Last night at dinner, Peter said the magic words:

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Aliceacc, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    Jun 30, 2011

    That's what I was leaning towards with the meal plan - having it prepaid and sorted before we go (I'm going on a 6 month Canadian/US holiday so am trying to prepay and save as much as possible!) I will have a better look at it and see which restaurants are available and decide form there.
    Thanks for the parkhopper info, I didn't realise you can add it on the day I think we will not worry about it for now and add it if needed.
    Have you got any 'must-sees' at Disney? I really know very little about it, it's always just been a 'dream' holiday until yesterday when we decided to look into going!
     
  2. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 30, 2011

    Yes, SOO many.

    But Peter is leaving in a while to pick up his mom; she's stayng over tonight then we're going upstate to his brother's for the weekend. I have about 2.5 hours to get this house clean.

    I'll get back to you on it next week, OK??
     
  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 30, 2011

    OK, the first floor is presentable and I'm taking a break.

    I took a look at the crowd predictions.

    Assuming you're getting there sometime around noon on the 30th and leaving late-ish one the 2nd here are the parks I would hit(that's assuming you want one day at each park-- you may not.):

    Aug 30th: Animal Kingdom
    Aug 31: Magic Kindgom
    Sep 1: Epcot
    Sep 2: Disney's Hollywood Studios.

    That gives you full days in the two "big" parks and part days in the "smaller" parks, and should have you missing the worst of what look to be minimal crowds.

    That said, I would try for the following dining reservations:
    Aug 30: Yak and Yetti in Animal Kingdom. (right now I'm seeing a 4:45 opening,

    Aug 31: Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary, easy to reach from the Magic Kingdom (other choices you may want to try: 'Ohana in the Polynesian-- easy from the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Tree Tavern, Crystal Palace, both in the Magic Kingdom, 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian--easy to reach from teh MK and HYSTERICALLY funny.P-- and showing an opening at 4:45

    Sept 1: Le Cellier (lunch) if you can get it, probably not likely or Coral Reef, either in Epcot.(The Coral Reef is showing a 4:35 opening) LOTS Of the Epcot restaurants are showing early openings.
     
  4. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    Jul 9, 2011

    Ok so after a crazy week I finally go to the good travel agent yesterday (the first one I went to was great with the flights but not very helpful Disney-wise) and we are booked in! We are staying at Pop Century (looks like a lot of fun!) and decided to take our chances and not get the meal plan this time.
    Unfortunately, because of other travel commitments, we have to leave in the morning on the 2nd so we have 2 and 1/2 days at Disney. We will definitely spend a full day at Magic Kingdom and we both need to sit down and properly decide which of the other parks we will go to and when.
    Thanks again Alice and I'm sure more questions will be coming!
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2011

    YAY!!!! How exciting!

    One of my best friends stayed at POP a few years ago with her teenage daughters and they all loved it.

    And with limited time, you may not want to spend all that much time dining anyway.

    Think about maybe doing one full service meal, and counter service the rest of the time. It will be cheaper and faster. But you do want to make a reservation ahead of time for a dinner. You can even make one for each night, then cancel as your days evolve.

    And try not to miss Epcot. It's amazing! Illuminations, the fireworks show at the end of the night, is simply awe inspiring.
     
  6. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    Ok thanks, that makes sense about the dinner reservations. I will have a little search and look again at your earlier suggestions.
    I was thinking maybe Animal Kingdom the first half day, Magic Kingdom the next day and Hollywood Studios/Epcot on the third day. If the fireworks at Epcot are amazing it will definitely be the 2nd part of the day!
    Next time I go it will definitely be a longer trip!
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2011

    Hey, you're trying to see two huge countries. The fact that you're able to squeeze in 2.5 days at Disney is a major thing!

    What a remarkable trip you'll have!!
     
  8. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    Yep, I'm getting very excited - 9 days to go! I'm learning just how big the US and Canada are, especially Canada. Although I was pleasantly surprised at the time and cost to get from NY to Orlando - it was much cheaper than I was expecting.

    Do you have any must-sees in New York city? It's probably the place I am most excited about - been on my must-go list for a very long time!
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2011

    czacza is a better resource than I am. I live in the 'burbs and only get into the city once or twice a year.

    But let's see:
    - The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
    - the Empire State building.
    - Ground Zero if you're so inclined. (Honestly, I'm not. The memory of 9/11 is too strong.)
    - St. Patrick's Cathedral
    - South Street Seaport
    - Chinatown/ Little Italy. (They're practically next door to each other.)
    - Broadway (Look up the TKTS booth. You can spend a few hours on line and get Broadway tickets for half price. Have an idea ahead of time which ones you might be interested in seeing.)
    - Consider taking a Circle Line Boat tour around the city.

    It's 8:10 am in NY right now... give czacza a little time to weigh in.
     
  10. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    Ok, here's the rundown of my trip so far: I will fly in to Toronto and spend a few weeks there and around (possibly Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa etc) Then my sister comes over to Toronto and we will go to PEI (big Anne fans!), Niagara Falls, New York (where we meet up with another friend) and Disney. Then she comes back home and I will head over to Anchorage for a cruise down to Vancouver with other friends. We will then go to Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise (possibly other places I've forgotten) and back to Vancouver. After that I have 2 and 1/2 months unplanned yet. I have a working visa so will maybe try to find work, that part of the trip is very open at the moment!
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2011

    OK, you end on the west coast-- why not look at:

    -California!!-- Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Big Sur, Hollywood

    - Las Vegas. I've never been there, but people who have love it!

    - The Grand Canyon. On my "gotta see one day" list
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2011

    Alice...I think your list is great! A first time visitor to NYC will love the attractions you listed!

    Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty get quite crowded in the summer, but off the beaten track restaurants are easier to get into as many who live in the city are on vaca.

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is worth a day...the Temple of Dendur alone is a magnificent reason to go! Guggenheim Museum is also cool...the winding ramps between gallery levels are an architectural wonder:)

    Rockefeller Center...FILLED with artwork that most people walk by and miss on a daily basis!
    http://www.rockefellercenter.com/art-and-history/
    There has been some interesting discourse about the political messages in the art, but isn't art sometimes provocative like that?

    Wandering the streets, seeing the amazing buildings, window shopping are all free and interesting ways to spend a day...

    Have fun!
     
  13. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    Yes, the Grand Canyon is definitely somewhere I want to go.
    Las Vegas didn't ever appeal to me too much but so many people have been there and loved it that it has made its way onto my to-do list. I have friends going there in a couple of months but unfortunately the timings didn't quite work out with other things I had planned. I'm glad you mentioned it though as it has made its way back on my list.
    I was just looking on kayak.com and am very impressed with the flight prices. And hey, if I'm over that way I have to go to California too of course!
    I think a bit more time will be spent booking flights in the next few days!
     
  14. ally06

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    Thanks Alice and czacza for the NYC tips - I love getting recommendations from locals (and it's good to see that the places I thought worth a visit are recommended from those who have been there :))
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    ally06--If you need any tips about things to do while in Toronto/Southern Ontario, just let me know!
     
  17. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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    Thanks MrsC, that would be wonderful! I will probably spend a fair bit of time in that part of Canada, especially if I work. I'm thinking of finding a room somewhere there to use as a 'base'.
    Any tips are much appreciated :)
     
  18. ally06

    ally06 Companion

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  19. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    My daughter has been to NYC several times, her favorites, that haven't already been mentioned include Times Square & the Empire State Building.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 21, 2011

    Well, I have definitely lost my mind.

    We've been looking over our finances, and money is a little tighter than we would like. Not "Cancel the trip and eat dog food" tight, but time to start cutting back.

    So of course, the first thing I looked at was vacation.

    I did a little(??) research. If we switch to the Dolphin, we can get a Deluxe Alcove at the teacher rate-- and save $900 over a room at the Beach Club. (That's aside from the money we'll save by getting the YES tickets.)

    Pros:
    $900
    Can still walk to Epcot, though the walk is longer
    Deluxe amenities
    Larger room (2 full beds + sofabed)
    Nice pool with waterfall and slide

    Cons:
    -The pool is NOT the 5 acre Stormalong bay
    - It's not a "Disney" resort-- not as heavily themed
    - If Disney does offer a great deal, the Dolphin isn't elligible.
    - It's a longer walk to the Dolphin from Epcot.

    I'm thinking it's what we definitely should do. Peter thinks that, as long as we trim our other expenses and keep putting money into the vacation club, we can keep the Beach Club.

    Has anyone ever stayed at the Dolphin???

    Any words of wisdom??
     
  21. Miss.W

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    Oct 21, 2011

    Alice, if Disney does offer a deal would it be comparable to the $900 you would save by switching to the Dolphin?
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Hard to tell.

    In 2008 I got 40% off our room.

    In 2009, it was pay for 4 nights, get 3 free.

    There's no way to predict it.
     
  23. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Oct 21, 2011

    Lego opened a new park in the park that was Cyprus Gardens. It's a little hard to get there and may require a rental car but if it's even 1/3 as good as the original Legoland in Denmark - it's well worth the money, time and effort.
     
  24. SCTeachInTX

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    Oct 22, 2011

    WOW! Disney fever is spreading! We are quite lucky with family and friends in Orlando, my kids went every year for multiple years. We are planning a trip for this summer too. But we are thinking tropical, beach, cruise, all inclusive.... not sure. There are a whole lot of us in my family and it would be my fam, my brother's fam, our best friend's fam, and my mom. Ah.... we love vacation time! WOO HOO!
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, so I just bit the bullet and reserved a Deluxe Alcove room at the Dolphin. http://www.swandolphin.com/accommodations/deluxe_alcove.html

    With the teacher's discount, it cost a grand total of $268.88 per night (including taxes and fees.) Compare that wtih the Beach Club ($370 weekdays, $400 weekends) or even All Star Music family suites ($295/$345) The Deluxe Alcove sleeps 6, so no one is on a rollaway or a cot.

    It cost a single night's deposit, and is fully refundable up until 5 days before we leave.

    I would LOVE a nice 40% Pin code. But if it doesn't happen, I've just saved us a good $750. Take out the cost of transportation and I'm sill ahead $600.

    Now throw in the difference between regular park tickets and YES tickets, and that's another $600+ saved.

    So I save us over $1200, and we're still staying at a Deluxe resort an easy walk from Epcot.

    I think I'll be very glad I did this.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 1, 2011

    Doing the happy dance!

    We got a PIN code in the mail today-- 30% off our rooms.

    So we can stay at the Beach Club for just about the same price as the Dolphin. Now Transportation is incuded, and the kids get Stormalong Bay. http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/beach-club-resort/recreation/

    I'm still planning to get the YES tickets :)

    Once I get confirmation from my travel agent that she's changed the booking I'll cancel the Dolphin.

    But the Dolphin is a GREAT alternative for any teachers!!!
     
  27. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Dec 1, 2011

    So excited for you!
     
  28. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Wow! Congrats on the PIN code!! What a nice thing to get in the mail instead of bills :).

    Hey Disney - where is my PIN code?! :)
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've got to tell you: I did everything in my power to make this happen:

    We have Disney Visa and owe them a trillion dollars.

    I go to the Disney reseravation site and have priced out and saved a LOT of options, trying to find the one that worked best.

    I requested the free planning video and the free maps.

    At one point, on the reservation site I was asked to take a survey. Under the "why are you here?" section. I honestly told them that I had Beach Club reservations, but was looking to see if the Dolphin (remember, it's not Disney owned) was the better alternative for my family.

    Oh, and I had a backup plan. You know that without a backup plan, things are sure to go wrong.

    I did everything in my power to let them know we needed a deal.

    So I'm incredibly thankful to the people at Disney Destinations for getting us one!


    Here's how my numbers work out:

    PIN code saves us $860

    YES tickets save us $625.



    So we're saving just shy of $1500 off the package I originally booked.
     
  30. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Congrats. I can't think of anyone who deserves it more. :) I always consider you to be a very kind and generous person and I love it when great people have great things happen to them.
    We are going in a couple of weeks and are very jazzed. We did not get the pin code, but are very happy with our plans, Coronado Springs at a FL resident discount. Maybe I should check if they offer a teacher discount. :)
    I love Disney at Christmas. :)
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  32. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    We stayed at Dixie landings...and LOVED it!
    Beautiful, relaxing, cheaper, and on the bus system.

    I'm showing my age by calling it Dixie Landings, right? Can't remember the new name.


    *****

    Alice - you are the only one I know who can say that your husband whispered the magic words, and i KNOW that those words would be.."want to go to Disney?"

    WHERE CAN I FIND A MAN LIKE THAT?????

    Well, he could intersperse that with "want to go to Vegas?" and "let's hit a cruise."
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    DIxie Landings is now Port Orleans Riverside.

    And I agree-- he's a keeper :)

    Disney is my happy place. When I desperately needed a distraction, it was there. It was something to research and obsess over when the alternatives were too scary to comtemplate. It gave me a place to go when I was facing yet another sleepless night and I couldn't sit through another episode of Three's Company.

    Anytime I meet someone who has received a Cancer diagnosis, my advice to them is this: you NEED to plan for normal. You need to make concrete plans for something you'll do when you get out of the tunnel and back into the light, for when other things will be more important than doctor's appointments and radiation. No, it doesn't have to be Disney. But it's important for your mental health that you plan something.

    Having those plans was so very important to me in the dark moments. They reminded me that there WOULD be a normal. After all, I had the reservations to prove it.

    I was always a fan of Disney before. But I feel like they threw me a lifeline when I needed one. It's not about a vacation; it's so much more.

    Kind of hard to explain, and I know I'm not doing an adequate job. But Disney remains, and will remain, my happy place.
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 3, 2011

    Ms Mar, tell me again when you're going? Can anyone in your family use the YES tickets? Even one kid taking a class would get your family discounted tickets.
     
  35. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    You know Alice... you should send Disney that statement. i think they would appreciate hearing that.

    :)
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 3, 2011

    Actually, it's the gist of the latest article I'm having published.

    When I get a copy of it, I think I will send it.

    Thanks McKenna!!
     
  37. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 3, 2011

    If you're not on the DDP, take a look at Tables in Wonderland:

    http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2010/02/tables-in-wonderland-at-walt-disney-world/

    (No good for us; not FL residents and no Annual Pass.)
     
  38. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    we did Disney at Christmas once. The kids were LITTLE. Ummm... 3 1/2 and 1 1/2? I had watched the Disney Christmas Parade on TV so much that I knew EXACTLY where to sit so that all of the "performances" would be done in front of us. So I told Husband that he was to get to THOSE places on the curb when the park opened, and I would meet him there with the fully-rested kids. He did. The place was great - those around us were wonderful...IN FACT, Disney asked us to be the DONALD FAMILY.

    They liked the looks of us (and our location) - They said we looked clean-up and All-American. So "who is in your family?" Well, it's my husband, myself, my daughter, my son, "And ME!" (Says this man sitting next to us. " I'm the Grandpa!" And so...for a bit, he was. He even held my son - who took an instant liking to him (and started CALLING him Grandpa!).

    They gave us all various Donald Duck tee-shirts and hats, and when Donald's float came near - they gave us the cue...and we shouted like he was a rock star!! "CUT! PERFECT!!" (We are available for print advertisement if you'd like!) They let us keep the goodies, and my father-in-law got it all on tape at home. Though he questioned us when we returned as to... "who was the older-guy holding Frankie?"

    ***

    It is VERY VERY crowded on Christmas...don't kid yourself, VERY VERY crowded. And you really have to love it to enjoy your day without frustration leaking in.

    Even WITH the frustration ...I am SO happy that we went at Christmas-time. The place is BEAUTIFUL!! EVERYWHERE in DIsney - Simply beautiful! Loving Christmas, as I do, I loved DISNEY doing the holiday. Having two children in the Disney Hotel room, we woke up Christmas morning with two stockings on our room doorknob with toys and candy. (A touoch we hadn't known about in advance.) It was just wonderful...have a tremendous time!
     
  39. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Dec 3, 2011

    We're planning to go around Aug 12-18. Oh, and we're now thinking of doing an All Star Vacation home rental in Kissimmee. It'll be a 7 mile drive to Disney BUT for $1500 for a week we get a three bedroom townhouse with a 5 acre water park at the resort. And a car rental is included in the cost.

    Tell me more again about the YES ticket. I think when I looked there was a physics thingie that Marcus would probably think was mighty cool. He'll be 12 when we go.
     
  40. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Alice, do you know when the summer schedule comes out? Right now they only have info through February.
     

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