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Old 06-01-2014, 08:16 AM   #1
freckles04
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I can't think of a better place to turn 30! ~ Oct 2014 PTR (Update 8/2)

hello and welcome!



~ to my first ever pre-trip report! ~


We are planning our 4th family vacation to Walt Disney World and I'd love to have a place to document and share my thoughts!
Our trip will take place in October of 2014. We loved our Fall Break 2013 trip so much that we hope to make it a yearly thing!
& we think we found our "perfect" time of year for Disney.

As stated in the title, I will be turning 30 on this trip. (Actually, my birthday is the day before we leave, but that doesn't really matter, right? )



I'm SUPER excited about spending such a milestone birthday at my happy place!
It definitely softens the blow of leaving my 20's behind.



Thanks, Grumpy Cat.
Now, onto the good stuff!



introductions
we're booked!
travel details
mickey mail and other things
beach trip mini trip-report
itinerary
FP+ selection day!
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:47 AM   #2
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introductions

~introductions~





~ me ~ My name is Emily. I'm an RN and definitely the biggest Disney fan of the family.
I love all things Disney: WDW, movies, music, characters. You name it and more than likely, I'm a fan!


May 2014

[oh how i love thee, instagram filters ]


~ my SO ~ Matt is my SO. He's almost 35. He loves WDW because we all have so much fun together,
but he's not as big of a freak about it as me, and doesn't care about the planning. He just loves the fun & family time.
Perfect partner for an OCD WDW planner such as myself.


October 2013

~ DS ~ Our DS Matthew is 10 and will be a 5th grader by trip time.
He's into football, basketball, and swimming, among many other things.
He loves actually going to Disney World but sometimes gets tired of hearing me talk about plans for our next trip. :/
He likes to ask what-if's such as: "What would you do with a million
dollars?" And then blurts loudly to me: AND YOU CAN'T SAY MOVE
TO DISNEY WORLD, MOM. bwahaha. he knows me well.



January 2014 - He was a reluctant Beast but played it well.

& here's us together on our Fall Break 2013 trip.



that's it for introductions... I tried to keep it short and sweet. If you're still reading along, thanks!

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Old 06-02-2014, 06:55 AM   #3
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we're booked!

~we're booked!~


We will be staying for 9 nights at our favorite resort, Pop Century! in a Preferred Pool View room. I'm a little nervous about extra noise in the main area of the resort, but I'm packing a fan for white noise.



We've included 8-day Waterpark Fun & More tickets, as we will more than likely spend a couple of days at the water parks and/or Downtown Disney and Disney Quest. I'm wondering, though, if I shouldn't have just gone with the 10-day pass, but my thinking is that we can add more days if we need them. I have read some horror stories about hassles trying to add days from clueless CM's, so hopefully it won't be a problem.

This will also be our first time EVER to have Park Hopper tickets. I'm hoping it will lend a bit more spontaneity to our trip.

Backstory: Our last trip was in January of 2014. With the fairly recent credit card guarantee policy for ALL restaurant reservations, along with having to keep up with FP+ reservations, we decided to try a less-scheduled approach this trip and just go with the flow.

Go with the flow... and stop to smell the roses!



I have a few things planned (such as MNSSHP, or certain EMH's that we want to hit) but mostly, we're just going to do whatever we feel like doing at the moment. Isn't that what vacation is all about? Heck, we might even go to a park just because it was the first bus to pull up.



So far, we have made ONE ADR.

~one ADR!~

That's a huge change for us, folks, as we are a one-ADR-per-day family, if not two a day!

Our one ADR happens to be at Sci-Fi Dine-In, which is DS's only MUST DO.
The rest of our meals will be Counter Service. Speaking of which, guess which promotion I finally got in on, after years of trying???



That's right! Our stay at Pop comes complete with FREE Quick-Service Dining, which I booked online the morning it was released to the public. It was sold out for our dates by the next day, so I am eternally grateful for the heads-up from Disboarders who are in the know. You guys rock!

~heck yeah!~

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Old 06-02-2014, 07:06 AM   #4
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travel details

~travel details~

Every trip up until January of 2014, we have made the 14 hour drive to WDW. Even as a kid... drove. Every time, that dang drive got longer and longer. And the drive home? LONGEST. DRIVE. EVER. pure torture.

Can ya tell I'm not a fan of road trips?

So for our January trip, since it was only 5 nights, I couldn't bear the thought of making that drive and turning right around and making it again! I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself enough just thinking about that drive. Luckily for me, in November of 2013, Southwest Airlines with their amazingly awesome fares & free bag policy came to Memphis.



HELLO, FLYING!!!!

I will never.ever.ever.ever.ever drive back to WDW again!

Our travel day will consist of:
1. 1-hour drive to airport
2. 2-hour flight
3. arrive to Orlando in the early afternoon
4. board the Magical Express and enjoy the ride!!!



& on departure day, we'll do the reverse. only, it will be a sad ride to the airport.

still better than a sad 14-hour drive home. so YEAH!

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Old 06-03-2014, 07:26 PM   #5
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~ mickey mail and other things ~

A few days ago, we got some Mickey Mail!

It was a booklet featuring the Incredibles and was full of information I already know about MDE, FP+, and MagicBands.

I did enjoy the Welcome Back on this particular page because we can't wait to be back!



But the best part about the booklet was a magnet which has important dates on it.



I know now we can make FP+ on August 2nd... but, I only plan to use that information to make sure we get a 7DMT FP+ on the days I know we'll be in MK. Which I need to obviously decide by August 2nd.

Now for the "other things" bit... just wanted to share my latest Etsy purchase... a Hakuna Matata case for my iPhone.



My old case broke awhile back, and I finally found a new one that I love. The old case was plain black, so I'm excited to have one that's not only pretty, but Disney-themed!

It came from this Etsy shop: iCaseBeauty

It's shipping from Hong Kong, so we'll see how long it'll take to get here.

We have just under 2 weeks til our beach vacation, so I expect the Disney planning to ramp up once we get back.

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Old 06-21-2014, 09:40 AM   #6
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Hi! Saw you had subscribed to my PTR, so thought I would follow yours.

That whole FP+ doesn't really allow for winging it now.

And I would love to stop and smell the roses while at WDW, but my DH never takes the time. Most of my pics have him walking away from me, not mad or anything, he just won't slow down. He has to ride, not look at everything. But then he will look at my pics and say "Where was that?"

I understand not wanting to drive to WDW. Since moving to VA, the only way down is I-95 and when it is only 2 lanes through NC and SC, it is one of the scariest interstates.

Hope you have a fabulous beach trip!
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My DH wants another trip to WDW?!?! MNSSHP, F&W, and Diagon Alley A PTR for Sept 2014

Minions take over the MK and cause havoc at Gringott's
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:13 AM   #7
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Hey, thanks for following along!

Yes, the whole FP+ thing is fighting my every move at a spontaneous trip. I know from our last trip that early October is very crowded; I recall Test Track reaching 100+ minute waits by 10AM or so. Just an example. I'm really conflicted on this and may do a little more planning than I (or my DS) want to do. Last October we had no problem changing our FP+ selections the morning of, but that was still during testing phase... a lot more people are using it now, including off-site folks.

And an interstate with only 2 lanes? Do you mean 2 lanes on each side? Or literally just two lanes? 'Cause that sounds just plain scary! When we drive, we go through Nashville, down to Chattanooga, Atlanta, then straight down through GA to FL. The interstate itself is not a bad trip, it's just the sheer length of time that makes me go crazy. lol.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by freckles04 View Post

And an interstate with only 2 lanes? Do you mean 2 lanes on each side? Or literally just two lanes? 'Cause that sounds just plain scary! When we drive, we go through Nashville, down to Chattanooga, Atlanta, then straight down through GA to FL. The interstate itself is not a bad trip, it's just the sheer length of time that makes me go crazy. lol.
It's two lanes in both directions, but there is so much traffic it is bumper to bumper going 70 mph.
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My DH wants another trip to WDW?!?! MNSSHP, F&W, and Diagon Alley A PTR for Sept 2014

Minions take over the MK and cause havoc at Gringott's
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:12 AM   #9
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~ beach trip ~

Just returned from 5 nights on the beach in Gulf Shores, AL. We had a great time!

Gulf Shores is a cute little tourist town. It has lots of souvenir shops, restaurants, a water park, parasailing, fishing excursions, etc. And of course, white sandy beaches.

We stayed right on the main "strip" or Beach Blvd in a condo rented from VRBO. The complex is called The Boardwalk. It's very no-frills (no gym or sauna etc.) but did have a pool right on the beach. Since it's not a high-rise like many condos in Gulf Shores, our beach was very uncrowded.



The condo was 1 bedroom 1 bath, but it had a VERY comfortable sleeper sofa. It also had a full kitchen, balcony, huge TV, washer/dryer in unit, king sized bed. Amazing what you can get for your money anywhere else vs. Disney.

I loved the kitchen. Fully stocked with anything you would need for cooking. We only went out for meals 3 times.



Living room with amazing beachfront view.



Where I had my morning coffee and muffin every day:



Full balcony view. We did share the beach with the Sea n Suds restaurant. We never ate there because it has pretty terrible reviews on TripAdvisor. (The food they cooked smelled very greasy.)



We did a lot of playing on the beach & in the water.



Our favorite restaurant was Cosmo's in Orange Beach, AL.



Great atmosphere and the food was fantastic. I had the Sea Bass wrapped in a banana leaf, which is their specialty. It was incredible.

Our condo was in easy walking distance to many of the shops, we so spent one evening just going from one to another and browsing all the kitschy souvenir places. Souvenir City has been there since the 1950's.



I recall getting my picture made in the shark's mouth when I was a kid.

DS loved visiting all the arcades in the area (money pit that they are!!!)



On our last day, we ate at Lulu's, the restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffett's sister, Lucy Buffett. The restaurant is open air but has cool air blowing, so it's great for outdoor eating on a hot summer day while still enjoying that outdoor feeling. The fried green tomatoes were to die for.



Overall, we had a nice, relaxing trip. Now it's time for some real Disney planning.

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Old 06-21-2014, 11:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jmskinner View Post
It's two lanes in both directions, but there is so much traffic it is bumper to bumper going 70 mph.
Gotcha. Sounds like it's time for them to do some expansion in that area... but what a pain construction is, too!
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:01 PM   #11
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Great trip report so far, and I have to follow along with someone who quotes David Bowie!
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:00 PM   #12
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I love hearing about your trip planning. We are also going to WDW October 5-13. We too are a family of 3 with my son being 12 when we go.We have gone every year since my son was 6 months old but once he hit 9 he wanted a Disney break - can you believe anyone not wanting to go back to Disney! Anyway my son asked if we could go back now that he can ride everything - So of course I said YES !!! I can't wait to go to MNSSHP for the first time and we are staying at Saratoga Springs in a 2 bedroom villa for the first time. Can't wait to read more about your trip - who knows maybe we will end up in the same park one day!!!:
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:41 AM   #13
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Joining in! How awesome to celebrate your birthday in Disney! Yay for free dining. Flying does make you never want to drive again. Your beach trip looked awesome. Can't wait to hear more.
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alysa View Post
Great trip report so far, and I have to follow along with someone who quotes David Bowie!
Right on! Glad to have you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickeyj73 View Post
I love hearing about your trip planning. We are also going to WDW October 5-13. We too are a family of 3 with my son being 12 when we go.We have gone every year since my son was 6 months old but once he hit 9 he wanted a Disney break - can you believe anyone not wanting to go back to Disney! Anyway my son asked if we could go back now that he can ride everything - So of course I said YES !!! I can't wait to go to MNSSHP for the first time and we are staying at Saratoga Springs in a 2 bedroom villa for the first time. Can't wait to read more about your trip - who knows maybe we will end up in the same park one day!!!:
Maybe so!!! Our trip last year was October 5-13! We had a great trip. We never took DS to Disney until he was 8 and we were in a better place financially. I wish we could have taken him when he was little and believed all the characters were real. Saratoga Springs looks lovely. I'd like to stay deluxe sometime!

Quote:
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Joining in! How awesome to celebrate your birthday in Disney! Yay for free dining. Flying does make you never want to drive again. Your beach trip looked awesome. Can't wait to hear more.
I know, I'm so excited! If I have to turn 30, I may as well do it in my happy place. We had a great trip to the beach but it was no Disney.. haha! The first day DS declared it was better than Disney, but by the last day admitted defeat by saying he DID like Disney better after all... he got tired of having sand in strange places. heh!
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:45 AM   #15
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I'm joining in!!!! I'll be in WDW for my 30th celebration too! We are going Sept. 16-30, but I turn 30 on Oct. 13 (that's okay, a little early celebrating never hurt anyone!) Love your report so far!!!
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