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Unread 4 Mar 19, 09:11 PM  
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NatCat
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From Once in a Lifetime to Twice in a Year! (September 2019 Pre-Trip Report)

So, like everyone does, we intended this year's January holiday - our first ever holiday, let alone our first ever Disney holiday - to be our 'once in a lifetime' trip. We figured we would go all-out and stay onsite and have a Dining Plan and all in all just enjoy being in Disney World, because this was going to be the only time we'd do it! Yeah. Well. That lasted . . . up until we got home in February, whereupon we immediately starting looking for prices for next year.

But first, before I use the term 'we' too many times without you knowing who that it entails, the people!

Me: Nat! 22 (23 by the time we go), technically in charge of the trip but only because I like planning more than she does! We got engaged in January (at Hollywood and Vine, with the help of Mickey!), but we spent that trip with a lovely American friend who helped us with things like: navigating a Walmart, tipping, and reminding us which coins were which. This time it's just us two lovebirds, so we've been calling this trip our 'engagement celebration' trip! I love all of the Disney cats, but especially Marie, the Haunted Mansion and Big Hero 6! I also have pretty severe social anxiety and am on a waiting list for autism assessments, so we take Disney one day at a time as we figured out what my bigger triggers were in January!

Her: Haz! 24 (25 by the time that we go), and my favourite person in the world! She loves Dumbo, Mary Poppins and It's A Small World, and anything small and cute. She has a couple of mobility problems that mean that, although we used a combination of wheelchairs and her crutches in January, we plan on hiring an ECV from an outside company this time. She also has an incredible sweet tooth and is the reason that we will probably end up consuming at least a cupcake a day.

So! The Plan.

Originally, we wanted to go back next January; we loved the crowds, and the weather, and both of us are former performers and we absolutely loved the Epcot Festival of the Arts! But the more we thought about it, the more we worried about how big the crowds for Galaxy's Edge would be, and the more we thought about how we'd like to have made more use of our pool, and the more we thought about how nice it would be to see Disney all done up for the holidays--

And we ended up booking for early September this year instead! For a lot of reasons; it's not as popular with the threat of hurricane season, it worked out fairly cheap, and - my favourite reason - it meant we could see all of the Halloween things and do a MNSSHP too! We booked a whole package with Virgin because we flew with them last time and loved them and liked the price when we did some research.

So, the specifics: we are flying from Manchester on the 4th September at 09:55! We have a night booked at the Radisson Blu before that so we can just have a nice idle walk to the airport in the morning; last time we were dropped off by a family friend (neither of us drive) and the drive and the traffic and the wait played havoc with my anxiety, so this time we wanted the reassurance.

We have the 14 day Park Hopper tickets, but we're actually staying until the 20th! Last time we felt like we only got half a day out of our tickets on the last day (we did have a very nice morning at Magic Kingdom, though!) so we thought we'd make sure we could make full use of them, especially with the Halloween Party making MK close early a few times!

And we're staying at Pop Century! We stayed at All Star Music in January because it was the cheapest, and we were in the Broadway Section (as Musical Theatre People, we couldn't not!). It was a really nice resort, and everyone was lovely, but the buses were . . . a less pleasant experience. We both love over the top theming and the huge icons, and we've heard lots of good things about the food court too! We did briefly discuss doing Port Orleans instead, but we're honestly not luxury people, and the big bright statues, the in your face theming and being able to walk over and look at Art of Animation (which I never got to do last holiday and really wanted to!) won out in the end.

Some things we want to make the most of this time compared to our first 'once in a lifetime' trip!:

- Try more food! We were on the DDP last time and we're on it again this time, but we left with one Table Service credit, nine Quick Service credits, and something like thirty Snack Credits! We didn't make a dint in our list of snacks to get at all, so hopefully we'll be better at that this time! For Haz, who is an incredibly fussy eater, this could also be read as 'try different food'!

- And for me, I'd like to try more rides! My anxiety got the better of me for a lot of Fast Passes I thought I'd be able to do; and though I'm not a heights person or a speed person and I definitely won't be undertaking Rock'n'Rollercoaster any time soon, I'd like to at least try Seven Dwarves Mine Train and Splash Mountain! If I tell you I wimped out of riding Dumbo because I'd been so frightened on the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, you'll understand what level of wimpdom I'm coming from here.

- Make the most of the Early Morning/Evening Magic Hours! Because we were a party of three last time, we all had to wait to be up and ready, and we generally didn't start our day until around lunch time. Haz and I intend to do the very opposite of this this time - up early, maybe come back to the resort for a nap or a swim in the middle of the day when it's hottest and most crowded, and then head to parks again for the night!

Anyway, that's where we're at right now! With 184 days to go, we have our dining reservations to book in four days (wish us luck! We have a shortlist but I'll be back to update on what we get and what we don't; really hoping for a Storybook Dining as I couldn't get one for our last trip!), and then it will be a long wait to be able to book our FPs!

We also need to: finalise our travel insurance, decide which ECV provider we'll be going with and book that, do some holiday shopping (always good to stock up on those Primark bits and pieces as they come in as you never know how long they'll last!), decide what day we'd like to do MNSSHP and get our tickets for that, and maybe - just maybe - book some of the tours or events! Haz has surgery on the 12th of March, and we're hoping she'll be able to have another surgery to improve her mobility before we go in September, so she'll have lots of bed rest to think about anything else she wants to do!

I really wanted to do a Trip Report this time as I love reading them and I thought it would be nice to look back on after the holiday (and everyone in real life is tired of my only topic of conversation being Disney World), so fingers crossed I can keep this one updated and keep up with actually writing the report once we're out there!
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Unread 5 Mar 19, 12:22 AM  
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We are travelling on the same date! Looking forward to reading more!
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Unread 13 Mar 19, 07:07 PM  
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Originally Posted by Liah123 View Post
We are travelling on the same date! Looking forward to reading more!
I hope your dining reservations went as well as ours did!

Originally Posted by NatCat View Post
Originally, we wanted to go back next January . . . But the more we thought about it, the more we worried about how big the crowds for Galaxy's Edge would be,
Lo, what fools these mortals be--

Well, Disney's announcement of Galaxy's Edge's opening date put a spanner in our plans! And it meant that we made one very large change to our plan - no, we didn't put it back to January--

We changed our hotel! With Pop being such a big resort and a value to boot, we thought; 'wow, the fortnight after Galaxy's Edge opens is going to be absolutely manic', and we gave Virgin Holidays a call . . . and upgraded to Port Orleans French Quarter! We're both super excited about that; our first (and perhaps only) Moderate experience, the boat to Disney Springs, and a really fun-looking pool along with the use of the pools at Riverside--

Oh, and it being hopefully quieter was a big draw too! Haz has a lot of mobility problems and struggled with the walk back to our Broadway building at All Star Music, so hopefully this will be better for her too. I'm excited to get the boat across to Disney Springs and maybe use some QS credits there, we really did not do a good job using QS at all in January. And I'm very excited to try beignets!

Since I last posted our 180 days passed, and our dining reservations went really well! We got everything we wanted, almost always at the times we wanted; and we were assured by Virgin our dining reservations would stay even though we changed hotels! Here's our plan for TSes for now:

(a quick note: PLANNING these was infinitely more difficult because Haz is such a picky eater! Neither of us are big foodies but we do have a sweet tooth, and we both love things that are themed to the extreme. So you'll see: lots of buffets (for the picky eater), lots of character meals (because they're fun!), and lots of Restaurants With An Overarching Theme).

- 5th September we're not using our tickets, but we are going to the Grand Floridian for 1900 Park Fare dinner!

- 6th is a scheduled Magic Kingdom day, but is also a MNSSHP - we have an Artist's Point reservation for 20:40! This is a bit later than I'd like (was aiming so we could go straight to dinner after the non party guests were booted!) so I'll be keeping checking and trying to change it, but I'm just glad to have got one at all! If it means we go back to our resort and hang around for a bit, or spend a while exploring Wilderness Lodge, so be it!

- 7th we have dinner at Planet Hollywood!

- 8th was originally going to be a Hollywood Studios day, but we'll be avoiding that park on weekends now and we're having a different park day! We're eating at Skipper's Canteen for lunch!

- 9th September we're at Sci-Fi Dine In for dinner!

- 10th we have the Bon Voyage Breakfast booked!

- 11th we're eating at T-Rex in Disney Springs!

- 12th we have no TS plans so we can splurge on a two credit meal the next day!

- 13th I managed to get us a reservation for Be Our Guest at 8:00am! And we intend to hit up Epcot a little later for dinner at Le Cellier!

- 14th we're doing Cape May Cafe breakfast!

- 15th we have an 8am reservation at Crystal Palace (this was one of my absolute favourite meals last time, I have to admit that I am one of those people who LOVE the breakfast lasagne)!

- 16th we have the Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic! package booked! I'm very excited about seeing the Halloween costumes!

- 17th we have a breakfast at 1900 Park Fare (Haz loves Alice so this one is another repeat from our last trip!).

- 18th we have a Chef Mickey's dinner reservation!

- 19th we intend to have a TS meal but we're saving it for if we want a repeat visit anywhere!

I realise this would be a less than ideal schedule for a lot of DIBBers who love good food and detest character meals, but both of us really are big children at heart and we love the character meals a lot! And breakfast. We're very big on breakfast.

In the past few weeks we've also: bought a new (Disney, of course!) carry-on suitcase, done far more shopping than we really should have, had a swimwear related crisis - and today, Haz has just come home after a surgery! She'll be weak and tired and sleepy for a few weeks, but hopefully it will really improve her quality of life in the long run. I'm so proud of her, always and constantly!

(We also have a theatre break in London planned at the end of the month and I should really be concentrating on that . . . we're seeing six shows and staying for four nights, but all I can think about is how much Disney shopping I'll be able to get done at the Oxford Street Disney store!)

Edited at 07:40 PM. Reason: mistake
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Unread 27 May 19, 12:20 AM  
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101 days to go (dalmatian day!) so I figured I would give a few quick updates!

We paid off our whole balance today, so we are officially definitely going to Disney World! I always feel like something important and shiny and special should happen when we pay it off but nope, just an email from Virgin.

Speaking of Virgin, we had a very brief panic when we logged on to pay off our balance and our tickets weren't showing in the itinerary part of the website. It was asking us if we wanted to add the tickets, which was a very frightening prospect of paying an extra 700 on top of what we'd already paid - so we called Virgin's assistance line, and the lady was very helpful! She told us that she thinks they probably dropped off when we upgraded our hotel and she added them back on for us - panic over! They were still showing on MDE, but we're both very big worriers so hearing and seeing that we actually did still have those tickets was a worry lifted off our shoulders.

We've also booked a MNSSHP! We'll be doing the 10th September party; we both wear Japanese street fashion (Lolita, to be exact; if you don't know what it looks like, it's very much a slightly modernised version of what you might imagine an antique doll wearing, with a lot of Victorian and Rococo influences!), and we're planning on wearing outfits in that style inspired by Minnie and Figaro for the party!

We're also planning on booking After Hours tickets now they've announced some for September when they're released; we're thinking we'll do the September 5th night, because we don't have park tickets for that day and we don't really have anything planned for it (we figured we would spend most of it by the pool or maybe hit up some shopping). So there's another almost three hundred dollars to say farewell to!

And finally in this update: we reserved Haz's mobility scooter! We went with Best Price Mobility and got the standard scooter with a cupholder for 14 days (we're hoping she'll be fine without it on the days we're not doing parks!). For anyone interested, that cost us $270 - but it will be priceless when it comes to making sure she gets around the parks and Disney Springs and everywhere else unaided! Last time we found the walks to and from the bus stops particularly difficult.

We'll be in single digits soon and that's honestly too exciting to put into words!
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Unread 27 May 19, 10:19 PM  
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Single Digits is here for us both! We haven't booked many dining reservations - we are on a super budget trip with no dining plan so are being very conservative! We have booked the Boathouse and 50's prime time and a lunch time reservation at Be Our Guest but that is all!
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Unread 6 Jul 19, 05:25 PM  
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Originally Posted by Liah123 View Post
Single Digits is here for us both! We haven't booked many dining reservations - we are on a super budget trip with no dining plan so are being very conservative! We have booked the Boathouse and 50's prime time and a lunch time reservation at Be Our Guest but that is all!
I'm actually really sad we won't be doing 50s Prime Time again this time around! I really enjoyed it and we had a wonderful server (so I worry, honestly, that we might get a worse one this time and it wouldn't be as fun!), but we only had two days planned for HS and we wanted to try Sci Fi Dine In and see the characters in their Halloween costumes at Hollywood & Vine!

Since the last time I typed, we've added a couple of things!

We're now doing a Disney After Hours event on September 5th, so I moved a late reservation at 1900 Park Fare to slightly earlier so we could go straight from our dinner into Magic Kingdom! We're doing this the day before we're activating our tickets proper, so it was a good way to sneak some Disney into what was supposed to be our non-park day!

I also had to move some of our days around with the Epcot announcements and the early Blizzard Beach closure! Thankfully for us that just meant swapping the days we were doing Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon around, and we changed our first full day in the parks from a Magic Kingdom day to an Epcot day! I'd have been sad about not going to Magic Kingdom first, but we did add that cheeky After Hours event, so everything's turned out alright in the end!

Today was our FastPass day, and that went pretty well too. We're "lucky" in that I'm a horrible wimp who's scared of heights and gets motion sick very easily, so we did skip some of the harder to get ones. There was plenty of availability for Flight of Passage, but I didn't think I'd do it so we got Na'Vi instead. And I did manage to get Slinky Dog for one of our Hollywood Studios day, but it looked so high last time I don't know if I'll actually get up the courage!

I also didn't book any Mine Train FPs, but I'm hoping we'll be able to get a few rides in during After Hours, so I'm not that worried about it! Now it's fingers crossed that I don't get too scared to go on Dumbo again and might actually use my FastPasses for Big Thunder and Splash Mountain . . .
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Unread 6 Jul 19, 09:49 PM  
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Originally Posted by NatCat View Post
I'm actually really sad we won't be doing 50s Prime Time again this time around! I really enjoyed it and we had a wonderful server (so I worry, honestly, that we might get a worse one this time and it wouldn't be as fun!), but we only had two days planned for HS and we wanted to try Sci Fi Dine In and see the characters in their Halloween costumes at Hollywood & Vine!

Since the last time I typed, we've added a couple of things!

We're now doing a Disney After Hours event on September 5th, so I moved a late reservation at 1900 Park Fare to slightly earlier so we could go straight from our dinner into Magic Kingdom! We're doing this the day before we're activating our tickets proper, so it was a good way to sneak some Disney into what was supposed to be our non-park day!

I also had to move some of our days around with the Epcot announcements and the early Blizzard Beach closure! Thankfully for us that just meant swapping the days we were doing Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon around, and we changed our first full day in the parks from a Magic Kingdom day to an Epcot day! I'd have been sad about not going to Magic Kingdom first, but we did add that cheeky After Hours event, so everything's turned out alright in the end!

Today was our FastPass day, and that went pretty well too. We're "lucky" in that I'm a horrible wimp who's scared of heights and gets motion sick very easily, so we did skip some of the harder to get ones. There was plenty of availability for Flight of Passage, but I didn't think I'd do it so we got Na'Vi instead. And I did manage to get Slinky Dog for one of our Hollywood Studios day, but it looked so high last time I don't know if I'll actually get up the courage!

I also didn't book any Mine Train FPs, but I'm hoping we'll be able to get a few rides in during After Hours, so I'm not that worried about it! Now it's fingers crossed that I don't get too scared to go on Dumbo again and might actually use my FastPasses for Big Thunder and Splash Mountain . . .

That all sounds awesome! Our first park day has to be magic kingdom, but we have Epcot planned for a day before all the closures. Our fast passes went well, got all the big ones! My daughter is tall enough for everything now so I have booked them in the hopes that she has the courage!
I am a bit sad that I have nothing left to plan though!
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