Just the 2 of us - A Mommy and Me trip 9/25 - 10/1 - Update 7/2

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by Riles_and_Gabe, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    I am so excited to start planning our next trip to Disney. I find the more I go to Disney the more I want to start the next trip back. This trip wasn't supposed to be because our family has a big trip in the works going to Spain/Portugal/Morocco in Spring of 2014. However, shortly after from returning from our last trip from Disney in November, Gabrian (my 3-year old) starting talking about going back to see Mickey...so an idea started to spark.

    I have been scheming on ways to come up with the money for both the trips but for the 3 of us to travel it just didn't seem to work out. Then I got the call that changed everything last week. Riley's (my 14-year old) Dad called to say that he was planning a trip to Disney in September with his Family and wanted to know if Riley could come. Of course I said yes...there is no way I would deprive him a vacation with his Dad.

    Initially I was bummed because there is no way I could take Riley out for additional days from school to travel to Disney again and I still had that issue of the money. I felt so bad for Gabrian because of the two boys, he is the one that really wanted to go back. Then it dawned on me, why couldn't I take a trip with just Gabrian? I ran it by Riley to make sure he wouldn't feel left out and he gave me a big thumbs up :thumbsup2 (he is such a sweet boy and his main concern had been that Gabrian wasn't going to get to go to). Without having to pay for Riley's airfare, park tickets, and meals it actually has become a trip I can afford.

    So now I am in the exciting planning stages. I know that I want to go the beginning of November. I am thinking about anywhere from 4-6 nights. I am leaning towards 5 nights. I am thinking of the dates of November 3rd - 8th.

    I have been toying around with the idea of staying on property for this trip. I have only done that once with a friend for a couple of nights and I have never done it with either boy. We usually stay off property to try and save money. This time traveling with just Gabrian staying on property definitely has an appeal. It would be nice to have Disney pick us up at the airport and then use their shuttle system to get around the property.

    If I stay on property I would probably get the dining plan. I like the idea of having everything paid for before we arrive. I would just have to bring our spending money. I am hoping for a free dining promotion to come out or at least a good discount.

    I have toyed around with the idea of driving to Florida but it seems like a really long time in a car with a 4-year old. The other downside would be that Gabrian views the plane ride as part of the vacation. So I am definitely leaning towards flying down.

    Now to introduce you to the cast:

    Me (Megan)

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    Gabrian

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    Riley (he will be greatly missed on this trip)

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    Isn't he so handsome :goodvibes

    I look forward to stressing over all the nitty gritty details with you.
     
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  3. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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  4. penni520

    penni520 Mouseketeer

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    Hi :thumbsup2 I am first :-)
    I would go with Pop Century Standard room...That is where I always stay and just love all the stuff for the kids,
     
  5. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    Yay!! I have definitely been eyeing Pop Century. The other one I was really interested in was the Animation Resort. Gabrian would love the Cars section.
     
  6. penni520

    penni520 Mouseketeer

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    With staying at the Pop you can walk over to AOA. There is a bridge and you can go over there and swim or even just look around.
    AOA is a little bit more money because it is a new resort. Plus for 2 people staying you will get the Little Mermaid and it is a LONGGGG walk to the food and drink court.
    Where at the Pop I like the 50's building #3 ground level facing the lake. It is a quiet area. Facing the pool is super nosy.
     
  7. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    That is good to know. After being in the parks all day the last thing you want is to walk forever to get to your room. On the plus side, I recently started at weight watchers and have one of their active links. It will be interesting to see how many activity points I earn while in Disney. Maybe some extra walking would be good for me :lmao:

    I am hoping to get a room with a King size bed. I think Gabrian would do better if we were sharing a bed. It looks like most of the value resorts have 2 double beds.
     
  8. Annie78

    Annie78 Mouseketeer

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    Subbing because I am about to start my own PTR for a solo trip with my 3 yo!
     
  9. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    :welcome: I am so excited to have someone to share ideas with. I look forward to reading your PTR!
     
  10. penni520

    penni520 Mouseketeer

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    Make sure you tell Disney or your TA that you want a King size bed.

    This will be my 3rd solo trip and I just love it. I just don't have to worry about what other people want to ride or eat. Plus I love people watch :rotfl2:
     
  11. gtpoohbear

    gtpoohbear DIS Veteran

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    Oh how fun that you get to go with just your little one, and even better that your older son was so supportive of the idea! (I'm pretty sure if I ever tried that my ODD would pitch a fit that could be heard across the state, lol!)

    I have to agree with your DS, flying is part of the vacation for me too! Not that I really "like" it, because it can be stressful and tedious, but it never really feels like a "vacation" if I'm heading out on the road for a long time.

    I definitely think you should try to stay on-site. I bet there will be some kind of discount in November, even if it isn't free-dining. I think all of the Value resorts are a lot of fun for young kids, you can't go wrong!

    Can't wait to hear more of your plans!
     
  12. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    Thank you!! I think the problem with the value resorts is that I keep trying to talk myself up to a mod resort. Everything keeps creeping up just a little :rotfl2:
     
  13. Corrine 1973

    Corrine 1973 What do you mean I am not a princess, don't you se

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    Sounds like you have a great trip started. I second the thought for Pop as a value. It's a great resort and you can spend a couple hours over at AoA exploring and swimming in their pools. There are King sized beds available for the values but you need to request them when you book and like most request it depends. If you do decide to go with a Mod you can pay a little extra for a king sized bed up front though most of the Mods now have Queen sized beds which are really nice. I have stayed at POFQ which was really nice and everything was really close. For the trip this May we are checking out POR for the first time and am really excited about it.
    Which ever resort you choose you will have a great time and will find it hard to go back to staying off site with all the benifits staying on site bring you.:goodvibes
     
  14. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    I have already started obsessing about the food options. I am almost sold on staying onsite and if I do then I will definitely get one of the dining plans. I was originally thinking of the regular dining plan that would give us one quick service and one table service each day. Now I am starting to try an justify the deluxe dining plan for us. Part of me wants to try all of the different restaurants and part of me thinks it would start to feel overwhelming to try and get to all the reservations.

    Last November we had stayed offsite and our plan was to eat all counter service. We had two reservations. One was at Boma that was incredible. We really enjoyed eating there and trying all the different food. I especially loved the peanut soup. The other Reservation was at T-Rex Café. The food was ok but the restaurant was definitely worth the experience.

    We also on the spur of the moment were able to get a walk-in for the 50's Prime Time Café. That was such a disappointment. Our server was just ok...he did the funny jokes but it was like he was reading lines. The food was below sub-par. We didn't mind spending the money but expected a much better meal for that price.

    I have narrowed down the Table Service options to a very manageable number. I only have 21 restaurants on my list :rotfl2:. Considering that this does not factor in all the counter service places I have my eye on and snack places and I will only be there for 16 meals...I have some serious whittling down to do :rotfl:.

    So without further ado...here is my very small list of restaurants:

    1. 1900 Park Fare - Dinner Buffet
    Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    After reading all the great trip reports about the step sisters it seems like it could be a really fun dining spot.

    2. Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
    Beach Club Resort
    Those sundaes sound incredible!!

    3. Big River Grille & Brewing Works
    Boardwalk

    4. Boatwright's Dining Hall
    Port Orleans Resort - Riverside

    5. Boma - Dinner Buffet
    Animal Kingdom Lodge
    We have already done this one before but I feel like the Peanut Soup is calling my name. This is in strong consideration to do again.

    6. Bongos Cuban Café
    Downtown Disney - West Side

    7. Café Rix
    Coronado Springs Resort
    Sounds like it could be a good Breakfast option that is not a Buffet

    8. Cape May Café - Breakfast Buffet
    Beach Club Resort
    Character Breakfast

    9. Chef Mickey - Breakfast Buffet
    Contemporary Resort
    Character Breakfast, Monorail goes through Restaurant

    10. Chefs de France
    Epcot - World Showcase

    11. Chrystal Palace - Breakfast Buffet
    Magic Kingdom
    Character Meal

    12. Grand Floridian Café
    Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    Great Breakfast Option

    13. Hollywood & Vine - Breakfast Buffet **
    Hollywood Studios
    Playhouse Disney Characters
    **This one is pretty high on the list. I figure Gabrian won't be interested in the Characters too much longer (in terms of going to Disney) and I think he would love to see them right now.

    14. Kona Café - Breakfast **
    Polynesian Resort
    **This is a must do!! After reading all the reports with the Tonga Toast...I have to try it!!!

    15. La Hacienda de San Angel
    Epcot

    16. 'Ohana
    Polynesian Resort

    17. Olivia's Café
    Old Key West Resort
    A good Breakfast and Dinner Option

    18. Raglan Road Irish Pub
    Downtown Disney
    The menu doesn't look too appealing to me but I would love to see the Irish Dancers. I am thinking maybe we could go there for dessert one night.

    19. Sci-Fi Dine-In
    Hollywood Studios

    20. Shutter at Old Port Royale
    Caribbean Beach Resort

    21. The Turf Club Bar & Grill
    Saratoga Springs Restaurant & Spa

    So what does everyone think? Are there ones you can help me take off the list? Any on my list that are must-do? Is there anything I am missing from my list (if that's possible :lmao:).

    My scenario to consider is if the Food and Wine Festival is still going on. I am definitely going to want to do at least one meal there. Probably a lunch...I found it much more enjoyable to walk around and eat during the day. When we tried to do it at night we were tired and it was starting to get cold.

    So lots to think about. At least I have plenty of time to drive myself crazy!!

    I will leave you guys with a couple of pictures to end this post:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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  16. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    Pop sounds really great. Especially if AoA is so close by. In my dream world we would stay at the Polynesian...but that is definitely not happening. I am hoping I get a great PIN code in the mail and can bump myself up to a mod. I like the Resorts that have boat access. I feel so behind with all the Resorts. Except for the obvious like Animal Kingdom Lodge...I have no idea where any of them are located. AKL is also on my list of places I would love to stay at some point. We went to Boma last November and it was so gorgeous. I just can't imagine spending that much a night for a room. One night there is practically a week at one of the other places.

    When we went last November we rented a condo at Fantasy World Resort. It had 2 bedrooms, 2 Baths and a full kitchen and a washer/dryer. It was amazing and it was only $500 for the week. I wouldn't mind going back there but really don't need the 2 bedrooms for just the two of us and I would feel kind of stranded there with no car and having to depend on the shuttle.
     
  17. Corrine 1973

    Corrine 1973 What do you mean I am not a princess, don't you se

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    I LOVE BOMA!!!! It is a must do for every trip now. I am a sucker for the Butternut Squash soap. I also really like to FooFoo which is a combo of Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.:goodvibes
     
  18. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    I had been toying around with the idea of possibly driving down to Florida. Besides that fact that Gabrian considers the plane ride as part of his vacation, it dawned on me that I would be in a car for 23 hours each way with a 4 year old...ALONE :scared1:

    So clearly flying is the way for us to go. We have 3 airports that we are considering flying out of. The first, which is the easiest option is to fly out of Portland, ME. This airport is only 10 minutes from my house. Unfortunately, it tends to be fairly expensive to fly out here.

    The next option would be to fly out of Boston. Gabrian and I could take either the train or bus to Boston. It is an ok option.

    The last option would be to fly out of Warwick, RI (the Providence Airport or TF Green). My Mom could drive us there (about 3 hours away) and visit my Grandmother the same time. Then Gabrian and I could take the bus/train back to Portland. The money savings would have to be pretty great because it would be a pretty big hassle and there would be hotel nights involved which would be extra expenses.

    I have been eyeing Southwest. So far they have the schedule up to the end of October. The best price right now is to fly out of Providence (if I plug in a made up week in October). For the two of us with taxes they were coming in about $339. Pretty good price! I will keep watching the websites and will jump when I see a good price.

    What have you guys done to get good deals on airfares?

    Ok...I will leave you with some pictures from our last vacation:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    Not too much as changed since I last posted. My Mom came to visit this weekend so we have been having fun around Portland. Yesterday we went to the Portland Flower Show and had a great time. It didn't come close to the Boston show but it was nice to get a touch of Spring when we are so desperate for Winter to be over.

    I feel like there are so many decisions to make. I have been looking at the different resorts but it so hard to try and pick one. Then I go back and forth about whether or not I should stay offsite and try to save some money. Though traveling with just Gabrian that makes me nervous and I am definitely leaning towards staying onsite.

    I think my main concern is that the value resorts seem so large and it may get overwhelming with the walking...especially after a long day at the park. I look at the mods but they seem quite large as well and I am pretty sure can't afford them anyway. I guess I am hopeful some great discount will come out and I can afford something better.

    Then I am trying to decide if getting a dining plan would work. I think what I need to do is figure out which restaurant I want to go to and then price out what I would order to see which would make more financial sense. It will help when the park hours come out and I can try to get a rough outline of my plans.

    I tried my hand at priceline for airline tickets. I got no takers on my $125 bid per ticket. I will keep trying periodically because it would be great to save some money on the tickets.

    I am thinking about doing some type of pirate experience for Gabrian. I am interested in maybe the pirate boat ride or the pirate thing at Magic Kingdom.

    There are so many decisions to make. It is almost harder when you don't have anyone to veto you or have their own opinions. Oh well...whatever happens it will be a fantastic vacation!

    Hope everyone had a great weekend!!!
     
  20. indimom

    indimom Are We There Yet?

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    Hello! Checking in! Looks like you've got some great plans going...

    And, yes, you've got two handsome guys there. ::yes::

    It's so nice that you'll get that one-on-one time with your little guy. And so sweet that big brother was fine with the plan! :thumbsup2

    Can't wait to read more!
     
  21. Riles_and_Gabe

    Riles_and_Gabe DIS Veteran

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    Welcome!! Thank you so much and I agree Riley is really sweet about Gabrian going. It is one really great thing about having such a big age difference between the 2. Riley is very protective of Gabrian.
     

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