- Aug 2, 2016
Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading your trip report!!! Thanks so much for sharing, and I hope you'll write again.
Well, I did take this pic shortly after returning home. This is Kodiak and Hailey. Missing from the pic is Clara. Sadly, I lost Hailey this past January.Thank you for sharing. We will be going during the same time period this year. Hoping that the opening of Star Wars doesn’t turn it into a super packed trip. Loved all of your pictures, but was hoping for one of a reunion with your cats at the end
My jaw literally dropped open when I read about your ex-boss. Thank goodness you were able to go on your Disney trip and he was later transferred.On a side note, after another incident at work regarding my request for future PTO, I submitted an HR complaint about that boss--his text about the hurricane was entered in as evidence. Within the month he transferred to a different position (coincidence?). Wishes do come true!
I'm so excited to read your trip report! I love Disney and miss Disney World, but haven't been in a few years now (my family moved overseas) so it's cool to think about the possibility of going alone and not having to wait for the next time my family is back in the States!Pre-trip and Friday, September 1st
With the encouragement from several people both here and on Facebook, I've decided to document my recent trip. I've been thinking about the best way to capture everything, and I've decided to break the 12 days into separate entries for each day's activities, along with observations, thoughts, and very rare complaints (consider them more as suggestions for improvement).
If you'd like to read about my pre-trip thoughts and reasons for my trip, please read my initial post at Time for Some Me Time.
I'll start this thread out with a little explanation of how my trip was actually planned.
Once I committed to this trip, an online friend recommended me to a friend of hers who ran a small travel agency that was affiliated with Disney (no names to respect DIS). I knew next to nothing about modern Disney World (I hadn't visited since 1986) or how to go about planning day-to-day reservations and Fastpasses, etc. The very scope of it all was mind-boggling. I'm somebody who prefers to plan things on my own, but I was concerned that it would take me too long to do my homework and that there would still be too many unknown factors. All I wanted was for this to be as snag-free as possible. So I agreed to sign up with the agent, whose method is to handle EVERYTHING. She not only does booking for all reservations, but she also works out an efficient walking plan for each day to limit backtracking, catching shows, and standing in long lines, etc.
In the long run I think she did a great job, with the exception of one decision that I'll go into a little later. In the months and days leading up to my trip, however, I found myself more and more anxious because I felt that not only was I not in the driver's seat, but I was essentially locked in the trunk and blind to where we were going. Her method is to create a My Disney account for me, with an ID and password and email also created by her, which meant I was locked out from seeing anything. Because she was the middleman, Disney sent the package with Magicband to her, and then she turned around and sent that, along with printouts of her day-to-day schedule and walking plans and password information. Because of that delay, it meant I didn't receive any of this information or materials until two days before my flight...so you can imagine my distress as the clock ticked down. I only had those couple of days to familiarize myself with the times and directions before I was on my way. She did also include a "day bag kit" of all sorts of essentials (hand wipes, pocket kleenex pack, small first-aid kit, hair ties, safety pins, etc.) and a $25 Disney gift card, things I wasn't expecting so it was a very nice and thoughtful gift.
My employer gave us a nice 4-day weekend for Labor Day, but I wasn't flying until that Saturday, Sept 2, so I spent Friday running last-minute errands, setting up my three cats for limited pet-sitter visits, some house chores, and packing. By Saturday morning, I was essentially ready to go and just had to pack the last-minute essentials.
Things I forgot to do before leaving?
Things I forgot to pack?
- I purchased extra cat litter but forgot to bring it up from the car (my friend and volunteer pet-sitter had to use my car keys and haul up the bag herself)
- Close my windows (it was nice and cool when I left, but got hot and humid again while I was gone)
Things I packed that I never used?
- A hat (frustrating because I'd bought one just for the trip, had to buy one onsite because the sun was brutal--it was worth it as it also cut down on the number of times I had to dig into my backpack to swap glasses/prescription sunglasses)
- Sudefed or other antihistamine (I don't normally have allergy issues, but one day something I encountered set me off and it was bad enough that I worried I'd caught a cold--I picked up some Sudefed from the resort gift shop and it cleared me right up, no problem the rest of my trip)
Things I didn't pack and didn't anticipate needing?
- Swim goggles
- Rain poncho (I used it once, briefly, but it was too darned hot to wear and I got wetter from sweat than from rain--a small umbrella was much more convenient)
- Sunscreen lotion (too difficult to apply traveling solo, had to pay resort price for spray-on type)
Things I packed that were super useful?
- Product to drain my ears after spending half a day at Typhoon Lagoon (despite everything, I could not get my left ear to drain--in desperation, I went to the resort gift store in hopes of finding a solution, and god bless Disney for selling a product specifically for this problem!)
Purchases I regretted?
- Large size carabiner clip on my day-bag/backpack (awesome for hanging the bag from restroom doors if no hooks were present)
- Small Umbrella (perfect for handling the typically brief Florida summer afternoon showers, easily fits into a side pocket of my backpack)
- Wine bottle opener and wine bottle stopper (for obvious reasons)
- Little bottle of hand sanitizer attached to strap of day bag for quick and regular access
- Small and large ziplock bags (great for snacks, protecting electronics from rain, leftovers, collecting receipts, etc.)
- Industrial sized bottle of Aleve (Advil just wasn't cutting it)
- Two pairs of excellent walking shoes to alternate daily
- Foot-specific first aid kit (included sheets of moleskin, a small foldable scissors, alcohol wipes, nail clippers, tweezers, safety pin for popping blisters, and blister-specific bandaids) (the scissors came in handy for lots of things)
- Tennis ball (use as acupressure on bottoms of feet after a long day of walking)
- Individually packed wet lens wipes (my glasses regularly got smeared, sprinkled, and smudged throughout the day)
- Hand-held rechargeable fan (this was a life-saver due to the heat/humidity, both walking and while standing in line)(bought a good one on Amazon, uses USB charger, puts out an excellent wind)
- A couple of loose and light-weight white button-up shirts I could throw on over a tank top to "dress up" for signature dining (rolled up easily and didn't take up much room in the pack)
- Laundry kit (ziplock containing detergent pods and dryer sheets--with machines already costing $3 per machine per load, I didn't want to spend additional money on supplies that were easily packed)
- Two rechargeable battery packs (you can spend $30 on a fuel rod and swap them out regularly onsite, but I already owned two of my own, which allowed me to leave one charging while taking the other with me for the day)
- Four-slot wall-socket/USB charger with two iPhone/iPad adapters and two lines with the other standard charger type (this allowed me to charge two phones, a battery pack, and my portable fan all at the same time, etc.)
Purchases I didn't regret?
- The resort refillable mug (I wasn't using a meal plan, so spent $18 on the mug, but almost never had TIME to use it--I usually ate either at Disney Springs or at the parks, and doing rope-drop nearly every day meant lugging the mug around if I took it with me. Plus I was arriving back at my room too late to want to drink anything. I DID eventually use it a lot when I was forced to extend my stay due to Hurricane Irma, particularly the Monday afterward when the parks were closed, but that was NOT anticipated, and I wouldn't have gotten my money's worth otherwise. I didn't even bring it home with me because it didn't actually hold much and wasn't particularly good at keeping the drink cold for long--that's what I have Tervis glasses for--and it would have just become clutter. I don't even drink soda anymore, but I knew they also offered iced tea, which is why I got it in the first place. I'd have to think hard about whether I'd buy it again--it would totally depend on how many "down days" I've scheduled.)
I think that'll do it for this entry--next I'll start the day-by-day notes.
- Travel package insurance (Hello, Irma!)(While Disney offered me 40% off on the three additional nights I ended up staying before I could fly home, it was still a substantial additional expense, plus meals, so the insurance was absolutely worth it--if you're planning any sort of trip to a hurricane-prone region, it's a wise investment.)