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December 2017 Pre Trip Report

I think its pretty obvious at this point that I love planning Disney trips so I thought why not share with you as I am in the midst of planning our next vacation to Walt Disney World for December 2017. On this trip will be myself, my husband, son and our niece Tamara for her very first trip ever! I think we are all a little excited to share our love of the mouse with her!

I am well into planning this trip so here is how it has gone so far.

My daughter and I took a short trip back in October for the Food & Wine Festival and to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. There happen to be a awesome bounce back offer for Free Dining so we decided to go ahead and book our next trip for December 16 - 22, 2017 at Caribbean Beach Resort with 6 day park hopper tickets and the deluxe dining plan. We enjoy park hopping and eating several 2 table service credit meals while at Disney so those options are great for us.

Shortly after Christmas we decided we would be taking our niece on this trip, so we changed resorts to Art of Animation and booked a Lion King Suite because The Lion King is Tamara's favorite Disney movie. This will actually be our 3rd stay at Art of Animation and I am really glad we changed from Caribbean Beach due to the current construction going on there.

Now the planning began. The first thing I always do is decide what days will be spent where.

12/16 - Animal Kingdom

12/17 - Magic Kingdom

12/18 - Animal Kingdom & Hollywood Studios

12/19 - Magic Kingdom & Epcot

12/20 - Rest & Magic Kingdom

12/21 - Epcot & Hollywood Studios

As you can tell we do enjoy park hopping!

I already knew we wanted to go to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, just had to wait for the dates. Once they came out we decided on 12/17.

I went ahead and started looking a flights. We always fly Southwest because of how you can watch the prices and adjust if your flight price goes down. While checking these flights one day I found it to be significantly cheaper to fly in on Wednesday than on Saturday. Unfortunately, my husband being a teacher

is unable to leave early. However, I booked 3 nights at Pop Century for the kids and I and we still saved $10 off of what the Saturday flights would have cost! Total cost of the flights for the kids and I was $162. I was finally able to get my husband's flight on the 16th down to $120. A few weeks later after stalking the Southwest website for our return flights, I was able to snag flights at $69 each! I was so happy (despite the 7am departure) to grab those as previously they had been running about $250.

So that brings our trip dates to December 13 - 22. We will arrive late on the 13th so no parks that day. The 14th we will rest, get in some pool time and hit Disney Springs. We may add on a Cirque show since it is ending this year but not completely sure that will be in the budget.

Before I knew it, it was ADR time! That means I am 180 days away and even though I may not know what is for dinner tonight, I will know where Ill be eating 6 months from now!

So here is my current list, which Im sure is subject to change!

12/14 - Beaches & Cream lunch (not able to get yet)

Planet Hollywood Observatory Dinner

12/15 - Be Our Guest Breakfast (not able to get yet)

Crystal Palace Lunch

PizzaRizzo Dinner (QS)

12/16 - Donald's Dining Safari Breakfast Tusker House

Rainforest Cafe Dinner Animal Kingdom

12/17 - California Grill Brunch

Be Our Guest Dinner

12/18 - Sanaa Lunch

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue

12/19 - Fairytale Dining Breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table

Liberty Tree Tavern Lunch

Chef's de France or Garden Grill Candlelight Dinner

12/20 - Ohana Dinner

12/21 - Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast

Garden Grill Lunch

Hollywood Brown Derby Dinner

Some of these will likely be cancelled, I just can't decide which ones to let go yet!

So the next big thing to do will be fast passes and plan my touring of the parks. We are somewhat veterans so we pretty well know what to hit when but I still like to plan it all out so I make sure to hit the things I haven't done before or anything new since the last trip (PANDORA!). It is July so my next big day is in October. Oh the waiting...

August 4, 2017

Today I finally was able to purchase my tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!! The best news is that although the total cost of those tickets was $404.00, I know I didn't pay that much. I have been collecting Disney gift cards for quite a few months. I have been able to get some for free (throughsites like Swagbucks, MileUP and Disney Movie Rewards) and saved 5% on the rest by using my Target REDCard to buy the remaining amount in Disney Gift Cards.

August 16, 2017

This trip will be the first chance I will have to see the new fireworks show at Magic Kingdom, "Happily Ever After."I am not usually one to buy into "extras" but I decided I wanted to make sure I had a good viewing spot for the show so I decided to buy tickets to Happily Ever After Dessert Party. This will ensure great viewing of the show without having to stake out a sport an hour or longer before.