Three Generations of Disney Princessess

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by Tink0812, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. Tink0812

    Tink0812 Mouseketeer

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    Hello everyone! I am so excited to be back in planning mode for another Disney adventure. Those of you who read my trip report from our May big family trip knew that this girls trip was already a work in progress. So here's the backstory of how this trip developed. This past May we took a big family trip and by big I mean my husband and I along with our daughter, my parents, one of my brothers, my grandparents from my dad's side, and my grandma from my mom's side. It took us about two years to plan that trip and we had an absolute blast. In the final months leading up to that trip we pretty much had all of the planning accomplished so my dad, the planner extraordinaire started talking about what vacation should look like in 2018. He really wanted to take my brothers on a guys trip to tour a few major league baseball stadiums. They are sports fanatics! We had done a similar trip when us kids were younger but he wanted to try out a few new places. We agreed that my brothers would really like that trip but that we needed to make sure mom got a good vacation too. My dad made the suggestion of doing a girls only trip with my mom, my daughter, and I. He said we could be gone as long as we liked and go wherever we wanted. It would be totally up to us!

    Of course I was so excited thinking of all the places we could go and all of the things we could do. Then my dad had a suggestion to make. It started out like this,
    Dad: Well, Natalia will only be two next year
    Me: Yeah that's right, there may only be certain places that we can go and keep her entertained
    Dad: You know your mom's annual pass doesn't expire until May 8th of next year
    Me: Also true, wait are you thinking about our girls trip being to Disney?
    Dad: Well as long as you go before May 8th. It really wouldn't be too expensive because you would be the only one that needed a ticket. You could even just make it a long weekend so hotels wouldn't be expensive.
    Me: Well it's settled then, we are going to Disney!
    Dad: you better make sure it's what your mom is going to want to do before you get too excited
    Me: When has mom ever said no to Disney?

    And so it began, the planning for my 16th trip to the World! My mom came over that evening and was super excited to start the planning. She didn't even hesitate one bit when I proposed the idea to her. Duh, we are a Disney family! I believe this trip will be her 25th. Now let's meet the three princesses......

    First, there's me, Amber. I am a 27 year old Registered Nurse who is also attending school full-time to get a master's degree in nursing education. Like I said, this will be my 16th trip to the World. I am currently in the process of a divorce so this will give me something positive to look forward to. My favorite Disney character has always been and will always be Tinkerbell. My favorite resort is Wilderness Lodge with Old Key West coming in a close second. My favorite park is Animal Kingdom right now but this is constantly changing. I don't have a favorite ride because I pretty much like them all. My favorite restaurant is Le Cellier and my favorite show is Illuminations by far. It just isn't a trip to Disney without watching Illuminations:smickey:
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    Next, we have my daughter Natalia who will be two at the time of the trip. She is full of energy and has been in love with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse since birth (that may have been forced on her). This will be her second trip to the World and we are so excited to see how her interests have changed. Her favorite character is Mickey Mouse. Her favorite ride on the last trip was definitely The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and her favorite show was probably The Hoop De Doo Revue. She loves music and dancing. Her favorite restaurant on this last trip was The Plaza. She also loved meeting Pooh and Friends at Crystal Palace.
    upload_2017-9-20_9-47-16.png

    Last but definitely not least, we have my mom who is currently an annual passholder. This will be around her 25th trip to the World. She is one of the key forces behind our family's Disney addiction. Her favorite ride is Thunder Mountain RailRoad. I think her favorite resort is Wilderness Lodge as well. I'm not sure about her favorite restaurant or show but she will probably have a hard time choosing.

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    Stay tuned as I post our journey through the planning and booking process leading up to our girls trip!
     
  2. Tink0812

    Tink0812 Mouseketeer

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  4. Tink0812

    Tink0812 Mouseketeer

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    Preliminary Plans:

    Even though we had decided on this trip prior to our big family trip, we agreed to wait and start planning this trip until we returned from that one. Of course it only took a couple of weeks for us to start that planning process. We decided that we needed to iron out the basics first!

    The biggest question was when would we go......We put a lot of thought into picking when we were going to have our adventure. Mom's annual pass expires on May 8th,2018 so we wanted to make sure we were clear of that by a couple of days just to make sure it didn't expire while we were there. That would be tragic! On our last trip we arrived on what would be the weekend before that and a cheerleading competition was going on. Crowds were a bit higher than we were used to at that time so we decided to just avoid that time altogether this trip. When we looked up the calendar of events for 2018 there was also a cheerleading competition the week before that so we decided to move on back into April. The problem with April is that Easter falls on April 1st next year so undoubtedly some schools will have late spring breaks. This took the beginning of April out of the running. March is definitely spring break time and January/February is too cool for us. That only left us with a narrow window of opportunity in mid-April. We decided on a long weekend because with just us three, there was no need for a full week-long trip.

    We had settled on Wednesday April 18th through Sunday April 22nd knowing that there was no way we were driving down there. Being that it will be such a short trip and we live about 16 hours away, it just makes more sense to fly even though the closest airport is 3 hours away. Our favorite airline is Southwest and we prefer to fly out of Indianapolis so we had to wait until August 28th to book our flights. We had been anxiously and not so patiently awaiting this day for quite some time as it kind of makes the trip feel more real when you have your flights booked. For the past couple of months the flights have been available with Southwest through April 8th. So close to our dates but not quite there. We had done a "trial" booking using dates in the middle of March feeling like it would be similar in pricing to the time we were planning to go in April. We knew that flights during that time were about $74 each way which is pretty cheap. The only requirements we had were that:

    1. The flight had to be a non-stop flight. We didn't want layovers with a two year old.
    2. We wanted to fly out of Indianapolis. We are about three hours from the closest major airports which include Chicago O'Hare, Chicago Midway, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. O'Hare is always a disaster with too many people in a very large, unorganized airport. We absolutely hate O'Hare and it is always a last resort for us. Midway doesn't have flights to MCO sadly. St. Louis only has a couple nonstop flights to Orlando but with very odd times. Most flights to Orlando put you at flying from St. Louis to O'Hare (totally defeats the purpose for us, we could drive to O'Hare just as easy) then to Orlando. Indianapolis is our favorite airport and one of the few in our area that actually has Southwest flights. There are also frequent nonstop flights as well.
    3. No super early flights and no middle of the night flights-just too hard with a toddler.
    4. Southwest was our number one choice for airline but if we had to choose a second we would have to go with United. I have had so many issues with airlines in the past that there are a few I will NEVER fly on again including Spirit airlines and American Airlines. Two of the more popular ones in the airports near us.

    So I got up around 6 that morning hoping to be up before Natalia so that I could get a chance to take a good look at the flight options for our dates. I was extremely disappointed to find that the prices were a lot higher than the previous month and we were very limited on flight times. Leaving on Wednesday out of Indianapolis could cost us $103 a piece if we left at 8 am. We live three hours from the airport and Indianapolis is actually an hour ahead of us timewise. Too early for a toddler. Looking at our ideal leaving time of 11ish would cost as $175 a piece, on a Wednesday :confused3. Any later times were upwards of $200 a piece. Returning on Sunday was even more ridiculous. The cheapest flight was $140 at 8 am which puts us on the Magical Express at an ungodly time of morning. The next cheapest time was 10 pm which would put us back way too late for my mom to go to work the next day. Quite depressed we accepted the fact that maybe it would be better to come back Saturday evening because then it wouldn't matter how late we got back since we would have time to recover on Sunday. Flights on Saturday night were much more up our alley in the lower $100's. The more we thought about it we realized that both of us had the Tuesday before the trip off of work so we looked at pricing for flights on that day. We ended up scoring a 3:25 pm flight out of Indianapolis for $74 a piece. This would put us on the ground in Orlando at 5:40 pm which still leaves us plenty of time for Disney Springs in the evening. Since we were going down a day earlier we are no longer planning park time for Saturday which gave us free reign for flight times on Saturday knowing that it is cheaper than Sunday. We were able to book a flight leaving Orlando at 11:30 am and landing in Indianapolis at 1:50 pm. That flight only costs us $103 a piece. Successful booking with only a couple of minor changes to our itinerary!

    The next biggest struggle was which resort to stay at. At the beginning of this month my dad was messing around on the Disney website and noticed resorts are filling up quickly for pretty much any time between now and next May. This got us worried so we decided to go ahead and book our resort. We know from past experiences that if a discount comes out after we book we can just give Disney a call. When it came to choosing which resort to stay at we had a few things to take into consideration:

    1. We will only have two adults and a two year old so there was really no need for space
    2. Being that we will have a two year old we wanted a resort with limited required walking
    3. Definitely need a ground floor room
    4. Good bus service is a must
    5. A food court would be ideal

    Since we aren't too high maintenance and we spend limited amount of time in our room anyways we decided to go with a value resort this time around. Pop was immediately eliminated because we always seem to have problems when we stay there (buses, rooms, etc). AoA was eliminated too because we didn't need a family suite and the regular rooms require a lot of walking. That left us with the All-Stars. We initially picked ASMovies because we thought Natalia would love the theming there but when we went to book ASMovies was $20 more per night than Sports or Music so we decided to go with Music and save ourselves $100 plus taxes. It was still pretty pricey considering but we were afraid to wait much longer!


    Like I said before, I will be the only one that needs a ticket and it will be a park hopper of course. There is no need for a dining plan because my mom and I have the same views when it comes to eating on vacation. Eat a big breakfast, snack around for lunch, and eat dinner on the go. Most of our meals will be quick service although we do have one character meal planned at Chef Mickey's. I have taken the time to look through the restaurant list from top to bottom to comprise a list of all of our options taking price and Natalia's preferences into consideration. When Natalia gets hungry she wants food ASAP so we thought it would be better to have a list of places that we already knew she would like.
     
  5. Tink0812

    Tink0812 Mouseketeer

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    Initial Itinerary (likely to change several times over the coming months)

    Yes, we may be 207 days away from this trip but I am definitely all about the itinerary. Instead of using ADR's and fastpasses to guide the itinerary I use the itinerary to guide the ADR's and fastpasses. October 19th is my day to book ADR's and that will be here before we know it.

    Tuesday April 17th
    • Leave for Indy around 9ish for our 3:25pm flight which is nonstop to Orlando. Indy is 1 hour ahead of us and we will need to stop for lunch along the way. We will be recruiting family members, likely my grandparents, to drive us to the airport so we don't have to leave a vehicle there.
    • Land at MCO at 5:40pm and take Magical Express to All-Star Music
    • Will have already completed online check-in so should be able to go straight to the room (pending that we actually receive the room-ready text)
    • Drop bags off and hop on bus to Disney Springs
    • Eat dinner at Blaze followed by shopping (assuming Natalia sleeps while traveling, we should be able to have a decent late-night shopping
    Wednesday April 18th
    • Breakfast in the food court at All-Star Music
    • Bus to Magic Kingdom
    • Goal fastpasses for the day include: Peter Pan's Flight, Winnie the Pooh, and Little mermaid (backup will be Dumbo)
    • Snack around for lunch then head back to resort so Natalia can have a good nap
    • Bus back to Magic Kingdom in the late afternoon
    • Dinner at the Plaza
    • Fireworks at Magic Kingdom
    Thursday April 19th
    • Breakfast in the food court at All-Star Music
    • Bus to Animal Kingdom
    • Goal fastpasses for the day include Na'vi River, Kilimanjaro Safari, and Finding Nemo Musical (backup will be FOTLK)
    • Snack around for lunch then head back to the resort for Natalia's nap
    • Bus back to Animal Kingdom in the afternoon for more park time
    • Bus from AK to Beach Club around5:30-5:45 for dinner at Beaches N'Cream
    • Walk from Beach Club to Epcot for a few rides before staking out a spot for Illuminations
    • Illuminations
    Friday April 20th
    • Bus to Epcot then monorail to TTC then to Contemporary for breakfast at Chef Mickey's (Natalia has never ridden the monorail and will love it)
    • Walk to Magic Kingdom after breakfast
    • Goal fastpasses for the day include: Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Peter Pan's Flight, and Dumbo (backup will be Winnie the Pooh again)
    • Snack around for lunch then back to resort for Natalia's nap
    • Bus to Animal Kingdom
    • Dinner at Rain Forest Café or Restaurantosaurus
    • then we have a couple of choices: spend more time at either AK or MK, go back to Disney Springs for more shopping, relax at the resort, or re-watch any of the fireworks
    Saturday April 21st
    • Breakfast in the food court
    • Magical Express back to MCO
    • Flight out of Orlando at 11:30 am and landing in Indy at 1:50 pm
    • Family to pick us up and head home
     
  6. Tink0812

    Tink0812 Mouseketeer

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    Hello all,

    Our 180 day mark was this past Thursday and while the day started off with the Disney website being down (Stitch ate the whole website apparently), I was finally able to make our dining reservations in the early afternoon. Here's what we ended up with:


    -Wednesday April 18th 6:05 pm Tony's Town Square Restaurant at Magic Kingdom (this will be a new one for us but I forgot that the Plaza doesn't do dinner reservations and I didn't want to have a long wait once it was dinner time)

    -Thursday April 19th 6:50 pm Beaches N'Cream at the Beach Club

    -Friday April 20th 8:25 am breakfast at Chef Mickey's

    -Friday April 20th 7pm at Rain Forest Café in Animal Kingdom

    Overall we are very happy with our selections and time periods! Now we just hang out until February 17th when we can start booking our fastpasses
     
  7. Tink0812

    Tink0812 Mouseketeer

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    Updated Itinerary:

    Tuesday April 17th
    • Leave for Indy around 9ish for 3:25pm flight on Southwest which is nonstop to Orlando. Indy is 1 hour ahead of us time-wise and we will need to stop for lunch along the way. It is about a three hour drive. My grandparents have so kindly agreed to drive us to the airport so we don't have to leave a vehicle there.
    • Land at MCO at 5:40pm and take Magical Express to All-Star Music
    • Will have already completed online check-in and should hopefully have received our room-ready text by the time we arrive so we should be able to go straight to our room
    • Drop off our bags (we are only taking carry-ons) and hop on a bus to Disney Springs
    • Dinner at Blaze, followed by shopping at Disney Springs. We are hoping that Natalia will either be tired from the traveling and sleep in her stroller or will be intrigued enough by the surroundings to let us have a decently late night shopping.
    Wednesday April 18th
    • Breakfast in the food court at All-Star Music
    • Bus to Magic Kingdom (rope drop is 9am but we won't be focused on making it to that)
    • Goal fastpasses for the day include: Peter Pan's Flight, Winnie the Pooh, and the Dumbo (backup will be Little Mermaid)
    • Snack around for lunch then head back to the resort so Natalia can have a good nap
    • Bus back to Magic Kingdom in the late afternoon
    • 6:05pm dinner ADR at Tony's Town Square
    • Fireworks at Magic Kingdom 9 pm then potentially staying for at least some of EMH from 9-11pm depending on Natalia's mood
    Thursday April 19th
    • Breakfast in the food court again
    • Bus to Animal Kingdom
    • Goal fastpasses for the day include: Na'vi River Journey, Kilimanjaro safari, and Finding Nemo Musical (backup will be FOTLK)
    • Snack around for lunch then head back to the resort for Natalia's nap
    • Bus back to Animal Kingdom in the late afternoon
    • Bus from AK to Beach Club around 6 for 6:50pm dinner ADR at Beaches N'Cream
    • Walk from Beach Club to Epcot for a few rides (Gran Fiesta Tour, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and potentially Frozen Ever After depending on the line) before staking out a spot for Illuminations
    • Illuminations at 9pm
    Friday April 20th
    • Bus to Magic Kingdom early (good thing there is EMH in the morning today) then walk over to the Contemporary for our 8:25am ADR at Chef Mickey's
    • Hop on the monorail and take it around the resort loop ultimately ending up at MK (this will be Natalia's first time on the monorail and I know she will love it)
    • Goal fastpasses for the day include: Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Little Mermaid (backup will be Winnie the Pooh again)
    • Snack around for lunch then back to resort for Natalia's nap
    • Bus to Animal Kingdom in the late afternoon
    • 7pm dinner ADR at Rain Forest Café
    • Then we have a couple of choices: spend more time at MK (they are open until 9pm on this day), go back to Disney Springs for more shopping, relax at the resort, or re-watch any of the fireworks.
    Saturday April 21st
    • Breakfast at the resort
    • Finish packing and get on the Magical Express back to MCO
    • Flight leaves Orlando at 11:30am and lands in Indy at 1:50pm. My dad will be picking us up from the airport
     
  8. Tink0812

    Tink0812 Mouseketeer

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    Hello everyone!

    We are just a mere 105 days away from this trip (almost to double digits, yay!). I hope you all had a great Christmas! We thoroughly enjoyed watching all of the Walt Disney World Christmas specials. Not much has changed in the planning of this trip with the exception of our transportation to and from the airport. Initially my grandparents had volunteered to take us to the airport on departure day and my dad was planning on picking us up the day we are set to return. My brother just took a trip to southern Florida to visit his girlfriend and he used a parking service at Indianapolis airport called FastPark. This is a parking lot about 2.5 miles from the airport that costs just a little over $7/day. Each parking spot is covered and the area is fenced in and secured with cameras and security personnel. You can make your reservation online to reserve a spot. You tell them approximately what time you will be arriving and what time you will be leaving; however, you don't pay anything until you actually leave. Once you check-in the cashier looks at your reservation and matches it with the assigned parking spot. A shuttle will then meet you at your parking spot to pick you up and transport you and your luggage to the airport. It's super simple and much cheaper and safer than parking at the airport itself. Since my brother had such great luck with it, we have decided to drive ourselves there and use this parking service. This way we won't be relying on other people and in return, the other people will not be waiting on our flights.
     
  9. Tink0812

    Tink0812 Mouseketeer

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    We have finally reached double digits, 99 days to go! Discounts came out for our time period today which resulted in a small percentage off of our rooms. We saved $60 overall which doesn't sound like much but, hey, that's $60 that can be spent on something else at Disney. We also know that annual passholder's discounts will be coming out soon (hopefully within the next week) which may give us a bigger savings. Crossing our fingers!
     
  10. Tink0812

    Tink0812 Mouseketeer

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    And just like that we have reached our 60 day mark! We made fast pass reservations this morning so our itinerary is finally complete! Here it is:

    Tuesday April 17th
    Leave for Indianapolis around 8 am (it's a four hour drive and they are one hour ahead of us), eating lunch at some point along the way
    Park in Fast Park lot for which we have a reservation ($7/day) and take the shuttle to the airport
    Our flight leaves Indy at 3:25pm and lands at MCO at 5:40pm
    From there we will take the Magical Express to All-Star Music
    We should have already completed online check-in so we can just throw our bags in the room (we are only taking carry-ons)
    Hop a bus to Disney Springs for dinner at Blaze and a late night shopping spree

    Wednesday April 18th
    Breakfast in the food court at All-Star Music prior to getting on a bus to Magic Kingdom
    Fast pass for Dumbo from 9:30-10:30
    Fast pass for Peter Pan's flight from 10:45-11:45
    Fast pass for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh from 11:55-12:55
    Snack around for lunch then head back tot he resort so DD can have a good nap
    Bus back to Magic Kingdom in the late afternoon
    Dinner ADR at 6:05 pm at Tony's Town Square
    7:45pm Plaza Garden View Dessert Party with fireworks at 9

    Thursday April 19th
    Breakfast in the food court at All-Star Music prior to getting on a bus to Animal Kingdom
    Fast pass for Kilimanjaro Safari 10:15-11:15
    Fast pass for Na'vi River Journey 11:30-12:30
    Snack around for lunch then head back to the resort for DD's nap time
    Bus back to Animal Kingdom around two-ish so we can make our fast pass for Finding Nemo which is 2:30-2:45 for the 3pm show
    Bus from Animal Kingdom to the Beach Club around 4:45 pm for our 5:40 pm ADR at Beaches N'Cream
    Walk from the Beach Club to Epcot to fit in a few rides (Gran Fiesta Tour, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Frozen Ever After) before staking out a spot for Illuminations

    Friday April 20th
    8:25 am breakfast ADR at Chef Mickey's
    Take the monorail around the resort loop for DD's first monorail ride and get off at MK
    Fast pass for Peter Pan's Flight from 10:15-11:15
    Fast pass for Enchanted Tales with Belle from 11:20-12:20
    Fast pass for Magic Carpets of Aladdin from 12:35-1:35
    Snack around for lunch then back to resort for nap time
    Bus to Animal Kingdom around 3ish
    7 pm dinner ADR at Rain Forest Café (AK closes at 8 pm)
    Then we have a couple of choices: spend more time at MK, go back to Disney Springs, relax at the resort, or re-watch any of the fireworks

    Saturday April 21st
    Breakfast in the food court at All-Star Music
    Finish packing and board the ME back to MCO
    Flight leaves MCO at 11:30 am and lands in Indy at 1:50pm
     

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