, we could just as well go in the summer or whatever. I was mad.

Then she said "why not do all November instead?"
I told reminded her about Thanksgiving... AND that if we left before Thanksgiving we would miss most of the decorations and activities.

She then just insisted that "she didn't like it" (end of November to end of December)

She wouldn't say it, but I'm sure her REAL problem with the dates is the fact that she's scared we would get snow as there is more chance of snow in late December than November...

But we had talked about going mid-November to mid-December or all-November (to be there the last week of November and get the Xmas festivities) and had decided against it because she didn't want to be there during Thanksgiving!

So we stopped the conversation right there, it wasn't the time, I was too ill and I couldn't get the informations to argue and give her facts... She was furious.

And that's where I'm at.

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 11-05-2011 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:40 PM   #5
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Monthly rentals...

Well, that may be the solution! One solution anyways!

Of course I still need to factor in parking fees at Disney (14$ x 10 days or more... unless I get the AP)... and we don't get Express Pass at Universal... but since I'm the only one riding rides, we can decide to pay for ONE express pas for myself on one day if we see it's worth it... Maybe it won't be necessary...

I didn't do any serious/complete research on rentals yet... but on first glance, there are places about halfway between Universal and Disney, and I've seen one at 2200$/mo !!!
And there are cheaper ones!
That one was a condo: 2 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, with computer (internet access included!), cable (and PS2 with games!), full kitchen, washer/dryer, private patio... many amenities in the facility like pool, hottub, kid area (altough we don't care about that much!), outside grill... Wow! And it looks pretty good too.

So I guess it's really interesting as an option.

I'm gonna look more into that.

At that rate and in that comfort, we could more easily stay one whole month excluding the travel... and thus be in Orlando say from early November to early December, and Thanksgiving rush wouldn't bother us as much... We could either spend less time in the parks and leave if the crowds bother us... and/or spend that time shopping (hum, maybe too many people in the shops too! Black Friday and all... but great deals!) and in the pool. Even if all the condos are full... it's never gonna be as crowded as a Disney pool in peak season, right? The best would of course be a villa or single home, but I'm guessing that's gonna be much more costly... (best not because we need the space, but because we'd have the pool all to ourselves!).

So... lots of checking to do.

Oh, and I'm leaning more and more for the AP... Saving the parking would make it worth it! But I'm gonna do my homework and crunch more numbers... mostly to prove to Mama it's REALLY worth it. :-)

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 11-05-2011 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:21 PM   #6
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Red face Not dead...

Hey... well I fear I'm alone, but if there are any lurkers... don't worry, I'm not dead!

Just... I haven't done anything these last few days (weeks? already?!).
Now that my health is better, I have more stuff to do...

My dad thinks I'm the house maid... being mad if I don't do everything in the house, not realizing that as soon as I'll be able to work enough to pay a rent, I'll move out and they won't have any help at all. Not realizing that it's not really fair either that I spend all my energy doing chores around the house and if "too bad if I'm too wasted to have fun or go out after". So he might not like it, but I balance it as I would if I were living alone. I do the most important stuff and look after myself, and I keep energy and time for fun stuff and social stuff. And for stuff that isn't chores but isn't "just fun".
Like organizing this trip or working on my photography, which could lead eventually to money income. It's not like sitting on the couch watching TV.
But yeah, he gets mad if he needs to put dishes out of the dishwasher, which he rarely does and never actually HAS to do, he just decides to do it before me or Mama, and it pisses him off since he's convinced I should've done it faster. Argh.

So, chores is one of the things I do more now that my health lets me. The normal stuff, like cleaning around the house, washing the clothes, cooking, groceries, etc. But with little to no help because my dad, well I just explained, and because my mom is exhausted from her work (she works way more than my dad). But if I'm too sick she'll do it all on her own. As she will when I'll move out (and as she did when I lived away or was younger).

Another thing I'm doing is seeing friends more. This is great! Before I was going outside the home maybe once a month and it was usually to see a doctor, seeing friends maybe once every 3 months.
This month I have outings planned each week, sometimes more!

I also started dancing again, which is a HUGE deal for me. Dance is a passion for me and it was killing me not to be able to for the past 10 years or so... This doesn't take a lot of my time, but it's still a couple hours a week.

Most of my time lately has been trying to figure out what I want to do work-wise.
I think I could be able to start working again, at least part-time (probably part-time to start and full-time pretty soon)... but in my situation, I can pretty much decide to do whatever I want. I can go back to school, I can go back in the field I had just started to work in when I fell ill, I can start my own business... possibilities are almost endless!
It's making me dizzy!
There are so many things that interest me, I can't even decide if I prefer working at home or not!
If I've had it with studies or if I'd like to go back...
So I'm thinking a lot and doing research.

Such an opportunity isn't given often nor to everyone, so I don't wanna blow it!

And of course, I spent a lot of time... on online dating sites! argh, yes I know!
No success yet, not even a date, just jerks.

So that's it.

Nothing new on the Disney side, but I'm not dead.

Last edited by AnnieDan_Artlover; 11-05-2011 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:32 PM   #7
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Hey Annie - I was just thinking about you today and went back and found your other trip report and then found this new PTR! How exciting! I will go back and catch up from the start sometime later this week when I have time.

Hope you're doing well!
Susan, Chris, Katie (22 and in Grad School at CU - Go BUFFS!)

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Old 07-24-2010, 10:24 AM   #8
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Well I am glad you are doing better. I am going to say that for the perks saying on site at Universal is a must. A MUST. Also there might not be much for your mom to enjoy at Universal, since she doesn't do rides. Its a big thrill ride place. Why not do a night (or two) and do either 2 days or 3? 2 days with their version of FP is like 3 without it (Plus a lot less waiting)

I think the Contemporary is lovely but I personally don't find it relaxing at all. And to me the whole reason to do DVC is to have a place I can cook meals.

I know you mentioned DDP. I would crunch the numbers on where you want to eat and make sure you will come out ahead with it (sometimes its better to pay OOP).

I have to chew the fat on this more and will post some new ideas soon.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:12 AM   #9
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Hi guys!!! (well, girls! haha)

So happy to hear from you again Susan!

Becca, I know that Universal is thrill rides, but Mama doesn't care about "holding the bags and watching me ride", as she puts it... she did it numerous times at La Ronde (the Six Flags park here in Montréal), about once a year every year for about 10 years I'd say... Sometimes my dad would come too, and then she'd wait for both of us!
She enjoys the people watching and the theming. And then of course there will be the HP part of the park!

But I don't think we'll spend more then 4 days... at most.
I don't remember if I post this, but I did a attractions count, and it really isn't a lot at Universal... and I listened to the DisUnplugged podcast about WWoHP and geez it's kinda disappointing. 3 attractions?! Lucky I never went or I'd be even more disappointed, since it's really only 1 new ride... Still looking forqard to it but... Expectations aren't super high!

In fact, they were lower even before the podcast... I had seen the map of the park and read info, and first of all, seeing the map, I counted the attractions and rides and felt there wasn't much (and back then, it felt like Hagrid's hut would be an attraction!)... I remember, when the map came out, I thought it was like a sneak peak and there would be more... like they were only revealing part of it! Pfff.
Plus, in the info, they had the surface area of the "new park in the park" and I compared it to MK... and realized it was about the size of Fantasyland... maybe even smaller (don't quite remember exactly). And I had thought it would be similar to MK!!!

So yeah, I'm looking forward to Universal and WWoHP, but not as excited as I was when they announced it.

About DDP vs OOP, I'm almost sure we're gonna go OOP... because I'm almost sure we're gonna do a one-month offsite condo or villa (or equivalent) location.

I know, I agree, not being onsite for Universal isn't as fun or practical.
But we have to consider cost.

And since I'll be the only one riding... if we see we lose way too much time waiting, I'll buy the express pass for one day only and it won't be a huge cost difference overall... compared to staying onsite for 2-3 nights.

But we haven't discussed it together yet since last month (could you believe it?!).
I didn't feel like it much, I'm guessing she didn't either... and it just didn't happen either.

Back to the OT...
The online dating isn't going anywhere and I think I'm gonna lay off of it for awhile... not removing myself but not looking, you know...
Especially since... I may have found the guy!!!
In my backyard!!!
I think I told you we have a small airport here. I mean, really small. For ultralight airplanes. About 5-6 guys have their airplanes here, most of them in pieces (the planes, not the guys!) and only leave them here and pay rent... some of those come from time to time to work on them... and the rare one comes and actually flies! It's a grass landing strip (or I should say, we use the grass backyard as the strip).
We used to have a whole lot more planes here and it used to be more flying going on... up to about 20 planes. My dad used to teach too.
And as far as I can remember, always old men. Not because I was young and 30y.o. men felt old to me... seriously, white-hair men.
But recently, there's a new generation, my age, even younger!

And this week... I "met" a guy that has been here for a while.
He had taken classes about 10 years back. I don't remember him from back then... he remembered me, as when he came back 3 years ago after being away for a while, my dad told me he asked about me (how was I doing, etc. My dad made it seem like it was a little bit more than just politeness).
Ever since then, I was wondering if, maybe... but I was ill, rarely felt like going outside, didn't feel good about myself, didn't feel like flirting or anything.

Now it's different!
So this week when I saw he was here, I gave destiny a push and went outside to read.
And he came by "just to say hi" He chatted a bit (but couldn't chat for long, as he had a guy, paid by the hour, waiting for him!).
We've been talking almost every day since!
Only 2 minutes that day... About 15min the next day (he still wasn't alone... another pilot).
I didn't see him on Friday but we exchanged a short email...
And yesterday I spent about 3 HOURS with him, talking, joking and working on his plane.

I never know when he's gonna show up, so I find many good reasons to spend a lot of time outside these days... hahahaha!

Another reason why I'm not on the computer as much (altough, when the temperature is good, I can use the laptop outside... But not while talking to him and working on the plane... )

The big question is... does he like me? I mean, I know he likes me as a friend, that is clear. But more than that? It's the hard part, isn't it? I feel like a schoolgirl. Kinda fun actually. Much better than nothing happening, that's for sure!

Becca, I'd tell you which of my FB friends he is so you could check him out... (I wouldn't dare put a picture here, it wouldn't be right)... but... sadly his profile pic isn't a good one, you don't see him.
Trust me, you'd WANT to check him out...

See ya guys!

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Old 10-06-2011, 03:16 PM   #10
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Red face Oh boy...

Well, I'm back.
Seems like it's my motto isn't it?
"I'm back"... or "I'm not dead" or another variation...

Oh, that and "I'm sorry".

Truly, I am. It has been over a year and I can't believe it.

Sometimes I have a good reason... Like I was in China for a bit over a month last year!

And coming back was HARD. For many reasons... if you're curious about that trip and the whole thing (the why, the how, etc), check-out the blog I wrote about it (a book might be coming!) : pambassadordan.wordpress.com

To make a (VERY) long story short... coming back from that is a bit like, I guess, what someone going on American Idol but not winning would go through. You lived something amazing and life-changing... and then you come back to your ordinary life and no-one else except the people who share the experience with you can understand... and it feels like a dream. Not as hard for me as it wasn't a crushed dream (like someone not winning AI) but harder because people watching AI have some clue of what people lived through on the show... the experience I went through was halfway across the world.

So... that was an excuse for part of last year... But not all of it.
And thus I am sorry.

To wrap up things I had touched on in the few posts I had put up and which were OT :
-That cute guy... he now has a girlfriend (that's what can happen when you leave for China for a few weeks...)
-Still living with my parents... and after trying to go back to university this fall (my health may be better, but sadly I has to realize it's far from normal) I now know I will be for a very long time... like in "forever" unless I meet the man of my life. I simply can't work full-time, and working part-time is not even a possible thing on a regular basis... but even that wouldn't pay enough to move out of here.
-Still hard with my dad. Some patches are harder than others.

Back on DIS stuff in the next post.

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Old 10-06-2011, 03:35 PM   #11
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Smile What about the trip?

OK, back on track!

Well... Technically, it's still a one-year early PTR...
Obviously (well... it's obvious to me anyways ), we aren't going to Orlando THIS November. I can't even remember why we stopped everything about the 2011 trip, but here it is... not only did the PTR stopped... everything about the planning did, I didn't open any of my planning files, didn't visit the DIS, deleted the newsletters I got, didn't listen to the podcast, anything.

Maybe in part because I was in China at the moment when I should've made the room (or villa, or condo, or else), which is about a year or so prior, depending, I was in China... or bedridden right after being back?
I don't think it was just that, though...
Maybe because we had disagreed on some details, and that the info we had said it would cost more than we thought (and more than we had), so we had to push back...

Oh, and my parents had to help me fund some of my chinese adventure, as I like to call it (definitely wasn't a vacation), and some of that money came from our "Disney fund"...

So, all in all, what happened is, Orlando 2011 was off. And Orlando in itself was kinda off the radar. We stopped talking about it.

We knew we had our figure skating trip in March 2013 (the Worlds Championships will be a few hours-drive away, which is exceptionnal... and Orlando was further in the future, in our minds.

And then, last weekend, we started talking, I can't even remember how it started, and we decided we would go in December 2012... as was the original plan!

And so, here I am, 13 months before the trip, re-starting a PTR...

But the info is still pretty much the same...
Mama would love to go to the Contemporary (because she always dreamed about it, from when she went the first time in the '70s and because of the monorail access).
We want to be in Orlando for a month.
We want to visit Universal and the WWOHP.
And that's the main thing.

In the next post I'll get more into the details.

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Old 10-06-2011, 04:08 PM   #12
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Decision time, take 2

FIrst off, how long to spend where :
Last time I had said, 2 days drive each way, 4 days at Universal, 10 days at WDW and 2 days each at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, and maybe one day at Discovery Cove and another one at Nasa... And a few off-days to just relax.

Mama wasn't so enthusiastic about SW, BG, DC or Nasa, but didn't mind... I'm not so sure about it anymore myself!
The longer it's been since I've been to WDW, the more time I want to spend exclusively there.

In fact, until I re-read this PTR, I had totally forgot about that plan. I thought about maybe going to visit one or two things outside the World, but it was more of an after-thought, a "maybe"... and not a "HOPEFULLY maybe, I'd really like it if we could" thing... more a "meh, if we want to we could..."

The new plan is :
3 days drive each way (8hrs drive days instead of 12hrs)
4 days at Universal
22 days in the World
No planned off-days. We would just take some days (or all days) slow.

Why splitting the drive in 3 instead of 2 (which implies a higher cost?).
I can drive long-distance. I proved it last June. I drove straight for 20 hrs (24hrs stopping for meals) to Atlanta. And drove straight 11hrs back from Washington.
So I CAN drive that long.
Of course it takes a toll on the body and it's not comfortable. But I'm not sure 3 times 8hrs is much more comfortable. Part of me would prefer a few more hours in a day, and one more day at the parks (since we are planning a month including the transportation time)... and not facing yet ANOTHER day of driving.
Plus, when you drive "just" 8 hours, you get at the motel around dinner time and then you have nothing else to do, it's just... boring.
But, Mama has night-vision problems. She really doesn't see well at night, and night falls early in November-December. So if we would do it 12hrs, we wouldn't get to the motel until late evening, sometimes almost midnight... and not seeing where we're going makes her crazy scared. (she thinks the road goes right and I'm turning left, for example). So... that's pretty much it.

Why no off-days planned, and why so long?
Well as I already said, my health is better, so I won't need a wheelchair this time (Hurray!). But as I ALSO said... my health still isn't great, so with the Orlando heat (altough not too bad in late fall) and lots of walking, I may end up not being able to do a lot, having to take lots of breaks and so on...
But I don't want to plan off-days "just in case". I prefer going to the parks for just a few hours on bad days, have an ADR planned (and cancel it if I really can't make it) and in the least go to the park to eat.

The basic reality hasn't changed from last year. But the way I see things has, I guess.

Of course, the math comes into account if we stay longer in the World.
Because I figured out that when you go more than 12 days in the parks, the AP is cheaper. (not even taking discounts into account).

Second off : Where to stay?
Last time was a big dilemma which we still hadn't quite figured out.
We were leaning toward the condo renting a whole lot, so we could do the kitchenette (food savings), and have about 2500$ rent for the month (plus the motels on the way).
Which made a lot of sense because we wanted to take off-days, do only 10 days in the World and go to other parks.
It still wasn't as cost-saving on other fronts, like Universal Express Pass (which I was hoping not to need, or to buy just one, one day, to do rides Mama doesn't do)...
Like parking (especially since we were not planning on APs)...
And that was when I stopped planning.

Check out the next post for the Universal decisions... so far!

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Old 10-06-2011, 04:10 PM   #13
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Universal, decisions time, take 2

Now we have decided we would definitely stay on-site at Universal.

Because I will buy one 4-days ticket for Mama, and one AP for myself... which will cut down about 30% of the hotel price and make it almost the same price as any regular hotel around!

Plus, that combo will give us the Express Pass, free parking (I still have to figure out if the free parking the AP will give us at the park will also work at the hotel... since we'll leave the car there!) and discounts on some meals.
And of course the fun of being on-site, having extra-hours, being able to room-charge and room-delivery (or hotel-delivery). And not having to drive.

I love to drive... I don't mind driving... But I must say, staying on-site and not having to makes me feel more like I'm on vacation.

What about WDW? GUess what? Next post!

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Old 10-06-2011, 04:50 PM   #14
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WDW, Decision time, take 2

OK... so we HAVE NOT 100% decided yet.

I looked into DVC for the new Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary, as that's why my mom is dreaming of... and I would LOVE to be close to the monorail myself. (wouldn't hate the deluxe in general either, of course... and when I read about the fireworks viewing lounge... OMG).
But, well, for 22 days (or 22 nights, I'm not sure anymore), it would cost around 4500$. Still MUCH cheaper than going straight with a room at any deluxe in WDW, which is over 7000$ for the cheapest room at the cheapest deluxe (AKL... which by the way doesn't have the monorail, and is far from everything but AK, so IMO unless you can pay for a savanah view... not worth it).
But when you have a budget of around 5000$, MAYBE up to 8000$ MAXIMUM... a 4500$ room is out of the way big time! Especially since it's only for 2/3 of the trip! We need to add about another 1000$ for the rest. So... no. Sadly, very sadly... no.

We could afford a value... but then... why pay for a value when we could get a villa for the same price? Of course we don't NEED a 3-bedroom villa. But each having our bedroom, me not having trouble sleeping because of her snoring (she IS loud! ) and being able to have some separate time not to get at each other's throat after spending all our time together for a few weeks could be good...
And of course we would have a REAL kitchen to prepare food, washer and dryer...

Very convenient and interesting.

But we also realize we won't be saving that much money on food.
We know perfectly well we WON'T go back to the car and drive "home" at noon or in the evening to have lunch and/or dinner to save money. If we have the energy to stay, we'll stay and eat in the parks! The only money we'll save if we have a kitchen is for breakfasts and late-night snacks. Not negligeable, but we don't need to start thinking we'll eat lunches and won't eat in the parks...

And using a villa, we'll have to drive everyday. My mom doesn't drive in places she's not familiar with unless she REALLY has to, so if I don't feel too good one day, we just won't go anywhere because she won't drive if I can't... if I don't feel good enough to drive back and it's dark out, we'll be in trouble... if we'd like to split, it will be complicated, unlike with the Disney transport system, where we could do half-days each on our side.

And of course, with a villa, there is no perk of being a Disney guest.

We wouldn't be able to use the DDP either.

We still would NOT have to pay for parking, though, as we have decided to go with the APs.
I realize I didn't finish explaining my thinking about the AP and the no-off days thing in a previous post...

Since we think we'll go to the parks more than 12 days, APs are cheaper (the breaking point, right now, is 12 days. Buying a 10-days tix plus a 2-days tix is about the same, if I remember right. And of course, that's just the buying price! There are the advantages and the discounts to factor in on top of everything).
With an AP, you can park-hop as much as youn want, but you can also do something else, take an off-day, or go to the park just for dinner and a few rides and not feel like you wasted a day-ticket... Well that's how I feel anyways.
So that's the reasonning behind the "no off-days planned".

So... we are going with the AP, which saves the parking fee. But if we go with a villa or condo option, that's about it.

Since it's the only option we can afford right now, I already made a reservation for a Dreams Villa (the ones advertized right here on the boards), which comes at about 2300$ for the 22 days. It's a bit more than we thought because of the tax and because of Thanksgiving week...

Like last time, that is a problem for us... we want to go 1 month. But no matter how I look at the schedule, that week always bothers me.
If we plan to leave after Thanksgiving, we need to leave before Christmas (to save crowds and money, I mean)... and we end up with less than a month total... or we go before, and we end of having to leave before all the decorations are up.

So... it's pricier than we thought, but still manageable.

But the plan is... if with the AP we can get a good discount on a moderate, we'll switch, so we can enjoy all the perks... We want to try the DDP.

And, of course, if there is a free DDP package and if that can be used with an AP (I'm guessing... since we can buy DDP, why not free DDP as well?), well in that case we might just go with DVC at the Contemporary... as the savings in food would almost cover for the price difference!

So for the time being, we ARE renting a villa.
If I come across a better deal, I'll jump on it.

There are many advantages... the biggest being the 2 bedrooms.
But I would much rather be on-site.

Now we have a few months to plan ADRs, get more info about Universal, buy the APs at both parks and get back into whimsical groove!

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Old 10-06-2011, 10:45 PM   #15
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Wow, it's great to see you back Annie-Danielle! So glad to hear that your health is better. I like your plans. I have a couple of comments.

If you have to move your dates, I believe the Christmas decorations go up (at least the lights on the castle) immediately after Halloween, early November. So you probably won't miss the decorations.

Also, you might want to check out the Hilton near Downtown Disney. They get Extra Magic Hours and have a shuttle to all the parks, so you wouldn't have to worry about driving and parking. I think they can be pretty inexpensive, compared to the on-site resorts, and they have suites.
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