NY to WDW!! A Xmas week Pre-Trip Report! UPDATE! We bought our tree!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by Desnik, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Welcome to my Xmas 2012 Pre-Trip Report!!​


    Let's get started with introducing ourselves and then we'll get into how this trip came about. :)

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    The first picture is of DH (Rob) and myself (Nikki) at our vow renewal in 2009 at Disney World. It's one of my favorite pictures and memories of our life together. You can read all about that special day by clicking on the link in my signature.

    The second picture is of our two wonderful kids, Destiny & Bobby on the cliffwalk in Newport, RI.

    DH and I have been together 18 years (15 years married) and I am a SAHM & DH works in telecommunications. We love Disney and our obsession began when we honeymooned there in 1997. It was only my second trip and it was Rob's first trip and we haven't missed a year since then! We are also DVC members and take full advantage of our membership!! I am so lucky to have a DH who loves going to WDW as much as I do.:love:

    Our kids also love Disney, although our teenage DD acts like she is too cool for it, she loves it once we get there!:rotfl2:

    We have been fortunate enough to have gone to WDW many times but have never been during Xmas!!! So let's get started on how this trip came about!


    We had booked and planned our 2012 Disney trip for the end of Aug. With the ages of our kids we can no longer take them out of school to go on vacation. There is just too much work for them to make up, so we can only go during holidays or the summer :( But, it's better than not going at all so we make the best of it! :)

    DH had been begging me for a pool for our home for years. I was against it but the kids wore me down. After installing the pool, and fencing in the entire property it put a huge dent in my Disney budget. DH then said the unthinkable, "I think we should cancel our trip." With the holidays coming up, an expensive trip, and the pool/fence it was just too much within a couple of months time. I should add that for Xmas we spend an obscene amount of money on extended family plus we host Xmas day dinner at our home for 30 of my relatives. I should also add that about a month before my family members all had a big falling out, but that's too negative and crazy to get into here.;) So, back to Disney. I agreed with DH but then the wheels got turning and I said, "hey, how about we just go to Disney for Xmas?" It has always been a dream of ours but we always felt guilty about leaving during the holidays. Well this year, I felt no guilt at all!!:lmao: DH thought it was a great idea and we agreed we should surprise the kids with the trip. So off I went planning, and planning, and planning! After all it's what I love to do!!:rotfl2: My goal is to make this a special trip with the hope it will become an annual event!!

    How did our family take it?​

    Just fine! We sent out a message to them all stating we regretfully will not be able to host Xmas dinner and will not be participating in any gift exchanging this year. We went on to say we will be spending Xmas at WDW and the family members that bothered to respond were happy for us.;)

    **I wanted to add that this year has been a big year for us. DH & I celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary in July. In May DH graduated with his BA in business and in June he turned 40!!! We were suppose to celebrate all these wonderful events at WDW in Aug, so...We'll just have to celebrate them all in Dec. with some special activities!


    *Next up, Letting the cat out of the bag to our kids!!! Some people just can't keep a secret!!!:lmao:
     
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  3. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Just saving this space for a future table of contents :)
     
  4. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Telling the kids​


    It was a great idea, in theory to keep this trip a surprise for our kids. But, we had to tell them about the trip. For starters my family members have big mouths!:mad: On more than one occasion I had to stop my own mother from slipping! Then I got caught by my DS writing out an itinerary! I covered it up by telling him I was doing it to help one of my Disboards friends. As I continued my planning there were things I really wanted and needed their input on. So DH & I sat them down to tell them the great news. We were so excited, even video tapped it with our phone. But, it was NOT the reaction we thought we would get.

    Here's how it went:

    Me: We have a surprise for you guys so sit down.
    Kids: What? What is it? Are we in trouble?
    DH: No, we just want to tell you something.
    DS: I know what it is, we're going to Disney?
    DD: Is that it? Argh, are you gonna book it and cancel again?
    Me: No, Destiny, and yes Bobby you guessed right but it's even more special. We are going for Xmas!!!!
    Kids: Oh, no really? Why?
    DS: How will santa find me?
    DD: How will I get my presents from grandma & grandpa?
    Kids: What day are we leaving?
    Me: We are leaving on the 21st and the drive should take 19 hours...
    Kids: What??? No way!! We're not going! Are you serious? Why are we driving? 19 hours?? That's crazy!!!

    And so it continued. :sad2: My happy surprise was beaten down by my ungrateful children ;):rotfl2: But I knew they would turn around and totally be on board, it just took a day, or 5 for them to realize how lucky they were to get to be at WDW for Xmas!!!!

    After explaining that Santa does special deliveries to all kids at WDW, that they would get their gifts from their grandparents before leaving, and promising that the ride isn't going to be as bad as they're imagining, and after telling them I was planning special activities we have never done they were starting to get excited!

    Now they can't wait for our trip. They even have countdowns on their iPod/iPhone and told all their friends & talk about the trip often! So even though the surprise was a total bust, I'm hopeful this trip will be a success!!


    **As a side note, when our kids were 4 & 9 we surprised them with a trip to WDW and it was the perfect surprise and I got the exact reaction I had hoped for. I guess I was just being greedy wanting to recapture that moment for a second time.;)

    Up next, Transportation plans!
     
  5. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    We're driving!! ​


    Honestly, none of us are too excited about it. So why are we doing it? Strictly because of money. Airfare from NY to WDW Xmas week is around $2700 r/t for our family of 4. R/T the gas should cost around $300.

    Other pros for driving:
    We won't have to deal with the airports during the holidays!:scared1:
    No need for a rental car because we will have our own car.:woohoo:
    I can pack as much as we want and also bring our grocery items.:banana:

    Now I know there are some cons to driving but I'm not going to think about them, I'm trying to think positive. :thumbsup2

    We have driven to WDW in the past for all of our trips up until 2006. Then DH finally gave in and drugged himself up enough to be able to fly and we haven't looked back....until now. :rotfl:

    The plan is to leave NY at 4am and drive straight to WDW stopping only for gas and bathroom. That will get us to WDW aprox. 9-10pm. DH and I will take turns driving but he'll probably end up doing most of it. The reason we chose to do the drive this way is because it's what works best for our family. I do not like to go into public restrooms at night with the kids. My night vision isn't too good, and DH can't do the drive at night straight through without falling asleep! So for safety reasons we'll leave at 4am. That's the time DH is up everyday for work so he's use to it and will do the first few hours of driving.

    The kids will be armed with iPhone, iPods, iPad (can you tell we're an Apple family :goodvibes) and a Kindle. With those items & some naps I'm hoping it's enough to keep them occupied.:thumbsup2

    For the drive home, right now the plan is to leave WDW after lunch & drive for about 8 hours then stop at a hotel for the night. There is no rush to get home, I just want to be back before NYE.


    *Up next, Where are we staying???
     
  6. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Our resorts​


    Yes, that's resorts with an "s". As you have guessed, we are doing a split stay during Xmas week!! Not only are we spliting our stay but, we will be staying in 3 different resorts! Yes, we're a little crazy!:joker:

    I do have my reasons for the 3 resorts so I shall explain.

    Since our estimated arrival time is between 9-10pm I didn't want to "waste" DVC points for that one night. My kids really wanted to try AoA so to get them more excited for our trip I figured booking one night here would do the trick. Yeah, I'm sneaky like that.;)

    When looking at the point charts for our dates, 12/21-12/28 I didn't have enough to do the entire trip in a one bedroom unit, which is what we usually book. I had to do some calculations and come up with resorts and room size using our allotted points. That left me with AKV and SSR which happen to both be our home resorts, AKV being our favorite.

    Here is what we have booked:
    12/21 AoA Little Mermaid room
    12/22-12/24 AKV Kidani Village Studio Standard View
    12/24-12/28 SSR 1 bedroom


    Once we get to SSR we will put up a small tree and having the 1 bedroom I'll be able to wash all our clothes before we leave! Hey, it just makes it easier on me when we get home.;)

    We have been to both AKV & SSR many times and obviously AoA will be a first for us and we are all really happy and excited with our resorts!

    How about some pictures of our previous stays at SSR and AKV to get us in the mood?


    A studio room at AKV, this was in Jambo House
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    Our kids at the playground at AKV. Awww they were just babies here!!!
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    The pool at Kidani. Hopefully we will get to go in at least once!
    [​IMG]

    SSR
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    Grandstand Pool at SSR
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    Grandstand water play area
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    SSR One bedroom Kitchen
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    Bedroom/bathroom
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    Can't wait to be there!!!
     
  7. foxyroxy40

    foxyroxy40 Earning My Ears

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    finally someone else that's gonna be their the same time as us:cool1:we arrive on the 22nd were also driving :moped: from michigan but were not driving straight thru :eek:we are staying at pofq:cool1:im enjoying your trip report and I dont have one I'm just a lurkerpopcorn::
     
  8. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Cool!!:cool1: Thanks for joining me!! I was afraid no one would :rotfl:

    Glad to see I'm not the only one braving the crowds of Xmas!

    I love PoFQ! We spent an afternoon there on our last trip and I'm dying to stay there! The refurbed rooms look so nice. You'll have a great time there.
     
  9. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Reservations


    I'm still working on our reservations. I'm debating on adding a few more dining reservations. Here is what we have so far:

    12/22 Archery Lessons at FW 2:30
    12/22 Trails End Buffet at FW 6:40pm
    12/22 Sleigh Ride at FW 9pm

    12/24 1900 Park Faire at GF 7:40pm

    12/25 IL Mulino at Swan/Dolphin 5pm


    The 22nd is going to be a full, busy day. We have to check out of AoA, check into AKV, go food shopping for the week & then archery lessons, dinner & the sleigh ride!:faint:
    It was just the way it worked out. I'm glad that we'll have a full day at FW because in between the archery lessons and dinner we will get to ride around FW to look at all the cool decorations the campers do!! I wanted to eat at the GF at some point and I'm happy we are doing it on Xmas eve. We picked IL Mulino for dinner because Xmas wouldn't be the same for me without an Italian dinner. Also, we didn't want to go into a park that day fearing it would just be too crazy. I don't want to spend too much on dinners and plan on doing breakfast and most lunches in out villa, but I'm still feeling I should maybe add one more.

    Food is the thing I stress out about the most, especially while vacationing. I have an illness and I have to be very careful with what I eat. Basically very bland, and boring. No dairy, no red meat, nothing fried, no red sauce, (although I probably will cheat at Xmas dinner!) nothing spicy, very moderate on the veggies and fruits, no wheat, no soy, no fast food of any kind, and I have to take medication with food at a certain time everyday. It stinks and really interferes with my park touring. :sick: But, it is what it is and I try to make the best of it. On a lighter note the rest of the family are good eaters and my kids will try anything once!

    So, any suggestions on another restaurant for dinner?

    I went back and forth with whether or not we should do the CP package and ultimately decided against it. After reading up on exactly what the CP is I realized it's not for our family. I'll just leave it at that. ;)

    Any other Xmas activities I should add that would require a reservation? I feel like I might be forgetting something!!
     
  10. mizscarlett

    mizscarlett Earning My Ears

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    We are doing Christmas in Disney too! We will be there 12/20-26 staying at the WL. We had hopes of just getting away and having a magical Christmas that our kids could enjoy without running the roads to everyone's house. We gave our kids the option of doing Disney with no gifts this year or staying home with Christmas as usual. They chose no gifts! It makes me want to go all out and make this the most memorable trip ever. :)

    Since we booked, most of my dh's family thought it was a great idea. Our party of 4 is now a party of 15. :scratchin. It will be even more special to all be there together though. We are booking anything cool we can think of.... Sleigh ride, C.P., mvmcp, and hopefully the tomorrowland terrace dessert party.

    I'm following your trip report! Can't wait to see what you come up with!
     
  11. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Thanks for following along!

    Great to see another family going to Disney for the holidays. The WL is the perfect place to stay during Xmas!!! That is really nice that your family will be joining you, it will be so special and just think of all the photos ops!!

    Tell me more about the tomorrowland terrace dessert party, please!:scratchin
     
  12. mizscarlett

    mizscarlett Earning My Ears

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    The dessert party opens at tomorrowland terrace about an hour before wishes. It gives you a reserved table plus all you can eat sweets and drinks that lasts through wishes.

    This article really gives great info with pics!
    http://www.themouseforless.com/blog_ms_news/2009/08/10/magic-kingdom-fireworks-and-dessert-event/

    It is an ADR that is prepaid but you can cancel it, so if you're even considering it snatch it up while you can! It's under dining events. December dates just opened yesterday. :cool1:
     
  13. cogero

    cogero DIS Veteran

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    We are there the same time 12/25 - 12/30 I can't take DD out of school either.

    We also honeymooned at disney in 1997 :)

    We are DVC too.

    Take a lot of time to enjoy the decorations.

    I was able to score Airfare on Southwest for $1300. I was shocked. Can't wait to read more.
     
  14. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Thanks for the link & info! I'm going to check it out now as I'm sitting here waiting for my son to get out of school lol
     
  15. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Yay, another family going at the same time!! Wow we have so much in common! :-)

    I really do want to take a lot of time enjoying all the decorations, especially at all the different resorts.

    I'm so jealous on the airfare price you found! That is awesome!!

    This weekend I'm going to share my itinerary. Keep in mind it is subject to change. I've changed it 3 times already!! lol
     
  16. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    The Plans​

    The weeks leading up to our trip I will buy grocery items to bring along with us. I plan on packing only a few days before which will be a first for me! I usually pack way in advance. But the tricky Dec weather in Florida is making me wait until I can get the full forecast before packing our clothing.
    Since we will have a one bedroom for most of our trip I am bringing breakfast items, drinks and snacks to hopefully save us some money. Once we get there we will stop at Publix to get some cold cuts and perishables.
    On my list for things to purchase before our trip:
    Small Xmas tree
    Cereal
    Muffins
    English Muffins
    Bagels
    Soda
    Water
    Vitamin Water
    Drink Boxes
    Ice Tea
    Lemonade
    Snacks: Goldfish, Pretzles, Cookies
    Clorox Wipes

    The day before we leave I will have to bring our pets (one hamster, one dog) to my sisters house. After dinner I will full up the tank and pack up the car. I'm going to pack a cooler with breakfast, lunch & drinks for our ride.

    Here is the plan, so far. Now I must warn you all, I'm a planner! I love to plan, plan, plan most every detail of our days.


    Itinerary


    Friday December 21st
    Wake up at 3am. Yes, 3am (the kids will hate me) :rotfl:
    Hopefully we will be on the road by 4am. DH will do the first leg of the drive because he is use to being up that early for work. The kids and I will *probably fall back to sleep within minutes of getting in the car and sleep until hopefully 9am. We plan to drive straight through to Disney with stops only for gas and bathroom breaks. For dinner we will grab fast food & let the kids stretch & have a short break from the car.
    The plan is to arrive at AoA by 9:30pm. I'm hopeful for a smooth check in to our Little Mermaid room. If we are up to it I would love to walk around and take a look at the grounds at night.

    Saturday December 22nd
    Quick breakfast in the room. Check out by 11am. Take a look around the resrt and have an early lunch there. (I'm dying to try the food court!)
    By 1:45 leave and head to FW for our 2:30 archery lessons. After the lessons go food shopping for perishable items. Head to AKV, check in and unpack groceries. At 6pm go back to FW for our 6:40 dinner at Trails End Buffet. At 8:45 head over to the sleigh ride that starts at 9pm. Once back at AKV unpack.

    Sunday December 23rd
    Up early! Have quick breakfast in room. Go to MK. Eat lunch at Cosmic Ray's and then head back to resort. Relax, nap(hopefully), swim (if warm enough). Eat dinner? Not sure where yet! After dinner go back to MK for EMH.

    Monday December 24th
    Breakfast in room. Check out by 11am. Go to SSR to check in. Hopefully the room will be ready! If so, unpack then head to DtD for lunch at WPE. Spend some time at DtD, then back at SSR to put up our Xmas tree!! At 7pm head to GF for 7:40 dinner at 1900 Park Faire. After dinner enjoy GF lobby.

    Tuesday December 25th
    Merry Xmas!! The kids will have us up early I'm sure.:goodvibes
    I will make breakfast for all of us. The rest of the day we will be lazy around our villa, eat lunch at Artist Palette at SSR and just enjoy relaxing family time. At 4:30 head over to the Swan for our 5pm dinner at Il Mulino.

    Wednesday December 26th
    Up early! Quick breakfast in room. Head to Epcot. Lunch? Not sure where yet! After lunch go back to resort to relax. Dinner? Not sure where yet! After dinner head back to Epcot.

    Thursday December 27th
    Our last full day :sad: Go resort hopping to check out all the decorations! At some point during the day I will wash cloths and pack up.

    Friday December 28th
    Sleep in, eat quick breakfast in room, check out by 11am. Have lunch at DtD, not sure where yet. Then start the long drive home.:sad1: The plan is to drive until 10pm and find a hotel to spend the night.

    Saturday December 29th
    Up early, eat quick breakfast at hotel. Check out and drive straight home stopping for gas, bathroom, food when needed.


    This is how I feel after reading that over :faint: :upsidedow
    It seems like a lot of stuff crammed into a short trip especially on the 22nd!!

    I'm used to our trips being really laid back, the last 2 we didn't go to the parks at all! So, I'm kind of feeling like we will be exhausted the entire time.

    I'm open to any opinions and suggestions on this itinerary.
     
  17. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Update


    Every now and then DH chimes in and helps with my plans. This time he has suggested leaving a day early! So, our new plan is:

    Leave Thursday Dec 20th around 2pm!!:cool1:

    This will enable us to miss the DC traffic that we probably would have been stuck in if we left early Fri morning. We will drive to the border of VA/NC and spend the night. DH wanted to get at least half way there that first night. I'm searching for a hotel to spend the night now. We will be on the road again by 7am on Fri Dec 21st. Hopefully this will have us arriving at Disney in time for dinner!!!:banana: We will have more time to explore AoA too! I like this plan better because it breaks up the drive. Hopefully it will help us not be so tired when we get there.


    I've started buying some things for our trip. I can't help myself, I don't like to wait till the last minute!

    So far I've purchased:
    Bottled water
    Vitamin water
    Snapple iced tea
    2 boxes of cereal
    Xmas tree
    Ornaments
    Stockings
    Window clings


    Next up, decorating our room!!!
     
  18. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Decorating Our Room


    Originally I didn't give much thought to decorating our room. As I walked through some stores yesterday I saw Xmas decorations all over the place! It got me in the spirit & I started thinking about how we would decorate our room. I'm planning on only decorating our room at SSR since we will be there from the 24-28. We'll have more room (it's a 1 bedroom) and be in that room the longest. I want the room to be as Xmasy as possible. Since it's our 1st time away for the holiday, I want to make our SSR room like home. Last night we bought a 4.5 foot pre lit Xmas tree. (colored lights) I got some green/red garland and a pack of green/red/gold ornaments. I bought some window clings for the kids to put on the sliding glass patio doors. I also found some really cool Disney stockings at the dollar store!! I got us all the same ones and used glitter glue to write our names on them. I still need to purchase a topper and skirt for the tree. Also, a table cloth for the table.

    Our Tree!
    [​IMG]

    The Ornaments (still need some more!)

    [​IMG]

    One of the Stockings:

    [​IMG]

    I still can't believe the stockings were only $1 each!! :thumbsup2

    In total I spent:
    Tree: $25
    Garland: $3.50
    Stockings (4): $4
    Window Clings: $1
    Ornaments: $4.99
    With the tree skirt, topper and one more pack of ornaments I'm planning on spending about $15 more.

    Any ideas on other ways we can decorate our room?
     
  19. cogero

    cogero DIS Veteran

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    love the tree and your stockings are just so cute :)
     
  20. Desnik

    Desnik <font color=teal>I actually love packing and plann

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    Thank you!!:goodvibes
     
  21. mizscarlett

    mizscarlett Earning My Ears

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    I would much rather split the trip up, so yay for adding a day! Love the stockings too. I need to check our dollar store and see if they have any!
     

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