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Old 13 Jul 15, 11:08 AM  
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jessbrown100
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The 'Wing and a Prayer' Skint family pre-trip saga (vol 1)

Howdy All!

This (my first) trip report begins from the position of not actually having any trip booked. Not just not booked, not planned, barely discussed and most definitely not financed. I am, however highly optimistic (and possibly a little deluded, who knows?) that if I work hard, get focussed, throw caution to the wind (a little bit) then in just over a year and a half, myself and my lovely family will be winging our way across the pond for our first ever Florida-da vacation.

So firstly, a little background: Our little family consists of,

Me: Jess, Been to Florida (Orlando and pretty much everywhere else) multiple times as a child and teenager. Still remain some of the happiest memories that I have. Haven't been since the age of 16 (which is now a little while ago ). When not thinking about holidays, I manage to semi-succesfully hold down a career as an A&E nurse, I go to the gym (a lot), I attempt to avoid house work and other domestic chores as much as is humanly possible, I drink lots of coffee, Swear a lot, I do a lot of Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts training. And finally I attempt to organise the other two members of my family so that they at least look like they belong to someone and so that that smallest family member doesn't have to resort to ringing Esther Rantzen because we have sent him to school 5 days running with mismatched socks, no book bag and gravy stains down his jumper.

Paul: Long suffering husband. Works at the steel works where he hits various bits of machinery with big hammers whilst praying that they start working again. Would love to have a more fulfilling job...at the minute his two career goals are either Paramedic or Pirate... whichever happens first. Doesn't really 'get' the Florida or Disney thing. Has coped admirably through two trips to DLP and had thought that this would be enough quell my obsession (And I think I'm deluded! Bahaha). Likes holidays if there's sunshine and alcohol, is as happy doing the Canaries as anywhere, hates planning anything too much, may struggle with this trip . But on the whole Paul is a very laid back kinda bloke, if me and the small person are happy (and this trip will make us oh so very happy!) then he's cool.

Leon: Otherwise known as 'He who must be obeyed', Short stuff, The Boy, Leonbobs, The Monster etc etc. Six years old (will be 8 when we go)... Is in fact a sixty year old man squished into the body of a six year old... demeanor of a small mad scientist...Adores cars and engineering, Dinosaurs, insects, Haribo, Marvel and pepperoni pizzas. Genuinely one of the funniest people I know, even at six. He also loves driving people to the point of insanity with never..ending..questions! Loved DLP both times and still talks about the trips and asks when we can go back (little does he know... )

So that's us... a small family but perfectly formed (well, I like to think so). So now a little bit about the trip (or the embryo trip as I like to think of it). I've wanted to go back to Florida for like, forever but we've never managed to make it happen due to various reasons, mainly financial and job based. However the other week I was sat doing my budget and grumbling about the price of stuff etc when I realised that, on paper at least, we have easily enough disposable income to start looking at booking a trip across to the magic. Now the bit we struggle with is the whole 'on paper' thing, we can spend money like drunken sailors on practically nothing! We have virtually no self control when it comes to finance, if it's in the bank then it's fair game. So having given myself a bit of a slap and a talking to about spending I have come up with what I think is a reasonable plan for how to make this trip happen. I acknowledge that I'm crap at saving so I believe that if I book the trip then it's a fait accompli, I have to pay for it. If I book it and work out the minimum I need to pay a month so it's comfortably paid off and then make sure that this amount (or more if possible) gets paid off on every pay day, then it's already looking more realistic. I've also decided that for spends I'm going to get a pre-paid Visa card thingy (FairFX or something of that kidney), give it and my log in details to my mother and then just bung her a regular amount plus any that we have spare, and she can be the 'Dragon Guardian' of our dollars. All this means that I'm going to have to get organised. I've decided that I'm going to start meal-planning and having a strict grocery budget again, everything we buy is going to be compared, price-matched and budgeted for. I'm going to have to get a grip of my serious ASOS and Sports Direct addiction, and all family outing etc are going to be stuff we can do 'on the cheap' using vouchers etc. I think that this is going to require some real determination and imagination on our part but if two weeks under the Florida Sun isn't motivation enough then I don't know what is?

So I'm thinking that we would be best going for two weeks in October 2016, ideally one of those weeks being Leon's half term, so a provisional date would be the 22nd October 2016. I'm really in two minds about what we should go for in terms of accomodation: I have discounted a villa (even though it would possibly be a cheaper option as, because Leon is an only child, he can get a bit lonely...if we were in a hotel/ apartments then on 'rest days' at least he'd have other children at the pool to become 'pool buddies' with). So the real decision for me is... do we go for an apartment, possibly somewhere in LBV, with a car and try to eat in or at reasonably priced places as much as possible, or do we look at staying on site and trying to get a dining plan if it's available, and at least know that even though it costs more, at least we have food organised for the two weeks? I really am struggling with this, it's a bit of a quandry and I feel that until I've got what I want to do in my head then I can't make any great strides forward with the planning. Any insight, advice or info would be greatly welcomed (as it would about any aspect of the trip). I have tried asking Paul about what he'd like to do but as I've previously alluded to, he isn't a planning enthusiast and I'm pretty sure he doesn't really understand what I'm prattling on about anyway.

So, there you have it... my little seed of a plan. I'm hoping that by writing this report and keeping it updated (hopefully weekly, allowing for the usual ups and downs of the daily grind), it will keep me on target and help with organisation. It'll also be lovely to be able to share when I get little things sorted and ticked off because the husband isn't likely to get excited about ADRs etc. I would love it if a few of you guys would add any insight to this and accompany me on what will possibly a long and fairly fraught journey... you never know, it might actually be enjoyable (no promises! lol)
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Old 13 Jul 15, 01:52 PM  
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berniegroves
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hello

Hello
How exciting for you to be planning your trip :-)

I think it makes perfect sense to pay the balance of the holiday off monthly so that its easier to manage.

For us personally we prefer villas, but we do have two children. So i can totally understand where you are coming from regarding wanting children for Leon to play with.
We used to stay in hotels but haven't done for a long time, so i'm afraid i can't be of much help.
But what i would say is from what i have read, Disney hotels have events on site that you'd be able to take Leon to for him to mix with other kids. Things like movies under the stars and marshmallows over a campfire etc etc. And i would imagine that there would always be more children at a disney hotel pool than in other hotels. But i might be wrong.
Hopefully someone will be able to give you some advice as to which hotels would be best for you all.

I look forward to reading about the rest of your planning
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Old 13 Jul 15, 07:34 PM  
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jessbrown100
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Thank you for that! It really helps hearing other people's perspectives, I've only ever stopped in villas so this is a bit of a new world for me... Hadn't thought about 'event type things' at the hotels, but Leon would really love that sort of thing... food for thought! Lol, well I hope you do enjoy this thread and that my witterings don't drive you to the brink! :-)

J x
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Old 13 Jul 15, 07:46 PM  
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danisleigh
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We stayed at cypress pointe resort for 2 weeks last October as our son is also an only child so likes a pool area with other kids around. It was fab, a huge 3 bed 3 bath condo for £800 for 14 nights and it was in walking distance of loads of restaurants and so close to Disney as its at lake buena vista. I can highly recommend!
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Old 13 Jul 15, 08:33 PM  
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Jesslydevie1
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Hi jess, I can offer lots of advice budgeting , we wouldn't ever go if I didn't ,we are going in oct 16 ,our ninth time ,am a support worker husband a landscape Gardner , we are very strict in what we spend to be able to afford to go ,it helps that I don't drink or smoke ! We used to stay in villas but can't afford it now so we stay at the rosen inn pointe ,fabulous prices and perfect for budget eating , if you need any advice am more than happy to help ,good luck .
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Old 14 Jul 15, 12:10 PM  
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jessbrown100
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Originally Posted by danisleigh View Post
We stayed at cypress pointe resort for 2 weeks last October as our son is also an only child so likes a pool area with other kids around. It was fab, a huge 3 bed 3 bath condo for £800 for 14 nights and it was in walking distance of loads of restaurants and so close to Disney as its at lake buena vista. I can highly recommend!
Ooh, Thank you! Cypress Pointe was one of the places that drew my attention, I really like the idea that you still have a 'kitchen area' because I think that will really help with the budgeting, especially in terms of breakfast, lunch and drinks. Were there plenty of other sprogs about when you were there? I just hate the thought of him spending a whole two weeks with only us boring 'oldsters' to chat to

J x
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Old 14 Jul 15, 12:17 PM  
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jessbrown100
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Originally Posted by Jesslydevie1 View Post
Hi jess, I can offer lots of advice budgeting , we wouldn't ever go if I didn't ,we are going in oct 16 ,our ninth time ,am a support worker husband a landscape Gardner , we are very strict in what we spend to be able to afford to go ,it helps that I don't drink or smoke ! We used to stay in villas but can't afford it now so we stay at the rosen inn pointe ,fabulous prices and perfect for budget eating , if you need any advice am more than happy to help ,good luck .
Oh that is so lovely! Thank you so much! Wow, 9th trip! See, that gives me more hope that it is actually 'doable'.
I'm already looking at ways just to cut our general outgoings. Have returned to the Money Saving Expert website and I'm going to sit down tonight and have a proper look at what we're spending and why. I think I'm going to start carrying a spending diary with me and get the Hubster to do the same. I think the most important thing for us is to get the money squirrelled away somewhere where we can't easily get to it, so it doesn't just get spent on 'life' lol. I'm also thinking of investigating different ways to get a bit of extra spends, we have far too much 'stuff' so I think an ebay/car boot push is in order (will make me feel better to get a bit decluttered as well) and I'm thinking that after the summer holidays I might start picking up a few agency shifts and just ask to get paid straight into my savings account :-)
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Old 14 Jul 15, 12:18 PM  
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Slinky Malinki
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That's a good read. Are you only interested in Disney? Perhaps a week there and then move closer up towards Universal, IoA and SeaWorld etc?
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Old 14 Jul 15, 12:21 PM  
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jessbrown100
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Just as a visual aid (I like knowing what people I'm talking to look like), here are me and Paul this weekend on his 40th birthday trip to Leeds (last great expenditure for some time! Lol) facebook/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

And this is our small person facebook/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

(My name isn't really Yvette... I just don't use my proper name on fb, mainly cos of my job!)

Edited at 12:27 PM.
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Old 14 Jul 15, 01:10 PM  
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jessbrown100
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Originally Posted by Slinky Malinki View Post
That's a good read. Are you only interested in Disney? Perhaps a week there and then move closer up towards Universal, IoA and SeaWorld etc?
To be honest, I think it will be mainly Disney focused. Hubster isn't a 'coaster fan' (sigh) and I think that fitting in all Disney, a couple of rest days and a Typhoon Lagoon day would use up all of our holibobs. I would really like to do IoA as I think Leon would love it but I think that this time staying in or near to Disney would be our best bet and just venturing further afield for that one day would be our best bet :-)

(I love your name btw... Slinky Malinky and Hairy Maclary were The Boys absolute favourites when he was little... especially 'Scattercat')

J x
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