Disney Countdown: Week 12

AHH! What happened to all the other weeks? They've been consume by WedCon planning, work, health issues and Mike Wazowski (see the cat blog). 

Disney can now become a focus once more, hopefully. I need to re-evaluate the content in my timeline and get rid of the non-essential planning that was put in primarily for fun. I'm also going to need to chop about a third of the movie list off, as we haven't been doing a good job of that lately. 

Things I have done: changed around some of our reservations, got the okay from my supervisor to take the time off, and sorted out who will cover my work while I'm gone. We still haven't nailed down who will take care of the the fur children, though.

There are some refurbs I will need to remove from the plans (such as the train) and some new things I need to add (like the Muppets history show).

Disney Countdown: Week 20

We have only 20 weeks to go! How exciting! If you are planning your own Disney trip, please let me know in the comments below. Also, if you have any specific aspects of planning you'd like me to cover, I would love some suggestions for posts.

Liner Pins!

My Liner pins arrived! I got two of exactly the same pin. One will serve as a backup, in case I lose the other. The phrase on the pin is very true- I definitely wait less thanks to Lines (and the Unofficial Guide).

Custom Ears

I had another splurge on items for my Disney trip this week. I had been wanting a pair of ears from Mila Mouse, but she only opens her website for orders occasionally, at very specific times. If you don't order quickly, you'll likely miss out on the ones you want.

I was refreshing the page until it opened, and I still missed a pair that I wanted (Spaceship Earth). So I snagged Finding Dory and Haunted Mansion instead.

Goal Update

It's time to take another look at my list of goals to see which ones I need to work into my touring plan. Also, I plan to add reminders and suggestions for goal completion in my touring plans.

Here is what I have...

Goals for 2017 WDW Trip:

  • Record ride order on park map to help remember my trip details better- Still works!
  • Eat a Disney Cupcake (that’s not the Grey Stuff, already tried that)- Keeping thisone!
  • Do Pick-A-Pearl in the Japan Pavilion- Definitely in the plan!
  • Get at least three character autographs- I'm hoping to get more than this, but this is good start.
  • Buy a pair of earrings from a country in the world showcase (not Mexico, already have a pair)- Still doable.
  • Ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train- I'm so looking forward to this! I've seen enough ride videos, and read enough feedback that I'm not scared at all!
  • See Festival of the Lion King- Can't wait for this either!
  • Watch the Main Street Electrical Parade- I'm so sad, but I will need to remove this. No more MSEP!
  • Take photos and record useful information for three excellent experiences with Cast Members, so I can give them a shout-out- Definitely doing this!
  • Three photos of us (either Jimmy or I) per day- And this!
  • Be a Fairy Godmailer for the Lines community- And probably this too.

Okay, it looks like my goals are mostly still going to work. I just have to lose the Main Street Electrical Parade. I'm going to add reminders to my touring plans for some of these...For example, the photos and info of cast members I'd like to acknowledge..I'm going to add reminders in my touring plan under Notes (either in a break or on specific rides). Even if I don't use them at that time, they can keep me thinking of it. Other goals, such as Festival of the Lion King and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train I can incorporate easily into the touring plan without having to remember them. For the goal "Three photos of us per day", I can add in suggestions for places to take the photo (in front of the castle, with a character, with a particular attraction/decoration/scenery item, etc...) It's important to keep these goals in mind as I make my plans.

Touring Plans

Speaking of plans, my strategy for making my Magic Kingdom plans is to break each of our three days down to the following components:

  • 11 attractions (each attraction will appear once in the touring plan)
  • 1 character venue (such as Mickey's Town Hall)
  • 1 lunch plan
  • 1 parade/fireworks/castle-show

All of the above will be completed before 5pm (unless its fireworks), and the remaining time will be spent on dinner (I'll just list suggestions), as well as additional rides that have a low-wait time or that we just want to do again. By having our plans end early, we can decide when we are ready to leave the park. If we have plenty of energy we can ride whatever rides we want, but if we are exhausted (or wet from rain/Splash Mountain), we can leave early without messing up our touring plans for subsequent days.


Disney Countdown: Week 21

Only 21 weeks until our Disney trip!!! My excitement has been rejuvenated by working on my touring plans.

The black blog in the left corner is Fred! See the end of the post for a blooper.

The black blog in the left corner is Fred! See the end of the post for a blooper.

Breakfast at Garden Grill

Jimmy & I are jumping out of our food "comfort zone" and we made an Advanced Dining Reservation for breakfast at the Garden Grill.

Why is this out of our comfort zone?

  • It's Breakfast- Jimmy and I aren't breakfast food sorts of people...he usually eats cheerios, and I usually have toast. We don't like big breakfasts, even when vacation. Actually, especially when vacationing! Why do we want to waste valuable touring time with food that we typically find mediocre? Last time, we grabbed easy items like muffins, croissants and fruit from our hotel's quick service dining. This year, we plan to bring our own food (yay, driving!)....granola bars, pop tarts, fruit, etc...
  • It's Character Dining- Character meals are also not our shtick. We are pretty introverted so our character interactions are usually few and awkward. Also, the presence of characters tends to make the meal more pricey- not something we are usually willing to pay for.
  • It's Family Style- If you aren't familiar with this style, it is all-you-can-eat (like a buffet), but served to your table. Jimmy and I are light eaters...we tend to share meals, and we prefer a smaller meal with a snack a few hours later. On our last trip, we found the buffet meals to be our most expensive meals and they had the least value. 

Why are we doing it then?

  • First in Line for Soarin'- Our reservation is pre-"rope drop" meaning we'll be in the park having breakfast before the park opens. The Garden Grill is in the land pavilion near Soarin' (a very popular ride) and we'll be able to jump in line for Soarin' before the hoards of people enter the park. With the addition of the new Frozen ride, there's going to be more long-line forming attractions than there are available Fastpasses, so it is important to get in line early.
  • Highly Recommended- I got this idea from Shannon at WDW Prep, but I've heard several other people report the same experience since then. Shannon highly recommended the experience for the food, but also said that they were able to actually ride Soarin' before the park opened with no wait. Several other people have reported great food, a fabulous time, and getting to ride Soarin' early.
  • It seems pretty enjoyable- The food has been described as very good, and the menu has options that both Jimmy & I will partake in. I've eaten at the Garden Grill, but not for well over a decade. The restaurant rotates (slowly, hardly noticeable) which gives a fun view of the Living with the Land ride. In addition, the "harvest" theme of the characters (adorable farmer Mickey) is very appealing.

You can check out the official Disney description here (with photos): https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/garden-grill-restaurant/

And here you can find a review of the Garden Grill (with food pictures):http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2015/11/10/review-chip-n-dales-new-harvest-feast-breakfast-at-epcots-garden-grill/

I really hope they are still serving the cinnamon buns with vanilla icing when we go...Jimmy will be all set! Me? I'll be good with the fruit and potato barrels (aka breakfast tater tots!).

Have you eaten at the Garden Grill? Do you do breakfast on vacation?

Main Street Electrical Parade: Live Stream

As I've mentioned before, one of my trip goals will not be accomplished because they decided to stop the Main Street Electrical Parade :::sniffle::: They couldn't have waited four more months?!

Anyway, I was able to see some of the floats this week on a recent Disney Live Stream. I feel like some chunks of it were not shown, and they spent too much time interviewing people about the parade. Yes, I know it's good, Disney, so let me watch it. Also, if it is so good, why are you getting rid of it?! But, it was still fun to watch.

Chase Rewards Card

All of our daily expenses are put on a Chase Disney Visa that I pay off on a weekly basis. This gives me Disney-specific cash back (as well as an adorable Finding Nemo credit card). It also gives bonuses like a special Character Meet & Greet line. To spend the rewards in Disney, you get a rechargeable rewards card. They suggest ordering this well in advance of your trip, in case there are any delays with its arrival. After you have a card, you can continue to add more rewards money on to it via the website. This week I ordered my card!

Lines Pin

I talk about the Touring Plans website and it's fellow Lines app all the time (here and on the old blog). Touring Plans meshes well with my style of Disney vacationing. Consequently, the people on their chat app (Lines) I love chatting with because they are like-minded folks. Lines is great for when you are in the parks (they answer *all* sorts of Disney questions very fast) and when you are not in the World and missing Disney (hear about other people's trips, and help answer their questions!).

Folks on the Lines app call themselves Liners. They also like to look out for each other in the parks. A custom pin was designed for us and placed on Zazzle, so that we can identify each other in the parks. I ordered mine this week (thanks to a sale!).

Liberty Tree Tavern

I'm debating on whether to add another table service to our plan. We had a great time at Liberty Tree Tavern on our last trip. We will be in the Magic Kingdom for three days. I adore MK, it's now my favorite park, but it has a pretty crappy food selection. I'm thinking of replacing one of the crappy quick service places with an LTT ressie if I can get one. Of course, the real reason I want to do this is because when they call you when your table is ready they announce where you are from. Last time, we were the Davidson's from the territory of Ohio. I'd really like to hear them call us now that we are from Virginia!

This week I plan to continue reading the Unofficial Guide, mess around with Touring Plans more (I keep deleting and restarting as I change my mind), maybe clean some pennies, and work on my Disney binder.

Fred did not want to let me take photos of Duffy and ShellieMay this morning! I needed to pet him!

Fred did not want to let me take photos of Duffy and ShellieMay this morning! I needed to pet him!

Disney Countdown: Week 22

Whoa! It has been 10 weeks since I've posted my last countdown post. Life- new job, the process of selling out old house, a small first floor flood, and many other things- has kept me away. However, you may have noticed that the blog posts have been working their way back into my routine. As things settle down, I'm able to find more time to blog. And as Disney grows closer the more I want to talk about it. Blogging also helps organize my thoughts and planning strategy.


Our 180 day mark has already passed, and I've already made our dining reservations. 

We have lunch table service reservations at Skipper's Canteen, Coral Reef, 50's Primetime Cafe, Yak & Yeti and Be Our Guest. We also have a pre-rope drop breakfast reservation for the Garden Grill!

Updated Guide Book

My copy of the 2014 Unofficial Guide has been missing since the movie. I decided to use that as an excuse to buy an updated one! I now have the 2017 guidebook, which I will read happily from cover-to-cover during my lunch breaks for the next couple weeks. 

Attraction & Show Changes at WDW

I desperately need to post a news update because lots of changes have occurred recently at WDW. Many of which have impacted my touring plans. The Jungle Book and much of the nighttime entertainment at the Animal Kingdom will not be continuing this fall. This means AK will close at 6:00pm. I'm not sure what this means for our dinner prospects. 

Sum of All Thrills and another attraction are closing in Innoventions leaving a single display left in the pavilion in Epcot.

The Main Street Electrical Parade has also been canceled. As you may recall, seeing the MSEP was one of my goals for this trip. Sadly, that will be another goal that I need to remove.

A Stash of Quarters

I found a bunch of quarters in a box we hadn't gone through yet from the movie. I'm pretty sure these were from my yard sale last summer. Regardless of their origin, I now have a pile of quarters that I can use for my pressed penny mini M&M tubes!

Movie Updates

I've been updating our movie list on a regular basis. You can see it on the Disney page. 

The above is just a brief overview of the Disney planning that has been going on over the past 10 weeks. I'm getting deep into planning my touring plans now, so I will be going into more detail on those soon. 

Disney Countdown: Week 32

New Touring Plan Strategy

My favorite part of Disney planning- creating touring plans! 

My previous plan (for our canceled trip) was to focus on specific areas inside of each park each day (for parks we were visiting more than once) in an effort to absorb the unique atmospheres of each land better. This is STILL going to be my strategy. However, I'm changing my "save the best for last" mindset. I had originally planned to do the parts of the parks I love the most on the later days in an effort to prolong the excitement. Recently, I've been having doubts about this plan...rides go down all the time...particularly older attractions, like Pirates. 

After discussing it with Jimmy, we decided we should do the opposite...start with our favorite lands first, and go backwards. This way if something we love is down the first day, we still have time to catch it. 

I had started working on our first day, in the Magic Kingdom, with Tomorrowland. Now, I'll be reworking the plan. The first thing we'll be doing on Day 1 after rope drop is heading to Adventureland! 

On this trip, we are planning on taking more time to appreciate the atmosphere, and also a lot of the smaller attractions we missed last time. We plan on riding Dumbo and Prince Charming's Carousel. Jimmy *may* have convinced to go on the tea cups (he also may regret that decision when he has to deal with the aftermath!). I also plan on doing more character meet n' greets. We plan on skipping some things we did last time that we didn't find hugely enjoyable. We found Space Mountain uncomfortable on our last trip, so we may give it a pass. Jimmy doesn't enjoy the 360 movies, so we'll be skipping O, Canada and Reflections of China. We also may skip the Stitch ride (it's mediocre), and possibly some shows at Hollywood Studios. 

Movie Updates!

We've been blowing through the list now that we have a library card! We've recently watched Ratatouille, Brave, The Muppet Movie and Pinocchio. This weekend we'll be checking on Finding Dory. I'll be posting an updated move list on the main Disney page.

Are you planning a Disney trip? Tell me about it in the comments!