I'm heading on my first solo trip to Walt Disney World!
Have a great time
WELCOME to my pre-trip report
Let's start with the basics, shall we?
I'm Cristabel, 23, just graduated from college (insert angels singing here) and this is my first time flying transcontinental by myself. I love Disney. Plain and simple. I love everything about it and it's one of the few things on this physical world that I'm passionate about, aside from family.
My first solo trip to Walt Disney World.
5 night, 6 days WITH free dining. I sprung for upgrading to the regular DP because well, I like food. But then again, who doesn't right?
September 6th - 11th with a red eye flight on the 5th because I will not waste a day traveling.
This is a gift to myself for graduating from college.
So, that's the basics. I hope to see ya around!
Here's the backstory for the upcoming trip and how it came to be:
Seeing as how I'm fresh out of college and securely in student loan debt, I know any big purchase (especially a week vacation) would be frowned upon by my dad.
Well, at the time that I booked this trip (March 2012) I had a steady job with at least 30 hours a week. There would be no problem saving for the trip.
I had saved a paycheck in my purse that week and after the idea of taking a vacation popped into my head for the 4749083 time, I immediately thought WDW. I went onto the DIS and started checking out threads and lo and behold what doth my eye see?!
"FREE DINING WATCH"
Hmm, that looks enticing. I opened the thread and read a post that the free dining had been announced for Disney Visa cardholders the week before and that they were expecting it to be open to the general public soon.
I zoomed over to the Disney World website and BEHOLD there it was under special offers.
They opened it to the general public THAT DAY!
I booked it faster than you could say Zip-a-dee-doo-dah
And then I kinda freaked out.
I mean, WHAT DID I JUST DO?!
I just made a grown up decision. So I was a little scared but mostly excited.
Up next: Are you going by yourself?
So where was I?
Oh yes, I was freaking out.
I mean wouldn't you freak out just a little bit if you just committed to your first week long SOLO vacation that's ACROSS THE COUNTRY?
I was pulling a Rapunzel for sure. (Remember when she gets out of the tower for the first time?)
Now, to explain the title of this PTR.
I expected a bigger reaction from my parents but they were supportive and happy for me. They were not that surprised, they know how much I love Disney!
Now, when my other family members found out, well that's a different story.
EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER kept asking, "You're going alone?!"
"But that's SO far".
I was more than a little annoyed with the family members who felt "sorry" for me because I was going alone.
I'm a very independent person. That doesn't mean I don't like to hang out with people because I certainly do but I have no problems doing my own thing either.
It seems only DISers can grasp that a solo trip to the World can and will be an amazing experience.
Sure, sometimes I freak out when I let it really sink in but I shake myself out of it because it's going to be awweeesoooooome.
You want HOW MUCH for an airplane ticket?!
aka Cristabel searches for a good deal
I knew airfare would be a pain the butt.
I was getting a stellar deal for a 5 night, 6 day stay at a value resort with 5 day MYW ticket and FREE dining. But airfare to get to FL from CA just threw a wrench in my plans.
I immediately began searching for airfare because I know ticket prices can change quickly so when you see a good deal, it's best to book it immediately.
Quick shout out to Kayak.com, seriously one of the best places to find the best priced airfare. I set up an alert that would send me a weekly notice to let me know what the price of a flight would cost to MCO.
About two weeks after I booked my vacation package with Disney, I got an alert for a red-eye, direct flight getting me into Orlando SUPER early on my check-in date.
Now I don't know about you guys, but I hate wasting a whole day flying. It just puts me in a very blah mood; kinda messes with my mojo. I took a red-eye to NYC in January and while it was not the best experience, I was so happy to have a full day as soon as I was off the tarmac.
Well, the price was the lowest I'd seen and I'd be flying with Delta. I've flown with them before and it's better than Virgin Airlines, that's for sure. Although Virgin America looks like a pimp plane with their neon purple interior lights they pack you in their planes like sardines.
So I booked it and paid it off on the spot!
Let me just tell you, SUCH A GOOD DECISION!
Now, the same flight is $500 BEFORE taxes.
I even got to choose my seat, aisle seat all the way! Apparently aisle seats are normally not a good choice because people want to get in and out but considering this is a red-eye, I don't anticipate too many issues.
UP NEXT: ADRs and the 180-Day Mark Lookout
Alrighty, so I booked my trip on March 5th. As soon as I did, I knew I had to find out when my 180 day check point was because I learned that ADRs are SUPER important.
A little back story: I booked our first trip in 2006 down to a T. I did all the research, I picked which moderate we stayed at (with family's input of course!), and booked all the ADRs. Lemme just tell you, my family was SO thankful that I planned at least one sit down meal each evening and that they didn't have to even think about it. We were happy with all of our TS meals and were so full. That's when they included the appetizer in the meals.
Back to 2012: My ADR 180 day mark was MARCH 10TH!
I had to plan my ADRs within 4 days!
The next day I spent a long time searching allearsnet.com, checking all the menus. I did enjoy the Coral Reef restaurant but I wanted to try all new things this time around. Especially since there are a lot of options for good food.
So I woke up at 4am on March 10th because I was told that you could book your ADRs online at 7am EST. I tried and it didn't "find" my reservation.
I went back to sleep and woke up at 5am to call in my ADRs. I got all of them except Ohana, I was so bummed about that but I got everything else I wanted.
Two nights ago I went onto the WDW website just to see if maybe, by a slim chance, there was a cancellation. Well, there was an opening for a party of 2 at 9:30pm and no opening for a party of 1. Oh well, I booked it! I did call again later to change it to a party of 1. I didn't want to be charged for the "missing person"
Haha, take that dining system!
So my ADRS are:
Yak & Yeti
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (a repeat but it's so good!)
Cape May Cafe
I also have the an ADR for Plaza Restaurant but I'm wondering if I really want to do two days at MK. I might consider changing it if I decide not to go to MK on my first night. I have a perfect time slot though, right before fireworks and I heard you can see them from the restaurant.
If you have any ideas on what to do on my extra day, please share! I already have one day at each park scheduled. I don't have plans for any water parks because if you've been to one water park, you've been to them all. I'm okay with just using the hippy dippy pool.
UP NEXT: When and Where?! AKA Creating an Itinerary
You will enjoy . Fingers crossed no storms
Given you have no one but yourself to please I would leave your extra day open and see how you feel when you get there. Have fun!
I'm excited for you and just a little jealous . Here's a tip, those ADR times aren't written in stone. If you find yourself hungry before your scheduled meal, ask the cm at the podium if they can fit you in earlier. They will warn you they can make no promises, but it's worth a try. I went at a very busy time and my requests were accomodated for a 3 person group every time. My husband and I are partial to the Prime Time 50's Cafe. It's good homestyle food, nothing fancy, but it's a lot of fun. If you don't want a whole meal they do serve appetizers at the bar. I noticed you didn't schedule yourself a character meal, they make for great photo-ops. Good luck and happy travels!
Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.
You have to get the Mango Pie at Yak & Yeti! It was the best thing I ate during my whole trip! Everything sounds fun - you'll have a great trip!
Congrats on graduating and congrats on the trip. We are also going on those dates. We got a great airfare too from SFO. We were going to leave on the 11th also until we found out that the where having the Halloween Party on the 11th so we extended to the 12th. Also don't worry at Disney you are never alone.
Congrats! All this planning info you are giving makes me so jealous, LOL .
There's no doubt that you will have a great trip. I can't wait for your trip report now.
WDW All Star Sports 7/1999, 6/2006 & now just waiting for the green light to plan the next trip- HOPE ITS SOON OR I MIGHT JUST HOP ON A PLANE AND GO ALONE!!- haha
Yes, thank you! I don't want any craziness!
That's the conclusion I've come to and don't really have any plans set in stone for my arrival date. I might end up at the MK because I really want to do the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingom.
Good to know, thank you Tulabelle. I know I'm not much of a morning eater so I might just grab a snack around park opening.
I love Mango!
Cool! I haven't seen many people going in early September because they want to experience the Halloween decor and the Halloween party.
Thanks for reading along
So far here's my itinerary:
Sept 6th, Thursday
7:30AM Arrive at MCO airport
8:45AM Check into Pop Century
????(I have no clue what park to visit on this day)
I'm starting to consider using this as my MK day, great place to start and I really want to try out Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game.
Sept 7th, Friday ~ Epcot 9am - 12am (EMH)
8AM Bus to Epcot
Eat my snack credit for breakfast (maybe?)
1:30PM Le Cellier(Sadly dinner is now a Signature dining experience, costing 2 TS credits) but the lunch sounds ahhhmayzing!
CS for dinner
Sept 8th, Saturday ~ Animal Kingdom 9am - 5pm (No EMH)
8AM Bus to AK
- Eat breakfast on the way
1:30PM Yak & Yeti
CS for dinner
Sept 9th, Sunday ~ Magic Kingdom 9am - 12am (EMH)(tentative)
8AM Bus to MK
Late lunch at Peco's Bill
Sept 10th, Monday - Disney's Hollywood Studios 9am - 12am (EMH)
8AM Bus to DHS
1:15PM Sci-Fi Drive In Theater
CS dinner (where?)
Sept 11th, Tuesday ~ No park, Departure Day
Ask for late check-out
If Yes: GO BACK TO SLEEP
9:30AM Get ready and grab breakfast from Everything Pop
Maybe go swimming or just walk around and check out AoA
Have everything packed and down to the front desk by 12:30pm
Catch bus to DTD
Last minute souvenir shopping
2:45PM/3PM Bus back to POP
Wait for ME bus
If No: Get up
get dressed, pack last minute things
Leave luggage with front desk
Grab breakfast from Everything Pop
Take luggage down to front desk by 10:30am
Same plan as with late check-out
I'm estimating Magical express will be at Pop around 4:15 since my flight is at 7:20pm. Am I giving myself enough time to get from DTD to Pop if I leave DTD at 2:45/3pm? I think it's a reasonable gap considering it's not too far but just in case of crowds or other unforeseen problems.
This basic schedule is pretty much set in stone, not a lot of variables to deal with on this level.
Now when I start reading my WDW planning books I'm sure I'll have 39258457 different touring plans for each park.
That's where my plans could change in a snap. I'll update again soon with some (temporary, no doubt) plans.
Here's an idea for you. If you do go to MK for 2 days, you could use the Unofficial Guide 2 day adult touring plan but do day two on your first day at MK. You might flag early after a red eye and the second day of this plan can be completed by lunch time. This would allow you to go back to POP for a swim
And settle in.
I only have $80 left to pay for my trip balance!
Also, I canceled my ADR for Ohana on the Sunday and moved it up to the night of my arrival on Thursday. It's still for 9:30pm but it's better because Wishes is at 10pm that night while it would be at 9pm on Sunday night.
EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS!
Only 59 more days!
It's been awhile folks but I'm here with some updates!
My trip is officially paid of as of last week!
There are my updated ADRs
Donald's Breakfast Safari @ Tusker House
Cape May Cafe
Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater
No, you haven't miscounted. I do have more ADRs than I do have TS credits. Since I'm getting the dining plan for free, I don't mind paying OOP for an extra meal or two if it means that I get to try out more places.
I'm still iffy about Cape May Cafe, it sounds good in theory but I'm just not 100% sold on it. Thoughts?
UP NEXT: When and Where?! AKA Creating an Itinerary :cookie:
I've made some (okay, a lot) changes to my touring plans because of that still, small voice that says to me, "it's just a little more money..."
I'm upgrading my MYW tickets to 6 day, parkhoppers! Ultimate freedom for touring, still taking advantage of evening EMH since I'm a night owl.
My at-a-glance weekly touring plan:
9/6, Thursday ~ Arrival (MK EMH 9pm-12am)
7:30AM - Arrive at MCO
8:30AM - Check-in at Pop Century, leave luggage at guest services.
Grab the first bus to the Magic Kingdom!
9:30PM - 'Ohana
9/7, Friday ~ Epcot (EMH 9pm - 12pm)
7:3oAM be at the bus stop
1:30PM - Le Cellier
Midday nap or swim?
9PM - Illuminations
9/8, Saturday ~ Animal Kingdom (DHS EMH 9pm - 12am)
7AMish - Be at the bus stop
8:05AM - Donald's Safari Breakfast at Tusker House Restaurant (OOP)
Hop over to DHS,
8:30PM - Fantasmic!
9/9, Sunday ~ ?
6:50pm - Teppan Edo
9/10, Monday ~ AK/DHS (AK EMH 8am-9am, DHS EMH 9pm - 12am)
7AM- Bus to AK
11AMish - Hop over to DHS
1:15PM - Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (OOP)
9/11, Tuesday ~ Departure Day
11:55AM - Coral Reef
4pm - Magical Express pick-up
You are going to struggle to get on the headliners at DHS with the above hopping first thing. Why don't you do AK after your breakfast there and go straight to DHS the next day? The lines for Toy Story Mania of you want to do that do get mental.