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Old 21 May 18, 10:08 PM  
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Join Date: Jan 13
The "No Disney Trip in 2018" Disney Trip!

Well hello! And welcome to another Sear Disney Pre-Trip report.

As you can see from the title, this is the trip that wasn’t meant to be; how many of us have said that we were taking a year off, only to go ahead and book something a few months later?

So what are we up to this time around? Well after our most recent outing to Animal Kingdom Lodge (final day now up for those that haven’t read it) bringing our year as Annual Pass holders to a close - sad times; we’re back on property with Dining Plan - good times However, that’s (literally) only half of the story. Let’s start at the beginning….

First off, brief introductions - because it’s obligatory.

I’m Stewart. My role is trip report writer, photographer (nothing fancy, just an iPhone), driver, bag carrier, coffee maker/fetcher...

Next up is Jo. Trip planner, ADR booker, navigator, general organiser...

Last but not least is Isabella. Pin trader, tsum tsum collector, Star Wars fan, thrill seeker, artist, reader…

That’s us.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that we’ve been here before! This will actually the 17th time I’ve been to Orlando; all of them with Jo, not all of them exclusively Disney World. Jo went four times before we met, so this is her 21st trip overall! Even Isabella, who’s only 6, has managed eight visits - this will make it nine! I think it’s fair to say we enjoy visiting Disney World

Now back to the details.

As I said, half the trip (5 days) is on property - specifically Port Orleans French Quarter, with Dining Plan included. We chose this resort because it’s somewhere we’ve been talking about staying at for a while. In fact, Jo’s wanted to stay here ever since she stayed at Dixie Landings (now Port Orleans Riverside) 20 years ago.

The booking came about when Jo just happened to be looking at flights around September time last year. She’d heard that BA had a sale on, and found fly drive with a direct flight to Tampa from Gatwick over May half term. After some discussion about whether we should do it - we have a Norwegian Fjords Disney Cruise booked in August and weren’t planning on Florida again until at least next Spring - we decided to go for it!

Next Jo went looking for accommodation. She found 5 nights at Port Orleans French Quarter and we upgraded the Dining Plan to regular DDP.

With five more nights to find accomodation for, she went back to the BA site, and found Bahama Bay - somewhere we’ve seen other Dibbers staying and it looked perfect for what we wanted, if we booked both through BA at the same time we could pay one deposit for flights and (half the) accommodation; we’ll worry about the rest later!

Now that she had found the flights and two lots of accommodation, we had one more brief discussion (do we, or don’t we?!) and then she went for it!

Despite some reservations about this holiday, we realised that there’s no way we could wait till 2019 for our next Disney trip - we’ve both been so busy in our jobs, that we really need a break, and to spend some quality time together as a family, and as you all know, what better place is there than Disney World?

So there was no going back, and as has now become our tradition, we wanted some overnight accommodation pre-travel day. Jo booked the Bloc Hotel in Gatwick Airport, meaning we could do twilight check in, wake up the next morning and actually be in the airport. The rooms may be small, but they’re perfect for what we need.

Ok, so there’s the details, now when does all this happen? It happens soon. Very soon... As in three-days-soon! Yep, that’s right we fly on Friday 25th May at 9:40am. Which means that the holiday begins on Thursday; as soon as Isabella finishes school we’ll be heading round the M25 to Gatwick (hopefully avoiding rush hour!), parking up in the Gatwick Long Stay car park, before checking into the Bloc, and probably grabbing some dinner from Giraffe.

If you’re wondering what we’ll be doing when we get there, read on… if not, probably best to go and read something else.

After landing at Tampa International Airport at about 2:10pm local time, we’ll be picking up our Avis hire car and making the one and a quarter hour (ish) drive down the I-4 to Port Orleans French Quarter.

As we’re on Disney Dining Plan for the first five days, we’ve obviously made some ADRs. We’ve opted for places that we haven’t wanted to pay for out of pocket on our previous trips - our last time on the Dining Plan was October 2016 - including some character meals.

Here’s what we’ve booked - some of these will be in the second half of the holiday, so will be paid for out of pocket:
  • Be Our Guest Breakfast (Quick Service Credit)
  • Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare - Character Meal (Table Service Credit)
  • Teppan Edo Dinner (Table Service Credit)
  • Princess Storybook Dining Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall - Character Meal (Table Service Credit)
  • 'Ohana Dinner (Table Service Credit)
  • Chef Mickey's Fun Time Buffet Brunch at Chef Mickey's - Character Meal (Table Service Credit)
  • Tokyo Dining Dinner (Out of Pocket)
  • The Wave Breakfast (Out of Pocket)
  • Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' Lunch (Out of Pocket)
  • Sat’uli Canteen (Out of Pocket)

The rest of quick service credits will be spent at Sassagoula Floatworks on resort, and maybe one or two at Disney Springs; probably Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza or D-Luxe Burger.

As for the snack credits, we’ll be using those in and around the parks; the International Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot is on until Monday so no doubt we’ll use a few on the food booths.

For the second half of the holiday, while we’re staying at Bahama Bay, as well as the out of pocket ADRs we’ll also be visiting some off site favourites and some we’ve not visited before:
  • IHOP breakfast
  • Chick-fil-A lunch
  • Red Robin dinner
  • Longhorn Steakhouse dinner
  • First Watch breakfast
  • Red Lobster dinner

Almost finished now.

Just a quick summary of a few other things we’re aiming to do while out there:

Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Typhoon Lagoon Water Park: mini golf and water parks weren’t included in our Annual Passes, so we’re hoping to do them this time around.

Meeting Jo’s stepbrother, his partner, and their three kids: they’re in Orlando at the same time us and want to meet up. They’re going to come and meet us in a park though - we have a plan and we ain’t changing it!

Shopping: Probably Mall at Millenia (it’s our favourite) and maybe one of the Premium Outlet malls.

Making proper notes: the last trip report was disastrous from a trip report note taking point of view - I plan on rectifying that this time around

Pin trading: Isabella’s got a few pins to trade, so she’ll be on the lookout.

So there we go, that’s the plan. Oh and a last minute update, we got assigned seats on the plane yesterday afternoon, so that’s one less thing to worry about.

It goes without saying that we’re really excited for this trip, and hoping that the awful wet weather they have out in Orlando at the moment clears up before we arrive!

Thanks for reading!

Stewboy's Trip Reports

Edited at 01:53 PM.
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