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Unread 20 Mar 18, 06:30 PM  
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smithlane
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The BIG New York Surprise - August 2018

Hello and welcome to my latest pre trip report

This year is to be slightly different to previous years as we are not only going back to Florida with NO Disney but we are spending 5 nights in New York first. To say Im excited is a slight understatement!
As this spans two different forums Ill do the New York and Florida parts separately.

Ill start be introducing ourselves.
A slight reduction in numbers this year as it will just be the 4 of us. After our first trip in 2015 of being a group of 10 and our second last year being a group of 12, this will be a bit of a shock to the system. It will either be a dream or a complete disaster

First up me! Alicia, 35 years young. Author of this trip report and main planner/itinerary keeper of the holiday. I work as a Mobile Beauty Therapist and hobbies include researching upcoming holidays and shopping on said holidays. If there was an Olympic medal to be won, I reckon I would be in with a shot



Jim my long suffering partner and wonderful step dad to my 2 children. 39 years young, a Construction Manager and hobbies include golf and um more golf



My daughter Hope who will be 15 on Saturday. Lover of all things American and partial to the odd shopping trip. I wonder who she gets that from... Coming out of the stroppy teenage phase and becoming a wonderful young lady



Last but not least Sam, my 13 year old son. Turning into your typical teenager by the day and would rather be holed away in his room on his iPad than be seen anywhere with me. Hmmm this holiday should be interesting...! Every so often we see a glimpse of the old happy, smiley Sam which I just love and miss



Us last year





So the New York part of the holiday all came about rather by accident, the original plan had us starting the trip in Naples after flying into Miami. The prices from London were consistently high unless we fancied driving up to Manchester and flying from there via Heathrow which would have been fine on the way out but coming home we would be landing in Heathrow which we live literally 15 minutes from before having to fly back up to Manchester was not very appealing.
The flight prices were still so high no matter what airport in Florida I chose and as we go the last 3 weeks of the summer holidays I really wasnt expecting them to be so high. I was panicking slightly as I had budgeted 500pp and even half decent indirect options werent coming in near that price.
So I needed to start thinking outside of the box. I have ALWAYS wanted to visit NY and had thought about taking Jim for his 40th at the end of the year BUT my daughter Hope would rip off a limb to visit so thought I would have a little look into how much it would be to have a few nights there before flying down to Florida. Well lo and behold BA had direct flights from LHR-EWR on the 15/08 then MCO-LGW on the 05/09 with a mid size SUV for 16 nights for 2300 for all 4 of us. Given the car element was worth around 600 it made our flights just over 400 per person. Bargain!

With the flights now sorted came the MASSIVE task of finding reasonably priced accommodation. I had already booked a house on Anna Maria Island from the 20th August so that gave us 5 nights in NY.
We absolutely cannot all stay in one room together for more than 1 night without wanting to kill each other so that ruled the majority of hotels out. I then looked into Suite type accommodation but even they were coming in well over budget for our dates. Oh dear we have flights but nowhere to stay! It wasnt looking great for a while.
I was then talking to a client of mine who used to work in New York a few years back. She told me about the place she lived whilst there called Hoboken in New Jersey. She explained it was just over the river Hudson and takes only 12 minutes on the PATH train to get into Manhattan.
A quick search through Air BnB showed prices were far better. Phew 😅
We finally narrowed it down to this 3 bed apartment. Total for 5 nights 794.96











We then needed to book our internal flights. Annoyingly I missed the boat on the cheap Southwest flights when they were released by dithering so we have ended up booking through Delta LGA-TPA for $128pp.

With the New York part now all sorted we then had the mad idea to leave it as a total surprise for the kids . We have told them we are flying via New York as an indirect flight to Tampa so as not to raise suspicion! The plan is to tell them just before we land...
As Hope is a HUGE Gossip Girl fan I reckon she may pee her pants with excitement (not literally of course!) Im hoping Sam shares her enthusiasm too

With only 5 nights we have a lot to cram in but are hoping to get the main sights done.
I of course like the good Dibber that I am have done a detailed itinerary but as usual for us if it doesnt go to plan then I wont have a melt down. Maybe..

Travel Day
Our flight departs Heathrow at 10.50am and lands in Newark at 1.40pm. Once we have cleared immigration well jump in a cab to the apartment. If we have any energy and its not too late well get a PATH train to 23rd St then walk to Madison Square Park. Dinner will of course be at Shake Shack for our first American Burger. A quick stop to see the Flatiron Building before we grab an Uber home.







Day 1
Im sure well be up early this morning so to take advantage I have booked a 9am ferry over to the Statue of Liberty with Statue Cruises. Its very handy we can get on from Liberty State Park in New Jersey so will get an Uber from the apartment. I have booked Pedestal entry for SoL, I really wanted to go for the Crown tickets but with my ever growing back problem I just dont think I could make it up all those stairs which is a shame.
Well also visit Ellis Island before getting the ferry back to Battery Park.
The plan is to then walk to Georges Diner for a late breakfast en route to the 9/11 memorial. I am in two minds about visiting the museum and I think well decide on the day how we all feel.
From here well take the subway over to Brooklyn to explore a little. If anyone is hungry we can grab a slice of pizza from either Julianas or Grimaldis. Possibly walk down to Brooklyn Heights before walking back towards Manhattan over the bridge.
Depending on how we feel and the time of day well either get a Subway to Times Square to have dinner at Juniors or stay around Downtown and have dinner at Ryan Maguires Ale House.







Day 2
Today well again get a PATH train but to 33rd Street before going for breakfast at Tick Tock Diner. The plan is to get up the Empire State Building whilst its still fairly quiet, then walk to the New York Public Library and Grand Central Station for a look around. Well then jump on the Uptown HOHO bus tour all the way around to The Met in Central Park hoping to pass a few Gossip Girl sights along the way.
The afternoon will be spent exploring Central Park. I really want to see the Turtle Pond, Belvedere Castle and Strawberry Fields.
From here well walk down to Times Square and have dinner at Ellens Stardust Diner if the queue isnt huge!
I would really like to do The RIDE tonight. So many of you on here have only great things to say about it so interested to experience it for ourselves















Day 3
This morning well get another PATH train, this time to Christopher Street. The plan is to walk to Bedford St to see the Friends Building then towards the Highline. Get off at 16th Street for Chelsea Market and grab some lunch. From here well get an Uber or the Subway to Times Square. I have booked tickets for Hope and I to see Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre this afternoon. Very excited indeed! Jim and Sam will go off to do their own thing, not sure what yet though. All ideas welcome!
Dinner will possibly be at Juniors if we didnt visit the other day or Bills Bar & Burger.
Hoping to do Top of the Rock tonight as well and will be praying for clear views







Day 4
Today I have left completely free. If we have missed any sites on previous days we will do those today or maybe get the Subway to Coney Island or possibly just enjoy our last day in NY wandering the streets and revisiting any favourites. What I do know is if we havent made it to any department stores such as MACYS or Bloomingdales we WILL be having a browse in there today. Those of you familiar with my previous reports will notice a distinct lack of shopping so far. Fear not that will be rectified by today
Also the one thing Jim has requested of our time in NY is lunch or dinner at Katz Deli from When Harry Met Sally fame. I wonder why...
If we have lunch there then dinner will possibly be at Tony Dinapolis.









Day 5
Up early today to get over to La Guardia airport for our flight at 11.45am.
Ive looked at public transport options to save cost but I can foresee a melt down from one or more members of the family when trying to drag our 4 large suitcases plus a set of golf clubs up and down stairs and on and off trains. For my own sanity well grab an Uber or cab there

I think thats about it so far. All weve got left to do is buy our New York 5 Attraction Explorer Pass. Im in no hurry to get them though, theres no FPs to book with these
If you want to find out all about our plans whilst in Florida you can read them HERE
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The BIG Florida Surprise - Aug 2015 Trip Report
The BIG Florida Return - Aug/Sept 2017 Trip Report
The BIG New York Surprise & Florida Comeback - Aug/Sept 2018 Trip Report
Christmas Markets and More! Berlin - Nov/Dec 2018 Trip Report
The BIG Las Vegas Surprise - Feb 2019 Trip Report
The BIG Little Lies California Road Trip - Jul/Aug 2019 Pre trip Report

Edited at 10:12 PM.
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Unread 22 Mar 18, 04:34 PM  
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minimacka
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Your holiday sounds fab, Ellen's stardust is so good if the queues are not that big try to go you wont be disappointed. We visited the crown of SOL, its a lot of steps to visit a tiny space with a few tiny windows, yes we can say we did it but we didn't think it was worth it tbh. We are going back again in October but only for 3 nights 2 full days this time, last time we managed to fit all our "wish list" places in apart from Katz deli which we will be definitely doing this time. We also visited Grimaldis and it was lovely, we hope to visit Julianians this time to compare the 2.
We also have visited AMI which is a lovely chilled island with pelicans flying around the beach and manatees swimming in the sea.
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Unread 22 Mar 18, 07:19 PM  
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smithlane
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Originally Posted by minimacka View Post
Your holiday sounds fab, Ellen's stardust is so good if the queues are not that big try to go you wont be disappointed. We visited the crown of SOL, its a lot of steps to visit a tiny space with a few tiny windows, yes we can say we did it but we didn't think it was worth it tbh. We are going back again in October but only for 3 nights 2 full days this time, last time we managed to fit all our "wish list" places in apart from Katz deli which we will be definitely doing this time. We also visited Grimaldis and it was lovely, we hope to visit Julianians this time to compare the 2.
We also have visited AMI which is a lovely chilled island with pelicans flying around the beach and manatees swimming in the sea.
Hi there thank you for reading. We cannot wait for New York! We will definitely visit Ellen's at some point, if its too busy for dinner we'll maybe try breakfast.
Oh that's good to hear about the SoL, I'm hoping the pedestal will still give us great views.
I really hope we fit as much in as possible but I'm sure we need a repeat visit, it's so hard to fit everything in that we all want to do!
We visited AMI for 3 nights last year and just fell in love with the place, we knew we wanted at least a week there this year. I can't wait to get back to paradise
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The BIG Florida Surprise - Aug 2015 Trip Report
The BIG Florida Return - Aug/Sept 2017 Trip Report
The BIG New York Surprise & Florida Comeback - Aug/Sept 2018 Trip Report
Christmas Markets and More! Berlin - Nov/Dec 2018 Trip Report
The BIG Las Vegas Surprise - Feb 2019 Trip Report
The BIG Little Lies California Road Trip - Jul/Aug 2019 Pre trip Report
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Unread 22 Mar 18, 08:44 PM  
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Goldia
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I found you! I hadn't spotted the link in your signature, oh dear.

I love the photos of you all at the beginning in the intros. The mummy selfie shot is great. Kate was a bit scared of them last summer because of their eyes, so we had to avoid them at all costs if we saw them.

The airbnb apartment looks fab, and your plans are really coming together. We got the 3 attractions ticket explorer pass and used it for empire state, TOTR and the ride. SOL was booked separately and I considered the 5 attractions so that we could go to the 9/11 museum or the one world observatory or radio city music hall or the hoho bus or one of the many other places but actually we wouldn't have been able to fit them in. So I'm glad now that I stuck with the 3 tickets. We had 4 nights and so 3 full days, plus arrival day and then the travel to Florida day we had s 4pm flight so left at around 1pm.

The statue of liberty in the morning of the first day was perfect, even though we had some rain. It's such an iconic part of the city it felt like we were really there. Central Park was fab too once we had our sunnier days. We barely scratched the surface of it though, it's a huge place. I had planned for us to walk the Jackie O reservoir but that is up at the top (north) and we only really saw the bottom 3rd. The best part was just wandering around as everywhere feels familiar from tv shows and films. The buildings are huge and looking up at the sky was great just amazing to see them stretching up.

I'd have loved to have seen a show on Broadway too, I bet Chicago will be great. I'm looking forward to reading all about it. I'm going to check out the other half of your holdiay now!

Xx
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Unread 22 Mar 18, 10:34 PM  
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smithlane
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Originally Posted by Goldia View Post
I found you! I hadn't spotted the link in your signature, oh dear.

I love the photos of you all at the beginning in the intros. The mummy selfie shot is great. Kate was a bit scared of them last summer because of their eyes, so we had to avoid them at all costs if we saw them.

The airbnb apartment looks fab, and your plans are really coming together. We got the 3 attractions ticket explorer pass and used it for empire state, TOTR and the ride. SOL was booked separately and I considered the 5 attractions so that we could go to the 9/11 museum or the one world observatory or radio city music hall or the hoho bus or one of the many other places but actually we wouldn't have been able to fit them in. So I'm glad now that I stuck with the 3 tickets. We had 4 nights and so 3 full days, plus arrival day and then the travel to Florida day we had s 4pm flight so left at around 1pm.

The statue of liberty in the morning of the first day was perfect, even though we had some rain. It's such an iconic part of the city it felt like we were really there. Central Park was fab too once we had our sunnier days. We barely scratched the surface of it though, it's a huge place. I had planned for us to walk the Jackie O reservoir but that is up at the top (north) and we only really saw the bottom 3rd. The best part was just wandering around as everywhere feels familiar from tv shows and films. The buildings are huge and looking up at the sky was great just amazing to see them stretching up.

I'd have loved to have seen a show on Broadway too, I bet Chicago will be great. I'm looking forward to reading all about it. I'm going to check out the other half of your holdiay now!

Xx
Yay you found me! No need to apologise seeing how rubbish I have been
I can't wait to spot all the movie and tv locations around the city. Jim and I are busy watching as many films as we can set in NY. I've also shamefully become slightly obsessed with Gossip Girl so will be busy looking out for all the locations with Hope
I reckon we won't even scratch the surface of Central Park either but will give it a good go!
Really can't wait for Chicago, although I've recently read that Cuba Gooding Jnr is heading up the cast for London! I'm gutted as I love him! Thanks as ever for reading xx
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The BIG Florida Surprise - Aug 2015 Trip Report
The BIG Florida Return - Aug/Sept 2017 Trip Report
The BIG New York Surprise & Florida Comeback - Aug/Sept 2018 Trip Report
Christmas Markets and More! Berlin - Nov/Dec 2018 Trip Report
The BIG Las Vegas Surprise - Feb 2019 Trip Report
The BIG Little Lies California Road Trip - Jul/Aug 2019 Pre trip Report
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Unread 22 Mar 18, 11:17 PM  
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debojahh
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Aha!
Found the NYC part. It's really helpful to read other plans as it's a scary prospect just because there is SO much to see in NYC!
Sounds exciting and with us doing 4 nights it is quite a similar plan of main sights too!
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Unread 23 Mar 18, 09:21 AM  
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Originally Posted by debojahh View Post
Aha!
Found the NYC part. It's really helpful to read other plans as it's a scary prospect just because there is SO much to see in NYC!
Sounds exciting and with us doing 4 nights it is quite a similar plan of main sights too!
Thanks Debs! It really is daunting, I can plan a Florida holiday down to a tee but this is new territory for me so I really hope I get it right. It will definitely be a busy few days but with a week to chill on the beach after we should be able to manage it. Have you done a pre trip of your holiday?
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The BIG Florida Surprise - Aug 2015 Trip Report
The BIG Florida Return - Aug/Sept 2017 Trip Report
The BIG New York Surprise & Florida Comeback - Aug/Sept 2018 Trip Report
Christmas Markets and More! Berlin - Nov/Dec 2018 Trip Report
The BIG Las Vegas Surprise - Feb 2019 Trip Report
The BIG Little Lies California Road Trip - Jul/Aug 2019 Pre trip Report
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The BIG California Road Trip
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Unread 22 Apr 18, 09:45 PM  
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debojahh
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Originally Posted by smithlane View Post
Thanks Debs! It really is daunting, I can plan a Florida holiday down to a tee but this is new territory for me so I really hope I get it right. It will definitely be a busy few days but with a week to chill on the beach after we should be able to manage it. Have you done a pre trip of your holiday?
I just responded in my own pre-trip! But yeah I'm still a bit lost at sea with the NYC bit
Can book SoL next week and trying to figure out the easiest way to get to and from JFK!
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