Very Merry D23 Holidaze Dec 2009 TR - 7 magical park days! updt 7/1

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by MyMuse, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    This is a combined PTR/TR. The PTR also include various NYC trips which may or many not include Disney things. If you want to skip and go directly to the TR part, see the links below.

    PTR:
    Rob Thomas WPLJ Party
    D23 event - Mary Poppins on Broadway
    D23 Magazines (as they came in)
    NYC nights - November 2009
    Rob Thomas video shoot
    Open Wings - Broken Strings show
    Other FL December pics - Winter Park, Mt Dora, SeaWorld
    Pumpkin Carving
    Christmas Carol Train Tour
    Atlantic City weekend
    Real Housewives of NJ Q&A
    NYC - Princess & the Frog Screening
    Ultimate Disney Experience
    Tim Burton at MoMA



    Trip Report links:
    Fair Warning: if you don't like lots and lots and lots and lots of pictures & videos, MANY MAGICAL special moments, LOTS of hidden mickeys, vinlymations, D23 events, photopass pics, christmas cheer, christmas decorations galore and general shennanigans & tomfoolery, you will not like this trip report!


    The Day Before - December 3

    Arrival Day, Resort Check-in
    Raglan Road lunch at Downtown Disney
    Rain Rain, Go Away! / Holiday Deluxe Resort Tour
    Holiday Deluxe Resort Tour continues!
    Back to Downtown Disney to end Day 1

    Day 2: Sat, Dec 5th: EPCOT! It begins at FutureWorld
    Epcot: FutureWorld continued
    Epcot: World Showcase & MEXICO
    Epcot: NORWAY
    Epcot: CHINA
    Epcot: GERMANY - land of the maternal peeps
    Epcot: GERMANY - trains!

    interruption - Merry After-Christmas card featuring Photopass pics

    Photopass pictures so far!

    REVIEW: special Whoopi Goldberg perf in Lion King, Broadway
    More pics of Lion King

    Epcot: ITALY - land of my paternal peeps
    Epcot: USA
    Epcot: USA continued
    Epcot: a little FRANCE, JAPAN, MOROCCO, Second Soarin' & will I ever get dinner?
    Epcot: the finish line! 13 hrs after I enter


    Day 3: Sun, Dec 6th: Kingdom of the Animals!
    AK: on the Trails....
    AK: Breakfast, Bugs & Nemo
    AK: Dinoland & HM Trek!
    AK: HM Trek con'd & solo eating at Yak & Yeti
    AK: Discovery Trails & Jingle Parade!
    AK: end of parktime, but not to my day!
    Meet-up at the condo & More Holiday Decor Resort Tour!
    Holiday Decor Deluxe Resort Tour continues!
    and Continues!
    and Continues to Continue!
    Holiday Disney Decor is in the Details!
    Our night escapades end...with a trip to BW Bakery!


    Day 4: Mon, Dec 7: Magic Kingdom, we get Keys
    MK: KTTK tour continued
    MK: eating solo at Cinderella's Royal Table
    MK: finished up at the Castle
    MK: Fantasyland
    MK: TTA & Rose Garden
    MK: Hall of Presidents
    MK: Spectromagic!!!
    MK: Magical Ending & relaxing in the Big Chair


    Day 5: Tues, Dec 8th: Epcot & Nature by Design Segway Tour!!
    Hopping to MK for solo eats at The Plaza
    WONDERFUL MAGIC at the Kingdom
    MK:Tiana's Showboat Jubilee
    MK: enjoying some more rides & some fab pics
    MK: Meeting up with the Robinsons
    MK: Tearing up at Cinderella's Holiday Wish
    MK: Main Street USA & end of parktime
    Viewing Wishes from the Top of the World at Bay Lake Towers
    More from Bay Lake Towers


    Day 6: Wed, Dec 9th: Hollywood Studios (TSM for 1st time!)
    HS: a special meeting & Sci-Fi lunch
    HS: Muppets & Lights during the Day
    HS: Backlot Tour, TSM again, Animation Academy
    HS: Animation Gallery, One Man's Dream & Streetomsphere
    HS: heading out & parkhop to Epcot
    Parkhop to Epcot - eating at Garden Grill
    Ep: Candlelight Processional
    Ep: Illuminations!


    D23 MAGIC & MERRIMENT WEEKEND
    Inbetween days explained & check-in at Port Orleans Riverside & some time with Yeehaw Bob
    Day 6: Epcot, the holiday presentations & pixie dust!!
    Ep: More pictures of presentations, videos of the morning at the Odyssey
    Ep: Odyssey holiday decor, D23 cast members & Santa Stitch
    Ep: survey marker & on my way to Soarin'...
    Ep: Living with the Land....
    Ep: more Living with the Land & Land Pavilion
    Ep: The Seas Pavilion, Turtle Talk w/Crush
    Ep: World Showcase: CANADA
    Ep: UNITED KINGDOM
    Ep: FRANCE, MOROCCO, JAPAN
    Ep: USA
    Ep: ITALY & GERMANY
    Ep: back to D23! Candlelight Processional showing
    D23 transportation to Hollywood Studios for dinner at Lights! Motor! Action!
    HS: being IN the set of LMA! & meeting Santa Mickey!!
    HS: private ride on Toy Story Mania! twice. & dessert party at Studio Catering Co
    HS: Private showing of Osborne Family Lights
    HS: More Osborne Lights (HM Hunt!)
    HS: Lights come to an end & back to the D23 bus w/our neato gift


    Day 7: D23 day at the Magic Kingdom - rope drop, breakfast & meeting the Mayor!
    MK: Holiday Tin Vinylmation
    MK: videos of Rope Drop Ceremony
    MK: additional photos of morning
    MK: Walt & Mickey, Cinderella & Fairy Godmother
    MK: D23 lunch at Diamond Horsehoe Saloon & DApper Dans entertainment
    MK: exploring Tom Sawyer Island
    MK: Tom Sawyer Island continued
    MK: Splash Mountain, Hall of Presidents,Haunted Mansion
    MK: Peter Pan, free roaming
    MK: CINDERELLA SUITE TOUR!!
    MK: CINDERELLA SUITE TOUR CON'D
    MK: MORE CINDERELLA SUITE
    MK: EVEN MORE CINDERELLA SUITE
    MK: the videos of Cinderella Suite tour
    MK: Cinderella's Wishing Well, MVMCP'd, ToonTown Houses
    MK: ToonTown con'd
    MK: More ToonTown & I hit the Speedway
    MK: Tomorrowland Fun
    MK: One last PhilarMagic, D23 MVMCP Hospitality Suite, D23 goodbye, Fantasyland by Night
    MK: D23 Reserved viewing area for Christmas Parade
    MK: Christmas Parade con'd
    MK: Main Street, USA w/Holiday Wishes
    MK: the rides by night! some special characters (& treat) were also out & catching parade again
    MK: chilaxin' at D23 Hospitality Suite on Liberty Belle; Totally Tomorrowland Christmas show
    MK: my way down Main Street USA at midnight
    Back at Port Orleans Riverside

    Rest of Disney Purchases

    Final Thoughts & Future Trips





    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Hello all!

    I'm Michele and I'm a late bloomer Disney-er. :lmao:

    Let me backtrack - I go to Florida pretty much tevery December to visit family, however, I rarely did Disney in the past. After my first immersion Disney trip this past March (and all the researching!) to celebrate my Birthday (see link in my sig), I'm smacking myself in the head. :laughing:

    I always wanted to stay on-site someday, which finally led to my solo birthday trip with the 4/3 deal and LOVED it! :lovestruc

    In my previous trips, I always stayed at my timeshare condo outside the parks, mostly because I detest the whole exchanging fiasco. :headache: I will have to do that as well this year since I will loose the week if I don't hence, the title "Very Mostly-Merry" (edit: I took this out, since I should be grateful to be going & I added more days..so it's all Merry). I much rather stay on-site (edit: now staying on-site for a weekend for D23's Magic & Merriment!), but, hey, I'm going back to Disney, so I gotta see the positive right? :flower3:

    AND at Christmas-time! :santa:

    I :love: Christmas! It's my favorite time of year, especially Christmas carols and decoration. The rare up-side to this is that, I've seen pretty much everything Christmas related outside of Disney. So, this trip, will be my FIRST all Disney, all the time Christmas celebration!!

    Why not exchange into Disney property, you ask?
    According to my exchange people, Disney will not allow me since my "home" resort is within 10 miles of their parks. Either which case, they also told me that Disney no longer has a relationship with them as of Dec 31, 2008 anyway. Bummer. :sad2:


    So, onto the important info! This is a combined PTR/TR

    When:
    -- December 4-10, Orlando (Disney!)
    -- December 10-11, Tampa (visiting the fam)
    -- December 11-13, Orlando (D23's M&M! It's Official!)
    -- December 13-15, Orlando-ish area (visiting my goddaughter)

    Where:
    -- Off-site Condo
    -- Various couches :goodvibes
    -- Port Orleans Riverside


    My Cast:
    -- BFF since high school lives in FL with her fam (my goddaughter!); she & her hubby did recently move from Orlando to 30 minutes north of it (she never visited Disney until my March trip!); she bought the new FL Resident pass and will be joining me for a couple of days

    -- Good friend and her mom coming down the same time. Her mom bought into the DVC last year & staying at Bay Lake. Methinks I'm going to have to visit them. :rolleyes1 We are doing some tours and dining together.


    My Progress:
    • Air? :thumbsup2 FINALLY, I know!
    • Park Tickets? :thumbsup2 5 Day Hoppers!
    • Car? :thumbsup2 w/preferred parking!

    • Condo? :thumbsup2 Deluxe Villa babeeee!
    • ADRs? :thumbsup2 Whew! Done!
    • Touring Plan? :upsidedow sorta....but I gots RideMax
    • Dis-Shop? :rolleyes1 Found a Pratically Perfect Parkbag!! :lovestruc it!!
    • Packing? Done!!

    Pictures:
    This is me, from March, getting my coffee on in Downtown Disney:
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    Having some funs with the bugs:
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    My gorgeous goddaughter from the same trip:
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    She was adopted from China at 9 months old and is now a very happy, healthy and spoiled girlie girl. :love:

    Me and my BFF (22 years and counting!):
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    Me, my niece and bro from our trip in May:
    [​IMG]




     
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  3. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    UPDATED AFTER TRIP


    I have a Wish List of things to do. Obviously, I can't do all of it. Or maybe I can, I don't know. :confused3

    In any case, it's definitely going to be a bit more difficult to do things, since I'm staying off-site. No EMH. No ADRs.

    Unless things change, which it might, being almost 5 months away.

    Here's the Wish List: :flower3:
    Candlelight Processional, Epcot :thumbsup2
    Keys to the Kingdom tour, Magic Kingdom :thumbsup2
    Tour the deluxe Disney hotels :thumbsup2
    Segway Natur by Design tour, Epcot :thumbsup2
    Animal Kingdom, Night Hours (Disney hotel stay only, so that is gone for now)
    Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party :thumbsup2 (D23)
    Spectromagic, Magic Kingdom :thumbsup2

    Parks:
    Backlot Tour, HS :thumbsup2
    Hall of Presidents, MK :thumbsup2
    Riverboat, MK :thumbsup2 (sorta)
    Tom Sawyer Island, MK :thumbsup2
    American Experience, Epcot :thumbsup2
    Jungle Parade, AK :thumbsup2
    I never managed to do these!

    Outside of Disney, I would like to see Leu Gardens.
    In Tampa, I would like to visit Big Cat Rescue.

    I also want to attempt more Rope Drops, but it would have to be on non-EMH days since I will not be staying on-site. Boo-Hooooooo!!!

    UPDATE AFTER TRIP: so, I really did make some headway into my to-do list. YAY!! :woohoo:
     
  4. KatGarcia

    KatGarcia Just Keep Swimming.

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    I'm in. Love the wish list idea!
     
  5. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    It's a great way to obsess more about the trip! :lmao::lmao:

    There's a things to do wish list and the dining wish list. The dining wish list might be out for me, since (I assume?), I can't make ADRs being offsite.

    Hmmm.....however, I have to figure out living arrangements first. :goodvibes
     
  6. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    Unfortunately, I am not staying on-property. :sad1:

    However, the bright side is that I can stay in any of the Westgate Properties as an exchange; did I mention for free? :yay:

    Is anyone familiar with these properties? I'm going to swing over to the Orlando hotels thread and other places to read up as well.

    My trip does revolve hanging in the Disney parks for the most part (duh!). I don't want to be too far from the action.

    The properties:

    1. Westgate Blue Tree
    2. Westgate Lakes Resort
    3. Westgate Leisure Resort
    4. Westgate Palace
    5. Westgate Towers
     
  7. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    I know this is out, since I'm staying off-site and ADRs will be impossible, but it doesn't stop me from wishing, right? :dance3:

    Though, I'm reserving the wish list, only for things I have not experienced.

    Dining Wish List:
    Cinderella's Royal Table :thumbsup2
    Tea at the Grand Floridian
    Crystal Palace
    Teppan Edo

    For Counter Service:
    Columbia Harbour House :thumbsup2
    Starring Rolls

    I'm sure I'll be updating this as time goes by....

    UPDATED: 5/7/10, this trip, I did get to go to a couple of the dining to-do places. :goodvibes
     
  8. KatGarcia

    KatGarcia Just Keep Swimming.

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    We stayed at Westgate Lakes in August for a few days. Our friend has a time share there and it was really nice. The grounds were really nice as was the pool. They even had free breakfasts on weekends. I def recommend it. If you have any questions please ask! I think I have pics in my TR from last August too.
     
  9. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    Hey Kat! Oh, cool.

    How easy was getting to Disney from the Lakes? I don't really us the pool. I don't know how to swim overly well and there's no way I'm getting in a bathing suit. :rotfl:

    I'll check out your TR from August o check it out.
     
  10. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    I did a tour of Westgate Lakes about 10 years ago. It was REALLY nice then. My BF at the time bought into them, but we split up a few months later, so I never got to stay there. It was really close too.
    You can make ADR's when staying offsite. Anyone can make an ADR. You just don;t get the 90 days +10. It's just 90 days prior to the date.
     
  11. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    I can make ADRs? Is that why more tables open up on the 90th day? I just assumed all the good tbles would b gone by the time my 90th rolled around. I wonder how the online resevation work if you're not staying on-site?

    Westgate Lakes has almost equal amounts of bad reviews and good reviews; it swings one way or the other. Nothing middle. It makes me think that the are one resort that treats their timeshare owners and rentals completely differently.

    If I could figure which property is most drive-convinent to Disney, then I would go with that. Hmm...gotta see google earth will do the job.
     
  12. DWGal210

    DWGal210 DIS Veteran

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    Hello there, I am here at your PTR! :thumbsup2

    I did want to ask you; how was your solo trip? It's something I have considered doing, maybe next fall if there is free dining again or another awesome 4/3 deal comes out. I've wanted to go before solo, but have been hesitant. How was it? I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

    Less than 5 months to go before your trip!
     
  13. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    Welcome! :welcome:

    My solo trip was great. I have a link in my sig. It was nice to do what you want and not have to consult with other people on plans, rides, meals...so relaxing. I didn't have to grumpy or half-awake or whining. It was such a difference from my solo trip to the trip I took in May with my brother and niece. My TRs will tell the story. ;)

    This next time is a sort-of solo as well. That side, it is nice to have some company, so a mixture of solo time and company time, is a good vacation.

    I think there is free dining every fall? :confused3
    I imagine making reservations is a little on the difficult side then as well. I wouldn't mind seeing a spreadsheet on that since the rooms cannot be discounted with free dining. I have never been on the dining plan, so I don't know what it saves. According to my March solo s/sheet, I spent approx $230 on dining and I think the CS dining plan would have cost me $200, but the $230 also includes 3 TS meals, so I would not have saved.

    The 4/3 deal really did save quite a bit of monies. I would go solo again on-property if they offer it, but I think that was a one-tme only deal.
     
  14. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    The next big thing is the searching of the airfare.

    I'm a frequent flier of Continental and, more often than not, they seem to have the best deals pretty much going anywhere. This is probably because Newark International is one of their hubs.

    So far, a flight out on 4th/5th to Orlando and returning on 13th from Tampa is running $228. Same goes for R/T Orlando.

    This is a good price, but it can be a bit better, so I'll wait before I buy. I think the lowest I ever had it was $170. Of course, I may ask for early Christmas presents of Continental gift certificates. :rotfl:

    Of course, I can use miles. But, I always feel that I should use miles on expensive tickets and not ones that can be potentially under $200. :confused3 I wish I can buy park tickets with miles! :upsidedow

    Of course, I'm also still fighting with myself to stay on-site. :lmao:
     
  15. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    An update...a few hours later, it went down to $218! If it actually goes down another $20-30, I'll snatch it up right away! :cheer2:
     
  16. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    Here's some pics from my NYC outing to watch Rob Thomas on WPLJ's (NY radio) "Late Show" gig. They broadcasted his mini-concert live.

    I have a few videos on my YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/mymuse18


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  17. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    This is the D23 Event with Mary Poppins on Broadway.....

    So, I was wondering around a bit before heading to the theater...

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    Heading to the theather...
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    Inside the theater...
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    At my seat...
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    The D23 leaders...
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  18. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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  19. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    Ok, so we got notified that my place of work is going to have to do furlough! :guilty:

    We got an email about 4 minutes before closing and have a full-on meeting on Tuesday.

    I'll still go down in December, but the question of staying on-site is definitely definitely out. The timeshare condo it is!
    And I'll have to scale back. I'll don't know what yet, but that Wish List will have things left on it for next time.

    The furlough week (thank goodness only a week) will most probably be right before our Holiday Shutdown, which usually begins on Christmas Eve. So, as soon as I get back, we'll be going on furlough.

    And, it was looking so promising since the AP discounts on rooms came out the other day.
     
  20. MyMuse

    MyMuse From here...to there!

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    OK, what I can give up for Christmas is....

    I'm desperate to go to the Candlelight Processional and Keys to the Kingdom, so perhaps MVMCP and Cinderella's Royal Table are probably out.

    I m undecided on the Segway tour and maybe Crystal Palace. I'm hoping to keep Tea at GF, since it is really not overly expensive.

    We'll see how it all works out.....princess:
     
  21. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    What is furlough?
     

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