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Old 02-20-2012, 04:22 PM   #1
laura428
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We get the Poly AND MNSSHP?? Fabulous! But whatever shall we wear?? ~An Oct 2012 PTR~

Hello and welcome to my first ever PTR! Ive been wanting to put one together for a long time, but have just never been able to put one up until now. Were heading back to WDW this October and Im so excited. We'll have two firsts this trip:

Staying at the Poly!

and

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

I'll go into more details about this trip in my next post. I've done lots of planning thus far, but one thing I haven't figured out yet is what costumes we're going to wear (hence, the title of this thread). Although DH and I dressed up in costumes for Halloween a few years ago, neither one of us has really done it up since we were kids, so I'm totally looking forward to going all out!

So lets get started...

Whos going:

Me: Hi, Im Laura! Im 40 years old and have been working in the pharmaceutical industry for 15 years (either as sales rep or behind the scenes consultant, and now possibly taking on management). Before that, I was a social worker in Chicago - loved it, but burned out so quickly. And, honestly, not well-suited to any kind of life that cant be completely devoted to the kids I looked out for. Fell into the sales gig - not my dream, but supports us well. I am most definitely the Disney driver of the family - love all of the planning (and good thing as DH much prefers that be left up to me). I love everything music (was a voice major in college), love to cook, love to read, love to discover new places. Oh, and yeah, Im totally gaga over my kids.

Brian: My fantastic Canadian husband, age 38. Weve been married for nearly 11 years. Brian works as a software developer, but is trained as a hot glass artist. He actually had his own studio and gallery in the Canadian Rockies when we met, and was quite successful with his work shown in galleries in Canada, the US, Germany and Italy. Beautiful beautiful stuff. But then 9/11 hit, and the art world crumbled. (No one wants to invest serious cash into art when the economy is so fragile.) With us getting ready to start a family, he closed down the studio and fell back on his IT skills, first as graphic designer, then as web developer/project manager, and now as software developer. He loves all things tech, mountain biking, and loves to travel like me.

Max: My wonderfully kind, funny, clever and curious 8 year old son. Max is the kind of kid who walks into a room, and is friends with everyone within about five minutes. Hes always quick to lend a helping hand, and loves creating anything and everything (definitely takes after his dad here). In fact, one of my constant challenges with him is trying to find new places to store all of the things he creates! He loves being outside, participates in Lego League, devours anything that teaches him about science or animals, Tae Kwon Do, playing video games, and his friends.

Chloe: My super-girly, wicked smart, funny and sweet 6 year old daughter. Chloe is a little quieter around people she doesnt know well, but once she warms up, shes a major talker. She loves everything about a being a girl. She loves playing dress-up, singing, dance class, drawing and painting, making jewelry, video games and playing games with family or friends.

And a few pics to put names to faces...

The first is of Brian and me while waiting for our table at Tusker House:



Me with my favorite boy:



And Brian with our favorite girl:



And one of my favorite Disney pics - this one is of the kids indulging in cookies from Goofy's in Downtown Disney:



NEXT: More details about our past trips, and info about our exciting Halloween trip this October!
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:49 PM   #2
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Plans so far...

This being our fifth trip to the World, I'm feeling pretty good about what to plan when. Our first trip was total fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants - no clue which park to go to when, much less mapping out which rides were ideal for our kids, or how to coordinate any of it with our ADRs. May get into all of that in a future post, but for now... let's talk about October!!

Dates: October 26 - November 4

We were originally scheduled to go back down September 28 through October 7th, but my DS was asked to be a ringbearer in my cousin's wedding on October 6th. Without thinking, I said that he absolutely would be there, but shortly after hanging up, I started to realize that it may not be so easy to reschedule, partly because we'd booked our room using a bounceback offer, and I wasn't sure we'd be able to find another 10 day stretch that both worked for our schedule AND fell into the eligible dates for the deal. Thankfully, we found these dates still open, and booked as soon as possible. Our typical trips are 6 nights / 7 days, but we wanted an extended vacation this time and am SO looking forward to the extra days.

Where: The Poly
Don't get me wrong - I love POR. After two stays there, it really has become our home resort. But I've always been curious about staying at a monorail resort and the ease of getting to and from MK and Epcot. Unfortunately, the cost is something we just couldn't justify. Until... I walked into our room this past trip and found... drumroll... A BOUNCEBACK OFFER!!!!!! DH and I snuck in a quick hush hush conversation about dates and where to stay so that the kids wouldn't hear. When we saw that the Poly was available at 35% discount, I (very hopefully) asked DH what he thought, and he said, "go for it." Woohoooo! After the kids were tucked in, I walked down to Sassagoula, found a comfy rocking chair out back, and booked my dream vacation - 10 days in a Poly TPV room.

The Plan:
We bought APs during our January trip since we knew we'd be back later this year - saved us around $500 for the family. We also bought our TIW cards - this will be the first time we've gone without DxDP, so I'm curious to see the difference in what we actually spend. DxDP has always worked great for us because DD6 is VERY VERY picky. With DxDP, it was all pre-paid, so if she ate, she ate, and she usually did between the appetizer and the entree. If she didn't, she didn't, but we had so many snack credits that we could always find a way to make sure she got what she needed. We also do love the chance to both sit down and relax at TS meals, and like to indulge in a few 2-credit meals during our vaca, so the DxDP has always been great. I think TIW will work well, too, though, and should save us some money since the DxDP was, honestly, a little too much food for us. DH and I will most likely skip desserts after lunch, maybe split an appetizer. Like that we get 20% off of our drinks, too.

As far as our park plan goes, I'd planned on having at one or two resort days built in, with the possibility of jetting over to Kennedy Space Center. Or maybe down to see Winter the dolphin (the kids LOVE him). We'd toyed with WWOHP - the kids are huge fans - but DD6 will still be too small for most rides (she's a little 6), and I just can't justify the huge cash outlay for maybe 4-5 hours of time there, especially when we can't enjoy the rides to the fullest yet. Maybe in a few years...

On top of it being our first time at the Poly, we'll also be doing both MNSSHP and F&W for the first time. I was initially bummed about the kids missing trick-or-treating at home, but since this was the only stretch of time that worked for us (besides our original dates), it was either Halloween at Disney or no more Disney this year. But now that we've booked it, I'm getting really excited - think it's gonna be a blast. Food & Wine will be fun, too - we're going to have the kids try out the Neverland Club at the Poly while DH and I go have a little date night doing F&W. I'm a little nervous about the Neverland Club, honestly - we're the types to only leave the kids with either my parents or a very very trusted neighbor who has us watch her kids, too. But I've heard great things, and DH did make one demand for this trip: that he and I get some alone time.

SO... with all that said, here's the plan, using Touring Plans as a guide (possible ADRs to be filled in later):

10/26: Arrival / rest & play at Poly
10/27: Animal Kingdom
10/28: Resort morning / Magic Kingdom / MNSSHP
10/29: Epcot
10/30: 1/2 day @ Hollywood Studios / Date night @ F&W (kids @ Neverland)
10/31: Magic Kingdom
11/1: Epcot
11/2: 1/2 day @ Hollywood Studios / Resort night
11/3: Off-site day @ Kennedy or to see Winter
11/4: Departure


That's it for now. Working on figuring out the ADRs - I still have a little time to plan before the window opens up, but would like to try to get everything in order so that when I'm able to start booking, I can just get it done.

More later!
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:25 PM   #3
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I'm here! Hi I followed from my PTR to see what your plans are like. So far they look great! Love that you are getting to stay at your dream resort! The poly looks really nice, and totally convenient with the monorail. Can't wait to see your plans unfold!
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ash-n-brensmom View Post
I'm here! Hi I followed from my PTR to see what your plans are like. So far they look great! Love that you are getting to stay at your dream resort! The poly looks really nice, and totally convenient with the monorail. Can't wait to see your plans unfold!
Hello!!!! I'm so glad you came over!

Yes, we're really happy with the Poly. We'd actually talked about doing the Contemporary, in a TPV, and had booked a TPV room there as a pie in the sky idea. But then I started thinking more about the Poly... just the charm of that place... and I just had to make the switch. Can't wait!!
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:44 PM   #5
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Airfare

Ok... I have a dilemma.

I started looking at airfares tonight, and I'm not thrilled with my options. I'd love to be able to fly through South Bend (a 25 minute drive from home), but Allegiant (which offers the only nonstop flights) doesn't fly out on the dates we'd need. Delta does, but they're all connecting flights and start at $516 per person. Times four passengers = ouch.

We can fly through Chicago (90 minutes to Midway, closer to 2 hours to O'Hare, depending on traffic). United has a great flight right now. Non stop, too...

10/26 departing ORD 9:00am, arriving MCO 12:35pm
11/4 departing MCO 2:22pm, arriving ORD 4:19pm

AND for $1,321 including taxes. Not as low as I've gotten in the past - this last January, we got our tickets for only about $1100. But that's pretty darned good. And with all of these rumors of airfares going up... should I just nab them now??

And what if we have to make changes again?

If we fly through Chicago, we have to take into account that we'll still have the drive home that Sunday, and we'll lose an hour to the time change. Meaning we'll get home, realistically, around 8:30 or 9:00 with school the next morning. Not ideal...

Ugh... so confused. What to do, what to do?
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laura428 View Post
Ok... I have a dilemma.

I started looking at airfares tonight, and I'm not thrilled with my options. I'd love to be able to fly through South Bend (a 25 minute drive from home), but Allegiant (which offers the only nonstop flights) doesn't fly out on the dates we'd need. Delta does, but they're all connecting flights and start at $516 per person. Times four passengers = ouch.

We can fly through Chicago (90 minutes to Midway, closer to 2 hours to O'Hare, depending on traffic). United has a great flight right now. Non stop, too...

10/26 departing ORD 9:00am, arriving MCO 12:35pm
11/4 departing MCO 2:22pm, arriving ORD 4:19pm

AND for $1,321 including taxes. Not as low as I've gotten in the past - this last January, we got our tickets for only about $1100. But that's pretty darned good. And with all of these rumors of airfares going up... should I just nab them now??

And what if we have to make changes again?

If we fly through Chicago, we have to take into account that we'll still have the drive home that Sunday, and we'll lose an hour to the time change. Meaning we'll get home, realistically, around 8:30 or 9:00 with school the next morning. Not ideal...

Ugh... so confused. What to do, what to do?
I SO feel your pain. We have two airports to choose from now, one is regional in Niagara Falls and they have Allegiant and DirectAir there. But DirectAir only flies into Lakeland and car rentals there are very expensive that I can see, and Allegiant doesn't have their schedule up past August so it's hard to see what dates they will fly in and out, unless they keep to the same schedule all year. Then we have Buffalo with more options, but of course they are all too expensive right now. We will continue the waiting game.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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I SO feel your pain. We have two airports to choose from now, one is regional in Niagara Falls and they have Allegiant and DirectAir there. But DirectAir only flies into Lakeland and car rentals there are very expensive that I can see, and Allegiant doesn't have their schedule up past August so it's hard to see what dates they will fly in and out, unless they keep to the same schedule all year. Then we have Buffalo with more options, but of course they are all too expensive right now. We will continue the waiting game.
Do you think Allegiant will switch its schedule? They're not flying out on Fridays, at least for that route, and never have. Wish they did - would make life so much easier! It's almost enough to make me add one day at the beginning of our trip, flying in the night before. But with a Poly TPV, that's quite a bit of extra cash. And we really don't want to do a split stay. Besides, I already feel quite spoiled with 10 days - would feel downright gluttonous to do 11. :D

I bit the bullet and booked the United flight. It's direct, has great departure and arrival times, and the price isn't awful.

Now, if I could just get Alamo to start shelling out its Insider deals for October, I'd be all set.
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:14 AM   #8
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Followed you over from ash-n-brensmom's PTR! We will be there the 21-28th!

OUCH on the plane ticket prices!! We always end up flying out of New Orleans because it is usually cheaper and faster, but it does require a two hour drive to and from the airport. Of course, our situation is a little different because my mom lives 25 minutes from the airport, so we stay at her house the night before our flight. Although the return flight's arrival time might not be ideal, the cost savings is so huge! I can see why it's a dilemma. I can't really contribute much since I don't have a school-aged child yet. Is there an earlier flight available? It might cut into Disney time, which understandably stinks, but if it would save you a bunch of money and not have you getting home late, it might be worth the sacrifice. Good luck with your decision!
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:59 PM   #9
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hi,
I am joining in we will be there the same time as you 26th-2nd that was we have a few days to recover at home.

ouch on the plane tickets, i got southwest airline credit card offer with 50,000 points and got my flights that way. i only paid 99 in the end for 3 round trip tickets. plus southwest has flights out of midway that day nov 4th hasn't been released yet.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laura428 View Post
Do you think Allegiant will switch its schedule? They're not flying out on Fridays, at least for that route, and never have. Wish they did - would make life so much easier! It's almost enough to make me add one day at the beginning of our trip, flying in the night before. But with a Poly TPV, that's quite a bit of extra cash. And we really don't want to do a split stay. Besides, I already feel quite spoiled with 10 days - would feel downright gluttonous to do 11. :D

I bit the bullet and booked the United flight. It's direct, has great departure and arrival times, and the price isn't awful.

Now, if I could just get Alamo to start shelling out its Insider deals for October, I'd be all set.
Congratulations on booking your flights!! It may not be the most ideal price, but.....you have now made it a non-refundable vacation!! YAY!! You are going to WDW!!! It just always feels more real to me when the flights are booked!
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:05 PM   #11
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Yay - more DISers!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by khertz View Post
Followed you over from ash-n-brensmom's PTR! We will be there the 21-28th!

OUCH on the plane ticket prices!! We always end up flying out of New Orleans because it is usually cheaper and faster, but it does require a two hour drive to and from the airport. Of course, our situation is a little different because my mom lives 25 minutes from the airport, so we stay at her house the night before our flight. Although the return flight's arrival time might not be ideal, the cost savings is so huge! I can see why it's a dilemma. I can't really contribute much since I don't have a school-aged child yet. Is there an earlier flight available? It might cut into Disney time, which understandably stinks, but if it would save you a bunch of money and not have you getting home late, it might be worth the sacrifice. Good luck with your decision!
Thanks for joining in!!

I know - I'm not crazy about spending $1300 on airfare. But it's honestly not much more than we've ever spent. Fares out of Chicago are usually around $300 per person. I can get decent fares (for a little less) on Allegiant, but not on the days I need. We actually talked about driving, but with us already being gone so long, we just can't add on any extra time for the trip. Besides, I think I'll be too impatient - I'll kinda just want to get there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by juliebug View Post
hi,
I am joining in we will be there the same time as you 26th-2nd that was we have a few days to recover at home.

ouch on the plane tickets, i got southwest airline credit card offer with 50,000 points and got my flights that way. i only paid 99 in the end for 3 round trip tickets. plus southwest has flights out of midway that day nov 4th hasn't been released yet.

Nice to have you here!!

Nice on the Southwest offer!! I rack up a bunch of hotel points with my business travel, but not so much on the frequent flyer miles anymore. Wish I'd seen that deal! You mentioned Midway - are you in the Chicago area? I live in Granger, just east of South Bend, but work in NW Indiana everyday. Small world!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ash-n-brensmom View Post
Congratulations on booking your flights!! It may not be the most ideal price, but.....you have now made it a non-refundable vacation!! YAY!! You are going to WDW!!! It just always feels more real to me when the flights are booked!
Thanks!! I know - I'm just relieved that the flights are booked - no excuses now. My only fear is that something will come up in either my schedule or my DH's schedule that will mess things up. I've never booked a Disney vacation this far in advance, much less bought airline tickets this early. And something did come up today that shouldn't, but could potentially, interfere with our plans.

More on that later...
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:19 PM   #12
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Thanks!! I know - I'm just relieved that the flights are booked - no excuses now. My only fear is that something will come up in either my schedule or my DH's schedule that will mess things up. I've never booked a Disney vacation this far in advance, much less bought airline tickets this early. And something did come up today that shouldn't, but could potentially, interfere with our plans.

More on that later...


UH OH!!! What's going on? Don't leave us hanging like that!!
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:33 PM   #13
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UH OH!!! What's going on? Don't leave us hanging like that!!
Sorry! Didn't mean to cause any worry.

It's actually really good news. I was asked yesterday to take a promotion to management. Actually, it'll be a hybrid position for six months, where I'm split between field sales and management, then (as long as I don't totally screw things up), a full promotion to management. I'd take on that role at the beginning of October, meaning that I'll be likely buried with work around the time we're planning on going.

After talking to a good friend and manager at my company yesterday, she's thinking I'll be busier doing the hybrid position than in the full management position. She's a little concerned about my sanity over the next six months.

Honestly, it shouldn't be a problem unless we have a Fall meeting scheduled for that time. And, as a manager, I'd definitely be expected to be there. Fingers crossed that our schedules will not collide!!!
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Last edited by laura428; 02-25-2012 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:35 PM   #14
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What we learned from our first ever trip

So I thought itd be fun to re-visit our other trips, and talk about what we learned from each. Weve come a long way. Really. In more ways than I could probably include here...

So our first trip was back in September 2009...
The kids were 5 and 3, and Id been thinking about going for a little while but thought it was out of reach. But then I talked to a coworker who told me he was able to get a weeks vacation, including airfare/hotel/car/tickets, for $4000. After a little research, I was able to book it for less, and we booked!

We decided to stay off-site because we really thought wed want a bigger space with separate bedrooms and a full kitchen. We chose the Sheraton Vistana Resort and got a 2 BR for a ridiculous deal at $99 per night. For an off-site resort, we really loved it. The room had recently been very nicely renovated and was only a 5-10 minute drive away from WDW. It was very quiet in the afternoon, which made for great naptimes for the kids (and us, sometimes). But we also had a quiet pool right across from our room - nothing fancy, but the kids loved it. And it was very much appreciated after hot hot hot days in the parks - temps averaged 93 degrees that week!


Pool time!


The kitchen definitely saved us money. We grabbed quick breakfasts in the room a few mornings, and had a number of lunches there, too. We still indulged in Disney dining, though... and thats where my love for exploring Disney restaurants began!

At Akershus - really loved how the characters came to US during meals! And the kids loved the quality interactions. Chloe loved the princesses, of course, and Max actually admitted he did, too.


Gelato outside the Italy pavillion. Yummmmmm.....



We had a good week, but learned a few key lessons:

1. Off-site may have saved us money and given us a bigger room, but we ended up getting a lot less Disney. After we came back to the room for naps, we never ended up going back to the parks. We just got comfy, the kids were tired, and we were never motivated enough to drive back over (even if it was just a short trip).

2. Although the kitchen saved us money, we could have eaten for not that much more if wed stayed on-site and taken advantage of free dining.

3. The kids were bigger daredevils than we thought! We knew Max would be up for a few things, but Chloe really surprised us. Her favorite ride this trip?
Goofys Barnstormer!!



Two rides topped our overall family favorites...

Toy Story Mania!


AND...

Soarin!



So after this week, wed gotten what wed wanted out of the vacation, but to be honest, things werent going so well for our family at the time. Brian and I were not doing so hot, and as anyone who has been to Disney with small children can attest to, it can definitely add stress to the relationship. Thankfully, we were able to turn things around and get back on track. In fact, by the following February, we decided to have a do-over and visit Disney again as a happier and healthier family.

Next up: Our second WDW vacation during the coldest February EVER!!!!
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Sept '09 ~ Sheraton Vistana Resort / Feb '10 ~ Coronado Springs Resort / Nov '10 ~ Port Orleans Riverside / Apr '11 ~ Last minute Disneyland day
Jan '12 ~ Port Orleans Riverside / Jun '12 ~ Last minute WDW weekend (off-site) / Polynesian ~ Oct '12 / Beach Club ~ Oct '13 / Dec '14 ~ Caribbean Beach
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:23 PM   #15
juliebug
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Not from Chicago, from Omaha Nebraska. I know about flights out or midway because one of our flights stop over there.

Good luck on your new position that is amazing i hope it all works out planing this far out is hard and congrats on your plan tickets! i so happy to have mine too!

Ohh love the pic and all the info in your first trip. this is our first trip ever to Disney and boy am i excited! now i just need to keep quite so the kids don't find out.

can't wait to hear more!
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