Last night at dinner, Peter said the magic words:

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

  1. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Jan 14, 2012

    So we just got back from our first trip to Disney this year, and it was fantastic. Our first time staying on property and I don't think I could ever stay offsite again. ;)

    The one thing that surprised us is that you now NEED reservations for the sit-down restaurants. We didn't have the dining plan and I didn't want to worry about being in a certain park at a certain time, so we were just going to wing it. But after running around the first night, trying to find something other than a hamburger to eat, we hit the front desk at the hotel and made reservations for the rest of the trip.

    Here are pictures from our trip (most of them are from the races we did). I'll be back out there in February if anyone else will be there then!
     
  2. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 15, 2012

    Oh, yes, you pretty much NEED those ADRs, particularly if:
    a. it's a busy time of year
    or
    b. you have kids.

    If it's just you and your spouse, you can adapt to a later dining time or to a restaurant I might not consider.My girls aren't the world's most adventurous eaters.

    If, for whatever reason, we know we won't make those ADRs, I'll simply cancel them. No harm, no foul.

    My 180 day mark is February 3-- that's the 1st day I can make ADRs. My travel agent will be on the phone at 7 am calling them in.

    I'm glad you had fun Jem.
     
  3. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Jan 15, 2012

    Glad you had a fun trip Jem.

    I need to get my restaurant list in order for my reservations. As a vegetarian with picky kids food will definitely not be the highlight of our trip, though I have bookmarked a few sites with recommendations on veg eating. The main must for me is the dessert party with fireworks. Chocolate is after all the most important food group :).

    Alice, you can definitely count me in for the photo CD.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 15, 2012

    OK, Silver, I just ran the numbers. I tried 3 different resorts: POP Century (a Value resort), Port Orleans Riverside (a Moderate) and the Dolphin (not owned by Disney, but on the property by Epcot. It doesnt' offer a meal plan, but has a great teacher discount.) I had you going from Aug 11-17 with a 16 year old sister.


    POP: Magic your way package, no dining: $1212
    MYW + Dining: $1820
    Room + YES: room $582 + YES $364 = $946 +food

    POR: MYW: $1695
    MYW + dining: $2313
    Room + YES: room $1014 + YES $364=$1378 + food

    Dolphin @ teacher rate of $189 per night:
    6(189)= $1134 + regular tix$284 per person = $1702
    6(189) = $1134 + YES tix $182pperson = $1498

    Keep in mind, any time you don't book dining, you'll have to include it. Disney figures about $55 per adult per day if you're going to do one sit down dinner, so add in roughly $800 for the two of you.

    Also, if you want to add in Parkhoppers (enabling you to, for example, spend the day in Animal Kingdom and the evening in Epcot,) it's a flat fee of $55 per person. That same option adds $12 per person to the price of a YES ticket.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 15, 2012

    Great Ms Mar!

    Basicaly, here's how it works:

    I pre-order a CD at the reduced price of $99.

    I arrive on Aug 1, and start having pictures taken. Peter and I each get a little card with a bar code (take a picture of that with your own camera, just in case you lose the card.) Then, together or apart, we have pictures taken and loaded onto those cards.

    We leave on the 8th, you arrive a week later, as does Silver, and you both do the same.

    So let's say we have 5 or 6 cards.

    I open ONE account, and when you get back you email me your bar code numbers. All 6 are entered onto the account. This all has to happen within 30 days of that first picture on August 1st, which shouldn't be a problem.

    We then have a few weeks to play with our pictures--add borders, zoom in, add signatures of the characters, whatever. Editing pictured does NOT change the original, it merely adds in a new picture.

    Once we all agree we're done editing, I order the CD, When it arrives, Peter takes a look at your Bar code numbers, and cuts you a CD with your pictures on it, and mails it to you.

    You can then take your CD to CVS or wherever and have pictures made up.
     
  6. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Jan 15, 2012

    Sounds great to me! Thanks for thinking of it Alice.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 15, 2012

    here's another site for you:
    http://allears.net/din/vegresorts.htm
     
  8. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 15, 2012

    Thanks Alice. I should probably contact a travel agent. I am going to try to drag my mom too - this will be right after my other sister leaves for Africa, and I am afraid mom isn't going to handle it too well. I don't want her other two daughters to leave her for a week, too.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 15, 2012

    Yeah, I'm a big fan of travel agents. Aside from the fact that it's another set of eyes looking for discounts, I'm also a firm believer in paying it forward. If someone else can earn a commisssion off my trip at no cost to me, then I see no reason NOT to use a travel agent.

    But I figured I would give you a ballpark idea of the costs involved.
     
  10. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Jan 15, 2012

    Thanks Alice - found that one before, but do pass any on if you find them as I may not have them yet. One thing is for sure, it would be easier if 1- dh was vegetarian and not vegan and 2- my kids weren't typical kid picky eaters. So for example hubs and I can eat a lot at the African themed buffet but the kids would find very little that they would be interested in trying. But I have also looked at enough menus to know we'll be fine, and since we plan to stay off site in a condo with a kitchen we'll definitely do some simple dinners there.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 16, 2012

  12. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Jan 16, 2012

    Alice, I'm sure you know they are charging a holding fee for ADRs now. Just a reminder for folks making rezzies. I think it's 10 bucks. If you don't cancel and you are a no show you lose the deposit.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 17, 2012

    Yes, Joyful, I was aware, but thanks.

    Here's the policy, taken from www.mousesavers.com:

    Restaurants That Require a Credit Card Guarantee or Prepayment
    These locations require full prepayment in advance, using a credit card:

    Cinderella’s Royal Table
    Hoop Dee Doo Revue
    Spirit of Aloha Luau
    Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

    Beginning 10/26/11, additional table service dining locations began requiring a credit card to hold a reservation. You will be charged $10 per person if a cancellation to this reservation isn’t made at least one day in advance. This policy will not apply to dining reservations made before 10/26/11. However, any modifications made to dining reservations after 10/26/11 will then be required to provide a credit card to hold the reservation, regardless of what date the reservation was originally booked.

    Dining locations participating in the credit card guarantee policy include:

    1900 Park Fare
    Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
    Artist Point
    California Grill
    Cape May Café
    Chef Mickey’s
    Cítricos
    Crystal Palace
    Flying Fish Café
    Garden Grill
    Hollywood & Vine
    Hollywood Brown Derby
    Jiko
    Le Cellier
    Narcoossee’s
    ‘Ohana
    Tusker House
    Victoria & Albert’s (cancellation policy is $25/per person)
    Yachtsman Steakhouse
    Disney will charge your credit card if you don’t cancel on time. Call (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463) or (407) WDW-CNCL to cancel
     
  14. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 17, 2012

    If we go in August, we might do the photo share. I am waiting to see - I applied to go back to school full time, so if I get in, I might have more options as far as breaks, etc. I REALLY want to go this year but REALLY don't want to go in the summer.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 17, 2012

    There's no rush, Silver-- we won't need to know until August. I'm ordering the CD whether it's part of a share or not.

    Take your time and do what's right for you.
     
  16. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Jan 17, 2012

    I need some advice from you Disney fans. Mom and I are going the last weekend in February (23-29). We originally had the Dolphin booked. Room only, with teacher's discount, was $1400. I have an annual ticket pass now, so tickets aren't important-she's going to buy hers on her own.

    After staying at the All Star Sports, I thought that was a pretty good hotel and checked to see how much it would cost for that same week. Preferred room only, with AP discount, is $700.

    That's a 50% savings! I went ahead and made All Star reservations to hold the price, and now have both reservations. Do you think the savings outweighs the fact that the AS isn't QUITE as nice? Or should we keep the Dolphin reservation for reasons I don't know about? It seemed like the buses ran often enough, the kids were quite enough and the rooms comfortable enough. But maybe the Dolphin is just over the top nicer and we should stay there.

    Thoughts?
     
  17. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2012

    My family had the park hopper passes. We went to one of the parks in the morning, back to the hotel over lunch and early afternoon, and several times we went to a water park in the evening. There were 2 open then. Does anyone know if they are still open?
     
  18. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 17, 2012

    My thinking is, especially with just me and my sister, that we are going to be in the hotel to sleep and dress and shower. Other than that, we are going to be in the parks or the pool. If you plan on being out of the room as much as possible, go for a value hotel.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 17, 2012

    It's February, so the pool is a non-issue-- the Dolphin's pool is supposed to be pretty good.

    The rooms at the Dolphin are bigger than AS Sports, but there are only 2 of you.

    From the Dolphin you can walk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios; AS Sports requires a bus to go to any of the parks. Dose mom have mobilty issues? Would she be likely to go to Epcot on her own while you were racing (or prepping) if it were nearby or would she not want to wander out alone?

    The Dolphin is a Deluxe resort; AS Sports is a Value. It's a matter of taste whether or not that difference is balanced by the difference in cost.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 17, 2012

    They're Blizzard Beach http://allears.net/btp/bb.htm and Typhoon Lagoon. http://allears.net/btp/faq_tl.htm

    I don't know the winter schedules, but both are still operational over the summer.
     
  21. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2012

    We spent a lot of time at the water parks but I thought 1 of them had closed since we visited. I wish we'd have spent more time at the other parks but it was all about having fun.
     
  22. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 17, 2012

    Typhoon Lagoon is closed for refurbishment from now until mid March, if that makes any difference in plans.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 27, 2012

    YAY!! I just booked our flights.

    I've been watching fares pretty compulsively, checking at least once a day. I was hoping to pay close to $1000 total, but I simply haven't seen those numbers. The best time to buy was the week between Christmas and New Years, but I simply was too busy with the loss of Peter's mom to spend the time doing it.

    Yesterday our flights would have cost $1450ish. This morning it was down to $1303, so I jumped.

    I like flying Jetblue. The first bag is free, and they offer free snacks-- those two things save me probably $30 a person. The kids like the fact that each person has his or her own TV-- not something I would pay extra for, but a nice perk for all of us.

    At some point today I have to book travel insurance, since both our flights and our park tickets will be non-refundable. I've already done the homework, and can get what I want through Access America for under $100.

    That's a HUGE relief!!
     
  24. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 27, 2012

    Yay!
     
  25. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jan 27, 2012

    I'm so used to facebook that I looked for a like button on your post....
     
  26. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 27, 2012

    I'm really amazed at the disparity in plane fares. We rarely fly (maybe every 10 years or so). You were able to book for your family of five to fly from the northeast all the way down here for $1300. I booked a flight for my daughter to come home over spring break from the panhandle in Florida to Orlando and it cost over $600 just for that one ticket. I guess I need to get out more. :haha:
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 27, 2012

    Crazy, isn't it??

    I just booked travel insurance. I went through Access America, primarily on the recommendation of www.mousesavers.com -- they haven't steered me wrong yet.

    For a grand total of $74, my coverage is:

    Access America Classic

    Total Cost for All Travelers
    $74.00
    Benefit Coverage
    Trip Cancellation Protection Up to amount purchased
    Trip Interruption Protection Up to 150% of amount purchased
    Emergency Medical and Dental $25,000
    Emergency Medical Transportation $500,000
    Baggage Coverage $1,000
    Baggage Delay Coverage $300
    Travel/Trip Delay Coverage $800
    Daily Limit $200
    Missed Connection Coverage $800
    Change Fee Coverage $250
    Frequent Traveler/Loyalty Plan Coverage $250
    24 Hour Hotline Assistance Plus Included
    Existing Medical Condition Coverage Available/Conditions Apply
    Coverage for Financial Default Available/Conditions Apply
    Online Policy Modification Included
    Online Claim Filing And Tracking


    I only insured the nonrefundable part of our trip: $1300 in airfare and about $1000 in park tickets-- the rest is either refundable or we'll pay when we arrive at Disney.
     
  28. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

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    Jan 27, 2012

    Alice...

    If you're flying Jetblue (and you booked through Jetblue) don't ever worry about paying too much. If the price lowers, they will allow you to rebook for free and will credit you the difference in a travel voucher.

    I love Jetblue for many reasons, that is one of them.
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 27, 2012

    The only problem is that we seldom fly. So those vouchers that are good for a year will go unused.

    The last time we flew, we got vouchers because the flight was delayed 3 hours. We never used them.

    But I love Jetblue too! Those TVs are a Godsend when you have kids! And the fact that both a checked bag and a snack are included in your fare really DOES make a difference! Plus they have so many flights to and from JFK :)
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 29, 2012

    I just emailed our travel agent with our requests for ADRs (advanced dining reservations.)

    Disney lets you make up to 10 days worth of ADRS 180 days before your arrival if you're staying on site. (Otherwise, each ADR has to be 180 days out.)
    Our ADR date is Friday. One or two of our ADRs can be hard to get, so I want them in on Friday morning.


    Here are the ADRs I requested:
    Weds Chef Mickey's Dinner
    Thurs Yak and Yetti lunch
    Fri: Peter: lunch with an Imagineer
    the rest of us: Sci Fi Diner lunch
    Fireworks dessert party
    Sat: Hoop Dee Doo Revue
    Sun: Whispering Canyon lunch
    Mon: Cape May Clambake dinner
    Tues: Le Cellier lunch

    This is the first time I've done so many lunches. But we're not on the dining plan, and it really will save a few hundred dollars. (Figure $10 per person per meal, and it's close to $200) Besides, with a 3 acre pool to play in, it gives us more flexibility in terms of when we return to the parks in the evening.

    For anyone who wants to vacation vicariously, here are the menus: http://allears.net/din/dining.htm
     
  31. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

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    Jan 29, 2012

    I understand the not flying issue.. but you can "give" your vouchers to somebody else.... We used our last one to fly grandma up to see my brother's kids. It turned an expensive option (one she wouldn't have done) in to something very manageble!

    As for your ADR's... I love yack and yetti and sci fi diner. Never been to the others. When just the wife and I go.. we don't usually do ADR's as we tend to do the quick service dining plan (we don't like being confined to a schedule if we don't have too)... but we do ADR"s when we have nephews and nieces around, or family from out of the country. Sci fi diner is always a hit. We just recently found yack and yetti last trip.
     
  32. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 29, 2012

    I love Yak and Yetti too!

    We go in August, and Animal Kingdom is HOT!! It's such a marvelously refreshing break, and we love the food.

    I'm excited about Peter having Lunch with an Imagineer. And we love LeCellier, even if we had to bump it to lunch with the increase in prices.

    We've always loved The Coral Reef too, but my middle child-- the epitome of "picky eater"-- is now a Disney adult, and there's not much on the adult menu that she's likely to eat. So we'll give it a bye this trip.
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 7, 2012

  34. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Feb 7, 2012

    Ah, Chef Mickey's, Whispering Canyon, Hoop-de-due Revue, and the Clambake--those bring back such great memories! Those were always our traditions...
     
  35. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Feb 19, 2012

    My 180 day mark was this week. I have reservations for all our lunch and dinners. Probably won't keep all of them as we'll do router service too, but I wanted the table reservations just in case.

    Our flight is booked, our car rental is booked, our two YES classes are booked, theme park tickets bought with the YES discount, meals planned and sent an e-mail to get our condo booked. We already have it picked out, just need to confirm it with the owner.

    Getting so excited!
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2012

    Yeah, I'm so jealous of the 3 teachers at school who are going this week.

    The one thing I really have left to do in a few months is place an order with www.gardengrocer.com for park snacks, breakfast foods and bottled water.

    Oh, and you might consider asking the Easter Bunny to get your kids a set of Mistymates: http://www.amazon.com/MistyMate-Per...M8/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1329674355&sr=8-10 They're a total lifesaver in the August heat. No batteries, about as large as an electric toothbrush-- they're SO worth the money!!! (Santa brought us a new set.)

    When we get MUCH closer I'll pre-order our Photopass CD :)
     
  37. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

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    Feb 19, 2012

    I'll second the mistymates... nothing is better for the hot/humid days in August.
     
  38. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Feb 19, 2012

    Okay, I started dreaming, and then I started pricing things out for early June (right after we finish). I'm going to talk to my mom and see if she might be interested. I've been looking for something to put the money I make from piano lessons towards...
     
  39. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 19, 2012

    Say the word and I'll give you information overload.
     
  40. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Feb 28, 2012

    Okay, Alice--my mom and I are trying to plan something for Spring Break (my last day of school is March 16th). Do you know anything about the Caribbean Beach Hotel? We've never stayed at that one (limited to 5 person rooms growing up--I know you are too, but as the Disney Queen thought you might have some insight!), but the idea of a beach has me intrigued...
     

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