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Old 08-08-2013, 08:39 AM   #1
Woodmnky
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Free Before 3. Woo Hoo. Wait, are we Crazy?

I am officially starting our first ever PTR. I hope that there are a few WDW vets & novices that will join along with me as I second guess every possible decision before we head to the World for the 1st time as a family

Introductions:

Me: Stay at Home Mom Extraordinaire (My son is usually clean & fed, so I feel that the title is appropriate . I am a vacation planning addict. I love researching and planning vacations; in all honestly I probably enjoy it more than the actual vacation because nothing ever goes wrong in my plans. I am a wiz at figuring out how cutting $15 a month from our cable bill can then result in an extra vacation for the year.

DH: I shall call him Grumpy. He is a “if it can go wrong, he will assume that it will go wrong” kinda guy. In all honesty if you knew the tales from all of our previous vacations, you would know why he is this way. In spite of this, he still indulges my vacation planning addiction and goes along with the plans. He may be Superman, but I know his kryptonite – our son. He would do anything for our little boy & he is an awesome Dad.

DS: My Little Bear. He will turn 3 a week after we return from WDW. We initially were thinking of a January vacation, however, low crowd calendar predictions combined with the savings of having a Disney Baby made moving the trip up a month well worth it. DS is very outgoing, rambunctious, and fearless – as long as we are at home with only Mommy, Daddy, and maybe Grandma. He is extremely shy & strangerphobic. Although the frequency of these events if decreasing there are still times when a grocery cashier will say “hi” to him and it turn him into a sobbing, teary, mess. DS’s temperament plays a lot into my worry over planning and I welcome any & all realistic advice and thoughts concerning our plans.


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Old 08-08-2013, 08:40 AM   #2
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Previous Vacations:

Since we had DS we have taken him to the beach a couple of times, but we have also taken him on 3 cruises. The first was on Princess (our cruiseline of choice, pre-kid) and that was for DS’s 1st birthday. The second was on Disney cruiseline and that was for DS’s 2nd birthday and the third was also on DCL and that was just because we found an awesome last minute rate the same week we were planning to go to the beach. The 1st cruise went the best, because DS was just happy to be with Mommy & Daddy 24/7. The 2nd introduced him to his current love – Minnie Mouse (& most other things Disney). The 3rd, well the 3rd cruise is why we are not considering another cruise right now. The terrible 2’s were in full force, we didn’t get to eat a full meal all week, DS was sick, we spent the week in our cabin watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse over & over & over again. While there is a lot to do on a cruise, it seemed that it was not enough to keep DS occupied or to wear him out. After that vacation we swore off vacations with DS until he was at least 5. That lasted a week, before I started thinking “Hmm, I bet he would really like WDW”. After a week or so of subliminally (or not) inundating DH with this idea, he agreed.

1st Cruise:


2nd Cruise:


3rd Cruise



First Trip to WDW:

DH was in the NC National Guard and shortly after 9/11, he was called upon to train up and deploy to Iraq. We were married 3 days before he left for training and did not get a honeymoon. When he returned from Iraq and had completed some post deployment activities we were finally given the chance to take our honeymoon in 2005. We decided upon WDW. We could have stayed at Shades of Green, but I found an “awesome” deal on Expedia for a “resort” hotel near WDW. We were going to save $100, so I took it. I was 24 and did not know better. This is probably the event that started my vacation planning obsession. Just before we left for WDW, I hurt my knee at work and was in a lot of pain, but I was determined to make the best of it. We arrived at our “resort” hotel to first find that there was a $25 a day “resort fee”, that I did not previously know about. We then make it to our room, to find a 3 story motel that did not even have an elevator. Of course we were on the 3rd floor. The pool was broken, the room was disgusting, and the overall vibe was that of a truck stop.
To make things worse we had to go to Shades of Green to pick up our military discount tickets. I cried when we pulled in. My sweet DH even offered to see if we could book at SOG and forget the other nasty motel even though we would not get any money back. I said that we would be OK, so it was back to the nasty motel for us. On this same trip I decided that we only needed 2 days of Park Hopper passes to be able to see all 4 theme parks. I could hardly walk, but we made it through all 4 parks in 2 days. We were beyond exhausted. We do have fond memories of this vacation, so I guess not all was lost however we vowed never to make these mistakes again.

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Old 08-08-2013, 08:52 AM   #3
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I'm in! I think yall will have a GREAT time at Disneyworld! Your little boy is going to love it!!!

I have three daughters, all grown (well, the youngest is just going off to college) and I started bringing them to Disney when they were about 16-18 months old! They loved it! And I loved it!

I now have a 2 yr old grand daughter, and this will be her third trip to Disney! She LOVES Mickey and Minnie, Sofia, Doc McStuffins, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, Little Einsteins, and Tigger. On her previous trips, she loved seeing the characters - but she didn't want to meet them. We had lunch at Hollywood & Vine - and she absolutely LOVES Jake, but she didn't want him near our table. lol

We still had great trips with her, and can't wait for our trip in September!!!
We're staying at All Star Movies because she also likes 101 Dalmatians!!
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:57 AM   #4
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Let the Obsessive Pre-Planning Begin

After deciding to go in December rather than January in order to save some money and hopefully encounter a few less people, we chose the dates:
Nov 30 - Dec 7. I am praying that these dates turn out to be the low crowds predicted on most of the sites, however, I have seen a lot of people posting about these dates so I am a bit worried.

Part of the compromise that I came to with DH in order for him to agree to another vacation before DS is in high school was that we would stay offsite. DH was insistent upon this that way if DS get sick again or just refuses to leave the house (like happenend on the last cruise) we have more than 150 square feet of fun space. We have chosen a townhouse in Windsor Hills. Although we don't need all the space that a townhouse offers (verses a condo), DH liked the idea of having our own plunge pool and being able to park right outside the door.

This is the house we have chosen:

http://www.vacationcentralflorida.co...irkaufman.html
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic2000 View Post
I'm in! I think yall will have a GREAT time at Disneyworld! Your little boy is going to love it!!!

I have three daughters, all grown (well, the youngest is just going off to college) and I started bringing them to Disney when they were about 16-18 months old! They loved it! And I loved it!

I now have a 2 yr old grand daughter, and this will be her third trip to Disney! She LOVES Mickey and Minnie, Sofia, Doc McStuffins, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, Little Einsteins, and Tigger. On her previous trips, she loved seeing the characters - but she didn't want to meet them. We had lunch at Hollywood & Vine - and she absolutely LOVES Jake, but she didn't want him near our table. lol

We still had great trips with her, and can't wait for our trip in September!!!
We're staying at All Star Movies because she also likes 101 Dalmatians!!
Thanks for joining in Magic. I love hearing the reassurances that my son will love WDW. He is funny. He enjoys meeting the furry characters, but is still very shy when meeting the face characters. He LOVES the Princesses, but only from a distance. However, no one makes his eyes light up like Minnie.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:56 AM   #6
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Oh the anguish of planning a WDW vacation. I am now second guessing our dates. I am wondering if changing to Nov 16-23 would be better. Crowd calendars are about equal to the 1st week in December, however, free dining was just announced for mid-November and I'm not sure if this will effect the crowd levels. Since we are staying off-site FD is of no benefit to us.

Mid-November would be a bit nicer because we would still be able to have our normal Thanksgiving here at home and our vacation wouldn't be one more thing between Thanksgiving and Christmas (We have Thanksgiving, then 2 weeks later DS's birthday, then Christmas). Throwing a vacation in there is feeling like a bit much.

When looking at our rental options for November I made the mistake of looking at condo rentals as well as the townhome rentals. Ugh, I then realized that we could save $400 by changing over to a condo. We would lose much of the Disney decor that we were getting with the townhome as well as a pool & jacuzzi tub. However, one of the condos available in mid-November does offer an Epcot fireworks view. $400 is a lot, but I was really looking forward to these things as part of our vacation. One side of me wants to be cheap and the other side wants all of the luxuries. Our current townhome rental + the tickets that we bought from Undercover Tourist are still cheaper than a package at Pop Century so we are still doing good

Grumpy (I mean DH ) Isn't really helping much. This is one of those times when I know that there are really no right or wrong answers, so it makes making a decision that much harder.

This makes me wonder how many DIS'ers ever schedule a WDW vacation and don't change a thing. I'm betting not many.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:34 AM   #7
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Congrats on your first family WDW vacation. We are also going 11/29-12/7 staying at Pofq. Although you think you want to stay offsite I beg you to rethink that. We go almost every year and we take our grandson's so I have experience traveling with little ones. There is so much sensory overload for them that a mid day break is necessary to make the trip truly enjoyable for everyone. We always make ropedrop at the park we choose for the day then around lunch we go back to the resort for a couple of hours at the pool or a nap. Then we are ready to go back and have a nice dinner and evening. The other thing is you must let the little one set the pace. If you don't see everything or ride every ride it is ok, you can plan another trip. I have seen too many people dragging tired screaming kids when clearly no one is having fun. Read all you can about traveling with little ones...I think Allears.net has a section on it. The Disney resorts may cost a little more but I would cut a day off before I would stay offsite with a little one. My youngest grandson will be 5 this time and we still plan to take a break.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammyJudy View Post
Congrats on your first family WDW vacation. We are also going 11/29-12/7 staying at Pofq. Although you think you want to stay offsite I beg you to rethink that. We go almost every year and we take our grandson's so I have experience traveling with little ones. There is so much sensory overload for them that a mid day break is necessary to make the trip truly enjoyable for everyone. We always make ropedrop at the park we choose for the day then around lunch we go back to the resort for a couple of hours at the pool or a nap. Then we are ready to go back and have a nice dinner and evening. The other thing is you must let the little one set the pace. If you don't see everything or ride every ride it is ok, you can plan another trip. I have seen too many people dragging tired screaming kids when clearly no one is having fun. Read all you can about traveling with little ones...I think Allears.net has a section on it. The Disney resorts may cost a little more but I would cut a day off before I would stay offsite with a little one. My youngest grandson will be 5 this time and we still plan to take a break.
Thanks so much for the insight. We absolutely plan to let DS set the pace for the trip. In fact DH & I have gotten over the idea of there being any "must do" rides/attractions. We just want to have a fun week with our son.

We are planning for something nearly unheard of on the DIS boards - leaving at lunch time on our RD days and not going back to the parks I know that this means we will only get to do a portion of the activities available, but if that keeps our family happy it is worth it to me

Again we will go by DS's lead, but we are not concerned about getting every single moment in the parks on this trip. Our HS & Epcot days we are thinking that we will likely go after nap as we are not concerned about getting on the big rides. I would like to go on Soaring & DH would like to go on the Aerosmith rollercoaster, but if we miss these there is always next time.

Both DS & DH are true introverts and really need time away from everyone (including other family members) to be able to recharge. When DS gets frustrated now there are times he asks for "book time" he goes into his room, shuts the door, and looks at his books for 30 minutes. When he comes out he is much happier. DH will not agree to this trip unless we have space to be able to spread out as that is one of the things that has made our previous family vacations not so memorable. If this trip goes well then DH has said that next time he would like to stay onsite.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:56 AM   #9
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Thanks to my checking around on dates, I have managed to end up without a private pool

We have decided to change our reservation over to a condo.

It is amazing how you can manipulate numbers. One way I looked at the price difference and it was only $2.50 per day more expensive than Pop Century to keep the townhouse

Then I made the mistake of seeing how much more per night we would pay for the townhouse verses a condo - $53.91. Ouch that hurts. As much as I wanted to I could not justify that I would get $53.91 worth of value out of a private plunge pool each day. Even that figure still didn't make me give up my dream quite so easily.

Then my husband, the ever so practical one, pointed out what my very realistic budget for our dinners was. If you guessed $400, you win a prize. Ugh, how can I turn down a weeks worth of free meals to have a pool that we would likely only spend a bit of time here or there in? Unfortunately, I can't. So once we finalize our decision on which dates we want I will be changing over to a condo.

If anyone has stayed in a Windsor Hills Condo before and can tell me why this is a horrible idea, I would be glad to listen
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:52 PM   #10
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We get to keep our pool

I emailed the property owner/manager and asked about switching to a condo for our dates. I got a note back on Monday that we could move to a condo, but that he would be willing to work with us on the rate to keep us in our townhouse. I sent a note back letting him know what our comfortable budget was and that if he could work that it it would be awesome, but if not there wouldn't be any hard feelings. I got an email a few minutes later with our updated rate (with was $30 less than the budget that I had sent him ). Effectively this gave us 2 days free. We kept the same townhouse, dates, and we will still have a private heated pool.

Now that we have our dates and housing finalized it is on to finalizing our park plans (which of course we know that we may change at any time).

My current dilemma is what to do on our arrival day. We will be driving from Jacksonville, FL on the morning of Nov 30. I expect to get to WDW area around noon. We have an Ohana ADR at 4:20, but I am not sure that DS will sit through a dinner at Ohana and I am not sure that it is a good "Welcome to Disney World" for a 2 yo. In spite of questionable reviews, I would love to get an ADR for Chef Mickey's, but so far I haven't found one.

I also made a Tusker House lunch reservation for 2:45 thinking that we could see the parade after lunch and maybe look around AK a bit before the park closes at 6, but I really don't want to go into a park that day. Touring plans lists the crowd projections around 9.2 for that day, verses a 1.1 at MK for the next day.

We have also considered going to AOA to walk around the resort and eat in the food court there or going to Ft. Wilderness for the Chip & Dale sing along.

I really would like to find something that will WOW DS since he will have spent the better part of 2 days in a car being told that he is going to Disneyworld only to arrive someplace and not be in Disneyworld (at least in the mind of a 2 yo).

Thankfully I have 108 days to change my mind at least 216 times.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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101 days to go!!! I always love the 100 day countdown to a vacation.

Yesterday I was able to score a Chef Mickey's reservation for our arrival day at 4:10 (which is a perfect time as we eat really early). I know that a lot of Dis'ers will not step foot in CM, but I am going with low expectations for food and excitement that my son will be happy to see his friends walking around even if they forget to stop at our table.

I had to give up my Ohana reservation in order to get the CM, but that is a sacrafice I was willing to make for my son.

Our ADRs are set.
11/30 (arrival day) Chef Mickey's
12/2 Garden Grill
12/6 Tusker House late breakfast/early lunch
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:13 AM   #12
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Now that we are under 100 days, I finally created a countdown ticker.

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Old 08-26-2013, 09:36 AM   #13
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For my DSs first trip we started with dinner at Chef Mickey's. He fell in love!!! It was a perfect beginning!

Your townhouse and rate sounds fantastic!

We are going for the same dates. Maybe we'll bump into eachother
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:41 AM   #14
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For my DSs first trip we started with dinner at Chef Mickey's. He fell in love!!! It was a perfect beginning!

Your townhouse and rate sounds fantastic!

We are going for the same dates. Maybe we'll bump into eachother
I'm glad to hear that. My son knows we are going to WDW, but at 2.5 he has no concept of time. He did tell me yesterday that we were going to get in the carseat, go to Disney World, see Mickey, & shake shake. I could not figure out the shake shake part until he went and got a napkin and started to shake it while dancing. I then realize that he was referring to the Youtube video from Chef Mickey's where Goofy is dancing and they are waving napkins. Now he is practicing his Chef Mickey's napkin wave in anticipation of our trip.

I am trying to decide if I would like to order him a birthday cake to be delivered at Chef Mickey's. Not that we will need dessert there, but we can bring it back to the townhouse and I am sure that DS would love to get a cake from Mickey.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:42 AM   #15
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Following along!
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