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Pre-Trip Thanksgiving/Birthday Weekend 2017

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Reports' started by Princess Leia, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member

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    I'm finally going back!!! I haven't been to Disney World since 2008, and I have missed it so much. Growing up, my family would go every few years, but that stopped once I started college (my younger sister and I never had matching spring breaks again). This is my first Pre-Trip Report (or Trip Report in general), so I'm asking for both patience and suggestions.

    Who: There will be at least three of us on the trip. Me (Liz), my best friend (Katie), and her boyfriend Josh. While I am the third part of that relationship (literally, both of them have told me this on different occasions), we've put the word out among our friends and siblings that the invitation is there if they want to join us. I'd love it if my little sister could join us, especially since we live in different states now, and I can't really imagine a trip to Disney without her.

    Where: Because we're young adults who haven't struck it rich quite yet, we're probably staying in Pop Century, or possibly Caribbean Beach Resort (if there are 5 of us).

    When: Late November 2017 (We formerly considered September).

    How: I recently managed to talk Katie into flying, instead of a 17 hour, nonstop road trip. I recently drove to Texas with my sister to move her to her new home, and I am looking forward to never driving 20 hours again (will that probably happen again? Yes, but I don't want it to be anytime in the near future). [Edit- she just told me that she and Josh were trying to figure out how to talk me into flying; lesson learned, nobody wants to drive from Ohio to Florida]

    What: Day 1: Traveling/swimming/exploring Disney Springs/dinner at a restaurant (Narcoossee's, Sanaa, Ohana, or something at DS)
    Day 2: Magic Kingdom
    Day 3: Parkhopping between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios
    Day 4: Epcot
    Day 5: Parkhopping between Universal and IOA (we're big Harry Potter fans)
    Day 6: Travel

    And now for the big stuff. Like I said before, I haven't been to Disney since 2008. Katie hasn't been since 2012. It's been about 10 years for Josh too. There have been a lot of changes in that time. Magic Bands, FP+, dining plans, price hikes, new rides... Yeah. It's different and exciting, and we can't wait to try it out.

    We're thinking we may want to try the Regular Dining Plan. What are the best ways to get our money's worth? Also, what are the best value hotels? Sports looks pretty nice.
    Any recommendations would be much appreciated. :happy:

    [​IMG]
    16 year old me on my last trip in the now-torn-down Streets of America :(

    (edited 1/23/2017)
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  2. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Okay, as of now, it's the three of us, plus our friend Elizabeth (which could make things slightly confusing in terms of Magic Bands), plus maybe 2 of Josh's friends, possibly my friend Carlie & her bf, and possibly my sister. All of this could change in the next few months, but we've got 6 people as our minimum, and at least 9 at the max. If we have more than 6 people, we'll probably have to get 2 rooms near each other, instead of a suite.

    Less than 12 months to plan!
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  3. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    We're adding a day!!! We decided that we wanted to spend a full day at Epcot, rather than a half day (considering we will be spending half of the day eating and drinking), and this way, we can do both AK and DHS.
    New Schedule
    Day 1: Traveling/swimming/exploring Disney Springs/dinner at a restaurant (Narcoossee's, Sanaa, Ohana, or something at DS)
    Day 2: Magic Kingdom
    Day 3: Epcot
    Day 4: Animal Kingdom/DHS Parkhopping
    Day 5: Parkhopping between Universal and IOA (we're big Harry Potter fans)
    Day 6: Travel

    The Disney days are tentative, as we don't know who will have the extra hours in the morning yet.
     
  4. FlaggNL

    FlaggNL Well-Known Member

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    It's a long way ahead! But enjoy the pre feelings and time flys by before you know it!
     
  5. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Thanks! I feel like there is so much to plan. Technically, I've never planned a trip before, unless it was my parents asking 'what park do you want to go to today?' And while I'm glad I'm not going with any kids, a part of me feels like it's easier to please a child rather than a group of adults.
     
  6. littleroo

    littleroo Well-Known Member

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    Enjoy planning. I have a feeling your plans are going to change a lot in a year. Can't wait to read the end result.
     
  7. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Oh they probably will lol. My birthday is in late November (always around the Thanksgiving holiday), and Katie suggested that we go then instead of September due to crowds. I feel like we're either going to hit the Halloween crowd or the Thanksgiving/Christmas crowd no matter what time we go.
    Apparently one of Josh's friends wants to spend 2 days at Universal instead of just 1. There might be days where we split up. Which in the long run, probably wouldn't be bad, but it makes things a little tricky.
    There's a third reason that I won't get into until after the weekend is over. Don't want to jinx anything ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  8. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    The good news- Katie and Josh got engaged over the weekend :inlove: I'm so happy for them!
    The potentially bad news- I've known about the engagement plans for a couple of months, and obviously couldn't talk to Katie about maybe rearranging some things for the trip. I could see us maybe cutting a day, or changing dinner plans. I still need to talk to her about this, so at the moment, everything could either be the same or totally different.
     
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  9. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Looking at eating at the following restaurants so far:
    Magic Kingdom- Be Our Guest
    Epcot- mostly snacking around the World Showcase, but I'd love to eat a full meal at Marrakesh or Chefs de France
    Animal Kingdom- probably not eating at the resort itself, but we might eat at Sanaa for our first night
    DHS- I'd like to check out Pizzerizzo and/or whatever could be replacing Mama Melrose's.
    Universal/IOA- Leaky Cauldron/Three Broomsticks
     
  10. SaltyD

    SaltyD New Member

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    Half the fun of a Disney vacation is the planning!! Sounds like you're well on your way to doing that!! Congrats to your friends' on getting engaged! Make sure to buy Mickey ear hats for the future bride and groom! About the magic bands...no worries if some of you have the same name...you can put whatever name you would like on them, just pick different colors to make it easy to grab the right one! Good luck and I look forward to reading all your developing plans :)
     
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  11. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Thanks! So much has changed since 2008, so I feel like I've really had to catch up to all of the changes, like MyMagic+, FastPass+, Disney Dining Plan, etc (It's only been 8 years, Disney, slow down!)
    Really, the only thing Katie & I are concerned about is the September weather. While she's more concerned about the humidity, I'm a little nervous about hurricane season. I know that the chances of Disney closing the park are slim, but it happened this year, and I want to be prepared.
     
  12. SaltyD

    SaltyD New Member

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    At least Disney does a great job of taking care of their guests during bad weather times :) Bad weather is still a good time in Disney! :)
     
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  13. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    My sister might be in :joyfull: It all depends on her schedule, but it's a definite possibility!
     
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  14. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    After reading several trip reports of September vacations, I'm starting to warm up to the idea of a November trip. While I can handle a certain amount of humidity, a lot of posts make it sound almost unbearable in September. Katie's definitely more in favor of the November trip.
     
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  15. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Well, in a strange turn of events, we may not be staying at a value resort after all. For the first time in my life... I could be staying at a moderate resort?? Katie and I are looking at the Caribbean Beach resort. If there are 5 of us going and we get a suite, it's only $2 more than a suite at All-Star Music, and almost $100 dollars cheaper than staying at a suite at Art of Animation.

    It all depends on how many people end up going on this trip. If it's 6 people, then we'll probably do 2 rooms at Pop. If it's only 5 of us, then we'll do a 5-person room. We don't mind spending a little more for this trip, but we're still trying to be frugal.

    Tentative dates: November 24th- November 29th 2017
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
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  16. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Just set up the countdown!!! This is really, really exciting :joyfull:
     
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  17. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Ch-ch-ch-ch-chaaanges, time to face the strange (ch-ch-changes)

    Every day of planning this trip to Disney makes me ache for our Uni day. The lack of planning for those parks sounds heavenly.

    What's changed? Our schedule. While we're still looking at the 24th-29th, we're going to shuffle which days we go to which park around a bit.

    November 24th: Arrival Day/Disney Springs/O'hana (tentatively)
    November 25th: Animal Kingdom/DHS
    November 26th: Magic Kingdom
    November 27th: Epcot (for my birthday :D )
    November 28th: Universal Orlando / Islands of Adventure
    November 29th: Departure Day

    I know that the first park day is supposed to be Magic Kingdom, but it's 2 days after Thanksgiving, and a few crowd calendars have that day in red for Magic Kingdom. While Animal Kingdom will probably have more crowds than normal (thanks to Pandora), it felt like the best day to do our parkhopping, especially if DHS still has the limited hours that it has currently (I cannot believe that it closes at 7:00 on non-peak Mondays).

    Depending on the amount of people on the trip, the top two resort choices are still Pop Century and Caribbean Beach. We're planning on renting a car, so we can easily buy breakfast foods and drive to Uni.

    Birthday plans are still up in the air, but I'm interested in doing Behind the Seeds. I also sort of want to go to Akerhaus (because I am a duchess- if Kate Middleton isn't allowed to be a princess, neither can I, so I'll take the duchess title too :joyfull:). If Akerhaus doesn't work out, I think we'll be snacking and drinking around the world.
     
  18. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    I kind of love saying that I'm going to Orlando this year. Sort of seems unreal, after years of not going there. Nothing else to report, other than general excitement. :joyfull:

    Edit-
    Okay, I kind of take that back. Like always, there are a couple changes. The schedule, for one. Same dates, just different parks on certain days (probably). And my sister might not be able to make it based on her schedule. That's still up in the air though. If she can't make it, then it will probably be 4 of us, and I think we'll probably stay at Pop Century rather than Caribbean.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  19. G8rchamps

    G8rchamps Well-Known Member

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    We haven't been in a year and are doing a quick weekend trip in 8 days. Changes keep the adrenaline pumping as you plan your trip! We will keep an eye on your PTR to keep up with your changes...er I mean planning. Enjoy the ride!
     
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  20. Princess Leia

    Princess Leia Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Thanks! Enjoy your trip! I can't imagine only being down there for a weekend, but you'll have a blast :)
     
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