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Old 09-12-2012, 07:29 AM   #61
tofubeast
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If your DH and son go to Gatorland make sure they take pics and such for your TR. I am curious about seeing it one day as it is a piece of old school Florida.
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:30 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taaren
The SoCal Citypass is great. If we do Knotts and/or Universal we usually stay in Anaheim and just drive up that day, since its only 15 minutes to Knotts, about half an hour to Universal, and 40 minutes to Hollywood (we like to go see musicals in the theatres up there sometimes). If you avoid commuter hours, the traffic is okay ... just don't try to drive between 6a and 9a, and 3p to 6:30p, and you'll be fine. Universal is really just a half-day attraction on the West Coast.
However, for the San Diego attractions in the Citypass you really want to be based out of San Diego. I recommend Old Town part of SD as a good base, a lot of the hotels in that area have free shuttles to the Zoo, SeaWorld, and other area attractions and the Mexican restaurants are wonderful there, most are walking distance from the hotels.
Nope really didn't want to do seaworld, I mean I visit seaworld in Florida all the time lol, you seen one dolphin and whale you seen them all. In that case I might just stay all week at the grand Californian I mean the average price for a hotel is 200 dollars a night anyway. Have any recommendations for eating at DL.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:50 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by tofubeast View Post
If your DH and son go to Gatorland make sure they take pics and such for your TR. I am curious about seeing it one day as it is a piece of old school Florida.
Will do ... I'm curious about it but have a snake phobia (apparently one of the most common phobias), so don't want to go myself.
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Nope really didn't want to do seaworld, I mean I visit seaworld in Florida all the time lol, you seen one dolphin and whale you seen them all. In that case I might just stay all week at the grand Californian I mean the average price for a hotel is 200 dollars a night anyway. Have any recommendations for eating at DL.
Hmm. The SD Zoo is one of the best in the World, but yes, if you've gone to the Orlando Sea World there's not much point in the SD one so you may as well skip SD.
Restaurants in DL? Blue Bayou of course ... because you're eating inside POTC, and how awesome is that. I like the creme brulee and filet mignon, so we go for dinner but the Monte Cristo for lunch is awesome too. We usually go to Cafe Orleans for lunch though so DH can get his Monte Cristo fix, and I get get my every-dessert-there fix. The new Flo's V8 Cafe is wonderful. We liked Goofy's Kitchen for our character meal since we're dinner-buffet people and that's the only one that is not breakfast only characters. We also love the funnel cake at Stage Door Cafe. Basically all the CS is pretty good except for the Pizza in DL, since they cater to locals who come for the day.

Off-site, since you'll have a car, hit In N Out Burger about 3 miles up Harbor. Its a chain, but excellent burgers since its pretty much the only thing on the menu. A few more good West Coast chains that are within a few miles of DLR ... Roy's over on GardenWalk if you want upscale, get the chocolate souffle; its to die for. Mid-price range if you like italian food Buca di Beppo we find to be consistently delicious.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:57 AM   #64
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So with the announcement of the $399 DVC Premium Annual Pass ... now it has me thinking. I was planning on probably upgrading my 10-day-expiring hoppers to include WP&M, which even though I bought them for $353 each will be worth $375 at the gate, so a $22 WP add-on each for DH&I, for a total of $397. For $2 more I can get a DVC PAP, just in case we wish to make another trip to Florida before they expire Dec 1, 2013 ... dare I do it? I really shouldn't ... someone talk me out of this upgrade please.

If we are flying out of Maui I won't even consider a second trip this year, but my second interview with a school in California went very well and I've been invited to the third, so if we move to Cali and I have school holidays off I might be able to squeeze another trip to Florida out of the remaining Southwest Rapid Reward points we have left for DS and I ...

Darn you Claire Bilby!
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:39 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taaren View Post
So with the announcement of the $399 DVC Premium Annual Pass ... now it has me thinking. I was planning on probably upgrading my 10-day-expiring hoppers to include WP&M, which even though I bought them for $353 each will be worth $375 at the gate, so a $22 WP add-on each for DH&I, for a total of $397. For $2 more I can get a DVC PAP, just in case we wish to make another trip to Florida before they expire Dec 1, 2013 ... dare I do it? I really shouldn't ... someone talk me out of this upgrade please.

If we are flying out of Maui I won't even consider a second trip this year, but my second interview with a school in California went very well and I've been invited to the third, so if we move to Cali and I have school holidays off I might be able to squeeze another trip to Florida out of the remaining Southwest Rapid Reward points we have left for DS and I ...

Darn you Claire Bilby!
I am feeling the same way about Claire Bilby... My husband and I potentially plan on going back in October. I only have a 7 day ticket and it would be about $65 plus tax more... I need to go look at the discounts for a premium annual pass as well - when we went on our honeymoon we got these (we were there for almost 2 weeks) and had discounts almost everywhere, but that was 8 years ago.... Sorry I am not helping!!

I was also going to look at opening a Southwest CC next time they run 50,000 bonus points and get round trip tickets for us - so flight taken care of, tickets taken care of... Room is DVC - all it leaves is food and a car rental. I am so not helping am I???

Edit --

So just talked to my husband - we are upgrading. Hahaha. It's a really a great deal... Plus for us it will save us an additional $25 on the TiW card.

Last edited by SAT887; 09-14-2012 at 06:57 AM.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:20 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by SAT887 View Post
I am feeling the same way about Claire Bilby... My husband and I potentially plan on going back in October. I only have a 7 day ticket and it would be about $65 plus tax more... I need to go look at the discounts for a premium annual pass as well - when we went on our honeymoon we got these (we were there for almost 2 weeks) and had discounts almost everywhere, but that was 8 years ago.... Sorry I am not helping!!

I was also going to look at opening a Southwest CC next time they run 50,000 bonus points and get round trip tickets for us - so flight taken care of, tickets taken care of... Room is DVC - all it leaves is food and a car rental. I am so not helping am I???

Edit --

So just talked to my husband - we are upgrading. Hahaha. It's a really a great deal... Plus for us it will save us an additional $25 on the TiW card.
I think the Southwest CC is still running, its just not 50K with first purchase anymore, now its 50K miles after you spend $1000 in three months ... or it might be a thousand per month for three months (which including insurance, the phone and cable bills, groceries and gas is about what we spend and pay off on the CC every month anyways). For me its the Star Wars weekends that are super tempting ... I'm a huge geek. And yes, DVC does make it really easy to just justify one more little trip ... 4 nights in a studio at OKW is only 40 points in low season, I can totally spare that right? Just keep borrowing from next year's points ... until the next add-on.

I think for us the deciding factor will be whether or not I get this (or another) job in California before the trip. If I do, we'll upgrade if not we won't.

If we do ... the TIW would actually make sense for us for this trip. Right now it doesn't since about half of my ADR's I can get a DVC discount on, and we're doing that first night on the dining plan. When I run the numbers we'd almost break even on the DVC TIW this trip, then when I realized I could get the DVC discount with my member card that made the calculations fall below where they needed to be ... but a $75 card for 2 trips would definitely be worthwhile.

Argh so many variables. Its probably not good that his is one of my concerns about moving/not moving out of state. Gotta keep the big picture in mind. I guess all the other choices we'll have to make (which school DS will go to, buy a new house or make the very long commute and live in the house we own) are just a lot less fun.
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:44 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taaren
I think the Southwest CC is still running, its just not 50K with first purchase anymore, now its 50K miles after you spend $1000 in three months ... or it might be a thousand per month for three months (which including insurance, the phone and cable bills, groceries and gas is about what we spend and pay off on the CC every month anyways). For me its the Star Wars weekends that are super tempting ... I'm a huge geek. And yes, DVC does make it really easy to just justify one more little trip ... 4 nights in a studio at OKW is only 40 points in low season, I can totally spare that right? Just keep borrowing from next year's points ... until the next add-on.

I think for us the deciding factor will be whether or not I get this (or another) job in California before the trip. If I do, we'll upgrade if not we won't.

If we do ... the TIW would actually make sense for us for this trip. Right now it doesn't since about half of my ADR's I can get a DVC discount on, and we're doing that first night on the dining plan. When I run the numbers we'd almost break even on the DVC TIW this trip, then when I realized I could get the DVC discount with my member card that made the calculations fall below where they needed to be ... but a $75 card for 2 trips would definitely be worthwhile.

Argh so many variables. Its probably not good that his is one of my concerns about moving/not moving out of state. Gotta keep the big picture in mind. I guess all the other choices we'll have to make (which school DS will go to, buy a new house or make the very long commute and live in the house we own) are just a lot less fun.
I want to go for Star Wars weekends too. We rode star tours a ton of times on our last trip and I think our friends thought we were a little nuts. The draw for October is that it would be an anniversary trip and May/June are difficult for vacations at work. However, we did get this awesome Mickey Jedi shirt for my daughter last time.

And you can also book a standard view at the Boardwalk for 40 pts, AKL standard 48 pts and AKL Value for 36 I haven't been planning or anything.

Sometimes the big picture is frustrating. Especially with work, we work hard and affect the direction we're going in - but still so many variables on timing and where you end up. I am so ready to move, but we have that whole house selling, interview process blah blah blah. You own a house in Ca? Commuting sucks - I would avoid it. My husband drives 47 miles each way to work and it's rough- ok at first but really takes a toll on you. Originally being from NJ our commute was long due to traffic, now it's long due to miles. Well good luck with work and I hope it all goes in the direction you want and need!
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Old 09-24-2012, 02:44 PM   #68
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Haven't been on the boards lately and just realized we are only about 2 months out and I haven't gotten my tickets yet. Need to get a move on that.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:01 PM   #69
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Haven't been on the boards lately and just realized we are only about 2 months out and I haven't gotten my tickets yet. Need to get a move on that.
Plane tickets or park tickets? If its plane tickets, they're running some great fares right now. If its park tickets, as long as you can get them about 2 weeks out, from Undercover Tourist the mail came in less than a week from Florida to Maui that's unheard of.
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And you can also book a standard view at the Boardwalk for 40 pts, AKL standard 48 pts and AKL Value for 36 I haven't been planning or anything.

Sometimes the big picture is frustrating. Especially with work, we work hard and affect the direction we're going in - but still so many variables on timing and where you end up. I am so ready to move, but we have that whole house selling, interview process blah blah blah. You own a house in Ca? Commuting sucks - I would avoid it. My husband drives 47 miles each way to work and it's rough- ok at first but really takes a toll on you. Originally being from NJ our commute was long due to traffic, now it's long due to miles. Well good luck with work and I hope it all goes in the direction you want and need!
Soooo tempting those standard Boardwalk points rooms. We wont' be able to book at 11 months though ... so I'll take whatever is available, though for our next "big" trip to Florida I've got my heart set on AKV savannah view, since that was what sold me on DVC in the first place but location won out for this trip.
We own a house in Solano County, California, which is just northeast of East Bay, south of Napa, West of Sacramento, great commuter territory if one family member works in Sacramento and one works in the Bay Area (technically its considered part of the "Greater Bay Area"). DH grew up there, and its rented out above cost atm (even more so now that we just closed on a refinance), its a gorgeous house and I've been looking for jobs within a half hour commute but all the interviews I've gotten have been about an hour away. Oh well. I'd prefer not to commute but DH is really wanting to live in the house we own, so it'll probably boil down to the location of the hospital he ends up working for. Fortunately, his job is in much higher demand than mine (people always need chemo) so we're pretty confident once my job is in place, he'll be able to pick up something within an hour's drive.

So a little more good news. We were able to move the Tusker Breakfast to 9:05a on 12/5, though we've still got 7:05p for Garden Grill on 12/1 which we would prefer 5 or 6p. Got a Dollar rental car from 12/5-12/13 in WDW for $200, which would be about the cost of transfers to and from Port Canaveral so I think we're just going to keep the rental car and park at the port. I'm finding that two one ways, the second being a 5 day rental, is a lot more expensive than just keeping the car for 8 days. Guess its those weekly rates as there don't seem to be any drop fees for a different location.

Oh, and I switched our category on our cruise today ... I was looking to see if they'd added any *GT rates to our cruise since we're under 75 days, and I saw a non-restricted 11C for $1279 when I had booked that on day 1 for $1479, then upgraded to a 8C for $1527 instead. So I had my TA call to see if we could downgrade and get some $$ back in the form of an OBC since some spa time would be lovely. By then the 11C was back up to over $1450, so not worth switching but ... they had a 9D (obstructed oceanview) for $1380. So we decided to save $150 and take a lower category room, and DCL is giving us cash back, not an OBC. I was prepared to spend that on massages for DH & I, and we still might, but its awesome to have Disney give you cash when they don't have to (technically after paid in full they don't offer refunds normally). Same deck, same part of the ship, but with a smaller window? The 8C's looked great, but I'll take the $150.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:09 AM   #70
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Soooo tempting those standard Boardwalk points rooms. We wont' be able to book at 11 months though ... so I'll take whatever is available, though for our next "big" trip to Florida I've got my heart set on AKV savannah view, since that was what sold me on DVC in the first place but location won out for this trip.
We own a house in Solano County, California, which is just northeast of East Bay, south of Napa, West of Sacramento, great commuter territory if one family member works in Sacramento and one works in the Bay Area (technically its considered part of the "Greater Bay Area"). DH grew up there, and its rented out above cost atm (even more so now that we just closed on a refinance), its a gorgeous house and I've been looking for jobs within a half hour commute but all the interviews I've gotten have been about an hour away. Oh well. I'd prefer not to commute but DH is really wanting to live in the house we own, so it'll probably boil down to the location of the hospital he ends up working for. Fortunately, his job is in much higher demand than mine (people always need chemo) so we're pretty confident once my job is in place, he'll be able to pick up something within an hour's drive.

So a little more good news. We were able to move the Tusker Breakfast to 9:05a on 12/5, though we've still got 7:05p for Garden Grill on 12/1 which we would prefer 5 or 6p. Got a Dollar rental car from 12/5-12/13 in WDW for $200, which would be about the cost of transfers to and from Port Canaveral so I think we're just going to keep the rental car and park at the port. I'm finding that two one ways, the second being a 5 day rental, is a lot more expensive than just keeping the car for 8 days. Guess its those weekly rates as there don't seem to be any drop fees for a different location.

Oh, and I switched our category on our cruise today ... I was looking to see if they'd added any *GT rates to our cruise since we're under 75 days, and I saw a non-restricted 11C for $1279 when I had booked that on day 1 for $1479, then upgraded to a 8C for $1527 instead. So I had my TA call to see if we could downgrade and get some $$ back in the form of an OBC since some spa time would be lovely. By then the 11C was back up to over $1450, so not worth switching but ... they had a 9D (obstructed oceanview) for $1380. So we decided to save $150 and take a lower category room, and DCL is giving us cash back, not an OBC. I was prepared to spend that on massages for DH & I, and we still might, but its awesome to have Disney give you cash when they don't have to (technically after paid in full they don't offer refunds normally). Same deck, same part of the ship, but with a smaller window? The 8C's looked great, but I'll take the $150.
We will be booking at 7 months as well. Fingers crossed for Boardwalk! I'm hoping the first week of October. I am thinking we will be doing AKV on our next family trip as well. I really want to check out Kidani on our one night in December (we are in Jambo) hopefully get a room tour before or after lunch.

Well good luck on the job hunt - I can't imagine it is easy when you need to board a plane for a face to face interview! What field are you looking in? I hope you can find something close so you guys don't have to commute

Yay on the rental I like having the ease of the car- seems to make like easier. Also, saving $150 woo! Take advantage of spa time! I think my friend is canceling our facial at SSR but I think I might go by myself then... It's not like its a group thing anyway!!
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:36 AM   #71
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I think the Southwest CC is still running, its just not 50K with first purchase anymore, now its 50K miles after you spend $1000 in three months ... or it might be a thousand per month for three months (which including insurance, the phone and cable bills, groceries and gas is about what we spend and pay off on the CC every month anyways). For me its the Star Wars weekends that are super tempting ... I'm a huge geek. And yes, DVC does make it really easy to just justify one more little trip ... 4 nights in a studio at OKW is only 40 points in low season, I can totally spare that right? Just keep borrowing from next year's points ... until the next add-on.

I think for us the deciding factor will be whether or not I get this (or another) job in California before the trip. If I do, we'll upgrade if not we won't.

If we do ... the TIW would actually make sense for us for this trip. Right now it doesn't since about half of my ADR's I can get a DVC discount on, and we're doing that first night on the dining plan. When I run the numbers we'd almost break even on the DVC TIW this trip, then when I realized I could get the DVC discount with my member card that made the calculations fall below where they needed to be ... but a $75 card for 2 trips would definitely be worthwhile.

Argh so many variables. Its probably not good that his is one of my concerns about moving/not moving out of state. Gotta keep the big picture in mind. I guess all the other choices we'll have to make (which school DS will go to, buy a new house or make the very long commute and live in the house we own) are just a lot less fun.
You starting to sound like me, except with me its how many trips can i squeeze in before DH says enough lol. I found airflights for 90 dollars roundtrip from PHL to MCO but for the end of January, i talked to DH and told him about his grandma wanting to see the kids and she helped me she stated she doent know how much longer she is going to last etc, you know laided it on thick.(i love my Grandma-in-law) So we are going back right back. I was thinking my semester is over in May so going then would be nice right before crowds get heavy. If the APs are that chep then you know its just smart to upgrade, and then well since you have APs its only logical to go once more....l
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:46 PM   #72
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If the APs are that chep then you know its just smart to upgrade, and then well since you have APs its only logical to go once more....l
Lol, its a disease, isn't it ...
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:18 PM   #73
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Sounds like you have an exciting trip planned! I've never done a Disney cruise so that sounds really cool, and a nice way to break up the trip as well.

I don't know if you were still considering US and Harry Potter world, but I'll give you my thoughts on it anyway. I know you said you're not crazy about the Harry Potter books (and I will have to respectfully disagree, as I think they are decently written prose wise and plot wise they are amazing - but just my personal opinion! ). If anyone in your family is a fan though, it's something that is truly amazing. They've done a fantastic job theming the area and sticking true to the books/movies. That being said, there isn't much else in IOA that I enjoy, so at this point it's not even a full day park for me. I've already been to the wizarding world 4 or 5 times, but we're going in April since my parents really want to see it. Basically, what I would suggest is if you're not hardcore fans, you're probably better off waiting until it hits CA.

You also mentioned TiW. I'm actually surprised that you wouldn't be saving much, since I calculated a pretty decent savings for my family - of course, that's with 5 adults, but only a 6 day trip, and I have an AP so mine is only going to be $75 not $100. It's really too bad that not every restaurant is available with TiW! I don't know if you tend to have a glass of wine or alcohol with dinner, but the TiW is also good for 20% drinks when you're dining at sit downs, so for some that can add up as well. But it seems you've done a lot of research so you probably already know this
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:51 PM   #74
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I don't know if you were still considering US and Harry Potter world, but I'll give you my thoughts on it anyway. I know you said you're not crazy about the Harry Potter books (and I will have to respectfully disagree, as I think they are decently written prose wise and plot wise they are amazing - but just my personal opinion! ). If anyone in your family is a fan though, it's something that is truly amazing. They've done a fantastic job theming the area and sticking true to the books/movies. That being said, there isn't much else in IOA that I enjoy, so at this point it's not even a full day park for me. I've already been to the wizarding world 4 or 5 times, but we're going in April since my parents really want to see it. Basically, what I would suggest is if you're not hardcore fans, you're probably better off waiting until it hits CA.

You also mentioned TiW. I'm actually surprised that you wouldn't be saving much, since I calculated a pretty decent savings for my family - of course, that's with 5 adults, but only a 6 day trip, and I have an AP so mine is only going to be $75 not $100. It's really too bad that not every restaurant is available with TiW! I don't know if you tend to have a glass of wine or alcohol with dinner, but the TiW is also good for 20% drinks when you're dining at sit downs, so for some that can add up as well. But it seems you've done a lot of research so you probably already know this
Yes, I realize I'm in the minority about Harry Potter, both as a sci-fi geek and as a librarian (as well as a bookseller for 10 years prior to the library jobs). I like that they get kids to read, its just that there's so much vastly superior fantasy and sci-fi out there ... but then again the same thing could be said for the Twilight series.
DH likes them and DS5 enjoys what he's seen of the movies, so we'll probably hit the California one when it opens. I just couldn't justify an $80 per person ticket to see HPLand when there were other Florida-ey things to do. We're pretty excited about the airboat ride now and DS5 loves the idea of Gatorland.
As for the TIW, its still on the table if we upgrade our hoppers to the DVC APs. Of course, the DVC APs hinge on whether or not I get one of the jobs I'm interviewing for in the next month or so ...
Oddly enough, we don't tend to drink much with dinner. Our style is more to drink at friends' homes and make a night of it when we feel like getting intoxicated, maybe we're just too cheap to drink out and about? Too well trained as designated drivers? Not sure. I've calculated most of what we'll eat based on DH & I sharing meals as we usually do, plus DS ordering a meal and room in the budget for a dessert with every meal since that tends to be our Achilles' heel. Maybe that's why we don't drink as much with meals ... calorie expenditures are all allocated to sweets and fattening desserts!

Anyhow, thanks for following along. And good luck to you in your last year of grad school! I remember how I had senior-itis during my last semester, since I'd been doing night classes and working for what seemed like forever (3 years in reality). Thinking about going back for a teaching certification if I get a school library job, but don't want to give up my evenings not writing papers just yet. Plus then I wouldn't have time to DIS again!
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:28 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taaren View Post
Yes, I realize I'm in the minority about Harry Potter, both as a sci-fi geek and as a librarian (as well as a bookseller for 10 years prior to the library jobs). I like that they get kids to read, its just that there's so much vastly superior fantasy and sci-fi out there ... but then again the same thing could be said for the Twilight series.
DH likes them and DS5 enjoys what he's seen of the movies, so we'll probably hit the California one when it opens. I just couldn't justify an $80 per person ticket to see HPLand when there were other Florida-ey things to do. We're pretty excited about the airboat ride now and DS5 loves the idea of Gatorland.
As for the TIW, its still on the table if we upgrade our hoppers to the DVC APs. Of course, the DVC APs hinge on whether or not I get one of the jobs I'm interviewing for in the next month or so ...
Oddly enough, we don't tend to drink much with dinner. Our style is more to drink at friends' homes and make a night of it when we feel like getting intoxicated, maybe we're just too cheap to drink out and about? Too well trained as designated drivers? Not sure. I've calculated most of what we'll eat based on DH & I sharing meals as we usually do, plus DS ordering a meal and room in the budget for a dessert with every meal since that tends to be our Achilles' heel. Maybe that's why we don't drink as much with meals ... calorie expenditures are all allocated to sweets and fattening desserts!

Anyhow, thanks for following along. And good luck to you in your last year of grad school! I remember how I had senior-itis during my last semester, since I'd been doing night classes and working for what seemed like forever (3 years in reality). Thinking about going back for a teaching certification if I get a school library job, but don't want to give up my evenings not writing papers just yet. Plus then I wouldn't have time to DIS again!
My husband and I are similar... We were talking about drinking at night and what not - we still think there is going to be a glass of wine needed - but he thinks going to lounges and gettying a tasty treat sounds like more fun and a better use of $$....
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