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Old 03-20-2013, 08:53 PM   #46
JessicaKnits
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A Mini New York PTR
So long before there was The Dis, and long before I had Disney trips to plan for, I was still an obsessive-compulsive, really annoying, over-the-top trip planner. I used to work as a Customer Care Supervisor for Hotwire.com when I was in college and I blame that job for my travel neurosis. Really, when all you deal with are all the things that go WRONG with a trip, you develop a complex! I never plan trips less than six months out, with very few exceptions. After being in New York from January 18th Ė 22nd, I knew I needed to go back, and SOON! So this trip to New York was planned in a whopping 4 weeks. This is VERY UNLIKE ME!

My last trip to New York was, oh how shall we put itÖa disaster? Well, not a complete disaster. But it was sprinkled with several adult meltdowns (all mine) over the numerous and often times ridiculous road blocks in the New York apartment rental arena.

Heading in to the process of relocation, I knew it would not be easy, especially since I am coming from out of state and have no stable links the NY area. I have friends I met while I was working there and a handful of friends I went to school with, but other than that, thatís it. I decided that there was just no way that I could navigate through the rental mess without a broker. So, I did a lot of research online and found a brokerage firm. Everything seemed like it was going well through numerous emails and phone calls back and forth pre-trip. We discussed budget and my desired neighborhoods (which was pretty much anything that wasnít in Manhattan that was still in a safe area) and my desired amenities and made plans to tour several properties while I was there.

I got in on a Friday and most of my friends had to work, so I had planned to go on the first couple of tours by myself and then have a friend meet up with us later in the afternoon. Now, for a single person living in New York, who desires nothing more than a basic apartment, I felt my budget was pretty generous. The first apartment we went to was a 300 square foot studio, that didnít even have a separate bathroom. Thatís right folks, the toilet and shower were next to the stove. I was quite relieved that this apartment was about $400 a month below my budget. So after a brief discussion about how this simply would not work (Read: Would NEVER in a million years, not even if it were FREE work), we moved on to the next.

The next was even worse than the first. It was only $200 a month under budget, but didnít have its own bathroom. It SHARED a bathroom (like a dorm in college) with the entire floor. Having absolutely no desire to relive my college years, we headed to the third listing. By the third listing it was completely obvious that this broker thought he had someone that could be taken for all they were worth. I was so furious that I ended up leaving the listing appointment and taking an impressively long subway ride back to my hotel.

So, I had a minor melt down when my friend met me for dinner. I was so deflated that I threw myself a nice little pity party for our entire meal, which then caused another melt down after dinner when I realized that I had been a total jerk all night.

Thankfully, one of my friends was able to put me in touch with the broker they used for their apartment and they were able to see me on Monday morning. They reassured me that while it wasnít going to be an easy process that they could get the job done. Since I met with them on such short notice, we did not get to go tour any apartments, but I at least left New York not feeling like everything was hopeless.

Now that I have bored you with the sad details of my last trip, I will do a mini PTR for my trip this weekend. I always feel so much better when I have put my trip ideas down in writing. My last trip I was also horrible about taking pictures. I took a total of TWO pictures my entire trip, both at the Knicks/Nets game, and only so I could photo brag on Facebook.
For this trip I was able to snag an amazing deal through Southwest ($230 roundtrip) out of Milwaukee. I have always adored Southwest. And for this trip they had the best flight times (6:00 AM on the way out, 5 PM on the way back).

With such an early flight out of Milwaukee and since I am traveling by myself, I decided I would do a Park Ní Fly package through the Clarion Milwaukee Airport. I have stayed at the Clarion before and was less than impressed, but I hear they have recently gone through some upgrades, so we shall see. It is cheaper to do a Park Ní Fly than it is to park my car for the duration of my trip and I wonít have to worry about making it to the airport on time in the morning.

So the plan is to leave my place around 5 PM, I had wanted to leave earlier to avoid rush hour in Milwaukee, but then I fear I will feel ďtrappedĒ in the hotel once I get there. So I am planning to leave around 5, and will stop at California Pizza Kitchen on the way for dinner. Itís about 13 miles north of the airport, and both are right off the highway. I LOVE California Pizza Kitchen, and this one in Glendale is the closest to me, so I am quite pleased to be able to stop here.

Then I will settle into the hotel, hopefully catch up on the DIS and try my hardest to get some rest. Then itís up bright and early to catch the shuttle to the airport. I am scheduled to arrive in La Guardia about 9:30 am. I will take a taxi to my hotel. I used Hotwire to book my room. When I was in New York for work I lived in Midtown West on 42nd between 9th and 10th Aves. I wanted to get outside of my little bubble, so selected a room in Midtown East and ended up at the Sofitel on 44th between 5th and 6th. So, basically right in my same neighborhood, but hey, thatís Hotwire! I am hoping that I will be able to check into the hotel right away, but who knows. If not I will leave my bags and go exploring.

And by exploring, I mean head STRAIGHT to my favorite Earl. Thatís right, the Earl of Sandwich! Very conveniently located on 52nd between 9th and 10th Ave! I am hoping the place isnít nearly as busy as the one in Florida. For those of you that havenít followed along with my PTRs in the past, I pretty much live off of sandwiches. Sandwiches, sushi and cupcakes are my three main food groups. Last trip was a little heavy on the sushi and light on the sandwiches so I need to make up for it this time. Donít worry, I ate plenty of cupcakes, and will this trip too.

After some lunch, I will head down to my old office to say hi to everyone still there! Then itís back up to Midtown to meet up with some friends when they are done with work. We really donít have any concrete plans for this trip, we will more or less play it by ear. For dinner I really want to go down to Katzís, but itís sort of a pain to get to from the hotel. Their sandwiches are worth it though! If we make it down to Katzís then we will also have to stop at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Really, thatís what itís called. And they have AMAZING ice cream! They started out as a food truck and then expanded into their store, and every time I have tried to go to the store, they have been closed.

Saturday will mainly be spent touring apartments, so there wonít be anything too exciting happening there. Dinner plans are open. I was hoping to maybe go check out Lombardiís pizza, or have dinner in Little Italy or Chinatown.
Sunday, again, no real plans, but I want to go to FAO Schwartz and the Disney Store to try and track down a birthday gift for my little cousin. He is 4 and is obsessed with Mickey mouse and dinosaurs. I want to stop by Zabarís for a bagel with lox and cream cheese. Then hopefully take a walk around Central Park. I was hoping to be able to go back to the Statue of Liberty on this trip, but sadly it was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy and is still recovering. I have heard it will be re-opening on July 4th.

Monday is more apartment hunting, and then I have to go home that night. So there you have it, my NY pre-trip in a nutshell.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:19 AM   #47
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Apartment hunting in NY is just a nightmare. I lived in Baltimore for 2 years and we were shocked that it *only* cost $1500 per month for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with a washer/dryer and a dishwasher and 2 parking spaces. And it was in an awesome part of Baltimore. The same apartment in NY would have been at least $3000 or more per month if it even existed (which I doubt). Good luck with the hunt!
Sound like you're staying in a great location of NYC! Should be a fun trip!

Amanda
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:55 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JessicaKnits View Post
So, as I mentioned before, we LOVE to eat! The Disney Food Blog hits the nail right on the head when they say that FOOD is a theme park! I have always gone deluxe and never regretted doing so for a second, although I have occassionally regretted some of our restaurant choices. The only problem we have ever had is using up all of our snack credits, but with Food & Wine this year, I don't think we will have that problem! Also, I am a HUGE breakfast person. I know that Dining Plan purists always say that breakfast is not a good use of credits, but I could not disagree more! I wish Disney had "breakfast all the time" places!

With us planning to go during an off peak time, I feel like we will be able to get a lot more done than on our last trip (we went in March), so spending time in restaurants won't bother me as much.

So, here is our list of restaurants we are interested in trying...which will of course be paired down by the time our ADR window opens!


*Indicates New to me for this trip

Breakfasts:
Crystal Palace
Cinderella's
Kona Cafe
Grand Floridian Cafe
The Wave
Akershus
Kouzzina
*Whispering Canyon Cafe
*Olivia's (If we have a rental car)
*Cape May
1900 Park Fare
Tusker House

Lunch:
*Tony's
Liberty Tree Tavern
Kona Cafe
Grand Floridian Cafe
*Sci Fi
50's Prime Time Cafe
Via Napoli
Yak & Yeti
Earl of Sandwich

Dinner:
*Paradiso 37
*Fulton's
Raglan Road
Cali Grill
Ohana
Le Cellier
Brown Derby
Coral Reef
*La Hacienda
*Be Our Guest
Yachtsman Steakhouse

Any advice and/or suggestions? Like I said, we aren't going to be eating at ALL of these places, but we needed to start somewhere.
First let me tell you how much I am enjoying your pre-TR. I have OCVP (obcessive compulsive vacation planning) also so I understand your lists, worries and more lists:cool1. DH and I are going back in October for our first F&W experience as well as MNNSHP (on Halloween, crazy us).
We are staying at POR for the first time with the regular dining package, we have always done CBR with deluxe. Well we are already talking about upgrading it to deluxe because we love the convenience of the credits, even though it is not always a bargin for some. I am planning on using our snacks for F&W or getting a F&W card and bringing those delicious Chip & Dale cheddar crackers home with our snack credits. (oh how we love them little Mickey heads of cheddar goodness).
Keep up the TR because its helping me not to make my packing list already, LOL

Oh love your restaurant choices. DH is a breakfast addict and loves CP. We went to Whispering Canyon in June and he mentioned its a must for this trip. Tony's was pretty good, DH asked for his meal to be on the kids plates (they are Mickey head plates), it was funny watching a grown (insert another name for butt here) man eating his lasagna off a Mickey plate. Sci-fi is pretty cool in the theme, the food is ok, I think it tastes better mainly because you are at Disney.
As far as BOG we are planning on lunching it there on day and dinner on another. I have 24 days left until I can make our ADR's
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:52 PM   #49
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Quick Update!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I am still here! I had an amazing time in New York and even decided to stay an extra day! I came back to a super crazy work schedule so have been trying to catch up on everything there. Then of course we had Easter thrown into the mix. And well, here we are! So stay tuned, I promise to have an update posted soon!
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:38 AM   #50
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Just wanted to let everyone know that I am still here! I had an amazing time in New York and even decided to stay an extra day! I came back to a super crazy work schedule so have been trying to catch up on everything there. Then of course we had Easter thrown into the mix. And well, here we are! So stay tuned, I promise to have an update posted soon!
Glad you had a good trip! Can't wait to hear about it.

Amanda
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Poly 01/2008; SSR 05/2009; CR 12/2009; YC 04/2010; BCV 08/2010; Poly CL 01/2011; BLT 08/2011; Swan 10/2011; GF CL 01/2012; Vero Beach 04/2012; Cabins 06/2012; WBC 08/2012; BCV 09/2012; Poly 1/2013; HGV 02/2013; WL, Kidani, SSR, Boardwalk in 2013; BLT 2014

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Old 04-07-2013, 02:38 PM   #51
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Hey! I'm joining in.

I love love LOVE your theme nights ! They seem like so much fun, it's something that I hope to do during the next 6 months as I prepare for my own F&W trip. I like your writing style and I can't wait to hear more about your trip.
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:39 PM   #52
JessicaKnits
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Originally Posted by DrMomof3 View Post
Apartment hunting in NY is just a nightmare. I lived in Baltimore for 2 years and we were shocked that it *only* cost $1500 per month for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with a washer/dryer and a dishwasher and 2 parking spaces. And it was in an awesome part of Baltimore. The same apartment in NY would have been at least $3000 or more per month if it even existed (which I doubt). Good luck with the hunt!
Sound like you're staying in a great location of NYC! Should be a fun trip!

Amanda
Had such a great time! Lots of eating, lots of apartment looking, light on the sight seeing! I checked out The Earl and ate there...you know...5 different times in 4.5 days...

Quote:
Originally Posted by CDolacki2003 View Post
First let me tell you how much I am enjoying your pre-TR. I have OCVP (obcessive compulsive vacation planning) also so I understand your lists, worries and more lists:cool1. DH and I are going back in October for our first F&W experience as well as MNNSHP (on Halloween, crazy us).
We are staying at POR for the first time with the regular dining package, we have always done CBR with deluxe. Well we are already talking about upgrading it to deluxe because we love the convenience of the credits, even though it is not always a bargin for some. I am planning on using our snacks for F&W or getting a F&W card and bringing those delicious Chip & Dale cheddar crackers home with our snack credits. (oh how we love them little Mickey heads of cheddar goodness).
Keep up the TR because its helping me not to make my packing list already, LOL

Oh love your restaurant choices. DH is a breakfast addict and loves CP. We went to Whispering Canyon in June and he mentioned its a must for this trip. Tony's was pretty good, DH asked for his meal to be on the kids plates (they are Mickey head plates), it was funny watching a grown (insert another name for butt here) man eating his lasagna off a Mickey plate. Sci-fi is pretty cool in the theme, the food is ok, I think it tastes better mainly because you are at Disney.
As far as BOG we are planning on lunching it there on day and dinner on another. I have 24 days left until I can make our ADR's

I got my ADRs last Monday and am so happy with what we decided on! I was SUPER annoyed because the website was NOT working AT ALL for me, so I had to call. The CM was awesome and I'm pretty sure she did everything faster than I could have online with the new site.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DrMomof3 View Post
Glad you had a good trip! Can't wait to hear about it.

Amanda
I wish the weather would have been nicer, however because of the slush on Monday Southwest did let me change my flight for free so I got to stay an extra day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeJuice View Post
Hey! I'm joining in.

I love love LOVE your theme nights ! They seem like so much fun, it's something that I hope to do during the next 6 months as I prepare for my own F&W trip. I like your writing style and I can't wait to hear more about your trip.
Thank you! I hope to do more and maybe fancy them up a bit and start a blog. Add it to my growing list of "to dos"!
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:51 PM   #53
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Right now all of these options are about the same price point as the others. Hopefully Disney releases their fall promos as early as they did last year (around the first week of March.) Maybe that will help aid my decision!
Just for future reference since you have already made your plans for this trip, you can't apply any discounts to the Premium or Platinum Plans, you are going to pay rack rate room (believe me I have tried). While you can do the Premium Plan at any of the resorts it is much easier to take advantage of all the plan offers if you are staying at a MK or Epcot resort. I have done both plans at the Poly and I think it was pretty much the ideal location to maximize the use of these plans. And while 3 TS meals a day is a lot of food you don't have to eat all of it.
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:34 PM   #54
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Just for future reference since you have already made your plans for this trip, you can't apply any discounts to the Premium or Platinum Plans, you are going to pay rack rate room (believe me I have tried). While you can do the Premium Plan at any of the resorts it is much easier to take advantage of all the plan offers if you are staying at a MK or Epcot resort. I have done both plans at the Poly and I think it was pretty much the ideal location to maximize the use of these plans. And while 3 TS meals a day is a lot of food you don't have to eat all of it.
THANK YOU! I had no idea! I am a discount kind of girl and just don't think I could ever justify paying rack rate for something I know I can get cheaper. Unless I magically become a gazillionaire one day!
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:28 AM   #55
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Day One Plans (Part One)

So finally, after a long long delay, it's time for an update!

After New York, things got a little crazy! Work has been so unbelievably busy, more so than any other year I can remember! And to add to that, I am up for a promotion at work! I was up for the same promotion last year and did not get it, so I'm hoping this is my year! I have been consumed with mock interviewing for the last several days. What better way to take a break than to relax on the Dis and envision our plans!

When we last left off I had gone over our Day Zero plans, so now its time for the best day of all...Day ONE!

Day One, I think, is my favorite day of every Disney trip! It is so filled with anticipation and excitement! From the plane ride down, when you're surrounded by families that are feeling the same sense of anticipation, to when you step off the plane onto the fake monorail, till you see your very first Mickey Mouse! It's all SO wonderful!

In a perfect world, our day will be like this:

We will awake really early, if we sleep at all! There will be time to get showered and dressed, and of course there will be some last minute luggage re-arranging!

Then we will walk through the Hilton's magic underground tunnel to O'Hare.

Check-in will be a breeze, and nothing like last time! Last year when we flew, we (unknowingly) flew out at 6:00AM on the morning that Continental and United completed their reservations system merger. It was a NIGHTMARE! No one was able to check in online, so the check-in counter was just over loaded with people. To make matters worse, the gate agents didn't have any pep in their step (if you know what I mean.) Come on folks, we have DISNEY to get to! Let's get a move on! As you can tell, I'm still slightly traumatized by the whole event. The good news is, we made our flight. We were also delayed at security because my Chi hair straightener was mistaken for something other than a hair straightener. Every. Time.

Once through security, we will make our way under the magic tunnel of lights...



Then, knowing us, we'll make a quick stop at Starbucks for some coffee and McD's for some breakfast.

Then it will be time to board!

I'm really weird about flying on planes. I need to have a window seat, but just during landing. I don't know, I need to be able to see the ground getting closer to me as I feel the sensation of being lowered.

I am usually asleep before we finish our ascent. I sleep SO well on airplanes, but it never lasts long. Usually an hour or two at most. But I feel like I have slept for days when I wake up! It's amazing!

Hopefully our flight is quick and without incident.

Once we land, its time for our Megan's first ride on the fake monorail!


This is me enjoying my ride last year. As you can tell I'm SUPER excited to be back.

Then it's off to our queue at the Magical Express area...



Where we will hopefully board a REAL Magical Express bus. Fun Disney travel facts about me: I have NEVER gotten to ride on a REAL Magical Express bus! Our first trip we had Cruise Line buses to and from the airport, and on our last trip we had a Cruise Line bus from the airport and a Mears bus on the way back. On the Mears bus they didn't even play the farewell to Disney movie! They played Madagascar! I was SOO mad! It's not even a Disney movie!!

Alright, alright. I'm over it now. Really, I am. Sort of. I'm not really sure why it makes a difference, but I just get so sad when I walk out those doors and see anything other than a Magical Express bus. Oh elusive ME bus, I am coming for you!

In no time, we'll be headed through the gates of wonder...

And we will be officially "in" the magic!

Then we will be headed to our resort of choice...



I am so excited about staying here! It looks like such a beautiful resort and not like a value at all! Every time I even think about staying at the POR, I have to remind myself that when I stayed at Coronado last time, that I never actually used any of the extra amenities that the resort offered. No sir, we are NOT changing to a moderate, even though I think the Princess rooms are lovely! The only way I'm changing is if its for the Contemporary, which is my ultimate dream resort. Maybe if I get that promotion!

That reminds me...am I the only one going absolutely crazy that the fall discounts don't look like they will be released until Mid-June? Crazy talk I tell ya!

I have always had excellent luck with my room being ready when I arrive at the resort, so this time will hopefully make 3 for 3!

We will make our way to our amazing...


Little Mermaid Room! Little Mermaid is a big deal for us! As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is the first Disney movie that either of us has a clear memory of watching!

After we get our carry-ons taken care of it will be off to our first destination of the trip...any guesses where it will be?
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Old 04-14-2013, 12:02 PM   #56
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Sounds like a good start to a WDW trip. I'm usualy a window seater, I love watching the buildings get smaller/bigger as we go. But, my wife likes it even more than me am so I give her the window seat. Oh well she let's me peak outside every so often haha.

I'm going to guess that your first stop is going to be EPCOT for food and wine.

Looking forward to hearing more about your plans.
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Old 04-14-2013, 01:13 PM   #57
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hi just joining in n i've got just 43 days until i'm at AOA in the Ariel room too yayyyyy.........that being said I keep watching for fall discounts too,I just hope that AOA isn't excluded again.there was an up to 30% off the room promo but because I chose AOA I couldn't take advantage of that,there was no switching because my daughter would've been heart broken.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:32 AM   #58
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Sounds like a good start to a WDW trip. I'm usualy a window seater, I love watching the buildings get smaller/bigger as we go. But, my wife likes it even more than me am so I give her the window seat. Oh well she let's me peak outside every so often haha.

I'm going to guess that your first stop is going to be EPCOT for food and wine.

Looking forward to hearing more about your plans.
Ohhhh...! That's actually a really good guess, but currently incorrect. Now you've got me thinking about possibly changing things up...

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hi just joining in n i've got just 43 days until i'm at AOA in the Ariel room too yayyyyy.........that being said I keep watching for fall discounts too,I just hope that AOA isn't excluded again.there was an up to 30% off the room promo but because I chose AOA I couldn't take advantage of that,there was no switching because my daughter would've been heart broken.
I just realized that they excluded the Ariel Rooms from the current discount too. How lame! I think we will still stay there, because they are just so cute! I think their suites look amazing, but would just be overkill for us, being just a group of two!
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:13 AM   #59
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Day One Part Two...

*Before we continue with my PTR, I just want to say how deeply saddened I am to see and hear of the events at the Boston Marathon. As a runner myself, I cannot imagine the devastation that all must feel. My thoughts and prayers are with the City of Boston, and all those affected by this horrible tragedy.*

When we last left off in this trip report, we were settling into our rooms and planning to head off somewhere...

But where does one ask?

Hmm....well we will make our way to the bus depot, and board our chariot...


(Never mind that this is a bus at the Coronado Bus Depot...)

I just looooooove getting on my first Disney bus of the trip! That blast of ice cold air that hits you, and the general frivolity of all...

I am a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to Disney trips, so we will head off to my "usual" first day stop...



Downtown Disney!!

We've got BIG plans for dinner this night, so we will stop for something "light" at the oh so incredible...



Because I just can't help myself. I love me some sandwiches. In fact, it's why I won't eat at 50's Prime Time Cafe. They took all their sandwiches off their lunch menu. Boo to them.

This will be Megan's first time to Earl. It will be my second visit on Florida soil. On my mini trip to New York I ate at Earl...you know...only...five times in five days. They were closed on Sundays, so I doubled up on Monday. I should be really embarrassed to say that. I'm not. My friends were not impressed with me after the third or fourth visit. Fun fact, the one in New York was NEVER busy, and I went there at all times of day! It was sort of weird to be at the Earl without a humongous line out the door!

We'll grab a quick bite to eat and maybe do some shopping, as this will most likely be our only day to be in Downtown Disney. If we decide to rent a car, this will also be when we go to pick it up. We will take a shuttle to the car rental center on site. I'm pretty sure you have to be picked up from a Disney hotel, so we might go get our rental before we head to the Earl.

We will resist the urge to go to a theme park, which I think will be more difficult for Megan than for myself. After some shopping and fun, it will be time to head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

We had originally been planning to take this trip the week earlier, which would have encompassed my actual birthday, so rather than celebrating throughout, I decided to just have one awesome, amazing dinner. As cool as it would be to have dinner at V&A's, I just don't think I would enjoy it, as I'm a pretty picky eater.

After zero deliberation, I decided that my birthday dinner would be at my all-time favorite...California Grill. Since we can't make ADR's yet until they have finalized the opening, I have a back-up ADR at Yachtsman Steakhouse. Hopefully we don't have to use the back-up, because the sushi is soooooo amazing at Cali Grill! I can only hope the quality doesn't suffer and they still have my beloved Spicy Kazan roll when the new menu is unveiled. I can't think of a better way to celebrate my special day than to have a few cocktails, some great sushi, and watch Wishes from our seats!
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:50 AM   #60
wiigirl
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Great pics!
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