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Old 12-27-2010, 01:40 PM   #1
lauren5406
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Location: Savannah, GA
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3 girls and D23's Magic & Merriment: The Castle! The Food! The Chaos! U/D 12/29

Welcome to my first decent trip report and my thorough accounting of the D23 Magic and Merriment event at WDW Dec 10 – 12 and my thoughts on how it compares to last years event that I also attended.

But first I’ll introduce myself and my trusty travel companions…

There’s me Lauren:



Pictured here with my niece Laurel during our April 2010 trip.

I am the main driving force behind all of our Disney trips and have always LOVED WDW. My parents took me a couple of time growing up (at 2, 6, 10, 21) so my fix mostly came from the long gone but never forgotten by me Disney Store that was in our mall when I was young. Luckily my mom would indulge me by letting me spend hours wandering the store even if we didn’t buy much. We also have nearly every Disney VHS she could get her hands on and I still lovingly posses my bootleg Betamax copy of Sleeping Beauty. I currently work for a small local Home Building firm as the one woman accounting department and one day hope to work for Disney when the life circumstances become ideal.

My sister Lindsey:



Pictured here with her daughter Laurel during our April 2010 trip.

We are roommates and sometimes best friends - it can be difficult living in such close proximity to someone you were “allowed” to punch when angry as a child. She is in nursing school and works the night shift at a local hospital. She willingly tags along on most of my adventures but doesn’t participate in the planning, she just comes and goes when I tell her (as far as Disney is concerned) and ponies up the money she can.

My niece Laurel through the Disney years:



Shortly after her second birthday in early 2007


Her first visit to BBB in early 2008


Her 4th birthday trip in early 2009


MNSSHP 2009


With her uncles Jared & Christopher during our Star Wars Weekend adventure in May 2010

Laurel is luckily picking up very nicely on my 2 D obsessions. Disney and Dogs. She is also the ultimate blessing our family was surprised (to say the least) to find out we had always needed no matter the timing. She will be 6 in Feb and the 3 of us have lived together for 4 of those years so she is almost like a daughter to me as well.

Laurel was the deciding factor for us when it came time to decide if we wanted to attend the M&M event again since it seemed like a lot of the same stuff. But while we were there in 2009 we had missed having her there for the special experience we just knew we had to bring her back. I’m still not convinced it was worth the money – we basically bought a $705 (3 x $235 M&M event price) ticket to get her in the Cinderella Castle Suite.

We did have a good weekend as we usually do but would I call it Magical….

Either way I’m very much looking forward to telling you all about it – the pro’s and con’s.
__________________
Lauren
2007 - January, March, August, December 2008 - January, April, August, November
2009 - February, May (2), October (2), December 2010 - January, April, May, September, December
2011 - May (2), September, November, December 2012 - January, May
Me DSis DN (6) Lola Sandy Winchester Lilla Alice Miss Ippi
SPAY AND NEUTER
APOPT - DON'T BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE

Last edited by lauren5406; 12-29-2010 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:18 PM   #2
lauren5406
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Day 1 – The Drive Down, Searching Around, and One Meltdown - Part One

This Friday started like most do…I had to go into work even though I wasn’t supposed to. One of the perils of the freedom of working for a very small business – where as you can pretty much come and go as you need to there is also no one else who can do your job so if something has to get done you’ve got to be the one.

The goal was – Orlando bound by 12:30. Well, we were out of the house by 12:30 but we still had to pick Laurel up from school and drop the dogs off at the kennel.

Speaking of which here they are:


Lola and her best attempts to stop me from leaving


Sandy and Laurel at the vet


Winchester right after we got him last Feb. He’s too fat for that coat now and he has since been neutered

1:15 we’re on our way to Orlando. We stop for gas in Brunswick, GA but that is it and we hit Orlando just in time for bad Friday evening I-4 traffic at about 5:00.

We crawl through and make our way into Celebration but since it’s "Now Snowing Nightly" we can’t find a parking space anywhere close to the hotel and the set up is weird so there isn't somewhere I can just hop out and run in. More on the hotel later...we got the deal of the century.

So, we take a vote and opt to head to HS where the M&M events start at 9:00. We are all hungry and in need of a bathroom break.

We arrive at HS and head on in


Finally on the tram in


Our first sighting of the new doors

The parking lot and process seems quite busy for 6pm to us…oh wait they must all be going to Osbourne. That’s fine…we just need FOOD.


The tree on the way in...the pictures get much better. I borrowed my dad's camera for this trip. His is much better than mine but I had some learning to do.

Our quest for food goes in this order:

We have time, lets just see if Sci-Fi has any availability – NO
Circle back around to ABC Commissary – lines to the door WHAT!
Well, over to Backlot Express – CLOSED
Treck to Pizza Planet – CLOSED
Pop our head in Mama Melrose – it looks near deserted – were not so kindly informed that that they are RESERVATIONS ONLY
Have to work our way around the sea of people viewing Osbourne to Studio Catering Company
The hours posted says it closes at 7:00…it’s 7:15 but it looks like they’re still taking orders…RUN

Whew…we sneak our order in just in time and have a long overdue sandwich.

They were huge, one would have sufficed for the two of us:


I had Veggie, Lindsey had Turkey something or other. Laurel had the kids meal chicken


Colder than expected so she ended up in moms coat. We thought she looked like a boxer so she decided to pose with her fist.

Well, we had time for 1 ride before our 8:30 check-in. The line at TSM was ridiculous so on to The Great Movie ride:




Well, with that out of the way (I’ve still never seen the cowboy hijack scene) it was time to head over to One Man’s Dream



The check-in process was smooth but now we have AN HOUR to wander around One Mans Dream.

We passed the time by taking photos:














Her FAVORITE


I’ve never seen a kangaroo at AK before!?!



There are MANY more where that came from....

It was finally time for the nights presentations but that'll have to wait. I have to go! I'll have to finish tomorrow

ENJOY!
__________________
Lauren
2007 - January, March, August, December 2008 - January, April, August, November
2009 - February, May (2), October (2), December 2010 - January, April, May, September, December
2011 - May (2), September, November, December 2012 - January, May
Me DSis DN (6) Lola Sandy Winchester Lilla Alice Miss Ippi
SPAY AND NEUTER
APOPT - DON'T BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:38 PM   #3
lauren5406
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Day 1 – The Drive Down, Searching Around, and One Meltdown - Part Two

More pictures from One Mans Dream….






I have a purse that is this Peter Pan poster that I bought in May 2004




Watched the old movie once several years ago for the sake of it….really liked the new one!







It was finally time for the film presentations and we headed on in to the theatre to pick our seats. Laurel wanted to sit on the front row but I was adamantly against it…naturally being the adult I won this is what ensued


Not a great angle on the photo but we were sitting right next to each other this lasted a few minutes into the presentation

Steven Clark with D23 and the Archives then got up to do his little chat before the movie that is shown at the end of One Mans Dream and our special presentation of Archiving the Archives. He also had to trade credentials (our little ID badges to attend everything) because his had a sticker and someone else needed the sticker….what was the sticker for?



Sitting through these movies is only for the true fan, others might find them a little boring. My sister for one kept nodding off…but to her credit she had worked Thursday night and was probably running on 3-4 hours sleep.

I’d stop in and see One Man’s Dream at least once if you’re into the older Disney (which I am)

I was fascinated by Archiving the Archives but I would also imagine I can find this information elsewhere. One our way out the door we were given movie posters for the film that show Walt in his office.

We then headed back to the hotel, this was our first time staying off site in 2010 and I forgot how much I loathe the drive out. You’re just so exhausted from the day. It does beat driving home to GA though, which I have done…not an easy task.

We arrived in Celebration around 11pm and wouldn’t you know there was plenty of parking now that the snow was gone.

Check-in was easy. I declined the $20 a day valet parking but there was still a $12 a day “resort charge” that supposedly includes 2 bottles of water and endless coffee but we had an issue with this coming up.

Some pictures of our hotel room followed by an explanation of where I scored the DEAL OF THE CENTURY on this stay:


















I always appreciate the ceiling fan


Our view at night


Our view early the next morning

So how did we come to stay at the Bohemian anyways being the thrifty (my sister calls it cheap but lets face it NOTHING comes cheap going to Disney) traveler I am?

Well of course by the time we had tickets in hand for M&M there wasn't a decent passholder discount room to be had and we couldn't get a studio with DVC either...what to do.

So naturally I check the usuals and was on the verge of reserving the Hotwire which I use quite frequently (not so much this year since we've mostly been on site) and have only once been disappointed. When it comes to Hotwire I have a system to stay satisfied. First, you search the reservation on Hotwire, then you use one of the board sites like betterbidding to try and determine which hotel it is, then you go over to trip advisor and read reviews.

My other ususals include bidding on Priceline, my Sams Club discount, my GSU Alumni Association discount, and thankyou points from my citi card.

For the first time I decided to search the Coke Points travel site. We had about 1200 saved up and hadn't used them for anything else. Anyways when I searched for 3 nights in Orlando on those dates I got presented with some good rates...my favorite though and what we ultimately ended up with.

After cashing in about 60 coke points and taking advantage of a buy 2 nights get one free promotion my cash out of pocket expense on a 3 night stay at this Kessler Brand (we have 2 here in SAV; super nice) 4-Diamond property was only........drumroll......$218.

For curiositys sake I went to the resort website before we left...$218 wouldn't even cover one night (which I do consider pretty ridiculous).

SCORE!

Day 1 Final Impressions:

Basic waste of time...all of the things M&M did couldn't have been done on our own. There were no surprises or magic. I suppose it did save some check-in time the next day but we still had to wait in line to sign up for our Cinderella Castle Suite Tours.

It was missing magic, wasted our time, and their money.
__________________
Lauren
2007 - January, March, August, December 2008 - January, April, August, November
2009 - February, May (2), October (2), December 2010 - January, April, May, September, December
2011 - May (2), September, November, December 2012 - January, May
Me DSis DN (6) Lola Sandy Winchester Lilla Alice Miss Ippi
SPAY AND NEUTER
APOPT - DON'T BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE

Last edited by lauren5406; 12-29-2010 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:47 AM   #4
WDWFigment
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Well, thus far, we agree completely. I wonder how positive the D23 feedback surveys have been. Hopefully people haven't been afraid to speak their minds.
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