Think of All The Joy I'll Find! - 10 Days Out!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by Lei, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    "Theres a lot of things in life that you MUST do.
    But there are only a few of those must-dos that you WANT to do."
    Stacey J. Aswad​


    Hello, I'm Laila! (Hi, Laila).

    Unlike most of you, I come from the faaaaraway land that is Indonesia, in South-East Asia. But like all of you, I have a serious addiction for Disney theme parks!

    My love for Disney first bloomed from their animated feature films. Well, no surprise there, as I am a 90s kid, so I grew up in the Golden Age of Disney's animated features. Those films are very much imprinted on my heart and soul.

    But then, I was introduced to Disney parks.

    My parents took me to Tokyo Disneyland when I was about 6, and right there and then, I completely lost it. LOST IT. I was shocked that such fantasy land exists, and Disney films universe is real. How could that be?! You're telling me I'm standing right in front of the actual Cinderellas castle?! Whaaaat?! And youre telling me there's a bigger version of this park in America?! Get outta here!

    I was so, so awed. My life's changed forever since.

    As I grew older, I learned about other Disney products, such as their TV channel, non-animated movies, and their collaboration with Pixar. Some of them I like, some of them I don't. So my love to Disney is not blind.

    However, my love for Disney theme parks IS and WILL forever be blind. I've been so very fortunate to be able to visit every single Disney park in the world, and I've become infatuated. To me, Disney parks are perfect and flawless, unmatchable by any other entertainment centers in the world.

    Also, I may prefer certain Disney parks (Tokyo & WDW!) to others, but they're all equally precious to me.

    (well, except maybe you, HKDL *evil stare*).

    My family thinks that obsessing over Disney parks waaay after my childhood years is unhealthy. But, eh, who cares. YOLO.

    I know this obsession is acceptable in many parts of the world (look at DISboards!). But here in Indonesia, it's not common, mainly because a Disney trip is such a luxury. It is too far from Indonesia (especially non-Asia parks) and too damn expensive. And, to many, Disney is just another children franchise. No difference with Barney, or even Upin & Ipin, really. Most even prefer the creepy Upin & Ipin.

    [​IMG]
    *shudder*​

    I am also an active blogger who has build a pretty strong readership (I blog only in Indonesian, though), and as much as I'd love to blabber about Disney parks 24/7 over there, I can't, for the reason stated above. Ther just don't get the wonderful world of Disney-obsession!

    But when you are obsessed over something, you have to have an outlet for it, no? Keeping your happiness to yourself is probably just as worse as keeping your sadness.

    Soooo, that is why, although my upcoming WDW trip is still, like, bazillion years away, I've decided to start a PTR anyway. You just gotta share the excitement! :cool1:
     
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  3. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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  4. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    All that speech and no proper introduction of myself. Tsk.

    I'm Laila, your host. I'm a 29 years old SAHM, living in Jakarta, Indonesia with my awesome husband and 1-year-old son.

    [​IMG]

    Pre-child, I was a writer for woman magazines, before I worked for a local theme park (yep!). Occasionally, I still write articles for lifestyle websites.

    As mentioned, I've been lucky enough to visit all the Disney parks in the world. Some I visited when I was little (Paris), so there was only little memory of it. Some I'm fluent in (Tokyo), because I've been there more than once.

    Out of all, I have to say my favorite is - don't flame me - Tokyo Disney parks. WDW is awesome, but Tokyo parks are my childhood parks. My dad used to work closely with Japanese companies, and he would take me and my sister along on his business trips. He would dump us in Tokyo Disneyland almost everyday while he does his stuff :lmao:

    [​IMG]
    Me and my niece in Hong Kong Disneyland, 2011

    [​IMG]
    Being 6-months pregnant in Tokyo Disneysea, standing in front of their version of ToT!
    Massively different from US version! No worries, I didn't ride it that time
    :thumbsup2

    Tokyo Disney parks, especially DisneySea, are amazing beyond words and if you ever have to chance to go to East Asia, visit them! You'd most likely experience huge culture shock, though. They do a lot of things very differently from Americans!

    I've been to WDW twice. First with my family, second with my colleagues in 2008 (we participated in a trade fair in Orlando). Both trips were fun, though not to my liking. My travel groups aren't Disney heads and everything felt very, very rushed :(

    Oh, and as you can see, I wear hijab and dress modestly, as I am a Muslim. Living in Jakarta, Indonesia, where it's upper 80s-low 90s all year long, this ain't a pretty thing. So I'm pretty glad Jakartans are huge indoor people. We would just hop from our AC-ed homes to our AC- ed cars to AC-ed buildings and stay cool. 99% of our playgrounds are in the nice, cool malls. In hijab, I would die being outside in Jakarta's heat & humidity. Can you already guess that my WDW trip isn't going to be in summer?

    My favorite Disney movie is The Little Mermaid and Emperor's New Groove (terribly, terribly underrated!), my favorite Pixar movie is Monsters Inc. (but not Monsters University! Blah). My favorite princess is most definitely Ariel, since 1989.

    Anyway, enough about me. On to the trip!
     
  5. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    Earlier this year, after a long hiatus, I started lurking in DISboards again. I began reading many wonderful trip reports (hi Jess! Hi Kristen! Hi Lia!), and the craving hit me real bad.

    A couple of months ago, on a whim, I asked my husband, if there's any chance for us to have a Walt Disney World family holiday this year. No? OK, maybe next year? Next millenium? The answers the same - negative!

    The reason is because husband does not enjoy theme parks nor Disney (blasphemy! Yeah, he's one of those), the cost is too much, and our son, Raya, is too little to make the expensive trip worth it. He said, Maybe when Raya's older, you two can go.

    His reasons are understandable. But then, it hits me.

    You see, husband and I agree that the ideal age for Raya to visit (American) Disney parks is when he's 7 or 8. Maybe. But by then, I'm planning to have my 2nd (or even 3rd) kid, who would be too young to be brought along. So, in short, there will never be the perfect time for the next 10 years.

    So I realized I may be unable to make a family Disney trip IN THIS DECADE. My heart shattered.

    On the upside, my supportive husband understands how much I love Disney, so I knew it's not going to be impossible.

    My theory was proven right when sometime later, I proposed the idea OF ME GOING SOLO TO WALT DISNEY WORLD. It just crossed my mind, you know? And my husband said, "Ah, that sounds better."

    I'm sure I fainted right then and there. Not sure. Too shocked and happy to remember. Ahmahgad!!!

    [​IMG]
    CUE THE CONFETTI CANON!!!

    After cooling down myself, we talked about it, and agreed that I should go by myself next year, exclusively to Walt Disney World.

    That's right, folks. I'm going to save like crazy, endure the major pain of obtaining an American Visa, purchase the expensive plane ticket, and fly there for two weeks or so, only for Disney parks. No NYC, no LA, no visiting other wonders and beauty of US of A. Just WDW in Orlando, Florida.

    THAT, my friend, is called a dedicated obsession and I have no shame

    (also because money's tight -__-).

    This time, I swear I'm going to make this trip proper. No more skipping things, and absorb the magic as much as I can handle.

    Excited is an understatement!

    Will this plan stays? Of course not!
     
  6. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    So.

    I have this friend. Let's call her Daisy. We've been friends since High School, and I can say she is one of my favorite people on earth - she's great, super nice, very easygoing, and we have the exact same sense of humor, which is, like, my number one criteria for a bestfriend.

    One day, after deciding on going solo to WDW, I met Daisy for lunch. We caught-up over pastas and iced teas, and eventually, I told her about my plan.

    As soon as she said, "That sounds really awesome," I blurted out, "You should come along!"

    Daisy just looked at me without me blinking, before she replied, "Heck, why not?"

    OMG. What?!

    [​IMG]
    I may or may not broke into a Stacey dance due to happiness!

    I was ecstatic! Because as fun as a solo trip is, going with your bestfriend is always, always better. And apparently, when your bestfriend agrees to come with you to your dream destination, it is the best feeling in the world!

    But the idea still seemed crazy. I know Daisy is a super easygoing person. In fact, she’s the epitome of YOLO. Like, if you look up YOLO in an urban dictionary, you’ll find Daisy’s face there.

    Still, a trip to USA (from Indonesia) is very expensive, so I was surprised when she agreed to come along.

    Before Daisy and I discussed further about it, though, we agreed on some T&C first:

    1. Our main destination is Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida, USA. However, if time and budget allows, we may visit other places. Maybe Universal, or even other cities, like New York.

    2. I realize that going all the way to USA to just visit Disney might seem weird for most people, so if Daisy wants to visit other places, I absolutely have no problem going on separate ways. It's totally OK if she only stays in Disney for five days, for example, then take a hike to other destinations. USA has so many to offer! How can you resist?

    3. If Daisy really wants this, she has to know that we MUST save, save, save like crazy to make it happen. A full-package Disney vacation is already darn pricey. Throw in a couple of transatlantic plane tickets, the numbers become officially terrifying :eek:

    Although expensive, we gotta keep believing that the trip's not impossible, as long as we stay disciplined with our savings. :tinker:

    4. The trip is (originally) planned for fall 2014. That is still far away, more than a year. During the wait, anything can happen. If the trip’s cancelled for one thing or another, I specifically warn Daisy to not be disheartened (this advice is probably more for myself!!!).

    If it’s cancelled, there’s really nothing to lose, really. After saving for a year, we’d have some fat savings in the end, and that’s not a bad thing.

    5. If I cancel, Daisy may cancel, too. But if Daisy cancels, I might still go solo.

    Daisy understood and accepted all the terms and conditions without hesitating. She'd still love to go and (currently) does not have any to go on separate ways. Disney all the way, woo!

    Hey, she may not be a Disney-head, but she'll take a fun trip with a good friend any day. Didn't I tell you she's great? :hug:

    Thus, the story how this trip becomes a girls trip :cheer2:

    PS. I couldn't find good pictures of me with Daisy, because our awesomeness keeps messing with cameras ;) But here's a few of fun ones that represents our personalities. We were at our friend's baby shower, playing charades. The theme was (oh how appropriate) Disney movies!

    [​IMG]
    "The Little Mermaid! Too easy!" -me

    [​IMG]
    And here's Daisy, acting as Genie

    [​IMG]
    With our prizes!​
     
  7. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    Hellooooo, audience! Ence... ence... ence... *echo*

    *crickets*

    Because I've officially paid the deposits and put a ticker on my sig (yay!), let's just cut the rambling and get on to the lowdown.

    Who? Me and my bestfriend for 13 years.
    Codename: Daisy.

    When? 2-12 February 2014

    EDITED: We changed to 27 Jan - 6 Feb 2014!

    Where? Pop Century.
    Honestly, if budget allows, I wouldn't stay in a Value. I can deal with the facilities, room size, amenities, food court, bus service, etc, just NOT the larger-than-life, in-your-face theming. Really. I'd have nightmares being stared at by giant characters.

    However! Were sorta in a tight budget, so I cannot justify Moderates no matter how much I want it.

    I initially considered All Star Sports because of its bus service. I think it's the lesser of three evils. I can ignore the theming. But after hearing Pete Werner ranted about it in DisUnplugged... well, adios, ASports!

    Pop Century it is. And who knew? After following the Pop thread, the place begins to grow on me!

    I've also decided to work with a Disney-certified TA. I'm an anal planner, and so I was reluctant at first. But I am hoping to get some kind of discounts in Feb, and there is no way I could snag a good one without a TA. Staying up late to adjust with Orlando's time zone, and Skype-call Disney, only to be put on hold for centuries? Eugh, no. I've seen how the Free Dining thread went insane because of this!

    My TA is great so far, and I hope it continues like that!
     
  8. disney-inspired

    disney-inspired Disney on the brain 24/7/365!

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    Alright, you win the title of most dedicated fan. Everyone else can go home now!

    All the way from Indonesia?! :faint: That has to be an extremely long journey to get from there to Walt Disney World, but you do what you gotta do, right?! :thumbsup2

    Excited to hear what your plans are for your trip.
     
  9. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    Ahahaha... Thank you, thank you *bows*

    It's gonna be 28-42 hours of travel time EACH WAY, depending on the layoverS. And the airfare would be pretty much the same as our whole Magic Your Way package. Thank you and goodnight :faint::faint::faint:

    Thanks for reading! Good luck on your training as well!
     
  10. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    Don't they?

    PS. The list will be constantly updated, because so little time, so much to do. Especially in Disney!

    Disney 2014 Bucket List (if I win the lottery. Or Free Dining):
    • Change reservation, stay at POR Royal Room and go see Yeehaw Bob
    • Tomorrowland Dessert Party
    • Crystal Palace breakfast
    • Ohana breakfast
    • Le Cellier
    • BOG dinner ONLY to see Beast in all his tuxedo glory. Who else's not excited over BOG's menu?
    • Photopass+
    • Buy awesome ride pins
    • Do Design-a-Tee at DTD!
    • Buy Laila in Morocco. How cool is to have a perfume that has the same name as mine? I'd put it on and tell people it's my natural odor.

    Disney 2014 Bucket List (if I dont win the lottery)
    • Check out Laila in Morocco. But not buying.
    • Do Fort Wilderness' Chip n Dale Campfire Sing Along
    • If I can't do Campfire, at least do one movie night at Pop
    • BOG for lunch
    • Aim for $35-$37 per person per day for meal! The idea is to beat QSDP. God, we're cheapskates.
    • Go see Yeehaw Bob, still
    • Attractions+
    • Trade pins
    • Meet Russel, Dug, Mike and Sully
    • Watch Wishes from Poly's beach
    • Do a resort tour, especially the monorail ones
    • Check out Art of Animation since it's close to Pop

    Things I do to pass time until D-Day
    • One word: DisUnplugged. It's my fountain of knowledge, and good source of chuckles. Miss you already, Pete!
    • Hang out for an unhealthy amount of time at DISboards
    • Watch people argue at DISboards
    • Read trip reports, of course!
    • Read easywdw religiously
    • Watch ride videos on youtube every day
    • Watch seeyareelsoon every other day
    • Annoy my TA endlessly with questions after questions. My current favorite: "When do you think February's park hours will be posted? Hm? Hm?"

    Now, how about you? ;)
     
  11. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along. :)
     
  12. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    Yayy welcome!!
     
  13. ArwenMarie

    ArwenMarie DIS Veteran

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    Following!

    And I thought driving from NJ to Florida was far! :)
     
  14. disney-inspired

    disney-inspired Disney on the brain 24/7/365!

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    I love this idea! :flower3: I'm totally stealing it for my PTR :upsidedow
     
  15. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    OMG, more people are reading this?! Welcome and thank you!
     
  16. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    :flower3: thanks! Checking out your list now! I'll be updating the Bucket List, tho, because as you know, in Disney, so little time so much to do!
     
  17. katiee37

    katiee37 DIS Veteran

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    I LOVE how winning the lottery is almost the same as scoring Free Dining! :cool1:

    Definitely following along! :thumbsup2
     
  18. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    The scariest part of our trip's preparation was...

    ... not realizing that we'll be coming during the Brazilian Tour Groups season...

    ... not counting the total cost (well, that comes in second)...

    ... but applying for the Visa.

    :crazy2: :crazy2: :crazy2:

    I'm not sure about other countries, but here in Indonesia, getting a US Visa is notoriously hard!!

    First, there's the process. Gotta admit, out of all the other visas I've had (Japan, EU, Saudi Arabia, China, most South-East Asian countries), US Visa's application process is the most complicated.

    Second, the interview line at the Embassy is often comparable to Soarin's on 4th of July :eek: Everybody just wants to go to America!

    And last, I think Indonesia's among the countries where the applicants have more difficulty in getting a US Visa. There are so many stories about how Indonesian visa applicants are often rejected without clear reasons. Like, there's a widespread rumor that if you have an Arab-sounding name (check), thick beard (nope, fortunately :lmao: ), or less than 100 million Rupiah in your bank account (check), your application won't be approved. Crazy, I know.

    However, those stories are mostly urban legends. The Embassy usually declines applications for perfectly sensible reasons. I'm sure the stories came out from failed, bitter applicants!

    But seriously, if you Google “US Visa application” in Indonesian, there are so many rants about this!

    I probably shouldn't worry. I had a US visa recently (it expired last year), and I've been there 3 times before. So in theory, getting another visa for me should be a cinch.

    But somehow, I was still super nervous. Come to think of it, I was probably nervous for Daisy. I really wanted her to come along, and would be devastated if her application's got rejected.

    Anyways, right after Daisy and I decided on a WDW trip, the first thing we did was tackle this visa issue. Here's our application process:

    PASSPORT


    As luck would have it, my passport expires exactly this year! So I had to get it renewed first. Blah.

    RESEARCH

    While waiting for my new passport, Daisy and I ransacked the Internet for information, how-tos, and tips on getting a US Visa. Basically, to obtain a US Visa, one must:

    1. Fill out the forms
    2. Prepare several papers
    3. Make an interview appointment
    4. Appear at the embassy, submit the papers, and do the interview
    5. Pray to Cheesus Mickey that the visa request's approved

    Our searches also lead us to many Indonesian blogs that tell hilarious stories on their application process, especially on the interview part. More on this later!

    Our conclusion was that visa approvals consist of 30% good preparation, and 70% good luck. Trivia! Do you know that during a visa interview, interviewers are trained to properly judge applicants in less than 2 minutes? So everything counts. Not just documents and travel history, but also your facial expressions and body gestures.

    Oh, we also conclude that - as usual - we shouldn't believe everything Internet says. Some people recommend bringing as many supporting documents as humanly possible, others succeeded with just the mandatory papers. It's different for everyone. Learn about others' experiences, but follow your own judgment in preparing for your interview. And hope for the best!

    DOCUMENTS

    Then, Daisy and I started collecting the prerequisites. Starting from the easy ones (birth certificates, Nationality's ID, etc.) to the harder ones... SUCH AS ID PHOTOS! Dun dun dun.

    Here's the thing - for ladies in hijab, ID photos for US Visa is tricky. They require us to submit a photo that shows our ears and forehead. You can't do that while wearing a veil.

    Most hijabi ladies are reluctant in taking off their veils, even for ID photo. Some managed to got away with it, and got their visa even if they weren't veil-less in their photos. Good for them. But my application was once rejected because of the hijab I wore in my photo. And it annoyed the heck out of me. So, this time, we're not taking chances. Bye, bye hijab!

    US Embassy's also supposed to be really strict with the photos' requirements. Photo's contrast’s slightly too high? Declined! (or so the scary stories say :eek: :eek: :eek:)

    Also, you gotta agree with me that ID photos are the worst - they never came out good! I myself always caught between smiling and not. Half-smiles are the creepiest. ME NO GUSTA.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Our hot mess mugshots

    ONLINE FORM

    Then we started filling out the online forms. Sounds simple, but it ain't. For security reasons, they ask applicants bazillion questions, and we have to answer them as accurately as possible. ("Have you been to America before? Please provide the dates!" For Daisy, whose last visit was in 1996 and has minimal record of it, this wasn't easy).

    We finished filling out the forms just after two days (gotta re-checked so many data!) before finally submitting them.

    INTERVIEW

    After submitting our photos and forms online, we prepared ourselves for the interview. We literally phoned each other every day to talk about this, and one day before D-Day, Daisy came to my house... to rehearse!

    It was a darn hilarious mock interview. Though you probably won't get the jokes if I tell you, trust me, we were just cracking up all the way, which added the nervousness. What if we were like this during the real interview? :bitelip:

    Despite all that, we were so ready when the time came.

    So what happened next? Stay tune!
     
  19. katiee37

    katiee37 DIS Veteran

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    Wow! I can't believe you have to go through all of that. Can't wait to see how it all turned out!
     
  20. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    Stay tune! :thumbsup2
     
  21. Lei

    Lei Mouseketeer

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    Sometimes I think FD is even betta! ;) ;)
     

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