Headed to Disney for Christmas!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by 1stvisit0909, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    The cirumstances of us being able to go are sad. My FIL passed away in August, and in the settlement of his Estate, he wanted us to use a portion to do something fun, the kids would remember him forever by, and to do it soon.

    I was blown away by that! I looked at DH, he looked at me, and we both said Disney at Christmas. We had been talking about planning a trip for Christmas 13, but now we could go this Christmas. :thumbsup2
    Cast: Me Val - 35 and da mom and planner extraordinaire. :)
    DH - 37 and not a planner. more of a shower upper and you tell me where to goer. It works for us. I plan to my hearts content, and he doesnt complain (And likes the results of the plan, just doesnt wanna be bothered with the details)

    DD11 - second visit - wants to find stuff other than princesses. Roller coaster junkie!

    DD7 - second visit and, she found out she's tall enough for EVERYTHING - and she wants to try it all.

    Our first visit was a total surprise for the girls, thanks to the generosity of my FIL back in 09. I couldnt think of a better way to remember him according to his wishes than to go back to Disney at Christmas. He loved Disney - when my DH was little, he lived in Florida, and they went to Disney every chance they got for the day. We told our kids that Papaw wanted us to have a big, fun trip, and we thought Disney at Christmas would be a great way to honor that wish.

    Here are a couple of photopass pics I dug up from that trip :goodvibes



    At first, my DD11 didnt want to go - turns out she thought it was too much $$$, and because we focused on Princesses at our last trip that that was really all there ways. My disney loving heart was all sad. but I sat down at the computer and we pulled up all the attractions, and she got on board REAL quick. :D

    DD7 was 100% in at the word Disney. I figured that. So, time to plan.

    I booked the ressies, for 12/21-12/29 but checked the flight prices, and stupidly waited till the next day to book flights - wham $100 more a ticket. Grr.

    Checked the fare finder and found out I could get to and from MUCH cheaper Christmas Eve and NYE, which surprised me. Booked those tickets, and called Disney to change my reservation dates. When I first told the guy he was all...oooooohhhh I get nervous messing with ressies that week in Dec. HA. Me too, me too, but we are talking $800 in flight savings here, so lets hope some Disney pixie dust lands on me. ;)

    So, got that all sorted. Flights booked, Ressies booked. Staying at the POFQ - some advice from a friend who had been recently and said it was very very nice. I was slightly concerned, bc we were spoiled by Disney on our first trip, with a FREE upgrade from Value Resort to OKW 2 Bd Rm Villa. I think POFQ is gonna be great though.

    Didnt think I had to worry about ADRs, then I read about the Candlelight processional, and thought - awww! I wanna do that! we arrive after the MVMCP is over, so I wanted to do this. Read up on it and realized if I wanted to do it Christmas Day, I was prolly outta luck - but low and behold yesterday I managed to get us ressies for Christmas Day at Le Cellier. Sweet! Score one for us!

    So that is what I have done so far - now its time to plan when we go where.
    We got park hoppers this time, so its wide open.

    I know DD11 REALLY wants to see the HP part of IOA, but my goodness one day tickets for that are insane!!! :eek: Anyone have a hook up for a deal??!?

    Dining Plan Worries
    Tentative Plan
    Hubby doesnt get it, but the kids do!
    Labor Day
    Must Do's
    Packing List
    Free Photopass Plus?
    Can Santa Text?
    Paid in Full and ADRs
    West Nile and new ADRs
    Buying some Christmas Decorations!
    More Shopping - Please vote!!
    Getting the shirts, and feeling better
    Decisions Decisions, I'm so indecisive.
    ChChchchchchangin' again
    Life Update
    ADORABLE Shirts!
    DISigns for our trip
    You want me to add WHO to our trip??!
    Mickey Mail!
    18 Days 18 days - and the flu?
    14 days! time to pack?
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  3. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Now I'm all worried about the DDP. LOL

    Last time we went to Disney we had the regular plan back then, which was one CS, one TS and two snacks. It was WAY too much food - never bought a thing. WE did bring our own water into the parks and didnt use snack creds on drinks. It was also FD, which I dont have this time. This time I booked it for convenience, so its mostly all paid for when before we get there and I can have worry free with little oop cost once we get there. Which is worth more to me than trying to figure out the how to eat the cheapest dance. Maybe not at a trip in the future, but totally this time. Crowds will be high and I dont want to try to chase down cheaper food offsite.

    When I booked the package the other day, I booked with the CS package - I remember the CS means being fine - particularly EOS and WPE in DTD.

    Then I saw that its 2 CS meals and 1 SC. I'm concerned that this wont be enough now. I'm going to pack snacks/breakfast for us to eat on the way and in case we have the munchies.

    From 2009 I remember the CS meals were plenty - and I remember being able to use two snack credits and splitting them among the four of us. So I think we'll be fine.

    We'll be arriving late afternoon of the first night, and leaving before lunch the last day. 7 nights = 28 snack credits and 42 adult CS credits and 14 CS credits. I think this will be plenty. We are paying OOP for the Candle light processional.

    Am I wrong? I hope not.

    Next on the agenda - figuring out which park to go when, and should we add IOA? for the WWHP?

    The kids think we are only going to Disney, which they are fine with, but I KNOW DD 11 really wants to see the WWHP, and in fact so do we! DH and I were wondering what to do about Christmas pressies while we are there - after all they know this trip is "from" papaw, so we arent off the hook for Christmas pressies. I am thinking small, portable (gift cards for the world, itunes cards for their ipods, etc) but today DH and I thought, "what about surprise tickets for a day at IOA? - its really hard for me to pay that one day ticket price just to see HP though - my kids are totally not into the Marvel stuff. Decisions decisions - but we can make those later. Any input would be fab though.

  4. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Tentative plan:

    12/24 - Arrive MCO 310. I figure this will put us at POFQ at 5-530. We decided to go to DTD to eat and see the festivities there.

    12/25 - another nuts day for us, b/c we are going to Epcot. I know I know. The "plan" is to be there for opening and hit the big rides early, wander through the WS until Noon lunch at Le Ceiller, before we participate in the Candlelight Processional. I am SO looking forward to this.

    12/26 - MK I think. It seems this is the best day for us to "do" MK while are there - plan early for opening ceremony, then the big rides, and then back for a rest before we come back again - or hop, dunno yet.

    12/27 - AK, and then MK for our Dessert Party

    12/28 - HS to start, maybe a break in the middle and back for the lights. or hop, idk.

    12/29 IF we do IOA I want to do it this day, it seems like a good day according to crowd calendar. maybe after hop the resorts to see the decorations

    12/30 no idea - wherever the kids want to go. Maybe just hop all day :D :confused3:rotfl: Edit: Added an 800 ressie at 1900 Park Fare at the Gf, so we now can see the resort for sure.

    12/31 we are out of tickets, and the Magical Express will prolly pick us up about 11, so we will probably just sleep in!!!

    The girls have gotten their autograph books out from last time and are trying to figure out 'who we missed' so we can look for them :banana::goodvibes
  5. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Convo this evening:

    Me: omgoodness there is a huge gingerbread house at the grand floridian, we have to get by there.

    DH: What?

    Me: THE GRAND FLORIDIAN HAS A huge gingerbread house during Christmas!! We have to get there.

    DH: *sigh* you are going to drive your self crazy before the trip.

    Me: *sigh* he just doesnt get it. :surfweb:

    Planning is FUN! :surfweb:


    Me: GIRLS! Guess what, there is a huge gingerbread house at one of the resorts at Disney y'all wanna plan to go see it?

    Girls: YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Me: THAT is more like it. :rotfl:
  6. reyasmommy

    reyasmommy DIS Veteran

    Jul 20, 2007
    That's so great that you get to go for Christmas! I've always wanted to go around that time. We're going around thanksgiving so most of the Christmas decorations will be up though.

    It will be a wonderful way to remember you FIL too. My grandma ((who raised me)) died last year. I'm going to take her ashes with us and spread them in the ocean. She was going to go to Florida for the first time a couple months before she passed, and I'm so sad she never had a chance. It will be a nice way to remember her. :cloud9:

    Have fun planning!
  7. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Ta da, another thing off the list - boarding spaces for the pack! We have three dogs and I have to be sure my fur babies are taken care of! Our boarder - al a Disney for dogs - has openings and I claimed 'em. They get to have their own vaca in the country. :cheer2:
  8. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Labor Day: To plan or not to plan.

    Well, I told myself I was gonna stay away from planning today. (yeah right)

    I did finish painting DD7s room. My DDs shared a room until May of this year and it was princess themed (Duh) complete with light purple walls and floating castles *sigh* dreamy. My mom was placed in a nursing home after she wandered away from us - she has dementia, so we re did her old room for DD11 - and for her birthday she wanted it redecorated. She chose lime green - like neon- almost the Disser color for her walls, with electric blue curtains and a comforter set of purple, lime, same blue and pink - it turned out really cute.

    DD7 decided since her sister was out, that the princesses need to go too. :worried: where has the time gone?

    So, idk about you but I can only paint one room like every so often. But apparently sometime this summer I might have said "maybe we can do it labor day weekend" and promptly forgot - DD7 however, did not. Last week she asks me - mom can we paint? :scared1:

    She tells me she wants four colors - one for each wall :scared1: no.

    I tell her I am willing to go with two colors. She picks "twist of lime" which is not quite so :eek: has her sisters, and "purpleberry' from lowes. They had this nifty card with them together - she fell in love. Then she asks me if I will do stripes of lime/purple. Um. No. Two walls, each color, and they have to meet. A girl can only deal with so many corners of different colors in a weekend.

    So, this weekend I sadly took down all the castles, princesses and fairies...:sad2: and painted her room.

    We haven't gotten the comforter set or curtains yet, but she's happy.

    I finish up about 2, and guess what? Planning time!!! :surfweb:

    Looking for holiday things to do, and trying to decide if IOA is worth it for one day. Havent decided still.

    Can't WAIT for my magical trip at Christmas! :wizard::santa:
  9. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

    Mar 7, 2010
    How are you getting to IOA? I was going to say that your best bet is to go Christmas Day (WDW tends to be much busier Christmas Day than IOA), and, since you're not so interested in doing the rest of the park, I'd honestly still consider it if you can get in early in the morning and just do the HP stuff.

    I have the same conundrum -- bunches of us want to do the HP section; no interest for anybody in the rest. :( Doing it as a Christmas gift splurge makes sense to me. :thumbsup2


    My girls as a whole are not so enthusiastic (youngest insists she's anti-Disney, except she likes Oliver and Figaro and Scar and...), but I rely on middle daughter for positive feedback. Hubby is hopeless. :rolleyes:

    The gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian looks cool, and I do want to see it, but when it comes to WDW, what I most look forward to tracking down come Christmas time is pics of the carousel at the Beach Club:


    I let our daughters pick two colors -- they picked a pink and a purple that were so close most people didn't realize one wall was different! :p

    Most of our upstairs is paneled because the guy who lived here got tired of putting up sheet rock when the original walls started falling apart and just did that fake pine paneling that I hate. So hubby sponged all three bedrooms the year after we moved in, which is essentially painting the whole thing and then repainting it without a brush. :lovestruc

    However, the girls originally had the larger bedroom, but once my dad got the second loft bed done we had to switch them because the smaller one has the better layout for cramming their three loft beds into. Not surprisingly, the boys protested to the whole purple and pink thing, but for some reason hubby adamantly refused to sponge their room. :confused3 ;)

    I hope you have pictures of the castles and princesses room. I am still kicking myself for not taking more "before" pictures around here. :sad2:

    I would so set aside a day just to tour the resorts. But if I went at Christmas, I'd be there for the decorations, because I wouldn't want to wrestle with the crowds for rides; you guys sound a lot more adventurous!

    I am so jealous about your upgrade to OKW! But you know you're just going to get rooms this time, and I've seen POFQ pics of past Christmasses and I think you guys are going to love it. :santa: I'd want to take the boat to Downtown Disney for sure! But, again, I'm All About the "wander around looking at stuff" approach -- your girls would probably appreciate a more active afternoon. :upsidedow Although at Christmas there are often extra musicians and stuff -- last year there were musicians and guys in costumes wandering around. Most of the costumes were Christmassy (tin solders and the like), but there was a "Santa Goofy" there that week, which would be worth checking out if you collect characters I would think. :)

    The Dis usually has some info on that sort of thing -- not finding it today but it should be up sometime after Halloween I would guess.
  10. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    I am not sure how we'd get to IOA - probably taxi. Sounds like the bus system is insane to try to navigate to IOA. Hubby and I are still waffling on it.

    I was thinking we'd tour some resorts for decorations either a whole day or in an afternoon when the park crowds are beyond nuts and we want away from it.
  11. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Had a "must do, be nice to do" conversation with the fam today at lunch. We know we'll be there at an insanely busy time, so I want to make sure we have the "must do" list hemmed up. :crowded:

    The more we talk about the more excited the kids get (me too, for that matter)!

    Must dos for MK
    Peter Pan's flight
    Space Mountain
    Splash MTN (if the weather is warm enough)
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Character wish list: Mary Poppins (we didnt meet her last time I was bummed)

    Would like to do:
    Jungle Cruise

    Must dos for EPCOT
    Test Track

    Candlelight Processional
    Illuminations (we didnt see this last time, really want to try)

    Be nice to:
    Spaceship Earth
    Mission Space
    Holiday Storytellers
    WS - what we can anyway

    AK (we've never been to this park, so we wanna see as much as possible)
    Must dos:
    Lion King
    Jungle Parade

    Would be nice to:
    Bugs Life
    Jungle Trek
    Flights of Wonder


    Honey I Shrunk the Kids (the kids just watched the move, so they are all HAVE TO! :rotfl2:)

    would be nice to:

    Beauty and the Beast
    Disney Channel Rocks
    Indian Jones
    Lights, Motors, Action!

    Resort must dos:
    Gingerbread house and Tree at the GF
    Christmas decoration looking (not sure which resorts are the best for this, but since we want to do the GF maybe the monorail ones?)

    Suggestions welcome! What are your must dos? Tips/tricks/hints to get most of it in?

    We have 6 full days, but one day may to at least half IOA - if so I was thinking resort hopping that afternoon. :cheer2:
  12. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    List of things I need to get/order/bring
    Just starting will add things as I think of them.

    (please feel free to point out things I forget, or would be a good addition for our Christmas Trip!)

    Clothes and toiletries for each (weather dependent)
    Lanyards & pins
    Autograph books
    Laundry Soap
    $ for laundry

    Christmas tree/decorations for mini tree
    bfast snacks

    Need to buy to add to the pile:
    portable lysol wipes
    blanket for parades/fireworks
    New mickey holiday sweatshirts?
  13. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Goal: pay for photopass plus CD package with savings in gas.

    We try to rock the Kroger fuel points as much as possible. Right now they are giving 4x fuel points on gift cards. So Ive been very careful about buying gift cards for other stores when needed while the promotion was going on. I cashed in $2 a gal worth today, saving me $38 off the tank of gas. :cool1:

    Photopass plus cd: $169.95
    Fill up one saved: $38 for the cost,
    Fill up two saved $38.25
    Fill up three saved $40.30
    fill up four saved $38.12
    fill up five saved $49.89
    PP+ is paid for! Plus $34.61 in the souvie kitty!
    I have the points for $2 for the van before the promotion ends at the end of the month :banana: news flash! Kroger extended the $2 off promotion till end of dec! Hopefully they'll put gcs back to 4x too!

    Think I can do it? I think I can! I plan to buy gift cards for Disney to pay on our acct, to get the fuel points. :cool1:

    Unfortunately, the 4x gift card promotion ends tuesday, but gcs are always 2x. Also, the ability to use $2 a gal off ends at the end of this month, but I will fill up the van one more time before the end of Sept. I should be able to hit one more tank for the van at $2 off. It will slow after that, but I figure I should be able to get it. :cool1:

    Edit: update, went into buy one more round of gc's at the kroger to pay down on disney - I had the same cashier as last time. She said. "ok ok, what is the deal?" I told her - and she said :O I never thought about that. I said GIRL no one says you have to give the cards away!

    After that I plan to pace the gcs so I have points all the way to through Dec for $1 off a gal. :cool1:

    That extra money saved will go to souvies!! pixiedust:
  14. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    See? Even in my computer:lmao: [​IMG]

    AGGGH!! I think I need a break
  15. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

    Mar 7, 2010
    My eldest daughter saw a hidden mickey on our trip to Michigan -- it was so hidden, she had to make it to show it to anyone else! In other words, she saw that the "empty space" in the pieces of the bread wrapper thingie I'd been fiddling with would match up that way (although I think the bottom piece got shifted before we took a picture, because it was perfect when she first showed it to me):


    She also found one on our vacation to Big Cedar, in Missouri -- three mushrooms, one big and two little. Maybe she's more excited about going to WDW than she's willing to admit. ;)
  16. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Got some Mickey Mail!!

    PP+ cd came in, and I'm :woohoo: because it makes it more real!

  17. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Since we are going to be a Disney for Christmas, the subject has come up about presents and how if we are going to exchange gifts there it needs to be small stuff cus we are flying.

    DD 7 said: can Santa leave my presents at home and just give me a picture? :rotfl2: Then she said oooh little, how about an ipod touch? :scared1:

    DD11: said, I am good with surprises! :woohoo:

    DH and I were talking, and we think we are going to do tickets to WWHP, and gift cards for them to shop for more souvies. IDk about that ipod touch. DD 11 has one, but she got it at 10. DD7 is well, a little rougher!

    We are going to start pin trading, so I asked them: Whos your fave character?
    That way, I figured we can get a lanyard with that character, and a special pin for them to keep, a tshirt and a stuffed animal to round out their christmas gifts they'd get it the first morning we are there, and be ready to go. (plus the starter booster pins I am giving them before hand)

    DD7: Marie from Aristocats.
    DD11: Stitch
    Me: Maleficent, oh wait no one asked me :rolleyes1
  18. Alysa

    Alysa DIS Veteran

    Apr 28, 2001
    What a lovely, kind thing for your father-in-law to do.
    I agree that the Universal tickets are absolutely crazy!
    And not to worry about the food plan. The snack portion has a lot of things on the menu at OKW that you can use as a small meal. We always have credits left over and we never felt hungry once.
    Looking forward to hearing more!
  19. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    Well, the dining plan is getting upgraded. Lol.

    We had a candlelight processional package already, then I added 1900 Park Fare. Then hubby wanted me to check out the F! Package, by the time we do three, its cheaper to get the regular DP instead of QSDP.

    So, in search of ADRs I go. Lol

    We have: Le Cellier, Kona Cafe, Mama Melrose, 1900 Park Fare, WCC, and The Plaza. I want BoG, so I will be stalking and if I score give up the plaza.
  20. 1stvisit0909

    1stvisit0909 DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2009
    *paid in full dance* :cool1:

    Current ADRs:
    12/25 Le Cellier (CP package)
    12/26 Tony's (still stalking for a BOG)
    12/27 Tusker House (1030) Wishes Dessert Party
    12/28 Mama Melrose (F! package)
    12/29 1900 Park Fare Dinner
    12/30 Kona (bfast)
  21. Suzanne033

    Suzanne033 Nobody on their deathbed ever wishes they spent mo

    Apr 2, 2004
    I have enjoyed reading over your trip plan!! I, too, have been there at Christmas. It was truly a magical experience.

    Here are a couple of thought I came up with as I was reading through your plan:

    *A great way to end the night at MK is the Wishes Dessert party. My DD13 LOVED it. It is a pre-paid event that can be booked roughly 60 days in advance. Last year December reservations opened on 10/4. There are a limited number of seats so there is no crowding to see the show and Tinkerbell flies RIGHT OVER YOUR HEAD!!!

    *I know the special of getting 4X fuel points in over at Kroger but they usually do it again during the weeks leading up to Christmas. You could buy your DDs Disney giftcards as Christmas gifts that they can use for souvenirs. As an added bonus you would get your 4X fuel points.

    *When we were there for Christmas we were able to buy a small pre-decorated Christmas tree from the resort (AS Sport). It had some Disney ornaments on it. It was really cute.

    *I ditto a PP who said that the carousel at the Beach Club is worth the trip. You could easily take a quite walk over to the Beach Club on your Epcot day. The International Gateway entrance is a very short walk from the Beach Club. I doubt it would take more than 30 minutes.

    *On your HS day try to stay until it gets dark. The Osbourne Spectacle of Lights is amazing!!!

    **Most of all - have fun honoring the memory of your late FIL!!!!!

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