100 (Nope...It's just about time!!!) Days til Our First Family Trip!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by jana616, May 30, 2009.

  1. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

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    Well, I have read dozens of other people's trip reports and PTRs, and have wanted to start my own for a while. This is at least partly because I am completely obsessed with the planning of this trip, and who better to share that obsession with than the friendly people on here, who have offered tons of great advice and who share my obsession? (And who don't think I'm insane, unlike my sweet, but clueless husband!)


    So...let's begin!

    The details: Our trip is set for September 7th-14th, 2009. That is exactly 100 days from today!! :cool1: I am even more excited when my ticker will go into double digits-woo hoo! We are staying at POP Century, with free dining. In upcoming posts I'll try to explain the evolution of our trip-it has changed quite a bit from what we first envisioned, hopefully for the better!

    The cast of characters (all from Indianapolis):

    DH (Chad, 32) and myself (Jana, 31). Chad is a veterinarian, and I stay home with our boys. I lived in Florida growing up, so we visited fairly often, but I was little and don't remember much. Then Chad and I went for 3 days as part of our honeymoon in 2001. We had a blast, and are so excited to be sharing it with our boys!
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    ODS (Griffin, 4-will be just shy of 5 when we go). He's a sweetheart, very imaginative, very sensitive. He's been obsessed (and I mean way, way obsessed) with dinosaurs for about a year now. He is most looking forward to Animal Kingdom and the dinosaur rides there. We're planning on T-Rex for dinner, but I'm keeping that a secret! Likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, loves Special Agent Oso and Shaun the Sheep. He is very excited to go, especially since I told him they have humungous ice cream sandwiches. We watched some videos on youtube of the rides, and he told he would be a little scared, and a LOT excited-so cute!
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    YDS (Cooper, will be 26 months when we go). He was such an easy-going baby, but toddlerhood has morphed him into quite the little devil. He's a mama's boy-he's never far from me, and I can still make anything bad a little bit better. He's super charming, very fearless, very silly, and usually happy. When he's unhappy though, look out-he has a scream that can cause hearing loss. And lucky me, since he's usually no more than a few feet from me! He loves Sesame Street, but has seen me on the disboards enough to screech for Mickey Mouse when he sees him now! I wasn't sure how he'd do on the trip, but I am now quite convinced that he's going to have a blast.
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    And our bonus additions to the trip-grandmas!

    My mom (Grandma Kathie) hasn't been there since the early 1990s. She's an RN who loves the Chicago Bears.
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    Chad's mom (Grandma Sue) hasn't been since the early 1990s as well. She's retired, just bought a lake house and loves working on it, and lives for being a grandma (they both do!).
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    OK, kids are up from naps and the basics are done! I'll post more soon, and I would be so thrilled to see anyone actually read this! ETA:I know the pictures are huge. Anyone know how to make them smaller?
     
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  3. ChevyNat

    ChevyNat DIS Veteran

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    Nice start... Can't wait to read more about your plans... very cute boys too... You will have so much fun at Disney.
     
  4. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

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    :welcome:!!! Yay, a reader!!! Thanks for the compliments on my boys. I think they're pretty cute too, but I'm biased! I was pretty sure no one was looking at this thing, which given the one, super fascinating, post, is understandable, but now that I know at least one person looked at this, you have inspired me to keep going!
     
  5. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

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    So the foundation for this trip began in the fall of 2008, when Disney announced their Buy 4/Get 3 deal. I broached the subject of a Disney trip with Chad. Now, something very important to know about Chad, and something that will come up numerous times over the course of the PTR, is the fact that Chad is cheap. I don't mean a reasonable amount of frugality, I mean, "sleep in his car to avoid paying for a hotel" cheap. So I knew this was going to be a tough sell!

    Much to my surprise, he said to research the cost more thoroughly and give him some numbers. I played around on the computer, and contacted Small World Vacations who put me in touch with a great Disney TA right here in Indiana. We started looking for Spring of 2009, either January, March during preschool spring break, or May right after school let out. I was very undecided, because I want Cooper to be old enough to enjoy himself. We atually had holds on rooms for all three of these times briefly, and then the TA suggested September, because of free dining. Chad heard "free" and was sold!

    In addition to the free dining, and Cooper being a little older, we are arriving on my birthday, so we'll get the $75 fun card (you know Chad liked this part too!). And it gave me about 10 months to plan, which anyone reading this knows is part of the fun!

    Our original plan was for the four of us to go and to drive from Indy, which is just under 1000 miles. Now, we drove to the Outer Banks in September 2008, and survived, but I wasn't thrilled. Still, Cheap Chad said it was the way to go!

    But then, in February, my mom started mentioning that she would love to come. And we knew my MIL would love to come if asked. So we decided to ask them to come along, and they both said yes! Well, now we had 4 adults and 2 kids crammed into our minivan. We were still planning on it, but I decided to keep an eye on airfare just in case.

    A few weeks later, tickets on Delta were $158 total roundtrip for each of us, and we booked them. They aren't non-stop, but I will happily take 3 1/2 hours of plane rides to avoid 15+ hours in the car! Of course as soon as we booked them cheaper tickets came out on SW and Airtran, but I choose not to think about that! :rolleyes1

    So, here we are, 99 days to go and the basics of our trip all planned out.

    Up next, ADRs...I would love some help on this one!
     
  6. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

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    Alright, I am choosing not to feel like a total loser since no one else has said hello. I may be talking to myself, but that's okay!

    Today I want to talk about ADRs. The only times I've been to WDW were as a child in a family that didn't have a lot of money (we brought food into the park and just came for the day), and as a honeymooner that didn't have a lot of money (starving grad students who split CS every meal). So I have never eaten a sit down meal at WDW. We still don't have a lot of money,:rotfl:, but we have something better...free dining!!!! One of the biggest selling points for me in choosing September was the idea of eating for free. Besides saving us more money than a 40% code (since we're in a value), I know my husband, and I love him, but he would starve himself for a week rather than pay Disney food prices. I would also never be able to convince him to do character meals, etc. I am thrilled at the idea of eating whatever, whenever, without looking at the price. For "frugal" people such as ourselves, it will be a real treat!

    So, I believe I have our list of meals narrowed down, as well as a few back-ups (though I am saying nightly prayers that we don't need them! I like Plan A!)

    Without further ado, our first choices are....

    'Ohana dinner
    Le Cellier
    Cape May cafe dinner
    Tusker House breakfast
    Crystal Palace dinner

    and the 4 I need to choose 2 out of...

    'Ohana breakfast with Lilo and Stitch or Garden Grill
    Chef Mickeys or 1900 Park Fare

    Any thoughts on these?

    Back-ups are Whispering Canyon Cafe, Boma breakfast, Tutto Italia, and whichever 2 character meals we don't choose from those 4. We will also have some flexibility on some of those meals since we're planning 2 and a 1/2 MK days. Now I'm just waiting on the silly September schedule to assign parks to days...don't they know I need a few days to plan?:scared:

    Speaking of ADRs, I have the greatest travel agent in the world. I e-mailed her asking for our reservation # to be sure I had it for June 9th. I mentioned how much trouble everyone is having, and she offered to book mine for me. I'm a control freak, and admitted such to her, and told her I was worried that if rearranging came up she wouldn't know how I'd want it, etc. So she is letting me call her at 6:30 on my ADR day and sit on the phone with her while she does my ADRs online. Isn't that awesome? She has been really helpful about this!

    Up next: a few pictures of all the goodies I've bought so far. It's A LOT, and there's still 98 days to go-lots more shopping time left!
     
  7. ChevyNat

    ChevyNat DIS Veteran

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    The Crystal Palace Dinner with the Characters is a lot of fun...the food is good too, lots to chose from.

    I loved the Ohana breakfast with Lilo and Stitch, the food is brought to your table and you can ask for refills without a problem, again the food is great.
    I did Garden Grill for Dinner and loved the food but the restaurant is a little crampy, not a lot of room to move around at all.

    I did Chef Mickey a while back and enjoyed it very much, a lot of fun and excellent food... UHH! might try to get ADR for that one again... ha!
    We also went to Whispering Canyon Cafe and had a BLAST there... if you want to have fun go there... You have to have a sence of humor, if you ask for Ketchup you get 11-15 bottles on your table ha! ha! if you ask for a refill of Pop, they will bring you a Gallon Jar with a huge straw Ha! and my son asked for a spoon to scoop up the milkshake and he received a gigantic spoon... it's a lot of fun.

    I can post a few pics for you...
    I hope this helps a little.
     
  8. ChevyNat

    ChevyNat DIS Veteran

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    Well I decided to post some anyway ha! ha!

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    From 1900 Park Fare for Breakfast... it's a nice place too

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    Crystal Palace

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    Whispering Canyon Cafe and Ketchup

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    The SPOON
     
  9. reyasmommy

    reyasmommy DIS Veteran

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    First of all you're family is adorable! Your boys are going to have the time of their lives. I took my DD to DLR when she was 6 months old and 2 1/2 years old, and WDW when she was 18 months. She had a blast each and every time, doesn't matter the age. We'll be taking her to WDW again in March where she'll just be shy of 4 years and I think it's going to be the best yet.

    I'm currently working on ADR's too. I have Noooo idea where to go. My DD was terrified of all the characters last year so I'm leary on spending the money for a character breakfast.:confused3

    It's great that your mothers are both able to come. It will be a blessing to have the extra help with the kiddos.

    Hope you have a wonderful time!:thumbsup2
     
  10. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

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    Yay, another reader!!! Woo Hoo! Just when I was starting to think I was the only one here, too!

    ChevyNat-thanks for the pictures! I think any of our choices (and probably lots more that I haven't thought of) would be great. On Chef Mickeys vs. 1900 Park Fare, it's a question of princess girly things. My ODS says Cinderella is "yucky," but I know once we're there he wouldn't mind. It would give us some new characters, since we'll see Mickey and gang a bunch. I've heard how funny the stepsisters are, and to tell them my boys are single, rich princes. I think it could be fun, but I've also heard the food is just so-so and it can be poorly run at times. So I can't decide. I'm thinking whichever one fits better once we start making all our ADRs will win!

    On Garden Grill dinner vs. 'Ohana breakfast, I can't decide either. 'Ohana breakfast was never even on our list (dinner was though!) and then SO many people said how great it was, and Griffin saw Lilo and Stitch and loved it. So I think I'm leaning toward it. A very nice person on another thread erally tried to walk me through fitting all my meals in, and she suggested booking both GG and Ohana, and cancelling one later if we change our mind or paying OOP for a breakfast if we want to keep them all. I kind of like that idea, since I'd love to do both! We'll see if Cheap Chad will go for it!

    Reyasmommy-:welcome:! Thanks for the compliment on my family! I have been reading your PTR as well-Snow Wipe, too funny! I can't wait to see my boys' faces when they see Mickey for the first time. (Hopefully they won't scream!) It's good to hear that your daughter had a great time at all those ages. I'm pretty sure Cooper will love it-he's getting really into fun, new experiences. And having our moms along will be great. I think Friday the 11th Chad and I get a date night. We're trying to decide if he and I want to squeeze in MNSSHP or Night of Joy that night. Or maybe just go to DTD by ourselves? Who knows, lots of time to think of that!

    Still waiting on the September calendar (the correct September calendar;))
     
  11. slamgtr09

    slamgtr09 Earning My Ears

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    Your boys are so cute!
    The Whispering Canyon is a lot of fun, and they have an all you can eat breakfast that is really good, not sure if it's included in the free dining though. We were just at Disney Memorial Day weekend and I've been trying to decide if I should write a TR too! Maybe I will now! Looking forward to all the planning! Sounds great so far!:goodvibes
     
  12. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

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    :welcome:! Thanks for reading! You should definitely do a TR! My DH makes fun of me for "reading about other people's vacations" but I think it's a great way to get ideas of what works and doesn't work and find lots of little ideas. I'd love to read it! I wish we could fit WCC in as a meal, and the way 'Ohana has been so difficult to get, we may have to take it instead, so we'll have to see what happens with our ADRs. One week from today!
     
  13. ChevyNat

    ChevyNat DIS Veteran

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    I always read PTR and TR to see what other Disers did on vacation... maybe I should do a PTR myself ha!ha!
     
  14. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    I don't have any experience with the ones you're sure about, but we LOVED Ohana breakfast and Chef Mickey's dinner. Stitch is my son's favorite character aside from the pirates, and the character interaction with him was great. Without a doubt he's one of the most interactive, "in character" characters that we met!

    We haven't done 1900 Park Fare since the change from Fairy Godmother & mice to Stepsisters, but when we did it the food was good and DD loved meeting Prince Charming (boy crazy at 7 - I'm in for some rough years ahead! :eek: :laughing:).
     
  15. kadee_29

    kadee_29 Mouseketeer

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    I saw your link over in the Sept hours thread and decided to peek in while we are *still* waiting for official hours to be released. ;) I am having the same problems you are trying to figure out where to eat. I haven't been in over 20 years and couldn't tell you what places I ate at that long ago. I am going to keep checking in to see how your plans are coming along.

    P.S. Your boys are just adorable.
     
  16. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Colleen, :welcome:! I have seen lots of your posts on the Waiting for Sept. Hours threads and also in the restaurant boards, I'm glad to have you reading! I really think 'Ohana breakfast and CM dinner are our first choices, if we can get them. I am a little worried about how many times we're going to see Mickey (I think 3 of our 4 character meals?) but on a first trip to WDW, you can't see him too much, right? And at least I know that 1900 or GG would be good back-ups and I won't be TOO disappointed if we end up with them!

    Too funny about your daughter-I was like that too! But I promise I'm a completely respectable grown woman who didn't cause my parents much trouble at all, so there's hope for you too!!:rotfl:
     
  17. 2shortpeopleruleme

    2shortpeopleruleme Mouseketeer

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    I love the report and your family is beautiful! The funny thing what you wrote about driving vs flying I had already PM'd you about that before I read! Too funny! I can't wait to read more!
     
  18. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

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    Hi and :welcome:! Thanks for the compliment! I know, this waiting is making us crazy, isn't it? I've decided to just assume the hours we've gotten are correct and plan off of that. For the week we'll be there they seem to make sense. I was kind of bummed to see DHS close at 7. That seems really early to me!

    What restaurants have you narrowed down to? I keep adding, not finalizing! I think Whispering Canyon sounds so fun, I'm trying to figure out a way to get that in there. The only place we're going that I'm not super excited about is Cape May Clambake, and I'm wondering if we could do WCC that evening at 7 or so, and just be done with the park by 6? Is that do-able? That's later than I was hoping to do dinners, but even CMC is going to have to be later than I'd like since we'll have to be all done with the park when we go (since it will be closed when we're done eating). I'm not planning on a nap break that day to maximize our park time, so I'm not sure how the kids will do late in the evening. Could get ugly! Unfortunately there aren't any lunches we want that day. DHS has been hard for me!
     
  19. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for stopping here and reading! Your post pushed me to two pages-woo hoo! :banana: I'm excited to find someone whose trip dates are exactly the same as ours, we're right on the same schedule!

    I'd really like to discuss my park plans now that we have hours, kind of, and get all the opinions I can, but I am throwing my best friend a baby shower and if I don't get the invites in the mail no one will show up and she'll be pretty disappointed! So I'm off to work on those (thanks Disney, if you'd gotten the hours up on the 1st I'd be in a much better place!) so then I can get back to the all important Disney planning;)

    Hopefully tomorrow I can get those on here. Thanks to everyone who has read and replied...I don't feel quite as much like the loser talking to herself here now!!!:love:
     
  20. Angies1274

    Angies1274 DIS Veteran

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    Great Report and your boys are so cute!!!:) We have been to Chef Mickey's for both breakfast and dinner, although we preferred dinner. We enjoyed the characters and atmosphere at both meals. I tried to get an ADR for dinner for our upcoming trip but unfortunately there was no openings:sad1:
    We were however able to get an ADR at Ohana's for breakfast. We went there last year and loved it!!!! We found it much more relaxed than Chef Mickey's-- plus it's served family style instead of a buffet and the character interaction is great there as well.:thumbsup2
     
  21. slamgtr09

    slamgtr09 Earning My Ears

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    Good luck with the shower invites! I'm throwing my sister a baby shower too, so I'll be doing invites soon enough!
    I'll just be here waiting patiently until you get back on with your planning!:rolleyes1
     

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