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Old 09-22-2013, 01:04 PM   #1
MarieLightning
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Things Worth Celebrating - October PTR **10/10**

For those of you who know me and have read some of the things I've written before, hi! It's good to see you again!

For those of you who are unfamiliar, thanks for joining me! Hopefully my rambling won't make you want to run away

Let me introduce myself quickly if you need a refresher, or if you've just never encountered my posts!



My name is Marie, I'm 24 and I'm from Quebec, Canada. I love Disney (obviously ) and am excited whenever the opportunity of going back arises. If I could, I would go several times a year, but unfortunately I have to be a grown up and be a bit more responsible with my money (most of the time). I work for a travel wholesaler (though I've been on a leave of absence since June - the reason will come in a little bit) and going places is just what I love to do.

And now, moving on to the most important person in my life, and the reason behind this last minute, impulsive Disney World vacation.



This is my amazing wife. Her name is Amber, and she's 20. We've been married since April 2012, and I'm so happy at the knowledge that I'll be spending the rest of my life with her.

Amber is from Michigan. We've had a long distance relationship for a few years, though we were hopeful to have her finally move to Quebec with me in the fall. But before that happened, she had planned on going back to Michigan over the summer to make some money by working at an amusement park near her house. Well, things didn't exactly go according to plan.

See, back in March, she'd started feeling off. She was having a lot of upper body pain - her back, shoulders, upper arms and neck. Her face was also puffy, as well as her arms - it was as if she'd gained weight, but only in those two parts of her body. Of course, when a 20 year old starts feeling a bit unwell in random manners, there's many excuses to use against it. You never want to imagine the worst, or even something serious. My mattress is due for a change, so that could definitely explain some of the pain, and we attributed the puffiness to weight gain. She also had a bit of a cough that wouldn't quit, but it wasn't bad or frequent.

It got a lot worse when she got home in May though, and after a pointless visit to a Medicenter who said her (non-existent) allergies were acting up, her mom finally took her into the ER on Memorial Day. An xray and a catscan later, she found out she had a mass in her chest. On May 31st, she was diagnosed with a type B-Cell Lymphoma (Non-Hodgkins).

I won't go into details of this summer - a lot happened, but thankfully the worst is over. Her cancer has a 98% survival rate, and it is curable. She's had five chemo treatments, and this upcoming Tuesday will have her sixth and final. She may still need radiation past that, but as far as chemotherapy goes, she will be done.

So, this trip is basically our celebration - for being done with chemo, and at most less than a month away from cancer free (there's no knowing for sure chemo will take care of everything, so she may need three weeks of radiation, but that's still a bit of a gray area). She has permission to travel from her oncologist though, so we know there's nothing to worry about (as he's been especially careful in her case, with her being so young and having had such an aggressive form of cancer).

At first we didn't even really think this was something we could do. She would often say "I wish I was at Disney" or "I wanna go to Disney" throughout the summer, and then I would tell her, less than a year to go - though I wished there would have been a way of getting her there. Did you know there isn't really much out there for young adults with cancer? With her being 20, she could still be treated as a children's hospital, but she's too old to benefit from the many foundations out there for life threatening childhood illnesses. Not that there's anything wrong with those - all those foundations are amazing, and everybody who is sick is deserving of a dream come true. Unfortunately, not everyone gets it. And Amber is two years too old to be considered by any of those foundations, because they have to put an age limit.

At some point, I guess I just decided that if there's nothing out there to take her on a vacation so that she can focus on something else than being sick for a little while, then I would just have to do it. And the next time she said "I wish I was going to Disney", I told her, well why don't we?

Even though I haven't been making money this summer, I still had some saved up - especially for our May trip. And I decided that it wouldn't be too dramatic if some of that money went toward a trip to Disney this fall - so that we could celebrate being done with treatment.

Through a short span of time, our plans changed quite a few times, but now everything is set, everything is booked, and the countdown has already started - and isn't that far from being over, either!

Last edited by MarieLightning; 10-10-2013 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:14 PM   #2
MarieLightning
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So, when we first decided about going to Disney in the fall, everything was still very tentative. For one thing, we had to make sure Amber would be clear to go, both with her doctor and her treatments. Still, we started planning with the idea in mind of going in November. We figured everything would probably take at least that long, and so we would just have this week to ourselves before I had to head on back home (I do have to go back to work at some point).

We asked my Aunt and my mother if they'd like to join us at that point, though again we were still not sure we would be going at all, or at least at that time. They were both interested enough, but each had something that might have gotten in the way so they weren't sure if it would work out. We told them we wouldn't know for a little bit still though, so not to worry about it.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, we went to the University of Michigan to meet up with a lymphoma specialist (as per her oncologist's suggestion) and he told her that her sixth chemo should be her last, meaning things would most likely be over much sooner than anticipated (her oncologist had beforehand spoken of seven or eight treatments, but the specialist said that if the sixth didn't do the job, the following two wouldn't either so there was no point in putting her through more after that). We still have to go back for radiation, but that's another story.

By the time we knew that, we figured we would probably have a better chance of going to Disney in October. Our hoped for date changed, along with most of the planning. October would be too soon for my Aunt and my mother, so while to the four of us we could have stayed at a moderate for not too high a cost (Amber wanted the Caribbean Beach), for just the two of us it would be too much. At that time, we'd also been looking into seven nights, but with my mom and Aunt out, we pushed that a bit further to eight nights.

We were thinking, Pop Century! We both like the resort, and it would help us with our goal of staying at all the Disney resort at least once in our lives We were also planning on paying for the upgrade to the regular dining (as we planned on dates with free dining), but at some point as we were looking into it, Amber mentioned she would rather do the quick dining but stay longer. It was about the same amount, so we just went for that instead.

Adding two extra days to our stay meant changing our flight plans though - we hadn't booked them yet, but we had an idea of the cost. Originally, we wanted to stay from the 21st to the 29th of October. Adding two days to the plan, we had to look into a few factors. One of the things I wanted to make absolutely sure was that our last night would not be one with Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - I wanted to be able to do the Magic Kingdom on our last day, but not the party just then - that would be for earlier in the week. So we decided to extend our trip by two days at the beginning of it, making it from the 19th to the 29th.

That seemed like a good enough plan, still including the free dining. But then we encountered a problem. The flights - flying on the 19th would mean flying on a Saturday. And while I've seen reasonable flight pricing on Saturdays, this was not one of them - the tickets would be almost two hundred dollars more per person if we flew on that day. I looked into different airlines, different routing, leaving from slightly further away cities and so on. In the end, it would have been possible to lessen the cost a bit, but still not to the original price.

That's when I jokingly suggested staying eleven nights instead of ten.

And that's what's actually happening now!

See, switching from the Pop Century to the All-Star Music meant doing eleven nights for only ten dollars more than ten nights at the Pop. And with what we were saving on the flights, it was definitely worth it!

As we are going in May still for eight nights, we also established back when we were planning on doing eight nights here too that it would be about the same cost to do an Annual Pass, except we'd get to Park Hop with the AP whereas Magic Our Way base tickets wouldn't give us that! And now that we've extended our trip to eleven nights, that makes it even more worth it!

We'll have to upgrade our tickets once we get there, but we're definitely looking forward to it - plus, that might just give us another excuse to use them up at some point before they run out
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:50 PM   #3
MarieLightning
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Disney food is always an important part of our trips And even though this time around we're doing the quick service dining, we still have a list of places we would like to try out, or some of our favorites from last time we want to go back to!


Animal Kingdom

Flame Tree BBQ
Last time we were there, we walked by this restaurant and the smell was just so delicious! We ended up eating at Pizzafari, but it's been made very clear to me by my wife that if we don't eat there this time around, I might get in trouble

Pizzafari
Sooo we still ended up enjoying this place, so why not go back! I do like Disney's quick service pizza, and since we don't have too much of that planned on our list, we figured we might as well return there.

Restaurantosaurus
Depending on how many times we hit Animal Kingdom, we might not actually have three meals there, but if so, this is another option we want to give a try. Mostly because I really want to try the Macaroni & Cheese Hot Dog.


Epcot

Electric Umbrella
Because we actually need an opportunity to have chicken nuggets at some point, right They were quite yummy last time we went there too, so we figure they'll be good again!

Katsura Grill
This is another of Amber's requests. We ate at Katsura grill on our trip last year, and this was one of her favorite quick service location find, so she asked that we go there again - and I liked it well enough too, so why not?

La Cantina de San Angel
Because who doesn't like Mexican food?! To be fair, the only way I can eat there is by being very picky and asking for quite a few things to come off the plate, but at the end of the day, I have no doubt it'll be yummy still. Plus, we both really want to try the Churritos!

Liberty Inn
Gotta eat in 'Murica! And I mean, how many quick service locations have steak on the menu, right?

Sommerfest
I wanted to try and eat in a few more countries this time around, though not all the countries have quick service location (I wish Canada would have one). So we decided to give Germany a try this time around.

Tangierine Cafe
One of the things about Amber and I is that we're both pretty picky about food - but this time around, I wanted to be a little more adventurous, so Morocco it is! I'm not guaranteeing we'll eat everything on our plates, but we'll still give it a try!


Hollywood Studios

Backlot Express
This is one is pretty interesting, as it has a few more healthy options than the others. Of course, I'm saying that, but chances are we won't go for those healthy options Who knows though!

Fairfax Fare
I think that considering how excited we are about Flame Tree BBQ, this one should be a good option as well seeing as they offer quite a few of the same things, and I really have no issues eating the same thing a couple of times.

Min and Bill's Dockside
So, I really just want a pretzel roll. That's really the main reason I want to try this restaurant. I just really like pretzel rolls.

Toy Story Pizza Planet
We really wanted to try this one last time, but unfortunately it closed earlier than we expected so we missed out on it. And I really want to try the Cappuccino cupcake.


Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest
So, we're not sure if we'll get into that one - it'll depend on if we feel like waiting a long time to get in, because we'll only do this one for dessert since Amber doesn't really fancy any of the food options they serve for lunch. But I really want to try it and see the inside of it! I was gonna try and get a FastPass for it, but they weren't available for the dates we could have tried it.

Casey's Corner
We enjoyed this one last time, so we figured let's go back! Plus, we both really want to try the corn dog nuggets.

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
No special reason for this one - we just figured we ought to try and eat at several different places, and I've heard good things about Cosmic Ray's so why not go there?

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn/Tortuga Tavern
I don't know if we'll do both of these, or just one, but we really want to have a taco salad, so whichever happens to be closest at the time will most likely be our pick. And if we get in the mood for another taco salad later on, then we'll try both!

Pinocchio Village Haus
So, I originally didn't really want to do this one again, because I was very disappointed with what I had (the Caesar salad, which was basically iceberg lettuce with cold chicken, lots of cheese and no dressing). But I'm willing to give it another try - I know the meatball sub was good, according to Amber, so there's good stuff there.


Downtown Disney

Wolfgang Puck Express
I've heard some really good things about this one, and I'm really excited about trying the macaroni and cheese. Though, if anyone knows if there's a difference between the one on West Side and the one in the Marketplace, please let us know!

Earl of Sandwich
This is another one that seems to be pretty popular at Downtown Disney for quick service dining, so if we have the time or make another trip there, I'd love to give that one a try too.



Finally, we did make a couple of reservations at table service restaurants that we'll pay for out of pocket, because... well, why not?


Teppan Edo
I can already tell that this is gonna become a fast favorite for Amber and I, whenever we go back to Disney, because it's just sooo good! Those Udon noodles are especially really yummy - and I'm just so looking forward to eating that chicken. Nom!

50s Prime Time Cafe
Two words: fried chicken! That was the one restaurant I was really sad about missing out on last time, but we just couldn't fit it in. This time, we're just gonna go for it! But that's an actually pretty cheap out of pocket option, as we can just share the sampler!


I'm so excited about all this delicious Disney food, not counting the awesome snacks! And while we don't plan on exploring the Food & Wine Festival super extensively, there's still a few things that I want to try (Belgian Waffles much?!)
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:02 AM   #4
janecamillacharlton
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Be Our Guest Fastpass

Last night I used
beourguestlunch.disney.go.com and it worked wonderfully. Was even able to specify a birthday for one of our party. It doesn't count as its own FP+ I was told so we could have three others. It linked to the Magic Bands.

However, this morning I was no longer able to get onto MyMagic+ presumably because I had multiple accounts and one was activated by the BOG reservation. Tech support helped me to find things on MyMagic+ again but now I have no record of the BOG Fastpass. Sigh. I thought I'd share anyway in case you'd like to give it a try.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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Be Our Guest Fastpass

Last night I used
beourguestlunch.disney.go.com and it worked wonderfully. Was even able to specify a birthday for one of our party. It doesn't count as its own FP+ I was told so we could have three others. It linked to the Magic Bands.

However, this morning I was no longer able to get onto MyMagic+ presumably because I had multiple accounts and one was activated by the BOG reservation. Tech support helped me to find things on MyMagic+ again but now I have no record of the BOG Fastpass. Sigh. I thought I'd share anyway in case you'd like to give it a try.
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:11 PM   #6
MarieLightning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janecamillacharlton View Post
Last night I used
beourguestlunch.disney.go.com and it worked wonderfully. Was even able to specify a birthday for one of our party. It doesn't count as its own FP+ I was told so we could have three others. It linked to the Magic Bands.

However, this morning I was no longer able to get onto MyMagic+ presumably because I had multiple accounts and one was activated by the BOG reservation. Tech support helped me to find things on MyMagic+ again but now I have no record of the BOG Fastpass. Sigh. I thought I'd share anyway in case you'd like to give it a try.
Thank you so much for the tip! I was able to make a selection there!

I had the same issue as you initially, but then I went to log in through the regular Disney website first and then accessed the MyDisneyExperience section. All my other dining reservations and FastPasses and such were still there, but like you, it doesn't show my Be Our Guest FastPass.

However, my Be Our Guest FastPass is also still showing all there when I go back to the website you gave, so I'm assuming they're just two separate types of reservations that link together - kinda like how I bought our MNSSHP tickets through the MyDisneyExperience website, but it still doesn't show them on my 'Day Plans'.

Of course, I can't tell for sure that everything does seem to still work because I haven't checked with Disney, but since everything is showing the right way, I'm pretty hopeful it'll all work out well ^^
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:18 PM   #7
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Following along!
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:35 PM   #8
MarieLightning
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One thing that we have this time around that we didn't last November is MyMagic+!

I honestly have no idea how we ended up being part of the testing. We didn't even receive a message or anything asking us if we wanted to be part of the testing - I just signed up on MyDisneyExperience a few months back, made my dining reservations on there, and once our booking was made, I retrieved it on the website.

From there, it gave me the option to order our MagicBands and make our FastPass+ reservations.

We haven't made FastPass+ reservations for every day we're there - we want to be a bit more flexible, and I don't want to grab FastPasses we won't end up using, as I don't want to take from anyone else (though I don't think it affects the passes in the parks just yet). Also, we'll be meeting up with some people here and there during the trip, so especially on those dates, I don't want to make plans they won't be able to be a part of. We did prioritize making FastPass+ reservations for shows and parades - it'll make it easier for Amber to have a pre-reserved spot, even though she'll have a wheelchair/walker.

So we have FastPasses for Fantasmic, Wishes, the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade. We only have one for each of those, as again, I didn't want to overdo it. I know the Wishes reserved viewing place is in the Rose Garden, so I'm curious to see what kind of view it offers. But especially for Wishes, we didn't want to have more than one FastPass - we have a few other spots we want to try out, like behind Cinderella's Castle in Fantasyland.

We did also make a FastPass reservation for Be Our Guest lunch thank to janecamillacharlton's tip, since any dinner reservation is looong gone, and we really want to see the inside of the Beast's Castle! It requires you to make your dining plans in advance though, so hopefully we can still customize a little once we get there (for example, Amber got the braised pork, but she doesn't eat mushrooms, and I got the turkey sandwich, but I don't know if I want the lettuce on it. I guess we'll find out soon enough!

I'm curious to see what our opinion of MyMagic+ will be when we get back. Right now it all seems pretty great, but I feel it'll be hard to establish seeing as it's a smaller percentage of people using the same tricks, and so it can't really give that accurate an idea. I'm also not looking forward to having to fight over FastPasses two months out of my trip. I wouldn't care so much if they leave the paper FastPasses in the parks, but apparently they won't - which will basically reduce anyone's FastPass use for the day to a maximum of 3, including shows and character greetings, and also not give the possibility to get them in more than one park, so not so good for Park Hopping. Maybe they'll work on that based on feedback, though.


In the meantime, we are now 17 days away from our trip! Which means we have started our movie countdown! (We had to do another one of those, of course )

First up!

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Old 10-10-2013, 12:16 AM   #10
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Preparations have started! We're less than 9 days away from leaving at this point, and even though we can't begin packing yet (trust me, I wish I could!) we've still got a few things ready to go!

We got a few new things just for this trip, though of course they'll also serve other purposes. Walmart had a bundle sale for beach towels a few weeks back (might still have it), and so we got two beach towels for ten dollars! Mine has Belle, Cinderella and Aurora on it, and Amber's is Rapunzel. They're both very cute, and they're a good thickness - not the thickest towels ever, but not too thin either. We also got a brand new camera because mine was starting to get on my nerves with its inability to take good pictures when it starts getting a bit darker, and how long it takes to actually take the picture with the flash on (my finger literally stays on that button for 15 seconds sometimes). But that is all done with now, we have a brand new shiny toy to take magical pictures instead!

Today, I also took it upon myself to make a paper packing list that we'll be able to go along as we put our stuff away. I'll probably be adding a few more things to it as the week goes on, but I think it's got the most of what we need! Some things are always laid out on the bed - things that we know we won't need before we go, like swimsuits, our DME booklet and MagicBands, our lanyards and pins and so on!

Of course, we've also been going along with our Disney movies countdown! From October 2nd up until today, here are the movies we watched!






Only 8 movies to go on our countdown, so crazy!

Today, I also took it upon myself to decorate some envelopes for our Mouse-Keeping tips! We don't have much of a budget in terms of what we can put inside of them, but hopefully what's on the envelope itself will earn us some unseen smiles!








That took a few hours, and I've established the fact that I much prefer coloring pencils to crayons, but they got the job done!

So that's about what we've gotten done so far - we've also decided to have one of our meals at the Grand Floridian, even though it'll just be the food court since we're on the Quick Service Dining Plan, but it'll give us an excuse to see it!

At this point, I'm just looking forward to next Tuesday, so that I can get all of our laundry done, and then Wednesday is packing day! Sooo excited!
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:34 AM   #11
JB Meier
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Lightbulb 2 Great Ideas

Marie:

Thanks for the regaling and I must say that I am totally stealing your ideas for a movie countdown as well as the Mouse Keeping envelopes! I am not a seasoned hotel stayer outside of WDW and am always a little apprehensive about how to leave a tip and how they will know it is for them.

Your creativity just solved that dilemma! Great artwork as well!

Will be following,

-JB-
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