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Old 04-11-2013, 08:57 PM   #1
BenKling
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Ben and Kyle Go Back! A 2013 PTR *Updated 5/22*

Hello Everyone!

After utterly failing my last TR, I decided to give it another go!

We are so excited to officially be heading back to WDW for a well-earned vacation. And the best part is... EVERYTHING is already taken care of! We're all paid up, I've got the Magical Express is ready to go, and all of our ADRs have been booked since 100 days out!

...So naturally I'm freaking out, because I feel like there's nothing for me to do between now and then! I'm hoping that not having to *actually* plan anymore will give me more motivation to take care of my PTR/TR. Besides, I need to get excited with other people, because no one else gets me

The Basics:
Dates- June 3-11
Resort- Pop Century (Have requested a lake view/60s block, but we will see!)
Tickets- 8 Day MYW
Meal Plan- Reg DDP

I'm particularly excited about this trip for a number of reasons: We've added a night from last years trip, bringing us to a total of 9 days in sunny Orlando. I also managed to score some pretty decent flights with early arrival/late departure, which has allowed us to stretch our vacation to the max. Finally, we are trying out the DDP for the first time. From my calculations, we might even save some money, as we're doing quite a few buffets and stuff.

I hope you'll take the time to read along, and encourage me to keep updating. Stay tuned for more specific soon, as I share our exciting vacation plans!

Have a wonderful night!
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Old 04-14-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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50 Days to Go: Some thoughts & Departure Day

I got nervous this afternoon, and had to go through and reconfirm all of the reservations I've made so far... I was certain that I forgot something, but everything seems to be fine.

This new Disney website has been terrible... and not easy to navigate at all. I've been using the "Customized Maps" trick to access the old website. It seems to be the only way to find certain options anymore.

ANYWAY!

We're both really excited about this vacation. It's definitely later in the year than I would have liked it (Going in late April last year really spoiled us!) but Kyle started college this year, so early trips really aren't an option anymore. Plus, work has been pretty busy so I'm not even sure I would have been able to get the time off.

Luckily, from what I've been seeing on the forums, June 3-11 won't be such a terrible time... school is still in session for a lot of people, so it look like we'll be beating the big crowds by a week or two. I'm a little worried about the weather though, as neither of us has ever experienced summer in Florida...

This vacation will actually start the day after the big work conference I'm planning. I'm in charge of organizing a large-scale weekend event for college students. It runs Fri-Sun, and we're flying out Monday morning. I'm thinking of it as a way to reward myself for a job well done!

Departure Day Plans

I was pretty luck when buying airfare, and managed to not only get a good price, but good flight times! We're flying out of Milwaukee at 8:15am, meaning we'll be leaving Madison by 5am. I'm not a huge fan of navigating the city (and the road work by the airport has been terrible!) so this should allow me to get to avoid traffic, and get to our parking lot with plenty of time to spare.

The flight is supposed to touch down in Orlando by 12:30pm, giving us almost a full day in Orlando when we arrive! Our goal is to hop on the first available Magic Express and do early check in at Pop. Because the MYW package comes with DisneyQuest vouchers, our plan is to drop off our bags and take a bus to DTD for the day.

Kyle's never been to DTD, and I haven't been there since my trip in 2010, so we're both pretty excited to explore a bit and see what has changed. It should be a perfect time to soak up some Disney vibes while relaxing from our early morning and flight! From what I've seen online about DisneyQuest, we should have a lot of fun. Kyle and I are both really into video games, and the virtual reality stuff looks really neat!

As I mentioned in the last post, we are doing the DDP for the first time, and it's one of the most exciting things about this trip. Last year, we paid OOP for our food, and ended up eating CS for just about every meal. While it wasn't awful, we're definitely looking forward to trying new things, and are pretty excited that we can order what we wan't, knowing that it's all been paid for. (The snack credits are going to be fun too!) As a result, all of the places we have ADRs for are restaurants that we've never been to!

Our first dinner reservation is at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe! The menu looks pretty great, and we should get a nice "first vacation" dinner! "

After dinner, the plan is to explore some more before getting settled in at the hotel. One of the things we are considering is a monorail tour of the resorts.

Well, that's the plan for the first day. Let me know what you think! Details on the rest of the trip will be coming soon!

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Old 04-30-2013, 02:53 PM   #3
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34 Days Out: We got our Mickey Mail!

I had yesterday off to recover from a big work convention. The day was spent running around doing errands, and when I got home, I was excited to see that our Mickey Mail had come!

We've never done a full MYW package before, and it was really interesting to get the packet of vouchers for all of our entitlements. We also got our ME luggage tags and travel info.

Both envelopes have already gone into the carry on bag I'm using... I'm too paranoid that I'll leave something behind!

With just 34 days to go, I'm getting more and more excited. But that means 31 days until my big conference, and there is still a lot of details to iron out!

I hope to have more of the trip posted sometime soon, for you to enjoy if you wish.

Have a great afternoon!
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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Joining in!
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:40 PM   #5
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Just found this and looking forward to hearing how it goes.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happybelle View Post
Joining in!
Hey, I'm glad to have you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottny View Post
Just found this and looking forward to hearing how it goes.
Thanks for joining!

Yay! Readers!

Knowing that folks are out there keeps me more invested in writing the PTR. So thanks!
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:01 PM   #7
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31 Days Out: Vacation Day 2

Happy Friday Everyone!!

I hope that you had a great week. I'm pretty excited to have some time to relax, and enjoy this crazy weather we are having in WI. For those of you who don't know, it went from 85 degrees to 12 inches of snow in two days... all the more reason to want to escape to Florida!

In the last big update, I talked about our plans to explore DTD and check out DisneyQuest. As of now, that plan hasn't really changed, but now Kyle really wants to utilize our minigolf vouchers. I'm not exactly sure when we'll be doing that (apparently they have to be used before 4pm on any day...) but there's a chance we'll head over to Fantasia Gardens before DTD.

Tuesday, June 4: MK DAY!
Our first park day will be spent at Magic Kingdom. I know that this is the park that a lot of people insist on visiting first, and this will be the FIRST time that we follow suit. Normally I end up at Epcot on my first park day, but I decided to change things up for this trip.

MK is definitely the park that has changed the most since our last visit. When we visited last April, BTMRR was getting refurbed, and was sadly closed the entire time. This trip, we'll be able to do more in Frontierland, which means I probably won't have to ride Splash Mountain 15 times (no joke! I thought I would never get that song out of my head!)

Of course, there's also the New Fantasyland expansion, and I am really excited to see how all the new construction turned out. I've been checking out photos online of the new area, and the theming looks SO well done! I can't wait to try out the new attractions. (Though we'll probably skip out on Storytime with Belle, as neither of us are really in their target audience! )

As far as meals are concerned, we're going to attempt to eat lunch at Be Our Guest. A BOG TS reservation was the only thing I wasn't able to snag for this trip, even with making ADRs 100 days out. Because of this, I decided that we for sure have to have lunch there.

The plan, as usual, is to get to the park at RD and do what we want until lunch time. Then we'll take it easy in the afternoon, to come back and hit the park again at night.

Shortly before 9, we'll take the monorail over to the Poly for our ADR at Ohana! Out of all the reservations I made for this trip, this is the place I was most excited for. I was lucky to be able to grab a (late!) dinner table. I'm hoping that we might be able to finish up dinner just in time to see the fireworks from the beach. I guess we just have to wait and see!

All in all, I think it will shape up to be a pretty wonderful 1st day in the World. Stay tuned for more!
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Old 05-04-2013, 09:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenKling View Post
Hey, I'm glad to have you!


Thanks for joining!

Yay! Readers!

Knowing that folks are out there keeps me more invested in writing the PTR. So thanks!
Looking forward to more! It DOES help to have readers.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:42 PM   #9
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Your first park day would have been our coming home day but trip is canceled as I am now going to Aruba the week before. Will miss Diney though.
You could go at opening time at BOG and see if they will do a walk in.
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:25 PM   #10
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Your first park day would have been our coming home day but trip is canceled as I am now going to Aruba the week before. Will miss Diney though.
You could go at opening time at BOG and see if they will do a walk in.
Oh wow! Aruba sounds really exciting! I hope you have a great time

I was thinking about trying to make a BOG TS walk in, but that would mean changing around some ADRs. I think we'll just try to do lunch, and see if we have a good time then.

Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:54 PM   #11
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24 Days to Go: HS Day!

Hey Everyone!

First of all, I apologize for not updating sooner. As you recall, I'm planning a big statewide conference and that work has left me with a lack of energy when I get home from work. The planning is going well, but I guess I'm just tired...

Anyway, we left off with our first park day being at Magic Kingdom, and having a late night dinner at 'Ohana. After dinner, we will be heading to bed, because we have an AM EMH to catch on Wednesday!

It's Hollywood Studios Day!

I have mixed feelings about this park. While it definitely has some of my favorite rides, (Tower of Terror!) It's also the place where I've spent the least amount of time. Last year we had 7 day tickets, and HS was the only park that we didn't visit more than once, which meant that we ended up missing out on a lot of stuff.

In addition, the park just feels different for us. I know other people have expressed similar feelings, and I guess I can't really explain it. I like the rides, and enjoy all of the shows that I've had a chance to see. But for some reason, it just doesn't seem to take up as much time as the other parks... and we simply don't seem to linger here like we do everywhere else.

I wanted to do an EMH here because I feel like this is also the park where we spend the most time in lines. Between TSM and the other headliners, we definitely seem to be waiting more than usual. I'm hoping that this time in the morning will give us the rest of the day to try out things we haven't had the chance to do before.

There are a couple of things we haven't done before that I've decided we need to at least try. The first is American Idol. I'm not a huge fan of the show (Much prefer The Voice, to be honest) but I think it could be cool to at least see the last show of the night. It also won't break my heart if we miss out.

We haven't seen Lights, Motors, Action... and I can't recall why to be honest. I think it was closed the last time we visited. Anyway, Kyle really likes cars and explosions and stuff, so I figured this would be a good thing to check out.

I have also not done the Studio Backlot Tour before. I've been reading how the current version is substantially cut back from previous years, but I wanted to get it in this trip (especially if Cars Land/Star Wars comes in and takes over!)

So, there's 3 big things that I hope to check of my list on this trip. I'm hoping that getting to do these attractions will give me a better feel for the park, and therefore appreciate it more. I guess we'll have to see!

Wednesday's ADR is at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. I'm purely going off of theming for this place, because I think the concept is really cool. So I thought we'd give it a shot. There's also milkshakes, which I know Kyle will enjoy.

Finally, we'll wrap up the day by seeing Fantasmic, a show that we both really enjoy.

And that will round out Day 3!
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:04 PM   #12
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Your plans sound great.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:00 AM   #13
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Your plans sound great.
Thanks! I'm feeling pretty confident about everything, especially considering we are going during a much busier time this year...
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:40 PM   #14
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21 Days Out: Epcot Day!

Hey Everyone! Happy Monday!

I'm really excited because exactly 3 weeks from today, we'll be in Orlando enjoying the start to our vacation! In fact, right around this time, we'll be exploring DTD and getting ready for our ADR at Wolfgang Puck Cafe. I can't wait!

We left off on the PTR talking about the Hollywood Studios day, and how I was looking forward to getting to do some of the attractions that I've missed out on, in the hopes that it will make me appreciate the park to a greater degree.

The next day, we'll be getting up and heading over to one of our Favorite Parks... Epcot!

I'm so excited to be back there, and happy that the crowd levels seem to be somewhat manageable for the day. (Though Epcot is so big, I can't really recall if I've ever been "crowded" there...)

The plan, as usual, is to head over to Soarin' first thing, and then grab another FP to use later. We always want to get in multiple rides.

I'm also really looking forward to seeing the new Test Track. On our last trip, we managed to be visiting just a few days before the ride closed for the major refurb. In fact, if I remember correctly it closed down by the time we spent our 2nd day in the park!

I've seen the Youtube videos, and I'm not quite sure what to think about all the changes. While I'm glad to see the ride get updated (those videos were SO 90s) I wonder if there isn't more that could have been done. I think the theme is neat and futuristic, but I'll have to see the ride in person before I can reserve judgement. Kyle is sort of bummed about it, because he really liked the crash test dummies and stuff.

One of my goals this year is to spend some more time in the World Showcase. I feel like I always start off with the best intentions, but seem to run out of steam as we head clockwise around the lagoon. By the time we get to the America Pavilion, we're usually pretty tired and don't spend as much time in the countries after that. This year, I think I'm going to start with Canada, and head around the opposite way. That way, we'll be able to focus more on the pavilions that we haven't seen much of. (I'm looking at you, Morocco!)

I'm also hoping that the African American art exhibit is still there...because that sounds really interesting and I want to check it out!

Dinner this night will be at Chefs de France, and it's the restaurant that I was most hesitant to reserve. It seems like there are some very polarizing views here on the DIS, so I'm hoping that I made a good decision. One of the reasons that I'm really happy we went with the dining plan is that we're getting the chance to try places that we wouldn't otherwise wouldn't have budgeted out. Chefs is a place that I hope will end up surprising me!

After dinner, we should be just in time to stake out a nice spot to watch Illuminations. This is my FAVORITE nighttime show, and I can't wait. Some times I listen to the soundtrack at work when I'm working on some particularly boring reporting... it helps me get through everything!

As always, thanks for reading!
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:54 PM   #15
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18 Days Out: AK Day

Happy Thursday Everyone!

Let's get back to it! After visiting Epcot and enjoying Illuminations, my favorite nighttime show, we'll be heading back to the resort for a good night's sleep.

Because the next day we are heading over to Animal Kingdom!

AK is probably my favorite park, and I'm so excited to be going back there. I love the theming, the attractions, and am a huge fan of zoos... so it all adds up to be a really nice day at the parks!

I'm ready to ride the Safari again, and happy to hear that they've finally solved their poacher problem! I really enjoy this ride, but the Simba1 storyline always seemed to distract from what everyone was really out there to see... the animals! It didn't help that some drivers just didn't get into their parts at ALL.

I'm also really excited to see Flights of Wonder again. I think this show is really entertaining, and it seems to be pretty overlooked when compared to other events in the parks. Maybe this time one of us will get invited to go onstage!

I think the only major thing I've missed at AK is Kali River Rapids. Both times I've been to the park I haven't been too keen on getting wet. However, our time in Florida is likely to be much warmer this year, so I'm thinking we will be looking forward to the chance to cool off!

Our dinner ADR this night will be at Boma, which means we'll be taking a quick trip over to AKL. This is another place that I simply HAD to try, and I was really happy to score a table on our trip. I'm looking forward to trying lots of new things... especially zebra domes, which everyone seems to really enjoy.

I'm a little worried about how Kyle is going to like this place... he's not the most adventurous eater, and tends to keep things simple when it comes to his meals. I figure if nothing else, he can visit the kid's buffet, but I'm really hoping that he decides to try some things he hasn't had before.

I hope you are all doing well, and that the weather isn't getting too warm where you live. Things are definitely heating up here in Madison...and our AC is broken! I'm hoping that maintenance is able to come in soon and solve the problem.

Have a wonderful night!
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