Sorry I went MIA for almost two weeks! I need to get rolling on this PTR again and I need to get caught up on all of your TRs and PTRs! What can I say? As usual, work is insanely busy! Gone are the days that I could spend free time (and not so free time ) at work on Facebook, Twitter and the most important: DIS!!! Yeah, I cant really do that at this job. Two weekends ago, the kids were at their dads, so I had every intention of finally getting up a post about the Disney on Ice show that the kids and I went to a few weeks ago. The post was all written out, all I had to do was add the pictures, but I was exhausted and I just wanted to veg out in front of the TV as usual I was soooooooo lazy! And it was great! Then on Tuesday, my whole department had a day-long conference. It was supposed to be a day and a half long, but the snow storm that was looming had us shorten the meetings. You guys are probably getting bored right now, but I promise this all has something to do with the vacation! So, anyway, we got what was named Snow-quester late on Tuesday night and most of the day on Wednesday. We were due to get about 8 inches of snow, but I think we only got a few inches and then it got washed away by the rain that we had Wednesday night. So much for Snow-quester and so much for having two snow days! At least I had one snow day and I was able to spend it with my kids In any case, you know that feeling you get when someone says to you, We need to talk Its that horrible feeling of impending doom! Well, last week I gave my boss my vacation dates and he emailed me back, Lets talk about this on Friday. Oh no! I felt physically ill. I kid you not. I had this awful feeling that he was going to say that I couldnt go and blah blah blah! Then, I got a chip on my shoulder and I thought to myself, I dont care what anyone says! I earned this vacation time! I havent taken the kids to Disney in FOUR freaking years! Im going! If you knew me in real life, you would know that I am not a confrontational type of person. But after countless cancelled vacations and not stepping foot in Orlando in four years, I was feeling fairly protective of my plans! Friday couldnt come soon enough for me but then he had to take the day off! I was freaking out a little because I was prepared for having that conversation with him then. For anyone that doesnt know my backstory, my boss was someone I knew for about four years at my old job and then I worked for him my last year at that job. About six months after I started working for him, he left to take his current job. Then, after I got laid off at my old job, I was fortunate enough to get hired by him at our current job. Was I adequately confusing when I explained that? We have been work friends for about six years now, but we arent buddy buddy or anything like that. Basically, I could be frank with him about why I needed everything to go as planned for this vacation, but I couldnt cuss him out if he disagreed with me Thankfully, he knew me well enough to call me on Friday afternoon to discuss my vacation. I really appreciated that he took the time to do that even though he was off from work that day. He probably knew I was anxious to know what he meant by Lets talk. I was going to say long story short but whenever I say that, it is already a long story! Anyway, we have a pretty big project coming up over the summer and it really is going to be a two person job. He and I are the only two people in our particular department and we act as each others backups. I handle the day-to-day operation of things and he is the big-picture guy. Plus, I supervise a call center and he manages, but he is becoming more hands-off so that I can develop more in that area. Plus, he is even busier than I am every day. So when he called me on Friday, he reminded me of the big project that we have coming up. He didnt say that I couldnt go on vacation, but asked that I shorten the dates. He said that he could handle everything for a week, but that I was an integral part of this team and that he really needed me. Then he said that he couldnt do his job if I wasnt here doing mine every day and that he appreciated all of the hard work I have been doing! This may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but to me, it was huge! The job where he and I both worked previously was a place where people got very little appreciation from their managers and little to no recognition. It was all about sales. If you were in customer service (like I was) or technical support (like he was) you didnt matter. Well, I may be exaggerating a tiny bit but this was how the majority of people felt. On top of that, I did my best to work my way up in that company, and I was given a lot of responsibility, but I was never officially promoted. So, yeah, I am bitter that the company used my skills but never rewarded me with a better title or better pay! When I finally went to work for my boss at our old job, I was more than willing to take a pay cut in order to be able to finally do something different. I wasnt earning commission anymore in that job, but I was learning and had the potential to finally grow within the company. But then he left for this job and a few months later, a few of my teammates and I got laid off. But that same mentality from that old job stayed with me and it wasnt until I was talking to my boss on the phone on Friday that I realized that I finally had the job I was working so hard to get at our old company! I was finally a supervisor. I was finally able to make real decisions. I was finally able to create policies. I was finally able to make a real difference with my staff. I was finally able to be truly proud of myself and the work I was doing : So, I told you guys ALL of that to let you know why I am shortening the trip. So our dates are now Friday, August 23rd to Monday, September 2nd basically, the dates that I booked at WDW. Im so glad I didnt book UO yet! My plan is for the kids to meet me at work on Friday and then take a late flight into Orlando. So that still gives us nine park days. My original plan was to forget UO all together and take another trip to Orlando in April 2014 to do the non-Disney parks, but now I am not so sure. Let me back up just a bit. My boss said that the company prefers that we take one-week vacations, so it would be OK for me to take this week in August, and then take another week a few months later. My original thought was to take a week in October, but October is the beginning of my departments busy season. So, April was the next logical thought because my kids birthdays are in that month. I just dont want to wait until April to experience UO with the kids for the first time! I thought about February, too, but that is at the tail-end of my departments busy season. Its not totally off of the table, though. But now I am thinking that I can turn three of those WDW days into UO days. I have based the following days on my ADRs and not on any type of scientific process of choosing the days There are just certain ADRs that I am not willing to give up! So these are the days WDW in purple and UO in sienna: Saturday, August 24th MK/HS day: Before Park Opening breakfast at Crystal Palace; early dinner at Sci-Fi Sunday, August 25th AK/MK day: Before Park Opening breakfast at Tusker House; late lunch at T-Rex Monday, August 26th EP day: Before Park Opening breakfast at Akershus; early dinner at Coral Reef Tuesday, August 27th Universal day Wednesday, August 28th Universal day (I want to keep the dinner at Whispering Canyon Café, if possible) Thursday, August 29th EP day: early breakfast at 1900 Park Fare; dinner at Garden Grill Friday, August 30th Universal day (I also want to keep the early breakfast at Chef Mickey, if I can!) Saturday, August 31st AK/EP day: early lunch at Rainforest Café (the AK location); dinner at Le Cellier Sunday, September 1st MK day: early breakfast at Ohana; early dinner at Cinderellas Royal Table Actually, looking at this in black and white (purple and white? ) Im not sure this is the best plan. I might have to rework a few of my WDW days because we arent spending nearly enough time in MK or HS for our tastes. I mean, this looks good in theory That reminds me! I was saying that these new park days werent based on any type of logical formula at all, so I was wondering if any of you guys use touringplans.com/Unofficial Guide for UO? I love Touring Plans and I swear by their website for WDW park days. Well, now they have a separate section for UO park days! With a separate fee, of course I was thinking about subscribing to that part of the site, too, and now it seem essential since I have to squeeze in UO, but I wanted to see if anyone else has used it. I am all about real reviews from real users! But, Im not sure the UO section of the site has even been up long enough for anyone to have used it. I just noticed it last week. I want to make sure we are going to the best parks on the best days whenever possible. Oh! I almost forgot that Coy still really wants to go to Sea World! He actually brought it up on his own numerous times this weekend, so I have to fit that into the plans as well. I dont know what made him think of Sea World, because I havent been discussing the vacation plans with the kids recently, so I know he must REALLY want to go if he is bringing it up out of the blue. I might take the kids on Wednesday, as originally planned, and just spend two days in UO. Im so confused! I guess I have to do more research! Please, give me any feedback or tips that you might have! I feel like nine days is more than enough time to do almost everything we want, but I could use some reassurance Wait! I just looked at my notes and realized that August 30th is the day that we have a dinner ADR for Be Our Guest! No way am I going to give that up! But ugh!!! What to do? What to do???