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Old 22 Aug 18, 01:32 PM  
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tonymc
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Itís Disney... but not as we know it! Pre-Trip Report (1)

Pre-Trip Report (2)

November 2019. Seems heck of a long time away, but DW and DD have decreed that we WILL visit WDW to see the Christmas decorations/lights.

Given that 2019 will be the first year that Alex has not been in full-time education, coupled with it being her 21st in the March, how could I refuse (without risk of serious injury!).

The idea was first floated around last Christmas, and after several months of debating and waiting to see if SSR would be available, the grim news that SSR would only be available for booking with free dining until September came through.

Having enjoyed SSR on a couple of occasions now, with itís proximity to Disney Springs, and in a one or two bed apartment, there could be no way we would return back to a hotel room. Added into the mix that Alexís BF would be coming with us really meant at least a one bedroom unit, and with the only alternative (within budget) being the Wilderness Lodge cabins (but QSDP only) that Joanne didnít particularly like, we looked at all possible options for staying on-site to get free dining.

Unfortunately, this meant two hotel rooms, with the cheapest option for our planned 11 nights being Coronado Springs at around £1,900 per room (still only QSDP). For two rooms, this would probably be as (or more) expensive than SSR, and we would probably still end up paying OOP for a couple of TS meals.

Sooooooo... after a period of deliberation, reflection etc etc, we finally decided to compromise on the Doubletree Suites in the Disney Springs area. We booked a one bed suite so that both couples can have a degree of privacy, and we also have kitchen facilities for breakfasts and the odd lunch or evening meal.

However, these hotels now give you some of the same benefits as staying on-site, with 60 day Fastpass booking along with access to EMH, and the free bus service to the four main parks so hopefully able to save on parking at Disney.

We also reckoned that the price difference between two rooms at CSR or a one-bed at SSR of around £2,500 would be more than enough to cover our meals, especially as we will probably have a few meals off-site (Olive Garden already pencilled in! ) and will be checking those restaurant offers nearer the time.

We did book through WDW together with our tickets, and I had it confirmed in writing that should SSR become available for booking during the course of this offer (unlikely as it may be) we could still upgrade - happy days!

We are also hoping to use VA Miles to get us over (and back) in PE, but given the announcement of a new company to manage Virgin miles, I suspect that the mileage for our flights may increase! Best get them booked asap to snag those seats - after all, as per the title of our last Florida Trip Report, economy and a studio just will not do!
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...

Edited at 10:08 PM.
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Old 22 Aug 18, 06:17 PM  
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pinkstargirl
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Iím also waiting to book VA hopefully with miles, Iím going a few days ahead of you so fingers crossed we both manage to get them booked!
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Old 22 Aug 18, 09:25 PM  
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tonymc
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Iíve just had a check for availability for the equivalent dates this November, and I can still find 4 PE seats, so fingers crossed for next November!

My only worry is the new Virgin Miles set-up, which will no doubt change the rules/number of miles needed for flights to Orlando!
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...

Edited at 09:35 PM.
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Old 22 Aug 18, 09:59 PM  
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Originally Posted by tonymc View Post
My only worry is the new Virgin Miles set-up, which will no doubt change the rules/number of miles needed for flights to Orlando!
Ooh I hope not! I donít have enough for PE return but I might pay the extra and treat myself to PE as long as they keep it the same!
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Old 15 Dec 18, 11:52 AM  
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Happy days - yesterday managed to get 4 PE seats on the earlier VA MAN-MCO flight. Super helpful agent at the VA Flying club sorted out transferring miles between our three accounts (no charge as they were being used to make a booking there and then) as you have to pay the full amount of miles from each account. Also sorted out our seats and all without any fees for doing this over the phone (BA take note! ).

The agent also let me know that when booking the return legs, ask for them to be added as an amendment to the original booking, as although it will incur a £30pp change fee, it should be more than offset by the lower taxes as it would be considered a return flight.

Calendar reminders now set up for checking our return dates... fingers crossed for PE, although we do also have the option of using Avios to return from Miami via Heathrow (saves the trek across from Gatwick), or via Madrid with Iberia.
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...

Edited at 11:54 AM.
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Old 29 Dec 18, 11:53 AM  
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Gutted - due to lack of availability on our planned return date, weíre having to spend an extra day in Florida! Managed to book 4 return seats in PE this morning, and again, super-helpful VA agent arranged all the transfers of miles between the accounts.

Didnít bother getting the original booking changed, as the difference was minimal, but happy to have flights sorted out - was beginning to think that DD and DW would be flying in economy!

Now just the matter of tagging an extra day onto our accommodation.
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 17 Feb 19, 09:11 PM  
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And with all the best laid plans, another change.

Having thought about it, DD and partner in a sofa bed for 2 weeks isnít going to be that good, so we took the plunge and have reduced our stay at the Doubletree to 6 nights, and booked a dibb villa for the remaining 9 nights. With 4 bedrooms, if we all fall out, we can have a bedroom each!

We are planning to be visiting Universal during the villa stay plus a couple of water park days, so even though we wonít have the 60 day FP+ booking option, Iím sure we will get plenty done.
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 18 May 19, 04:07 PM  
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Iím surprised that our plans hadnít changed earlier... but having realised that the Doubletree Suites charge for parking and possibly a resort fee, this would be adding around $240 onto our first 6 night accommodation.

Having been noseying on the Disney, I realised that we could get two rooms at ASMusic for very little more, which includes parking and Wi-fi, plus the buses to the parks are more frequent which given we have two 21 year olds with us, means that we wouldnít have to be waiting for them if they wanted a lie-in!

The free parking also means that we can maximise our time by planning in a couple of evenings when previously we were going to go off-site in the evenings after a day at a water park.

The only things at the back of my mind now is should we book DDP which is working out at around £54/night...
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 2 Dec 19, 02:42 PM  
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We also stayed at SSR in Nov 2017 with the Dining Plan. Fabulous place and location is the best!. Like you staying off-site next year
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Old 2 Dec 19, 07:18 PM  
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We were really disappointed that we couldnít get SSR, as we had stayed there three times (with free dining! ). However, we still thought that the theming and landscaping at All Stars Music was pretty good.
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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