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-   -   CHRISTMAS VACATION (The Trip, Not the Movie): 12/19 - We're back, TR link on p. 25 (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2153842)

annnewjerz 04-19-2009 06:57 PM

CHRISTMAS VACATION (The Trip, Not the Movie): 12/19 - We're back, TR link on p. 25
 
Welcome to a compulsive planner's first foray in the world of the trippie! I'm going to (try) to keep the installments of my PTR easily accessible and very well organized, but please forgive me in advance if I'm not able to :goodvibes

So, without further delay...let's get this baby started!!!

INDEX

How Our Trip Came To Be: The Story

The Basics of Our Trip: Details, Flights Booked!, To Eat/To Drink Lists, Park Tickets Arrive, Day 1 Food in DTD, Day 2 Food in DHS, Day 3 Food in MK, Day 5 Food in Epcot, Final(ish) Plan for ADRs, ADRs Booked!!, Behind the Seeds Booked!, Wishes Dessert Party Booked!, Updated Itinerary to include MVMCP

Twists, Turns and Surprises: Changes Already?, Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba, Keys to the Kingdom Tour, Behind the Seeds-Anything's a Possibility, October Anniversary Trip in the Works, Cirque Tickets a Whole 8 Days Early!, Could it be---Deluxe Dining?!, Did Someone Say Cake?, KTTK & MVMCP No More, The Final Surprise: An Upgraded Resort, In The Words of Britney Spears---Oops I Did It Again, Another Resort Change

Fun Stuff: Pin Collecting, My First Disney Pins, The Neverending Quest for a Decent Looking Comfortable Shoe, New Camera Bag, Pre-Trip Shopping!, More Shopping - Disney Shirts For All!!, Got My Disney Shirts, Do I Like Them??, The Shirt Saga Continues, BWV Christmas Tree Swap, Special Souvenier from Lurkyloo, Mickey Mail, Trip Shopping & 30 Days Til The Trip!

Random Thoughts & Incoherent Ramblings: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

annnewjerz 04-19-2009 07:13 PM

So, why are we going?
 
Like most of you on these boards, I am quite the Disney fanatic. No, I don't have a room in my house dedicated to Disney doo-dads and Pez dispensers and I'm not covered in Disney tattoos (although I am considering my first), but that doesn't make me any less of an enthusiast, does it?? (More on me later though)

Our last trip to The World was in September 2007 during Free Dining. We stayed at All-Star Sports and it was DH's first trip ever to WDW. Unfortunately, this was my first trip to WDW as an adult and I had no idea what planning was involved---so we winged it. One week later, after many attempts at walk-up meals, full days at the park and our fair share of arguments with the rest of our group we returned to New Jersey exhausted. DH didn't experience the "magic" and I had thought for sure that would be our last trip to The World as a married couple.

Luckily, in 2008 I happened to meet another amazing DISer over on the Photo Board and was offered the opportunity to rent DVC points at the Boardwalk this year. If only I could convince DH. This was my chance for redemption, my chance to show DH how fantastic WDW could truly be, my chance to sell him on the magic and my chance to see The World at Christmas!!!

.......and so the quest began.

After crunching the numbers, figuring out when we could take vacation and selling DH on all of the pros that BWV had to offer over All-Star Sports, he decided that if we could get a Standard View Studio, we could go at Christmas time this year!

I was overwhelmed with excitement. I knew that the Standard View Studios were hard to come by and that to do this trip "right" a lot more planning would be involved. On January 13, 2009 I got the glorious call that we had secured the Standard View Studio at BWV for $95 per night!!! What a steal, this would most certainly get DH looking forward to the trip, right?

The trip is now officially booked and so the rest of the planning continues.

annnewjerz 04-19-2009 07:21 PM

Details.
 
So, here are the basic details for the trip.

The Details:

Dates: December 12-18, 2009

The Hotel(s): 1 night @ POP, 5 nights @ BWV

Special Events Planned:
  • Candlelight Processional
  • Tour Deluxe Resorts to See Christmas Decorations
  • Osborne Lights

The "Cast Members":

Me (Ann) - 25. A little weird, loud and just a bit obnoxious, but all around good person (or so I have been told). Married to DH for 4 years. New Jersey native who was transplanted to a sub-base in CT for a year after getting married and is VERY happy to be back in good ol' New Jersey!

Taken on the Boardwalk while waiting to be seated at ESPN Club to watch the Phillies game.
http://annnewjerz.smugmug.com/photos..._EYctP-M-2.jpg

DH (Erik) - 26. Also a little weird, but in a much less obnoxious way. My high-school sweetheart who was taken away for a period of time (actually 6 years, but "period of time" sounded better) while serving in the US Navy as a submariner. After marrying in 05 and getting off of active duty in 06, he moved back to NJ with me where we purchased a house and filled it with 6 cats and2 big dumb dogs.

Taken in the America Pavillion in Epcot in 07.
http://annnewjerz.smugmug.com/photos..._8yDAa-M-0.jpg

and a last minute player..........

DM (Lois) - I would never be so cruel as to list her age in a public forum. My Mom hasn't been on a vacation in about 12 years and has had a rough couple of years (my Dad passed away a few years ago), so we decided to invite her along for the trip!!
http://annnewjerz.smugmug.com/photos..._tmPsC-M-0.jpg

awaldo 04-19-2009 07:36 PM

I'm intrigued. Can't wait to hear about your planning!

annnewjerz 04-19-2009 07:46 PM

Changing it up a bit.
 
After booking BWV for December 12-18, 2009, logically the next step would be to look for airfare, wait for park hours, etc.

For me, this wasn't the case. The next logical step was to add an extra night at POP Century. I mean...why not, right? We are now arriving on Saturday instead of Sunday (more on why later) and will have a whole extra day in WDW. Booking POP for that extra night helped reinforce to me (and to DH more importantly) how much of a steal the room at BWV is.

1 night @ POP with AAA discount = $90 per night
1 night @ BWV on points = $95 per night

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.



The next "twist" in the plan was to add a third member to our party. Originally, the trip was planned for myself and DH. We typically go on one trip per year and really enjoy going on them alone, it gives us a chance to relax and reconnect. This year was a little different though. About 3 years ago, my Father passed away. My DM doesn't have a travel companion and really hasn't been on a trip in about 12 years anyway, so being that she loved WDW when she went when we were kids, we extended the invite and she has accepted!

This is going to complicate the trip a little more, because adding people always makes it hard to please everyone, doesn't it? She has already informed me that she is happy to leave the planning to me and that she will do whatever we'd like to do with the exception of a few requests (a certain attraction, show, restaurant, etc.) It will also make our Standard View Studio a little cramped and maybe a little awkward, but she is more than willing to stay on the sleeper sofa and since money is tight it seems like the perfect solution.

I'm nervous and excited about having her come with us all at the same time. We have our moments where we butt heads like no others, but hopefully the fantasticness that is Disney will keep us both calm, cool and collected. If not, nothing can be worse than the blow-out we had with my DB and DSIL in 07 :rolleyes:

shordiebecka 04-19-2009 08:05 PM

ohhhh! I bet this time you'll love Disney!!! I'm going to be there the same time as you, except the 14-18. A shorter trip, but well worth it! I'll be at the Beach Club (hopefully), so right next door! Can't wait ot hear your plans.

annnewjerz 04-19-2009 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by awaldo (Post 31421649)
I'm intrigued. Can't wait to hear about your planning!

:woohoo:

My first interested party!! Unfortunately, I'm still about 8 months out, so this is going to be a long wait (which is part of the reason I started the PTR---I need something to keep my mind off of how far away the trip is!)

Quote:

Originally Posted by shordiebecka (Post 31422181)
ohhhh! I bet this time you'll love Disney!!! I'm going to be there the same time as you, except the 14-18. A shorter trip, but well worth it! I'll be at the Beach Club (hopefully), so right next door! Can't wait ot hear your plans.

I'm really hoping he loves Disney more than before, we have some agreed upon terms (we have to take a break at some point during the day and enjoy the pool at least a few times), so hopefully that'll make things better than in 07. New London was my home for a short while (DH was stationed on a sub in Groton), I'm definitely missing me some Tim Hortons! :goodvibes

Enjoy your trip!!

awaldo 04-19-2009 08:38 PM

We just decided to take my mother with us, so we share that commonality!

disneyaddicted 04-19-2009 10:29 PM

Seriously, right hand up to God, I do have a room dedicated to Disney doo dads and Pez dispensors, I just thought when you said that it was hilariously, DH and kids always tease me about it, I guess for you to know about it there must be others out there. Unless you happen to have read one of my old reports and I truly am the only one like that? ;)

I am taking my Mom on a trip in January, I am looking forward to it but am also a little weary as well. 7 nights in a room with dear ole Mom, I think I might bring Captain Morgan and possibley Jack for a little help.

Awesome that you were able to rent points, can't believe the major savings there, big eye opener.

Disney is December is the best. It just adds to the already magic.

looking forward to reading more.

Abby's Dad 04-20-2009 08:27 AM

I am here following your post on Lease & Code's combined trip report and triplet watch, and I am intrigued by your rental of DVC points. Awesome savings! I am certainly curious how this works out, and how one goes about this.

You mention that you don't have a Disney-themed tattoo - yet. In 2007 my wife and I went to WDW. This was my wife's first trip to the World, and in planning for the trip it came out that she has always harbored a secret love of Tinkerbell. As we talked about this, she decided that she wanted a Tinkerbell tattoo. Whoa! This is your basic Midwestern, conservative, 51-year-old (at that time) woman, who had never even thought about a tattoo previously. Anyway, she got the tattoo for her birthday, and is very happy with it.

We also took our 24-year-old daughter along, as she had never been to WDW either. As some encouragement for you, like you with your mother, we have butted heads from time-to-time with our daughter. The bright side of this is that since sharing this experience we have a much deepter relationship, and find the head-butt times to be fewer and less severe.

So I think I'll hop on for the ride, particularly since our current dream is returning to WDW for Christmas, though not this year.

annnewjerz 04-20-2009 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by disneyaddicted (Post 31424529)
Seriously, right hand up to God, I do have a room dedicated to Disney doo dads and Pez dispensors, I just thought when you said that it was hilariously, DH and kids always tease me about it, I guess for you to know about it there must be others out there. Unless you happen to have read one of my old reports and I truly am the only one like that? ;)

Welcome!

Too funny! :rotfl: I have seen lots of pics of people who have decorated their house in an over the top WDW theme and while one day I might have a room dedicated to WDW "stuff"---not right now. I'm SURE you are not alone. With all the money that's spent on souveniers while in WDW, I'm sure there are a lot more people just like you out there than you'd think!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abby's Dad (Post 31427688)
I am here following your post on Lease & Code's combined trip report and triplet watch, and I am intrigued by your rental of DVC points. Awesome savings! I am certainly curious how this works out, and how one goes about this.

Welcome to you as well! It's funny how many people stumble upon others' posts because of another common thread they read.

Now for a novel...

As far as the points rental goes, it is a process that involves a lot of trust. We hooked up with another member on the Photo Board almost by accident. I had mentioned how much I would LOVE to stay at BWV and she mentioned she had extra points. Next thing you know---we're going!

....Okay so it was a littttttle more work than that. We had to plan about a year in advance because the booking window opens at 11 months. We had to figure out a plan A, B and C in case one of the scenarios didn't work out. She booked the room for us and within about a week or two forwarded us a contract to review and sign. In return, we sent in part of our payment (from what I understand, most renters are required to pay the full amount at the time of booking but she made an exception) and she forwarded us back our confirmation. The room is booked by the DVC owner, but under our name. We gave her full names of the guests, addresses, etc.

In terms of the price, I really feel like it was the best option as there was NO WAY we could have afforded BWV this year on our own. A "point" number is assigned for each night depending on your room category. We then paid a certain dollar amount to the renter per point.

It was really simple, but definitely do your research first. There is a whole board dedicated to renting DVC points, I'd hop over there to do some more research. We can't call DVC, we can't modity our reservations, we can't add package options to our trip, etc.---that all has to be taken care of by the DVC member.

Quote:

Anyway, she got the tattoo for her birthday, and is very happy with it.
That's a really funny story. I have two tattoos right now, but since Disney has always held a special place in my heart, I'd consider something very discreet. My idea is to get a "Hidden Mickey" tattoo, not necessarily hidden in another design, just hidden in terms of placement, somewhere discreet since I work at a law firm. Maybe behind my ear.

Quote:

So I think I'll hop on for the ride, particularly since our current dream is returning to WDW for Christmas, though not this year.
I hope you have the chance to go at Christmas sometime in the near future. I hear it's a great time and a very memorable trip if you can see all of the Holiday stuff WDW has to offer---I'm really looking forward to it!! :thumbsup2

Abby's Dad 04-20-2009 06:44 PM

Thanks for all the info - after reading your post and the great rate you are getting I did start doing a little poking around over on the DVC boards. That is really a heck of a price!

I was going to load some pics of the tattoo to Flickr but it is running terminally slow, so maybe tomorrow, but it is not a readily visible tattoo. She did consider a hidden Mickey. One of the things that came out of this was that DD had gotten a tattoo that she designed herself while she was in college, and had been very careful in making sure that the old folks wouldn't see it. She was quite surprised by DW's tat - and then came clean about hers.

DD is planning a quick trip to WDW in October with two girlfriends - that will be quite the group!

Your enthusiasm reminds me of our group's enthusiasm - and I am sure that you will have an absolutely wonderful time.

annnewjerz 04-20-2009 11:21 PM

More fun stuff to keep me busy.
 
So in an effort to help the time between now and our trip pass more quickly, I have tried coming up with some new hobbies. I'm already a hobbyist when it comes to photography (which you will learn more about later), I have recently taken up going to the shooting range (weird...I know) and most recently, I have decided to become a Disney PIN COLLECTOR! :)

Okay, so pin collector isn't exactly what I plan on becoming---but I would like to get a few. There have been some I have been eyeing up for a while since seeing them on Carrie/Lurkyloo's TR and decided to start scouting them out on E-bay.

They are called Vinylmation Pins. They came in a mystery box when you buy them in WDW, so you may get the same ones over and over---as I stated, it was a mystery! They don't sell them in the parks anymore from what I understand, so I figured E-bay was my only way to get them. Here is what they look like:

http://eventservices.disney.go.com/files/14613423.jpg

Cute, right??

I also plan on trying to get the set of 5 Haunted Mansion Hidden Mickeys (pictured below) and a few for Splash Mountain since they are my two favorite rides in WDW.

http://www.pinpics.com/img/p1164/pin58223 http://www.pinpics.com/img/p1254/pin62722 http://www.pinpics.com/img/p1164/pin58222 http://www.pinpics.com/img/p1158/pin57921 http://www.pinpics.com/img/p1137/pin56898

Lastly, I think I'll pick up a few that I'm actually not crazy over. This may sound stupid, but I'll have a really hard time trading with a CM if it is a pin I really like---so my thought process was that if I buy a few cheapies I don't like at all, it'll be easier to make myself trade. KWIM?

Anywho, that's all I've got for tonight. I've got a surprise brewing---but since I have such a long time until our trip, I figure I should at least try to save it for a litttttttttle while.

Until next time!

annnewjerz 04-23-2009 01:17 PM

So, just wanted to update this bad boy. Today marked a special occassion---I received my first ever Disney pins in the mail!!

I was hesitant to E-bay for pins because of so many fakes being passed as "authentic" but decided, if it's a pin I like I really dont care one way or the other. I hope that doesn't make me a bad pin collector ;)

So, without further delay---here are my first pins. From what I have read and the inspection I did as soon as they arrived, it seems that I ended up with some keepers, all authentic from what I can see.

I've decided on a few themes for what pins I want to collect. Haunted Mansion is one of them. These are called the hitchhiking ghosts "cuties" and that they are!!

http://i21.ebayimg.com/04/i/001/36/95/bea1_1.JPG

I'll also have some more Haunted Mansion, the Vinylmations pictures in my previous post and a whole boat load of Chip & Dale pins coming my way in the next week or two, but don't worry---I won't post pictures of all of them.

annnewjerz 04-24-2009 09:34 PM

Up, up and away!!!
 
So today we hit a major milestone in our (my) trip planning. We booked our flights!!!

I have been looking at airfare for months, since the first airlines released their schedules and was astounded that it was going to cost $250 to fly round trip non-stop from Newark, NJ to Orlando. In 2007 we paid $128 round trip---with no baggage fees none the less!!! I absolutely refused to pay this much for airfare...and so the quest began.

I have been checking daily on JetBlue, Southwest, Airtrain, Continental, US Air...you name it I've checked it.

Well today, my search paid off. I booked our departure flight on Airtran out of Philadelphia for $59 one way! Unfortunately, our return date wasn't released, but...wait....what's this??? US Air had $59 fares published for our trip home!!! :yay:

All I had to do was convince Erik (DH) that flying US Air (or as he calls it, US Scare) would be okay. He isn't a fan, whether it was the cranky crew we always encounterer or the fact that the cushion on the seat of our last flight was literally duct-taped together---I knew it would be tough to convince him.

Well, after dinner tonight he decided the $59 fare was too good to pass up and said we could book, after all, you can have a bad experience on any airline, right?

So---we are scheduled for the following:

December 12, 09 / 7:00am - 9:30am
December 18, 09 / 7:30pm - 10:00pm

Even though the trip was "official" before---booking my airfare definitely makes me feel like our trip is that much more real, and getting here much more quickly than I imaged it would (thank goodness!!!)


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