Regular readers wil know that about 24 hours ago I got it into my head that I should throw caution to the wind and buy myself a little happiness by booking a Christmas trip to WDW.
After a lot of vacillation, I finally committed and made the (non-refundable) reservations for my flight and hotel (ASMo.) Then, during a literally sleepless night, I started putting the schedule together.
That process has continued during today and I now have a pretty solid first draft.
I’m very open to comments and suggestions, though here are some notes to bear in mind first.
Frustratingly I cannot book any FPPs until Disney UK loads the reservation into the main system. This may take “up to seven days”, which would be a catastrophe if true. I have managed to book three FPPs for the 20th at DHS because I booked MVMCP and the system gave me one day’s worth of FPP availability.
So my plans include aspirational FPPs, or don’t include any at all. At this late stage it’s more a matter of seeing what’s available than booking exactly what I want.
Similarly for ADR’s. There’s no question of thinking, “I’d love to eat at X.” You scan down the list of what’s available and decide which one you want.
These things being said, I’m pretty happy with what I ended up with, so far as ADRs are concerned. I wanted to choose restaurants that (a) were not duplications of ones I’m planning to visit in July next year, and (b) are ones that I’ve never been to before but always kinda wanted to but could just never manage to squeeze them in. It’s worked out pretty well — and made next year’s planning a little easier as there’s some I can stop trying to squeeze into gaps in the schedule they just don’t fit into.
Satu’li has featured in both my last two trips and features in next year’s. It’s just so good and such great value for money.
Sanaa featured last year but I didn’t revisit this year, nor have I planned to do so next year. So it’s a welcome feature of the Xmas plan.
Other than that, all of the ADRs are new to me.
I booked MVMCP because I felt like that was compulsory, and I also booked the Tony’s parade viewing package because the parade looks awesome and I don’t want to be fighting for a spot.
I’ve considered and even tried booking other extras — dessert parties, the AK VIP tour, Toy Story Land EMM — but there was either no availability or the timing didn’t work with my schedule.
This is probably just as well. I really do want to focus on simply enjoying being at WDW during this trip. If that means queuing for two hours to ride SDD and FOP, then so be it.
I’ve scheduled visits to all of the Deluxe resorts to enjoy their Christmas displays and decorations.
Some other notes:
I had originally planned to visit from 21st to 27th (ish) but getting the flights I wanted at the price I wanted, and getting the hotel I wanted, meant I ended up booking 18th to 24th. This will mean some frantic rescheduling of work commitments, but I’m actually glad about how the dates worked out. In particular it means Calvin and I will be together on Christmas Day. There was a question as to whether I might get very upset on the 25th, being alone at WDW. No more.
I’ve spent about £2,500 so far. I booked Premium Economy seats for the flight. On the outbound flight this was partly to get the seat nearest the door so that I can be one of the very first off the plane and into immigration. I also just really hate flying and Premium Economy will make it a nudge less miserable. (I found that Upper Class didn’t add as much value as I thought when I tried it this summer. Those flat beds aren’t actually that comfortable: it’s basically like sleeping on the floor with a seatbelt and an undersized duvet.)
I’ve cancelled my original Christmas plans which resulted in a refund of £650 and I’m going to cancel a trip I was going to make in March and another in April (for my birthday). These will save another £700 or so. Adding in the cost of the airport hotel and my ADRs, the net cost will be under £2,000 for the six night stay. I’m pretty happy with that.
Yesterday was an odd day. I was very depressed during the day (to the point where I did actually worry a little about myself) and then I so obsessed about this trip and planning it that I literally could not sleep at all last night. That’s never happened to me before. I’ve powered through today and plan to go to bed at a reasonably normal time. I hope I sleep the sleep of the righteous and catch up (some of) what I missed.
All in all, I’m happy with my decision and I’m cautiously excited about the trip. I’m nervous about Calvin and leaving him behind. He’ll be looked after by a friend who’ll be moving into my house. He’s known her since he was a puppy, though they rarely see each other nowadays as she moved house. That’s all good. The slight worry is that she has a dog of her own and she’ll be bringing him with her. Calvin’s known him since they were both puppies, but I’m not sure how well they’ll do living together. But ultimately, he’s not going to die: he’ll be looked after in his own home. I’m only away for eight nights in total.
And I have to get away. I feel like I need this break.
Here’s the schedule. It looks better on screen than on this slightly garbled pdf. Hopefully you get the various bits of colour-coding.