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Old 01-15-2012, 09:29 AM   #1
amazingact21
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The Family That Runs Together...Vacations Together-A May 2012 PTR *5/12

Well, I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t begin this until my current TR was completed, but I just couldn’t take it any longer. I had to organize my plans somehow and keep my excitement from pouring over within my house.


Let me step back for a second and re-group my thoughts. That last paragraph sounded like a bit much.


*Ahem*


I’m a fan of the straightforward and direct approach, so let’s get all the facts out of the way.


This whole PTR is for my trip to WDW in May 2012. (May 4-11, to be exact.) The vacation came about after my DH’s and I’s visit last May, when we fell in love with our dates.


Unlike last May, though, this trip is going to be something new and different for me. Meaning, I’m going to be dealing with a lot of firsts, leading to new potential problems and/or experiences.



Ahhhh, but once again, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start off by introducing the cast.



First off, there’s me:


I’m Alicia, a 21 year old Disney fanatic. I’m the one who plans trips down to the minute and who has learned over the years that even the best laid plans can have their faults. In addition to loving all things Disney, I am a bibliophile and a scrapbooker, and loves almost every kind of animal.

And, in addition to all that…I am a newlywed!



(This was taken at my parent’s house on Thanksgiving. Notice my fluff-ball of a dog in the background.)


Anyone who has read my past TRs knows that I’ve only been married about 4 months, but so far it has been a wonderful ride.



Not only is he a great man, but my husband is also a Disney lover.




(The picture is from our honeymoon cruise this past October.)



(Alex and my mom during our rehearsal dinner.)


Alex is 23 and works in the Air Force. I took him to Disney in December 2010 and, not knowing this was even possible, he’s become a bigger fan of it than me! One of his favorite things to do at the park is pin and vinylmation trade, so I’m sure this PTR will discuss that at some point.


DH is such a big kid at heart, and he’s my partner in crime on Disney trips. Since entering my adult years, I’ve only ever traveled there with him, so it’s become almost “our place.”


That’s all going to change on this trip, though.



This time around, my mother, Zelda, will be joining us.




My mom is a 40-something year old (I won’t put her age in case she doesn’t want it known, but I will say she’s old enough to have a 25 year old son.) mom of 3. She’s held various jobs throughout her life, librarian, fitness instructor, but above all she's a mom. And I couldn’t have asked for a better one.


Her and I are best friends, and each year only brings us closer to one another. Growing up, I was one of those rare teenagers who didn’t mind hanging out with my mom. We went and saw movies, shopped for clothes, even hit up the grocery stores together. And now, as an adult, we talk all the time and spend as much time together as our schedules will allow.





(These photos are from our trip to Key West, back in 2009.)




Now that you know who all is going on this trip…it’s time to find out about the why.


There’s 3 main reasons why this trip is happening.


Number 1: Alex and I love WDW in early May. We felt like we had part of the parks entirely to ourselves, and the weather was just warm enough for us to feel like it was a “summer vacation.”

Number 2: Probably the most important of the reasons, and the cause for my title….We’re competing in the Expedition Everest 5K Challenge!!! Alex and I participated in this event last year and had such a good time, we wanted to do it again. We signed up as a team this past December and my mother signed up as a single runner, and now we’re all in full training mode, readying ourselves to face the yeti again.

And of the 3 of us...Alex is the only competent runner. I'm partaking in the Couch to 5K challenge and am working myself up to hopefully beating my 5K time from last year (36:39). The two of us have become addicted to runDisney, and we're hoping one day to compete in the Coast to Coast Challenge.


Number 3: My mom and I wanted some mother/daughter time. You see, for the past 8+ years, my mom used to go on an annual trip with her two sisters. (It’s deemed “Sister Trip.”) Over the years, my female cousin, who’s about 5 years older than me started going, and in 2009 I joined the club. It’s been 5 of us girls on my mother’s side just taking a week to breakaway and spend time together, since we all live so far apart.

Well, this past summer, my uncle had a heart attack and I got married, so the trip had to be put on hold. Then, my cousin had her daughter, Laney (who just so happens to be the cutest baby on the planet.)

With a newborn in the mix, we all realized that another Sister trip would be years away. All this was floating around while my mom and I were planning the wedding, and we realized around late July/early August, that we wouldn’t be seeing each other as much after I got married.


So, we agreed that the two of us should take a vacation together, making up for the absence of a Sister Trip, and to reward ourselves for putting in so much time and effort into the wedding.


After talking and planning and figuring budgets out, we decided to make my May trip into one big, full-blown, blowout trip.


Here’s the rundown of our tentative plan:

May 4th-7th: We all arrive at WDW (albeit in separate ways, more on that later) and spend 3 great days together. On the night of the 7th, Alex will leave and go to his parent’s house about 45 minutes away.

Then… May 8th-11th my mom and I will experience Walt Disney World together.


I’m looking forward to sharing all that I know about WDW with my mom. She’s just as big a fan of the place as I am, but she’s never really gotten to have the full Disney experience.

She took all of us kids back in 1998, but her and my dad were on a strict budget and so we stayed off-site and brought food with us. It was a great time, but I don’t remember much about it.

Then from 2002-2006, she took us on a couple day trips to the park (one time we went to DHS as part of a Sister Trip) but those were filled with summer crowds and late night drives home.

Her and I did go once, back in 2004, to Epcot during the holidays and we had such a wonderful time. We listened to the storytellers, rode Test Track, ate at Tutto (spelling?!) Italia, and made some nice memories. So we are very much looking forward to spending more time together at WDW. Plus, my mom has been so busy with her everyday life, I feel like she deserves a vacation where she doesn't have to worry about anything while there. I want her to relax, act like a kid, and forget about all her worries for a week.



Wow…I did not mean for that introduction to be so long. I apologize profusely for the rambling and over-explanations of every detail.

In my next update, I’ll talk a little bit more about where we’re staying, the dates, and the food we hope to eat while there.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:35 AM   #2
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Resort Dilemma
ADRs
Running Routine
Slew of Updates
Traveling Plans and Short Real Life Update
Arrival Day Plans
A Disney Store Arrival!
Second Day Plans
2 Month Mark!
Third Day Plans
Pre-Trip Preparations
Day 4 Plans!
New Shirts and Some Daily Itineraries
Travel Journal and Movie Night
Mickey Mail!
Day 5 Plans
Day 6 Plans
Time is Running Out!
I Missed You, DISboards!
Bib Number Revealed
A Little Bump in the Road
Single Digit Dance and Food Lists
Last Day Plans
Race Shirts
It's Tomorrow! Mr. Tom Morrow!
We're Back!
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Current Reports:Let's Watch the Hallucination Show on the Castle -A May '14 TR
Past Reports:December 2013 TR/December 2013 PTR/May 2012 TR/May 2012 PTR /May 2011 TR /December 2010 TR

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Old 01-16-2012, 05:17 PM   #3
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Woohoo! Great story, I'm here to watch the planning unfold =)
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:34 PM   #4
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Sounds awesome! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:11 PM   #5
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Count me in!!!
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:32 PM   #6
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I'm in! Sounds like a great trip!
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My TR's/PTR's~12/13 TR~2/13 TR~11/12 TR!~11/12 PTR!~5/12 TR!~5/12 PTR!~12/11 TR!~10/11 TR!~10/11 PTR!~11/10 TR!~11/10 PTR!~Disneymoon TR 5/10!


Many family trips offsite~9/08 ASMu~11/09 WL~Disneymoon 5/10 BC~11/10 POR~10/11 WL~12/11 Pop~5/12 BC~11/12 AoA/POR~2/13 AKL/BLT
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sizzle View Post
Woohoo! Great story, I'm here to watch the planning unfold =)
Hi and thanks for joining in!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessicaKnits View Post
Sounds awesome! Can't wait to read more!
Thanks, glad to have you following along!

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Originally Posted by MelMel11 View Post
Count me in!!!
Welcome!!!


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Originally Posted by Nermel9 View Post
I'm in! Sounds like a great trip!
Hey Jen! Thanks for joining in; I'm hoping my PTR can be as entertaining as yours was. I loved reading yours.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:24 AM   #8
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Resort Dilemma

What good is a Pre-Trip report without a little resort drama?


Actually, I thought picking a resort would be the easiest part of my planning, but it’s turning out to be a little tougher than I anticipated.


As far as Walt Disney Resorts go, I have my favorites, my not-so favorites, and my go-to spots.


If I had my way, we would all be staying here:



I’d be close to Dole Whips. My mom would be close to a beach. And Alex would be close to Kona.


Everyone would win!


Unfortunately, I’m a cheapskate and for 2 twenty something year old newlyweds, the Polynesian is just a teensy bit out of our budget for the time being. We hope to stay there one day.


But next May is certainly not that “one day.”


So, I stepped back from my “if I won the lottery tomorrow and were able to live at Disney for weeks on end” fantasy and asked my mom what her priorities for the trip were. Alex and I very rarely spend time at the resorts; we use them mostly for sleeping, swimming, and an occasional bite to eat.


I put feelers out for my mother, seeing if she foresaw herself spending a lot of the time walking around and exploring the place she was staying at, or if she figured she’d be mostly at one of the parks, eating and taking in all the sights.


She replied back, telling me that she really wanted to try some of WDW’s restaurants (since she’s only been to one) and wanted to really take in the world.

I thought about it a bit and decided that with our goals being food and fun, a Value resort would suit us fine.


Alex and I are determined to stay at as many WDW-owned resorts as possible, so I wanted to pick a Value we hadn’t been to before.

That left us with All Star Movies and All Star Music.


I felt like the 3 of us would enjoy Movies just a little bit more than Music, so by November, I had told the other two that that was where we were staying.






The only problem was…I didn’t feel comfortable booking rooms until the Expedition Everest 5K registration opened. At the time, there had been rumors about the official date, but I did not want to take a chance and it turn out that the race was two weeks after our booked stay.

The registration window officially opened on December 13th, and the three of us got ourselves signed up.


As soon as that happened, I began reserving our ADRs and ended up getting everywhere I wanted.


Then the holidays fell on us, and Alex and I became busy shuffling from my parent’s to his parent’s house for Christmas. Then there was New Years. Then came the first of January, when Alex discovered he’d be moving from one position in his job to a new one.


And before I knew it, it was January 5th and I still hadn’t booked a room!!!


I had planned for us to book 2 rooms. One room for my mom and I, going from May 4th-May 11th, and another room for Alex, for May 4th-7th. I wanted my mom and I to have our dining plan covered on the same room and that way we’d have the same Key to the World Cards, and I just planned to move over to “our” room after Alex checked out on the 7th. I know…that’s not what we’re supposed to do, but I didn’t see the harm in it. It would be easier than trying to get 2 rooms, with one of the guests leaving halfway through the trip.


Alex called WDW the weekend of the 7th and asked for a quote on a military room + dining for 2 rooms at All Star Movies.


The nice Cast Member on the line informed us that all the military discounted rooms were already booked during our dates.

Nooooo.


So I had Alex ask her if any of the other All Stars had military rooms available.


The only one that had any open spots was:




All Star Sports, the same one Alex and I stayed at during our last May trip.


I asked him to get a quick quote for here, as well:





But Alex didn’t like the idea of me getting to stay at Caribbean Beach for a week while he had to leave and go back home. Plus, this was supposed to be where we stayed for our Disneymoon, before we decided to go on a cruise.


So, I took CBR out of the equation, promising Alex we could try our best to stay there in 2013.


Which brought us back to All Star Sports. Thinking about it, I had some really good Pros concerning staying there again, but I also had some Cons.





The biggest negative about it would be that Alex and I wouldn’t get to experience a new resort. You never know how many opportunities you’ll get to visit WDW, and the last thing we want is to miss out on staying at a potentially great place.

Another Con, though not a bad, is that we’ll have to shower with all those creepy faces looking at us.


Eeck.

The wallpaper inside the All Star Sports bathrooms are a montage of famous baseball players. And I don’t know about you, but getting up in the middle of the night and turning on the light to see a bunch of guys watching you is CREEPY!!!! Normally Disney hits home runs ( oh puns, hardee harr harr) with their designs, but those bathrooms are a big strike out for me.


But, on the other hand, the two of us would be familiar with the resort, and there’s something to be said about that. We’d know how to get to the food court, where the laundry room is, how to get to the two pools, etc. Plus, the overall resort is pretty small and the least popular of the three All Stars, giving us a sense of coziness. We wouldn’t have to worry about a ton of people at the pools or fighting the masses during dinner. (After staying at Pop, I appreciate the quiet of Sports so much more.)


In addition, I LOVED () the parking at Sports. We always found a spot in the first row for our car, and our building was right next to the lot. I’m taking a wild guess and saying that the military rooms remain the same each year, and that we’ll get, if not the same, a similar building this go around. Call me lazy, but after spending the morning at the parks strolling around, I cherished the short walk from our car to our room upon our return to Sports.


When we stayed at Pop, the distance was brutal, and I hated it. Normally, I’m not such a lazy butt when it comes to walking, but since this is my vacation, I want convenience to be a priority.


With all the positives I have towards Sports, I still have yet to book the room.


I know, I know, that insane! I’m less than 4 months away from my trip, and I still don’t have a place to stay….I must be crazy.


A big part of that is due to the fact that my mom wants to use her card to pay, so that she can get points, because she’s planning on cashing them all in right before we leave. And to do so would mean we need to make time to get together and call WDW, which just hasn’t fit into either of our schedules lately. Then, the other reason is, I’m sort of hoping a new, magical option will appear that I haven’t thought of yet. Perhaps someone will cancel their reservation at Movies, solving this new problem. Maybe Alex will demand we stay at Pop again, because he needs immediate access to the Tie Dye Cheesecake. Maybe an Annual Passholder special will be announced last minute that bumps the discount up past the military one…(HAHAHA)


Either way, I’m pushing my luck waiting so long to book. I just hope I don’t postpone it too long and let the rooms at Sports get booked.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:25 AM   #9
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YOU STARTED YOUR REPORT!!!!!! YAY!!! I'm so happy to have another Expedition Everest Challenge participator to share pre trips with

I was looking back to your comment on my PTR b/c we finally had a time for Kona Cafe and when I looked at the bottom of your comment I was thrilled to see the link to your pretrip for this time around! yay.

Anyway, I guess we won't run into you at Kona b/c we are scheduled to be there for 11:00 am. But thanks for the inspiration to go there. I cannot WAIT to eat there on race day!

You better get a date with your mom quick and get those rooms booked!! You don't want to miss out

Kim
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:59 PM   #10
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I totally missed you had started this PTR - probably because you had said you weren't going to start until your TR was complete!

That's really nice that you have such a close relationship with your mum - I was the same growing up as well.

Yay on running EE Challenge again!

Lol I think we would all love to live at Poly one day! Good luck with booking your room at All Star Sports.
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Old 01-19-2012, 10:08 AM   #11
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YOU STARTED YOUR REPORT!!!!!! YAY!!! I'm so happy to have another Expedition Everest Challenge participator to share pre trips with

I was looking back to your comment on my PTR b/c we finally had a time for Kona Cafe and when I looked at the bottom of your comment I was thrilled to see the link to your pretrip for this time around! yay.

Anyway, I guess we won't run into you at Kona b/c we are scheduled to be there for 11:00 am. But thanks for the inspiration to go there. I cannot WAIT to eat there on race day!

You better get a date with your mom quick and get those rooms booked!! You don't want to miss out

Kim

I read your latest update on your PTR, but my computer was being really slow and wouldn't let me post a reply. It's great that you've made it to the 20 minute jog part on the C25K, that's such a huge milestone.

Glad you guys decided to eat at Kona on race day. It'll give you the perfect boost of energy you need for that night.


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I totally missed you had started this PTR - probably because you had said you weren't going to start until your TR was complete!

That's really nice that you have such a close relationship with your mum - I was the same growing up as well.

Yay on running EE Challenge again!

Lol I think we would all love to live at Poly one day! Good luck with booking your room at All Star Sports.

I tried so hard to not begin a PTR until my TR was finished, but I realized that I had nothing organized with my May trip, and I figured I could get everything in order if I wrote it down.

Wouldn't it be so nice to live at the Polynesian....
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Old 01-20-2012, 08:41 AM   #12
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That's funny you mentioned your computer was really slow b/c I've been finding it EXTREMELY painful to surf the DIS lately Everything I click on takes a good solid minute to respond (or several minutes like this post now took 3). I'm not sure what is up with that but when I pop over to another website or my Tour Guide Mike message boards it's all instant so I'm wondreing what's going on there?

It's really frustrating b/c when I try to do some learning I give up after half an our b/c I've only gotten like 10 minuntes worth of reading and research done in the half hour and I can't waste anymore time on it

I really hope it stops dragging on like that soon b/c I have the itch to read up on stuff!!!!
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:31 AM   #13
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That's funny you mentioned your computer was really slow b/c I've been finding it EXTREMELY painful to surf the DIS lately Everything I click on takes a good solid minute to respond (or several minutes like this post now took 3). I'm not sure what is up with that but when I pop over to another website or my Tour Guide Mike message boards it's all instant so I'm wondreing what's going on there?

It's really frustrating b/c when I try to do some learning I give up after half an our b/c I've only gotten like 10 minuntes worth of reading and research done in the half hour and I can't waste anymore time on it

I really hope it stops dragging on like that soon b/c I have the itch to read up on stuff!!!!


I know what you mean. I used to be able to load pages on the DISboards really fast, but now it takes forever for me to even get to the Trip Reports page. I'm just assuming there's been a big increase in traffic on the site and that's why it takes longer.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:07 AM   #14
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ADRs

Hello, hello! Hope everyone’s Sunday is going well so far. In a few hours I’ll see if my Patriots can beat my sister in-law’s Ravens to make it to the Superbowl.

I discovered last Friday that I might be just a teensy bit obsessed with Disney. Alex and I went to the zoo, and when we went up to the admissions desk, I had to stop myself from going, “Jambo, everyone!” Uhhhh….the things Disney does to me…. Anywho, on to my update:


Who Doesn’t Love Food?


One of my favorite things about Walt Disney World is the fact that I can eat, eat, and eat and not feel guilty about what I’m consuming.


I paid for the Dining Plan.


The Dining Plan says I get a dessert after my entrée.


I don’t want to WASTE my hard-earned money that I invested in this plan by NOT ordering dessert.


It’s a bullet I’ll just have to take…


Oh, and I can get snacks between meals?


If you insist…


When Alex, my mom, and myself all started discussing the trip, I knew that food was going to play a major factor. Alex and I love going out to eat, and my mom and I love the social interactions that come from going to a nice restaurant for lunch. Some of our best conversations were created over a bowl of fettuccini alfredo or a plate of chicken enchiladas, and I wanted my mom to try some of Disney’s amazing food selections.

So, without even thinking about it, I knew we would all be on the Regular Disney Dining Plan.

The Deluxe Plan sounded tempting, but honestly, I couldn’t imagine eating at more than one table service restaurant a day. I like to have a little bit of wiggle room for park time, and the meals at the restaurant are just so filling that I barely want more than 2 meals a day.


With the plan picked out, I counted out how many meals I would be getting, then divided them into how many would be split between Alex, my mom, and me, and how many would just be myself and my mother.

(The answer is 3 and 4.)


Then I started to think about what places Alex would like to eat at, since he’s only going to be there for 3 days.

Kona was a given. It’s Alex’s favorite, and it’s kind of a tradition for us to eat there. We’ve done it every time we have visited.

I bounced a couple more ideas around in my head. For awhile we were going to try Coral Reef, then there were a few moments of Crystal Palace, and for a good long while Liberty Tree Tavern was a must.

But then I pulled up the park hours for May and realized that I needed to figure out where we were all going each doing before I could pick restaurants.


The whole ordeal was actually really stressful, and I wasn’t much a fan of having to think about crowd levels and menus and the easiest routes to take.

After about 3 hours of contemplating and tweaking and forseeing the future, I came up with a plan.


Which I changed the following day.


Then changed again a few weeks later.


But I have made all 7 reservations, and I am bound and determined to keep them where they are. (Unless a Coral Reef lunch opens up at Epcot.)


Here’s what the ADRs are:

Saturday, May 5th: Kona Café breakfast (We ate here on our last race day, and it was a fabulous choice. All those carbs from the Tonga Toast and Macadamein Pancakes kept us energized.)




Sunday, May 6th: Kona Café dinner. Don’t laugh at our 2 straight Kona days. It’s two completely different meals, and I love the close proximity to Magic Kingdom without having to deal with the park crowds.


Monday, May 7th: Teppan Edo lunch. This would be the only one I’d change. It’s a really late ADR, and I kind of want to eat at a new Epcot restaurant.




Tuesday, May 8th: Nothing


Wednesday, May 9th: 1900 park fare breakfast. This will be just my mom and I, and I picked this because my mom is in love with the Grand Floridian. She thinks the resort is beautiful, and I want her to get a chance to see the inside and enjoy all the sights and sounds.




Via Napoli dinner: I think this is the ADR I’m most excited about. My mom lived in Italy for 3 years, so she loves all things Italian. Plus, this will be my older brother’s birthday, and he was born in Italy, so it’ll be like we’re paying homage to him.




Thursday, May 10th: Crystal Palace breakfast. Okay, I lied. THIS is what I’m most excited for. I’ve wanted to eat at Crystal Palace for years, but I could just never fit it into my trips. But this time, I was bound and determined to. It was my one MUST DO, and even though I have to wait until my last full Disney day to experience it, I’m looking forward to it.



50’s Prime Time Café Dinner. This is just something for my mom and I to refuel on while we tear up Hollywood Studios on our last night. I really wanted to pick my favorite, Sci Fi dine-In, but I just do not like their dinner menu. Trust me, I fought hard for Sci Fi, because I’m one of those rare people who like their burgers and shakes. It just wasn’t in the books for this trip.




In the end, I’m content with my picks. Alex is happy, because he gets his Kona dinner, and my mom is willing to eat at wherever I tell her to. It was kind of weird having that kind of control. Everyone just handed the reins to me and said, “I trust your judgment, you know what I will and will not eat.”


Then again, if anything goes wrong, I am in deep trouble. With great power comes great responsibility, and I won’t lie, a huge weight has been lifted off my back now that this part of the planning is over.


And now…I get to spend the next 102 days thinking about all the waffles and pizza and cake I’ll not-so-soon be eating. It’s pretty tortuous.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:45 PM   #15
TanzUnited99
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Hi Alicia! I don't know anything about Superbowl but hope your team won! My football team won their match today so I'm very happy!

Lol I love that you can eat whatever you want at Disney World without feeling guilty!

You'll love 1900 PF and Crystal Palace breakfasts - they were both a hoot for us though Crystal Palace was that little bit better.

I've not eaten at Via Napoli but read great reviews! Lol I think it's great that you are having breakfast and dinner at Kona Cafe in the same trip - I would love to do that!
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