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Ahh... yes. Time for another (pre)trip report! If anyone would have told me a few years ago that I'd be writing about going on my third trip to Disney World, I would have done an Elaine (from Seinfeld) on them, "Get OUT!"
This one has actually been in backstage planning for several years now. My family reunion falls on Thanksgiving, and it usually switches from North Carolina to up here in Maryland. About three years ago, my sister suggested that we all meet up in Disney World for the reunion in 2012. It seemed farfetched but exciting and we all agreed to it. Long story short, 3 years later and here we are, 70 days and a few hours from the reunion. Even though we will all be in separate places, it's gonna be good times...
A quick intro:
Me: Disney World lover (ok, fan girl), happily married, mother of two awesome boys, nurse on the weekends, homeschoolin' during the week. Need to improve my Toy Story Midway Mania score.
Hubby (Dh): Think Cobra Bubbles who needs a vacation really badly.
Max - DS10: The only thing cooler than a trip to DW is a new video game he can beat. Can't wait to try the Snickers cupcake from Hollywood Studios.
Titus - DS8: Favorite is still Mickey Mouse, not ashamed to tell you. Can't wait to get into the Jedi Academy.
MiL: Also needs a vacation really badly. Visited the Magic Kingdom once, decades ago.
When: Thanksgiving week 2012
Where: Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village (1st stay as DVC!)
We originally planned for just us and the kids when we put in our request at Kidani 11 months out. I wanted to stay at the Boardwalk Villas, but then Dh suggested that we bring his mother so that she could have a vacay and come to the reunion. I didn't have a problem with it, but we had only requested a 1 bedroom standard view. We would have to waitlist for a 2BR. If we didn't get it, MiL would have to sleep on the couch fold out with Titus (he's skinny so it's ok) and share a bathroom with the boys. She's so humble she wouldn't care, and the villa is so big, I didn't think it would be a problem, but it would be nice for her to have her own room. Also, with the 2BR we'd have to stay one less day because of the points and that's not cool. In the end, we gave in and took ourselves off the 2BR waitlist, having one more (Disney) day sounded more fun.
We finally decided to commit to flying after a few weeks of debating back and forth the virtues of driving to Florida. It boiled down to the number$ vs. time. I thought it would save money to drive from Maryland. It's almost a straight shot down I95, I had calculated the fuel and food costs, and started pricing out the rentals. Once you get into vehicles that can comfortably fit 4 people and one child in a booster + bags, it starts getting expensive. We didn't want to put all those miles and wear on our car, and while technically a "wagon", we didn't think it would be enough room for bags and us.
After comparing the costs (flying wasn't that much more expensive), the idea of getting there almost a day earlier, refreshed and ready to play appealed to our sense of "vacation". Then, having to drive all the way back home just didn't appeal to Dh. I've always liked the idea of a road trip, but we'll be flying again this time.
When Southwest came out with fares for Thanksgiving, we waited a while, hoping they'd go down. After a routine check one day, I was surprised to find a change in the web only fare that had gone down. I was so happy because we were considering flying AirTran from Reagan National in Washington, DC, which I did NOT want to do. We booked the flights and basically told MiL she's going to Disney World whether she wanted to or not! (She wouldn't have to worry about anything money wise, but she would have a few months to get used to the idea of flying.)
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
WDW- july 2015 beach club
I have decided that after 2 trips, my awesome trip plans turn out to be not awesome for everyone else . I thought I was including everybody's ideas, but when we got there my ideas about "touring" went out the window .Something about getting up at 7am for some old "rope drop" just didn't fly... Part of the problem is that even though I love to plan our Disney trip the whole year round, Dh doesn't want to hear about Disney planning until closer to the actual date. Then he swoops in and changes up all my hard work! I don't want the kids to be burnt out talking about Disney either, so it feels more spontaneous when we get there.
Anyhoo, I made the announcement that I would (try to) leave the plans to everyone else, I would just provide the "structure" for them to build around. When the time got a little shorter from vacation, we would begin to think about details and start to write things down.
We don't have to worry about lodging - we are comfortable with Kidani Village, but we'll have to do a review to make sure we enjoy the resort more this time. MiL has only seen pictures and video of our trips there, and I think she'll want to probably want to spend some time soaking in the AKL atmosphere. We've already said we need to do more things at the resort - although we'll be there 2 days less than our previous two stays . I just read in the Disney Files magazine about the "Sundown Mingle" gatherings at Jambo House. It's an early evening get-together with other DVC owners and cast members. I think she'll like that - especially the free hors d'oeuvres, lol.
The kids LOVED Uwanji Camp and the Samawati Springs pool. Wednesday night I watched the Samantha Brown DVC webcast about Kidani Village. I knew it was going to be a DVC upsell, but I loved seeing all the stuff Kidani is great for. Now I know you can do the night vision goggles there too, not just at Jambo House.
Hopefully next year, we'll be able score on the waitlist for the Boardwalk Villas, but for now, it's back home. (Oh yeah! We need to find our name on the quilt in the Library