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Old 07-02-2011, 10:44 PM   #1
JenSop
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Because We're Insane: Driving & Triple Split Stay! Updated 10/23. Pg.16

Hi everyone!

FIRST - LET ME BEGIN BY GIVING A LITTLE INFO FROM THE START. BRIAN AND I ARE NO LONGER TOGETHER, WHICH I ADDRESS IN THE TR ONCE I GET INTO IT. I JUST WANT TO GIVE ALL THE INFO FROM THE GET-GO FOR ANYONE COMING INTO READING THIS.

I'm realizing some people are just starting to see this old thread after quite some time, so i want to clarify some details. Brian and I split right after this trip. I am in a very happy relationship with a great man for over a year and a half now. I'd take this Trip Report down, but I so think i have some good things to share out there for those looking to visit Disney.



************


It's time to begin the official Trip Report. Woo hoo!!!

For those who want a little more backstory on the planning of the trip, you can visit my PRE TRIP REPORT here.


Here's the introductions for the new readers:



Jen (ME!) I've been going to Disney since I was a little girl and I just LOVE it! I'm a singer (mostly classical, but other stuff too), voice teacher, travel agent (Disney specialist), and part-time retail worker. (This is what one must do when one has two degrees in music - work lots of jobs!) I also own a successful Christmas caroling business - we sing at holiday events in Victorian costumes and have performed all over - from the local retirement homes to national and regional television.

Brian (DH) Brian's a music teacher (elementary band), he conducts one of the local concert bands, teaches music lessons and works part-time retail as well. He doesn't have as many Disney trips under his belt as I do, but he loves the World almost as much as I do! We joined DVC in 2007.


And for those new to the Dis or my Trip Reports, here's a handy guide to some of the abbreviations...

PTR - PreTrip Report
TR - Trip Report
DVC - Disney Vacation Club (Disney's version of a time share)
MK - Magic Kingdom
DHS - Disney Hollywood Studios
EMH - Extra Magic Hours (each day a park opens early or stays open late for on-site resort guests)
AP - Annual Pass (park ticket that's good for a year)
TIW - Tables in Wonderland (discount dining card)
DDP - Disney Dining Plan
ADR - Advance Dining Reservation (Restaurant reservation)
AKV - Animal Kingdom Villas
OKW - Old Key West Resort
BWV - Boardwalk Villas
VWL - Villas at Wilderness Lodge


Here are some of the basic trip details......


First......



Here comes the insanity......



We drove to Disney.









Yeah, we knew better. We live in PA, about an hour north of Philly. We did the drive two years ago and I swore up and down that I would never do THAT again.



However, airfare was really pricey. I kept looking for months. Nothing but craptastic prices and no deals in sight.

So I had the brilliant idea that we should just suck it up and drive again and save all that money.

We both drive Honda Fits and they get amazing gas mileage. Like seriously good. We'd be able to drive down and back for WAY less than the price of one plane ticket.



The decision was made. We would drive.



Now, let me say that we didn't book our trip as far out as we usually do. We added on more DVC points earlier this year because we needed to prepare for our big 2012 Grand Gathering trip.

But we also couldn't book THIS year's trip until our add-on went through.

After much calculation, we decided the best use of the points we had would be five nights at OKW. That would be just enough points to use now and to bank the rest into 2012. So earlier this year, we booked our Sunday through Friday stay. (June 18-24)

Before we even had our booking made, we DID know our dates, so you know we made our initial dining reservations nice and early - back in December when the booking window opened up.

As we thought more about our trip, we decided it would make more sense to drive down starting on Friday and arrive on Saturday, as we wanted to be rested and ready for Sunday night's late night EMH at MK. (We LOVE late night EMH at MK!!!)

So I figured I'd just find us a good hotel off-site nearby for that first night before we transfer to our Disney resort.

But you know us, we're crazy Disney people.

We wanted to be on Disney property that first night.

So we booked the first night at the Boardwalk Villas resort with the general public (GP) summer room discount. Then AP rates came out for our dates. We got the BWV at a lower cost with our AP's and we threw caution to the wind and added another night at the END of our trip. That last night would be at VWL.

It was set. We would stay at THREE different resorts.


Crazy!


We had fabulous ADR's booked and we were SO excited for our annual Disney trip!!!

Things got a little tense as the winter wound down - Brian's school district kept having snow days and the school year kept getting longer.

Turns out that his last day would be June 17. And as soon as he got home, we'd be loading our car and getting on the road!



The other factor coming into play on this trip was the video project I was going to be filming while in Disney. I'm the Disney Specialist for my travel agency, and my goal is to really grow the Disney end of the agency's business. (They're really known for destination weddings and the Caribbean.) But I want to make them known just as much for Disney! So my plan was to tape segments to put together and to feature on our agency website.


Here's a summary of my itinerary that I had made up before hand.....





So what lies ahead in this fantabulous TR, you ask?

Stay tuned for the answers to the following questions!

Did we make it down in time for our Le Cellier ADR?

Hmmm.... just how much time does it take to film video segments for a "simple" project?

How were all the new restaurants we tried?

Just how many times can you ride Pirates and Snow White in one trip?

What was the new Star Tours ride like?

How about the interactive queue at Haunted Mansion?

How drunk can you get on wine pairings with dinner?

What were all our resorts like?

What did I forget? (Oh yeah, there was stuff!)

What was it like to eat at Victoria and Albert's?

What happened to us on this trip that has NEVER happened to us on ANY other trip we've ever been on?

And probably most importantly......

What outfits did I choose to wear to dinner everynight!!!!!!
*read PTR for the long painstaking process of outfit selection....haha!*




Stay tuned for all the details and LOTS of pics!!!!!!!

Last edited by JenSop; 10-13-2013 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:57 PM   #2
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Hi, I'm In We are driving from CT to DisneyWorld in August. This is our first time driving and i'm hoping it goes well....It will be ME, DH, DS15, DS13 and DS10 . Cant wait to read more!
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:37 PM   #3
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PART 1: The LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG drive to Disney.....

PART 1: The LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG drive to Disney.....

As always, the days leading up to our trip were filled with stress and too much to do. (That's probably EVERY body's trips!)

As I mentioned earlier, Brian had school right up until the day we left. I was getting nervous about him being packed in time. He packed the night before. Perhaps with the sole purpose to stress me out more....

Then Disney released 2012 packages at the beginning of that week, so I had some extra work to do for some friends and clients looking to go to Disney in 2012.




But through all the stress. All the work. It was finally Friday, June17th!!!!!







OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



I slept in, as I would be doing the first part of the driving.

We got everything into the kitchen to pack up the car as soon as Brian got home.



(Um, no that box of kitty litter was not coming with us - just look at the CENTER of the room....)

We were set with snacks and Cokes for the car ride. (I NEED my Coke!) We also packed the 5-Hour Energy Shots and had our iPods loaded with updated tracks.

Brian had also gotten Tina Fey's new book "Bossypants" on CD so we could listen to it on the way down.

We knew what we were getting into with the drive, but we were rarin' to go. We were on our way to Disney!! yeah!

Ahhhh... here we are in our happy delusional Disney daze for the start of the trip:






We got on the road at 4:30pm. One hour later than what I had planned. After a quick stop to the Dollar Store (ponchos!) and the bank, we were on to the wide open highway!

For this trip, we were NOT going to head straight for I-95. Not on a Friday night. If we did, we'd hit traffic around Philly, Baltimore, and probably D.C. NO thank you!

Our alternate route was to go 78W to 81S to 66E to 17S, then rejoin 95 in Fredericksburg, VA.

It was actually a really great way to go. My dad gave me his map, as he'd taken that route many times.



And even though we had our Garmin, we had our Google map directions printed out as a back-up, just to avoid any extra "Garmin Adventures" as we like to call them. You know, those times that Garmin decides to take you on some strange alternate route for it's own selfish enjoyment.



Like I was saying, it was a good route. We stopped for some dinner at an Arby's in Chambersburg, PA. As we got farther south on 81, we noticed some mountains on the horizon. Hey - it was the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Cool!




We were still traffic-free until it was time to merge onto 95.



In case you can't tell, those are LOTS of brake lights.


All the while, we were listening to Tina Fey's book. I HIGHLY recommend it - hilarious!


We finally stopped for gas somewhere in VA. It was a very strange experience. There were over a dozen cops in various types of uniform in the shop inside. Guns very visible. Lots of guns. At least we knew no one was going to hold that gas station up that night!

I got me a Red Bull in hopes of recreating my "super awake cocktail" from two years ago: Red Bull, Coke, and a 5 Hour Energy Shot.

My concoction worked splendidly, and I kept on driving awake and alert as the hours went by. We hit a little more traffic around 2:45 in the morning, as there was a bad accident on the highway.

Around 3am, we passed South of the Border. Man, I think back to when I was little kid on my first trip to Disney. (Mid-1980's.) We had stopped at South of the Border on our way back to buy some fireworks. Back then it was barely a little strip mall of shops. Now it's a ginormous complex!

But I was still going strong. For a good bit of time by now, we had stopped listening to Tina Fey's book, as Brian was trying to get some sleep. He put in his noise cancelling headphones, and I cranked up my music! My Wham playlist was my first go-to. I had heard "Freedom" playing at the mall a few days before our trip and I was transported back to my early childhood years. I still had my Wham cassette tape, but it was time to get the digital on my iPod baby!

I was rockin' out to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Freedom and Careless Whisper, and other awesome hits, then moved on to various other playlists. I was singin' my little heart out!

We finally switched drivers near the bottom of South Carolina at 5:30am.

Here's the sunrise...




Take it away Brian! I'm done with this driving stuff! I was behind that wheel from 4:30pm to 5:30am!



I tried to sleep a little, but it was tough.

I was also getting nervous about making our lunch ADR at Le Cellier. It was for 12:00 noon. yeah.

By the time we hit I-4 for that last hour stretch, I was really thinking we might not make it.

I posted about trying to make our ADR on Facebook from my Blackberry and was cheered on by several friends that we could do it!

We pulled into the Boardwalk at 10:45am and lo and behold our room was actually ready!

We threw our things in the room and BOOKED it over to Epcot.

Did we make it? Would we have our steak-y delicisous-ness?!?! What about baby animals? I need some baby animals on this trip! Don't worry, you'll get your adorable baby animals! All that coming up on my next installment!


Stay tuned!

Last edited by JenSop; 07-03-2011 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicceja View Post
Hi, I'm In We are driving from CT to DisneyWorld in August. This is our first time driving and i'm hoping it goes well....It will be ME, DH, DS15, DS13 and DS10 . Cant wait to read more!
Yay! My first subscriber! And you joined as I was typing!

So glad to have you on board!

Just be sure to be rested for your drive. Especially at the end of your trip. That's all I'm going to say for right now......
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:16 AM   #5
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I'm here! Wouldn't miss it!
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:29 AM   #6
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I'm in!
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShesAPirate View Post
I'm here! Wouldn't miss it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Villainess View Post
I'm in!


HI Ladies!!!! So glad to have you make the jump over the the TR!!!
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:34 AM   #8
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I'm here too!! I've bought a total of 3 Old Navy dresses by the way...
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:41 AM   #9
JenSop
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Quote:
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I'm here too!! I've bought a total of 3 Old Navy dresses by the way...
Haha! Awesome! Glad to help you expand your wardrobe!


Thanks for jumping over to the official TR!



(And look at all my night-owl readers! )
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:58 AM   #10
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Since this trip was going to be over our 10th anniversary, I thought it would be fun to include a few pics from our Disney honeymoon from June 2001.

Enjoy the walk down memory lane!



Back when EMH required you to purchase wristbands and there were characters galore in MK late at night as a result. With NO lines!





Our first visit to the Animal Kingdom - it was practically still new! (Well, sort of.....) And I had to use a map! Argh! At least that didn't last long!






A trip to Epcot... back when that big sign thing used to be on Spaceship Earth.






Having a meal at Caribbean Beach Resort - where we stayed for our honeymoon. (Hey you can see our resort specific refillable mug on the table!):

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Old 07-03-2011, 02:18 AM   #11
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I'm in Omg, I don't know how you guys do it. I drive only 4 hours from Miami to Orlando and I am dying! You are troopers!
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:18 AM   #13
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Great Start! We're driving down from Jersey on 7/12, so i get the excited to go, but the drive really stinks feeling. For the first time we're stopping for the night in South Carolina to let me nephew swim a bit and burn off some energy. However, on the way home it's straight through!!! Maybe I'll try your "cocktail" although it would probably make me jump out of my skin with jitters.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:01 AM   #14
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Following! Great report so far!
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:27 PM   #15
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Joining up for the read! Can't wait to hear the details. I also can't belive you drove again! Love the flashback photos.
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