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Old 09-26-2011, 07:19 PM   #1
kittylady1972
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Smile 2 or 3 TRIPS in 2012! Celebrating my bday DISNEY STYLE - 3/12 & 11/12 and ?? PTRs!

Still working on getting my entire June 2011 Trip Report up here, still looking forward to planning our November 2012 Cruise and Park Trip, and now I have decided I must celebrate my birthday in Walt Disney World this year too!

I'm still in the planning stages of this trip, working on the final dates and don't know where we'll be staying quite yet, so feel free to tune in while I get the details all setup.

One thing I can tell you is that we are doing this without the kids or family, it will be just my DH and myself and our big plan is to do a special park tour for every park. So right now the tours I have in mind are:

Disney's Keys to the Kingdom Tour at Magic Kingdom
Around the World at EPCOT Segway Tour
Backstage Safari Tour at Animal Kingdom
Learn to Surf at Typhoon Lagoon


Since we are shelling out some bucks on the tour experiences, we're going to try to go cheap on the room. We plan to have our own transportation, so we are contemplating a stay at one of the moderate resorts. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside back in 1999 (when it was Dixie Landing) so we may try Port Orleans French Quarter this time. The price isn't too much higher than a value resort, and we have a better chance of a guaranteed King Bed room that way. Value resorts have not been ruled out.

Instead of using our DVC Points for this trip, we plan to pay cash so we are hoping to use my annual pass to get a good room discount. Nothing out yet for March so we shall see.

I considered booking the current package with Free Dining since we can make our dates work for that deal, but have decided we'll be better off with a room discount and my Tables in Wonderland card for food.

I'll update here as I continue to plan that trip as well as our plans for our November 2012 Family Cruise and park trip!

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Old 09-29-2011, 01:33 PM   #2
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I should probably title this one again as TWO TRIPS in 2012 since that really is my current plan. After all, what better way to celebrate turning 40 than some extra time at Walt Disney World?

So here is my TWO TRIP BREAKDOWN so far:

Trip #1 - March 2012 - My Big Birthday Celebration: Since I currently hold a season pass, I plan to wait for season passholder room rates before really getting the ball rolling on this trip. I expect they will be out either before the end of this year or sometime in January 2012. I am patient. I've gone back and forth pricing out transportation options: plane, train, automobile and I'm still not sure which way to go on this. On the one hand, plane would be faster. However the extra $400 we would shell out just in airfare alone...wow that is a few meals in Disney! Train takes as long as driving...and costs about as much as the train. Since it's just the two of us driving, we could even leave overnight and drive at night for the most part and switch off if necessary. This is the way I'm leaning. This is our tour trip so we'll be booking several adult tours for this one. I have already booked a few dining reservations!

Trip #2 - November 2012 - Cruising Disney-Style! :
This one is already booked...or at least the cruise is booked. Our deposit has been in place and my MIL and FIL are also booked. I keep trying to convince other friends and family to join us, but so far no takers! This is a 3-night Bahamian Cruise on the Dream that departs the Sunday before Thanksgiving and returns the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It would have been cool to celebrate Thanksgiving on the cruise, but that's okay. I plan to use DVC points to book our rooms. Right now I am thinking of spending one or two nights at Bay Lake Tower before the cruise, and then 3 nights after the cruise at a Treehouse at Saratoga Springs. I can book this on December 1st so it will be here soon enough! We will probably take the Autotrain at least one-way if not both...it depends on if we can book part of the trip using Amtrak Rewards points. If not, we may just book it coming home. I keep watching for Amtrak to release rates and dates for booking in November 2012. Of course we'll need some park tickets as well...and that won't be cheap. There will be lots of saving up for this trip over the next year so we get it all taken care of in advance. We are really looking forward to this trip!


So that is it so far...nothing spectacular to report yet, but I'm always on the lookout for ideas to help in my planning. Less than 6 months to go for the March trip and nothing set in stone yet seems CRAZY!
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:41 PM   #3
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There is no better way to celebrate your birthday than with Disney! Lucky! You're going to have a great time and I'm excited to hear more about it!
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:49 PM   #4
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It's now OFFICIAL...we are booked for TWO trips in 2012!!! I just learned today about the Annual Passholder discounts available through early March. Since my plan was to travel during that time, it worked out perfectly. I went online and tried some pricing but in the end I decided to go with Caribbean Beach Resort. It is costing us about $600 for 4 nights in a King bedroom. I waivered between that and Port Orleans or even Coronado Springs. We've never stayed at CS and we've stayed at Port Orleans back in 1999 (Dixie Landings at the time) but DH mentioned he wasn't interested in trying CS for some reason. I think it looks pretty cool.

I am still not sure I won't change my mind. Part of me would LOVE to splurge and book a Deluxe Resort and even book Concierge/Club Level since we've never done that before. I think the free snacks would be great since we don't plan on doing a dining plan. However I'm not sure I can justify the extra cost of that. I think the cheapest I found was about $1200...do I really think we will eat $600 worth of snacks? Probably not. Of course, that's also an upgrade to a deluxe resort so it's not really the snack cost there.

I haven't told my DH yet. Right now he is on his way home from Germany. His flight landed about an hour ago so hopefully he will be home soon and I haven't left work yet but will shortly. I just checked Google to see where he's located...and right now he's still in Germany according to them!

So excited about our little adults-only excursion. I still think we'll drive and save the money on airline tickets and rental car. I'm thinking we'll leave late on a Friday night, arrive early on a Saturday and then spend those 4 nights at Disney, driving home sometime Wednesday March 7th. I'll be home right in time for my 40th birthday on March 8th, so I won't technically spend my birthday in Disney, but that's okay. I think I want to spend it with my whole family or at least include the kids.

Anyway that's my update for today. Eventually I need to get back over and update my June 2011 Trip Report again. I spent all weekend putting photos into an album from our trip and reliving it that way. So much fun!
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:20 AM   #5
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So I told DH last week that I have already booked our next Disney trip for March 2012 and he is totally on-board with it. I guess it's a good thing that he doesn't mind me doing all of the planning. He's willing to go with whatever I decide.

I'm still trying to sell myself on the CBR but I think I'm closer to it now. I kinda wanted to try CSR but DH is really against it, even though we've never been to either one. So I've read a few more reviews here and have decided it's okay...we'll be good with our CBR room.

Transportation is still up in the air, but right now I think we'll be driving. I just like knowing I'm saving money by not paying for the flights and we are so used to long drives anymore that it should be easy for DH and myself and we can always trade off on it.

Of course, over the weekend one of my DH's friends sent him a message about trying to plan a big adults-only group trip...to Cancun in July. Honestly I am not really interested in the trip, especially since we have this March trip planned and then another big trip in November (our Disney Cruise). If I'm going to go to Cancun, I'd rather go at a time when it's not already going to be sunny and hot here. After all, I can sit in the sun or by the pool at home, and make drinks and hang with friends for way cheaper than Cancun. Plus I know we'll have to plan some kind of trip in August with our family since the kids summer camp always ends way before school begins. I can't take time off in July and August and given my preference I'd rather spend it with my family.

I think DH is going to be disappointed but I just really don't see us making that Cancun trip. If we wants to experience a little bit of that...then we can book Coronado Springs instead and then spend some time at Mexico in EPCOT for WAY cheaper!
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:32 AM   #6
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Ok, no surprise that I am still unsure if I'll keep my original reservation right now. The dates won't be changing, but I am still considering either CBR or perhaps even dialing it back to a value like Pop Century. I was doing some checking on flights yesterday and it would cost about $200 each for us to fly down and back. I realized that if I downgraded us to a Value Resort, then the overall total cost would only be $200 more to fly since I'm paying another $200 or so for the King Room at CSR. Decisions, decisions. Again, DH doesn't even listen to me...he'll just pack a bag a few days before our trip and be ready to go wherever I tell him. We do have childcare lined up for that timeframe though! He took care of that one by talking to his mom yesterday!

The problem is that with all of our early touring plans, I think a car will really be essential. We will be doing tours that start well before the parks open and I don't want to pay for cabs each time. I looked into rental car prices yesterday and they are still crazy, even with the codes I have tried. So I'm not booking anything yet on the air or car rental front.

I even looked into the Autotrain, thinking perhaps we could do the drive down initially but come back on the train. It would have to be coach though as the room prices are also insane. If we did that, it would cost about as much as two RT plane tickets for us to just book a one-way Autotrain trip back...but at least no driving and we could catch up on the sleep at home if we don't get any in coach. I've done redeye flights before...we could do it.

That's where we are for now. Nothing has changed but the wheels are still turning so I may end up changing something eventually. Probably NOT before the end of the year...except that I think there is a time limit on the booking at the AP rates and they go up after a certain date. So I should get that set in stone as soon as possible.

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Old 10-17-2011, 10:53 AM   #7
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Another small update...no real changes right now. I did talk to my DH over the weekend and mentioned I was really considering switching us to CSR from CBR and he just said whatever I want to do...but I haven't made any changes...yet.

I did get my latest Mousesavers update and read about all of the changes taking place in the Spring. Some good, some bad. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is going down for a 4-month refurb...wow. It goes down in January and back up in May so we will definitely miss it. Bummer.

On the flip side, Dumbo goes down in January and gets moved over to it's new location by February...so it sounds like maybe they will both Dumbos up and running as well as the rethemed Great Goofini (formerly Barnstormer). We may have to ride those in place of BTMRR!

We were discussing the November 2012 trip with my in-laws on Saturday, who just left for a 2-week Italy Vacation. They are looking forward to our cruise and I told them we'd probably be looking to book our AutoTrain ride sometime in December. I told them my plans for booking our room before the cruise (probably BLT with maybe a MK view) and after the cruise (a Treehouse) and they are good with both. My MIL has only ONE request for dining...she really REALLY wants to eat at Mama Melrose again. She just loves one of their pasta dishes that she had on our last trip. I wasn't planning on making a lot of dining reservations for that trip, but I guess I better make sure I make at least that one!
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Old 10-19-2011, 03:33 PM   #8
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Argh...still here and still waivering with my resort change for March. I could add an extra night and stay through my birthday at Pop Century for cheaper than my room at CBR right now. I'm really leaning towards changing to CSR though...and maybe sticking with a 2Q room for right now. I could add another night and in that 2Q room it would only add $75 to my trip. We could always upgrade when there if we don't like it.

Then again, I'd love to try Port Orleans French Quarter too...even though I've stayed at Riverside before. It would be like visiting New Orleans a little bit...and I've never been there.

I really, really can't decided but I think I have a few more weeks to make a decision to get the rates I have right now...provided the room is available. I think I just might add the extra night just in case to lock in the rate as I can always cancel the extra night later.

I think I just OVERthink these trips way too much! Maybe I should occupy my mind with something else...like my dining reservations!
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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Well I did it...yesterday I changed my ressie. I am now booked at CSR in a Standard Room for 5 nights in March instead of four...and the cost increase of the CBR King room for 4 nights is only about $70 so I am sticking to it. DH thinks we should go for the King bed as well...so it might change!

My last night will be bittersweet. I'll wake up the next morning on my 40th birthday...but I'll be in Walt Disney World. Now where should I celebrate our last day???

Still debating our travel plans to get there but this morning some new solutions emerged. A coworker offerred me FREE tickets using her Southwest Airline points. Her husband travels weekly and they have a lot of points...and the points value for our trip was pretty minimal. So that got me thinking...always a dangerous thing!

My DH swore off SWA years ago after a bad experience, but we used to use them and had signed up for their Rapid Rewards program, so we still had valid memberships. Now our rewards have long expired...but the accounts are still there. Plus DH took two trips this summer on SWA...but never claimed the points/miles.

I looked it up and he has 12 months to claim those miles...so I'll have him do that. Then I saw the Chase offer where you apply for their credit card and get an instant 50K points when you use it the first time. Our two tickets RT to Florida won't even come terrible close to that for our timeframe!

So I applied for the card in DH's name...and he was instantly approved. We have to pay a $69 card fee but for two "free" tickets to Florida I'm willing to do that.

Now to hope we get the card quickly, make a purchase, and then probably wait until the end of the cycle to get the points deposited. Hopefully by then the good fares on points will still be there. If not, there is always a future trip!

Next...to find a really cheap rental car for the trip!
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:17 PM   #10
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I'm in!

I'd love to celebrate my birthday with a WDW trip ... but that will never happen. Heck, I'd be happy celebrating my anniversary, but we can't see to get that to work either.

We stayed at CSR in May and we absolutely loved it!

Anyway, poppin' in to say "hi" and that I'm here to read more! It's possible our paths will cross in March (if I read correctly). So it will be neat to see what others will be doing around the same time!
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:23 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lidian View Post
I'm in!

I'd love to celebrate my birthday with a WDW trip ... but that will never happen. Heck, I'd be happy celebrating my anniversary, but we can't see to get that to work either.

We stayed at CSR in May and we absolutely loved it!

Anyway, poppin' in to say "hi" and that I'm here to read more! It's possible our paths will cross in March (if I read correctly). So it will be neat to see what others will be doing around the same time!
Hi there and welcome! Glad you stopped by and joined in here! When is your trip for March planned? It's always great to plan along with other DISers!

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Old 10-24-2011, 11:36 AM   #12
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More changes to come here...go figure. Now I'm glad I added that extra night at the end of our trip...because we will most likely leave on Sunday March 4th instead of Saturday March 3rd now. So we are back down to 4 nights instead of five...though I haven't changed it yet.

The reason for the change is something I should have thought about earlier...kids sports! This year my daughter will be playing basketball...her second year of the sport after cheerleading for basketball for two years. It's very low-key through the UPWARDS organization, so we really enjoy it even though she is not that great of a player. My youngest will also be playing this year...he played two years ago (his sister cheered for his team) but decided last year he didn't want to play. Then during his sister's first game he asked me if he could play too...WHAT?? Too late now! Ah the joys of a 6-year-old (now 7).

This year I happened to notice that each time we'd take him to soccer practice he was DRIBBLING the soccer ball like a basketball most of the time. I think he really did miss the game...but he HATES to have to be dragged out to practice.

Over the weekend were the basketball signups and tryouts and we forced him to go...evil parents! He got there...and as soon as he started trying out he loved it! Such a stinker!

Anyway games begin in January and end in February...and the final awards ceremony is planned for March 3rd. Now right now I don't know of a time for it, so we MIGHT try to leave late that night. However it's most likely we'll book an early flight out the next day instead. So glad we didn't book those tickets yet!

The question remains...do I extend again through Friday, spending my ENTIRE birthday day in Walt Disney World...or do we return late Thursday evening? We shall see what happens as it all depends on when we get our SWA points established and what our choices are at that time. I'm looking to maximize our time while minimizing the points we spend for this trip!
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Old 10-24-2011, 02:45 PM   #13
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Hi there and welcome! Glad you stopped by and joined in here! When is your trip for March planned? It's always great to plan along with other DISers!

March 4-9 @ CBR for us! Still working on which park / which day schedules. I have my ADRs booked -- but I'm a frequent-changer (so much that I've already changed 4 ADRs in the few short days I started planning this trip).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittylady1972 View Post
More changes to come here...go figure. Now I'm glad I added that extra night at the end of our trip...because we will most likely leave on Sunday March 4th instead of Saturday March 3rd now. So we are back down to 4 nights instead of five...though I haven't changed it yet.

The reason for the change is something I should have thought about earlier...kids sports! This year my daughter will be playing basketball...her second year of the sport after cheerleading for basketball for two years. It's very low-key through the UPWARDS organization, so we really enjoy it even though she is not that great of a player. My youngest will also be playing this year...he played two years ago (his sister cheered for his team) but decided last year he didn't want to play. Then during his sister's first game he asked me if he could play too...WHAT?? Too late now! Ah the joys of a 6-year-old (now 7).

This year I happened to notice that each time we'd take him to soccer practice he was DRIBBLING the soccer ball like a basketball most of the time. I think he really did miss the game...but he HATES to have to be dragged out to practice.

Over the weekend were the basketball signups and tryouts and we forced him to go...evil parents! He got there...and as soon as he started trying out he loved it! Such a stinker!

Anyway games begin in January and end in February...and the final awards ceremony is planned for March 3rd. Now right now I don't know of a time for it, so we MIGHT try to leave late that night. However it's most likely we'll book an early flight out the next day instead. So glad we didn't book those tickets yet!

The question remains...do I extend again through Friday, spending my ENTIRE birthday day in Walt Disney World...or do we return late Thursday evening? We shall see what happens as it all depends on when we get our SWA points established and what our choices are at that time. I'm looking to maximize our time while minimizing the points we spend for this trip!
Perhaps it will be an early afternoon ceremony and you can hit an afternoon flight and arrive slightly after dinner?

Honestly, if it was me, I'd extend so I can be in the parks on my birthday. I know its rough to be away from family ... and I may very well not do that if I was in your shoes ... but I would roll out the debate board and decide a few factors in... My biggest thing would be that I'm with my family for all my other birthdays, having one to myself at WDW would be nice.

But I can't wait to hear what you decide!
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:52 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Lidian View Post
March 4-9 @ CBR for us! Still working on which park / which day schedules. I have my ADRs booked -- but I'm a frequent-changer (so much that I've already changed 4 ADRs in the few short days I started planning this trip).

Perhaps it will be an early afternoon ceremony and you can hit an afternoon flight and arrive slightly after dinner?

Honestly, if it was me, I'd extend so I can be in the parks on my birthday. I know its rough to be away from family ... and I may very well not do that if I was in your shoes ... but I would roll out the debate board and decide a few factors in... My biggest thing would be that I'm with my family for all my other birthdays, having one to myself at WDW would be nice.

But I can't wait to hear what you decide!
I'm a frequent changer as well, so it is surprising that I haven't touched our ADRs...yet. I guess I just really haven't planned this whole trip out as well as I usually do. I guess I need to look at the tours we'll be booking first, then dining and I'm really trying to make this trip as cheap as possible...something I never really do! So honestly missing that first night will be okay as it's the most expensive night of the trip!

I guess I am okay with being away from the family for my birthday for the most part. I will be with my husband and I know we'll have a good time. Of course we will, since I will be planning it! I really am looking forward to waking up at Walt Disney World I must admit.
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:59 AM   #15
kittylady1972
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So right now I'm just waiting anxiously for our new credit card to arrive so I can use it and get those SWA points deposited in DH's account. I'm not going to book our airfare until that's done and I'm hoping points values will drop a little bit. The cheapest points value flights right now are not ones I'd want to take but I'd like to keep some points available for future trips. So we'll see what happens.

I'm also really working hard on figuring out what to do about our November trip. I *KNOW* we'll take the Autotrain at least one way...and perhaps both. I pulled up some Amtrak fares the other day that were recently released but they were only through the end of September. Still the costs there were pretty good but I know it will be important to jump on getting that trip booked as soon as possible. I guess beginning in December, my daily routine will be to login and check Amtrak to see if the fares for my dates are out yet and book them. It's going to require some skill for sure though as I know that will be a VERY busy travel time seeing as how it's Thanksgiving weekend that we'll want to return.

I'm really trying to work on maximizing our airline and rewards points. It's unfortunate that a transfer even between family members costs money but it still may be cheaper to do that than book the trip with cash. I know we'll have to pay cash for the ride back on Thanksgiving weekend, but the ride down there can be booked on Amtrak Reward points. Just need to decide on how we'll work the accomodations for all 7 of us.
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