It's Family-moon time!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by momto3gr8boys, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Aside from a few tidbits here and there, I have never actually composed a trip report (pre or post) before. But this time I thought it might be fun to plan and have it all in one place. And feedback is always great too! Here goes!

    What: A Familymoon! What's a familymoon you ask? Good question. My happy family of five came about in a bit of an untraditional way. I have three great boys from a previous relationship, and a fantastic wife who is every bit of a mother to them. Last year when same-sex marriage was legalized in NY, we finally had an opportunity to marry and complete our family. Clara, (DW) and I were lucky enough to have a real honeymoon (we went to Africa, and yes, the Lion King CD was looping through my brain the whole time :dance3:), but we also wanted to do something as a family, and that is when we decided on a Family-moon. And being a hopelessly addicted Disney family, there was only one logical choice!

    When: The timing was the big problem. The boys are teens (ages 16,14 and 12) so long gone are the days of pulling them out of school for a Disney trip. They are also involved in certain activities (travel ice hockey, drama and the music programs at school), which not only run all year long, but interfere with school vacations. We thought maybe we could go over an extended break in May, but with the school days lost from Sandy, we may no longer have those days off. We ultimately decided on our usual end of August for a few reasons and will be in the World from 8/18/13-8/27/13

    Where: We currently have ressies at Poly (two rooms) 8/18-8/22 and a 2 BR villa at BCV 8/22-8/27. Unfortunately there are no current promotions and no PINs coming my way, I currently have a MYW with 10 day park hoppers for the Poly and a room only for BCV. I'm hoping this will change and a promotion will come along!

    Our resort history and how we chose these two: At least one of us has stayed in values (all of the All Stars and POP), moderates (POFQ, CBR) and deluxe (WL, BC, CR, Poly, BW, OKW). My favorite is the BC, mainly because of its location. I love the resort and SAB, but even more I love the proximity to Epcot and HS. We are an Epcot family...even since the boys were very young, and to be able to walk over at any time is great. One year the boys were in the pool at 8:45 when I asked if they wanted to hop out and catch Illuminations, and we did! It's those opportunities that keep me coming back to the BC. But since this was a more special trip than usual, I thought we should try something the boys had been asking for. My oldest has been asking for Poly since he was three. I took him over there one night to watch the EWP on the beach when he was three, and since then he has always asked. The other two wanted the AKL, which I had considered since it would extend our African honeymoon theme, but I am always put off a bit as to how far it is from everything. We will get there someday, but for this trip it's the Poly and BC. Unless I change my mind :rotfl2:

    Who: And now for the cast of characters:

    Me (Christine): I am a Disney nut. I love Disney, everything about Disney, and could be very happy visiting the World several times a year! As much as I love the trip itself, I get obsessed with the planning! I love to read these boards, check out websites, plan dinners, pore over menus, find new and exciting things to do each time we go, etc. etc. I know most of you here can understand even if my family thinks I'm nuts!

    Clara (DW): She enjoys Disney and appreciates all I do to make these trips magical, but she doesn't quite understand how I can spend hours and hours and hours reading about other people's trips and debates over refillable mugs and strollers :confused3 Oh well, she goes along with it all.

    Connor (DS 16): He inherited my Disney genes and although he's 16 1/2, he still gets excited and gets into the planning. He has already given me a list of about 15 TS places he'd like to eat at this trip :rotfl:

    Aidan (DS 14): would like to be an Imagineer when he grows up! Loves Disney and goes with the flow...he's happy doing whatever we do.

    Evan (DS 12): Let him wave a napkin at Chef Mickey's and he's good to go!

    The great thing about the boys is that they've encountered the magic on different age appropriate levels their whole lives, and they still find new and exciting aspects to each trip.

    Ok, on to the planning. Next up, possible Dining choices and special events.
     
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  3. DMGeurts

    DMGeurts Never open texts with the "Hand Sewn Button" attac

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    I am here to follow along... Looking forward to hearing all about your plans! :)

    D~
     
  4. OregonMomToWDW

    OregonMomToWDW DIS Veteran

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    I am here for the ride too. Can't wait to see your dining information. I have changed mine several times.
     
  5. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for following along!
     
  6. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Great! I am going to list my dining preferences right now, but realistically the list will need to be cut down! I'm just putting it all out there though and will work off that list!
     
  7. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Ok, it's time for me to start to work out our dining. Even though I have 229 days to go, and no park hours yet, I at least want to have it narrowed down to where way before that time. So here goes...this is the list, in no particular order. This is compiled from family requests, old favorites and new places we haven't tried. I will denote those with an * and would love feedback!

    AK options:

    Yak and Yeti
    Flame Tree BBQ
    Tusker House

    DHS options:

    Sci-Fi
    Brown Derby (possibly Dinner with an Imagineer)
    50's Prime Time

    Epcot options:

    Coral Reef
    Sunshine Seasons
    Le Cellier
    Rose and Crown
    Via Napoli*
    Mexico (usually San Angel, but there's that new place we haven't tried...need to check into that).
    And we like to "dine around the world" at the CS places

    MK

    BOG* (prob. for lunch)
    Crystal Palace (kids love it...I'm hoping to drop it this trip lol)
    Tony's*
    LTT

    DTD

    Raglan Road*

    Resorts:

    AKL - Boma*

    BC - Cape May
    Beaches and Cream

    BW - Flying Fish
    ESPN Zone

    CR - Chef Mickey

    Poly - Ohana
    Kona Cafe
    Captain Cook's

    WL - Artist's Point*
    Whispering Canyon Cafe

    Dinner Shows:
    HDD
    SoA*

    These are mostly TS, and obviously we can't visit them all! But I think this is my starting list.
     
  8. Coconuts

    Coconuts DIS Veteran

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    Count me in for the ride! DH also doesn't understand how I can spend hours on the Disboards reading endless threads debating the best/worst restaurants, touring strategies, etc.:surfweb: Although in the last few years he has become quite the WDW addict and now the whole family looks forward to the next trip.:hyper:

    I posted before I realized that you had possible restaurants listed so I'll take a look.:)
     
  9. Coconuts

    Coconuts DIS Veteran

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    Of your *never tried places, Via Napoli is the only one we have gotten to. Many of your never tried places are ours too.

    We tried Via Napoli when we were at WDW for a day this past year, because it was a stop on our Disney cruise. We had to pay OOP and I think it was a little overpriced. Then again we haven't eaten off the DDP in years so I'm kind of out of touch with meal pricing. The food was yummy though; the pizza was great and the restaurant had a nice atmosphere. I'm glad we tried it but I will definetly try other new restaurants before going back. Hope this helps.
     
  10. StitchIsOurHero

    StitchIsOurHero <font color=red>I was smart enough to marry a DH w

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    I'm in to read along too! Count me among the ones who LOVE to read about other people's planning and to obsess about my own! :rotfl:

    For the dining, I LOVE Flame Tree (I'm a weirdo, though. . .AK is my favorite park!). We are just doing MK on our upcoming trip, so we are doing CP (what can I say? I love it too!), LTT, and BOG. We've been to Tony's twice (pre-DS) and had GREAT experiences both times! No help on many of the others--DS loves Chef Mickey, and we have always liked Le Cellier, but other than those, I have no knowledge! :rotfl2:

    Can't wait to read more of your plans!
     
  11. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    I love Flame Tree too! And for some reason I never seem to get there to eat...haven't eaten there in a while. But it's on my list this year :)

    CP - I think I may be over it. We eat there every trip and I'm hoping no one asks for it :rotfl: But if they do, it'll be fine. Glad to hear about Tony's - I'm not sure why we never ate there!
     
  12. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Nobody gets my planning obsession either :rotfl: Thanks for the Via Napoli input - it seems to be very popular! I haven't eaten in Italy since it was Alfredos and that was a long time ago.
     
  13. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Already lol. Well, not a big change of plans. I have our rooms booked at rack rate right now because I don't have a PIN, was there too long ago for a BB and there are no other promotions going on during our dates right now. But then I read on another thread about a travel company who was running a promotion and I emailed in a request for the BC (since that was specifically what was being promoted according to the OP). They don't have the villa, but they did quote me two standard rooms with a two day park pass with bonus feature (one entry to water park, DQ or golf) for over $1400 less than what I'm paying now! :banana:

    I emailed back to see if they had anything for the Poly on our dates. Haven't heard, but I am definitely going to switch to the BC. To be honest my main interest in the villa vs. two standard rooms was the washer and dryer :rotfl: For $1400 I can suck it up and spend an hour or two doing it in the BC laundry room :)

    So, before I go further on my dining, I am going to settle this. We have PH on our existing 10 day tickets, but if I have to pay for the two day tix for this deal, I will take off two of those other days and then we will have two days on the far end of our stay where we can't hop. So, that said, it will require a little more thought to our days. Hoping to hear back from this TA soon!
     
  14. DMGeurts

    DMGeurts Never open texts with the "Hand Sewn Button" attac

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    INteresting twist to your plans... Keep us posted! :)

    D~
     
  15. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    The deal got better! Well, monetarily better...just a little different than what I am used to. So now we are looking at our same dates (8/18-22 and 8/22-27) first at Poly and then BC, with two standard connecting rooms at each. I could keep the ticket situation as stated above and save $1440. Or, I could go with their ticket suggestion and save another $1,000 for a total of $2480. The catch is they do discounted tickets but only up to 8 days, not ten. So we would have 8 days of PHs, and one admission per guest to EITHER a water park, DQ, golf and something else. The kids asked for a water park this time, and we haven't done one in ages (I want to say 2007 maybe), so that would be perfect since it's being thrown in.

    This leaves me with one complete non-park day and one day where we could do a water park but none of the regular parks. I'm not opposed to this as I always leave thinking we should have scheduled a resort day, more time for DTD, etc. The family is also asking for La Nouba tix, something else we've never done (We've seen Cirque in Vegas and NY, but not in Disney, well actually Clara did when she was there at a conference years ago, but not the rest of us), so I'm thinking a sleep in, hang by the pool, get massages, hit DTD and see La Nouba would be a nice mid-trip day. And then the other day we do BB (boys choice) or TL (my choice - boys will prob. win) and then dinner at a resort.

    In all of my trips I have never gone without the same number of PH days as my length of stay, but I know many people do it this way. Have any of you had no park days during your stay and what did you do on them?
     
  16. Coconuts

    Coconuts DIS Veteran

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    We usually do one or two days less of park tickets than length of stay. We use the non park days to hang at the resort, do DTD and shop, rent a boat at our resort. There's so much to do at WDW, and if you have tickets to a water park, that's a whole day right there. If I would be saving $1000 and the only downside is losing 2 park days, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
     
  17. StitchIsOurHero

    StitchIsOurHero <font color=red>I was smart enough to marry a DH w

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    Ooh, that sounds like a fun change! And great savings! We usually always have at least one non-park day! We swim, sleep in, and usually go to another resort or DtD for dinner! I love those days!
     
  18. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Ok, you've both convinced me having a non-park day is a good thing! And now I need to wrap my head around another change ugh!

    With the current set up I have the Poly booked first and BC second with my 10 day PHs on the Poly ressie. If I switch over to Magical Vacations, the "package" is for the BC and therefore the tickets (8 day PH with bonus) are attached to that ressie. Which means I can not begin to use those tickets until I check into the BC (five days into my trip). So that is not feasible. So Angela, the TA, who has been very patient with me, asked if I would consider doing the BC first and the Poly second. Can you believe I am stuck on this? What is wrong with me?? We are talking about $2800 and all I need to do is get it out of my head that Poly comes before BC...I think I've lost my mind :rotfl2:

    So I casually mention this to my 16 year old DS, (the reason for the Poly leg of this trip) and he looked at me like this: :crazy2: and said um, that's a no brainer. Why did I think a teenage boy would care what order we did resorts in? :confused3

    So now I am officially waiting on three quotes from Angela which I think will cover all configurations of hotel rooms and tix and discounts and I'm going with the cheapes :)

    But in other exciting Disney news, my photopass+ voucher came today!! Woo Hoo!!! Ok, I am aware I have 220+ days to actually use it, but in the meantime I can look at all the awesome stock photos that came on a CD with the voucher :banana: Off to check them out and stalk my email for deals from Angela!
     
  19. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Well, here I am a week later and still no concrete trip booked. I'm glad I have my current reservation because I would be stressing with how long it seems to be taking Magical Vacations to figure out all the aspects of what I want!

    But my dates are firm because I BOOKED MY AIR THIS MORNING!!!!! :dance3:

    To me, nothing seals a vacation like airline tickets :) Air from JFK seems relatively low for August right now. It's been a while since I've been able to get an early departure going (shhh....we won't tell Clara just how early yet...it'll be more like a surprise the night before :rotfl2:) and a late departure coming home (because I'm all about maximizing the Disney time!) for under $300 a ticket, but I was today and my Chase points covered most of it :cool1:

    So that's out of the way :). Now I'm off to study DMGeurts adorable little trip planners - I think I'm going to make one for each family member and that is how I will present them with their itineraries!
     
  20. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Hurry up and wait! Or at least that is how I feel right now ;). We just got back from a long weekend in Puerto Rico and I am still waiting on confirmation from MVT for my booking. I have the confirmation numbers for the Poly, but not the BC yet as the TA said Disney has been very behind since the first of the year. Um, new website problems, maybe? Frustrating, but I am so happy to have the park hours for August!!! :banana:

    Here is a link to them in case you haven't seen them yet:

    http://media.disneywebcontent.com/S.../pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_aug.pdf

    So, it's cold and rainy out - perfect day to start really planning this trip! I need to start to figure out our park days and ADRs.

    In the meantime, here's a little memory from a previous trip. This was during a Pirate and Princess party back in August 2007, so they were 11, 9 and 6 at the time:

    [​IMG]
     
  21. DMGeurts

    DMGeurts Never open texts with the "Hand Sewn Button" attac

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    Congrats on booking airfare... I am the same exact way... Nothing - absolutely NOTHING is in stone until airfare is booked.

    I am afraid to look at airfare yet (although I have been watching it a little bit), because I would like to have a bit more in trip savings - however - if a price came up that I just couldn't pass up... Well, we'd definately be going to FL - just not sure about the rest of it. LOL

    Awesome!!! Please post all the pics when you are done - I would love to see how it turns out! :wizard:

    Love the photo - and Donald is so adorable in that one! The boys are cute too. :rolleyes1

    D~
     

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