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Suzy & Perla and their secret to skipping lines, 2 trips down 2 to go, March is soon

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by estherhead, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    My name is Perla and I'm a BIG fan of Disney World. I never thought I'd be the type of person who likes to go back to the same place every year as I'm an explorer and a questioner by nature. But having kids changed my mind. It's so hard to travel with children and I have a particularly challenging three year old plus two older kids.

    The past few years we've somehow managed (with going really cheap & cutting coupons, etc at home) to do BOTH a Disney trip and another trip. Yellowstone, Williamsburg, New York. But this year we really need to go a little cheaper but are unwilling to give up our multiple trips. What to do?

    Well, I came up with the genius idea (thank you very much ;)) of buying annual passes on our trip this fall so we could go to Disney World the rest of the year without forking over the cash for tickets again.

    Our family has big goals for travel for the future. We'd like to travel more extensively around the US. We'd like to take a few cruises. We'd like to take our girls to Europe and Egypt. And we only have 10 years before the eldest is 20. And we are VERY far from rich.

    But for this year our goal is simple: Get the most out of those AP's as possible. And we probably will spend 4 weeks total at WDW this year. We hope to go to Universal at some point. We hope to stay at Ft. Wilderness at some point. And we hope to do it all cheaply.

    I'm getting WAY ahead of myself though. The beginning of the year begins two weeks from today and I have a lot to tell you about this trip, like how it came about, who is going, and where we are staying. I'll do that in the next post.

    In the mean time: what would YOU do if you had 3 trips in 1 year planned in Orlando?
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  3. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    So first & foremost who we are:

    I'm going to give you the character list for this TR in stages, since this year of Disney will happen in stages. First, I am taking a four-ish day trip with my mom, sister, & our two youngest kids.

    Here is my mom, sister & I at Jiko 3 years ago. Yup, we're still this gorgeous. ;)


    And here are the two true stars of the trips:

    Boo & Jack-Jack! Yup, they are this gorgeous.

    So, this past trip to Disney, as I'm currently finishing up on my 2010 TR, had left an exhausted taste in my mouth. Boo had been so tricky and had tuckered us out with her neediness. So Donald and I decided that in 2010 we would skip Disney :-)scared1:) and do a beach vacation instead. In May, we asked some of our friends and Donald's parents to go with us to Nagshead in September and we all picked a house and I booked it.

    Just four weeks later Donald's parents AND another couple backed out. I decided to cancel because it was a six bedroom house and the rental company tells me I can't get my $800.00 back unless someone else books it! Seriously? What kind of policy is that? Months away & I'm not allowed to cancel? Disney would NEVER do that to me!

    It was soo stressful. It was horrible. I cried. I checked every five minutes to see if someone else had booked that house yet. Maybe others can deal with uncertainty better than me. Maybe others have $ to lose. But me, I was stressed!

    In the end, we lucked out and someone else booked the house within the month. But it had left me very scarred. So in the hole that was left in my vacationing life Suzy & I hatched a plan.

    First we decided to take just us & our littlest ones to reward us for our really hard year. We would take four days and have a grand time.

    Then, after the beach debacle, Donald and I decided to have he & the girls fly down at the end of the four days and we would spend four days as a family at the Beach Club. We got a great deal with our Disney Visa: Kids stay, dine, and play FREE.

    Then I realized if we switched to POR instead of Beach Club is would save us $1300.00. This was easily enough savings to upgrade to annual passes and FLY everyone down (the original trip had some of us driving down.)

    As we thought about having a year of Disney vacations, wonderful Disney that has good cancellation policies. That is nice and wants to make me happy. AP's in our pockets to be used at our leisure with no extra cash coming out for tickets for future trips. And so POR it is!

    And so trip one's plan ends with Mom, Suzy, and Jack flying home and my family flying in.

    After much evolving our first trip's current plan involves the following:

    The above five for 4 days. The below five for 4 days after that:

    This is us in NYC this June on the Staten Island Ferry. We :love: NYC!!!!

    Day 1: Mom, Suzy, me, Boo, Jack-Jack fly to MCO in late afternoon and go to POR
    Day 2: Chef Mickey's, MK, Kona
    Day 3: Epcot, Coral Reef, Akershus Princess dinner
    Day 4: DHS, Kouzzina
    Day 5: AK, DTD for dinner and then this evening my other three fly in. I'm planning on them just going to Epcot EMH.
    Day 6: I meet up with my family first thing and transfer my stuff to their room. Mom, Suzy & Jack-Jack fly back home. My family does MK till our Les Chefs ADR and then Illuminations.
    Day 7: Tusker House breakfast, AK in am, Epcot in pm Tutto Italia or Japanese Steakhouse (yes, I have two ADR's. We'll cancel once we agree!)
    Day 8: DHS, Cali Grill for Wishes fireworks!
    Day 9: DHS again, fly out.

    That's the plan! At some point I'll take our tickets (I'm going to ask for them to be separated) and get them upgraded to AP's!

    Then we'll all fly home until March. And June.

    In brief, though this could change a zillion times before March, we are planning on camping at Ft. Wilderness. And in June we are planning on renting a house for 2 weeks and buying Universal passes. And I've added Cape Canaveral onto my list of things I'd like to do in the area.

    What do you think? Sound fun? What should I add to my must do list?
  4. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    I just changed the title as a nod back to Suzy & my original dual TR we explained how not to wait in lines. (2008) As always, we have a mission to never wait longer than 10 minutes in any line. We do great at this and consider ourselves experts. This year our secret skills will truly be put to the test as we are planning a March and June trip instead of just Sept & Nov/Dec trips.

    Can we do it? Is it possible to battle against the crowds and win?

    Stay tuned...
  5. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    So just a brief look into the future & how this TR will run once it is a TR.

    I'll have live brief reports, then a traditional report.

    That will be followed by PTR for our March trip which if it stays in it's current form (what are the chances? :rotfl:) we'll go during spring break and camp at Ft. Wilderness for 4 days (yes, tent camp :eek:) and then reward ourselves with a nicer hotel for 4 days.

    Then we'll have that TR.

    That will be followed by the PTR for our June trip which in it's current form is two weeks in a vacation rental house with Universal tickets and a trip to Cape Canaveral. Yes, we'll be going in the heat. :cool2: I know the heat is bad, but I'd rather try going in the heat for a year than go another year and be sick. Better to be searching for shade than Nyquil and a bed.

    Then we'll have that TR.

    Tired yet? Excited to join us for the year of Disney???? :wizard:

    Prepare to learn the secret of how not to wait in lines, how Disney is better with an iphone (my first year at WDW with one!), and all the other things I've learned over the years!

    But, for right now, though, we begin with packing.

    Normally, I make matching t-shirts for all 11 of us. But this time it's a split up group. And I don't feel like it. I may break down and make one set because my family is kind of sad about no matching t-shirts.

    In the void left by not making t-shirts, though, I needed a craft project I decided to make a toiletry bag. I need a toiletry bag because we are staying at POR and there will be 3 women for 4 days with just a little glass shelf. No way! So I want something I can hang on the closet bar. But I don't like spending money.

    My mom gave me a sewing machine a few months ago & I've been doing little projects to teach myself to sew better and my girls to sew at all. So I decided to sew a toiletry bag. Hmmm...

    But we have no fabric store within a 45 minutes drive. So I went to the Dollar Tree and bought two 2 packs of hankies and a toiletry hanging bag. This cost me $3.00. Then I went to Goodwill and bought a black dress shirt that I could cut apart for black fabric. This cost me $1.49. So $4.49.

    And this is what I ended up with:


    Yes, those ARE Mickey ears you see poking out:


    I've never appliqued before so I read directions on the internet and cut out a Mickey Head. But when I got all done I realized it was upside down. I only had the tiny bit of fabric I had so I decided to make it so he was a hidden Mickey when the bag is closed and then a right side up Mickey when it's open.

    Yes, yes, all you experts, I should have started over but I didn't want to.

    Then here is what it looks like on the other side:

    I'm happy. For under $5.00 I have a toiletry bag with a Mickey on it. And I learned more sewing lessons.

    Does anyone else find that as you get closer to your trip the everyday things you would do anyway start being "practice for Disney." There is a parade we go to almost every year. But this year it was a "practice for Disney" parade.

    We practiced two things:

    Waving at princesses:

    Boo was really good at this. She waved and yelled at the top of her lungs:
    "hi, princesses! Hi princesses!"

    And we also practiced our rain gear. The day was a rainy one but it wasn't raining when we started. So we packed up our Disney ponchos and went. It didn't rain on us at the parade, it was just started as we climbed in our vehicles. But I still needed to go to the grocery store so since we had it, I parked far away and made the girls walk through the DRIVING rain to store. Then we took it off (like you do when you ride rides) and put it in the cart. When we went to put it back on to go back into the storm we were all still good to go. Except Boo. Her rain jacket was SOAKED and could not be worn. So we just used an umbrella and I came home and at the recommendation of Suzy bought this:


    I also bought 3 new shirts & new jammies for Boo:

    My finally "getting ready for Disney" in this chapter is Boo's princess gear. At some point when we were making our ADR's my mom decided she wanted to eat with Boo and the princesses. So Suzy & I switched things around. After this I wanted Boo to have a princess dress. She loves dressing up and when we had eaten with them before I just had all my girls in matching princess t-shirts. But this was just Boo, no big sisters. So she could be a princess.

    But I'm pretty much spending all my money on this trip and don't have $40.00 to buy a Princess dress. Then Suzy calls me and tells me there are a bunch of princess dresses at a yard sale. I tell her to stay right there & guard them and I drove over (it was like 10 min from my house.) They were rough, stained and torn and clearly well used. But it was authentic Disney costumes: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, and some princess I don't know? Maybe a Barbie princess dress? Maybe a wedding princess dress? Anyone recognize this?


    I struck a deal with the lady: all the dresses, all the accessories (3 crowns & a wand or two), a Barbie helmet & the pads that go with it for $10.00. Then I brought them home and sewed them back together, and worked for about an hour to get every single stain out.

    I then found at Wal-Mart Princess Tiana shoes that fit like tennis shoes but look like slippers. They were on clearance & I think $5.00? Maybe $7.00. Anyway, for under $10.00 Boo has a beautiful princess dress, a crown, a wand (which I may not take as I can imagine it turning into a sword quickly) and princess slippers.

    You'll just have to wait and see which princess she will be!!!
  6. NaLisa

    NaLisa Mouseketeer

    APs--I'm so jealous. Sounds like you've got a great trip planned. I look forward to learning how to skip all lines. Have fun!

    P.S. Your kids are adorable.
  7. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    Yea! I have a reader! Welcome to my PTR! I know, I feel very privileged to join the AP ranks.

    And thanks of the kids. They are really great & I'm raisin' up right: as fellow Disney lovers. :love:
  8. MaryAz

    MaryAz DIS Veteran

    Yay, a PTR!! SO excited for your live updates. The dress looks maybe like Giselle's dress from Enchanted?? She will be beautiful!! Great job on the bag. Love the Mickey head.
  9. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    Welcome! And thanks on the bag. My dh is a little afraid that now that I know how to applique Mickey heads on things (and it's so quick!) they might start appearing on all kinds of things. He already has to endure this on the back of our van:

    He's afraid there will be "Hidden Mickeys" EVERYWHERE. :rotfl::mickeyjum:rotfl:

    But I swear, I will try and control myself.
  10. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    Sorry that pic didn't show up. This is what's on the back of our van:

    I cut it out on my Cricut out of WallPops I had left over!

    OK, so I promise tips & by george, yer gonna get 'em whether ya like it or not!

    As I pointed out earlier, I normally make us our own t-shirts. I buy $4.00 t-shirts at Wal-mart and put personalized iron ons on them. This costs me about $150.00 per 7 day trip. In addition to this I find all kids of other things I "must" have before our trips and manage to spend about $300.00 bucks on WDW before we ever step foot out our door.

    This year I vowed "no more!" And yet I find that pull to buy Disney stuff for my trip. So far I've spent: $20.00 at sears.com on Boo's rain poncho & 2 water bottles (princess & car ones for the tykes) and a couple shirts (they were $2.49 per shirt. I HAD to.)

    I've also spent $35.00 at Wal-mart on Tiana shoes, two more t-shirts for Boo and her jammies (pictured above) and tonight on a first day present of a Tiana barbie doll and matching nightgown I got on clearance ($14.00 total.)

    And I've spent $10.00 at the yard sale on all the princess dresses and gear.

    So that's $65.00.

    In addition, I've spent $10.00 at Goodwill. I've started going to Goodwill every week and looking for WDW gear. I've never been disappointed. Every single time I go in I find a WDW t-shirt in good condition. Always under $2.00. Here is the super awesome one I found for myself last week.


    And on this bed is a total of under $5.00 spent!


    Pooh p.j.s & a princess shirt for Boo, really cute Stitch t-shirt for Ariel, and Jack Sparrow for Mulan. Awesome!

    So instead of $300.00 I've spent (so far) $75.00! Way better! Plus I have the thrill of the kill in getting great deals.

    There is a Norway Epcot shirt that was in there last week and this week in my size and it keeps taunting me. I'm not from Norway and it doesn't say WDW on it. It just is a photo of Epcot's Norway with bdazzled glitter and the word Norway. I keep envisioning people who have never been to Epcot saying,

    "Wow! You've been to Norway?"
    and me saying, "Disney World."
    and them saying, "No, I said, 'have you ever been to Norway?'"
    and me saying, "yes, the Norway in Orlando."
    and them walking away muttering, "Idiot."

    So that is an under $2.00 shirt that I carry around the Goodwill (with it's mocking Disney World tag) and then hang back up on the rack. And tonight Mulan went with me and SHE carried it around until finally putting it back. Who in my town will ever buy this shirt? In one more week it will go half off and be about $.49. Maybe I'll buy it then. But never wear it. :lmao:

    Anyway after all this here is your much awaited tip: If you would like to save $225.00, shop at Goodwill. Because there are a lot of people who buy $25.00 t-shirts at WDW and then realize they will never go back and have no place to wear the t-shirt. And they give these said castoffs to charity. And you can score a super cool, one of a kind, Alice in Wonderland t-shirt for under $2.00.

    But don't come to MY Goodwill, because those Mickey shirts are mine. All MINE!!!! :dance3::dance3::dance3:
  11. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    Just realized I haven't told you all our names. For the March trip there will be a different cast of characters.

    But for this one:

    Suzy: My sister and other half. Truly, she is my perfect opposite and blend. My dh is my best friend. My sister is my other half.

    Mom: My mom. She is my second or third best friend (with Donald first and then she & my sister tied.) She is retired and in her sixties. She and I have spent a lot of time together this year and have gotten even closer than we were before.

    Me (Perla): Disney Fan (freak) and mom to three.

    Donald: My sweet dh. Also a Disney lover, but not a lover of planning. He's a lover of fun (he's currently playing Monkey Island with the kids all draped all over him watching. That's his version of heaven.)

    Mulan: My eldest. (almost 10) A hugger. Serious but a fun seeker. An excellent eldest sister.

    Ariel: Middle child alert! (8) She's funny & the most emotional of all of us. Half the time I have no idea what she is talking about. But I can always count on her enthusiasm. She has a very sunny disposition.

    Boo: (3.5) Crazy and anxious. Super cute. And obsessed with all things Disney. And cats. And NYC. Terrified of characters. Really looking forward to her princess breakfast.

    Jack-Jack: (almost 3) Cutest, sweetest little boy ever. Says hilarious things and does hilarious things. Can't wait to report his every adorable comment to you. He is Suzy's.

    I hope my mind records this all because they will all grow up so soon!!!!
  12. wlake

    wlake Mouseketeer

    Love the toiletry bag! We stayed at POR last week and love it! Can't wait to hear the rest of your plans!

    PS Who exactly IS waiting in those 90 minute lines? I just can't figure that out, especially when there are fastpasses available!
  13. disneyaddicted

    disneyaddicted Mouseketeer

    :lmao:Ok I am all set for this. I love the toiletry bag, good job! And wow, great job on saving money. I am like oyu and always want to spend moeny on disney things before the trip. I like that walmart has nice looking Disney shirts for adults, they run about 9 bucks, that's pretty much in my price range.

    A whole year of disney vacations for you and a whole year of reading trip reports for me.:banana: I am really looking forward to hearing about your camping in a tent trip, Kent and I have thought about this. I can't wait to read about what you think, I know it's a ways off but still....

    Anyway, I am here to keep you comapny during your planning.
  14. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    Last week???? Were the gardens still gorgeous even in August? We chose it because you can have five people in a room and also because my mom loves gardening and it seemed like it has gorgeous landscaping but I'm a little worried it'll be past it's prime in early September.

    And I always wonder that. When I passed TSM last year and the wait was 110 minutes I couldn't believe it. Who waits 110 minutes for a 3 minute arcade game? I mean I :love: TSM but not 110 minutes worth of love. :scared1:

    Wait, I'm not your guinea pig, am I? We'll see about the tent camping. I'm 100% in for this but I might be the only one who is 100% in and we won't do it without Suzy & Milo. And it won't be fun if I'm dragging them all into it. So we'll see....
  15. Yay!!!! I did our online check in today. Only 10 days left til we leave our worries behind and return home to my "magic place.":cool1:

    I need extra Kudos for this!! I saw this rack of dresses from the highway and turned around to go to this yard sale. Basically it was a yard sale consisting of 2 tables of weird odds and ends with 3 older ladies watching. But at the end of the driveway was this rack of dresses. So I quickly sent Perla a picture (did she mention our new iphones??) and she said, "I'll be right over...guard those dresses.") WELL.......That was the loooooongest 10 minutes. I had to pretend to be looking at these weird odds and ends while making small talk with the ladies while keeping my eye on the end of the driveway just in case anyone else might even glance in those dress's direction in which case I would be forced to pounce.:rotfl: Let me tell you for an introvert this was horrifying. But I love little Boo and she NEEDED these dresses.

    Um......Perla.......Why have you not told me about this shirt?????:upsidedow
    If you happen to not see this when you are next at goodwill and if you happen to see this shirt again show up on someone you are standing next to while at Epcot on Sept. 8, I hope you won't hold it against me. :rolleyes1
  16. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    Yeah! Suzy is on board and ready to Disney. Yes, it's a verb too. You can Disney things.

    :rotfl:to you having to make small talk. Oh the horror! :eek: Which is exactly why you should buy the Norway t-shirt. You would never have the above conversation with anyone. Only I would be innocently shooting the breeze with a stranger long enough for them to ask me if I've been to Norway. It's in MINT condition, by the way. It's kind of a yellowy color (Goodwill t-shirts are sorted by color, for those of you not in the know.)

    And finally: OH YEAH!!! We're all checked in!!!! :cloud9:
  17. wlake

    wlake Mouseketeer

    We were in Alligator Bayou, which didn't have much in the way of flowers but the landscaping was amazing. We didn't see much of the mansions -- we rented a surrey bike and rode around but we were too busy trying not to run anyone over to see anything! :lmao:

    I would do the same guarding the dresses thing to get my niece one, too. Luckily for me, my sister has friends with girls who have outgrown dressing up! :)
  18. 1moremile

    1moremile Earning My Ears

    Just finished reading your TR and am anxious to hear about this trip.

    A question though...did you check-in online for POR? DH and I are going 9/30 - didn't know anything about online check-in (I have so many DISboard tricks to learn!).

    Great job on making the toiletry bag Disney!
  19. wlake

    wlake Mouseketeer

    We've checked in online for POR for the past two years. This year it was great -- I walked up to the counter, showed them my driver's license, was handed my info and shown where to go on a map and was walking away from the counter in about 5 minutes. Last year, I was there for almost 45 minutes because the CM just couldn't seem to get it right. Now I agree with everyone else -- online check in is great!!
  20. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    :love: hand me downs! Alligator Bayou is where we'll be too. What fun to rent a surrey bike! I wonder if that would appeal to my mom? Maybe I'll show her a picture. Although knowing me, I'd be driving into the actual alligator bayou. :lmao:

    Yes, we did check in online. We did it our last trip too & it was great! The DIS is so awesome! I love all the tips & I love sharing tips. And WELCOME!

    Weee!!!!! I hope ours goes this smoothly because I have to get Boo & my tickets off my KTW so I can upgrade them to AP's. I've been told you do this at the concierge but I'm assuming it'll be a bit of an ordeal so if check in can go quickly then it'll be ok if I burn a half hour at the concierge.
  21. estherhead

    estherhead Mouseketeer

    Donald and I were out and about this morning and he says, "So what needs to be done between right now and when you leave Sunday?" I suddenly felt slightly nauseous. In that, "Is it just butterflies of excitement or am I freaking out pondering what has to be done between now & Sunday?"

    So I have spent this day accomplishing things. I've colored my hair, cleaned the pool (so we can close it before we leave), worked on my secular job, wrote lists, and painted Mickeys where you can't add fabric:

    I also hemmed a pair of Michael Kors jeans that fit me perfectly but are too short into shorts:

    In addition to this I've watched bits & pieces of the Sword and the Stone and am currently finishing up Pirates of Caribbean (the first one.) My house is clean (mostly) and I have a bunch of business meetings this week where I'm planning on delegating all of my jobs :idea: to everyone else at work.

    So maybe it was excitement. But probably it was all that I still have to do :scared1:

    Either way, I'll be at Disney in a week! :cloud9::yay::yay::cloud9:

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