5 days on $1300!?! Did we do it? - a July 2011 TR - update 2/15: Link to new PTR!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by ksl5f123, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    Welcome to my 3rd trip report. I can't wait to share with you all about the trip that I took with my girls last month. It was a completely different style of trip for us and we had a wonderful time.

    The story of this trip picks up where our last trip ended. As we drove away after our March 2011 trip, DD5 made one last observation, “Mommy, I am happy at Disneyworld.”

    My first thought was “Well now, aren't we all?” But, then I got to thinking. She truly IS happy at Disneyworld – really like nowhere else. How long will this last? How long will she get caught up in the magic and the excitement? DD7 has fun at Disneyworld and there are moments where she lets her guard down and she gets swept up in the magic but in large part, she no longer experiences the joy and wonder of DD5 and DS2. What if that is gone for DD5 by the time she is 7? We weren't planning to return to WDW until after the Fantasyland renovation. That would mean that DD5 would be 7 years old. What if this was the last trip to watch her eyes light up when CM's called her “princess”? What if it was the last time she wanted to dress up and have “princess hair”? What if next time she is done riding Aladdin with mom and wants to take off on the roller coasters with dad too? Well, those thoughts were just too much for this sentimental mommy to bear. I told DH that I wanted to go back. Now, my DH is always happy to go to WDW, but even he wasn't ready to plan another trip so soon. We knew that we would be returning to Florida in July to visit family, so I asked him if I could go with just the girls. DH agreed, but decided that we needed to keep to a very strict budget - $1300.

    OK, enough backstory. Let's move on to the cast:

    Me, I'm Karen
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    My favorite rides are Kali River Rapids, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and Soarin'. I avoid anything that moves faster than I can walk. This was my 13th trip to WDW.

    DD7
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    This was her 7th trip to WDW. She has unbounded energy. Her favorite rides are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Kali, and Toy Story Midway Mania.

    DD5
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    This was her 6th trip to WDW. She is the consummate princess. She likes Spaceship Earth and Carousel of Progress (not exactly a thrill rider) and loves meeting characters.

    That's it! If you are a reader of my other trip reports you will notice a lot of people missing! We usually have my DH and DS2 and MIL and FIL along (and sometimes the nephews, DH's cousin, cousin's kids, etc.) This time it is just my girls and me!
     
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  3. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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  4. TinksThree

    TinksThree DIS Veteran

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    Hooray!!! Can't wait to hear all about this trip!! :yay:
     
  5. pinkxray

    pinkxray DIS Veteran

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    Joining in.

    Your introduction is exactly why I wanted to go back with Caitlin so much this fall. She has developed a huge love for the princesses again and was all ready to do all the princess stuff again. Now that we aren't going back she won't have those things again. No more BBB or face lighting up when we see which princesses are at CRT:sad2: I wish we could go one more time with her this age but really the last 2 trips were just for her and I couldn't help it if she decided to love the princesses again a week after we leave WDW. I'm sure she will get over that be the time we were to go in Oct. anyway.

    I hope you had a great trip. I was hoping to do a budget trip but honestly I could not do it. Apparently budget and Disney don't go together for me. I can't wait to see how you did.
     
  6. Becc1

    Becc1 DIS Veteran

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    I'm in, can't wait to hear all about yours and the girls trip!
     
  7. disneylovin24

    disneylovin24 ~Let It Go~

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    popcorn::

    Im going to head back and read your other TRs now too!:goodvibes
     
  8. sherylcin

    sherylcin Mouseketeer

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    Subbing! Your title pulled me in. My head is contemplating the ways this budget could be achieved so I can't wait to read how it really happened. :thumbsup2 I think taking a trip alone with your adorable girls will be a fantastic memory!
     
  9. DizFan101

    DizFan101 DIS Veteran

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    I'm looking forward to your trip report. I remember back in 2006 we only went for 4 days because of the columbus holiday weekend in october. lol.
     
  10. TeaForTulips

    TeaForTulips DIS Veteran

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    I'm in! popcorn::

    Your girls are too cute! princess:

    Can't wait for more!
     
  11. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    Woohoo! You're first. You win the princess:

    It is so hard to decide how often to go. On one hand, you know they are going to outgrow the "magic" stage so you wnat to go as often as possible. On the other hand, there are so many other places in the world to visit and I worry that I am narrowing their scope. :hug: It will all work out for both of us.
     
  12. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for coming back and joining in another adventure!

    :welcome: Glad to have you along!

    Hello! The budget was a challenge - but kind of a fun one. We made lots of great memories!

    That sounds like a great trip. I have only been once in October and it was a great time of year to visit. Unfortunately, it was pre-kids. I would love to take them back in the fall

    Thank you! I think they are cute too. ;) More coming tonight!
     
  13. CozumelDisneyFan

    CozumelDisneyFan <font color=green>shooping cart hooks?..... Alumin

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  14. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    Photopass CD = check

    Kids back to school = check
    [​IMG]

    Time to get this TR rolling!

    The girls started school yesterday - DD7 in 3rd grade and DD5 in Kindergarten. They are both enjoying it and have already told the tale of our trip to their classes. Now it is my turn!

    Our Disney dates for July 11-15. However, our trip actually began on July 1 with a 14 hour drive to Ohio. Let's just say that Ohio is in the opposite direction of WDW from our house, but we were going to visit my parents first. There isn't much about our week there to share, but we did do one Disney related thing. We saw the Broadway style production of The Lion King.

    Here are the kids ready to go:
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    [​IMG]

    I found this fabric just a few weeks before we left and couldn't resist making the girls some dresses.

    The show was AMAZING! If you ever get a chance to see it, I really recommend it. DD7 loved every minute and was on the edge of her seat. She was really impressed that the kids playing Simba and Nala in the first act were only 9 years old. They were incredible.

    DD5 loved the first act which follows the movie closely. However, in the 2nd act when they added some more scenes, she fell asleep. DS2 enjoyed the show, but had a little trouble not talking. He wanted to let us know when he recognized the characters.

    The only other significant thing that happened while we were in Ohio was the realization that I had forgotten DD5's princess dress for her BBB appointment. :sad2: She owns the Rapunzel, Snow White, and Ariel dresses from BBB and DD7 owns the Aurora. We had plenty of dresses to choose from - that was the problem. DD5 couldn't decide which one to bring and she waited so long that I forgot. :headache:

    I quickly got on the internet and discovered that there was no Disney store anywhere around us. Then I found a website for a Disney outlet in Cincinnati. I was excited! :banana: We had to drive through Cincy on our way to Orlando. Then I read down the webpage and learned that it will open later this fall. :guilty:

    OK, no Disney store around, no time to order anything, no money in the budget to buy one when we get there - what do we do? Mom and I headed off to some big box stores, but I couldn't bring myself to buy any of the princess costumes they sell. They were SO scratchy and I couldn't imagine DD5 wanting to wear them in the Florida heat. Also at 5 years old she is a little too big for those dresses - which really surprises me - don't 5 year olds still like to dress up?

    Anyway, we headed off to the local department store where I looked for any dress with a Disney character on it. The ONLY thing I found was a nightgown. Desperate, I bought it - on sale for $8. DD5 loved this dress. It was VERY comfortable and lightweight. So, what do you think? Will she wear the nightgown? Will she beg for a new princess dress? Stay tuned!

    Up next, off to Florida
     
  15. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    On July 9, we left Ohio on our way to Florida. Glancing at the newspaper before we left my parents' house, we learned that the Space Shuttle had launched as planned the previous day. I was a little sad. I was hoping that they would have a delay and we would get to see the launch - even if from a distance. My undergrad and graduate research were both sponsored by NASA so I spent about 10 years at various NASA facilities. I have seen a couple of launches, but it would have been really special to see the last one. :goodvibes Oh well.

    The drive from Ohio to Florida is basically 2 days on I-75 (with just a little on the Florida turnpike at the end). The first day was really frustrating. First we got stuck in a traffic jam in Cincinnati taking 45 minutes to go the last 12 miles to the Kentucky state line. :eek:

    Then, about 50 miles from the Tennessee state line we see a sign that says "Road Closed at Jellico Mountain". :confused3 But then, there are no more signs for the next 30 miles. We figure that someone just forgot to remove that sign.

    NOPE! About 15 miles from the Tennessee state line we get to our 2nd traffic jam of the day. After rolling along for another 1.5 hours and going 30 miles :-)scared1:) we finally decide to get off of I-75 and take a highway that runs parallel to it. We have to do 50 mph, but we make decent time down into Knoxville where we stop for gas.

    While at the gas station, DH talks to a local man who informs us that there have been two MAJOR accidents in Knoxville that morning including a roll-over of a Haz-mat truck. :headache: He gives us directions to take some surface streets around Knoxville to reconnect to I-75 about 30 miles south of the city. We follow his directions and get back onto I-75 only to discover it is STILL backed up. We go 3 miles in 15 minutes and quickly get off again. We now declare ourselves done with I-75 and follow US-11 to US-74 to US-411all the way into the Atlanta metro area.

    What should have been an 8.5 hour drive takes us 14 hours!!! :scared1: It was long and frustrating and exhausting for everyone. We were so happy to arrive at our hotel that night. We stayed at a Hyatt Place on the north side of the city and these are rapidly becoming my favorite hotel chain. :thumbsup2 The rooms are big, the TV is huge, you get a sofa, a desk, a fridge, and it is just really nice! Because we arrived late, they were out of rooms with 2 beds. We got a room with a King size bed plus a giant sectional sofa that had a pull out for the girls. DS2 slept on the two comforters on the floor with a sheet over them. Since we didn't get the kind of room we requested, we all got free breakfast the next morning. ;)

    Up next, driving day 2.
     
  16. pinkxray

    pinkxray DIS Veteran

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    Aw, the girls look so cute and grown up in their school clothes:goodvibes

    I would love to see the Lion King or Mary Poppins but I am not holding my breath on that one. I did buy tickets to go see Phineas and Ferb- The best live show ever for Sept. DH just gave my a huge eye roll.

    I don't know how people do long are rides with kids. The longest ride we have taken Caitlin on is maybe an hour and a half and she whines through that. When I was a kid we drove the 24 hrs from CT to WDW, I don't think we could make it that far with Caitlin. :eek:
     
  17. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the compliment on the kiddos. I LOVE school uniforms. They really make my life easier. It is probably easier on the kids too, but I love not having to make sure the coordinate or argue about an outfit.

    Even if you don't like Disney, the Lion King was just good theater. I would like to see Mary Poppins too. I didn't know there was a Phineas and Ferb show.

    We have been driving to my parents house since DD7 was 9 months old. They have just never had a choice. We bring lots of stuff to do (including a DVD player with a screen for each of them) and lots of food. They are allowed to do things the wouldn't at home - like really insane snacking.
     
  18. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    Sunday morning July 10 we got up bright and early and made our way to St. Jude Catholic church. It was only about a mile away from our hotel so we made the 7 AM Mass (not something I would usually do on vacation, but we really wanted to get moving). The church is one of those with wood planking on the ceiling which always reminds me of being in the hull of a big old ship. It was nice.

    We then returned to our hotel to have our free breakfast. DH and DD7 ordered the waffle and DD5 and I had the eggs. Let's just say had I paid for this food, I would not have been happy – yuck. DH couldn't even finish his waffle. How do you make a bad waffle? I don't know but apparently the folks in the kitchen couldn't cook. I am quite certain my “scrambled eggs” were the sort that start as a powder. Ewww.

    While we were placing our order I overheard this conversation between 2 workers:
    Woman 1: This lady would like her eggs sunny-side up.
    Woman 2: We don't do that.
    Woman 1: I know, but Jane (random made-up name) made them for her yesterday.
    Woman 2: That's fine, but Jane is not here and we don't know how.

    Yikes! I don't consider that an outlandish request for a place serving breakfast!

    Anyway, after giving up on our “free” hot breakfast, we had some yogurt and fresh fruit from the complimentary continental breakfast and got out of there. We finally had some good luck with traffic and made it quickly through Atlanta.

    The drive through the rest of Georgia and north Florida was completely uneventful – yeah!!! - and by 4 PM we were arriving at our hotel for the evening. This night we stayed in the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress just off Apopka-Vineland near Downtown Disney.

    We pulled up to the hotel and DH went inside to check in while I sat with the kids in the van. We waited – and we waited – and we waited some more. Finally, I was done being stuck in a van that was not moving with 3 kids who had been on the road for 2 days. We went in to find DH. As we stepped out of the van, a bellhop informed me that I had to leave my car keys with him if we were going inside. That seemed strange to me, but I did it anyway because the kids were really driving me nuts and I wanted to find DH.

    When we got inside, DH was the only person at the check-in desk and he was getting some amazingly long explanation from the front desk worker about something. The guy had a really thick accent and to this day DH has no idea what he said. :confused3 Finally checked in, I took the kids to the room while DH went to park the car and start bringing up the luggage (with a quick conversation about retrieving my car keys which luckily he did). The parking lot at this resort is about a 10 minute walk from the main building and once again, it felt like DH was gone for a very long time.

    The kids liked this hotel very much. The lobby is beautiful and during the day there are exotic birds on perches all around. There is also a glass elevator that goes VERY fast. The kids loved that. DH then continued unloading all of the luggage and had we realized the great distance to the parking lot, we most certainly would have used the bellhop – lesson learned. :headache:

    With the van finally unloaded, it was time for supper! Now I realize we could have gone anywhere in Orlando, but for me the choice was easy. We went to Downtown Disney! :cool1:

    Up next, our first Disney meal!
     
  19. pinkxray

    pinkxray DIS Veteran

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    I was a bit afraid when you handed off your keys. It sounded like the beginning of an issue. Glad it was a non issue.

    Your breakfast sounds awful. I only eat scrambled eggs and omelets so I have no idea how to cook most of the others except a fried egg for DH's bacon,egg and cheese sandwiches. I have no idea what over easy or sunnyside up eggs are. But then again, I don't work in a restaurant.

    Yay, DTD! I hope your meal makes up for the yucky breakfast.
     
  20. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    I had never had to do that before, so I was quite nervous about it. I am glad it was nothing too.

    Horrible - absolutely horrible. Sunnyside up just refers to a fried egg where you don't flip it and don't bread the yolk. An over easy egg is one where you do flip it, but again don't break the yolk. Personally, I can't stand runny yolks so I always break mine - that is called hard fried.

    Always! :thumbsup2
     
  21. ksl5f123

    ksl5f123 DIS Veteran

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    We drove over to Downtown Disney. It was incredibly busy and despite our plan to spend the entire evening in the Marketplace, we had to park closer to Pleasure Island. It was a bit of a walk, but it gave us the opportunity to visit the LEGO store.
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    [​IMG]

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    I love all of the new creations, but this one is my favorite:
    [​IMG]

    We then went into the World of Disney store. If I am being honest, I really didn't like the idea of DD5 wearing a nightgown around the parks. I was really hoping that she would fall in love with a princess dress, do the puppy dog eyes and get her Daddy to give us an exemption on the budget. :rolleyes: Nope. Didn't happen. :guilty: She looked at every dress. I had her look at the new skirts. Nope. She wanted to wear the nightgown. OK, I bought it – I better accept it.

    Finally, it was time for supper. DH and I really wanted to try Earl of Sandwich (I had a coupon), but the line was out the doors and down the sidewalk about 50 feet! So . . . we decided to go look at Wolfgang Puck Express (I had another coupon). When we got there, there wasn't a line but DH and DS2 needed to go to the bathroom. While we waited on them, the line grew and grew. I was getting pretty nervous when they finally emerged and we got in line. In all, it was probably a 10 minute line.

    After we ordered, we walked around looking for a table and quickly realized we would have to sit outside. Surprisingly, it wasn't actually that bad (given that it was Florida in July).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We only had about a 10 minute wait before our food arrived. I had the Basil Chicken salad sandwich.

    [​IMG]

    It was amazing! The sandwich was very good with just enough dressing. The potato chips were incredible! They were clearly house-made and so yummy!

    DH had the Warm Mediterranean Vegetable Melt. The kids shared one cheese pizza and one order of chicken fingers. It was plenty of food for the 3 of them.

    Even though we really wanted to go to Earl of Sandwich, I have to say that I just love the food at WPE. Everything I have had there has been really yummy! :thumbsup2

    After supper, we returned to our hotel and got the kids ready for bed. I spent a lot of time re-organizing the suitcases to make sure that I had everything we needed and that DH could take as much of the “other” stuff as possible. I went out on our balcony at 9 PM to see if I could see any of the Disney shows, but we were too far away and not quite looking in the right direction. Soon, we were all in bed with our alarm clock set for 6:30 AM!

    Before I get to the money spent, just a quick reminder of the rules of what counts toward our $1300 budget:
    1)Travel to/from WDW does not count. Why? We are going to Florida to visit my in-laws who live in Vero Beach no matter what. So, there is no additional travel for the Disney part.
    2)The clothing I made for the girls does not count.
    3)“Souvenirs” bought in advance (like little stuff for the girls from the Dollar spot at Target) do not count.
    4)Everything else counts! Lodging, tickets (no, we do not have APs), dining, souvenirs bought at WDW, everything!

    OK, so looking at that the rules, it is clear that our hotel for this evening counts – we wouldn't have stopped in Orlando otherwise. Does our supper count? I am going to say “no” because even if we didn't stop at WDW, we would have needed to eat during that drive. It probably wouldn't have been at WPE, but we spend about the same at a Cracker Barrel (BTW, we spent $34.51 at WPE).

    Money remaining = $1300 - $77.73 for hotel - $24.75 resort fee (ugh!) = $1197.52
     

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