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Old 07-26-2011, 08:13 AM   #1
wdwdancerwannabe
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15 nights on DDP takes an unexpected 180 from CSR to SSR.

We've been here for TWO weeks on DDP and have decided to do a trip report. I've got lits of tips, shoulda coulda wouldas, and even though I excessively planned this trip from beginning to end I've learned that flexibility is a must.

We are family of 4. DS 5; DD 10.

along with 15 ADRs we had some TS's paid OOP; two custom fondant cakes; pirate league; pirate pals wishes fireworks cruise. I also used A LOT of designs from The DISigners thread. These made our trip very personalized and extra magical.

oh!! and are you wondering about the upgrade?? stay tuned! but can't wait to tell you abiut our two bedroom villa at SSR!!

I'm on my phone right now waiting for a magic kingdom bus but am excited to get to my laptop to archive all of our memories and dream vacation that I've planned for literally 5 years.
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Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2766409

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Old 07-27-2011, 10:28 AM   #2
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I'm in! Can't wait to read.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:30 AM   #3
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:29 PM   #5
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just giving a little taste of one of our magical moments!!! this was deluvered to us at crystal palace for DS's 5th bday on july 20!!!

at the airport now....ready to get home
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Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2766409

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Old 07-27-2011, 07:50 PM   #6
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Can't wait to read it!
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:44 PM   #7
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:54 PM   #8
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That cakes looks amazing!!!! Im sure it was truly a magical moment for your son
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:31 PM   #9
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I can't wait to read all about your trip!
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:47 PM   #10
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Joining in!!! very cute cake!!!
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:13 AM   #11
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I'm joining in, that cake looks great!!
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:39 PM   #12
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NOW!!!
I'm home -- have been waiting all day to have some time to get started on this trip report before i forget anything!! I'm so excited to get some of our magical moments, notes-to-self and tips to remember for "next time" -


I hope that as i make progress through this report, you will find lots of tips, hints and strategies. I will admit -- I'm not as witty and creative in my writing as many of the other writers --- "just the facts, ma'am", is mainly my motto! I DOOO promise to deliver lots of tips and ideas for the readers --- but before I move on to the good stuff -- I suppose I should give some background on myself and my family..

CAST:
Myself: Tracy (38) -- Working mom -- Special Education Process Coordinator - Early Childhood Special Ed. To relieve stress, I teach dance at a performing arts academy here in town... dance will ALWAYS be a part of me.. I also love to scrapbook -

DH (Dear Husband) Jeff - (48) - retired military... but still works on base doing..something with the B2 bomber airplane.. I don't know - it's CLASSFIED!! LOL -- or so he tells me --- Jeff loves to spend his extra time in the yard and in the gym lifting weights.


DD 10 (Dear Daughter) Torrie - going in to fifth grade - loves her dance classes, theatre and singing. Not really into sports or athletics.


DS 5 (Dear Son) Cayden - loves musical instruments, singing, making up silly songs and dances with his sister... again - not a future sports buff, either!!

This is our second trip to Disney - the first trip was in 2005 for 9 nights. Of course, that was before Cayden was born. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside. We knew that we wanted to go back - but wasn't sure when.



While I was pregnant with Cayden (and i'm going to enter in some personal info, here - but it is important to the story) - I had quite a scare... NOT with my pregnancy --- but with our finances. I won't go in to details - but let's just say that it put me into a state of shock - and I realized that I had to get a handle on -- what i call --- "STUPID DEBT". I buckled down, obtained some consultants and professionals and created a plan. In a time of tragedy and EXTREME stress -- i could see a light at the end of the tunnel. My goal?? Be debt free and PAY CASH for a trip to Disney World in time for my sons 5th birthday. It was a huge task --- but when credit card companies have the ability to put someone in the state of fear and stress that I was in --- i was not going to be defeated.

For anyone who wants to hear more details about THAT little piece of my life - i'm happy to share more details and advice in that area in another arena/blog --- but for the rest of you who want to fast forward to the happy ending, as you can already guess, I WON -- I got myself out of debt... OK, well STUPID DEBT ... and as a reward to myself and my family we celebrated with a 15 day trip to disney - with no limits - and yes -- we paid CASH for it all!!!

Here are some clips of the magical care package that arrived just a couple of days from "DISNEY WORLD" addressed just to my children, Torrie and Cayden.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Bp0JyE0SY

I want to summarize the highlights -- and then I will sign off for tonight:
2 nights CSR
13 nights SSR -- and, yes - it was a complimentary upgrade - can't wait to tell y'all about how THAT happened!!!

TS's:


Tokyo Dining
Coral Reef
Chef Mickey's Breakfast
Bongo's (Downtown Disney)
Maya Grill

Pirate League
Pirate Pals Fireworks Voyage

TWO CUSTOM FONDANT CAKES -- I'll be sure to go into great detail on how I ordered these/prices/and coordinating these.

Customized autograph books from the DISigner boards
Customized invitations (addressed to the kids) for each of the TS's from the DISigner boards.
Customized matching tshirts from the DISigner boards for DS's 5th bday and DH's and my 12th anniversary.

There is so much more that I wanted to do for this first post... but I will need to sign off for now. This weekend I will get going with our arrival - airport and Magical Express Experiences along with our checkin to CSR.
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Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2766409

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Last edited by wdwdancerwannabe; 07-29-2011 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:48 AM   #13
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Congrats on getting out of stupid debt!

Looks great so far!!
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:33 PM   #14
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MOVING ON!!!

Day of arrival: July 12, 2011.

I'll be entering in quite a bit of info for first timers - so jump ahead if needed!!

Disney has a really cool service called Magical Express (ME) - this is a service that allows you to hop on a bus straight from the airport - without going to baggage claim. The bus takes you straight to your resort and your bags arrive straight to your room later in the day (usually 2-4 hours).

We flew out of KCI at 1:00 pm. This was Cayden's first time on a plane - and Torrie's second.


Our plane landed at 4:50 in Orlando (Florida time). When you get to the airport, you're supposed to see lots of Disney "Cast Members" waving their Mickey hand shaped gloves and directing you to the Magical Express desk. We saw none of the Waving Mickey Hands...

We wandered around a bit, but finally found the right place to go: Head towards Baggage Claim B Level 1 and turn right - then you will see signs directing you to ME. We waited very briefly in a line - they take your name and have your reservations on file - they print out a boarding pass for the bus. There are MANY winding cues. Each cue is assigned 2-3 resorts. The cues were completely empty - we boarded our bus immediately and left as soon as we sat down. We were on the bus by 5:20 and on our way!

When we arrived to our resort: Coronado Springs - I had already checked in online from home (able to do this within 10 days of leaving). So I was able to go to a separate line - no waiting - and immediately check in.
BTW: we had booked a "room only" night for the 12th - and then our "package deal" would start the next day.
-- and this is MY picture...what the lobby looked like when we arrived! NICE!!! - no waiting!

No matter how many nights you plan to stay, I recommend making your first night a "room only" - then this is not a park day/disney plan day... then the next day you're "true" vaca begins - and even though "check in" isn't until 3:00 pm, you can go straight to the parks that AM!!!

We were assigned room number 5407 - We were in our room a little after 6:00 pm. So from LANDING in Orlando to our room - it was about 2 hours... not bad!!!

We had requested and paid for a water view. Here is our gorgeous water view ---
on the third floor - and on the very end - as far away from the elevator as possible. THIS is where i'm going to stay for the next 15 nights?? I don't think so....

After arriving in our room,
the original plan was to do some swimming this first night, but we were hungry - and it had JUST finished raining --- I had intentionally not made a dining reservation for this first evening. The family knew that we could either go to the resort quick service restauarant (Pepper Market) - or go to the 'nice' restaurant on property: "Maya Grill" - but either way - we were paying for it OOP (out of pocket) as this first night was not a DDP (Disney Dining Plan) night.

Family (Jeff) decided to go ahead and have a nice sit down meal at Maya Grill.



We were seated immediately and there were very few people in the restaurant.


I had a to have Margarita on my first day in Disney! !
I can't remember the name of the margarita that i had - but it was one of their house specials - and had a bit of BASIL! yes, BASIL in it.. it was actually very good - fruity - but not too sweet

We ordered an appetizer:

Pulled Pork Empanada served with Jicama Slaw.

I ordered a mahi mahi with a pineapple mango salsa.. sounded DELICIOUS!!!


Jeff ordered a traditional steak with "vegetables".


Torrie's kids meal was beef tips with corn and fries.


Can't remember what Cayden had.

They brought out some interesting bread/breadsticks with an herb/oil dipping sauce.

The appetizer was $9 --- for two little Epenada's. I didn't care for them at all.... and the Jicama slaw was terribly bitter.

Jeff said that the steak was 'fine', but the 'corn mush' was not what he was expecting for his "vegetable". He thought that Torrie's kids meal looked like something he would have wanted. (You will discover very quickly that my husband and kids are NOT adventurous eaters!)

My fish was VERY dry with NO flavor. The "pineapple salsa" was primarily all red onions... i think i found one little sliver of a pineapple piece.... very disappointing.

And - for this OOP meal?? $102 + tip. and if you're not familiar with Disney Dining -- they are sure to tell you what a 15% tip is and what a 18% tip amount would be. So -- yes... over $15 tip for this very bland - and for lack of better words - gross -- meal.

As we left the restaurant - we passed the Pepper Market - wishing we would have just eaten there - the aroma was much more pleasing -- and the out of pocket expense would have been more satisfying as well.

Although our first meal at Disney did not set the tone for our magical trip ahead, we knew that there were MANY restaurants in our near future that we could not wait to get to.

After eating at the Maya Grill -- i thought i'd take a stab at requesting a different room --- the more i thought about that "water view" and being there for 15 nights, the more daring and gutsy I became... it never hurts to ask --- right???

I approached the counter - and was very pleasant and courteous to the gentleman on the other side -- and just was very honest about our room - and how disappointed we were with the view. He found a room for us in a different building (building 9) - said that it would be on the first floor - and would walk right out to a quiet pool. This sounded great to us - we were told that it probably wouldn't be available until the following afternoon -- but that they would come get our luggage from our first room (which hadn't arrived from ME, yet) - and deliver it to the second room. We agreed to move the next day and were excited to have a first floor room walking straight out to a small pool - this sounded so nice and convenient!!

We then went to the Cafe Rix and got some convenient breakfast foods for the next AM: To-Go cereal, 2 muffins, 2 cookies (for the evening), two little milk cartons, and a banana: $40. We quickly decided that we needed to look into the grocery delivery service and get some bfast foods delivered! We weren't going to pay these prices for 15 nights!

When we returned to our room - the bags came around 10:00 at night. I couldn't believe that one man had to lug all of those bags by himself -- we had 7 FULL suitcases... two of which were over the weight limit! LOL. We were very impressed at how efficient their system was. When the man put the bags in our room - he had us verify that all the bags were there. Then he had a scanner .... similar to what a UPS/Fed Ex guy might carry and scanned all of our baggage claim tags from the airport. and then i THINK they had us sign it, too - saying that the correct bags were delivered... so that process was nice and smooth!!!!

FINALLY --- we get to bed... then around 4 am - Cayden wakes up with a fever... GREAT!!! I brought lots of OTC medications - but no tylenol/ibuprofen!! I called down to the desk and told them my situation - they said that they could send someone into the gift shop and bring something out for me --- I walked down to the front desk -- and although i did have to wait awhile for the person with the authority to get into the shop to find what i needed, i was SOOO glad that they were able to do this! As I waited, i made a comment that i was worried about giving him the ibuprofen on an empty stomach - and could they bring some crackers or something, as well. A gentleman overheard me and went into Cafe Rix and brought back a muffin and an apple!! HOW SWEET!! AND - -they didn't charge me for the food!!! I signed a little sheet authorizing the gift shop purchase... for them to process later - The lady who went into the shop for me then gave me a ride back to my room in a golf cart... I was so tired. I was very appreciative and thankful for their help and willingness to accomodate my needs. Meanwhile, scared to death that Cayden was getting sick and was coming down with something!!

I will come back tomorrow and post about our first day in the parks: July 13: ANIMAL KINGDOM!!!
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Saratoga Springs 2011 - 15 days:
Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2766409

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Last edited by wdwdancerwannabe; 07-30-2011 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:55 PM   #15
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Great start! I can't wait for the upgrade part!

MCO no longer allows for the people wearing giant Mickey hands directing you to ME. They said the people in the airport was an unfair advantage to taxi/limo/shuttle services or something like that (even though you have to sign up in advance for ME!).
I usually see many people looking lost on the A terminal of the airport and I happily direct them to the start of their Disney vacation!
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