I'm getting old! Better celebrate it Disney-style! - A Winter 2019 PTR

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by AnnieDan_Artlover, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    Hi all,
    it's been a long while since my last PTR!

    To those (most) of you who don't know me, I travelled to WDW the first time with my mom in 2008. It was her second time (but after nearly 30 years!), and my first.
    We caught the Disney bug SEVERELY.

    Yet our means were limited, so we could only go back in 2012, and then again in 2013, thanks to an AP.
    I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which is a rare genetic condition, with many physical problems (it's a collagen problem, and about 80% of our bodies involve collagen... do the math, it's not pretty!).

    This is why our first trip lasted a good 2 weeks, and I was in my wheelchair... which was no fun at all. We decided we'd never do that again!
    In 2012 ans 2013, I was a little bit stronger, thanks to a new medicine, so I went on my own two feet... yet one day in 2013 I had to rent a scooter... which is still not that bad.
    And that had been our decision! Take a longer trip so we can do less everyday, and rent a scooter if need be, so my mom wouldn't be behind me, pushing the wheelchair the whole time. (As I'm not strong enough to push myself, except for in the apartment).

    Because of my health, I only work from home, very-part time (as in less than 10hrs a week... which is still a bit too much for my health, but good for my mood and I don't have much choice if I want to make ends meet!). I do proofreading and translation, both English and French. (I'm from Montréal, in Québec, Canada... French is my native language).

    I now live with my SO, and thankfully, he wants to visit Disney too! He's far from a Disney enthusiast, he prefers cartoons like Family Guy than The Little Mermaid, but he wanted to go see The Beauty and the Beast (thanks to my health we missed it). And I mean HE wanted to go see it, not just agreed to go with me!
    He had watched a lot of Disney movies growing up, and is a kid at heart, like I am. He also went to WDW (mostly MK) at least once, with his grand-parents, as a kid.

    We were planning our coming years travels, to get an idea when to plan what and how much money to put aside... Disney was in our future, but we didn't know when.

    And then it hit me... I will be turning 40 in 2019... so I asked Yanik (Y for future reference!) if he would mind to go that year... or for my 45th, maybe?
    He said in 2 years was perfect, and he genuinely sounded excited to go!

    Our plan is to travel about once a year, with maybe some short camping trip in between, if we can afford it.
    We are far from rich, but prioritize travel and technologic gadgets (we're both geeks, and a bit nerd too hehe),

    So, the plan thus far is: Mexico (or a better Caribbean deal) for a week next winter (end of January, beginning of February).
    Camping to the Maritime provinces and visit a friend of mine in Halifax in late summer 2018... if we can afford it...
    Maybe some more camping, around our beautiful province, in early summer 2019... again, if we can afford it...
    And FINALLY, WDW for about 2 weeks, I think, in the fall of 2019.

    This might sometimes fall off topic to become a multi-trip PTR, since one trip will influence this one and vice-versa!

    The essentials:
    Where: WDW Orlando!... maybe a few Universal days too.
    When: Fall 2019
    Who: Me (40 by then) and Y, my SO.

    Here we are : [​IMG][​IMG]

    Next up: early pre-PTR planning!
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
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  2. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    SUPER early plan, and planning plans

    So, yeah, here we are... what? 25 months in advance? I don't think I've ever been so early in my planning.
    Of course, planning won't be as much focused on this WDW trip at first, I will need to plan for other travels... but I know Disney trips, and I know I'll need to book the room or rent DVCs at least 365 days early, so... in 13 months or less.
    I also know the dining reservations will also need to be done 12 months in advance, unlike "only" six months way back when... (was it a year early in 2013 too? Maybe, can't remember).

    This leaves me about a year, maybe 6-10 months, for planning. Knowing where we'll stay and how long, how we'll get there, what we plan to do, which park (for the FP+) and where we wanna eat.

    Going to an all-inclusive in the Caribbean doesn't take TOO much planning, and camping is a different kind of planning... so I'll have plenty of time to research what's new. I haven't been around since 2013, as I never am between trips... because it always breaks my heart to talk about WDW and not be going!

    My plan for now is :
    Book a 12 day stay, either in a Value or renting DVCs (price difference will decide -DVC is better for my health but we might not be able to afford it). Start with Universal for 2-3 days first. Making sure it's not too difficult to go to Universal first and then Disney, without having our own car, since we'll fly in.
    That stay would be for early Septermber, hoping for free dining eventually.

    Last 2 times I drove down with my mom, and it was fun and do-able, but it does take almost an extra week of travel (which Y can't afford)... plus, driving long distances is much harder for me now than it used to be, with arthrosis and all. Sorry dreamer17555, I don't think we'll have dinner this time! (which really almost makes me wanna change plans hehe).

    Then, I'll watch for the free dining plan. As soon as it gets out, hoping it fits with at least part of our dates, we'll modify our dates to at least start our stay during Free Dining... unless we rent DVC points... (then we are not eligible for the free dining) and then book the flights (unless it's too early and we can get a better price later).

    I have a stomach condition that means I can't eat a lot at once (about 1 cup!), and have a LOT of restrictions. Not like allergies (except coconut and shellfish, which I'm allergic to). It's more like "if I eat cauliflower, and brocoli, and berries, they'll never fully digest and I might need a surgery to remove the hard ball it would become".
    It's called gastroparesis, or "lazy digestion". I'm full as soon as I eat, and if I don't listen to that signal or eat too much fat and especially too much fibers, I'm stuck NONdigesting for days. In a flare-up, I can only be on liquid diet, and then when it's better, soft foods (think smoothies and apple sauce). So I try to stick to the diet.
    That means a full regular dining plan isn't worth it for me.
    Y on the other hand, eats at least twice what I eat, which means he eats normally -on the plenty side.

    That means, if we can get free dining, even with just a quick service plan, we won't break the bank with table restaurants every day for usually 1 meal.

    I need to:
    Check DVC prices (renting points)
    Check value resorts
    Check restaurants (to have an idea of where to reserve in about 1 year)
    Make a tentative plan (how many days -or part of days- in each park) to help decide where to make dinner ressies.
    Check the weather. Free dining is usually in early September, sometimes up to December... when do we wanna go? December is probably better for me (I don't do heat well), but free dining is not always until December... also, do we plan for F&W, Halloween or Christmas?

    I think we'll go for F&W more than anything, first because of my "can't eat a lot at once" thing, also because we both love tasting new food and I think Y would enjoy more diverse food than christmasy Disney... then again, he loves to decorate so he might enjoy it! I think I'll let him decide.

    I wish I could go FOR my birthday (in late June)... but the prices are up, and the weather is too hot.
  3. Avatar


  4. suse66

    suse66 Mickey Bars should be a daily food group!

    Sep 3, 2008
    Happy trip planning from another Canadian! There is no better place to celebrate than Disney. :) I noticed you mentioned camping in the Maritimes next summer. If you do to PEI let me know as I can probably give you some advice/ideas as that is where I grew up.
    AnnieDan_Artlover likes this.
  5. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    Two secrets

    So... since Y won't ever come here, I'll tell you 2 secrets.

    1. Talking with my mom, she asked if I told Y about DVC (not renting... buying). I was surprised to see she was serious and didn't consider it foolish.
    I haven't. But I will! When we're in WDW, if Y likes it, since we would love to travel around the world and DVC has use for points all over... it might be a great idea! Plus, with my health, DVC mean more amenities, and Disney travel mean being safe. I don't mean "fear to be robbed" or anything, just that they easily cater to handicapped people.

    Parenthesis : Yeah. I'm considered handicapped, even while I don't look the part most of the time, even if I have good days. The bad days outnumber the good, and it took me a long time to accept the label. Yet "handicap" means to have limitations to how you function... and I have, plenty. Hence my profile avatar at the moment. It's not "Disney-y" but I like how it shows a strong woman in a wheelchair and being fierce! BTW, I contacted the creator of that drawing, to tell her how amazing it made me feel, and she was so happy! Her name is Tatiana Gill, go check her work out! http://www.tatianagill.com

    So... I secretly want to be a DVC member... Not sure how much less it would cost us, if it's worth it... I just know I've been wanting to become a member for a long time, and maybe it might become possible.

    2. I kinda hope this trip to be some kind of an engagement trip. We are pretty much "there" in our relationship, and although I don't necessarily want to get married (one reason being we prefer spending money travelling... and we both have alcoholics in our families, so a party with lots of booze is not our idea of fun and I cringe just imagining the scene. Y doesn't drink a lot, I don't drink at all.
    All that to say... I think mostly I'd want him to ask me to marry him... it would mean a lot... and is a dream of mine for a long time.
    I want to be proposed to, not necessarily married. And in fact, I think were we to actually tie the knot, it might be in a form of eloping. Like, while travelling. "Hey mom, we got married!". Not sure how the "moms" would take that, though, ha! Maybe THEIR dream is to be at our formal wedding? Anyways... Y is amazing, and sometimes even romantic, but he has a tendency to not be romantic when I expect/hope him to...
    So... I'm hoping (but not really believing it might happen) that he'll either propose to me before this trip, which would become more than just my 40th birthday celebration... or that he proposes IN WDW, of course!

    Mind you, this trip will be wonderful even without any of those two secret hopes coming true!
  6. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    Thanks for following! So sweet of you to offer help! I will definitely keep it in mind!
  7. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    So... I should be working. But it's a real bad day health-wise, one of those where just existing is hard and painful. (it's summer but I need a blanket and heating pad). Hoping to feel better in an hour or 2... in the meantime I felt like writing here!

    I checked the DVC info again, in more detail. And I'm sure we won't do DVC for our first trip. A Value resort with free dining plan is much more in our budget than renting points (and not get free dining).

    But as you know, I secretly would like to become a DVC member... so I checked about buying.
    I had forgotten the whole buy has an expiration date. Of course, if we say, buy points in 2020, having them be useless by 2040 isn't very attractive. So we would need to buy at a home resort that has later date termination. (Some go to 2066!) Having 40 years of travel is interesting. But I figured we would need at least 100 pts/year, and that comes over 10 000$ (resale!). Sure, it means free stays, but not free travel, free food, free tickets. And there are those annual dues I forgot about... at least 500$/yr and always increasing... Who knows, maybe in 2040 we'll want to buy in for the next 40 years, and by then a new DVC will go that far in the future.
    But I think we should put 10-20k on a car before buying DVC!
    We could still travel a ton, and go to Disney a few times! I think using AirBnB and tracking deals will end up being a better choice for us!

    So... secret 1) is already "over". ;)
  8. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    I guess we can call this a snag...

    I'm so demoralized.
    I may have started this PTR for nothing.

    Y is growing frustrated with his job (he's been there 1 year). It's an AMAZING job. In what he loves, great place to work, nice coworkers, advancement possibilities, he just had a raise... But it's repetitive sometimes, and Y has a major tendency to milk out 5 bad minutes a whole day and focus on the negative.

    Last year he saw a career counselor (because I insisted!)... but he didn't end up knowing what he really wanted to do. The counselor had given him a last questionnaire to do, for himself, but since he wasn't required to and wouldn't see her again, he never did. He clearly did not put effort in this and didn't do the needed reflection.
    So now he decides he needs to re-evaluate what he wants to do career-wise. And it makes me angry cuz he was supposed to have done that already!
    It's not like he was 40, having worked 20 years at the same place and wanted a change, or if he WAS 20. No, he's 33 and has finished a university certificate 15 months ago, has been working in the field he likes and studied in for just about a year... and it's NOW that he wakes up?!

    Moreover, he thinks he'd like to go finish his bachelor's degree. He needs about 10 courses to do so. He doesn't even know in what he would study. But if he continues in the same field, he would then have to do specialized formation, equivalent to a masters, but technical... which would take 3 years full-time.

    In other words... for the next 3-4 years, we'll have more expenses (university doesn't cost as much here as in the US, but it will be a few hundreds per class), while he'll only work part time.
    ...I have a friend who worked full-time and did 2 classes a week, all the while handling 3 children... but he doesn't seem to be able to work full-time while studying.
    He'll probably cut 10hrs/week, and no more overtime of course (I never ask or insist for him to do overtime, but he often does, and it helps... and he planned to do more so we could travel! Like working the equivalent of a whole week so we could go to Mexico next winter, even though he used up all his vacation time).

    So do the math : 3 years with about 1000$ more expenses, and 8000$ less pay, EACH YEAR. No way we can afford holidays.
    Worse : if he does that superior studies program, he plans on doing that full time and not work, or very little. Which would mean NO revenue from him, and still 1000$ expense yearly. Which means we would need to find a way (no idea how) to save the equivalent of at least 30 000$, while having LESS to work with.

    Oh, it's not IMPOSSIBLE... but it will be hard as hell! Just to make ends meet. No travelling for at least 6 years, and probably not soon after either!
    With my health... no way to know if I'll still be able to travel by then.

    And yet I feel bad. Bad for not being excited by his idea, not more supportive.
    I always say one needs to love what one does. Or at least not hate it, and focus on the positive, and have a rich off-work life.
    I also value education a lot! I would love to study even more, but I don't have the money nor the health.

    I love that he has ambition.
    I just hate that it ruins our plans and my passion, and that while working is hard for me, I'll have to support us even more, and stress about not being able to work more...
    I feel so guilty for feeling so bad.

    And so, sorry about all this rambling, I had to vent... and well, if I go silent for a while you'll know why.
  9. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    BACK ON TRACK - Can you hear my relief sigh?

    So... Y completely changed his mind, once more, but in a good way: No return to school, just maybe a few online courses to learn programming and eventually develop video games, which is a career path he has been telling me about since I've known him. It can pay good money, he is passionate about video games, it uses his creativity and he's already working in the right field. Plus, unless eventually he starts his own indie studio (but that's not for awhile of course), it means steady income, insurances, etc. So it's all around a GREAT choice and amazing news that he feels he knows what he wants to do and is excited about it... and that it means we won't have to postpone our travel plans!

    So, for now, it's still Mexico (or some Caribbean all-inclusive vacation) this winter, probably a camping roadtrip next summer, and then WDW in fall 2019.

    We talked a bit about our Disney trip today, while on the road to a great water park (Calypso, in Limoges, Ontario). Y would love to visit Universal (me too, unless I can't do thrill rides by then... I would be so sad not being able to ride. I'm going to La Ronde amusement park (a Six-Flags) later this week... it will be a good test. I have slight cranial instability, you see. I know, I know, thrill rides don't seem a good idea at all. But hey, I danced for a few years after doctors told me not to... so it will need to be horrible to ride for me to stop!

    We had so much fun today we might also plan the 2 WDW waterparks in our trip.

    We would like to drive down, and maybe visit other places, like Busch Gardens and NASA... but I don't think we would have time (or energy) to do it all. It might have to be a different east-coast roadtrip, and maybe end that one visiting the Keys! I'd love that. It would save us more money to fly down and stay about 2 weeks. Maybe take the public transportation to Universal, or a shuttle if there is any (I don't remember. At Swan&Dolphin maybe?).
  10. DeterminedOne

    DeterminedOne <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/photopost/data/500

    Oct 25, 2004
    Perhaps you guys could put a deposit on your Disney package just to have it officially on the schedule. Y will likely flip back and forth about it between then & now and I see it makes you emotional. We understand. It's tough having your Disney plans dashed at the drop of a hat. Best Wishes!
  11. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    Hi DeterminedOne, thanks for joining on the fun!

    Actually, it wasn't just the Disney trip I was worried about... it's travelling in general. I'm a Disney nut, but I also am passionate about travelling, and there are so many places I want to visit! Y is the same on that, and so we must really make a commitment to put money aside for ALL travels. But I didn't think about securing a Disney package so soon... it might be a good idea! Although I need to decide first on a few things... like which hotel, how long (including are we going to Universal or not, and if yes, how?). I also need to have enough money to make a deposit!
    I just checked : it's a 200$ deposit for bookings made 46 days or more in advance. It should be fully refunded should we have to cancel it, or change hotel, etc. But it needs to wait anyways, as it's not possible until 499 days prior! (that's about 16 months).

    I'm wondering if the prices change between 499 days and forward? I'm guessing not... they release pricing 499 days prior and that's it, I imagine. Anyone know for sure?
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
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  12. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007

    Yesterday Y and I went to La Ronde, a Six-Flags amusement park here in Montreal. I wasn't sure I could do the thrill rides, because I now have slight cranial instability, which mostly gives me vertigo... but I couldn't know if I didn't try it... so we started slowly and eventually did a thrill ride (a roller coaster with inversions). And I was OK!!! That made me so happy! I was so sad thinking I couldn't ride the fun rides anymore! (I also love the small ones but it's a different thrill!).

    ...but being at the park. Oh gosh I couldn't help thinking "this is like that Disney ride" or "when we'll be in Disney there'll be this"... And now 2 years ago seems way too far!
    It's the most logical thing to do financially... but maybe, just maybe we could get enough money aside for Fall 2018? It's still time to book... but it won't be for long. Well, we can always book a Disney trip last minute, but ADRs and such choices are much more limited...

    I really can't decide. Have 2 years to plan, and 8 months before hotel booking... or book in a month for next year? Gees that's so tempting!
    DeterminedOne likes this.
  13. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007

    Well, it's fun to think about going sooner, and Y isn't even against it... but we just can't put aside enough money that quickly. So the original plan was chosen for a reason, and because of that reason we'll stick to it.
    Oh, how I long to be in the World!
  14. Suejacken

    Suejacken Earning My Ears

    Jun 19, 2014
    I just found your thread. I am starting to plan for June 2019. A little far away for me but at least it's still a trip. By the way you just brought back so many memories for me. Some friends and I drive to Montreal and Quebec a long time ago. One of my favorite places was LaRonde. Glad to see it's still open. Goo luck with your planning. Sorry to hear about your health issues. Best of luck to you.
  15. dreamer17555

    dreamer17555 DIS Veteran

    Dec 17, 2007
    Ok I am finally over here! I am so glad it all worked out! But if for some reason sooner rather than later happens I am just saying May 2018 is a lovely time to visit. :rolleyes1
    AnnieDan_Artlover likes this.
  16. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    Happy new year everybody! pixiedust:

    A few months have gone by without much happening... as is normal with a trip so far away!

    I have a few good news! First, the trip is getting more and more solid, it's looking good for fall 2019 (tentative dates being September 28th-October 15th, probably a few days less, which is, funnily enough, almost the same dates as Mama and I last trip!).

    Y and I talked about it a few times, and each time I mentioned money being a problem, he said we would make it work, cut somewhere else, do overtime... in other words, I'm very lucky and he definitely wants to go! :love:

    Second good news is... well, we are celebrating our 2 years together in a big way! It's not Disney, not yet, but we are going to the Dominican Republic (Sosua, more precisely, near Puerto Vallarta), for one week of relaxation with our phones OFF, Jan 25th to Feb 1st!
    It will be Y's first time flying, first time in an all-inclusive, first time in the Caribbean... and our first vacation together. I can't wait!
    I'm not worried about him flying for the first time : he loves playing with his VR headset as well as doing inverted roller-coasters, so he doesn't know what motion sickness feels like... and he's not anxiety-prone either, loves crowds and doesn't mind tight spaces, so really, nothing to worry about!

    Our finances are also getting slightly better, so a roughly 5000$ (maybe more?) trip in about 18 months is feasible now, and not too much of it would be on the credit card (and paid quite quickly afterwards!). With my health, as I said, we'll have to stay a bit longer to see the same things others would... so far in my head it's 2 days in Universal and 10 days in Disney, but I haven't broken it down yet.

    I just bought my Passporter live guide pass and started looking at the budget estimate based on last time. Sadly, the last time CAD was on par with the USD.... now it's 0,79$, so we lose about 20%. I hope the exchange rate will be better by the time we start paying stuff! ...or that I get paid a contract in USD... wait, it's useless, I can't pay Disney with Paypal, can I? Hum... I think I need to open myself a USD account, so that foreign clients of mine can pay me in USD, and get myself a USD credit card as well... I think it would be worth it! Not just for Disney... after all, I could've used it for this Caribbean trip, and I'll travel to the USA at other times for many years to come... :teacher: I didn't see the need before, but now I do! Dammit, I'll have one more account.:rotfl2:

    It's almost comforting to finally get to the planning stage, setting tentative dates and starting to do some CDM (aka Creative Disney Math)... well, comforting until you see the numbers, that is. You know, when your "minimum" amount budget, the one you know is too optimistic, is the one you wanted to be the maximum? I hoped not to go over 4000$... and detailing the amounts, I got 4500$ with the bare minimum. Of course those numbers are rounded and not well researched, but still. I must admit, with no admission to pay (with an already paid AP), it cost Mama and me 7500$ for 2 weeks (including driving) in 2013. Prices have gone up since AND, as I said, CAD and USD were on par. So... add inflation and 20%, and even flying in, cutting a few days and staying in a value resort... even getting free dining... it will be way over 4500$. :scared1:

    I'll need a lot of research and tweaking! Lucky I love this!
  17. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    I didn't sleep last night, too much pain. So I planned!

    A.First I tried to check what attractions and shows we would want to do in each park (Universal included), to see how many days we needed (keeping my health in mind).

    B.Then I checked the restaurants.

    Must I say... wow, I really was out of the Disney loop for a few years! So many new restaurants, new lands! And sadly, no more Spectromagic! No more parades in HS or AK! :(
    ...and so I learned we will need another trip after 2021 to see all the new things they'll add for the 50th anniversary!

    C.I weighed out many different options :
    AP+TiW+DVC rental vs
    value resort (without discount) + Free dining (plus upgrade to DDP, since quick service isn't good for us, I need table dining once a day) + 10 day tix vs
    value resort with discount + OOP dining + 10 day tix vs
    DVC rental+OOP dining+10 day tix.

    D.Also compared Universal first and then Disney, or the other way around.

    A. So... I remember being able to do maximum 5 attractions per day last time, possibly less. Sadly we can't stay 3 weeks or more, so we'll have to not see some stuff and that's that. Here is the break down per park so far (keeping in mind we'll park hop, so it's a rough estimate):
    MK: 3 days (about 15 attractions, the parade, the night show and fireworks)
    Epcot: 3 days (about 10 attractions, plus IllumiNations, and we'll spend more time there, just to eat, because of the F&WF)
    AK: 2 days (8 attractions, at least one show, the night show and numerous nature walks)
    HS: 2 days (8 attractions, at least one show, Fantasmic! and the Star Wars fireworks -another surprise!)

    Universal IoA: 1 day (7 attractions)
    Universal Studios: 2 days (13 attractions)
    *we'll take the 2-park tickets so we can go back and forth if needed... I definitely intend to do Rip-Ride-Rockit at least once, each of those 3 days!

    B. I short-listed 30 restaurants, mostly table (as quick service don't need to be chosen in advance!). I didn't PLAN on choosing 30, I just went through the list and chose the ones I never went to and wanted to try, the ones I thought Y. would love, the ones I absolutely wanted to go back again... I have a few in Epcot, as always, but they probably will get cut as we'll want to maximize our F&WF experience! Plus, I have a health condition (comes with my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) which makes snack-bites a perfect meal for me (I'll come back to it). I'll present those choices to Y. and let him choose. Of course it will have to be a bit guided (he can't choose all Epcot restaurants, it would be nice to have a few meals that fit our park planning), but there are so many amazing options, I won't be mad if he decides he prefers Whispering Canyon Café over Spirit of Aloha, for example.
    ...I'm so HUNGRY!

    C. I never do as much math as when I plan a Disney trip. So many tings to consider!
    At first it was so clear! Stay in the cheapest value resort and take advantage of free dining.
    Until I realized the dining plan with a value resort was quick service only. So paying for the standard DDP to get table service dining was a must. Which, for a 10-day stay, meant roughly 500$ more. And gratuities aren't included. And of course, this didn't help us cover the 3 days in Universal which will have to be OOP either way. "free dining" would end up costing probably 950$ or so.
    Plus, to get free dining, you need a non-discounted room and tickets package.
    I figured it could cost us around 1375$ for 9 nights in All-Star Music, where we could even get a 10% discount.
    Since we've rented DVC points before, I checked... I've always dreamed of staying at AKL, and I was excited at first : there are value rooms at AKV (the DVC counterpart of AKL), which are actually just 10$ more per night as ASM! ...but is it really worth it to pay more and lose the ability to buy direct from Disney, to have to pay upfront, and not be able to cancel... to have a parking view? Just so we are in AKL? I think not.Especially since it looks like a regular room, and not a studio with kitchenette (which is something that is helpful with my health). It would be about 1000$ more to have a Savannah view... still way less through DVC point rental than direct, but too much for us. Maybe in 2022? ;)
    Since we'll go 10 days in Disney and have done it before, I checked for the AP and TiW... I figure TiW, even now that it costs 150$ for passholders, would save us about 50$ overall (we used to say it covers the cost of the gratuities). But the AP costs so damn much now! I can,t remember it being so costly! I would cost us over double what it will cost us for 10-days tickets. And those might be discounted... there is right now a 20% off tickets for Canadians. So if we catch the same discount next year, I'll jump on it!
    Even though it would be nice to not feel guilty by going in a signature restaurant where items are over 30-50$... it will be the exception, so it will balance itself out and end up costing much less.
    One argument for this is... if we end up going in TS that cost more "because it's free" and ordering more than we can eat... but then have to pay the gratuity on that total... it will cost more in the end!
    We talked about it, and we prefer eating more lightly, more often, not having to count credits, and take advantage of other discounts instead.
    We might be able to get a nice room discount AND tickets discount as well, which would end up saving us more than the "free" dining plan.
    Another advantage of NOT doing "free" dining, is we can do more flexible dates in the fall. To do this Fuzzy Disney Math I used the prices of "fall season", at the end of October. I'm afraid the temperatures would be too high for my health at the end of September, but I went in late October in 2013 and it was perfect.

    D. At first I thought we would start with Disney. Start with the magic! But then I realized I should check out the arrival and departure times of the flights. Turns out it usually is late in the evening (for both), so no worries about a partial park day on arrival or departure day. I also calculated that if we did a split stay it was cheaper than using Uber or Lyft back and forth for 3 days (at first I thought it would be just for 2 days, and even then it was worth it). The new Aventura hotel on-site has good prices, and are cheaper than a value in Disney! Which also made me switch and start with Universal, so it's 4 nights-3 days in Universal, and then switching in the morning, and 10 days in Disney (9 nights) and leaving at the end of the 10th day.

    So it's a total of 14 days (although the 1st day doesn't really count, we leave home late afternoon and arrive in Orlando just in time to sleep...

    We all know this plan will change, but it has to start somewhere!
  18. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    What's gastroparesis... and I'm dreaming.

    As I promised last post, I will explain why my condition means snack-bites are a perfect meal for me.
    I didn't say a lot about it, but my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome comes with a few other problems and complications. One of which is called gastroparesis. It basically means "slow digestive system". What takes a normal person a few hours to digest might take me a whole day. If I'm not careful, and try to eat normally (normal portions, normal foods) I end up throwing up, because all the food is backing up! I don't mean I'm constipated (sorry for the TMI), it literally sits in my tummy. In fact, I'm not very slim, but when I eat I look about 6 months pregnant. Everybody gets "food belly", but lets just say mine is more obvious than others. When I started getting this problem (it was about 4 years ago... first noticed it at WDW, in fact!), the big belly after just a small soup bowl was one of the first signs I noticed. If I'm not careful, I end up throwing up and/or unable to eat solid foods.
    So, to help NOT throw up after eating and to keep being able to eat, I have to eat small amounts at a time (about 1 cup), often (about every 2 hours), not drink too much at once either (it takes the space of more nutritious food and makes me feel bloated). Most of all, I follow a special diet. I'm lucky, it's not an allergy, so I CAN cheat. It's just that, the more I cheat, the hardest it is for me to digest and the worst I feel, so I tend to keep it for special occasions (holidays, vacations, birthdays).
    This special diet is counter-intuitive : I need to stay away from fibers, so most veggies and fruits (I miss fruit so much!), I can eat apple sauce... which I'm tired of eating, especially since when I'm in a bad episode, I can only eat soft food, so way too much apple sauce then! I also can't eat grains or nuts, steak... I'm lucky as I can still eat pretty greasy and rich stuff, like cake and frosting, although I try to not eat too much... but I know many others with the condition can't. Many others also have lactose intolerance, while I'm not (my love of cheese and milk is very grateful!).
    So, this is why F&WF with it's small portions you can sample here and there is perfect... and why the DDP with it's huge meals is not. We'll instead probably order an appetizer each in TS, and then one entree of which I'll take a few bites, and that'll be it. We'll then snack later, or we'll take a dessert some place else. We did that, last trip with mama... except back then I could eat more. Y. is a bigger eater than mama, so it'll compensate for my diminished appetite. Of course I'm going to cheat a bit, but I'll just endure pain and feel sick if I do this.

    Thanks for reading this (if you did), this condition isn't well-known and I'm always glad to inform people about it, as I do for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. This is a fun and happy place, so I don't want to bring down anyone, yet if you took the time to read this it makes me very happy!

    Now on the fun part...
    I'm dreaming... oh boy. But I'm dreaming all over the place. It's like there are three of me!

    Little background first.
    I work part-time (because of my health)... in fact I'm technically disabled and shouldn't work at all... yet because I got my EDS diagnosis very late I didn't get work insurance, and because I live with Y. I don't have a right to welfare... I'm almost happy I don't anymore. I hate being on that, even though I had a right to. I mean... society has a way to make you feel guilty for being disabled and needing government money to survive. I wouldn't be able to survive without my parents and my boyfriend. I don't feel that, in 2017, it's normal as a 38 y.o. to have to rely on others. It's like we were back in the 1900s, where a woman was her parent's or husband's weight to carry... When I worked, I paid my part to the government, happily, and I still would if I could work more.
    Anywho. I work from home, and part-time. And I mean VERY part-time. About 10 hours a week, but usually less.
    I'm an editor and translator. I also write (anyone surprised?), rewrite (when someone wants their work to sound a certain way, for example), proofread and create content (for apps and board games, recently). I also give talks... not as much as I'd want to, though. My main topic is how to find joy through obstacles, like chronic illness (people are always surprised at how happy a person I am "even though I'm so sick", which amazes me... how should I handle this? It's CHRONIC, I can't just cry all the time!).

    OK, so that's that. Y. is, for now, a video game tester, in house, at Warner Brothers studios. He is learning to code and hopes to become a programmer/video game developer.

    We'll have been together 2 years next week!

    We live in my parent's bungalow's basement (which is a complete and independent apartment). I designed it myself, and people say it's beautiful. We love it, but it's quite small (one bedroom), and being in a basement, well, I crave sunshine. Of course, living in Montreal, we have a 6 months winter, so I'm already craving sunshine anyways! Winters are always hard on my health.

    At one point, Y. was thinking on starting to work at home as well. He thought he would change careers to get into writing (not like, write books, but like me, write for blogs and marketing companies, for apps and the likes). He would be great at this. But video game is his passion, so it's like our Plan B.

    A- I dream of having a house (or a condo). With lots of space. A big kitchen (I love to cook and bake). A craft room. An office (right now my work desk is in the bedroom, Y.'s desk is in the living room). A game room (we have 10 game consoles!) with space for my drum (which is now in boxes :( ), as well as space to play with the Xbox Kinect... We don't need a mansion but, you know, a bit more space. So I dream of that home, travelling to a different place every year, and going to see shows, as much as my health lets me (music is my passion!).

    B-I dream of travelling the world. One way to do this, is to do housesitting. Spending one to three months in someone else's house while they're away. Taking care of the house, the pets, the plants... and living like the locals. It would also be possible to just do long-time rentals and do a few months here, and a few months there, while working remotely. Then again, Y. would need to have a remote job for this to be possible. The good news is, with our apartment being in my parent's house, we could be free of rent while away (mama said she wouldn't mind at all. They don't plan on renting). It can be in the USA or it can be in Africa, in Asia or in the Caribbean! As long as there is internet, I can work anywhere!
    Of course, unless Y. gets a remote job, it's not possible... I wouldn't want to leave him for a month... plus, I'd need him to help take care of things. I have too many physical limitations. And, as independant as I am, I'd greatly prefer travelling with him and discover the world together!

    C-I dream of moving to Orlando. Well, first, I dream of escaping winter. So anything that would mean living in a nice weather from January to March would be great. Maybe even better for my health. To spend just those 3 months a year in a southern climate would do me wonders. And I wouldn't lose the Canadian healthcare, could still see my team of doctors (which is starting to be great, after years of searching), and take advantage of the festivals we have here in the summer! We could also see our friends and family, even spend Christmas here, maybe. But spending those 3 months in Orlando could mean Disney and Universal annual passes and spend so much time there! ...Living in Orlando would be even better for this... Disney every week! All Epcot festivals! But immigrating in the US with my health and being a digital nomad (so no "job" to give me a green card), I don't think it's possible.

    All this would make me happy. And Y. is totally on board (in fact, even though he only visited MK 20 years ago, he was to one to talk about moving to Orlando... half seriously, but he would be willing to). As much as he likes this apartment, as much as he loves his creature comforts, he, too, has the urge to travel and hates winter. It doesn't affect him as much as me (he doesn't risk limb dislocation if he falls on an icy sidewalk and cold air doesn't give him an asthma cough, he doesn't have a symptom's spike when weather suddenly changes, etc) but he prefers summer and needs sun!

    Why am I telling you all this? Well, unless you are a fairy godmother with some magic, I don't think you can do anything about it... I just felt like telling you all, and this way you know a bit more about us and where we come from! :goodvibes
  19. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    I had tentative dates (VERY tentative... but you have to start somewhere), and to start, it was from Friday October 11th to Friday oct 25th. It made for a 15-day trip (couldn't resist adding a day to round it up).

    I might have to change this already!

    Thing is, I thought we could do a Halloween Horror Night in Universal, and Yanik felt it was interesting, and the more he thought about it the more he wants to. I've never done an adult Halloween party, haven't done scary houses in forever, and I've always been interested in the HHN in Universal.
    The dates seem to be "pretty much from Thursday to Sunday" all October... which means, if we are there Saturday to Monday, 2 out of our 3 days will be HHN nights... I need to learn more about it, but if it means more people in the parks and earlier closure... maybe we'd be better off not arriving on Saturday. Maybe arriving on Saturday (remember we arrive late evening) and doing the HHN our first full day, which would then be Sunday... so we would have 2 other full days without HHN.

    If anyone knows what Universal parks are like on HHN nights, please let me know!

    As for why adding a day (or 2, or none)... well, if we land in the evening, we don't count the first day as a trip day, really. And even if Y.'s working, we only need to leave after the work day (even though it would be better to leave on a Saturday... well rested and more time to finish packing. Yeah, I'm changing this... unless the flight costs a lot more).
    If I stayed on my "14 days total" idea, which meant 13 days in Florida (not counting the arrival evening but counting the departure day as a full day), it meant leaving on a Thursday (now on Friday). Once again, unless the flight price is much higher on the Saturday, we could leave that day and have one more full day in the parks. Maybe take a rest day between Universal and WDW, the day we switch resort, to pack and unpack, do a resort dinner and use the resort pool? Then again, I would prefer paying for one more day in both parks and have the flexibility to use whichever we need in case my health didn't play nice. Planning a rest day doesn't mean it will be when I need it. With me it's better to rest a little bit every day and take things slower (and take more days overall). So we might do a bit of Universal on the morning of the 4th day, switch resorts, and do a bit of WDW that late afternoon-evening instead.

    I just checked the flights price patterns... doesn't seem to follow a strict rule (the little I checked). Sometimes Tuesday and Wednesday seem quite cheaper, other times not. I'll have to check prices over time to know the best prices and which days have them.
    In the meantime I learned that the schedules I had found, with the return flights being late in the evening, either were wrong, or when they happen they don't have the best price (not at this time anyways). So adding another day for departure might be a an even better idea (if the flight is early we wouldn't add a park ticket of course).

    ...can you tell I'm having painsomnia again?
    I wish I could visit Disney more often, planning a trip there helps take my mind off the pain. Doesn't help me sleep though! :rotfl:
  20. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007

    A month ago, I was a wreck. I didn't even have the heart to come here and write about it.
    It had been two months since my last contract (I'm a freelancer), and my boyfriend is making just above the minimum wage. We paid off our debt, so things are getting better, and this is the main reason why we figured we could go to Disney soon-ish. We had discussed the budget and how much we needed to put aside every month... and it was fine.
    Until a) my honey had to actually put the money aside the first month, and it was 3 times more than his spending money and b) I realized not only were we not putting money aside for "adult" stuff (old age, for example), and we didn't have much flexibility left... but I had forgotten to put a monthly amount for my freelancing business (website, business cards, professional membership, etc). It simply didn't make sense.
    I'm not judging people who prioritize travel so much that they don't spend on anything else and live very simple lives, but we do love our creature comforts and gadgets, so we just couldn't do that.
    We are used to live even under the poverty line, so it's not that we're spending so much. Now that we have a bit more money we almost feel rich, being able to buy new clothes or buy a TV when the old one (of 10 years!) breaks, without paying it for a year... that's new to us. Still, putting so much money aside for Disney didn't make sense at this point, and as much as I hated it, we made the adult decision to put it back at least a year.
    I cried the whole evening.

    I've always wanted to travel, and was so happy to go back to Disney, and now it seemed so far away. Being sick, I never know what my health will be in the future, so I always feel rushed... will I stil, be able to travel in 5 years? Will I still enjoy a Disney vacation in 10 years?

    Faith would not have that!
    2 weeks ago, I got a new contract, from a repeat client. I enjoy working with them very much! It's the biggest contract with them yet, and the pay will be enough to put money aside for an emergency fund, to pay what has accumulated on the credit card during those 2 months without work, to pay for a mobility aid to add to my wheelchair (friends had put up a GoFundMe fundraiser, but I'll still need to pay a few thousands - that thing, called a SmartDrive, will motorize my manual wheelchair, it's amazing!).
    That contract was what we needed... because thanks to it, we'll have paid enough things and put enough money aside that we'll be able to use the money I make on future contracts for our Disney trip!

    ...and that's how we ALMOST had to cancel the trip, but it was back on!
  21. AnnieDan_Artlover

    AnnieDan_Artlover Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2007
    How things change!

    Last time I was planning, I was checking out restaurants, and since we were doing F&W, I was a bit sad that we would miss so many restaurants...
    And then I talked with Mama, and she reminded me how she was NOT a fan of F&W (it's with her that I went last). "You stand in line to get a bite or 2, pay and wait to get it, then find a place to eat or eat while you stand... then you find somewhere to get something to drink, do the whole thing again. And repeat for some other food". And if I'm in the wheelchair, it won't be much fun (have you tried ordering at a counter that's above your shoulders? Either that or Y would have to go on his own while I wait).
    Honey is no fan of waiting in line either.

    That, plus the missing-the-restaurants part, got me thinking...
    Maybe if we went in April instead? It would be Flower & Garden, which we liked our first trip in 2008 (although we felt it wasn't much). Mama reminded me how hot it was and that I almost fainted while sitting in my wheelchair. Yet, I don't faint as easily now, so maybe I'd be ok.
    @dreamer17555 tried to convince me to go in the Spring. Lower crowds! ...I did some research, and learned that crowds are now crazy in October. Oh, wow, well now it was almost certain we would NOT go in October! My info was dated!
    She also reminded me of how MK closes early in October for MNSSHP. Since we didn't plan on going to the event, it was a good point for April!
    Another thing in favor of April? It's 6 months earlier than October!

    I had to check with my honey to see if he would be interested in going earlier (still meant less time to put money aside), not going to the Halloween Horror Nights in Universal and skipping F&W in favor of sit down meals (and F&G).

    His first answer was : don't care about HHN that much, F&G seems nice but I don't care, sit down meals are definitively more fun than waiting in line!

    I was looking at a break down of the best months to go to WDW, detailing weather/crowds/events.
    That's when he added : "I'd rather go earlier, in Winter, when I can't take the snow anymore."

    Bonus point : it's in EXACTLY one year (we'd be there RIGHT NOW!!!)
    Other good point : it will be cooler. Many people enjoy the heat, and if it's hot enough to use the pool, we'll enjoy that, but I don't tolerate the heat, as I said earlier... so it's better for me.
    Snow like this January is rare, and in the end of February and early March (which are my new tentative dates) are warmer even here, so the weather should be perfect : not too cold or too hot, not too humid, and sunny.

    Of course there won't be anything special... but I don't mind. And I like that I'll be able to show Disney to Y in it's original aspect. No Halloween decorations, no Xmas lights, nothing. Plus, we'll be busy enough, it'll help not to have any special events to run around trying to catch!

    ...now, how do I go changing this PR title? :p

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