Sunday, June 24, 2012

4 Months until our Disney Vacation!!!!

We only have 4 more months left :) We are getting so excited. It just seems like yesterday we decided to plan this trip.

First up is I FINALLY found a white bag for Catelyn's stuff but when I printed it, I printed the wrong size and my printer ran out of ink. I went ahead and used it but I will buy more ink and replace her Minnie head for next month. Cost for the white bag was $.50. I reuse the white bags every month and the "4 month" Mickey head paint chips came from Home Depot. I just write "4 months" on the paint chip with different colored Sharpies. Silver is the only color that works on the dark chips.

This months gift was not a fun gift but something we all require on our vacation......toiletries. Having said that, my kids were excited to open up their baggies to see what they got. I have been collecting these for awhile. I scour clearance racks (especially Target), wait for sales (Meijer had buy 3 toiletries get 1 free a few weeks ago), and look for free samples online. I even save the free shampoos, conditioners, and soaps from hotels. Some of the toiletries for this trip were saved from our last Disney trip, so they get some Mickey shampoo/conditioner and soap. If you plan ahead you can do this very inexpensively. We require lots of toiletries and so when we fly we put them in our checked luggage so we don't have to worry about baggies and 3oz rules. 

Now for the breakdown:

Xander: Hair gel, body wash, brush/comb, Disney soap, Disney shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and body spray. His total was $5.75 (boys are cheap).

Eve: Toothbrush, toothpaste, brush/comb, Disney soap, Disney shampoo, body wash, lotion, body spray, and deodorant. I found Cherry Fun Dip scented lotion, body spray, and body wash at and she loved it!! Her total was $9.98.

Caitlyn: Disney soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, bath gel, lotion, and body spray. Since she is 12, I got her bath products (gel, lotion, spray) at Bath and Body Works. Her total was $8.25.

"Mammie":  Toothbrush, toothpaste, Disney soap, shave cream, deodorant, bath gel, lotion, body spray, and a razor. I also got her bath products at Bath and Body Works. Her total was $10.53.

Me: Toothbrush, toothpaste, Disney soap, bath gel, lotion, body spray, conditioner, shave cream, travel bottle (to take my expensive shampoo),  deodorant, saline, face wash, and a razor. My conditioner is expensive and can only be purchased at Ulta. My bath products were gifts in my Christmas stocking so they were free ;). My total was $16.68.

Total for this months gift is: $51.19

Here is an up close pic of all of the bags of toiletries. I kept them in these gallon sized baggies since I started buying so I knew whos stuff belonged to whom. Once we travel, we have personalized toiletry travel bags purchased at Lillian Vernon for the kids and L.L. Bean for me. I highly recommend individual travel bags from these places. They usually have a hanger hook on them so they can be hung on the closet usually next to the bathroom and so a child knows which stuff is theirs. This helps with "he used my toothpaste, gross" and "she used my hairbrush, now I can't use it". Mine from L.L. Bean even has a little bag that comes out with its own shower hook, so I can keep my items off of the shower/tub surround.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Guess who got awesome mail today.....

ME!! Don't you love mail days where you get fun mail and not bills? Well, today I got the best mail, Disney mail :)(It makes me want to sing the old Blues Clues "Mail Time" song)!! I got my discount pin numbers in the mail today for my fall travels. I have been anxiously awaiting this pin number so I could book my vacation.  Here is what the outside looked like:

You know its something good when Minnie Mouse is on the outside!! When I opened it I found 2 different offers: End of Summer 30% off and Fall Free Dining. This is what the inside looked like:

(Sorry, but I had to cover my name, address, and pin number)

When I looked at the offer on the website it said it was for returning guests. I called my cousin who has been before and she got the offer as well. 

After receiving the offer I have decided on the Art of Animation as our Resort of choice for our fall trip. When booking a free dining offer with a value resort you only get the quick service dining, my family loves to try restaurants and feel like we are getting a $30 steak for free, so we will be paying an upgrade for  the Disney Dining Plan. This includes 1 table service meal, 1 counter service meal, and snack per person per day as apposed to the quick service where you get 3 meals per day but they are all quick service. We love sit down restaurant/relax time. We have used these meals as our character meals in the past (Akerhaus, Garden Grill, 1900 Park Fare, Cape May Cafe) because character meals are so expensive but we are not doing character meals this time due to the ages of the kids.

We have stayed value before, at Pop Century and liked the resort. Our only problem was the room size. We had 2 adults and 2 children (DS 10, DD 7). My son was 5'1" that year and it felt as if we had 3 adults in there and it was cramped. My cousin had 1 adult and 3 small children and she could barely get her stroller in and out of the room. Since that trip, I recommend value resorts to travelers with 2 adults and 1 child.  When we stay Art of Animation we will be staying in a suite which will give us much more room considering we have 2 adults and 3 children (DS 12, DD 9, DN 12). 

I really wanted to stay at the Polynesian this time but I feel we will be able to get more for our money with the Art of Animation and we will also have more room with 5 people, including 2 bathrooms.

This weekend marks 4 months until our Disney vacation and I will be posting then what our gift is!