Trip Prequel: Decisions, Decisions

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

What are you doing on Saturday, September 3rd around 10:30am? Jack Spence and I are co-hosting a meet-and-greet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in front of Dinosaur (the attraction). Help us bring back an Iguanadon and act nonchalant to Phylicia Rashad’s warning. Free AllEars.Net trading cards to those who attend.

Adults, as measured by age, aren’t required to give reason or explanation for repeatedly soaking up the sun, tasting worldly treats, and galavanting from attraction to attraction. Yet, in some instances, honest-to-goodness rationale exists, albeit from the high-pitched cartoony voices in one’s head. I didn’t say MY head, I said one’s head. I only hear my own voice and it is undeniably correct and extraordinarily funny. My dad, who has known me my entire life (funny how that works), dared to inquire, “Why are you going again?” “I ran out of photos for my blogs.” was and still is my response…this time.

Once I established that I was indeedally doo going back, I set my dates around Labor Day weekend. The office will be closed on Labor Day, giving me (along with my co-workers, bosses, and stapler) a 3-day weekend. Flying out on Friday evening would fascilitate an early departure from work, so I booked my flights.

The next step was to find some friends to join me. I asked around and got one lame excuse after the other. “I don’t have any extra money and I’ll be back in school” lamented Tracy who is studying to be a nurse. Erin (Queen of Menus) is saving her Disney Dollars for A December to Remember, AllEars.Net’s 15th Anniversay festivities. (I’ll be home shoveling snow no doubt) Thankfully my GOOD friend Terri signed on to join me, so quickly in fact that she nearly ran straight to the airport. lkb-Terri-KermieEars.jpg
Last year at Stage 1, the Muppet shop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Immediately, we started tossing around ideas. No, we started asking monumental questions and answered them with other questions. Should we rent a car? How much are they now? Where will we stay? Will we get upgraded to the Polynesian? How about the Disney Dining Plan? Is it worth the cost? How many suitcases will we need? Will we hit the outlet store? You get the idea.

Terri said, “I have had such Disneyitis that I fear that upon arrival I may collapse on a bench on Main Street, U.S.A in a catatonic state!”

Within minutes we started actual planning. Seriously. We simultaneously read menus. I checked park hours and Extra Magic Hours then cross-referenced them against projected crowd levels on Terri put together a plan of action and an altenate plan of action. We’re just that…good?

Yes, of course we’d love an upgrade to the Polynesian Resort. Does the room comes with a Hawai’ian hunk…uhhh…I mean…a…host?

I said, “My Studios To Do List: Beauty & the Beast, Streetmosphere, Little Mermaid, Star Tours, American Idol, Toy Story, Phineas & Ferb, and the Muppet store.

Four days later we were booked into a value resort (annual pass discount) with the Disney Dining Plan (full price) by Margaret Johnson of Mouse Fan Travel. I rebooked one leg of the trip for an earlier departure. Guess which one! Correct. Now I’d be leaving work after a long and tedious 3 hours. Rough, I know.

Terri said, “So how many times are we gonna ride Dumbo to try and get a glimpse behind the construction walls to the new Fantasyland expansion? I wonder if we will be able to see any of it from TTA and if the Toon Town train station will be closed. All very important things to worry about for the next 47 days.”

Renting a car became more and more of a deep desire. The average rate I found was $54/day for a compact. Uh, that’s absurd. I tried bidding on a rental and was denied. Several days later the same company, pitched by Captain Kirk’s alter ego, sent me an offer. If I bid on a standard size car, they would tack on $4/day out of their pockets. With little to no hope, I “spun the wheel” with $14.00 which was upped to $18.00/day with their promotion. It was accepted. I couldn’t believe it. Can you say, such a steal?! Dude.

Things were going well until I decided to check Southwest again (the next day) and found the cost of the earliest flight south was on sale for $2.00 more than I had initially paid for the afternoon flight. I had to do it! You understand. With my friend Terri on the phone (rooting me on), I switched once more and grabbed a seat just in case I could get the entire day off. Luckily for me, my boss likes me and approved it, ya know, after I looked like a sad puppy and he tormented me by turning calendar pages in slow motion.

I said, “Good news! That outlet mall is having a Labor Day weekend sale. Hopefully Disney’s Character Premiere will participate and since we’ll be there the day it starts – more selections for us! Yippy!”

We moved quickly and strategized some more including Advanced Dining Reservations, ADRs to most of you and YMCAs to me. Why? Eh, why not. Even counter service locations were discussed especially around World Showcase. Terri wants Mexican food. I like Mexicanos pero voy a comer en Japon. Where will we stuff ourselves the day of our arrival given that now we plan to shop and pick up groceries? I’m still not sure. Everything from the hotel food court to Planet Hollywood to Sweet Tomatoes has been suggested.

Our table service (Oh, garcon!) meals consist of me re-trying a restaurant I haven’t been to in so long that I can’t remember the last time I was there. A character meal neither of us has tried before, and a very popular location I have never ever been to cuz no one’s ever suggested it to me. Cryptic I know but my mom has spies. Everywhere I go…”Hi. I know your mother.” “Oh, you’re Sheryl’s daughter.” Yep and they don’t even use Kimmunicators.

Hoy me voy para Mexico.

Two weeks ago my brain kicked into planning gear again. Closer examination, a calculator, and non-stop e-mails later, I realized that Terri and I have to renew our annual passes upon arrival. The Making Memories Package includes Magic Your Way base tickets that are upgradable. For very little additional funds, we could upgrade to a higher class resort (no Daisy Dukes permitted) and get a free photo album filled with pics taken of my friend and I (but mostly me and Aladdin(s)) by PhotoPass shooters. A little persuasion and Terri fell for it. That is, she concurred with my findings. Got the word out to our travel (top secret) agent Margaret Johnson (that’s M-a-r-g-a-r-e-t space J-o-h-n-s-o-n) and voila! Disney took more of our money. That was easy.

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6 Replies to “Trip Prequel: Decisions, Decisions”

  1. You know the voice in my head sounds a lot like your post! I think maybe we have all had a little too much Disney Kool-aid or not enough in my case! Have fun during my favorite time of the year at my favorite place in the world! If I was not working I would be there playing too!

    Lisa responds: Scary, huh? My thoughts are copywritten. You should copyright yours, too, before the other voices try to take credit.

  2. So exactly what hotel lobbies will you girls be stalking? You just never know who might show up. Enjoy and have a wonderful time, I cannot wait to see your pictures and keep up with your good times.

    Lisa reponds: You’ll have to wait to find out, Sheryl. Ha!

  3. Lisa, Lisa, Lisa… I do so adore your posts!
    And your photos too! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful trip to the best playground on earth!


    Lisa (me) responds: Lisa (you), thanks for reading. I plan to run amuck, it only makes for funnier trip reports.

  4. Wow! You just put in writing everything that goes through my head when we book our Disney vacation. You are far braver than me. I would be afraid my family would think me completely nuts and they probably would be right. We booked back in April for an October arrival and immediately I start hitting this site, like, 2 or 3 times a day (as opposed to my usual daily visit). I pestered my family about where they would like to eat, any special events, etc, because, oh yes, I drag my WHOLE family with me.

    So thank you for sharing with me that I am not alone in my fixation. I mean, love of Walt Disney World vacations. And enjoy yourself!

    When will you guys ever have a meet and greet the end of October or beginning of November? That’s when we always go and there are NEVER any! It would be a blast to meet you guys! Have fun!

    Lisa responds: Hi Claire. Thanks for reading. I know I’m not the only diligent planner out there. Meets tend to take place whenever a few of us are around and since we live in various states with jobs, families, and parole officers*, it doesn’t happen as often as we’d like.

    *I’m kidding.

  5. I really don’t understand why you couldn’t stay an extra day so I could have been part of the planning! We had a blast with you two last year at Halloween. Great blog, enjoy your trip, we will catch you another time.

    Lisa responds: Feel free to come in a day early. I had a great time with you guys, too. It is one of my all-time favorite Halloweens.