NO BOYS ALLOWED! A F&W Extravaganza *5/7 EXCITING News!!*

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by JessicaKnits, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    Hello. My name is Jessica. And I'm a Disney obsessed, compulsive planner. I have been Disney free for ONE YEAR!

    (All Chime In)

    "Hi Jessica!" :wave:

    Let me start off by saying that this is my 2nd attempt at this pre-trip report. The first one wasn't bad or anything, but I have a touch of OCD and forgot to make a second post reserved for links, and just resolved to the fact that this would bother me all PTR long. Whoopsies! Clearly, it's been awhile since I've written a PTR!

    As this title states, this is a girls only trip. Sorry fellas. Really not, because we're going to have SO. MUCH. FUN!

    My name is Jessica, I am 25 and work in sales. I'm a Wisconsin native, by way of North Carolina, that was transplanted to New York City. Follow all of that? Haha, well in short, I was born in North Carolina (Asheville area) and moved to Wisconsin with my parents when I was young. A little over a year and a half ago, I got to fulfill a lifelong dream, and move to New York City for work. It was always supposed to be on a short term basis, and I knew that eventually, I had to come back to Wisconsin. It didn't matter, I was hooked, and have been trying to work my way back to New York ever since. I likened leaving New York to a really bad break up. Its a year later, and I still miss New York. Every. Single. Day. If only fantastic and fabulous jobs and apartments just fell out of the sky....

    Anyway, this trip report is not about New York (although, there will probably be a few side trips to NY along the way. I REALLY can't stay away for long!)

    Besides my newfound obsession with New York, I also adore Disney. I was a late bloomer when it comes to Disney. I mean, I watched the movies when I was a kid, but I didn't actually get to go to a park until after I graduated high school. After one, horribly planned, trip to Disneyland, I was hooked! Seriously, the planning was bad.

    This will be my THIRD trip to Disney World (you know what they say about the third time!) As previously mentioned, I am an obsessive compulsive planner. I LOVE writing trip reports and blogging, LOVE having Disney movie theme nights and really enjoy cooking. On my last trip I picked up a few Disney cook books, and besides regular theme nights, plan to try out a few Disney classics to get us excited for our trip.

    Who is US, you ask?

    Well us would be myself and my dear dear BFF, Megan. Her and I met many many moons ago thru a mutual friend of ours and have pretty much been besties ever since. She is a Disney Virgin! This will also be her second time EVER on an airplane! She, like me, is a very type A personality. She loves animals and FOOD. She and I also enjoy a good cocktail (sometimes two!) on a regular to very regular basis.

    Here are a few pictures of us from a shopping trip this past weekend down in Schaumburg, IL. We visited Ikea (got some super amazing stuff!) and the ever popular Joe's Crab Shack.

    [​IMG]
    I promise that I never double fist. Ever. Ok, well, sometimes, when it's a good photo op, I do.

    [​IMG]
    Crabby goodness!

    [​IMG]
    You will notice that the hair is not pulled back for drinking, but it is for the eating. Eating is SERIOUS business.

    Up Next...How This Trip Came To Be!
     
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  3. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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  4. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    If this is your first time visiting during F&W you are going to love. Especially if you are double fist-er as that picture indicates! :rotfl2:
     
  5. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    It really is a long, drawn out, not all that exciting story...but I will share any way for your reading enjoyment (or lack thereof.)

    I went on my last Disney trip in March of 2012 with my fiancé. It was shortly after that trip that we decided it was best for all involved to go our separate ways. Don't worry, Disney had NOTHING to do with it.

    So, I ended up moving about 30 miles away from where I had been, to be much closer to work. This is the first time that I have lived on my own in a grown up apartment (read: not crappy) that work was not paying for. The search for a new place was long and arduous and thankfully I learned that no matter how old you are, parents will still let you sleep in your old room if things in life don't work out.

    To say the least, it was a roller coaster year. There was the depression I felt moving back from New York, the extreme high of being in Disney, and then back to sadness again. Thankfully, it was a FANTASTIC 2012 for me, despite everything else that happened.

    I had earned a lot of frequent flyer miles and points on my company credit card that I got to cash out for cold hard cash (how awesome is my company?!) After taking care of some grown up responsibilities, I decided I wanted to take a trip somewhere. I also knew that I wanted to take my friend Megan with me, because she had been such a tremendous help to me throughout last year. So, after discussing we decided we would head to Disney, the best place on earth. Originally we planned to go the end of this April, but things just aren't going to work out with my work schedule. So, I decided to cross two items off my Disney bucket list: Go to Disney for my birthday, and Go to the Food & Wine Festival. Really, how can it get much better than this?

    This is going to be a trip with a lot of "firsts" for me and a lot of old time favorites!

    I am still deeply indecisive about what sort of package to book...I have narrowed it down to three options (so far)...

    Option 1:

    Stay at Art of Animation in a Little Mermaid room and get the Premium Plan! (Previously I have always gone with the deluxe plan, and never regretted it for a second. On the last trip we did the Keys to the Kingdom Tour and I immediately decided that I wanted to do some other Tours. I have also always wanted to go see La Nouba!)

    Pros: Is the best value of all the options and allows us to do pretty much whatever we want. The Value bus system is the best (in my opinion).

    Cons: That’s a LOT of EATING (never been a problem for me though ;) ) and tours to compensate for the cost of the plan, and not as much time for touring, etc.

    Option 2:

    Stay at Port Orleans Riverside in a Royal Room and get the Deluxe Dining Plan. (Our original plan)

    Pros: I have always wanted to stay at this resort.

    Cons: I would want a rental car, as the bus system at Coronado really annoyed me last time.

    Option 3:
    Stay Deluxe (Dream resort is the Contemporary) and get just the standard dining plan.

    Pros: I have always been in love with this resort, and *hopefully* Cali Grill will be open again for our stay.

    Cons: It’s a lot of money to spend on a room we won't be staying in. Currently, they only have tower rooms available for a huge added cost.

    Right now all of these options are about the same price point as the others. Hopefully Disney releases their fall promos as early as they did last year (around the first week of March.) Maybe that will help aid my decision!

    Any advice, feedback, opinions?
     
  6. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    popcorn:: In for your report!
     
  7. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    It is my first time EVER for food and wine, and I'm SO excited! I have drooled over everyone's pictures for years. I am excited about all the different wines. I have often attempted to Drink Around The World, but have always started in Mexico and usually didn't make it much further than that....:rotfl:
     
  8. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    Yay!! We have a mini mid-day party started!
     
  9. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    I just went for the first time last October and it was more fun than I even anticipated.

    I like your options. However, I don't think I would get the DxDP because you are really going to want to sample all the F&W offerings. I think its going to be too much food unless you are planning a signature restaurant every night. I honestly think you would be fine with the regular dining plan. I find the DxDP to be a lot of food normally and with F&W on top of it - that's virtually non-stop eating. :rotfl:

    AoA looks so cool. You could also consider a split stay if you are considering deluxe. Mine was a girl's trip on DVC points and we stayed half of the time at VWL and the last three nights at BWV. Staying at an Epcot resort was totally the way to go. I highly, highly recommend it for easy access to Epcot.

    Good luck with your planning.

    Oh - and don't forget the Halloween party - SO. MUCH. FUN.
     
  10. WizardLarz

    WizardLarz DIS Veteran

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    I recently heard a report/ talk about the various Dining plans, either hear on the Dis Unplugged or at WDW Today. When they Talked about the Premium Plan is sounded like it might only be avaible when booking a Deluxe Resort.
     
  11. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    We are actually only going to be able to overlap with the Food and Wine Festival for a few days as I have to be back to work on the 30th of September. So as of *today* our dates are 9/20 thru 9/29. From what I've read they do a soft opening on that Thursday so we are potentially planning to hit that up in the afternoon and then on Saturday, which I'm sure will be CRAZY busy. I hadn't thought about any of the other Epcot resorts, but that makes a lot of sense actually...they are such a close walk...

    Thanks, I did double check and the Premium is available at all resorts it looks like, but the Platinum plan is only at Deluxe.
     
  12. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    Sorry for so many posts, but today we have a snow day so I am taking advantage and getting some planning done.

    I have found that in life, I do better when I have lists of things. We may, or may not, end up doing the things on this list, but you have to start somewhere!

    - Drink around the monorail
    - Dinner at Be Our Guest
    - Get a rental car to avoid being chained to a bus
    - Drink around the world
    - Tour the America Pavillion in Epcot (always skipped it...)
    - Go on a behind the scenes tour at Animal Kingdom
    - Go to La Nouba
    - Tea at the Grand Floridian
    - Breakfast at Cape May Cafe
    - Food & Wine Festival!
    - Attend a Mixology seminar
    - Jelly Rolls
    - Fireworks Dessert party
    - Dinner at Cali Grill **PRAYING** it is re-opened by the time we go
    - Margaritas at La Cava
    - Explore new Fantasyland
    - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

    And any other assorted items that come up along the way...
     
  13. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    You have a lot of great things on your list, but this is one I would move right to the top. The ritas here will spoil you for life. SO good. If you are adventurous, try the jalapeño. So refreshing with just a hint of "hot". SO good!
     
  14. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the reassurance on the jalapeno. I have only tried the blood orange, and it was always sooooo good! I saw a pick of the jalapeno on someones blog once and their glass was literally FULL of jalapenos, so I wonder if they just asked for it extra hot? That and the avocado one have me very interested.
     
  15. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    So, as I mentioned before, we LOVE to eat! The Disney Food Blog hits the nail right on the head when they say that FOOD is a theme park! I have always gone deluxe and never regretted doing so for a second, although I have occassionally regretted some of our restaurant choices. :lmao: The only problem we have ever had is using up all of our snack credits, but with Food & Wine this year, I don't think we will have that problem! Also, I am a HUGE breakfast person. I know that Dining Plan purists always say that breakfast is not a good use of credits, but I could not disagree more! I wish Disney had "breakfast all the time" places!

    With us planning to go during an off peak time, I feel like we will be able to get a lot more done than on our last trip (we went in March), so spending time in restaurants won't bother me as much.

    So, here is our list of restaurants we are interested in trying...which will of course be paired down by the time our ADR window opens!


    *Indicates New to me for this trip

    Breakfasts:
    Crystal Palace
    Cinderella's
    Kona Cafe
    Grand Floridian Cafe
    The Wave
    Akershus
    Kouzzina
    *Whispering Canyon Cafe
    *Olivia's (If we have a rental car)
    *Cape May
    1900 Park Fare
    Tusker House

    Lunch:
    *Tony's
    Liberty Tree Tavern
    Kona Cafe
    Grand Floridian Cafe
    *Sci Fi
    50's Prime Time Cafe
    Via Napoli
    Yak & Yeti
    Earl of Sandwich

    Dinner:
    *Paradiso 37
    *Fulton's
    Raglan Road
    Cali Grill
    Ohana
    Le Cellier
    Brown Derby
    Coral Reef
    *La Hacienda
    *Be Our Guest
    Yachtsman Steakhouse

    Any advice and/or suggestions? Like I said, we aren't going to be eating at ALL of these places, but we needed to start somewhere.
     
  16. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    So, today is definitely a day for airline blues.

    For our original trip, we got a STEAL on our airfare (free with miles!) Having to change dates though has realllllllly thrown a wrench into our airfare though. Flights for September are nearly TWICE as expensive as the base fare for the end of April. So, we have been looking into potentially adding two nights on either side of our reservation to make the flights work. It ends up being more economical to fly out of Green Bay (NEVER happens!) than to fly out of Chicago which was our original plan. It's just that the flight times really stink. So we thought potentially we would take an afternoon flight out on Friday and arrive around 8 PM, check into a room only reservation and then have my ENTIRE birthday day to be in Disney! Same goes for our return. We will stay Sunday night and have a room only reservation on Sunday and take the 6:00 am flight back home on Monday morning. This will allow us to maximize our time in Disney, and we can spend the money I would have spent on Parking/Hotel/Shuttle/Gas to get to and from Chicago on a room-only rezzie in Disney! MCUH better idea I think!

    The other idea is to wait until Southwest releases the rest of their flight schedule out of Milwaukee and see how that looks. Right now they only have their schedule available for our outbound flight, not our return. Milwaukee isn't nearly as far as Chicago, but we would still have to pay for some sort of park n' fly arrangement.

    Sooooo many decisions!
     
  17. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    Your potential ADRs all look great!

    Ugh to the airfare woes. We are driving in June, but I have a trip planned in October where I definitely want flights and don't relish the thought of paying $300 a person.
     
  18. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    Unfortunately seems to be the way things are going...I just booked a trip back to New York and even on Southwest it was $239. Yikes! But I would gladly fly on Southwest and not have to pay to check my bags!
     
  19. MissSabrinaLee

    MissSabrinaLee Earning My Ears

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    Hi there! Can't wait to hear all about the F&W Festival! I can't believe how much food you have planned! I'm going to go ahead and say I'm jealous...
     
  20. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    We're going to have to work on narrowing it down of course, but I looooove food so can't wait!
     
  21. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    So, as mentioned, I'm a wee bit obsessed with New York. I met so many absolutely amazing people when I was out there! It just holds a very special place in my heart, right next to where I keep Disney. Seriously, I love it THAT much. I was JUST there in January from the 18th thru the 22nd and had an amazing visit, but I was dying to go back pretty much as soon as I got in the taxi and headed for the airport. Anyone ever flown out of La Guardia? Seeing Manhattan in the rear view mirror is the saddest. sight. ever.

    So, I was discussing another visit with a friend of mine, and with a little schedule maneuvering, wound up booking a trip back to New York for March 22nd thru the 25th. Whoopsies, our ADR window opens on 3/25. Bad DISer! Bad! But thanks to Southwest and my good ole buddy Hotwire.com, I scored an INCREDIBLE deal on a hotel. Wound up with a 4.5 star in Midtown (Got the Sofitel) for $186 a night with tax. That is an AMAZING deal! I'm actually slightly disappointed with myself because last time I stayed at the Staybridge and paid the rack rate, which you guessed it, was higher than my Hotwire rate.

    Sometimes I just get so excited to be back in New York, that I get tunnel vision and forget to look at anything else. The last time I went to New York I also booked a flight on Delta for the EXACT same rate I could have flown on Southwest and wouldn't have had to pay bag fees on Southwest. I am learning though!

    So, this PTR will eventually be presented with a little side trip of New York...
     

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