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Old 07-31-2011, 10:46 PM   #1
sarahk0204
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More WDW people *not* heading to DLR, a PTR update 3/5/12

Hey there!

Since there are only 365 days until my trip, I've decided to start a PTR. First, let me introduce myself and my family. Although we have been to WDW multiple times, this is our first trip to DL, and our first trip west for everyone except me.


This is me on my first trip to WDW with my 2 brothers. It was 1976, and I was 6 years old. I have been 13 or 14 times since then. My grandparents retired to FL in 1972, and I visited the MK as a day guest multiple times with my family when visiting from IL.


This is my DH on his first trip, our honeymoon in 1996. He didn't grow up with Disney like I did, but he is a big fan now, too.



These are our twins on their first trip in 2008, when they were 4. Because of our love of Disney (and our DVC membership), they have been to WDW 5 times in the past 3 years.


Here we are last Christmas.



Here are the twins on our June 2011 trip.


I started planning this trip probably 3 years ago or so. The twins' first trip to WDW was planned around a work conference in NOLA. Since we drive, it was relatively easy to make it a big road trip. This conference, which is always in the summer, is held in a different city each year. I knew in 2008 that the 2012 conference would be in San Diego. Time for a BIG road trip!
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:14 AM   #2
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I'm a HUGE road-trip fan! Look forward to reading more.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:46 AM   #3
skiingfast
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Oh wow, 3 years of planning already and about 1300 miles of driving each way could make for a lot of TR material.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:21 PM   #4
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I'm a HUGE road-trip fan! Look forward to reading more.
Hi! Thanks for reading!

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Oh wow, 3 years of planning already and about 1300 miles of driving each way could make for a lot of TR material.
Especially for the long winded Since I am way up in Northern IL, it will be 1900+ miles each way, the longest trip we've ever taken

DH and I have always been into road trips. Before kids, we drove to FL twice to visit my grandma (Grandpa passed away in 1992). We have never been drive-straight-through kind of people, so it took us 2 days to drive to FL from IL. Our first trip to FL with kids was in 2006 when our twins were two. We drove our 2003 Saturn VUE with a portable dual screen DVD player for the kids and a luggage rack filled with toddler paraphernalia (booster chairs, roll-up cots for sleeping, strollers, etc.) We actually bought this car the week we found out we were expecting twins, trading in my Nissan Sentra. We just visited Grandma on this trip, as I was not ready to tackle WDW with 2 in diapers. Kudos to anyone who has, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us that trip.

As I said before, the twins’ first trip to WDW was in 2008 at age 4. Grandma had passed away earlier that year at age 99, but we still stayed in the town where she had lived and visited some of her friends. We drove the VUE from IL and picked up DMIL from the airport in Sanford, FL. We took her to WDW as a combination 60th birthday/retirement present. She had never been, and it was a great trip. We then took DMIL back to the airport, and the rest of us drove to NOLA for the work conference. That combo went pretty well, so I started looking at future conferences that I could pair with a Disney trip. This conference changes cities each year, and the schedule is known 4-5 years in advance. 2010 was Atlanta, and 2012 is San Diego. Time to see Disneyland!

In the fall of 2008, DH bought a 2008 Toyota Prius. Since our kids were still small, we decided to drive the Prius the 1300 miles to WDW. We did so in Summer 2009 and Summer 2010. Loved the gas mileage, but by 2010 we had outgrown the Prius as a road trip car. I am an over packer, and even paring down quite a bit, we were no longer comfortable.

So, for our Christmas 2010 trip, it was back to the VUE. Unfortunately, DH was having some issues that turned out to be lumbar disc problems. The VUE was no longer comfortable for him to drive, an issue because he commutes 40 miles each way. Just after New Year’s we traded the VUE for a 2008 Chrysler Town and Country Touring Edition. This vehicle is wonderful for roadtripping! We used it for our Summer 2011 WDW trip, and we are looking forward to driving it to DLR!
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:08 PM   #5
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So will you drive the same route each way or try to make a grand loop? See some cities or parks on the way?
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:44 PM   #6
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We're still planning our route, but we are looking to visit the Grand Canyon on the way to Anaheim. We'll see what happens.
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:40 PM   #7
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Where we'll stay

So, in 2008 I started looking at a DLR trip before a work conference in San Diego. For our WDW trip we had stayed at the Fort Wilderness cabins. Since there really aren’t any Disney owned moderate hotels at DLR, I looked at Good Neighbor Hotels. I had a few sites bookmarked with maps and the like. We stayed at FW cabins for our 2009 WDW trip, and DH and I even had the discussion about how we would never stay anywhere else at WDW. Never say never, though!

On New Year’s Day 2010, we went to dinner with some friends who are DVC members. They convinced us to visit a guide at the Doorway to Dreams store near Chicago, and by the end of January we were DVC members!

Now we went from GN hotels to VGC, as well as DLH and PPH as possibilities. Our first DVC stay was in a studio, so I priced 4 nights in a studio at VGC. Hooray, we have the points!

Then we took a Christmas trip to WDW. After 3 years of summer trips and getting the Dining Plan, we did a December trip where we stayed in a 1BR and cooked quite a bit. Also, the kids are getting bigger, and the days of sister/brother sharing the bed are coming to an end. The 1BR at VGC has the full kitchen and the Murphy bed in addition to the pullout couch. It costs twice as much in points, but with some borrowing of points, we could swing it. Since we’d be so close, heading back to the villa for lunch or dinner wouldn’t be hard either. Ok, 4 nights in a 1BR it is!

Well, wait a minute. That Christmas trip? It was a lot of fun. Is there any way we could go back at Christmas? Well, not 2011. Finances will just not allow. But 2012 could happen IF we stayed in a studio (DH and DS sharing the bed and I and DD on the pullout couch). A little crowded, but isn’t WDW at Christmas worth it? But where would we get the points? Hmmm.

Well, what if we only stayed 3 nights at VGC? That could work. Should we take off a day at the beginning or the end? 2012 is going to be a busy time because of Carsland, I better try and book the first day I can. If we stick to the original start date, that would be December 30. Since I could end up working December 31, we decide to take off a day at the end. And hey, what about a GN hotel? We could move for 1 night, especially since we’d have to head out to San Diego the next day anyway. Ok, let’s find a GN hotel!

Then I got a brochure about a different work conference in San Diego. It isn’t at a time we could go, but it does list several convention hotels with prices. Yikes! But then I start thinking…

For previous WDW/work conference trips, we have been 8-10 hours between WDW and the conference city. Anaheim to San Diego is much shorter. Instead of going to the conference city the night before, how about we get up early the day of the conference and drive down? Odds are that the GN hotel will actually be cheaper than the conference hotel, plus we get an extra night at DL!

In a couple more weeks, I will be able to book 2 nights at a GN hotel for next August. Right now, HOJO is in the top spot for location and amenities. We really prefer interior corridors, so this is a big selling point.

So for now, our plan is 3 nights at a VGC 1 BR and 2 nights in a standard room at HOJO.
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:45 PM   #8
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Then we took a Christmas trip to WDW. After 3 years of summer trips and getting the Dining Plan, we did a December trip where we stayed in a 1BR and cooked quite a bit.

Well, wait a minute. That Christmas trip? It was a lot of fun. Is there any way we could go back at Christmas? Well, not 2011. Finances will just not allow. But 2012 could happen IF we stayed in a studio (DH and DS sharing the bed and I and DD on the pullout couch). A little crowded, but isn’t WDW at Christmas worth it? But where would we get the points? Hmmm.
Well, we are still using points, but now we are going for Christmas 2011!

Our WDW AP expire 12/18. I just booked a studio at SSR for 12/12-12/19. We are going to drive and still cook quite a bit. With the tickets and lodging essentially paid for, we couldn't pass this up.

Don't worry, DLR is still a go for 2012. I will post further plans here soon.

Oh, and SHHH. We are keeping the WDW trip a surprise for the kids!
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:46 AM   #9
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The problem with SD conventions is there are only expensive places by the CC. So they are probably also recommending the places in Hotel Circle, not bad there but still on the high side. It's Hotel Circle is positioned between the Zoo and Sea World, not bad but not next to anything great. So it makes you car dependent to get to anything except the golf course they are built on.

What I would suggest is staying about a mile from hotel circle. Either in Old Town, heard good things about the Holiday Inn or look for a couple of the places near Fashion Valley Mall. The SD trolley stops at both so it may be a 5 or 10 minute walk at both.

The Trolley goes to the CC, also to downtown near the SS Midway, Petco Park the same stop as the CC. It doesn't go anywhere else like the Zoo or Legoland, but at least will take care of convention transit.


I understand using a GN at DLR for a night to keep cost down, but wouldn't it work out to stay at the beginning instead? End the Disney part in a nicer hotel?
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:53 PM   #10
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The problem with SD conventions is there are only expensive places by the CC. So they are probably also recommending the places in Hotel Circle, not bad there but still on the high side. It's Hotel Circle is positioned between the Zoo and Sea World, not bad but not next to anything great. So it makes you car dependent to get to anything except the golf course they are built on.

What I would suggest is staying about a mile from hotel circle. Either in Old Town, heard good things about the Holiday Inn or look for a couple of the places near Fashion Valley Mall. The SD trolley stops at both so it may be a 5 or 10 minute walk at both.

The Trolley goes to the CC, also to downtown near the SS Midway, Petco Park the same stop as the CC. It doesn't go anywhere else like the Zoo or Legoland, but at least will take care of convention transit.

Thank you so much for all of that valuable info. I really appreciate the time you took to post that.


I understand using a GN at DLR for a night to keep cost down, but wouldn't it work out to stay at the beginning instead? End the Disney part in a nicer hotel?
Yes, it probably would, but there is a method to my madness. My 7 month DVC window opens on December 30. Since I might get a chance to work on December 31 or January 2, I'd rather be able to book on a day when I could afford to take the morning off. With Carsland opening next year, I want to be able to book the first day I can.

Also, I know that the hotel in San Diego won't have a full kitchen like VGC DVC. I'd rather get the cooking out of the way first, rather than shopping, etc., midweek.

To that end, I went ahead and booked HOJO for the last 2 days. I got the Mousesaver rate, and I was pretty happy with that. I realize that we will be in California (where even your classroom doors open to the outside), but we like interior corridors in hotels.
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:20 PM   #11
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This sounds like a fun TR! You'll LOVE the VGC! I think it's really smart to cook in the room. I don't know why more people don't take advantage of that. The thing I like best is that the ovens have a delay bake feature (same brand as I have at home. I like to put a meatloaf or other baked dinner in at lunch, set the timer and come home to smell a home cooked meal waiting for us!

I hope all your plans work out. The Grand Canyon is beautiful, but very hot in summer!
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:33 PM   #12
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Thank you! Speaking of food, I was listening to a review of the WOC dinner package. Any thoughts? Of course, I'd like to see WOC while we were staying at VGC, for the shorter walk home. Getting a dinner package would keep us from cooking in the villa, while we still had a villa to cook in!

Of course, we could do WOC on the day we change hotels from VGC to HOJO. Since we can park our car in the VGC lot until midnight, we could always just plan on havinthe car there after the show & then driving to HOJO. I think that could work.

I also would like to do a character breakfast. I am leaning towards Storytellers at the moment, but that is not set in stone.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:19 PM   #13
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It really depends if you want to eat the WoC food.

I like the picnics just know the fried chicken and fish options are served cold, they all are. But staying close you could pick up your picnic on the way back to the room and eat it as lunch or dinner, or breakfast the next day. Picnics yeild a yellow or blue zone show ticket. Some people have asked for the other if they didn't like the color they got.

Staying in the GCH though you can use the hotel entrance and get into the parks before the regular guests and get a Show ticket for the blue zone in minutes. This is at the GRR FP distribution, which is just about across from the GCH entrance. Blue is always first, then yellow, then red zone, if a second show it repeats.

Take a look at the menus for the WoC meals, see if it looks tasty.
http://allears.net/dlr/din/menu/menus.htm
BTW the WCT lunch is for a blue or yellow ticket.

If you do one of the dinners eat early. You want to be done eating about 90 minutes before the show. No matter what Show Ticket you have show up 15 minutes before the show time, which is about 75 minutes before the first show. This will help you get your choice of spot to view from.
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahk0204 View Post
Thank you! Speaking of food, I was listening to a review of the WOC dinner package. Any thoughts? Of course, I'd like to see WOC while we were staying at VGC, for the shorter walk home. Getting a dinner package would keep us from cooking in the villa, while we still had a villa to cook in!

Of course, we could do WOC on the day we change hotels from VGC to HOJO. Since we can park our car in the VGC lot until midnight, we could always just plan on havinthe car there after the show & then driving to HOJO. I think that could work.

I also would like to do a character breakfast. I am leaning towards Storytellers at the moment, but that is not set in stone.
I would say do the WoC package on the day you switch, that way you can maximize the nights you have the VGC kitchen. I prefer Ariels over the idea of a cold meal for $15. I know it it pricey, but it is a really good dinner, you get a 3 tier tray of appetizers, and entree and a plate of desserts served family style. When we went last summer all the entrees that our party had were really good.

I've never been to WCT, but what I've heard was inconsistent and not as good a value as Ariel's. Of course the picnics will cost you less. My vote would be Ariel's on the night you switch. That way you've covered for dinner and don't have to rush for FPs or deal with dinner on transfer night.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:00 PM   #15
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I would say do the WoC package on the day you switch, that way you can maximize the nights you have the VGC kitchen. I prefer Ariels over the idea of a cold meal for $15. I know it it pricey, but it is a really good dinner, you get a 3 tier tray of appetizers, and entree and a plate of desserts served family style. When we went last summer all the entrees that our party had were really good.

I've never been to WCT, but what I've heard was inconsistent and not as good a value as Ariel's. Of course the picnics will cost you less. My vote would be Ariel's on the night you switch. That way you've covered for dinner and don't have to rush for FPs or deal with dinner on transfer night.
Yeah, WCT does not seem to get as good of reviews as Ariel's. I am leaning towards doing a WOC DP on switch night too, but I will have to discuss options with DH. If we did it, it would be one of just 2 or 3 big splurge meals for the whole trip (the aforementioned character breakfast being one and maybe a meal in DTD the other). I will be happy to cook in the villa while i can and do some fast food for the nights at HOJO.
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