Friday, September 30, 2016

Fastpass+ thoughts

I am about 30 days away from choosing our Fastpasses...

So, here are my thoughts on FP+ Ride in general.
I do not make Fps for the parades or fireworks. I think it really is a waste of them and just silly!
Also I don't use them for Meet and Greets. If the wait in the queue is short enough, maybe, but we have enough Character Dining, so we will meet enough there.

SO, here we go...

At Magic Kingdom:

We will not ride these FP rides:
Barnstormer (DD is unimpressed since she LOVES Everest), Pooh (not Pooh fans)

These queues I don't mind to wait in or moves fast anyway:
Small World, HM, Cruise, PhilharMagic, Pirates, Speedway, Mermaid, Belle

These rides I will ride if line is short or right at rope drop:
Buzz, Tea Party, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Laugh Floor

And these we will Fastpass for sure:
Big Thunder, Dumbo, Mine Train, Space, Splash

At EPCOT (here is where it is difficult):

Tier 1:
I dislike using a Tier 1 for Frozen, but we will.
We love TT at night, so yes
Sorin' is also one we totally need to do!

Wait in queue-

NO, no, nope! -
Mission Space

Tier 2:
Yes, but none of theses really need FPs in January, but we will get them anyway...

These have quick queues or we don't mind waiting a little bit:
Film Festival
The Seas
Turtle Talk

Hollywood Studios:

We are really not into stage shows...I get they are really good, but we just fall asleep!

Tier 1-
For sure:
We have never been able to get Toy Story Mania, and never waited in the LONG queue we don't know what we are missing and that is alright.

Tier 2-
For sure:
ToT, Star Tours

Wait in Queue:
Star Tours (yup, more than once!)

Muppet 3D

The rest are Nos.
This park will be SOOOooo much better for us when Star Wars Land opens...HUGE fans!

Animal Kingdom:

Kali, Everest, Dinosaur then Safari as the 4th after

Wait in line:

The rest are Nos!

Next rough itinerary for this trip...


The dreaded airfare purchase.
At least it is for me.
It is like the biggest gamble of the whole thing. Buy now at these prices that look good, or wait and hope they go down and not up! Where can I get the perfect time? How early can I get there? AHHH! I go crazy every time.

As soon as I had my room booked I started looking. I wanted to get an idea on how the prices ran on average.

Then I started looking harder when I switched the Room Only to a Package I started looking more seriously.

Yea, yea...I know, “Best time to buy is 60 days out on a Tuesday.”...yea, that is TOO MUCH waiting for me! I would be having a heart attack!

Our trip this year in January I got an AMAZING (for the Northeast) deal on Delta, I paid $669 for 3 people round trip from Manchester. The times were great, the price was great, so I did it. We had no problems with Delta. Only little issues was our plane change in Atlanta, we landed late and had 20 min to run to another terminal for our next plane. Stress!

This time Delta's prices have been outrageous, so I decided I was going to try Southwest. Their boarding procedure worries me with a shy 9 year old, but everyone sings their praises, and their prices and flight times are the best for me.

I had been stalking Southwest for a bit when I saw that on 7 July they were extending their dates into my travel time. I was hoping for nice low prices on release day, so I was up at 5:30am. Scheduled opened up at 6:15am the prices we BAD.

Big Sigh and more on...MORE waiting.

So when Southwest had their computer issues in July I was HOPING that they would make an apology to their customers in form of a price drop once things were back up and running.
I was right (at least for my airport)!!

So I got:
7 Jan - Non-stop flight from Manchester, NH - 6:15 take off and landing in Orlando at 9:40 for $305
14 Jan – Non-stop flight from MCO - 1:20 take off and landing in Manchester at 4:10 for $265

Both legs include with early bird check in. I booked each leg separately so if one leg price changes then I can get the credit easier.

I could of flown out of Boston for a bit less. Here is the issue. Hubby. He will be driving Rebekah and I to the airport (and picking us up). We don't go to Boston a lot, when we do * I * drive. Hubby is not really comfortable driving from and to Boston.

Landing at 9:40am! I love getting there early!!

Buying the plane tickets for me always makes it feel like it is really going to happen!

Dining Reservaion Plans

So, I was really unsure if this trip would happen. As we were driving to Maine for Easter (and Rebekah was asleep in the back) I tossed out the trip idea to Hubby, and to my overwhelming SHOCK and excitement he agreed to it! So on 30 April I booked our room, and once packaged were released (21 June) I switched the room only to a package!

Rebekah has pretty firm ideas on where she wants to eat. This being her 3rd time, I kind of like this routine she has decided on.
Arrival night supper at Akershus. I think this is just an awesome way to start. Great princess interaction, great food, at our fave part!

First morning breakfast at Chef Mickey's. This also has the great characters but also the plus of a ride on the monorail right away!

On our AK morning we get the first ADR slot at Tusker House. LOVE the selection there and love getting on the safari first thing.

Last evening supper at Liberty Tree Tavern. A great transition back home with some down home cooking.
Lastly, in the middle, Rebekah loves Teppan Edo.

That TOTALLY does not leave much room for anything else, but I have a few new ones added this trip.

SO, here is how it broke down:
7 Jan – wanted Akershus at 5:00pm, got 5:30pm
8 Jan – wanted Chef Mickey at 10:30am, got it
9 Jan – wanted first Tusker House, got 8:00am
10 Jan – wanted Afternoon Tea @ GF at noon, got it
wanted Whispering Canyon at 5:00pm, got it
11 Jan – wanted Raglan Road at 5:00pm, got it
12 Jan – wanted Teppen Edo at 5:00pm, got 5:00
13 Jan – wanted Liberty Tree late lunch, got 2:00

I know, nothing really earth shattering, and it being in January I fully expected to get what I wanted.

So for the new...I thought that the Afternoon Tea on a Mom and Daughter only trio would be just awesome, I am so excited for this one! I keep hearing the praised sung about Raglan Road, lets try it! Gets us to DS! I really want to go to Sanaa, but I think that is to be saved for when Hubby comes again, he will really enjoy that! I also changed out usual Liberty Tree SUPPER to a Lunch. I want to try the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake!

So, once they were done, I of course had to tweek just a LITTLE bit...
I read SO much good about Garden Grill, and Rebekah is on a Biscuits and Gravy kick, so...
12 Jan now looks like:
8:05 Garden Grill and
6:10 Teppen Edo (I moved this a bit later s we were not in a food coma from breakfast still!)

In the past we have tried: Biergarten (too much meat for me), Marrakesh (cute, ok food), Boma (good, not got Daughter, though), O'Hana (not impressed with the slow service), 1900 Park Fare (breakfast, ok selection, atmosphere seemed dated and needing an update), The Plaza (over priced, slow service), BOG (did it, would go back for lunch).

So, there they are! I hope I don't tweek much more!

Guess what?!

We are going again!  But this trip is going to be a bit different!

This is going to be a last “Kid” trip for Rebekah (and our budget). Rebekah will turn into a Diney Adult in Feb 2017. After our trip this year I knew we need to do all we could to get back 1 ore time before the price increase!

It is a surprise trip for Rebekah! SO HARD to keep the secret! Having just taken a trip makes planning for what she wants to do easier, and the fact that I am already a Disney-Freak and always have a trip on my mind helps when I am just sitting on the computer at night doing our plans! Rebekah says every day that she wishes she was at Disney and asks when we are going again. HARD not to tell her! Hard not to celebrate with her each milestone (ADRs, buying plane tickets). Hubby will listen, but not be excited. I do have a friend at work who gets excited with me, though! I plan on telling Daughter at Christmas. For Christmas gifts we only give each other 4 gifts, a WANT, a NEED, a WEAR and a READ. For her WANT I am going to give her some trader pins and for her WEAR (which will be the big finale gift) I am going to give her a shirt I got from TeePublic that has the 4 icons on it and says “Follow me Home” and I will also put her MagicBand in there. 

So, the trip is 7 - 14 January 2017.  We love January!  The temps and crowds are awesome!
We will also be staying at POP again, I love it there, Rebekah loves it there.

So, up coming posts will include:
ADR Thoughts and what I got
FP+ thoughts and plans (and what we get when the time comes)
and Tweeks between now and then, of course!

See you real soon!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Notes – to do next time – to not do next time – thoughts – comments – suggestions

1- Do NOT go grumpy in any way. It is Disney, you spent a good bit of time and money getting there and you CANNOT let anyone else annoy or bother you. There are people from MANY different cultures there. Their etiquette (and hygiene) are very different from ours. You will not change the world while you are there. You will never see any of these people ever again. Let them cutting you off, getting in your personal space and being a bit self centered flow off your back like water. You cannot let it get to you or it will be the ruin of your trip. Yes, I did get annoyed when people would cut us off or just walk right towards us like they didn't see us. But I stepped to the side and kept going on my way. NOT big deal!

2- Don't make fast passes for early. Get to the park at opening and ride what you want then. Save your passes for the late morning/early afternoon. Or, what I think we will do, is make them for right before our midday break and make a new FastPass before we leave the park for when we plan on coming back once we used all of those first 3.

3- Dining plan. I love it. A few things though...
      A- Remember to use your snack credits! We had like 10 or 12 left at the end of the trip and no where to pack the food!
      B- Plan your meals well so no one gets HANGRY or so you are not in a food coma and cannot enjoy the meals. This I still have to work on. I want to try all the new stuff and get random reservations. Next trip I will put more thought into when we normally eat/snack and try to work around that so we are not wanting to kill each other because we have not eaten! Also planning out buffets before and after lighter meals so we have the stomach for them all.
      C- We brought some snacks from home. Most of them sounded good when we were at home, but once we were there...not so much. We did bring some homemade beef jerky and that was awesome...and also some small packs of Target Monster Trail Mix. Once again, we had ALL those unused snack credits that could of helped there.

4- Pin. More pins. Rebekah and I had a pin trading addiction. It was so fun to trade with the castmemebers! However, the 50 pins I bought on Ebay for trading did not last all that long! By the end of the trip we were buying cheap sets at the pin sellers and using them as traders. More pins next time. I will also admit, about 50% of the Ebay pins I got were scrappers. HOWEVER about 50% of the pins we got from castmembers were also scrappers. I trade for the cool pins, not for their value, so it does not matter to me. But I do know it is a major thing with hardcore pin traders.

These are all the pins we traded for.  On the right are Rebekah's (and a bit on the left bottom) and mine are on the left.  I needed to take a picture of the pins
by the end of the trip so I knew what we had when we were trading!
My 3 pin boards - 92 pins
 My assorted pins and park lanyard
 My Haunted Mansion, Figment and Park pins and Haunted Mansion 
lanyard that we used for our keepers
 My old Disney Store pins and John's 4 pins
Rebekah's pins all organized - 84 pins

5- TouringPlans. I did sign-up to use their service. I bought the current edition of the Unofficial Guide anyway, so I used that discount so it only cost me $8 or $9. Worth it just for their room request fax service. I went on their site and looked at all the rooms where I requested online. You are able to see the view from the door and how long of a walk and noise levels on the website. I chose POP room 5113, 1st floor, lake view, end room, looking at a cool bench and the path around the late. I also requested early check-in (noon). I got room 5118, just a few doors down from 5113. Same view, but a bit closer to Main Hall and the Buses. I also got my “Room is Ready” text when our plane landed in Orlando at 11:20! I did not use the touring plans they set up for me, but seeing the crowd calendar (and how accurate it was) was nice.

 View from our window!
 Kissing the window goodbye!
 Outside our room!
 Good room!

6- Disney Transportation. I love it. The most we waited for a bus was maybe 10 minutes. I found a website Our Laughing Place Transportation Wizard ( and I ended up using it a lot. Next time I want to find ways to ride on the boats, but I really enjoy their transportation system. Use it!

 Magic Express at the airport
 Magic Express buses are cushy!
 Entering the world!
 Bus travel - a good napping place!
 Buses, buses everywhere!
 Monorail travel is awesome, too!
Our seasoned Disney bus traveler!

7- More time at EPCOT. I wish I had more time there. I did not get to see any of the shows in the Countries. I am not quite sure what I could of done differently, though. Perhaps having Park Hopper passes so when we have extra time (like after Hollywood Studios) we could head over there. Or maybe an earlier arrival and head right to EPCOT earlier than we did. I am not sad or disappointed, just wish I spent more time there. But we will be back!

8- Flights. Yes, it was hard to get up so early, but I would totally do it again. Snooze on the plane. My excitement about being at Disney carried me through the day, for sure. Getting there early and starting the touring is really important to me. I am paying for the trip that arrival day, lets get the most of it! Coming home, I really did enjoy leaving when we did (place took off at 5:30). I though I would be worried the whole day, but I wasn't. We were able to get a late check out (1pm), so we packed in the morning and hung around the resort using up our meal and snack credits before the Magic Express got us at 2:25. I will also only ever fly an airline who is part of the Disney check-in. Checking in and dropping our check luggage there, not having to deal with it at the airport and going right to security was smooth and super easy. Lastly, I really enjoyed flying Delta, nothing super special, just good service at an amazing price.

9- Packing. I dislike carry on luggage. Perhaps next time we will just do a backpack and check the rest. Worth the money to me to not lug around a bunch of stuff. We did pack an extra carry-on inside of ou checked bag. On the way down it had our snacks in it and we planned so on the way back it would have the stuff we bought in it and we would carry it on. However it was not needed. It stayed packed in the checked luggage.

10- Park bag. The backpack really was too much. John used his satchel sometimes, but that only worked because 1- HE carried it, not ME and 2- he did not do many of the fast rides. I did use my Vera cross body bag I got at Savers and I LOVE the size of it, however it will not fit snacks and a water bottle at the least and it will for sure not fit whatever we are having characters sign. Need to be on the hunt for a perfect, comfy bag for next time! Oh yea, it also needs to be easy to open so going through security bag check is quick!

11- Shoes. Bring 2 comfy pair. Well broken in for lots of walking. I have a pair of New Balance walkers that I actually wore for our last Disney trip that are SO comfy! I also brought a pair of Nike sneakers. On days we went back to the room for a rest, I would change shoes just to help my foot fatigue. It worked. My feet were never sore. Which brings me to...

12- Walking. I walked about 85 miles in the 8 park days. Luckily I am very active at work so it was not too bad on me. But I imagine if you work a desk job, or cashier etc job, you will need to prep for all that walking!

13- Use a Disney Travel Agent! Even thought I am a Disney freak and I can plan out the trip without any help, I LOVED using my TA! She was able to do the reservations and the FastPass selections for me. Sit on the phone to get the Dining reservations when I don't have the time to. I was able to ask her random and obscure questions about stuff I heard and she had answers. Between me know what I wanted and her being able to help me get it and tweak it all so it works perfectly, I will TOTALLY use her again! He name is Denyse Hathaway and she works with Mickey World Travel. You can contact her at or 573-808-3834. She is also on Facebook at

Thanks everyone!

I would LOVE to go back to Disney in 
January 2017. We have a whole year to see 
what life brings!