Disney World Day 1: Epcot One Day Trip

The first day of our trip started with Epcot. Park opening time  was 9:00 AM. How fast I tried, but could not leave the resort before 8:45 AM.

All Star Resort Bus StopWe waiting at the Bus Stop of All Star Sports Resort.

Disney Transportation Bus to EpcotDisney Transportation Bus from resort to Epcot

Pari’s Dad had to drop the rental car, and he came directly to Epcot. Me & Pari were waiting for the bus. We reached the park around 9:15 AM, and it was so much crowded. Big lines, checking of baggage, I got a but nervous, as Dad was not there. But anyways, it took a bit of time, but everything was all set. As we entered the park, the first look of Epcot’s iconic giant golf shaped ball sized Spaceship Earth was spectacular.

Epcot Spectacular
Me & Pari waited for Dad at the entrance. After we met, some photo-sessions, then we moved on to explore “The Seas with Nemo & Friends”.

The Seas with Nemo

The Seas Because it was morning, no rush, we did very easily the ride.. explored other giant aquariums inside, and moved on to our very first Character interaction to meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse & Goofy at Epcot Character Spot. We had fast pass for this,
we used it, though it was not required. It was a great experience to get our first autograph on autograph book. Pari was really excited.

Mickey MInnie Goofy

Just outside we saw Chip-n-Dale, got in the queue. It didn’t took more than 10 minutes for our turn. Pari hugged them , got the
autographs and photographs done.

ChipnDale

We then strolled towards Norway, our Breakfast reservation at 11:00 AM. On the way, did some photo-sessions. We got in our first souvenir shop “Mouse Gear”

MouseGear
and Pari found Penny pressing machine, and she just started to penny presses.

PennyPress
At 10:45 AM, we reached Akershus Storybook Dining Hall, we were wasked to wait till our name was called.

AkershusThe way the server called “We now welcome The Royal Kumar Family” . It was so royal. I took my camera, and asked him to please repeat again, so that I could record that moment,He was so shy and everybody around was laughing. he finally said, and when we got inside, Pari met Princess Belle, she hugged her, and all of us got into the photo session.

We were then taken to our table, also asked about our dietary considerations. When we explained that we would like only vegetarian and chicken, she then called up for the Chef. Meanwhile, we went and got everything what we could eat from the Breakfast Buffet. The Buffet was lavish. For Vegetarians, I believe, breakfast is good option, with good varieties to choose from. Chef came and he offered for grilled Chicken and Mickey shaped waffles with scrambled eggs and mashed potato.

Princess Breakfast

BreakfastPink lemonade

Pink Lemonade

The princess interaction was really great. Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella & Ariel calls up all the little children, they go on a parade of the entire restaurant. And they come one by one to our breakfast table, they would talk, sign the autograph book and would give us the photo opportunities.

Storybook Dining Princess

We had very nice interaction with Disney Princesses. Asked Cinderella to join us for breakfast. She replied “Oh, thank you I just had breakfast with Prince Charming”. When asked, did you change your Glass slippers. She showed her shoes saying “Fairy God mother gave me these shoes with strap”. Snowhite loved my dress, and said you look like you are going to pickup flowers. Pari told Ariel, I love Sebastian’s song. Pari also asked Sleeping Beauty something.. which I don’t remember.

After having a heavy brunch, about an hour later, we moved on to explore the countries of World Showcase Plaza. Pari had to get her Passport stamped. We then reached Canada, where we saw a Friendship boat was ready to go to Morocco ( I checked Jasmine Aladdin interaction timing. their meeting would begin in 10 minutes). Perfect, hopped on to the boat. Very nice boat ride, great view of Epcot.

FriendhipBoat

When we reached Morocco, found that the queue for meeting Jasmine was already too big, and the queue was closed. Got a bit disappointed, but didn’t forget to get our passports stamped. We started walking towards France. Got a view of Princess Belle
in blue dress.

Princess Belle
Pari also saw, and was not much interested. So, we were relieved. Some photosessions and then we reached UK. Met Alice in
Wonderland. It took us 15 minutes wait time.

AliceinWonderland

Also met Winnie the Pooh and Tigger at the back. The wait was hardly 5 minutes. And we spoke, they made fun, we danced with them hands in hands. All full of fun.

Winnie & Tigger
From UK, we moved on to other country, reached Canada. About to find the place to get the stamp, then again we spotted the friendship boat, hopped on, reached Morocco again.

Inside FriendshipBoatWe then reached the place for meeting Jasmine & Aladdin. No queue, the cast member came & asked how many people. I said “three”. She asked us to wait for 10 minutes, if she can accomodate us. Within 5 minutes, we were in, and talking to Aladdin & Jasmine.

JasmineAladdin
Pari asked Aladdin if he has more lamps for her mom. My mom really needed lamp which had Genie. Aladdin was laughing and said you could take any lamp..

Afterwards, we moved to see the other Countries showcase. America, Germany, China & so on.

AmericaAmerican Adventure

GermanyGermany- Mini City Model

We met Princess Mulan in China. Pari wanted to meet her. We were the last in the queue. Longest wait, took 1 hour to meet.

PrincessMulan

Then we reached Future World- Showcase by evening, a bit tired, relaxed for snacks, watched water fountain, tasted Coca Cola from all around the world.

CocaColaThen we moved on for “Soarin” and “Spaceship Earth”, and other attractions.

SoarinSoarin

Soarin-1  InsideSpaceship Earth                                                                                    Inside Spaceship Earth

Pari was really tired by this time. She slept on her stroller, meanwhile, Pari’s Dad went for “Space”.

MissionSpaceWith sleeping Pari, we went for dinner in the park, the restaurant near Spaceship Earth. We had Naanwich sandwich, Mac & Cheese, Grilled chicken Salad.

Dinner After dinner, we saw the Illuminations, which was really good.  We reached the resort at 10 PM. In our room, the housekeeping had made this Goofy towel.

GoofytowelGoofy Towel

PariGiftDisneyPrincessDisney Princess Figurines as gift

And Pari got this gift for her first wonderful, magical Disney day.

Pari-ism

Today she finally asked the question of millenium: First eggs came or chicken…She was bugging me for the entire day.

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On Christmas eve, Pari wrote a letter to Santa asking for three gifts. Then she came to me & asked:
Pari: “Does Santa give 3 presents ”

Me: I don’t know, Pari. If you have been good, you might get.

Pari: Google mein search karke batao na..

Me: What  ??? :) :)  Do you know what is google.. Google cannot tell,, what will happen in future..

Pari: I know mamma… Google is something to which we go & find answers to all the questions which we don’t know.. I am just asking.. whether Santa has given 3 presents to any kid if he has asked for…

Me: Oh my dear darling girl,, brand ambassador of google… wait for one day you will get all your answers :)

Disney Autograph Book

After learning about the Disney vacations, Pari was so excited about meeting the princesses and Minnie mouse in Disney, we got to start making the Autograph book, I am usually not an autograph person, but I loved making this super easy autograph book for my kiddo. She loved making this autograph book and we got so many compliments in Disney World. I don’t remember how many times I would have told the story about making of this autograph book…

Well, the story continues here….Inspired from Pinterest. Here is the completed picture of the filled up autograph pages.

DisneyAutographBookI just bought an Art book from AC Moore for $2.50. ( I used 50 % off coupon). Then I took the beautiful pictures from the lovely people on DISboards. Took the printout of 5×7 size on A4 size paper, which means I had 2 images on 1 page. And since I don’t have paper cutter, we went to Fedex to cut these pictures. Here are the autograph pages.

Autograph PagesI had included most of the Disney characters, & arranged in this order. Few of the pages were blank.

  1. Ariel
  2. Anna
  3. Aurora
  4. Alice
  5. Belle
  6. Cinderella
  7. Chip-n-Dale
  8. Donald Duck
  9. Daisy Duck
  10. Elsa
  11. Goofy
  12. Jasmine
  13. Aladdin – Jasmine & Aladdin meet together, so that’s why, I included these two pages together
  14. Merida
  15. Mickey Mouse
  16. Minnie Mouse
  17. Safari Minnie- This was included because I thought we might meet Minnie twice, and it came true. We met her twice to take the autographs
  18. Peter Pan- Oh, how much I wanted to meet him, but there was no meet and greet but anyways, we got to see Peter Pan and Wendy in “Dream Along with Mickey” Show. So, in the completed Autograph book, there is no signature, but I have pasted his picture.
  19. Wendy – same as above in Peter Pan.
  20. Pluto
  21. Pocahontas
  22. Rapunzel
  23. Snow White
  24. Tiana
  25. Prince Naveen – Prince Naveen can be met only with Tiana in the evening around 5 o’ clock. Could not meet him, so, just took his photo at the Day Parade and pasted the same in the autograph book
  26. Tigger
  27. Winnie the Pooh- Winnie the Pooh & Tigger can be met together, So, I included them together.
  28. Tinkerbell- one for Pari
  29. Tinkerbell – This one for Pari’s dad – greatest fan of Tinkerbell
  30. Woody – again no autograph, met him in the Street Dance Party
  31. Jessie
  32. Anastasia
  33. Drizella
  34. Lady Tremaine
  35. Blank page – Princess Mulan
  36. Blank page- Cinderella’s second meeting
  37. Blank page – Ariel, the mermaid
  38. Blank page- Gaston
  39. Blank page – Rafiki

When I was making this autograph book, we did not imagine that we will meet each & every Disney character. So, in total we had around 40 signatures from Disney … yippee !!!

This is the front page of Autograph book, which I designed in GIMP. I loved making Disney princesses as name fills for Shubhangi. She was so excited to see the name fills and requested me to include her favorites: Tinkerbell, Olaf, Minnie mouse, Rosetta and Silver mist in the front page. Second & third page (can be seen in the 1st pic) was designed by Pari with her favorite stickers and other embellishments.

Autograph BookAfter the images were cut in 5×7 size, then we sticked on in the Autograph book. The empty pages is, where we will stick the photograph with Disney Character, making it a scrapbook.

Autograph Book pages2 Autograph Book Pages& Tada !!! The super easy & inexpensive Autograph book was ready for adventure in Disney World !!! So easy (no experience required on scrapbooking) & looks too good compared to the plain Autograph books sold in Disney.

For the autograph, we took several colors of Sharpie for the princesses and retractable black BIC markers for Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Goofy.

Next Post: Magic Kingdom Theme Park – Touring Plan.

4 day Disney Trip under 3K

Disney Trip under 3K

How we planned 4- Day Disney trip under $3000.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we first planned to visit Miami, and then travel to Orlando by car.

1. Airport Transfers – We got a taxi who dropped us at the airport in 25 minutes for $40 including tip.

2. Newark- Miami – We traveled on Sunday morning flight, which I could buy from my Airlines mileage plus points. My daughter & my husband did not have these points. So, we ended up paying $233.6 (114*2+5.6)

3. Car – After arriving at Miami Airport, we went to the Car rental, and received our car. The experience of picking up the car was superb, and driving it was again too cool with full tank. When we returned the car at Orlando, we paid $95.00 (including gas)

4. Miami Hotel – We had to stay in Miami on Sunday night. One of our dear friend who is a frequent at Marriott Hotel worldwide was generous enough to get us a room in Miami hotel using his membership points. The room was $100 worth, and we paid nothing.

5. Toll Charges & Parking- On Sunday, we drove till Islamorada, Florida Middle Keys, then we returned. On the route, we paid around $13 for toll. The receipt for this was sent by the car rental office weeks after the vacation. On Monday, we went to several places in Miami, and we paid in total around $20 for parking.

6. Disney Resort & Theme park Tickets: As we were staying in Disney All Star Resorts, and that too I selected All Star Sports resort with Standard Room, the cheapest option available :) so we ended up paying $ 1299.00 for all three of us (4-Day Theme Park + 4 night stay). We did not select any dining plan, also we did not buy Memory maker or Disney Photo-pass.

7. Food -At the end of vacation, I was looking at the credit card bills for money spent on food, and it was a real surprise, we did not pay much at all. We paid $360- $400 on food. This includes expenses in Walmart, our dinner & lunches at Theme Park, does not include breakfast with princesses. Yes, we got lots of nutella, peanut butter, Strawberry spread, sandwich bread, muffins, fruits etc from Walmart, Orlando. I will give detailed description of what we ate in my separate posts.

8. Breakfast with princess Belle at The Akershus Dining Hall, Epcot- The most happiest experience in Disney was to see the smile on Pari’s face when the princesses were coming to meet us at the table. Breakfast was awesome, especially as we have vegetarian dietary restrictions. Details to follow later. There, we spent around $134.

9. Souvenirs & Gifts – I had bought 3 gifts for Pari earlier itself, and told her that I bought from Disney :). But after visiting Disney’s souvenir stores, we could not resist buying couple more souvenirs. In total, we spent around $60.

10. Extra Luggage- Yes, we did carry extra luggage, and paid $25 for one trip. As for return trip, it was included in our tickets.

11. Orlando – Newark – We paid $99 *3= $ 297. Yes, we took a chance & did not buy insurance for the trip.

So, in total, we paid $2618 for the trip.

Next Post: Disney Autograph Book – DIY

Airport Transfers to & from Home 80
NEWARK-MIAMI (114*2+5.6) 233.6
CAR (including Petrol) 95
TOLL CHARGES 15
MIAMI HOTEL ($100 Value) 0
DISNEY RESORT+THEME PARK 1299
Dinner+Lunch+Breakfast 360
Souvenirs & Gifts 60
Breakfast with Princess 134
Parking- Miami 20
Extra Luggage 25
ORLANDO-NEWARK (99*3) 297
TOTAL EXPENDITURE 2618.6

Planning for Disney

DisneyPlanning

After months and months of planning, we finally visited Walt Disney World on November 2014. We stayed in Disney resort hotels for four days. Well, this post will be series of Disney stories beginning from Disney Planning, Bookings, reservations, tips & tricks for first timers, trip plans for the day, Budget, Actual expenses and lots and lots. So, here I begin.

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The idea of going to Disney got planted on Feb 2014 . From that time, I started to explore about Disney. There are tons of information on the internet, lots and lots of sites have wonderful content exclusively for WDW Florida. I even got a book from library, called Passporter’s Guide to Disney World, Florida. After reading all these stuffs, here’s what we thought:

1. We will go on less crowded months, it means October, November, Feb or May.

2. On the trip to the parks, We will not include the weekends just to avoid the local crowds.

3. We would stay in Disney resort hotels.

4. This trip has to be the princess themed for my 5 year old daughter.

So, first of all, I ordered for Disney Vacation Planning DVD from here. And, when we received it in the month of march, then only my husband got to know that I am thinking about this. Pari got excited after looking at the DVD.

I got to know that if the kid write a letter to the Disney Princess in Florida, they will reply with the signatures of all the princesses. We did the same, and we got the response after 3 weeks. This really did a kick-start from Pari’s side. In the end of April & May, we got busy in our other summer vacation travel plans, and forgot all about Disney.

In July, again I started to explore. We wanted to celebrate Pari’s birthday which is on Feb in Disney,  we were about to book, but it was really getting difficult for Pari & even me to wait for such a long time. Then I saw some Fall offers in Disney, which was really less than what we were paying for Feb.

It took around 2 weeks of time to finalize the plan. We planned all the permutations & combinations that would fit our budget, and Pari’s Dad office vacation days and came up with this plan: First, we will goto Miami, stay for 2 days, then drive to Orlando, stay at Disney resort for 4 days.

Next Post: How we planned 4- Day Disney trip under $3000.

Being Fabulous..

These days, I was reading “Freakin Fabulous” and “Freakin Fabulous on budget” written by the very renowned “Clinton Kelly” co-host of my favorite show “TLC;s “What Not To Wear” and I must say, I am enjoying these books a lot.

Clinton has just mentioned Being Fabulous has no relation to money. Kelly who has penned three other books, says, “I was flat broke for many years — I mean really broke — and I always felt fabulous because I would pay attention to trying my best to have nice things, dress well, eat well. It’s not about taking the easy way out. I really do believe fabulousness is a state of mind.”

Before this book, I never realized and appreciated the fabulousness of my husband… He has a certain aura of being fabulousness on every field. His selection of every piece of wardrobe, his electronic gadgets, his choice of food, drinks and eateries are extraordinary fabulous. He even doesn’t let me get any stuff which is in any way less than fabulous. Everything around him has to be fabulous, but on budget :) and I love it.

 

Refresh 2014

Now it’s time again to look back 2014, and refresh the memories of joy, and appreciate the accomplishments.

Family : We three as a family faced ups & downs, and we have grown stronger this year. Could not visit India.

Home : Looks okay. Need to do regular cleanup :(

Travel : My Dream Destination: Disney World, Florida. We also visited New York- Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Washington DC- Cherry Blossom Festival, Pennsylvania- Bushkill Falls.

Finances : Creating Monthly Budget, Tracking and Following the plan. Need to do the Financial Plan for future.

Eating out- Not much eating out. Only Dunkin donuts, or pizza at times. Good job :)

Hobbies : I realized I am not so good at baking from scratch. It’s better to bake cakes from Dunkin Hines.

Health : My Health has been ok this year. Need to workout more, and lose weight.

Books : Got the library subscription and read these books:

  • Dress Your Best: The Complete Guide to Finding the Style That’s Right for Your Body – by Clinton Kelly and Stacy London
  • The truth about Style- by Stacy London
  • Freakin Fabulous – by Clinton Kelly
  • Freakin Fabulous on Budget – by Clinton Kelly
  • Oh No, She didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them – by Clinton Kelly
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – by Amy Chua
  • Half Girlfriend – by Chetan Bhagat (still reading)

Pari : Pari completed her PreK successfully. Her studies are so far so good.. Now, she is in Kindergarten, and she is trying to reach the milestone of reading, which is making me anxious everyday. I will write about her school experiences soon. She is doing good in school, Her art was selected to be displayed in the district’s Board Meeting Room.

Mood : The mood throughout this year has been full of ups and downs… There are so many wrong decisions, my inability to control my emotions let me down. But, overall, it was good, especially the travel.

Overall : A great year …..looking forward to the new year 2015..

Now, here is the report card for 2014. ( Goal Vs Achievements)

Pari

  • Get her to eat Fruits, Vegetables & Curd.- She is eating Fruits & vegetables and curd.
  •  Increase her social circle so that by Next B’day in Feb 2014, she has atleast 6 friend – As of now, she has couple of friends. & I am okay. :)
  •  Goes for Bollywood Dance, went for ballet classes for 3 months, and she loved it.
  • She attended Swimming Class for Summer & Fall. The instructors were real impressed with her progress.

Hobby

  • Home Decor – Need to improve more skills.
  •  Photography – Got my favorite Pentax K-50. Loving the lens and loved my photographs in Times Square.
  •  More Blogging.- This year my blog got so much neglected :(. Want to write everyday. But it would be too much. So, atleast 1 post a week would be great.
  •  Pooja Thali-  Did not finish.

Personal Health & Beauty

  • Look Good to Feel Good-  2014 was good. Need to work more on eye makeup.
  •  Whenever leaving home, apply kajal & a lip gloss, perfume spray- Done :)
  •  Walk a lot … :(
  •  Do one thing at a time, and keep kitchen clean while working- On the right track :)
  •  Get up early. I have alarm at 7:00 am. Try to get up at 6:45 am- hmm :(
  •  Make more friends and nurture the ones I have – Still to improve
  •  Drink at least 8 glasses of water – :(
  •  Stay Mindful-everyday – yes-yes offcourse. I have so many things.
  •  Be more money/Investment Savvy- MF, Life Insurance, Financial Planning, Budget Savvy- :)