“You’re My Favorites: Now Go Away!” Feb/Mar 2019 First Family Trip (Update 3/17)

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by TheOneWithTheTriplets, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. cinderaimee

    cinderaimee Mouseketeer

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    Looks like you had a great travel day!

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    :rotfl:
     
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  2. missangelalexis

    missangelalexis DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like your travels went very smooth! And it's always nice when you don't have to wait long for the magical express! Cute pics of the girls at the airport :)
     
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  4. Lesley Wake

    Lesley Wake May the force be with you!

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    Very very nice! I love the whole luggage service. So much easier!

    Nice and smart!

    :sad2:
     
  5. petals

    petals Irish Princess because Cinderella said so!

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  6. ariane37

    ariane37 Dis veteran

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    Joining! I love reading about first visits :goodvibes Sounds like travel day was off to a good start! But that family that pulled out their DME tags.....I know I wouldn't have been able to hide my look of shock horror when they showed me lol!
     
  7. amazingact21

    amazingact21 Upendi

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    Sounds like that was a great travel day, all things considered. When it comes to traveling with kids, if you can make it to every place on time, not have something break or become lost, or have a kid get sick I file that into the success folder. I'm also super impressed your girls were willing to all sit in a row together without a parent. What's the secret to keep them from bickering with each other? My husband and I always have to sit in the middle of our two to keep the shenanigans to a minimum.

    Happy to hear you were able to get TSA pre-check. Isn't that the most amazing thing when flying with little kids? It can change the whole dynamic of the pre-flight routine.
     
  8. cadien

    cadien DIS Veteran

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    Ditto. Those poor people.
     
  9. joules12

    joules12 Mouseketeer

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    Popped on explicitly to check your PTR, in case there were any post-trip updates to it. YAY, you're over here now!!! I've been hoping that I might see you in the neighborhood -- when neither of us is being interrupted by a 5-yo girl(s) and/or on our way somewhere -- so that I could hear a bit about your trip. Buuuut, I think that the chances of snagging five same day NON-drop FoP fast passes are likely better than that! I'll get my fix here until the planets align otherwise.
     
  10. TheOneWithTheTriplets

    TheOneWithTheTriplets DIS Veteran

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    Welcome. I can't wait to share!

    Yay! Glad you'll be joining along.

    Yup, the proximity to PHL is really awesome. And tossing those bags at the curb was incredible.

    Better that than getting scared, right? :-)

    Thanks for joining along.

    Thanks! ME with luggage transfer really was a game changer in terms of making a family travel day less stressful.

    Thanks so much.
     
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  11. TheOneWithTheTriplets

    TheOneWithTheTriplets DIS Veteran

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    Exactly

    Thanks! They're all a bit out of focus, but I really just wanted to actually get moving.

    Yup, it truly was a magical way to start the trip.

    Welcome!

    Yeah, I'm not sure how good my poker face was on that one. I was going to explain that they could potentially go to ME, describe their luggage, and Disney would find it, but I didn't want to confuse them any further.

    My girls tend towards playing together over bickering. Don't get me wrong, they have their moments, but I would say their default is to be making up a game together over She's-touching-me-itis. It also helps that they get essentially no screen time at home. When they do have a chance to watch TV or a movie, it completely holds their attention for a lot longer than your average 5 year old because their access is otherwise so limited.

    Pre-check was phenomenal. It wasn't just that I didn't have to empty things but that I could pack all of the carryon bags based on where I wanted things, rather than thinking about how easy it would be to pull them out of bags. Normally, I have one bag that has all of the electronics and liquids so that it's the only one I have to empty, and then I end up shifting things after we're through security. I really appreciated skipping that step.

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure we'd have to proactively schedule that if we wanted to make it happen. Which, we totally can! You're one of only a handful of real-life people that would actually care about most of my nitty gritty details.
     
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  12. TheOneWithTheTriplets

    TheOneWithTheTriplets DIS Veteran

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    Settling In

    While we were on the bus over to Boardwalk, I started a test mobile order to see how it would work with the dining plan. Turns out, it didn’t yet: my only payment option was to use my card on file. While I had hoped to be able to skip the front desk for check in, it would seem that wasn’t in the cards. So, when we unloaded, we grabbed our carryon bags and headed into the line for the front desk. Just about everyone else on our ME also unloaded at Boardwalk, and we had a full bus, so it took a few minutes to be seen. I had hubby go over to bell services to hand off the bags while I waited and the kids twirled.

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    When it was our turn, the CM asked for my name and, within a few seconds, I had a text that my room wasn’t yet ready and a notification on MDE welcoming me. I went back into mobile order and, before I even started one, it had a little note about making an order on the dining plan, so clearly everything was activated. I asked the CM if he could see which room was going to be ours even though it wasn’t ready yet. He said that he could see it, he couldn’t tell me what it was, but that he could tell me that based on my room request on file I would be pleased. I was quite relieved to hear that I likely wouldn’t be making the trek down the long Boardwalk hallways each night (our room request was to be near an elevator). The CM gave the girls some stickers and first visit buttons and we were on our way.

    Staying on DVC points, I new that it would be very unlikely that we’d get an early check in and that “after 4pm” could mean even later. Our plan was to explore the resort a bit and, depending on how we were feeling, either go for a swim or catch a bus to MK for a monorail snack/QS tour. We went out to the boardwalk to bask in the Florida sun, drool over the Boardwalk Bakery offerings, and grabbed one of our resort mugs. Another tidbit I had gleaned from the Dis is that the photo booths are included on memory maker, so we hopped into one to take our first family photo to commemorate our trip. The kids were too quick when selecting a background, so here’s our first official family photo at Disney World.

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    How romantic!

    I managed to take control of the design selection for the next shot, so we got this gem as well.

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    We were all feeling pretty warm in the sun and decided that a swim was in order. It was in the mid-70s, which isn’t swimming weather for us in the summer, but it felt much warmer coming from chilly NJ. I checked my phone for the time and saw that we had received our room ready text at 3:25pm. I was psyched that we had an early room despite staying DVC and we went to bell services to grab our carryon bags, head to the room, and get changed. We were in room 3064 and, getting off of the elevator, found ourselves just two rooms away overlooking the Creepy Clown Pool. Unfortunately, we also found the housekeeping cart parked directly in front of our room preventing entry.

    A CM who must have been a housekeeping manager (she was dressed much too nicely to be actually cleaning) apologized and said she had tried to call the front desk to stop us before we came up. She had checked off that the wrong room was cleaned and ours wasn’t ready yet. She tried calling to see if we could be switched into the next room over which was done, but apparently those folks had already checked in and couldn’t be moved. She apologized again, told us to go grab lunch somewhere, and that there would be a $100 room credit on the account for our troubles. I asked if we could at least leave our bags, which she said was perfectly fine, so we dumped everything except our swim bag and headed out to the pool.

    This is one of those moments where I feel like perspective really matters. I had never expected to get my room that early and I had already specifically packed one carry on with everything we would need for swimming. My plan had always been to change by the pools and hang out until our rooms were ready, so the only real inconvenience to us was the extra trip up to a room that turned out to be unavailable. I could have chosen to be annoyed about the mix-up: it was certainly disappointing to think we would get to change in the room only to have to do the awkward public bathroom clothing change. However, when my husband and I turned the corner, we were both just excited to have the money on the account towards our charges for the trip. You want to give me $100 because we brought out bags up prematurely? Sold!

    I have no photographic evidence of our pool trip this afternoon. I know we all went down to the Creepy Clown Pool, got changed, and decided we should start the trip off right by sliding in. The kids went back up to slide a few more times, but the adults were starting to feel the coolness of the afternoon. It was still warm in the sun but, as the afternoon turned to evening, the shade covered more of the pool and made it pretty chilly. At 4:45, we quickly dried off and headed up to see our room and get showered. On the way up, I stopped off at the lobby to find that my grocery delivery person was just finishing dropping things at bell services. They said it was a lot of bags, so I shouldn’t try to carry it all myself, but they’d bring it up soon. They were running about 20 minutes, which I said was fine.

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    We were overall very pleased with the room. I never stood out on the balcony with Hubby below to get the exact placement, but we were in one of these rooms.

    [​IMG]

    It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the balcony is designed differently from the typical ones at the resort. The cut-out section where you can see the pool is smaller, but then there’s a couple extra feet behind the brick wall on each side. We had a table and two chairs but had room to drag another room chair out there so the kids could have breakfast (and drop their crumbs) outside in the mornings. I was also pleasantly surprised with how big the room felt inside. We kept the sofa folded out to a bed, the Murphy bed down, and the coffee table and chairs tucked to the side pretty much the whole time. Even with that, we had plenty of room to maneuver. My last experience with the five of us in a single room was a cruise ship room, so it’s possible that my expectations were so low that anything that didn’t involved us tripping over each other and shimmying around furniture would have been welcome.

    If we had our absolute pick of the resort, we would have been a floor or two up and a couple rooms further from the elevator. A non-tree blocked view would be nice, and people weren’t particularly quiet walking to the elevators in the mornings and evenings. However, I would rather occasionally having hallway noise over having to hike halfway through the building just to get down to the coffee refill each morning. People complain about Boardwalk feeling very spread out, and we never had that feeling given our close elevator proximity.

    We were all showered and ready to go by 5:30 but the groceries hadn’t arrived. I called back down to Bell Services and asked to delay them. This led to a confusing conversation in which the CM thought that I was calling to confirm my groceries were received and schedule delivery. I told him I knew they were there, I had already scheduled delivery, but they were late and we wanted to go back out. After a bit of back and forth, I just said to please make sure my groceries were not delivered and out we went.

    We had decided to walk around to Hurricane Hanna’s for dinner because that was the QS menu on Crescent Lake that had the most appealing combination of food and adult beverage options. We were at Hanna’s at 5:45, ordered everyone’s food, and found a table. There are only a few tables right there and, when arrived, they were nearly full. However, by the time we left, things had completely cleared out. 5:30-6:00 must be the time when parents finally manage to drag their kids out of Stormalong Bay to eat something. The girls shared a burger and a smoothie, Hubby got the pulled pork sandwich and a beer, and I got a girly drink and the buffalo chicken wrap. Three meals for the five of us left us comfortably fed but not full, which was the goal because this wasn’t our last stop of the night.

    We continued our tour around the lake with a stop at Ample Hills. Hubby and one of the girls (I think B?) said they were too full to get anything, so we only got three cones for the five of us to share.

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    I got the Ooey Gooey Red Velvet Cake and the girls picked the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and the Chocolate Millk and Cookies. All of the cones were enormous, so the CMs gave the kids cups along with their cones, which made sharing that much easier. We loved our choices and, after this visit, the kids never wavered from those two choices the rest of the trip. We finished our ice cream at about 6:45, went into the bakery to get the rest of our dining plan resort mugs, and walked back towards our room. There were several kids just running on the Village Green, so the girls joined in.

    [​IMG]

    We went up to our room to find that all of our bags save the single stroller had been delivered. I found the PJs and toothbrushes, left Hubby to start getting the kids ready for bed, and went to the lobby to get my groceries. There were, in fact, too many bags to carry. This was mostly the result of Walmart packing everything as poorly as possible with only 1-3 items in each plastic bag, but so it goes. I was going to do the mom thing and just load up my arms with all of the bags, but Bell Services was hearing none of that and sent a CM and a baggage cart of groceries up with me to my room. While we were walking, I asked him about the single stroller not being delivered with the rest and he assured me that it wasn’t unusual for bags to come staggered (which I had assumed) and that he would look out for a single stroller bag for me.

    We got the groceries put away, unpacked enough of our bags to be ready to go the next morning, and eventually got the kids to lay quietly and rest. Right when they had stopped talking, there was a knock on the door and the final stroller was delivered. On the one hand, this woke the girls back up a bit but, on the other hand, they had been very concerned about the missing stroller. Much of the bedtime chatter had surrounded where the stroller was and what we would do if it was lost. Once the stroller was safely in hand, they calmed down and went to sleep.

    Overall, we had a really nice travel day. We enjoyed exploring the resort, but still got the girls to bed at a reasonable hour so that they’d be fully refreshed for our big first park day at MK. Once they were asleep, I pulled up the email to look at the substitutions Walmart had made for our grocery delivery and make sure everything had been received. Most of our order was exactly what we had asked for and they had to make a couple of reasonable substitutions. The one weird thing they did was substituted an out-of-stock 24 pack of applesauce pouches with a 12 pack. You would think they’d give me the same quantity on the substitution but I’m assuming someone was looking at it too fast and just replaced one box with one box, not noticing the volume difference. I was generally pleased with my Walmart grocery experience, especially given the pricing. I had looked at Garden Grocer and Prime Now, but the same groceries were about 20% cheaper using Walmart and I had a coupon code that wiped out my delivery fee. I went into it expecting that it wouldn’t be perfect (Walmart isn’t generally known for its customer service) but I think the less than stellar substitution was worth my significant cost savings. I double checked the weather forecast, triple checked my park bags for the next day, and eventually managed to get some sleep myself.
     
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  13. TheOneWithTheTriplets

    TheOneWithTheTriplets DIS Veteran

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    Dining Plan Explanation and Day 1

    When we first booked this trip, I had assumed that we wouldn’t be doing the dining plan, as I’d heard so many people say it was too much money for too much food. However, it was also true that we were in the small category of travelers (outnumbered by children under 10 and going to a lot of character meals) where the plan would be most likely to be cost effective.

    I decided to scour menus online and build a moderate splurge budget to see just how close we’d be to the plan cost. For us, a moderate splurge would essentially mean splurging on the kids and skimping on the adults. We’d do character meals for them, let them get snacks, but be more restrictive with ourselves. For instance, I guessed that we’d allow ourselves one caffeinated beverage a day but otherwise be drinking water. The moderate splurge didn’t include any alcoholic beverages, either, because I knew we wouldn’t spend that kind of money on ourselves when push came to shove. When I added it all up, the moderate splurge was within $200 of the DDP cost with 3 fewer TS credits being used. I discussed it with hubby and we agreed that $200 was the extra seated meals and the ability to go ahead and order whatever snacks or drinks we adults wanted without worrying about the bottom line.

    Coming into this trip, then, there were essentially three numbers I was tracking: a) what we paid on the DDP plus tips, b) what we hypothetically would have paid on the meals we actually purchased had we not had the dining plan, and c) what we would have spent had we stuck to our moderate splurge plan. I expected that we would get significantly more value from the dining plan than the cost we paid (a safe bet based on our TS costs alone), but I wanted to see just how well we did. On the flip side, while I knew buying the DDP would be more than the moderate splurge, I wanted to look at how much more money Disney got out of us by offering the plan and how much more benefit we got out of them by taking advantage of it.

    For each day, I’ll breakdown what we ate, what the menu cost would have been, and what we most likely would have order on our moderate splurge budget, tracking the ways that the DDP shifted our eating habits, for better or worse. With all of that explanation out of the way, here’s how we did on day 1:

    DDP Cost for Trip: $2,114.91

    Day 1 Actual Spending
    Refillable mugs: $101.60
    3 QS Hurricane Hanna: $65.28
    3 S Ample Hills: $19.23
    DDP Day 1 Value: $186.11

    Moderate Splurge Adjustments
    We would not have gotten the resort mugs without the plan. While it was a nice bonus to be able to run down and grab coffee each morning, we could have used the pot in our room, too. The kids don’t drink soda, so they got the occasional lemonade or Powerade refill, but that wouldn’t have been missed had we not had the mugs in the first place. I’d say the DDP offered us a slight advantage for convenience relative to the moderate splurge. As to the meal, I think that, without the plan, we would have made a Beaches and Cream reservation, split a couple of apps and entrees, and gotten the Kitchen Sink. Had we done that reservation, there would have been no adult beverages and no Ample Hills. The DDP netted us tastier, more unique ice cream than what you get at B&C, but in a much less fun presentation. We also would have been beholden to an ADR, rather than just eating once we chose to leave the pool and get cleaned up. I’d give the slight advantage to the moderate splurge here, because the Kitchen Sink is a worthy experience unto itself.

    Moderate Splurge Day One Estimated Cost (Tax and Tip): $114.28
     
  14. StarWarsMomofGirls!

    StarWarsMomofGirls! DIS Veteran

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    Ha! Funny!

    Wow, that was really nice! That's a whole dinner!

    I was just looking at the menu for there. We will probably eat at least one meal there when we are back in May.

    I almost forgot all about Ample Hills!!!

    Too funny that they were worried about stroller. I love when kids worry about these real things.

    It works if you are doing character meals and buffets, for sure.

    I always love some good disney math!
     
  15. Spacecow

    Spacecow Mouseketeer

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    Enjoying your report so far! :)
     
  16. ariane37

    ariane37 Dis veteran

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    Very nice first day and wonderful first photo booth picture :goodvibes The girls will get a good laugh from that years from now!

    We haven't done a DP in years but I do always recommend it to clients with littles who plan lots of character meals. Even if it doesn't so much save a family lots of $, the idea of having meals already paid for, and not paying $30 for a child to eat 2 nuggets and a roll at a buffet (which is close to what my almost 17 yo did until he was like, 12) is often enough to make it worth it for many!
     
  17. KathyM2

    KathyM2 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for sharing so far - sounds like an amazing day. Also great comparison with the DDP. I think it works well with your family and while the kids are young!
     
  18. Pooh's-Honey-Pot

    Pooh's-Honey-Pot Secretly prefers Tangled to Frozen...

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  19. Bama Mom

    Bama Mom Disney Dreamer

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    Joining in. Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip.
     
  20. missangelalexis

    missangelalexis DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a good first day! And the bonus $100 for the inconvenience is a pretty nice deal :)

    Love the pic of all of you in the photobooth!
     
  21. jhoannam

    jhoannam DIS Veteran

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    Dinning plan made sense when you have kids 9 & under and you do lots of character meals. We did it our first trip and really enjoyed it. I wish we would have done it the second trip, we didn't enjoy as many meals because I was trying to save. Now our oldest is 11 and just doesn't make sense.
     

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