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Old 09-26-2012, 04:42 PM   #76
nessz79
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Wow! That is a lot of people going on your trip! I'm in and am looking forward to hearing about the trip .
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:59 PM   #77
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Wow! That is a lot of people going on your trip! I'm in and am looking forward to hearing about the trip .
Welcome Aboard!! Standby for the next update!!
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:39 AM   #78
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I'm in too. Sounds like fun...

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Old 10-04-2012, 12:24 PM   #79
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:20 PM   #80
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Resorts, ADRs, and a one-way flight.

As we all know, the further out you make your travel plans for any trip, means the more time you have for averting disasters and hurdling obstacles. The only way to take a perfectly planned vacation is not to plan it at all, wake up one day and just decided to pack and go to the airport...

So there we were, deposit paid and nothing but time on our hands until we could actually do something concrete. Well, it wasn't long before obstacle number 1 reared its ugly head.

Our first issue was money. Lisa went back to work in September and I took on the role of Stay-At-Home-Dad. We had discussed our options and this seemed to be a good way to work it out because I could still make money by working weekends, which I had been doing up until this point. I gave up a freelance weekday gig in order to be at home with the kids. I gave them a list of school holidays that I could still work for them if they had a need. Unfortunately, right out of the gate, my weekend job decides to make changes and by October, I am no longer being offered every Saturday and Sunday like I was. It's down to every other Saturday, and an occasional sunday shift.

So, my contributions to the budget were easily cut in half, and we were struggling to pay the bills, and our plan to make monthly payments on the cruise went on hold.

The holidays helped to give me some extra days of work, and I was keeping my eye out for other jobs I could possibly do. In November, Southwest posted new flights, but only including the day we wanted to fly down. We’d have to wait for the flight back to be available. I guess that is one of the downsides to taking a 2 week long vacation. Prices were higher than I'd hoped, and with no extra money to buy the tickets, I just continued to monitor the prices.

In the meantime, we tried to find out what everyone else was thinking in regard to doing WDW before or after the cruise. Our plan was do both, but we wanted to coordinate so, if possible, we'd all be at WDW together as well. The best response we could get was that they all "thought" they'd be staying the week after the cruise.

It was at the end of December/early January when we hit our 7-month window for booking our resorts. At this point we made the decision to plan what we wanted and just inform the feet-draggers of what our plans were. So I called DVC. We scored what we wanted for the first leg, 3 nights at BLT with a theme park view! Then when I tried to get Boardwalk Villas for the week after, we hit a snag. All days available EXCEPT WEDNESDAY! One day, right smack in the middle of the week. So, a change of plans. Pulled out the charts and started looking at other options. Cast member told me that Beach Club was available for the dates I wanted. Only problem was that it was more points. I texted Lisa at work to get her opinion. She said she wanted to try BCV, so I booked it. That shortened our trip by a day , but we were psyched to stay at a new resort, and it was just across the water from where we were shooting to stay.

So, with the resorts booked, we could now start to plan out our parks/ADRs. 180 day mark was fast approaching and park schedules were coming out as well. And while we schemed and planned to do that, I created a facebook event page for the trip as a way of putting all our plans in writing somewhere so the feet-draggers could have a reference and not be able to use the excuse that they didn't know or forgot.

Two other things happened in January/Early February. First, one day when I showed up to work my weekend job, (only to find out that they had canceled my shift without telling me), a co-worker asked me if I was looking for work. A job opportunity fell into my lap and it fit my schedule as it was only 4-5 hours at night and I could still stay home during the day. A few phone calls and emails over the next couple of days, and I had a job that I started the next week!! That income allowed us to get back on track with the bills and to start putting money aside for the trip.

The other thing that happened was that one day I logged onto the computer and since I had the southwest airlines page set as a homepage tab, I checked the prices and couldn't believe my eyes... it was showing a flight for the morning we wanted at only $100 per person. I checked the bank account and we didn't have a lot of extra money, but with some transferring of funds, it was enough and Lisa was able to book our flight down for under $300 total (Jackson was lap-seat).

In early February was when we hit the 180 day mark and were able to make our ADRs. The only thing we were booking with family was one group dinner. Everything else was whatever we wanted, and we'd let them know what we were doing.

So this was our rough plan:

Sunday: arrive at BLT, eat dinner at a counter service at the resort, watch fireworks from room or top of the world lounge.
Monday: Breakfast at Ohana, Magic Kingdom. (counter service for lunch and dinner)
Tuesday: Breakfast at Cotempo Cafe, EPCOT, dinner at Via Napoli.
Wednesday: breakast undecided, leave for cruise.
Thursday-Saturday on the cruise
Sunday: breakfast on the ship, check-in at BCV, dinner at Flying Fish Cafe.
Monday: Resort day. Cape May Cafe breakfast, Storm Along Bay, Beaches and Cream for lunch/dinner.
Tuesday: Magic Kingdom, breakfast at Main Street Bakery, Bibbity Bobbity Boutique, counter service lunch, and big family dinner at 1900 Park Fare.
Wednesday: Animal Kingdom, Tusker House breakfast, dinner undecided.
Thursday: breakfast at Starring Rolls, Hollywood Studios, dinner at Pizza Planet.
Friday: Boardwalk Bakery for breakfast, EPCOT, Bella and Lisa afternoon tea at GF, dinner in Mexico.
Saturday: Leave.

a couple of notes on this plan: the big family dinner was supposed to be at Akershus in Norway, as Bella would be all princessed from BBB. However, they cannot accommodate a large party of 17 people. So we were steered away and ended up at 1900 Park Fare, which I was told could accommodate our 17 people. Secondly, Lisa and Bella wanted to do the perfectly Princess tea at the GF, but it proved to be just too expensive. They settled for the regular afternoon tea which does have children's options for tea and sandwiches.


So... things were looking pretty good. We had resorts booked, ADRs made, and a flight down. We still needed to figure out the rental car situation, and the flight back home, and oh yeah, still hadn't paid anything more than just the deposit on the cruise.

I posted our plans onto the facebook page. I'm not sure what I was expecting to happen. I suppose in my head I imagined that my family would see our plans and say, "ooh, that sounds good, can we join you for A, B, or C?" But the actual response was more like, "good for you." I can only imagine what might have been said privately on their end about how we were making all these plans without them, but we did all we could to include them in our planning. My conscience was clear.

So, we were entering the home stretch, and we still had to pay off the cruise, buy park tickets, decide on the dining plan, rent our car, and figure out that minor detail of getting home afterwards.

That's all in the next update. Hopefully in the next day or so.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:22 PM   #81
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Quote:
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I'm in too. Sounds like fun...

KIM
Welcome, Kim!! Thank you for reading!!


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Okay, this last one didn't get me as far along as I thought it would. Next one should get us to at least the start of the trip. I hope.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:34 AM   #82
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This is awesome...
I LOVE your plans..
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:16 AM   #83
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Plans sound great. I'm excited that Bella got to do BBB!
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:12 AM   #84
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This is awesome...
I LOVE your plans..
Thanks.

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Plans sound great. I'm excited that Bella got to do BBB!
Bella was very excited. We opted to purchase a dress ahead of time and bring it with us.

I'm not sure what we were most excited for. There were a lot of things to look forward to on this trip as it was coming together.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:31 AM   #85
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I posted our plans onto the facebook page. I'm not sure what I was expecting to happen. I suppose in my head I imagined that my family would see our plans and say, "ooh, that sounds good, can we join you for A, B, or C?" But the actual response was more like, "good for you." I can only imagine what might have been said privately on their end about how we were making all these plans without them, but we did all we could to include them in our planning. My conscience was clear.
The good and bad thing about planning that far out is that ability to pay over time...or not pay and then it's a crazy huge amount! I feel your pain about life getting in the way, so glad that things worked out. Too funny on the family, but good for you for not waiting and making your own plans. Major score on that flight, that was our big hold up too and while we purchased earlier than we ever have, we paid more than we ever have and they never, ever went down from that price. Crazy!

I've seen the price on that princess tea yikes! I hope they liked the regular one, can't wait to read about it. We loved it.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:17 PM   #86
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The good and bad thing about planning that far out is that ability to pay over time...or not pay and then it's a crazy huge amount! I feel your pain about life getting in the way, so glad that things worked out. Too funny on the family, but good for you for not waiting and making your own plans. Major score on that flight, that was our big hold up too and while we purchased earlier than we ever have, we paid more than we ever have and they never, ever went down from that price. Crazy!

I've seen the price on that princess tea yikes! I hope they liked the regular one, can't wait to read about it. We loved it.
I've always struggled with money. Lisa is the saver in this relationship, but at times she can go on little spending sprees. My main problem is that I procrastinate paying things, most often because I don't want to deplete the bank account, thinking "next paycheck i'll have more money and paying this bill won't seem like such a big hit to the account."... and more often than not, a forgotten bill comes out of left field, or a bunch of small purchases sneak up and come the next paycheck, I'm in the same situation.

The deal on the flight down was too good to pass up, and it was gone the next day, and never came back. As I'll touch on in the next update, the flights back home were outrageous!!

The princess tea sounded like such a cute idea and I was all for them doing it... until we started looking at the numbers. just like the FE, we had to get things under control. That meant we had to cut the tea. Lisa and I had done the "regular" tea a couple of times, and Bella had been there for one even though she couldn't partake. It seemed like a good compromise.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:24 PM   #87
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I remember you talking about the job situation. I know it was a tough time, but I'm glad everything worked out.

I would be so frustrated with everyone else. I'd say you're good. You tried to get input from everyone and include them in the planning process. Just because they're unwilling to speak up shouldn't mean that you have to pass up an opportunity to get ADRs for yourself taken care of.

Heck, the whole FB page is more effort that I'd have put into it. I'd have basically said, we're making plans, if you want in speak up, if not, shut up.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:45 PM   #88
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I'm glad the job stuff was able to be worked out for you! I know how tough that can be.

Sounds like y'alls plans were really coming together! I would love to stay at BLT one day. All of the dining choices sound great!
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:13 PM   #89
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I'm joining! However, I do think it's prudent that next time, you do photograph the planning process.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:04 AM   #90
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I remember you talking about the job situation. I know it was a tough time, but I'm glad everything worked out.

I would be so frustrated with everyone else. I'd say you're good. You tried to get input from everyone and include them in the planning process. Just because they're unwilling to speak up shouldn't mean that you have to pass up an opportunity to get ADRs for yourself taken care of.

Heck, the whole FB page is more effort that I'd have put into it. I'd have basically said, we're making plans, if you want in speak up, if not, shut up.
Thanks. We certainly tried. Past experience with my family on vacation prepared us for what might go down. On a previous trip there were certain individuals who got upset because we did our own thing. I also got burned by trying to do too much with my family and leaving Lisa by herself. I was glad we would have a few days to ourselves before the cruise, and our attempts to include everyone else were now "documented".

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I'm glad the job stuff was able to be worked out for you! I know how tough that can be.

Sounds like y'alls plans were really coming together! I would love to stay at BLT one day. All of the dining choices sound great!
BLT was great. Eventually I'll get around to showing you the pictures!

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I'm joining! However, I do think it's prudent that next time, you do photograph the planning process.
I think you are right. I'll have to take pictures of the entire process for the next one.

Welcome aboard!!
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BLT/DCL Dream/BCV July/August 2012
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I'm Going Away... FOREVER! Oh, Great! Could You Get Me a Sandwich? A TR In Progress
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