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Old 04-02-2013, 02:16 PM   #1
kthshh
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Started as One Group Trip, Now I知 planning 5 Trips!!!

INTRODUCTIONS

Hi Everyone. Thanks for reading along. I致e debated for months about writing a PTR and finally decided to just do it. I will admit up front that there won稚 be many pictures posted but I hope you enjoy reading along about the trips that I have planned.

First up, who am I. My name is Vana. My family and I live in Texas. I知 an accountant and I make spreadsheets for everything. I love planning trips and running the numbers to stay on budget!

The remainder of my crew includes my great husband, Ken, and our two sons, KJ and Lil C. KJ is 10 and Lil C is 8. They both have June birthdays and will be 11 and 9 by the time we take our first trip.

The first trip will be June 22-28, 2013. We値l be vacationing with 9 other people in our group. I知 the main planner and I知 really excited to see how this all pans out.

And you値l have to stick around to see how this one trip turned into 5 trips
!
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:23 PM   #2
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How Did This All Begin

THE BEGINNING OF IT ALL

My family and I took our first big WDW vacation in June 2009 when the boys were 7 & 5. We had the Buy 4 Get 3 Free special and we loved the week. We stayed at AKL Jambo in a savannah view room, had the regular dining plan, many character meals, Water Parks and More package.we really did it up big. This trip gave birth to the Vacation Box and sealed our love for Disney and travel. We loved being immersed in the Disney bubble. This one trip led to a second trip in September 2009 which was an extended weekend trip that included MNSSHP. We also took a 3 day whirlwind trip to Disneyland in March 2011. In August 2011, I was in Orlando for a work conference and got to spend an afternoon/evening at Epcot. During the down Disney years, we致e taken a Carnival Cruise, visited the Smoky Mountains of TN, and last year did a Midwest TriState tour of Chicago,IL, Hammond, IN (family reunion), and Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Whenever we talk to friends and families about our trips, they are usually interested in going. The one thing that stands in their way is the financial obligation. We had one family from our church who were genuinely interested and really wanted to go. They are great people, but they are not big planners. They致e tried to make the trip happen but couldn稚 get far enough in their planning. We will call them the M Family and they consist of Dad, Mom, Son(11), Daughter1(8), and Daughter2(3). Being a family of 5 brings about its own set of challenges when booking a Disney vacation in regards to where to stay.

Back in Aug 2012 we had them over for dinner and started preliminary discussions of what they were looking for in a vacation. I needed to get a feel for what they wanted to spend. They pretty much chose to have an onsite, flying instead of driving, park hopper tickets, dining plan, deluxe vacation. We threw around dates and decided on the fourth week of June 2013. This would give everyone plenty of time to save the necessary $.
I think my head went in circles all night. I was excited and worried about being responsible for someone else痴 vacation. I soon calmed down and my husband and I went into planning mode.

So what did we actually do first?
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:09 PM   #3
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I am guilty of pretty much just reading along with others trip report and never really posting. But I'm hoping that someone....anyone...will comment on mine.
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:10 PM   #4
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Revisiting DVC Ownership

Proud New DVC Owners!

During our first trip in 2009, we took some time to go to the DVC presentation. It all sounded great but we decided that the timing wasn稚 right for us. Over the next few years, we would give our sales rep a call, run the numbers and decide we weren稚 quite ready yet. But in September 2012, we were in a good place and went ahead with the transaction. We purchased 100 points at the Villas @ Wilderness Lodge! We were thrilled to know that we would be able to visit Disney for many years to come.
One of the things about DVC ownership that we liked was that with the right amount of points we would be able to take others with us. We池e not likely to return to Disney every year, but every 2 to 3 years would be perfect for us.

So with DVC points in hand, I started pricing everything to put together a proposal for the other family. They were thrilled to get such detailed planning. And I was having fun putting together the options.

So what were the final choices:
Flight: Spirit Airlines (yes, they nickel and dime you, but they are cheap and gets us where we want to go)
Resort: Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani in a Standard View 2 Bedroom
Dates: Sunday, June 23-Friday, June 28
Dining Plan: 1 Table Service, 1 Counter Service, 1 Snack
Transportation: Magical Express
Tickets: YES tickets for all (Park Hopper, Water Parks & More)

I went with AKL because the 2 bedroom actually sleeps 9 and has 3 bathrooms. We didn稚 have the points for a savannah view room, but I知 excited about staying in such a beautiful themed resort.

I love that with a DVC reservation, you don稚 have to worry about booking a full package in order to add the Dining Plan.

Up Next: You致e been working with a family of 5, where did the additional 4 people come from?
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:24 PM   #5
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Adding 4 More People Brings Us To A Total of 13 Travelers

4+5+2+2=13!!!

Our church friends, the M Family, had previously been trying to plan a trip that included extended family members. The extra members were the wife痴 Mother and a Niece (14) along with the husband痴 Sister and her Daughter(8). These are the other children of the family and they wanted them to be able to share in the experience.

This was an added challenge because they would not be traveling on DVC points and likely would not be staying in the same resort. I was clear that there were no 努alking distance value resort and that Disney transportation did not exactly go from one resort to another. For time sake, we would need to meet up with them in the Parks.

I pulled together some different options for them and provided it to the other two families who would be sharing a room. They made their decision and the initial plan is to stay at Pop with the Magic Your Way Package with 5 day Park Hopper/WPM tickets and the regular Dining Plan.

Up Next: The idea for extra trips is born!
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:38 PM   #6
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Well, I can see people are reading, but no one is responding.

But that won't stop me from posting!!!

This isn't a real update, but I did want to pop in. I'm determined to tell the story in order. So that means I can't tell you about the developments that have happened in the last week. But believe me, they are all great changes!

If you're reading along, glad to have you on board. You'll know about all the changes soon.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:00 PM   #7
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Premium Annual Passes All Around!

Premium Annual Passes All Around!

Sometime during the Fall (I don稚 know which month!), Disney announced a special price of $399 on Premium Annual Passes for DVC members. I immediately looked at the tickets budget that I壇 been working with. 5 Day Premium YES tickets with the 2012 pricing was roughly $800 for my family of four (2 Adults, 1 Disney Adult, 1 Child). There was no guarantee that the classes would be offered or that the dates would match up or that the price would hold. It wouldn稚 be until January before we had the answer for that.
Purchasing regular park tickets with PH/WPM would have been $1400. The discounted PAP痴 were going to be $1700. I figured if we could spend a total of 10 days in the parks on two separate trips, the upgrade would be nice and worth the price. Don稚 forget we値l have points to use for lodging, so we can take a cheaper trip for the price of airfare and food. Decision was made. We were going to buy PAP痴 and take at least one more trip before they expired. The purchase had to be made by Dec. 31. So it was time to get down to business with the saving so that we could hit our due date.

Right after Thanksgiving, I saw the Budget Board here on the Dis a deal that I couldn稚 let go by. A Texas grocery store chain called HEB was selling $300 entertainment cards for $50 off. That痴 right folks! I purchased $1800 worth of Disney gift cards for $1500. First, I had to find the closest HEB to me. It was 25 miles away. That was no where to drive for a $300 savings. But before we could get them, I had to be sure how many methods of payments would be accepted for the purchase of PAP痴. I did my research and found that it could only be two methods per transaction. I had to buy 6 cards and do each transaction separately but it worked. The CM I got on the call was great and congratulated me on such a great deal. When we went to HEB on that Sunday, I found another DISer and his wife in the store purchasing gift cards as well. He壇 driven a lot farther than we had. We talked for a while, made our purchases and headed on our way.

With info from my lovely members on the Budget Board, I had just gotten PAP痴 for my family for $1400 (the same price as the regular 5 Day PH/WPM tickets. I was overly excited. And I still have $100 in gift cards to apply towards my Dining plan.

I致e been hoping and praying that HEB runs that sale sometime during the Spring. No luck as of yet. But I scan the sales paper every single week.
I did inform the other family about the deal, but they didn稚 act on it. I also told them about the Target coupon where you got a $10 Target gift card for every $50 spent with the additional 5% off savings with the Target card. Neither one of us used the Target deal for the Disney gift cards.
Tickets done! (well for my family at least!)

Up Next: Booking the Hotel with Points for the Very First Time
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:04 PM   #8
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I'm Here!

I followed you over from my PTR, I'm following along!
Can't wait to hear about your new developments!
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Current PTR: Did You Know Mickey is a Ship Captain?
Previous trip report: This is Literally the Best Trip Ever!
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackiemarie21 View Post
I followed you over from my PTR, I'm following along!
Can't wait to hear about your new developments!
Thanks for following along! It's fun to relive the whole planning process.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:41 AM   #10
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Present Day Happenings

My Disney Experience

When Disney first released this on their website and provided apps for smartphones and tablets, I was excited to try something new. Unfortunately, the product was buggy in the beginning. I tried it again on yesterday and was able to pull in my DVC reservation and ADR痴. I can see everything from my iPhone as well. Since they seem to have fixed most of the problems, I wonder does that mean we are close to the official release of Fastpass Plus and the Magic Bands. Hopefully, these will be ready and available to use for our late June trip.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:22 AM   #11
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I am here!!!

I am here and ready to follow along. Good job. I can not wait to see how this unfolds.

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by S'sMom View Post
I am here and ready to follow along. Good job. I can not wait to see how this unfolds.

Hello Friend who hooked me on Disney!!!

Thanks for following along. You can read the quick versions, but thanks for listening to the more detailed versions!!!
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:09 PM   #13
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Present Day Update

I'm excited and can't hold it in! I just booked my airfare for trip #2. It's to celebrate my 40th birthday! Keep reading along if you want details!
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kthshh View Post
I'm excited and can't hold it in! I just booked my airfare for trip #2. It's to celebrate my 40th birthday! Keep reading along if you want details!
Gone on!! I saw that sale today!!
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S'sMom View Post
Gone on!! I saw that sale today!!
I decided to go ahead and make Trip 2 official. It wasn't a big price drop but it fell within my budget guidelines. YAY!
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