Jennifer and Dave's Disney Adventure Report

Dates: 10/18 - 10/27, 1999 (10 day trip)


  • Jennifer Watson (author): 31 year old, writer and co-author of PassPorter Walt Disney World, on her umpteenth trip to Disney (from Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Dave Marx: 44 year old, writer and co-author of PassPorter Walt Disney World, on his 12th (or is it 13th?) trip to Disney (from Hackensack, NJ and Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Evans: online friend who we used to work with on AOL; Disney vacation veteran (joining us for the first three days)
  • Liz: friend of Evans; never been to Disney before (also joining us for the first three days)
  • Kim Larner: 28 year old, Jennifer's younger sister, pregnant (in her fourth month). On her fifth trip to Walt Disney World but brand new to the Disney Cruise (from Okemos, Michigan). She is joining us for the cruise aboard the Disney Wonder.
  • Chad Larner, 27 year old, Jennifer's brother-in-law. On his fourth trip to Walt Disney World. (from Okemos, Michigan) He is also joining us on the cruise.
Updated 11/21/03

Copyright 1999-2006
PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

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  Pre-Trip Planning

Sometime not longer after our summer jaunt to Walt Disney World in July, we decided we needed to plan a longer trip later in the year. Thanks to the Millennium Celebration, which started on October 1, we made plans to visit in October so we could make the most of our visit. We tossed around the idea a bit, and discovered that our friend Evans and his friend were also thinking of going in October. So we planned our trips so they would coincide and made some mutual plans. About the same time, we also received a flyer from the Disney Cruise Line for their Fall Fantasy Special. We had been wanting to go on a cruise for a while, and the special gave us the opportunity we needed. We decided to just a three-day cruise because the land/sea package would cost us more and we already had Premium Annual Passes.

Because the Cruise Line availability was more limited (and we're less experienced with it), our first step was to book a cruise. We chose the weekend of 10/21-24 because it has availability in the type of room we wanted (a deluxe inside stateroom). While we would love to have a stateroom with a verandah, it just seemed too pricey. In looking over the costs to add two additional people to our reservations (staying altogther in the same room), we decided it was a good deal and invited Jennifer's sister and brother-in-law along. It will be interesting to see how four adults share a small stateroom!

Our next step was to make flight arrangements (which we did through and then make resort reservations. Availability was limited back in August when we were making arrangements, and we ended up with three nights at a one-bedroom villa at the BoardWalk Villas and three nights at Wilderness Lodge. We've stayed at BoardWalk Inn but not the Villas, so this is a good opportunity to get more information on the villas. The jacuzzi in the one-bedroom villa will be wonderful after a long day, and the extra room will be helpful for when Jennifer's sister and brother-in-law arrive on the last night of the stay at the villa. We're always happy to stay at the Wilderness Lodge. So we have no complaints about our resort choices.

Over the months that followed, we had several online planning meetings with our friend Evans (we met in a private room on AOL). We made plans to spend our evenings together, and go with the flow during the day. Some days we'll spend together, others we'll be spent doing research for the book.

We also had a few phone meetings with Kim and Chad regarding plans for the cruise. Because we're sharing the stateroom, it was important to decide up front who was sleeping where. Sometime in September, Jennifer realized that the stateroom didn't come with two full beds (one regular and one convertible) but one full, one daybed, and one berth. This information wasn't made clear in the brochure we had and we were not happy to learn this so late in the game. In the end, we decided that Kim and Chad would take the section of the stateroom closest to the door (and the bathroom) since they were earlier risers than us. We're not quite sure if this is the daybed/berth combination or the full bed, though we suspect it is the full bed. This is the floor plan we found at Disney's Web site:

If this floor plan is accurate, Dave and I will sleep in the section with the daybed and berth. This will work out fine for us, since the desk area is also in this section and we'll have plenty of work to do. You can bet we'll be taking careful notes on the staterooms!

Thirty days before our trip, we called the Disney Cruise Line to check on our stateroom assignments. At this time, we learned we'd been upgraded from a deluxe inside stateroom to a deluxe oceanview stateroom. This meant that we now had a window! Woohoo!

In addition to the travel, lodging, and cruise reservations, we made priority seating arrangements at restaurants and reserved four seats at Cirque du Soleil.

Other preparations for our trip included preparing the laptop for remote work, preparing research and testing materials for PassPorter, updating our Web site with this information and details regarding ordering books or answering questions while we're away, and a few other work-related items. Jennifer also purchased a new pair of walking shoes (and, more importantly, broke them in beforehand). We made arrangements for Kippi while Jennifer was away,

Throughout all this, a copy of the PassPorter was used to keep our plans, notes, and reservation numbers safe. We labeled it by writing "October 1999" on a piece of paper and taped it to the spine (inside the vinyl cover) so we could tell it apart from the other PassPorters for other trips. We took the PassPorter out to dinner with us to talk about plans and kept it at hand while we were working to make notes. We also sent PassPorters to the others going with us, who report that they're finding them just as useful.

We also arranged to have someone housesit while we were away.

For more notes on preparation, continue on the Day Before.

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