June 2013 - The Great Wedding Road Trip - Final thoughts

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Kristen K.'s picture
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June 2013 - The Great Wedding Road Trip - Final thoughts

What: We're Going to Becks534's Disney Wedding!

Where: Disney's Wilderness Lodge Villas (2 Bedroom)

When: June 7th - 14th, 2013

Who: Kristen (me!) Geordon (DH) Tori (DD19) Kirk (DS18) Katie (DD13) -- plus we'll be meeting up with Becks (Bride/BBF) Carlos (Groom) Ian (BecksDS15) and their families!

How: I'm loading 5 of us into a rental minivan and we're hitting the road! We've got 18.5 hours of active drive time through 5 states, plus rest stops, food, and some sleep at some point. We hope to split up over two days.

ADRs: Breakfast at Wilderness Lodge, Breakfast at Kona Cafe' and that's about it. We plan on having dinner at Tutto Gusto one night, they don't take reservations. I'm kinda starting to panic about ADRs. Our schedule keeps getting tweaked and I keep looking for places I want an ADR but everything is full. I think we're going to be eating a LOT of counter service on this trip. I keep telling myself that's okay, it just means that we'll save money.

Oh my gosh, my ticker just keeps getting closer and closer to our next trip, the time is just flying buy and things feel like they're coming up on me so very fast.

Since we are trying to save money on this trip (hence the drive) I went to Target and bought Disney gift cards with my Target Debit "Red Card" which saved me 5%, plus the 10% saved for DH's employee discount. It saved me almost $75 which is enough for a quick serve meal for the 5 of us. I'm pretty excited about that!

The rental car has been reserved. I'm not entirely sure about on the road hotels though. I would like to reserve them ahead of time, but I think we'll just end up stopping where ever we are when we get tired. What do you guys do when you drive?

I put a bunch of money for the trip on my Starbucks card too, because I'll totally need coffee for the drive. I also mapped out all the SBUX along the way. LoL...

I'm trying to get a handle on my packing, I my girls have started shopping. I'm a little freaked out at the thought of June in Disney. It's not our usual time of year.

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You are going to have so much fun! I love road trips and I really love weddings! Can't wait to hear all about it.

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I'm a big road trip fan, and I agree that you're going to have a blast! I love your money-saving ideas: especially buying the giftcards at Target! Never thought about using a RED card to save on them, but it's an awesome idea!!

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May 2013: Our Disney-themed wedding

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Not my usual time of the year, either. It's hotter, and some kids are out of school, so I imagine the summer vacation crowds will be starting to arrive. But I'd brave the Christmas crowds if it were my best friend's wedding.

I've only driven to Florida once - not WDW but another location - and we reserved at a hotel about halfway down both ways. But I can see the appeal of winging it - if everyone is tired earlier than expected you can stop, or if everyone is wide awake late at night you can keep going.

Are you looking for ADRs for your whole crew - both your family and Becks'? I can believe that would be hard. If it's just your family for at least some of the ADRs and you haven't already done so, I'd suggest looking for availability by date instead of by restaurant. When I tweaked the plans for our upcoming April trip, I searched by date, got a long list of restaurants with availability, and was able to make ADRs just a month in advance. True, a lot of the places I most wanted to try had no availability, but there was still quite a selection. We even got a Cape May Cafe character breakfast ADR just one month in advance.

On the other hand, I could easily eat all counter-service and not feel cheated. WDW has so many interesting counter-service restaurants. I could probably do Sunshine Seasons three or four times and enjoy every meal. And I'd love to try the food court at Art of Animation - in fact, if the timing works out right, I might suggest stopping there for lunch on our Blizzard Beach day instead of eating the boring food at the water park.

However the meal situation resolves itself, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful trip, especially since you'll be sharing Becks' special day.

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crazycatperson wrote:

Are you looking for ADRs for your whole crew - both your family and Becks'? I can believe that would be hard. If it's just your family for at least some of the ADRs and you haven't already done so, I'd suggest looking for availability by date instead of by restaurant.

Mostly for the 5 of us. I'm struggling with Dinner at Hollywood Studios. I don't think I can afford the Brown Derby, but Prime Time & Mama Melrose are booked. Hollywood & Vine doesn't appeal to me. I could do Sci-Fi, but I'm just not feeling it. We've only got a 1/2 day at that park so I don't want to go outside for a meal. I think it's going to be Quick Serve but I don't really have experience with it in that park. Any suggestions?

I also have one park day that haven't decided which one we're going to, so meals are up in the air for that day too. We only have 1 day 1 park tickets, so hopping is not an option. If we don't get in to Be Our Guest for lunch on Sunday then we'll go back to the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday to do it then. If we do have lunch there on Sunday I have no idea where we're going on Tuesday, we'll play it by ear I guess!

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Kristen, as far as the on the road hotels go, may I suggest that when you start thinking of stopping for the night especially if you are near a state line (say VA and NC for example) stop at the first state welcome center as you enter the state and check all the travel booklets they have to give away. They always have great deals and coupons for travellers planning on stopping in their state for the night. We have done that and saved quite a bit. That way when you finally do decide to stop you have coupons at the ready that could save you $$$.

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Vettelover wrote:
stop at the first state welcome center ... They always have great deals and coupons for travelers planning on stopping in their state for the night. That way when you finally do decide to stop you have coupons at the ready that could save you $$$.

yay Thanks so much for this tip! We'll be sure to do that.

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We will be doing our first road trip to Disney next month so I will be sure to let you know of any tips I come across

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Kristen K. wrote:
crazycatperson wrote:
Are you looking for ADRs for your whole crew - both your family and Becks'? I can believe that would be hard. If it's just your family for at least some of the ADRs and you haven't already done so, I'd suggest looking for availability by date instead of by restaurant.

Mostly for the 5 of us. I'm struggling with Dinner at Hollywood Studios. I don't think I can afford the Brown Derby, but Prime Time & Mama Melrose are booked. Hollywood & Vine doesn't appeal to me. I could do Sci-Fi, but I'm just not feeling it. We've only got a 1/2 day at that park so I don't want to go outside for a meal. I think it's going to be Quick Serve but I don't really have experience with it in that park. Any suggestions?

Quick service at DHS: The pizza at Toy Story Pizza Planet is pretty good for counter-service pizza. ABC Comissary has some decent selections; hubby and I liked the fish and chips and the Asian salad. I know other people like Backlot Express.

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Sounds like it will be a very different trip for you (summer season, road tripping, wedding, counter service, etc.) and I can't wait to hear your perspective. I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time and congrats to Becks! muchlove

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crazycatperson wrote:
Kristen K. wrote:
crazycatperson wrote:
Are you looking for ADRs for your whole crew - both your family and Becks'? I can believe that would be hard. If it's just your family for at least some of the ADRs and you haven't already done so, I'd suggest looking for availability by date instead of by restaurant.

Mostly for the 5 of us. I'm struggling with Dinner at Hollywood Studios. I don't think I can afford the Brown Derby, but Prime Time & Mama Melrose are booked. Hollywood & Vine doesn't appeal to me. I could do Sci-Fi, but I'm just not feeling it. We've only got a 1/2 day at that park so I don't want to go outside for a meal. I think it's going to be Quick Serve but I don't really have experience with it in that park. Any suggestions?

Quick service at DHS: The pizza at Toy Story Pizza Planet is pretty good for counter-service pizza. ABC Comissary has some decent selections; hubby and I liked the fish and chips and the Asian salad. I know other people like Backlot Express.

I agree. I think the pizza is good for theme park pizza and I believe you get a salad and drink with the combo, so it's a nice meal and there's something green in there to soak up the grease. And it's NEVER crowded. My friend have eaten at the ABC Commissary and the lines were so long that I had time to go get my pizza, walk back, and sit at the table before some of them even had their food. Or you could just eat cupcakes from Starring Rolls and call it a day!! clapping

As far as stopping, whenever we road trip, we always pick a place ahead of time. We don't necessarily make reservations, but by knowing where we want to stop (and what hotel we plan to stay in) it keep us on target (have to make it to here tonight) and also keeps us from overshooting our goal. When my mother and I drove to Illinois this past fall, we were all hopped up on Cracker Barrel coffee and almost decided to keep going past our designated stopping point. Turns out there was nothing on the other side of that city than just flat, midwest cornfields. Better to drive that in the daylight!

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Kristen,

At HS we like to go to either the pizza place (already mentioned) or the Backlot Express. They have a HUGE hamburger/cheeseburger that comes with fries and is so big it could easily be split between 2 adults. The meat looks and tastes fresh--not like the usual MickeyDs. They also have lots of fixings that you can add to make it to your liking.

Vettelover had a great suggestion: stop at the welcome stop--or first rest stop after passing into a new state--they ALWAYS have coupon books for travelers. I have traveled many times using these coupons. They aren't just for cheap hotel/motels either--they have coupons for all price ranges. We have saved tons of money using these coupons.

Patti mickey

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crazycatperson wrote:

Quick service at DHS: The pizza at Toy Story Pizza Planet is pretty good for counter-service pizza.

Is this located in the Pixar Place area?

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Kristen I just looked up the DHS map and the pizza place that everyone is talking about is actually in Streets of America. However, I can't find the exact location on the map. The one in Pixar Place is Hey Howdy Hey and is just snacks. mickey

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Kristen K. wrote:

Oh my gosh, my ticker just keeps getting closer and closer to our next trip, the time is just flying buy and things feel like they're coming up on me so very fast.

Lallalalllalllaaaa....What?! I can't hear you! muchlove Kidding! I've got so much still left to do, it boggles the mind. Your ticker gives me the willies whenever I see it. I know the schedule is all over the place but...well, you know why.

Kristen K. wrote:
The rental car has been reserved. I'm not entirely sure about on the road hotels though. I would like to reserve them ahead of time, but I think we'll just end up stopping where ever we are when we get tired. What do you guys do when you drive?

That's pretty much what we did a couple years ago. The first night on the road we decided that Chattanooga was going to be a good place to stop since we were going to be doing a stopover in Atlanta the next morning. My all time record for long distance driving was from Chicago to Tifton, GA in one stretch and I absolutely do not recommend it. If you get to the TN/GA border and you're still feeling good, try Macon or pretty much anyplace south of Atlanta. I was really surprised how quickly the drive from Atlanta to the World went.

Kristen K. wrote:
I put a bunch of money for the trip on my Starbucks card too, because I'll totally need coffee for the drive. I also mapped out all the SBUX along the way. LoL...

There is a really nice one in Tennessee right before you go through the mountain pass. Pretty sure the town is called Monteagle, TN. Also a 'bucks in the much-maligned Tifton with a drive through.

Kristen K. wrote:
I'm trying to get a handle on my packing, I my girls have started shopping. I'm a little freaked out at the thought of June in Disney. It's not our usual time of year.

Its not THAT bad! Okay, it probably is....but warm is good! I know Ian has new shorts from when we went in October but the rest of his stuff is toast. More shopping....

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Kristen K. wrote:
crazycatperson wrote:

Quick service at DHS: The pizza at Toy Story Pizza Planet is pretty good for counter-service pizza.

Is this located in the Pixar Place area?

It's near the Muppets 3-D theater.

Edited to add: Pizza Planet existed long before there was a Pixar Place, to explain why it isn't in the most logical location (near Toy Story Midway Mania).

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We love road trips!! This will be fun! For HS maybe take a look at Studio Catering Company. They had changed up their menu a few years ago and we thought it was pretty good.

As far as the driving part, we've driven back and forth across the country a few times now with my work relocations. But we have to plan our stops out in advance, as we have the dogs and need to make sure we have a pet friendly hotel waiting for us. So we just decide how long we want or need to drive each day, and then look for pet friendly hotels in the general area and book it in advance.

For Starbucks, Joe has the Starbucks app for his android. When we want to find one along the way, the app figures out our location and then brings up a map of Starbucks locations. We've used it a lot yay

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Girlie moment... I got my Bridesmaid dress ordered!

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Very nice Kristin! I love the colour.

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Very nice! And I agree, the color is lovely. One of my favorites.

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Love the dress! awesome Looks great on you!

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Nov. 2014: Baby's First 1/2 Day at the Magic Kingdom; our date day at Hollywood studios
Jan. 2014: Our princess was born!
May 2013: Our POR & DCL honeymoon (& my husband's first Disney trip of hopefully many!)
May 2013: Our Disney-themed wedding

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Thanks girls! I'm really happy with it, it makes me feel pretty muchlove
Oh! And they call the color Horizon[s] so I figured it was fate.

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It makes you look pretty too. LOVE that blue. mickey mickey

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Very, very nice! Amazing color! You look fabulous, darlin'!

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Oooh loving the dress, very swish Smile

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Doesn't she look absolutely fantastic? She was texting me pictures of all the dresses she was trying on and I knew right away from her expression that she loved that dress.

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That is a great dress and blue is a great color for you too. Can't wait to see pictures of Becks wedding.

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beautiful

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Kristen, what a fab dress! You look lovely, great style and colour Smile

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Blue is definitely your color. You look fantastic!

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Thanks so much everyone! I am *really* getting excited about this trip. Becks and I have been doing lots of wedding planning this week.

I discussed with my family that we're going to be doing a lot of Counter Service eats and they are much cooler with it than I was expecting. There's lot of flex in this trip, and while I may have a break down over it, the family seems cool. LOL! laugh

We've decided not to make hotel reservations for the drive down, so that we have some more flex in where we stop. We've also discussed perhaps leaving on the 6th instead of the 7th depending on what his work schedule turns out to be. It would be nice to be able to get to WDW eariler in the day and hang out by the pool until our room is ready. That will get ironed out 2 weeks ahead when he gets his schedule. He put in for his days off yesterday. clapping