My first time or What have I gotten myself into?

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by ProPhotoGA, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Well.. as the title implies this will be my first time ever to Disney. I know,
    I know, why would an almost 55yo want to do Disney. Well, because I have
    never been. So with that out of the was let's set the stage.

    The participants:
    Me, almost 55, IT manager, professinal photographer and retired Army SFC.
    I have had all kinds of adventures but somehow just never made it to
    Disney. My kids, my parents, siblings and heck even the ex made it to
    Disney(probably on my dime). Me.. I made it to all kinds of fun adventures..
    there was Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm... well you get the picture. So
    now it is my turn. I hope some of you will will follow along and perhaps even
    help us with our planning.

    My DW, I won't mention her age. She has been to Disney a LONG time ago.
    She is a nurse and the absolute love of my life. We met after I returned to
    the states from Desert Storm. Long story that I will not bore you with(she
    kicked me out of my room). She is also a breast cancer survivor(5yrs cancer
    free 07/18/09). Most important she is a very special woman. Need to find a
    pic she will let me post.

    We wanted to do something special this year, so we decided that my 55th
    birthday would be celebrated with Disney. Which in turn led me to
    DISboards....

    Our mode of travel and accomodations:
    We will be staying at Fort Wilderness and hauling our 5th wheel camper down.
    We have our reservations, Dec 12th -18th. We will actually arrive on the
    10th and stay off site for 2 days so that I can spend my BD at the park. My
    BD is the 11th of Dec.

    This is all of the planning we have done so far so now what? Well I start
    reading here and looking at all the stuff to do and the thought comes to me,
    WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO??? I never had this much trouble
    getting things together for a deployment.. why am I so confused.. ADP,
    abbreviations, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto... ARRRRGGGH.... I feel
    like I am behind the proverbial 8 ball. All suggestions and tips for this Disney
    1st timer will be greatly appreciated.

    Gene
     
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  3. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Well, we have our ressies....

    Our planned travel:

    Dec. 9th Leave Augusta, GA travel to Valdosta, GA and spend night.(nice KOA, have stayed there before)
    Dec. 10th Leave Valdosta, GA(early) and drive to Kissimee.
    Arrive at Kissimee, FL KOA and stay for 1 nights.
    Dec 11th MY BD!! Spend at Epcot
    Dec 12th, up early and drive to Ft. Wilderness. Set up and prepare for the next week.
    Dec 13th, MK
    Dec 14th, AK
    Dec 15th, Epcot again
    Dec 16th, Universal for Margaritaville...
    Dec 17th, MK again or Epcot
    Dec 18th, leave for home.
    Dec 19th, arrive home

    So, as you can see I am obviously a Disney planning virgin and can use all the help I can get.

    Gene
     
  4. SilverL

    SilverL My DH thinks he's Tarzan and I'm Jane. Go figure!

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    I highly recommend checking out the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World from your local library or buying a copy of it used online. It would be SO helpful to you. They also have a website, touringplans.com

    I've been to WDW three times and I used UG extensively for planning our trip---we're leaving today!
     
  5. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Thanks SilverL, I will check that out this evening. I hope you have a
    wonderful time on your trip.

    Gene
     
  6. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    We have now just learned about a nice program for Military. Until Dec 23
    active duty, retired and reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines can receive
    a free 5 day pass to the parks plus they can purchase a 5 day pass for up to 5
    family members/friends for only $99. Upgrading to Park Hopper is an extra $25.

    I already have my BD certificate but will be taking advantage of the park
    tickets.

    I found this at the shadesofgreen.com site.

    Gene
     
  7. cascarlet

    cascarlet Mouseketeer

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    I was just going to mention the Military Salute!! You definitely need to take advantage of that deal.

    You'll find so many great tips and ideas here for planning your trip. Have you thought about your dining reservations yet?

    Stay at FW in a trailer seems like so much fun! I would love to do that sometime.

    Looking forward to seeing how your planning progresses. As an American I thank you for your service. :thanks:
     
  8. Leleluvsdis

    Leleluvsdis DIS Veteran

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    Congratulations on you 1ST TRIP!!!!:cool1::cool1::cool1:

    My Dad is retired from the army, and we have been MANY times, but we went in may of this year and took advantage of the tickets they are currently offering. THAT WAS AWESOME!!!! Dad was free and DM, DH, and I were $125 each with park hopper. The only downside is you can't ad more days, but it was fine. It was actually nice, because it made us relax and enjoy instead of racing around and trying to see everything like we normally do.

    Can't wait to read more!!!
     
  9. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Thank you, my mind is spinning with all that needs to be done. We are looking at the dining reservations and
    can't understand why I can book for the week we will be there..

    More on that later.

    We love our 5th wheel. It is our castle on wheels and I get to sleep in my bed every night.
    I also enjoy the camaraderie of fellow RV'ers and campers.

    As for my service, you are welcome. I am honored to have served this great country for
    the 20 plus years I did. I am greatly who I am today because of my time in
    the Army.

    So..any recommendations about dining I am all ears!

    Gene
     
  10. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Cool, I am really looking forward to this trip. I just happened to be looking at
    the shadesofgreen.org site and then my DW said we should check out the
    MWR at Ft Gordon. We also learn that they offer discounts on that other
    theme park... Universal. We may take one day an go there if for no other
    reason than to eat at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Cafe. Now.. if I can only
    figure out my dining plans... eat at the park restaurants or eat in the camper?

    Decissions decissions.:confused3 was always easy in the Army.. C-rats,
    LRPS, and now MRE's.

    Gene
     
  11. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Well, I have spent the evening looking at the dining options. There are a
    couple of places we would like to eat, but it seems the dates are not open
    yet. At least that is what I assume. I went to the dining reservations online
    and found that most of the dates of our trip are greyed out. I take this either
    means they are totally unavailable or I am not within the 90 day window to
    make reservations.

    Looks like maybe I will be cooking a lot.

    Gene
     
  12. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Took the advice from above and got a copy of the Unofficial Guide to Walt
    Disney World along with The Complete Walt Disney World 2009. These look like
    the bibles of guides to Walt Disney World. Now if they were only audio books.
    :rotfl2: :rotfl2:
     
  13. cascarlet

    cascarlet Mouseketeer

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    Very cool, my dh is a Parrothead which of course makes me one by proxy!

    I used to work the Disney Dining line so I would be happy to assist you with any questions you have about restaurants or making ADRs.

    If you are arriving 12/11 then the day you can start making reservations would be 9/12. Because you are staying at a WDW resort you can make your reservations for 10 days after your arrival. The reason why it is showing grey when you look at the calender is because you did not put in your reservation number and it's not allowing you because it's not 90 days. But if you put your reservation # in it will allow you to make the reservations. Give it a try again!

    My favorites? Ohana at Poly is our family favorite. Great food and fun atmosphere. At Hollywood Studios don't miss the Sci Fi diner. You sit in a replica of an 50's type car at a drive in movie theater and watch silly sci fi movies and cartoons. For fine dining go to the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort and watch the Wishes fireworks display while you dine.

    Have fun with your plans!! :yay:
     
  14. disneyaddicted

    disneyaddicted DIS Veteran

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    Hi there, congrats on taking your 1st trip to WDW. the first time can be over whelming but as you can see there are so many people on these boards who are so happy and willing to help you plan and answer any questions.

    I am by no means a Disney veteran, but I do have my favorites. Coral Reef at Epcot, The dinner offers a better menu then the lunch one does.

    A small tip, if you want to ride Soarin, (a must do if I say so myself) get there first thing in the morning and get a fast pass before jumping in the stand by line.

    My Dad is a retired Army 1sgt. I spent my entire life living in Germany and El Paso Tx. We never went to WDW. So I am taking my mother for her 1st trip ever this December. I will be celebrating my B-day at Epcot as well, only it will be the 9th of Dec. (Early Happy Birthday to ya) Anyway, as a daughter of a retired Army 1st sgt I know first hand the sacrifices a soldier has to make. I appreciate every man and woman who has and is still serving this great country. I salute you sir. Thank you

    Ty

     
  15. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Wow, Thanks for the great info cascarlet!
    As for being a Parrot Head, well.. I have seen Jimmy over 30 times in concert.
    I think I own just about every album he had recorded and some that are
    not available anymore. Rather obscure albums and we will leave it at that.!

    I will definitely be making ressies at Ohana as I have heard great things about
    it. We would also like to eat at the Coral Reef and will try for ADR's there too.
    Now another question... can you get a table without an ADR?

    Thanks again,

    Gene
     
  16. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Ty, thank you. I am a bit overwhelmed. But it is fun at the same time.

    Thanks Great tips... Soarin is definitely on our list as is Coral Reef for
    dinner(that is IF I can get an ADR, or can I just walk up?)

    Early Happy Birthday to you too! I loved Germany and was stationed in
    TX(San Antonio) for a while. I think we do sacrifice some but at the same
    time we were proud to be Soldiers and knew we were doing what needed to
    be done. Wasn't always fun and it was often hard on our families. I also
    want to thank you, being the daughter of a career soldier and for the
    support and love you gave during that time. While we may not say it often
    enough it always lifts our spirits.

    Oh and how neat! Taking your mother to Disney for her first time.. You are a
    wonderful daughter!!!

    How long is your trip planned for? We will be at Ft Discovery on the 11th but
    will actually arrive on the 10th. Got to be at Disney for my BD, :rotfl:

    Will be reading your PTR here in a bit.

    Gene
     
  17. disneygirlinnj

    disneygirlinnj DIS Veteran

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    Hi Gene,

    You should be able to make ADRs now. Did you put in your confirmation number, last name, etc? Then the website will pull up your reservation and it should open up the days for you to book your dining reservations. Oops...I just noticed someone else mentioned this too to you. :) The time of year you are going isn't a peak busy time but with all of the offers that Disney is giving out, you never know how packed the restaurants are going to be. Many places fill up exactly on the 90 day mark and it is near impossible to get anything after that unless you're diligent and try almost every day to grab a reservation that someone canceled. I've been reading reviews of people that are there now or just returned home and they've been saying that they saw a TON of people getting turned away at the hostess booth when they just walked up without a reservation. If you know you probably want to eat there, I would go ahead and make an ADR as soon as possible. You always have the option of canceling it at a later time, you know?

    Good luck and we'll help you plan! :)
     
  18. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    Thank you disneygirlinnj... I am thinking I need to make sure my confirmation
    number is in there... although I could have sworn it was. Will try again
    tonight. From what I have read it appears that ADR's are required for those
    most popular places. Guess I had best get busy.

    Gene
     
  19. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    With the help of the fine folks here on DISboard, I was led in the right
    direction to get my reservation dates associated with my ADRs.
    Now we are doing a ton of eating at the parks. We have a fine kitchen
    refrigerator and bbq we can use in the 5th wheel. Most of the stuff we will
    be eating at the campground will be pre-cooked and frozen. Heck.. all we
    have to do is heat it up.

    BUT(don't you luv that?), we did have specifics that we knew we must try.
    Fri. NEW arrival date My Birthday!!!
    Sat. Hoop De Do Musical Revue
    Sun. Yak and Yetis (this is a change)
    Mon. eat at the camp site
    Tues. Coral Reef
    Wed. Ohana's
    Thurs. camper
    Friday. on the road.

    So now that the reservations are made I feel like I can relax and research the
    parks now. Thanks to all that guiding this newbie on his way.

    Gene
     
  20. disneygirlinnj

    disneygirlinnj DIS Veteran

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    Great choices Gene!! Some of your choices I haven't been to in awhile but it's because I usually go with really picky eaters. I'll have to live vicariously through you :)
     
  21. ProPhotoGA

    ProPhotoGA Disney Virgin

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    I will be sure to keep detailed notes so I can provide you with all the succulent
    details of every morsel. I will even give you all minute detail on BBQ brisket and
    Atomic Buffalo Turds(aka Jalapeno Poppers wrapped in BACON) that I will be
    fixing on Monday evening(reminder, need to buy lots of Jalapenos. The smell
    always draws other campers.) YUMMY!!

    Gene
     

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