Help! DL Vets attempt WDW trip December 2012! PTR & TR.

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by taaren, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Hmm. Seems like I should have done this in the intros, but thought I should post some pictures of the gang very belatedly. First the important ones: the kiddos.
    [​IMG]
    From left to right is Conor who will be just shy of 5, his sister Liana who will be 7, and Sam who will be 6 during the trip. This was last year and they were nearly 4, newly 6, and nearly 5. Brian, Conor and Liana's dad is the one who is thinking about drinking them.
    Then here's the adults:
    [​IMG]
    The dork on the left is me, then DH Alex, then DBF Michael, then Katie, then Brian, Michael's brother.
    And here's a picture of me and the DH where we look less dorky but is from New Year's Eve '08, just to prove that we aren't silly all the time.[​IMG]

    Hopefully I'll see some of y'all roaming around the parks! I think I've seen pictures of most of those I'm following in your PTR's, so maybe my brain will click in connecting the face to "you're a DISser!" without the LMGH ...
     
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  3. SAT887

    SAT887 DIS Veteran

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    Better late than never! This made me chuckle because I am constantly doing this. I spent most of my time with HD in sales (primarily commercial) and I see people all the time and go "I know you..." and then it usually connects like 2 hours later.... :confused3

    BTW - cute kiddos!
     
  4. KatieJoy

    KatieJoy Earning My Ears

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    I've been reading these forums for a while, and finally had to register so I can sub to this thread!

    One of my favorite parts of the plan so far is "wake up as late as the kids let us"! :rotfl:
    I do love to sleep! In the end, I'm sure Liana will be up, then me, then we'll just have to dress Conor in his sleep and carry him out of the room. He is a teenager trapped in a 4yo body!
     
  5. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Ha ha ha! I finally corrupted you to the (dark side of the) DIS!:darth: I like MiceAge, too, but this forum is the one that keeps drawing me back.

    If Michael ends up not able to join us, which is looking more and more likely to me, I was thinking we could just take one bedroom each for the adults and throw the three kids in the living room so they can wake each other up and play and let us sleep in on the days we're not rope dropping. :idea:
     
  6. KatieJoy

    KatieJoy Earning My Ears

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    Kids in the living room would be great. More room/quiet for us, and I think they would like being together out there.
     
  7. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    More progress made ... bought our Maui-Oakland tickets using an Alaska Airlines companion fare, so we got airfare for 3 people from Maui to Oakland for a little over a thousand, about $1500 out of pocket for all of us to go from Maui to Florida, which is a great deal!
    Also recently got points back since the Southwest prices went down for that leg. Now pretty much everything is paid for until we get to the parks have have the dining and experiences (IllumiNations cruise, Pirate experience for the kids, etc). Vacation fund is also empty though. :rolleyes1

    Just arrived on Maui again Monday after a few month hiatus on the mainland where Sam and I got to spend some time in Park City with my mom, visit SeaWorld San Diego and Carsland using our AP's and free tickets from a friend who works for the SD Zoo, and visit Katie & co, then see Sam's grandparents and Michael and their other brother and his wife. Already I have island fever and dreaming about escaping the island.

    They're running DLR AP specials on the California Coast DCL cruise specials that make them as cheap as Disney cruises get for the weeks around when Sam has his fall break and I'm really tempted to cash out my birthday/Xmas present fund and just take DS and go for it! (DH is out of vacation days.)

    7 days of Pixar magic and the fact that they're not running this itinerary next year is really making me wish I could get on that ship ...
     
  8. SAT887

    SAT887 DIS Veteran

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    $1500 is a great deal! I spent $900 from NH to FL for 3 tickets (Olive will be a lap rider this year) What I don't understand is wanting to escape Maui! I've never been - but I'm thinking it would probably be one of the places I want to escape to.... I am trying to escape NH - hopefully next spring/summer.... Looking for less snow and not seeing the temp drop below 0 ever again! (When it's -27 out it makes me wonder what I was thinking?!?!?:confused3)
     
  9. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Lol, I know the feeling. I went to college in Michigan because the idea of having seasons and snow seemed awesome at the time. Two winters quickly fixed that notion, because the autumn was wonderful, snow was fun for about a month, then January and February I started wanting out.
    Maui is a great place to visit, and a great place to be a kid or retire, but its a rough place to be for all the time in between since wages are some of the lowest in the country + cost of living is the highest between the ridiculous price of real estate, plus one is paying for everything you buy to be shipped from somewhere else so the cost of everything is sky-high (think milk for $5/gallon, gas is currently $4.50, etc). Our 600 square foot cottage usually rents for over $1K per month, we live here mainly since its next to my grandparents' home and they like having extra drivers around, etc otherwise we would have left much sooner.
    We're really hoping that I get a job back in California soon, we like Northern California for its proximity to everything, the weather, the people, our friends are there and DH is from the area and then we won't feel as trapped having to spend so much on flights any time we want to leave for a weekend, etc.
     
  10. SAT887

    SAT887 DIS Veteran

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    I can see that. Part of the reason we moved from NJ to NH was cost of living.... It was great 5 years ago but now with 2 kids, poor school systems and just a lack of civilization it's worn on us. That and the 6 month winter. Hoping for North Carolina within the next 18 months.

    Northern Cali looks beautiful. My BIL lives in Forestville which I think is an hour away from SF. I see the pictures and I am in awe- the landscape is nothing I have ever experienced... Hopefully we can fly out there when our sanity can take the cross country flight!

    Well good luck on getting to the mainland ;)
     
  11. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Thanks I actually have part 2 of a 3 part hiring process coming up on Monday, part one was yesterday, so I'm pretty stoked about the possibility.
     
  12. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Okay, more changes afoot. Didn't think I'd be one of those people that changed our plans a lot once we made 'em, I'm kind of a make one schedule and stick to it kind of person but ....

    We got an extra night in 2 studios at OKW the first night we land! We're super excited we can just take ME down that night and not have to haul the luggage to the Marriott by the airport and back in the morning. Now we can just send everything to the hotel, live out of carry-ons when we land, and then send it all to BLT on the first. :banana: And it was someone who was thinking about just letting his last few points expire, so we got them at a price that was not too much more than the Marriott would have cost.

    Once we got that, I started thinking of what we could do with one night of a dining plan. We'd really wanted to eat at Garden Grill, because who can resist a spinning restaurant with chipmunks, but had ruled it out for the cost previously. Sooo, we looked at it again and with 1 night of dining plan, its actually cheaper to buy the dining plan for the kids, then they get a free CS and snack, and for the adults we'll save a few bucks if we go to Garden Grill, plus use the CS credits and snack credits at Flame Tree and Kusafiri Bakery (whose amazing cupcakes I saw on a dining report and now MUST have). And we began the hunt for a GG ADR, which last night we found, not a table of 8 but two tables of 4 for the exact same time that we can hopefully sit near each other. :woohoo: Its at 7:50p, which seems late, but we're going to keep hunting to find something closer to 5ish. In the meantime Tusker breakfast got moved to 12/5, which only has an 11a available, not a 10:30a like we wanted, but 11 is close enough and we'll keep hunting.

    So now the schedule for that week is:

    11/30 - Fly in, take ME to OKW, 2 studios, get dining plan keys
    12/1 - AK, use CS and snack credits, then to Epcot for dinner ADR at Garden Grill, check into BLT somewhere in there.
    12/2 - MK, Pirates league mid-morning, DHS for EMHs in the evening/Osborne lights
    12/3 - Epcot, Les Chefs 2p, MK in the evening hopefully catching the ELP
    12/4 - DHS with Sci-Fi followed by T-Rex dinner
    12/5 - AK Tusker late brunch, GF Garden Tea room for the girls mid afternoon, then Illuminations cruise in the evening.
     
  13. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Another change is that our head count is shifting. Last month Katie's sister-in-law, whose home I'm staying at while I'm doing my job hunting here in California got an awesome job, which means their finances are much healthier than they'd expected. Since its highly unlikely that Michael will be able to go due to his lack employment and need to catch up with his finances, we've been working on getting his brother and sister-in-law whom we adore to come with us instead. Now she's calculated the time off she'll have by then and has given us a definite maybe. So it looks like we might end up with a party of 9 instead of 8, which works great for the 2 bedroom. I went ahead and changed the ADRs just in case, and mostly found ADRs for 9 within an hour or so of the times we'd originally planned. Though we'd be perfectly happy as a party of 7, having 3 couples and three kids would be a ton of fun. Plus then the party will be almost half girls and we won't feel so outnumbered!
     
  14. SAT887

    SAT887 DIS Veteran

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    Well good luck! :goodvibes:goodvibes

    Fingers crossed the whole job thing can be nerve wracking- hoping NC has a place for us when we open our availability (well mostly for my husband I am PT which makes me an easy transfer)
     
  15. SAT887

    SAT887 DIS Veteran

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    I love definite maybes! That's where I am right now and I am excited to have my husbands sister and husband with us. I didn't luck out on two ADR's ('Ohana and CRT) Hoping BOG helps me with that though :) Maybe everyone will switch to there and I can get what I want!!:rotfl:
     
  16. KatieJoy

    KatieJoy Earning My Ears

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    Well that didn't work out, but Michael may still surprise us? :confused3
    I wish they could all come though!
    I CANNOT explain my joy at getting the ADRs for Garden Grill (I managed getting ours on my seriously slow back office computer at work, but hey, I was getting payed while I did it :rotfl2: ) spinning restaurant + Epcot + Chipmunks + bread pudding?? I am SOLD!
    Are the girls out numbered? Yes. But keep in mind we are doing the planning, Brian just keeps saying "you girls plan it, just tell me where I need to go and when" so I think we will be in charge no matter what! I keep Liana informed of all the plans, and she is a bossy little thing. She will keep the little boys inline.
     
  17. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Lol, she is good at keeping the boys in line. Michael I'm just worried about in general. I think Brian's the only one with the spine to make him fix his situation, and he's to far away to have an impact. The rest of us keep pointing out jobs he could apply for, then watch him wait for somebody else to get the job, then complain that they got there first when he waited too long. They need to make him move out and stop living for free, but since his bills are being paid by somebody he just doesn't seem to care ...

    I forgot yesterday on my 6 hour layover in LAX to check for a better time for Garden Grill, since yesterday was the Be Our Guest first day of reservations, so I'm hoping somebody traded in their Garden Grill reservation that we could snap up, and now the system is down. :worried: I think that was our best chance until the 45 day mark, around mid-October to get those dining reservations adjusted to the times we really want. Oh well. Remind me the 2nd week of October to check obsessively. ;)
     
  18. KatieJoy

    KatieJoy Earning My Ears

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    I put it in my phone/calender to remind us to start checking that 2nd week!
     
  19. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    That's good because I've been terrible about checking for times this week. Its been too hectic at work and Alex doesn't seem to get the concept that if he gets home before me he needs to figure out dinner, take care of Sam's school paperwork, etc, rather than settling in with video games and saying let's eat out, which means I get no computer time at home. :rolleyes: Gotta love men.

    So we've managed to move the Garden Grill up to 7:05p, which is better but I'm still looking/hoping for a 5p reservation.

    Also thinking about adding Gatorland for the boys the day that the girls go for tea at the Grand Floridian. If not, then I'll squeeze it in the following week for DS5 & DH since DS5 is very excited about it. Also probably going to do a Spirit of the Swamp airboat ride in week two on Thursday.

    So the cruise is paid off (on the credit card at 0% financing, would have love to have the CC at 0 like usual but DH had $700 worth of dentist bills last month so it'll take us another month to find the cash for the last cruise payment). And since we're 90 days from that I got my Palo booking! It keeps getting closer, bit by bit!

    Really hoping they'll debut Xpass during our stay, or at least test it. Apparently this last set of tests they sent out e-mails ahead of time. Even just to have the special seating for Electrical Light Parade and Wishes would just make my day.
     
  20. bellaally

    bellaally DIS Veteran

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    Hey followed you back to your thread lol. You began your ptr early.everything seems great so far. Wish we could go in a big group. I need to start doing that with my trips as they tend to be last minute. Thanks for the advice on DL GCV. I am gonna start on that GCV rental ASAP, I also wanted to ask you if I am planning on doing the southern city pass or a LA tour do you recommend splitting up the trip, like I was gonna do 3 days at GCV and then move to a hotel near Burbank so I can do universal as well as studio tours and etc. or should I spend the whole time at GCV and commute. P.s honestly how bad is the traffic, I am originally from NY
     
  21. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    The SoCal Citypass is great. If we do Knotts and/or Universal we usually stay in Anaheim and just drive up that day, since its only 15 minutes to Knotts, about half an hour to Universal, and 40 minutes to Hollywood (we like to go see musicals in the theatres up there sometimes). If you avoid commuter hours, the traffic is okay ... just don't try to drive between 6a and 9a, and 3p to 6:30p, and you'll be fine. Universal is really just a half-day attraction on the West Coast.
    However, for the San Diego attractions in the Citypass you really want to be based out of San Diego. I recommend Old Town part of SD as a good base, a lot of the hotels in that area have free shuttles to the Zoo, SeaWorld, and other area attractions and the Mexican restaurants are wonderful there, most are walking distance from the hotels.
     

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