Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > Disney Trip Reports
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old 12-21-2013, 01:38 PM   #1
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

Semi-First Time Trip with a Toddler

Introductions: (Copied from my never finished PTR)

Me: Stay at Home Mom Extraordinaire (My son is usually clean & fed, so I feel that the title is appropriate). I am a vacation planning addict. I love researching and planning vacations; in all honestly I probably enjoy it more than the actual vacation because nothing ever goes wrong in my plans. I am a wiz at figuring out how cutting $15 a month from our cable bill can then result in an extra vacation for the year.

Favorite Character: Minnie Mouse

DH: I shall call him Grumpy. He is a “if it can go wrong, he will assume that it will go wrong” kinda guy. In all honesty if you knew the tales from all of our previous vacations, you would know why he is this way. In spite of this, he still indulges my vacation planning addiction and goes along with the plans. He may be Superman, but I know his kryptonite – our son. He would do anything for our little boy & he is an awesome Dad.

Favorite Character: Stitch

DS: My Little Bear. He will turn 3 a week after we return from WDW. We initially were thinking of a January vacation, however, low crowd calendar predictions combined with the savings of having a Disney Baby made moving the trip up a month well worth it. DS is very outgoing, rambunctious, and fearless – as long as we are at home with only Mommy, Daddy, and maybe Grandma. He is extremely shy & strangerphobic. Although the frequency of these events if decreasing there are still times when a grocery cashier will say “hi” to him and it turn him into a sobbing, teary, mess. DS’s temperament plays a lot into my worry over planning.

Favorite Character: This changes on a daily basis, but he loves Minnie Mouse and Chip & Dale are always favorites.

Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2013, 01:39 PM   #2
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

Previous Vacations:

Since we had DS we have taken him to the beach a couple of times, but we have also taken him on 3 cruises. The first was on Princess (our cruiseline of choice, pre-kid) and that was for DS’s 1st birthday. The second was on Disney cruiseline and that was for DS’s 2nd birthday and the third was also on DCL and that was just because we found an awesome last minute rate the same week we were planning to go to the beach. The 1st cruise went the best, because DS was just happy to be with Mommy & Daddy 24/7. The 2nd introduced him to his current love – Minnie Mouse (& most other things Disney). The 3rd, well the 3rd cruise is why we are not considering another cruise right now. The terrible 2’s were in full force, we didn’t get to eat a full meal all week, DS was sick, we spent the week in our cabin watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse over & over & over again. While there is a lot to do on a cruise, it seemed that it was not enough to keep DS occupied or to wear him out. After that vacation we swore off vacations with DS until he was at least 5. That lasted a week, before I started thinking “Hmm, I bet he would really like WDW”. After a week or so of subliminally (or not) inundating DH with this idea, he agreed.

Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 12-21-2013, 01:40 PM   #3
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

First Trip to WDW:

DH was in the NC National Guard and shortly after 9/11, he was called upon to train up and deploy to Iraq. We were married 3 days before he left for training and did not get a honeymoon. When he returned from Iraq and had completed some post deployment activities we were finally given the chance to take our honeymoon in 2005. We decided upon WDW. We could have stayed at Shades of Green, but I found an “awesome” deal on Expedia for a “resort” hotel near WDW. We were going to save $100, so I took it. I was 24 and did not know better. This is probably the event that started my vacation planning obsession. Just before we left for WDW, I hurt my knee at work and was in a lot of pain, but I was determined to make the best of it. We arrived at our “resort” hotel to first find that there was a $25 a day “resort fee”, that I did not previously know about. We then make it to our room, to find a 3 story motel that did not even have an elevator. Of course we were on the 3rd floor. The pool was broken, the room was disgusting, and the overall vibe was that of a truck stop.

To make things worse we had to go to Shades of Green to pick up our military discount tickets. I cried when we pulled in. My sweet DH even offered to see if we could book at SOG and forget the other nasty motel even though we would not get any money back. I said that we would be OK, so it was back to the nasty motel for us. On this same trip I decided that we only needed 2 days of Park Hopper passes to be able to see all 4 theme parks. I could hardly walk, but we made it through all 4 parks in 2 days. We were beyond exhausted. We do have fond memories of this vacation, so I guess not all was lost however we vowed never to make these mistakes again.

So much has changed since we went to WDW, we really felt like first timers. I had to spend a lot of time on DIS to feel prepared for this trip.
Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2013, 01:48 PM   #4
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

Our previous experience made me very wary of staying offsite. However, upon reading lots of reviews on DIS about wonderful offsite options we decided to stay offsite for the majority of our vacation. The selling points for us for first and foremost cost. Onsite at Pop Century would have been about $1500 and offsite in a townhouse was under $800. I was also really looking forward to having at least basic cooking facilities & in room laundry.
Since we were going to be there the week after Thanksgiving DH had a couple extra days off from work. We decided that we wanted to drive down to Orlando the day after Thanksgiving and would stay at a hotel the night before we checked into the townhouse. Originally we planned to stay at Buena Vista Suites because we had stayed there the year previous before our first Disney cruise. We liked the hotel’s location and the accommodations were very nice. The price was also very reasonable. However, Disney through a wrench in things with the whole FP+ and it not being available to offsite guests. After a bunch of back & forth we decided to take our chances with a one night room only reservation at Art of Animation and hope that the reports were correct and we would be able to use Magic Bands & FP+ for our entire stay. AOA was about $70 more than Buena Vista Suites, but we loved the theming of the hotel and were very hopeful that we would get to use FP+.
We left NC about 5am on Friday and encountered no issues with traffic until we it Orlando around 3. What should have taken 15 minutes to drive took about an hour and a half. We arrived at AOA about 4:30 and we were met by a very nice cast member while walking in and she checked us in using an Ipad. She also got a First Visit button for DS that he wore most of the week. The whole check in took less than 10 minutes and that included her having to go and get our check in packet and then go back for DS’s button.

We stayed in a Little Mermaid room at AOA. The room was very clean and the décor is awesome. DS kept going in the bathroom to look at “under the sea” and Princess Ariel. He loved the hotel and our room.



The beds were hard as a rock. It was miserable. For this reason alone I was so glad we were not staying there all week. We were in the farthest building (building 8 I believe it had Ariel in front and we were on the opposite side by the parking lot). The walk to the main building took about 10 minutes and was pretty easy, but both DH & I agreed that it would have been much harder after a long day in the parks. All of the stuff to look at along the way does make the walk more interesting.


(I LOVE Filmore and was very excited to get to see him)

We ate dinner at Landscape of Flavors. It was right at 5 and was not too crowded. One downfall to the station set up was that if the DH went to get his items from one station and DS and I went to get ours from another. That meant I had to try and carry a tray while holding onto DS and navigate through the checkouts. Using Magic Bands to pay was awesome. I really missed the ability to do this once we checked out. I loved not having to dig out my wallet and mess with a card or cash to pay.
It is here that I will stop and apologize for having very few (like 2) food pics for the whole trip. I really wanted to take awesome food pics to share with everyone, but between trying to feed a 2 yo and simply not remembering to take pics until we were nearly done I failed at this task. I will still share our impressions when appropriate, but don’t expect pics.
For dinner DH had Open-faced Club Sandwich. It had turkey, ham, bacon, tomato, Boursin cheese, and fried onion strings. I think he requested it served it fries. It was huge and very delicious. I had the Surf & Surf burger with fried shrimp on a crabcake. This was also very good. It could have used more sauce and it was messy to eat, but the chunks of crab were surprisingly large for something deemed quick service. I kept asking DS if he wanted pizza or a hamburger and he kept saying no to both. He wanted chicken nuggets, but they didn’t have any. I chose corn dog nuggets hoping that he would be Ok with those, but he wouldn’t touch them. He did eat the fries and a bite or two of DH’s sandwich. DH ate the grapes that came with the kid’s meal. We didn’t have the refillable mugs, but the disposable cups you can get for drinks worked fine in the RFID machines. Interesting to note is that iced tea is not part of the RFID system. Also Disney uses Fuse iced tea and both DH & I agreed that it was better than any other fountain iced tea we have had before. While we still prefer real brewed iced tea, the Fuse tea was perfectly acceptable which is not something I can say for most fountain iced teas.

A few more pics from around the resortl...






We walked around the resort and unpacked a bit and then came back to Landscape of Flavors for dessert before bed. This was about 6:30 and it was much busier than it had been, but not unbearable. We shared the Mickey Oreo Cupcake & the Everything Brownie. Both were very good. We later learned that not all Disney cupcakes are created equal, but the Mickey Oreo one was a good spongy cake with a yummy buttercream frosting that was not too sweet. The brownie had to be eaten with a fork and was very rich (but that is not a bad thing in my book).

After dessert we walked around the resort a bit more and headed to bed. We were woke up by what I presume was the Epcot fireworks and they sounded like they were outside of our door. Thankfully since we had been on the road since 5 am that day DS slept through them, but I think it would have frightened him if he was awake.
Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2013, 02:14 PM   #5
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

Saturday:

Our plans for Saturday were to head to Downtown Disney fairly early to avoid the parking nightmares, then head to Windsor Hills and get our gate permit, go grocery shopping and check into our townhouse. We had an ADR for Chef Mickey’s at 4:15.

We got up and decided to have breakfast at the resort. It was about 8am and even more crowded than either of the visits on Friday, but again it was not unbearable and we found a table right away. DH chose the Breakfast Sandwich from the French Toast Stop window. It was naan bread topped with scrambled eggs, thick cut bacon, and cheese sauce. This was really good. The bacon was delicious although the scrambled eggs were the typical powdered scrambled eggs. The cheese sauce that was served on it was not the typical bright orange liquid cheese that is served at some of the counter service locations and instead was thinner and had a lot of flavor.

DS & I both had the kids waffles. The kid’s platter was served with two mini character waffles and a piece of bacon or a sausage link. It also came with another of the sides that are typical kids choices (we chose apples for one and grapes for the other and I don’t recall if they had any of the other choices like jello or carrots out in the morning). The apples are awful. The stuff that they put on them to keep them fresh is really yucky, but the grapes were very good. DS ate one of his waffles, his sausage, and some of DH’s bacon. I had 3 of the waffles, a strip of bacon, and the grapes. I tried to get a cup of coffee as the drink for one of the kid’s meals, but was told that this was not an option so we got a chocolate milk to use to flavor DH & I’s coffees. Little did I know there was hot cocoa that I could have used for the same thing.

While breakfast here was good, it was not great and I was very happy that we would have our own facilities to prepare breakfast for the rest of the week because this breakfast was about $20. Also we are not social people, especially in the morning so dealing with the crowds that early while trying to get food would have eventually led to someone having a breakdown.

Here are some pics of the Nemo section that we took after breakfast:


Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2013, 02:29 PM   #6
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

Saturday Cont...

When you leave a Disney resort if you have provided a credit card at check in you do not have to go back to the front dest to check out, so we just had to pack up the car and go.

We headed to DTD just before 10am. We did not have any problems finding parking, however, by the time we left just before noon it appeared to be pretty crazy. We knew that because of the parking situation that this would likely be the only time we made it to DTD for the trip (and we were right, we didn't make it back).

I had to get my Photopass + voucher exchanged. That was very quick & easy. They even reminded us to immediately take pictures of the card which we did, but thankfully never lost it.

We walked around a bit and spotted a couple items that we would like, but I wanted to wait until further into the vacation to buy much. We did buy a Mickey sandwich cutter. I had initially picked up the cookie cutter, but the CM recommended the sandwich cutter saying it worked a lot better for sandwiches and the cookies made from the cookie cutter were usually way too big. Since we were buying this for sandwiches I went with the CM's suggestion and she was right. I have used it for sandwiches (which it cuts right through) and for cookies (which were still pretty big) and it works great. This is the one we bought: http://www.disneystore.com/mickey-mo...43759/1000352/.

We had to head to Goofy's Candy Co for some make your own treats. Last year we bought a rice krispy treat covered in milk chocolate and peanut butter chips and it was delicious. This year DH went with milk chocolate, oreo, and dark chocolate. He loved it, but I like the peanut butter chip one better. I bought a caramel apple with milk chocolate, pecans, and dark chocolate. It was wonderful and I ate pieces of it for the next 4 days and it stayed fresh the whole time. The apple was $9.99 and the rice krispy Mickey was about $5, but considering we ate pieces of these for days they were well worth it (the rice krispy was a snack credit on the DDP, but the apple was not).

We had lunch at Earl of Sandwich. It was not quite 11am yet and the line was already to the door. I've heard the line moves quickly and it does move fairly quickly, but it still took 15 minutes or so to order & get our food. DH & I both had the Original with extra sauce and they were great.

We left DTD just before noon and decided to head over to Windsor Hills and pick up our gate pass.
Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2013, 02:30 PM   #7
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

Our previous experience made me very wary of staying offsite. However, upon reading lots of reviews on DIS about wonderful offsite options we decided to stay offsite for the majority of our vacation. The selling points for us for first and foremost cost. Onsite at Pop Century would have been about $1500 and offsite in a townhouse was under $800. I was also really looking forward to having at least basic cooking facilities & in room laundry.
We chose to stay at a townhouse in Windsor Hills that was rented by www.vacationcentralflorida.com. Dave & Patti were wonderful to work with pre-stay and the Donna (the Property Manager) was great during our stay. We stayed at 7682 Sir Kauffman. http://vacationcentralflorida.com/3b...irkaufman.html
The house was identical to the video and in pretty good shape. The house was very clean for the most part and I only pulled out cleaning supplies for the washing machine.

We did have an issue or two and these were handled very quickly and efficiently with the utmost professionalism. We really liked how secure and quiet WH felt. We were at all the parks in under 15 minutes (with the exception of MK and then we were at the TTC in under 15). Honestly it was closer to 10 minutes.
We really enjoyed the townhouse, but I would have preferred a single story unit so as to not worry about DS going up and down the stairs. We didn’t make use of the pool because we were either too tired, the pool was too chilly with the outside air, or it was too hot because of the outside air. We would absolutely rent from Dave & Patti again, but we are considering a condo in the future.
Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2013, 02:49 PM   #8
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

After checking into our townhouse we headed to the Contemporary Resort for dinner at Chef Mickey's. DH & I did think it was a bit creepy when the gate guard at the Contemporary just scanned DH's Magic Band without saying anything and waved us through to parking.

Chef Mickey's gets such mixed reviews here on DIS that I really wasn't sure if we wanted to go. The only reason that we decided to go was because we were not going to a park until Sunday and figured that DS would need some Disney in this Disney trip before he started to revolt. He had watched the videos of Chef Mickey's on Youtube and was looking forward to the napkin waving and seeing his friends again.

Our ADR was for 4:15, but we were seated just minutes after the restaurant opened. We did have the picture with "fake" Mickey taken, but that was only because we had prepaid for Photopass+ so I knew we would get the package for free.

We had a few minutes after we were seated before the characters started to come around so I was able to make a salad plate for myself and a plate for DS with time for DS to eat some before he started to see his friends.

First up was Pluto:


Followed by Goofy:


There was a break for a little bit while we were waiting for Minnie so I had time to go back and get some of the roast beef, lobster taragon tortellini, and some parmesean mashed potatoes. These were all very good. I also got a piece of sliced pork loin which was very dry and not good. DS ate his weight in chicken nuggets and a piece of pizza or two along with some of my caesar salad.

Finally Minnie was here. As you can see, DS was a very happy little boy.


A few minutes later we were greeted by the Chef himself.


The celebration song was going to be played in a few minutes, but I had time to get some desserts first. This is my one complaint about Chef Mickey's. The desserts are all mini dessert and the tongs can be difficult to use. DH saw a little girl drop the tongs and put them back on the table (he took them to a CM). While trying to pick up desserts, I dropped one and there was no one around to tell. This area could really use some CMs to assist guest because I am guessing that dropping happens frequently here.

We tried the mini pumpkin cheesecakes (amazing), mini pecan pie (pretty good), mini apple pie tarts (yummy), and the mini cupcakes (not very good). DS was given a cupcake before the celebration song because we had listed his birthday on the reservation. This cupcake was awful, honestly just plain awful. It was still half frozen and overly sweet. I would not go out of your way to get the free birthday cupcakes (even if they are cute).



While waiting on the celebration song we saw each of the 4 characters again for a brief visit. We saw Donald once from a distance, but then he disappeared. He never came to our area. DS could care less, but I can see how this could have been a disappointment to some.

Overall we enjoyed our dinner at Chef Mickey's and would go back, especially with a child who loves the Fab 5.

We did see the Gingerbread house at the Contemporary.


Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2013, 07:50 AM   #9
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

Sunday

Today is the day. We are heading to Magic Kingdom

Our plan was for DH & I to get up and get ready. We let DS sleep as until closer to time to leave. We ate breakfast in the house. I wasn't cooking while on vacation, so we bought the Jimmy Dean breakfast bowls and hotcakes with sausage.

We left Windsor Hills at 7:45. We drove to MK, parked, took the monorail, and made it through bag check by 8:25. This left us with about 20 minutes to wait before the train arrived. We were back just far enough to be able to see the train station and were about 1/3 of the way back from the gates. DH & I liked arriving at this point, but DS was very antsy and did not like waiting. He kept asking to go back to the room. Pretty much every morning DS was grumpy until we took him to see his friends at which time he would perk up. The magic of Disney

Waiting for the park to open.



We used Touring Plans to plan our days, however, on almost all days I made modifications to the recomendations to suit our needs. Today TP suggested that we start with Pooh, but we knew that Dumbo had to be DS's first ride at Disney. Instead of printing the entire touring plan I just copied the ride/attraction order onto a 3x5 card and only listed times for the FP+ & other reservations. This worked well to keep me sane and help me stick to the plan. I really did enjoy having a premade plan so that I didn't have to figure out what to do on the fly.

Once the gates open we headed to Dumbo. Main St really is the busiest part of MK. Once into the lands the crowds disperse, but Main St was always a challenge.

DS was so excited to get to see Dumbo. We walked right through the interactive cue and watched one flight before it was our turn.



DS was a bit apprehensive at first, but soon came to love flying.



After Dumbo we headed to Pooh. DS was OK with Pooh, but overall he was not very fond of this (or any semi or fully dark ride). We had FP+ for Pooh and did use it, but it was not necessary. It was about 9:10 and the wait was listed as 10 minutes. We knew that we would often encounter this, because all of our FP+ reservations were for before noon. Sometimes we used them and sometimes we didn't. More often than not we actually had FP+ left over at the end of the day. This was in part due to heading to the parks at RD (or very close) and because we were not doing many of the headliners.

After Pooh we headed over to the Tea Cups. We waited through one cycle before we loaded into our cup. DS loved these. DH couldn't go with us because he cannot handle the spinning, but DS was the happiest when I spun the cup as hard as I could.

From the Tea Cups we headed to the Carrousel which again was something DS loved and there was really no wait.



Next on our touring plan was Mickey's Philharmagic. Seeing how DS handled the noise in Pooh I was concerned about how he would react to this. I noticed that the wait for Cinderella & Aurora was listed as 15 minutes. We chose to do this instead. The wait was pretty accurate, but I don't really think we waited any longer. This was the shortest line we saw there all week.



Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2013, 07:53 AM   #10
Woodmnky
DIS Veteran
 
Woodmnky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 1,131

SUNDAY - Magic Kingdom To Be Cont...

Includes Peter Pan, It's A Small World, Lunch with FP+ at Be Our Guest, & Little Mermaid ride
Woodmnky is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
toddler



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:59 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

You Rated this Thread: