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Bringing my Norwegian penpal to Disney for the first time!! update 11/1

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by librarygeek, May 30, 2013.

  1. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    I am super excited to be writing this pre-trip report!! My friend Martin, who has been my penpal since my senior year of high school, will be taking a Disney trip with me! I got an email from him about a week ago stating that he received a scholarship to attend a conference in Orlando, and would like to stay for some extra days to do Disney! Since he knows I'm such a big fan he's invited me to come along, and plan the trip because he knows I'll be good at it ;)

    About Us

    I'm Becky, 25 years old and married for about a year and a half now. Unfortunately my husband will not be able to join us on this trip because he won't have any extra time off from work. I recently finished my master's degree in library science and am looking for a job as a children's librarian. In the meantime I work as a tutor and a camp counselor. This trip will be my 5th Disney trip of 2013... I'm in awe of how lucky I am to be able to go so many times in one year!

    My friend, Martin, 24 years old. He was born and raised in Norway. A few years ago he got into medical school in Poland and is still working on his program there. We met when I was 18 from an internet penpal site and started emailing. When I got married I sent him in invite, not thinking he would actually come but that he might like to see it. Well, he actually planned a trip to the US to be there! That was the first time we met in person, and this Disney trip will be the second. But we'll have known each other for almost 8 years at that point!

    Here's a picture of us from my wedding:

    When We're Going

    Because we're working around the conference that Martin is attending, our dates are not flexible. We'll be in Disney from December 11th-16th. However, I'm excited! I've never been to Disney in December and I've heard beginning December is still slow, so hopefully we won't be battling too many crowds.

    First Timer!

    One of the things I'm most excited about is experiencing Disney with a complete first timer. He's been to Disneyland Paris 3 times, but knows nothing about Disney World. I think it's going to be really cool to experience it through his eyes.

    More info coming soon!
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  3. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    Dining plans:

    The full schedule for December hasn't been released yet, so we don't know yet what day we will be where. However, we have 4 full days so we're definitely doing 1 park each day. So I had my friend pick out which restaurants interested him the most in each park. I've been overwhelming him with emails lately ;)

    Here's what we came up with:
    Magic Kingdom - Liberty Tree Tavern
    Epcot - Akershus
    Hollywood Studios - Brown Derby
    Animal Kingdom - Rainforest Cafe

    I think it's funny that he wants to try Akershus - we'll see what a Norwegian thinks of it! ;)

    We're also definitely doing DTD one night, probably the day we arrive since we won't have a full day. I'm thinking about not making a reservation for that night and just doing Earl of Sandwich or Wolfgang Puck Express. He's left DTD up to me (I think he's sick of making decisions! But I wanted him to have the most say since I go to Disney much more often!)
  4. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    We have also decided that we will definitely be attending Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party while we're there! Still working out which night we might do it, but I'm leaning towards the 12th. I've never been to Disney during Christmas time and I'm very excited!
  5. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    Flight booked!

    Just booked my flight today with a great deal through Southwest! I got roundtrip from Philly to Orlando for under $200 nonstop, so I'm very happy with that. I arrive in Orlando on Wednesday Dec. 11th at 4:20 in the afternoon, and leave Monday Dec. 16th at 9am. Should be a good trip!
  6. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    ADRs Made!

    I got all of our ADRs! Here's what we're doing:

    Dec. 12th Liberty Tree Tavern at 5:45pm
    Dec. 13th Akershus Banquet Hall at 5:30pm
    Dec. 14th Rainforest Cafe at 5:00pm
    Dec. 15th Hollywood Brown Derby at 5:55pm

    I'm excited to try some new places, and I'm especially pumped for the Brown Derby! It also means we are less than 6 months out! Now I just have to figure out where we're going to stay...
  7. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    Well, I am off this week to Disney for a friend's wedding! I'll be back sometime next week! And keeping my eye out for room discounts so we can figure out where we want to stay in December!
  8. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    I am still trying to figure out where we're going to stay. I had a friend look up DVC availability for AKL, since we were considering renting points, but AKL isn't available which is what we really wanted. So I guess I'll just wait until the discounts for December are announced and decide what to do then.
  9. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    Room Booked!


    I finally booked us a room! We decided on staying in a pirate room at Caribbean Beach. I am excited to try one of the pirate rooms! CB is the first resort I ever stayed at during my very first Disney trip at the age of 8. I haven't been back since so I am pumped to see it again. We booked at the rack rate but fingers are crossed that a discount will come out for our time frame.

    I also purchased our tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! This is something else I've never done before and I couldn't be more excited.
  10. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    Some good news! We were able to get the discount that recently came out for rooms and saved about $300 on our pirate room! I'm excited about that!
  11. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    I'm thinking I should probably let my friend know about my odd Disney habit... of photographing food! :rotfl: haha, I feel like this might be something he isn't used to. DH by now has learned not to eat until I've gotten a picture of his food. My penpal may thing it's an American thing, lol! Though food pics have become more and more popular outside of Disney so maybe I won't seem so weird. I should give him fair warning though ;)
  12. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    My penpal has decided to try and teach me a little bit of Norwegian before our trip! He is sending me weekly quizzes and studying material, haha. Jeg snakker bare litt norsk! I think it will be fun to visit the Norway pavilion in Epcot with him!
  13. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    Big, exciting changes to this trip! My husband decided to rearrange his vacation time so he could come with us! I'm very excited. We were planning a big trip in February, but it looks like we might have to cancel it since I just got a new job and I'm not sure they will give me enough time off for what we had planned. So the fact that he will come now in December makes me feel a little better about it.

    We also are getting magic bands! I'm excited for that too :) We have to make fastpass plus reservations, but right now I can't because the website won't let me link the tickets to my account. Sigh... there's always something wrong with the Disney website, isn't there?
  14. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    We leave in 6 days!! Here are some of the things I need to do before we leave:

    1. Making drinking around the world t-shirts
    2. Pack!
    3. Organize vacation related papers
    4. Print airline tickets the day before

    And... hopefully get our Magical Express stuff! It still hasn't come in the mail! Our travel agent has followed up with Disney several times and they keep saying it's on it's way, so hopefully it gets here soon. If not, they said that we can still get on the bus by giving our names. So we should be fine either way. We usually grab our own luggage anyway, so that won't make a huge difference.

    I'm packing some things I don't normally bring to Disney so I don't want to forget anything! Magic Bands, my Mickey santa hat, sweatshirts... it should be in the 70's but after it was so chilly during my February visit I want to be prepared!
  15. librarygeek

    librarygeek Mouseketeer

    We are back! Had a great trip. I'm hoping to start a TR and dining review after Christmas!
  16. lilwitch646

    lilwitch646 Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

    I just saw your pre-trip thread. I can't wait to hear about how this trip went! I've never been to Akershus and would love to hear what a real Norwegian thinks of the restaurant!

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