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Pre-Trip 14 days and counting.

I guess it's never too late to do a pre trip report, unless of course, I was all packed, and ready to go out the door.

I have been to WDW just about ten times before. If I recount again, this is either my 11th, or 12th trip. Originally this was going to be a Disneyland trip, but we switched gears, and headed south instead of west. I live in Chicago, and my fellow travelers thought it was a better idea to head to Florida, and then we could start our vacation in Disney, and end up in Universal.

My friend Annette has 3 special needs teenage kids, and they just lost their dad unexpectedly. So she's spending a part of her insurance money on a Disney/Universal trip with her kids. There will be 6 of us going. I am Barbara Ann, and I'm the planner. I'm the one that knows my way around the parks, and knows how to do it all. By that, I mean, I have used the fastpass+ system before, and MDE as well. So I nominated myself to do all the planning, and my fellow travelers were fine with that.

There's Me, Annette the mom, Patricia the aunt, and the kids, Clarence, Alexis, and Carissa.

We are staying at Pop Century at Disney, and Cabana Bay at Universal. I used Pixie Vacations Travel Agency to help plan my trip, and so glad I did. Everything is now all paid for, and now all we do is wait. Like I said 14 days from today, we will be on a plane from Ohare, ready to start our vacation.

Stay tuned, and I will fill you in some more on the details of our trip.
 

BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Our/my trip just happens to coincide with the free dining promotion. However, we passed on that because we would have had to buy park hoppers, and pay full price for our room. I might have considered it, if it was the regular plan. However, it is the quick service plan that is offered when guests stay at a value resort.

This will be my fourth time staying at Pop Century. All of the other guests in my party will be first timers.

We received our magic bands about ten days ago, and I really love the new purple color. We aren't using Magical Express, because we have decided to rent a car instead. I don't drive, but my friend Annette does. We will bus it to the Magic Kingdom, and take the car to all the other parks. We will spend four days at the MK, and one day each at each of the other three parks. One of our Magic Kingdom days is the first night of this year's Halloween Party. I am looking forward to that, since it will be my first Halloween party at WDW.

Our reservation is actually two separate reservations. Mine is by myself, and Annette's is 2 rooms requesting connecting rooms. My MDE account has the connecting rooms noted, as being guaranteed. I did not do online check in, because I do want to go to the front desk upon arrival. I have multiple questions about room charging with the magic band, and paying the room charge with Disney gift cards. I don't have any specific building/section that I'd like to stay in. I have been in the 60's, and the 70's before. The resort is pretty easy to navigate, and I love the foodcourt.
 

BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
What a great friend you are! Have a great time and I look forward to hearing more.

I have been on vacation with Annette before. Once it was just her and I at WDW, but we stayed off site. The 2nd time we visited Disneyland together with her older daughter. That trip was a blast. Some people are just good traveling buddies. Some people aren't. Annette, and I have like minds about a lot of stuff. At first, I told my husband I really shouldn't be spending the money to go to "Disney" with Annette. He encouraged me. I will actually be celebrating my 69th birthday during our trip. That helped clinch the deal. Annette was going whether I was or not, and I ended up saying yes in part, because of the additional time we added to the trip, so we could visit Universal. I am excited about that.
 

BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
My trip begins on August the 29th, and ends on September the 8th. My birthday is on September the 4th. Annette's son Clarence has a birthday, exactly one day before mine. So, it's back to back birthday celebrations. Also, we are going to the first Halloween party of the season. Lots of firsts. First time visitors. First time seeing Animal Kingdom at night. First ride on Frozen.

I am nursing a sore foot for about a month now. Doctor says I have a bone spur. So I've been resting up. I walk with a bit of a limp, but as long as I switch things up, between walking, and standing, and sitting, and resting, I should be fine. Lot's of rest periods built into our itinerary for me. The others are more than welcome to go off on their own when our fastpasses/ADR's are done. I love solo touring, and taking pictures. The WDW great transportation system gives us great flexibility with our days. I am so glad Annette's aunt is joining us on this trip, since she will be helping Annette with the kids. Annette will also stop in City Hall on our first day to obtain a DAS. We used it really successfully at Disneyland.
 
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BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I am a big fan of Memory Maker, and of course I have added it to our reservation. Now, I just have to make sure that everyone else gets in the habit of stopping for the photographers when we see them. They really do a wonderful job, and it does not actually take too much time to smile for the camera. When Annette and I did WDW the first time, she complained about not having enough pictures when we were done. I said, "well then you need to slow down, and stop when you see a photographer". She did much better when we were at Disneyland, and we came home we lots of pictures from their photopass and on our own cameras. Clarence will really enjoy the special meet and greet at DHS with the Star Wars characters. I did that back in February on my last trip, and it was great. I just hope we come across more characters in Epcot. We kept missing their times in World Showcase. The girls will love meeting Anna and Elsa. I have read that the line moves pretty quickly now.
 

BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Very jealous of your Halloween Party! I love the Boo to You parade!! It's my favorite actually. I hope you get some alone time too. As much fun as you'll have with your friends, alone time is almost even better! :)

I have a friend who attended the party at Magic Kingdom, about 5 years ago. All he did was rave about the "Headless Horseman". Does anyone have a sure fired strategy for getting some good pictures? My camera is always out, and flashing during parades. Where is the best place to watch the parade. Does it go in opposite directions? I understand it runs twice. With my sore foot, I'm not sure how much of a night owl I will be on this trip. Normally I stay at least until closing in the parks. Although the day of the party, we have nothing planned for that morning, and I plan on just hanging out at Pop Century just relaxing. That will be a first, since I'm usually always a "rope dropper".
 

BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We will be flying into Orlando on a Monday, and arriving about 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Originally, we were going to use Magical Express, and then Super Shuttle to get from Disney to Universal. However, after figuring how much that might cost us, since we would then need a shuttle back to the Orlando airport, we decided to get a rental car. There's 6 of us. I will miss Magical Express, but I think Annette will like having the car, so that her and the kids can make some side trips if they like. Or if they want to spend time at Disney Springs. We have plenty of down time for that. We will probably drive to Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and DHS, and use the bus on our Magic Kingdom Days. We also have tentative plans at Magic Kingdom on our check out day from Pop Century. Of course, that day may arrive, and we may do things totally different. I made fast passes, just in case. If we don't use that last day on our WDW ticket, that's fine with me.
 

BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Here's a streamlined look at our plans.

August 29th - Arrival Day at Pop.
August 30th - Magic Kingdom - Fastpasses - Peter Pan, Little Mermaid, Dwarf Coaster, Dinner at Chef Mickey's
August 31st - DHS - Fastpasses - TSMM, Star Tours, Frozen Show
Sept. 1st - AK - Fastpasses - Primeval Whirl, Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safari
Sept. 2nd - MK - Halloween Party
Sept. 3rd - MK - Fastpasses - Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion - Birthday Dinner Crystal Palace
Sept. 4th - Epcot - My birthday breakfast - Norway - Fastpasses - Frozen, Space Ship Earth, Nemo
Sept. 5th - MK - Fastpasses Mine - Meet Tinker Bell, Meet Cinderella, Meet Rapunzel.
Sept. 5th - MK - Fastpasses Others - Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain, Dwarf Coaster
Sept. 5th - Departure Day from Pop
Sept. 5th - Arrival Day at Cabana Bay - Universal
Sept. 6th - Universal's 2 parks
Sept. 7th - Universal's 2 parks
Sept. 8th - Going Home Day
 

BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Today I am gathering up all my "must takes" to WDW. There's my camera, and memory cards, and batteries, and magic bands, and Universal travel documents. The list goes on and on. All of this will stay with me in my small carryon bag. The suitcase is for clothes. I rarely put anything of real value in the suitcase. I do laundry on Tuesdays, and so next Wednesday will be suitcase packing day. Then I wait until the following Monday, which is now, just 9 days away.

Everything seems to be on kiosks these days. I guess it makes stuff easier for the hotels, and airlines and such, but sometimes, I find those procedures confusing. Sometimes someone is nearby to help, but sometimes I feel like a real idiot, and I panic when I can't figure something out myself. Don't borrow trouble my husband says. You will be fine. I guess the more we do these things, the better we feel, and the less we stress.
 

MinnieM123

Premium Member
Everything seems to be on kiosks these days. I guess it makes stuff easier for the hotels, and airlines and such, but sometimes, I find those procedures confusing. Sometimes someone is nearby to help, but sometimes I feel like a real idiot, and I panic when I can't figure something out myself. Don't borrow trouble my husband says. You will be fine. I guess the more we do these things, the better we feel, and the less we stress.

Quite a few people have difficulty figuring out various procedures on kiosks, etc. Don't think for a moment that you're the only one. And even if you're naturally intuitive toward technology, you may still have an occasional problem, as it depends upon how the program was written--it's not always clear.
 

BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I am 8 days away from my vacation now. It's time to check the weather report. I know I will pack a light raincoat, but no umbrella. Don't want to weigh down my "park bag". Actually, I carry a backpack into the park, along with my camera bag, and my travel wallet, which I wear around my neck, but tuck into my t-shirt. I recently bought a different backpack. This one just has two zippered compartments. One small one, and the main one. I will put most everything inside, in see through plastic bags. Last time I visited WDW, security was brutal, and I want to make the process go faster for myself. I travel a whole lot lighter than I used to. Summer touring is always a whole lot better. No need to carry a sweater/sweatshirt.

My foot is less painful today, so I am hoping in 8 days, walking will be easier for my foot. I need to memorize all the best best places to rest in the 4 theme parks.
 

BAChicagoGal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I am down to a week to wait. I just checked the weather forecast, which of course will/may change several times before we actually arrive. The last time I visited in August/September, the temperatures were in the high 90's. I think I remember even one or two days topping 100. The weather forecast right now says an average off 88 most days, and about a 50, 60% chance of rain. The rain is a given. The heat, is expected, and it's nice to go in thinking it won't be too unbearable. It actually matches Chicago weather pretty well. Minus all that rain, of course.

Two days until I pack.
 

deanna88

Active Member
Here's a streamlined look at our plans.

August 29th - Arrival Day at Pop.
August 30th - Magic Kingdom - Fastpasses - Peter Pan, Little Mermaid, Dwarf Coaster, Dinner at Chef Mickey's
August 31st - DHS - Fastpasses - TSMM, Star Tours, Frozen Show
Sept. 1st - AK - Fastpasses - Primeval Whirl, Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safari
Sept. 2nd - MK - Halloween Party
Sept. 3rd - MK - Fastpasses - Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion - Birthday Dinner Crystal Palace
Sept. 4th - Epcot - My birthday breakfast - Norway - Fastpasses - Frozen, Space Ship Earth, Nemo
Sept. 5th - MK - Fastpasses Mine - Meet Tinker Bell, Meet Cinderella, Meet Rapunzel.
Sept. 5th - MK - Fastpasses Others - Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain, Dwarf Coaster
Sept. 5th - Departure Day from Pop
Sept. 5th - Arrival Day at Cabana Bay - Universal
Sept. 6th - Universal's 2 parks
Sept. 7th - Universal's 2 parks
Sept. 8th - Going Home Day
I'll be at Magic Kingdom on Tuesday, August 30th too! See you there :cool:
 

Scoppin

Well-Known Member
Our/my trip just happens to coincide with the free dining promotion. However, we passed on that because we would have had to buy park hoppers, and pay full price for our room. I might have considered it, if it was the regular plan. However, it is the quick service plan that is offered when guests stay at a value resort.

This will be my fourth time staying at Pop Century. All of the other guests in my party will be first timers.

We received our magic bands about ten days ago, and I really love the new purple color. We aren't using Magical Express, because we have decided to rent a car instead. I don't drive, but my friend Annette does. We will bus it to the Magic Kingdom, and take the car to all the other parks. We will spend four days at the MK, and one day each at each of the other three parks. One of our Magic Kingdom days is the first night of this year's Halloween Party. I am looking forward to that, since it will be my first Halloween party at WDW.

Our reservation is actually two separate reservations. Mine is by myself, and Annette's is 2 rooms requesting connecting rooms. My MDE account has the connecting rooms noted, as being guaranteed. I did not do online check in, because I do want to go to the front desk upon arrival. I have multiple questions about room charging with the magic band, and paying the room charge with Disney gift cards. I don't have any specific building/section that I'd like to stay in. I have been in the 60's, and the 70's before. The resort is pretty easy to navigate, and I love the foodcourt.

I am not sure what you mean by the free dining plan offered was only quick service. We will be there in about 3 weeks, staying at All Star Sports and have regular free dining plan. 1 table service, 1 quick service and 1 snack for each of the 3 of us for each of the 8 days we are there. You may want to look into the dining plan option again. May be able to save you some money.

Have you already purchased your MNSSHP tickets yet or are you planning on purchasing them when you arrive? We have tickets for the 16th.

I have done the online check in but plan on going to the front desk upon arrival as I will have a number of questions for them. this is my first time back in about 40 years, I am sure things have changed a little since I have been there, and first time for DS10 and DD8.
 

Scoppin

Well-Known Member
I have been on vacation with Annette before. Once it was just her and I at WDW, but we stayed off site. The 2nd time we visited Disneyland together with her older daughter. That trip was a blast. Some people are just good traveling buddies. Some people aren't. Annette, and I have like minds about a lot of stuff. At first, I told my husband I really shouldn't be spending the money to go to "Disney" with Annette. He encouraged me. I will actually be celebrating my 69th birthday during our trip. That helped clinch the deal. Annette was going whether I was or not, and I ended up saying yes in part, because of the additional time we added to the trip, so we could visit Universal. I am excited about that.


Happy early birthday! You should have a blast at WDW on your birthday. My DS will be turning 11 on our trip. It is a surprise trip and I guess a surprise birthday celebration as well.
 

Scoppin

Well-Known Member
My trip begins on August the 29th, and ends on September the 8th. My birthday is on September the 4th. Annette's son Clarence has a birthday, exactly one day before mine. So, it's back to back birthday celebrations. Also, we are going to the first Halloween party of the season. Lots of firsts. First time visitors. First time seeing Animal Kingdom at night. First ride on Frozen.

I am nursing a sore foot for about a month now. Doctor says I have a bone spur. So I've been resting up. I walk with a bit of a limp, but as long as I switch things up, between walking, and standing, and sitting, and resting, I should be fine. Lot's of rest periods built into our itinerary for me. The others are more than welcome to go off on their own when our fastpasses/ADR's are done. I love solo touring, and taking pictures. The WDW great transportation system gives us great flexibility with our days. I am so glad Annette's aunt is joining us on this trip, since she will be helping Annette with the kids. Annette will also stop in City Hall on our first day to obtain a DAS. We used it really successfully at Disneyland.

Double birthday celebrations great. Don't forget to get your birthday buttons. I was informed of these on this forum. Great little bonus. Not to mention first time buttons for the rest of your party.
 

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