Here goes my Trip Report of our 2nd Visit to WDW For our first trip in February 2011 I did write a Trip Report but elsewhere ;-) but this is a part of what I wrote towards the end of it
“We finally got home at around 4pm after a couple of stops.
We were really tired and the children went to bed early and DH and I sat on the sofa reliving the great time we had had. But would we ever be able to afford to go back?
We turned on the laptop and went onto the Virgin holidays website and by 9pm we had priced up a return trip for feb 2012 but it was a bit too soon, no point going back and struggling with money, so unfortunately agreed it would have to be probably 2014!!!”
So how come less than a year later I am starting a Trip Report about our 2nd WDW visit??
Well after returning we set a return date of Feb 2014 it worked out to be about 1020 days till our return to Disney – talk about depressing!!
Anyway we decided to save like mad and by a stroke of luck I got a job in March, I just happened to see it advertised, applied along with 30 others, 6 of us got interviews, and yippee I got it. It was only for one day a week but I haven’t had a paid job since summer 2005 so we would save it all, within two weeks of being there someone went on sick leave for 3 months – I was asked would I like to do 3 days a week for that time – Of course I would, more pennies for the Disney Fund. Well eventually I was offered 2 days permanently and because of the way DH’s holidays worked out and the fact I got between Christmas and New Year off, it began to look interesting. We had been looking at what trips would cost at Christmas time for future reference and were surprised they weren’t as expensive as we thought. We began to think this may be a possibility, looking ahead to 2014 it was looking less likely that it would be possible due to the oldest’s exams etc and with saving all my wages we could possibly….dare I hope? I asked friends on facebook what they thought?
“I need your help. We may have the opportunity to return to WDW sooner than feb 2014. Yippee but decisions decisions the two options are 25th dec 2011 - 10th Jan 2012 (16 days) or 1st Feb to 15th Feb (14 days) Believe it or not the dec one is cheaper!! and longer as well but I am a bit worried - would love to go over christmas with all the lights etc but how busy is it ?- get in early leave at lunch and go back in eve?? The feb one means it is similar to when we went this year - before Presidents week - quiet no waits - would this be a better option?
Cold won't bother us also the temptation of running in the half marathon or 5km if training doesn't go to plan!! is a bit of a pull. Daughters would miss 6 days school with either option but christmas dates give us two days longer to do everything - we are hoping to spend 2 days in each of IOA and Universal Orlando so more time at disney. Can those of you that have been at Christmas time or know a bit about it help at all. I can't believe we could be thinking about ADR's before too long. If we miss this opportunity because of exams etc it will be 2015 before we could get back :-(( ”
Well you can’t believe the joy as I posted this on facebook on June 15th.
“IT'S OFFICIAL MY COUNTDOWN HAS CHANGED OVERNIGHT FROM 964 TO 196. YIPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEE - Not that i'm excited or anything but in case you're interested we are going back to Disney 26th Dec to 10th Jan :-) Hubby couldn't get February off so the decision was made for us. Had to play with the dates as original quote went up £500 overnight so we had to knock 1 day off but still got 15 days :-))))) Staying in Windsor Palms Resort But panic ADR's open in 16 days and no idea where we are going when. Has anyone see the candlenight processional - Is it worth booking a TS that gives us priority seating for it and then Illuminations. I can't believe it, still in shock at the thought of our return. I see Thadine is going to be there at the same time, will have to look at for other names I recognise.”
So Disney at Christmas – this was going to take some planning our last trip was during the quietest time of the year and all of a sudden we were heading into the busiest time of year territory.
I will give you a brief run down of our family (for those that don’t know me).
Me Tracy(41), DH Joe(45), DD Charlotte(13), DD Hannah(10), DS Andrew(6)
Dates 26th Dec 2011 to 10th Jan 2012 15 days
Staying Off site at Windsor Palms
Aiming for recommended days!!!!
Well the next two weeks were so busy as I tried to sort out an itinerary so we could make some ADR’s – these would be essential at Christmas time. Eventually after re-arranging it numerous times we came up with the following itinerary.
26th Dec – Arrive MCO at 4pm Pick up Hire Car head to Walmart before arriving at Villa
27th AK RD ĺ day
28th MK RD Break Return for Castle Lighting
29th HS RD Break Return for Osbourne Lights
30th EP RD Break Return for Storytellers
31st Break Day
1st MK RD ĺ day ADR at Crystal Palace
4th MK RD Break Return for MSEP and Wishes
5th EP Late start ADR Biergarten 11am maybe stay for Illuminations
6th Break Day maybe Blizzard Beach
7th EP RD ĺ day
8th HS RD ĺ day
9th IOA RD ĺ day
10th Universal Leave 4pm for MCO Fly home
The only thing that worried me was the first few days of RD’s which were 8am ones and the fact we were returning in the evening – we wanted to see each park in the dark with all the Christmas things going on. We didn’t intend to stay late, probably 8pm and if the children were tired at least they might sleep during our afternoon break.
Over the summer the idea of the Ĺ marathon became more than a temptation and after a good race in August I had a time that would put me in a good corral for the start of the race. The running club I belong to helped me get together a training plan and despite a few hiccups in my training in the October I registered for the Donald Duck Ĺ marathon. Training here wasn’t too bad but how would I get on running in the Florida heat, although the peeps down in the running forum said I couldn’t count on it being hot as it was freezing in 2010. Anything would be warmer than the weather here.
So as well as sorting out touring plans I now had a training plan to fit in I had never run further than 6.3 miles(10K) in my life I only had to run twice that distance ….!!!!!!!......unfortunately the race in August caused very sore shins and was advised not to run for two weeks – great start to my training. After resting I slowly started back and everything was fine… for a while…
Anyway how would our itinerary work with the Ĺ marathon scheduled for the 7th January? It starts in Epcot and since we had Epcot down for that day I didn’t see the need to change it. But how would I fit in a few training runs once I was out there? Not easy but I would need to acclimatise. At least my longest run of 12 miles was scheduled for 18th December so it would only be runs of 3-6 miles max.
So down to the nitty gritty of touring plans, After all the help I received last time from Christine – she really knows what she is talking about when it comes to touring plans I felt confident that we could put something together to keep ahead of the crowds. I lost track how many times those plans were tweaked but at last we had the Disney ones finished except AK – as we were only doing one day there we wanted to see Lion King, Nemo and Flights of Wonder!!
But the times kept changing and the show times wouldn’t come out till early Sunday morning our time on the 25th Dec – the day we drove down to the airport!! I wasn’t laminating it until I knew the times as it was suspected that as it was an 8am opening this might mean shows started later than normal- couldn’t figure that one out!!
Then came the Universal and IOA touring plans – these were more difficult but I discovered a great resource in Orlando Informer. We intended to drive up to IOA/Universal from the villa and not buy the equivalent of Disney Fastpasses (most rides have a separate line for those that have Front of Line Passes- you get these if you stay onsite) But the more I looked into it the more it worried me. If you stay onsite you get an extra hour in Wizarding World of Harry Potter from 8-9am So by the time we get there at 9am it would be busy although the crowd calendars put 2/3 Jan at Moderate as opposed to Very Busy or Busy. It was quite expensive to buy the passes about $35 each for 1 park Ouch and they only allowed one use at each ride and Forbidden Journey doesn’t have a FOTL pass line. Out of curiosity I looked at the Universal website and priced up a room at the Royal Pacific Resort, with our AAA discount it was reasonable so I rang them and booked one night(2nd Jan) which gave us 2 days of unlimited FOTL passes. We decided when we went back on 9/10th we wouldn’t buy the passes but realised it might mean queuing a bit more than we were used to. These days were going to be Slow on the crowd calendar so we weren’t too worried.
We decided we would check in early and head to Universal on the 2nd stay overnight and use early entry to IOA on the 3rd. So with Dan’s help we had a touring plan for each of our first two days, but the best piece of info he gave us was that most of IOA’s attractions are outside and Universal’s inside. We didn’t realise how important that piece of info would be.