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Old 02-08-2012, 05:58 PM   #1
hilsommer
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 27

Pre-Trip for President's Day Weekend -- We're Only Visiting 1 Park!

We’re going to Walt Disney World! I (Hilary) am a Disney parks fanatic and DH (Lyndon) enjoys them (though isn’t as obsessed as I am) -- when we realized we had two free Marriott nights (through the Megabonus promotion) and I had a free flight under the old Southwest program we decided to hit Orlando for President’s Day weekend. Yes, we know it will be crowded but most of the things we want to do won’t be too effected by crowd levels. We've been during crowded times so we know what to expect and can always adjust our schedule if necessary. We’ll mostly enjoy EPCOT (the only park we are visiting) and the resorts, with a few off-site excursions in the mix.

We’ll be tweeting during our trip (@twoonholiday) and will have a full report here and on our travel website (www.twoonholiday.com) after we return. Here are our plans and itinerary so far:

Transportation: As I said, my flight was free and Lyndon got a decent fare on Southwest. We’ll leave early the morning of Saturday, February 18 and return the morning of Tuesday, February 21. We had to use these dates (rather than Friday to Monday or Friday to Tuesday) to get the free flight.

We always rent a car in Orlando and this time is no exception. We really like the flexibility it brings, though we will make good use of Disney transportation and may use the Courtyard shuttle to Disney. Right now rental rates in Orlando are high for President’s Day weekend. We reserved a good deal with Budget for about $229 total. We are hoping Hertz rates will drop in the next week as we’d prefer to rent from them -- we adore the ease of #1 Club Gold.

Lodging: Our two free Marriott nights must be used at a category 4 or lower and expire at the end of May 2012. After looking around a bit, we determined Orlando would be a great place to use the nights and settled on the Courtyard Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village. (Category 4 or lower typically means Courtyard, Springhill Suites or Residence Inn depending on location.) This Courtyard is very close to Disney, gets positive reviews and has nice amenities (pool, hot tub, lobby bar). The Marriott Village has a Starbuck’s for our morning caffeine fix. We’ll be at the Courtyard Sunday, February 19 and Monday, February 20.

For our first day and night on property we wanted to stay in the EPCOT resort area. Because the Courtyard nights were free, we thought we would splurge a little for Saturday night. However, the Disney deluxe resorts in this area (Boardwalk Inn, Yacht Club and Beach Club) were very expensive so we looked elsewhere. We ultimately wanted to be able to walk to EPCOT and the Boardwalk so the Swan/Dolphin fit the bill. We’ll be at the Swan Saturday night for about $280, which includes resort fees. We’ll have to pay to park but we’re okay with that given the convenience of the location.

The itinerary (warning: I like detail!):

Saturday, February 18, 2012

-up early and leave home by 5:00 a.m.
-Southwest flight leaves at 7:05 a.m. and lands in Orlando at 10:20 a.m.
-grab Starbuck’s
-Lyndon will retrieve checked bags and I will go to Budget to pick up the rental car
-meet at rental car area and head for the Swan
-have toll money ready (two tolls of $1.25/each)
-stop and get supplies (snacks, wine), probably at Publix
-valet and check in; store bags if room is not ready
-drive or take Disney transportation to Downtown Disney
-convert Disney Visa points to gift card at Downtown Disney Marketplace Guest Relations
-lunch at Paradiso 37 (Pleasure Island; a new restaurant for us)
-walk to Saratoga Springs and Treehouse Villas; drink at pool bar or Turf Club
-walk back to Downtown Disney
-World of Disney for souvenirs, using Disney Visa for discount
-return to Swan
-hopefully room is ready if it was not earlier; move bags to room
-pool,hot tub and pool bar at Dolphin (we've heard great thing about the pool bar here so we have to check it out)
-back to room to get ready
-hit lounges at Boardwalk (BelleVue Lounge); Yacht Club (Crew’s Cup; Ale & Compass); Beach Club (Martha’s Vineyard); and Swan/Dolphin (Il Mulino, Kimono’s, Shula’s, Bluezoo)
-dinner at Flying Fish (Boardwalk; our favorite Disney restaurant) at 8:30 p.m.
-walk area and pick up lounges we missed, stopping to see Boarwalk entertainment; possible stop at Jellyrolls
-check to confirm EPCOT opening time for Sunday

Sunday, February 19, 2012

-up early,coffee, check out and either store bags and load them in the car
-walk to EPCOT (International Gateway entrance) before 9:00 a.m. opening, buy tickets, enter and walk to Future World
-Future World:
-get Soarin’ Fastpasses; ride if short line
-snack/breakfast at Sunshine Seasons
-Living with the Land
-The Seas with Nemo and Friends
-Spaceship Earth (maybe more then once; this is a favorite of mine)
-Mission: Space
-Test Track (may need Fastpass)

-World Showcase: hopefully head there by noon (opens at 11 a.m.)
-drink and eat around the world

-Kim Possible mission (possibly more than one)
-see entertainment; British Revolution at 3 p.m.
-shop
-Illuminations at 9:00 p.m.
-walk to Swan, retrieve bags; possible coffee or espresso
-get car and drive to Courtyard, check in and hit hot tub if open

Monday, February 20, 2012

-up early, coffee at Starbuck’s, walk around Marriott Village
-walk to outlet mall at opening; hit a few stores; walk back to Courtyard and drop whatever we bought
-light lunch in bar at Seasons 52 (opens at 11:30 a.m.)
-possible drive through Celebration
-Courtyard shuttle to any Disney park; may also consider cab depending on shuttle times
-Disney bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge; walk to Kidani Village, drink and/or snack at Sanaa
-bus to Magic Kingdom, boat to Wilderness Lodge; walk between Wilderness Lodge and Ft. Wilderness; drink at Territory Lounge upon return to Wilderness Lodge
-boat to Magic Kingdom, tour monorail resorts, ending at Grand Floridian
-dinner at Citrico’s (Grand Floridian) at 8:05 p.m.
-Magic Kingdom fireworks at 10 p.m.; find spot to watch from either Grand Floridian or Polynesian
-cab to Courtyard

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

-up early and fly home
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