A CHRISTMAS SURPRISE!! We're going to Disney World!! Updated 10/14

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by Kathy Muniz, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    Hey everyone! My name is Kathy and my DH and I are planning a very special surprise vacation for our two kids this December!! The wait is torture so I figured I'd start a pre-trip report to help the time go by and share the excitement with my fellow DisBoarders :) If you have any tips/advice please feel free to share! This is our first family trip to Orlando and I'm doing all the planning so any help is appreciated!

    Who we are

    us.jpg

    I am 32 years old and I am a HUGE Disney fan!! :mickeyjum I cannot put into words how freaking excited I am for this trip!! We had a Disney Cruise planned for last year that would've spent one day at WDW, but we ended up cancelling that trip to start the Dave Ramey plan and pay off all our debt :sad: Damn Responsibility!! But 2017 is over, we paid it all off and now it's finally time to see Mickey!! :yay:


    DH (Johnathon) is 34, loves thrill rides and is being an awesome sport letting me plan my dream Disney vacation for us :) He looks at me a little weird since I watch The DIS/Tim Tracker/Justin Scarred etc. etc. non stop... but once he sees how much my planning pays off he’ll get it... lol

    kids.jpg

    DS (Jayden) is 8 years old (will be 9 during this trip) and DD (Angie) is 15 (will be 16 on this trip) and they both cannot wait to finally go to Florida! We told the kids maybe we'd try for next year so they have NO IDEA this is coming! They both love Disney (almost) as much as I do, so I am super excited for all of the things we'll experience as a family on this trip! DD is a HUGE Harry Potter fan so she is going to lose her mind when she finds out we're going to Universal as well!


    Trip Info
    Dates: December 8th - 16th


    WDW Info
    Pop Century December 8th - 13th
    5 Day Park Hopper Tickets & MVMCP on 12/9
    Will be getting Memory Maker because I already know I'll want every single picture
    Hoping to also book: BOG lunch, Sci-Fi Lunch, CRT Dinner


    Universal Info
    Royal Pacific Resort December 13th - 16th
    3 Day - 2 Park Tickets
    Will be getting the photo package here as well
    * I love that Universal doesn't need so much planning, glad this will be at the end of our trip


    The Surprise!
    So we're planning to wait until my Birthday, October 2nd, to tell the kids about this trip since this will be their Christmas present this year and we have a very cool plan on how to surprise them (more to come later). It seems like almost all of our friends have gone to Disney World this year, or have a trip planned, so it is SO HARD not to tell the kids we're going too!! Is it October yet?!?!? October is also our daughter’s bday month so on her bday we’re going to announce the Universal portion of our trip, which is perfect because she’s a huge Harry Potter fan :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 12:29 PM
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  2. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 12:29 PM
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  4. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    Draft Itinerary

    Ok so I know these plans will probably change 10 million times between now and December, or really October since that’s when we’ll have to choose our fast passes, but here’s a first draft of our daily plans. Let me know what you think!


    Saturday December 8th – Arrival Day!
    • Arrive at MCO ~10:00am; Take ME to Pop Century
    • Have lunch at Pop or AoA
    • Take bus to Epcot
    • Epcot: Fast passes for Future World rides, walk around World Showcase
    • Take monorail to TTC/Magic Kingdom (This will be our one day to experience the monorail)
    • Magic Kingdom: Dinner at Casey’s, watch fireworks, hang out late if the park hours allow
    Sunday December 9th – Animal Kingdom & MVMCP
    • Rope Drop Animal Kingdom 9am
    • Ride FoP first if we don’t get a fast pass – get fast passes for Safari & Everest
    • Lunch at Satu’li Canteen or Flame Tree BBQ
    • Head back to hotel for nap break
    • Dinner at Pop or AoA
    • Take bus to Magic Kingdom for MVMCP
    Monday December 10th – Hollywood Studios Day
    • Rope drop HS 9am: Depends on how crazy it is that morning if we’ll try to get in line for all the toy story rides or just get a fast pass for one and try to get another one for our last Disney day
    • Lunch at Sci Fi Dine in Theater
    • Nap break at hotel if we’re feeling tired
    • Dinner at Hotel / or Brown Derby if we can suck it up and stay in the park all day
    • Watch Indiana Jones
    • Watch fireworks then head back to hotel
    Tuesday December 11th – Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom
    • Rope Drop Magic Kingdom 8am
    • Lunch at BOG
    • Watch Parade 2:00PM
    • Head back to hotel for nap break / Bus to Animal Kingdom if we’re not tired
    • Dinner at Satu’li Canteen (if we don’t go on Sunday)
    • Walk around Pandora - see the tree awakenings
    • Watch Rivers of Light then head back to hotel
    Wednesday December 12th – 4 Park Challenge Day
    • For our last day I thought it would be fun to park hop and go to all 4 parks
    • Start at Epcot and rope drop Soarin/Test Track
    • Take bus to HS and try to get FP for slinking dog and ToT
    • Get shakes at 50s café
    • Take bus to AK and ride a couple rides
    • Lunch at AK or at hotel
    • Nap break
    • Take bus to Magic Kingdom in the evening
    • Dinner at CRT
    • Watch fireworks
    • Do more rides if park stays open late that night
    Thursday December 13th – Saturday December 15th – Universal
    • Very excited our hotel has express pass so I won’t have to do much planning! Just going to go with the flow and what the kids want to do since they’ve been there before with my dad. I would definitely like to get a shake at Toothsome and eat at one of the HP restaurants :stir:
    Sunday December 16th – Departure Day
    • Time to really head home :guilty: Flight leaves around 10am so any advice on what time to leave the hotel to go to the airport? Will most likely Uber unless you know of a better option…
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 12:30 PM
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  5. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    Flights are booked!!!

    Was planning to wait a little longer to book them but I found really good prices using one way reservations. It all feels so real now!

    Hubby even said that he's pretty excited about this trip last night! :cool1: I'm the psycho Disney fan so this was music to my ears!

    Now debating whether to use uber or a standard airport car service to get to/from the airport... Anyone use uber to get from Connecticut to LGA before? Or is it a safer bet to have a car service reserved ahead of time?
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
  6. dedesmith32

    dedesmith32 Mouseketeer

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    I’m following along! My family is taking our first trip to Disney World too and it looks like we are doing thing very similarly except that we are doing our Universal side first and then Disney world! My daughter adores HP too!

    We did a surprise trip to Disneyland in December 2014 and it was AMAZING! It will be awesome for your family!
     
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  7. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    Hi Dede! Thanks for following along! How did you end up telling your kids about the trip in 2014? I love surprises :)
     
  8. dedesmith32

    dedesmith32 Mouseketeer

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  9. SuperNEMOfan

    SuperNEMOfan Mouseketeer

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    I would use a car service to get to LGA you never know with ubers
     
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  10. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    Yea that’s true... one less thing to worry about if it book it ahead of time. Thanks :)
     
  11. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    WE GOT FREE DINING!!! :cool1:

    Phew o_O That was stressful!! And kinda fun! So this week began the adventure of trying to get the coveted Free Dining promotion! Rumors were all over the place throughout the weekend as to which date the promotion would go live and I did not want to miss out so I was preparing for getting absoluletly no sleep :surfweb: <— actual photo of me Monday and Tuesday at the crack of dawn... lol

    Monday morning I woke up at 3:00AM (EST) with alarms set for every 30 minutes... A few people on disboards mentioned the promotion would most likely drop Tuesday morning but I was NOT taking any chances. Sadly... the rumors were true and, after refreshing the Disney website about a million times, night #1 of little sleep was over with no free dining... :sad2:

    Work was a little rough that day, running on fumes, but more solid info started to get announced and it looked like Tuesday morning was going to be the day!

    pixiedust:
    But of course... no one knew for sure what time so another set of 56,537,657 alarms were set to ensure I didn’t snooze through and miss out. From around 12:30AM to 5:00AM I went back and forth between watching Disney YouTubers, stalking the Free Dining Thread, taking 10 minute naps, petting my dog who was probably wondering what the hell was wrong with me, and refreshing the Disney Special Offers Page like it was my full time job :surfweb:

    And then... finally... half way through a hilarious Justin Scarred YT video... and on refresh attempt # 10 billion... IT WAS FINALLY THERE!! I threw my phone, sat up, blinked a few times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, and then started typing in my information before stitch could start eating the Disney website.

    After a few glitches and re-opening the page over and over... IT WAS FINALLY DONE!! Free food was officially part of our reservation :cheer2: I know a lot of times other discounts (like RO) can be a better deal but for us Free Dining was going to save us almost $1000!! So excited this all worked out... and so so so excited to finally sleep!! :faint:

    And now the countdown begins to ADR day...

    Countdowns:
    Try to get Free Dining - Done!
    ADRs - 48 days
    Tell the Kids!! - 165 days
    Fast Passes - 168 days
    Vacation Begins!! - 228 days

     
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  12. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    ADR DAY COMPLETE!!
    174430FD-65EB-4559-A875-5C20DCB77AFA.png

    Yesterday was our 180 day mark and finally time to book our dining reservations!! :yay: Since we have the Free Quick Service Dining Plan, I only needed to get 4 reservations for the special places we wanted to eat during our trip: HEA Dessert Party, Sci-Fi lunch, BOG lunch and dinner at CRT. I logged in a few minutes before 6:00AM, opened all the tabs I needed and within 15 minutes or so I had everything I wanted! I sat there for a few minutes like... now what do I do... is this real?!? :eek: Lol

    So relieved to have that portion of the planning complete. We’re planning to wait until October (after we tell the kids about the trip) to buy our MVMCP tickets since they’re non-refundable.

    The countdown continues!

    Here’s our updated draft itinerary with our dining reservations included:

    Saturday December 8th – Arrival Day!


    • Arrive at MCO ~10:00am; Take ME to Pop Century
    • Quick Service lunch at Pop
    • Take bus to Epcot
    • Epcot: Fast passes for Future World rides, walk around World Showcase and eat all the food
    • Take monorail to TTC/Magic Kingdom (This will be our one day to experience the monorail)
    • Magic Kingdom: Happily Ever After Dessert Party at 7:30pm. Hoping the park hours get extended to hang out after as well.
    Sunday December 9th – Animal Kingdom & MVMCP

    • Rope Drop Animal Kingdom 9am
    • Ride FoP first if we don’t get a fast pass – get fast passes for Safari & Everest
    • Lunch at Satu’li Canteen or Flame Tree BBQ
    • Head back to hotel for nap break
    • Take bus to Magic Kingdom for MVMCP
    • Quick Service dinner at Casey’s
    Monday December 10th – Hollywood Studios Day

    • Sleep in and head to the park with fast passes around 11am (Assuming we’ll be tired from the Christmas Party)
    • Lunch at Sci Fi Dine in Theater
    • Quick Service Dinner (any suggestions where?)
    • Watch Indiana Jones
    • Watch fireworks then head back to hotel
    Tuesday December 11th – Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom

    • Rope Drop Magic Kingdom 8am
    • Lunch at BOG 11:35
    • Watch Parade 2:00PM
    • Head back to hotel for nap break / Bus to Animal Kingdom if we’re not tired
    • Dinner at Satu’li Canteen (if we don’t go on Sunday)
    • Walk around Pandora - see the tree awakenings
    • Watch Rivers of Light then head back to hotel
    Wednesday December 12th – 4 Park Challenge Day

    • For our last day I thought it would be fun to park hop and go to all 4 parks
    • Start at Epcot and rope drop Soarin/Test Track
    • Take bus to HS and try to get FP for slinking dog and ToT
    • Get shakes at 50s café
    • Take bus to AK and ride a couple rides
    • Lunch at AK or at hotel
    • Nap break
    • Take bus to Magic Kingdom in the evening
    • Dinner at CRT 5:35pm
    • Watch fireworks
    • Enjoy EMH and ride more rides
    Thursday December 13th – Saturday December 15th – Universal

    • Very excited our hotel has express pass so I won’t have to do much planning! Just going to go with the flow and what the kids want to do since they’ve been there before with my dad. I would definitely like to get a shake at Toothsome and eat at one of the HP restaurants :stir:
    Sunday December 16th – Departure Day

    • Time to really head home :guilty: Flight leaves around 10am so any advice on what time to leave the hotel to go to the airport? Will most likely Uber unless you know of a better option…
    Countdowns:
    Try to get Free Dining - Done!
    ADRs - Done!
    Tell the Kids!! - 112 days
    Fast Passes - 119 days
    Vacation Begins!! - 179 days
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 12:31 PM
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  13. amberdc1987

    amberdc1987 Mouseketeer

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    Great start! I can't wait to hear about how you're going to tell your kids. Do we really have to wait until October?!:rotfl2: We surprised our girls in 2017 with their first trip. We told them with a scavenger hunt. We are planning another surprise trip for December 2019 (It's so far away). I can't wait to surprise them again....don't know how yet. Keep it coming.
     
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  14. sapphirerose915

    sapphirerose915 Mouseketeer

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    Same hotel, same dates, and practically same parks every morning!!!! We are doing MVMCP on the 11th tho and EMM @ HS on 12/10!!
    so excited!!!!!
     
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  15. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    No way!! That’s so cool :) I cannot wait for this trip!! 18 days until we tell the kids :) Are you going to universal as well?
     
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  16. sapphirerose915

    sapphirerose915 Mouseketeer

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    Nope!! Just disney this time around.. my son is only 2 so universal is a little too advanced for him right now!! :)
     
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  17. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    Ah ok, yea it’s better to wait until they’re a little older. My kids went to universal with my dad when my son was 5 and my daughter was 12 and she ended up having to go on a lot of rides alone since he was too small. But now he’s 9 and tall enough for almost everything :) I think the hulk and rip ride tocket would be the only ones he can’t do
     
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  18. sapphirerose915

    sapphirerose915 Mouseketeer

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    Yayy!! So exciting!!!
     
  19. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    SURPRISE!!!

    So the day finally arrived to tell the kids!! Knowing that we were going to be surprising them, and because I’m obsessed with Disney, when I woke up on my birthday the entire house was decorated with Disney Princess decorations

    9640C7A3-8711-4331-8AE9-293CA7D6E585.jpeg 286FE89F-7E16-4FA3-AC5A-7A0B9CC18BA3.jpeg F0F49D8C-054E-4A18-954D-876F42B4F6FF.jpeg

    The kids made me Mickey waffles for breakfast and then the long day of work/school began... what torture knowing we were just a few hours away from FINALLY telling them about the trip!! Lol

    Thankfully the kids and I had a half day so we spent our afternoon having lunch, getting a mani/pedi and a nice relaxing massage ‍♀️

    Around 6pm, DH got home and it was finally time!!!! Since it was my birthday I asked them if we could watch surprise Disney World announcement videos on YouTube (which I do every so often so they didn’t suspect anything lol). But what they didn’t know was they were actually about to watch their own surprise video :) Hubby and I had been doing a secret countdown for the last 6 months :) Check out my Facebook post here to see their reaction video :)

    https://www.facebook.com/18507072/posts/10100814528954426/

    In case that link doesn’t work, here’s their reaction on YouTube:

    Our daughter’s birthday is in a couple of days and that is when we will be announcing the Universal portion of our trip with a Harry Potter themed day :) Check back in for that reaction video!
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 12:25 PM
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  20. Kathy Muniz

    Kathy Muniz Mouseketeer

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    Updated Itinerary:

    Now that the Disney Surprise is out and Fast Passes have been made (phew so glad that is over!) here is an updated plan of all the fun we’ll have :)


    Saturday December 8th – Arrival Day!
    • Arrive at MCO ~10:00am; Take ME to Pop Century
    • Quick Service lunch at Pop
    • Take bus to Epcot
    • Epcot: Fast passes for Soarin, Nemo and Soaceship Earth
    • Take monorail to TTC/Magic Kingdom (This will be our one day to experience the monorail)
    • Magic Kingdom: Happily Ever After Dessert Party at 7:30pm. Park hours just got extended to 11pm so if we’re not too tired maybe we’ll hang late

    Sunday December 9th – Animal Kingdom & MVMCP
    • Rope Drop Animal Kingdom 9am
    • Ride FoP, then fastpasses for Navi River Journey, Everest, And the Safari
    • Lunch at Satu’li Canteen or Flame Tree BBQ
    • Head back to hotel for nap break
    • Take bus to Magic Kingdom for MVMCP
    • Dinner at Crystal Palace to meet Pooh and Friends :)

    Monday December 10th – Hollywood Studios Day
    • Sleep in and head to the park with fast passes around 10am (Assuming we’ll be tired from the Christmas Party)
    • Fastpasses for Rockin Rollercoaster, Tower of Terror and Alien Swirling Saucers
    • Lunch at Sci Fi Dine in Theater
    • Quick Service Dinner (maybe Woodys Lunchbox)
    • Watch Indiana Jones
    • Hoping to either swap out alien fast Pass for slinky Dog at night or just wait in line to ride it
    • Watch fireworks then head back to hotel

    Tuesday December 11th – Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom
    • Rope Drop Magic Kingdom 9am
    • Lunch at BOG 11:35
    • Fastpasses for Seven Dwarfs, Tales with Belle and Pooh
    • Watch Parade 2:00PM
    • Nap break
    • Bus to Animal Kingdom
    • Watch Tree of Life Awakenings
    • Dinner at Satu’li Canteen
    • Walk around Pandora
    • Watch Rivers of Light then head back to hotel

    Wednesday December 12th – Hollywood Studio, Epcot & Magic Kingdom
    • Early morning magic at Toy Story Land
    • Head to Epcot for Frozen and Mission Space fastpasses and walk around the world showcase
    • Nap break
    • Take bus to Magic Kingdom in the evening
    • Dinner at CRT 5:35pm
    • Watch fireworks
    • Enjoy EMH and ride more rides

    Thursday December 13th – Saturday December 15th – Universal
    • Very excited our hotel has express pass so I won’t have to do much planning! Just going to go with the flow and what the kids want to do since they’ve been there before with my dad. I would definitely like to get a shake at Toothsome and eat at one of the HP restaurants :stir:
    • We got tickets to the Orlando Informer meetup!! :cool1:

    Sunday December 16th – Departure Day
    • Time to head home :guilty: Flight leaves around 10am so any advice on what time to leave the hotel to go to the airport? Will most likely Uber unless you know of a better option…
    Countdowns:
    Try to get Free Dining - Done!
    ADRs - Done!
    Tell the kids about Disney!! - Done!
    Fast Passes - Done!
    Tell the kids about universal!! - 2 Days
    Vacation Begins!! - 55 Days
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 3:02 PM
  21. sapphirerose915

    sapphirerose915 Mouseketeer

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    You're video made me cry!!!!! That was awesome!!!
    So excited!! I'm sure we will be bumping into eachother.. staying at same hotel.. same days.. and same parks!!!! So much fun!! Cannot wait!!!!
    I don't know how you kept it secret for so long!!!!
     
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