Monday, June 9, 2014

Probably not the best way to book your Disney vacation

As I've mentioned several times, we plan to visit the Florida mouse grounds again at some point during 2014.  I thought we were doing it right this time though.  We picked our dates so far in advance that I was able, for the first time, to book dining reservations right at the 180 day mark.  And I had some good ones too - breakfast at Crystal Palace before Magic Kingdom opens.  Keep in mind that I'm doing this for the kids.  Although I think breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out so maybe there was a selfish motive involved, but I thought the the girls would be ecstatic strolling down an uncrowded Main Street.

The dates that we decided upon weren't ideal in that our vacation would run mid-week to mid-week, which isn't a productive use of vacation days, and a few days after we returned, I would have to take off at least a half day from work for school stuff.  We planned it that way in order for Rich to attend an important work meeting late in the day on Tuesday, leaving us to fly out Wednesday morning.  Because we have a Disney Visa, we were able to get in on an offer before it was open to the public.  And what a great offer it was.  We booked the Contemporary, my dream resort in terms of location.  The girls' favorite park is Magic Kingdom and avoiding all public transportation and walking to a park is high on my priority list.

Well, wouldn't you know that Rich's work meeting was moved to the next Tuesday, the day we would be returning from Florida. And then my work situation kind of blew up. More people jumped ship (in this case, not a bad thing), my role shifted, yada, yada. . . I am now responsible for a high profile project that requires a substantial amount of work and the timing falls right when we would be away.  This is a project based on dates, which leaves no possibility of a timing shift.  We, thankfully, had not booked airfare.  One option would have been to attempt to work while on vacation but I can't imagine trying to do that. Vacationing with the kids is completely different from vacationing without.  It requires an additional effort that leaves me exhausted and with very little free time.  I'm usually asleep shortly after they are.

We ended up canceling that vacation. Letting go of those dining reservations was hard. Think of the children.  We came up with new vacation days that fit with my work schedule and Rich's.  Hopefully. Unfortunately, it was past the 180 day mark so dining reservations had already opened and almost all the good ones were taken. I did manage to find some decent ones though but man, what a time suck.

Here's my one big tip if you are booking a room or a package with Disney:  Check online to see what the cost is and then call to see what they quote you. It won't always be the same.  For us, we found a great deal online but when Rich called, he was told that the room category he was requesting was sold out, despite the fact that it was available online.   So we booked online, of course.

Our new resort is the Polynesian.  The only rooms available at the Contemporary for our new dates were club level rooms and while that sounds nice, I just can't justify the cost.  I would stay at the Art of Animation again and Rich probably would too but he would prefer not to.  My biggest complaint with that resort was the lack of fresh air.  There are no balconies and I didn't like that trapped inside feeling.

I'll leave you with one last tip. If you don't see a dining reservation you want, keep checking.  Because you are required to give credit card info to secure the reservation, folks will actually cancel when they change their minds.  I couldn't find any open breakfast slots at Tusker House for the entire week.  I kept checking and finally one opened up. Yay!  I think I'm most excited to stuff myself.

Stayed tuned for some outfits... (I'm really behind.  I may have to do weekly progress reports.)


Cindy said...

That's a bummer that you lost your primo reservations, but nice that you were able to change. We're going the day after Thanksgiving & I logged in to make our dining reservations at day 179 (not 180) and missed out on Be Our Guest.

maureen said...

I have only been to WDW once, I took my oldest daughter in 2006. We stayed at the Polynesian and it was fantastic! We shared a room with a friend and her daughter, so I was able to split a lot of the costs. We bought the Dining Plan, which turned out to be a waste of money for us, because we did stay in the Club Level. When you stay in the Club at the Polynesian, they have a nice Lounge that has breakfast, lunch, happy hour that was so good we used it as our dinner most nights, and then a 10PM dessert and wine event! The only day we went out to breakfast was when we went to the Character breakfast at the Awana (I think that is what it is called.) It was really delicious! We also ate lunch in the Magic Kingdom one day, and dinner at Downtown Disney one night. We were there 6 days. I would totally do the Club Level again, especially with little children who don't eat as much. I would NOT do the club level if you ever go to Disneyland in CA, they do not have as much food and the free breakfast is only continental stuff, pastries, bagels, cereal...yuk!

Have a really fun time!

Bernice said...

So happy you were able to reschedule your Disney vacation. Hope somewhere when you were making room reservations you were told,their main pool, gift shop and the beautiful Ceremonial Hall waterfall are all undergoing major renovations,and will not be available all summer.
I know you will still have a great is Disney:)

Sarah said...

Cindy - I'm convinced I'll get BOG reservations 5 years from now. I tried to get them on the day they opened and couldn't.

Bernice - Yup - I knew about the construction and wonder if that's why we got the room at a good discount. They are supposed to be offering guests a free day pass to Blizzard Beach to make up for it.

Anonymous said...

I try every day at least ten times for that elusive BOG reservation still nothing. Hopefully something will open up closer to our trip this fall. It's the only place my daughter requested to eat and I can't get a reservation. Boo!

Anonymous said...

We've done polynesian twice. We love it there. Have a great trip!