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Old 17 Sep 16, 11:59 PM  
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Phil_habcdisney
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Join Date: May 07
Airmiles trip to Vegas and L.A. - Cancelled

Due to a cancelled Flight I've started this again. Please see my new thread:-

https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...5#post12231435


Well, after many years of reading other people's trip reports I've decided to have a go myself. Although the trippy may take the form of a vlog

Introductions

Phil - Obsessive planner, loves a bargin.
Sarah - Sorts the kids out and does the packing.
Jack(15) - See Kevin the teenager - pretends he's too old for disney.
Katie(13) - Wants to vlog the trip



Our last 4 out of 5 trips, spread out over 8 years, have been to Orlando. We love it but if I'm honest it is getting a little stale. Because of the kids and my wife we are tied to school holidays which for us means August. Two things put me off about August, the rain and the cost. We manage the rain and sometimes it can afford a nice break but it can be a right pain in the rear.

2017s Trip is in the pipeline because for the last year I've been collecting virgin airmiles like crazy. See my thread on this (link below)

http://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=984084

The flights

We have summer leave restrictions at work and it can be a bit tricky getting leave approved plus we can only apply for it 12 months in advance. This gave me a little dilema as the flights are only released 11 months in advance and being reward flights you can't guarantee availability. I also like to go towards the end of August when the crowds are a little lighter.

Looking at reward flights on virgin it looked like Tuedays, generally speaking, had the most availability. Now I work shifts and flying Tuesday 15th August 2017 was a good fit so this became my target date. This also gave the possibility of three flights from Manchester, Orlando, San Francisco and Las Vegas with a decent range of flights from London too.

The Radisson Blu

radissonblu/en/hotel...rairport/rooms

So on 5th June 2016 the first booking of the holiday was made. I booked a suite at the Radisson Blu - Manchester Airport. We love this place. I do love a bargin and this place is expensive but I think it's value for money and gives an extra special start to the holiday. I really missed it last year when we flew from Heathrow.

I know I didn't have my leave approved or a flight but the booking was fully refundable so I wasn't risking anything. When I booked I wanted a family room. This is essentially two rooms with interconnecting doors. The website was showing they had them available for 170 the trouble was everytime I listed 4 of us on the booking it insisted on us having two lots of family rooms at 170 (which would be four rooms). I then gave up and telephoned Radison's call centre who insisted that I needed two rooms at 340 for the 4 of us. I tried explaining but they didn't have a clue. So I gave up and called the hotel direct. The first time I got cut off. The second time I got through. Whlist I was waiting I was looking around the website and noticed the suite and the fact that they would put extra beds in the lounge for two people. It was 239 but this included breakfast and access to the business lounge where at set times they have free drinks and finger food not to mention a fantastic view of the airport. At first the agent told me I couldn't book it as the suites didn't take 4 people, I was hitting my head on the desk at this point :angry:, I pointed out that their web site said it did and then she pointed out the 40 supplement.

I took the plunge and booked it but the whole process left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I've experianced problems with websites trying to book rooms for the 4 of us and combined with the other issues I wanted to let someone at the hotel know. I emailed them and asked for an email address of someone I could complain to.

This is where it starts to get better. The next day I got a phone call from the deputy manager asking me how he could help. I told him of all my problems he appologised and said he would look into the website issues. He tried it whilst on the phone and saw what I meant. He said for future reference I didn't need to include everyone on the booking and they would be quite happy if it was just my name on the booking I would have still got the two rooms.

He went on to offer me free parking for the length of our holiday. We are probably going on the train so he knocked the supplement off the bill. He also told me that Cheryl COLE stayed in the room we were booked into. I told him I hope they had washed the sheets.

The Flights (part 2)

On the 1st August 2016 my leave request was submitted and approved.

So far so good. I was keeping a close eye on the availability of reward flights. There was loads of availability in PE and Upper on the manchester flights to San Francisco and Las Vegas. We were going to do San Fran doing a tour to Yosemite, through death valley to vegas, then to LA before going back to San Fran. But I can only get 17 days off and we thought this would be too much driving so we finaly settled on Vegas with a trip to LA to do the parks. For our 10th Wedding aniversary in 2009 my wife and I did a similar trip and we wanted the kids to experiance disney land.

Virgin release their reward seats 335 days in advance and on 15th Sep 2016 I called Virgin and booked 4 upperclass seats from Manchester to Las Vegas. Originaly this my wife and I were going return upper leaving the kids in PE until I could save more miles to upgrade them but somehow the kids won me over

The upper class cabin on the A330 from Manchester looks like this:-



The seat:-



Apparently this cabin has got a lot of bad press from people that have paid full price for their seats as they complain it's over crowded and as a result Virgin are removing one of the two middle rows of seats. Apparently A1 to A5 are reserved for crew rest seats. You can see the unavailable seats in our seat selections below. If they do remove the middle row of seats those in row A will face a wall giving a more private feel.



**** 28/09/16 **** - Return seats booked

I got up about 7AM and checked the virgin app to find 4 seats in PE and loads of seats in UC. I had enough miles for 1 UC and 3 economy tickets upgraded to PE with vouchers earned from VA black credit card. A quick call to virgin and the seats were booked.

If you are using PE upgrade vouchers there only needs to be reward space in PE.

If you book outbound and return tickets seprately make sure Virgin combine the bookings,rather than booking two singles, otherwise you could end up paying too much tax and fees. The return fees were about 120 per PE and 166 for UC.

If you are wondering yes I got the UC seat I will have enough miles to upgrade my wife when the next Tesco club card points come in and enough to upgrade the kids by the end of the year availability allowing.

*** First Hotel Booked 8/10/16 ***

The first thing to mention is for hotels, with the exception of the Raddison, I'm aiming for a budget of 100 a night and I trying for two rooms or a 1 bed room suite. A little challenging but I like seeking out good value.

For the first two nights in vegas I've gone for a one bedroom suite at Hilton Grand Vactations on the strip. It's at the top end of the strip without a casino but with the kids that suits us fine. Booked it at 210 for the two nights via american express travel.

www3.hilton/en/hotels/nev...SGV/index.html

Rough Plan - 8/10/16

Our plan has changed a little. We are going to begin with two nights in vegas with the first day put aside to explore the strip. From here we are going to go across to the hoover dam and then out to the skyrim.

We were originally going back to Vegas for another 2 days but we have decided that the drive to LA will be a bit of a road trip. From the skyrim we are going to drive to Laughlin ( visitlaughlin ) this is a few hours south of the skyrim on the Colarado River on the nevada/arizona border. It's going to be hot here in August (100F+) but I like hot. The upside of this is that it is considered low season so hotel prices are very attractive.

Not sure if we are going to stay here for one or two days before heading to palm springs then onto LA.


Edited at 10:55 PM.
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Old 18 Sep 16, 07:32 AM  
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happytraveller
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Well done on the end result re the raddison and fingers crossed for your return flights.We did Vegas and LA in 2013,Vegas and San Diego this year and next year ,we are doing Vegas and LA again. I didn't see the bit were you said for Anaheim read LA ,lol. I was thinking you'd get bored there for that amount of time. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of your plans
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Old 18 Sep 16, 10:24 AM  
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Phil_habcdisney
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Stuck in the Tower of Terror
 
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Originally Posted by happytraveller View Post
I didn't see the bit were you said for Anaheim read LA ,lol. I was thinking you'd get bored there for that amount of time. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of your plans
Thank you. I sometimes think I like the planning more than the holiday

I've got various plans for California/LA. We want about 4 days for disney, 1 day for universal, maybe a couple of days at a beach, a quick tour round Hollywood. I'm considering six flags and a water park. Also in the back of my mind is the possibility of a three day cruise.
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Old 19 Sep 16, 06:22 PM  
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happytraveller
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Originally Posted by Phil_habcdisney View Post
Thank you. I sometimes think I like the planning more than the holiday

I've got various plans for California/LA. We want about 4 days for disney, 1 day for universal, maybe a couple of days at a beach, a quick tour round Hollywood. I'm considering six flags and a water park. Also in the back of my mind is the possibility of a three day cruise.
WOW
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Old 19 Sep 16, 08:17 PM  
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florida girl
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Originally Posted by happytraveller View Post
Well done on the end result re the raddison and fingers crossed for your return flights.We did Vegas and LA in 2013,Vegas and San Diego this year and next year ,we are doing Vegas and LA again. I didn't see the bit were you said for Anaheim read LA ,lol. I was thinking you'd get bored there for that amount of time. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of your plans
I was just thinking the same . Good you managed to get 4 seats in Upper.

I really enjoy the planning too especially when you are visiting lots of different places.
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Old 29 Sep 16, 09:35 PM  
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Phil_habcdisney
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Stuck in the Tower of Terror
 
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**** Updated - return seats booked ****
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Old 30 Sep 16, 12:07 PM  
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Originally Posted by Phil_habcdisney View Post
**** Updated - return seats booked ****
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NY-Oct 10. WC -Oct 11, Oct 15,Oct 16.Vegas Mar 09, Mar 10,Oct 11,Oct 15,Oct 18.
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Old 8 Oct 16, 06:28 PM  
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Phil_habcdisney
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Stuck in the Tower of Terror
 
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**** Updated - Hilton Grand Vacations and change of plan ****
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