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Old 05-09-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
Nakkira
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My First trip with "S" (Boyfriend) 10/17/13

So every time I go on vacation I swear I will keep a travel Blog.
Intentions....

Anyway I am really excited that for the first time I am at least going to try and am starting with some Pre-Trip Blogging.

Let Me first introduce you to who is going:


The handsome Gentleman on the left is my Boyfriend of just over a year.
For the Purpose of this Trip we will call him "S" or as I have learned is common in the DIS my "DBF"
I am the one on the right

We are a couple in our mid-thirties. Both divorced and burned but trying hard to make it work. We do not live together. He has a son (8yrs) who will not be coming with us this time but we already discussing the possibility in the next couple of years.

We are both playful although my inner child is much more giddy at the thought of Disney than his is.
I have been to WDW about 8 or 9 times, half of them as an Adult.
He has only been once as a child.
I wish I could go every year. I am really hoping "S" loves it as much as I do! (and nervous he will not)
We are both living on very conservative budgets and are not blessed with very well paying jobs or excess vacation time.
This will be the Uber-Budget trip.
I am good at it. I am really good at it.
Him, not so much. He often goes over-budget and I am hoping that some intensive pre-planning will help prevent that!
Ok, who am I kidding. I just love to plan.

So how we ended up planning out first trip to WDW together:
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My in Progress Trip Report for my Oct 2013 Food & Fest (and more) Trip

Oct 2013 - 5 days (offsite hotel)
Feb 2009 -3 days (offsite hotel)
Oct 2004 - Week (Caribbean Beach Resort)
Feb 1998 - Week (offsite hotel)
Fall 1993 - Week (offsite hotel)

Last edited by Nakkira; 09-04-2013 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:45 PM   #2
Nakkira
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How it came about:

"S" and I had been discussing what we wanted to do this summer/fall. We had decided to devote one week of vacation to spend "together"
This is trickier than it sounds to arrange because again, we do not live together,
I only get 2 weeks vacation, he has week-on-week-off custody of his son, I have a much younger sister that lives with me...

We value our time together even though it gets difficult to plan.

We had discussed Williamsburg VA or maybe NYC. Trying to stay withen a day's drive.
I pretty much though we were going to end up doing NYC but then (about a month ago) he send me a strange text.

"How much would a Hotel and Park tickets cost for Disney World?"

!?! What???? OMG! What?

So it turns out he had found a really great deal on plane tickets to Orlando (or so it seemed at first) $75 per person each way.
He wanted to know how much it would cost to go to Disney and knew I was really good at bargain vacation hunting.

Okay, so was he planning to take his son, or me, or both?

A few awkward texts later I established that tis was for OUR vacation, but could I get prices for both just the two of us and all three of us and we would hash out the possibilities.

But if we could find something we could afford would I be willing to go to Disney instead of the other possibilities?
YES!
October? During the Food and Wine Festival??? YES! (I saw it one afternoon at the tail end of a Family trip once a decade ago and have been dying to go back and REALLY experience it ever since)


I crunched numbers with MANY variables (with kid, without, on-site, off-site, etc.) I
I came up with a package that would put us at just over $700 per person.(off-site- no matter what value resort on-site was still costing $200 more apiece than we could actually afford)

The only thing that was even remotely affordable was off site. (without son but we decided it's best to wait till maybe next year to take him anyway)

Anyway the airfare was not the great deal it had looked like. (very limited dates that were mostly sold out, no checked bags, other hidden fees) We had missed all the dates we Could go by hesitating on the decision to go. "S" was sounding disappointed and apologetic and I was nearly in tears when we were unable to book the cheap flight.
Things were starting to fall apart, and after getting my hopes raised so high unexpectedly, I was unwilling to let this dream go!

I logged into every travel site I knew. re-crunched numbers, packages, separate discounted park tickets, different airports (I live withen 2-3 hours drive of 3 major airports)

Finally thank to JetBlue, Undercover Tourist & Priceline I managed to book the following:

-6 Nights at Econo Lodge. (This is the only part I wish I could have done better, I stayed there 12 years ago and though it was ok, but further reviews and research AFTER I had booked show that it has REALLY gone downhill. I just hope it is not a total dump, and at least it includes carb-based Breakfast and Shuttle to Parks. "S" keeps reassuring me that we are pretty much just going to SLEEP there)
-Round Trip Airfare on JetBlue (this includes a free check bag) & Airport Parking (BTW the airfare ended up being about $75 each way per person so just as cheap as "S" originally thought his bargain was going to be. And I booked at the right time because when I re-priced the exact same package two weeks later the price had doubled on the airfare)
-5 Day tickets to WDW (did not do Park Hopper this time I had found a GREAT deal that put these at the same price as 3 day tickets. We will just have to focus on one park a day)
-Meers Transportation to and from Hotel/Airport.
-Trip Insurance

NOT Included : Food, Spending Money, and fuel for the 2.5 hour drive to the airport.

I impressed even myself as I put all this together for $626 a piece!

So on Oct 14th we are booked to Fly to Orlando!

OMG I am so excited!
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My in Progress Trip Report for my Oct 2013 Food & Fest (and more) Trip

Oct 2013 - 5 days (offsite hotel)
Feb 2009 -3 days (offsite hotel)
Oct 2004 - Week (Caribbean Beach Resort)
Feb 1998 - Week (offsite hotel)
Fall 1993 - Week (offsite hotel)
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:57 PM   #3
Nakkira
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Pin Trading together?

I told "S" about the pin-trading.
He was semi aware of it as he had seen, and even re-arranged (only a couple pins,with permission) my Pinboard from past trips when he helped me move into my new house last summer.



I was (the day AFTER booking) already pricing out some pre-trip bargain pin purchases so I would have plenty to trade come October and wanted to know if he would be interested in giving it ago.
I am very pleased he said yes and so I am now putting together an lanyard for him too! After-all it will be easier for me to accomplish MY trades if he is not standing around looking bored the whole time, but is involved as well!
I also indulged and bought myself a new Tinkerbell lanyard! $2 Ebay.

He does not seem very excited but honestly interested. He is as geeky and collection inclined as me, so I am hoping he is sucked in quickly. (yet not TOO strongly as again this is a very tightly budgeted trip and he cannot afford to end up buying dozens of pins to feed the monster)


Also wondering about this "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom " stuff I have seen on DIS in the last week. I had never heard of it before now. Is this good geeky fun we might be interested in? Will have to do more research.
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My in Progress Trip Report for my Oct 2013 Food & Fest (and more) Trip

Oct 2013 - 5 days (offsite hotel)
Feb 2009 -3 days (offsite hotel)
Oct 2004 - Week (Caribbean Beach Resort)
Feb 1998 - Week (offsite hotel)
Fall 1993 - Week (offsite hotel)

Last edited by Nakkira; 05-09-2013 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:42 PM   #4
happybelle
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I hope you and S have a wonderful time and he enjoys pin trading.

Last edited by happybelle; 05-10-2013 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:06 AM   #5
Nakkira
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happybelle View Post
I hope you and S have a wonderful time and he enjoys pin trading.
Thank. I really am over the top excited about this trip and am trying very hard not to overwhelm him with it all. That's why I am really doing the pre-trip blog so I can have a safe place to be excited and plan.
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My in Progress Trip Report for my Oct 2013 Food & Fest (and more) Trip

Oct 2013 - 5 days (offsite hotel)
Feb 2009 -3 days (offsite hotel)
Oct 2004 - Week (Caribbean Beach Resort)
Feb 1998 - Week (offsite hotel)
Fall 1993 - Week (offsite hotel)
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:47 AM   #6
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WDW Fireworks Fanatic!

Yesterday after lunch I was discussing with "S" my tentative plans for the one ADR I want to make.
I mentioned that I was not interested in Fantasmic (and tried to describe it to him) So on out HS day we could maybe leave a bit early and go to the Poly for dinner, then watch the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party fireworks from the beach. I told him that we would be seeing "Wishes" actually in the parks but that since we can't afford the party it would be a chance to at least see the other show from a distance. (Never done this before so I am not sure how good the view is or anything)
He liked the idea okay but seemed very puzzled about something, I inquired and he was "Meh, fireworks are ok, but you know, you can see them anywhere"

I then turned uber-geeky-fan-girl-trying-to-explain!

I tried to explain that these were not just a few fireworks with some music in the background but a choreographed show of Epic proportions!!!
I mean I like boring fireworks too, but these were the best I ever have seen!
He seemed a little more interested, but really I think that my excitement was more amusing to him than anything else. Thankfully he is a fan of my "inner-child".

I really hope that he agreed with me after the experience.

Anyway, even though they are Halloween themed I think it will be romantic to watch the Fireworks from the beach. I just hope this is not too complicated. I have never Resort visited before. We will have no car so we will need to get from HS to the Poly- and then back to wherever we can catch a bus back to our off-sight hotel after. I highly suspect I might want to consider a cab for once, but really have no idea how much that might cost.
Any helpful idea/suggestions?



UPDATE: I now have reservations at the Kona that night for 8pm (cutting it close to finish before 9:30 Fireworks but was the best I could do)

So now to figure out the logistics!
__________________
My in Progress Trip Report for my Oct 2013 Food & Fest (and more) Trip

Oct 2013 - 5 days (offsite hotel)
Feb 2009 -3 days (offsite hotel)
Oct 2004 - Week (Caribbean Beach Resort)
Feb 1998 - Week (offsite hotel)
Fall 1993 - Week (offsite hotel)

Last edited by Nakkira; 05-13-2013 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:01 AM   #7
rccllap
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Totally excited for you!! I'm overflowing with ideas for you, too. Have you checked out all the youtube videos of things like Wishes, and the parades, and the resorts? That might be a way to get "S" hooked into the awesomesauce that is Disney magic

Have you already totally committed to the Econolodge? There are bunkload tons of timeshare resorts down there always looking for bookings. Yes, I know the budget is key, and I am totally on board with keeping y'all to the least spent to maximize the fun, but if you haven't totally signed away a limb to stay there, check out some of the time share places. Sometimes asking around friends and family too, someone can maybe get you an accomodations certificate or an exchange.

My mom had some success one year with a box lot of random tradeable pins off Ebay. I don't know how much it cost, but it was a huge number of pins that we then took with us to trade.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:46 PM   #8
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Enjoying the TR! I agree with trying other options for resorts.. Did you look into values?
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In Memory of My Mama- 10-15-56- 04-10-13
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April 2006- Offsite DH ( was BF) first time
December 2005- Offsite ( Engaged at Magic Kingdom)
December 2007- Offsite ( Pregnant with Lawson)
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rccllap View Post

Have you already totally committed to the Econolodge?


Sadly, yes, I have already booked and paid for it on Priceline at the same time as my flight.

I think I will just have to make the best of it this time. I was trying so desperately to keep the cost down (and Yes, the Value Disney resorts still were going to cost me a couple hundred dollars more) that I did not do the proper research. I had stayed in this hotel more than a decade before I found it to clean and comfortable, just with very little frills. I forgot that places can downside and the reviews I have seen since booking are a tad alarming. I will just had to grit my teeth and cope. After all, we will not be spending very much time there. I just hope it does not ruin the trip for "S".
I plan to bring Lysol wipes etc. in case I need "freshen" the room myself (some of the complaints have been about cleanliness).

I do plan to entice him with a couple of YouTube videos!

Also I did order a Lot of pins (25) from Ebay. I have since then become worried because I did not realize until I read the message boards that "Scrappers/Fakes" were a problem. I have tried to sort through them but it really is hard to tell even with all the tips. I only found one or two that seemed they might be so I have put them aside.

I DO really think he will enjoy the pin trading. He has a collectors soul!

I am wondering about the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom thing. I have been hearing about it on the DIS boards.
I like quests. I turn my pin-trading into a scavenger hunt. I get the Epcot Passport (even though I am an adult) and make sure I get it stamped in every country!
Have you (anyone) tried this out and is it worth doing? We will most likely only spend one day in the Magic Kingdom.

So excited!
146 days is 145 too long!
__________________
My in Progress Trip Report for my Oct 2013 Food & Fest (and more) Trip

Oct 2013 - 5 days (offsite hotel)
Feb 2009 -3 days (offsite hotel)
Oct 2004 - Week (Caribbean Beach Resort)
Feb 1998 - Week (offsite hotel)
Fall 1993 - Week (offsite hotel)

Last edited by Nakkira; 05-21-2013 at 08:11 AM. Reason: I am the Queen of typos
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:46 AM   #10
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Panic button!!!!!

I think I have really screwed up.
I did NOT realize how crappy this hotel had gotten. I tried calling Priceline but there is no way I can change or cancel any part of my reservation (not without loss of money already spent)

I have NO extra money to just book in a different place.

The latest blow is finding out that the "Free Shuttle" to the parks runs only once a day.


OMG. I have never run into that before.
How limiting!!!!

Now I am going to re-post part of a Panic post I started elsewhere:

My poor hotel choice (and yes I am locked in) keeps getting worse and worse.
Now I have found out that it only runs the free shuttle once per day.
No renting a car is NOT an option either.
Before you suggest I rent a car or stay on property please remember that I am already locked in and do not have enough addition money for a car rental and Disney parking.

That said. I will be staying on Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy.
I have heard that the LYNX bus runs frequently AND only costs $2 each way.

Does anyone have any experience with this?
Have you ridden LYNX and has it gone ok?

I am getting really terrified that my budget choice of hotel in now really going to screw things up!


PANIC PANIC PANIC

"S" trusted me to make these plans and now I am screwing up big time!
For just $80 more total I could of had us in the hotel I stayed at last time (frequent shuttles and very nice)
I just knew that if the total got too much higher he would have not agreed to go ahead and book, money is that tight.
No excuse, this mistake could actually Ruin the vacation. I am usually much more detail oriented than this.
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My in Progress Trip Report for my Oct 2013 Food & Fest (and more) Trip

Oct 2013 - 5 days (offsite hotel)
Feb 2009 -3 days (offsite hotel)
Oct 2004 - Week (Caribbean Beach Resort)
Feb 1998 - Week (offsite hotel)
Fall 1993 - Week (offsite hotel)
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:13 AM   #11
mom of mogue
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I do not have specific experience on Lynx buses, but suggest you post the question on theme park strategies thread. Might get some more people reading your questions. Also, want to reassure you that you can still have a wonderful time even when staying at a not-so-spectacular hotel. If you plan on spending most of your time in the parks, who cares where you are sleeping?! I have definitely spent nights in crappy hotels/motels on vacations and still had great times. We all can't stay at the Poly or GF! The only time I have stayed onsite was when we camped in a tent at Fort Wilderness!
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom of mogue View Post
If you plan on spending most of your time in the parks, who cares where you are sleeping?! I have definitely spent nights in crappy hotels/motels on vacations and still had great times. We all can't stay at the Poly or GF! The only time I have stayed onsite was when we camped in a tent at Fort Wilderness!
I do agree. Right now my major panic is now trying to figure out HOW to get to the parks without incurring major expense!

I am a little calmer now. I will have to do my best to schedule around their 1 shuttle a day as much as I can, but really I think if I can figure out the LYNX routes, I will have a bit more flexibility back. I am just embarrassed and upset that I did not catch this detail before booking. Just one more speed-bump!
Okay trying to shed the panic and return to reason. Am still upset but can work with this..
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My in Progress Trip Report for my Oct 2013 Food & Fest (and more) Trip

Oct 2013 - 5 days (offsite hotel)
Feb 2009 -3 days (offsite hotel)
Oct 2004 - Week (Caribbean Beach Resort)
Feb 1998 - Week (offsite hotel)
Fall 1993 - Week (offsite hotel)
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:44 PM   #13
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First, remember to BREATHE. You have plenty of time to work out any wrinkles. The one day only shuttle is not pleasant, but it's something you can probably work with. There is plenty of other transportation in that area and something WILL come together!

I have a friend who lives down close to the parks and works at the Rainforest Cafe at DTD. I'll ask him about the city bus system. Maybe he knows other options too.

Since I'll be down there (unless something catastrophic happens) before you, I'll make sure to check into the Sorcerers game for you. What I've been able to tell so far is it's similar to things like MagicQuest where you are activating a kiosk with your card to achieve levels or elements of the game.

A side note about unpleasant motels. We've pretty much all had that experience, and it's just something to live with and get beyond. You are really just using it as a place to change clothes, take a shower, and sleep. So, unless Mickey's less than pleasant relations take up residence with you, it will all work out.
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:28 PM   #14
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Adjusting my attitude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rccllap View Post
First, remember to BREATHE. You have plenty of time to work out any wrinkles. The one day only shuttle is not pleasant, but it's something you can probably work with. There is plenty of other transportation in that area and something WILL come together!

I have a friend who lives down close to the parks and works at the Rainforest Cafe at DTD. I'll ask him about the city bus system. Maybe he knows other options too.

Since I'll be down there (unless something catastrophic happens) before you, I'll make sure to check into the Sorcerers game for you. What I've been able to tell so far is it's similar to things like MagicQuest where you are activating a kiosk with your card to achieve levels or elements of the game.

A side note about unpleasant motels. We've pretty much all had that experience, and it's just something to live with and get beyond. You are really just using it as a place to change clothes, take a shower, and sleep. So, unless Mickey's less than pleasant relations take up residence with you, it will all work out.
I feel a lot calmer this afternoon. The bus thing looks like it might be a Bit of a hassle, not not a trip ruin-er.

As for the hotel itself, yeah it really is a bed & shower, as long as it is not filthy and filled with "creatures" it should be fine. It has a microwave and a fridge. Some people complain that the breakfast is only coffee,toast & donuts but really that is all I need. There is Wi-Fi.

I just really need to focus on my time in the parks.

Although now it Does look like I will have to cancel my night at the Poly. I do not think I will be able to get a bus back afterwards. I will wait until closer to the trip before I decide to cancel. Who knows, if I save money elsewhere in the next couple months maybe I can afford a taxi that night.

I am still really happy we get to go, even if I have to make some adjustments to my wants and expectations.
__________________
My in Progress Trip Report for my Oct 2013 Food & Fest (and more) Trip

Oct 2013 - 5 days (offsite hotel)
Feb 2009 -3 days (offsite hotel)
Oct 2004 - Week (Caribbean Beach Resort)
Feb 1998 - Week (offsite hotel)
Fall 1993 - Week (offsite hotel)
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Old 05-22-2013, 02:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nakkira View Post
Although now it Does look like I will have to cancel my night at the Poly. I do not think I will be able to get a bus back afterwards. I will wait until closer to the trip before I decide to cancel. Who knows, if I save money elsewhere in the next couple months maybe I can afford a taxi that night.



There should be a fare calculator for Orlando. I'm not sure about going off property, but I know that ON property the taxis belong to Mears, and Mears does have a fare calculator. So check that out, maybe even call them, and get a number to budget for. Add a few bucks in for gas price rising and fares changing, and a bit for a tip. Then work towards that. Don't let the icky hotel win!
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