Nov 2013 - Birthday SURPRISE Adult trip with First Timers! Eating Around the World!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by jenndot, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    Hi everyone! :wave2:

    I am so excited because today I finally made reservations and cemented the fact that I am going to be spending my 27th Birthday (November 16th) at my favorite place, Disney World!!

    Coming on the trip with me are three of my best friends. Two of them have never been to Disney World and the other went once when she was very very little and barely remembers it - so essentially 3 First Timers! I am so excited to share this experience with them as they have heard me talk about all things Disney World for so long!

    The most exciting part is that none of them have ANY IDEA where we are going. :cool1:

    All they know is that they have their calendars marked on the appropriate dates to take a birthday trip with me. I plan on releasing hints along the way but I have a feeling none of them will figure it out!

    I couldn't be more excited! Hoping these next 6 and a half months go by quickly!! :goodvibes

    CHAPTER LINKS ARE BELOW!
     
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  3. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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  4. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    So here is what I have planned so far:

    Two of the girls live in different cities than I so we are all going to drive or fly to meet in Dallas on Friday night. Then Saturday morning, I will reveal the destination of our trip - Disney World! - and we will take an early flight to Orlando!

    Kind of going back and forth about whether or not to use Magical Express or just take a taxi. Definitely want to get to our hotel AS FAST as possible to make it to Epcot as early as possible so I'm leaning towards a taxi and on carrying on our luggage so we don't have to wait on it - Thoughts?

    Friday
    • Meet in Dallas

    Saturday
    • Early Morning Flight to Orlando - Arrive at 9:30am.
    • Check in at Port Orleans French Quarter.
    • Hopefully get to Epcot by Noon.
    • Start our Eating and Drinking Around the World game! I am having T-shirts made that I plan to give to them when I reveal our destination so that we can "check off" each country. Also will have an envelope for each country with "Mission cards" inside. One person will be in charge of finding something savory, one person will be in charge of finding something sweet, one person will be in charge of getting an alcoholic beverage and one person will be in charge of finding a prop or the perfect backdrop for us to take our picture with. I am so excited for this!!
    • We will probably do half of the countries around "lunch" time and save the other half for "dinner" - and try to hit some rides and attractions in between.

    Sunday
    • Waking up VERY early and probably taking a cab to Polynesian resort (as Disney transportation will not be running early enough) to eat some Tonga Toast for breakfast and maybe even watch the sunrise!
    • Then we will be headed to Magic Kingdom for rope drop!
    • Planning on lunch at Be Our Guest
    • Then leaving in the mid to late afternoon to go back to the hotel and rest
    • Want to get dinner reservations this night for either O'hana or Bongos in DTD. I know that the natural choice for most of you would be O'hana - but we all REALLY love Cuban food and it would give us a chance to explore DTD on our trip as well... so I am torn! Input is welcome!

    Monday
    • Rope Drop at Hollywood Studios (got to get to TSMM asap!)
    • Planning on lunch at 50s Prime Time Cafe
    • Of course, have to grab cupcakes at Starring Rolls in the afternoon and pop in to Sci Fi to get a milkshake as well!
    • Planning on leaving in the early evening to head back to the hotel
    • Late night reservation at Animal Kingdom lodge at probably Sanaa. Have also thought about Boma or Jiko as well - any input here would be welcome too!

    Tuesday
    • Rope Drop at Animal Kingdom!
    • Lunch at Flame Tree BBQ
    • Enjoy all the attractions until 3pm when we will leave and head back to the hotel to grab our bags and go to our 6pm flight (does that seem like enough time?)
     
  5. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    Probably the highlight of this birthday trip for me (other than being able to surprise everyone!) is my plan to Eat and Drink around the World at Epcot on my actual birthday!

    I'm planning on making shirts to give to everyone that morning when I do the big reveal before we leave for the airport so we will all be wearing them when we arrive - probably will end up looking something like this (although I'm still playing around with the design and hoping to come up with something catchier to put on the back). If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

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    In addition to the shirts, I also plan on making an envelope for each country that will have four "Mission Cards" inside, each marked with one of our names. Each card will have one of the four tasks:
    1) Find something savory from this country for us to eat
    2) Find something sweet from this country for us to eat
    3) Find an alcoholic beverage from this country for us to eat
    4) Find a prop in a gift shop (hats are great!) or an iconic background for us to take our picture in front of for this country

    Also on the mission card, I am hoping to include an idea or suggestion of that they can choose (although of course they are welcome to choose something else) that is considered to be a "favorite". Here is the list I have going so far:

    MEXICO
    Savory - Queso con Jalapeno
    Sweet - Churritos or Paletas
    Drink - Pomoegranate, Pineapple or Avacado Margarita

    NORWAY
    Savory - Norwegian Club or Vegetable Torte
    Sweet - School Bread, Lefse or Sweet Pretzel
    Drink - Aquavit Shot or Viking Coffee

    CHINA
    Savory - Curry chicken pocket or pork buns
    Sweet - Red Bean or Ginger Ice Cream
    Drink - Canto Loopy

    GERMANY
    Savory - Pretzel or Bratwurst
    Sweet - Chocolate Caramel Brownie or Chewy Caramel Bar
    Drink - Hovels

    ITALY
    Savory - Arancini or Pizza (plan on making an ADR at Via Napoli)
    Sweet - Cannoli or Gelato Sandwich
    Drink - Peach Bellini or Wine

    AMERICA
    Savory - Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel or Turkey Leg
    Sweet - Funnel Cake
    Drink - Red Stag Lemonade or Sam Adams (although I may have to veer off the alcohol course here and get one of those Red White and Blue slushies! Those look amazing!)

    JAPAN
    Savory - Edamame or Miso Soup
    Sweet - Kaki Gori or Green Tea Ice Cream
    Drink - Green Tea Amasake Mist

    MOROCCO
    Savory - Cous Cous Salad or Shwarma
    Sweet - Baklava or Almond Roulade
    Drink - Habibi Daquiri

    FRANCE
    Savory - Croque Monsieur
    Sweet - Crepes or Napoleon
    Drink - Grey Goose or Grand Marnier Slush

    UK
    Savory - Fish and Chips or Bulldog
    Sweet - Shortbread Rounds or Cadbury Candies (didn't see much to choose from in this country!)
    Drink - Welsh Dragon or Guinness

    CANADA
    Savory - Cheddar Cheese Soup and/or Poutine (plan on getting ADR for mid afternoon at Le Cellier - crossing my fingers!!)
    Sweet - Maple Creme Brulee or Maple Candies
    Drink - Blonde de Chambly


    Did I leave any of your favorites off of my list? Any suggestions you would add to this or to what props or places to use for the pictures? I would love your input!! I'm also thinking about making us all passports or purchasing them there to add to the fun.
     
  6. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    As I am trying to make my plans for this trip, I have come across some questions that I am hoping some of you may be able to help me out with! :)

    1) What is most likely the time that I will be able to walk into Epcot if my flight lands at 9:30am and I am carrying on my luggage and taking a cab? I have to check in at Port Orleans French Quarter and then take the bus to Epcot? I budgeted for 12pm in my plan but I am crossing my fingers that it could potentially be 11:30am instead...

    2) With only one day at DHS, it's looking like I am probably going to need to prioritize which shows to make. Since I have 3 first timers coming with me, I want to make sure I choose the best ones. Out of Lights Motor Action, Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones, the American Idol Experience and Little Mermaid - - which 2 shows are your MUST sees? Which ones are skippable? I'm thinking our plan probably only allows time to see 2.

    3) After Epcot closes at 9pm, I'm hoping to walk over to Beaches and Cream and maybe spend some time exploring the Boardwalk area. Will it be possible for me to still take a bus back to POFQ from Epcot afterwards at probably around 11pm? I wondered if all the late night dinner res at World Showcase meant the bus service ran later?

    4) How much time do you think I should budget for each country on our Eating and Drinking Around the World tour. In addition to grabbing one sweet, one savory, one drink and taking a picture, we definitely will want to ride the applicable rides/watch the films and explore the area a bit. 45 minutes? I know some will be longer and some shorter - but on average?

    5) I'm hoping to go over to the Polynesian for some Tonga Toast the morning we go to Magic Kingdom. Since I want to be there for rope drop, I will need to take a bus to Poly more than an hour before MK opens - I think I read somewhere that due to breakfast res, the buses actually start running VERY early in the am. Can anyone confirm?

    6) On our last day, we will be at Animal Kingdom. We have a flight that departs at 6:00pm. We will need to leave AK, take the bus to POFQ to get our luggage and then grab a taxi to the airport. I have us leaving AK at 3:00pm - I figure we will get back to POFQ, grab the luggage and be in a taxi by 3:45 and get to the airport around 4:15ish. Does that timing seem reasonable? Do I need to leave AK earlier? Can I leave a little later? I can't remember how crazy security lines are at Orlando. It will be a Tuesday evening, not a weekend, so maybe that will help?

    Thank you so much for your help!! I'm getting so excited! :yay:
     
  7. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    Today I've been working on the Mission cards for each country for my Birthday Eating and Drinking Around the World game.

    Here is what I have so far - - 4 cards for each country (Savory, Sweet, Alcohol and Glamour Shot) with ideas on what to eat, drink and where to take pictures in each country along with photos of the suggestions. They will be on index card sized cardstock in an envelope for each country.

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    What the front of each card looks like


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    Example of Savory Card

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    Example of Sweet Card

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    Example of Alcohol Card

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    Example of Alcohol Card

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    All of the cards


    I really struggled on most of the "Glamour Shot" cards to come up with fun places to take pictures in front of or fun props in the gift shops to take pictures with. On most of them, I ended up just putting "with a cast member" or "with something from the gift shop" - so if anyone has any ideas, please send them my way!
    The only ones I had decent ideas for were: The troll in Norway, the phone booths in UK, Sombreros in Mexico, the Fountain or the Gondolas in Italy, in the Gardens in Japan, and by the Waterfall or the Totems in Canada. Struggling especially with China, Germany, America and France as most of Morocco is beautifully detailed.
     
  8. happybelle

    happybelle DIS Veteran

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    Joining in! :goodvibes
     
  9. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    After finding some other posts detailing having "Amazing Race" style challenges around Epcot's World Showcase, I decided to add on that component to the Birthday Festivities! This is going to be in addition to the Eating and Drinking Around the World - so I am kind of nervous that we may be pushing it on time since we only have from 11am to 9pm - but I think it will work out fine and if need be, we can just skip some of the challenges.

    I found a great template online for the Route Info, Detour and Roadblock cards and have been trying to come up with great ideas for each country. These are just the preliminary ones I have come up with, but if you have any other ideas - please send them my way!!

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    In addition to the World Showcase, I am actually going to start our "Amazing Race" early in the morning and include Route Info for Chef Mickey's, Epcot, etc. and then continue it after Epcot closes to include Beaches and Cream and the Boardwalk as well:

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  10. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    Well I went ahead and decided to extend our trip by a day! We will be flying in to Orlando on Friday afternoon instead of Saturday morning! This will allow us to spend the full day on Saturday (my birthday!) at Epcot - so I'm excited about the fact that this worked out for everyone.

    The MOST exciting news however is that I got an e-mail with a free dining PIN for our trip!!! I was hoping they would release free dining for November but I wasn't feeling too confident that they would. Getting the PIN was the best early birthday present I could have gotten!

    With the PIN in hand, I also made my ADRs at the 180 mark a few weeks ago - these are the ones that I got:

    FRIDAY - Sanaa at 8:30pm

    SATURDAY - Chef Mickey's at 7am, Via Napoli at 2pm and Le Cellier at 7:05pm (Both as a part of our Eating Around the World challenge)

    SUNDAY - Crystal Palace at 8:15am, Ohana at 8:30pm (Planning to do CS lunch at Be Our Guest)

    MONDAY - 50s Prime Time Cafe at 11:30am, Sci Fi Dine In at 4:45pm (for Milkshakes!) and Bongos at 10pm

    I got every ADR that I wanted! Although, I did end up waking an hour too early as the computer system wasn't letting me make my +10 reservations and I had to wait on the phone lines to open instead - but all's well that ends well!
     
  11. cefcdana

    cefcdana Mouseketeer

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    Wow! Can I be your friend? :)

    Congrats on the PIN code!

    Your trip sounds like it will be so much fun. I can't wait to hear all about it.

    One comment on your ADRs for Epcot...if you are still planning on doing the savory/sweet etc challenge in addition to the Amazing Race, 2 ADRs in the World Showcase might be too much as you all might be really full!

    I hope all of your friends are early risers! If they are first timers, they might want to spend more time on attractions with less ADRs? Just a thought. Maybe not. But it would allow them to sleep in just a few more minutes if you took off one or some of the TS restraunts.

    How do you plan to tell them? Sounds like the best birthday girls trip EVER!
     
  12. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    Thanks cefcdana! I am hoping the trip will be memorable!!

    I'm sure we probably will be pretty full! The ADRs are really more of a means to an end of how to fulfill the "savory" requirements in Italy and Canada as there aren't many QS/Kiosk options in those countries. So we won't be having full meals - - just splitting a Cheddar Cheese Soup in Canada and probably an individual pizza or an appetizer in Italy.

    Thankfully, even though they aren't necessarily naturally early risers (and neither am I for that matter!) they are all pretty willing to go with the flow and wake up as early as necessary for this trip. I've warned them this won't exactly be a "restful" vacation but they are excited and up for anything!

    Thanks for the thought about there maybe being too many TS adrs though - - I've thought about that as well but we all really do like to eat! :) Plus with our breakfast ADRs being before park open, we won't be missing out on any attractions to go (just a little bit of sleep!)

    I'm still trying to work out the details of how to tell them as they are actually all 3 coming from different cities to join me. I think I may try to do 3 separate reveals, actually. One of my girl friends will be driving with me from our hometown to Dallas to catch the flight - so I thought on the car ride I could make a playlist of songs related to the trip. At first, having songs that were a little more vague with titles about "Magic" or the "World" in them and then slowly leading into actual Disney songs until it becomes obvious enough for her to know where we are headed. Another one of my friends will be driving to Dallas for our flight from a different city so I thought I would just surprise her once we met up in Dallas. Potentially wearing a Disney World t-shirt and seeing how long it takes her to notice it? As for my 3rd friend, she won't be meeting us until we fly into Orlando as she lives on the East Coast - so I thought about maybe e-mailing her a crossword puzzle or word search that revealed our destination to her that morning?

    If anyone has any ideas on reveals, I'm open to hearing them!
     
  13. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    Lately I've been using Easy WDW, Touring Plans, RideMax, etc. to try to figure out a general plan for what we can get accomplished each day. Since we only have one day per park - we are obviously going to do Rope Drop every day and have a pretty clear/rigid plan the first hour or two followed by a more general plan of what we want to do or avoid the rest of the day.

    Here are my Rope Drop plans for each park:
    Epcot - Soarin, Sum of all Thrills (I was a fan of the old Test Track and I am just NOT excited by the YouTube videos of the new ride at all. If we end up riding it, great, but it's not a priority. :confused3 )

    MK - Space Mountain FP then Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and Little Mermaid. (Only thing that may change this up is if the rest of the group really wants to do ETWB - I would be up to experiencing it just to have done it once but not sure if its worth wasting rope drop hour for - but maybe we will just tough the wait out later on in the afternoon if we've seen everything else we want to)

    HS - FP TSMM, Ride TSMM, RNRC and TOT

    AK - Expedition Everest (hopefully several times in a row!) and FP Safari

    Is it just me or does it feel like most people's rope drop plans are almost identical?! :)




    As for our Must Dos in each Park:
    EP - Soarin, Living with the Land, Sum of all Thrills, Spaceship Earth

    MK - All 3 mountains, Under the Sea, Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World, Pirates

    HS - TSMM, RNRC, TOT, Star Tours, Great Movie Ride, Animation Academy, One Man's Dream

    AK - Expedition Everest, Safaris, Dinosaur, FOTLK, Maharajah, Tough to be a Bug


    The toughest day for me to plan out has been HS with all of the shows plus the fact that we have 2 ADRs to work around (and Osborne lights! And maybe Fantasmic!). Still playing with it to try to find a proposed itinerary that I'm happy with
     
  14. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    We are just almost to the halfway point in our wait for my Surprise Birthday Trip (that no one knows is to Disney World!)

    Ever since I had my girl friends save the dates on their calendar to come with me on this bday trip to a surprise destination, I have been releasing hints about where we are going and what we are doing to help them guess what our plans might be.

    So far they are all pretty set on the fact that we are headed to New York City, California or Las Vegas! :cool1: They have no idea!

    Each hint that I've given them has been truthfully related to Disney World but spun in a way to make them think of somewhere else instead.

    For example, one hint was a picture of the Grauman Chinese Theater which made them guess we were going to LA. But as we all know on the Disboards, it referred to HS!!

    Other hints have included:
    - A picture of a Dinosaur skeleton (which they thought referred to a museum in NYC and not to AK!)
    - That we would be eating a wide variety of ethnic food including Indian and Cuban (Sanaa and Bongos!)
    - We will be enjoying live music acts (World Showcase and others)
    - Some activities on the trip will involve a tour guide (Great Movie Ride, etc.)
    - We will be spending some part of the trip on a boat (Living with the Land, It's a Small World, Jungle Cruise, etc.)
    - We can take a horse drawn carriage ride, which they thought referred to Central Park in NYC (instead it is at our hotel POFQ)
    - We won't have to get a rental car and instead will be using public transporation and walking, which they thought meant we were definitely headed to a major city like NYC (instead its Disney buses and monorails)


    Anyone else have any other ideas for hints that could also easily refer to another destination than Disney World for me to send out?
     
  15. jenndot

    jenndot Earning My Ears

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    When I decided to Eat/Drink/Amazing Race around the World in Epcot - I knew that I wanted to have T-shirts made so that we could check each country off the list as we made our way around. Somehow that morphed into making or buying us matching T-shirts for every day of the trip :confused3

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    I will be giving out the shirts at the airport as part of the reveal as to where we are headed! I will already have my Orange one on and the rest can throw theirs on after the reveal. They still have absolutely no idea. The Saturday and Sunday shirts I had made by CustomInk and then I ordered the 3 others from the Disney Store using various discounts.

    I've been ordering them over the past couple months and today the last ones finally arrived so I was able to roll them up and tie them together with a bow! They are all ready to be passed out at the airport!!

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