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Old 12 Sep 18, 02:46 PM  
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The Once in a lifetime holiday ... Again ! Pretrip Report

Ok I'm going to have a go at this!
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed so many trip reports in the past and more importantly, having picked up so many invaluable tips from them for our last holiday, I figure it's time to give a little back and share my report with you lovely Dibbers!

The reason for the trip title? I'm sure it's an all too familiar story; we went to Florida in 2016, it was to be what we foolishly thought was a " once in a lifetime trip". So we threw everything at it; upgraded flights, car, villa, did Disney, Universal, Seaworld, Discovery Cove, Kennedy Space Center and shopped! Boy did we shop! Like 2 extra suitcases and £160 excess baggage shop!

Since returning home the 4 of us have talked constantly about when we can go again! And so here we are planning another once in a lifetime trip!

The picture above is us in 2016, it's my favourite photo; we are windswept & exhausted but so happy!

We are the McCarthys; there's me; Claire, 47, trip planner, organiser of everything, holder of the purse strings and decision maker - basically I'm the boss!

That's a hideous photo of me - most are, in fact! I don't do the selfie thing and usually hide when the camera is out!

I went to Florida with my parents when I was 14 and loved it!

I hate flying! I know it's the safest form of transport and all that but I get scared! I'm such a control freak and have to drive everywhere and I can't fly a plane! A few drinks usually sorts me out!

I'm struggling with an Achilles injury at the moment & am starting to panic I won't be able to cope with all the walking - I've told the kids they might need to hire me a mobility scooter!

Hubby Paul, (Mr M) 49, likes to pretend that he's the boss but just does as he's told really, bless him, I just make him think it's his idea

2016 was his first trip to Florida- it took ages to persuade him, he thought 2 weeks of roller coasters (as that's all he thought the parks were about!) would be boring! He LOVED it!

Mr M did all the driving last time - despite my being a control freak , the car was mahoosive! I also didn't like the big roads!

We have twin girls;

Madison (Mads), 13 going on 18, complete diva and drama queen. Hugely into makeup (she has something like 600 followers on Instagram for makeup - really?!) so desperate to get to Sephora but is rubbish at saving money and has about 20 pence to her name...

Last trip she uploaded vlogs to her You Tube channel.

She is forever laughing at me because I'm so rubbish with technology, so I have to remind her that I taught her to use a spoon & wipe her backside!

Last trip Mads went on everything and was just tall enough to do so when she was wearing her Nike Air

Tiegan (Tigs), also 13 (obviously!) - complete opposite of her sister! They also look nothing alike - the most unalike twins ever I think!

Tigs is a very shy bookworm - she read 18 books in the school holidays and I had to drag her out of the house for some fresh air!

She's also just had all of this long hair (18 inches of it!) cut off to send to the Princess Trust

She's a bit of a worrier and will panic over the daftest things. Last time she didn't want to go on anything that went upside down - this time she says she'll do it all!

She's very good at saving money but says there is nothing she wants to buy on holiday! - certainly not two peas in a pod, my girls.

Tigs isn't too good with flying, the girls were born 7 weeks premature and so were incubated for 3 weeks - this has led them to have a few ear and throat problems sometimes. Tigs ears get quite painful flying so I'm going to try ear planes this next time.

The girls and I are Harry Potter mad! Mr M not quite as much, I think he saw half of the first movie and fell asleep

This little lady, sadly, wont be coming with us, Bella is having a little holiday of her own at the kennels and I am going to try not to feel really mean as its her first time ever - she's just a year old

As I said, last time we had no real budget to stick to and went a little crazy! This time, I've reigned it in and cut back!

We managed to get a good deal with Thomas Cook for the 2 weeks school holiday in October, flying from Gatwick to MCO on 21st October. We arrive back on 5th November, so the girls will miss the first day back at school - Tigs is already panicking about that one

We are spending the pre-travel night at the Marriott Courtyard, which is a favourite of ours, although we don't fly until 12ish, it starts the holiday a day early!

Staying at Westgate Palace on IDrive for the 2 weeks, its a 2 bed, 2 bath apartment. This is my only concern, we were spoiled last time with the huge villa & our own pool, I just hope we aren't a little disappointed not to have the same.

The package deal included the car with Alamo, we upgraded to a slightly bigger one, I just need to work out if I can skip the counter not having booked with them directly

We made the shocking decision not to do Disney this time - on our previous trip we crammed so much in and even spent the day shopping on rest days - I'd kept the last 2 days empty for the girls to choose their favourite park each - they wanted to do nothing, they were so tired!

I've planned more chill time and when given the choice of Universal or Disney, Universal won. I've booked us 2 nights at RPR, the FOLP's last time were brilliant, something I'd never have thought of doing without having read the tip on The Dibb so thank you!

We do want to do Kennedy Space Center again as somehow I did something with the satnav and it took almost 3 hours to get there last time , we didn't get there until lunchtime and missed so much of it... Mr M was very disappointed

I cant believe how little my girls look in this photo!

So my draft itinerary currently looks like this:

Pre-Travel Day - Marriott Courtyard
Day 1 - Gatwick to MCO, check-in Westage, Millers for tea
Day 2 - Seaworld
Day 3 - Kennedy Space Center (Mr M to set the satnav)
Day 4 - Rest day
Day 5 - Check in RPR, Universal & IOA
Day 6 - Universal & IOA
Day 7 - Universal & IOA
Day 8 - Rest Day
Day 9 - Waterpark
Day 10 - Rest Day & maybe Blue Man Group
Day 11 - Gatorland Zoo
Day 12 - Waterpark
Day 13 - Seaworld (if we missed some of the shows on day 1)
Day 14 - Shopping, packing, maybe mini golf
Day 15 - Home

Part of the reason I gave in & agreed to book this trip is because we are having a lot of building work done at home (so much cheaper than moving, but my goodness how stressful?! ) Upstairs has just finished & we are now waiting for the downstairs extension to start.

The builder had originally thoguht the school holidays would be when he would rip the old kitchen out & fit the new one... he is now running 2 weeks behind & so it looks like we will come home to no kitchen - that'll be me going to Mums for washing & dinners then !

Never mind - I am beside myself with excitement with less that 6 weeks to go till we are off. One of my favourite memories is from our last evening in Florida in 2016; Mr M and the girls had been taking the mickey (no pun intended!) out of my planning & my laminated itinerary before and during the holiday, that last evening over dinner at Millers (which was our favourite place for tea), Paul said "well, I think Mummy has made this the best holiday ever because of her planning & I think we should all give her a round of applause", I then got lots of kisses and told that I'm the best Mum ever... I just burst into tears! I was so happy, we don't get to spend much time together as a family, Mr M does shift work and I run my own business, so holidays are extra special for us. I was also incredibly sad that it was almost over.

So there we have it, this holiday should be more chilled, we will eat just as much (I lost 3 stone last year beforehand as I was scared I wouldn't fit on the rides - I've put one back on & think I might have left it a little late but I'm trying to shift it!) and most certainly shop as much.

I'm going to try to update whilst we are there, but had problems today trying to use the app so I'm hoping I can upload photos from my phone into this thread.

Thank you so much for reading my ramblings, I will leave you with some of my favourite pics of our last trip..."see" you in October!

Claire xx

(Tigs face on TOT cracks me up every time I see this pic!)

Edited at 02:58 PM.
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Old 12 Sep 18, 08:14 PM  
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Sounds like a great holiday looking forward to reading along

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Old 12 Sep 18, 08:22 PM  
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Bet you can’t wait! I’ve just booked our second once in a lifetime trip for next year, we went last year and similar to you did the huge no expense spared trip! This time it’s being reigned in and we’ve chosen Disney over Universal. Have a great time, I look forward to reading alongxx
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Old 12 Sep 18, 09:19 PM  
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Looking forward to this.We fly out on October 25th for 12 nights and also not doing Disney.x
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Old 14 Sep 18, 12:49 PM  
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Surfing at Typhoon Lagoon
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Originally Posted by Floridaagogo View Post
Looking forward to this.We fly out on October 25th for 12 nights and also not doing Disney.x
Have a super time! x
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Old 2 Oct 18, 06:05 PM  
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Look forward to your report. We are also on our second 'Once in a lifetime holiday' next August '19 also at the Westgate Palace (Me, DH,DS 19 & DD 11) so i'll be really interested to hear your views on the hotel, bar, prices in hotel etc as I can't seem to find a great deal of info on it! Have a great time, Westgate does look fab
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Old 25 Oct 18, 01:14 AM  
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Just read your 'live' night before travel day post - look forward to reading along and hope Madison could give some technical advice as to the Vlogging and social media approach to life - for Dibbers ( like me ) who don't have a clue about it!
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Going out in a Blaze of Glory- Our Summer of Sorcery 2019 - click here to read a trip report in progress

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