CHRISTMAS VACATION (The Trip, Not the Movie): 12/19 - We're back, TR link on p. 25

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by annnewjerz, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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  3. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    Like most of you on these boards, I am quite the Disney fanatic. No, I don't have a room in my house dedicated to Disney doo-dads and Pez dispensers and I'm not covered in Disney tattoos (although I am considering my first), but that doesn't make me any less of an enthusiast, does it?? (More on me later though)

    Our last trip to The World was in September 2007 during Free Dining. We stayed at All-Star Sports and it was DH's first trip ever to WDW. Unfortunately, this was my first trip to WDW as an adult and I had no idea what planning was involved---so we winged it. One week later, after many attempts at walk-up meals, full days at the park and our fair share of arguments with the rest of our group we returned to New Jersey exhausted. DH didn't experience the "magic" and I had thought for sure that would be our last trip to The World as a married couple.

    Luckily, in 2008 I happened to meet another amazing DISer over on the Photo Board and was offered the opportunity to rent DVC points at the Boardwalk this year. If only I could convince DH. This was my chance for redemption, my chance to show DH how fantastic WDW could truly be, my chance to sell him on the magic and my chance to see The World at Christmas!!!

    .......and so the quest began.

    After crunching the numbers, figuring out when we could take vacation and selling DH on all of the pros that BWV had to offer over All-Star Sports, he decided that if we could get a Standard View Studio, we could go at Christmas time this year!

    I was overwhelmed with excitement. I knew that the Standard View Studios were hard to come by and that to do this trip "right" a lot more planning would be involved. On January 13, 2009 I got the glorious call that we had secured the Standard View Studio at BWV for $95 per night!!! What a steal, this would most certainly get DH looking forward to the trip, right?

    The trip is now officially booked and so the rest of the planning continues.
     
  4. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    So, here are the basic details for the trip.

    The Details:

    Dates: December 12-18, 2009

    The Hotel(s): 1 night @ POP, 5 nights @ BWV

    Special Events Planned:
    • Candlelight Processional
    • Tour Deluxe Resorts to See Christmas Decorations
    • Osborne Lights

    The "Cast Members":

    Me (Ann) - 25. A little weird, loud and just a bit obnoxious, but all around good person (or so I have been told). Married to DH for 4 years. New Jersey native who was transplanted to a sub-base in CT for a year after getting married and is VERY happy to be back in good ol' New Jersey!

    Taken on the Boardwalk while waiting to be seated at ESPN Club to watch the Phillies game.
    [​IMG]

    DH (Erik) - 26. Also a little weird, but in a much less obnoxious way. My high-school sweetheart who was taken away for a period of time (actually 6 years, but "period of time" sounded better) while serving in the US Navy as a submariner. After marrying in 05 and getting off of active duty in 06, he moved back to NJ with me where we purchased a house and filled it with 6 cats and2 big dumb dogs.

    Taken in the America Pavillion in Epcot in 07.
    [​IMG]

    and a last minute player..........

    DM (Lois) - I would never be so cruel as to list her age in a public forum. My Mom hasn't been on a vacation in about 12 years and has had a rough couple of years (my Dad passed away a few years ago), so we decided to invite her along for the trip!!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. awaldo

    awaldo Mouseketeer

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    I'm intrigued. Can't wait to hear about your planning!
     
  6. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    After booking BWV for December 12-18, 2009, logically the next step would be to look for airfare, wait for park hours, etc.

    For me, this wasn't the case. The next logical step was to add an extra night at POP Century. I mean...why not, right? We are now arriving on Saturday instead of Sunday (more on why later) and will have a whole extra day in WDW. Booking POP for that extra night helped reinforce to me (and to DH more importantly) how much of a steal the room at BWV is.

    1 night @ POP with AAA discount = $90 per night
    1 night @ BWV on points = $95 per night

    Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.



    The next "twist" in the plan was to add a third member to our party. Originally, the trip was planned for myself and DH. We typically go on one trip per year and really enjoy going on them alone, it gives us a chance to relax and reconnect. This year was a little different though. About 3 years ago, my Father passed away. My DM doesn't have a travel companion and really hasn't been on a trip in about 12 years anyway, so being that she loved WDW when she went when we were kids, we extended the invite and she has accepted!

    This is going to complicate the trip a little more, because adding people always makes it hard to please everyone, doesn't it? She has already informed me that she is happy to leave the planning to me and that she will do whatever we'd like to do with the exception of a few requests (a certain attraction, show, restaurant, etc.) It will also make our Standard View Studio a little cramped and maybe a little awkward, but she is more than willing to stay on the sleeper sofa and since money is tight it seems like the perfect solution.

    I'm nervous and excited about having her come with us all at the same time. We have our moments where we butt heads like no others, but hopefully the fantasticness that is Disney will keep us both calm, cool and collected. If not, nothing can be worse than the blow-out we had with my DB and DSIL in 07 :rolleyes:
     
  7. shordiebecka

    shordiebecka DIS Veteran

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    ohhhh! I bet this time you'll love Disney!!! I'm going to be there the same time as you, except the 14-18. A shorter trip, but well worth it! I'll be at the Beach Club (hopefully), so right next door! Can't wait ot hear your plans.
     
  8. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    :woohoo:

    My first interested party!! Unfortunately, I'm still about 8 months out, so this is going to be a long wait (which is part of the reason I started the PTR---I need something to keep my mind off of how far away the trip is!)

    I'm really hoping he loves Disney more than before, we have some agreed upon terms (we have to take a break at some point during the day and enjoy the pool at least a few times), so hopefully that'll make things better than in 07. New London was my home for a short while (DH was stationed on a sub in Groton), I'm definitely missing me some Tim Hortons! :goodvibes

    Enjoy your trip!!
     
  9. awaldo

    awaldo Mouseketeer

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    We just decided to take my mother with us, so we share that commonality!
     
  10. disneyaddicted

    disneyaddicted DIS Veteran

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    Seriously, right hand up to God, I do have a room dedicated to Disney doo dads and Pez dispensors, I just thought when you said that it was hilariously, DH and kids always tease me about it, I guess for you to know about it there must be others out there. Unless you happen to have read one of my old reports and I truly am the only one like that? ;)

    I am taking my Mom on a trip in January, I am looking forward to it but am also a little weary as well. 7 nights in a room with dear ole Mom, I think I might bring Captain Morgan and possibley Jack for a little help.

    Awesome that you were able to rent points, can't believe the major savings there, big eye opener.

    Disney is December is the best. It just adds to the already magic.

    looking forward to reading more.
     
  11. Abby's Dad

    Abby's Dad DIS Veteran

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    I am here following your post on Lease & Code's combined trip report and triplet watch, and I am intrigued by your rental of DVC points. Awesome savings! I am certainly curious how this works out, and how one goes about this.

    You mention that you don't have a Disney-themed tattoo - yet. In 2007 my wife and I went to WDW. This was my wife's first trip to the World, and in planning for the trip it came out that she has always harbored a secret love of Tinkerbell. As we talked about this, she decided that she wanted a Tinkerbell tattoo. Whoa! This is your basic Midwestern, conservative, 51-year-old (at that time) woman, who had never even thought about a tattoo previously. Anyway, she got the tattoo for her birthday, and is very happy with it.

    We also took our 24-year-old daughter along, as she had never been to WDW either. As some encouragement for you, like you with your mother, we have butted heads from time-to-time with our daughter. The bright side of this is that since sharing this experience we have a much deepter relationship, and find the head-butt times to be fewer and less severe.

    So I think I'll hop on for the ride, particularly since our current dream is returning to WDW for Christmas, though not this year.
     
  12. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    Welcome!

    Too funny! :rotfl: I have seen lots of pics of people who have decorated their house in an over the top WDW theme and while one day I might have a room dedicated to WDW "stuff"---not right now. I'm SURE you are not alone. With all the money that's spent on souveniers while in WDW, I'm sure there are a lot more people just like you out there than you'd think!

    Welcome to you as well! It's funny how many people stumble upon others' posts because of another common thread they read.

    Now for a novel...

    As far as the points rental goes, it is a process that involves a lot of trust. We hooked up with another member on the Photo Board almost by accident. I had mentioned how much I would LOVE to stay at BWV and she mentioned she had extra points. Next thing you know---we're going!

    ....Okay so it was a littttttle more work than that. We had to plan about a year in advance because the booking window opens at 11 months. We had to figure out a plan A, B and C in case one of the scenarios didn't work out. She booked the room for us and within about a week or two forwarded us a contract to review and sign. In return, we sent in part of our payment (from what I understand, most renters are required to pay the full amount at the time of booking but she made an exception) and she forwarded us back our confirmation. The room is booked by the DVC owner, but under our name. We gave her full names of the guests, addresses, etc.

    In terms of the price, I really feel like it was the best option as there was NO WAY we could have afforded BWV this year on our own. A "point" number is assigned for each night depending on your room category. We then paid a certain dollar amount to the renter per point.

    It was really simple, but definitely do your research first. There is a whole board dedicated to renting DVC points, I'd hop over there to do some more research. We can't call DVC, we can't modity our reservations, we can't add package options to our trip, etc.---that all has to be taken care of by the DVC member.

    That's a really funny story. I have two tattoos right now, but since Disney has always held a special place in my heart, I'd consider something very discreet. My idea is to get a "Hidden Mickey" tattoo, not necessarily hidden in another design, just hidden in terms of placement, somewhere discreet since I work at a law firm. Maybe behind my ear.

    I hope you have the chance to go at Christmas sometime in the near future. I hear it's a great time and a very memorable trip if you can see all of the Holiday stuff WDW has to offer---I'm really looking forward to it!! :thumbsup2
     
  13. Abby's Dad

    Abby's Dad DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for all the info - after reading your post and the great rate you are getting I did start doing a little poking around over on the DVC boards. That is really a heck of a price!

    I was going to load some pics of the tattoo to Flickr but it is running terminally slow, so maybe tomorrow, but it is not a readily visible tattoo. She did consider a hidden Mickey. One of the things that came out of this was that DD had gotten a tattoo that she designed herself while she was in college, and had been very careful in making sure that the old folks wouldn't see it. She was quite surprised by DW's tat - and then came clean about hers.

    DD is planning a quick trip to WDW in October with two girlfriends - that will be quite the group!

    Your enthusiasm reminds me of our group's enthusiasm - and I am sure that you will have an absolutely wonderful time.
     
  14. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    So in an effort to help the time between now and our trip pass more quickly, I have tried coming up with some new hobbies. I'm already a hobbyist when it comes to photography (which you will learn more about later), I have recently taken up going to the shooting range (weird...I know) and most recently, I have decided to become a Disney PIN COLLECTOR! :)

    Okay, so pin collector isn't exactly what I plan on becoming---but I would like to get a few. There have been some I have been eyeing up for a while since seeing them on Carrie/Lurkyloo's TR and decided to start scouting them out on E-bay.

    They are called Vinylmation Pins. They came in a mystery box when you buy them in WDW, so you may get the same ones over and over---as I stated, it was a mystery! They don't sell them in the parks anymore from what I understand, so I figured E-bay was my only way to get them. Here is what they look like:

    [​IMG]

    Cute, right??

    I also plan on trying to get the set of 5 Haunted Mansion Hidden Mickeys (pictured below) and a few for Splash Mountain since they are my two favorite rides in WDW.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Lastly, I think I'll pick up a few that I'm actually not crazy over. This may sound stupid, but I'll have a really hard time trading with a CM if it is a pin I really like---so my thought process was that if I buy a few cheapies I don't like at all, it'll be easier to make myself trade. KWIM?

    Anywho, that's all I've got for tonight. I've got a surprise brewing---but since I have such a long time until our trip, I figure I should at least try to save it for a litttttttttle while.

    Until next time!
     
  15. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    So, just wanted to update this bad boy. Today marked a special occassion---I received my first ever Disney pins in the mail!!

    I was hesitant to E-bay for pins because of so many fakes being passed as "authentic" but decided, if it's a pin I like I really dont care one way or the other. I hope that doesn't make me a bad pin collector ;)

    So, without further delay---here are my first pins. From what I have read and the inspection I did as soon as they arrived, it seems that I ended up with some keepers, all authentic from what I can see.

    I've decided on a few themes for what pins I want to collect. Haunted Mansion is one of them. These are called the hitchhiking ghosts "cuties" and that they are!!

    [​IMG]

    I'll also have some more Haunted Mansion, the Vinylmations pictures in my previous post and a whole boat load of Chip & Dale pins coming my way in the next week or two, but don't worry---I won't post pictures of all of them.
     
  16. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    So today we hit a major milestone in our (my) trip planning. We booked our flights!!!

    I have been looking at airfare for months, since the first airlines released their schedules and was astounded that it was going to cost $250 to fly round trip non-stop from Newark, NJ to Orlando. In 2007 we paid $128 round trip---with no baggage fees none the less!!! I absolutely refused to pay this much for airfare...and so the quest began.

    I have been checking daily on JetBlue, Southwest, Airtrain, Continental, US Air...you name it I've checked it.

    Well today, my search paid off. I booked our departure flight on Airtran out of Philadelphia for $59 one way! Unfortunately, our return date wasn't released, but...wait....what's this??? US Air had $59 fares published for our trip home!!! :yay:

    All I had to do was convince Erik (DH) that flying US Air (or as he calls it, US Scare) would be okay. He isn't a fan, whether it was the cranky crew we always encounterer or the fact that the cushion on the seat of our last flight was literally duct-taped together---I knew it would be tough to convince him.

    Well, after dinner tonight he decided the $59 fare was too good to pass up and said we could book, after all, you can have a bad experience on any airline, right?

    So---we are scheduled for the following:

    December 12, 09 / 7:00am - 9:30am
    December 18, 09 / 7:30pm - 10:00pm

    Even though the trip was "official" before---booking my airfare definitely makes me feel like our trip is that much more real, and getting here much more quickly than I imaged it would (thank goodness!!!)
     
  17. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Our trips will overlap! We'll be there the 4th-14th. :goodvibes I was beginning to think I was crazy for starting a PTR so far in advance, so it's nice to see someone else as excited (or impatient?) as me! :rotfl:

    Subscribing. ;)
     
  18. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    :lmao::rotfl2:

    Welcome!!

    It's NEVER too early to start planning for a trip. Quite honestly, I have been planning it since before we were even booked last November, but didn't even think of doing a PTR---it's my first one and I'm liking it :thumbsup2

    Don't expect too much interesting to be going on, but I do like to write---so you can bet that if there is ANYTHING at all going on, I'll be writing about it. :thumbsup2

    I'll have to check out your PTR and see if we'll be doing anything the same.
     
  19. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    I totally could have written this myself! :lmao: It's killing me that I don't have more to update about right now. MVMCP tickets go on sale soon... :thumbsup2
     
  20. chicagoshannon

    chicagoshannon DIS Veteran

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    Nice start! I've never seen any of those pins. I like them! Congrats on getting your air travel booked.

    I've been to Disney for Christmas lot. I always loved touring the hotels. Make sure you go in the front entrance of the Grand Floridian. They have (or at least they used to) chestnuts roasting on an open fire and choralers singing. It's wonderful! All the hotels also used to have hot cidar and cookies.
     
  21. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    So one thing I have been trying to figure out recently was what type of shoes I plan to bring to WDW. I've never been in December before and am really confused about what should beon my feet. Should I wear sandals? Should I wear sneakers? WHO KNOWS!

    Last trip in September 07 I brought along my sneakers and a bunch of flip flops. After a day in the sneakers, my feet were wet, sweaty and had blisters from all of the rubbing. I spent the remaining 5 days in flip flops and from what I recall, it couldn't have been that bad since I don't remember sitting to take breaks for aching feet, etc.

    I am NOT a sneaker person---in my daily life I wear ballet flats and flip flops when the weather is warm and Uggs or other boots when the weather is cold.

    My other area of concern is that, while my trip isn't until December, if I plan to wear/bring/consider flip flops I need to buy them now so I can spend the nice warm summer weather breaking them in---can't do that in the fall/early winter in the Northeast!!

    I have been looking through some threads on another board, and these are the flip flops/non-sneaker shoes I'm considering. If anyone has any input or opinions about one shoe over another, please let me know!!! :goodvibes

    REEF brand flip flops (rubber instead of foam)
    [​IMG]

    TEVA Betsy Thong
    [​IMG]

    CROCS Captiva Sandals
    [​IMG]

    CROCS Malindi Flats
    [​IMG]

    I'll have to make my choice in about a month---until them I'm going to spend a few weekends shopping around in person and trying some cheaper flip flops on. The ones I wore around WDW were only about $10 and so comfy...but our dogs ate them (seriously).

    While we're on the subject---these are our dogs, both 2 years old. They're a handful, and oftentimes a pain in my butt....but we love em.

    Rocky
    [​IMG]

    Mickey
    [​IMG]
     

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