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Old 4 Apr 14, 03:15 PM  
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tracey1302
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Disney with the Dufflers! - Ten Years in the Making - July 2014 - UPDATE PAGE 2

Hello all!

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the pre-trip report that has been ten years in the making! Quite literally!

Apologies for the BIG pictures, I would appreciate a PM to tell me how to make them smaller. I've always used Photobucket and suddenly it's gone all radioactive on me!

For those who read along with our WDW May 2011 trip (available here) or our California June 2012 trip (available here), welcome back to our amazing USA adventures.

So much has happened in our family since we last we last went to Florida. Neil and I have moved house twice, Katie has moved down South and back again, Mum has got another job, OB has grown by several feet... but once again we find ourselves a few mere months away from another Disney holiday!

Many times when people go on holiday to Disney, it’s always a ‘special’ trip. Last time we went in 2011, it was a special trip because it was the first time we’d been on holiday as a five, the time before it was the last time we would go with friends we’d been going on holiday with since we were four! (See family in the second Splash Mountain picture below) And when Neil and I went to California in 2012, it was a special trip because we’d never been on holiday together before.

And July 2014 is a special trip. It’s a very special trip. Because we are going with some very special people.

Meet the cast!

Me – Tracey (27! ) – Disney nut and principal holiday planner. Now Dr. Disney nut after completing my PhD in Animation History at Leeds last September! I am now a Lecturer in Film! Far too grown up for someone with the emotional age of a four year old.



Neil (26) – Disney cynic but fan of rollercoasters, football and drinking. I tested him when we visited Disneyland in California in 2012 and he passed. But did I? Walt Disney World may be a substantial test on our 5 year relationship!



Karen (54) – Best Mum ever. Caring, generous, happy, just all around amazing Mutti. Bit of a Jessie on rides but loves the magic of Florida. Mum left her awful stressful job in 2012 and got another less stressful one and it is the best thing she has ever done.



Martin (49) – Happy go lucky Step-Dad. As many will know from our 2011 trip, he loves Aerosmith, rollercoasters and a good beer/red wine.



OB (14) – Teenager without the tantrums. Loves steak, seabass, rollercoasters but NOT Dinosaur rides, as we have discovered. OB is currently doing the first year of his GCSE’s. As you can see from the above, he's grown a bit since the last time we went. And the first photo is pretty old. So he's even taller now!





Trev (Katie) (30) – Sister and best friend. Also principal holiday planner. Some may remember that the last time we went, she was set to move to Wokingham. Well, she did but now she’s moved back! She’s moved in with her boyfriend in Leeds after doing two years long distance relationship. Katie works in wine and is studying for her MW (Master of Wine)



Jonathan (34) – Katie’s boyfriend. Very lovely chap but a definite Disney cynic. They're not even joining us till Day Six. Naturally because he is a Disney cynic, I have gone a bit crazy and showered him with a Mickey Mouse T-shirt, his very own Disney planning binder and we’re throwing him a surprise Jungle Book party for his birthday in April. As you do.



AND INTRODUCING... THE DUFFLERS!

My Uncle Mark (Mum’s youngest brother, favourite, but don’t tell the others!). Mark loves everything about being in Disney and needs this holiday more than the rest of us put together. He’s excited about just *being* there and seeing the Castle for the first time.



Auntie Debsy (favourite, but don’t tell the others!) Debsy is very fun, loves a glass of vino or two with us girls and literally never stops thinking about our upcoming holiday! She sends us all a reminder every week with a countdown!



Sam - Sam is very fun, very much looking forward to our trip and good on him, is paying for a lot of this himself! He works all hours God sends and is a full time student on top of that! Sam is, however, unfortunately, a bit of a Jessie. He takes after his Dad and my Mum in that respect. He has announced that he’s not going on Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Rock n Rollercoaster or Tower of Terror. And let’s not even mention the big rollercoasters at IOA! Little does he know that Neil has other ideas...



And Megan! Megan was only two last time we went to Florida with the Dufflers. Now she’s twelve! Very stylish, loves bags and is super excited about our trip! Mainly because it’s all going to be completely new!



The Story of the Trip

This trip with the Dufflers has been 10 years in the making. They last went to Florida in July 2004. And by some spooky twist of fate, it will be 10 years, literally to the day, since they last stepped on Disney property when we go on the 2nd July 2014.

This was our first day in Magic Kingdom 10 years ago.

Just LOOK at Sam's face! AMAZING!



And us with another family we used to go on holiday with



The Dufflers have had quite a few troubles over the last ten years and while we have been fortunate enough to be able to go another two times to Disney since their last visit (2007 and 2011), they simply haven't been able to come with us. And each time they have listened to our stories and looked at our photos, longing to return to their favourite place on Earth. The Dufflers have been to Disney three times. Once with Sam in 1998, and again in 2000 and again in 2004, when Megan was just two years old. And they haven’t been on holiday since. Yup, that’s right folks. 10 years without a holiday. But through these tough times, there has been one thing that has kept them going. The hope that one day they would return to Florida. And this year, through scrimping and saving and through a few incredibly lucky PPI claims, they have now got the money to come with us.

I cannot stress to you how emotional this trip will be for all of us.

Mark fills up just thinking about Main Street USA and you know, THAT moment. It will be an incredible holiday and pretty much everything we do will be making sure they have the best holiday ever. It will also be pretty special because being two the last time they visited, Megan has no memory of Florida. She also has no memory of being on a plane. So I’m getting her a ‘First Visit’ badge.

TBC below...

Edited at 07:29 PM. Reason: Title change update
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Old 4 Apr 14, 03:22 PM  
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The Booking Process and the End Result

In some ways, I’m almost behind with this Pre-Trip report as no prior details have been given on where, when, how. Aside from my countdown of course. We booked this holiday on the 27th April 2013. For those that can cast their minds back, this was two days after the free dining offer was released last year. I don’t mess about. We had toyed with the idea of staying at Coronado Springs Resort as a bit of a change as we have always stayed at Caribbean Beach, however, I think the fates were telling us that for the Dufflers, we would be staying at Caribbean Beach, continuing the ’10 years to the day’ theme as in 2004, they had stayed at the Caribbean Beach.

Coronado Springs Resort is holding a Conference during the dates of our proposed stay. Our dates weren’t movable and we didn’t want to squeeze four into a King size bed. Caribbean Beach it was!

Our dates are the 2nd July until the 16th July. We would have preferred May (wouldn’t everyone?) but Oliver had exams and school couldn’t guarantee any dates so we had to stay well clear. We’re still planning on taking him out for two weeks. Given all the upset there has been recently about holidays in term time and the like, we are holding back on the letter, waiting to see others dip their toes in the water first.

On the 26th April, Mum, Debsy and I priced up EVERYTHING. Thomas Cook, Virgin Holidays, Charter Travel, Thomson, Jetsave, Monarch, Travel Republic, the lot. It was like something from Wall Street. I had two phones plastered to each ear, sore fingers from the incessant typing into search engines online and more tabs on my prices spreadsheet than you could shake a stick at.

By the end of the day, I knew several travel agents on a first name basis. Ashley at Thomas Cook. You were a legend, love. But your price was laughable. Janet at Thomson. You want HOW MUCH for us to fly on the Dreamliner?! Jennie at Charter was AMAZING. No nonsense fantastic prices and no pressure. (and indeed, my sister has booked with Charter.)

However, in the end, we booked direct with Disney and upgraded to the Dining Plan. .

The lovely Ashley at Thomas Cook had drawn to our attention the fact that Thomas Cook would be flying into Orlando International this year. This was a bit of a spanner in the works for us. We fly Virgin. It’s what we do. But with the advance price on VA flights with Charter being something ridiculous like £699 return (actually ended up being £720) and Thomas Cook flights coming in at £530 return, it was a no brainer. We booked with Thomas Cook.

Voila. Holiday!

Our itinerary:

We are planners. I am one of those people that can't physically contemplate the prospect of a Disney holiday without an itinerary. It’s like Mickey without Minnie. When we were considering prices and booking etc, Neil suggested that we (as in me and him) take a day out and go to Miami. I’m sorry, WHAT? Yeah right.

I look at my draft itinerary, pretty much in place at the time of booking, with its neat theme parks and restaurant possibilities drawn out lovingly in colour coordinated pens.

‘But we don’t have any time to go to Miami,’ I say, shuffling my papers so he wouldn’t see the days clearly marked out as ‘pool’ or 'rest' days. These days, in theory, we could have gone to Miami. The bottom line is that unfortunately, when it comes to Disney, I am a narrow minded conservative (No political connotations implied.) I like Disney one way and one way only. My way. Any challenges to the itinerary are put to the one woman committee. If I don’t like ‘em, they’re not in. Simple as. Neil has since taken to calling me the Disney Nazi. Oh dear. I’m hoping there are some on here that will sympathise. Luckily, all members of our party are happy to just let me take care of everything

Anyway...

Day One:

Arrive and unpack
Tea by the pool at Caribbean Beach

Day Two:

Magic Kingdom
Pecos Bills
Casual tea at Tomorrowland Terrace

Day Three:

Typhoon Lagoon
Bahama Breeze

Day Four:

Epcot
Via Napoli

Day Five:

Blizzard Beach
California Grill
Wishes

Day Six:

Universal Studios
Hard Rock Cafe

Day Seven:

Drinks around the world at Epcot
Le Cellier

Day Eight:

Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Brown Derby

Day Nine:

Boys/Girls day.
The boys will be playing a round of golf at Oak Trails, followed by DisneyQuest. This has been affectionately named, ‘The Florida Open’ and we’ve even had a trophy made!
The girls will be having breakfast at 1900 Park Fare, followed by shopping in Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney.
We are eating at Raglan Road at 7pm

Day Ten:

Islands of Adventure
Bubba Gump Shrimp

Day Eleven:

Animal Kingdom
Kouzzina for Mum, Martin & OB, Teppan Edo for me and Neil, Rainforest Cafe for the Dufflers


Day Twelve:

World Cup Final day
Citricos

Day Thirteen:

Favourite rides at Epcot and Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Brown Derby

Day Fourteen:

Magic Kingdom
Narcoossee’s
Main Street Electrical Parade
Wishes


The Bane of my life: The World Cup



As mentioned previously, when it comes to Disney, I’m a conservative sort. I make my ADRs 180 days on the mark, I have a very rigid itinerary in my head for Disney that I very rarely deviate from. For the first time this year, I am not visiting the parks in chronological order. The things one has to do to try and avoid crowds at Islands of Adventure. Generally, I like things simple. I don’t like change.

Enter: The World Cup. An evil gift from God above. Some sort of monster creature with devil horns, sent to wreak havoc on my beautiful itinerary. We have had to contend with viewing locations, match kick off times and WORST OF ALL: become experts in global time zones. There have been late night conference calls (genuinely), panicked early morning speaker phone conversations with Mum and WORST OF ALL, the rebooking of all but three of our ADR reservations to ensure matches weren’t missed. The sheer amount of changes I have had to make to our Florida itinerary and ADRs to accommodate this one event would cause even the most liberal Dibber to break out into a cold sweat. And WORST OF ALL, aside from Megan, I am the only member of our party who couldn’t care less about football.

Our conversations about the World Cup and its role in the holiday have gone something like this:

First there was the final. Okay, I can live with that. Pretty important. Pencilled in for Day Twelve.

Rest of family: Oh, but if we’re going to watch the final, we’ll have to watch the Semi’s as well. Yes, well Spain will likely be in it so it will be a good game. Yeah and Germany are looking good as well...

Me: Right, okay. Semi’s pencilled in for Days Seven and Eight. If you want to sacrifice drinking around the world time for football, be my guest. But by the way, you’ll have to leg it from the game if we’re to make our Le Cellier reservation.

Rest of family: Well, what about the Quarters? I mean, if England are going to get anywhere, it will be to the Quarters. So we should really try and watch them.

Me: (Through gritted teeth) Well sod you then. If you want to sacrifice some Typhoon Lagoon or Epcot time, don’t come crying to me when you can’t move in the ESPN bar on the 4th July or if you can’t fight your way back through the weekend crowds to make the Via Napoli reservation.

Rest of family cheer victoriously.

Me (in threatening voice) : Well, I’m booking me and Megan in at Beaches and Cream on World Cup Final Day. We’re having ice cream sundaes. And we’re meeting characters. (the ultimate threat)

Megan: Yay!

Rest of family: I wonder if England do have a shot this time, with [insert footballer’s name here] up front and [insert footballer’s name here] in midfield, we might have a shot this time.

Me: Humph.

So there we have it!

I will be back with an update and more photos after we have our Disney planning night on April 19th. This would be one of the nights where I try to pretend that everything isn’t planned already. And then again when the inevitable packing begins.

Although as Neil and I are now living with his parents while we save for a house deposit, I am struck with the very real possibility that I won’t be able to start packing until a week or so before we go. Apparently, it’s frowned upon in this household to start packing for a holiday until you absolutely have to. And I need the help of either Neil or his Dad to get the case down from the loft. If that’s not true trauma, I don’t know what is. #Firstworldproblems.

‘Til later! Or as Mark would say, ‘See ya after!’

Trace xxxxxxxx

Edited at 04:22 PM.
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Old 6 Apr 14, 11:03 AM  
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Sounds like you have a very exciting (and emotional) trip planned for you all. I don't blame you and Megan going off to Beaches & Cream to eat ice cream, instead of watching the boring football

And I agree about the planning - has to be done
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Old 7 Apr 14, 11:30 AM  
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Loved your previous trippies and can't wait for this one!
Hope you all have a lovely holiday
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Old 7 Apr 14, 12:18 PM  
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Jesslydevie1
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Loving the sound of your trip you sound like me haha , can I ask a couple of questions if you don't mind where are you watching the final ( or the family ) of the football , also drinks around the world at Epcot , we have only ever been in the oct so always visited the food and wine festival where are the places you can get a drink around the world as I thought it was mostly restaurants and not somewhere you can get just a drink ?
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Old 8 Apr 14, 03:58 PM  
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Originally Posted by Jesslydevie1 View Post
Loving the sound of your trip you sound like me haha , can I ask a couple of questions if you don't mind where are you watching the final ( or the family ) of the football , also drinks around the world at Epcot , we have only ever been in the oct so always visited the food and wine festival where are the places you can get a drink around the world as I thought it was mostly restaurants and not somewhere you can get just a drink ?
Hi there.

The family is watching most of the football at the ESPN bar on the Boardwalk. My sister actually emailed Disney to ask where they would be showing the World Cup games but Disney replied and said they didn't know this far in advance :angry:

There are loads of places you can get a drink around the world - they just don't have the stalls as they do at the F&W festival. In Mexico, we go in the little Tequila bar in the Temple; in Germany, you can get beers from the kiosk on the right as you enter the main area or wine from the shop on the left; in Italy, they serve wine by the glass in the little shop on the right as you enter the Pavilion, France sell Champagne, sparkling and wine in the Vins du France shop opposite the Patisserie or in the kiosk in front of the Pavilion and the Rose and Crown in the UK pavilion speaks for itself.
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Old 8 Apr 14, 07:19 PM  
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Originally Posted by tracey1302 View Post
Hi there.

The family is watching most of the football at the ESPN bar on the Boardwalk. My sister actually emailed Disney to ask where they would be showing the World Cup games but Disney replied and said they didn't know this far in advance :angry:

There are loads of places you can get a drink around the world - they just don't have the stalls as they do at the F&W festival. In Mexico, we go in the little Tequila bar in the Temple; in Germany, you can get beers from the kiosk on the right as you enter the main area or wine from the shop on the left; in Italy, they serve wine by the glass in the little shop on the right as you enter the Pavilion, France sell Champagne, sparkling and wine in the Vins du France shop opposite the Patisserie or in the kiosk in front of the Pavilion and the Rose and Crown in the UK pavilion speaks for itself.
Thanks for replying
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Old 8 Apr 14, 10:21 PM  
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Great pre trippy! DH has pinched the name Disney Nazi for me!
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Old 20 Apr 14, 07:23 PM  
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OMG World Cup not even funny! At least they've spoken up now instead of 'oh I wouldn't mind watching the match...' on the day.
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Old 5 May 14, 01:10 PM  
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All paid up

Well it's been very exciting times in the Thomas/Mollet/Bagley/Duffy households this week as we have all paid our final balances

It's quite a treat to ring WDWTC as they say 'You have zero balance.' Fantastic

We have had a few rethinks since I last updated on here. The first is that we have cancelled our 'Ohana reservation. After reading that they'd removed chicken from the menu, I decided to cancel. Daft as this may sound, Megan and Sam are notoriously fussy eaters and would probably have just had the chicken so I don't quite know what they would have eaten!

After having a crazy half hour with my Mum when we seemed to convince ourselves we could get in at BOG out of the 180 day window , we finally settled on some different choices.

Mum, Martin & OB: Kouzzina by Cat Cora (they like Greek style food so this seemed like an ideal choices for them )
Me and Neil: Teppan Edo
Dufflers: Rainforest Cafe (still need to book this!)

We have also booked our FP selections this morning!

It took me a while to figure out how to work the app but I finally got my head around it. I've also checked us in online at CBR making our room requests for Aruba and Jamaica.

It's all seeming so real now! Still haven't been allowed to get my case out though
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