We're going back to some Disney in the blog! Don't worry...for who are not Disney freaks, there will still be tons of other updates. This trip occurred in May of 2007, for all those wondering. I'll warn you now that every trip report I wrote got longer and longer, and this one is no exception. To help with the readability, I'll be breaking up the days into multiple segments, so you won't have to block out an entire afternoon to read each post.
Cast of characters:
Me, 34, does not like elephants as much as y'all think (inside joke with all the Lodgers)
Wifey (Sheri), age withheld for obvious reasons
Well, we wrapped up our last WDW trip in December of '05 with thoughts of heading back for our ten-year anniversary. I initially wanted to do a cruise, but I knew that it wasn't going to happen because Sheri gets motion sickness in a parked car. Then I thought of splurging and going for a stay at Disney's Polynesian Resort, but, being an economist married to an accountant, we couldn't justify the huge premium of the Poly (in her words…mine would have been something along the lines of "marginal cost far exceeding marginal benefit"), especially when we weren't going to spend a whole lot of time in the hotel room.
Okay, so how about a Moderate?
Then we decided to build a house, and what started out as the Poly became a value resort. We had already stayed at the All Star resorts, so we decided to head over to Pop Century for a try. A stop at the AAA office, where I got to see my gorgeous agent Paula (Sheri decided to go with me to help book this one for some reason)...$200 later, and we had reservations! We put in a request for the 50's area, because Sheri wanted to be close to Lady and the Tramp.
At about 220 days out, we started piecing together our dining options. Being the consummate planner, I already had the parks that we would go to on each day to avoid the crowds, the menus from allearsnet.com printed out, and the estimated number of steps to be taken each day, both for her and for me as we take different strides. We wanted to do one of the signature restaurants (2 table-service credits on the Dining Plan), and we initially thought about trying the California Grill. After looking at the menus and reading what some of the folks were saying about Jiko, we switched and decided to do the Cooking Place instead of Cali. Our biggest problem was determining what to eat the day we were going to MGM. None of the table service restaurants really piqued our interest. We decided to do an early dinner at the Coral Reef and then sneak out the International Gateway and boat to the Studios. I didn't like it that much, and Sheri was a little concerned about eating at a restaurant where the brother of the thing on your plate swims by and looks at you with utter disdain.
At 180 days, I call the dining hotline to start making the dinner ressies. First night was to be Le Cellier! No reservations available (damn). 20 minutes after the phone lines were open, and they're all gone?! The cast member thought it was really weird and talked to her supervisor (no prodding on my part…she was just wondering what was going on). Their best guess was that the restaurant simply wasn't in the system yet. I continue on with the rest of the ressies and get confirmation numbers for every one of them but the first night.
At their suggestion, I called back a half hour later, but Le Cellier was still not in. Called again the next morning. And the next. Same results. Hmmmm….okay, let's look at when we'll be in Epcot and try another day. 3 nights with nothing available??!!!! The CM checked every day for our trip and found that it had tons of openings the night before we leave. That pretty much concluded to us that it was going to be down for a small refurb (only 6 days). I hang up and talk to Sheri about it, and she nearly drop-kicks me for not getting it for our last night. I think she was worried that every reservation at Le Cellier for May 19th would be snatched up in the span of 4 minutes. Apparently the west coast was waking up about that time and would be slamming the system, not for CRT, but for Le Cellier on a Saturday night during a slow time of the season.
I am going to be in soooo much pain when she reads this.
I started to question our choice of the Coral Reef, too. It's nowhere near the International Gateway, and we'll be eating as soon as the place opens (3:30 Central time). Where to eat…where to eat…I suggested Cape May for the clambake, but she wasn't too keen on there from our last trip (it was our last day, and we were all starting to get a little tired…plus, Aaron wasn't feeling too well then). Morocco? Mexico? Spoodles? I called back and grabbed Le Cellier for our last night with a 4:50 pm check-in time. This cancelled our meal at O'Hana for that night. This one pained me…I wanted my lapu lapu! Still had the problem with the Coral.
Fast forward a couple of months to January. Sheri and I start committing a grievous sin by heading over to the Disboards for the sole purpose of looking up some dining information and for the Picture of the Day threads. It still strikes me as annoying as hell that there is actually some complaining in the POTD threads!!! Anyways…we hear that you can book the Fantasmic package and use the DDP to pay for it.
Score! Okay, I have to give Sheri credit for that one. Let the lovefest for Wifey begin.
I cancel the Reef, and we booked Mama Melrose's for a much later time. Wifey won out on the restaurant as I was lobbying for Hollywood and Vine. More on that later…much more!
Fast-forward a couple more months to late March. We had the old house sold, and we were dancing. Then the guy loses his job and, subsequently, his financing, which means we lose the earnest money as well as 2 weeks on the market. The stress was really piling up everywhere for both Sheri and me. At leasr we were under 100 days to this trip, and we both really start getting the itch to get down to Florida as soon as humanly possible. Early April has another offer on the house, but they wanted it at a price that was well below where we would accept (never got less than $6,900 away from each other). 2 primary mortgages, a second mortgage to avoid PMI, and a bridge loan…we've come down twice already on the price, and it's still sitting there after nearly 8 months on the market. Luckily, we've played it smart with our tax return and avoided spending it, so we're eating that away while we make any minor improvement we can think of and continue paying for both houses. Sheri's been fighting headaches seemingly every day and has been utterly exhausted from work, and I've put on almost 40 pounds from my lowest-weight point in late 2005 and am also exhausted, but I can't get my mind to shut off at all, so I'm up until around 1 am every night, and Aaron's up every morning at 5:40 am, so I'm averaging less than 5 hours of sleep a night. Result: nobody's happy.
Late April now…Sheri's buying everything possible on disneyshopping.com, and I'm liking what she's buying too much to consider asking her to slow down on the buying (she was getting some good prices on things). I knew Brisully (again, if the name's not familiar, they're user names at the Lodge) was going to be down there the same time as us. I got a PM from Mo on the 23rd mentioning that her, Todd, and the kids might be over at WDW and that there was a chance that the Badelves crew might also make it then too. I send a PM out to SyracuseWolvrine to make sure of the attraction he was working at MGM and found out that he had the day off when we were planning on being at that park. He offered to meet us anyway, but I felt bad about taking time away from him on his day off, and meeting up with him at his place of business at that! We shot for another time, but something came up, and he had to win one (literally) for the gipper in a softball tournament. I know we'll have other opportunities to meet up.
The week before the trip…it's finals week at ISU, and I'm going INSANE. Plus, the Department of Economics was to be moving to another building for a year (or two or three or four), and the University decided that we would be moving…yep, you guessed it…in mid-May!!!! Pixie (Pat) sends me a PM and asks where I'll be staying and when exactly I'll be down. We send something like 15 or so PMs back and forth over the next few days, ranging from a little gift basket to allergies…from handcuffs and whipped cream to booze du jour…from stealing roses from the Magic Kingdom to items I simply can't mention…from getting slugged by Goofy and Pluto to Latin pool boys (there were some very interesting posts there, to say the least). The scary thing is that I'm not making this up!!!! I've never done an illegal drug in my life; if I had, however, there's no way I could have come up with that! MUCH more on this later.
Also during that last week, Nick (ncligs) and I engaged in an AOL IM frenzy, and he mentioned that he'd be arriving in MCO from visiting Cindy and the kids/grandkids and wondered if we'd like to meet up for lunch on the 19th.
Let's see…potentially meeting up with Eric, Mare, Todd, Maureen, Pat, Brian, and Nick. I think I'll tell Sheri about meeting all my imaginary friends after we get down there (well, she has already met Brian and Mare, so only the rest of them are imaginary to her).
Continued Here… (ugh…even the pre-trip is long!)