Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy - Page 3
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  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    Played around with bands last night. Sample papers (kodak high gloss photo paper, high gloss sticker paper, etc).

    The templates fit perfectly, though they are a bit off (this is intentional, as they'd need to be trimmed and fitted for an actual mount, which I plan to try tonight)...

    Anyhow, here's some pics!

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    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  2. #32
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Phillyburbs
    Posts
    1,277

    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    They look great! Love the Figment one.
    Couldn't imagine life without WDW!
    Last Trip: Oct 2015
    Upcoming: Feb 2016
    Treehouses(2) Vaca. Villas(2) Poly(1) Contemporary(1) CSR(1) CBR(4) POR(1) Sports(4) OKW(1) SSR(2) AKL(1)
    **Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally, Golly, what a day!**

  3. #33
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    Jul 2007
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    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
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    10,183
    Love the monorail band!
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  4. #34
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winkster View Post
    Love the monorail band!
    You should recognize that monorail pilot logo. I spent quite a few TD points to get that! (Looks down at signature lanyard) Also, my first piece of Mickey Mail arrived today. Exciting! Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by englanddg; 05-18-2015 at 05:30 PM.
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    MM+ Thoughts - Mickey Mail
    Welcome Packets - Part 1



    General Note - The pictures in this post have been edited to remove certain personal information. I'm sure you, the reader, will understand my reasoning. So, for example, where you see englanddg in the documents, that's where my name would have appeared.

    Ok, so this is the first real "analysis" I've done with this report. So far it's just been basic info and brain dumping of a more conversational nature.

    But, I was extremely impressed with the new Mickey Mail. This probably isn't a surprise to anyone that's taken a trip in the last year, but if it's been longer than that, the Mickey Mail has dramatically improved since even Spring of last year (I don't recall getting this for the aborted trip, I don't think I did).

    So, I'm going to do a brief breakdown of what the packets are, including lots of pictures. But, there are some tidbits which I want to call attention to. Call them "Disney Details"...because...that's EXACTLY what they are.

    So, lets start with the envelopes.

    I got two packets. One for each leg of my Disney stay. This is the first packet (for the AKL portion of the stay before the cruise).

    Pretty standard fare, matched the Magic Band packaging and Incredibles theme as you would suspect.



    However, what is interesting is what the envelope for the SECOND part of my stay (at AoA) looks like.



    That's right. They've programmed into the system that if it's a return visit (at least according to some flag in the system) you get a different envelope.

    Now, I work in IT, and I worked in reprographics, in fact...variable data printed documents were my first job where I custom developed 11x17 signature center stitched employee benefits statements that were completely unique to the individual. So, for example, if you had health plan A, then it showed only your plan benefits, not a larger table. If you had retirment plan B, it showed that (with estimates based on a variety of factors of what you could expect your retirement to look like if you maintained the same plan to early and normal retirement ages).

    Rather than babble on about it, you can see one here. (note, pretty much every page was different for every employee, and we ran these off Docutech 160s that printed duplex, added the cover and stitched inline. It was really fresh stuff back then.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20041001013742/http://www.selectbenefitconsultants.com/floyd.pdf

    Anyhow, I was doing that in 1996, when it was extremely rare. Especially in a graphical format. The reason I mention this is to explain how I look at this document with a professional interest and respect for the process, because I've produced things exactly like this and appreciate the challenges involved in doing it well. I'll touch on those as we proceed through the book.

    Also, to note, if you've ever used a PDF or MS Word form template to fill out a form, think of these things like that, but on steroids!

    Open the envelopes, and the first packet had a flyer insert instructing me to go to a website.



    You can go there yourself. It's pretty generic, but pretty neat! But, if don't want to, I took a screen capture of the experience that you can watch here!



    I seem to recall this video existed back on my 2013 trip, but the instructions (maybe even a card like this? I don't recall.) came with the bands, not the welcome packet.

    Also, it's interesting that it wasn't included with Book 2...but, Disney knows I'm a return visitor (at least now they do), as I mentioned before.

    So, lets move on. The covers. Here, you'll also note a difference (one that I thought was a bit odd, frankly, because it's one of the few "variable" parts that I don't understand why it's like that).

    Book 1. We are the englanddg "Party".



    Book 2. Note, here it's the englanddg "Family".



    It's a really minor thing, but I'm not sure why it's there. What it does mean is that the last part of the line, or maybe the whole line, is completely variable, and probably entered somehow, maybe even manually. I'm not sure why they would choose to do that, as opposed to hard coding "Family" at the end, unless there is some flag (like, if two friends are coming together, then "Party" would be more appropriate)...but, I find it an interesting copywriting choice.

    Open up the book, and you are treated to some unique and important information right from the start.

    Book 1.



    Book 2.



    Again, pretty standard stuff that you'd expect (and used to be included on the older Welcome Packets). One thing to note is the Package Type indicates my specific Dining Plan as well (Deluxe for both trips). Note that, because it will come up again later.

    Turning the page.



    From what I can tell this page is the same in both books. Just general information about MM+, Magicbands and Fastpass Plus, as long as a "checklist" of things to do. I'm not sure if the checklist (which reflects I customized my bands with a green check) is variable or not, but I don't think so.

    So, a suggestion for Disney (cause they have a lot of little things...hidden items, similar to Hidden Mickeys, in the book). I would have the bands section, if it's already been customized through MDE reflect the actual color and number of bands selected. It's a minor thing, but not impossible to do (There are only so many combinations) and while it's a coincidence that the first book actually matches the number and colors I chose, the second one didn't.

    Not a big deal, and not something most people would notice or care about, but given what they did throughout the book, I think it could be doable.

    Why? Well, I have a perfect example starting with the next page, so lets take a look!



    Peek at page 5, on the left. Take a good close look at the MDE screen. See that name? That's right, in the real book, your name (I assume the primary account on the reservation is where they get that) is displayed there. I replaced it with englanddg.

    I didn't notice it on the first readthrough, either that or this is really random that the name they chose for a stock graphic is MY name...so, I'm fairly certain this is added on the fly. And, I think it's the most awesome customization in the entire book. So, you can see why I think the MBs on page 4 would also be a neat little touch.

    Again, most probably wouldn't notice it, but when you do, as I said, that's part of the "Disney Difference"...the details.

    But, I also want to take a look at Page 6 (on the right). It is also customized. The picture above is from Book 2 (My AoA) stay. scroll back up and take a look at the pool that is listed.

    Go ahead, I'll wait.

    -----------

    Did you look? Did you note that it is the Big Blue Pool, which is the main pool at AoA?

    Well, take a look at Page 6 from Book 1 (my AKL stay).



    Yep, it lists and shows a picture of the Uzima pool (the main pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge). How cool is that!

    So, break time, and then I'll be back with Part 2!

    - - - Updated - - -

    MM+ Thoughts - Mickey Mail
    Welcome Packets - Part 2

    Lets move on to page 7!



    Not much to say here. It's a pretty straight forward rundown of the MagicBands and how they work.

    That said, I considering they put my NAME on the MDE website on the previous page, I think if they had pictures of your magicband selections and numbers, on page 7, along with the band names you chose below them, it would be another neat little addition. Maybe they'll do it someday? A guy can dream, right?

    Pages 9 and 10, likewise are generic. They run you through the FP+ service and how to use the MDE app during your trip. Informative, but boilerplate.



    But, from there we get really specific again, and I love it!

    Book 1



    Book 2



    You'll note, each is customized to my resort! Pictures and all. This is really neat, and a start of a further trend I'll note in the upcoming pages.

    Also, on this page they suggest you visit http://www.disneyworld.com/resorts/super .

    I did, hoping for another cute video like the earlier one, but was disappointed. The URL actually takes you to the standard resort planning stage of Disney's site.

    So, another suggestion for Disney. I would love it if they made a Goofy's planning video specific to each resort, and you could "explore" the hotel and amenities along with him! It wouldn't be terribly hard to do, and since they are already customizing the hotel section to your hotel, they could customize the link. So, it could be "www.disneyworld.com/resorts/AoA for Art of Animation. Something like that.

    Here's an example for Disneyland.



    I think they could use it to hype up the resort, as well as suggestively sell certain amenities the resort offers. Specifically for deluxe resorts where they can push additional services (like spa treatments), as well as pushing resort shopping and dining in a very visual and entertaining way that, budget wise, isn't terribly difficult to do (I mean, they sortof have goofy costumes on hand...<grin>)

    But, I digress. Off to Page 13 and 14!

    Book 1



    Book 2



    Two things to note. The first is obvious (on page 14, on the right). The restaurants listed are specific to the resort as well as the picture of the restaurants and the food offerings (the family in the middle picture on the left is generic).

    The second is something that I suspect only happens for AoA, due to the name of the food court of AoA and how it works well with the copywriting. You'll note, on page 13 of Book 1, the first line reads:

    "There are many fabulous flavors to be found throughout your Resort hotel. And, whether you hunger for something exotic or something simple, you'll find it all right here."

    But, page 13 of Book 2 reads:

    "Your Disney Resort hotel features the fun and flavorful Landscape of Flavors. With plenty to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this quick and convenient dining location has something for everyone!"

    Neat!

    Pages 15 and 16 are generic again, and talk about hotel benefits such as resort activities (movies under the stars, pool parties, etc.). It also talks about how merchandise can be shipped to your resort for you from the parks.



    Now, I do have two nitpicks.

    On page 15, the show a Disney Magical Express bus, but they don't specifically mention it at all (not once in the entire document). Now, that could be because these packets didn't have my yellow luggage tags (not sure when that packet will come), and so they reserved any mention beyond the vague "complimentary transportation" line for that packet, but I'm not sure.

    But, I think they could spend a bit more time bulleting the on resort transportation. The busses, monorails and boats. And, since they obviously can customize, and obviously know where you are staying, they could even make that "intelligent" so it shows, for example, if you are at Wilderness Lodge, you can get to MK through boat or bus, or if you are Grand Floridian, you can get to MK through boat, bus or Monorail.

    I dunno, a minor nitpick, but this next one is not. Because this next one is BAD SHOW!

    So, while I've been very complimentary so far, this is unacceptable in my view. So, the page directs you to go to http://www.disneyworld.com/benefits/super .

    What happens when you do?



    STITCH ATE THE PAGE?

    Are you serious Disney? Ok, I can overlook that the hotels link merely goes to the hotel selection screen, but this doesn't go anywhere. This is unacceptable.

    That said, they'll probably fix this in the future, and, again, I think a Goofy Planning video with him utilizing Disney Transit and talking about room merch delivery would be really neat. It can be generic, because the resort specific activities can be saved for the earlier hotel specific videos I suggested earlier.

    The next few pages are generic breakdowns of the parks and activities available on the resorts, and are generic to both books, so I probably won't have much commentary on them. So, lets move on?



    It directs you to go to http://www.disneyworld.com/fastpassplus/super , which, unlike the previous failure...actually works? (though, I think a Goofy Vacation Video about using FP+ would be neat, instead of a brochure style webpage, but at least it works!)

    Here's what you see when you go there.



    However, the first few times I tried to watch it, the video just sat there and timed out...it wouldn't load.


    After a few minutes (and a few refreshes) it finally worked, so...


    https://youtu.be/5aU2g1T-iYU


    It's pretty generic, and I think a Goofy video (or some other Fab 5, like Donald or Pluto?) would be more amusing.

    Page 19 and 20 talk about Magic Kingdom.



    You are directed to go to http://www.disneyworld.com/mkmap/super

    This takes you to the interactive MDE map of magic kingdom. I won't mention these maps again, but the links are referenced on each of the 4 major theme parks for them.

    But, I will note that when I tried to go there, it...didn't work.



    Now, I know these maps work, because I've used them. But, when people talk about MDE and Disney's Site being slow, THIS is the sort of systems / performance inconsistency they are talking about. So...<ahem>...Disney...should do better.

    And, just so you know it's not MY internet...here's a speedtest



    Also, note, it still hasn't loaded while I'm running this AND streaming Once Upon a Time on hulu on the other screen...but the Magic Kingdom map STILL hasn't loaded...it's been...about 10 minutes now. I'm going to close that tab, but, you get the idea.

    Next is my personal favorite park. EPCOT (it will always be all caps to me and end in Center, darn it!)



    Then Hollywood Studios.



    And Animal Kingdom.



    Downtown Disney



    Disney Water Parks (including a mention about the Magic Band being waterproof!)



    MM+ Thoughts - Mickey Mail
    Welcome Packets - Part 3

    Now, on page 31, the customization starts again. This discusses your tickets. On the first leg (Book 1, AKL)of my stay I didn't bother getting Park Hoppers, but for the second stay (Book 2, AoA) I did get Park Hoppers and Water Parks and More. Note the text has been changed to describe the PH and WP&M benefits!

    Book 1



    Book 2



    The page instructs you to go to http://www.disneyworld.com/magicbands/super . Like the FP+ page, it takes you to a generic brochure style run down of Magicbands. (ahem...goofy video talking about tickets and bands here? Yeah, I like the idea of the Goofy vids, I love his Cruise Line planning vid!)

    The next section is the same in both of my books, but outlines Dining plans in a truly fantastic way. On my first trip with a Dining Plan (2010) I had a lot of questions, and I know from hanging out on these forums that Dining Plans tend to cause a LOT of confusion for first time visitors.



    So, I strongly suspect this section breaks it down for the type of Dining Plan you got. What I do NOT know is what it looks like if you didn't get a Dining Plan, so I'd be curious to know what filler they put in this space instead, or if the book is actually 2 pages shorter. Perhaps someone can chime in?

    It also instructs you to go to http://www.disneyworld.com/diningplan/super . No screen shot, but the link does work...though, as I noted before, I think a Goofy Vacation (or a fab five for meal shots) could explain Dining Plans and ADRs a bit better here instead of just a brochure style informational page.

    The other thing that is NOT noted anywhere in the book (that I recall) is ADRs and how to make them. So, that's some content that, I dunno, is pretty important? Especially for a new or infrequent guest?

    But...I'm just being silly, right? RIGHT? <wink>

    Also, and this is just a design note, I find it hilarious that they chose the slender Violet Parr as the picture on page 34 (on the right). Why? Well, if you've ever had the Dining Plan before...you'll understand. It's a LOT of food. I doubt I'll look that good in spandex after my trip! (not that I'd look that good in spandex on a normal day either...so, yeah, lets drop the subject shall we?)

    The next section details Memory Maker. Now, I haven't purchased it yet, though I do plan to add it before the trip starts so I can get the discounted rate (yeah, it's cheaper in advance, so even if you THINK you may want it, get it before the trip). So, I don't know if this page changes if you have pre purchased it, but I suspect it doesn't.



    It also instructs you to go to http://www.mydisneyexperience.com/memorymaker/super .


    And, yes, you'll find another video. Here it is:


    And now we're on the home stretch, and I REALLY like what they did here.


    Book 1



    Book 2



    This is an EXCELLENT addition to the packet, as these dates are extremely important!

    Though, I do have one RATHER LARGE complaint. They don't list the ADR dates there! Now, that could be because I'm within my 180 day window, so they felt I've already "passed the deadline", and if that's the case I retract this criticism.

    But, considering ADRs are a rather important part of the process, especially for non-frequent trip goers who may have bucket list experiences they want to check off, I really wish they'd listed it and gone into some more detail on how the system works.

    Not that I need it (I don't), but first time or infrequent Guests would probably find it invaluable.

    And that, my friends, brings me to the end. Thanks for reading!



    <edit / update - I was informed by someone that, yes, they do list the ADR date in the packet if you are outside of 180 days. Good show Disney!>
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    Last edited by englanddg; 05-19-2015 at 08:31 AM.
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    As the sticker paper didn't turn out well for the Magicbands, I decided to make use of it for something else. A sticker for my Macbook Pro!

    Mac final sticker...


    The first two pictures are of the tactics I used...the final pictures are of the final decal.









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    Last edited by englanddg; 05-23-2015 at 07:48 PM.
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    Hotel for the first DC portion of the trip is now booked and paid for.

    Last time I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton at Pentagon City, and...it was speensive! And, for the rack rate, not really that nice. The only thing I gained was proximity to the Metro station for departure in the morning and easy access to the Mall. I decided this go around, those features are not worth the extra cost.


    So, this trip, I decided to go a bit cheaper (half the price!), but I still wanted something close to a Metro station.

    We'll use the Metro not only to get to and from the Airport (Reagan National), but also for Saturday, when we'll go tour the National Mall and the Smithsonian. Oh, as a side note, my Washington Monument tickets came in! Yay!

    So, here's what I decided upon. The Embassy Suites - Crystal City National Airport.

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    Nothing special. Easy walk to either the Crystal City Metro station or the Pentagon City Metro Station. We got a 2 room suite with 2 Double beds (it was the only room available with 2 beds).

    I got a good room rate (before tax, $169 a night, after tax, $190 a night). I put in a request for a high floor and club level (for $11 extra a night if granted), which is a neat feature they offer when booking. Basically, you can book your room, and if a better one is available at check-in, you can pre-request they move you to that room (for a fee if the request is granted). If the request isn't granted, then nothing changes and you are not charged.

    Not quite like the "free upgrades" I used to get when I had tons of Marriott and HHonors points like when I traveled for a living, but still a neat feature.
    Last edited by englanddg; 05-24-2015 at 10:54 AM.
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    Ok, adding my flights and hotel stuff to MDE...

    And, I get this guy a lot.

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    Surprised the programmer didn't make it a butt joke, like the movie!

    That said, go out there Captain Kirk, FIND ME THE BEST DEAL!

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    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    Ok, all flights and hotels are now booked.

    All I have to wait on now is next month, when I'll need to pay off the Universal and WDW legs of the trip.

    So, here's how the final itinerary looks as of today.

    Aug 7
    -Fly from ATL to DCA on Delta (it's cheapest for me to fly them because they are based and major hubbed out of the ATL airport)

    -Check into the Embassy Suites and meet up with the kiddo. It will be late, as my flight doesn't even land until 9:20, so I won't get to the hotel until nearly 10p, so we'll just sleep through the night for an early start the next morning (with a free cooked to order breakfast from the hotel, I may add!)
    Aug 8
    -Still haven't quite pinned down exactly what we are going to do on this day, aside from the tickets I purchased for the Washington Monument for 7:30p, and the fact that Air and Space around lunchtime is a must! I've debated doing the Supreme Court, the National Library, or the Treasury. The FBI was on this list, but that was before I found out the kid did the FBI tour a few weeks ago as part of a school trip...
    Aug 9
    -9:25 flight with Jetblue from Reagan to Orlando. We'll arrive around 11:30. This should put us at Portofino Bay, with a taxi ride from MCO, around noon. This allows us plenty of time to poke around the hotel and Citywalk before...
    Blue Man Group center front row seats at 7p



    Now, I should note, the rest of my flights are with Delta, and there's a reason for that, and it is cost. A trick I learned when I was actually paid to fly all over the country is that sometimes you can get better deals booking one way tickets instead of round trip ones, and that's what I've done in this case.

    So, while I got a better deal booking a round trip (with the times I wanted) through Delta for my flight from ATL to DCA and back, I saved about $75 AND got a later departure by booking Jetblue down to MCO from DCA, and Delta for our flight back (though, as you'll see if you skip ahead to the 25th, the Delta flight is a LONG one with a layover in...surprise surprise...ATL... But, I don't mind that, because the way I look at it, it's extra time with the kiddo before we say our face to face goodbyes).
    Aug 10
    -Whatever we want at Universal, but we do have breakfast at the Three Broomsticks at 10a.
    Aug 11
    -Whatever we want at Universal.
    Aug 12
    -Universal during the day, but sometime late afternoon take a taxi to go check into AKL and get showered and changed for our...

    -6:45 Dinner at Jiko's

    -Spend the rest of the evening setting up the webcam that I'm going to run from our balcony while the kiddo plays with the day/night monocular I bought and takes pictures, video, etc. of the animals as we gorge ourselves on complimentary club level goodies.
    Aug 13
    -Magic Kingdom!

    -Breakfast at Cindy's Royal Table at 8:05...making sure to take pictures / video of the empty park!

    -2:10 lunch at Be Our Guest

    -6:45 dinner at Tony's Town Square (ok, I know how to make Italian, I love to cook...and this is my first time to this venue...it BETTER be good...that said, the menu looks good!)
    We are gonna do MSEP and Wishes the old fashioned way, staking out a spot at the base of the Castle about an hour before the show and camping out.



    Aug 14
    -EPCOT! (that's right, it's all caps not because I'm excited, but because it will ALWAYS be all caps and followed by the word "Center" to me!)

    -8:45a Breakfast at Cape May. I'm actually considering shifting this one around, because using busses it will be difficult to make that. I guess I could take an early bus to DTD or a Theme Park and then take a return bus to Beach Club? But, that's a tall order. I don't mind paying for a Taxi to avoid the waits and stress...but...not sure if I'll keep this reservation. The goal was for both of us to try something new (we've never eaten there) as well as put us within striking distance of EPCOT. I may flip it for something else though...maybe move the Ohana breakfast to this day and then ride the epic monorail ride into EPCOT? Hrm...I actually like this idea. Still stewing, however, is the point.
    12:20 Lunch at Teppan Edo. Ok, the kiddo and I have done Teppanyaki before, and it's not that hard to find in the US, but this will be our first time doing it in DISNEY (she was sick the last time I booked here in 2012, and we couldn't go, spent the whole day cooped up in the room).

    -6:10 Dinner at Le Cellier. This restaurant is the kiddo's favorite. I'd normally book this MUCH later (as I like to walk out of the park after dinner with it completely empty and already closed)...but, we have an early day tomorrow!
    Aug 15
    -Check out of AKL and DCL will pick us up!



    -We'll just chill around the boat doing whatever.

    Aug 16

    -At Sea - No plans
    Aug 17
    -At Sea - No plans

    Aug 18

    -St. Maarten

    Nothing planned yet, but I'm considering the Create Your Own Perfume (the kiddo would adore that, and I'd probably find it interesting...) or the Historical Philipsburg by Bicycle (something I'd probably enjoy more than the kiddo).
    Aug 19
    -St. Thomas / St. John

    So, as I mentioned earlier, the kiddo has family here who hasn't seen her since she was 2. So, we'll probably end up meeting up with them for lunch or something. That said, we won't hang round long (it is extended family on her Mother's side, and I'm still waiting on them to respond, though...they don't check emails very often and my ex, bless her, isn't the best about following up on things). So, there's still plenty of time for an excursion.
    Excursions I'm debating are the Tree Limin' Ziplines, the Sea Trek Helmet Dive and the Screamin' Eagle high speed boat ride
    Aug 20
    -At Sea - I suspect this will be Pirate Night!
    Aug 21
    -Castaway Cay

    Last trip we spent the day on the boat, but we also had more ports of call than this trip, so I'm looking forward to stretching my legs. I'm pretty much sold on the "Castaway Cay Getaway Package" which has snorkling, float rental and bicycling...though, I'm also looking at the FIshing by Troll Boat option, as the kiddo has an extreme interest in learning to fish, it seems.
    Aug 22
    -Mears...ahem...sorry, DCL should have us to our resort, Art of Animation, around noon. So, with half a day to burn, we'll head over to a half day park! (for us at least, cause...well, we've seen all the shows)

    -Hollywood Studios

    -2:00p Lunch at Sci Fi Dine In

    -7:45 Dinner at 50's Prime Time

    -Fantasmic (I MAY...use a FP for this...not sure yet. Normally we do the dining package through Brown Derby, but I really don't want to eat at Brown Derby again...not that it's bad, it's just that we've done it every trip since 2011). There are 2 showings of Fantasmic on this night, and we'll go to the later one.
    Aug 23
    -Animal Kingdom (I have no idea why AK ends up being a Sunday thing for us every year, but it does!)

    -8:20 breakfast at Tusker House

    -1:30 lunch at Yak and Yeti

    -Evening after close at the resort or DTD or whatever we choose. Maybe bowling?
    Aug 24
    -Ohana for Breakfast. As I noted, I may move this to replace Cape May earlier in the trip and replace it with something else.

    This is our "free day". We'll probably do a mix of Water Parks, maybe some stuff out at Ft. Wilderness (as we attempted to do last trip, with archery, fishing and horseback riding), and DTD...At this point the kiddo already knows what is going on, so I will give her a few options the day before and see what she wants to do.

    -Tentative 1p lunch at T-Rex (though, I've never had trouble walking up to T-Rex, so I'll probably cancel this).

    -Tentative 7p Dinner at Raglan Rd.
    Aug 25
    -Last day..so sad.

    -11:45 Lunch at Cindy's Royal Table

    -After the 3p parade, we'll head back to the resort.

    -7:35p flight on Delta back to Washington Reagan. Arrive very late (11:45p)
    Check into Residence Inn Arlington to crash for the evening.
    Meet up with the kiddo's Mom to return her back to everyday life...
    Aug 26
    -10:45 return flight on Delta back to ATL.
    Last edited by englanddg; 05-24-2015 at 07:43 PM.
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Miami Fl
    Posts
    5,282
    Quote Originally Posted by englanddg View Post
    Played around with bands last night. Sample papers (kodak high gloss photo paper, high gloss sticker paper, etc). The templates fit perfectly, though they are a bit off (this is intentional, as they'd need to be trimmed and fitted for an actual mount, which I plan to try tonight)... Anyhow, here's some pics! <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9188"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9189"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9190"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9191"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9192"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9193"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9194"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9195"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9196"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9197"/> <img src="http://www.talkdisney.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9198"/>
    those are all really cooll!! Loved the splash one
    Frying pans! Who knew, right!?

    Talk Disney Moderator


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  11. #41
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
    Posts
    10,183
    That looks like one epic vacation englanddg.

    Room for one more?
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  12. #42
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Winkster View Post
    That looks like one epic vacation englanddg.

    Room for one more?
    As long as you pay your own way, I'm always willing to have company! <wink>
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937
    More Mickey Mail!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	image-2559164511.jpg 
Views:	143 
Size:	394.8 KB 
ID:	9229
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  14. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    Mickey Mail
    Disney Cruise Line Welcome Packet!

    Not to much to say about this one. The quality is nice, good thick stock with silver inlays on the folder. It's colorful, and has the most basic information you'll need.

    It's certainly NOTHING like the impressive WDW Welcome Packet, but this is only my first of the DCL mailers, so I'll write it off as that.

    Anyhow, as I noted, not much to say, so I'm just going to post the pictures here in case you are curious, but I'll reserve any commentary...because I don't really have any. :P

    But, it is exciting to see, as it makes the trip all the more real!

    Folder Cover


    Inside the Folder


    Leaflet Page 1


    Leaflet Page 2 and 3


    Leaflet Page 4


    Back of Folder
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Pre-Trip - englanddg's Is this the Real Life or is this just Fantasy

    Mickey e-Mail - Disney Cruise Line


    So, I've been playing around with the DCL portions of the online planning.


    First, I updated my profile (no pictures of that). Not much to do, as it still existed from my last cruise in 2013.


    Then, I decided to start with the Planning Tools...





    I opted for the online options.





    I got immediate access to the "DVD"... (warning, it's long, 30 mins, but I did add comments throughout it based on my last cruise experience)


    [MEDIA=youtube]WjDCdhreJwA[/MEDIA]


    Note, I only clicked through the parts that interested me, and the end, due to the website formatting, you'll see me clicking around because it implied there was more to it...but...there wasn't.


    At least that I could find.


    So, on to the e-brochure!


    The layout is rather neat.


    It's hard to explain some of the features, so here's a video...feel free to skip around it...but, after I got a few "chapters" in, I decided to just print it to PDF. Scroll down to see how well THAT worked. (another example of a Disney IT fail)


    [MEDIA=youtube]13jxNMWNQXo[/MEDIA]


    Something that will go by quickly in the vid...You have the option to create an even more "custom" brochure by clicking on the gear icon.





    And, if you decide to print it out (to pdf) you get a countdown timer...





    This is to meter server load and for other reasons...<winks at coders and network sorts, you all get it>. But, in this case, it's VERY well implemented, imho. Very clean and friendly UI (User Interface).


    When finished...you are prompted that your PDF is now available. You can keep viewing the online brochure as you wait, which is a neat touch.





    But, here my compliments end. So, for backstory, I administrate / program a system that generates PDFs. I know it can be a bit tricky to do. I know there are a lot of variables involved. That said, this is unacceptable.


    See for yourself (with my own notes added, and just to be sure it wasn't a plugin issue with Chrome...I opened it in Acrobat...same result). I have a pretty good idea what is causing this, but Disney isn't paying me, so I'm not going to share it with them...all I have to say is...didn't someone TEST this? Or did you (Disney) just outsource it and assumed it worked? Here, see for yourself...


    [MEDIA=youtube]7PXVXm0zzVs[/MEDIA]


    In all, the planning tools are neat, and I like the concepts behind them. The e-brochure, in particular, should just be the default format, in my opinion. Either that, or they shouldn't recycle videos from the DVD in it.


    I mean, why watch / read both? When they both say the same bland things?


    It does help me get excited for my trip, but really doesn't do much to inform me about what to expect.


    So, I'm giving these "Planning Tools"...a C for effort and a D for Donald. Because, while they are sort of fun to watch (in a very commercial way), they make about as much sense as Donald when he is angry as far as informing me what to expect for the cruise.
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
    2012 - 3 @ Uni Royal Pacific, 12 @ Pop
    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

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