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Old 05-04-2011, 05:31 PM   #1
teekathepony
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Talking The Darlings Do Disney (TR is started!)

Hi, I'm Wendy and I am a Disney fanatic.

This is my first PTR so I hope I do it right!

Some background:
-My first trip was in 1991, I was 5 and went with my mother and father.
-We fell on hard times and were unable to get back. We whistled "it's a small world" and "zip-a-dee-doo-da" every single day for 16.5 years.
-My second was in September 2007, also with mom and dad! We finally got back. Stayed at Pop Century and did 14 days. Also included Discovery Cove and SeaWorld.
-In 2008 October I took my (then boyfriend) on his first trip. Stayed again at Pop. Did a 10 day stay and it was perfect.
-In 2009 May I saw Disneyland Paris with my parents. Which was fun.
-In 2010 November my (now husband! "Mr. Darling") and I went on our honeymoon. Again, stayed at Pop Century. 15 days this time including Discovery Cove, SeaWorld and two days at Universal (WWoHP! AAAAAAAAAAA!).

This year in October we will be celebrating our first anniversary in Walt Disney World!

The cast:
Myself, Wendy "Darling", age 25, photographer. My husband, "Mr. Darling" now 24 who will be 25 at the time of the trip, who is a plumber.
Possibilities: My cousin and her boyfriend who are most likely coming. This will be my first time going with other people my own age! I can't wait to go with a small group.
Also possible is another cousin who is crunching numbers furiously.

My husband is a darling (hence the nickname!) and asked me one day "What do you want to do for our first anniversary?"
Not thinking seriously, as it was 6 months away, I said "Oh I don't know. Go to Disney World."
Mr. Darling: "Ok."

Turns out he was going to surprise me, but decided he needed my planning expertise.

As of now nothing is booked. We are doing this one on a really tight budget. Our last one was a bit indulgent as it was our honeymoon, so we don't mind skimping on a few things this time. The plan is to use our airmiles for the flights. We would like to be there from October 10-17 (16 is our anniversary). 6 nights in a value resort (probably POP). 4 day park hopper. (no water parks) A day at Universal (also paid for with airmiles!)

Throwing us off now is the free dining announcement for September. Here's hoping they extend it. If it came down to a choice between being there on our anniversary or saving all that money on the meal plan, I'm afraid we'd be going in September!

Our last trip was poorly planned as far as meals go. We just picked a bunch of restaurants with no regard to the park they were in. We ended up hopping back to Epcot for 5 meals! So this year we are picking one TS restaurant from each park and booking a reservation for that place to (hopefully!) coincide with magic hours.

Well, I guess that's all for now! Again, I hope I am doing this right
I'll be back with some pictures when I'm at my home computer.


ETA: Chapter links!
2. A possible new development? (Trip-related)
3. Things keep getting bigger!(Trip-related)
4. Mr. Darling's birthday surprise (T-r)
5. Late hour and nothing is done!(T-r)
6. Us <3 (Non-t-r)
7. Mr. Darling gets his birthday gift (t-r)
8. Deciding on a Dinner Theatre (t-r)
9. Last year's Universal (WWoHP) pictures (non-t-r)
10. Where we stayed last year (non-t-r)
11. My movie marathon mission (non-t-r)
12. Intro to my fur-family! (non-t-r)
13. Impending flights, short list of ADR choices (t-r)
14. Flights are booked! (t-r)
15. My Disney Scent (only somewhat t-r)
16. Hotel/tickets booked! And an early draft schedule (t-r)
17. Awesome ADR score! (t-r)
18. "Final" schedule (t-r)
19. Magic Kingdom Must-dos (t-r)
20. No Disney Scent (somewhat t-r)
21. Mr. Darling gets some fun mail! (t-r)
22. Epcot Must-dos (t-r)
23. Hollywood Studios Must-dos (t-r)
24. A very Harry update + HP spoilers (non-t-r)
25. Animal Kingdom must-dos (t-r)
26. Trip-related Life updates (t-r)
27. Counter Service at Animal Kingdom! (t-r)
28. Medieval Times is booked! (t-r)
29. Counter Service at Magic Kingdom (t-r)
30. A question about my ADRs. (t-r)
31. Counter Service at Epcot (t-r)
32. Paid off! + updates (t-r)
33. Dear Diary, (not directly t-r, but relevant)
34. 39 sleeps and a few small updates! (t-r)
35. Dear Diary, #2 (somewhat t-r)
36. Counter Service at Hollywood Studios (t-r)
37. 1 month to go! (t-r)
38. Quick update + Movies (t-r)
39. Counter Service at Downtown Disney (t-r)
40. Updates + Irene's path (mostly t-r)
41. Dear Diary, #3 (somewhat t-r)
42. I'm hot and I'm cold! (t-r)
43. Itinerary: Day 1 (t-r)
44. Decisions, decisions! Which add-on? (t-r)
45. Itinerary: Day 2 (t-r)
46. Our decision! (t-r)
47. No luggage tags.
48. Itinerary: Day 3
49. 11 sleeps + movie update!
50. Panic! part 1
51. Single Digit Dance!
52. Itinerary: Day 4
53. Panic! Part 2
54. Panic! Part 3
55. Window sign
56. Itinerary: Day 5
57. Panic! Part 4 (aka mental breakdown)
58. Flight change!
59. No Strike!
60. Itinerary: Day 6 & 7
61. Itinerary: Day 8 & 9
62. Home safe!
63. Trip Report Link



Last edited by teekathepony; 10-03-2011 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:09 PM   #2
Ariel-the-Mermaid
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Ok, Here is my input:
Favorite restaurant in each park (that counts for only one table service credit on the dining plan):
Magic Kingdom: Crystal Palace- The food is nice and i am a fan of character dining... especially with winnie the pooh and friends. If your want something more classy try the Liberty Tree Tavern- family style food, relaxed environment, usually not TOO crowded.
EPCOT- This is the BEST of the park when it comes to food. For characters I love the Garden Grill- Family style food with Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto, this restaurant it at the top of the land pavilion and on a rotating floor... its a REALLY cool experience. If you want truely AMAZING food i recommend Teppan Edo- A japanese food restaurant that cooks the food in front of you, it is far more adult friendly and has really great food (mostly seafood).
MGM/Hollywood Studios- Not a lot of nice food here, the only place i really like is the 50's Prime time Cafe- nice american food and such a cute 50s decor, plus the servers are SUPER great every single time i go.
Animal Kingdom- This park has only 3 sit down restaurants but 2 of them are Really good! I prefer Tusker House as my top choice, because it is a buffet and i love the food there, but Yak&Yeti is a very close second choice, it has a la carte dining. (Tusker house is also the better deal on the dining plan -in general-)


If you want to Dine at a resort try:
1900 park fare at the Grand floridian or 'Ohana at the Polynesian. The first is a buffet with cinderella characters (childish, but still fun and has good food... a good substitute for Cinderella's royal table). I find that 'Ohana is a nice adult and kid friendly restaurant with a chill hawaiian vibe and classic islander food. VERY TASTY EITHER WAY.

For your anniversary:
If your feel like finding a really nice place for your anniversary do California Grill- it is expensive (uses 2 table service credits on the dining plan) and it can be tough to make reservations, but the food is OUTSTANDING and the view is once in a lifetime. Remember to get a dinner time at around 8:30-9:00 that way you will still be seated in time for WISHES! the fireworks show at the magic kingdom.
***Note: if you do go here get here early and make sure to request a table that has a nice view of the fireworks... tell them you will wait until a table is available, trust me... it is WAY worth it!

Hope this helped!!! And enjoy your trip!
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:55 AM   #3
teekathepony
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I very much appreciate your input!
We are pretty picky eaters usually, so we're really thinking a lot about our restaurants. Unless the other people we go with really disagree, this is what we were sort of thinking:

For Animal Kingdom we've pretty much decided on Tusker House. We loved it last trip and can't wait to get back.

On our anniversary we have a reservation made at Le Cellier. (Now I'm worried that we will have to change our dates and be unable to keep this one!) Not only does it feel like a little home away from home (O! Canada ) The food is awesome. We loved it last time, so that is also our Epcot one, we think.

Magic Kingdom we weren't sure about. We didn't like Liberty Tree, and we've done Crystal Palace a few times so we're looking for something different. Maybe Tony's Town Square. Very undecided.

Hollywood Studios we really weren't sure, as you said, not a lot there. Mr. Darling is fairly sure he doesn't want to eat at 50's PT because he's scared he won't like something (like I said, picky eaters!) and the waiters will try to force him to eat it. I keep telling him to play along and just laugh it off but he's really genuinely concerned. Maybe I'll convince him. I'd like to try it. It's one of a few park restaurants I haven't tried.

We're going to try to stay away from resort dining just due to time concerns. Only having 4 days for the parks, we would rather spend all that time in them rather than travelling. I do want to try 'Ohana someday though. Next trip perhaps, or maybe this one if we extend it by a day. I did 1900 PF and didn't like it all that much.

My Mother in Law actually ate at California Grill and wasn't a fan, believe it or not. I won't be trying it this time as I don't want to use two table service credits twice (Le Cellier for dinner too)

It's all still up in the air though, and of course our co-travelers may want to totally change things up!
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:15 PM   #4
Ariel-the-Mermaid
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Le Cellier is AMAZING! I agree that it is worth the 2 credits.

Hollywood Studios is a tough one... i still haven't picked a place to eat there for my trip in june because i love the 50s Prime Time, but i was hoping for something nicer... I might try Mama Melrose, but i have heard mixed reviews on that place, so i guess we shall see.

On The Magic Kingdom... I've eaten at Tony's once a few years back. I remember thinking it was nice but nothing to write home about. I am italian by heritage, so i am used to really nice italian cuisine , and i found the stuff a tony to be good but very american-italian... so if that is what your looking for then it may be the right place for you! Also just an FYI the theming here is so-so and the value is less when your using the dining plan. Still a good meal, but it was nothing very exciting if you know what i mean.

Hmm one last thing...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1f3b...feature=relmfu
This vide explains a way where you can get a 1 day ticket to universal and island of adventure with a shuttle there and back.
Hope this was helpful!
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:05 PM   #5
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I ate at Tony's on my 2007 trip. I enjoyed it. I'd go back. I wouldn't rush to line up, but I thought it was pretty good.
I did not know about the Universal ticket/shuttle thing! I'll have to check that out. Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:18 AM   #6
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We have a new development!

While we were perfectly content to stay at Pop Century again, I did have a thought that could change our plans.

Stay at Pop Century during free meal plan promotion (PLEASE Disney deities, extend this promo!) and get a free quick service meal plan. Think about chicken fingers twice a day. Pay to upgrade.

Stay at a moderate resort during free meal plan promotion, get the normal meal plan, don't have to pay extra.

So we're going to do some pricing and see what the difference is. We've decided that for a low enough number, we'll upgrade to a moderate -- for the benefits and also for the experience of seeing something we have yet to see!
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:08 AM   #7
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Well, things continue to get bigger and more complicated, but as it's Disney, I love it!

We have decided against a Moderate resort. As lovely as it sounded, the difference (considering the cost to upgrade the meal plan) would be $426 for us. Just a little too much. In fact, it's almost the price of the Richard Petty Driving Experience which I plan to purchase for Mr. Darling's birthday! (Shhhh!)

Our little anniversary getaway is growing in numbers as well. First my cousin and her bf, now (possibly) another cousin and her bf, and lately my MIL and Step-FIL. I've never done a trip with more than 3 people, so this should be interesting. I hope we can coordinate everything in a way that everyone's happy.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:51 PM   #8
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Shhh! Don't tell, but I'm booking a Rookie Experience for Mr. Darling for his birthday. I had to make him a voucher because I can't book the experience yet (no dates) and a gift card is $40 to ship to Canada
So here's his home made voucher:

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Old 06-07-2011, 11:58 AM   #9
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Things are getting close and nothing is booked. We're still waiting to see if the free dining is extended into October, but as we're flying on air miles we need to book our flights soon. We may have to go in September afterall.
It's time to buckle down and get organized. We need to find out who is coming, when they want to go and if it coincides with our dates. We have to book our flights, book our rooms and park tickets and meals... so much to do, so little time.
We have one meal booked -- Le Cellier for October 16 (our anniversary) and it would break my heart a little to have to cancel it if we go in September instead. I've done a little looking and there doesn't appear to be anything available in September. Mr. Darling and I will just have to find another place to have a special anniversary dinner.
Mr. Darling's birthday is in two days. I can't wait to give him his Richard Petty voucher.
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:51 PM   #10
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It's past picture time.

Mr. Darling and I on our honeymoon in November 2010!
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Old 06-07-2011, 05:35 PM   #11
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Hi Wendy. I'm subbing! Sounds good so far!

DH and I ate at Le Cellier on our first anniversary way back in 2004. It was an awesome experience. I tried to do the wine pairing with our meal. I'm a lightweight when it comes to wine, so after the appetizer portion of the meal, I asked them not to bring me any more.

Looking forward to more updates.
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:08 PM   #12
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Thanks for subbing

@ the wine. I can't drink alcohol at all... can't stand the taste which sucks since I'll be there for the food & wine festival! My MIL is going to try to turn me into a wine drinker by the end of our trip.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:02 PM   #13
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Hey Wendy,
I'm liking the PTR so far . I can empathize with being a picky eater. My dgf is very picky so we had a hard time deciding where we will be eating. She basically looked a various dining reviews and the menus of every restaurant then made me a list of places that she thought she would like.

Hope you'll let us know how Mr. Darling enjoys his Rookie experience!!
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:26 PM   #14
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Thanks OrangeJuice!
Yesterday was Mr. Darling's birthday. He was fairly shocked at his gift, and as I expected, said "I'll help you pay for this though". Silly Mr. Darling just doesn't understand a gift. However he did promise me that he would do it. Now to get our dates nailed down so I can book it for him!
My mother in law has been talking back and forth with me all morning, calling air miles and travel agents and trying to find the best deals. I think we're going to book soon... it's going to end up being September. I just can't wait any longer for a chance they might extend the dining plan. September is still a great time to go, and I'll still be excited!

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Old 06-10-2011, 12:35 PM   #15
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Also, we've decided to do a dinner theatre. We are thinking something like Medieval Times or Sleuth's or Capones. Opinions? Keep in mind that it's all adults (though children at heart)

http://www.disboards.com/showthread....8#post41421478 ---> My thread asking for advice on dinner theatres.

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