jrice4760's Pre-Trip Report

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jrice4760's Pre-Trip Report

When we took Daughter #2 to WDW for her HS graduation in 2010, I suppose we set a precedent. Before the 2013/2014 school year began, Daughter #3 informed us that for her HS graduation, she should be taken to WDW as well! Being many months away, I agreed.

This past August, when I suggested to my wife that only she and I should go to WDW for our 25th anniversary, Daughter #3 was terrified that I would have had too much Mouse to go again so soon. I assured her that our anniversary trip would not prevent her graduation pilgrimage to "The World".

Turns out, the only slice of time that fits everyone means leaving the day after her HS graduation. We should be departing 17 May 2014, returning 24 May.

So begins the "Quest of Resorts".

Being a Dept of Defense employee, I have the option of staying at the Shades of Green Resort on Disney property. Here, you have Value resort prices, but Moderate resort quality rooms. They're big, comfortable, double queen rooms, not far from the GF resort. The only drawback is their bus schedule: the buses don't run quite as often as WDW buses, and they take you to the TTC for the MK or Epcot, or they take you directly to AK or DHS, but drop you kinda far away. Still, you're being chauffeured around.

Pop Century fits our budget better, but their double beds don't fit our bodies better! After sleeping on a king mattress at home, my wife and I had to resort to sleeping in separate beds during our anniversary trip! We do, however, prefer the WDW transportation to Shades of Green.

My family and I spent the better part of a week debating the pros and cons of each resort. They were getting pretty tired of my constant inquiries, want their input and suggestions. Eventually, whenever I'd bring it up, I would get that frustrated laugh from someone, and the debate would start again.

After running the numbers on rooms and tickets, and with Shades running a special rate during the time of our stay, there was no question. We would save a significant amount of money staying at Shades, and we could live with the bus schedule.

Then my wife started the research, and stumbled upon Disney's Spring Vacation Special. 20% off value resort rooms, and one free ticket day with the purchase of at least 4 ticket days. This narrowed the cost gap between Shades and Pop to a tolerable point, and we decided on Pop Century. 7 nights, 6-day park hopper passes. Not sure about the dining plan, it's a remote possibility.

The general consensus is since we've been fairly often over the past several years, and with 6 days of PH passes, we will take a much more leisurely time on this trip.

Then came the concept of the trip from AL to FL. For us, that is a 600 mile trip, one-way. One LONG day. We've made the road trip many times, visiting either Mickey or my wife's grandmother (a Disney retiree!). Daughter #2 and son-in-law #2 will fly.

As it happens, VISA is offering a Southwest Airlines card, with 50,000 bounus points after spending $2000. This should be more than enough for 3 round-trip tickets, and I may go this route. I would actually save money, as it normally costs me $200 in gas for the round trip.

Wow, this post has gone on too long! Sorry for being long-winded!

Any tips/suggestions will be appreciated.

JPR

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Whew! It sounds like a lot of thought and planning went into this trip! I'm sure you all will have a fantastic time! Have you made any ADR's yet?

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While I was trying to familiarize myself with the "My Disney Experience" phone app, as an experiment I made reservations for Liberty Tree Tavern. We've only had lunch there, never dinner. So our party of 6 has a table on May 19.

Since we've never planned this far ahead before, what's the best approach for ADR's? We've always based which park to go to first (or last) on a given day on the extra magic hours. Are the extra magic hours scheduled this far in advance?

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yes they are available on certain blogs, i know there is a one called easywdw.com which we use and i know he has got a link to all the opening times and extra magic hours and also what dates/times the fireworks etc are on

hope this helps!

VelcroPooh

I personally think the best approach for ADR's is to plan them around the park you will be in, or plan the park around your ADRs. Now, if you are a leisurely type, say a park in the morning and then back to the resort to rest and then head to the ADR park for dinner, it doesn't really matter as much I think.

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amy1989 wrote:
yes they are available on certain blogs, i know there is a one called easywdw.com which we use and i know he has got a link to all the opening times and extra magic hours and also what dates/times the fireworks etc are on

hope this helps!

Yes! Thanks, this should help a lot! I went to easywdw.com, and if the site is accurate, then I'll use it extensively. There is a lot of information there.

Thanks again!

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jrice4760 wrote:
Yes! Thanks, this should help a lot! I went to easywdw.com, and if the site is accurate, then I'll use it extensively. There is a lot of information there.

We've used this for our last 3 trips - it's a great site. We use the recommended days, and plan our ADRs, parks, etc. based on that. It's worked out really well each time.

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I have followed this site religiously the past 2 years and it has been absolutely spot on i had to go to MK for fireworks on a non recommended day and I was very pleased I hadn't spent the whole day there he was indeed correct definitely not recommended!!!!

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jrice4760 wrote:

Since we've never planned this far ahead before, what's the best approach for ADR's? We've always based which park to go to first (or last) on a given day on the extra magic hours. Are the extra magic hours scheduled this far in advance?

I plan my park days first and then decide where I'm going to eat, but that's because I don't usually have park hopper tickets.

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An update to my pre-trip report:

It's official: We are all flying to WDW! I have enough Rewards Points for myself, the wife and daughter #3. Turns out, with the points I have left over, and with the points Divorced Buddy (who is travelling with us) is generously kicking in, daughter #2 and son-in-law #2 will get to fly for free! Alas, daughter #1, son-in-law #1, and grandson #1 will remain at home awaiting the arrival of grandchild #2.

With airline reservations made, I made the call to DME for arrangements, and that is done.

Everything appears to be coming together nicely. Something must be going to happen...

JPR

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jrice4760 wrote:
An update to my pre-trip report:

It's official: We are all flying to WDW! I have enough Rewards Points for myself, the wife and daughter #3. Turns out, with the points I have left over, and with the points Divorced Buddy (who is travelling with us) is generously kicking in, daughter #2 and son-in-law #2 will get to fly for free! Alas, daughter #1, son-in-law #1, and grandson #1 will remain at home awaiting the arrival of grandchild #2.

With airline reservations made, I made the call to DME for arrangements, and that is done.

Everything appears to be coming together nicely. Something must be going to happen...

JPR

awesome We just found out that we'll have most of our tickets covered by our credit card reward points, too! Awesome feeling!

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There has been an addition to our party. SIL#2's big sister is joining us. The line up is now:

  • Me
  • DW
  • DD#3 (This is her H.S. graduation gift)
  • DD#2 and SIL#2 (This is their 2nd anniversary trip)
  • SIL#2's sister
  • Divorced Buddy

Everyone is booked into Pop Century, everyone has the same flight into MCO, and most of us have reservations made for DME. Things are coming together nicely... biggrin

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I read on easyWDW that both DLR MK and WDW MK will have operating hours of 6 am - 6 am on 23 May, and everyone is really excited to hear about that! We've never had this opportunity, but I shudder to think of how this will affect our trip home the next day!

JPR

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That's the perfect day to have it IMO! That way you don't waste a day of your trip sleeping/recovering, you can just sleep on the plane ride home!

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It's been about six weeks since I've made an update, and our travelling party has been added to. Daughter#3's best bud has decided to go, so our gang is:

Me: 47, DoD engineer, adjunct university instructor, WDW Haunted Mansion Nut.

The Wife: 50, stay-at-home mom, big Disney fan, still a kid herself.

Divorced Buddy: 37, DoD engineer, the biggest kid in the group, has made multiple trips with us to WDW.

Daughter#2: 22, 4'11", bank teller, huge Disney fan from birth, hair like the Little Mermaid.

Son-In-Law#2: 21, 6'4", construction worker, became WDW fan upon joining the family.

Son-In-Law#2's Sister: 24, not as big a Disney fan as the rest, but is insanely excited about the whole trip.

Daughter#3: 18, huge Disney fan from birth, graduates from high school the day before we leave on 18 May.

Daughter#3's bud: 18, Daughter#3's tight friend since childhood,also a big WDW fan.

Incidentally, this trip will be the first time Son-In-Law#2's Sister, Daughter#3, and Daughter#3's bud have ever flown.

The wife and I have never flown to WDW, but have made multiple road trips there. I can't describe how excited I am not to have to drive the 600 miles, one way, and then the 600 miles back, after a full week of feeding The Mouse.

  • Everyone has resort reservations, tickets, DME reservations.
  • I just got an email last night that our Magic Bands are in the mail.
  • I must be forgetting something...

And just to spread a little good news, and to brag on Daughter#3, she found out last week that she will be awarded an academic achievement scholarship to our local community college! The wife and I are very proud, and this gives me a financial reprieve for the next 2 years!
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Here's to a great trip and congrats to your daughter on her academic achievement!

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Sounds like a plan!

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Sounds wonderful! mickey I love Disney plans, even if they are not mine.

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I love that Daughter #2 is 4'11" and SIL #2 is 6'4". I'm around the same height as daughter, and somehow I've usually ended up with tall guys. I don't know why it frequently seems to work out that way. Hubby, at 5'11", is not the tallest man I've ever dated. He calls me his chin rest because, well, you figure it out.

Also, congrats to daughter #3 on that scholarship!

Now, for the first-time flyers in your group, I will pass on a little advice I learned from experience. If you have problems with motion sickness and your flight encounters turbulence, close your eyes. Not seeing the bumping around actually helps. I was miserable on my first bumpy flight, but once I tried closing my eyes I haven't had a problem since. (This would not apply to the kind of turbulence that sends your plane on a dive, but normal turbulence, no problems for me.)

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I was wondering if anyone would put together that SIL#2 is almost 1.5 feet taller than DD#2! They are quite the contrast together, and she is vertically challenged against almost anybody.

Also, thanks on behalf of DD#3. All three of my daughters are extremely bright, but #3 is the only one that cared to pursue college. She plans on a nursing career, so I hope the healthcare industry can weather the current insanity that is swirling around.

I'm unsure how any of us will react to much turbulence. Anytime I've flown, I've been fortunate to have pretty good flying conditions. Anyone else in our party can handle almost any roller coaster with no problem, so I'm hoping that mild turbulence won't affect us much.

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jrice4760 wrote:
I was wondering if anyone would put together that SIL#2 is almost 1.5 feet taller than DD#2! They are quite the contrast together, and she is vertically challenged against almost anybody.

Also, thanks on behalf of DD#3. All three of my daughters are extremely bright, but #3 is the only one that cared to pursue college. She plans on a nursing career, so I hope the healthcare industry can weather the current insanity that is swirling around.

I'm unsure how any of us will react to much turbulence. Anytime I've flown, I've been fortunate to have pretty good flying conditions. Anyone else in our party can handle almost any roller coaster with no problem, so I'm hoping that mild turbulence won't affect us much.

I am glad that DD#3 is considering a nursing career. Jrice I work in healthcare and nurses will always be needed. I understand that concern but she will be fine.

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jrice4760 wrote:
I was wondering if anyone would put together that SIL#2 is almost 1.5 feet taller than DD#2! They are quite the contrast together, and she is vertically challenged against almost anybody.

Yes. Even "normal" short people seem tall when they stand beside me. Only young children and little people are shorter than your daughter and I are (and some of the children and little people are barely shorter).

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Mini Update:

Our Magic Bands arrived in the mail yesterday! Disney really knows how to build the hype!

27 days to go!

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Trip sounds fantastic, congrats to your daughter.

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Yay for the magic bands and congrats to DD#3! clapping I'm also very jealous if DD#2's hair is how you describe...

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Here's a pic to show DD#2's hair, and to illustrate the height contrast between her and her husband. She actually looks a bit taller in this photo, maybe because I took the picture while sitting.

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Aw she's adorable! And I LOVE her hair! awesome

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Ok, we are down to single digits with only 9 days to go!

The kids are getting giddy with excitement (I call them kids: the youngest are 18!), the wife is getting nervous about flying, and I'm convinced that I will forget mething important.

  • Resort reservations
  • Tickets
  • Airfare
  • DME reservations
  • Some ADRs
  • No Fastpass+ yet (can't get everyone together for long enough to decide). I guess we'll wait in lines.

What am I missing?

JPR

VelcroPooh

Have you packed? laugh

I hope you have a blast! And I love DD's hair. Also congrats to #3, that's awesome!

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VelcroPooh wrote:
Have you packed? laugh

Ahh, clothes! I knew we were forgetting something!

No, we haven't packed, but we usually save that for the last couple of days before. The DW and I are both putting together mental lists.

I remember something I read on these forums about packing half as many clothes and taking twice as much money. From our previous trips, I whole-heartedly agree!

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Here's a quick update:

We're down to 3 days! All along, I've been telling those in our party "Don't get sick!". Apparently, that was the wrong thing to do. This past Saturday, the DW came down with a case of vertigo, accompanied by lower back pain that extended into her legs and feet. These symptoms are not compatible with a flight to a week's vacation at WDW. I kept telling her "Go to the doctor", and she kept thinking she could shake it. Not so.

Halfway through my 1 hour commute to work yesterday, she called me and finally said "I need to go to the doctor". So I dutilfully turned around and took her. Anything (almost) for the vacation.

Turns out, a nasty sinus infection was causing the vertigo, and likely the pain was from that also, or from having worked several hours on concrete prepping for a graduation party for DD#3. A couple of injections and some oral meds have her back on her feet, and she is, at this moment, scouring Target for sundries for the trip.

I'm glad she's feeling better. I would have missed her.

JPR