“Big Jay?” “Yes Baby Jay?” “I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”- September 8th-18th 2017 TR

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by Mackenzie Click-Mickelson, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    Chapter 1: Welcome to the trip report



    Well hello there! Welcome to my first trip report :-):-):-)

    So I bet you’re wondering about my trip report name…well it combines two elements.

    The first part is from my alma mater the University of Kansas (KU) whose mascot is the Jayhawk. There are two of them-one is Big Jay and the other is Baby Jay.

    upload_2017-10-24_13-19-22.png

    Here is the current logo for the Jayhaws. The logo has changed over time though. Orientation of the current logo can be faced either left or right.
    upload_2017-10-24_13-20-33.png

    The second element is well most Kansans have heard a Wizard of Oz joke a time or two (or a million). I felt like this seemed appropriate given all the new stuff we would be seeing (including Pandora and Harry Potter Diagon Alley) and experiencing and let’s not forget…Irma. In Kansas we don’t typically deal with hurricanes aside from the remnants of them (I live in NE KS near the border of KS and MO). Don’t get me wrong we can get some powerful stuff but much like for someone who has never experienced a tornado warning before actually being in the midst of a hurricane (where you were just hoping it would be downgraded by the time it got to you) can be full of unknowns.

    I’m so excited to be sharing my trip with you :hyper:. We had such a blast. Aaron, surprisingly, enjoyed Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. He started even talking about doing a shorter trip sooner and it being more focused on that lol. I enjoyed Food & Wine as well. I don’t know if we will get back down there anytime soon but still. We’ll get back there eventually but we just don’t know when. I’d love to go back for the 50th but I don’t know if I’m brave enough for those crowds lol.

    Ok so a bit about the trip-

    Who is going: Me (Mackenzie) and my husband (Aaron)

    When: September 8th-September 18th (extended from coming home September 17th)

    What resort: All-Star Sports Touchdown building #10 Room 337- first time on-site!

    What Theme Parks: WDW (Walt Disney World) and USO (Universal Studios Orlando). *Please note I refer to both the Studios and Islands of Adventure combined as USO. I also refer to Island of Adventure as IOA and when talking about the Studios park of Universal I will say ‘the Studios’.

    *Disclaimer: Our experience with Irma (yes we were there during the hurricane) should not be compared in terms of others experiences. Basically please don’t use our experience for a reason to go down during a hurricane :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
    Micca and paradesintherain like this.
  2. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    Chapters:

    1) Welcome to the trip report

    2) Introductions

    3) Planning for the trip Parts 1-4

    4) Labor Day weekend trip with Irma brewing

    5) Arrival Day Parts 1-13

    6) WDW Day 1 Parts 1-14

    7) Irma, Irma, Irma Day 1 and Day 2 Parts 1-2

    8) WDW Day 2 Parts 1-8

    *I've made adjustments to the chapter numbers effective 1/13/18*
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
    Micca likes this.
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    Chapter 2: Introductions

    Ok so on to a bit about myself and my husband. I know this can be boring so apologies in advance. It’s my first trip report and even though I’ve shared some of these details randomly throughout my time on the DIS I thought I would spend a bit of time introducing ourselves.

    Me (Mackenzie): Age-29
    upload_2017-10-24_13-30-55.png

    My husband (Aaron): Age-28
    upload_2017-10-24_13-31-23.png
    *Don’t mind the Maryland shirt lol he got that when he was onsite for a field assignment in southern Maryland (not far from Solomons Island, MD)
    ===========================================================================================

    Aaron and I met at KU just before winter finals back in early December 2007. We found out that we sorta had been following each other throughout out lives.

    ~We went to the same church as kids

    ~For a short time we went to the same daycare center.

    ~We lived in the same neighborhood though I moved out a year before he moved in (but because of that he still went to the same elementary school that I did just after I left). I was 6 when I left the neighborhood because my parents had gotten divorced. If that hadn't of happened we would have gone to the same elementary school, middle school, and high school at the same time (well whenever the grades would have matched up since my husband is a year younger than me). I should also note that he started in one district then his parents got divorced and he moved into the district that I was in prior to my parents getting divorced. When my parents got divorced I moved and switched to the district that he started in.

    ~His dad lived in an apartment near my mom for a while and my husband was over at that apartment at times. There is a gas station that my mom would often fill up at which was the closest to the apartments where my husband's dad lived in.

    ~His step-dad worked for the same insurance company as my dad and knew my dad (though my step-father-in-law now works as an independent agent while my dad still works as a captive agent for the other company). In fact one of the guys my step-father-in-law has working for him right now who is a good friend of his left the company my dad still works at and that guy was the best man at my mom and dad's wedding.

    ~We went to the same college but we didn't meet until just before finals week despite living in the same dorm (he was 18 and I was 19). I lived on the top floor and he lived 3 floors down from me. It's entirely possible we passed each other in the elevator or hallway, etc

    And if you think we live in a small town...we don't.

    We got engaged in early July 2012 and married in the middle of April 2013. Back in September 2011 we went on a WDW and USO trip together which was the first time Aaron had been back in years. His family had only gone once before.
     
  5. Elsaalltheway

    Elsaalltheway DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,399
    Wow that is a lot of coincidences.
     
  6. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    Yes it is :-)
     
    Micca likes this.
  7. brnrss34

    brnrss34 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Messages:
    594
    Following along.
     
  8. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    Chapter 3: Planning for the trip Part 1

    Ok now onto a bit of talk about planning for our trip.

    I started planning for this trip back in late summer 2015. I just got the bug to go to WDW but purposefully planned it for 2 years in advance to give enough time to plan and save money. Aaron’s mom and step-dad along with his sister were originally going to go with us. His sister dropped out because she didn’t think she would really want to do theme parks as much as the plan was. She wanted to go to the beach, etc. Personally speaking I would do a separate trip for the beach. This trip was all theme parks so I got her not wanting to go. The in-laws dropped out last year due to stamina concerns. Their age (early 60s) was starting to catch up to them and they just didn’t think they wanted nor could do as much as we were planning. So 5 adults going eventually became 2 adults. This honestly worked out extremely well in the end.

    I actually stumbled upon the DIS from a Pinterest post that I had pinned of a Disney blog. I have to say without a doubt the DIS was invaluable to my planning of my trip and I so appreciated all the information I learned along the way. Even as polarizing as one of the main hurricane threads was I still learned a lot of information about hurricanes that really helped us prepare for it as well as help us keep us calm simply by having more information.

    So my early planning focused a lot on what types of attractions/rides/shows we may want to do as well as food planning.

    On our last trip we just did Quick Service (QS) and this trip I wanted to do a bit of Table Service (TS). So I went through all and I do mean all the options available at all the Disney parks and Universal’s parks. I went and listed what was likely to be the meal I was most interested in as well as the prices to which I would update whenever I found out about a price increase. I showed this all to my husband as far as all the places and this really helped narrow down. Here is a sampling of what the meal list looked like:
    upload_2017-10-24_16-25-50.png

    As far as attractions I went through and color coded by FastPass+ (FP+) tiers, type of attractions (rides, shows, fireworks, walk-through, etc) and labeled each one with Must See (MS) or Time Permits (TP) as well as who actually wanted to see it-Mackenzie (M), Aaron (A); sometimes things that Aaron wasn’t considering a MS I just left it that way so my list would be easy enough for me to keep track of. This helped figure out what our plans were. Tons of flexibility but also ensuring we saw/did what we really wanted to do leaving wiggle room for things that we could do if we wanted to with timing. Here is a sampling of what the list looked like:
    upload_2017-10-24_16-26-29.png
    upload_2017-10-24_16-26-41.png

    I also made a list of park hours and a schedule of what parks each day. Our trip isn’t one that I can use for future planning because of the hurricane but I did schedule the days so that we could take advantage (if we wanted to) the Extra Magic Hours (EMH). Here is a sampling of what the schedule looked like:
    upload_2017-10-24_16-27-12.png

    So part of my planning ended up me watching YouTube videos. I watched quite a bit of the DIS and of ‘The Tim Tracker’. When Oliver left the DIS :( I found out later on about his YouTube channel ‘This Orlando Life’. The DIS videos are great. I do wish they would do more ride videos but that’s probably just not their cup of tea and that’s totally ok. I enjoy Ryno and Craig out and about and their dining talk.

    So the ‘Tim Tracker’ is great for those who like videos on rides, who like a bit more (IMO at least) of describing of what this is and what that is. ‘The Tim Tracker’ does have normal everyday vlogs mixed in with their Disney and Universal vlogs so just be aware of that if you go to their page. ‘The Tim Tracker’ for a while now has been very careful about making their YouTube channel family friendly. A few months before we went on our trip Aaron joined in on watching videos with me but he really enjoyed ‘The Tim Tracker’ the most. I would have to say for out and about park experiences ‘The Tim Tracker’ is my favorite.

    ‘This Orlando Life’ with Oliver and his husband Spencer (ETA: at least I think Spencer is his husband, please correct me if I'm wrong though I would appreciate that :) ) frequently has JL aka JeniLynn (also from the DIS but she left before I knew who she really was). Now for me I wouldn’t say ‘This Orlando Life’ is completely family friendly. They have no qualms about getting alcohol for instance. But I really do enjoy them. They also do ride videos. For a bit more adult feel plus seeing some previous DISers ‘This Orlando Life’ is good for that.

    I know it may not necessarily be considered planning but I created a YouTube playlist of some of the rides. You may consider doing that if you’re ok with seeing something before riding it sometimes I know people have mentioned doing this to ease someone’s concerns over the ride. The playlist also helps get you excited for your trip!! I will say I watched Happily Ever After (HEA) on YouTube when it first debuted and for me it only added to the feeling I got while watching it in person. Aaron opted to not watch it before actually seeing it in person.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  9. NFLDERS

    NFLDERS Canada

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    6,794
    I'm following along too! :)
     
  10. mamamelody2

    mamamelody2 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,929
  11. Elsaalltheway

    Elsaalltheway DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,399
    I didn't know Spencer and Oliver were married. I thought Oliver was married to another guy. I thought I had seen him in a different video at AK.
     
  12. dolewhipdreams

    dolewhipdreams Counting days until my next Dole Whip

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    941
    Rock Chalk! I'm excited to see how your trip came along :D
     
  13. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    I could have sworn that Oliver mentioned Spencer as his husband on an episode (I think it may have been when he was still with the DIS) but I could be wrong for sure.
     
    Micca likes this.
  14. Elsaalltheway

    Elsaalltheway DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,399
    I mean I could be wrong too.
     
  15. Lesley Wake

    Lesley Wake May the force be with you!

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Messages:
    2,909
    Following along! We were there the same days (Sept 7-18)!
     
  16. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    I'll edit my comment to reflect that I'm not 100% :)
     
    Micca likes this.
  17. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    Just wanted to say thanks for coming to my trip report and following along :) :) :)

    _______________
    And for anyone that happened to be there at the same time as my husband and I don't hesitate to comment about that. I always find it interesting different experiences (or same for that matter lol ) people have when they are there at the same time.
     
    Micca likes this.
  18. AMusicLifeForMe

    AMusicLifeForMe DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2016
    Messages:
    3,129
    Hi Mackenzie! I’m joining in! Looking forward to reading everything that you did! :)
     
  19. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    Thank you! And thanks for joining in :) :)
     
    Micca and AMusicLifeForMe like this.
  20. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    Alrighty guys sorry for the delay in any updates but you better be ready for some :D
     
    Micca likes this.
  21. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    7,897
    Chapter 3: Planning for the trip Part 2
    So early on in the planning I decided to make a budget for us. The budget changed when I got the finalized 2017 pricing (since I started the planning back in 2015) for resort rooms and when we went from 5 adults to 2 adults. The rental car and gas figures in the below screen shot reflected when 5 people were going and we would need a large car (and therefore use up more gas) but I decided to keep them in there. I figured it might help us plan for the worst (i.e. higher spending) and hope for the best (lower spending due to only 2 people). All other figures were with just 2 people.

    upload_2017-11-15_18-23-44.png

    For food I opted for two different options. First option was $50 per person per day and the second option was $75 per person per day. I decided to keep track of food costs as I found out about price increases. I did this fairly well over time though I admit I was didn’t check about a month before our trip so it is possible pricing had gone up. I also had gone over the food options with my husband and deleted ones off my list (probably about a year or so after first creating the list) that we decided we wouldn’t want to eat at. Honestly we’re not buffet people in general so that knocked character meals off the list. We aren’t too big into characters in general either at least at this time. ETA: I used this thread to review when pricing usually changed (sometimes pricing adjusted outside of what what listed):https://www.disboards.com/threads/buffet-character-shows-aycte-pricing.3108466/

    The airport parking was for the Parking Spot for our home airport. Aaron’s work has a discounted rate with the Parking Spot (though we also have a special for being AAA members if we wanted to use it). So Aaron had built up free days on both uncovered and covered parking but we opted to save a bit more money for uncovered. The cost (at that time) for uncovered parking including the free days and taxes was $35.02. I believe he had stored up something like 6 free uncovered or 4 free covered (based on cost).

    On February 16th 2016 we bought our USO tickets and on February 27th 2016 we bought our WDW tickets. Both were from Undercover Tourist (UT) at the ticket rate from 2015. Both WDW and USO were doing a ticket price increase (which I only knew about from the lovely DISers) when I bought them but I snagged tickets from UT on their respective purchase dates before they had to increase their prices. I purchased a 4-day Hopper + 1-day free for WDW and a 2-day Park-to-Park + 1-day free for USO. The cost of those tickets with tax was $367.00 per person for WDW and $199.21 per person for USO. I opted for the actual physical tickets for WDW due to the refund policy (just in case) and e-tickets for USO. These tickets worked out wonderfully and TBH paper USO tickets aren’t a big issue for us. We had them for our 2011 trip when we bought them straight from Universal’s website and we had them again for this trip. I just printed out an extra copy just in case they cost water on them and wouldn’t work.

    On February 21st 2017 I reserved our room for our onsite stay! Originally I had wanted All-Star Movies due to the theme but by the time we went to go book it was listed at Unavailable so we went with All-Star Sports instead. I really didn’t want All-Star Music because I wasn’t too keen on being sandwiched in between the two other All-Stars. When I booked All-Star Sports I did Standard room. We weren’t really desperate for Preferred. I booked it at rack rate (full price) knowing that Room-Only discounts would eventually come out. Now my tip is (as well as other DISers as well) is to book what you are comfortable with rather than book hoping you’ll end up with a discount that will make the current room booked comfortable for you. So in other words we booked the on-site stay expecting to pay what we booked it at and considered any discount that was available and able to be applied a bonus. The deposit was $139.61 with total room rate including taxes and fees of $1,125.94 (includes deposit already made).

    On February 23rd 2017 we booked our Southwest tickets (SWA). Now due to Aaron’s travels in 2015-2016 (though it was 2016 points that would be the ones that counted) for work plus bonus points for signing up for the Southwest Credit Card we had earned a Companion pass that is good until 12/31/2017 (we earned it back in 2016) and we had plenty of reward points so we didn’t actually pay any cash for the airline tickets with the exception of the mandatory 9/11 Security fees of $5.60 each way. The tickets initially cost 23,006 points or the equivalent of $371.90 for 1 person (if we had been paying for 2 people this would have equaled $743.80 roundtrip for 2 people. Back when I was initially planning a budget I figured around $400 RT per person based on fares I had seen in 2015 for August/September.

    On 3/12/17 my ADR date came. My ADR e-mail was at 10:11am Central Time Zone (so a bit late for when ADRs times were released at the 180-day mark. I actually didn't do my ADRs until a few hours after that but I wasn't going for hard to get ones. The 3 that I made had plenty of availability at that time though now they don't have as much. I made a 5:50pm reservation for 9/9/17 for Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, a 1:05pm reservation for 9/13/17 for 50’s Prime Time Café and finally a 6:10pm Mama Melrose.

    On 3/25/17 we went ahead and booked a rental car through Rentalcars(.com). It was through Alamo for a compact car for $221.51 with no pre-payment made for 9/8/17-9/17/17. The downside with Alamo is a spouse cannot drive for free. While on vacation my husband typically drives but we like knowing that I could drive too. Therefore we tend to book with places that allow the spouse to drive without an additional driver fee. I mean we could if we really wanted to pay the additional driver fee but it really adds up and most times you can just find a lower overall price with a company that includes spouse driving free. We did keep looking to see if a better deal would come up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017

Share This Page