Confessions of an obsessive planner... Let the countdown begin!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by -Hope-, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    All right, I'm throwing my hat into the ring here! Hanging out with a Disney pusher has finally taken it's toll and I am just hooked. (Yep, Karen I'm talking about YOU!) She was good too, like any pusher she just gave me a little taste at first and then kept stringing me along knowing I'd come back for more. :stir:

    It all started with the innocent mention of homeschool tickets and the lure of a good deal. I decided to check into it because even though I really didn't want to go to WDW I knew my kids would enjoy it. Now, before you cry blasphemy at my lack of desire for the World let me explain that I went for a day on my senior trip with no plan and no idea what I was doing. It was hot, the lines were long and we didn't even get to stay long enough to see Wishes. Not an endearing memory. Karen kept reassuring me that with a plan it didn't have to be like that; I wasn't convinced but decided to give it a try. So, I checked into the price of the homeschool tickets and figured I could swing it and while it might not be my dream vacation it would be fun. Then Karen implemented the next part of her devious plan... pictures.

    We share a budding love of photography so when she returned from her trip to the World in October I couldn't wait to see her pics. Not wanting to give me much time between 'fixes' a link to her trip report here on the dis soon followed the pics. pixiedust: Okay, now I'm actually starting to get excited and look forward to this trip and not just for the kids. But my friend is cunning, she knows that I'm excited but not a full blown addict yet and I might need one more taste to push me over the edge. Maybe the fact that there will probably be free dining and a link to the menus. :smooth:

    I emerged from pouring over info about what days to go to which parks and scouring menus to keep all of my picky eaters happy with a perfect schedule of ADRs to make and backups just in case. Yep, I'm pretty much gone now, what else could she possibly throw at me to drag me in deeper? Perhaps a link to the DISign boards here at the dis. :surfweb:

    A few days of lurking around the boards and before I knew it I had plans to make 40 shirts, journals, autograph books, passports, pressed penny money holders, snack tickets... Ooooh, I'm going to need some tables and charts and graphs and bulleted lists to keep all of this straight. :goodvibes (Have I mentioned that I love tables and charts and graphs and bulleted lists? )

    So, I have most of my plans ready to go and yet I still have all of this pent up Disney energy and need an outlet. I figured I'd start a PTR and recount some of those plans (fine tuning as I go of course ;) ) since I still have lots of time before my actual trip... which reminds me I need to get a ticker for my sig... :rolleyes

    Countdown to Disney: One month from today
    Let the countdown begin...


    'Official' planning updates are in green. :)

    Trip Planning Table of Contents I cleaned this up a bit on 2/4- there are lots of itinerary changes buried in this thread but I didn't figure you wanted to see them ALL. :rotfl:

    The Cast
    When and Where
    T-shirts
    Goody bags
    Money envelope and penny tube pics
    GAD
    Booked our room!!! (and more dining changes, lol)
    Fitting in all the DHS shows- a couple before WS (am I nuts or what?)
    Revised (again!) schedule to include MNSSHP!!
    I must be crazy- Characters in Flight?!?
    My really and truly final itinerary change (well, maybe)
    Did I say final?
    T-shirt DISigns (revised)
    Booking Flights
    Autograph Books and Epcot Passports
    ADRs
    More ADRs- just in case!!
    Autograph Books and Epcot Passports arrived! Pics included!
    FREE DINING!
    Reconsidering Hoppers
    Plans for beating the heat
    Lots to do!!
    Countdown chain and more

    Okay folks, on to touring plans!
    Day 1- Travel and DTD
    Day 2- Animal Kingdom and 1900 Park Fare
    AK revised
    Day 3- First of two Epcot days revised 2/4
    Day 4- Hollywood Studios
    Day 5- Magic Kingdom
    MK revised
    Day 6- Second Epcot day
    Day 7- Second Animal Kingdom day and MNSSHP
    Updates and reasoning 5/18


    My new obsession... Disney Themed Days... to get us even more excited about our trip!

    Disney Themed Movie Days Table of Contents
    The seed of an idea is planted!
    UP! (planning)
    UP! (viewing)
    A Bug's Life
    Monster's Inc.
    Finding Nemo
    Enchanted
    The Fox and the Hound
    Alice in Wonderland
    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Yes, I know it's not a Disney movie... shhhhhh!
    Oliver and Company
    Dumbo
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Easter egg hunt -okay technically not a Disney day but fun nonetheless. :)
    Mulan/China
    Toy Story
    Three Caballeros/Mexico
    Aristocats/France
     
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  3. Twoboysnmygirl

    Twoboysnmygirl DIS Veteran

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    Bwahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa! *maniacal laugh* My evil plan worked! :laughing:

    I'm linking your PTR to MY PTR! :woohoo:
     
  4. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    cool... I don't know how to do that or I'd link yours back to mine, lol.
     
  5. Victoriasmom98

    Victoriasmom98 DIS Veteran

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    Joining your pre trip report!!!!:cool1:
     
  6. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Yay! Hi Ann! Welcome to the madness!
     
  7. Twoboysnmygirl

    Twoboysnmygirl DIS Veteran

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    Ok, so...let me try to explain this. Lets start with getting the name to your PTR instead of just the link full of numbers and letters. Go in to edit your signature. Where you have the link you will see the web address first and then in brackets, you will see it again. In between those brackets you can put whatever you want and THAT is what will show, instead of the web address. Does this make sense? That's how I can put a link to something and then give it a name. If you mess around with it, you will get it. :)
     
  8. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    I'll begin by introducing the cast of players for this magical trip. I haven't attempted to post pics here on the dis yet so bear with me if I don't get it right the first time!

    I don't have many pics of me since I'm the family photographer so a family pic...

    [​IMG]

    That's me, Hope, in the back barely taller than the kids. Dh, Robbie, is next to me towering over the rest of us and creating lots of dead space above our heads in the pic. DD, Kya, is nine and DS, Jace, is 10. This pic was taken on top of old smoky... the tallest peak in the Smoky Mountains. It was a beautiful, fun relaxing trip but I have a feeling our next family vacation is going to make this one pale in comparison. :goodvibes

    My parents are going with us too! :cheer2:

    I didn't have any pics of my mom, Bobbi, by herself so here's one of her and the kids at the pumpkin patch in October.

    [​IMG]

    And my dad, Tony.

    [​IMG]

    I really am so grateful that I have parents who make the trip better for all of us! :love: A couple of years ago dh and I decided to go on our first solo trip. I was really looking forward to it and it was in my favorite place on earth- Germany in the Heidelberg area. HOWEVER I spent much of the trip thinking that the kids would have enjoyed many of the things we were doing and feeling bad that they were missing out. I'd traveled without them before but this time was different because I knew they would be old enough to really enjoy themselves.

    A few months later the kids and I went with my parents and my brother to the beach but since we'd just gone to Germany Robbie couldn't miss work. Again, so many things were disappointing without Robbie there. I got tears in my eyes when the kids saw the ocean for the first time. Their response was priceless and Kya, who was 7 at the time, cried out "Oooh, it's bigger than big!!" I was just so sad that he missed that KWIM? She'll see the ocean again but it won't ever be THE FIRST TIME again. Anyway, after going on two vacations that year that were fun but still fell a little flat I realized that vacations just weren't the same without all of us together.

    We've traveled together since then and it is soooo much better but the fact that we'll all be there this time AND my parents will be there to give Robbie and I some time to ourselves is just icing on my Disney cake!

    Stay tuned... I want to tell you all about picking my ADRs but I'm trying to pace myself! :laughing:
     
  9. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    All right, those pics are huge!!! I'm going to work on resizing them!

    ETA: Done! that wasn't so hard... and thanks Karen! I figured it out once I remembered it was pretty much like the unschooling boards I used to visit. It just took a minute for it all to come back to me. ;)
     
  10. Victoriasmom98

    Victoriasmom98 DIS Veteran

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    It's so nice to see your family, Hope!!! I'm a shorty like you --- 5"3"!!! I like to say vertically challenged. :rotfl2: And I see you learned how to rename the trip report. You two are making me feel like a slacker for not doing one.....I just don't have much to say unless I'm responding to someone else's comments.:confused3 OH well. Merry Christmas to you as I don't think I'll be on the boards for the next few days......:santa:
     
  11. AlternateEgo

    AlternateEgo Missing the House of the Mouse

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    Looks good! Can't wait to see your details!
     
  12. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Thank you Ann! :)

    Woohoo, glad to have you on board Crystal. :goodvibes
     
  13. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    I was going to jump in and tell you about the ADRs but realized that you might be wondering when we'll be going, where we'll be staying and why. That one was pretty simple.

    Karen brought up the homeschool tickets at our homeschool playgroup, during the course of the conversation someone (I don't remember who) mentioned it would be fun for the kids if we went at the same time. I love travel, I love planning vacations, and I love taking my kids new places. I knew they would love WDW so I decided we'd look into it and see if we could afford it. At first we thought we'd go in January of 2010 (we know all of these homeschool dates haven't been released yet- we're just looking at the history and keeping our fingers crossed!). However, Karen had just returned from a trip that coincided with Food & Wine which her dh loved AND historically WDW does free dining in September (which is another month in which they historically do homeschool tickets). So, discounted homeschool tickets, F&W AND free dining!!! It was like the perfect storm- and we got to go even sooner! We knew it would be hotter but that's okay, we could plan our days to be at the pool in the hottest part of the day and just tough it out the rest of the time. So, our dates are picked...

    I honestly didn't do much in choosing where to stay. As I said, Karen and I are going at the same time and she's staying at ASMu so we are too. We thought our girls would enjoy having a friend to play in the pool with so staying at the same resort was an easy decision. Of course I still had to read through the ASMu thread here at the DIS and look at the pics on the Disney site. Since I admit that my planning is obsessive it shouldn't be a surprise that I not only needed to know which resort we would be staying at I also needed to think about which building and why as well as where in that building we wanted to be. :rotfl:

    I know there are no guarantees but we'll be requesting Jazz 9 near the smoking section. My dad is a smoker so there's that but the smoking section will also put us a little further away from the pool which will mean quieter evenings for Robbie who is a light sleeper. Honestly, I joke about the obsessive planning but I really just want everyone to have a good time and taking the time to think about these things helps with that. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! ;)

    So, the resort and room were picked, threads read, pictures poured over- it was time to move on. I spent a little (okay, maybe more than a little :rolleyes1 ) time looking at Karen's schedule of park days, reading through the DIS, looking at Tour Guide Mike, etc. to determine when we wanted to see each park. I came up with what seemed like a perfect schedule and even had a few park days in common with Karen so the girls would be able to do some things together. A few weeks later I had to tweak my original schedule because we found out that F&W would be starting later than we thought at first and I was scheduled to be at World Showcase on opening day!! My hubby does NOT like crowds and I had planned carefully not to be in parks on busy days. I wasn't sure how he'd react to opening day so I thought it would be best to switch it. Karen on the other wanted to go to F&W since opening day was going to be her only chance. This meant we also needed to move the day we'd planned to spend together at Blizzard Beach. It sounds much more complicated than it really was- I just pushed BB back a day, moved WS to our first park day (a green day according to TGMike!) and switched AK (which had been our first park day) to our last day. No biggie and a chance for more planning. :thumbsup2

    We had also originally planned to fly home Friday after BB but when we changed our schedule for F&W we decided to fly out early Saturday instead. Robbie and my mom had requested a full weekend to recover from the trip but they were both okay with getting home early Saturday instead of late Friday. I'm soooo glad we made this change. I was really worried about how much fun I could really have at BB when I would be worried about getting to ME on time. Tearing the kids away from a waterpark to get to the airport on time is NOT my idea of fun! :sad2: One thing I have to remember is that while I'm trying to make sure everyone has fun I need to make sure I have fun too (something that I easily forget sometimes). So, I switched it. :wizard:

    After all of that... our park schedule for the week of September 25- October 2, 2010:

    I'm pretty sure that these are all green days according to TG Mike and we will be at rope drop (or at least attempt to be) every day so we should be low on crowds and lines and high on fun! :cheer2:

    Saturday 9/25- fly to Orlando, check into and explore resort and head to Downtown Disney to shop, go to Disney Quest, and eat dinner.

    Sunday 9/26- World Showcase

    Monday 9/27- Hollywood Studios

    Tuesday 9/28- Magic Kingdom

    Wednesday 9/29- Future World, meeting Karen for lunch then going to World Showcase so the girls can do a Kim Possible mission together :goodvibes

    Thursday 9/30- Blizzard Beach

    Friday 10/1- Animal Kingdom

    Saturday 10/2- fly home
     
  14. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    We had some post Christmas excitement around here yesterday that is somewhat related to our Disney vacation and I am soooo excited that I have to share it with you guys.


    Yesterday we took our kids to town to spend the gift cards they'd gotten for Christmas and we split up so Jace didn't have to stand around while Kya looked at clothes and she didn't have to stand around while he looked at video games. So, Robbie dropped us off and then took Jace over to Gamestop. A little while later he called and said they were in the parking lot whenever we were ready to go. We were headed to the checkout line a few minutes later and I was confused to see him walking toward me because I'd thought he was going to wait in the car. As he approached he pulled a scratchers ticket out of his pocket that he'd bought after he dropped us off and handed it to me. Now, I don't buy tickets because with my obsessive persoanlity I get sucked in but he likes them and knows when to quit so he plays once in a while. He's never really won a significant amount but enough to break even- a dollar here, ten there, you know just enough to fund his fun. But not this time- yesterday he won $1000!!!
    :cool1::cool1::cool1:

    We looked it up online and we only have to pay 4% tax on a prize between $101 and $5000 so when we make it to the lotto office this week we will walk out with a check for $960. We haven't decided what to do with all of the money yet (I'm trying to convince him that a netbook would be good for the whole family, :rotfl:) but we know some of it is going to be going in our Disney fund and as soon as we get the check I'm booking our room! I had been waiting for our tax refund but now I can get it done sooner and hopefully use our taxes to pay for something else Disney (or a new lens for my camera :rolleyes1 ).
     
  15. Twoboysnmygirl

    Twoboysnmygirl DIS Veteran

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  16. MBKELmom

    MBKELmom Mouseketeer

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    Woot! That is awesome! I can't wait for tax time so we can put a big chunk on our vacay.

    I'm excited to read the rest of your pre-trip report.
     
  17. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Thanks! And welcome. :goodvibes
     
  18. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Well, now that the initial excitement has worn off from "winning the lottery" (which is what my kids keep saying :lmao: ) we've decided to keep the extra money in savings until we get our tax return and THEN decide what to do. Mostly because I want a netbook and Robbie wants a tv for the bedroom (which I used to say absolutely no way but as the kids have gotten bigger and taken over the living room I'm reconsidering, lol)- hopefully we'll have enough to get both if we can find good deals (which is my specialty ;) ). Anyway, we'll have the money either today or tomorrow and I'm definately making our reservations! :woohoo:

    I thought I'd tell you about ADRs just in case you were waiting with baited breath to hear all about it. :rolleyes:

    ADRs and the prospect of free dining were really the thing that sealed the deal and made me a full-on Disney convert. Karen sent me a link to the allears menus and I was hooked! We'll be staying seven nights so seven TS to choose!! :surfweb:

    I have a few picky eaters in my midst so it was a bit of a challenge to find things that would satisfy everyone and still have SOME variety. The main challenges- my dad doesn't eat vegetables and the only thing Jace can be guaranteed to eat is pizza and cheeseburgers. Robbie was also a challenge because he really likes plain foods but since he will generally eat whatever without complaining it wasn't as big of an issue- except that I wanted him to have a good time so I tried to keep his preferences in mind as well. So, I had to find things that would offer a filling meal for my dad which meant meat, potatoes and dessert (this would also pretty much keep Robbie happy as well so that helped). For Jace either pizza or cheeseburgers had to be on the menu. He'll be 11 at the time of our trip so will have the choice to eat from the adult or the child's menu and usually at least one of the menus offered these foods. A few things I'd really wanted to try like Boma, Marakkesh, and Teppen Edo were scratched for one of our picky reasons or another but overall, no great losses.

    My mom mentioned that she and my dad like breakfast and often have that as their big meal of the day so I figured a couple of breakfasts would help keep everyone happy. Buffets were another strategy. It was days and days of pouring over menus and trying to fit things in with my park schedule but I did finally come up with a schedule that seemed perfect. I think it must have been perfect because originally we had six nights and six TS. When I added the seventh I moved some things around and spent about an hour trying to get things just right. When I finished I realized that I'd moved everything back to my original times. :rolleyes: At least now I knew without a doubt that this was the perfect schedule for us. :laughing:

    I tried to get some variety of food in there (as much as possible with my picky eaters!) and also to spread out the TS between breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only thing that didn't work out for us was a CS lunch at Flametree BBQ in Animal Kingdom. I've read over and over that it is the best CS at WDW and my dad loves BBQ so it would have been nice. However, since we have two TS meals that day it just makes sense to have a snack for lunch. The hour I spent moving things around was my attempt at trying to make this work but it just never did without changing other things about our schedule that were really more important. The guys will have other opportunities to eat bbq ribs so it's not really a huge loss and overall I'm EXTREMELY happy with the schedule! :goodvibes

    So, without further ado- our complete schedule with parks, activites, ADRs and other meals:

    Saturday September 25:
    -Travel Day
    -DTD & Disney Quest
    -S (1) lunch
    -take water taxi to PO for CS (1) dinner @ Sassagoula Floatworks

    Sunday September 26:
    -sleep in, breakfast in room
    -World Showcase @ 11:00
    -TS (1) @ Biergarten for late lunch
    -Cantina de San Angel for CS (2) dinner and drinks
    -Illuminations (watch from Cantina patio- arrive about an hour early)

    Monday September 27:
    -DHS rope drop, breakfast in room
    -Sci-fi Diner TS (2) lunch
    -back to resort to swim/relax
    -Pepper Market or ASM CS (3) dinner

    Tuesday September 28:
    -Crystal Palace Character Breakfast TS (3)
    -MK rope drop
    -S (2) lunch, back to resort
    - Robbie and I to Big River Grille, Planet Hollywood for kids, mom, and dad TS (4)

    Wednesday September 29:
    -Epcot: Future World rope drop, breakfast in room
    -Sunshine Seasons CS (4) lunch with Karen
    -Kim Possible Mission with Karen, break
    -Cosmic Ray’s CS (5) dinner
    -Wishes/Spectro
    -dessert after Wishes

    Thursday September 30:
    -sleep in, CS (6) breakfast at Pepper Market or ASM
    -Blizzard Beach
    -S (3) lunch at BB
    -Chef Mickey’s TS (5) Mom and Dad to Ohana

    Friday October 1:-Tusker House Character Breakfast TS (6)
    -AK rope drop
    -S (4) lunch, back to resort to rest/swim
    -1900 Character Dinner TS (7)
    -Wishes from Marina at GF

    Saturday October 2:-CS (7) breakfast at ASM
    -use any left over snack credits- can take these with us for trip home!
    -check out by 11 am
    -travel home

    Three extra snack credits each -The kids will have three snack tickets on their lanyards to use whenever they feel like it. I wanted to be sure to leave some leeway with snacks so if anyone felt hungry they could get something without having to pay OOP every time.

    We'll also be shipping a box of breakfast and snacks foods to round out the DDP. I think this looks like plenty of food but with all the walking we may be famished and I want to be prepared! I'd originally planned to buy beer at the gift shop at the resort but I'm hearing reports of $5 per beer! :scared1: I'm just going to fax our ids to Garden Grocer and if my dad or Robbie want some beers to keep in the room we'll have it delivered. They could also take a cab to a grocery store if they wanted so I'll leave that that up to them. I'll still fax the ids so they can decide when we're there what they'd rather do. Planning for every contingency... this is why I call myself obsessive! :lmao: It really does pay off in the long run though because this way if everyone is tired we can just have things delivered but if the guys need a break from the Magic then they can get one- and you just never know what you're going to want until your there in the situation. (This is what I tell myself to justify the obsession) :thumbsup2
     
  19. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    Oh, and I forgot to mention (I know, I know, with a post that long how could there be anything else!)- Robbie was feeling lucky and bought another scratchers ticket yesterday- he won another $50! I'm telling you that man needs to buy a powerball ticket this week!
     
  20. Twoboysnmygirl

    Twoboysnmygirl DIS Veteran

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    Ooooh! I didn't see this latest version of the schedule! :laughing: I think you will like Chef Mickey's, it's something you should do at least once, the kids will love it! Your parents will love Ohana as well I bet! They can watch Hallowishes (where we will be that night!) if you time it right! :)
     
  21. -Hope-

    -Hope- Always dreaming of adventure...

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    I added Chef Mickey's for my 7th TS and then had enough for a CS for breakfast before we go home, so that extra night is going to pay for itself (well, almost). I wasn't sure about the food at Chef Mickey's but I figure it can't be all bad and Kya will love dinner with Minnie so it will be worth it even if the food isn't great.

    What time would be "timing it right" for viewing Hallowishes do you think? I'd like to see Hallowishes at least once (from outside the park since we aren't buying tickets to MNSSHP) and if our night at GF is regular Wishes then we'll plan to view it from Contemporary after Chef Mickey's (and of course Mom and Dad from the beach at Poly if they want).

    On a side note I'd have really liked to have gone to Ohana but no pizza or cheeseburgers for Jace and I really have my heart set on Robbie and I having our night alone on the Boardwalk so I guess we'll just have to hear about it from mom and dad.
     

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