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Old 17 May 18, 05:34 PM  
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mouselover22
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"The Only Way Is Epcot" - July/Aug 2018 Extravaganza

Hello fellow dibbers!

So after years of dibbing, spending hours reading trip reports and 5 trips to WDW under our belt, I've decided to take the plunge and attempt my own trip report. So without further ado Welcome Please sit back, relax and enjoy my pre-trip report ‘The Only Way is Epcot’!

So firstly why the above trip report title? Well 2 reasons, if you haven't already guessed, yes we are from Essex. But as you will see from the photo’s we are not very Towie-esk And secondly we all just simply love Epcot. On our first visit 5 years ago we thought that Epcot wouldn't appeal to us and would probably be a 1 day park. I know, I hear you! How native were we! Obviously, we all fell in love with Epcot, we love it's diversity, different cultural experiences the food and of course Test Track

So who are we……..

I’m Hayley, Disney obsessive and full time planner. Not much else to say really, I love, breath and dream WDW, obviously I'm on the dibb I am a Mickey Ears wearer and i am building up my collection of custom ears very nicely. Virtually every picture you see of me, I will be wearing ears, see……



Look at that happy face

This picture was taken last year.

So on to my long suffering, loyal and hard working hubby, Andy. He works extremely hard and being a company director means his job is high pressured and stressful. So 3 weeks in Florida is his time to unwind, relax and spend quality time with his family. He loves all things American especially the food, driving and shopping. He secretly loves Disney too *obvs* Andy doesn't involve himself in any of the holiday planning, mainly because he doesn't have the time too. We will normally get to the airport and like last year he will say to me, “right, where are we staying then”? ‘What are we doing?” Honestly, thats the truth. I guess it means he trusts my judgement and at least i get free reign on the holiday, so suits me just fine


Not exactly sure what this was all about :-)

Me and Andy first went to Florida for our honeymoon in 2001 and there the love affair started.

Look at the photo of us i just found from 2001




So now on to the little (not so little now) herberts who complete your cast……….





Thomas is 11 and will be celebrating his 12th birthday in Florida! Thomas is my Disney protege, I'm so proud He absolutely loves the planning part of the holiday and together we make the perfect team. I am very grateful for his help and input as after his 5th trip he’s a bit of an expert now

And lastly my care free fun loving *ants in his pants*, football fanatic, youngest, Oliver. Oliver will also be 11 when we travel. Yes, thats right! You eagle eyed dibbers will have noticed Thomas & Oliver will both be 11 when we travel. Oliver will turn 11 in July just before we go and Thomas will turn 12 in August, so for 1 month a year they are both the same age. Yes, it was a huge shock at the time but now i wouldn't have it any other way.

The Plan


So pre-travel day (which is definitely part of the holiday, right? ) will be the 24th July. Andy will be woking that day but the boys would have finished school, so our plans so far include boys haircuts, me blow dry, me nails done, zip the cases up, go through my checklist and take our beloved doggie Teddy to nanny’s for his holiday. Teddy is a cockerapoo and the fifth member of our family, literally. There will be some tears leaving him he is my shadow but i know he will be safe and loved staying with my mum. It means we can also FaceTime him while we are away. Here is Teddy





And one more



So once Andy gets home from work and dinner is consumed we will head to the airport. Staying at the airport the night before is a no-brainer for us as we have no desire to play Russian Roulette in the morning with the M25!




Gatwick should be just over an hour away from us with no traffic, so we will probably set off about 8:00pm. Once we arrive we will be heading to the North Terminal and leaving our car with Gatwick Official Parking in the short stay car park. Once the keys have been handed over we will be walking across the road and spending the night here at the Premier Inn North Terminal



We love staying at this hotel, the location is obviously perfect as it’s within walking distance to the airport and i absolutely love a Premier Inn bed. I do honestly, I know they use Hypnos mattresses, i definitely have to have one of these when my bed needs replacing. So once we've checked in we will head down to the bar for some pre-holiday drinky poos That’s why i love pre-travel day, the excitement and that feeling we are here at the airport takes any early morning travel stress.


We are going for 21 nights and flying out on the 25th July on the Thomson (sorry TUI) Dreamliner.



We have flown on the Dreamliner before and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I definitely agree with the quieter engine noises and better oxygen levels onboard which help combat jet lag. We will be flying Premium Club so have 2x2 seat configuration.



We will be landing in a *fingers crossed* quiet Sanford airport. We've flown into Sanford airport 4 times and there’s never been a queue at immigration. Literally takes 5-10 minutes to get through,especially being at the front of the plane.

We will then be collecting our car from Avis. We have been Avis preferred members for 5 years now and I've always been happy with the cars and service. Plus, we tend to be creatures of habit We have booked a category W SUV Ford Edge



We are staying in a private Villa for the first 16 nights. We have done split onsite stays in the past with the ddp and thoroughly enjoyed them. However, after several trips we don't feel we need to stay onsite anymore (if that makes sense) and love the space, flexibility and privacy of having our own villa. We have stayed at the same villa for the last 5 years (creatures of habit) We absolutely love it, its our second home. We have built up a very trusting relationship with the villa owners and she always offers us first dibs on when we want the villa each year. This villa is in Clear Creek at Woodridge, near Walmart and half a mile away from the 192 near all the restaurants on route to Disney.





We have purchased the 14 day Ultimate Disney ticket from Attraction Tickets Direct, who price matched an offer i found online. I only use ATD to order tickets *creature of habit* as they are always happy to price match and I've never had a bad experience using them.

Staying offsite means we haven't needed to make any ADR’s this trip except one. As i already mentioned Thomas will be celebrating his 12th birthday while we are there so he has chosen to have breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, good choice son Other meals will involve snacking or quick service meals as we much prefer eating off site now. These are some of our favourite restaurants we will be visiting






CiCi's Pizza



After our 16 nights at the villa we are then checking into our favourite hotel in Florida, the Hard Rock Hotel!



We absolutely love everything about this hotel, from the smell in the lobby to the cocktails round the pool.


I will definitely be consuming a few more Blue Suede Shoe's while I'm there

We will be staying at the Hard Rock for 5 nights before flying home on the 15th August. We have no set itinerary during our stay unlike our Disney part of the holiday. We will simply spend a proportion of our time round the pool and in the parks depending on how we feel that day. That’s the beauty of staying onsite i suppose, having the Express pass and not having to worry about queues, especially with the addition of Harry Potter rides now being included in the Express Pass Dare say we will also visit our favourite restaurants in city walk at some point





And we are all very excited about the addition of Voodoo Donuts this year


We've already chosen our donuts

So that’s about it i guess. If any of you lovely dibbers will be there at the same time as us, let me know. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting a fellow dibber in the flesh so would be awesome to say Hi

I really hope to complete my trip report on return as from reading everyone else's it seems a lovely way to remember and relive your own holiday. Plus, i know how much us dibbers love a trip report

So for now i will leave you with a few of my favourite photo's from our holiday last year...





















x x
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Old 18 May 18, 03:17 PM  
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smithlane
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Fantastic plans Hayley! Sounds like you'll have an amazing time.
I caved the other week and called Avis to upgrade our Ford Edge to a Tahoe 🙈. I'm really hoping we get lucky again and they upgrade us to a Suburban 😬
Really looking forward to reading all about it 😃
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Old 18 May 18, 03:36 PM  
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DadToThree
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Love the detail already!

Definitely will be one I follow!
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Old 18 May 18, 04:08 PM  
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Hi. That all looks great. We are staying at Hard Rock Hotel for the first time next May for 3 nights. My wife loves Hard Rock Cafe which we always head for when visiting Universal. So re the Hard Rock Hotel. Any advice? We have chosen a garden view room and need to choose somewhere for breakfast. Looking forward to being close to City Walk too. Our daughter is 8 so not sure how she will find City Walk. She's loves music though.

Hope you have a great trip.
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Old 18 May 18, 04:42 PM  
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Jaspercat10
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Looking forward to reading along 😁
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Old 19 May 18, 07:16 AM  
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mouselover22
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Originally Posted by smithlane View Post
Fantastic plans Hayley! Sounds like you'll have an amazing time.
I caved the other week and called Avis to upgrade our Ford Edge to a Tahoe 🙈. I'm really hoping we get lucky again and they upgrade us to a Suburban 😬
Really looking forward to reading all about it 😃
Hi Alicia :waves:

Thanks for reading along Ha Ha! Nothing beats a Suburban ay? I am going to try my luck at the airport for a cheeky upgrade

TTFN

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Old 19 May 18, 07:22 AM  
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mouselover22
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Originally Posted by DadToThree View Post
Love the detail already!

Definitely will be one I follow!
Thank you I have just purchased a note book to take with me so that i can make notes each day for my trip report
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Old 19 May 18, 08:34 AM  
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mouselover22
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Originally Posted by gazzastag View Post
Hi. That all looks great. We are staying at Hard Rock Hotel for the first time next May for 3 nights. My wife loves Hard Rock Cafe which we always head for when visiting Universal. So re the Hard Rock Hotel. Any advice? We have chosen a garden view room and need to choose somewhere for breakfast. Looking forward to being close to City Walk too. Our daughter is 8 so not sure how she will find City Walk. She's loves music though.

Hope you have a great trip.
Hi, thank for reading along You will love the Hard Rock Hotel! My boys were 5 & 6 the first time we stayed there, they loved the pool, it's zero entry and not too deep anyway so very child friendly in that respect. There's so much to do at City Walk now, loads of shops as well as bars and restaurants. Im sure your daughter will love Toothsome Chocolate Emporium definitely worth a visit.

As for breakfast the Hard Rock Hotel has a restaurant called The Kitchen but my advice is not to go there. It is extremely expensive for breakfast and is a very sub standard buffet. We would not eat there again. We just grab a quick on the go breakfast from Emack and Bolio's which is inside the hotel. It sells hot drinks, fresh pastries, fruit pots, cereal etc. It's not extortionate either, or you have the option of stopping at Starbucks or Cinnabon in City Walk

If you think of anything else, let me know
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Old 19 May 18, 12:42 PM  
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Originally Posted by Jaspercat10 View Post
Looking forward to reading along 😁
Thank you for reading and commenting
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Old 19 May 18, 10:00 PM  
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Niki T
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Glad you've decided to write a trippie , your trip sounds fab, will definitely be keeping an eye out for you x
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