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Old 09-27-2011, 08:24 AM   #1
Darkfirewolfe
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The Constantly Exploding Disney Triporama of LUXURY! (A Pre-Trip for October 2011)

Welcome one and all to The Constantly Exploding Disney Triporama!

This is my first pre-trip report. I'm hoping to do a better job of documenting this upcoming trip (as my last post-trip report is still sadly, sadly behind and out of date).

So, why is it called The Constantly Exploding Disney Triporama? Because the cast of this trip and the length of this trip has exploded over the last 6 months. Originally, the trip was just going to be myself and three of my girlfriends for an extended weekend just to nibble our way through the Food & Wine festival. Well, the fun thing about Disney is that it is addictive and before you knew it, our easy party of 4 adults in one moderate price room had been increased to 5.

Did you know that 5 adults means that your options for cheap rooms becomes incredibly limited? Yeah, we didn't either

The solution? Invite more people and make it two rooms!

So, the current trip has greatly expanded. My four girlfriends are staying together in a room at the Caribbean Beach and are staying Mon-Thurs. We are meeting up with them 3 of those days, but our cast, hotel, and stay dates are a little different. How different you ask? Well, let's get on WITH THE SHOW!

THE CAST

Day3-8 by darkfirewolfe, on Flickr
MYSELF (Amanda aka Darkfirewolfe)


Day3-7 by darkfirewolfe, on Flickr
MY DH, Julious
My DH and I are total, crazy Disney fans! We have been to The World twice in the last two years and we hope to keep cutting coupons so we can keep going every year.

Our favorites:
Favorite Park: Epcot
Favorite Resort: Polynesian
Our Favorite Dining: Garden View Tea Room
Favorite Snack: Dole Whip
Favorite Hidden Gem: Fantasia Putt-Putt

and joining us, to visit for the park for the first time in over 6 years (*I think*)...

DnD by darkfirewolfe, on Flickr
JANUARY
She's the one with her laptop behind my DH. Believe it or not, that's the best picture I have right now - so that MUST BE CORRECTED!! We've known January for several years now and she's one of my best girl friends. Even though she lived in Florida, near Orlando, she hasn't been to the park in ages (or at least ages for us) and she hasn't stayed on property. We are hoping to shower her with luxury and excitement.


The Trip:
October 22nd (Sat) - October 28th (Fri)

Where:
The Animal Kingdom Lodge
(and the best part is that it is CLUB LEVEL!!)


Posted Already:
*The Back-story (Post #2)
*The Itinerary (Post #5)
*Our ADRs (Post #11)
*How we are making the waiting fun (Post #16)

Coming up:
* How we are making the months leading up to Disney fun 2
* Our F&W predictions
* MNSSHP plans and costumes
* AKL must dos

Last edited by Darkfirewolfe; 10-02-2011 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:59 AM   #2
Darkfirewolfe
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The Backstory

I thought I would elaborate on the back-story for this trip, as it is a little dramatic.

When my DH & I returned home from our October 2010 trip, I was disappointed with how few of the booths we eat at during the F&W and some of the special things we did not get to. But with all the FantasyLand construction, we decided it would be prudent to skip 2011 and return to The World in 2012.

That did not last long. My cravings were starting to get intense. As fates would have it, I had a group of girlfriends with whom I scrapbook and since we all had past photos of Disney trips, we decided to do an all day Disney scrap. My addiction started to rub off on them and they, too, wanted to return to Disney. So we took a vote, and four of us were interested in going to The World together. So, we crunched the numbers, and we were pleasantly surprised that a shared moderate room for 4 friends for an extended weekend of Food & Wine snacking was quite affordable.

We began planning. And with planning, comes Disney fever. And Disney fever spreads...

It spread to our fifth girlfriend, who quickly changed her mind and wanted to hop on-board. We figured that the more, was still the merrier, right? Well, it may be merrier, but it is not cheaper. The fifth adult meant that our room price increased dramatically and our options decreased dramatically as well.

What to do?
Should we tell her she can't come even though we've infected her with Disney fever? That didn't seem right. Some of our original vacationers couldn't come if we increased the price. That didn't seem right either.

I decided that since I go routinely and I had welcomed her on-board, that I should be the one to drop out. I hated to do it, but it was the only option that seemed right. Then, one of them suggested multiple rooms. Hmmmm, who else would want to go to Disney World?

As all of this is occurring, my DH is starting to get the fever too. He was hiding it well, but seeing me plan a trip without him was hard. So, as I confessed all this travel drama to him, he mentioned that if there were going to be multiple rooms, why not just go together! We returned to my massive spread sheet where I had listed the price for all the rooms on property for our travel dates.

And you'll never believe what we found...
We are Polynesian ADDICTS and have stayed several times. Well, for our travel dates, for a totally unexplainable reason, the price of a room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (a place we always wanted to try out) on CLUB LEVEL, was CHEAPER than a theme-park view room at the Poly!?!?!

"You mean we can stay club level and it's cheaper??"

We had found the solution. My DH & I would celebrate our anniversary at WDW in the AKL and meet up with my girlfriends to eat our way around the F&W Festival as a big pack.

See how it all exploded? From an extended weekend to 5 days, from girls only to celebrating our anniversary, from moderate resort room shared to club level deluxe accommodation! And the explosions did not stop there. It occurred to my DH & I that we had been talking to the parents of our godchild about going sometime in the next 2 years while she's young. And my DH & I haven't shared a hotel room with other adults in several years... That might take some getting use to. So why not invite someone else on this trip to ease ourselves back into sharing! EXPLOSION!

The trip is now what you see in the first post. My DH, myself, and our friend are going to WDW for 5 days in October and staying at the AKL. We are going to see all the parks, meet up with my girlfriends and eat our way across the F&W Festival, and end the trip at MNSSHP.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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This sounds great! I'm in! It seems like you are going to have a great time! Going with large groups is always fun
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
Darkfirewolfe
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Originally Posted by bkandreu View Post
This sounds great! I'm in! It seems like you are going to have a great time! Going with large groups is always fun
Thanks for the add! I'll be updating super fast over the next 3 weeks and then I hope to do a pseudo-live trip report - we shall see.

I'm a little nervous about the big group. I tend to think everyone's happiness is somehow my responsibility and having so many people will really challenge that. I hope to learn that I am only responsible for my happiness and being pleasant to others.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:13 PM   #5
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Itinerary

The Itinerary

Saturday Oct 22nd
We are going to leave Atlanta and drive down to Orlando. Usually we fly, but driving will be way cheaper and I am not really excited about flying with the aggressive patdown risk from the TSA. This will also give the three of us a chance to bond more. I hope to have time to put together a huge playlist of good singalong tunes and Disney music.

Stay: **I just made our reservations for this today**
1 night at the Hampton Inn Orlando/Lake Buena Vista
I built up enough Hilton Honors points to get our one night here completely free!
We are hoping to grab dinner at a local place January knows and maybe walk around Downtown Disney if we get there soon enough and are not exhausted.

Sunday Oct 23rd
Get up at the crack of dawn and drive to the Animal Kingdom Lodge

We will check in, though I doubt our room will be ready, so we are going to drop off our badge, get our tickets and head straight to Disney's Animal Kingdom

We are going to spend most of the day (probably till 3-4pm) at AK. Then return to the room, grab a snack and hop a bus to Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is Extra Magic Hours that night, so we are hoping to get our HS & AK fill in just one day.

Monday Oct 24th
Magic Kingdom Day
My other girlfriends will be arriving Monday, so we hope to take the MK by storm!

Tuesday Oct 25th & Wednesday Oct 26th
EPCOT Days
We have reserved two days for EPCOT, so that we can hit every booth at the Food & Wine festival and do all the rides. My DH and I's favorite park is EPCOT, so we usually spend two days there.

Thursday Oct 27th
The morning will be a hotel day to explore the beautiful grounds of the AKL and maybe spend some time in the pool.

Then at 4pm, we are putting on our costumes and heading to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. We haven't picked out our costumes yet - I hope to go this weekend to Party City and check out ideas.

Friday Oct 28th
We will sadly and tearfully check out of the AKL. My plan is to go to Downtown Disney and get some lunch and do the last of our shopping. Then head back to Atlanta. If we don't make it all the way, we can always grab a super cheap hotel on the way back.

Saturday Oct 29th
Unpack, Do Laundry, Attempt to Recover - and start printing pictures for scrapbooking!!

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Old 09-28-2011, 01:27 PM   #6
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Monday

So, all kinds of amazing fun in store for all of us.
We check-in at the Coronado Springs Resort Mon the 10th.
We need to leave town by 7AM that morning, to get to our resort and chek-in, get settled and then head out to the Magic Kingdom. (Dinner is at 7PM at the Liberty Tree Tavern)
We will purchase our Halloween Tix at the window, and be admitted to MK using those at 4PM.

Tuesday

We will get our military tickets for the parks for the week early Tues morn (thanks Gabriel!!) at Shades of Green, near the Grand Floridian, before heading out to Animal Kingdom.
(We have dinner at Jiko at 530PM at the Animal Kingdom Lodge)

Wednesday

All Day Epcot fun for the Food and Wine Festival. (We'll use our daily snack credits to buy tapas portions at the food booths)
Dinner at Teppan Edo Hibachi and Sushi at 850

Thursday

relaxing shopping/pool day, then Halloween party again at 4PM at MK
Dinner at Tony's Italian in the MK at 730

Friday

Disney Hollywood Studios, with lunch at Mama Melrose's 1230PM for free VIP tix to Fantasmic at 730PM

Saturday

More Epcot Food and Wine fun! Dinner at Citricos at 6PM

Sunday...the fully relaxed drive home!


Our best savings on our food dining plan, is to buy breakfast outright, then use counter service for our lunches, and our sit down credits at the ressies, and save all of our snacks for the food and wine fest

Tony Gowell
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:07 PM   #7
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Hooray for Tony!

I've heard very good things about Coronado - two of my friends stayed there last year (?) and loved it. And you are going to be covered over in candy going to MNSSHP twice in your trip!

Your dining ressies look fantastic. We did Jiko last year (and doing it this year) and I know it'll be amazing.

You should totally consider doing a full trip report when you get back. I would love to hear your review of Citricos and Tonys.

We were able to get the free Disney dining - but we've never done Disney Dining before, so we'll have to get use to it. I know we are going to use all our snack credits at F&W - looks like it would make the most of our $$ if we used them for the $6-$4.75 items and just paid cash for the $3-$4.50 items.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:48 PM   #8
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Hi Amanda! I am totally subscribed. And I completely understand how difficult it is to find a room for multiple adults. That's part of the reason we ended up staying offsite this time around.

-Joie
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkfirewolfe View Post
I'm a little nervous about the big group. I tend to think everyone's happiness is somehow my responsibility and having so many people will really challenge that. I hope to learn that I am only responsible for my happiness and being pleasant to others.
I think the main thing to remember with big groups is that the group does not have to stay together! If someone is becoming aggravated or the situation is getting stressful, it's important to remember that sometimes it's easier to navigate in Disney with a smaller group. I always go with a big group and it never fails ---someone is going to get aggravated! Disney is crowded enough without always being pressed up against your group! Good luck with that
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:25 AM   #10
Darkfirewolfe
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Hi Amanda! I am totally subscribed. And I completely understand how difficult it is to find a room for multiple adults. That's part of the reason we ended up staying offsite this time around.
WELCOME Joie!!
I'm subbing to yours too!

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I think the main thing to remember with big groups is that the group does not have to stay together! If someone is becoming aggravated or the situation is getting stressful, it's important to remember that sometimes it's easier to navigate in Disney with a smaller group. I always go with a big group and it never fails ---someone is going to get aggravated! Disney is crowded enough without always being pressed up against your group! Good luck with that
Thanks for the good luck - and that's a very good point. I have 2 dining reservations for all 7 of us and I know we'll need to spend both some time as 7 and some time as smaller groups. I just hope it goes well, everyone has a good time, and the 3 adults in my room are happy ::crosses fingers::
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:03 PM   #11
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ADRs

Being the obsessive planner that I am, we of course already have our ADRs set up for each day as well. Then, we were able to add the Free Disney Dining promotion to our room (even more luxury!!). So, here's what I've got (and don't got):


Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
Lunch: We will eat Lunch somewhere on the road (or maybe I'll pack awesome sammiches)
Dinner: 7pm ADR at T-Rex at Downtown Disney

Day 2 (Sunday): Animal Kingdom & Hollywood Studios
Breakfast: At hotel (the off-property one)
Lunch: 11am ADR at Yak and Yeti for the 3 of us (1 TS each)
Dinner: 7:40pm ADR at The Sci-FI Dine-In for the 3 of us (1 TS each)

I ADORE Yak & Yeti! They have fantastic dumplings, huge portions of noodles and nice, and great drinks. We've been twice and had great service both times and every bite was awesome.

As for the SciFi Dine In, I think they struggle with food quality, but you absolutely have to eat there at least once because the theme-ing is so AMAZING. January has never eaten at The SciFi Dine In, so we are going for the theme-ing and to show it off to her. I hope the new menu will provide some better choices. Don't get me wrong - it's not terrible - it's just not the best food at HS.

Day 3: Magic Kingdom (Monday)
Breakfast: AKL Concierge Lounge
Lunch: No formal plans - I'm hoping [strike]El Pirata Y El Perico[strike]... I mean the Tortuga Tavern will be open. (1 QS is planned)
Dinner: 7:30pm ADR for 2 at Jiko (out of pocket)

January is going to gorge in the AKL Concierge Lounge while my DH & I go to Jiko. It's our 12th anniversary, so we wanted to do something extra special while we were there, and Jiko is the best meal we've had on property.

Day 4: EPCOT (Tuesday)
Breakfast: AKL Concierge Lounge
Lunch: Noon ADR at Les Chefs de France for all 7 of us (1 TS apiece)
Snacks: F&W BOOTHS!!
Dinner: 7:45pm ADR at Restaurant Marrakesh for the 3 of us (1 TS apiece)

Lunch at Chefs de France was the top pick for my girlfriends. One particularly wants to see Remy, so I'm hoping he'll make a lunchtime appearance. DH & I love Chefs de France, so there was no arm-twisting for that!

We were not going to do dinner originally. We were just going to eat our way through the F&W booths. But then we got Free Disney Dining and we had more table services than we were going to use. To address that, we added Marrakesh. This is my DH's favorite restaurant and we were not able to go on our last trip, so this will be hopefully makeup for that.

Day 5: EPCOT 2 (Wednesday)
Breakfast: AKL Concierge Lounge
Lunch: F&W BOOTHS!!
Snack: 2:20pm ADR for afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room for all 7 of us (out of pocket)
Dinner: F&W BOOTHS or a quick service place that catches our eye (1 QS Planned)

Another thing almost all 7 of us wanted to do was have Afternoon Tea. It's one of my DH's & mine favorite things (and some of my girlfriends top picks too). So I really organized the rest of the day around the tea - that and the F&W booths of course. I really want to hit ALL of them this year.

Day 6: Hotel Day & MNSSHP (Thursday)
Breakfast: 9:10am ADR for breakfast at 1900 Park Fare for the 3 of us (1 TS)
Lunch: AKL Concierge Lounge or whatever (this is the laid back day)
Dinner: Whatever Quick Service place catches our eye - maybe Casey's for hotdogs or Tortuga Tavern a 2nd time if it's open or Cosmic Ray's. (1 QS Planned)

We originally weren't going to do any of the breakfast buffets (to save $$), BUT then we got the free dining and had an extra TS. 1900 Park Fare is our FAVORITE, because it has Alice, The Mad Hatter, AND Mary Poppins! Turns out those are January's favorites too, so this is PERFECT.

Also, since it's MNSSHP and I'm not a big fan of the Table Service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom (I'm really banking on the Be Our Guest place to change that), we will just play the night by ear for food.

Day 7: Checkout, Downtown Disney, & Drive Home (Friday)
Breakfast: AKL Concierge Lounge
Lunch: Downtown Disney - no formal plans yet (1 QS Planned)
Dinner: On the road

We'll have our last free breakfast at the AKL and say a tearful good-bye. Then load up the car and spend the afternoon at Downtown Disney. If we will have some leftover QS, then there are a lot of choices for lunch. I've heard good things about Earl of Sammich and Wolfgang Puck Express.


Disney Dining Plan:
(So we've never had the dining plan before, so I want to keep track of my #s)
Table Service (get 5 apiece): 1 for Yak & Yeti, 1 for SciFi Dine-In, 1 for Chefs de France, 1 for Restaurant Marrakesh, and 1 for 1900 Park Faire [all used]
Counter Service (get 5 apiece): I only have 4 planned... hmmm
Snacks (get 5 apiece): will totally be depleted by the F&W booths [all used]
Out of pocket = Jiko for two, Afternoon Tea, all the booths after snack credits are done, and any other snacks (like some Dole Whip!)

Last edited by Darkfirewolfe; 10-02-2011 at 07:13 PM. Reason: Updated T-Rex ressie
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:34 PM   #12
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I agree, the Yak and Yeti is so delicious! And everything you said about Sci-Fi Drive Inn is so true. I completely agree. The Disney Dining plan is the best! Oh, and also, have you ever tried/heard of/considered eating at Le Cellier (if I spelled it right? haha)
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Old 09-29-2011, 05:40 PM   #13
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Oh, and also, have you ever tried/heard of/considered eating at Le Cellier (if I spelled it right? haha)
We have not been to Le Cellier (you did spell it right ).

In fact, up until last year, I was always like "Why would we go to a steakhouse at Disney? We have fantastic steakhouses at home in Atlanta. We should eat somewhere we can't eat at home." So I thought most people probably thought the way I did (which is a common fallacy of logic), and thought Le Cellier probably wasn't that popular.

So when we went to F&W last year, we were standing in line at the New Zealand booth to get some of their super tasty lamb sliders. The couple behind us mentioned how good the sliders were and we agreed and I said, "They are so good it makes you wish Disney would replace Canada with New Zealand!" And they did not agree - they asked if we had been to Le Cellier and began to tell us how fantastic it was. I was baffled, so when we got home I did some research and was amazed to find how popular Le Cellier is and how hard it is to get an ADR for it. In fact, it's so good that Disney increased the number of Table Service credits from 1 to 2 in March for dinner there.

well, that was probably more than you wanted to know !

We decided not to go this trip since it was 2 TS credits, but it's on the list for the future. We will totally hit up the Canada F&W booth though - the chipotle chicken sausage they has last year was AMAZING!
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:18 PM   #14
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I've only been once, and it was superb. I definitely think you should try it on one of your later visits. I can see your logic on that though.. I thought the same thing, but my parents made the reservations so I, of course, went along for the ride. haha. Have you ever seen the Matrix movies? At one point a man is eating steak and talking about how he loves ignorance because he gets to eat that steak, and it looks like the most amazing steak in the world. It was a joke with my family that after we ate at Le Cellier that their steak was "the Matrix steak". If you've not seen it, sorry for jabbering your head off Anyway, they also have some pretty cool deserts.. Have you ever heard of Pumpkin Ice Cream? I had never heard of it and it sounded strange but it was nice! I love Disney restaraunts. I just feel like there is something different about them. This isn't a fancy restaraunt or one that you need a reservation for, but have you ever eaten at Cosmic Ray's in the Magic Kingdom?
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:33 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by bkandreu View Post
Have you ever seen the Matrix movies? At one point a man is eating steak and talking about how he loves ignorance because he gets to eat that steak, and it looks like the most amazing steak in the world. It was a joke with my family that after we ate at Le Cellier that their steak was "the Matrix steak".
That's probably the best advertisement for Le Cellier evar! We will definitely need a Matrix steak the next time we go! I'm hungry now...

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This isn't a fancy restaurant or one that you need a reservation for, but have you ever eaten at Cosmic Ray's in the Magic Kingdom?
Oh yes! When I was little that was one of the places my parents and I ate. I don't really remember anything but the themeing from back then (we always ate lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus). But, the last time my DH and I went, we stopped by for nuggets & fries to share and they were really good.
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