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Old 05-16-2011, 08:45 AM   #1
skier_pete
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"Look Ma! We're planning a Disney Trip!" - Nov 10-20 PTR (11/09 Final Update?!)

Hey everyone! I promised some of my DISfriends that I would set up a Pre-Trip Report so they could follow over from my Trip Report - So here it is!

So, a little history for those that stumble across this PTR and don't know me.

My name is Peter and I'm a Mousejunky/Disneyholic ("Hi Pete"). I was lucky enough to get to go to Disney many times as a child, mostly with my grandmother (on my mother's side). We would go down to Florida to visit my Grand-Uncle, and I have great (but vague) memories of Disney (and Sea World, and Cypress Gardens..etc.). These trips really formed a basis for where I like to spend my free money as an adult (on travel and entertainment).

After the final childhood trip in 1983 with my mom and step-dad, the next two trips were with my DGF and eventual DW. Our first vacation together was to WDW in 1997, and we went back again 2000. We still weren't addicted then...that didn't happen until we stayed on-site in 2006 with DD and DMIL and at the same time was introduced to the DIS.

We have since gone six times in 5 years, and this will be our 7th trip. While I am the Disney planner, DW is a much of a Disney addict as I, and DD (soon to be 8) has been well brain washed by Disney and her parents.

Here's a picture of us from our last trip in October 2010:



So, a bit of history on this trip...our December 2009 trip was originally concevied as a "family" trip where we went with DMIL, DBIL, and my DMom and DStep-Dad. Well, we couldn't convince DBIL nor my parents that they would enjoy going to Disney World - they all have DIFKS: "Disney is for kids syndrome."

Well, we had a great time anyways with DMIL, and I continued to work on my parents. Last summer we managed to talk my Mom into going with us. At first she suggested joining us for the October 2010 trip, which would have been nice had we had more notice. Instead, I suggested she join us for a November 2011 trip. (DStep-dad still couldn't be convinced - he is concerned about all the walking.)

Here's a picture of them from last summer while we visited them in Utah (they winter in Mesa, AZ, and spend the summers elsewhere.)



I am very excited about my mom coming with us. I don't get to see my family very often (I am an only child - my Dad and Step-mom live about 350 miles away, while Mom and Step-dad are across the country.) and I am closest to my Mom. While we''ve gone on vacation with them plenty of times, I am hoping to get to show her how much fun Disney World can be for an adult, and get a little bit of a chance to repay all the great trips she took me on as a kid. My love of traveling definitely comes from my parents (Dad some as well as Mom).

Anyways, I'm not sure I did much to peak anyone's interest to stick around - but please stick around....and if you came here because you are planning a trip at the same time - shout-out. We love the chance to meet fellow Disney lovers.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK

Last edited by skier_pete; 11-09-2011 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:06 AM   #2
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6 reasons Why November 11 - 20th?

Part of loving Disney is that it gives me the chance to really PLAN a vacation. Most of our trips - you book airfare, hotel, car rental, your pretty much done. DISNEY trips require a sense of vision in my view. What are we trying to accomplish on the trip? I also tend to base the trips around a "theme". Last October's theme was "splurge". April 2010 was "surpirse".

So, when we started talking about this trip, we knew we would probably be going in the fall. It was very tempting to just revisit the same time of year. (The trip we took in 2010 was the third week in October, our 3rd time hitting that week in the last 10 years.) However, when looking at the dates, mid-October is a little tough for my DM. They usually return to Arizona early-October, and she would have very little time to get settled in.

So, I decided to review what other dates we could try. We settled on these dates (Nov 11th to 20th) because of the following factors:

1) While I have no problem taking DD out of school at this age. She will be in 3rd grade, and while many will disagree, I feel that losing a week of school at this age is something that can be caught up easily, and well worth the time off. But, these dates allowed us to do the trip with her only missing 4 days of actual school. She will have Nov 11th off for Vetrans day...and Nov 18th is the most likely date of Parent-Teacher conference day where the kids are also off from school.

2) The first week of our trip is the last week of Food and Wine. YUM! We loved Food and Wine last year.

3) This is also the start of the Osborne Lights. We went before Christmas in 2009, and while we didn't love it enough to want to go back at that time of year, there were three things we really liked a lot. One was the castle lighting, two the Osborne Lights and 3 was Candlelight Processional. While we can't see the latter, the first two will be going on while we're there.

4) The weather should still be very nice. Our last trip in October 2010 had such improbably perfect weather we should want to go again at the same time, but November to me looks even more ideal. Once you get into December the weather gets iffy. Also, taking off time before Christmas just made our home lives too hectic.

5) It's the week between "Jersey week" and "Thanksgiving Week" and as such should be fairly low crowds. I have no desire to spend my vacation standing in line. Our park touring stragedy and the time of year we typically go means we rarely, if ever, are in line for ANY ride more than 10 minutes. (Maybe, 2-4 times a trip up to 20 mintes.) We're not about to start waiting in line now.

6) We are really, really hoping to be able to take advantge of a discount offer, and hopefully it will be free dining! The last three years, they have offered free dining this same week that we picked. I expect the see SOME discount offered, but what it will be I don't know. If FD - we will be able to upgrade and stay at a moderate...which is our real hope. Otherwise, it's back to Pop Century for us.

So - there we go - 6 reasons why we are going that week. Back to the idea of trip theme - we are planning on this trip as a "greatest hits". While I do have a normal policy to try something new every day, and that will still be in place...last trip we tried lots of new restaurants and new experiences. This trip will be about going back to some of our favorites from the last 5 years. Our favoirte restaurants, our favorite rides, our favorite experiences. Since we already know we won't be going back in 2012 - this trip will have to tied us over for probably almost two years. That's going to be hard! That plus wanting to show DM our favorite things.

So - the plan is in place (it's been for a while) the ADR's are made (that was yesterday - our 180 day date). I'll be rolling it out over the next few weeks, hopefully.

Again, thanks for coming along for this ride with us!
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:16 PM   #3
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I'm in, sounds like a fun trip (and why wouldn't it!). Food and Wine, Osbourne Lights, and the castle all decorated for Christmas!

Looking forward to hearing about the details.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:25 AM   #4
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Here and subbing in!
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laashley View Post
I'm in, sounds like a fun trip (and why wouldn't it!). Food and Wine, Osbourne Lights, and the castle all decorated for Christmas!

Looking forward to hearing about the details.
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Here and subbing in!
Thanks for coming over! I appreciate you joining in.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:17 AM   #6
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I'm in! Terribly jealous of your new trip, but I'm in. Can't wait to see what you have planned for this time.
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:55 PM   #7
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I'm in! Terribly jealous of your new trip, but I'm in. Can't wait to see what you have planned for this time.
Hey "Wings", thanks for joinng. It's wouldn't be a TR without you along for the ride, my friend!

SP
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:13 PM   #8
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Flight time when?

So, come next Tuesday the flights will open for our trip. We will be flying Southwest as per usual. There are some things that I really like about SWA and some things I hate. Their air fare purchase system combines both.

I like that you know what dates you want to book and when they open up. I like that the prices are usually pretty good. What I don't like is that lately, the prices on opening day are not usually that good, nor the best prices. And, while you can still change your flight to get a better price on another day, now that credit is ONLY good for the person that is flying to begin with, so unless you are flying AGAIN in the next 6 months, it doesn't do you much good. I our case, our next flights anywhere will be in July of 2012.

So, knowing how the system works...i MIGHT be buying our tickets next Tuesday - or i MIGHT NOT....

But here's what we are looking for:
My DM is going to fly to Florida in advance to visit a friend. She is then going to fly to meet us in Orlando for the trip. So, we need to get:

One 1-way ticket - Phoenix to Ft. Lauderdale - Monday, November 7th
One 1-way ticket - Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando November 10th
Three 1-way ticket - Bufflao to Orlando November 10th
One 1-way ticket - Orlando to Phoenix November 20th
Three 1-way ticket - Orlando to Bufflao November 20th

Ideally, I need an arrival in Orlando on November 10th around the same time for both our flights so we can meet up and use DME. I also was hoping for a later in the evening flight for us, as we really would like to get in a day of work/school this day. I'm not too worried about pricing on the Nov 7th and Nov 10th dates/times. However, afternoon flight options look to be sketchy. The latest flight I can reasonably take is a 2 PM flight out of Buffalol. The next flight is at around 5 PM, which would be OK except it has a layover and doesn't get into MCO until after 10 PM. YUK!

...am I boring you yet?

The return flights are even trickier. The Sunday fares on SWA from MCO to Buffalo are NEVER well priced, at least ones at a reasonable time of day. We likely will either be stuck paying a high price, or will have to leave really early in the morning.

The other piece of good news...we have one free round-trip flight in our back pocket. AND - we'll be earning another one within 2 months. If the prices are too high, I might hold off on buying tickets and save it for when I have the flight credits to do so.

So, that's the sitch so far...flight dates are opening up...do we book 'em, or do we hold? Stay tuned for what happens....
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:47 PM   #9
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We always fly Southwest because they are the only airline with a direct flight from New Orleans to Orlando. Our past 2 big trips it was great because just one 1.5 hour flight and we were there! We actually looked into doing it for our trip this year instead of flying because the fares were pretty cheap, but having to get a rental car made it out to be more expensive than just driving our own vehicle. We always waited & watched the Southwest fares to see if they'd go down closer to the trip. Sometimes we got lucky, sometimes we didn't. I remember for our December trip we got both of our flights for under $100/person! It is always so tricky though because you never know what will happen that could skyrocket airline fares!! Hope you can catch some good deals.
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Old 05-20-2011, 10:51 PM   #10
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I'm glad it is you working through all those different flight combinations for you, DD, DW and DM!

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Old 05-21-2011, 06:46 AM   #11
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Joining in...........your title caught my eye. We are planning on going around the same time - Nov. 10-18/19 (not sure if we're leaving Fri or Sat).

We are hoping for FD also. I've read that it's been offered the past several years and I am keeping my fingers crossed they offer it again this year.

We have also been in October and December. We figure November weather will be perfect.

I have been booking ADR's (getting up each day at 6 am) and I got pretty lucky.

Hoping to book soon!

Can't wait to keep reading your report!!!!
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:07 AM   #12
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We'll be there November 16-20 - can't wait! Even though I knew yesterday was my day to make ADRS and had it marked on the calendar, I totally forgot to set the alarm to get up early to make them. I thought about it on the way to work so I whipped out the cell phone and was fortunate enough to get everything we wanted! SW airfare is next on my list, too.

We went this time last year with another couple (who are going with us again this year) and I thought the crowds and weather were just perfect (with the exception of the Saturday afternoon/evening before Thanksgiving week - the crowds really seemed to pick up, at least in MK).

Happy planning!
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:41 AM   #13
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Good luck with the flights!
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khertz View Post
! It is always so tricky though because you never know what will happen that could skyrocket airline fares!! Hope you can catch some good deals.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
I'm glad it is you working through all those different flight combinations for you, DD, DW and DM!

Quote:
Originally Posted by laashley View Post
Good luck with the flights!

Thanks for the well wishes! The flights are bought, see the next post for details!


Quote:
Originally Posted by crissy1974 View Post
Joining in...........your title caught my eye. We are planning on going around the same time - Nov. 10-18/19 (not sure if we're leaving Fri or Sat).

We are hoping for FD also. I've read that it's been offered the past several years and I am keeping my fingers crossed they offer it again this year.

We have also been in October and December. We figure November weather will be perfect.

I have been booking ADR's (getting up each day at 6 am) and I got pretty lucky.

Hoping to book soon!

Can't wait to keep reading your report!!!!

Welcome! I always look forward to meeting people on the trips. Hopefully we can touch base as our schedules allow!



Quote:
Originally Posted by lacy1101 View Post
We'll be there November 16-20 - can't wait! Even though I knew yesterday was my day to make ADRS and had it marked on the calendar, I totally forgot to set the alarm to get up early to make them. I thought about it on the way to work so I whipped out the cell phone and was fortunate enough to get everything we wanted! SW airfare is next on my list, too.

We went this time last year with another couple (who are going with us again this year) and I thought the crowds and weather were just perfect (with the exception of the Saturday afternoon/evening before Thanksgiving week - the crowds really seemed to pick up, at least in MK).

Happy planning!

Hey there, I think I posted on a thread you started elsewhere, perhaps that's how you ended up here on my PTR...It's always good to get those ADRs out of the way!

I'm going to follow this up with a quick post regarding flights...
__________________

1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:25 AM   #15
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Flights booked!

I'm very very excited. I went on line at 6 AM this morning, and with a little bit of a struggle I was able to book all the flights and get exactly what we wanted - albeit a little more $$ than I was hoping.

The website behaved very weird...I was using two computers to try and move as fast as possible and not be late for work, and at times I had more than one window open. I got the first flight through, and then I couldn't get through on the other computer, or even in the same window that I booked the first flight! Very frustrating! I the end it all worked out, though, and I am so relieved to be done with it. I am a very organized person (can't ya tell) and flights are always such a huge variable...I'm feel like dancin' bananas! :dance 3:

OK - enough rambling. Here's the plans.

DW, DD and I leave from home on Thursday, November 10th. Our flight is at 4:50 PM, direct to Orlando, and 7:15 PM. The timing is near perfect...DD can still go to school for the day, and I can probably work a "full" day as can DW. Yet, we still get to Orlando at a reasonable time. As long as we don't have some freak snowstorm hit or something. (Snow in November is rare, but not unheard of, here in Buffalo.)

Even better, I was able to get a flight for my DMom that meshes up perfectly. She'll be in Fort Lauderdale, FL, having flown in on Monday. Her plane is scheduled to land at 6:50 PM, just 25 minutes before ours. Again, we have to assume the flights will be on time. There's no way to know for sure, but you can't plan for failure - right?

So, we'll meet up at the airport and take ME together...I was really hoping that would work out. To me, ME is part of the whole experience...it's the point where you leave the "real" world and enter the "Disney" world, and I want DM to be able to see that too.

OK, I'm most excited about the flights back. We got the ONLY direct Sunday flight on 11/20 from MCO to Buffalo, leaves @ 6:15 PM, arrives about 8:50 PM. I can hardly believe I got this flight. This flight is often either sold out or sky-high priced from the instant it goes on sale. I was almost shocked we got it. Every trip we try to get this flight, never have. The prices in general on Sunday going back are terrible, which is why we often end up carrying the trip over to Monday. I really, really didn't want to do that this year, since we were already extending the trip on the front end thanks to Veterans Day.

In the meantime, I was also able to get my DM the direct flight from MCO to Phoenix on 11/20 as well. This leaves at 12:25 PM and arrives in PHX at 3:30 PM. The best part is can see my DM off on the ME bus, and we actually have enough time to go to a park for a few hours. The ever elusive and much desired "unplanned bonus day" returns!

The big negative - the prices! These flights down were $149 each, with the one coming back at $189. Now, we had to free legs, which we used for one of our return flights as well as DMs return to Arizona, but the prices were still more than I had hoped (though actually in-line with what I was expecting based on watching fares the last few months.)

To give you an idea, in April 2010 we flew for $169 each Round Trip. In October 2010, it was $208 Round Trip, and I think at the time that was the most I've ever paid. Now we're at $338. Ouch!

Now, I admit, a portion of that I really don't mind. To get that prime Sunday flight, I don't really even mind the $189. I really wish the flight down had been more on par with $109 than $149, though....

Yeah, I know, if the rates go down we can rebook, but I don't think we will be flying within the next year, so even if we got them, applying those rebates to another flight might never happen either. (Now that they changed the rules and you can't swap them.)

But, big picture, all the flights total cost $1063.60, a total of 9 flights legs. I told my DM we could split it 4 ways, so that comes to $266 per person with the 2 free legs. I bit painful, but not terrible, and actually a cost savings probably versus staying until Monday.

So - the flights are set - the ADRs (which I have yet to talk about) are set - we are even booked at POP Century - for now.

Now all we need is a good 'ole fashoin Disney Discount! C'mon FREE DINING. Yeah baby, pappa needs a brand new pair of Disney boxers!

I'll try and start posting some updates on the daily plans in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
__________________

1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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