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Old 01-19-2013, 03:43 PM   #1
lsenquiz
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SWW 2013:One tiny goal: A picture with every character!-New 6/11 - Link to TR

This is my first time doing a PTR. For our trip last September I did a live trip report(that was very difficult as I tried to update it every evening and I was usually exhausted) but I have never done a pre trip report. Your probably thinking I am getting started late right? Well you are correct. This is a "last minute" trip for us. I always have a trip in the works and the planning for our annual September trip has been in the works for months.

The idea for this trip just came about 2 weeks ago when my DS8 said Mom we're going to SWW this year! Right? I was a little surprised as we have only been to SWW once before in May 2011 and he was just 6 then. Well about the time he made the request Disney came out with their 30% Spring Promo. This was a sign to me that we were destined to try to tackle SWW once again. So I jumped into Planning mode.

We have been going to Disney atleast once a year since my older two were 4 & 8(they are 21 & 25 now!). In the old days we used to just go with nothing more planned than our room reservations. However, I turned into a OCD planner for our 2008 trip(which was a large family trip) and now would not dream of going to Disney without every little detail thought out. I do believe this is the shortest timeframe I have had to plan a trip so we will see how it goes

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Old 01-19-2013, 03:43 PM   #2
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Chapter Links

Chapter 1 - The Cast
Chapter 2 - How long to stay?
Chapter 3 - Decisions, decisions, decisions - Where to stay?
Chapter 4 - My plan to accomplish my one goal
Chapter 5 - To AP or not to AP that is the question - oh and TiW too
Chapter 6 - Confessions and YIKES!!!
Chapter 7 - Split Stay?
Chapter 8 - Day 1 - Car ride, visit with family, check in for first night
Chapter 9 - Day 2 - The First Half - Finally home, pool, lunch
Chapter 10 - Day 2 - The 2nd Half, Pick up APs, Favorite Drink, Soarin and Traditional Dinner
Chapter 11 - Day 3 - Hollywood Studios & Star Wars Weekends
Chapter 12 - Day 4 - Down day for DH(with some plans thrown in from me!)
Chapter 13 - Day 5 - Animal Kingdom
Chapter 14 - Day 6 - Magic Kingdom
Chapter 15 - Day 7 - Bowling at Disney! What???
Chapter 16 - Unique items from our packing list
Chapter 17 - 101 days until Disney Vacation!
Chapter 18 - Real Life Update
Chapter 19 - Day 8 - Our 2nd SWW day
Chapter 20 - Day 9 - First Official EPCOT day
Chapter 21 - Day 10 - Final SWW Day DHS
Chapter 22 - Day 4 Update - Illuminations Cruise Added
Chapter 23 - Day 11 - Down day and Chef Mickeys
Chapter 24 - Day 12 - Magic Kingdom again
Chapter 24 - Time to Shop - Shoes
Chapter 25 - Day 13 - Catch All
Chapter 26 - Day 14 - Magic Kingdom/EPCOT
Chapter 27 - Life Update 3/20/13
Chapter 28 - 60 Day Dance and Todo List
Chapter 29 - Day 15 - Last Day of Vacation
Chapter 30 - 30 day Count down and Major Purchase
Chapter 31 - 20 Day Dance and Misc Updates
Chapter 32 - Disney on Ice - World of Fantasy review
Chapter 33 - Final Countdown - Single Digits

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Old 01-19-2013, 04:06 PM   #3
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The Cast

First the cast- I love this phrase so I am stealing it as I have seen it in so many trip reports(someday I really hope to be part of the cast!)

Me - Lisa

I work full time in IT for a large company. Fortunately I am a full time telecommuter so my office is about 30 steps from my bedroom. I have been doing this for the last 3 years and could not be happier. My only hobby is planning vacations. Disney vacations are my favorite but as long as I am planning something I am happy.

I am the one in the orange. I looked and looked but could not find a single photo with just me in it. Just as a FYI the other person in the photo is my partner in crime(and cousin) she is part of our September trip so if I get around to doing a PTR or TR for that one you will get to meet her.

Photo0222 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr

DH - Kenny - He also works in IT for a large company - yep the same one as me. He is not fond of telecommunting so even though he could easily do it he chooses to go into the office everyday. His hobbies all revolve around sports. He tags along good naturedly on all our Disney trips but is not the enthusiast that I am.

I also had trouble finding a picture of him by himself also

39493300017 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr

Finally my DS8(Gabriel) - I had no trouble finding a picture of my DS with no other people in it as we have 20,000+ of those Our little man is so special. We all joke that he is the best of all 4 of us(DH, DS25, DD21 and me) with none of the bad. His favorite thing in the world is Star Wars so he is really going to enjoy this trip.


DSC01656 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr

That is all that will be going on this trip. However, I feel obligated to introduce my other two. My DS is 25 and works a fulltime job so rarely gets to travel with us anymore and my DD is in college 5 hours away and works a part-time job so we are seeing her less and less also

This is my favorite picture of them even though it was taken almost three years ago at my DDs HS graduation.



IMG_7777 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr

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Old 01-19-2013, 05:20 PM   #4
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Step one - How long???

Since I started planning this trip about 2 weeks ago and just decided to do a PTR today I have some catching up to do.

My first decision always is how long we should go for. My dates were sort of decided for me since we want to do SWW and I do not like taking my son out of school(honestly I would not mind it except that our school district is very strict to the point of turning people whose children have missed too much school into the police. )

As I mentioned earlier we have been going to Disney fairly regularly since 1995. Between the years of 95-08 our trips ranged from 5-7 days. Since 09 I have started adding about a day a year. So our trip last September was 10 days! That's honestly about as long as I can stretch is without my DS missing a lot of school.

We love going in September and are very blessed that our school district follows a "balanced calendar" This mean that the kids get 1 week off every 6 weeks(with 2 weeks for the holidays) and then they only have 9 weeks of summer. I love this schedule and would not trade it for anything. I am especially glad that one of the weeks off falls the third week of September. However, by going in September we are limited to a week.

The school year ends for DS on May 22nd this year(its a Wednesday) so I knew we would want to leave fairly quickly after that. With the summer stretching ahead of us my mind opened up to the possibility of a longer trip. My first thought was 2 weeks! Then I thought are you crazy two weeks is too much. Then I remembered that we came home last September exhausted and still did not get everything accomplished that we wanted to. So I went back to we really need to go for two weeks.

Once I had convinced myself that two weeks was manageable I briefly toyed with the idea of 1 week at the parks and 1 week on the Disney Fantasy. Then I remembered we are going on the Dream in September so I was back to two weeks at the parks.

So our trip will be May 25th - June 8th

With that decision made I started to think maybe we could actually enjoy our resort this trip(we tend to use a commando touring style). With that, I started rethinking where we would stay.

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Old 01-20-2013, 07:51 AM   #5
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Decisions, decisions, decisions - Where to stay?

As you can tell by my ticker we currently have reservations for May 25th - June 8th at Beach Club Resort. This is a decision that I ponder a lot because since 2008 we have always(with the exception of one ill-fated stay at ASMovies) stayed at BWV.

Our number one priority with regards to Disney lodging is that we be in the EPCOT resort area. Why? Well.. I confess I am a bus snob. I do not like them and will go out of my way to avoid them. By staying in EPCOT area we can walk to EPCOT, walk or boat to DHS, and walk through EPCOT and grab the monorail to MK(we always get PH passes). That just leaves AK where we have to take a bus. Since AK is our least favorite park we will only make that trip once each vacation.

We also like to get the best deal possible for our stay and since we have always stayed on DVC rented points in the past a standard view room at BWV has always been the cheapest option.

Both our top priorities have always steered us to BWV. However, in the past 5 stays we have simply fallen in love with the resort. Honestly there is not one bad thing I can say about it. We love the rooms(we always get a 2 bedroom villa because we have a large party that usually travels with us), we love our view(a standard view room can offer and excellent view of illuminations high fireworks from the balcony, we love the staff, we love the pool, and we love that the walk to DHS is the shortest from this resort.

The problem this time is with this being a last minute trip there was no possibility of us getting any type of room at BWV on points. We usually make our reservations 11 months out for the standard view and must make them at least 7+ months out for the other views.

So for the first time ever I made a room only reservation. The good news was Disney had just announced their 30% off Spring Promo so we got a fairly decent deal(no where near as good as points but decent). When I made the reservation I priced out Boardwalk first but then decided to see what BC and YC prices where. I was pretty surprised that BC came up as the best deal.

So the current plan is for us to stay at BC in the hotel side instead of villa side which we are used to. I hope hope hope we will love it as much as we love the boardwalk. Some of my concerns:

1) Will we get a balcony - I love sitting on the balcony in the evenings
2) The walk to DHS - we prefer walking rather than taking the boat
3) Will we like a regular hotel room as much as we love the villas(will we miss the microwave?)
4) The pool - I know it is supposed to be the best in Disney but my DS loves the boardwalk pool and especially the clown slide. I love that I can watch him go up the stairs to the top of the slide and come down from the comfort of a lounge chair. I am just not sure he is going to like the totally enclosed slide at BC.

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Old 01-20-2013, 12:47 PM   #6
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My plan to accomplish my one goal!

As I meantioned in the title of this PTR my one goal when we go to Disney in May/June is to get a picture of Gabriel with every SWW character. We have been to SWW one other time in May 2011 and were not prepared for the effort it would take to meet the characters.

During our 2011 trip our original plan was to do SWW just one day(our second day there - the sunday before Memorial day). We realized about half way through that day we would need at least one more day so we ended up rearranging our whole schedule to go to SWW the last day of our trip(Friday). Since our tickets for that trip were the military 4 day PH with water parks it was a very big deal to dedicate two of those days to DHS.

It also took us 1 full day at DHS to get the hang of how the M&Gs work for Star Wars weekends. It was completely different than anything I had ever experienced and became very frustrating very quickly.

For anyone that doesn't know how the M&Gs work and would like to know this is what we experienced in 2011.

This is a map I got of the internet from SWW 2012. As you can see they have marked where the M&Gs will be for both the good and bad guys.


sww 2012 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr

The problem is in most cases the M&G spots are for more than one person. For example Captain Rex, Commander Cody, Ahsoka and Ventress all met in the same place. So you might get in line thinking you were getting Captain Rex and when you got to the front Commander Cody was out. For us this was fine as long as we had not met Commander Cody but became a real problem when it got down to the point where we only needed one or two of the 4.

The other problem was the CMs were very strict about letting you move back in the line. There were a couple of times when we got to the front and a character we had already met was still out and we would try to let people in front of us but the CMs were having none of that. Honestly even if the other guests in line had no problem with me moving back in line(believe me I checked before trying to do it) the CMs would still not allow it.

Finally we got a little smarter on day 2 and would explain to the handlers who we were trying to see and they would offer advice on when we should get in line. It was not full proof but did help some.

I tried to look at the map above and remember who was where and just could not remember with the exception of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, R2-D2 & C3PO who were definitely to the far right side of the map back behind RnR and ToT. I do think I remember who was grouped with who though. If I made any mistakes or have outdated knowledge please feel free to correct me:

1) Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Vader Goofy, & Stormtrooper Donald(rotated but sometime you would get more than one)
2) Chewbacca & Ewok(Chewy is always out but the Ewok was every other rotation)
3) Boba Fett &Jango Fett(rotated - I never saw them both out)
4) Darth Maul(Solo)
5) Darth Vader(Solo)
6) Ahsoka, Comander Cody, Captain Rex &Ventress(rotated but sometimes you would get more than one)
7) Anakin Skywalker & Queen Amidala(we saw them both together)
8) Kit Fisto, Shaak Ti, & Mace Windu(rotated but I think there were usually two of them)
9) Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, R2-D2 & C3PO(rotated but there were always two out and sometimes three)

The characters below just roamed through the park but didn't get too far away from the Star Tours Ride
10) Zam Wesell
11) Aurra Sing
12) Cantina Band
13) Clone Troopers
14) Tuskan Raider
15) Gamorrean Guard
16) Jawas
17) Stormtroopers

If I remember correctly the characters were usually out for 20 minute segments.

Our plans for this year:

1) Make friends with the handlers first if possible and ask for their advance of when to get in line
2) My DH and I will get in the same line at different times to improve our chances of getting the right picture.(I know some might not approve of this but honestly there are not alot of other options)

Just for fun I am posting some of my favorite pictures from SWW 2011:


P1020226 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr


P1020242 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr


P1020075 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr


P1020248 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr


P1020220 by Disneyalwaysn4ever, on Flickr

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Old 01-20-2013, 03:37 PM   #7
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Hi there! I thought I'd come check out your PTR since you stopped in to read mine!

Great intros and the trip sounds like so much fun so far! We have never done SWW so I'm no help there, but I hope you are able to complete your mission!
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommytothreeboys View Post
Hi there! I thought I'd come check out your PTR since you stopped in to read mine!

Great intros and the trip sounds like so much fun so far! We have never done SWW so I'm no help there, but I hope you are able to complete your mission!
Welcome aboard I suspect many things will change with these plans but one thing that will hold true is my mission to get pictures with the SWW characters.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:42 AM   #9
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To AP or not to AP that is the question

It has been a long time since we took a Disney trip that did not include a very deep discount on tickets. All of our trips from 2008 - 2010 were taken using the 4 day Military Salute tickets with PH and more. For our trips in 2011and 2012 we were lucky enough to get into the Y.E.S program. Unfortunately, the Y.E.S program discount has changed so much for 2013 that is is no longer a noticable discount for us and the Military discount tickets - although still and option - are just not enough days.

So for the first time ever we are considering AP tickets. I think it is the best option for us because we are going for 14 days in May/June and 6 more days in September. We can get APs through AAA since we live in Ga. The cost would be $553.00 for adults and $543.00 for children(without tax). This would be base APs and would not include Waterparks. We have a water park about 20 minutes from us that is ranked in the top 10 in the United States so I am not feeling the need to do Water Parks this year. Also, I want to enjoy the Beach Club pool rather than treking to one of the Disney water parks.

We are also considering buying TiW. I did the math and even though I plan to do a table service ADR for every day we are there buying the dining plan is not a value to us. However, I think the TiW would save us about $255.00 just for this trip. Since the cost of the TiW is just $100 for AP holders we would net a savings of $155.00 plus what ever we saved in September.

So 99% sure on the APs and 75% sure on TiW unless I can convience myself to go dining plan

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Old 01-21-2013, 12:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsenquiz View Post
It has been a long time since we took a Disney trip that did not include a very deep discount on tickets. All of our trips from 2008 - 2010 were taken using the 4 day Military Salute tickets with PH and more. For our trips in 2011and 2012 we were lucky enough to get into the Y.E.S program. Unfortunately, the Y.E.S program discount has changed so much for 2013 that is is no longer a noticable discount for us and the Military discount tickets - although still and option - are just not enough days.

So for the first time ever we are considering AP tickets. I think it is the best option for us because we are going for 14 days in May/June and 6 more days in September. We can get APs through AAA since we live in Ga. The cost would be $553.00 for adults and $543.00 for children(without tax). This would be base APs and would not include Waterparks. We have a water park about 20 minutes from us that is ranked in the top 10 in the United States so I am not feeling the need to do Water Parks this year. Also, I want to enjoy the Beach Club pool rather than treking to one of the Disney water parks.

We are also considering buying TiW. I did the math and even though I plan to do a table service ADR for every day we are there buying the dining plan is not a value to us. However, I think the TiW would save us about $255.00 just for this trip. Since the cost of the TiW is just $100 for AP holders we would net a savings of $155.00 plus what ever we saved in September.


So 99% sure on the APs and 75% sure on TiW unless I can convience myself to go dining plan
If it saves you money, go for it! I would say $155 is significant. We do DDP and it is always beneficial to us, but we also feed growing teenaged boys!
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:20 AM   #11
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Enjoying your PTR. Sounds like you have a lot of fabulous plans this year! How exciting!! We've been to SWW twice (2005 and 2010) and completely understand your character-greeting frustrations.
Looking forward to more updates!
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:25 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by mommytothreeboys View Post
If it saves you money, go for it! I would say $155 is significant. We do DDP and it is always beneficial to us, but we also feed growing teenaged boys!
I could see where three boys would put a serious dent in the food budget. We are really light eaters when we are at Disney especially if it is hot. I thought I might we able to make the dining plan work this year because we are going doing so many character meals(not for the food but for the interaction) but the math is not working out. So it looks like TiW card for us. The good news is we can use it again for our September trip which will save even more money
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:26 AM   #13
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Enjoying your PTR. Sounds like you have a lot of fabulous plans this year! How exciting!! We've been to SWW twice (2005 and 2010) and completely understand your character-greeting frustrations.
Looking forward to more updates!
Welcome.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:23 AM   #14
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Confessions and YIKES

First my confession; The picture of me in my cast post is from our September 2011 trip. I honestly could not find a recent one that I was willing to put on this board. Why? That's where the YIKES comes in. I have gained 33.5 pounds since out 2011 trip. I am so with myself because I worked so hard in 2005 to get to my goal weight and had managed to stay there for 6 years!

I am determined to get the weight back off before our upcoming trip. Our September 2012 trip when I was only up 20 lbs was really difficult for me. We tend to tour in a commando style(I am hoping to change that for this trip also) and there were many days when I honestly did not think I was going to make it back to the room. I gotta believe it was the extra weight as I have always been able to go full speed on our other trips. So, I can not image what it would be like with another 13.5lbs added to the 20 extra pounds that were there last trip

My plan? I am going to do the same thing I did in 2005, focus on my health. I find that when I focus on health instead of weight loss the weight comes off naturally and I feel so much better when I make sure I am getting plenty of veggies, fiber and healthy proteins instead of just focusing on reducing calorie intake.

I have also joined another PTR Getting Skinny for Disney - Skisney by Matkensgirl2000 and am hoping that the DIS support will help me plug along to my goal. I plan to post my weight loss(not my weight) here frequently.

Please wish me luck and for anyone else out there in the same boat I certainly send your way!

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:43 AM   #15
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Hi there!

I have never been to SWW but it seems like a lot of fun! I'm sure my boyfriend would love it and we'll check it out in the future.

I too am trying to change my diet & exercise habits so i wish you the best of luck! I started in mid December & with the holidays and all I'm down 10lbs... Hoping to drop 20-30 more.

Good luck & I look forward to following along!
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