Sunday, September 30, 2012

Car Rentals, groceries, and packages OH MY

Today I finally booked my rental car. The car rental place I prefer is National Car rental at  I have used this company several times in Orlando and Tampa and every experience has been a great one. I like this company because they do not require a credit card to rent a car. You can use your debit card and show a return plane ticket at the desk (to show proof of return flight). I do not use credit so this company is a nice change of pace. My kids like it because all of the Nationals we have been to say just to go to a certain row number and you get to pick your car, a bonus when you are with a pre-teen boy who likes cars.We will pick up our car early one morning at the Disney Car Care Center and drop it off that evening. We will be using our car to get to Universal Studios. We had checked around at prices for shuttles and found that this was a cheaper route for us since we have 2 adults, 2 teens (essentially 4 adults) , and 1 child.  By renting a car to get there we can also arrive and leave when we are ready. We need to leave Universal before 6:30 that evening because that is when their Halloween party starts and it is too scary for some of us wimps but we may be ready to leave earlier than that. With renting a car we can control all of that. We can also stop at shops near Old Town on the way back to the Disney property.

I also had time today to purchase groceries at Garden Grocer today. We don't usually order much, just some breakfast items, bread, juice, bottled water, and Dr. Pepper for me. When ordering from them there is a $1.99 fuel service charge, $12 delivery charge (if less than $200), and tax added on. There is a $40 minimum order. It does ask for tip for the filler, delivery driver, etc. and you get to choose your own amount, if you wish. On their site you can choose a delivery date and time. I was surprised to see a 7pm-9pm on there and I have picked that one because our plane arrives at 7pm that night. All of Disney's resorts are listed as delivery choices (except for Swan and Dolphin) and it auto-fills the resorts address and phone number for you. You can also type an address if you are staying off property. Once your delivery day arrives Garden Grocer texts you when your order has been delivered so you can call bell services and have it brought to your room. We have used this at both Pop Century and Caribbean Beach Resort, bell services was quite prompt in delivering to our room, usually within 10 minutes. Please don't forget to tip bell services. 

Lastly, I have a package ready to mail to All Star Sports resort. All Ears has all of the info on mailing addresses listed on the resort description pages. We have mailed everything from little peanut butters, shovel/pails, plastic wear, candy, etc. Just address it to the resort with "Attention: Your Name, your resort confirmation number, check in date". EXAMPLE:   Attention: Bob Smith, 78zz4569, check in: January 3, 2011. The first time I mailed ahead, the check in desk had to go to "the back" to get my item. I think it is because I didn't do Disney's online check in before my vacation because the next year at Caribbean Beach Resort my item was behind the counter with my check in packet. Both times I was told it was "noted" on my reservations that I had a package linked with it. I will do Disney's online check in because of this and because it just makes the check in process SO MUCH FASTER!!

Vacation is getting closer and closer. :)

One month until our Disney vacation!!

I can't believe we only have 1 month left. When you start planning something 8 or 9 months in advance it seems like such a long way but there is always so much to do when planning a Disney vacation that the time seems to go quickly. We are all so excited. The suitcases are out and the packing has begun. On to this months gift....

This months gift is some plain black Old Navy flip flops. After using our flip flops all summer I thought it would be nice to have a new pair to take with us. For the girls I planned on doing this:

But after some careful consideration and wardrobe inspection, I realized that none of us girls were taking anything red. One of my big pet peeves is red and pink together, think of it as white linen after Labor Day times 10 for me, so this idea was out the window. I'm sure I could have done black ribbons only but my 9 year old daughter is going through the "I'm not a baby" phase and sees ribbons as something a baby would wear. So, I just stuck with plain old black.

These were all purchased this summer at Old Navy during their $1 flip flop days. So this gift was a total of $5. Can't beat that for a gift for 5 people. To state again, the bags were purchased at the beginning of this countdown for $1 for 2 bags at the local Dollar Tree and I reuse the same bag every gift. The "1 month" Mickey tags are paint chips from Home Depot. 

Tomorrow starts our daily gifts. There are 23 different things the kids will received starting tomorrow. It was very hard to come up with affordable ideas but I think I succeeded.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Updates! Updates! Updates!

Today marks 1 month until our Disney vacation (I will post countdown gift later). There have been lots of things that have happened since my last post. We are excited to try a new resort (for us) and the kids are anxiously awaiting October 23, so they can leave for vacation and also find out where we are staying.

I have received our vacation packets from Disney. Since we have 2 rooms, we got 2 packets on separate days. In the packets are our free luggage tags (we ended up with 10, which is a nice little freebie), our confirmations for Magical Express, confirmations for our resort, and all the free little coupons. We will be using the 1 free round of miniature golf and the free 100 point arcade cards. Last year we used the free souvenir at Planet Hollywood and got a key chain, which is nice but with 3 children and only 2 passes it kind of makes it difficult. I have already logged on to  and registered my 2 photopass cards I received. It is nice to go ahead and register these on your account, just in case one gets lost your photos will already be on your account.

I have finally booked our out going plane tickets. I found a great deal on Airtran, hopefully when I am ready to book my flight home I can find another good deal. Right after booking I called Magical Express to book our transportation to our resort. They were very nice. They even told me that if I forget to book our return bus transportation before I leave home that my hotel room telephone has a direct link button to them and I can book during my stay. Our flight arrives in the evening and this will be the first time we can take advantage of the luggage pick up. I will admit I am a little nervous about this and will have to do some thinking before I make the decision to do this. Our flight arrives within a couple of hours of the 10pm deadline and I don't want lost luggage.

I have our luggage out and ready. We have started some packing of shorts and tank tops since it is getting too chilly to wear those where we live. I found these great packing lists for everyone on Pinterest. This is what it looks like:

 I think the kids will like packing their own clothes and it helps me not to have to pack 3 bags. This will also help Catelyn's mom with packing and knowing how much of each thing to bring. I filled it out for them and then they can pack from the list. The link from Pinterest is:  There are somethings on here that we don't even know what they are but I think it will help the kids with packing.

I have also started using this spreadsheet to help with confirmations and such:
This is just a sample and not my actual spreadsheet. The website for this if you would like to use it is This one is quite organized and if you go to the website you can download a blank one and then fill in your info.  In the past I have used this one: 

 It is also very good but I have decided to try the new one instead. This one can be found here: