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Old 04-27-2012, 10:26 AM   #1
AllieMallie
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Allison and fiance's September Adventures in Disney-VIDEO UPDATE 9/6-wardrobe talk

Hi All! Welcome to my first-ever trip report! I am in the process of planning one excellent Disney adventure this August for DFi and myself. This is a spur-of-the-moment, budget kind of trip. As we are both planning a wedding and are still in school, we are trying to do Disney on a shoestring. I am one of the most indecisive people you will ever meet. I am hoping that writing a PTR will help keep me organized. Anyway, we hope you will join us on our first Disney vacation planning report. I could use all the help/suggestions I can get

First, let me introduce ourselves:



Wow, we looked so young and innocent six years ago.


Me, Allison
That's me, Allison. I am a 28 year old graduate student. I currently work as an administrative assistant in one of the best heart centers in the nation (biased, I know! ). I work AND go to school full time so as you can imagine, my schedule is crazy. It is a minor miracle that I'm even able to go to Disney. One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting in my grandparents' bedroom watching Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. I think I wore out our poor VCR with these two movie rotations! My favorite classic Disney movies are The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. As for Disney/Pixar films, I love the Toy Story series and of course, Up!

DFi, Carter
That handsome man next to me is my recent-fiance Carter thereafter to be known as DFi on our very first official date. He's 27 years old and also works full time for a tech company. He is my family's resident go-to tech guy. He is also still in school full time. He is not only my fiance but is also one of my best friends. I can always count on him to take me to the movies to watch the latest Disney or Pixar animated films with only very minor complaints. In fact, most of the time, he begrudgingly admits that he is entertained by some of these silly movies I drag him to. I'm not really sure what his favorite Disney movies are but I know that he enjoyed Up and Toy Story when we went to see them. (Incidentally, am I the only one who feels self-conscious about being one of the few adults in theaters to watch Disney movies with no kids? I really should get over this).

Anyway, we've never really talked about a Disney vacation until recently when this happened:


I swear, I really didn't look that rabid when he proposed. He made me pose like that. We can't have you thinking I'm crazy now, can we?

After that, we decided that this called for a celebration because after all, if an engagement AND a dating anniversary doesn't warrant a Disney trip, I don't know what does

Both DFi and I have been to Disney before: me with my mom in 2000 and DFi on a Big Red Boat cruise/WDW trip with his family in the 90s and a high school band trip in 2002. While I am definitely more into Disney than he is, he was more than willing to humor me with this trip with the caveat that we did not spend over $800 per person. Because we are planning a wedding and are both still students, I readily agreed to this. Also, having been a Dis lurker for a while, I knew there were deals to be had so I accepted this challenge. Easy, peasy, I thought.

And that's how I began to plan this trip.

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Sept. 16-22, 2012 - Disney trip with DFi - Pop Century


Allison (and Fiance's!) September Adventure in Disney Wonderland-- my first PTR.

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Old 04-27-2012, 10:26 AM   #2
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Uhhh....how do I make my pictures smaller? These look giant!
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Allison (and Fiance's!) September Adventure in Disney Wonderland-- my first PTR.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:13 AM   #3
AllieMallie
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The where, when and how

So after we decided on a budget, we tried to figure out a date that would be ideal for the trip. May was out because I am going to Italy for a summer class. June and July were a no-go because from reading the Dis boards and other sites, these months seem to have really high crowd levels. So we both decided that August may be our best bet. And then guess what? I found out about free dining! As a relative disney planner newbie, I really didn't know about the historic dates of when these types of offers would be made available so i immediately pounced on it.

After looking at a calendar, we decided that our trip will be on August 26-31. Because our budget was tight, we decided that we would stay at a value resort. At first, I was set on All Star Movies because they offered me the lowest package rate. So i booked it.

After reading resort reviews on Dis, I promptly changed my mind. And decided to switch our stay to:

Pop Century!! The grooviest place at Disney

I decided to splurge a little and book us a preferred room though this might change later, we'll see

For the rest of our package, we decided to purchase 5 non-hopping MYW tickets because we figured that with no children to please, we would be ok with touring 1 park a day. After much discussion, DFi and I decided to upgrade the free QSDP to the regular DDP. We are both foodies and just could not pass up the chance to try some of the TS places at Disney. I was so excited to make the ADRs.

Now how are we going to get to Disney? My first choice was to fly because I really wanted to ride the ME. After doing my calculations, I realized that we would not be able to stay within our budget if we also bought plane tickets. So that is out (for now anyway, unless a really really good deal comes up). We also talked about taking the train but that was JUST as costly as a plane ticket. Go figure. So, we have come to the tentative decision to drive from Virginia to Florida in 2 legs: first, head to Atlanta, GA and stay with Carter's sister's family for the night then head to Orlando the next day. We will also do the same on the way home. I am still keeping my fingers crossed for good airline deals and that maybe we could still fly there. I can't stand the thought of spending HOURS in a car when it would just take 3 mere hours on a plane to get there. Driving may be the most economical decision though.

In the end, even with our small little upgrades, I was still able to buy trip insurance and stay a little below our budget. Pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Next up: current ADRs

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Allison (and Fiance's!) September Adventure in Disney Wonderland-- my first PTR.

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Old 04-27-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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ADRs, lunches, and snacks, oh my!

So, before this trip, I had no idea that there were so many things that went into planning the ADRs. You have to consider the location, seating time, how long it will take to get there, etc. etc.

As I mentioned, we were traveling during the free dining period and we decided to upgrade from the QSDP to the regular DDP. So far, I am very happy with this decision.

After much thought and A LOT of tweaking, DFi and I decided on these five table restaurants as the place to go for our trip.

ADRs
Le Cellier (lunch) - DFi is a steak freak who would be very upset if I didn't book a meal at a restaurant that was known for stellar steaks. With lunch being 1 TS credit, I couldn't pass this one up. It took me a month of trolling the reservation site before I could get an ADR. So when I found a 12:00 time slot during our dates, I snagged it immediately. Even though it meant re-arranging the rest of my ADRs.
50's Prime Time Cafe (dinner) - I love the 50's and milkshakes and the pb&j one looks divine.
Sanaa (dinner) - DFi and I are both fairly adventurous eaters and based on the overwhelmingly good reviews, it seems like you can't go wrong here.
'Ohana (VERY late dinner) - The cuisine intrigued me and I want to visit the Poly. Also, someone here on Dis suggested that we could watch Wishes from the Poly beach, eating a Dole Whip while waiting for our 9:35 ADR here. What's not to love?
Cape May Cafe - This one is what I'm the most unsure about. I am still debating on replacing this ADR with Via Napoli or Kouzzina. We do love crab legs and other seafood though, so we might just keep this.

Now for Counter Service meals, here are what we have in mind:
Wolfgang Puck Express
Columbia Harbor House or Peco's Bills
Tangierine Cafe
Flame Tree Barbecue or Yak and Yeti
Sunshine Seasons
Pop food court
- for some breakfast meals, oop
Main Street Bakery - snacks
Starring Rolls

Some snacks we would like to try:
Butterfinger or red velvet cupcake from Starring Rolls
Dole Whip
(of course!)
Funnel cake
School bread or anything from Kringla
Jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel for DFi, cream cheese stuffed pretzel for me
Those huge ice cream sandwiches from Dino Bites
The American Dream smoothie/drink


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Sept. 16-22, 2012 - Disney trip with DFi - Pop Century


Allison (and Fiance's!) September Adventure in Disney Wonderland-- my first PTR.

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Old 04-27-2012, 06:55 PM   #5
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I just got an e-mail from AirTran, does it fly out of your local airport? They are having a 24 hr. sale today, the 27th of April. If you can get 2 round trip tickets for under $400, it would almost equal the amount of gas you will be using.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:55 AM   #6
AllieMallie
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Originally Posted by OhMari View Post
I just got an e-mail from AirTran, does it fly out of your local airport? They are having a 24 hr. sale today, the 27th of April. If you can get 2 round trip tickets for under $400, it would almost equal the amount of gas you will be using.
Thank you for letting me know anout this deal. I priced it but it was still about $400 to fly out of our airport to MCO i"m definitely going to continue keeping my eyes put for airline deals though. I'm really hoping we won't have to driv in.
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Allison (and Fiance's!) September Adventure in Disney Wonderland-- my first PTR.
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:47 AM   #7
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SO excited for you guys! I'm in for the ride!
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:44 AM   #8
AllieMallie
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SO excited for you guys! I'm in for the ride!
Yay! A follower i'll update soon with my tentative plans and newly-bought park bag and shoes.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:18 PM   #9
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Shoes and bags, oh my!

I thought I should update this PTR before I leave for a 15-day trip to Italy this Thursday .

Oh yeah, before I get to enjoy quality time with the mouse in August, I get to take my happy little self on my first European trip with a bunch of graduate students to learn about counseling in Italy. Sadly, I will take this trip without DFi I'm still very excited though because this will allow me to not think too much about how far away August still seems. When I get back at the end of May, I will only have about 2 months and three-odd weeks to go before our WDW trip

ANYWAY...

the main purpose of this update was to show you guys my latest shopping loot for both the Italy, and the August WDW trip. I'm going to break the shoes in during the Italy trip, and also wear them to the parks. Hopefully, they end up being very comfortable.

After countless hours reading the Dis forums to scour for good shoe ideas, I finally settled on purchasing these two cute Merrell shoes:



That shoe up there is called the Merrell Freesia. I know it isn't much to look at but it's actually pretty cute on my feet and they're amazingly comfortable. I can see my feet loving these during all those long park treks. They look especially darling with shorts and dresses.

This next pair is called the Merrell Pure Glove. I just bought these last week and broke them in at work (at a hospital, where I'm on my feet all day) and they were also really comfy and light on my feet.



So with these two amazing shoes, my feet should hold up pretty well with the commando touring we're planning on doing. These shoes look pretty cute with shorts and capris. Maybe even dresses too but I haven't tried yet.

Now, on to the park bag. Again, through by obsessive stalking of the Dis, I was able to learn that a lot of people really liked the Baggallini messenger bags. Who am I to argue with all these Dis experts?! Before I knew it, I had ordered this on Amazon. I'm planning on Disney-fying the bag by adding Disney pins and other bling later.



My DFi laughs at me for getting "gear" for the trip but I justified that since I'm using them both for Italy AND Disney, then it's all worth it. Right? Right!

Next up: wardrobe!
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Allison (and Fiance's!) September Adventure in Disney Wonderland-- my first PTR.

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Old 06-03-2012, 02:37 PM   #10
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August is a bust but September is in!

In planning this trip, I made the fatal mistake of counting my eggs before they hatched. What I mean by this is I booked the entire vacation, ADRs and all, before I was approved time off from work. While that was obviously a mistake on my part, I was fully counting on being able to to get the requested week off but alas, this didn't happen. Initially, I was upset at this because I thought we would have to cancel the trip altogether. My smart DFi however, commented that we could probably just change the vacation to September since he hadn't requested his vacation from work yet. Well, let me just tell you, this was the best news I'd heard! I immediately went ahead and called Disney to see if this was feasible.

I was afraid that Disney wouldn't be able to rebook my vacation with free dining as the deadline had long expired. Because this is a vacation on a shoestring, I had told the DFi that without the same free dining deal, we would just cancel the vacation altogether and try to come next year instead. We both crossed our fingers as I dialed the number. The CM I spoke to was extremely helpful and did all she could to rebook the vacation. At first, she told me that there were no longer any rooms available at Pop with free dining. Even the All Star resorts were booked. I very nicely asked her to check again for me and after 10 minutes of searching, she was able to get us booked at Pop for September 16-21 WITH free diining! And the best part? She was somehow able to finagle us a vacation that was $100 cheaper than when we initially booked it! This was actually very suprising since our August vacation was already pretty cheap in my opinion. But hey, if I was gonna get pixie dusted this early, who was I to say no? I was very pleasantly surprised with how much our total went down and even she seemed really taken aback by the total package price. So remember that $800/per person budget that DFi set for this trip? Yeah, I'm WAAAY under that. I'm so proud of myself for sticking to a budget (for once!)

Of course I couldn't let that extra $100 just sit there. So, what did I decide to do? I bought 2 tickets for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party for our last day! I was ecstatic to be able to do this. Going in August would have meant no MNSSHP, not only because there was no party scheduled then but it would've also put us over-budget.

We were meant to go in September I think. There really are hidden blessings when you least expect it.
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Sept. 16-22, 2012 - Disney trip with DFi - Pop Century


Allison (and Fiance's!) September Adventure in Disney Wonderland-- my first PTR.

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Old 06-03-2012, 05:15 PM   #11
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Ch-ch-ch-changes

So, with some amount of heartache, I trudged on with the vacation planning knowing that I had to add 3 more weeks to my already-long wait to see Mickey.

After the very helpful CM was able to book us another room at Pop for our new dates of Sept. 16-21, I went ahead and tried to re-book as many of the old ADRs that I could. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my prized lunch Le Cellier ADR. Although I have to say that my new restaurant line-up isn't too shabby.

Because we are both foodies, I had to pored over the restaurant reviews and made the following ADRs a lot of the restaurants are similar to the ones I booked for Aug. but I did tweak it a little and still may *cough* probably *cough* tweak again.

Here is our tentative itenerary with the corresponding ADRs.

Sun. Sept. 16 - Arrival day.
Afternoon at DTD
Dinner at WPE
Mon. Sept. 17 - AK
lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue
Dinner at Boma
Tues. Sept. 18 - DHS
lunch at Starring Rolls
Dinner at 50's Prime Time Cafe
Wed. Sept. 19 - MK
lunch at Columbia Harbor House
Dinner at 'Ohana
Thurs. Sept. 20 -Epcot
lunch at Sunshine Seasons (?)
Dinner at Via Napoli
Fri. Sept. 21 - AM park TBD
stay at POP until check out
lunch at Sanaa
MNSSHP!!!
Dinner at Pecos Bill
Drive home around midnight

I am getting excited all over again! With our VERY tight budget, I never even dreamed that we'd be able to go to MNSSHP. I would've never imagined that changing my trip date would bring me this kind of bonus. I was really initially sad to have to change my dates but it looks like this is working out for the best after all.
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Allison (and Fiance's!) September Adventure in Disney Wonderland-- my first PTR.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllieMallie View Post
In planning this trip, I made the fatal mistake of counting my eggs before they hatched. What I mean by this is I booked the entire vacation, ADRs and all, before I was approved time off from work. While that was obviously a mistake on my part, I was fully counting on being able to to get the requested week off but alas, this didn't happen. Initially, I was upset at this because I thought we would have to cancel the trip altogether. My smart DFi however, commented that we could probably just change the vacation to September since he hadn't requested his vacation from work yet. Well, let me just tell you, this was the best news I'd heard! I immediately went ahead and called Disney to see if this was feasible.

I was afraid that Disney wouldn't be able to rebook my vacation with free dining as the deadline had long expired. Because this is a vacation on a shoestring, I had told the DFi that without the same free dining deal, we would just cancel the vacation altogether and try to come next year instead. We both crossed our fingers as I dialed the number. The CM I spoke to was extremely helpful and did all she could to rebook the vacation. At first, she told me that there were no longer any rooms available at Pop with free dining. Even the All Star resorts were booked. I very nicely asked her to check again for me and after 10 minutes of searching, she was able to get us booked at Pop for September 16-21 WITH free diining! And the best part? She was somehow able to finagle us a vacation that was $100 cheaper than when we initially booked it! This was actually very suprising since our August vacation was already pretty cheap in my opinion. But hey, if I was gonna get pixie dusted this early, who was I to say no? I was very pleasantly surprised with how much our total went down and even she seemed really taken aback by the total package price. So remember that $800/per person budget that DFi set for this trip? Yeah, I'm WAAAY under that. I'm so proud of myself for sticking to a budget (for once!)

Of course I couldn't let that extra $100 just sit there. So, what did I decide to do? I bought 2 tickets for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party for our last day! I was ecstatic to be able to do this. Going in August would have meant no MNSSHP, not only because there was no party scheduled then but it would've also put us over-budget.

We were meant to go in September I think. There really are hidden blessings when you least expect it.

So awesome you were able to save your vacation and some money. We always do our vacation on a budget. We go for 11 days so in order to go for that long that means we need to stay at a value. Lucky for us we love pop.
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:19 AM   #13
AllieMallie
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So awesome you were able to save your vacation and some money. We always do our vacation on a budget. We go for 11 days so in order to go for that long that means we need to stay at a value. Lucky for us we love pop.
Yeah, it's a little crazy to think about how easy it seems to spend THOUSANDS of dollars on a Disney vacation. My dream is to at least vacation at a deluxe resort once! That probably won't happen for another couple of years when the future hubs and I finish gradschool and start having lucrative careers. this could be good though because it will give us a greater appreciation for these hotels having stayed at modest values first.

Until then, values resorts it is!
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:55 PM   #14
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I'm joining in! I know how hard it can be to change your dates and re-book your ADRs. I've done it several times for our October trip. But its good that your looking at it with a positive spin I can't wait to hear all about the rest of your plans. Are you going to be doing a TR as well?
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:12 AM   #15
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I'm joining in! I know how hard it can be to change your dates and re-book your ADRs. I've done it several times for our October trip. But its good that your looking at it with a positive spin I can't wait to hear all about the rest of your plans. Are you going to be doing a TR as well?
Yay! A reader Thank you for joining in.

Welcome!

Yes, I think so. I liek reliving my vacations and I think a TR would be just the thing to keep the disney magic alive.
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