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Old 03-18-2011, 08:44 PM   #1
jenneth79
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A Rolex Vacation on a Timex Budget: Sept '11 PTR (TR is Live!)

(Editor's Note:I have added the Table of Contents for our trip in the post below, and will be sure to regularly update it if you want "just the facts"... or whatever passes for them in my world! )

Sept '11 Pre Trip Report
A Rolex Vacation on a Timex Budget
Travel Dates : September 17-25th 2011
Musings and Commentary provided by: Jen aka Evil Red

Dear Reader, I love my husband.

I've loved him since, nearly 8 years ago, I saw him stand up on top of an office cubicle and ask who was ready for happy hour. I loved him the first time he asked me out on a date, then decided for three months for such “dates” were not actually dates because they often involved watching professional sports together. I have loved him since he asked my father for my hand in marriage on the casino floor of the Bellagio. I have loved him since I said “I do” and a bird decided to grace us with “luck”…twice. I would do anything for him, as all the romantics love to say.

Then, an adorable little pair of black ears got in the way.

When I sat down recently and told him I had booked our trip to WDW for our 3rd Anniversary in September, he was genuinely excited. After all, this was a trip to honor my father, who passed away in January, and who introduced me to the most magical place on earth for the first time when I was only 3 years old. To us, we couldn’t think of anywhere we’d rather go this year.

That was until I showed him how much our package cost.

"You realize for that much money I could have bought a Rolex?" (I should note he continued to explain exactly WHICH Rolex he could have bought, but I stopped listening past something "timer"....)

“But we’re staying at the Yacht Club, on the concierge level!”

Mumble mumble….GMT…..mumble….date adjust….”

“And look, they have great golf courses…”

“Platinum….mumble…roman numeral face…”

“Here’s a website on how you can “drink around the world” in Epcot….”

“Really? They serve alcohol?”

I love my husband.

In many ways, he’s right. Disney isn’t cheap, you pay for the experience. Growing up I never knew how good I had it. My father worked for Kodak, and they sent us for free every year. When Captain EO opened (the first time) we had a private reception “backstage” and I remember how special I felt getting a Shirley Temple to toast with everyone else. To this day, my fondest memories of my father are from Disney, but now, as an adult, I cannot believe how much he sacrificed for us to go.

So I got to thinking, and decided I was going to make this an experience to remember. I like to think of it as buying a car. Sure, you don’t need heated and air conditioned seats, but if you DON’T get them, you’ll always wish you had. So what if it’s an extra few thousand dollars….

Full disclosure. My husband does the finances and makes sure we save for our future. I am too easily distracted by shoes.

The research began, ADRs, Spas, guide books, and the Disboards were on my mind. Suddenly I had a notebook dedicated to the trip, with budgets, park opening hours, and sample menus. Apparently Bridezilla was just waiting in the wings to return…..

So why not go ALL the way and create a pre- and post-plan trip?

It’s like a panoramic moon roof, after all.

So here we go, the chronicle of just what one Rolex will buy you in Disney World.


A few pics to share (I'm going to add an "About Us" post today as well.... a bit lax on that, I'm afraid!)

Engaged in Vegas!:


Our Wedding Day, Pictures at the Jefferson Memorial:

Last edited by jenneth79; 09-28-2011 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:00 PM   #2
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Because I am a bit "all over the place", I thought I'd give you a handy (and organized!) ToC so you can check up on what you missed, either the overall trip plan, the "Not Tamu-Tamu but Somewhere in the AK" Private Event (yay!...or at least until Disney decided they didn't want my money!) or my Coach Purse Pin Project of Madness!



General Trip Info and Planning


What are these ADRs you speak of?
Allow myself to introduce...myself. And my cats.
So you want a story?
Club level? Free drinks? Sign me up!!!
Fortune Cookie Tears
Rainy days make me long for Orlando...
Rules are made to be broken...right?
The Fun Fund Pig!

Chickens, Eggs, Hatched…there’s a lesson in there somewhere.
Nostalgia
Camera Talk
Those teeth ain't so Wise....
Surgery Recovery Update
Vinylmation, Part 1
Fun Fund Pig WINNER!
A Change in Plans!
Diet? What Diet? Oh, THAT diet...
No, no! Bad Husband, Bad!
The ADR Shuffle!
Two Steps Forward....
Three Surprises for my Hubby, #1
Three Surprises for my Hubby, #2


Our Trip Schedule- Day by Day

Day One, Saturday : Travel Day
Day Two, Sunday
Day Three, Monday
Day Four, Tuesday (Part 1)
Day Four, Tuesday (Part 2)
Day Five, Wednesday
Day Six, Thursday
Day Seven, Friday
Day Eight, Saturday
Day Nine, Sunday (Last Day in Disney!)


Coach Pin Purse Project of Madness!

How to decorate with Disney Pins!
It's Coming Along...
The Final Product!


The "Somewhere in the AK" Private Event! (CANCELLED...BOO!)

The Event Revealed!
The Reason Why
Pictures of Nemo
Timing, Location, and Theme
Location Update
Insult to Injury
My "Dear John" Letter to Disney



...and for a bit of nostalgia... a picture of dad and I back in 1984 or 5. Somewhere outside the Tiki Room, I think.

Last edited by jenneth79; 09-15-2011 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:10 PM   #3
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My Disney Faves!

Something else I apparently forgot to put into my PTR!

Favorite Disney Movie: Beauty and the Beast
Favorite Disney Character: Stitch!!!
Favorite Princess: This is a tossup. Used to be Belle, but Rapunzel is pretty awesome.
Favorite Disney Park: Epcot
Favorite Ride: Space Mountain… not matter what cool new rides Disney comes up with, this is a classic!
And, one more old school picture from Tomorrowland Speedway....


Last edited by jenneth79; 04-11-2011 at 02:36 PM. Reason: ..adding "favorites" to post
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:15 PM   #4
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SOunds Interesting
I'm really sorry for your loss I really hope you'll enjoy this trip with your Husband

Can't wait to see what your Rolex will get you guys at Disney
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:21 PM   #5
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What are these ADR things you speak of?

It's been just over 10 years since I last visited Disney world, and a lot of things have changed. My phone conversation with the (wonderful and helpful, btw) vacation planner from Disney World:

Skip (Yes, his name really was Skip!): Ok, so we have the Magic Your Way Package for 9 Days / 8 Nights on at the Yacht Club club level. Would you like to add a dining plan?

Me: A What?

Skip: (*pause*) A Dining Plan, it's a package that saves you money at our participating restaurants around the park. You can use it for your advanced dinner reservations.

Me: (*laughs*) Oh, no thank you....it's a bit early to make reservations.

Skip: Well, things do fill up quickly, so we recommend making ADR as soon as possible. Your window of availability begins on March 21st...

As Skip is describing some Disney Signature experiences that I might want to try, I find myself wandering. (Sense a pattern?) When did I ever make reservations for dinner somewhere six months in advance? Heck, I didn't know what I wanted for dinner TONIGHT. How silly of them for thinking anyone would want to plan that far in advance....

....yes. I know. Stop laughing.

In my world, this is a dining plan:

Step 1: Around 4pm, Text Message or Call Husband
Step 2: Spend approx. 5 minutes discussing what to do for dinner.
Step 3: Flip coin to end "oh, whatever you want to do honey" conversation.
Step 4: Plan on heading to dinner.
Step 5: A few hours later, arrive at restaurant of choice.
Step 6: Eat, Pay Bill, Regret ordering dessert.

Needless to say, once I did some research and realized that dining plans at WDW fall into the same category as, oh, BREATHING, and that it was nearly impossible to eat anywhere WITHOUT an ADR, I called back and added the Deluxe Dining Plan. Which is probably overkill for someone staying on CL, but I liked that option better than trying to split things between Table Service and Counter Service. And this way, I can use up all the snack credits to bring home Disney candy from our trip!

Did you know that the CL staff will make reservations for you on your scheduled day, AND put up with never ending questions from people who can't make up their minds if they want to eat at Jiko or Yachtsman? ( for the record, I am requesting both.) Terri over at the YC is a saint. I am sending that woman flowers before we go down there.

So my fingers are crossed now that all of my ADR requests go through on Monday morning - and I will post them once I know what they are so you can tell me if I made the right choices or not.

HOPEFULLY I will sill be hungry by the time September rolls around.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:02 PM   #6
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ADR Pop-Quiz : How did we do?

Ok, the ADRs are locked in! So here's the final list, how do you think we did?

San Angel Inn Dinner

Cinderella's Royal Table Breakfast

Le Cellier Steakhouse Dinner

Tutto Italia Ristorante Lunch

Jiko - The Cooking Place Dinner

Victoria & Albert's V & A's Dinner Queen Victoria Room

Yachtsman Steakhouse Dinner

Bistro de Paris Dinner

Biergarten Restaurant Lunch

Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room Dinner

The Hollywood Brown Derby Lunch

'Ohana Dinner

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Old 03-22-2011, 11:13 AM   #7
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Ok, saw pixarmom's recommendation of your TR over on the BC board. LOVE what I have read so far! Very entertaining.

Sounds like a spectacular lineup of dining reservations. I have only been to the San Angel, Le Cellier and Ohana. Can't wait to hear your impressions of all of the restaurants.

What a wonderful way to honor your father and the great memories of the past trips you enjoyed with him. Priceless!
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:25 PM   #8
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Figment!

Because of my first trips to WDW, and the special attention we received at the Kodak pavilion (since my dad worked for them...) I have to say my favorite Disney character for years was Figment. He was just so adorable!



I wish I still had that little stuffed animal. Hopefully they still sell them in the park, because I'm going to buy one this year if they do!
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:19 PM   #9
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Hi Jen! You already know I'm following along, but I just saw your most recent post - your old photos are great. So many things about those photos to love.

To follow up on our grey goose slushie discussion over on the BC/YC thread, my husband recommends the beer selection at the counter service in UK. And my parents - they recommend everything - they went during food and wine last year.

Great ADRs! I recognize so many of them from our current and previous lists!

San Angel Inn Dinner - This is going to be such a special dinner!

Cinderella's Royal Table Breakfast - Just did this in January - we have three boys, but our pre-schooler experienced a princess phase and was very excited about the idea of eating in the castle. It's one of those classic experiences.

Le Cellier Steakhouse Dinner - Love it! Last month, my husband and I were saying that this just might be our favorite restaurant in all of WDW. And the boys love it too. (But I actually like the N.Y. strip better than the filet - which is surprising!)

Tutto Italia Ristorante Lunch - Went here more before kids - great for couples!

Jiko - The Cooking Place Dinner - We're trying this in August the night before our cruise! We've been going to more signatures with the boys and really enjoying it, so I am excited to try this - I'll report back!

Victoria & Albert's V & A's Dinner Queen Victoria Room - Someday . . . Can't wait to hear what you think!

Yachtsman Steakhouse Dinner - Trying it in August the night we return from our cruise, now that the boys are all doing well with signatures. I've heard such great things!

Bistro de Paris Dinner - My parents were here during Food and Wine last year and absolutely love it! (This one and V&A are on hold for us until the boys are all older, but I love hearing about it - take extra photos for your trip report.)

Biergarten Restaurant Lunch - So fun!! It's been a while since I was there (our pre-teen boys protest the seating arrangement) but it's such a fun place.

Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room Dinner - I really like Rose and Crown. Funny thing is that everyone wants to sit outside, but we really want to sit inside. We requested inside in January and again in February, but just can't get an inside table! That makes my husband grumpy, but the boys and I like it there.

The Hollywood Brown Derby Lunch - I absolutely love Brown Derby for lunch. Went for dinner a few times, but decided that we prefer lunch there. Love the tuna appetizer and the grapefruit cake! My oldest highly recommends the scallop appetizer.

'Ohana Dinner - More fun! I love the salad and appetizers. And even though I don't like bread pudding anywhere else, that stuff is great. Our youngest especially loves Ohana for breakfast and for dinner - he spent most of the last trip saying "Aloha" to everyone.

So excited for you!
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
Ok, saw pixarmom's recommendation of your TR over on the BC board. LOVE what I have read so far! Very entertaining.

Sounds like a spectacular lineup of dining reservations. I have only been to the San Angel, Le Cellier and Ohana. Can't wait to hear your impressions of all of the restaurants.

What a wonderful way to honor your father and the great memories of the past trips you enjoyed with him. Priceless!
Thanks! I'm going to try and sneak a camera into each dinner... at least until my DH stops me. I promise complete reviews, however!

Thanks for following this journey... I've been catching up on yours as well, very entertaining!
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:50 PM   #11
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What to obsess over next.....

So, if this is going to be a “Rolex” vacation, it had better go all out (but, you know, stay classy). But not in a “stay classy” while wearing jorts kind of way, mind you….

So, I need something else to obsess over now.

I’m currently debating the following:
- Have custom cake designed for Anniversary dinner.
- Go for a Fireworks Cruise
- Go on a backstage tour

Anyone thy any of these, or would recommend one over the other?
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:20 PM   #12
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Here comes the....wait....wrong plan!

Dear lord, it’s like planning a wedding!

I remember booking the venue, caterer, and florist in March for our September wedding three years ago. Right after that, I felt this mini-letdown / panic along the lines of “now what, there must be SOMETHING else to plan!?!”

MY ADRs went in on Monday. I am now having the same feeling. I’m going to order flowers for our room. I’m looking into cakes, for heaven’s sake! (though the pictures on the Custom Cake thread are AMAZING, check it out if you get a chance.) It makes sense, in a way. I’m planning a big vacation, a celebration of our wedding anniversary. At the same time though, I feel as if I should be shopping for custom made dresses for our Victoria and Albert’s dinner, actually….that’s not a bad idea…..

Kidding.

Really.

Well...

Do other people feel the same way about planning a WDW vacation? Can you pick out any other parallels?

And, just because, a few more old pics!



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Old 03-24-2011, 05:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenneth79 View Post
Thanks! I'm going to try and sneak a camera into each dinner... at least until my DH stops me. I promise complete reviews, however!

Thanks for following this journey... I've been catching up on yours as well, very entertaining!
Oh, you must take pictures of at least some of your meals! I can't get enough food porn and you have a very sultry lineup of reservations!

Thanks for stopping by my report!

See you soon!
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenneth79 View Post

I’m currently debating the following:
- Have custom cake designed for Anniversary dinner.
- Go for a Fireworks Cruise
- Go on a backstage tour

Anyone thy any of these, or would recommend one over the other?
I haven't done any of these but I think I would pick the Fireworks Cruise. The backstage tour would be my second choice. I have seen some beautiful cakes at Disney, but you are going to be all set with food and desserts with the dining you have lined up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenneth79 View Post
Dear lord, it’s like planning a wedding!

Do other people feel the same way about planning a WDW vacation? Can you pick out any other parallels?
What about needing the right shoes for the occasion?
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:06 PM   #15
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Allow myself to introduce.... myself. And my cats.

Dear Reader, I never said I did things the way I am supposed to.

I realized this morning that it might be helpful to actually introduce ourselves to you all. That being said, here is my attempt at explaining the “who”, the “what” and the “why”.

I’ll start with myself. I’m Jen, 29 years old (+3) and I’m an engineer. With a lower-case “e”. That means my title is Solutions Engineer, but I never got an EE degree. Or any degree, actually. I work in the IT industry for a major hosting provider. I learned years ago there isn’t really a way to make the job sound all that “sexy”. Large customers want to host a really complex web application? It’s my job to build out all the hardware, software, space, internet, etc. See? Not saving any lives, but it’s a good living. Why do I sound a bit unimpressed with the whole thing? Perhaps because the following jobs were on my “what I want to be when I grow up” list:

1. Actress
2. Writer
3. Chef
4. Historian

Outside of community and regional theater, I’m never going to obtain #1 on the list, so we can scratch that one off. #2 might be a possibility some day, if I could get from “once upon a time” to “happily ever after”. Typically I get stuck somewhere around “bet you never saw THIS one coming.” The other two….well, we shall see. I’m going back to college to get my degree in History, that’s a start!

My personality, summed up in a picture:




Ok, ok, so that’s an elaborately staged performance for our wedding photorgrapher…..(More accurately, what I would LIKE my personality to be.) In reality, this is more, well, ME:



On a side note, I'm happy to say I'm one of those brides who made sure to eat EACH COURSE of her meal... along with BOTH desserts. (Wedding Cake, and Cheesecake, since it came with the catering contract...) Make sense why we purchased the DDP now?

My DH, Mike (35) is also in the IT industry, he runs a team of Program Managers. His job basically is to fix all the problems I create in my design. Makes for very interesting dinner conversations at times (especially since in the past few months we’ve been working for the same company!) He is also a former Army Infantry soldier and National Guardsman. Though he hasn’t been in the Service for a few years now, he still has that “presence” about him. (You might understand what I mean when you see a picture of him…)

On a recent trip to Williamsburg:




We are childless at the moment, and I am one of those people who could probably remain so, although my two nieces are my life. They recently came back from Disney, but didn't get all the signatures they wanted. I plan on taking their books down with us this September to stalk some princesses!:



I still consider myself to have two children, in a “Crazy Cat Lady” kind of way, Bailey (grey) and Zoe (white):





And, hopefully I never treat any human children in this manner:



We were married in September of 2008, and had dated for about 4 years prior. We are self-confessed Wine, Beer, and Food snobs. This will be helpful to know later as our pre-trip becomes “live”. We live just outside of Washington, DC. My goal is to move south as soon as possible, perhaps open up a Bed and Breakfast in Central Virginia (around UVA.)

Oh yeah, we are die-hard Redskins fans... born and bred. Even though they are horrible. I blame Snyder. From the last game we bought tickets to, probably two years ago when we (shocker) lost to Dallas.

It should be noted, Mike has about 30 layers on under that jersey.



Up next, the WHAT and the WHY…..
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