Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Stop...

It's tropical...

but it's not the Polynesian Resort.

On the first night of our trip, we will be laying down our heads at...

The Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios.

Doesn't it look amazing???

Gregg has never been to Universal and has always wanted to go.  I've been to Islands of Adventure and loved it.  I'm just not sure Universal Studios would interest Belle.

In fact, I think it would be a down-right disaster and that's no way to start a vacation.

With that being said, we are sticking to IoA before we head over to Disney World.

I am VERY excited about this leg of our trip, but I'll get to that in the next post.

PS- I'm thinking club level, ya'll!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Disney Live Surprise...

We had grand plans of surprising Belle with a special 'big girl' day complete with a showing of Disney Live's 'Three Classic Fairy Tales'.  However, Gregg's grandfather is in his last few days of life and so Gregg left town for the weekend to be with him.

My mom took Gregg's ticket and Evie joined us for the show.  (I crossed my fingers and hoped that she wouldn't be spooked by the loud noises and characters.  Unlike Belle, she hasn't the slightest clue about Mickey and the gang.)

I really wanted Gregg to see Belle's reaction when I told her.  She loves filming YouTube messages for our family members, so I told her that's what we were going to do.

So we sat down in front of the computer and I spilled the beans....

The show was adorable.  Belle was only scared of Snow White's witch... very expected.  Other than that, she did great.  She squealed when Cinderella appeared in her blue gown.

The biggest surprise, though...  Evie went NUTS for Mickey Mouse!!!  Any time he can on stage she would jump up and down and scream.

Yay!  I have high hopes for our next trip!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Travel Day

I'm so thankful for this trip, ya'll!  Because of this trip, I got a brand new (to me)  car...  ahem... mini van.

One afternoon Gregg and I were discussing the travel options for this trip.  He did not want to fly, but there is no way we could fit the 5 of us, plus luggage in either of our vehicles.  

We had been looking for a car for months.  We even drove to Dallas, Tx to try and find 'the right' one for our family.  No such luck.  We just kind of gave up.

Until that afternoon, when out of pure curiosity we decided to check out used cars in our area. 

Much to our surprise someone had just traded in a barely used van that was loaded with goodies.  We had no choice but to snatch the thing up!

With that being said, it's obvious that we will be making the long drive once again.

Long, but comfortable.  ;)

These are a few items I plan to buy to entertain the kiddos-

An organizer.  This is by Sunshine Kids and it's around $15.00.  
Travel Tray by Star Kids (around $19.99)

Along with that, we will have an assortment of Disney CD's, DVD's, coloring books, puzzles, games and snacks. 

Any other suggestions?

The Plan

The plan is to have the van packed and ready to go.
Wake up at 5 am and leave before 6 am.
Stop at a few ChickFilA's along the way to let the girl's stretch their legs.
Arrive in Orlando around dinner time. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Time to Eat! (Dinner)

Well, I'm back from a little trip planning hiatus!  It's so much harder to dish out a pre-trip report now that I've got two kids to wrangle.  ;)  Who would have thought?!!?!

We have three dinner's planned for our trip.


The one we are most excited about (of course) is a princess character dinner.

The Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is found in the Norway pavilion in Epoct.  Norway has always held a special place in our hearts, so it's no surprise that we enjoy this experience so much.

 In the past we've met Belle (who greets you at the door), Cinderella, Ariel (once), Snow White, Aurora and Mulan (once). 

We chose this meal because we actually really love the food. 

La Hacienda de San Angel

This is one of Epcot's newest restaurants and the menu sounds AMAZING!

Our plan is to arrive early in the day and request a window seat for dinner that evening.  We are hoping to get a good seat for Illuminations that evening.  Belle doesn't like the loud sound of fireworks and fire, but she doesn't mind watching them from the safety of in

California Grill

The most memorable meal of our relationship came from this incredible restaurant.  It was our Honeymoon, we were dressed to the nines and we ate like a king and queen.  We've tried to return in the past, but ended up canceling for different reasons.  I've booked it again and I'm hoping that the girls will be up for it. 
Once again, the food here is hard to top...

and so is the view.

The unique thing about Cali Grill is that you can watch the Magic Kingdom's fireworks show from the roof of the Contemporary Resort.

The unique thing about Cali Grill is that you can watch the Magic Kingdom's fireworks show from the roof of the Contemporary Resort.

 For a quick recapof our ADR's-

O'Hana (breakfast)
Coral Reef
California Grill
La Hacienda de San Angel

Next up in planning- Day 1 (our travel day)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Best Time to Visit (In My Humble Opinion)

Because we are well-known for our love of Disney we get asked for a lot of vacation advice.  (Which is great, because I love to talk Disney.)

The most common question we get- 'When is the best time to go?'

So here is my take on the best time to go.  I'll also supply you with a few articles and websites and let you decide what is best for your family.

In My Opinion...

The best times to visit are...

-The first week of January is GREAT!!!  Hold off until the 'peak season' dates have passed and book away.  Most of the Christmas decoration are still up and they are breathtaking.  Also, the crowds are low and the weather is great.

-The same can be said about the first week in February.  I believe (but don't hold me to it, as they change from year to year) that it is a value season s the prices are at their lowest.  

-The first week in May.  (Low crowds, pretty weather, Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot).

-1st and 3rd week in October.  (Food and Wine Festival and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party- on my must do list!)  I have never visited during this time, but would LOVE to.  However, I have heard great things.

-1st week in November.  Seems to have lower prices, crowd levels and cooler weather.  Again, I have never visited during this time, but for those reasons I would suggest it.

-During a special promotion.  For example, our vacation is booked during Free Dining.  Disney offers great discounts through-out the year.  You just have to do your research.

Don't Believe the Hype...

I have heard SEVERAL times that the first week in December is the best time to visit.

And I'm sure it once was...

Until everyone and their grandma decided to visit during the 'best' week of the year.

Times to Avoid...

-Holidays  (Cons- High prices, high (and pretty miserable) crowd level.)  (Pros- Disney knows how to do holidays.)  If you have never been to Disney World, I would not suggest visiting during a holiday.  The crowds can be very overwhelming.  There is so much to explore at Disney World and it is really hard to do when you wait 30 minutes to 2 hours just to ride rides.

-Spring Break (For obvious reasons)

-Summer  (Hot, hot, hot)

Great Sources of Information

This article breaks down each month into great detail-  Easy WDW

For Free Dining Dates-  Mouse Planet

To check out all Disney World Discounts and Promotions- Mouse Savers

For accounts of people who have been there and done that- The Dis Boards

Happy Planning, Ya'll!!!!