A Disney-addicted mom: 2nd annual August trip and Marathon Weekend *Update 10/7*

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by DrMomof3, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    I decided to start a PTR, even though I have yet to finish my last trip report, because my 180 ADR date is rapidly approaching and I need to run my plans by some Disney geeks.

    I'm Amanda. I'm turning 40 in October (yes, I almost share a birthday with Disney World. I think that makes my addiction a matter of fate!). I work full-time as a pediatric urologist and I'm a mom to 3 wonderful children.

    Tom is my DH. He's also a physician. He enjoys Disney World very much but hates getting involved in any planning, especially 6+ months before the trip. It's like pulling teeth! He's fine when we're there. Planning becomes a fine balance between my desire for early planning and Tom's need to make some on-the-spot decisions. So I try to leave a little flexibility in each trip.

    Nathaniel is our eldest. (Ok, Tom would argue that our dog Buffy is our eldest but I digress). He just turned 7. He's an amazing kid! He plays violin and chess. He's an amazing artist. He's sweet and funny and painfully shy. And he has a temper.

    Jessica is our 5 year old diva. She's a princess through and through. She just turned 5 in January and is one of the oldest and tallest in her class. She's smart as a whip with the attitude to go with it. And she wants to be a Rock Star when she grows up. And drive a pink BMW convertible.

    Zachary is our little cuddle bunny. He's almost 3. He was born a little early (34 weeks) and has some significant motor delays. He wears orthotics and gets therapy (PT, OT, Swallow - not psych!). He's adorable and charming and outgoing and delightful. Except at night when he doesn't sleep. Ever.

    Poor Buffy the dog stays in NY when we go to Disney. She's a beautiful black lab who flunked out of seeing eye school. She's turning 10 this summer.

    We're are Disney people. Not including trips when Tom and I were children, this will be our 7th trip since 2008 (one was a child-free work trip). And in 2007 Jessica and Nathaniel went with us to Disneyland (another work conference). We love Disney because it's easy. We like that we check our bags at our home airport and then they magically appear in our room. We like that we don't need to rent a car and mess with car seats. And we love the magic!

    This trip will be August 27th - September 3rd. Jessica starts kindergarten on 9/6 so the timing is good. And Zachary's daycare will be closed for faculty development on 9/1 and 9/2. This is the period of time between when camp ends but before school starts. Perfect timing for a working mom! Last year the crowds were low and the weather wasn't too bad. It rained every afternoon and we had a handful of super hot/humid days. But mostly it was fine.

    The plan (for now - subject to change depending on my mood ;) ) is to stay in a one bedroom villa at BLT. I got a 40% room discount. We have APs and a TIW cards (although I may not renew the kids' APs, we'll see).

    Amanda
     
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  3. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Here are some pics of the crew:

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    After I ran my 1st half marathon!

    Amanda
     
  4. roomthreeseventeen

    roomthreeseventeen Inaugural Dopey Challenge finisher

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    Amanda, we will be there 8/21-8/28. Hope we all get good weather!
     
  5. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    That's the week we went last year. It was great! The reason I picked the following week is because Zachary's daycare is closed 2 days. I didn't know about it last year (it was our 1st year at that center) and we came back from vacation to learn that we had no childcare for 2 days!!!

    Amanda
     
  6. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    I'm here! We aren't going to FL this summer so I have to live vicariously through you! DH wants to go to CA and he got me to go along by promising we could go to Disneyland. But I'll still miss the World! So gives us your ADR plans.popcorn::
     
  7. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    I'm dying to go back to Disneyland but my DH doesn't want to spend 6 hours on a plane with our 3 monsters!!!

    Amanda
     
  8. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    So I'm trying to figure out our days for our trip.
    I already booked flights. My DH didn't want me to book the flights yet - you know, just in case he decides that we're not going. :rolleyes: I knew from last year that the longer I waited to book flights, the more expensive they'd get. In fact we ended up driving over an hour to Islip Airport last year to save a few hundred bucks. And the flights were still about $1400 for 5 of us. White Plains Airport is the closest airport to us, although LaGuardia is pretty close, too. I got decent prices on JetBlue out of White Plains so I booked it. I had been watching the prices and they kept going up and up. It was slightly under $1400 (maybe $1350?) although that was partly because I got a free one way flight on my miles. Booking the flights was a complicated matter. I had to book 4 one-way flights paying cash and then 1 one-way flight on miles. Then there were only 3 return flights at the cheaper price so I booked 3 one-way returns and then 2 one-way returns. Got all that? :rotfl2: It was a bit nuts but it saved about $200 so well-worth figuring out. Continuing the flight story, I decided NOT to tell DH that I had booked the flights. I KNOW we're going to Disney in August. It's that or sitting home with 3 kids that week. :scared1: And I'll pre-pay the hotel and earn some Disney gift cards doing surveys. So I don't know why we play this game. Unfortunately for me, JetBlue decided to change our flight times (for August and September :rolleyes: ) and called Tom's cell phone to inform him. :rolleyes1 So he knows. :flower3: I don't think he was angry, just amused that JetBlue has called him 4 times already about our flight times. :headache:

    I made the executive decision NOT to take the early morning flight on Saturday. We often take the 6:30am flight and then find we're too exhausted to be productive that day. So we're taking a 10:30am flight and arriving just after lunch. I figure it'll be mid-afternoon by the time we get to BLT. My current plan is to just hang out at the pool and then eat dinner at Chef Mickey's. Although the food is only ok there, it's a nice welcome to Disney.

    Amanda
     
  9. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    I'm here! Too funny that JetBlue called Tom and gave you away. :lmao: Sometimes I don't tell my dh those kinds of things either not because I'm trying to be sneaky but because I know he'd rather not know all the details. He's often said he doesn't want to know how much things cost because it only upsets him, so he'd rather just trust that I know we can afford it and that's all that matters. :thumbsup2
     
  10. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Here's where we are so far... Saturday, August 27 dinner at Chef Mickey. It's a start, right? :lmao:
    My kids really want to return to Garden Grill so that's on the list. I promised Jessica a princess dinner. I'm considering CRT this time (maybe even with a Boutique visit) since we've never done that. Opinions? She be ok with Norway again. I don't think she even knows you can eat in the Castle!
    We'll try again for Le Celier - maybe the 2 table serve credits will scare people away! I'm thinking Teppan Edo. Maybe Kona and/or Ohana. We ate at Ohana 3 years ago and didn't like it but I've heard it's improved.
    For date night I'm thinking off splurging and trying for the Chef's Table at V&A. We'll see. Is The Wave awful? It sounds so good and we're staying there...
    Help?
    For now I'm just worrying about dinner. Lunch will be another thing!

    Amanda
     
  11. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Totally! :lmao: he wants me to plan our vacations but then he sometimes sets these impossible rules. If I wait until he's ready to book flights, we won't be able to afford the trip!

    Amanda
     
  12. Native NYer

    Native NYer DIS Veteran

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    Hi Amanda!

    Joining in for all of the planning fun!
    We're going August 13-23 and staying at BLT in a one bedroom lake view villa. We were in the same accomodations last year, so if you have any questions about BLT, please feel free to ask. :goodvibes

    You definitely got great airfare on JetBlue. Airfare from JFK has been ridiculously high.

    The Chef's Table at V&A sounds like the perfect date night!
     
  13. DevonsDisneyMom

    DevonsDisneyMom DIS Veteran

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    HI there! We will be there the same time as you! We arrive on Aug 31st. Like you we planned this trip around my DS's 1st day of school as well. He's starts school the 7th of Sept, the day after we come home from Disney!
     
  14. counselormom

    counselormom Mouseketeer

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    Hey, Amanda I just saw that you had started a PTR and had to check it out. I have to say a Rock Star with a pink BMW does sound pretty great! Oh, I just cringed when I read about the jet blue phone call, sounds like he took it well though. Speaking of surveys I've been doing a few each morning before work and a few on the weekends and have made about about $30 between 2 different survey companies in the last two weeks. Good way to put back a few secret Disney dollars! :thumbsup2

    Traci
     
  15. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    I can't really help with your dining options since I haven't eaten at any of these places, lol! If pressed I would say that my kids would be so excited to eat in the castle- I think even Jace would think that was cool! And of course I must suggest that if you do eat there that you get the chocolate slipper dessert. We had one at 1900 PF and it was amazing- and at $14 a very reasonable "splurge".
     
  16. beachgirl2000

    beachgirl2000 Mouseketeer

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    I am in! :surfweb: I read your half marathon report and am looking forward to your pre-trip report too -- especially since we won't be able to go in 2011~ :eek: So sad but I love living through everyone else's reports! Looking forward to it. popcorn::

    Just a bit of my personal advice - We love Chef Mickey, Tusker House, Sci Fi Dinner Theater, Captain Jacks (more for the atmosphere). We had fun at Ohana but probably wouldn't go back again -- too expensive and not enough character interaction, didn't really like Boma or T-rex either. You may or may not agree, but I am not a big fan of the food in Disney -- being from a "restaurant city", it's hard to find food as good as you find at home. Although I would love to try the new pizzeria in Epcot. Can't wait to read about all of your plans!!!! Do you have the dining plan also? :cheer2:
     
  17. DevonsDisneyMom

    DevonsDisneyMom DIS Veteran

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    We love LeCellier! Definitely try to get in... But if you do not want to use 2 TS credits, why not do a late lunch and only use 1 credit?

    Teppan Edo, is one of our must do places to eat on every trip. We love it, good is great and atmosphere is fun.

    We were debating eating at Kona and 'Ohana this coming trip but opted to try the Grand Floridian Cafe instead. Looking at the menu for 'Ohana, we saw they recently changed their menu and it wasn't very appealing to us anymore. Have you tried 'Ohana for breakfast, that's a great meal!
     
  18. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    So we'll arrive right after you leave! We are booked in a lake view room, too. I've read the BLT room thread and think I'll just leave things to chance. I'd love one of those partial firework view rooms but we've always been lucky with rooms at Disney.
    I kept watching the airfare going up and up so I decided to just go for it! I did get a one way ticket on miles which helped the overall cost.

    Great minds think alike! :thumbsup2 We're coming back on Saturday so we have a few days to get our act together before school starts.

    Thanks Traci! I think Tom was fine with it. He understands that I'm crazy about Disney and pre-planning and he's crazy about NOT pre-planning. He has no problem with me just booking things and not telling him. He gets annoyed when I ask him his opinion on lots of stuff this far in advance. Thank goodness for the DIS! :hippie:
    You're doing much better with the surveys than I am. I did get two $25 gift cards before our last August trip (one for Nathaniel and one for Jessica). I only have about $13 right now but I haven't really been trying very hard. I would like to get 2-3 gift cards before our trip. I don't have flash on my iPad so I can't do all the surveys while putting kids to bed.

    How did you order the chocolate clipper, Hope? I would like to do that!

    Thank you!!!!
    We don't use the dining plan because we much prefer our TIW card. It gives a 20% discount on most table serve meals and includes a discount on drinks. That works much better for us than the meal plan.
    We've found some decent meals at Disney and some very mediocre ones. We'll have a kitchen so we'll eat most breakfasts in the room.

    Amanda
     
  19. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    No dining plan so the 2 vs. 1 credit doesn't matter as much. That's why I love the TIW card so much! And the kids can share meals if I don't think they'll eat very much.
    We generally don't eat restaurant meals for breakfast. Since my DH and kids don't eat any pork products, it just doesn't seem worth the cost. And we'll have a kitchen so I'll cook eggs and Eggos in the room most mornings. It's one of the many reasons we like staying in a villa!!! I do a grocery order from garden grocer and make breakfast and decent coffee (!) each morning. We brought our travel mugs last year so we could take the coffee with us. Much better than bad Disney coffee!!!

    Amanda
     
  20. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    Chef Mickey's to start out your trip is perfect! I ate at the Wave when we stayed at BLT. It was good. Nothing memorable, but I'd eat there again if I was staying at BLT. It isn't destination dining, but it is convenient. You should be able to get into Le Cellier. I bet the 2 credit thing scares lots of people away. I wonder how they will change the menu. I think you should go for the V&A splurge. I'm considering it for my 40th b-day trip, but my DH isn't a foodie so I don't know how much fun it would be. I guess we'll see. I think you should eat in the castle too. The food isn't any better than Norway, but the ambience is fun and you'll be so close!
     
  21. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Ok, so day 1 will be arrival, pool time, and dinner at Chef Mickey's. I'm happy with this plan!

    I'm thinking of building in some more down time on this trip. Last year I felt like there wasn't enough relaxation/pool time, especially since we had afternoon thunderstorms most days which kept us out of the pool. I've always thought that we should do early morning EMH since we tend to be early risers. But I've been finding that when we're on vacation, it isn't so easy to get there at 8am. If you show up at 8:45am, you've pretty much lost the advantage. So I'm strongly thinking about NOT doing EMH in the morning and going to a non-EMH park for rope drop instead. 9am is very reasonable for us and probably a better plan. We can eat a leisurely breakfast in the villa and not feel so rushed in the morning. Opinions?

    Current day 2 plans (Sunday, August 28). MK during the day (we'll probably eat lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern since that's a standard for us but I don't need to decide that now). Then either Kona Cafe or 'Ohana for dinner. I know the food is good at Kona and with 3 little ones who may or may not eat anything, I like pay a la carte instead of paying a fixed price for meals. On the other hand 'Ohana is a more festive place and might be fun. Opinions?

    Current day 3 plans (Monday, August 29). Epcot during the day. Probably back to hotel for mid-afternoon break and then back to Epcot for dinner at Teppan Edo. Tom doesn't love Hibachi but the kids love it. (He likes the food just fine, he doesn't love the whole show. :confused3 I don't get him either!). Maybe lunch at Via Napoli?

    Current day 4 plans (Tuesday, August 30). DHS during day. Hotel break in afternoon. Dinner in room for kids (usually I buy some pasta or make Mickey mac n cheese) and Victoria and Albert's for grown-ups. Hopefully Chef's Table but that's hard to get. I like this plan because I find that DHS is not a full-day park for us so we'll get some rest before our big dinner. We'll probably eat at Hollywood and Vine for lunch since my kids love that place!

    Current day 5 plans (Wednesday, August 31). Pool and DTD. Boutique in mid-afternoon for Jessica. Pirate League for boys. Dinner at CRT.

    Current day 6 plans (Thursday, Sept 1). Epcot during day. Biergarten for lunch??? Tom loves this place! Maybe Le Cellier for dinner. If we can't get Le Cellier, maybe the new Mexican place? (La Hacienda, I think?)

    Current day 7 plans (Friday, Sept 2). AK during day. Garden Grill for dinner. This is a favorite amongst my kids!

    Current day 8 plans (Saturday, Sept 3). Pack and check luggage. MK during day. Home. :sad1:

    Give opinions please!!!!

    Amanda
     

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