D minus 5 months and counting ...
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So my first-ever Christmas trip is coming up fairly quickly - thanks to my sister-in-law who is paying my expenses so I can go and play tour guide for her!
A little less than five months to go, and where are we with the planning?
- Airfare has been purchased through Southwest. Roundtrip per person was $199. Nonstop flights both ways. Arrival time is 1:30 so we should be able to visit a park on our arrival night. However our DME bus will depart the resort at 9:30 so no parks on the morning of our departure.
- Reservations have NOT been made, despite it being a week since I emailed sil with all the info she would need to call and make the reservations. She originally wanted a water-view pirate room at Caribbean Beach. In my email I suggested that she could just get a standard-view pirate room and save about $135. Well, I guess I got through to her, and her friends were saying the same thing, or maybe she just started realizing how expensive it was to visit during the "holiday" season. But she called me this morning and asked me if I was okay with her booking All-Star Movies instead of CBR. I told her that was fine with me, and we discussed the pros and cons of ASM. (I mean, really, a free trip is a free trip, I'm not going to be complaining!) I did ask her if she wanted to book a preferred room, because one of her complaints on our '05 trip was the amount of walking we had to do. But I told her either was fine with me. She is supposed to call WDW either this evening or tomorrow to make the arrangements.
- My pre-trip emails have begun! I sent the first one to sil this afternoon. 5 months before the trip, I always send out special emails. This month they focus on Magic Kingdom. Each one begins with a few trivia questions. Then general info about a particular area of the park (including attractions, restaurants, shops and entertainment), then specific info about how that section of the park fits into the plans for our trip, then I close with the answers to the trivia questions. Next month will be Epcot.
- Still trying to decide whether we should do one of the dining plans. Mainly because sil wants to eat at Le Cellier. If we could get that ADR as part of the CP package, the dining plan would probably pay for itself. If we can't get that ADR, who knows, I may work out some other plans and still get the package. When we first discussed the trip, she said she wanted to eat cheap and light, so we weren't going to get a dining plan. Then she said something to Jay the other day on the phone about how the dining plan would be nice because it would help her keep her spending in check - with the dining plan it would all be prepaid. But on the phone today she didn't say anything to me about it. Hmmm..... I'm going to do a little more thinking and put together some ideas to present to her in the next couple of weeks, and she what she thinks.
- Still have no idea how to create a touring plan for us. She wants to see all the special Christmas stuff, everything that's new since her last trip ('05), ride all the "big" rides, do a few other favorites, and see some of the resort decorations. That sounds wonderful, except we will only have 3 1/2 days! Talk about a challenge. A basic plan is forming in my mind. The equivalent of one day at MK, one day at Epcot, and a day split between AK and DHS. The day we arrive we will visit a park, so probably whichever one has emh that night to maximize our time. We are going to get park hoppers to also help with maximizing our park time, so our days at MK and Epcot will be split days. We will use park-hopping time to visit nearby resorts and check out their decorations.
What's next? She has GOT to get us a room reserved! It's starting to make me a little nervous. I told her to book it as a room-only. Then we can discuss the options for our dining expenses, and if she wants to get a dining plan we can upgrade to a package later. If she definitely wants to get a dining plan, we might try to go ahead and book it before the rumored ticket price increase August 2. If she's still not sold on the dining plan idea, we can always get it later and just eat the ticket price increase if it does happen.
, she really needs to make those ressies ASAP! That is so nice that your DSis is bringing you to WDW! You're very lucky! Your touring plans look great! Are you going to MVMCP? That would be a neat thing to do!
I would try to convince your DSis into getting the DDP! It really would help keep her spending in-check, plus it's so nice to not have to budget for food. and keep us posted!
Last edited by mickey0823; 07-20-2009 at 07:05 PM..
Location: A little over 1000 miles from my happy place!
How exciting! We'll be there almost around the same time. Love your idea about sending emails to get everyone in the spirit! We are also thinking about adding the dining plan, but the quick service plan instead. Good luck with all the planning!
Are you going to MVMCP? That would be a neat thing to do! I would try to convince your DSis into getting the DDP! It really would help keep her spending in-check, plus it's so nice to not have to budget for food. and keep us posted!
No, the last Christmas Party is the day before we arrive, so we won't get to do that. But at least that means the MK shouldn't be closing early any of our days - we need that extra park time! After posting this, I started looking at the cost of the dining plans. And with her switching resorts and saving so much money that way, it really doesn't make any sense NOT to book a package and get one of the dining plans. (If I did my math correctly, getting a package with dining at All-Stars was only about $300 more than just the pirate room at CBR by itself. ) Last night I started thinking of some of the places we could eat at (assuming we can get the ADRs of course), so that I can show her what her options would be.
Originally Posted by DisneyLuv
Love your idea about sending emails to get everyone in the spirit! We are also thinking about adding the dining plan, but the quick service plan instead.
Thanks! I started the emails for my husband and my sil before our '05 trip, mainly because it had been so long since my sil had been. I thought she could use it as an intro of sorts to the parks, so she wouldn't constantly be asking what everything was once we got there. Plus I'm a planning nerd so it was fun for me. I did the same thing, but with updated info and new trivia questions of course, to send my husband for our '08 trip. So I'm using those from last summer and just updating the park info to send her this time.
If she wasn't wanting to eat at Le Cellier, we could get by on the quick-service plan - it sounds like a great deal! But if we decide to try for Le Cellier on the CP package, we really ought to just be on the dining plan instead of paying out of pocket. However ... if that's the only table-service meal she wants, and she's sure about that, we might still go with the quick-service and just figure out how to work our credits around it. That might be the best option ... While it's nice to have the ADRs for the busy Christmas season, it's also nice not to be tied down to them for park touring purposes! I might go back to my plan of just waiting to see if we can get the Le Cellier ADR first, then deciding what to do about a dining plan.
Originally Posted by Sue M.
Wow, only 3 1/2 days, she wants to pack alot in for a short visit. Looks like you have your work cut out for you!!
Um, yeah, I really, really, really, don't think she understands how crowded it's going to be. She's only been during July 4, so I think she thinks that any other time of year is going to be less crowded. If there had been any way we could have gone at the beginning of the month, I would have loved that! But you make the best of what you've got! We're just going to have to skip over a lot of things in the process of touring.
Good Luck making all your plans. I hope SIL gets your room reserved soon.
She's on the phone with them right now ... after changing her mind yet again and deciding on All-Star Music. She didn't want to pay extra for a preferred room, and at ASMu there's a better chance of getting close to the main building than there seems to be at ASMo, at least just by looking at the resort maps in PassPorter, showing which buildings are the preferred ones. Hopefully she will call me back soon with good news!
Well, after an hour on hold and off with a cm whose first language was not English, we finally have a room at All-Star Music! My sil decided not to get a preferred room, and has requested Jazz since that is the nearest building to the front that is not preferred. Watch us get the very last room on the back of the property, though! That's fine by me, but I can just hear her now complaining about how far it is to walk!
When she called me back to tell me about the room, she told me she definitely wants to eat at Le Cellier, she wants to eat fish and chips at an English pub, and she wouldn't mind doing a character meal. So ... looks like we will definitely be doing one of the dining plans! The question would be whether we think it is worth it to have several ADRs interfering with our tight touring plans, or if she's willing to give up doing some of the attractions in order to give us more flexibility in our dining plans. I would rather be on the quick-service plan and pay for Le Cellier out of pocket. It would only be slightly more money than upgrading to the regular dining plan, and then we wouldn't have to worry about any other ADRs, and I would rather have the snack credits to use to satisfy my sweet tooth. It's about time I had me a cream cheese pretzel ... and some fudge to take home ... and a big sweet roll for breakfast ... you get the picture!
Location: A little over 1000 miles from my happy place!
and I would rather have the snack credits to use to satisfy my sweet tooth. It's about time I had me a cream cheese pretzel ... and some fudge to take home ... and a big sweet roll for breakfast ... you get the picture!