PTR - I go to an extreme to go back to Disney! UPDATED

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by abbadabbadoo, May 9, 2009.

  1. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone, I have been in the planning stages of our family trip to disney 9/19-9/27, 2009. First, let me introduce the cast:

    Me - Abby, 27 years old, this is my second trip to the world. I am a former Disney Store CM, and I love all things Disney. I'm a self-admitted shopaholic. And i am a planner.
    DH - Josh, his second trip to the world. Not a planner, but feeds my need to plan by buying me disney books LOL. Loves Animal Kingdom and Epcot.
    DD - Chloe, age 7, her second trip to the world. Princess Chloe Elizabeth Grace loves Disney almost as much as Mommy. She loves the princesses and the fairies, but will tell anyone that will listen that Mickey is her favorite. This is the child that wears her tiara to the grocery store, out in the garden, basically everywhere but school (but only because they're not allowed to wear them there).
    DS - Kaol (pronounced Kale, DH wanted "unique spelling" - watch as I roll my eyes), who will be 14 months old when we go. Has many mickey toys, as I am trying to introduce the characters to him. Watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse several mornings a week after sis goes to school.
    BFF - Mindy, age 25. Has never been to Disney. Loves Princess Aurora. And rivals me in planning.
    BFF 2 - Melissa, age 25, her second trip to the world (her first visit was 4 years ago). Believes she IS a Disney Princess, and very much a shopaholic (i believe she is my "enabler" LOL).

    This trip is unique for us for several reasons:
    - our DS will be going - his 1st trip to Disney!
    - we are taking one of my best friends - Mindy's 1st trip to Disney!
    - we are actually taking two friends with us, which is something I've never done on a family vacation
    - our friends are going to babysit the kids one night for us = Date night for me and Josh! :yay:

    Also, I need to back up and give you a little background about our trip. We went last year and had an AMAZING vacation. It meant so much to me to live my dream - going to Disney - and getting to share it with my DH and DD (who dreamed the same thing). It was our first visit and we were hooked (twice on the plane I was asked, "So when can we come back?" and only once from Chloe). Of course, I wanted to come back, too - but being the planner, I was afraid it would be too hard on our baby this year. So I told them we could come back in 2010. Then something happened that changed my thoughts.

    My baby was born on July 9, 2008. I did not have a physically difficult pregnancy, but towards the end it was getting hard. My doctor discovered a tumor but felt that removing it during pregnancy was not safe for the baby. I was 2 weeks past due when Kaol was born, but he was healthy and happy so that was really all that was important. When I went for my 6-weeks checkup, my new doctor (I opted to switch) asked how I was feeling & told him that the recovery seemed slower than with my daughter (I had emergency c-sections with both of my babies). Weeks went by and i still wasn't really feeling great. A few weeks later, he ordered a biopsy and discovered that tumors (there were 3, it turns out). I was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

    My son was only a few months old when I was told I had cancer. All I could think was "But I have a baby...and a little girl...and I'm only 26" I was scared and I guess I felt a little sorry for myself. I didn't tell anyone in my family for weeks, even my mom. I knew that my doctor had caught it pretty early and that this type is both treatable and cureable, but it was still a bit scary. My doctor referred me to a cancer clinic, and we decided that radiation would be the best way to treat my case. Then we chose to do a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

    Treatments made me so tired, and I went from being someone on the go all the time to being at home all the time. I found it exhausting just going to the grocery store. I was not myself. One day, after a treatment, I woke up after sleeping for hours in the middle of the day. I told myself, "It's time to stop feeling sorry for yourself. You're going to get better. You just need to figure out how to be happy until you do get better." I started thinking about how lucky I have been in my life - I have two beautiful, happy, & healthy children; my Josh, who has always stood by my side; a wonderful family and friends - and how I should figure out a way to celebrate that.

    A few days later, I saw a commercial for Disney's new "What will you celebrate?" campaign. I smiled and thought about how much fun we'd had in Disney. Disney has always been a part of my life - I think that Disney is such a major part of many people's childhood. I talked to my doctor about going on a vacation in the fall of 09. He said he was "cautiously optimistic" about my being in remission by late spring 09 and that by the fall i would be okay to go on a vacation.

    I decided that we would go back to Disney World in the fall. I gave Josh a blanket with sorceror mickey on it for Christmas with a note attatched with a ribbon. The note just said "Mickey wants us to come back, and who am I to turn down a request from Mickey?" I think he was more excited than Chloe!

    We knew it would take a lot of planning especially for our son. We discussed taking a babysitter with us, and then we thought of asking a friend. I remembered the free admission on your birthday and thought of my friend Mindy, whose b-day is 9/26 (my b-day is 9/11, but i don't celebrate my bday on my actual bday since the September 11 attack on our country). I thought about how much Mindy has always wanted to go, but didn't necessarily have the means to do so. So I asked her if there was any way she could take a week off work in September. She said yes, but wondered why. I told her I wanted to take her on vacation with us. And then I told her that we'd pay for everything but her plane ticket, meal gratuities (I planned to purchase the dining plan), and souvenirs in exchange for her helping me with Kaol and babysitting the kids one night so Josh and I could go out while on our trip. She started crying and said "Yes, I want to go!"

    Mindy, Melissa, and I have been friends for years, and we've always done everything together. In fact, we all went to New Orleans together when Chloe was 2. We've always had so much fun together, and I couldn't imagine taking Mindy without taking Melissa.

    So, that's the story. I have lots of planning details to share including where we hope to eat, where we're staying, etc. to share. More to come later today!
     
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  3. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    I forgot to mention, this is my first attempt at a PTR, so this all sort of a learning process for me!
     
  4. Craftydawn

    Craftydawn Mouseketeer

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    I am sorry you have had to go through so much. It sounds like you have a WONDERFUL family and support system. :grouphug:

    I am looking forward to your trip report! I am subscribing. See you soon! popcorn::

    Dawn
     
  5. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! I do have a great support system! Glad you're on board! :)
     
  6. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Okay, I'm gonna try a new font! LOL And I'm gonna pick up where I left off...

    So, after it was decided that it would be a party of six, we started checking on resorts that could accomodate us. We thought about getting two rooms at a value resort, but then I saw the pictures of the family suites at the All-Star Music.

    Two days after we made the decision on where to stay, I received an email from disney for Free Dining with a special pin number! I couldn't believe my luck! I knew that if I waited til April they may announce free dining. But this was February! So I picked up the phone and called that day. I paid the deposit and got my confirmation number. It was official - we are going to Disney!!!

    Up next, dining dreams....
     
  7. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    OK, I'm back! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, EVERYONE! I wont have time to post too much tonight....Josh is taking me to eat at Texas de Brazil! We are both very excited as we have never been there before. We've heard it's AMAZING. I'll give u a mini-review in my next installment. Now, on to the PTR and my dining dreams...

    We are on the dining plan, which we are lucky enough to get for free this trip. We plan to use all 8 table-service meals, plus pay out-of-pocket for up to four additional meals.

    Being a party of 6, I worried that our tastes as far as food goes may clash. My particular tastes clash with just Josh's tastes sometimes, so I was kind of fearing what my friends may come up with as dining choices. I made a master list of table-service restaraunts, and Josh checked off the ones that appealed to him most. I then let Chloe do the same thing, and I then I checked off what appealed to me. I then sent the list via email to Melissa and Mindy.

    The girls reviewed the list and made their selections. I then eliminated any with no check marks, then the ones with just one check mark. At this point I still had over 20 restaraunt choices, so I knew we'd have to narrow it down some more. But how to do it? :confused:

    Next, I started really looking at the list. I used the menus at allears.net as a guide to see what kinds of foods each restaraunt served to see if we had similar cuisines at different places. Aha! There are three Italian-themed restaraunts on the list. We know we want to see Fantasmic and are hoping to have the Fantasmic dinner package, so we keep Mama Melrose's on the list. Mindy's favorite movie ever is Lady and the Tramp, so we are still considering maybe doing Tony's Town Square. But we cross off Tutto Italia. So one down, several more to go!

     
  8. mncherokee

    mncherokee Mouseketeer

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    Sorry to hear you have been going through so much. Happy to hear they caught it in time ;).

    My SIS lives in Olive Branch, MS, so I have been to Memphis many times.

    I look forward to hearing more of your plans.
     
  9. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Thank you. My best friend lives in Olive Branch, and my parents live just south of Olive Branch. Small world! Welcome to my PTR!
     
  10. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Okay, we got back from our dinner at Texas de Brazil about an hour ago. One word for this place: YUMMY! I have never seen so much food in my entire life. It was soooo good! I told Josh that we would be spoiled after eating there, and on the way home Josh says, "yeah, I'd like to go back there sometime soon!" LOL

    Back to the report....

    I wanted to take the time to share our master list of table-service meal choices. These are the restaraunts that had more than one "check mark" by them. If anyone has any opinions on these places, I am definitely interested in hearing them. Here we go:

    1. Le Cellier - Epcot - MUST DO - Dinner
    2. Cinderella's Royal Table - MK - Breakfast
    3. Biergarten - Epcot - Dinner
    4. Ohana - Polynesian - Breakfast
    5. Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano - HS - Dinner (Fantasmic pkg)
    6. 1900 Park Fare - Grand Floridian - Dinner
    7. Tokyo Dining - Epcot - Dinner
    8. Ohana - Polynesian - Dinner
    9. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall - Epcot - Dinner
    10. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre - HS - Lunch or Dinner
    11. T-Rex Cafe - Downtown Disney - Dinner
    12. Crystal Palace - MK - Breakfast OR Dinner
    13. Les Chefs de France - Epcot - Dinner
    14. Rainforest Cafe - Animal Kingdom - Dinner
    15. Chef Mickey's - Contemporary - Breakfast
    16. Restaraunt Marrakesh - Epcot - Dinner
    17. Rose and Crown - Epcot - Dinner
    18. Teppan Edo - Epcot - Dinner
    19. Cape May Cafe - Beach Club - Breakfast
    20. The Plaza Restaraunt - MK - Lunch or Dinner
    21. Tony's Town Square - MK -
    22. Donald's Safari Breakfast at Tusker House - AK - Breakfast
    23. Tutto Italia - Epcot - Dinner

    Keep in mind that I eliminated Tutto Italia already. The next thing I noticed about the list is that we have a LOT of character meals on it. So how do I narrow those down? :confused3

     
  11. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    I wanted to share this with everyone before I go to bed. I got the name for my PTR from something Josh said to me not too long ago. I told him I wasn't feeling too well after a treatment one day, and he replied, "You just have to go to extremes to get to go back to Disney, don't you?" So we laughed about it, and that is the inspiration for the PTR title. More to come tomorrow!
     
  12. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Okay, I'm back. Last night, I was talking about narrowing down choices for table-service meals. At this point I had narrowed it down to 22, and my goal is to get it down to 11-12. Help?!!!

    So I looked at our Table-service choices from last year:
    1. Kimonos - Swan - paid OOP - not on dining plan
    2. Coral Reef Restaraunt - Epcot - dinner
    3. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall - Epcot - dinner
    4. Tokyo Dining - Epcot - dinner
    5. Planet Hollywood - Downtown Disney - dinner
    6. Donald's Safari Breakfast at Tusker House - AK - Breakfast
    7. Chef Mickey's - Contemporary - Dinner
    8. Cinderella's Royal Table - MK - Lunch
    9. Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano - Dinner - Fantasmic pkg

    Again, several of the same things are on this year's list. So I pull out the list and show it to Josh. Josh REALLY liked Tokyo Dining and wants to go back. He didn't care for Donald's Safari Breakfast that much, and he didn't go to the castle lunch with Chloe and me. He liked Akershus okay, but he suggested if we were going to go there again that we try breakfast. He said the same thing about Chef Mickey's.

    I email Melissa asking her about character meals. She says they all sound good. :confused3 Alright, well I decide to go to Chloe. At 7, she definitely is beginning to have her own opinion about things (I know, I'm scared for the teenage years). I ask her which character meals she would like best. She says she wants to go to 1900 Park Fare for breakfast AND dinner, Ohana breakfast with Lilo and Stitch, Crystal Palace, and "i definitely want to have breakfast with the princesses". So I offer a compromise. What if I let her go to the Wonderland Tea Party that way she can still see Alice and the Mad Hatter? And we can try 1900 Park Fare for dinner? She happily agrees, i know she wanted to do the tea party last year. Ok, one more down (?) sorta (?)

    So I am thinking that if we are going to pay out-of-pocket for a meal it should probly be for a breakfast because it would be a bit cheaper. Anyone have any thoughts on this? And opinions on the character meals in general?

     
  13. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Josh and I look up menus to see if we can cut some of the restaraunts from Epcot off the list since there are so many choices from the World Showcase. We immediately notice that neither one of us find Restaraunt Marrakesh that appealing, but that was one of Mindy's top 3 choices. So I thought about the fact that Josh and I are having a date night either Thursday or Friday night of our trip. So Melissa and Mindy can go to Restaraunt Marrakesh earlier that day (late lunch/early dinner), while Josh and I go get the kids something to eat. Then later that night, Josh and I can go to Les Chefs de France (Mindy and Melissa both expressed that they "weren't too sure" about French cuisine). Well, okay, that solves another one.

    Also, we have two table-service meals for Japan (teppan edo and tokyo dining). Josh LOVES sushi, so his choice is obviously Tokyo Dining. Chloe is flexible and would go to either. Melissa loves hibachi-style, so she prefers Teppan Edo. I am kind of indifferent on this one, I am not a huge fan of Japanese food (but I can usually find something on the menu I like). Mindy says she'd probly rather go to Teppan Edo. So, again, we are splitting up our party: Melissa and Mindy will go to Teppan Edo, while Josh, Chloe, and I will go to Tokyo Dining.

     
  14. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    So, to recap, here is what we are now working with:

    1. Le Cellier - Epcot - Dinner
    2. Tokyo Dining/Teppan Edo - Epcot - Dinner
    3. Restaraunt Marrakesh/Les Chefs de France - Epcot - Dinner
    4. 1900 Park Fare - Grand Floridian - Dinner
    5. Mama Melrose's - HS - Dinner (fantasmic pkg)
    6. T-Rex Cafe - Dinner - Out of pocket
    7. Cinderella's Royal Table - MK - Breakfast - out of pocket
    8. Ohana - Polynesian - Dinner
    9. Ohana - Polynesian - Breakfast - we may pay out of pocket for this one

    And we are still considering these:

    10. Cape May Cafe - Beach Club - Breakfast
    11. Chef Mickey's - Contemporary - Breakfast
    12. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall - Epcot - Breakfast
    13. The Plaza Restaraunt - MK - Lunch (?)
    14. Crystal Palace - MK - Dinner
    15. Tony's Town Square - MK
    16. Rainforest Cafe - Animal Kingdom - Dinner

    Ok, so I need some help at this point from my fellow DIS-ers! Give me some feedback about these restaraunts! :)
     
  15. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Hi! Im back! I didn't have much to say yesterday, so I took 2 days off my PTR. Today, I just wanted to share my plans for Mindy's birthday, which falls close to the end of trip on September 26.

    Melissa and I are planning a couple of surprises for Mindy's birthday. The biggest thing we want to surprise her with is breakfast at the castle on the morning of her birthday. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that I can score that ADR. I can't imagine how cool it would be to have breakfast with the princesses on your birthday.

    We are thinking that we will spend about half of that day in the Magic Kingdom, but that is not set in stone yet. I have not yet made dining reservations, so I don't know where our dinner will be that night. But we are ordering a cake for her from the cake hotline (as of now, the plan is to order a cake with the three good fairies and sleeping beauty on it).

    Mindy told us recently that she wanted to do a little pin trading while she is down there, and went on ebay to find herself some pins and a lanyard. She found a sleeping beauty lanyard and two pins. So Melissa and I have both been shopping for pins for her as well

    I bought her an autograph book last night, and I'm hoping to make her a little disney welcome kit as part of her birthday present.
     
  16. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Also, wanted to share my alternate plan if we can't get the reservations for CRT: out back-up is to get a reservation for breakfast at Akershus. I guess only time will tell which place we will end up! :yay:
     
  17. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Today I talked to a CM from the Cake Hotline about ideas for Mindy's birthday. She was very helpful, and had lots of great suggestions! I am very excited about planning her special day.

    CM talked to me alot about the chocolate slipper available at Cinderella's Royal Table and at 1900 Park Fare. They sound amazing! Now I'm thinking I might order one for her at breakfast at CRT (assuming we get that reservation). Anyway, I just wanted to pass that along...
     
  18. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Also wanted to share that we ordered our tix for the Not-So-Scary Halloween party for September 22. We are soo excited about going!

    Josh, Chloe, and I attended the party last year on 9/26. We had such a great time! I'm looking forward to going back. We think the day of the party we will kinda "take it easy" or maybe have that be a Water Park day. We don't want to overwhelm Kaol, so he and I will definitely head to the room for his long afternoon nap. Then hopefully, we can eat dinner either at the Magic Kingdom or at one of the resorts then head to the party. It should be a blast! :cool1:
     
  19. MinnieNurse

    MinnieNurse DIS Veteran

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    Just found your report and am all caught up, I am doing my first PTR also, you'll have to check it out.

    I cant think of a better thing to celebrate than your remission, I hope you continue to do well.

    How fun to take your 2 BFF, I think I want to be your friend so you can take me for my Birthday. :rotfl:

    Your choices look great for ADR's, we are trying some of the same places in August. I was just wandering-I think you can upgrade from free dining to the deluxe plan and just pay the difference. I wander if it would be cheaper than paying OOP for several meals. We did the deluxe in December and its nice if you want to do a lot of TS because you get 3 meals a day and it can be CS or TS your choice.
     
  20. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! I think remission is a great thing to celebrate, too! :) Welcome - glad to have you!

    I will have to read your PTR, and I hope to read about your adventures when you get home from Disney! Let me know about all of those restaraunts!

    We are considering possibly upgrading to the deluxe dining plan. Josh is a little back and forth about it - he thinks we will end up with a lot of unused meals, but I think it may be the best way to go. Thanks for recommending that, though - it's a good idea!
     
  21. abbadabbadoo

    abbadabbadoo Mouseketeer

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    Today, I am gonna share my pre-planning shopping activity - I have been on ebay, much to Josh's dismay! :rotfl:

    I have been trying to buy a few things for our trip here and there. About a month ago, I bought 2 autograph books - one for Mindy (as part of her b-day present) and one for Chloe. I also found a "Four Parks, One World" scrapbook that I saw last year in the stores and a 2008 disney scrapbook kit for a great price - perfect to help me finish my scrapbook from last year's trip! Hehe

    And I have been buying pins here and there. I found a seller whose starting price on pins is really low, so I started buying from him. Before I knew it, I had won 40 pins (as I mentioned in the beginning of the PTR, I'm a bit of a shopaholic) :) So I'm good on pins for not only Josh, Chloe, and myself, but for Mindy and Melissa too! LOL My "strategy" was to buy the cheaper pins so I can trade them for some I like more - although, I found some pretty cool ones in the process that both Chloe and I want to keep.

    Today, I have been trying to find matching accessories for some of Chloe's princess costumes. I'm looking mostly for the shoes, she has grown a lot this year - and while she can wear nearly all of her costumes, she needs to go up a size in shoes so she'll be comfortable. I have had mixed success - I found a seller who gets all of her merchandise from the BBB, so that's amazing - I've only found 2 of the 5 I'm looking for. But I am pretty persistant, so I know I'll find them all eventually! LOL

     

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