Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pre-Trip Report! Giddy Up!

I don't know why I said used the phrase, "Giddy Up" in my title.  It just felt right.  I'm expressing my excitement to announce my upcoming trip to Walt Disney World!

After being bummed for months about unexpected medical bills (Health Savings Accounts suck... by the way) we decided that there isn't any reason that we couldn't still take a vacation.  We're just paying off the medical bills at a slow rate... I mean, there isn't any interest so whatever.  We want to live, dangit!

This trip is going to be a first for me.  Yeah, my husband, Matt, is going but we're also taking Disney newbies!  We have a couple that we often do things with and we all decided that it would be fun to take a trip together and Disney just seemed like the perfect spot.  I won't keep you waiting... here is the cast.

Stacey:  ME!  Duh.  In case you are new to my blog and don't know much about me... I'll give you the run down.  I'm 23 and I'm an absolute Disney freak.  100%.  No hiding it.  I work at a bank (....yeah) but I also have a side job writing for  It's basically like I'm living in a dream writing for folks I've admired for years.  I'm also married to...

Matt:  My husband of 4 years.  He puts up with my Disney obsession and he "gets it" like I do.  I never have heard him go, "Ugh, Disney World... again?"  His reaction is, "I can't wait for Tower of Terror!"  He is 27 and works security for a pharmaceutical company.

Barbara:  I met Barbara all the way back when I was 16 and she was 17.  We both had meet and greets for Kelly Clarkson.  True story.  That's where we met.  7 years later, we've grown to become quite great friends.  Barbara has the most awesome job... she sells wedding dresses!  A real life Say Yes to the Dress.  Her 24th birthday falls on our trip!  For the past year and a half she's been dating...

Ben:  What to say about Ben.... he's rad.  He does screen printing for a living and loves bikes and beer.  Ben and Matt have really clicked which we are so thankful for.  They spent the 4th of July blowing up firecrackers in our back yard.  Please don't call the cops on us.  ;)

Here are some random shots of the whole crew!

Barbara has only been to Walt Disney World once... back when she was 10.  A lot has changed since she's visited the land of Mickey Mouse.  And Ben has NEVER been!  You can imagine how much my mind is exploding at the idea of being able to show to virtual newbies around.

Barbara's co-worker is actually a Disney cast member and offered to get us a discount on rooms, dining, and park tickets.  We originally had desired to stay at Pop Century and it was even available to book at 40% off!  But, we waited one whole week and of course...  it wasn't available when we went to book.  I found this out while playing Bingo at the American Legion with my mom.  I knew we needed an extra $135 to upgrade to a moderate resort or else, stay at All-Stars.  Funnily enough, I walked out of Bingo with $175 bucks in my pocket.  We are now staying at Caribbean Beach Resort.  :)

We're leaving October 6th, A Thursday, and coming back October 11th, a Tuesday.  This is the first time that we won't be using a park hopper.  We decided not to spend the extra money since we are on a budget.  I'm not too fearful about this except if Disney decides to not extend nightly Fantasmic! runs.  Barbara's coworker is getting us a slight discount on our park tickets.  We're also nabbing a cast member discount on the Disney Dining Plan.  We haven't booked this part yet and won't until August 13th.  We were told that the standard DDP discount for a cast member is 40% but when we call back to book there is a chance it could be 50% off.  Either way, that is WAY less than what we'd be paying for dining if we had to shell out full price... on or off the DDP.

Of course, within days of deciding on our travel dates I made sure to figure out what Advanced Dining Reservations I'd need to book for our group.  Barbara and Ben gave me two restaurants they were really interested in eating at and luckily, they are two of Matt and I's favorites!  My goal was to try one new restaurant that I've never been to.  Without having park hoppers, I really had to have my schedule solid before I booked our ADRs.  This is what I came up with...

Arrival Day - Our flight leaves around 8:00 a.m. and we'll be into Orlando by 11:00 a.m.  Taking the Magical Express to Caribbean Beach Resort and then heading off to Epcot.  Dinner is at Biergarten.  I really wanted to start the trip off with a super fun restaurant with atmosphere that sort of said, "Welcome to Disney World!"

Day 2 - Disney's Hollywood Studios with dinner at 50's Prime Time Cafe.  Seriously praying to see Fantastmic! on this night.

Day 3 - Barbara's Birthday!  Off to Animal Kingdom until 2:00 p.m. when we'll travel to Animal Kingdom Lodge for a late lunch at Sanaa.  This is a first dining experience for all of us.  I can't tell you about the rest of the day because it's a big surprise for Barbara.  :)

Day 4 - Magic Kingdom day!  For dinner, we will leave the park and go to the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to eat at 1900 Park Fare.  My dear Chef TJ has moved here from 'Ohana.  Can't wait to see what vegetarian goodies he'll cook up for Matt and I!

Day 5 - Back to Epcot to enjoy the International Food & Wine Festival with a late dinner at Coral Reef.

Departure Day - We don't have to leave for the airport until around 3:00 p.m. so we'll probably spend the morning and early afternoon at whatever park we want to go back to.  Maybe we won't even go to a park and just enjoy a day by the pool!  Who knows!

That is all the details I have for you for now.  I'll make sure to keep you all posted when I find out more about our fabulous trip!


  1. Sounds pretty good. Do you worry that you won't get much time in the parks with it being a short trip and with the resort ADRs? We're always hesitant to make any like that because we know that once we're there, it's hard for us to leave the parks before closing time.

  2. Sounds great - btw, love that sassy haircut in the top pic!

  3. Great blog. I wandered over here from intercot some time ago. We own a vacation home in Kissimmee and I am looking to hire someone to help me market it on a part-time basis. The hours would be very flexible and your love of Disney and writing ability would be a big plus. If you have an interest let me know with a comment and I can give you some additional information.

  4. -I'm not too worried, Jill. We only have two at resorts and one of them we'll only have to travel from MK to GF for.. so.. not bad. The other I'm not worried about because we won't be going back to AK after Sanaa. We are used to breaks... so that's gonna be interesting to not take mid-day breaks. I'll wanna push straight through given lack of days in the parks.

    -Thanks! I needed a change :)

  5. Why don't you email me!? .... let me know more details of what you are looking for!


    that's all.

  7. YAY!!!!!! Sooo excited for you that you are going back this year!!! It will be so much fun showing newbies around. And the couples trip will especially be great during food and wine festival! Your plans for the days sound perfect - seems like you will get to see and do everything.
    Btw, I thought of your blog last weekend when I tried Baby Cakes NYC for the first time (the one in NYC.) You were right about those toasties - that was my favorite thing there!

  8. Sounds awesome!!! Taking newbies is so fun!! Our next trip is with my mom and dad has never been and it's a miracle he has agreed to go!! We were originally supposed to go this November, but it has been pushed to next year becuase of my dad's medical issues :( Have a blast!!!