Pasta and Potatoes Conquer Orlando - October 2-10, 2013 (Updated 1/31)

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by IowaTater, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    What happens when a young-ish couple from St. Louis, MO take a week-long vacation in Orlando?


    Well, come along and find out! There's sure to be laughter, tears, action, adventure and probably a bit of drama :)

    First off, a little bit about us.

    Me aka Potatoes (or Tater):
    [​IMG]

    I'm 36 years old, born in a small town in Southeast Iowa and transplanted to St. Louis about 12 years ago. My nickname refers to my Irish heritage (50%) and my family (huge as it is) has taught me to be proud of that heritage. I work full time as an administrative assistant at a small manufacturing facility and part time in retail. In what little spare time I have, I enjoy scrapbooking and crafting, reading, and word puzzles. I'm a total foodie and will try almost anything once.

    DH aka Pasta:

    [​IMG]

    He's 37 years old, half Italian (hence "Pasta") and was born & raised in St. Louis with his younger brother and sister. He works part time in the electronics department of a retail store. His friends and I sometimes call him Rain Man because he can tell you all kinds of movie and TV trivia at the drop of a hat (we've been known to have conversations of almost nothing but movie quotes). He loves pretty much anything Sci Fi and collects Transformers. He's the picky eater but is slowly starting to break out of his meat-and-french-fries box.

    Our Story:

    [​IMG]

    DH and I have been together for almost 9 years, married for 3, no kids for us (yet) and I can honestly say we complete each other. We are one of the love stories created by the internet. However, it wasn't a dating website that brought us together but our love of playing mindless games while we should be doing something more productive :) We started out as friends and the more we hung out together, the more we realize there was something else there. The rest, they say, is history.


    Why We Are Going To The Happiest Place on Earth:

    There are lots of reasons.

    The first and biggest one is, who doesn't love Disney???:confused3 I have only been once and that was back in 1995 for my senior class trip. DH has been a couple of times with his family but the last time for him was back in the 90's as well. We both love the fact that we can be big huge kids without looking completely weird, Halloween is my favorite holiday and October has always been our favorite month. So why not?

    The second reason is this past year has been kind of, to put it politely, poopie for us. My grandfather (and last living grandparent) passed away in March of last year, DH's grandmother (and his last living grandparent) passed away in September, his mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November and my mother was diagnosed with beginning stages of emphysema in January. On top of that all, we've been facing some infertility issues and I had a cancer scare back in August. So we decided we needed a break from reality for a bit.

    The third reason is because DH tries not to break promises to me:flower3: We had initially talked about going for our honeymoon but life intervened (DH's hours at work got cut and I lost my job) and so what money we had set aside for a honeymoon quickly got depleted. Thanks to our amazing family and friends, we were able to have a honeymoon in Las Vegas. As my DH was dragging me all over The Strip, he promised me that as soon as we had gotten enough money together, we would go to Walt Disney World.

    Which brings me to our fourth and final reason. When DH's grandmother passed away, she left us a little bit of money with specific instructions that we were to spend it frivolously. We did a lot of thinking and decided that we wanted to spend it on something that we would have forever instead of a new car or a flat panel TV. And because DH always tries to keep his promises, we are heading to Orlando for a wonderful vacation.

    So that's us in a nutshell. Hopefully the intro hasn't completely bored you and you'll stick around for the fun-filled adventure!
     
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  3. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    Pre-Trip Items

    Who Are We?
    Where Will We Stay?
    What Are We Going To Eat?
    What Are We Going To Do?
    Hey, Crafty Lady!
    Real Life and WDW Update
    Real Life Update: Graffiti Run & Cancer-Free
    Real Life Update: A Big Fat Italian Wedding and Baseball
    Real Life Update: Spamalot
    Real Life Update: Blockhead 4 Ever!
    Real Life Update: Who Lost The Pickle Recipe?
    WDW Update: Free Dining AND An Extra Day???
    Real Life Update: Backstreet's Back, Alright!
    Food & Wine Plans
    Updated ADR, Park Plans, & Crafts
    MNSSHP & USO Plans
    What's A Few More Plans?
    Another Change In Plans & ADRs

    Trip Report

    Travel Day & MK - October 2, 2013:
    Guess What? We're Going To Walt Disney World!

    MK - October 3, 2013:
    What A Bunch Of Characters!
    What A Bunch Of Characters - Part 2
    Try The Grey Stuff! It's Delicious!
    What A Bunch Of Characters - Part 3

    DHS - October 4, 2013:
    I Know What We're Going To Do Today!
    Til Death Do Us Part
    This Better Be Worth It!

    Relaxation Day - October 5, 2013
    Sink Or Swim

    MK & MNSSHP - October 6, 2013
    Best.Day.EVER!
    You May Get Wet!
    We're Late! We're Late! For A Very Important Date!
    Dancing & Lots of Treats!
    What's A Trip Without A Breakdown (or 2 or 3)?
    It's Really Not So Scary

    Epcot F&W - October 7, 2013
    Try Not To Get kicked Out This Time, Okay? - Part 1
    Part 2

    Universal Studios - October 8, 2013
    Welcome to The Dark Side! We have Butterbeer!
    "God help us, we're in the hands of engineers."
    Transform and Roll Out!
    Thank you! Come Again! - Part 1
    Thank you! Come again - Part 2

    Animal Kingdom & Hollywood Studios - October 9, 2013
    Adventure is out there! - Part 1
    Adventure is out there! - Part 2
    Hakuna matata. It means no worries!
    You're not thinking of going Turbo, are you?

    Downtown Disney & Departure - October 10, 2013
    Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company
     
  4. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    We were looking for a value resort mainly because it's just the two of us and we don't plan on being in the room that much. Plus, I'm not big on hanging around the pool so a big, fancy one wasn't high on our list of priorities.

    We originally wanted to stay at Art of Animation in a Little Mermaid room but, as it our typical fashion, we waited too long and all the LM rooms were booked. Because we wanted to be at WDW on our actual anniversary, we didn't want to change our dates so we are now booked for October 3-10 at the All Star Movies resort.

    Also booked is a one day ticket to Universal Studios/Island of Adventure, our flights on Southwest and the DDP.

    I know there's a lot of opinions on the dining plan but the main reason we chose it is because it gives us one less thing to try to budget for. Budgeting for food is difficult for us because we haven't been to WDW in a VERY long time, DH and I have different eating habits, and I knew we wanted to do at least one character dining experience.


    The only things we have left to take care of are our tickets to MNSSHP and the PhotoPass.
     
  5. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    I can't believe we are down to a little bit more than 5 months before we leave for WDW!!! :dance3: I really still seems like a dream to me because we've attempted to take this trip so many times before!

    Anywho, we were finally able to make our ADR's and here's what we have lined up:

    Oct. 3rd: Hoop De Doo Revue (HDDR) at 6:15 pm

    Oct. 4th: Planet Hollywood at 5:45 pm

    Oct. 5th: Kona Cafe at 7:30 am

    Oct. 6th: 1900 Park Fare @ 8:15 am
    Liberty Tree Tavern at 4:00 pm

    Oct. 7th: No table service scheduled

    Oct. 8th: No table service scheduled

    Oct. 9th: Cape May Cafe at 5:45 pm

    Oct. 10th: No table service scheduled


    Opinions? Suggestions?
     
  6. SunkistJoy

    SunkistJoy Mouseketeer

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    Following along! We'll be travelling to DW a couple weeks after you, so I'll follow you and see what I should be doing! So glad you all are getting a chance for a second honeymoon. How fun!

    Missouri is my home state, but we have been living in TX for the past 2 years. Texas is great...but we miss Missouri. Looking forward to you showing us the fun! (corny, but only way I could think of to get Show Me in there...) :wave2:
     
  7. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Subbing in as well.

    Our dates overlap a little and I'm planning on being at MNSSHP on the 6th as well.
    I've booked in to a 5 pm ADR. We're rather quick eaters; so that still gives us time to enjoy the party. It just depends on what you want to do on that night. I don't think we'd queue up to get pictures taken with the dwarves; and I think people start queueing up from 6 pm.

    Who knows? We might get lucky and it might not be that busy....
     
  8. happybelle

    happybelle DIS Veteran

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    Joining in! :goodvibes
     
  9. c4alymom

    c4alymom Mouseketeer

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    I am here! Finally followed over here from the FB group!!!!! We will be there the same time you will! I think you definitely deserve a trip. Our trip in 2006 was for the same reasons... When my mother passed away that year, she left us a little and told me to take her grandbabies to WDW!

    popcorn:::clown:
     
  10. Disneychix

    Disneychix When you wish upon a star...

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    I don't think you could get much earlier than 5:10 for your ADR. It should only take youabout an hour to eat there. The party doesn't 'officially' start until 7pm so you should be fine. They will just be getting the 'day' guests out of the park and setting up for the party when you are finished.

    I love WDW in October. I love the decorations :)

    Will you be doing any of the F&WF? There are some great seminars and classes that would be fun for a couple. We've done scotch tasting and wine tasting in the past.
     
  11. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Joining in. :)
     
  12. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    Surprisingly we were able to get a 4:00 pm reservation for Liberty Tree on October 6th. So we'll have a little bit more time for the party. I'm not sure we'll stand in line for the Dwarves but if we happen to go past and the line doesn't look too horrible, we might hop in.

    Thanks for joining in all! It's nice to have some company :goodvibes

    Are you dining at Liberty Tree as well? We've never eaten there but as soon as DH saw the menu, that's what he requested.

    We have dedicated a whole day for F&W and I can't wait! I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the sampling menus, events and concerts :hyper:
     
  13. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    I'm dining at Tony's. LTT is great. I liked the food there. :thumbsup2
     
  14. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    Okay, okay...I'm busted. This isn't so much a "touring plan" as a "these are the parks we're visiting and the things we want to do" plan. We've decided to go outside of my normal box and not plan everything to the very minute and just go with flow a bit.

    October 3: Arrival Day

    *We have nothing scheduled for this day except our ADR at HDDR. We figure that if we feel up to it, we might hit MK for awhile or do a little "treasure hunting" (which is basically just us hopping from resort to resort ;))

    October 4: Hollywood Studios

    *I know, I know. Everyone has told us we should do MK as our first park day but to be real honest, DH and I REALLY like HS. We also have dinner res at Planet Hollywood.

    Must Dos

    Great Movie Ride
    Fantasmic!
    Indiana Jones Stunt Show
    Muppet Vision 3D
    Rock N' Roller Coaster
    Star Tours
    Tower of Terror
    Toy Story Mania

    October 5 - No Park

    * On this day, after our breakfast res at Kona, we are meeting a friend we haven't seen in about 7 years and exploring The Strip. Plans are to hit up the Titanic exhibit, maybe do a little shopping, hopefully some mini golf, and then catching a dinner show. (See, I told you we were totally going against the norm with this trip!)

    October 6 - MK & MNSSHP

    *Yet another day where we go against what everyone tells us.

    We have our character breakfast at 1900 Park Fare that morning and dinner res at Liberty Tree before heading to MNSSHP. At some point, I would imagine that we will head back to the resort to change into our costumes.

    Must Dos

    Big Thunder Mountain
    Space Ranger Spin
    Hall of Presidents
    Haunted Mansion
    Enchanted Tales with Belle
    Jungle Cruise
    Winnie The Pooh Adventure
    Philharmagic
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Space Mountain
    Splash Mountain
    Stitch's Great Escape
    Under The Sea
    Enchanted Tiki Room

    October 7 - AK & Epcot

    * No ADRs today so we are eating QS and F&W! We will hit AK first and then head to Epcot in the afternoon/evening.

    Must Dos (AK)

    Expedition Everest
    Dinosaur
    Kilimanjaro Safari
    Wandering through the animal exhibits


    October 8 - The Dark Side

    * Ah, yes. Our trip wouldn't be complete without exploring "The Dark Side" aka Universal Studios Orlando. We don't have our list of "Must Dos" there yet but I know we are planning on getting there for RD so we can fit the park into one day. No ADRs at WDW this day and after we get back to the resort, we'll probably do some more treasure hunting or lounge by the pool.

    October 9 - Epcot, MK & More Treasure Hunting

    *This day will be spent hitting up things we haven't had a chance to do yet. Since this is our actual anniversary date, we wanted it to be as easygoing as possible. We do have dinner res at Cape May that evening.

    Must Dos (Epcot)

    Innoventions
    The Seas
    Spaceship Earth
    Illuminations
    Maelstrom
    Gran Fiesta
    American Adventure

    October 10 - Departure Day :sad:

    *This is the day we had hoped to avoid but unless we win the lottery between now and then, it will come along. Luckily, we were able to get a later flight so we can enjoy WDW for a few hours.

    The plan is to enjoy breakfast at our resort, hit DTD for some last minute shopping and, if time allows, more treasure hunting.

    Whew! Now that I have typed all of that out, it sounds exhausting! :scared: I'm sure it will be fine though. After all, we will be in the happiest place on Earth! And we can always modify as we go along.
     
  15. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Nice looking plans and must'do's.

    Aside from MNSSHP, we will overlap at the Dark Side as well. :thumbsup2
     
  16. chunkymonkey

    chunkymonkey DIS Veteran

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    Hi! I'm Su-Lynn aka Chunkymonkey! Enjoying your PTR so far. Me, my DH and my sister just booked our trip to WDW for Sept this year. I don't think I have enough time to write a PTR but until I do I'll read everyone else's. We are similar in age and we don't have kids (yet) either. The planning is half the fun and it looks like you have great ADRs and stuff planned. Looking forward to more. :)
     
  17. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    That's awesome! I've never been to Universal so I'm really excited for it. The only thing I'm worried about is fitting on the rides. Unfortunately, I'm shaped more like Pooh bear than Betty Boop and I've had trouble at other amusement parks.

    Luckily, there's enough other things to do that I think we'll still have a good time.
     
  18. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for joining in! So far, I am loving the planning! I have been known to overplan though but I'm determined not to do that this time.
     
  19. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    Planning is kind of on hold for the next couple of weeks because of Mother's Day and a family reunion the following weekend but I did manage to make a list of all the crafts I hope to get done for the trip.

    1. Autograph book (because I'm too cheap to buy one & this way I can just put the pages right in my scrapbook)

    2. Trick or treat bags for DH and I

    3. T-shirts for DH and I (not matchy-matchy but the same theme)

    4. Tip envelopes, including Mousekeeping

    5. Luggage tags

    I've also started a packing list so we can figure out what we need to buy. If you haven't checked out minimus.biz, I highly suggest it. It has tons of travel sized items including everything from food items to toiletries & medicine to toilet paper & laundry detergent.
     
  20. IowaTater

    IowaTater Mouseketeer

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    I have so busy with life lately that I haven't had a chance to do much planning :confused3

    Two weeks ago, DH & I went back to Iowa to see a bunch of family (a cousin graduated high school, another graduated college, welcomed a new baby cousin and also had a mini family reunion at my mom's house).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had inventory at Job #2 along with remodelling the store and Job #1 has been just as crazy. Last week, between the two, I work a total of 70 hours. :scared:

    Then we had tornadoes come through St. Louis. Thankfully our house is in a valley so we didn't get much damage but we had a funnel cloud confirmed about 2 minutes from our home. That, my friends, equals lots of tree branches and debris in our yard. It definitely could have been a lot worse and I was meaning to clean the backyard anyway.

    Luckily I was able to take some time to de-stress and do some organizing/planning/DIY'ing. Here's what I've accomplished:

    1. DIY'ing - autograph cards for the autograph books are printed. I just have to assemble them & make sure I have all the ones I want. Luggage tags are printed & cut out - just have assemble. Mousekeeping envelopes are printed & cut out - just have to assemble. Countdown calendar is complete!!

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    I'm pretty happy with it, although I pretty much detest the Disney Cricut cartridges right now. The frame itself is from the Dollar Tree and I chose it because after our trip is over (which is a depressing thought, I know!), we can use it for our WDW pictures!

    2. Organizing - I've started a Disney box with all the supplies we're planning on taking with us or more than likely sending down earlier. I have a feeling we're going to need a bigger box eventually because there's a lot more I think we're going to need.

    [​IMG]

    I may have said this already, but I <3 Minimus.com. If you haven't already checked out their website, go there right now. Go ahead....we'll wait for you.:coffee: :rolleyes1 popcorn::

    See! It's awesome, right? :yay:We've used them for past vacations, camping trips, and even to stock our emergency kits at our wedding. They're perfect for refilling our first aid kits and we're getting a bunch of food items for this trip. It makes it so much easier to throw some snacks in our backpack or throw together a quick breakfast without having to work about what to do with the leftovers.

    3. Planning - While we've been hitting up garage sales & thrift shops in search of the rest of DH's costume, mine is almost complete!

    [​IMG]

    All I need is a pair of bobby socks and glasses. A friend of mine might have a pair of saddle shoes he's going to give me. Just in case it's cooler than I think it will be, I also have a black sweater and capris to wear.

    And of course, I have added more items to my DIY list. Have you all read the post regarding window decorations. If you haven't, DON'T!!!! You will be sucked in like I have been. :teleport: You have been warned.

    So now window decorations have been added to the shopping & DIY list. The only catch is that I want ones that are easily packed or ones that I don't mind throwing out when we leave.

    What about you all? Have you considered window decorations? What DIY projects do you have going on?
     
  21. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Awww....what a sweet baby. Congrats to the graduate!

    You've started a great stash of stuff to take to WDW.

    I haven't got any DIY projects on the go right now. But I'm enjoying seeing what you're doing. :thumbsup2
     

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