Have a Holly Jolly Disney! A Dec 2013 PTR!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by ::danielle::, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

    Joined:
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    Welcome to my first ever PTR! I hope to keep this report organized and interesting! I am surprised at how nervous I am! Well, the only thing I can think of to combat my nerves is to jump in, so here goes!

    As we all know, the best trip reports always start off with introducing.

    The Cast

    This is me, Danielle (in case you couldn't tell from my screen name :)). I am a thirty-something work at home Mom. I prefer to think of myself as a full time C.O.O. (Chief Operations Officer) who answers to 2 C.E.Os (more on them later). I am blessed to run a small business in my spare time (read: after the kids are in bed). The money from my work allows me to pay for our Disney vacations. Disney is special to me because I grew up in the Orlando area. We moved from Florida when I was a teenager. Disney World is part of my fondest childhood memories. I want that for my children as well.

    [​IMG]



    Then there is DH. This is NOT DH. Unfortunately, DH does not like to be in photos. He goes so far as to actually make crazy or irritated faces when he's photographed. He likes to have his photo put on the internet even less than he likes being photographed. Out of respect for him I won't post any photos of him.

    DH and I have been married for 12 years. We spent the first 4 years of our marriage living in LA. During our honeymoon years we visited Disneyland a lot. DH is not nearly as excited about Disney as the kids and I. He's a good sport and goes along with my Disney plans with a cheerful spirit. I am thankful for that!

    [​IMG]



    The first CEO of our family is my DS, Buddy. Hes 8 years old and still hasn't lost his Mamas Boy nature. His first trip to the House of Mouse was at age 5. We took him to Disneyland for 3 jam-packed days. We went commando style on that trip. That was before I knew that DISboards existed (now I can't imagine life without it)! I had always dreamed about the day I would take my kids on their first magical trip to Disney. Turns out this guy is not into the magic; he's all about the thrill! At 5 he couldn't get enough of ToT, BTMRR, and Space Mountain. I guess he did grasp some of the Disney magic because he was super excited when we went again for his little sister's first trip. He's looking forward to this (his third trip) with just as much excitement!

    [​IMG]



    Rounding out our family is the other CEO, my DD, Cupcake. At 4 years old she is the baby of the family. However, her personality is larger than the rest of us combined! Her introduction to Disney was just before her 4th birthday. We went to WDW for a fabulous 10 day trip (with advice from countless DISers)! I was blessed to have the *magical* experience for my children that I had always dreamed of. She's starting to outgrow the magic and is ready for the thrills along with her brother.

    [​IMG]



    Well, that's it for the introductions! Please stay tuned for all the magical details!!

     
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  3. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

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  4. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

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    Now that we know Who, how about the....

    When & Where



    My plan is to space our Disney trips 18 months apart (shhhhhh….don’t tell DH. He doesn’t know that yet). That meant this trip would happen sometime in October 2013. When I suggested those dates to DH, he quickly realized that he has a major business commitment that will take up most of his energy and focus from September-Thanksgiving. Well, I knew immediately what that meant. I am sad to miss the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. But I get to have another dream fulfilled…


    [​IMG]


    I should clarify that we are not going to be there for Christmas Day itself. The Grandparents would be devastated if we weren’t together for Christmas. As of right now the plan is to go the week before Christmas. Both kids will be in Elementary school by then. However, the week before the holiday is pretty lax (no homework or tests) so it shouldn’t impact them. That puts us there from December 14-21.

    Not only am I blessed to have my Christmas at Disney dream fulfilled, but there is another, even bigger dream of mine that I’ve had for as long as I can remember.


    We’re staying at Bay Lake Tower!

    [​IMG]

    (at least I hope, we can’t book until January. **fingerscrossed**)

    One of my earliest Disney memories is that I wanted to stay at the hotel where the monorail went through the lobby more than anything. Granted BLT and the Contemporary are two different buildings, but for me they’re the same dream. We are renting DVC points for a 1 bedroom with a standard view. At least, that's the plan (*fingers crossed*).

    One thing we’ve learned from our DL trip (where we could walk to the parks) and our last WDW trip (offsite at Wyndham Bonnet Creek) is that we are a family who likes both convenience and space. While we loved WBC, we did not like the 20-30 minutes we spent on the buses each way in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. What we loved about WBC was that there was space to spread out and a kitchen to make meals, prep snacks, etc. The early birds in our family (Cupcake and I) could wake up and enjoy our coffee and juice without disturbing the night owls (DH and Buddy). Also, the kids could nap during the day while DH and I watched television or caught up with work emails.

    This truly is a childhood dream for me. I've been saving, hoping, and planning for so long. I keep praying that all will go smoothly when we book in January!


    Update

    Firstly, after scouring the DVC Rent boards for months, I was lucky enough to catch someone renting their BLT points right at the 11 month reservation window. We made the arrangements but by the time he went to make the reservation, all of the Standard view 1-bedrooms were taken. I had to pay extra to get a Lake view. It was extra money that I did not want to spend but I am grateful that I even have the opportunity to stay at BLT. Now I can move forward with our other plans! We are officially booked for December 14-21! :yay:

    I've invited my MIL to join us on this trip. Unfortunately she cannot plan to take off of work the week before Christmas this far in advance. I've left the option open to her in case it's a possibility. I told her I would ask again in June before I book the ADR's. :)

    Now that the lodging is paid for, it's time to focus on the details!


    (BLT photo by WDWPhotoClub on Flickr)
     
  5. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

    Joined:
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    Travel & Transportation

    To save money, we are going to drive to Orlando from Houston. My research shows that it is about 15 hours doorstep to doorstep. While it is possible to do that drive in one day, we are going to break it up into a 2-3 day drive. Our itinerary will be something like this:

    Drive Houston to Orlando:

    Thurs Dec 12 - Depart Houston after school, drive to Baton Rouge. Drive time 4.5 hours
    Friday Dec 13 - Depart BR, drive to Tallahassee. Drive time 6 hours
    Saturday Dec 14 - Depart Tallahassee, drive to Disney World! Drive time 4 hours


    Drive Orlando to Houston:

    Saturday Dec 21 - Depart Disney :sad: drive to Gulfport, MS. Drive time 8.5 hours

    Sunday Dec 22 - Depart Gulfport, drive home. Drive time 6.5 hours


     
  6. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

    Joined:
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    Arrival Day Plans

    Based on our arriving at a reasonable time (midday) on December 14th, I tried to think of a fun way to kick off our vacation. I debated going to the parks on our first day but have decided against it. We won't be in "park mode" yet so it seems like the perfect chance to explore some of the non-park activities and resorts that I've read so much about. That first night we are going to head over to Wilderness Lodge to see the decorations and to Fort Wilderness to look at the decorated campsites. I've reserved a golf cart so we can explore the resort (although I am debating cancelling and doing the Sleigh Ride). Hopefully we'll be able to participate in the campfire sing-along and either catch the movie or see the Electrical Water Parade!
     
  7. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

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    Dining : Day 1

    While we are at the Fort and WL, we will need to eat dinner. Buddy and Cupcake are unbelievably picky eaters! I've poured over the menus at Roaring Fork, Territory Lounge, Whispering Canyon Cafe, Artist Point, Trails End, Hoop Dee Do Review, Mickey's Backyard BBQ, and Crockett's Tavern. After much thought and research, I've decided to try out Artist Point. I cannot wait to try a Signature restaurant at Disney!
     
  8. pooh'smate

    pooh'smate <font color=royalblue>My ticker is actually a day

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    Joining in. I came over from the Dec 2013 thread.
     
  9. Chocolab23

    Chocolab23 Disney Dreaming

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    Along for the ride:cool1:!
     
  10. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for stopping in! I'm going to update with more information very soon. Hopefully this weekend.
     
  11. Bethislucy

    Bethislucy DIS Veteran

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    joining in from the dec 2013 thread
     
  12. AshRose26

    AshRose26 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
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    I am joining along because we are going in Dec 2013 too. It'll be our first trip for our youngest and second trip for my oldest (he also went when he was 5yrs old). Looking forward to great ideas.
     
  13. britt54311

    britt54311 Mouseketeer

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    Joining in also as were are going Dec 29 - Jan 8. Looking forward to reading your trip report.
     
  14. serene56

    serene56 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2004
    Messages:
    4,330
    join in too coz we are going in dec 2013 and hoping tomlearn everything i can.

    curious to a comment about your DD you said she outgrew the magic... what does that mean.

    my grand daughter will be turning 8 when we go and i think i will be heart broken if she does not believe in the magic

    when we went the first time when she was just 5 she was having a hard time wondering if there was people in costumes or where they real. when minnie held her hand jada said to pop pop-i felt a ladies hand in that glove. pop pop says thats because minnie is a lady. whew.
     
  15. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Messages:
    449
    Now that we know Who, how about the....

    When & Where



    My plan is to space our Disney trips 18 months apart (shhhhhh….don’t tell DH. He doesn’t know that yet). That meant this trip would happen sometime in October 2013. When I suggested those dates to DH, he quickly realized that he has a major business commitment that will take up most of his energy and focus from September-Thanksgiving. Well, I knew immediately what that meant. I am sad to miss the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. But I get to have another dream fulfilled…


    [​IMG]


    I should clarify that we are not going to be there for Christmas Day itself. The Grandparents would be devastated if we weren’t together for Christmas. As of right now the plan is to go the week before Christmas. Both kids will be in Elementary school by then. However, the week before the holiday is pretty lax (no homework or tests) so it shouldn’t impact them. That puts us there from December 14-21.

    Not only am I blessed to have my Christmas at Disney dream fulfilled, but there is another, even bigger dream of mine that I’ve had for as long as I can remember.


    We’re staying at Bay Lake Tower!

    [​IMG]

    (at least I hope, we can’t book until January. **fingerscrossed**)

    One of my earliest Disney memories is that I wanted to stay at the hotel where the monorail went through the lobby more than anything. Granted BLT and the Contemporary are two different buildings, but for me they’re the same dream. We are renting DVC points for a 1 bedroom with a standard view. At least, that's the plan (*fingers crossed*).

    One thing we’ve learned from our DL trip (where we could walk to the parks) and our last WDW trip (offsite at Wyndham Bonnet Creek) is that we are a family who likes both convenience and space. While we loved WBC, we did not like the 20-30 minutes we spent on the buses each way in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. What we loved about WBC was that there was space to spread out and a kitchen to make meals, prep snacks, etc. The early birds in our family (Cupcake and I) could wake up and enjoy our coffee and juice without disturbing the night owls (DH and Buddy). Also, the kids could nap during the day while DH and I watched television or caught up with work emails.

    This truly is a childhood dream for me. I've been saving, hoping, and planning for so long. I keep praying that all will go smoothly when we book in January!

    (BLT photo by WDWPhotoClub on Flickr)
     
  16. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for reading my PTR! When I mentioned that I was worried that Cupcake would out grow the Magic, what I was referring to is this magic of believing that when you meet Cinderella it is really Cinderella. Not a woman pretending to be Cinderella.

    My son, Buddy, knew on our last trip that Stitch is not really Stitch, just someone in a costume. Even though he knew that he was still really excited to meet him (and all of the characters for that matter). There was still plenty of magic for him at age 7!
     
  17. serene56

    serene56 DIS Veteran

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    ooo i hope that never happens. i am 56 and when i walk through those gates its alll still magical to mee. people'in costumes.... no way.


    my next question is you renting points. can you do that in january? i thought it was only 7 months out.

    if there is no discounts offered for our week i will be renting points and looking at boardwalk.
     
  18. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

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    I'm with you on it still being magical!!

    To book a DVC resort at 11 months out you have to book with someone who owns points at that resort. The opportunity to reserve opens up to all DVC owners at the 7 month mark.

    Boardwalk Villas in next on my list! I really want to stay there when we go to the Food & Wine festival someday! Hopefully that will be October 2015 if we can afford it (and if DH agrees).
     
  19. serene56

    serene56 DIS Veteran

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    well, my family shot me down for renting points. (sigh)

    they have babies and want mouse keeping to at least make beds every day instead of once midweek.

    they also said they felt that the deluxes were not disney 9double sigh

    I had to look on ways to save money so i had to down grade from the Coronada Springs-- (a resort I always wanted to stay at) and rebooked the Pop Century.

    with all our rooms there was a savings of 4200. so i DO understand the move.

    The rates we have now are all rack rate. I am seriously hoping for some type of discount before we go,.
     
  20. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

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    I'm sorry to hear that you're not able to stay at Coronado Springs for this trip. POP is a fun resort with lots of great features. What a blessing to travel with your family (babies and all) to the Happiest Place on Earth!

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for a fabulous POP discount for you!
     
  21. ::danielle::

    ::danielle:: Mouseketeer

    Joined:
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    I cannot believe how neglectful I have been with this PTR! So much has happened since I last posted! Here are some updates:

    Lodging

    Firstly, after scouring the DVC Rent boards for months, I was lucky enough to catch someone renting their BLT points right at the 11 month reservation window. We made the arrangements but by the time he went to make the reservation, all of the Standard view 1-bedrooms were taken. I had to pay extra to get a Lake view. It was extra money that I did not want to spend but I am grateful that I even have the opportunity to stay at BLT. Now I can move forward with our other plans! We are officially booked for December 14-21! :yay:

    I've invited my MIL to join us on this trip. Unfortunately she cannot plan to take off of work the week before Christmas this far in advance. I've left the option open to her in case it's a possibility. I told her I would ask again in June before I book the ADR's. :)

    Now that the lodging is paid for, it's time to focus on the details!

    Transportation

    To save money, we are going to drive to Orlando from Houston. My research shows that it is about 15 hours doorstep to doorstep. While it is possible to do that drive in one day, we are going to break it up into a 2-3 day drive. Our itinerary will be something like this:

    Drive Houston to Orlando:

    Thurs Dec 12 - Depart Houston after school, drive to Baton Rouge. Drive time 4.5 hours
    Friday Dec 13 - Depart BR, drive to Tallahassee. Drive time 6 hours
    Saturday Dec 14 - Depart Tallahassee, drive to Disney World! Drive time 4 hours


    Drive Orlando to Houston:

    Saturday Dec 21 - Depart Disney :sad: drive to Gulfport, MS. Drive time 8.5 hours

    Sunday Dec 22 - Depart Gulfport, drive home. Drive time 6.5 hours

    Arrival Day Plans

    Based on our arriving at a reasonable time (midday) on December 14th, I tried to think of a fun way to kick off our vacation. I debated going to the parks on our first day but have decided against it. We won't be in "park mode" yet so it seems like the perfect chance to explore some of the non-park activities and resorts that I've read so much about. That first night we are going to head over to Wilderness Lodge to see the decorations and to Fort Wilderness to look at the decorated campsites. I've reserved a golf cart so we can explore the resort (although I am debating cancelling and doing the Sleigh Ride). Hopefully we'll be able to participate in the campfire sing-along and either catch the movie or see the Electrical Water Parade!

    Dining : Day 1

    While we are at the Fort and WL, we will need to eat dinner. Buddy and Cupcake are unbelievably picky eaters! I've poured over the menus at Roaring Fork, Territory Lounge, Whispering Canyon Cafe, Artist Point, Trails End, Hoop Dee Do Review, Mickey's Backyard BBQ, and Crockett's Tavern. After much thought and research, I've decided to try out Artist Point. I cannot wait to try a Signature restaurant at Disney!




    Well, there you have it! I've successfully planned Day 1. I'm sure I'll spend the next 4 weeks trying to determine the practically perfect plans for Day 2!

    In the meantime, I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts/opinions/experiences with any of our Day 1 plans.


    :cutie:
     

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