We've Been Here Two Hours...Let's Figure Out When We Can Come Back! (updated 10/2)

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by Born 2B a Princess, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. Born 2B a Princess

    Born 2B a Princess Where's my tiara?!?!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Messages:
    910
    This is my first attempt at writing a TR. I do not claim to be a good writer…maybe mediocre at best. Nor am I very funny. My claim to fame is obsessive planning and then obsessive documenting of how the plan is going. To that end, “The Plan” will be part of our cast.

    And our Cast of Characters:

    DH Mark. :teacher: I tried to come up with a cute character name for him but couldn’t. And honestly, he doesn’t want one – just like he will not wear character t-shirts, hats, etc. He is a high school teacher and coach who is wonderfully accepting of my obsessions and whims. He is a man of very few words (I talk more than enough for the both of us) and is definitely not prone to exaggeration or emotional declarations. Because of this, when he makes a positive comment about something, it is taken as the highest form of praise possible. As we were leaving MK on the last day of our first WDW trip two years ago, he said, “This was fun. We need to come back sometime.” Coming from DH, this was an amazing compliment and it got me immediately thinking about when our next trip could be. His favorite park is DHS (although we prefer to call it MGM).

    Myself, Born 2B a Princess (a/k/a Stephanie). princess: I am a planner. I love to plan. I obsess over planning. I will plan anything and everything. I am a girly girl and always dreamed of being a princess…in fact, that is one of my nicknames (really, it is!) and I wear the title with pride. I love my family and love spending time with them – especially at WDW. I make the vacation plans for our family and was just watching and waiting for that perfect opportunity to go back to WDW. Thanks to Disney’s “Military Salute” this year, that opportunity came along and I jumped on it. My favorite park is MK.

    DD Alyssa, almost 15 years old, “Minnie” for purposes of this TR. ::MinnieMo She really likes Minnie Mouse and tends to be obsessive about some things, just like me. She and I are girly girls…yes, we wear full makeup to the parks and to the water parks. LOL Shoes and accessories – more, please! And she is also an athlete (just like her Dad). She loves WDW and tends to occasionally have a bit of that lovely teenage attitude. Her request for this trip was to Pick a Pearl in Japan (an early birthday gift). Her favorite park is also DHS (MGM).

    DD Brie, 10 years old, “Tinkerbell” for purposes of this TR. :tinker: She loves all things Tink and her main goal for this trip was to meet Tink. She is usually very calm and laid back, but underneath that calm exterior is a fiery red-headed temper and attitude. She is also an athlete and is definitely not a girly girl…so I was very surprised when she told me she wanted to go to Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique! Being the girly girl that I am, I jumped on that request and scheduled an appointment for her as soon as I possibly could as a late birthday gift. Her favorite park is also DHS (MGM).

    Grandma and Papa (my parents). Again, no cute names. I'm just not that creative. This was their first trip. The girls and I were instantly addicted on our first trip to WDW and couldn’t wait to go back. As stated above, DH’s glowing praise of WDW meant he also loved it so we had to do another trip. My Mom doesn’t care for rides (she tolerated trips to Disneyland when we were younger but really didn’t enjoy them), while my Dad likes rides. They didn’t really understand how we could get so excited about a trip to Disney…even after we showed them the hundreds of pictures we took on our last trip. They were only with us for the first day of our trip (we drove down together on Friday, went to the parks on Saturday, then they left on Sunday to go home). But we got them addicted, as you’ll soon see. Because this was their first trip, much of The Plan for the first day focused on what they wanted to do and might like to do…all part of our evil plot to addict them to all things WDW. Because my Dad is a veteran, we were able to take advantage of the Military Salute this year and get that great deal on tickets plus 40% off our resort. Thanks, Dad!

    The Plan. Yes, The Plan is a character unto itself. It was born a few months ago and was a culmination of months of studying the UOG, information from the DIS, experiences from our last trip, input from friends and coworkers, and input from Mark, Minnie, and Tinkerbell. Grandma and Papa were asked for input but pulled the typical, “We are just happy to be going with you…we just want to spend time with our grandchildren…just watching them have fun will make us happy…”. Yeah, right. We knew their first day had to be magical or they would never want to come back. We wanted them to become just as addicted as we (well, the girls and I) were. Did it work?

    Next up...How this grand adventure came to be...the planning stages.
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. NikkiLovesWDW!

    NikkiLovesWDW! "Are you seeing an increase in lateral forces?" "S

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    9,079
    Yay!! I'm here and ready to hear ALL about your trip!
     
  4. PopArtGal

    PopArtGal Mushu's Best Gal Pal

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    6,379
    I'm here!
     
  5. ImTooExcitedToSleep

    ImTooExcitedToSleep dis veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    7,295
    What is this?? Does everyone but ME have a trip report????

    Dang peer pressure.
     
  6. Born 2B a Princess

    Born 2B a Princess Where's my tiara?!?!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Messages:
    910
    Wow...I actually have people reading! I'm excited! And yes, Tom, you need to do a TR. Succumb to the peer pressure...you've already posted some pictures, so how hard is it really to add some narrative? :cutie:
     
  7. NikkiLovesWDW!

    NikkiLovesWDW! "Are you seeing an increase in lateral forces?" "S

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    9,079
    Do it! Us July folks need to stick together and if TRs is how it's going to be done, then so be it!
     
  8. Born 2B a Princess

    Born 2B a Princess Where's my tiara?!?!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Messages:
    910
    If there’s a great deal around, I’ll find it…how this trip came to be

    Oh yes – there will be pictures in this TR. Just not quite yet...

    One thing about DH’s family…we are the only members of his immediate family that don’t live within a 30 minute drive of every other member of the immediate family. In fact, we don’t live anywhere near DH’s family. And so, ever since we got married, pretty much every trip/vacation we’ve ever taken has been to visit family…usually his (especially since we now live just around the block from my parents). That’s all fine and wonderful, but when he takes the girls and goes to visit his family for 3-4 weeks each summer (I usually join them in the middle of the trip for a week or so), it doesn’t leave much time for us to take any other family vacation. Two years ago we decided :idea: that we needed to start taking “real” family vacations, the four of us, to do things we wanted to do that didn’t necessarily involve visiting DH’s family every summer for 3-4 weeks. We love them dearly but we wanted to visit some other places. So two years ago, DH broke the news to his parents (oh yeah, there was no way *I* was going to do it! :rotfl:) that we wouldn’t be visiting that summer…and our first trip to WDW was born. We got a great deal on a package through Disney and we spent five glorious days at POP :cloud9: followed by a couple of lovely days at Clearwater Beach. We all enjoyed it and decided that we would visit DH’s family every other summer and do “something else” in the alternating summers. DH’s definition of “something else”? Something that wasn’t visiting his parents. My definition of “something else”? Trips to WDW, of course! :cutie:

    So 2009 was our summer to do “something else.” DH suggested a trip to Washington, DC, which sounded pretty good to me because I’m a history/political science junkie, but the girls really weren’t fond of that idea. Minnie and Tinkerbell’s response was, I think, “That sounds boring!” So we started thinking of other ideas…several smaller trips in the local area? Going to the beach for a week? Nothing really set off any fireworks for me…until I found out about the specials Disney was running for the military this year. And so the seed was planted…

    I researched and researched and gathered all of my information. Being an obsessive planner, I was nothing if not thorough in researching the tickets, discounts, options, etc. The only catch was that neither DH nor I are in the military…and we’re not veterans. But Papa is…and he’s always up for an adventure. I started to gently bring up the idea of us going to WDW sometime in 2009 as a family…after all, there aren’t many grandparents who would turn down a trip with their grandchildren, especially to a place that the grandchildren really love. Minnie and Tinkerbell quickly joined me in talking Papa into the idea – and it didn’t take long at all. Once Papa was onboard, we had to convince Grandma. :grouphug: I was surprised that it really didn’t take much to convince her! Of course, the super deal on the military tickets and the 40% resort discount helped…Grandma is the best bargain shopper you’ll ever meet – I learned from the best…and what bargain shopper can pass up a really, really great deal? When I showed her how much money the military specials would save, she couldn’t resist. And I may have also told her about all of the great shopping at WDW…but I accept no responsibility for how much shopping she might or might not have actually done while at WDW.

    Now, when to go? We thought about spring break but those dates were looming large on the calendar and I just couldn’t have The Plan ready and have everything organized by then…plus I had read on the DIS about how insanely crowded it is at spring break (yes, I know – July is also crowded). We didn’t want to pull the girls out of school and DH couldn’t take time off from school anyway (he only gets two personal leave days per school year). (Note – the decision not to go over spring break turned out to be a good one, since WDW had level 4 closings during our spring break week :scared1:). OK, so what about June? Too busy. Finally, we found the one week in the entire summer when all six of us were available to go. How sad is it that, out of the entire eight weeks DH and the girls were out of school, there was only one week that we could all go on vacation? :sad2: But we finally found the magical week and bought the tickets – non-refundable and non-transferrable military tickets, so there was no turning back! We got the park hopper plus water parks and more on our tickets…at the great price they were offering, we couldn’t pass it up. And with the water park tickets, we could add a couple of non-park days to our trip and extend the magic! :wizard:

    So it was decided. We were all going together…except that Grandma and Papa were only going for the weekend and would use only one of the five park days on their tickets. Grandma wasn’t sure she would like WDW and didn’t want to request extra time off work. Oh well….maybe one day will be enough to convince her to come back. We decided to leave on Friday, July 17 to drive down, go to the parks all together on Saturday, then Grandma and Papa would leave on Sunday, July 19, leaving us at WDW to enjoy four more park days and two water park days, returning home on July 26 (which later got changed to July 25, but that’s ok because we still did everything we wanted to do that day before coming home). DH, Minnie, Tinkerbell and I all secretly hoped that Grandma and Papa would love WDW so much that we would be able to easily talk them into future trips. Stay tuned to see if it worked!

    The next question was where to stay. We all loved POP when we stayed there two years ago so that was originally The Plan…until the reservations CM told me that, with the military discount, we could stay at a moderate for less than the regular price of a value. A moderate? But I hadn’t researched any moderates! :confused3 The Plan called for staying at Pop…although we were a bit crowded last time…and it was a bit loud…and the pool was always full…and the bus line wasn’t in the shade… But the moderates have more space in the rooms, a curtained off area for changing, double sinks outside the bathroom, “quiet pools”, and covered bus stops…oh, the temptation! So I did something that is SO unlike me – I threw caution to the wind and made a spur of the moment decision…I told the CM that we would go with a moderate. And then she asked which moderate I wanted to book. Crud…The Plan laughed in my face, because I hadn’t researched any of the moderates! So now I had to decide, quickly, which one to book. I asked the CM which one she recommended and her emphatic response was CBR. So I decided to live dangerously and, without doing any research whatsoever, I booked two rooms at CBR. Then, of course, I jumped on the DIS to start researching CBR to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake. :surfweb: Spur of the moment decisions don’t usually turn out well for me. Did this one? You’ll just have to wait and see.

    Next up…Dining decisions, decisions, decisions…Finalizing The Plan
     
  9. jmskinner

    jmskinner DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,248
    I'm here also. Your link worked just fine, look how many people already found you. Ok, need to go continue my own and may have to check out some of the other July'ers.
     
  10. Born 2B a Princess

    Born 2B a Princess Where's my tiara?!?!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Messages:
    910
    Dining decisions, decisions, decisions…Finalizing The Plan

    To DDP or not to DDP? That is the question. :confused3 And it really was a hard question for me. Last time we went, the DDP had a lower price and it included appetizers and gratuity. Now, it’s more expensive and includes less. Back then, Tinkerbell was 8 so we paid the child’s rate for her. Now she’s 10 and we would have to pay the adult rate (ridiculous, considering the small amount of food she eats). And I don’t eat much, and neither does Minnie. The DDP just had SO much food…although on our last trip it was nice to have a TS meal every day and eat at places we normally wouldn’t go to. After weighing the options and discussing it at length, going on line and estimating what our out of pocket food costs would be (both CS and TS) vs. DDP, and looking through menu after menu after menu, we decided against the DDP. It would have cost $160 per day for the four of us four eight days, and we just don’t eat that much food. Plus, the cost of the DDP would cancel out the savings we got on the tickets and hotel and I was determined to prove to DH and Grandma that we could do a longer trip than our last one, but for less money. Grandma and Papa also decided against the DDP for the same reasons ($80 per day for two days just didn’t make sense to them). Instead, we decided to pick four TS restaurants we really wanted to eat at (each of us picking one) and I made ADRs there.

    We decided on ‘Ohana for the only TS meal we had with all six of us together – we knew Grandma and Papa would love it there. We picked Hollywood & Vine for the Fantasmic dining package (due to health issues, most of the menu at Mama Melrose’s was off limits to me and DH and the girls liked H&V last time we went there), 50s PTC, and Restaurant Marrakesh (the one I was looking forward to the most). Exactly 90 days out from our trip I was on the phone bright and early, had no hold time whatsoever, and was able to get all of the ADRs we wanted within about 30 minutes of the time I wanted them. Yea! Of course, anytime something happens that easily, you start questioning whether you really made the right choices…and so I spent the next several days (ok, weeks) agonizing over the ADRs. One day when I was having a rough day, I called and scheduled a dinner at Coral Reef, another of our favorites from our last trip. So that brought our total ADRs to five.

    About a week before our trip, as I was giving The (up until now unembodied) Plan its body (see below), I realized that I had scheduled lunch at 50s PTC and dinner at H&V for the same day, and lunch at Restaurant Marrakesh and dinner at Coral Reef for the same day. Lunch and dinner ADRs on two days, which we specifically did not want to do. How on earth did an obsessive planner like myself do something like that??? The answer? I had been keeping track of all of the ADRs on a sheet of notebook paper and hadn’t transferred them into my spreadsheets yet, and some of the information got mixed up. Lesson learned – start the spreadsheets much earlier and enter all information in the spreadsheets as arrangements/reservations are made. So after much discussion, we all agreed that we didn’t want lunch and dinner ADRs on the same day and so something had to give. Coral Reef was cancelled (since I had planned it as a surprise and no one else knew about it, I was the only one who was disappointed). I also cancelled 50s PTC…we were a little disappointed to cancel this one but DH and the girls had started getting rather wary of anyone criticizing their table manners and telling them to clean their plates, since we don’t eat much to start with. In place of Coral Reef and 50s PTC, I added Rainforest Café for the evening we planned to spend in DTD. Even up until the day before our trip, I was debating adding/changing ADRs. Did they stay the way The Plan had them set? Wait and see!

    The Plan had been carefully developed in coordination with the UOG, information from the DIS, friends, other research, etc. I thought a lot about adding RideMax to the mix, but in the end I just didn’t have time to do it. Besides, the UOG had worked beautifully for us on our last trip so we trusted it. The only problem was Day 1 of our trip…which the UOG said should be at MK, but we thought Grandma would enjoy Epcot a lot more (she really wanted to see WS). But Papa wanted to do rides while Grandma wanted to shop. Since we had park hoppers, we could spend part of the day in other parks, or split up the group if we wanted to do that. I begged Grandma and Papa for input but couldn’t get any. Nothing…just the same old, “we’ll be happy just watching our grandchildren enjoy themselves.” Yeah, right. Because if that backfired, then The Plan and I were going to take the blame and our desire to get them addicted to WDW wouldn’t work. Talk about stress! In the end, we decided on Epcot in the morning – even though it wasn’t the UOG recommended park for the day, then a resort break in the afternoon, ‘Ohana for dinner, and then going back to Epcot if Grandma and Papa wanted to do that or hopping over to MK if they wanted to do that. The Plan wasn’t happy to have every detail of Day 1 nailed down, but surely we could handle just a few unscheduled hours…

    With a week or so left to go before the trip, the shopping was done (great deals online from the Disney Store, some homemade Mickey shirts, and some cute character shirts from Target and Wal-Mart), gift baskets ordered for Minnie and Tinkerbell, a welcome gift from the Disney Florist for Grandma and Papa, and The Plan was ready and it needed a body! Various sizes were considered and rejected…too big, too small…too hard to read…too hard to carry…etc. I finally settled on 8.5 x 5.5” since pages that size hold enough information without the font being too small and it’s easy to carry around without getting in the way too much. Being a scrapbooker, I grabbed my supplies, printed out all of the daily schedules, spreadsheets, tips, menus, maps, confirmation numbers, directions, etc., and assembled them in a book that I had bound at Office Depot. Colored index tabs, dividers, and decorated covers were added and, voila, The Plan had a body…and it was dressed up and ready to go. At the same time, we made Tinkerbell an autograph book…although I’m not sure why she needed a whole autograph book when the only autograph she wanted to get was Tink! But that’s ok…The Plan needed a companion and so we made Tinkerbell’s autograph book.
    The night before our trip, the Minnie and Tinkerbell had their suitcases ready to go. The Plan called for my suitcase, DH’s suitcase, and the grocery box to be ready to go the night before the trip. They weren’t ready. The Plan wasn’t happy that, on the night before “departure day,” we were already running late…but there would be enough time the next morning to get things done. After all, The Plan didn’t have us hitting the road until 2:30 pm….

    Next up: Day 1 of the trip (but not the parks) – “They” say getting there is half the fun…who the heck are “they”?
     
  11. tinkerbell60

    tinkerbell60 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Messages:
    3,028


    I don't have one either.....
     
  12. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,406
    I am hooked popcorn::. I love the personified "plan." You are clever and an excellent writer...I can't wait to read more!
     
  13. Tnkrbelle565

    Tnkrbelle565 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Messages:
    8,490
    I'm in!!! :banana:

    Sounds like it's going to be a fun trip!!
     
  14. Jdougherty

    Jdougherty Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
    227
    I'm a planner too! I get made terrible fun by DH but I very rarely miss an appointment or something specail on a trip. Waiting for update.............

    :yay:OCD Planners UNITE in WDW of course!
     
  15. cjlemoine

    cjlemoine Don't Ya Just Love Disney

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    73
    Count me in. Great start.
     
  16. MickeyisBeast

    MickeyisBeast <font color=green>Some people just don't understan

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Messages:
    37,404
    Great start! Can't wait for more!
     
  17. NikkiLovesWDW!

    NikkiLovesWDW! "Are you seeing an increase in lateral forces?" "S

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    9,079
    Great update! I'm interested to see how your ADRs turned out!!
     
  18. katiebelle21

    katiebelle21 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Messages:
    721
    I saw your link on the July Board. What a great start! I want to see the "The Plan!" Lol
     
  19. WLfamily

    WLfamily Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Messages:
    483

    Tom and Wendy you are not alone...I don't got one neither! You are sooo right about the peer pressure around here. :rotfl:

    I'm here with you anyway Stephanie!! :goodvibes
     
  20. Born 2B a Princess

    Born 2B a Princess Where's my tiara?!?!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Messages:
    910
    You should write one! Reliving the trip helps get over the disappointment of it ending. :goodvibes

    You're so sweet -- thank you!

    Welcome! It's nice to have you here!

    Oh yes, we OCD Planners need to stick together -- and what better place than WDW?? :)

    Welcome! Thanks for reading!

    Thank you! Welcome!

    Time will tell...but I will admit it now -- I took NO food pictures on this trip. None. Not a single one. Well, I take that back -- I did take a picture of some of the treats we "made" at Goofy's Candy Co. (oh my goodness, pretzel rods dipped in dark chocolate, rolled in sprinkles, and drizzled with caramel -- YUMMY!)...but I didn't take any food pictures at any of our meals. I meant to, but I didn't. I'm sorry!!! Flog me now...I promise I'll do better next time.

    I am definitely going to post a picture of The Plan. Tuesday night I finally finished uploading all of the pictures from our cameras, so I'll upload pictures...except that they're at home and I'm not right now. But I'll definitely be adding pictures as we go -- and I'll include pictures of The Plan. It wouldn't be right to leave out pictures of such an important member of our cast!

    Write one! I love reading them!! :)
     
  21. Born 2B a Princess

    Born 2B a Princess Where's my tiara?!?!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Messages:
    910
    I'm one of those people who wants the bad news first...that way things can finish on a happy note. But some people like the happy news first to cushion the bad news. What kind of person are you?

    Those of you in the July group may remember that some of our most anticipated PhotoPass pictures from our trip didn't show up...and that Tinkerbell's camera somehow got lost somewhere between us getting in the car at Blizzard Beach, heading to DTD, and then driving home. That was the camera I used for all of the pictures I took at TL and BB....not to mention the fact that Tinkerbell had a few pictures on there that she had taken before and during our trip, and it was HER camera so she was pretty upset about it.

    So if you're a bad news first person, read this paragraph first. If you're a good news first person, read the next paragraph and then come back to this one. ;) I put in a help request on the PhotoPass website about the missing pictures -- it was a series of 3-4 pictures taken in the wave pool at TL with the big wave coming up behind us. Honestly, we were SO excited to see how those pictures turned out, and when the photographer scanned the card after the pictures he had a hard time with it but finally got it to work. Or so he/we thought. Unfortunately, PhotoPass was unable to locate the pictures and so we don't have them. :sad1: I guess that helps us decide which water park we're going to in October! We really want those wave pool pictures! (But this time I won't almost drown before we get them, so I should look better in the pictures...oh wait, I haven't gotten to the "Princess almost drowns" part of the TR yet.... ;)

    And the good news...as I was tucking Tinkerbell into bed on Wednesday (yes, 10 year old Tinkerbell still gets tucked in, as does Minnie and I'll keep doing that just as long as they want me to!), I looked down at her floor and saw her camera just sitting there in the middle of her bedroom. We had looked EVERYWHERE for that darn camera ever since we got home from our trip...she had looked, I had looked, Minnie had looked, DH had looked, Grandma had looked, and my sister had come over and looked. We looked everywhere, emptied every bag and suitcase (except mine, which still hasn't been fully unpacked but that's where I've stashed the birthday and Christmas gifts I bought at WDW...yeah, that's my excuse :rolleyes1). We went through the car several times. No luck. And then the missing camera shows up, smack dab right in the middle of her bedroom floor. We still don't know how it got there -- I'm thinking :wizard: and pixie dust must have been involved -- but we're so glad we found it!

    I'll have our "Day 1" installment posted today. :woohoo: Sorry, no pictures -- but I'll have pictures in the next installments.
     

Share This Page