Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Planning:30 days out.

As you know, we are in the thick of vacation planning mode. With the arrival of our Magical Express package in the mail yesterday it has truly hit us that our magical journey will soon be under way. And so as I did for ninety days, I will now do my thirty days to go list of things you should do if your planning.

Magical Express-

Maybe you've heard of it. Maybe you haven't. Maybe you have used it, maybe you haven't. But whether you have or not let me take the opportunity to explain it. Because believe me, it could be your best friend, and greatest time saver around. Now if you have ever flown before you know how much time it is to grab your bags, to check in. Not to mention that when you finally do get them you have to hail a taxi to your destination which costs you an arm and a leg more in likely. So leave it to Disney-because after all they think of everything-to come up to a solution. If you are a guest at any of the Disney Resorts you can utilize the free transportation from Orlando International Airport straight to the front doors of your home for the next little while.

This free service is exclusive only to those guests on property and is offered through most major airlines. Once reservations have been requested and arranged, Disney will send you a magical express packet. In this packet, you will find your boarding passes to board the bus and special luggage tags that you place on your bags. Why so special? Well once you hand over your bags at check in you will not have to do another thing to them except wait for them to arrive in your room upon arrival. That's right, there is no picking up standing at those turn tables waiting because Disney will pick up the luggage, and will deliver it to your door usually about three-four hours after you get there. Now note, this works only if you arrive before Ten PM, after this point you are still able to use the free shuttle service to your resort but you must pick up your own bags.

I must say my husband and I have used this service several times and find it to come in quite handy. For we board, we get to the resort check in and off we go to enjoy our vacation and pack in that much extra magic without the hassle of such things as dealing with the luggage. However I would suggest the following

-In your carry on, make sure to have at least one change of clothes, especially if you arrive from a colder region, you may just want to jump in the pool and since the service doesn't bring your luggage right away better to be prepared.
-Check with the airline to make sure they offer such a service. While Disney has partnered with most major airlines it hasn't partnered with all of them yet. Which means while you can still use the bus, you will have to get the luggage and bring it to the bus yourself.
-Its about a half hour ride from airport to each resort. Sit back and relax. Watch the video they have playing which explains in depth how ME (magical express) exactly works. Remember, its not just there to bring you to your vacation, its there on your return as well.

Grocery Shopping

No, I don't expect most people would be buying or even thinking about grocery shopping when they are on vacation. However if you are like myself-a DVC member-or are someone who is lucky enough to stay at a Villa which offers a full kitchen you may say why even bother with such a thing as the dining plan and cook. Mind you I am one who wants to go on vacation and not think about cooking what so ever. But that's just me. Or you actually may just find yourself longing for an omelet after hours and with most everything on property closing around midnight. I doubt one is going to be readily available. Which makes looking into getting groceries perfect for you. There are several companies which actually deliver groceries right to your hotels room. One in particular seems to be quite popular and recommended by several die hard Disneyaholics. Their prices do seem a bit cheaper than the ones used through Disney-which is only offered to DVC members. and offers more of a variety than the little gift shops on property.

I have never used this myself, but will be doing so this July when we are staying with a group of seven adults. I am sure I will be able to go on about this a little more in detail upon my return but for now I will have to go by what others have said.

Just a reminder, they are quite popular therefore its better you get your request in early to avoid any delivery complications.

Getting Excited?

So your an adult and you think there is nothing to do but rides and kiddie shows. Well then might I suggest you pick yourself up one of these books. Hidden Mickeys are stored throughout all four theme parks and two water parks and even in Downtown Disney. They are exactly what you think a Mickey shaped head hidden throughout lands, in rides, on buildings etc. There is no set number of just how many there are and with each new attraction comes new chances to find them. Believe me we have been going for years and haven't even touched nearly a quarter of all of them And with each trip down my husband and I like to be the one to find the most, or the hardest one. Or one neither have seen before. And its just not for adults, I have seen several kids get into the act. Dif. a must do if you ask me.

Don't forget the cash

Disney did away with the above Disney Dollars. But this still brings up a good reminder, you are now coming up on a month to go. Time to start thinking about any last minute savings. Lets not forget Disney, is a money machine. And no matter what you bring it never seems enough. Which is why its a good idea to start thinking about just how much you want to bring. To think about the extras you know your going to look into. The t-shirt you want. The ears. The last mickey shaped rice crispy treat. My general rule of thumb is always prepare and bring more than I need...only taking so much with me-in room safes are perfect-if you happen to pull to much out. Just think of the lunch money you won't need to worry about when you return.

30 days may still seem far enough out to go. But remember this, they go by rather quick. And before you know it, you will soon be boarding that bus as your magic awaits.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Buy Happy

So after eight years of driving my 2002 Mazda Protege, the time has come to trade it in my friends. Again, this has nothing to do with the fact that it was broken down, run down or in horrible condition. But rather due to my wants. My needs. I had been thinking about it a lot lately.Especially after a few trips down south with the lil man. My small little protege that was comfortable for me, just hasn't been cutting it these days. Now, yes we have my husbands car. But in the grand scheme of things, his 2006 Mazda3, isn't that much better. So yes I have been contemplating it for awhile.

A couple of weeks ago, I was on the net when an ad for the new 2011 Sonata popped up. I stopped, a looked at it. For giggles I even clicked the link and was taken to the Hyundai homepage. Within seconds I had built, mind driven, and priced out my car. And yes, I will say my, because I knew without a doubt that this was my car. The car that I wanted. Forget the Mazda6's that I had originally thought about. It was this car. And this car only that I wanted...

Perhaps what appealed to me was the slickness of the design. The smooth, fancy looking with a decent price. Perhaps I looked it and thought, I am an adult now. I need an adult car. But yet there is a part that screams sports car. That part of me doesn't want to give up the need the desire to have a quick clean looking fun car. Adult that I may be needs an adult car, but still knows how to say I am not ready to drive the typical mom SUV quite yet.

I convinced my husband to take me to at least look at the car during mother's day weekend. Of course look, turned into test drive, which turned into, I want need this car. I love love love this car! And I want it sooner rather than later.

Yes I fell in love with the car. I reasoned why I needed everything, the navigation system, which we had always said would be in my next car anyway. The sunroof, because it automatically came with the navigation package. The key-less entry, because with one hand its just more convenient. I even reasoned that the XM stereo would be awesome considering my husband loves his in the Mazda3 he owns. I even had a case for why I wanted a little bit of leather, which no wasn't necessary but for the model I wanted, it to like the sunroof came standard. I did my homework, I researched it all. I talked it out I pleaded my case to anyone who was willing to hear me out.

And I waited.

We did drive by the dealership one other time, but they didn't have the color I wanted, which was silver but really anything other than the one on the lot, a pearl white would have been fine with me. And since this was going to be a car that I was obviously going to keep around for awhile, judging by the length of my protege anyway. I figured I was going to get what I wanted. Of course talking to the salesman they said they could get me whatever color I wanted I would just have to wait for them to ship it. And still we waited. Not because we couldn't afford it. Rather we wanted to get a loan first. Make sure we could and would get the best deal there was out there to have. Etc.

We even discussed this with my in laws, who advised us to trade in my husbands Mazda3 instead of the Protege since the Protege has been paid off for years now, and in all actuality is probably in better shape than his.

So again I waited. Until Memorial day weekend, when my husband promised we could get it.And lets not forget, the hope of a sale or two. Memorial day came and went and still no car. This of course was not anyone's fault. We were able to score a long weekend and used the time to our advantage to spend some time with my sister down in NC.

Of course when we arrived back into town, the car was pretty much the only thing on my mind. After all I had been pretty patient. by this point it had been a month since the new car itch had taken over. And so Tuesday night, straight from work we found ourselves headed not for our house but rather the dealership down the road.

In all honesty I wasn't exactly expecting to drive off with the car. This was a brand new car, and hard to find with the features I want. Simply they can't keep them on the lot apparently. Which is funny because I haven't seen any of them on the road. Well take that back, maybe one or two. Rather I was expecting to go in, talk to them see what we could get for our trade and then order a car picking it up maybe on Saturday.

But it seems as those the car gods had thought I had waited long enough for right there on the lot, was a nice shiny silver Sonata, with everything that I needed and wanted. Just waiting for me to buy it...and no way was I going to let it get away...

another words.

at 10:45 Tuesday night, I drove away one very happy woman...

with my shiny new Sonata..