Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Honeymoon Pre-Trip Report

In an effort to cure my boredom today (and because we're exactly one month to our honeymoon), I've decided to post our pre-trip report.

Here is the background:

Me, a WDW veteran, with over 20 trips under my belt. Last visit 2001.
Brett, also a WDW veteran, with two trips. Last visit 1998.

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort with the Disney Dining Plan.
Due to financial concerns, we decided to switch from a Disney "deluxe" resort to a "moderate" level. I'm not too concerned since really we'll be in the parks a majority of the days but I was slightly disappointed to have to move from the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This will be Brett's first stay at an on-site hotel, while I have previously stayed at Fort Wilderness, Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter.

The Disney Dining Plan includes one snack (a popcorn, ice cream, cookie, etc), a counter service meal (value meal or entree, beverage and dessert), and a table service meal (entree, dessert and beverage) for each day of the hotel stay for each guest.

(2) 2-day Park Hoppers - Given as gifts for my graduation and Brett's birthday in May from Mike and Jody
(2) 4-day Park Hoppers for the rest of the stay
Park Hoppers allow guests to "hop" from park-to-park for the length-of-stay. They also include certificates for special recreational perks like using the water sprites or visiting Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney.

Day 1 - April 12 - Arrival Day
We leave Milwaukee for "The World" early in the morning. Check-in isn't officially until 3 p.m., but we're hoping that a room is available when we get to the resort around noon. If it isn't, we'll check our bags with bell services and explore the resort and the Downtown Disney area for the lunch hour. We have ressies at Boma: Flavors of Africa, a buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner. I'm really excited about that because I haven't seen the hotel and I really want to try their signature dessert: the Zebra Domes, a coffee flavored mousse covered in ganache. After dinner, we're heading to Disney's Boardwalk to visit Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar, ESPN Club for some competitive air hockey, and Atlantic Dance Hall, if Brett brings his dancing shoes.

Day 2 - April 13 - Magic Kingdom
We don't have our ressies yet, but we're planning on doing the Keys to the Kingdom tour in the morning. The tour takes you behind-the-scenes and beneath the Magic Kingdom to the "Utilidors" to see the inner workings of all the magic. Then, they tell you stories about the creation of the park and some tidbits about the Disney family. There's also lunch included at the Columbia Harbour House. Since there's Extra Magic Hours that evening until 11 p.m. we'll head back to the hotel to lay by the pool during the afternoon. Then, we have 7 p.m. ressies at the Liberty Tree Tavern at MK. The colonial-era family-style service includes all-you-can-eat ham, pot roast, and Stouffer's Mac & Cheese. After, we'll grab a spot for Wishes, the nighttime fireworks show and Spectromagic, while experiencing the rides and attractions -- I can't wait to ride Buzz Lightyear's Spaceranger Spin again!!

Day 3 - April 14 - EPCOT/Downtown Disney
Since we're having such a busy MK day, we can sleep in today. Brett will have enough time to go for a swim, or take a walk around the lagoon's 2.5-mile path at the hotel. Then, we'll make it to EPCOT a little before noon to experience the Future World attractions like Mission: Space, Soarin', and Test Track. We have early dinner ressies at Le Cellier in the Canada pavilion at World Showcase. The restaurant is a steak house that features Canadian favorites like the Beer Cheese Soup and the Chocolate Moose, a chocolate mousse in the shape of a moose with antlers. How cute! Then, we'll take the ferry over to Disney's Port Orleans Riverside for some beignets and to enjoy the musical stylings of Bob Jackson before taking the ferry down the Sassagoula River to Downtown Disney for an evening at the Adventurer's Club, a 1930's comedy club with talking masks that adorn the walls and interactive games with cast members.

Day 4 - April 15 - Animal Kingdom/Disney's Hollywood Studios
Since neither of us has really experienced Animal Kingdom, we have an early morning ahead of us to get to the park before opening. We'll grab fast passes for Expedition Everest before heading on the Kilimanjaro Safaris and other attractions like the Lion King live show and Dinosaur. Then, it's back to relax by the pool before we take the bus to Disney's Hollywood Studios for dinner at the Prime Time '50s Cafe, a restaurant that features Mom favorites like Fried Chicken and a Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake. Make sure you save enough room for the S'mores for dessert and keep your elbows off the table. Then, it's over to Hollywood and Vine to catch a seat for that evening's 8:30 show of Fantasmic!, a light and water spectacular into Mickey Mouse's dreams...and nightmares!

Day 5 - April 16 - Disney's Hollywood Studios/EPCOT
We don't have a lot of time for attractions at the studios the night before, so it's back to the studios for Tower of Terror (that's all Brett), Rockin' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith (again, all Brett), the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Pizza Planet, and other movie-inspired attractions. Then, we'll take the ferry over to EPCOT's World Showcase for dinner ressies at the United Kingdom pavilion's Rose & Crown Dining Room just in time for a water-side seat for Illuminations: Reflection of Earth, a nighttime fireworks and water show on the World Showcase Lagoon.

Day 6 - April 17 - Free Day
It's up early today for an early character breakfast at MK's Crystal Palace with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Friends. Then, it's back over to AK or EPCOT to catch up on our favorite attractions or one's we missed. In the evening, we'll be cutting up the greens at Fantasia Gardens adventure mini-golf with a few friends from Intercot, a Disney message board that I belong to. And finally, a quick stroll to Disney's Beach Club for dessert at Beaches & Cream. I don't think we'll be able to finish the "Kitchen Sink," scoops of their 21 ice creams, every topping in the place, and it's served (literally) in a kitchen sink. Don't know how I could get that past the TSA...

Day 7 - April 18 - The last full day - Magic Kingdom
As is customary, it's back to the Magic Kingdom for the last full day of fun and excitement. We have a photo shoot in the morning with Stan Kelley, an area photographer, at the Magic Kingdom. I hope he can get us on Cinderella's Carousel! Then, a little rest at the hotel after some more fun on the attractions -- gotta take one more ride on Pirates to see Jack Sparrow. Then, we have ressies at Disney's Wilderness Lodge at Artist Point for a romantic dinner overlooking a geyser at a 1920's-style National Park Lodge restaurant. I've got my eye on the Cedar Plank Salmon and the Northwestern U.S. wine flight. Then, maybe a stroll down to the dock to take in that evenings Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Day 8 - April 19 - Departure Day (sniffle...)
It's always a sad day, but we made sure our flight was late in the day back to reality. Check-out is at 11 a.m. so we'll get the bags to Bell Services before heading over to Downtown Disney for some last-minute shopping at the world's largest Disney store and lunch. Then, we gotta catch our bus to the airport and back home.

As you can tell, I'm the master of overplanning. All of this is subject to change to my feet hurting, wanting to do something completely different, and weather! But, it's fun to look at isn't it?

Of course, we'll have loads of pictures to bring back and I'll have detailed food reports for every meal!

P.S. If anyone is planning a Disney vacation soon, I'd be happy to help plan it for them. I think I'm looking into doing this to get some side money, so you can recommend me to friends and family!

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