With a Wave of the Wand - the plans have changed again?! A 1/2013 PTR - updated 10/25

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by wuzzy6, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Who are we???

    Welcome to my very first Pre-Trip Report! But, in order to get started, we have to go back to the beginning! If you ask the right questions, you're certain to get the right answers! So, who are we??? Well, I'll tell you...

    This is me, Kelly, and my DH, Stephen... we met on a blind date a very long time ago, and I guess you could call it a fairytale. :lovestruc

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    While we both have a really good sense of humor, it's Steve who is responsible for all of the spontaneous goofiness that keeps us all very well entertained. This is the type of thing that happens in public with him... yes, the kids were with us, and yes, we are in a public parking lot surrounded by a lot of people. :rolleyes1

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    Now, it's been 10 years since we've been to WDW, so I'd like to start this off by showing you what the Fab Four looked like way back then! From left to right: Jojo, Doodle, Nuggies and Roo...

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    And, here is what they look (and act) like now...

    Jojo, 19 - Sophomore in college with an elementary education major - varsity volleyball player at her university - lover of music and children - enjoys sailing with her Dad - straight-faced with a wicked dry sense of humor!

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    Roo, 18 - Senior in high school - varsity football player - lover of music and theater - enjoys acting and singing - super funny and has the biggest heart of any person I know!

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    Nuggies, 13 - 8th grade - lacrosse player - lover of music and lacrosse - enjoys eating, sleeping, breathing lacrosse and cooking with Dad - not afraid to do all of the funny things we think about doing, but are too afraid to do them!

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    Doodle, 12 - 7th grade - volleyball player - lover of clarinet-playing and pugs, pigs and 'possums - enjoys drawing and playing with our pugs - sweet, snuggy and silly!

    [​IMG]
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    So, now you know who we are!!! :dance3: The only logical thing to do next is to tell you how this whole thing came about...

     
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  3. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    How did we get here???

    It's a really long story, but I'll try to be as brief as possible! :rolleyes1

    A little Disney back-history, first... I grew up an hour away from WDW. WDW opened the same year I was born, and I spent my childhood taking day-trips. I remember the orange bird, ticket books, and nothing but orange groves within miles of the Magic Kingdom! I remember waking up at the crack of dawn to make the trip to the MK, stopping to eat at the McDonald's in Clermont on the way. These trips made memories for me that have lasted a lifetime, and I feel so lucky to have them! :cloud9:

    As an adult, DH and I took a few day-trips as well - both with the kids and without them. We splurged one year, in 2002, to stay on-site with the kids, which is something none of us had ever done! We stayed at the Port Orleans- Riverside resort - we went during Spring Break and had a total blast! Unfortunately, not long after that trip, we ended up moving out-of-state due to his job, and that put an end to our Disney trips. :(

    For the last couple of years, I have been seriously missing WDW and trying to convince DH that our family has really been missing out on some great moments! I found the Disboards a few years ago, and since that time, I have been researching, talking my lips off to DH, and hoping that I, too, could one day plan a trip to Disney again. Every time I would try to say "let's do it!" DH would respond with "not right now!" I was worried that I couldn't ever convince him this would be worth it. :worried:

    Well, talk about pixie dust - get this!!! So, around Thanksgiving last year, I was thinking about how our oldest was off at college, how Roo was going to be a Senior in High School next year, how the littles aren't so little anymore - I started crying. Now, since none of you really know me, you wouldn't have any way of knowing that I am not a crybaby whiner! I just don't do that! I suck it up and deal with things when they don't go my way! I don't cry about it, for goodness sake! Well, except for this one time... :rotfl2: I can only imagine how much this confused DH, because all of a sudden he said, "Ok, it's ok - we can look into planning a trip. Maybe we could surprise the kids at Christmas with it!"

    It was at this moment that you could have knocked me over with a feather. :faint:

    (I know, I know - somewhere up there I said that I would try to make a long story short. I lied, apparently, because I'm not even close to being done talking yet...) :duck:

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    So, we decided we would plan a surprise trip for March while our oldest DD was on Spring Break and home from college for the week. We started out with a 2BR villa at Saratoga Springs Resort. We put together a gift that was filled with clues about their surprise trip - it's nowhere near as creative as some of the other surprises I've seen and heard about, but it came off pretty well anyways! We used scrapbooking paper with a travel theme - anything Disney would have given it away immediately, and we didn't want that! We gave clues by giving them words to unscramble - words like "monuments, statues, presidents, cemetery, animals, castle, etc..." Well, just as we were hoping, they all guessed we were going to Washington, D.C. for vacation during Spring Break! :lmao: The very last clue was map coordinates - when they plugged in the coordinates, the pin was right smack-dab in the middle of the Magic Kingdom!!! Here is what Doodle and Nuggies looked like the very moment they realized...

    "WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!"

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    It was really great! We got lots of tears, squeals of excitement, laughing and cheering! I honestly could not have hoped for a better reaction from them. We were all so happy and excited - totally living in the moment, and it couldn't have been better. :love:

    Well, you don't think that could possibly be the end of it, do you? Seriously?! :lmao:

     
  4. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Ch-ch-ch-changes...

    I am going to do my best to remember exactly what happened between then and now, but I am not guaranteeing anything. It's been 4 months, and A LOT has changed in that time - multiple times. :rolleyes1

    So, we started out with a 2BR villa at SSR in March.

    Then Jojo (our oldest) let us know that she wasn't going to be able to go in March, as she had thought she could. So, after much discussion and debate, we decided that we would prefer to go in August - so we changed our trip dates to August 19-24, still with a 2BR villa at SSR.

    Then Jojo changed her mind again and said that she didn't want to be out of town for so long just before pre-season started for volleyball. We didn't want her to miss out on a trip to WDW, as it was one of our Chistmas gifts to her, so DH and I decided that we would send her and 1 of her friends to WDW after volleyball season. She was completely stoked, and we were happy she wouldn't be missing out. We will miss her on our August trip, but if I have my way, there will be more family trips in the future! We removed her from our reservation - so now we're a party of 5.

    About that time, Roo decided that he, too, did not want to miss any of his football team's pre-season workouts. He asked if he could take a trip with DH and I sometime after football season, instead, and after some discussion, we decided that it would be ok to do that. It'll be his Senior year, and he will be 18 - old enough to decide what he feels is in his best interest, and we are confident he is making the right decision for himself. Still, we will miss him and Jojo on our trip. So, we removed him from our reservation - and now we're a party of 4.

    Well, since we're now a party of 4, we certainly do NOT need a 2 BR villa anymore! Sure, it would be very nice to be able to spread out and have our own space, but with only 4 of us, we can definitely rethink this trip and find ways to get a little more bang for our buck!

    So, once again I dialed the number most Dis'ers have programmed into their phone on speed dial... :rolleyes1 We changed our reservation - again - this time to a 1BR villa at Bay Lake Tower!

    Then, Free Dining came out... and it was about this time that DH thought I was losing my mind. :rotfl: I'm sure I don't need to mention what I did next...

    ... but I will.

    I called that number again and changed my reservation - again. There weren't any rooms available at BLT so we moved to the Contemporary with a Theme Park View and Free Dining! Our dates changed to 8/26-31, and we upgraded to the Deluxe Dining Plan! :hyper: I could barely contain my excitement over this!

    Well, since then, DH and I decided that we should probably scale-back on our Disney budget a bit, since we were going to be booking another two trips within 6 months after this one. So, with that, I called Disney... again. (I'm a natural Resort-Changer, apparently.)

    We decided to change our resort to Coronado Springs Resort - we love that it has Queen size beds and a great pool for a Moderate resort. We booked a preferred room with 5-day park hoppers, and backed down to the free DDP - and of course, I had to reschedule all of our ADR's!

    Last week, we decided that we should add another day... for no reason, other than the fact that we wanted to. :bitelip: So, now our dates are 8/26 - 9/1, and we changed to 6-day park hoppers.

    As of right this moment, we are done making changes. :hyper: Even though we're leaving 2 of the Fab 4 at home for this upcoming trip, it will still be very special. Nugs and Doodle were both so young the last time we went to WDW, they do not remember anything about it at all. This will be very-much like a first trip for them, and I think it will be really special.


     
  5. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Kelly! I was also born the same year as MK (in fact, the same month!). We're returning to Disney in August. Can't wait to hear your plans.

    Amanda
     
  6. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    So, What About Touring Plans?!!!


    If there's is one thing I learned here on the Dis, it's to make plans! All kinds of plans! Dining plans, touring plans, packing plans - plans about plans! :woohoo:

    As of right now, here is a summary of our PLANS...

    7 days / 6 nights at the Coronado Springs Resort - preferred room.
    Check in: Sunday, August 26th
    Check out: Saturday, September 1st
    Free Dining Plan - 1TS, 1QS, 1 Snack per person, per night.
    6-day Park Hoppers

    Sunday, 8/26/12 - Arrival Day - Magic Kingdom Day!
    P.M. EMH @ MK (9am - 12am)
    QS lunch at MK
    4:10 pm ADR dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern - MK TS (Family Style)

    Monday, 8/27/12 - Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Day!
    A.M. EMH @ AK (8am - 5pm)
    11:00 am ADR lunch at Tusker House - AK TS (Character Buffet)
    P.M. EMH @ DHS (9am - 12am)
    QS dinner at DHS

    Tuesday, 8/28/12 - Epcot Day!
    A.M. EMH @ Epcot (8am - 9pm)
    12:00 pm ADR lunch at Les Chefs de France - Epcot TS
    QS dinner at Epcot

    Wednesday, 8/29/12 - FREE DAY to go wherever you want!
    A.M. EMH @ AK (8am - 6pm)
    QS lunch wherever we are!
    6:00 pm ADR dinner at Maya Grill - CS TS

    Thursday, 8/30/12 - Magic Kingdom in A.M. - P.M. whereve you want!
    A.M. EMH @ MK (8am - 10pm)
    11:50 am ADR lunch at the Crystal Palace - MK TS (Character Buffet)
    QS dinner wherever we are!

    Friday, 8/31/12 - A.M. wherever you want - Epcot in P.M.!
    P.M. EMH @ Epcot (9am - 12am)
    QS lunch wherever we are!
    5:50 pm ADR dinner at Biergarten - Epcot TS (Buffet)

    Saturday, 9/1/12 - Departure Day... :(
    Check out of resort and head back home.

    I'm still thinking about dinner on Wednesday night - I really want to have a meal at 50s Prime Time Cafe, but I really didn't want to pin us down at a particular park that day. I'm not sure what to do - any ideas or suggestions would be greatly welcomed!!!

     
  7. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Hi, Amanda! Welcome, and thank you so much for joining me! Here's hoping for a wonderful August trip for both of us!!! :goodvibes
     
  8. cogero

    cogero DIS Veteran

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    Ha HA HA me too.

    I am going in August too. Joining in.
     
  9. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Welcome - I'm so happy you're joining in!!! I went to school with a girl named Chiara - she was such a nice person, and I have fond memories of her. Very pretty name! :goodvibes
     
  10. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Today is a Special Day!


    ... but it's not just because we're down to 125 days!!!

    Today, April 23rd, is my youngest son's 13th birthday! :cool1: We really surprised him with exactly what he was hoping for - but, boy did we have him convinced we just couldn't do it because we were putting all of our money toward the Disney trip. In fact, just last night, DH asked him what he wanted more... the trip to Disney, or a birthday present. I know - bad, wicked, evil parents!!! :rotfl:

    So, it turned out to be a fantastic surprise for him, and we loved that we were able to "put one over on him" again. He's such a great kid with an awesome sense of humor - believe me, if he could do it to us, he surely would! It's just hard to believe our "baby boy" is now 13.

    Happy Birthday, Nuggies! Love, Momsy :love:
     
  11. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    Happy Birthday to your son!!!

    Amanda
     
  12. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Thank you! :goodvibes
     
  13. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Sailing season is here, so Steve is heading down to NY for the weekend to race in the American Yacht Club Spring Series. He loves it! (I did, too, until I tore my ACL and meniscus skiing and had reconstructive surgery - now my knee hates me. Booo!) So, I figured... why should he get to go out of town and have all of the fun this weekend?! Right???

    I surprised the kids with a very impromptu weekend getaway to Six Flags New England! :goodvibes I picked up season passes for a VERY good price, and I cannot wait until we get there! I will pick up Nuggies, Doodle and Roo from school at 11:00 (that's only THREE HOURS FROM NOW!!!) and we will head off down the road to our hotel! The weather is going to be a little on the cooler side, but it's supposed to be very sunny tomorrow and warm up into the mid-50s. Roller coasters, yummy unhealthy food, two nights in a hotel - no cooking, no cleaning - just FUN! Sounds good to me!

    Should help make for a fun summer, too - free parking with the season passes, and you get $300 in discount coupons for food at the park. It's a 3.5-hour drive, so it's a good getaway for a weekend! I'm so excited!!!
     
  14. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Soooooo... I think it would be easier (and faster!) to tell you what DIDN'T happen over the last 4 months. :rolleyes: We had to change plans. Again.

    Honestly, this is why we never take "real" vacations - something always comes up, and we always make the decision to reschedule. Most of the time, we end up just saying "forget it" and scrap the whole thing. Our vacations usually end up being several weekend getaways instead of the real deal. Frankly, I'm done with that - we NEED the time away from the busy-ness of our schedules, because our lives are not slowing down!

    We moved our trip up to January. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm very excited about this! The weather is going to be much more tolerable, and we are going to enjoy getting out of the frozen great white north for a week by then! :dance3:

    We're still staying at CSR - the dates have changed to 1/27 - 2/2. It's still going to be me, DH, Nugs and Doodle making the trip.

    I've toyed around with staying off-site, but when you throw in the rental car, parking fees and gas, the cost really balances out pretty closely. However, I admit that it's sometimes hard to swallow the rack rates - no discounts, no promotions - at Disney, when I can get a suite at the Marriott with a King and 2 bunk beds for about $30 less per night.

    With that said, I don't like the "scheduled" shuttles to and from the parks, especially considering one of the locations had a shuttle that didn't arrive at MK until almost 10 in the morning! :scared: One of the most appealing things for me to stay on-site is that we can go anywhere on Disney property, at any time, with virtually no restrictions.

    Besides, there is NOTHING like staying immersed in the magic 24 hours a day! :cloud9:

    I have read a lot of posts here on the DIS by people who feel as though the moderate resorts are completely over-rated, and that the value resorts are the way to go when you take into consideration the price difference. We are not big pool-goers, and our kids are older and do not require trips back to the room during the day for some down-time. Right now, the ONLY reason I am not willing to try a value resort is because they do not have Queen beds. A few weekends ago, DH and I stayed at a friend's house and slept in a double bed. It was fine for one night, but neither of us want to do it for an entire week! Still, though... I have to seriously consider whether or not a few extra inches on a bed is worth $60 more per night! :confused:

    Oh, and we dropped the DDP. I don't find that the QSDP is much of a value, and I don't see much more value in the DDP when you're paying rack rates for the room and paying for the dining plan, too. If they offer FD, then I'm all over it, but if they don't, I'm going to hope for a room discount and pay OOP for our meals.

    Right now, we're planning to fly down - we haven't booked our flights yet, and I have serious regrets about that. The airfare has jumped significantly over the last few weeks, and I'm hoping it will come down again very soon. We really, really need to get those flights booked asap!!!

    So, that's it for me - for now. I'm sure things will change to some extent later! :laughing:
     
  15. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    I added a link to my signature... just checking to see if it actually works!

    That only took 4 tries... :lmao:
     
  16. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    SQUEEEEE!!! I just learned about the AMC movie theater's "Fork & Screen" getup! I have never been this excited about going to see a movie - ever! :thumbsup2

    I have been struggling to come up with ideas of what to do on arrival day, simply because A) I can't justify paying full-price for a park ticket to only use it for a half-day, and B) none of us are really big shoppers.

    I am so flipping excited now! I showed DH the website and menu, and he's totally on board with it, too. The kids are going to completely love it - I think I'll keep it a surprise! ::yes::
     
  17. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    As the mom of 4 (amazing, awesome and wonderful!) kids, I'm always looking for discounts and sales to try and save some money. I'm not someone you'd call 'frugal' by any stretch, but when it comes to making big purchases - even on clothes, shoes, etc. - I will rarely ever pay full-price for anything! So, between paying for college tuition and textbooks for our oldest, senior pictures/trip for our Senior, year-round lacrosse for Nugs, and volleyball club for our youngest - nevermind our "regular" expenses - I've been looking for different ways to save some money on this trip. :eek:

    So, I just called for the first time in a year to see if I had a pin attached to my name, and the less-than-personable CM replied with "Nope - nothing is there." :sad2: She did, however, say "Keep your eyes open for future offers, because right now, we're only working on getting through the holiday offers. There has been nothing released yet." It wasn't what she said, but how she said it - she just wasn't very nice. Maybe she hadn't had her coffee yet. :confused3

    I only wanted to know if I had a pin - we've had them in the past (once - I called to inquire about rates for a weekend stay a few years ago, but we weren't able to take a trip in the end that time) but I've never gotten one through mail or email. Oh well, I'll continue to wish for a room discount or for FD - I'd be really happy with either offer, although I'm not expecting anything at this point. Obviously, if the FD offer comes out, I'm totally adding it back into my package. :thumbsup2

    As for the ever-increasing airfare - I really, really, REALLY need to suck it up and just book the flights. So far, these are the flights I've found to be the best values...

    (In no particular order)

    1 - Southwest: non-stop flights (out of an airport about an hour 1/2 away) - First 2 checked bags are free, which is nice. $1318.40

    2 - AirTran: 1-stop at BWI (out of local airport - 20 minutes from home) - First checked bag $20, Second bag $25. $1124.80

    3. Jet Blue: 1-stop at JFK (out of local airport - 20 minutes from home) - First checked bag free - forgot to write down the cost of add'l bags. $1456.80

    Clearly, the best value at this point is flying with AirTran. Even if we check two bags (which we will do, no doubt) it will only be $1169.80 - plus, we're 20 minutes away from the airport.

    I don't know if anyone is actually reading my ramblings, but if you are, THANK YOU! :goodvibes
     
  18. lurkernj

    lurkernj DIS Veteran

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    I just followed you over from mine:thumbsup2

    You have a beautiful family:thumbsup2

    I must say, I was getting exhausted reading all your changes in the beginning:lmao:.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for some free dining for you all:woohoo:
     
  19. reyasmommy

    reyasmommy DIS Veteran

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    Wow! I thought I had a probem with changing reservations so often. I got nothing on you! :lmao: My head was spinning the last couple of months makings changes to my vacation it still is actually. I don't know how you keep track of everything!. :worship:

    I love how you surprised your kids. I'm still working on what I'm going to do. My DD knows we're going she just doesn't know when. :)

    Anyway.... I look forward to reading more. :surfweb:
     
  20. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Thank you so much for the compliment - they're such great kids! :love:

    Honestly, I was totally exhausting myself with all of the changes - DH finally said that I was wearing him out! :lmao:

    Thanks again - I'm glad you came out of lurkdom, and I promise to try not to bore you too much! :goodvibes
     
  21. wuzzy6

    wuzzy6 Mom to the Fab 4

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    Clearly, I've been blessed with the gift of indecision... but it looks like I'm in good company! :lmao: Oh, and I make good use of spreadsheets! If you haven't done that yet, give it a try!!! :thumbsup2

    I'm subbing to your PTR, so I'll be looking forward to seeing how you decide to surprise your DD! I'm excited for you - and her!!! :love:

    I'm so glad you're here - thank you for letting me know I'm not really talking to myself! :lmao:
     

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