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Old 06-29-2012, 05:06 AM   #16
LoveToTravel
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How do you rent points and then add the dining plan to it? I would love to do that next year! We always buy a disney package with the dining plan and passes added. Loving your trip report and photos! So sorry you weren't feeling well.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:57 AM   #17
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LoveToTravel,

We rented points through the DVC store. Paul is excellent! He always answers emails within hours, and he answered all of our questions. I felt more secure going through a broker.

Basically, I told Paul what I was interested in. He gave me no-obligation quotes. Another popular broker doesn't do it for free. Anyway, I chose an offer and sent a deposit that was half of the total for the room. You don't have to pay the other half until 45 days before your check-in, I believe. Whenever you are ready, you can add the dining plan, up until 7 days before check-in. When you add it, you must pay for it in full.

You buy your tickets separately, and we used Undercover Tourist for a discount. When you check in, concierge can put your tickets on your Key to the World card, but we never did. We just used our tickets separately. That's how we went into Magic Kingdom before checking in to Animal Kingdom Lodge. Next time, I would probably add them to the card. By the end of the trip, our tickets had become soggy at times and were barely holding on--lol

After we made our deposit and signed the contract, the DVC member makes the reservation for you in your name. That person will also add the dining plan for you when you are ready. The only negatives in this is that in theory, the DVC member could cancel your reservation and keep the money. But after you have the reservation, you can check your reservation at any time yourself. I never thought this was a real risk through the DVC Store.

The other negative is that the reservation is non-refundable. We knew we were going unless something really horrible happened, like a death in the family or something. So we just bought trip insurance. It was very affordable.

When we ran the numbers, we knew we had to try this. Our suite was the same price as two moderate rooms at the French Quarter, rack rate. When I was pricing things, there were no discounts released for our dates, and I had no codes attached to my name in the Disney system.

It was easy, and for our next trip I am pretty sure we will rent points again. It was a great way for us to try a deluxe resort for less.

You can rent points for a little less directly from a DVC member, but I felt better going through the broker. But many, many people have rented directly from a member with no problems.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:14 PM   #18
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Our last Disney day had come. We were heading to Epcot for the morning. We got there a few minutes after opening, and when we got our Soarin' Fastpass, our return time was for 1:00! Oh well. We had plenty of things to do.

We did Figment and an Innovations building. After we looked around a little, we headed to the side of World Showcase we hadn't officially done. We did the Kidcot station at Mexico and rode the boat ride.

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We got stamps and messages at many Kidcot stations. It was a nice souvenir. After Mexico we went to Norway and did that boat ride. We then posed with the trolls.

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China is next, I believe. We looked around, but we didn't try to do the film. We did get a smoothie for the younger DD. We also saw Mulan, but we didn't wait in line to meet her.

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After this, it was time to do our Soarin' ride. We spilt up in The Land pavilion. My parents and my older DD rode first. I decided to have lunch. I had a nice pork chop with mashed potatoes at Sunshine Seasons. My DH decided he was not going to eat anything there. By the time I got to my table, our younger DD had fallen asleep. Soon, my parents came back.

We rode Soarin' while my parents ate and watched the youngest. Soarin' was pretty cool. After we rode, my DH took my older DD to the Liberty Inn to eat some "normal" food. My parents and I finished our desserts while the younger DD continued sleeping. It was cool in there, so we were not in a big hurry. Normally, we would go back to the room for a break, but since it was our last day, DD was already sleeping, and there was plenty left to see, we stayed instead of taking a break.

We finally walked back through the World Showcase and met DH and DD.

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I wanted to do the American Adventure, so we stopped there for that. We also saw the Fife and Drum Corp., so we watched that.

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We went to Japan next. I did the pick-a-pearl there. It was really cool, but I didn't have enough time to do a setting for it. I will do something with it sometime.

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It was then that it started to rain. And it was time to leave to get to our reservation at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom. We made the long trek back to the front of the park.

We hopped on the Monorail, and then it started pouring. It was hard, pounding rain. When it was time to get off at the Magic Kingdom, it was still pouring. We decided to make a run for it. We had a reservation to make!
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:52 PM   #19
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We were completely drenched when we got to the Crystal Palace, despite our best use of ponchos and umbrellas. I had to wait in line to check in at the restaurant because people were trying to check in an hour early because of the weather. Some people without reservations were turned away.

We were finally seated, and right away Pooh came to visit us. My youngest DD was timid, as usual but she was getting more comfortable around characters. We took turns going to the buffet, and while I was getting DD's food, Pooh came and got my youngest DD and my dad to lead a parade in the restaurant. (My daughter has different outfits because at some point during dinner, I changed her out of her wet clothes.)

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I've read on message boards that many people don't like the food on the character buffets we did. I don't get that. I thought everything we ate was pretty good. It wasn't fancy like some places, but really, no one else in my family is going to do "fancy."

After we finished dinner, we grabbed Fastpasses for the princess meet and greet at the Town Square Theatre. We purchased our Mickey ears for the kids while we waited for our time. After shopping a little, our time was ready. We saw Cinderella, Belle, and Aurora.

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When we were finished there, my older DD really wanted to go back to Epcot. She was pressing pennies, and she wanted to do some more countries. My dad decided to take her back to Epcot. My mom, DH, and younger DD decided to do things in Magic Kingdom. My DH grabbed Fastpasses for Space Mountain, and then we decided to do Pirates again.

We walked right on to Pirates, and while we were riding, the ride stopped for a few minutes. We were stopped in a later scene of the town, so we had plenty to look at while we were stopped.

When we left Pirates, we thought we should look for a place for the Main Street Electrical Parade. We staked out a spot across from Liberty Tree Tavern. We waited for awhile, but it wasn't too long before the parade started. We enjoyed it.

As soon as the parade was over, DH and I needed to get to Space Mountain before our window was over. Mom said she would stay with DD and wait for the crowd to move while DH and I snaked our way in and out of people to Tomorrowland. We got there with five minutes to spare.

We rode Space Mountain, and Wishes had started when we came out. We watched a little of it for awhile, and then we headed to where we were going to meet Mom and DD--the ice cream parlor. They had found a table, and DD was asleep in the stroller. My older DD and dad had met them as well. We debated about staying for the second parade, but my dad and DD didn't care if they stayed. Actually, as long as it took for us to leave, we may as well have just stayed to watch the parade. We broke our own SDC rule.

We did take the ferry back to the Ticket and Transportation Center. It really didn't take that long, and wouldn't have taken as long if people weren't line jumping to get on the ferry. But it wasn't so bad.

We returned to our room. It was our last night in the Animal Kingdom Lodge room.
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Old 06-29-2012, 06:23 PM   #20
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I really enjoy reading your reviews...sounds like you had a wonderful trip.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:19 PM   #21
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Great trip! Enjoyed the pictures too!
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:44 AM   #22
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Thanks Shis1 and QueenAngie!

Our check-out day had finally come. We slept in just a little, and then we began the pack-up process. We also filled up our mugs for the road, and we bought some snacks with our dining plan that we had left over.

We were now heading to the beach at St. Augustine. We finally go there in the late afternoon. We found a hotel we liked within walking distance of the beach. We let the youngest DD have a little nap while DH and I went to Publix. We bought a sand bucket and a boogie board.

We got back to the hotel, and we soon woke up our youngest because it was looking stormy outside. We went to the beach for awhile, but we left when the lightning began. The waves were pretty choppy.


After the beach, we cleaned up and went into town for dinner. We found a Chili's, and it was good. We had some of the best service we had anywhere! We also stopped at Walmart for some odds and ends. We drove through the historic district of St. Augustine after that. It's too bad we didn't allot more time for this area. We took some pictures of the fort. I would have liked one more day here.

Later, after the kids were asleep, my DH and I went back to the historic district and gave ourselves a "ghost tour" after reading about some online. We took some spooky pictures. We got some orbs, but most people believe they are just plain anomalies of light reflecting off dust or moisture captured by your camera. Who knows?

We drove the next morning and stopped along the road somewhere. We had dinner at Cracker Barrel, and our youngest was not cooperative. We did stop because we ran into some stormy weather.

The next morning, we packed up for more driving. We got to Memphis, and we stopped to do Graceland and Beale Street. If you go to Graceland, realize the regular tour is $40 a person! We went ahead and did it because who knows if we will ever be back.

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It was interesting, and I know my parents really enjoyed Graceland. Walking along Beale was fun, too. If we thought our youngest would sit well that night, we would've eaten dinner there. Instead, we drove a little bit more. We found a place to stay, but the layout was really weird. We kept getting lost trying to find our room. It was fine. This evening, we took turns eating so we could eat in peace while the youngest took some time to run around a bit.

The next morning, we packed up and drove for our last stretch. I had mosquito bites on my ankles the next morning. This was the first time I'd noticed anything like that the whole trip. We finally were home. It was an awesome trip! We can't wait to go again to Disney, but next time, we will fly!

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Old 06-30-2012, 07:35 PM   #23
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So glad you had a great trip and thank you for sharing with us. I really enjoyed your review and pics. Oh, and by the way, you have two beautiful girls!
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:19 AM   #24
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Thanks Stacey Sue for the information on DVC points. LOVED your trip report and photos. WDW and Branson are my favorite vacation destinations!
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Old 07-01-2012, 10:52 AM   #25
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I LOVED your review!! Your excitement for your trip before hand inspired me to go ahead an use some of our DVC points for a hubby and I only trip in September.. laugh...

Y'all did it up right that's for sure... you can tell you planned - but didn't over plan..

Glad you had a GREAT time!
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:50 PM   #26
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Thanks everyone! It sure was a great trip, and I liked thinking about our trip while I wrote the report.

In two days we are going to Branson for a short trip over the Fourth. The fireworks at SDC sold us. I'm sure it will be hot and busy!
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:09 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StaceySue View Post
Thanks everyone! It sure was a great trip, and I liked thinking about our trip while I wrote the report.

In two days we are going to Branson for a short trip over the Fourth. The fireworks at SDC sold us. I'm sure it will be hot and busy!
It might be hot and busy, but, 'for sure', it will be fun! Enjoy!
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:20 PM   #28
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so much for sharing your vacation with us! Loved your pictures and what you had to say!
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