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Old 06-25-2013, 09:55 PM   #151
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And thank you again! I've added notes about locations/times for Cinematic Spectacular to my plans.
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:31 PM   #152
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Dining Plans!

I have been in hyper planning mode lately!

I have lots of things I really want to share with you guys about touring plans, movies I want to watch before we go, things I'm looking forward to most, etc. But I'm trying to pace myself so I have plenty of things to keep talking about for the next 86 days!

So, today let's talk about our dining plans. We'll have three days in the parks at UO, two at IOA and one at US. Our FD plan includes 2 days of dining which gives us each 2 TS, 2 CS, 2 snack and 2 beverage credits. Of course this means we'll be paying OOP for at least one meal but that's okay because one of our "musts" isn't on the dining plan so we'd have been paying OOP for that anyway.

We're also going to have a day at Legoland but it's strictly CS and after looking at menus it's pretty standard theme park fare and there's no outstanding theming we must see at the restaurants. So, it will probably be completely about convenience there. When we get hungry, we'll eat.

We'll have a fridge and microwave in our room as well as a coffee maker so breakfast each day will be done before we leave (or most likely on the way to the parks, lol). This not only saves us $$ but also time in the parks- I don't want to spend the early hours when the parks are least crowded eating!

As for snacks and drinks, we'll just stop when we get hungry. Nothing is a must for snacks and butterbeer is the only must have drink so we'll just look for the DP symbol when we need to. I'll also probably bring a few things in my bag so we have options beyond theme park food. Sometimes I just really want a piece of fruit but don't want to pay $4 for it.

So, our dining plans:

Day 1: IOA

We want to be as flexible as possible on our first day so we can just move from place to place with no specific timetable so no TS meals this day.

We'll, of course, be starting our day at WWoHP and will get some butterbeer at some point. We'll probably get a couple of refillable mugs for the kids because they make a great souvenir plus we get cheap refills throughout the day. It's still going to be hot and I know we're going to want more than the 2 beverage credits we each have for our 3 days in the parks. And I know we'll want more butterbeer!

I've looked at the DP list, menus, reviews and even asked about air conditioning at various CS restaurants and have our options narrowed down but decided not to make specific choices ahead of time (remember, we're trying to be flexible!). Instead I've made a list of places we might want to eat in various places around the park to include with our touring plans. This way when we get hungry I can just look at my list and see what's close by that we'll enjoy. (Yes, this is me being laid back.)

My list for our lunch options at IOA includes:
  • Thunder Falls Terrace
  • Comic Strip Cafe
  • Cafe 4
  • Captain America's (with a special note to avoid unless we're starving at this point, lol)
  • Circus McGurkus
  • Fire Eater's Grill

We'll be having that OOP dinner at 3 Broomsticks since we'll head back to WWoHP in the evening. I don't think we'll be hungry when we're ready to move on in the morning, especially if we make early entry, so it makes more sense to plan for dinner. Of course this list makes us completely flexible so if we end up spending way more time in the WWoHP in the morning and want to do lunch there and dinner at one of these places it won't be a problem.

Day 2: US
  • Louie's
  • Richter's

Short list, huh. Must be something about studio theme parks since the CS options at DHS are also kind of sparse.

I originally had Monster Cafe on my list, it is included on the DP list I printed out but I can't find it on the map- I think I read it was closing and a new CS option was taking it's place. I'm sure if that happens it will change on the DP as well. So, I'll just have to wait for reviews of the new place to see if I want to add it to the list.

Those are definitely lunch options and we'll just eat when we get hungry, finding the place closest to us at the time. For dinner we have a ressie at Finnegan's for 5:00 PM. I've debated A LOT about this time and it's not too late to make changes if we want to... Park closing is at 7:00 so I'm thinking Cinematic Spectacular will be at 6:45 based on current scheduling. I could push our time back but I don't really want to. 5:00 is pretty early for us to eat- at home we NEVER eat before 7:00 so anything earlier that 5:00 is going to be super early! Plus, I think we'll have time to take a break mid-day after seeing/doing everything we want and an earlier dinner will make this more difficult. Finishing up at 2:00 to return by 5:00 seems doable but returning by 4:30 seems like it will be more rushed than relaxing.

Day 3: IOA

We have a late lunch ressie at Confisco's at 2:00 PM. We'll probably be out of CS credits at this point- though my mom and DD are both light eaters and may end up sharing a few times. Plus if we do pizza is it the same as WDW where a large pizza is only two CS credits? If so, we may have extra from that as well. We also may or may not have snack credits to use up at this point. We always do at WDW BUT Disney's DP includes dessert with CS meals so we never need to use all of our snack credits. Not sure if this will be the case at UO.

At any rate, whether OOP, using left over dining credits or eating before we go to the park we'll do a bigger breakfast on this day so we'll just need a snack or two in the parks to tide us over until our late lunch.

That's it, our dining in a (very large) nutshell. Thoughts and opinions are welcome!
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:15 PM   #153
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you really want to do Richters???



Boulangerie would be a better choice if you want freshly made sandwiches and not burgers/fries.
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:22 PM   #154
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you really want to do Richters???

Boulangerie would be a better choice if you want freshly made sandwiches and not burgers/fries.
My DS doesn't like sandwiches except for burgers. It limits us a bit.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:47 PM   #155
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85 DAYS!!!!!!

Our trip is getting SO close! I feel like I have so much I want to do... I'm really almost finished with the NEED to do list but there are still a couple of those as well. Most of it isn't majorly difficult or time consuming, just lots of little things. And since a lot of them don't necessarily warrant their own post I thought I'd do a combo update today.

Still Need To Do:
The only thing we still MUST do is decide on transportation and save up the rest of the money we'll need for food and souvenirs. I'm leaning heavily toward renting a car and as long as I can save enough this is what we'll do. We're almost there. We did have an unexpected bill of nearly $200 crop up yesterday so not as close as we were. Oh well, we're still on track and as long as too many unexpected things like this don't happen we'll be okay.

Still Want To Do:

Kya (but not Jace) has decided that she'd like an autograph book so I've been scouring the DISign boards for UO character cards. For our trip to WDW I simply uploaded the designs to Snapfish and ordered 4x6 matte prints of the cards then picked up a $1 brag book style photo album. This worked great since we were able to simply add the pics of the kids with characters to the album next to the autograph.

Kya also wants some special shirts so I'll also have to figure these out. I may look at the DISign boards for images to iron on (which is what we did for Disney) or I may just look online for good deals. I'll have to see which is cheaper since I'm out of transfer paper. Jace says he doesn't want shirts but I think if I find a cool HP one he'll wear it.

I'm also working on a scavenger hunt for our second day at WWoHP. I've found some great ideas to include here.

Another thing that is dependent on our budget but that I'd really like to do is Photo Connect. If you're unfamiliar with PC there's lots of good info in this thread. It's similar to Photo Pass but much cheaper (unless you're doing a PP share). The $10 off deal is over but I've liked them on Facebook and am hopeful that an even better deal will come along between now and September. Hopefully we'll be able to swing it.

In the Works:
There are a lot of movie and TV references at UO that my kids aren't very familiar with. To remedy this we're watching some of them before we go. Just this morning we watched some "I Love Lucy" which Kya loved.

I've added lots of other movies to our Netflix queues including:

(DVD)
  • More Lucy- like I said, she loved it!
  • Poseidon
  • Men In Black (the kids have seen 3 but never the original)
  • Transformers (I know, terrible movie but we'll watch it anyway.)
  • X-Men
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Jurassic Park
  • E.T.
  • Twister (another stinker that we'll just laugh at)
  • Back to the Future
  • Popeye

(Streaming)
  • The Lorax
  • Terminator 2
  • The Bride of Frankenstein
  • The 7 Adventures of Sinbad
  • Transformers (the cartoon series)
  • The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (This is a live action/animated combo; if it doesn't include Dudley Do-Right we'll have to watch the cartoons too.)

When we went to WDW we did really elaborate movie days with Karen. We've even done a couple of these since deciding to head to the darkside (Beetlejuice, Spongebob, and Despicable Me, links in the TOC). It was tons of fun but my kids have kind of outgrown it (or maybe we did so many it became less special). They do still enjoy special food so we'll do some meals/treats to go along with some of these movies (Reese's Pieces for E.T., Chicago dogs for Blues Brothers, etc.).

I think as long as we don't overdo it they'll still enjoy the more elaborate parties so I have a more elaborate one planned for a 50 days countdown party; anyone have any guesses what it might be? Try to guess EXACTLY which movie it will be... (Hint: It's not on the lists above!)

That's all I can think of at this point... but I'm sure I'll think of more later.

Last edited by -Hope-; 06-28-2013 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:43 PM   #156
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Oooh, great update. We are going in 6 weeks (SIX WEEKS!) and I've still got lots to do but not much momentum--started a new job a few weeks ago and not adjusted to the extra hours yet. Trying to work out a shirt for everyone too. Great movie list too, may steal it. Canadian Netflix sucks in comparison, though, but I can try...
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TR: First visit to Universal/SeaWorld Feb 2011
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:02 PM   #157
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Oooh, great update. We are going in 6 weeks (SIX WEEKS!) and I've still got lots to do but not much momentum--started a new job a few weeks ago and not adjusted to the extra hours yet. Trying to work out a shirt for everyone too. Great movie list too, may steal it. Canadian Netflix sucks in comparison, though, but I can try...
Thanks, JoAnne! Your trip is so close!!

I know all about trying to readjust schedules! I had barely gotten used to my new work schedule when our program shut down. I completely abandoned trip planning and the DIS while I was adjusting but now that I find myself with all this free time I'm in hyperplanning mode. It's good though because I hope to be back at work soon and then I won't have time again- so I'll just try to get it all done now!

And, one of the pitfalls of always DISing on my phone is that I miss the links in people's siggys! I'm off to catch up on your PTR right now.

Last edited by -Hope-; 06-28-2013 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:55 AM   #158
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And we have a decision...

Oh, man I a good deal! Our transportation question just answered itself... I got an email from Hotwire that the price for Orlando car rentals had dropped during our trip and it was a GREAT deal!

Such a good deal that it's actually CHEAPER than using the buses and only $20 more than the trolley/cab option! And this is assuming we NEVER opted to take a cab other than to/from the airport. And that is highly doubtful. Even one cab ride when we didn't want to walk to the trolley stop would mean the trolley and car options are about the same. That's a no brainer folks!

I am so relieved that I don't have to worry about this anymore and that we're going to have the convenience and ease of having our own car. I am normally a public transportation kind of gal when on vacation but at theme parks it's different. When minutes matter for beating the crowds and you have to fight even more crowds at the end of the night for seats when your feet already hurt I'd rather have a car.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:52 PM   #159
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That's good news. I have been putting serious time into the car rental thing this week. We always get a car, even onsite, and this time in a villa it's not a choice anyway. I managed to get our rental down $50 this weekend, but it's still more than I want to pay ($390 for 2 wks in a standard size). Glad you've got that big question settled for your trip.
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1st trip May/June 06
Jan/Feb 07, same crew at CBR. DCL Magic Eastern Dec 07 CSR Sept 2009
Universal/WWoHP in Sunset Lakes villa Feb 2010 Same again Aug 2013 in Emerald Island villa

PTR/TR Without the Mouse Round 2
TR: First visit to Universal/SeaWorld Feb 2011
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:22 AM   #160
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Yikes!

We got a compact which will be a tight fit but we aren't going to be going far. And we only need it for five days so we only had to pay $100.

I hope you find a good deal. You might sign up for emails from different sites to alert you to deals.
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Old 06-30-2013, 09:15 PM   #161
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Your trip planning sounds great! We're headed out in September also. We're staying on site (Disneyworld onsite...LOL) for 2 weeks but gonna make the trek to Universal for a couple of our days. Can't wait!!!
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Old 06-30-2013, 09:48 PM   #162
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Your trip planning sounds great! We're headed out in September also. We're staying on site (Disneyworld onsite...LOL) for 2 weeks but gonna make the trek to Universal for a couple of our days. Can't wait!!!
Thank you and

I love September for low crowds and good deals.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:50 AM   #163
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Hope your food choices sound so yummy! Mmmmm, Butterbeer!
Double digits makes the trip seem so much closer, don't they?
No idea about the movie - the new despicable me?
Great news about the car rental! Which company? Is it still available?
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:39 PM   #164
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Hope your food choices sound so yummy! Mmmmm, Butterbeer!
Double digits makes the trip seem so much closer, don't they?
No idea about the movie - the new despicable me?
Great news about the car rental! Which company? Is it still available?
Thanks, Alysa! I'm pretty excited about the food. I'm a little nervous about how the dining plan will work and hope the choices aren't too limited.

Yes, I love double digits!

Not Despicable Me, great guess though because we really want to see it.

The car rental company was Thrifty but we booked it through Hotwire. I do think it's still going on but I'm not 100% sure.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:39 PM   #165
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Happy 4th of July for my American readers!


It's a pretty laid back day for us. Karen invited us over for fireworks and *ahem* refreshments but since Robbie has to be out the door at 6:15 tomorrow morning he nixed that plan. I think it's so silly that his boss gave them today off instead of tomorrow. I mean, I know today is the official holiday but all the fun happens after dark.

Oh well, next year I suppose. This year we're just hanging out at home, grilling for supper and doing some fireworks in the backyard.

We're also getting ready for a tag sale we're having this weekend (not a yard or garage sale since we live in the sticks and are therefore hauling everything in to the local park). Some of the money we make is going toward the trip fund. I'm thinking I'll have lots of small bills so I can make up tip envelopes for our shuttle drivers, housekeeping and TS servers.

Also, Kya and I rolled and counted the coins in our "wand jar" earlier today. We've been tossing loose change into it ever since we decided to do this trip. We usually don't give the kids money for souvenirs and have them save their allowance for spending money but I decided early on that I wanted to buy their wands. My understanding is that the wands are around $25-30 each so I figured if we save $70 we'll have plenty for two wands and tax. When we counted our change today we had $55.50! If we have money left from the sale after filling tip envelopes we can toss that in the jar as well and be even closer (or perhaps reach!) our wand goal!

Working on these finishing details and seeing how close my little Hedwig ticker is getting to Hogwart's is making me realize just how close our trip is! I'm starting to get really excited!

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