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A Pirate Adventure - Fall Break, Birthdays & MNSSHP - Chg in Plans!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by drlaurafsu, May 17, 2012.

  1. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    I need an outlet for my planning madness so I thought I'd start a PTR for our Disney Vacation this October! My DH is already complaining that I have put more effort into planning DS's 6th birthday in Oct than his 36th birthday in June...well, duh! Its Disney and he is 6!! LOL!

    ME: My name is Laura and I am the master mind behind this crazy trip. We moved to FL in 1972 when I was 4 and my first trip to Disney wasn't too long after it opened.


    DS: The reason we are going!


    We love to travel in general and have an awesome 10th anniversary trip to Paris planned for the holidays. :santa: DS isn't coming with so no trip to DLP. ;) Before a couple of years ago it had been a while since I had been to DW but now my son is at the perfect age to enjoy it so I am trying to take advantage.

    I'll add photos as we go...but they are at home. Thanks for reading!
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  3. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

  4. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    We have a feature cast and a supporting cast...

    Featured Cast (photos to come)
    Me (Thing 2) - Laura, 43 frequent Disney visitor in the past but enjoying it even more now with my son.
    DH (Cat in the Hat) - A, 36 not a Disney lover so much...but he loves me and DS so he is going along with the craziness.
    DS (Thing 1) - M, 5 loves all things Cars...including CARS. He has been twice to DW and once to Universal.
    DM & DF (Witch & Donald)- my parents who wouldn't be anywhere but with DS on his birthday if they can...so of course they are coming too.


    Supporting Cast
    The Greeks - Family of 3. The son, A goes to school with M and his birthday is just before our trip. Dad and son will be there on Day 3, mom hopefully on Day 5
    The Peruvians - Family of 4. The son, M2 also goes to school with M and he has a younger sister, Ms.
    The Americans - Family of 4. The son, M3 also goes to school with M and he has a baby sister, T. They will be joining us on Day 4.
    And the others - Family of 2. The son, D goes to school with M. D and his mom will likely join us on Day 5.

    Its a big group but should be tons of fun!
  5. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    When to go to Disney?

    Growing up in FL the FL residents days were always Feb & Oct. Of course Disney is great at coming up with ways to get people in the parks all year round but those still tend to be great times to go. Fewer people and not as hot.

    So with DS's birthday in October it seems like a great time to go. This year it just happened to be that his birthday is over Fall Break at his school. So we were planning to go Oct 7 thru Oct 14.

    While at a birthday party in Jan for one of DS's classmates, we got to talking about Spring Break plans. I commented that I didn't know about SB but for FB we were going to Disney. Several other parents commented that they hadn't taken their kids yet, but were interested in going. I offered to write up some notes about Disney based on our previous trip.

    One family, the Greeks, had taken their son but my guess is no planning and just mom, dad and son so they probably did not have the most successful trip. But they were willing to try again.

    So in the end we ended up with 4 other families coming with us for various parts of the trip. The boys are all in class together and are good friends and the parents are well on their way to becoming good friends too. We do a lot together.
  6. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    When trying to accomodate so many people and so many budgets its hard to find the right balance. Plus my previous experiences staying on property are limited. When I was young we usually stayed off-site (there weren't nearly so many Disney hotels as there are now). When I was out of college I lived in the area or had people to stay with so not too many overnights onsite. We did stay at CR and Poly for a vacay and a wedding, respectively. Then when we brought DS for the first time we stayed at SoG as my DF is retired Army.

    SoG is great and we loved it there. Can't beat the price or location...but we also couldn't get nearly the number of rooms needed so alternate options were necessary. I was initially thinking we would stay there and meet up with everyone else...but it was easier once so many people were coming just to stay in the same place so the boys could play and hang out together. To accomodate everyone, we really needed a moderate resort for this trip. And since we are going for a longer trip than the others...it works for our budget too.

    Talking to my co-worker whose family are Disney-fanatics, he recommended Port Orleans - French Quarter. I was drawn to it both by the smaller size and the themeing. NO is one of my favorite places...so it definitely appealed to me.
  7. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    Growing up with Disney and living in Florida there have been many, many Disney trips in my life. Too many to remember them all. The first one was shortly after the park opened. There were school trips including one for the 8th grade newspaper and of course, Grad Nite. In fact I still remember the ride ticket books from years past. And trying to figure out how the heck we were going to use all those silly A tickets.

    During college, we would make the trip from time to time just for fun. One particular trip I went with a few friends for the day. Pretty sure we didn't even stay over and I used an ancient ticket that still had a day or two left on it.

    Towards the end of college I met a guy, x-BF. He was from Orlando. We moved down there after school. I was there about 1 1/2 years before we went off to grad school. Sometime during grad school x-BF's dad went to work for RCID. Hence our vacations to visit his family often revolved around a trip to DW. Frequently we would go ride a few rides then hit up Epcot for dinner. Occasionally there were longer visit and we even attended a wedding for one of his frat brothers who was a Disney-nut. The reception was at GF so we stayed at the Poly.

    After x-BF and I split there wasn't much reason to go to MCO. Fast forward a couple of years, met DH, got married, moved a couple of times and then we adopted M from Colombia.

    I have always felt 4 is the perfect age for a first visit to DW. Usually the kids are old enough not to be scared of the characters and young enough for it to still be magical. So with his Oct birthday it was a perfect time to go! DH, M, DM and DF headed to SoG for 6 days of Disney fun. We had a fantastic time. It was my first trip to AK as x-BF and I split about the time it opened. We went to MNSSHP...so fun! We spent a day at each park and a few at MK. At the time we thought it would be a while before we went back...

    Then we get msg from some friends. The mom is planning to come to DW after taking her oldest DD back to Colombia for a visit. They have 3 kids adopted from there. We "met" online back when we were preparing for the adoption and they were working on their 2nd. Thought we might be there around the same time but missed each other by a few months. Fast forward a bit and they got a call asking if the wanted to adopt DD2's bio-brother. Of course...and BTW we just happened to be going for a visit around the same time. Great! We would finally be able to meet IRL!! We missed them by 2 days. UGH!! So when my friend said she was going to take DD1 to DW, I said we are coming too! They live in Australia so its not like I'm going to get there anytime soon. M and I took a couple days off and headed down after a weekend visit with my parents. Only did MK for 2 days, but had a blast.

    And that brings us to this trip...
  8. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    Since M's birthday is during our trip to DW and so many of his friends are going along on the trip...I got to thinking, why not just have some sort of party while we are there.

    That led to some research as to what fun options are there for the kids that would be an appropriate celebration. After considering a few different options as well as things that I could get away with just inviting the kids to (since I will have 10 people just with us, my parents and the kids) plus it lets the grown ups have a night off for some fun. We ended up deciding to take the kids on the Pirates and Pals fireworks cruise! pirate:pirate:

    I suspect the 5 5-6 year old boys will have a blast! And even better is we picked a MNSSHP night to go so we will see HalloWishes!!

    On DS's actual birthday (10/11), the night before the Pirates & Pals Cruise, we are all going to MNSSHP. We went 2 years ago for his 4th birthday and had a blast. Now that he can stay up later and has a better understanding of whats going on, it should be even more fun. Plus throw in 4 friends and it should be crazy!!

    We are also going to try and add in a day trip over the LegoLand on Monday 10/8. It will be a busy day. And I am thinking about making it even crazier by adding an extra MNSSHP for just DS and I. A special mom and son night. We probably wouldn't dress up for this one (maybe a special t-shirt) but just make sure we do some of the things we might not have time to do with a bunch more kids later in the week. We wouldn't have to focus on the parade and fireworks since we'll see them later so we can concentrate on characters and rides and maybe the dance parties. Still thinking on this one though...as it would be a busy day to hit up Legoland then come back and go to the party. And we have an early ADR the next morning for breakfast...

    More on ADRs in a bit...
  9. lbuzz52

    lbuzz52 Mouseketeer

    i was reading along and i thought- i can't believe she is calling her own mother a witch... then i scrolled down and saw that she literally was a witch. :rotfl2:

    that is a really big group! you have more patience than i

    i think that is a wonderful idea for a birthday party! i can not wait until james is older because i am dying for him to do that. the kids will have an amazing time i bet!
  10. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    Since so many people in our group haven't been to Disney before I didn't want to load up on too many reservations. Also since we won't be on the dining plan its better to keep things flexible.

    That said there were a few key things I wanted to do...

    With a bunch of little kids how could we not do Character Meals? For the group we really only have one scheduled.

    On 10/11 we will be at Tusker House for breakfast pre-RD. I think the ressie is for 8:05 and is currently for 17 people! If you are there...you won't be able to miss us! It is DS's actual birthday and since we are going to MNSSHP later that night I wanted to get us into AK early so we can take a break before the party.

    The other group ressie I have is at Via Napoli on 10/12 for 12 people. I just stuck that one out there so we would have someplace to go eat before we take the kids on the Pirates & Pals cruise. pirate: With it being Hallowishes we don't have to be at the CR until nearly 8pm for the cruise so a 5pm res should give us plenty of time to grab a bite and then take a couple of monorails back to CR. And I didn't make it for everyone in case others wanted to do something else.

    My goal is not to plan everything for everyone. I am trying to give guidance without structure. Suggest a park for the day and then let people explore together or on their own. No way we can get through the parks as a group of 17-18 all day every day. And with 5 tired little boys they will inevitably need some separation as different times.

    The other ressies we have are CP pre-RD on 10/9. I really want to experience the park early before others get there and get some of the fabulous pics everyone talks about. And lastly CM early on our departure day.

    They are character heavy and breakfast featured but when we do a big breakfast we usually get/take some snacks and do an early dinner.

    Last time we went DH was disappointed he did not have more time to hit up the F&W kiosks in Epcot. I suspect he will hop over to Epcot more than once just to get a meal. :)
  11. RachVH

    RachVH Member

    Joining in on your PTR! My DH and I will be down there almost the same time as you for our Disneymoon. He is a college professor so we are limited as to when we can go. Your plans look great so far, but I am in awe of you being willing to be semi-in-charge of so many people!
  12. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    So today was our first weekend day without some sort of activity planned in a while. Between Saturday t-ball games and Sunday soccer or traveling to visit grandparents and go to college baseball games...its been a very busy spring. We had yesterday "off" too but invited a few of DS's classmates and their families over to watch soccer on TV, hit the neighborhood pool and the grill out & play KINECT. We had people at the house from about 1:30 to 11...so not restful at all!

    Today's Disney related activity was buying t-shirts. Since there are so few kids going (6 including mine - plus a 1 yo) I am making pirate treasure chests for each of the kids. They are awesome! They are chipboard covered in paper that looks like old wood and then I added a great Mickey (and Minnie for the one girl) pirate with their names done by one of the Disigners. I'll post a picture soon.

    I have lots of ideas for filling up the treasure chests. Some will need to be purchased much closer to the actual event. Like chocolate gold coins, candy necklaces and ring pops. I have found some other fun things that I just have to track down...like glow stick swords...at the dollar store. Mine is currently out of swords. I also want to do name fill t-shirts with the kids favorite characters to go in the chests. So today I hit Michael's and bought 10 t-shirts on sale for $2 each. I'll make one for each kid, maybe 2 if I'm really motivated. Or DS may get a bunch of shirts :) I'll wait until closer to the event to get something for the baby and also for the little girl. They are both smaller so not really sure what sizes to get for them until closer to time for the trip.

    I also snagged another black tote with my 40% off coupon while we were there. I'm going to make each kid their own trick or treating tote with a Disney Halloween theme and their name. And I make make each of the moms one too...just for fun.
  13. lbuzz52

    lbuzz52 Mouseketeer

    i think it is a great idea to not plan to have everyone all together the whole time. it is sooooo hard to please everyone. plus, you can always set up something casual on the fly if you feel like you need more group time- an early breakfast at the resort or something.
    however, i might consider making the reservation for everyone before the pirates cruise. I'd imagine that for that large of party, they would need to pull tables together and it would be easier to pull a small table off of your group rather than wait to have room for that large of group together somewhere. i bet by a day or so before you would probably have an accurate count anyway.

    i can't wait to see this stuff- especially the treasure chest. And i don't know how old the little girl is, but James has wanted whatever his sister gets since he was about 2 or so.
  14. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    Sunday 10/7 – DH, DS and I will travel to N FL on Saturday to spend the night with my parents. This will break up our trip a bit so we don’t have to drive 8 hours in one sitting or go Friday night. If you have ever driven in Atlanta rush hour you know the last thing you want to do is try to get out of town on a Friday afternoon.

    We will get up early and should arrive at DW by around noon. Hopefully we can go ahead and check into POFQ then, otherwise we’ll hang at the hotel for a bit since we will have 2 carloads of stuff. Helps that there are evening EMH at MK which is where we will head after we get checked in.

    Since we are arriving a few days before the rest of the group we will have some extra time to make sure we get to do everything we want to do. Plan will be low key for Sunday. Ride some rides, get some character photos/autographs, maybe a little shopping. We will also go ahead and upgrade our tickets that day. I might even send DS back to the hotel with his grandparents while DH and I get a little time to hang out together at the park.
  15. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    Monday 10/8 – On Monday we are going to switch it up a bit before the others get here. We are headed for Legoland at Cypress Gardens. DH and DS are big Lego fans so we are looking forward to checking this out. They just opened a Lego Discovery Place here in town which is a nice teaser for Legoland.

    Haven’t done too much research on Legoland yet, but it is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday and it also closes at 5pm so this is the best day for us to go and we should get back at a decent hour. Hopefully DS will take a nap on the way back because I am seriously considering…

    MNSSHP that night! It would be a Mother/Son event for just the two of us. We are going with the larger group later in the week, but I would like to spend a little more time getting autographs and doing some of the extra stuff we might be more pressed for later in the week, especially with a large group. I’d love to go to the dance parties that we missed last time and things like that. He also got more into characters & autographs after our last MNSSHP so I think it would be more fun this time. And of course we can take advantage of the time when everyone else is watching parades and fireworks to ride empty rides since we will see them both later in the week.

    Any Legoland advice is welcomed. Also thoughts on 2 MNSSHPs in one week?
  16. lbuzz52

    lbuzz52 Mouseketeer

    I really want to see your Legoland pictures. i want to take mine there before they get much older.

    I'm torn on your 2nd MNSSHP idea.
    i love the idea of a second day to get everything done. and i love the mother son time. however, it may be too long and weary of day to do it and Legoland. that's really the thing that would hold me back if anything.
  17. Alysa

    Alysa Mouseketeer

    Your trip sounds great - we were hoping to go got Legoland too! Port Orleans is lovely - you'll have a great time!
  18. RachVH

    RachVH Member

    I can't weigh in on the decision of whether to do to MNNSHP (because I have never been to one), but wanted to say that we will be in the MK for EMH on Sunday the 7th as well!
  19. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    We'll definitely post some pictures and a report of Legoland. At 6 I think it will be a great time to take him. He's been begging me to take him back to Lego Discovery Place. I am thinking his grandparents can take hime while they are watching him in a couple of weeks!

    Yeah...I know. That's what's holding me back too. If we didn't have the drive (which I know will put him to sleep for an hour or so) and we were trying to do more that night, it would be a definite no. The late nap plus not worrying about fireworks or parade are the things that make me thing maybe we should go for it. Fortunately its not a decision I have to make right now. I doubt that Columbus Day Monday will sell out. I will buy in advance because the mark up is high enough but maybe I'll wait and see about the weather forecast etc. If its really hot that day or expecting rain I will punt on the idea.

    :) Fun! Maybe we will run into each other. I suspect you will be out much later than me. Are you doing MNSSHP? Such a great time!

    My Disney related activity for the last 2 days has been to make lists in One Note. I have it on both my phone and iPad so I made the lists and synced them up. I have checklists for shopping, packing, things to make. I also made a list of questions for the other travelers, websites and contacts and a list of all my reservations/confirmations.

    So nice to have everything in one place and that it syncs up between them. And that I can check things off when I buy/make them!
  20. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    So I made it by the local dollar store yesterday just to check and see if they had gotten a new shipment of glow stuff. Was there last week and they did not have the glow stick swords I had previously found.

    Not only did they have them...they had lots of different colors!


    These are going into the pirate treasure boxes for the kids party gift. While they don't have a long life (probably not beyond the night they get them) pretty sure they will be a big hit. I got the one little girl a pink glow wand with a star on the end. :cutie:
  21. drlaurafsu

    drlaurafsu Member

    I was thinking about something fun to add to the treasure boxes that wasn't candy. I have a bunch of crayons that I purchased for 25c a box at a back to school sale that I've been trying to figure out what to do with. So I think I am going to make a pirate themed paper sleeve for them...but now what to color?

    Enter a favorite company of mine with a 25% off discount. I found some Peter Pan coloring pages online. Put them together with a custom cover...and voila! Personalized coloring books!!


    You may have to sign up to look at the book...but the front and back cover are below. The back has some text added in the book software but it says thank you from DS.



    I suspect these treasure boxes are going to end up being really nice (read - expensive for party give away) gifts! But at least there are only at most 5 kids besides DS.

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