Has it been 30 years already? A Dec. 2017/Jan. 2018 Trip Report! (Updated 1/15/18)

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by adamreisinger, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. mbvisitor

    mbvisitor Mouseketeer

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    Hey Ryan!


    Yup big fan of our hometown hockey team!
    D23 sounds bonkers, I’m shocked Disney hasn’t instituted a FassPass system for D23 yet!
    But all those park announcements were pretty exciting. I definitely have a another trip planned in my head in the next few years!
    Hopefully the Frozen stage show will be going into the new theatre at MK, the show looks amazing! I just hoping my nine year old daughter will humour me and go to the Frozen sign along at DHS, she is sooo over Frozen but the sing along looks fun!

    I hear what you’re saying about stamina for those long NYE park days. We’ve never been able to stay from open until close, but I’ve read a couple trip reports that had success going into the park much later in the evening at around 8-9pm. So, we will probably try that and sleep in during the day so we have the stamina to get through the crowds and stay until the wee hours of the night.

    Other than Flight of Passage, what are your other must do rides?
     
  2. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

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    D23 has a limited FastPass system, called StagePass and StorePass. The StagePass system allows you to pick one panel per time period (mid-day, afternoon, night) that you can get a pass for and get first entry into the panel. But they don't do it for panels in the big hall, and you have to line up to get the StagePass. Ditto for StorePass, which allows you to pick a specific time to return to the store and get right in -- but those passes are handed out first thing in the morning and go super fast. The other option is to buy Sorcerer's Passes, which are like the ultimate VIP entry passes, but those cost more than $2,000 per ticket.

    The Frozen sing-along at DHS is perfect for people who love Frozen as well as people who are over Frozen. The humor from the "Arendelle Historians" is exactly the right level of self-mocking for grown-up kids and grown ups alike.

    As for my must-do rides, that's a great question. Obviously some of this is going to be determined by which fast passes I can get at the 60-day mark, but here are the things I absolutely want to hit in each park when I go in December:

    Disney's Hollywood Studios
    Tower of Terror - Probably my favorite ride at the park, and I want to make sure I do it both during the day and at night
    Star Tours - I'll be there shortly after The Last Jedi comes out, so I'll be interested to see if there are any new additions, like there were for The Force Awakens (probably not, but you never know)
    (looking at this, I currently have DHS slated for my full arrival day, but what I might end up doing is do the rides I want to do, do my early dinner at Brown Derby, then park hop over somewhere else, then go back to DHS for Fantasmic!)

    Magic Kingdom
    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - my No. 1 favorite ride at any of the parks
    Jungle Cruise - I've never done this at night, so I want to see what it's like after dark
    Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor - Continuing my efforts to be "That Guy" at least once
    Splash Mountain - Weirdly, this one is more about the view of Cinderella's Castle before that final drop more than anything else
    Stitch's Great Escape! - It's been closed during my past three trips to WDW, so if it's open, I'm definitely doing it (before it likely closes for good)

    Epcot
    Test Track - another one I've never done at night, and want to do at least once
    Mission: SPACE - I have to see what it's like after the refurb, which means doing both missions at least once
    Soarin' - I'm torn between FP'ing this or Test Track. I'll probably end up using the FP on Soarin and doing Test Track as a single rider
    (I'm kinda bummed that Ellen's Energy Adventure will be closed by the time this trip happens, mostly because that was a great way to take a 45-minute break in the middle of the day)

    Animal Kingdom
    Flight of Passage - if I fit, which I'm still doubting I will.
    Expedition Everest - Probably my No. 2 ride, right behind BTMRR
    TriceraTop Spin - The only ride at AK other than FoP that I've never done. I gotta do it just to check it off on the spreadsheet.
     
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  4. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

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    Trip Report, Episode VI: Return of the Fat Guy (a.k.a. "Will I Ever Fit on Flight of Passage?")
    So as I mentioned way back in the very first entry in this trip report, my main goal in advance of this trip was to lose enough weight to fit on Flight of Passage -- something I wasn't able to do when I visited Pandora back in May. I also mentioned that my weight has fluctuated throughout the years, so let's take a trip down memory lane and see what that looks like.

    I was a chubby kid (though back then we called it "husky") who became an overweight high schooler, then a fat college student, then an obese adult. At times I've struggled with how my weight affected me -- in conjunction with some serious clinical depression that I've only gotten a handle on over the past few years -- and at times I've been just fine with it regardless of what the number on the scale said. I'm not going to bore you with photos from my childhood (at least not in this entry), so let's skip ahead to 2007 -- which was 10 years ago now and holy crap I'm so old...

    So this was me in 2007, with my close personal friend Hayden Panettiere, star of Disney's "Ice Princess" (among other things, I'm told):

    CIMG1675.jpg

    OK, fine, so we're not close personal friends, and I just met her at a convention (New York Comic Con 2007 to be specific). At this stage in my life, I was probably around 320-330 pounds. It wasn't long after this that I made my first real attempt as an adult to get down to a healthy weight.

    Thanks to a crazy fad diet, this was me a year later, with my close personal friend "Invisible SportsCenter co-anchor":

    IMG_0049.JPG

    I'll readily admit that the upgrade in clothes and the slimming black suit help exaggerate the difference, but when this picture was taken I was probably about 210 pounds, which is still the lowest sustained weight I've had as an adult. It wasn't long after this that I fell back into old habits and started gaining weight again (though I saved that suit if by some miracle I ever get back in that weight range).

    I was back up into the 260-270 range by the time I visited my close, personal friend Buzz Lightyear at Disney World during a day off at the 2009 NBA Finals.

    IMG_0127.jpg

    Honestly, if I'd been able to stay in that range, I probably would've been fine with it. But I got more and more depressed, which resulted in more and more eating, and by the time I was celebrating my 34th birthday with my close, personal friends, Britney Spears's backup dancers, I was tipping the scales in the 400-pound range.

    IMG_1565.jpg

    It wasn't until a few months after that (January 2015) that I once again got serious about weight loss. Another crazy fad diet later, and this was me in November 2015, with my close, personal friend Rapunzel (and without my facial hair, thanks to some cosplaying at MegaCon earlier that week).

    2015_nov.jpg

    I really hate how I look without facial hair, but I was down to about 240 pounds here, which was pretty awesome. Of course, I once again fell back into bad habits and two months later I was back up in the 270-pound range by the time I once again visited my close, personal friend Rapunzel -- though thanks to the way I'm standing and the facial hair framing my face, I think I actually look better in this photo than the November one.

    2016_jan.jpg

    I kept gaining weight throughout 2016, and by the time I went back to see my close, personal friend Rapunzel (and her idiot boyfriend Eugene) this past December, all my weight loss progress had been wiped away.

    2016_dec.jpg

    Now, if things had stopped there, well, it still wouldn't have been great, but it would've been better than what actually happened, which is that I kept gaining weight through the start of 2017, well into July when I once again saw my close, personal friend Rapunzel, this time in California.

    IMG_7798.jpg

    The good news, such as it was, is that I haven't gained any more weight since my Disney World trip in May, when I wasn't able to get on Flight of Passage. The bad news is that I haven't really lost any either. Technically when I weighed myself the other day, I was down 6 pounds, but the reality is that at the weight I'm at -- currently in the 440-pound range -- I can fluctuate plus or minus 5 pounds in a given week without noticing any difference.

    So today is the day I finally once again, for the third time in my adult life, get serious about losing weight. Only this time, I'm not doing a silly fad diet. No "eat only this" or "don't eat any of that" or "eat 600 calories a day, every day, for the next 8 months" (a thing I seriously did way back in 2008). I'm just going to do my best to make smarter eating decisions every day and hope for some slow, steady progress.

    In an ideal world, the weight would come off just as fast as it did back when I did those fad diets, and I'd be back under 350 pounds by the time I go back to WDW in December, but I'm not expecting that, nor am I going to push myself for that. My goal at the moment is much more scaled back. I have 133 days until my arrival day, and I'd like to lose 1 pound every 3 days until then. That would give me 44 pounds of weight loss between now and then, which would get me back under 400. Then the goal after that would be to keep up that progress and by the time I go back to Disney World in November of 2018 (yes, I've already started planning that trip), I could be back under 300. Then from there the goal would be to get back to 220 by May of 2020, when I turn 40, and ideally celebrate by going on a trip to Disney Parks around the world.

    For now though, I'm focusing on that short-term goal. 1 pound every 3 days between now and December 29. And to help that, I'm also going to start exercising more -- a session on the treadmill every other day. Even if it doesn't help with the weight loss, I'd like to use it just to get back into better shape, so I'm not so exhausted and in pain at the end of every day at the parks. As it is, aside from Flight of Passage and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, there's very little at the parks that my weight prevents me from doing. I can still squeeze into the seats at Space Mountain and Astro Orbiter, though getting out of both is a challenge (and if I'm being honest, I should probably avoid Space Mountain because of back issues that are unrelated to my weight issues, but I tend to make stupid, rosy-eyed decisions when I'm in the parks). But even if Disney was to come out and commit to making sure people my size would fit in every ride coming to the parks in the future, I'd still want to lose this weight. It's not about looking good for others or meeting some kind of societal standard. I just want to feel better every night when I go to sleep and when I wake up in the morning.

    All that said, assuming even in a best-case scenario I'll still be hovering around 300+ next Halloween, I'm totally making a trip down to the parks for MNSSHP next year, renting an ECV and making my costume one of the human passengers of the Axiom from "WALL-E". Hell, I'd do it this year, but it's too late for me to get the time off from work.
     
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  5. mbvisitor

    mbvisitor Mouseketeer

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    Your candour is inspiring Adam!

    I not happy with my weight either and have never been able to sustain getting my butt in motion on a regular basis!
     
  6. fallonkendra

    fallonkendra DIS Veteran

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    I haven't been around the disboards much lately, but I just finished catching up here. Good for you for beginning your weight loss journey!
     
  7. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

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    Trip Report, Episode VII: The Price Awakens (a.k.a. "Wait, I Need Tickets For This?")
    Because I'm far too obsessed about going to Disney World in general, and this trip specifically, I log on to My Disney Experience just about every day. And today the "My Plans" header says 102 days to go, which means it's actually exactly 100 days before I leave for my trip, since I'm driving down starting December 27. So what better time to do another pre-trip report entry?

    First, a couple of quick updates:

    - Since I last left you, I'm down 9 pounds. It's not exactly where I wanted to be, but it's progress, and I'm hoping I can continue to build on that progress in the coming weeks and months.

    - Since I last left you, I've also -- to no one's surprise -- already made modifications to my ADR plan. I moved the Fantasmic dining package to Jan. 1 (and canceled '50's Prime Time and Yak & Yeti) and subbed in the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!/Disney Movie Magic dual dessert party on the 29th. I added a BOG lunch reservation on the 30th, though I haven't canceled The Plaza yet (I'll end up keeping one or the other). I also snagged my Dessert Party reservation for fireworks at MK on the 30th -- and also reserved it on the 31st too, though I'll most likely end up canceling that and doing Epcot's fireworks instead. But I'm going to hold that reservation as long as I can. I also added the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast on my departure day, appropriately enough.

    - My Princess tattoo has gone from 0% complete when I first started this trip report to about 60% complete. Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, and Rapunzel are colored in (though Cinderella still needs some more blue in her dress), and Aurora, Belle, and Jasmine are outlined. It's been 16 hours in the chair so far, with probably another 10 to go.

    - Lastly, as I mentioned above, I'm definitely driving down to Florida for this trip. I'm excited about having my car at WDW, especially with the end of express transportation (which is really putting a crimp in my plans for doing all 4 parks on Jan. 1).

    But today, we're talkin' 'bout tickets. Not a game, not a game, not a game, we're talkin' 'bout tickets.

    As you can tell from my signature, I've been to Walt Disney World (and Disneyland... can't forget my West Coast peeps) a lot over the years. At least 20 times that I know of, with the vast majority of those trips lasting multiple days. And yet I have never paid for a ticket to enter a Disney park. Let me say that again, to make it 100% clear what I am saying.

    I have NEVER paid money to enter a Disney park. Ever.

    Now, obviously, that comes with a huge asterisk that is called "childhood." My parents paid for my admission into Disney parks every year when we went as a family when I was younger -- though they were also really good about finding ways to get us discounted (or even free) admission. We sat through a LOT of timeshare seminars and sales pitches to score tickets over the years, though it wasn't entirely for naught, since my parents did end up buying a timeshare at Orange Lake -- which was one of the reasons we kept going back to Kissimmee every Christmas. Then I hit that age where I was "too cool" for Disney, and so I stopped going (not that my family was going during that time either).

    Then in 2006 I took a job at ESPN, which is 80% owned by The Walt Disney Company. All ESPN employees are also TWDC employees, which means we get the same employee benefits (mostly), including complimentary admission. In the early years of my employment, going to WDW usually meant bringing my "Silver Pass" and my company ID to the ticket booth and swapping it for a ticket. Now most days I can literally just walk up with my MagicBand, which is linked to my "Main Entrance Pass" (the updated version of the Silver Pass) and scan right in. It's pretty cool, and it's the kind of thing that allows me to take so many trips a year, including some of these weird last-minute trips, like in May when I went down for the Pandora preview.

    However, I said I could do that MagicBand walk-in on "most days" because there are blockout days for employees, just like there are for annual passholders. Most often, the blockout days will only impact our guest passes or spouse entry on the main entrance pass, and sometimes it'll only be a single park (of the four at WDW) that's blocked out. On almost all of these days, Employee Self Admission is still valid. For example, there were a bunch of restrictions at Disneyland in July when D23 was happening, but ESA was still valid every day. That is not the case in late December. Not even close.

    The December blockout dates were posted a few weeks ago, and -- as I'd expected -- Dec. 24-31 had all sorts of blockouts. No MK at all for the entire week. No DHS on the 27th through the 30th. No Epcot on the 31st. No... restrictions at all on Animal Kingdom. So I was briefly looking at a trip where I had two options:

    - Spend just about every day of the trip at AK
    - Break down and, for the first time ever, pay for admission

    I considered flipping my DHS and Epcot days, so I could do Epcot for free on the 29th then DHS for free on the 31st, and I'd only have to pay for the 30th (January's blockout dates haven't been posted yet, but I've been told by some of my fellow CMs that everything should be clear for ESA on the 1st and 2nd).

    I even considered rescheduling the trip entirely, turning it into a pre-Christmas trip or a post-New Year's trip, but the former held no real special appeal for me, and the latter ran the risk that I could still be blocked out on those dates when they get released.

    Fortunately, another option came to the rescue: employee complimentary admission.

    Twice a year, we get two comp tickets that can be used at any park on any day with no blockouts, which generally don't expire for about 3 years. Because I'd never needed these for myself, I'd usually given them to family or friends to help them save money on their trips. They particularly came in handy back in March of 2014 when I got my sister, her husband and my niece in using my 3 normal guest passes, then used the comp tickets for my nephews. Of course, having been so generous (he says, patting himself on the back) with them over the years, I had none left for this trip. D'oh.

    But in my hour of despair (and I say that literally, as all the "considerations" from the preceding paragraphs happened in about an hour one night) my co-workers came to my rescue. One of them had all the passes I needed, so now not only am I covered for the 29th, 30th and 31st (and the 1st if it should be needed), but I also have a pass that would get me into MK on the 28th, should I decide to pay a visit to Cinderella's Castle after a long second day on the road.

    Now with the ticket crisis averted, I can get back to the fun stuff... like figuring out how I'm going to squeeze in all four parks (plus maybe a water park and a mini-golf course) in one day on January 1st. But I'll save that for a future trip report entry.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  8. Aermaia

    Aermaia Earning My Ears

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    I personally think you are making a mistake in not just spending every day of your trip in Animal Kingdom. Just saying. :duck:
     
  9. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

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    Trip Report, Episode VIII: The Dine Jedi (a.k.a. "How the Heck Does This Dining Plan Thing Work?")
    Building off the theme of my previous entry, this trip once again took a turn away from how I normally do trips when I found out some information regarding castmember discounts at table-service restaurants. Specifically, at the time I'm going, there aren't any.

    Well, that's not 100% accurate, since Disney has yet to announce the dining discounts for 2017-18, but based on my research, CM discounts at TS restaurants have been blocked out from Dec. 24-31 every year for at least the past five years, so I'm kind of expecting that to be the case again. This discovery got me to considering something I never had before: the Disney Dining Plan. I'd never considered it before because not only did it not seem like a good value for the cost when weighed against my normal discounts, but also because it's kind of a pain to book for CMs. First, we have to make our normal discounted hotel reservation, then we have to call a hotline where they book a new package reservation (with the same room rate) and cancel the original reservation -- but the deposit on the original reservation can take a few weeks to get refunded. Yeah, I know that doesn't seem like much of a big deal, but it's not as easy as just booking online (and, spoiler alert for the rest of this entry, it took about two hours on the phone last week to get it all done).

    OK, so with the CM discount out of the picture, I really had two options: cut back on some of my dining choices, or get the Deluxe Dining Plan, which would cover me for my four-night stay. I was leaning heavily toward the latter, especially after getting some incredibly helpful answers from the people on this very board.

    But, me being a spreadsheet/research fanatic, I wasn't going to make a final decision without crunching all the numbers. According to MouseSavers, the Deluxe Dining Plan for 2017 costs $106.68 per night, working out to $427.72 for a four-night stay (sadly, even though my stay stretched into 2018, I wasn't able to get the 2018 dining plan, which is about $10 more per night but includes an alcoholic beverage at each meal, making it an even better value for those 3-meal days). With that $427 as my target point, I looked over the menus at all the reservations I had to see if I could basically "come out ahead" by doing the dining plan instead of paying OOP (with the understanding that I'd have to cover tips OOP either way).

    So let's look at this day-by-day, taking into account a couple changes I'd made since I first made my dining reservations on Day 180 (I know, shocking development that my original reservation plan wasn't what stuck until December... I'm sure I'm the first person in WDW history to ever make plans at the 180-day mark and change them in the months before arriving at the park).

    December 29:

    Breakfast - None
    Lunch - None
    Dinner - None
    Dessert - Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party

    Welp, not off to a great start here. Originally I had the Fantasmic Dinner Package at HBD here, but I moved that to later in the trip to do the JBJB party, which also includes reserved viewing for Disney Movie Magic. It's pre-paid, and there's no dining plan option, so I'm in the hole $106.68 so far.

    December 30:

    Breakfast - Boma
    Lunch - Be Our Guest or The Plaza
    Dinner - Jungle Navigation Co.
    Dessert - Fireworks Dessert Party

    Again, the dessert party is pre-paid, so that doesn't factor in to the calculations. Also, despite the fact that I probably could eat two lunches, I'm obviously not planning on keeping both reservations (well, I might, but if I do it'll be to have a meal at BOG and an app/shake at The Plaza, so I wouldn't use a TS credit on the Plaza in that case).

    Boma is a breakfast buffet with a fixed $29.49 cost, so no need to scope the menu there. Moving on to BOG, it's a QS credit, so the $15.99 carved turkey sandwich plus a $3.29 soft drink comes out to $19.28. That's $48.77 through 2 meals, which seems about on track (not accounting for the day of nothing the day before). At dinner, I can start making up some value. A $9 Baladi Salad, a $34 Dr. Falls' Signature Grilled Steak (you'll see steak become a running them here), an $8 dessert -- whichever one I choose, they're all $8 -- and a $3 fountain soda adds up to $54, bringing me to $102.77 for the day. So here's the tally through two days:

    DxDP Cost: $213.36
    Meal spending: $102.77
    Deficit: $110.59
    TS credits remaining: 9 of 12

    December 31:

    Breakfast - Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
    Lunch - Chefs de France
    Dinner - San Angel Inn

    OK, here's the day that got me thinking that the DxDP might be worth it, because this was going to be a beast OOP with no discounts. The Akershus breakfast buffet, which is still only 1 TS credit, is $44. Admittedly, if I was paying OOP at Chefs de France, I'd probably skip the appetizers, but on the dining plan I'd be looking at the specialty flatbread at $12.99, plus the flat iron steak for $30.99, plus the Gateau au Chocolat (which looks DIVINE) for $9.75. Oh, and that stupid $2.99 soda, giving us a nice lunch total of $56.72, or about $50 more than I normally pay for lunch.

    I'm honestly not a huge fan of Mexican food, but there's enough at San Angel Inn that I should be fine. Looking at the menu, I'd probably end up going with the Empanadas ($12) for my appetizer, the Mole Poblano ($25) for my entree, my choice of dessert ($8) and the ever-popular soft drink (which isn't on the menu, but I'm assuming is $3 like it is everywhere else). That's another $48, bringing the total for New Year's Eve Day to $148.72 (plus, let's be honest, like another $200 for alcohol, but that didn't factor in to the DDP decision). Through three days, we're looking like this:

    DxDP Cost: $320.04
    Meal spending: $251.49
    Deficit: $68.55
    TS credits remaining: 6 of 12

    January 1:

    Breakfast - Cinderella's Royal Table
    Lunch - None
    Dinner - Hollywood Brown Derby Fantasmic Package

    When I set out to get my answers regarding the dining plan, one of them was specifically on how CRT worked if you'd already pre-paid. I was informed that you could convert your pre-payment to using the dining plan on site, and they'd refund your prepayment, but we're gonna put a pin in that for now.

    As I'd mentioned earlier, I moved my HBD Fantasmic reservation, and that's a two-credit meal covering $65 OOP. So after the 1st, here's the tally:

    DxDP Cost: $426.72
    Meal spending: $316.49
    Deficit: $110.23
    TS credits remaining: 4 of 12

    January 2:

    Breakfast - Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast
    Lunch - None
    Dinner - Artist Point Dinner

    My biggest question about the dining plan was whether I could use it on my departure day or not. I'd originally been told no, that it expired at midnight of my last night, but that quite frankly didn't make much sense, and multiple people on the board confirmed that yes, if I was checking out on January 2nd, then I had until midnight on January 2nd to use all my TS and snack credits (or just sit at a QS location at my resort and refill my mug every 15 minutes until I died of a soda coma).

    Originally I'd had Art Smith's Homecomin' on my reservation list, but one of the sites I was using said that wasn't on the dining plan -- something that turned out to be wrong -- so I swapped it out for something I'd always wanted to do, but never did because the OOP cost was so high: Artist Point. Bon Voyage Breakfast is $34 for the fixed menu, but that was just a tiny dent compared to what I was looking at for Artist Point. A $20 charcuterie platter for the appetizer, a $50 filet mignon for the entree, $12 donuts for dessert, and, once again, the $3 drink, and I'm at $85 -- most likely totally worth it, but you see why I'd kind of avoided this place as an OOP diner.

    So here's the updated (but not yet final, because there's one more twist), tally:

    DxDP Cost: $426.72
    Meal spending: $435.49
    Surplus: $8.77
    TS credits remaining: 1 of 12

    This was the point in the spreadsheet planning where I made the call to get the Deluxe Dining Plan. Dining OOP was going to cost me more than the plan, and that was before even accounting for the 8 snack credits or the refillable mug. But there was the matter of that leftover meal credit. The way I see it, I had three options:

    - Use it for three snacks on my departure day to stock up for the drive home
    - Commit to paying OOP for lunch on the 30th and exchange the two leftover credits for CRT on the 1st, thus getting a refund on my prepayment
    - Make another dining reservation

    I think you can figure out which one I did.

    Rather than staying with my parents in The Villages on the night of the 28th (about a 1-hour drive from WDW), I'll be staying with them at their timeshare at Orange Lake (about a 15-minute drive), so I decided to make a breakfast reservation at Cape May Cafe on the 29th, which accounts for the final TS credit (and adds about $36 of value to my surplus). Plus I'll be able to go straight from there over to Epcot (via the International Gateway), then later take a boat over to DHS for my evening activities. But, again, I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself on the minute-by-minute planning -- though FastPass+ Reservation Day is fast approaching. I can't wait!

    I'd love to know what you think of my dining plan, and I'm also open for suggestions to tweak/add to it -- especially if it's something that can get me more bang for the buck than my current BOG lunch reservation.
     
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  10. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

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    Messages:
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    Per MyDisneyExperience, today marks 88 days until my trip begins (which is really 86, since I'm leaving 2 days early to drive down). So what did I do to celebrate this random milestone? Booked another Disney trip, obviously!

    The dates were released for Magic Kingdom After Hours in 2018, and one of the nights happened two fall two nights after the Cavaliers visit the Magic in Orlando. Then two nights after MKAH, there's a D23 Magical Screening Series event, so the timing just worked out perfectly to put a 5-night trip together. Plus, by using airline points for the flight and DVC points for the hotel, I reduce my OOP costs to basically nothing.

    I'm leaving that week super unplanned (aside from the game, the ticketed event, and the movie), but the planning for December continues. 28 days until I can make my FastPass+ choices, and then I start over-planning my days down to the minute. Sometime between now and then I'll have another trip report entry on what I'm thinking for FP+ ideas, but I'm saddened by the fact that I'm out of Star Wars movie titles to use as my chapter headers.

    Also, if anyone wants to meet up from Dec. 29-Jan. 2 or Feb. 7-10, just let me know. In the meantime, I'll just keep passing the days by looking at the whiteboard at my desk:

    whiteboard.jpg
     
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  11. mbvisitor

    mbvisitor Mouseketeer

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    Messages:
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    I can't believe I've missed so many of your posts. The notifications seem not to be working. But I'm all caught up now.

    I like using the dining plan and pre-paying our meals. Seeing the bill at the end of the meal is enough to turn my stomach!

    Can't wait to see a pic of your tattoo when it's done.

    Did you hear that tixs went on sale for The VOID Star Wars VR experience at Disney Springs? Are you going to check it out? I bought tixs already! Can't wait!


    How is your FP planning going?
    I keep going back and forth between getting late morning FPs for the RD park we're in or the park we hop to in the evening. Can't decide!
     
  12. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    Trip Report, Episode IX: Ewoks vs. Porgs (a.k.a. "Planning the Plan: FastPass+ Decision Time")
    (Note: As the number of entries in this trip report have now exceeded the number of core "Star Wars" movies, the episode titles I'll be using from now on will be completely made up. Or will they? [They will.] [But be honest, you'd watch a two-hour movie that was nothing but a giant battle between Ewoks and Porgs. But I digress.])

    According to MyDisneyExperience, my trip begins in just 70 days, which means I have just 10 days left to make my final (note: not at all final) decisions on which FastPass+ selections I'm going to make. So let's jump right in to figuring that out.

    Dec. 28
    This isn't officially a trip day, which means I have to wait until the 30-day mark to make any selections. But as of right now my plan is to do 10-11 hours of driving on the 27th, leaving myself with 7-8 hours on the 28th. I've been keeping an eye out to see if a reservation opens up for the Frozen Dessert Party at Epcot, but failing that I think I'm going to target FP+ selections at Magic Kingdom (since no matter what, that'll be my first stop, so I can see the castle all lit up on the night I arrive). I know because I'll be picking at the 30-day mark, my FP+ choices will be more limited, but my priority selections for this night would be:
    - Splash Mountain
    - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    - Peter Pan's Flight
    - Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater

    I've never actually done the character meet with the talking Mickey, so I definitely want to do that on this trip. I'd also like to prioritize my two favorite outdoor rides, because it's special being on them at night, but I might also try and snag an FP for Peter Pan if by some miracle it's still available 30 days out.

    Dec. 29
    My first real trip day is also my first planning dilemma. I know I'm ending the day at DHS, but I'm not sure what I want to do as far as making my FP selections. Do I make them for later in the day at DHS, and go FP-less early in the day at Epcot? Or do I do three early FP picks at Epcot, then try and grab what I can as far as same day FP selections at DHS?

    Right now I'm leaning toward this: Do my Cape May breakfast in the morning, do character meets at Epcot World Showcase from 11-2, then stack up my DHS FP picks at 2-3, 3-4 and 4-5, before heading to the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM dessert party. If I do that, I'd probably line up the picks like this (assuming I'm lucky enough to get everything):

    2p - Tower of Terror
    3p - Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
    4p - Star Tours (where I assume I'll be able to see footage of the great Ewok/Porg war)

    Dec. 30
    This is the first of my full, single-park days, and the first day I have to work around dining reservations. Given that I'm planning on spending up to 14 hours at MK, I think I'm going to try and get 3 priority FP selections early, then keep grabbing a 4th as long as I can throughout the day (even if it means riding Dumbo like 7 times). The one thing that has me considering a different plan is that I really want to do Jungle Cruise at night, and I'm worried that there won't be any same-day FP availability for it (or, honestly for anything given the crowd size), but I'd feel silly doing two morning FP and one night FP then doing everything else standby if it turned out there were same-day FP picks available. As it is, my tentative plan is to try this:

    10:30a - Splash Mountain (again)
    11:30a - Haunted Mansion
    12:30p - Peter Pan (if I don't do it on the 28th) or It's a Small World

    That gives me a natural path through the park toward my lunch reservations, then I can enjoy the rest of the day from there.

    Dec. 31
    Epcot day! This is the only one that I feel I have a real solid grasp on my plan:

    8:25a - Breakfast at Akershus
    9:45a (approx) - Standby at Frozen Ever After
    11a - Mission: SPACE
    12p - Spaceship Earth
    1p - Soarin

    The one wrench in this plan would be if they actually have a FastPass option for the midnight fireworks. If that's the case, I'd 100% snag that (and deal with the fact I couldn't do any same-day FP picks) and just do Soarin on standby. I honestly don't mind the Soarin line, because the trivia game manages to capture my attention (and drain my battery, but I'll pick up a fuel rod or two to deal with that).

    Jan. 1 (I feel the need to share with everyone that I almost typed "Dec. 32" here)

    My original plan here was to try and hit all 4 parks in the same day, but the elimination of Express Transportation put a crimp in those plans. Still, I believe I can pull it off, with a little bit of smart planning. That planning will include only making a single FP selection, Na'vi River Journey around Noon. Then the plan will go like this:

    Breakfast at CRT at 9am
    Do the MK attraction with the shortest wait time after breakfast
    (Maybe sneak in a second attraction or a character meet if there's time)
    Drive over to AK
    Do Na'vi River Journey on FP
    Make a same-day FP at DHS for around 2:30 or 3
    Grab a snack as I cross the park
    Do Expedition Everest as single rider
    Maybe sneak in a character meet if I see one with a short line as I leave the park
    Drive over to DHS
    Do my DHS same-day FP (fingers crossed for Star Tours)
    Make a same-day FP selection at Epcot (Top choices: Mission Space, Figment, Nemo - I'm not crazy enough to think that Test Track, Soarin or FEA would have any availability left at this time)
    Late lunch/early dinner at Hollywood Brown Derby
    Try to squeeze in a character meet
    Take the boat from DHS to Epcot
    Grab a drink at the World Showcase (lookin at you Grand Marnier slush)
    Do the Disney VISA character meet
    Do the Epcot FP selection I landed
    Grab a snack somewhere at World Showcase
    Take the boat back to DHS
    Settle in for Fantasmic
    Depending on park hours that day, maybe head back to MK to finish out the night (or, ya know, get some sleep eventually).

    So the goals doing each park in one day:
    1. Do a ride or attraction
    2. Have something to eat (two meals, two snacks)
    3. Have an alcoholic beverage in the three non-MK parks
    4. If possible, do a character meet

    I'd love it if I could do all four in all four parks - though I'm not sure CRT will serve me a glass of champagne at breakfast (I'll at least ask). It'd really be the most magical way to start the year.

    Oh, yeah, there's one more day on the trip. But I'm not making any FP selections on my departure day -- and there's legit a 50/50 shot I cancel my Bon Voyage Breakfast reservation. I might just end up grabbing some beignets from Port Orleans, then heading over to Disney Springs to do some shopping. I really want to visit Trophy Room (Marcus Jordan's high-end sneaker boutique), and no trip to WDW is complete without spending some time at World of Disney. Plus, I know I'm going to spend way too much money at Pin Traders, and I'll probably grab tickets for the new Star Wars VR Experience there too. Then I have my Artist Point dinner at night, then it's off to my parents' house to say goodbye to WDW for... oh, 5 weeks.

    And since my past few entries have been very text heavy, I'll leave you with some updated photos of my tattoo. Fittingly, I got more work done on it today, and it should be done by the end of November.

    4C742AA2-1E80-427D-B82D-8DA96F55725C.jpeg 7E93949C-1EA5-4939-BA54-ECDBB2DBBAD9.jpeg 5810ECA0-00AD-4463-87F2-4E3A2E62278A.jpeg 40DD77CA-A196-4061-B1B2-200B49266F5A.jpeg 6563D2C3-ECC8-43A5-8FC7-DAC1F78841DB.jpeg 3D84C2F7-04EC-42C2-ABE7-242138044C7F.jpeg
     
  13. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    Well, less than 12 hours later, a reservation did open up on the 28th for the Frozen Dessert Party! So I'll be heading to Epcot on my pre-arrival day, which will be nice since I won't have to burn a park ticket for a partial day (I can use Employee Self Admission to get into Epcot on the 28th).
     
  14. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    Trip Report, Episode X: Kessel Run 2 - Run Harder (a.k.a. "The Too-Far In Advance Minute-By-Minute Plan")
    FastPass Day! It's FastPass Day!

    But first, some quick updates for everyone following along (and thank you for doing so. I appreciate everyone who reads these updates, even if you don't reply). I've lost 19 pounds since I started watching what I eat, which isn't quite where I wanted to be at this point, but isn't far off either (at least not enough to get frustrated by). This morning's weigh-in was 422, down from 441, and I think I can get under 400 by Dec. 27, when I pull out of my driveway and begin the 18-hour drive to WDW.

    Also, I have another tattoo appointment set for next week, which should bring all the main coloring to completion. From there it'll be one more appointment for final touchups, and I'll be done before the end of the month.

    Now, on to FastPass Day (yay!) which was today, not yesterday as I briefly believed. You see, when I made that reservation for the Frozen Dessert Party on the 28th, it threw off everything in MDE by a day. So the site told me yesterday was 60 days until my trip begins, which was technically true as far as reservations were concerned, but not true for hotel/FP purposes. Thankfully I didn't make any special plans to wake up early to make my FP reservations, so I wasn't too bummed when I couldn't do it on Sunday.

    This morning I didn't get to sleep until about 2 a.m., so I wasn't about to set an alarm for 7. I'm not nearly that dedicated (despite what this trip report would make you think). As it was, I ended up waking up at about 9:30, which is earlier than I normally would, but I decided that it would be a good time to just get up and start making some FP choices.

    I didn't bother with Flight of Passage, since even if I drop another 20-30 pounds by December, I'm pretty sure I still won't fit on it, but I was surprised to see that there were still FP options for it for each of the days of my trip (I checked just for research purposes). The only FP selection that was completely unavailable for any day I looked at was Illuminations on the 31st, and I'm pretty sure the FP was just for the 6:40pm show -- the 11:40pm show has a different name. I also decided to make FP reservations on the 28th (which opened up for me even though my hotel reservation doesn't start until the 29th). Once everything was said and done, I took a look at my FP reservations, my dining reservations and the various shows, parades and other options at WDW and started planning out my days at the parks minute-by-minute (or as close to it as possible). And here's what it looks like, with my FastPass+ selections in bold:

    Wednesday, December 27th
    - 9 a.m.: Leave West Hartford, CT
    - 1 p.m.: Grab lunch/fill up gas somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike
    - 6 p.m.: Grab dinner/fill up gas near Rocky Mount, N.C.
    - 9 p.m.: Stop for the night around Florence, S.C.

    Thursday, December 28th
    - 9 a.m.: Leave Florence, S.C.
    - 1 p.m.: Stop for gas somewhere around Jacksonville, FL
    - 4 p.m.: Arrive at Magic Kingdom parking lot
    - 4:30 p.m.: Actually arrive at Magic Kingdom after parking, tram, security, ferry, etc.
    - 4:40 p.m.: Take lots of pictures of Cinderella's Castle, because I love it and want to live there
    - 4:45 p.m.: Get in line for a ride near the middle of the park that has a wait time of less than an hour
    - 5:45 p.m.: Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater (FP window 5:10-6:10)
    - 6:00 p.m.: Visit the Enchanted Tiki Room (depending on show times and line length)
    - 7:00 p.m.: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (FP window 6:10-7:10)
    - 7:15 p.m.: Splash Mountain (FP window 7:15-8:15)

    - 7:25 p.m.: Take monorail to T&T (while doing this, I might try and snag a same-day Epcot FP, if any are still available)
    - 7:35 p.m.: Take monorail to Epcot
    - 7:45 p.m.: Arrive at Epcot. Take too many pictures of Spaceship Earth, because duh.
    - 8:00 p.m.: Do Test Track as Single Rider
    - 8:30 p.m. (approx): Do Spaceship Earth (pending wait time) or visit World Showcase
    - 9:30 p.m.: Check in for Frozen Ever After Dessert Party
    - 9:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.: Eat too many desserts and drink too many cocktails
    - 10:30 p.m.: VIP viewing of IllumiNations
    - 10:45 p.m.: VIP ride of Frozen Ever After
    - 11:00 p.m.: Monorail back to T&T
    - 11:30 p.m.-ish: Leave parking lot, drive to Orange Lake

    Friday, December 29th
    - 9 a.m.: Leave Orange Lake
    - 9:35 a.m.: Breakfast at Cape May Cafe
    - 11:00 a.m.: Enter Epcot via International Gateway, Meet Mary Poppins in the U.K.
    - 11:30 a.m.: Meet Alice in the U.K.
    - Noon: Meet Mulan in China
    - 1 p.m.: Take Friendship boat from Epcot to DHS
    - 1:30 p.m.: Arrive at DHS
    - 1:45 p.m.: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (FP window 1:20-2:20)
    - 2:25 p.m.: Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (FP window 2:25-3:25)

    - 3:30 p.m.: For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
    - 4:15 p.m.: Star Tours – The Adventures Continue (FP window 3:55-4:55)
    - 5:00 p.m.: Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party at Disney's Hollywood Studios
    - 6:00 p.m. (I think): Disney Movie Magic
    - 6:30 p.m. (I know): Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
    - 7:05 p.m.: Voyage of The Little Mermaid
    - 7:25 p.m.: Leave DHS
    - 7:45 p.m.: Finally arrive at Port Orleans - Riverisde
    - 8:00 p.m.: Pool time maybe?

    Saturday, December 30th
    - 8:45 a.m.: Leave Port Orleans, probably via Uber/Lyft
    - 9:10 a.m.: Breakfast at Boma
    - 10:10 a.m.: Finish breakfast, take bus to MK
    - 10:30 a.m.: Arrive at MK
    - 10:45 a.m.: Splash Mountain (FP window 10:15-11:15)
    - 11:15 a.m.: Haunted Mansion (FP window 11:15-12:15)

    - 11:30 a.m.: It's a Small World (depending on wait time)
    - 12:20 p.m.: Peter Pan's Flight (FP window 12:20-1:20)
    - 12:55 p.m.: Lunch at Be Our Guest
    - 2:20 p.m.: Post-lunch milkshake at The Plaza
    - 3:30 p.m.: Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade
    - 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.: TBD pending what I can get for same-day FP selections
    (I'll pretty much take the "next available attraction" any time I can get it, but my priority order, would be something like Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, Under the Sea, Enchanted Tales, Winnie the Pooh, PhilharMagic and so on...)
    - 8:05 p.m.: Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen Dinner
    - 9:15 p.m.: Probably one last stand-by ride
    - 10:40 p.m.: Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing
    - Midnight: Fireworks!
    - 12:30 p.m.: Take bus back to hotel

    Sunday, December 31st
    - 7:45 a.m.: Leave Port Orleans via car
    - 8:00 a.m.: Arrive at Epcot
    - 8:25 a.m.: Princess Storybook Dining Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
    - 9:45 a.m.: Standby on Frozen Ever After (if less than 90 minutes)
    - 11:15 a.m.: Mission: SPACE (FP window 10:35-11:35)
    - 11:30 a.m.: Single rider Test Track
    - Noon: Spaceship Earth (FP window 11:35-12:35)
    - 12:25 p.m.: Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
    - 1:00 p.m.: Soarin' (FP window 12:40-1:40)
    - 2:00 p.m.: Chefs de France Lunch
    - 3:15 p.m.: Impressions de France
    - 3:40 p.m.-6:30 p.m.: TBD pending what I can get for same-day FP selections
    (Again, I'll most certainly settle for "next available attraction", but my priority order would be: Mission SPACE again, Figment, Nemo, and the Film Festival again - still not crazy enough to think I could get a same day FP for FEA, Soarin or Test Track)
    - Also sometime between 3:40 and 6:30: Take a break in the DVC Members Lounge
    - 6:40 p.m.: IllumiNations early show
    - 7:15 p.m.: Enjoy some of the New Year's Parties around World Showcase
    - 8:15 p.m.: San Angel Inn Dinner
    - 9:30 p.m.: Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
    - 10:00 p.m.: Grab an adult beverage or two, find a good spot for the midnight fireworks show and sit back, relax and watch a movie on my phone
    - 11:40 p.m.: Fireworks!
    - 12:30 a.m.: Leave the park
    - Much, much later, thanks to traffic: Arrive back at Port Orleans

    Monday, January 1st
    - 8:10 a.m.: Leave Port Orleans via car
    - 8:25 a.m.: Arrive at T&T
    - 8:50 a.m.: Arrive inside MK
    - 8:55 a.m.: Let the Magic Begin Welcome Show
    - 9:00 a.m.: Fairytale Dining Breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table
    - 10:15 a.m.: Do the attraction with the shortest wait time in the area of CRT (looking at you Prince Charming Regal Carrousel)
    - 11:00 a.m.: Leave MK, drive to AK
    - 11:30 a.m.: Arrive at AK, do a character meet (there's usually one going on right near the entrance with a short wait time)
    - Noon: Na'vi River Journey (FP window 11:50-12:50)
    - 12:15 p.m.: Grab some of those ridiculously good hamburger pods in Pandora, plus one of those weird adult beverages with the bubbles in them
    - 1:00 p.m.: Festival of the Lion King (if the standby wait isn't terrible)
    - 1:45 p.m.: Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain (FP window 12:50-1:50)
    - 2:00 p.m.: DINOSAUR (FP window 1:50-2:50)

    - 2:15 p.m.: Leave AK, drive to DHS
    - 2:45 p.m.: Disney VISA Cardmember Character Experience
    - 3:45 p.m.: The Hollywood Brown Derby Dinner Fantasmic 1st Show
    - 5:00 p.m.: Some attraction at DHS that I get on a same day FP after getting in the DINOSAUR line (Star Tours on standby is the backup plan)
    - 5:40 p.m.: Voyage of The Little Mermaid (if I get that same day FP and don't have a long wait)
    - 6:15 p.m.: Head over to the Fantasmic theater
    - 7:00 p.m.: Fantasmic!
    - 7:30 p.m.: Grab an adult beverage and a snack and find a good spot for Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
    - 8:00 p.m.: Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
    - 8:30 p.m.: Leave DHS head to Epcot for EHM
    - 9:00 p.m.: Arrive at Epcot
    - 9:15 p.m.: Single rider Test Track? Or do some other attraction? No same day FP option during EMH so that's out
    - 9:45 p.m.: Character meet (probably Mickey and Pals, since that's definitely open late, but I'll flip to Baymax if he's still meeting this late)
    - 10:30 p.m.: Leave Epcot
    - 11:00 p.m.: Arrive back at Port Orleans, get some much-needed sleep

    Tuesday, January 2nd
    9:00 a.m.: Leave Port Orleans
    9:15 a.m.: Arrive at Boardwalk
    9:20 a.m.: Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast
    11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.: NOTHING! No Plans! I'm gonna do random stuff. Maybe I'll see a movie at Disney Springs. Probably squeeze in a visit to Company D if it's open. Maybe take a 2-hour nap in my car. I can have it all!
    6:00 p.m.: Leave wherever I am, drive to Wilderness Lodge
    6:35 p.m.: Artist Point Dinner
    8:00 p.m.: Take boat to MK
    9:00 p.m.: Happily Ever After Fireworks
    9:30 p.m.: Take boat back to Wilderness Lodge
    10:00 p.m.: Drive to parents' house, saying goodbye to Walt Disney World until I return five weeks later
    (Note: there's a good chance that I punt on the latter part of this and just head to my parents' house right after dinner, since I'll have two very long days of driving ahead of me)

    So that's the plan. I already have a headache thinking about how it's going to be blown to bits the moment I arrive in Orlando, but for now I'm very excited about it. Let me know what you all think, what else I should be targeting/making room for/etc. And if you're going to be at WDW during this time, let me know and maybe we can find a time to meet up. I know it seems like my schedule is packed, but outside of dining reservations and the nighttime shows, I'm really flexible on everything else.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
    Twilight Sparkle likes this.
  15. fallonkendra

    fallonkendra DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    915
    Great plans!

    We used the regular dining plan on our first visit to WDW, and we came out ahead by using it - but I think you'd have a difficult time getting me to buy it again. It just doesn't work with how I like to eat. I'm not always an appetizer, entree and dessert kind of person - sometimes I just want an appetizer and a dessert (or two haha). It looks like it will work out for you perfectly though!

    Love your tattoo! Can't wait to see the finished product!

    We will also be at Magic Kingdom on December 30th! We are flying in that day, so it'll be a bit later before we arrive to the park - and I know that's usually one of those days that reaches capacity, correct? I'm thinking we should be able to get in though, we are staying on site, we have FP's made (as of today!), and we have a dining reservation. I'd love to say hello to you that night! My fiance is also a writer (although he's in media - mainly commercials/imaging for radio, and occasionally voice work for TV commercials), and we both love sports! (Although you mentioned you mainly write about the NBA, and we're more into NHL - we gotta fulfill those Canadian stereotypes!).
     
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  16. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    Trip Report, Episode XI: The Rise of Emperor Jar-Jar (a.k.a. "Gearing Up With New Gear")

    It’s 2 a.m. and I’m wide awake because I ate too much leftover Halloween candy today, so I figure it’s time for another trip report entry. And it’s actually the perfect time, since one of the cool new things I got for this trip actually arrived earlier today.

    One of my recent Disney trip traditions has been buying new Disney-themed T-shirts to wear for my trips. Because of my size, I don’t have a lot of options as to where to buy my shirts, and Disney itself doesn’t offer many shirts featuring Princesses in men’s sizes anyway. Fortunately for me, Teepublic has an incredible assortment of great designs in a full range of sizes.

    I already have more T-shirts than I could possibly need, but for this trip I just had two get a few more. First up, a pair of shirts featuring my favorite princesses, Rapunzel and Ariel:

    929F3477-0E19-4CE0-98B0-5CCC8972C247.jpeg

    I usually get the designs on black T-shirts, but these both popped better on the blue, and I really wanted to introduce some variety to my color selection for my trips.

    I also grabbed these two designs that I fell in love with:

    6F31299E-971A-4D08-A308-1BE568392222.jpeg

    The one on the right, if you’re not familiar with it, is from “Enchanted”, which is probably one of my five favorite Disney movies ever (in fact, “Ever Ever After” is currently my alarm’s wake-up song). The one on the left probably needs a little more explanation.

    The Disney part of it is the reference to the Three Caballeros, which is easy enough to understand. But this particular shirt pulls its design from a jersey worn in the early 1970s by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who happen to be my favorite NBA team (thanks to this LeBron James guy you might have heard of).

    3236F5C0-069C-4998-A7B3-EFD5DE833B06.jpeg

    The Teepublic designer had the Caballeros T-shirt posted in the matching wine and gold, but the “wine” shirt (actually maroon on the site) wasn’t available in my size. Fortunately I had a backup option. In 2008-09, the Cavs used this design but with their 1980s blue instead of the wine for what they called their CavFanatic jersey that season.

    6FC6D1F1-43B1-418E-BD58-9310E96355CB.jpeg

    And, since the blue was available in my size, it was the perfect option for me. I fully expect almost no one at Disney World to understand that particular shirt the day I wear it, but I’ll get it, and that’s all that matters to me.

    Normally new T-shirts would be the extent of my pre-Disney shopping, but last week something else crossed my path that I just had to have.

    For a while now, New Balance has had a line of Disney-themed sneakers. I’d never considered buying a pair, because the designs didn’t appeal to me (mostly Cars and Toy Story themes), and I hadn’t actually worn a pair of New Balances in decades. But earlier this year, the company sent me a pair from their new Fresh Foam line (perk of the job). I wore them for my D23 trip, and they were easily the most comfortable shoe I’d ever worn at a Disney Park. I was all set to wear the same pair again in December when I got an email about their latest Disney collaboration: Beauty and the Beast themed sneakers!

    Sadly, upon visiting the site, I discovered they were only available in women’s sizes (seriously, companies need to realize there are dudes like me that like Princess stuff too). But the line went up to size 12, which is a men’s 10.5. I normally wear an 11, but based on how the previous NB shoes fit me, I figured a 12/10.5 might work. So I bought the one design that used the Fresh Foam midsole:

    96809B02-CECD-4F26-B101-2103DC626AE0.jpeg

    They arrived today and they fit great, and I’m so excited to wear them at the parks. I’m going to give them a good breaking-in next week, just so I know there won’t be any trouble spots in them. Assuming they pass the test, I’ll finally be able to say I’m in the Disney spirit from head (with my Elsa Ears) to toe (with my Belle shoes).
     
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  17. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    From what I’ve heard, if you have a resort reservation, you should still be ok to get into MK on the 30th. It’s unlikely it reaches a Phase 4 closure (especially since many APs are blacked out that day). So we should definitely find a time to meet up. I’d love to say hi and talk some hockey (fun fact: while in Oakland for the 2016 NBA Finals, I got to spend some time in San Jose also covering the 2016 Stanley Cup Final).
     
  18. fallonkendra

    fallonkendra DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    915
    I love your new princess shirts, Teepublic is a very dangerous site for me haha - they have so many amazing designs!

    I really enjoy your Cabelleros tshirt! I'm not a huge NBA fan, but I just like sports in general and will watch pretty much anything. I'm actually really excited, I've never been to an NBA game before, but I bought tickets for the January 6th game between the Orlando Magic and the Caveliers (I need to see Lebron play!). My dad and I will be going to that, my fiance is very jealous that he doesn't get to come, but he is running the full marathon on the 7th so he has to go to bed haha.

    I'm not a New Balance sneaker fan typically (I love my Asics), but I had to cave and buy a pair of the runDisney New Balances earlier this year, and I love them! They are perfect shoes for the parks, so light and comfortable. That Beauty and the Beast line is really cute!
     
  19. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    Ha, I actually considered extending my trip to see that game too, but I decided to go back in February instead to see the Feb. 6 Cavs-Magic game. It's two days before a Magic Kingdom After Hours event too, which worked out perfectly, timing-wise.
     
  20. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    Trip Report, Episode XII: The Other, For Real This Time, Last Jedi (a.k.a. "Solo on NYE? Won't You Be Lonely")
    45 days to go! So let's flash all the way back to 150+ days ago when I first started making my New Year's Eve at Disney plans...

    Back when I first booked this trip and started telling people about it, I got one question from pretty much everyone. Well, two questions, the first being "are you crazy?" (short answer: yes, a little bit, but that's besides the point). The other question I frequently was asked was "won't you be lonely?"

    Well, let's be honest, I'm going to be surrounded by thousands of people, so in no way will I be alone. So we can get that out of the way right now.

    But even beyond that, being lonely on New Year's Eve was never something that crossed my mind, because I'd become used to that as the status quo. I live alone and have done so for more than a decade (save for one six-month period where I shared my house with my mother before she retired and moved to Florida -- about an hour away from WDW, which is very convenient for me). I'd basically resigned myself to being alone for the rest of my life, and it wasn't something I was sad about, nor was it something I planned around. I'm quite used to going to restaurants, movies, parties, etc. alone and going to Disney World alone is no different for me.

    "Besides," I'd tell them, "if I'm going to be alone on New Year's Eve, I'd much rather be alone at Epcot than on my recliner." (Though, to be fair, I adore my recliner. It's super comfy.)

    Basically, being alone on a holiday where most people are surrounded by friends, family and loved ones never factored into my decision-making.

    Then something unexpected happened: I met someone.

    I wasn't even looking -- and, again, legitimately expected to spend the rest of my life alone -- and out of nowhere the most incredible woman in the world came into my life. We started off trading messages, then talking about various Disney plans, and that led to meeting in person after I got back from the D23 Expo. Soon we were talking every day and spending time together every week and out of nowhere something completely unexpected turned into an incredible relationship. Everything about it is great, except now I'm actually bummed that I won't be able to be with her on New Year's Eve, because that would've been a cool special moment for us to share together. And yes, I could certainly invite her along on this trip, but we'd have to pay for tickets, try to re-make all the dining reservations, and even figure out how she'd get down to Orlando (since, as a reminder, I'm driving and very few people are crazy enough to be like "yes, 20 hours of driving sounds like an awesome way to spend the days right after Christmas."), especially since that'd all be following a trip that she's taking with her family in November.

    So we're doing the next best thing. We'll each take our separate trips -- her in November, me in December -- then we're heading back to WDW together in February for our first "couple's trip". So, as weird as this sounds, I'll have the anticipation of that to keep me company on New Year's Eve (oh, and I'm sure we'll FaceTime plenty, assuming the signal isn't completely overwhelmed in the parks that weekend).

    Oh, also, (in the more frivolous part of the ongoing trip report) I'll have the princesses on my arm to keep me company. I had my second-to-last tattoo session last week, filling in Cinderella's birds, Jasmine's carpet, the Castle, and doing some other touch-ups. In a couple weeks I have one last appointment to fill in the background, then I'll be done (well, sort of -- my tattoo artist wants to go over Cinderella's dress with more color, but wants to wait 6-8 months to do it, to give the area time to fully heal before trying to fill it in again. But the color shows pretty well in that area right now).
     
  21. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    Trip Report, Episode XIII: Vader vs. Jason (a.k.a. The Not-Quite-Final Countdown)
    Back when I first started this trip report, I had over 200 days to go until the trip began. And now we're here:

    upload_2017-11-28_20-47-16.png

    My hotel is booked (and checked into via online check-in), my dining reservations are made (and have been remade, adjusted and I think are finally settled), my FastPass+ picks are booked, so now all that's left to do is... nothing?

    Oh, not remotely.

    With 30 days to go (really 28 until I leave and 31 until I check in), I can fully shift into "Disney prep" mode at home. In fact, I pulled out my suitcase the other day (to get to something behind it in my storage closet) and thought "hey, maybe I should just leave it out and start packing some stuff." I didn't, but I can't promise that won't happen in the next couple days. Instead, for now, my Disney prep will focus on two things:

    1. My Pre-Disney Diet
    I've backslid a little bit on the weight loss plan, but with 30 days to go, it's time for me to get serious. That means from now until the day I leave for Disney World, I'm going full no carbs, no sweets, no soda (well, I'll try my best on the no soda, but that's always the hardest thing for me to give up). I once did a version of this diet for a year, so a month shouldn't be a problem, especially knowing my reward is lots of fun dessert parties at WDW.

    2. My Pre-Disney Immersion
    Whenever I do a Disney trip, I try to make sure I put myself in the mood (not that I'm not always in the mood) by rewatching some Disney favorites. Last year I actually watched nearly every Walt Disney Animation Studios film in the six weeks leading up to my trip. I wasn't going to go that far again this year, but I have planned out a viewing plan to watch one Disney movie per day between now and the day I arrive at WDW. This time, I'm not limiting myself just to the 56 WDAS movies, instead branching out to include live action. I thought about including Pixar, but I'd just finished re-watching all of those over the past couple months, and I decided not to include the Marvel Cinematic Universe since there's so little Marvel representation at WDW anyway. So I settled on a set that includes the 11 official Princess movies (so there's one Pixar one, obviously) plus Frozen and Moana, the live-action remakes/reimaginings of the Princess movies, the movies based on park rides and attractions, and then some other hand-selected favorites to round out the field of 30.

    Here's the schedule, which will start tonight once I get home from work:

    11/28/2017: Pinocchio
    11/29/2017: Big Hero 6
    11/30/2017: Wreck-It Ralph
    12/1/2017: Snow White
    12/2/2017: Cinderella
    12/3/2017: Cinderella (Live Action)
    12/4/2017: Sleeping Beauty
    12/5/2017: Maleficent
    12/6/2017: The Little Mermaid
    12/7/2017: Beauty and the Beast
    12/8/2017: Beauty and the Beast (Live Action)
    12/9/2017: Aladdin
    12/10/2017: Saving Mr. Banks
    12/11/2017: Mary Poppins
    12/12/2017: Pocahontas
    12/13/2017: Mulan
    12/14/2017: The Princess and the Frog
    12/15/2017: Tower of Terror
    12/16/2017: The Country Bears
    12/17/2017: Brave
    12/18/2017: Tangled
    12/19/2017: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
    12/20/2017: The Haunted Mansion
    12/21/2017: Frozen
    12/22/2017: Moana
    12/23/2017: Tomorrowland
    12/24/2017: Flight of the Navigator
    12/25/2017: The Nightmare Before Christmas
    12/26/2017: Lilo & Stitch
    12/27/2017: Enchanted

    There were some obvious choices for dates (doing Nightmare Before Christmas on Christmas, or Frozen on the Winter Solstice) and I knew I had to end with "Enchanted", the night before I actually get to Disney World. And I'm excited to spend Christmas Eve with "Flight of the Navigator", which was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid, but I probably haven't watched in 20 years. And now suddenly I'm just hoping that watching it again as an adult doesn't completely ruin my memories of it.

    So that's how I'm spending the month leading up to this trip -- well, that and planning for my February trip. How are you all getting ready for the next time you visit The Most Magical Place on Earth?
     
    mbvisitor and Twilight Sparkle like this.

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