Pre-Trip Surprise! Three trips just became one!

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
CAUTION- There are a lot of words 🤣

If you followed my recent runDisney trip, I ended it by thinking I might have three WDW trips on my calendar. Well, the February 2021 trip my husband mentioned is going to probably be replaced with a city trip...DC, NYC, or Boston. I'm not opposed to this. In fact, I had a feeling he'd decide this upcoming summer visit would be enough WDW for a while. The bigger one is me deciding to scratch Marathon Week for 2021.

I still am thinking Dopey by 50...so either 2023 or 2024, but after our recent ski trip, we decided I really need to save up for a new vehicle. I'm really hoping I like the new Bronco, but the release timing is going to be too close to that race weekend and I think the funds really should go into the new ride. I do want to do more runDisney stuff before I tackle Dopey and am now thinking Wine & Dine as well as Star Wars for 2022 (since I'm just not into princesses), but we'll see. Either way, I need to learn how to balance WDW stuff with race stuff before tackling Dopey...since I was a mess this past time around. It's also a year and a half off and I don't want to jinx anything, but I think I may have decided on where I'd like to run my first marathon...since I don't want to go into Dopey with that being my first. I know plenty of people make Disney their first, but it's just not what I want to do. In any event, my body and brain are starting to get back into running after the post-race blues, so I'd really like to make it happen and if I do, the one I found really goes well with my other major travel love.

OK, so what is still a go is July 2020...and the trip just grew by a day...well, sort of.

For the first week, we're staying in a beachfront condo in Panama City Beach, FL.

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If you've followed me before, you know that I HATE the beach. I like the ocean, but HATE the beach. Sand is not my friend. No, I didn't choose this destination, nor is it really a vacation in the traditional sense. My younger one plays travel softball and this is their big trip to nationals. I have no idea what the game schedule is going to be like, but our time will likely be split between baking at the softball fields and sitting at the gulf front pools. This is a pricier tournament than many of our others, so rather than doing a separate big vacation like our National Parks trips over the last couple of years, my husband suggested we head to Orlando after we're done playing. Here's where it gets complicated...

1. IT'S A SURPRISE - Yes, many of you know that I LOVE 🥰 a surprise. This time it's different. We're not telling the kids because we don't want to make any of the other teammates jealous. This tournament may be the only summer travel some of these kids get. For others, they may get a smaller trip later in the summer (we go back REALLY early, so not a ton of summer break after July), but not Disney or something else big. And then there are others that may have other bigger travel, but we're just trying to be considerate. We also want the kiddo focusing on softball and not thinking about true vacation time after softball. I've done so many surprises that I'm actually kind of surprised out. I'm sure I'll come up with something special, but it may be incredibly simple. The kids will probably be buried in their devices as soon as we get in the car, so I'm considering just driving and not say anything until one of them notices that we're going the wrong way. It might be funny to see how far we get. And then I could just turn around and hand them their Magic Bands once they figure it out. It would be really funny if we made it all the way to the Maingate. It would be like we were recreating the big surprise of 2011...before they could read! 🤣

2. IT'S A LONGER TRIP - Well, not in the sense that it's a long trip or that we've added any extra days as a whole. Confusing, right? My husband gave me the dates of the tournament and I booked Disney lodging after the tournament according to those dates that he gave me. Well, he gave me the wrong ending date. Long story short, we're checking out of our condo the day before the check-in date for the Disney lodging that I initially booked. I guess at least we found this out last night, which as also the last day for the summer room discounts being offered. The room category I booked at the resort I picked was sold out, so I decided to make it interesting. I'll get into more of that below.

3. IT'S A FAMILY THING - I haven't decided if I'm going to tell the kids or not, but my parents are meeting us there for some of this. I do have the perfect reason why they wouldn't be able to join us if asked. My parents are FL resident AP holders, but their passes are blocked out for our travel dates. So, the kids would buy that. What the kids are probably going to forget is that my parents got stuck on the Skyliner in January and got some complimentary park tickets out of it for their inconvenience. It happened right after my parents and I discussed this trip, so it was kind of meant to be. This should also enable us to cut out for an evening and celebrate our anniversary while my parents hang out with the kids. What's really funny...if it weren't for David assuming my parents' APs would work for these days, this would have been a Universal trip.

So, let's get into the details I know so far...

WHO-

There's Kendall, Sam, and David



And there's me, Sandy



My parents (I'll add pictures of them in the actual TR)

WHEN-

July 2020

WHERE-

Panama City Beach, FL and WDW

I also mentioned some lodging decisions. Before I found out things were a day off, I booked us into BWI in a standard view room.



When I checked last night, there were no standard view rooms left for the discounted price. Option 1 was to spend a night in a garden view room, which was only a little bit more. Option 2 was to spend a night in a studio deluxe villa which I believe was around the same price as the standard view room. Option 3 was to go with something completely different. I thought about splurging and booking the Contemporary for a night and I thought about going more economical and booking Pop or ASM. As I was looking at suites at AOA and thinking about the BWV studio, it reminded me that I've always wanted to stay in the cabins. After discussing plans for this extra Orlando day we now have and thinking we may have some food left over from our condo in Panama City, I decided to book a cabin for the night.



I'm thinking about also making the resort change as a surprise. Not 100% sure how I'm going to do this, but I've got some ideas.

WHAT- WDW Parks AND Universal :eek:

Yes, I think we're going to take this extra day we now have and visit the Universal parks. I doubt we'll get to do it all, but if we keep Harry Potter stuff as our main goal, I think we'll be OK. We figure Disney can just move our luggage from the Fort to BWI and we can drive over to Uni. For WDW, it's just two park days and I'm sure we'll hop. I hate to sound so nonchalant about it, but there's more familiarity with it. David and I still don't know if we want to even mess with ROTR, I have no idea what anyone would prefer for a tier 1 in HS (one of the downfalls of a surprise), and we also haven't seen any opening date for the Ratatouille ride, so we're not sure if Epcot needs to be a FP booking must over another park. Then there's also the musts in MK...like is it more important to us to ride Big Thunder and Haunted Mansion vs. the new stuff in HS...because with only 2 park days, we're going to have to make some tough choices for FPs.

DINING-

Talk about being all over the place!!!

Day 1- I've been toying with the idea of booking Hoop Dee Doo since we'll already be at the Fort and it's an experience I've always wanted to try it, but I'm not ready to drop the $ on it ... especially since I don't like the options for my dietary needs. It's Disney and they will make sure I get fed, but I'm not loving the allergy friendly options I'm seeing. So, for now...we're trying to decide between Toledo and Narcoosee's for night one. I have wanted to explore Gran Destino Tower (love Dali) and the menu at Toledo looks very interesting, but Narcoosee's is a better view and better first night at WDW feel...even if we're just lukewarm on their food.

Day 2- I haven't booked anything since we plan to hit Universal. I have a few ideas of places we'd like to eat, but I have no idea where we'll be and when.

Day 3- I have a Crystal Palace breakfast booked as well as a Skipper Canteen dinner. I really don't want to be at MK all day and I'm really hoping we can make CP work for the entire family on day 4, so this might all change.

Day 4- I have a late morning breakfast booked at CP for all of us. We're planning to split off for dinner. I currently have Beaches & Cream booked for my parents and the kids. David and I have an ADR booked at Yachtsman. He wanted steak. I'll spare you all of why I won't book Le Cellier or Shula's. Our anniversary is a right after we get back from the trip, so it would be nice to have some kid free anniversary time.

Day 5- I was hoping to do the Southernmost Point fun run at OKW that morning, so I booked an ADR at Olivia's to follow. We'll see how that goes. This may change if nobody wants to do the run or drive for breakfast.

So, that's it for now, but I'll probably have updates here and there. Hey, I'm still recovering from last night's resort drama!
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So, here I am on day 2 of a PTR and things are already changing. I've told David (for years) that if we go to Universal, we really need to just stay at one of the three resorts that gives you express pass and make it an all Uni thing. When I told him the cost of single day 2-park passes at Uni...even before I got into the cost of Express Pass...he flipped. So, no Universal. Not sure if we're going to go for a 3-day hopper or make it a water park day, but we'll decide soon.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I need to vent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously, none of us know when the parks will reopen and what things will be like when they do. It's entirely possible that this July trip could be canceled because of that. I hope not, but you never know. What's not sitting well with me is that it may be canceled before we even know...all because one family made a bad decision when booking their softball tournament lodging.

The lodging we were all supposed to book for Panama City has a 30 day cancellation policy. So, that means we should have until early June to cancel without penalty. I later learned that a few families booked lodging in other spots. Most did so because they were part of a time share they already had and the cancellation policies were even more generous, but apparently, one family booked a place that has to be canceled over two months out. They need to know by May 1st if we're planning on going to FL. That's still half a month away and over a month ahead of the date the bulk of the team will need to decide. To make matters worse, we still have 15 days until their lodging cancellation deadline, but they're already pressuring the coach to decide now. It's April 15th!!! Nobody knows what things are going to be like in early July!

David said Disney is off if we don't go to this tournament. I would agree if the tournament were canceled, but if we pull out simply because one family made a bad lodging decision that kills the entire team's plans AND the parks are open, I think we should still go. He seems to handle all of this at home stuff better than me, so I don't know if he feels the need to get out as much as I do. He thought we were 3 weeks into this stay at home business, when we're on week 6...and week 7 for the kids since their spring break home was their week 1.

Obviously, I don't want to do anything horribly unsafe and I don't want anyone to be out any money, but I crave travel! I even got a new vehicle before all of this home stuff started, and I was hoping she'd have her maiden voyage road trip this summer. I know this all seems so petty when people are dying and risking their lives, but there is a mental health component in this as well. Obviously, this angle on it is far less critical than other things, but just things weighing on my mind and impacting sanity.
 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
I need to vent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously, none of us know when the parks will reopen and what things will be like when they do. It's entirely possible that this July trip could be canceled because of that. I hope not, but you never know. What's not sitting well with me is that it may be canceled before we even know...all because one family made a bad decision when booking their softball tournament lodging.

The lodging we were all supposed to book for Panama City has a 30 day cancellation policy. So, that means we should have until early June to cancel without penalty. I later learned that a few families booked lodging in other spots. Most did so because they were part of a time share they already had and the cancellation policies were even more generous, but apparently, one family booked a place that has to be canceled over two months out. They need to know by May 1st if we're planning on going to FL. That's still half a month away and over a month ahead of the date the bulk of the team will need to decide. To make matters worse, we still have 15 days until their lodging cancellation deadline, but they're already pressuring the coach to decide now. It's April 15th!!! Nobody knows what things are going to be like in early July!

David said Disney is off if we don't go to this tournament. I would agree if the tournament were canceled, but if we pull out simply because one family made a bad lodging decision that kills the entire team's plans AND the parks are open, I think we should still go. He seems to handle all of this at home stuff better than me, so I don't know if he feels the need to get out as much as I do. He thought we were 3 weeks into this stay at home business, when we're on week 6...and week 7 for the kids since their spring break home was their week 1.

Obviously, I don't want to do anything horribly unsafe and I don't want anyone to be out any money, but I crave travel! I even got a new vehicle before all of this home stuff started, and I was hoping she'd have her maiden voyage road trip this summer. I know this all seems so petty when people are dying and risking their lives, but there is a mental health component in this as well. Obviously, this angle on it is far less critical than other things, but just things weighing on my mind and impacting sanity.
I don't understand what the issue is with this one family. Why is it the coach's responsibility to make sure they cancel on time? They made their own decision...the team shouldn't shoulder the burden of that. If the tournament ends up getting canceled, or the team decides not to participate, it's that family's choice whether or not they want to use the reservation or cancel it and lose their money. And if the lockdowns are still in place, that deadline probably won't matter anyway....the hotel will be obligated to refund the money. And if not, but the coach decides not to go to the tournament, they can still use the reservation whether they are doing a tournament or not. This doesn't seem like it should be anyone's problem but their own. No one made them book a different place with a stricter cancellation policy. They may want the coach to make a choice now, but the coach has to consider EVERYONE, not just one family. Would it suck for them if it gets canceled and they don't get their money back? Yes. It would. But it's not the coach's responsibility to fit everything according to their desires. They made that choice, the consequences are for them alone. It might sound harsh because they are part of the team and of course you don't want anyone to feel "other", but they kind of already made the choice to be "other" by booking someplace else apart from the rest of the team.

Just my two cents.
 

Darstarr

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
I don't understand what the issue is with this one family. Why is it the coach's responsibility to make sure they cancel on time? They made their own decision...the team shouldn't shoulder the burden of that. If the tournament ends up getting canceled, or the team decides not to participate, it's that family's choice whether or not they want to use the reservation or cancel it and lose their money.
I have two more cents @HouCuseChickie
That family should cancel and rebook somewhere else with a cancellation policy that fits the current situation. Also, NOT YOUR PROBLEM!!!
Fingers crossed for you🤞
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hope it all works out 😘
Me too!!!

I don't understand what the issue is with this one family. Why is it the coach's responsibility to make sure they cancel on time? They made their own decision...the team shouldn't shoulder the burden of that. If the tournament ends up getting canceled, or the team decides not to participate, it's that family's choice whether or not they want to use the reservation or cancel it and lose their money. And if the lockdowns are still in place, that deadline probably won't matter anyway....the hotel will be obligated to refund the money. And if not, but the coach decides not to go to the tournament, they can still use the reservation whether they are doing a tournament or not. This doesn't seem like it should be anyone's problem but their own. No one made them book a different place with a stricter cancellation policy. They may want the coach to make a choice now, but the coach has to consider EVERYONE, not just one family. Would it suck for them if it gets canceled and they don't get their money back? Yes. It would. But it's not the coach's responsibility to fit everything according to their desires. They made that choice, the consequences are for them alone. It might sound harsh because they are part of the team and of course you don't want anyone to feel "other", but they kind of already made the choice to be "other" by booking someplace else apart from the rest of the team.

Just my two cents.
I've made many of these same arguments. I've even argued both sides of this being a team thing. If it were me, the first thing I'd do is call the place that currently has their booking and see if they can negotiate their cancellation terms. The travel industry is hurting so much right now and I'm sure they'd hate to lose a booking, especially if it has $ already tied in that will need to be refunded. If they won't budge, there are plenty of other places in Panama City Beach with spots available, in a comparable price point, that have free cancellation up until right before the travel date. I don't think their financial situation is as good as others on the team and I don't think they're as travel savvy. Still, the whole team shouldn't have to suffer because of these matters.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Alright...I don't know if this will help, but I just messaged the coach and his wife. I suggested those with issues with cancellation terms try and work out a deal to get things changed. Our deposit was 50% and I sincerely doubt they want to be giving up that kind of $ right now. And if they foolishly do...I found a ton of places on Travelocity with spots and very generous terms in their free cancellation policies. Obviously, it's out of my hands if they cancel the tournament or Disney doesn't open by then, but it's so silly to be cancelling July travel in April. :rolleyes:
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Well, they just gave the word that we are pulling out of the softball tournament. 😭 I'm sure they were trying to keep people anonymous, but I guess a couple of other families (not just the one that I knew of) made other lodging arrangements with ridiculous cancellation terms as well. Then there's the other issue...I think some people are more comfortable with the idea of games and travel in July than others. It sounds like that guided a lot of their decision, which is fair. I certainly don't want anyone traveling who doesn't have that in their comfort zone. The coaches still noted that it's not totally off the table. i.e. if June rolls around and we're still good with it, we may all look into some of the lodging I was finding on Travelocity. Still, my gut says it's not happening.

David said to still hold on to my Disney reservations (which is positive, since 6-7 weeks ago, he was saying we'd be cancelling everything), but I'm getting all kinds of mixed signals from him. Our 60 day mark for FPs is May 12th, so I'd need to have tickets purchased by then if I want to try and get decent FPs. I didn't bring that up with him, but I made a comment about how it would still be nice to get away, even if softball doesn't happen. Then he gave me a WWII comparison and how people in London lived underground for years to be safe from bombings. 🙄
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just wanted to share that we decided to cancel. The softball tournament is still currently scheduled and we're still registered to play. Various softball organizations have been sending out surveys to gauge parent and player comfort levels and concerns, so that's still up in the air and we'll need new lodging in Panama City if it's a go. We opted to cancel Disney though, because...

1. My parents decided to cancel since they are in the 65+ group with some health concerns.
2. I know there are no guarantees, but I suspect there will be a number of things cut or modified over safety and sanitation concerns. I think I'd rather wait a while to see what it's like over time in the parks. i.e. how much is temporary vs. permanent changes.
3. While we don't mind wearing masks, wearing them outside in July heat and humidity is not going to be fun. Obviously, we don't know if they'll be required, but it's sure sounding like they will. We've had a number of 90+ degree days here already and it's not very pleasant mask weather.

We are looking to February 2021. No surprises this time and we're going to sit down as a family do discuss where and what before I call to book lodging. In the meantime, if all goes well, we have some other trip ideas...non Disney stuff...but it should be fun if we're able to pull it together with everything going on. I even have two versions of the plan, depending on softball.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Nice little magical update...

Over the weekend, we sat down and discussed a Disney trip for February. We talked about 15 resorts, watched videos for 11 of them, including about 20 different room types, pools, and resort ground. We narrowed it down to a few things and I got to make the final choice. I booked a deluxe studio with a standard view at the Poly for 5 nights. Many of you also know that I love a surprise. I usually surprise the kids, but this time I'm surprising my husband. He turns 50 next year, about a month and a half after the trip, so we're going to make this his 50th bday celebration. I will create a new PTR, probably some time in August, since I'll be at the dining stage at that point.

In any event, just wanted to share :)
 
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