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Old 12-17-2013, 09:52 AM   #1
familyabgar
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Photo Book Shared!--"We go to Disney World in Two Minutes" -- a May 2014 PTR

Hi There, I'm Abby! I'm fairly new to the DIS, but have been planning (as best I could) our May 2014 trip to WDW since about May 2013! It was a long wait until bookings opened, but we have been booked since July 14, 2013. We're also past our 180 day mark, so dining has also been reserved! But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. So let's start at the beginning.

Who?
Our big happy family of 12. Myself (30), DH--Gary (29-for now!), DD--Eliza (2.5).

My mom--Joy (62), my dad--Tom (65).

My sister--April (39), BIL--Ben.

My brother--Adam (35), his gf--Bridget.

My sister--Alissa (33), BIL--Luis; nephew--Lennox (due date 12/26/13!! He'll be about 5m when we travel).


What & When?
Walt Disney World! Late May 2014.

Why?

Why not?! Our last full family vacation was in August 2010 to Australia. It was amazing and we went almost all-out. With Eliza turning 3 in June, we decided we'd better take advantage of "free before they're 3" and take a trip to the World.


The Details:
7 days, 6 nights
2 two-bedroom Bay Lake Tower lake-view villas
5 or 6 day park hoppers
Disney Dining Plan for all but my sisters and BILs, as they are Florida residents and buying tickets on their own.

From here on out I expect to focus on my little family of 3, though everyone will be mentioned from time to time of course! I am the main planner, though we are using a TA for convenience.
Now get started!
]

Last edited by familyabgar; 05-30-2014 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:40 AM   #3
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Getting to know us!


My DH and I were middle/high school sweethearts and have been married for 7.5 years! Our beautiful daughter is 2.5 years old and gave me the title of this PTR. She is a princess-minnie-daisy-mickey mouse clubhouse enthusiast and also loves to watch YouTube videos of Celebrate the Magic and meet-n-greets. She realllllly wants to go to Disney World, but of course, being 2.5 has no concept of time. So, she says to us, "We go to Disney World in two minutes!" If only we could, baby girl!

She has, however, been to Disney World before! We took a long weekend trip to Orlando in February 2012 to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (with the whole fam, minus my brother). But we couldn't imagine being in Orlando and not going to WDW. So what did we do? We bought a 1-day park hopper and went to all 4 parks in 1 day--with a 9m old.





We started at AK, hopped to DHS, spent time in MK, and ended our night with dinner in Epcot. Busy, but FUN!

This upcoming trip will be my 7th trip to WDW, and first week long trip since 2003. It is DH's 4th trip to WDW. He went over spring break in high school and was sick. He didn't hate it, but didn't fall in love with it either!
My family, on the other, we love WDW. Here are some snapshots from other past trips:


My first trip and only picture of this one I have!



Sister's College Graduation Trip 2003:





DH & My Law School Graduation Trip 2010



(any Lost fans in the house? The finale was a week after our trip!)



We are all SO excited to go on our next trip and make new memories!

In this PTR, I will share the usual plans, dining reservations, etc. But it will also be a space where I share my plans for DD's outfits. You see, this past summer I took up sewing! I've been enjoying making my DD clothing and our trip to Disney was a major motivator in me learning to sew. So if you enjoy little girls' clothing, you should enjoy this PTR!
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:51 AM   #4
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Following along.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:33 AM   #5
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Flashback: The Booking Process

This trip started as my idea. DH and I agreed that it was a good idea to go to WDW before DD turned 3. We also knew that my parents would be 10000% on board, so they were our first invitation. Of course they said, YES. My ILs are unable to make the trip. So we extended our invitations to my siblings, as well. Being as how my dad thinks traveling and family time are two of the most important things in life, we were able to get commitments from all 3 siblings to join us for some or all of the trip.

Next, we had to choose a date. We wanted to go late in May to be as close to DD's birthday as possible, while not going in June or over Memorial Day. We figured the older the better. We decided that the week before Memorial Day was a good option, and bonus, we'd get Memorial Day off before returning to work after a long week in WDW. There was a small hiccup in our plan, however, because DH's little brother (lil-BIL) is graduating college at our alma mater on Sunday, May 18. Did I mention we are driving? No worries, though. We decided we will attend the graduation and leave immediately from there to drive to Orlando. It's sorta-kinda on the way and only 1.75 hours from our home. The college, that is. WDW is about 15 or so hours.

So, we planned to start our drive on May 18. My brother and his gf will be riding with us (we actually bought a new car partly in prepartion for this trip and will have plenty of room), and we will drive straight thru to Orlando. I have no idea how long this will realistically take, but we're hoping to be at WDW by 4pm May 19, our check-in day.

With the start date set, we knew we wanted to spend a week at the World, but needed to stay only 6 nights in order to get back on the road to drive home. So, we'll be checking out and leaving May 25.

With our dates set, it was time to pick a place! Staying on the monorail seems like a no-brainer given we will have an infant and a toddler.

At first, and before my siblings had committed, I was thinking this:

(wdwinfo picture)

My parents, us, and DD would all have fit in 1 room. Sharing would have kept costs down. But then, my siblings said yes. So my TA suggested considering villas.

In doing my research, I became very attached to the idea of this:

(disneyvacationclub picture)

My oh my, are those villas beautiful.

Finally, after months of speculating, the rates were released in July. I had requested that my TA compile quotes for the following locations:

Grand Floridan Villas
Bay Lake Tower Villas
Polynesian Resort
Contemporary Resort

I will admit when the quotes came back we experienced sticker shock. But we forged on. We came thisclose to booking the GFV, but two couples (including the infant) decided they wanted to room alone, and not share a villa. We also want to be in close proximity. So, that ruled out GFV and Poly (too expensive for individual rooms). That left us with BLT and CR.


(disneyvacationclub picture)


(wdwmagic picture)

We stayed at the CR in a Tower room back in 2003. We had connecting rooms and it was great. We loved the monorail and even though the decor was loud art deco, we liked the hotel.

After some back-and-forth with the TA and what seemed to be a shortage of rooms, we were finally able to secure a 2-bedroom lake-view villa and 2 Garden Wing rooms. It should be an easy walk for the 4 in the GW to walk to our villa as needed.

So here is where we stand today for hotel:
4 of us (plus DD, so 5) are currently booked in the BLT villa. 2 more (sister and BIL without baby) will be joining us there. They are FL residents so we will add them to our reservation upon arrival, as they don't want the package.
2 plus infant booked room-only in GW room.
2 booked room-only in GW room, but will be switched to a package soon (will be explained later!)

Now, we are waiting [im]patiently for discounts covering our dates to be released! Seems like early-January is the time, so cross your fingers for us!
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiigirl View Post
Following along.
Thank you! I'll do my best to keep it worthwhile.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:22 AM   #7
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Travel Day Plans

As I mentioned previously, we will be making the 15+ hour drive to Disney World. My family of three, plus my brother and his gf will make the drive down together. Just my family of three, and maybe my dad, will be driving back.

Some people think it's crazy to make that long of a drive with a toddler, and it may be! But we think the cost savings is worth it, and our fingers are crossed that DD sleeps over night!!

I have begun compiling ideas to keep DD occupied in the car. Here are a few:

1. Window clings:


2. Magnet board:


3. Movies on the iPad

4. Magnadoodle:


5. Some sort of goodie bag with ready-to-go snacks.

We will be leaving sometime in the afternoon after college graduation festivities for lil-BIL. It's hard to tell where we'll need to stop to truly plan ahead, but I estimate we'll end up stopping for dinner somewhere between Louisville and Nashville. With 4 adult drivers, we should hopefully have no issues driving through the night. I imagine we'd stop for breakfast between Macon and Valdosta. Hopefully we won't get caught in any Atlanta traffic! And of course, there will be stops as needed in between!

If we're lucky, we'll be able to eat lunch at Downtown Disney! If not, no worries, because we'll be eating dinner at........

BOMA!





In 2003, we did breakfast at BOMA, and we're all very excited to kick off our dining here for dinner. We have 2 pescatarians in our group, and DH and I eat on the healthy side and I think this is a perfect choice. Bonus points for many options for our DD! I also hope to do some animal viewing while we're on property at the AKL.
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:43 AM   #8
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Dining Plan or No?

When we went to WDW in May 2003, I believe the Dining Plan was fairly new. It included tips and 3 courses per person. And it was not nearly as expensive as the regular plan is now. My dad says it was a no-brainer. Our first dinner was at 50's Primetime Cafe. I was nearly physically ill after that dinner from all the food! The portions there are huge.

This time around, we really struggled with whether to add the DDP (just for my parents, DH, and I). We even tossed the DxDP idea around, but ultimately decided it was not cost effective. To determine whether to add the DDP I first used the spreadsheets on a couple sites. I trolled the AllEars menus. At first, we were against it.

"It won't save us money!"
"We can set aside gift cards if we want to prepay!"
"What if we want appetizers instead of an entree?!"
"That's a lot of dessert!"

Never once did having too many TS meals cross our minds. No matter what, some TS meals will be paid for OOP.

After the months passed by, I did the spreadsheets a second time and realized that any savings either way would be negligible. We may or may not save money either OOP or on the DDP. I sat down with my parents and DH and we picked menu options from each of our ADRs. We added them up. The results were just as the spreadsheets predicted--about even--except our figures didn't include snacks! So, with the addition of snacks, our decision was made: add the DDP.

Now, I'd love to be able to share my rudimentary spreadsheets and chicken scratch, but I recycled those pretty quickly. No looking back!

As I go through our daily plans, I'll note which TS meals we will use DDP and which we will pay OOP (at least my best guesses at this point!).

**in my next update I'll be sure to add pictures!**
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Old 12-31-2013, 11:02 AM   #9
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The Power of DISBoutique

I first found my way onto the DIS boards through the DISBoutique thread in the Families forum. Once we decided to go to WDW, I wanted DD to have the clothes to match the occasion! But I was not willing to spend the money on customs made by other people. So, for that, and a few other reasons, I borrowed my mom's sewing machine to see if I could sew worth a darn. Although my first project was horrendous (I'll spare your eyes), I soon improved.

Here is the first Disney-inspired dress I made for DD:



It has room to grow (can be adjusted by the straps) and I still plan for it to make an appearance in May!

After that I was hooked! I got my own machine, and recently purchased a serger.

I have made many other projects in the meantime, and will share just two more since they are Disney related! DD is princess-obsessed, so I knew she needed Cinderella and Belle gowns! These are definitely play-dresses, and will not hold up for 5 more months!





DD loves to play in these (she wore both last evening)!

Now I have begun the planning stage for WDW outfits. So far I have Rapunzel, Daisy Duck, and new Cinderella and Belle gowns on my list. Here are the patterns I've chosen so far:

For Daisy:

Paired with white ruffle shorts (also made by me) and a pretty bow.

For Rapunzel:


I still haven't decided on specifics for the rest, but will post sewing updates as I have them to share!


Last edited by familyabgar; 12-31-2013 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:18 PM   #10
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I stumbled across your PTR after updating my own TR and catching up on all of the other threads that I'm subscribed to.

You have a beautiful family and that is a LOT of people to plan for! My hat is off to you.

The clothes you are going make for your daughter are just adorable.

I look forward to following along.
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
I stumbled across your PTR after updating my own TR and catching up on all of the other threads that I'm subscribed to.

You have a beautiful family and that is a LOT of people to plan for! My hat is off to you.

The clothes you are going make for your daughter are just adorable.

I look forward to following along.
Thank you! I am quite the lurker and have read your TR (though I'm not caught up) and see you pop up in emmy'smommy's TR/dining report, too. Thank you for stopping by!
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by familyabgar View Post
Thank you! I am quite the lurker and have read your TR (though I'm not caught up) and see you pop up in emmy'smommy's TR/dining report, too. Thank you for stopping by!
Feel free to pop in and say hello any time. Emmysmommy is one of my favorite DISer's and absolutely lovely and charming.
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:57 PM   #13
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Spring Discount Fail
Well, we knew it would be a possibility that the Spring Discount offer might not apply to our reservation...but we received confirmation last week that sealed our fate. No discounts! Boooo! However, despite having to pay rack rate, we will be staying in our BLT villa. The convenience of 3 full bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, monorail access, walking path to MK, etc., outweighs the potential savings here. This trip is purposefully a splurge (that we've been saving for--even at rack rate), and as a family we're comfortable with our current location.

We still have our fingers triple-crossed that the Florida residents can get a discount on their rooms at the CR, though! Even though those rooms are under the discount, there was zero availability on our dates. This was a let down, but also unsurprising given we barely managed to snag the rooms back in July!

So, no exciting news to report of epic savings or resort hopping. Womp womp! More exciting posts (I hope) to come!
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Old 01-13-2014, 02:17 PM   #14
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Sorry you couldn't get the Spring Discount; but you sound happy with your choice of where you will stay.
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Old 01-13-2014, 02:54 PM   #15
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First Full Day in Disney!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, our first full day will be at Magic Kingdom!



I simply cannot wait to walk into that park with DD again and see her reaction. When she was 9m old, she had no idea what was going on, of course! I predict some crying from Mommy.

We are starting out day bright and early (and I hope we don't regret it...) for an pre-park opening ADR at...


mouseplanet photo

Nowhere else would do for our little princess! In 2003, we ate dinner here, and all I can remember is meeting Snow White before dinner and having a table in the back somewhere. I'm excited to be going back. With a party of 10 adults, we'll be receiving two photo packages! DD and DN (dear nephew; now 2 weeks old and the prettiest baby boy I've ever seen) will be dressed up as Cinderella and Prince Charming. I will be the Fairy Godmother making both outfits!

Menu choices will likely include one of each given the size and diversity of our group! Though the "healthy choice" and "traditional breakfast" may be left unordered.

After breakfast, my list of "like to dos" looks something like this:
  • Prince Charming's Carousel
  • Dumbo
  • Tea Cups
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Peter Pan
  • Philharmonic
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Meet Daisy, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy!

I am unsure how long the lines will be for these, how many we can fit in in one morning, or basically, what is realistic. We also have Fast Pass + to consider.

I expect to be very full from breakfast, but we'll probably need a snack or two! I will likely bring applesauce packets and cereal snacks for DD, but perhaps we'll share a Gaston's Tavern cinnamon roll and LaFrou's Brew, as well?

After a morning in New/Old Fantasyland we have a late-lunch ADR at...


themouseforless photo

Here, DH, my mom, and my dad plan to split entrees: Pilgrim's Feast and New England Pot Roast. Allears doesn't list the toffee cake I keep reading about! We want to try that if it is offered, and probably the chocolate cake for dessert. We will probably also pay OOP for a kid's version of the turkey dinner. DD needs her own serving of mashed potatoes!

After filling up and taking a break at lunch, we plan to hang out in Liberty Square for a bit. I want to:
  • Ride the River Boat
  • Meet Tiana
  • "Tour" the Haunted Mansion
  • Maybe check out Hall of Presidents (DD wouldn't enjoy!)
  • Catch the afternoon parade

We may not do all of those things this afternoon, because it's important to me to also see Dream Along With Mickey! I think DD will really enjoy it. A snack from the Main Street Bakery or Plaza might be in order, as well.

Oh! I forgot to add that we'll hopefully be able to meet talking Mickey, too!

At this point in time, we may need to take a break. DD is still napping right now at 2.5 years old, but the length varies. Maybe the Hall of Presidents would put her to sleep and she could nap in the park?

It's more likely that we'll head back to the hotel around 4pm and take a break. We do not have an ADR for dinner, and have planned to use a QS credit for dinner at Contempo Cafe.

After our late afternoon break and dinner, we'll be headed back to MK! This time, we will head into Tomorrowland. On our list:
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • People Mover
  • Space Mountain
  • Astro Orbiter (?)
More excitingly, though, we have a 9pm reservation for...

The Tommorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party

This was one of my sister's requests, and why not? Since we don't have a dinner ADR, we should have plenty of room to enjoy the desserts. I'm very excited to see Celebrate the Magic in person (we watch it on youtube a couple times a week!) and Wishes. I've never seen Wishes b/c I grew up afraid of fireworks! While we'll likely miss the electric parade, we'll make sure to catch it a different night.

Phew! This is a very ambitious first day, especially with a toddler. So much of this will be adjusted on the fly, I'm sure, but I'm really excited for it!


Last edited by familyabgar; 01-13-2014 at 03:24 PM.
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