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Old 05-25-2011, 09:48 PM   #1
fgtriot
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Didn't think I would ever go back (pre-trip planning report)

So it's been 7+ years since my first trip to WDW. DW and I took my DS9 when he was only 18mo and planned nothing. Seriously we knew where we were staying (her parents had a timeshare in the area) and we bought a 4 day park hopper pass but thats it. Even though we had a good time, DW and I realized we could not do that again without more planning. Well, after the trip DW and I found out she was expecting again so second trip plans would have to wait. Then I got laid off (actually I worked in real estate and the market started to drop) so we could not financially afford a second trip. Finally just when we thought we could go again, we got pregnant again and the economy bottomed out. For a while it didnt seem like we would ever go back even though I was able to change industries and found a well paying job for a well established bank. Then tax season 2011 came. DW and I sat down and pulled out the bills/collection notices as we always do and to our surprise we weren't behind and everything had gotten paid. What? Wait? Something on one of the vehicles or around the house must be broke. Nope. So there we were, in a position we hadn't seen in over 6 years. We had some extra money! After agreeing to establish an emergency savings DW asked if we could go on a family vacation since we hadn't been on one since WDW 7 years ago....... hey WDW, do you think we can afford it? So we looked it up. Had to take a little back from the savings but it was within budget. So as I usually do, I asked all the questions looking for a reason not to do it. But, I couldn't find one. The baby (DD3 ) is activly potty training and no longer taking naps. My vacation request was approved from work and I even get a corporate discount making WDW even more affordable. How could I say no. I couldnt, especially since I had secretly been as giddy as a school girl discussing her first crush with her friends, hoping it would work out and it did! AWESOME!

OK gotta run, will add more later.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by fgtriot View Post
So it's been 7+ years since my first trip to WDW. DW and I took my DS9 when he was only 18mo and planned nothing. Seriously we knew where we were staying (her parents had a timeshare in the area) and we bought a 4 day park hopper pass but thats it. Even though we had a good time, DW and I realized we could not do that again without more planning. Well, after the trip DW and I found out she was expecting again so second trip plans would have to wait. Then I got laid off (actually I worked in real estate and the market started to drop) so we could not financially afford a second trip. Finally just when we thought we could go again, we got pregnant again and the economy bottomed out. For a while it didnt seem like we would ever go back even though I was able to change industries and found a well paying job for a well established bank. Then tax season 2011 came. DW and I sat down and pulled out the bills/collection notices as we always do and to our surprise we weren't behind and everything had gotten paid. What? Wait? Something on one of the vehicles or around the house must be broke. Nope. So there we were, in a position we hadn't seen in over 6 years. We had some extra money! After agreeing to establish an emergency savings DW asked if we could go on a family vacation since we hadn't been on one since WDW 7 years ago....... hey WDW, do you think we can afford it? So we looked it up. Had to take a little back from the savings but it was within budget. So as I usually do, I asked all the questions looking for a reason not to do it. But, I couldn't find one. The baby (DD3 ) is activly potty training and no longer taking naps. My vacation request was approved from work and I even get a corporate discount making WDW even more affordable. How could I say no. I couldnt, especially since I had secretly been as giddy as a school girl discussing her first crush with her friends, hoping it would work out and it did! AWESOME!

OK gotta run, will add more later.
Great stuff! Welcome to the boards, and congrats on your upcoming trip! You'll find a ton of information and help from the guys on this board to help give you any info and tips you need for your trip. Have fun!
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:04 AM   #3
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:36 AM   #4
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Glad you're getting a chance to go back and I look forward to seeing your plans come together!
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:25 PM   #5
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Continued

Now that we knew we could afford a trip and knew when we wanted to go; the harder questions came. Well at least they seemed like hard questions to novice planners like ourselves. Do we book through a travel agent or direct? How can we get the cheapest airfare? Would a complete package be cheaper or should we seperate things and use my corporate discount? Do we stay at a value resort and splurge for a bigger dining plan? How do the dining plans work? Where can we use the dining plan? Which park on which day? Should we plan every detail or leave time to "wing it"? OMG I have a headache!

Just as the feelings of uncertainty were about to become overwheling, DW had an idea. We needed to enlist the assistance of some good friends who have been to Disney multiple times over the past few years and had just joined DVC. (These friends will be further referred to as GFs) The problem was that between our busy schedule and their busy schedule, we could not get together for 3 weeks. So in the mean time we turned to the all knowing internet. This is when DW first stumbled accross DIS Boards.

With much newly obtained information the plans finally start to come together and we decide to book directly from WDW. First we learned that a family of 5 like ours can not stay/fit in the value resorts so we decide on Port Orleans Riverside. With that, we are only able to afford the dining plan with 1 quick service, 1 sit down, and 1 snack. We found that we could get cheaper airfare on our own, so we went that direction. Now that the basics are down one major question remained before we could work out the rest of the details.

Do we tell the kids now or let this be a surprise? I like surprises!

Gotta go for now, I will try to finish this tomorrow.
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:35 PM   #6
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:34 PM   #7
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Sorry

Sorry guys, I didnt realize my last writing didnt post. Must have timed out or something. I will finish it in word and copy it over.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:01 PM   #8
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and now the rest of the story....

So we decided that we would surprise the kids the day we leave. We have bought themed backpacks for each child and stuffed it full of things to do on the plane with the same theme as the backpack. DS9 gets Phineas and Ferb, DD7 is the Princess, and DD3 loves Tinkerbell . We also bought each child a traditional Mickey Mouse t-shirt which is what we will give them to dress the morning of. The catch is that we are leaving on Sunday and normally would go to church but hopefully my kids are smart enough to realize that we don’t normally wear t-shirts to church. If that doesn’t work then the friends who are driving us to the airport being there should peak their curiosity.

In the meanwhile we had to decide where to eat and schedule any necessary reservations. WOW, were we overwhelmed at all the options. Since there was still time before we could actually call the make reservations (apparently not more than 180 days before the trip ), we were able to do plenty of research. Between our GFs with their experiences and the DIS boards there is only one meal we still haven’t decided on. DW called exactly at 7am the first day we could make reservations and we got everything we wanted including CRT and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique . I know the last one isn’t a restaurant but…. It is important to get in the day we are in MK.

So here is how our itinerary has shaped up so far:
Sunday 9/25: Arrive at Orlando Airport around 2pm . Check in at Port Orleans Resort (Riverside) and explore the resort a little before heading to DTD. There we plan on letting the kids make their own ears and eating at WGP Express. Since MK has Magic hours until 1am, we are going to head there for a few just to get the initial excitement over with but definitely not going to stay the whole time. Maybe get some pictures, explore Main St and the Castle, and see the electrical parade and Wishes

After that each day is geared around a different kid and selected based on who has additional magic hours. We customized each one a map for their day, highlighting thing we believe they would like the most. We also tricked them into watching the Ultimate Disney DVD set to get ideas of things they would want to do. It doesn’t appear they have caught on to anything which has me questioning their ability to figure out the surprise. I am not listing the character meet and greets, I assume that is a given. Except that we will not meet Rafiki!! DD3 is terrified of him for some reason and has only seen him on tv.

Monday 9/26: Hollywood Studio (Me & DW). Lunch at Pizza Planet; Dinner at Kouzzina by Cat Cora. Must dos include: Toy Story Mania, meet Phineas & Ferb, Disney Jr. live, Rock n’ Roller Coaster, Beauty & the Beast live, and the parade. Unfortunately they are not showing Fantasmic while we are there.

Tuesday 9/27: Animal Kingdom (DD3 – our animal lover). Lunch at Y&Y(CS); Dinner at Chef Mickeys since the park closes early. Must dos include: Expedition Everest (for the older two), Festival of the Lion King, Kali River Rapids, Kilimanjaro Safari, Finding Nemo – the Musical, and the parade.

Wednesday 9/28: Epcot (DS9 – our scientist/techie). Lunch at Electric Umbrella, we think; Dinner at Coral Reef. Must dos include: Kim Possible adventure, ImageWorks, Innoventions, Soarin, Test Track, The Seas w/ Nemo, Turtle Talk, and Illuminations. This might be a little adventitious for one day but…. Also we would explore the worlds more if it was just DW and I.

Thursday 9/29: Magic Kingdom (DD7 – our princess). Lunch is still a mystery, Dinner at CRT. Must dos include BBB, Big Thunder Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, PhilharMagic, Monsters Inc Laugh floor, Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the Carrousel, parade. Much time will be spent with characters.

Friday 9/30: The day we leave. Maybe go to DTD before we go for last minute souvenirs. Flight leaves Orlando around noon.

Well that’s what we have. Would love to get some input and/or suggestions from you more experienced WDW goers. Thanks for listening.
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:14 AM   #9
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I'd say your getting it!
I would do Casey's corner for lunch @ MK....yummy hotdogs and corndog nuggets!
We love it...kids get a big bag of cotton candy for their dessert
bonus....use a snack credit for a chilli for on your dogs!

what time is your dinner @ Kouzzina? your gonna have to take a boat to the boardwalk from DHS and back if you are planning on staying @ the park till close....my kids 6,9,12...loved,loved the sci-fi drive in theatre....we are going to try mama melrose next week....got an earlier dinner, but get the fantasmic package (for free!)...
you might wanna consider swaping out your DHS day so you can hit it up....if you don't do the package, expect to wait in a really long line to get in.....for well over an hour...
also on you rAK day...you gonna take a bus from AK to the contempary? how are ya getting back to POR? monorail to MK then bus hop back home? they have some nice resturants @ AKL, which is closer...and ya might not make it there to check it out...cool resort,animals to view...Boma...will be there again as well...and we LOVE WGP express @ DTD...the bacon wrapped meatloaf.....OMG....their chicken pizza is tasty as well..
well there is my 2 pennies!
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:06 PM   #10
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Definately appreciate the info. DW did most of the planning but I was kinda worried about the travel times between everything and maybe this will help me convince her to make some changes. Kouzzina isnt until like 630 so we have time for that one but...... still.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:07 AM   #11
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And the story continues

So DW and I have struggle to contain our excitment everytime a Disney commerical and our kids cry about how badly they want to go. Today we had the discussion about whether we still want to go on with the surprise or tell the kids now. Part of us want to share our excitment of the count down with them but......we have put so much energy into hiding it. We decided not to put that to waste and continue the surprise.

Today we drove 45 minutes to an Outlet Mall solely because they have a Disney Outlet there. Matter of fact its the ONLY Disney store around. When we get there, we find they have decent sales. Then DW makes the comment I was dreading. And I quote "at these prices we can get them a new shirt for every day we are going to be there!" WHAT! Why is that necessary? I mean yes I want them to wear Disney shirts everyday but the majority of their clothes are Disney themed already, why "new" shirts.

So $77 later and having to come up with a lame excuse to seperate myself from my family so I could return to the store without them to buy the shirts without the kids knowing; my 3 kids AND DW have new shirts (I got 2 as well but only because I couldnt be left out. And I only have 1 Mickey shirt that still fits me.) Then the cashier almost blew the secret when we went back a third time to the store becasue DS wanted the stuffed Perry the Platapus. Oh well, I mean it is Disney and all!
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:58 AM   #12
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Updates

So I almost forgot that I never updated this PTR with the changes we've made. The excitment of the trip getting closer and closer has DW and I going over the plans and regoing over them. Reading as much as we can on the Dis for tips on everything. We want this trip to be perfect for the kids.

The other day we were talking to the kids over dinner about what they would do if we ever did go to WDW. Someway, somehow DD3 took it as we were going and took off from the dinner table into the livingroom and began dancing while singing "I'm going to meet Mickey, I'm going to meet Mickey" That was interesting trying to calm her excitment without confirming she was right (still trying to keep it a surprise). This was an awesome confirmation on why we are going in the first place, the excitment of the kids.

Anyhow, the changes to our initial plans:

1) no longer dining at Kouzinna. They brought back Fantasmic!!!!! I dont remember much from my first visit to WDW but I remember Fantasmic and loved it so pardon me while I happy dance. Well I mean I know they never "got rid of it" but it wasnt going to show while we were there, but now it's back to 7 days a week. This also means a Fantasmic/Dining package. We chose Hollywood and Vine. Havnen't heard the best reviews for H&V but for my kids it was the best choice of the options and we couldn't pass the special seating given DD3.

2) just got approved for my own Disney Chase Visa (seems trivial given that I work for Chase but I'm still geeked) This means special meet & greet while at Epcot. The $200 gift card is a definate plus too.

Actually that's it. Seemed like there should be more but..... only 47 more days, can't wait for the welcome package!!!!
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:17 AM   #13
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We also tricked them into watching the Ultimate Disney DVD set to get ideas of things they would want to do. It doesn’t appear they have caught on to anything which has me questioning their ability to figure out the surprise.
AWESOME! They're going to flip when they find out (as already evidenced by your DD3). My brother and his wife managed to fool their kids that they were all going to Phoenix for last Christmas. In fact, they did it SO well that when they got to Port Orleans, they turned to their mom and asked her "When do we fly to Phoenix?" ... it wasn't until they took them to the Park gates that they finally believed they were staying

Best of luck on keeping the secret, it will be worth it! Good luck on your trip!
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:37 PM   #14
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AWESOME! They're going to flip when they find out (as already evidenced by your DD3). My brother and his wife managed to fool their kids that they were all going to Phoenix for last Christmas. In fact, they did it SO well that when they got to Port Orleans, they turned to their mom and asked her "When do we fly to Phoenix?" ... it wasn't until they took them to the Park gates that they finally believed they were staying

Best of luck on keeping the secret, it will be worth it! Good luck on your trip!
Thanks. So far I think we're good just waiting for the welcome package. Have to keep checking the mail when the kids aren't around so they dont see it.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:20 AM   #15
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Thanks. So far I think we're good just waiting for the welcome package. Have to keep checking the mail when the kids aren't around so they dont see it.
Put a lock on that mailbox friend!!! I ordered our kids the maps and let them open them for the reveal. I got all your celebrations in for you as well. This is going to be so cool for them!!!
Subbed to this ptr. looking forward to hearing about all the tears of joy and laughter!!!
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