1. Welcome to the WDWMAGIC.COM Forums!
    Please take a look around, and feel free to sign up and join the community.You can use your Twitter or Facebook account to sign up, or register directly.
    Dismiss Notice

Pre-Trip 4th Birthday at WDW - why not?

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Reports' started by dmatt87, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Darn it... I was influenced...

    I have added to my ADRs:

    Disney Jr Play N Dine Breakfast at DHS
    May 25th at 8:15
     
  2. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2016
    Messages:
    12,545
    Likes Received:
    13,875
    I am so happy to read this!!! He will love it! I just feel like this specific meal has such a limited time frame for kids to really get the most out of it. 4 is the Perfect Age!!! He will get his autograph book 1/3rd completed with this meal alone :)
     
    dmatt87 likes this.
  3. Frogglet

    Frogglet Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2016
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    106
    Looks like a fun trip. We were last at Disney for out Honeymoon and are headed back in April for the first time with our girls. Although our Honeymoon was in 1999 so it has been a while :) But can't wait looking forward to following your plans.
     
  4. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Thanks!

    It's one thing to go as adults but it will be such a difference experience to be there with kids. I can't wait to see the joy in DS's eyes!
     
  5. amjt660

    amjt660 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,391
    Likes Received:
    6,018
    Dude you are in for a treat.
    Best trip moments for me are watching my DDs enjoy and experience it.
    They are older now but we have been going since they were 5 & 6
    Enjoy my friend

    Max
     
    dmatt87 likes this.
  6. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Chapter 3 is coming tonight :happy:
     
    amjt660 and Frogglet like this.
  7. kaitertot5249

    kaitertot5249 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    517
    I love your reporting style already! I can't wait to read more about your plans and hopefully read a trip report when you get back from your magical time in WDW!
     
    dmatt87 likes this.
  8. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Glad your enjoying it - the style should be as present in the trip report!

    Chapter 3 will be tomorrow night - my evening was busier than expected today, unfortunately.
     
  9. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Chapter 3 – How to plan a balanced schedule

    I'm back with part 3 - where I will go into details of planning a magical vacation for a 4 year old boy and a go with the flow wife.

    A WDW nut
    In case you hadn't already notice, I'm the Disney obsess person in my relationship. My wife loves the movie and the universe related to it, however she's not in love with it. She wants to see different things and it isn't in her nature to want to see the same things over and over again. Not that I don't like seeing what the world (yes, the real world) has to offer, but there is something about WDW that makes want to come back every year and see different things and redo the same things over and over again.

    Luckily for me, it has been almost 6 years since our last visit, and a lot has change in THE world and in our life, so my wife was happy to come back and experience the magic once again, especially to see it for the first time through our son's eyes. But there is a but...

    Once we had agreed on when to go, the budget, and which resort to stay at, she didn't want to know anymore of it. She didn't want to discuss the planning, the various ADR's, the FP I would book or anything else that is me talking about the trip or WDW. Fortunately I have this board to help me get it out of my system - but I still let some stuff fly at home... and I always get the look from DW, and she tells me everytime : "AGAIN?!"

    So to simply put it, I was alone to plan this trip and it had to be perfect, and not too restrictive (if that's even possible). Because if the planning is off, I will certainly hear about it - since I'm suppose to be the expert... And expert I am not. This is our second Disney trip and a lot has changed in the last few years, so I had to relearn how to proceed and adapt a new strategy.

    As you have learned in the previous chapter, I had to unfortunately start my planning with the ADR's since we were already late in the game. This dictated, at least at first, the schedule for the week. However, as I started to build the plan, I was moving ADR's around and finding better times or better restaurants, this was helping craft what I believe is a good plan.

    Afternoon breaks - more than an option
    My son still takes an afternoon nap, they are not as long as before but I'm pretty certain that when May roles around and he's being overstimulated, he will require 1 or 2 hours of afternoon sleep. We rented a stroller through Kingdom Strollers to assure us that we always had a stroller at our disposal, whether we always need one or not. This will also help in him not getting too cranky in the late mornings or when we want to stretch out the evenings to see the shows.

    When we visited in 2011, DW and I thought we were invincible. We were young and full of energy and never thought that we would have to take a break in the middle of the day to regain energy. So every morning we set out, sometime for rope drop, but most times about 30 minutes or an hour after the parks opened. We didn't have a clear plan, we knew which park we were going at, a few of the rides we wanted to experience and which ADRs we had. So with no plan in hand, we wandered from side to side in every park we went and walked more than we should have, which meant we were more on our feet doing "nothing" than doing rides, eating and seeing shows. Which often meant that by 3 or 4pm each day we would be tired as hell, so we would head back to our resort just before dinner. The problem with that is all that travelling takes time, and our ADR's weren't early enough to tough it in the parks but not lates enough for us to go to our room, relax and go out again. Safe to say, we missed about half of our dinner reservations. Also our bad planning made us miss things we wanted to see, and eat meals much too close to one another.

    So back to the present!

    This time I knew taking afternoon breaks wasn't an option. So all my days were gonna be planned the same way: breakfast, go to a park for rope drop, eat lunch, go back to the resort, go to a park, have dinner, see a show, and finally go back to the resort.

    Built to succeed
    I have always been a fan of the park hopper, it allows me to see two parks a day, and makes it easier for ADR flexibility. So in the mornings, we plan on seeing park 1 and then in the evening seeing park 2. In theory, this concept works perfectly, in reality it's a little more complex. First we had ADR's spread out across the map, then we wanted to see each park in the morning and the evening at least once (even AK since the new ROL as arrived), then we didn't want to do the same park back to back, and then we needed to figure how much time at each park.

    Luckily for me, the way the ADRs were initially spread out, left me with something to work with, not something great, but at least something. So slowly I started crafting my schedule, and slowly I got to moving things around. It's never easy to cancel an ADR that you booked and wanted to do but didn't fit, even when you find something great to replace it. But after a good 2 weeks of fiddling with my schedule, I thought I was set - although not completely satisfied.

    For instance, we weren't visiting EPCOT during the day, only in the evenings due to 3 ADRs. Also we were doing DHS back to back, which is not the greatest idea. Luckily by booking a few new ADRs, cancelling others and shuffling 3 half days around, I was done and extremely happy. Until...

    The Touring Plans
    My schedule was set until I found the Touring Plans. I had heard of touring plans back in 2011 while ready the Unofficial guide to WDW but I thought it was too much trouble, and that I was smart enough to get by on my own, and from what I told you, I was wrong. This year, once again, I read the Unofficial guide to WDW and the Unofficial guide to WDW with kids - I suddenly saw more the value of touring plans. However, I wasn't ready to follow a daily plan that someone else had dictated as the right choice - especially for a family that doesn't ride rollercoasters!

    Again, this forum came to my rescue. While discussing the plans, I was made aware of the fact that you could make custom plans and let them optimize it or analyze it only. This seamed like a great solution :)

    So I signed up, for only a few dollars, and go to entering my trip details and the attractions and shows we wanted to see. It was WONDERFUL - I actually managed to fit more rides than I thought, I switched some ADRs around to take advantage of Tusker House ROL packages. I was able to maximize my days but without sacrificing our rhythm and our tastes.

    I had even prepared my list of FP for the 60 days mark, and with the Touring Plan I was able to better optimize them and get the ones I really wanted.

    The only down side, which isn't really related to the Touring plans, is that I measured DS this weekend to see if we would be able to do 40" and up rides, and sadly we won't... he's just about to cross the 38". So I had to accept that we won't do Soarin as family, nor will we do Test Track or Star Tours. I might however try Test Track and Soarin as a single rider :D

    The Plan
    Without waiting anymore, here is our schedule for the week. Which I hope doesn't change after your feedback ;)

    Friday May 19th
    Drive from Gatineau to Montreal - we are staying at an hotel beside the airport. They offer parking for the 7 days, which is perfect, as well as the shuttle to the airport.

    Saturday May 20th
    Flight from Montreal to Orlando at 7:40am
    Arrive at resort by noon
    Quick lunch and then off to MK for the afternoon.
    Return to room for a quick wardrobe change
    Off to T-Rex at DS for a 6:15 reservation

    Sunday May 21st
    Rope drop at MK
    QS lunch at BOG
    Resort break in the afternoon
    AK in the evening
    Tusker House reservations and ROL show!

    Monday May 22nd
    Before rope drop breakfast at Hollywood and Vine with Disney Jr characters
    DHS in the morning with QS lunch
    Resort break
    Epcot in the evening
    Chef de France dinner with Illuminations

    Tuesday May 23rd
    MK at Rope Drop
    Lunch at CRT :cool:
    Resort Break
    Evening at DHS
    Dinner at Mama Melrose and Fantasmic (might try to get the Star Wars fireworks :rolleyes:)

    Wednesday May 24th
    Rope drop at AK
    Lunch at Rainforest Café
    Resort break
    Evening at MK (EMH)
    QS dinner and the new Happily Ever After fireworks!!!!

    Thursday May 25th
    Rope drop at EPCOT (EMH)
    QS Lunch
    Evening is open depending on our mood
    Dinner reservations at Kona Café!

    Friday May 26th
    Flight from Orlando to Montreal at 11:45 :cry:

    I hope you enjoyed this chapter!

    Next update will be in about two weeks for the FP+ (wish me luck)
     
  10. amjt660

    amjt660 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,391
    Likes Received:
    6,018
    Enjoyed reading Chapter 3
    I have been fortunate to have a family of 4 who all enjoy the trip itself and the planning.
    Try not to stress out too much about your plans - do your best and go with it/adjust as you go.
    No such thing as a perfect plan.

    My only comment on your day by day is your first travel day.
    With a 7:45am flight you will have a long day.
    Going to MK in the afternoon and going to DS for dinner might be a bit much for you 4 year old.
    You know him better that I ever will but just something to consider.

    And I hear you on the height thing - we had a meltdown on trip 2 with my girls due to lack of accurate pre measuring.
    Not sure if you have done Test Track in its new form but personally I am not a huge fan of the ride on its own.
    It is the design your own car then test it it is cool
    So if you do Single rider you do not design your own car!! So it may not be worth the wait.
    We did single rider once and then never again.

    Waiting for the next chapter !!!

    Max
     
  11. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Thanks for the feedback Max!

    Don't worry I won't stress too much with the plan, I'll go with the flow if things changes or if the family is sending me in another direction. In the end we are there to enjoy ourselves.

    I'm a little bit worried of the long day on arrival but I'm trying to keep nice and slow. No rushing at MK and it's a 6pm dinner, so we shouldn't get in too late to get a good first night of sleep. Luckily my son is used to being up at 5:30 and going to be around 8:00, the only thing is that he will be napless, but we do have the stroller.
     
    amjt660 likes this.
  12. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    QUICK UPDATE
    I'm getting really excited about our trip, but it's still 68 days away :cry:
    Next big step is booking our FP+ next Tuesday - can't wait to see if we can get all we want and in the timeframe we want!

    And after that we play the waiting game... I wish I had more planning to do, it's the best part :D
    Maybe the packing list will be on my to do list, even though I've started it already. We bought special t-shirts for me and DW, and a Disney theme shirt for DS for every day of the trip - and DW doesn't know I had bought shirts to cover the whole trip, she thinks it's only two shirts ;).

    We also bought a bigger backpack this weekend at Wal-Mart - best $30 I have spent. Lots of room but not too bulky, with great support in the back and on the straps. Whether I liked to admit it, we will need more things for DS than our Disneymoon in 2011...
     
  13. DisneyBound2017

    DisneyBound2017 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2017
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    2,438
    It's the same in my house; I'm the only planner! In my daughter's defense though she cannot help me plan because she's only two, lol.
     
    dmatt87 likes this.
  14. amjt660

    amjt660 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,391
    Likes Received:
    6,018
    Can't wait to see pics of 'Matt the pack mule" as he heads off to the parks!!
    You might want to hire a sherpa for Animal Kingdom

    But seriously yes you will pack more - just don't go overboard - leave the kitchen sink at home

    Max
     
    DisneyBound2017 and dmatt87 like this.
  15. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    You made my morning - I just imagined my head on a mule posing with Mickey :p

    And what if it's a small sink - bathroom size? ;)
     
    amjt660 likes this.
  16. DisneyBound2017

    DisneyBound2017 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2017
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    2,438
    We are avid backpackers and the one thing that makes or breaks a long trip for us is a good solid shake-down hike. If you load your pack and take it to an all day zoo adventure you'll be able to see exactly where the limit is before you start feeling like a pack mule. Disney World shake down hikes should be a thing, LOL.
     
    dmatt87 and amjt660 like this.
  17. amjt660

    amjt660 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,391
    Likes Received:
    6,018
    No sinks - Disney World is in the first world - they have lots of sinks to go around!!!

    Max
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
    dmatt87 likes this.
  18. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Wish me luck - tomorrow is FP+ Day! I hope to get all the ones I want and more importantly, at the right time!

    In the meantime, I booked another ADR... Please don't judge, I know I said that they were final a few weeks ago, but I always felt something was missing.

    My son loves Winnie the Pooh, he has a stuffed Winnie that he's been sleeping with for more than 3 years. So of course I wanted to book a meal at Crystal Palace. I tried getting a dinner reservation on our second last night for weeks but unable to achieve my goal. Last night while browing the ADR's, just for fun, I noticed a 8:50 spot at Crystal Palace on our first full day, Sunday the 21st. The time wasn't ideal, I would've preferred 8:15, but I booked it anyways - and I'm glad.

    Luckily, I was able to switch things around in my Touring Plan to make it work, I only had to cut Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, which wasn't bad since my son's English is still being developped (we are French-Canadians). I will take my TS credit from Mama Melrose for this meal since the value will be better.

    It will make that first full day heavy with ADR's, which I was initially trying to avoid at DW's request, but was unable to spread them as I wished - most are in the first 3 days!!! But that day will be fun, Crystal Palace, BOG and Tusker House!

    FP update will come later this week :)
     
  19. MomofPrincessGrace

    MomofPrincessGrace Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    238
    We loved Crystal Palace. The food was good, but the atmosphere was amazing. We loved getting to meet all the Pooh Characters, especially Eyore and Piglet. FYI, remember that you can meet Pooh and Tigger in Christopher Robins bedroom at UK in Epcot. We stumbled upon the meet and greet and loved the "set".
     
    DisneyBound2017 and dmatt87 like this.
  20. dmatt87

    dmatt87 Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    Messages:
    601
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Great to hear - and can't wait to experience it with DS4!

    I had hears of the G&M at UK in Epcot but we are doing a few character meals, in order to skip most of the G&M opportunities that eat up so much time. Exceptions will be made for Chewbacca, Buzz and Woody of course ;)
     
    amjt660 and MomofPrincessGrace like this.

Share This Page