Our Pink Christmas Trip Updated 4/23
About This Page: This is a discussion on Our Pink Christmas Trip Updated 4/23 within the Sharing the Adventure: Disney World Trip Reports, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; Wow, you guys have been through some major changes this year! I'm not sure I like the sound of the ...
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Before I get to the big changes, I feel the need to tell you about our airline reservations. I mean, you are dying to know how weíre getting there, right? No!? Well, humor me and pretend.
We have always flown to Florida with the exception of my very 1st trip when I was two. I really donít even consider driving. However, when youíre looking at buying airline tickets for a family of four, driving doesnít sound too bad. And weíre not as limited with time off from work as some people are. But our car is dying a slow death and I donít want to hurry it along putting that much strain on it with that long of a drive. Weíre saving for a van right now. And as soon as we have that, you better believe weíll have one long road trip in our future. We may change our minds after only one road trip and we experience being in the car with our kids for 20 some hours. Weíll see.
But for this trip it was flying. And I was checking all my options for a good deal. My first choice was Southwest, mainly because they donít charge for bags. Iím not a light packer, especially not with two kids. The closest airports that Southwest flies out of are St. Louis and Midway, about three hours either way. The three hour drive wasnít great, but we figured it we had a direct flight it would be about the same amount of travel time as flying locally and having to catch a connecting flight at a bigger airport.
My mom did not want to drive very far at all, and she absolutely hates to drive in Chicago. I kept telling her that Midway wasnít that bad, but it was a no go. So I found my parents tickets out of Bloomington, IL about an hour away from us for a decent price. They are coming back three days before us, so it wasnít a huge deal that we wouldnít be flying down together since we wouldnít be flying back together regardless. What it boiled down to was that my mom didnít mind paying for convenience, but I did.
But I wasnít really satisfied with any of the prices, so I kept holding out. You can only imagine my reaction when I checked the prices of the flight my parents were on and discovered they lowered the price to $125 roundtrip!! I screamed, then double checked, then triple checked. Shane heard the commotion from the other word and only said, ďBook Ďem.Ē He didnít even need to ask what I so excited about. I booked them as quickly as I could because I was convinced the price would jump back up at any moment. They did stay that way for about 24 hours though. And it turned out this all happened on our anniversary, August 2nd, so it was a great anniversary present. I just couldnít get over it and kept talking on and on at our dinner date that night. Itís a good thing my hubby loves me. I can only imagine the thoughts going on in his head over my overly excited babbling.
We ended up on the same flight to Atlanta as my parents, but our connecting flight leaves an hour earlier than theirs because when we bought their tickets we were trying to plan around the Southwest schedule. So weíll talk to the gate attendants when we get to Atlanta and see if maybe they can take the earlier flight. No big deal if they canít. Theyíre familiar with the whole DME process.
The Big, Big Changes Disney offers lots of extra perks and discounts for CMs during the Christmas season. One of these perks is a discount on the dining plan. I told my cousin, the CM to let me know as she got the information for this year, which is usually sometime in October. We have never had the DP before because until recently, it hasnít been an option when staying under the CM room discount. So Iíve really never taken the opportunity to get to know itís ins and outs. Now I probably know more than the ďaverageĒ person. If youíre on this message board, then you probably know more than the ďaverageĒ person about anything Disney related.
This trip I had booked a lot of TS meals because I wanted to take advantage of the fact that William eats free at the buffets and he and Bethany donít eat enough that they are fine sharing meals. It seemed like if we wanted to experience some character meals, this trip be the best time. Last time, I didnít know how Bethany would react to the characters so we didnít do any character meals. Now we know just how much she enjoys the whole character interaction, so character meals would be a big highlight for her. Even if William hates the characters, Iíll still feel like it was worth it for Bethanyís sake.
A discount on the DP would save us a lot of money. Itís more food than we would normally eat, but there is nothing that says you have to clean your plate. (Except maybe at the 50ís PrimeTime Cafť.) Once the information was released she let me know. $30 per adult per day for the regular DP and $12 a day per child. Guess how long I had to think about it? Considering most of character meals are around $30 per person, some more. It was a no brainer.
But hereís the down side. We had to switch resorts, completely. It was only available at the All Star Sports in the value category. This is the only value I have stayed at and really didnít want to stay there again. It was back when I was a freshman in high school and really didnít like sports, so that may have influenced my reason. Now that I think about it, I didnít really have any faults about the accommodations or anything. I just wanted to stay at ASMovies or ASMusic since that was more up my alley. So Iím sure it will be fine.
And we had to give up Port Orleans: French Quarter. That really did give me pause. I ran it by my DH, who really loves that resort. But you really couldnít deny the practicality of it. We would only be switching to Port Orleans: Riverside, so it wasnít a huge change. Plus, not only do we get a discount on the DP, but our room savings went from 40% off to 50% off!! So that made it easier to take. What a great time of year to visit! Plus, if you remember, my dad was already booked there, so it really all worked out. Last trip I remember seeing a glimpse of the Mansion side of POR and thinking it looked so pretty that I really wouldnít mind staying there one day.
I was a little sad about the kids not getting to experience the fountain in the lobby of POFQ since Bethany loved it so much last time. But when I told her we had to switch hotels, all she asked me was, ďDoes the new one have a pool too?Ē When I told her it not only had one pool, but four. She was perfectly fine with it. So I decided I would be too. I think itís a great reason to try something new and if we donít like, thereís always next time.
This all happened just about a month before our trip. To me that seemed so last minute, remember Iím a planner. I donít really like changes to my schedule Iíve spent so much time thinking about, and rethinking, and rethinking. But itís really going to be for the better. Everything is falling into place. I didnít request a preference for Magnolia Bend or Alligator Bayou. I think I would like Magnolia Bend better, but Iím just going to leave it as a whatever is meant to be will happen kind of thing. Have any of you stayed there before and have some experiences to share. I would love to hear what you all think about POR. Iím glad we still get to do the boat ride to DTD. Thatís such a nice relaxing way to travel.
Also, with adding the DP I had to add another TS meal so we would reach our credits. It was very fun to look at the list of possible restaurants without having to give any thought to price. And I will be sure to save room at every meal for at least a couple of bites of dessert. Itís my favorite part of the meal.
Since this update didnít really have any pictures, I thought I would throw in a couple. This is the countdown chain Bethany and I made with 100 links on it. One for every day. We are now down to 15. It seems so unreal. On the inside of the links I put facts about WDW, questions about what weíre looking forward to, and some other fun surprises.
Up Next: The schedule
Me, our DS - William, our DD - Bethany, and my DH - Shane
Thank you for all your kind comments. I donít usually comment on other people TRís unless I have a question or something like that, but it does mean a lot to know people are reading along. Iíll have to start commenting more.
Instead of posting our schedule in big chunk, I decided to do it day by day. I thought I would do it the week before like one week from today weíll be . . . But weíre going for more than a week so that wonít work. Itís the longest trip weíve ever been able to take to date. I just hope we donít get Disney burn out. So Iím going to do two weeks from today.
Two weeks from today . . . will be our departure day. Our flight leaves bright and early at 6:00 am. That means to make it to airport on time we need to leave our house no later than 3:45. I can tell you on very good authority, it takes a full hour to get to the airport, not 45 minutes. I learned that one the hard way this summer, and letís just say I ended up with an extra four hours to ďrelaxĒ before my flight.
Weíre going to put the kids to bed in very comfy clothes and just pull them straight from bed and into the car. I hope theyíll go back to sleep on the drive. Theyíre not normally car sleepers, but at that hour, I think anyone is. I hope anyway.
Iím very curious to see what William thinks of the airplanes. We live pretty close to the local airport and often hear them flying overhead. He runs to the window and looks for them and then waves and says, ďBye-bye plane.Ē It will be interesting to see if can make the connection that the big thing on the ground is that same tiny plane we see in the sky.
We have about a three hour layover in Atlanta so weíll have plenty of time to grab something to eat. And Iím sure William will spend a lot of time exploring the airport. We will be bringing two strollers so we wonít have to worry about losing him as weíre walking from gate to gate. But I know once we get settled, he will not just want to sit and wait.
We get into Orlando at 1:25 and weíll head to DME, where weíll board a bus to head to All Star Sports. Once we check in and get settled in the room, weíre just going to explore the resort. Maybe swimming if itís warm enough. If my parents don't make it on our flight, we'll come meet them when they get there. And weíll grab some supper at the resort. Iím sure it will be an early bedtime after our very early morning.
I wanted to keep our arrival day pretty low key because last time we threw our stuff in our room and took off for DtD the first night. I just never felt like we had time to settle in and Bethany was pretty much done after being there for an hour. Shane took her back the room while I stayed with the rest of our family. He had to unpack and find her bedtime stuff that I had packed. So I just want our first day this time to be relaxing. I hope the kids get the memo.
Me, our DS - William, our DD - Bethany, and my DH - Shane