Disney 2007... Take 2 **COMPLETE 7/9**
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Well since it seems that people have a lot of fun reading and writing these, I thought I would give one a try!
Disney Wife: Maria. 29 yr young RN paramedic. I do specialty transport but because of MS and knee complications I am out of the loop for a little while. I work as my secondary specialty, communications supervisor. Originally from New Jersey, I now hail from Tampa, Florida
Disney Husband: Mike. 32 year old truck driver. He was a computer engineer before he decided to follow his true calling of being on the open road. Also originally from New Jersey. He's a closet Disney enthusiast. He lives with me and Disney son in Tampa.
Disney Son: Mike Jr. or as we refer to him as Mikey is 5 years old. He loves power rangers and refers to everything Disney by their icons. He calls MK "Mickey Mouse Castle" MGM as "Mickey Mouse Hat" Epcot as "Mickey Mouse Ball" AK as "Mickey Mouse Safari" and lastly all the water parks are lumped together as "Mickey Mouse Water Slides". He loves Disney and does not know the agonizing pain we all know when a Disney vacation has come to an end. He knows he'll be back in a few weekends. How nice for him his parents can afford Annual Passes and moved to Florida when he was 2!
Here is the backround for this trip's title, Disney 2007... Take 2:
In January for Mikey's 5th birthday, we took a family vacation for 8 days. This trip was 5 YEARS in the making. DH and I tried not to visit Disney after our short stay in 2002, the year Mikey was born and we didn't. We held out because we vowed to not return to Disney until Mikey was 5. This particular vacation also included my parents. Earlier attempts for a whole family vacation were thwarted by health issues with either me or the parents so this vacation was welcomed with open arms. Thirty days after we all returned back to reality, my father died suddenly. It was a huge blow to the family and every person who saw me at the wake and funeral knew about our trip in January. They said my dad couldn't stop talking about it. It warmed my heart to know he finally understood Disney the way I did.
Sorry for the sadness, onto the Magic.
Since my mother still lives in NJ she wanted all her children home for Christmas this year. Understandably so, even though it is a major hassle for me, I agreed to go back to NJ this year for the holidays. DH was not so supportive as he said his work schedule would not allow vacation time for that time of the year and I would need to go alone. This upset me because I wanted to be with him on a particularly difficult Christmas. No such luck. Needless to say, I was angry with him. After a few days of looking the other way when he passed me in the hall a conversation went like this while I was sitting at our computer which happened to be on June 30, 2007.
Me: :Hah! Disney is having free dining in September. Isn't that a kick in the pants.
Me: Yeah, remember that dining plan we went back and forth with in January and decided it wasn't gonna work for us? Well they are giving it away free for vacations in September.
DH: What are the dates?
Me: Looks like late August and all of September. Well, anyway, would have been neat to have that in January.
I close the website and continue browsing for some other stuff when I notice Disney husband is standing behind me.
Me: Can I help you?
DH: Where did you see about that free dining?
Me: Disney's website.
DH: Go back there.
DH: I want to see it, there has to be a catch.
Me: Well here, this is all the information.
Now, husband takes my chair with wheels and pushes me out of the way and grabs a stationary chair, tells my friends to stop messaging me for a few minutes, and has his way with the Disney website. I'm sitting on the other side of the desk and I am calling the friend on the phone that my husband was just telling to shut up so we can finish our conversation while I shoot icy glares at my husband. I am not paying attention to the assault on my computer.
DH: Come over here and see if I am understanding this.
Me: Let me call you back and I hang up the phone.
Me: What are you looking at?
DH: This free food thing... what do we have to do?
Me: Why do you even care? It's not like we are going to go on another vac..........
Yes, right there is when I shut my mouth. It all hit me like a brick. DH was sorry and was trying to find a way to make it up to me and he just found it. I started to smile and cry and he says:
DH: Oh no, I didn't say we were going all I wanted to do was...
I am down the hall already. I pretend I don't hear this.
Me: Mikey! Mikey! Daddy is taking us back to Mickey Mouse Castle!!
DH is clearly defeated.
DH: .... Let me call work and see what weeks are open.
And that was the start of Disney 2007... Take 2.
Up next... Free food, we don't know what to do with ourselves.
We finally narrow down the weeks that we can both get off. Anytime in September is good for me and DH has the 3rd week in August or the first week in September open. We decided on September 2-8. The conversation happens as such:
Me: So we're good then? Its settled.
DH: Yeah, might as well. Call and book it.
Me: Disney likes money. Once I give it to them they don't give it back.
DH: How much do you need?
Me: I want to pay half now so I am going to need about $500.
DH: Alright well let me go to the bank and make the deposit and you can use our check card.
Me: Alright, but go ahead and deposit into my account and I will get you a deposit slip.
Now, DH knows I have a Disney credit card. In fact, the world knows I have a Disney credit card. I made sure I told them. If I could have afforded a billboard on Busch Blvd. in Tampa, it would be posted there. How he didn't put 2 and 2 together is beyond me, but I am sure you all have guessed by now, that "vacation" money bought me a new wardrobe for this trip.
Later that day:
Me: We didn't decide on a resort.
DH: Ok, well what are the choices
Me: Well, there's the Grand Florid...
He stops me.
DH: I am not paying $500 a night for a room I am only going to sleep in.
Well, now, he is limiting me and I have ways of solving that. I realize he has a point and I do agree with him. However, I always go for the gold. I know that DH is a snob when it comes to hotels so I go to the value resorts. He is also a big bargain hunter and likes to get the most for his dollar. Who doesn't?
DH: Eh, I don't like all the gaudy stuff.
He means the oversized icons spread throughout the grounds.
Me: Well they don't have that at the Grand F..
Me: Ok well then we clearly need to go to a moderate.
DH: Ok, lets look at those
This is leading up to my actual hotel choice. The Port Orleans French Quarter. However, I need to let him think it was his idea and this is the painful process in which I accomplish that.
DH: What was the name of the place we stayed at in January? Wasn't the the carribean beach?
Me: Yes, but it was too big for me. I couldn't go anywhere without the scooter.
DH: So? Didn't you like it?
Me: I did, but I was overwhelmed. Besides, we just stayed there, let's try something different. Look at this Port Orleans Riverside one.
DH: It's ok. Doesn't seem all the special. I live in the south, why do I want to vacation there?
Me: Well there's the French Quarter side.
DH: Why is that familiar?
Me: Because we stayed there for 3 days in 2002.
DH: Didn't we like that one
DH: Well let's do that one.
Hahaha! I love when a plan comes together.
Next... ADR's. Another painful process. This time, for us both.
So now, if you think resort choosing was an ordeal, wait until you see how we choose where we eat.
Me: Ok, well it settled. We are at the POFQ for September 2-8. We had to buy a base ticket to use the DDP, but we get to use it as a credit when we renew our annual passes.
Me: So lets figure out where we want to eat.
DH: Whatever you want is fine.
Now this infuriates me. I hate that. I hate when I say what would you like for dinner and I get 3 generic responses, all 3 ultimately leave the decision to me.
a. Whatever you feel like is fine
b. Whatever you make is fine
c. I don't care, I will eat whatever.
So I come up with another idea because I don't want to ruin my trip planning by looking for the nearest object that I can reach that I can turn into a projectile aimed in his general direction.
Me: Ok, Here is the DDP guide. You look though this and write down 6 places you are interested in eating at. I will do the same. We will go through them. Any that are the same are definite. The others we will put into a cup and draw to fill the gaps. This way its equal of what we all want.
DH: Alright. I can handle that I guess.
I choose: Le Cellier, Coral Reef, Garden Grill, Crystal Palace, Liberty Tree Tavern, Teppanyaki
This was an easy process for me. DH is taking longer.
Me: what do you have.
DH I have 2 so far. He said one we never ate at but we wanted to and the other we did in January
Me: Coral Reef and Teppanyaki?
Me: I have those two as well so I guess they are definite. Give me another 4 so we can choose.
DH: Ok done, here you go.
Now I don't look. I want to be surprised so I put them in a cup and have Mikey draw them out.
The first one I get is Liberty Tree Tavern. Yay! I love that. Score 1 for me. The second I get is Crystal Palace! Yay! again for me. The next card says "Whatever". I glare at DH. Then I pull Garden Grill, Yay 3 for me. Sweet! Only one more and there is a few pieces of paper so I had my fingers crossed and I got:
"you want is fine"
So I put them all together and my options are:
Liberty Tree Tavern
I get even with DH later by messing with his alarm clock and then I hide his driving boots so he is running around nuts when he thinks he is late, but really he is 2 hours early. I laugh... hard.
I inform him that while he was sleeping I went ahead and made the reservations for the trip and everything is paid for and we are all set and I would be calling later to make the dining reservations and this was his last chance to not eat at "whatever I want is fine" as I wasn't showing a TS restaurant with that name. I did however find one called "Don't eat and see if I care"
DH and I are very much in love with one another. We just have an off sense of humor and what may seem like arguing to other couples is really just us having fun with one another. We hardly agree on anything and the compromise is where we have the most fun with each other.
So as he walked out the door, laughing softly at my dining "choice" he said he really didn't know enough to make any other decisions than the two he already knew and wanted me to make something that I knew Mikey as well as the rest of us would enjoy. He did mention the Hollywood & Vine buffet as we always eat there for MGM. He didn't realize that was a TS and its why he didn't mention it. So there you have it, the last choice is Hollywood & Vine.
I call WDW-DINE to make the reservation. While I am on hold I am surfing allears.net reading reviews.
CM: Thanks for calling WDW dining. How may I assist you this evening?
Me: I have an upcoming reservation for Sept 2-8 and I want to make reservations for the DDP.
CM: Sure. Do you have anything in mind or did you need assistance.
Me: Well, this is what I have, lets see what we can do with it.
This is where is ended up.
Sept 2: Dinner at Garden Grill
Sept 3: Dinner at Hollywood & Vine
Sept 4: Dinner Coral Reef
Sept 5: Dinner Liberty Tree Tavern
Sept 6: Dinner Teppanyaki
Sept 7: Dinner Crystal Palace
For the most part, I got everything I wanted. I tried to score a table at Le Cellier, but no such luck. I didn't cry over it as I live here. I can go there anytime. I am pretty happy with this list and called the man to let him know.
DH: sounds good.
Me: Should we stay another day?
DH: We can't stay past the 8th. I have to go back to work the next day
Me: No, I know that. But you arent working on the first. Why don't we just go the night before and wake up on vacation?
DH: so you want me to pay another $150 so you can sleep? you can do that for free at home.
Me: I know, but I think it would be too much to wake up early, grab breakfast, drive, check in and be at Typhoon Lagoon for 9am.
Me: Well, I just want to go in the night before and then have breakfast at Disney.
DH: Do whatever.
Me: I'll think about it. Do you want to do a fireworks cruise this time?
DH: We just did that.
Me: I know, but what about Illuminations?
DH: Isn't it expensive? I don't really care. I just want to relax and eat. Just remember I plan on retiring when I'm older.
Me: Ok, I'll think about it
So I do just that. I think about it for about 2 minutes and I call Disney back, but then I hang up. What is it I really want from this vacation? He wants to relax and already I got us running around. I decided to slow down and sleep on my decisions.
The next day I make appointments at a local massage clinic for the 2 of us to have individual 90 minute massages, but at the same appointment time. My sister in law agrees to not only watch the child, but said she would take the dogs for us while we were away.
In January she was allergic to dogs and wouldn't take them for me when my dog-sitter bailed on me at the last minute. I mentioned this. I wasn't being ungrateful, but I didn't want to end up in the same position twice. She assured me all was well. Apparently, she has done some medical research on allergies and make an incredible break through that she isn't ready to share with the rest of the world. <-- sarcasm. However, I was elated that I could surprise DH with a nice massage to start off our vacation and I didn't have to pay a dogsitter $250 for the week.
The savings of that $250 put the cruise idea back into my head. I called Disney and asked for the Illuminations cruise who promptly told me none were available. Disappointed, I hung up the phone.
I called DH back.
Me: I have a surprise for you
DH: What? Is it a cigarette?
Me: No! No smoking! Anyway, the day before we start our vacation I booked 90 minute massages for the two of us.
DH: Are they at the same time?
Me: Well same appointment time, but not the same room
DH: Oh, they can't do that?
Me: No they can, but they wanted $10 more per person for the couples room. It didn't make sense to me, but just like I can sleep for free at home, I can look at your for free in the car. You get your own room and so do I and I am not against the idea.
In other news, your brother is watching Mikey that day and said he would take the dogs for us while we were gone.
DH: But I thought....
Me: Don't go there. But since we now have $250 back by not needing the dog sitter I tried to book a cruise but none are available. So I don't know what to do now.
DH: We'll figure something out.
Me: What about a carriage ride?
DH: That expensive?
Me: $30... think you can handle it?
DH: Guess I am working overtime tonight
Me: whatever. goodnight. I'll book it tomorrow. It'll be nice. I will make it for the night we get there so we can start the vacation off relaxing.
Well now this $250 is burning a hole in my pocket. I need to spend it on the vacation. I allotted it for the vacation and it must be spent!
I surf the disney florist website and I am not happy with the selections. I thought about getting Mikey a pal mickey, but he could care less about a toy. So... I called Disney again trying for a boat for either Illuminations or Wishes. No such luck. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.
So here I am excited as punch that we are going to Disney. I finally break the news to mom and she took it well. I tested the news out on my sister first. For some reason I thought my family would be appalled by me visiting Disney again after the tragic loss of my dad. I was looking at it all wrong and it took DH to snap me out of it.
Me: I feel weird about this vacation now
Me: Because I feel like I am wrecking the last memories of my dad. It was our last vacation with him
DH: You are looking at it wrong. It was his last vacation with us. We still have many more vacations left in us.
Well, now I felt better.
It was around this time that I started doing a lot of research on different things like I always do and I found these boards. I joined the community slowly, easing my way in before I exposed everyone to the disfunctionality that is the Madonna family. It is also here that I learned about the dreaded news of Teppanyaki.
After much denial I finally learned for myself that the dreaded rumor was a fact. Now to call Disney dining... again. The first CM told me everything was ok that the restaurant would be closed after the 15th. After I hung up, I thought to myself that she must be mistaken because the restaurant was already closed. However, Disney has a very different logic than my own, so I called back and it was that phone call my fears were confirmed. So we added concourse steakhouse and swapped Garden Grill to the day we were supposed to do Teppanyaki. Ok not so bad.
Me: Would you mind calling my husband and telling him he can't have Teppanyaki?
CM: No, I wouldn't want to make the phone call.
So I get a phone call at work later that day from the husband asking me some random silly question like... Where's the ice cream? I don't know if that was exactly the question, but it was something obvious. It was here I decided to tell him no Teppanyaki.
Me: So anyway, I have some bad news for you.
Me: Brace yourself.
DH: Is it going to cost me money?
Me: No, but I was just informed that Teppanyaki was closed.
He goes off on this rant about why would they tease him like that and let me make a reservation and how that's the one place he really wanted and blah blah blah, he goes on about 15 minutes. I tell him to relax I had a plan B and when I got home I would work on it and let him know what it was.
So I get home and look up Teppanyaki in Orlando in Google and it comes with Benihana at the Hilton in Downtown Disney. How perfect! So my plan comes together. I called Benihana's and made a reservation for Sept. 1 at 6:30. I called Disney and asked to add on that extra day I was talking about. They said it was available so I paid the difference and gained another full day of food. I called Disney Dining and added a breakfast for the first seating at Boatwrights.
So now our plans looked like this:
Massages at 2pm for 90 minutes
Benihana at 6:30 (Out of Pocket)
Check in about 8pm to POFQ which is close to DTD
Carriage Ride at 9:30p
7:30 Boatwrights breakfast (using my added TS)
9:00 Waking up at Typhoon Lagoon
8:15p Concourse Steakhouse
The rest of the plans remained. I called DH to tell him the exciting news on how I fixed this little problem.
Me: guess what? I fixed it. You are getting your Teppanyaki
DH: Whose life did you threaten?
Me: Nobody. You aren't eating at the one in Epcot, you are eating at.... BENIHANA'S!!
I was so shocked. The man lived within 90 minutes of probably the most popular Teppanyaki in the tri state area and he had no idea of how wonderful this chain of restaurants are. I was stunned.
Me: Ya know... Benihana. Like Benihana in NYC?
DH: I've heard of it
Me: Uh, yeah well, now you get to eat there
DH: Ok so where is that? Is that in the park somewhere?
Me: No its in DTD.
DH: I dont remember seeing that when we were there
Me: Its in the Hilton
DH: So we have to leave the parks to go there?
Me: No, there's more to this.
DH: OK, well come on with it.
Me: Well, I added on another night to our stay, so now we do massages, your brother will drop off Mikey about 4pm, we pack the car as I will have our stuff packed the Thursday before because the floors are being done on Friday so then we leave the house by 5 and we have a 6:30 at Benihana. We check in and then we have a carriage ride at 9:30. Then in the AM I made a breakfast res at the resort.
All this wonderful planning and DH says to me:
DH: So, I have to pay for dinner now and then I paid another $150 to sleep?
Me: Lovely. No, you paid $150 for 3 more TS meals, 3 more CS meals, and 3 more snacks and we sleep for free.
Notice how I got slick there?
DH: Oh, then thats ok I guess. But how are we going to make a carriage ride by 9:30 if we are having dinner at 6:30.
Me: The hotel we are eating at is IN DTD. POFQ is near DTD. It's about a 10 minute car ride from where we are eating to where the hotel is. I could walk and make it there on time. I can't believe you! Be excited about something.
DH: I am excited. I am excited to be on vacation. Dinner sounds good, but I gotta go cause someone just cut me off.
He has no concept of where things are at Disney because we never drive. He didn't seem enthused about adding another day onto our vacation, but I don't think it would have worked any other way. Besides, I would not be able to be home with him having the night off just staring at him knowing I could be sleeping under the same stars as Mickey that night. I would have not slept, woken everyone up at 4am and then attempted a full day at Disney and expect no one to be cranky. This plan really is for the better.
All during the past few weeks that all of this has transpired. I keep calling checking for availability at Le Cellier and a boat for Illuminations. No suck luck on either. I tried making reservations for Le Cellier for December... Any Thursday or Saturday in December and I don't care when. I couldn't even get one for just 2. So, I told the CM it wasn't a big deal because I was a local and I said my birthday was in February. She counted 180 days for me from Feb 14. and told me to call on August 18 to make my reservation for my birthday as it fell on a Thursday in 2008 and it would work for me. So that's what I will do. I kept checking on Illuminations. I even thought about trying to bribe someone at the Marina for their boat. Oh well, it wasn't in the stars for me this time around and it would be wonderful no matter where I saw it from.
Until August 10, 2007.
Bored at work just surfing the net I had Disney recreation dialed into my cell phone and waited for an uninterrupted moment that I could speak to someone. I thought I had it and pressed send on the phone when my extension rang! BAH! I hung up. I got another free moment and called back, I put the phone down with the speaker on so I could hear if someone came on. My phone rang again. I picked it up and when I did the CM from recreation picked up. I quickly slammed my extension down with the person in mid-sentence as my heart was racing. I took the call from rec and asked them to check availability for Illuminations, any night Sept 1-8. My extension is ringing off the hook. I ask the CM to hold on and not hang up. She says go ahead and I need to check something. I picked up my extension and scream loudly, "WHAT?!" It was my supervisor calling me from Hawaii. So I asked if it was an urgent matter as I was in the middle of something. He said no, I can call back and I said, ok go have a drink and get back to me. Great, thanks. HAH! So I go back to the CM who says...
I have an availability on September the 7th...
I was speechless.
She says hello?
I start to cry.
She says, ma'am are you ok? I tell her that I need to her to triple check herself before she lets me hang up the phone. She says I did because I can't believe it either, but please stop crying before I cry.
I was so overwhelmed I fumbled my credit card trying to give her the numbers. It was actually happening. I was having a magical moment. I booked that cruise and was so excited I danced around the office. I never did call my boss back and I am sure it was just a drunken phone call anyway.
I hope that you and your family have a magical time at the world
Heather - "I'm Tinkerbell's biggest fan!"
WDW - August 1997 Off Property
WDW - January 2005 AKL
WDW - May 2006 Pop Century
WDW- november-dec 2007 pop century
WDW- dec/jan 2009/2010 pop century
WDW- oct/nov 2012 art of animation
WDW- sept 2013 port Orleans riverside