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Old 4 Jan 20, 10:44 AM  
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Leyfy
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Return of the Pint Pointer - July/August 2020 UPDATE 07/03

So as I've already booked a few things for our trip next year (and I didn't get round to writing a trip report for our last Florida/cruise adventure. "I sat on round a pool/on a beach/cruise ship and read a book" doesn't make for the most interesting of trip reports! ) I thought I'd start a pre-trip for our next trip to Orlando.

If you've not caught any of our previous adventures you can find them here.

We are Kim and Phil.



Phil likes to do this:







I like to take photos:







We've been to Florida eight times since 2013 and love lots of different places there, including Key West and Naples. Last year to keep costs down we didn't go to Orlando and I have to admit I missed the planning and the theme parks, even though we had a lovely relaxing time (we did nine nights - one in Miami, four on a cruise and four in Key West). So this holiday was is going to be an all-out theme park extravaganza! It's also a big holiday as someone (not me!) has a BIG BIRTHDAY but we're not allowed to talk about that because apparently it's not happening!

We love the Boardwalk area and when free dining was released back in April booked five nights at The Beach Club with free dining and the $300 gift card. Those dates were booked as the 15th to the 20th of August, with the intention of it being the last bit of our trip before we flew home.

With the Disney bit booked, we worked backwards to sort dates for the flights. I've been saving Avios points like mad and had enough for flights to and from the US for both of us (along with my BA companion voucher). Using Head for Points they suggested booking the outbound flight and adding the inbound when they were free. The day the flights were released I dutifully booked two outbound seats on the afternoon BA flight on the 30th of July into Orlando (with the intention to return on the 20th of August after our Disney stay). Anyway, I'm in the middle of this two year course with work which involves two summer residentials. I headed off to the first residential (which was the last week of August this year) and on our final day they announced the course dates for 2020 - yep, it was when we were still away! 17th to the 19th of August, so right over our Disney dates!



So I got on the phone to Disney and managed to change our dates to check out on the 15th of August. Next up I phoned BA and after lots of backwards and forwards of checking various days and airports (as there were no seats left on the Orlando flights by this point) we ended up with flying out from Miami on the 26th of July and leaving from Miami on the 15th of August! Phew!

I’ve been keeping an eye on prices for our 9 nights on International Drive and my plan was to book with Barclays rewards with Expedia, as I get 5% cashback. I also had it in my mind that we’d like to stay at the Embassy Suites - we love the location at Pointe Orlando as it’s walking distance to lots of our favourite restaurants (Helpful when only one of us can drive - eg: me! ) and I thought that the free breakfast would mean we could keep our spending down as we tend to only eat breakfast and dinner. However, the prices were eye watering and I couldn’t even find Embassy Suites on Expedia for the dates we were looking at! I’d also been looking at a few other hotels in the area and had half thought about booking the Avanti Suites, but after reading a few reviews online I wasn’t too sure and the price wasn’t great. I was reading a few posts on The Dibb and decided to check out netflights (who I have used before). I saw an absolutely BARGAIN for the Rosen Inn, including breakfast. Less than £600 for nine nights! I was really happy with that price, so after a quick text consultation with Phil, that was booked!

Our original plan for the first couple of nights was to pick up a car at Miami airport, stay overnight at The Pelican Grande in Fort Lauderdale and then drive up to stay at a Disney value resort (probably All Stars Music) for two nights so we could head to Hollywood Studios for all the Star Wars stuff. Anyway, we had a couple of discussions about it and Phil quite rightly said that he would’ve literally have just finished work on the Friday and if he was going to have three weeks of trekking round theme parks then he would like a couple of days relaxation first! So we decided to stay in Fort Lauderdale for a few nights instead (we both preferred it over Miami). The Pelican Grande is a lovely hotel but quite expensive and all we want is a pool, access to the beach and near to Bokampers (a bar we found last time with great beer and food). So after extensive Expedia searching, we booked a couple of nights at Royal Beach Palace hotel. Three nights there cost slightly more than one night at The Pelican Grande, so it’s saved us a bit. We’ve also decided not to bother hiring a car until we have to drive to Orlando, so that also saved a bit too. Plus both of us HATE driving round Miami (especially the airport) so that saves trying to navigate after a nine hour flight! We will get a taxi and then pick up a car at Fort Lauderdale airport to drive up to Orlando.

I’ve booked a couple of little ‘extras’ so far. First of all I’ve booked the No. 1 Lounge at Heathrow with my dragonpass, which is only £10 for the two of us. We used the No. 1 Lounge last summer and it was lovely compared to Gatwick, really quiet and there seemed to be a better choice of food and more room to sit down.





I’ve also booked Discovery Cove ultimate tickets in the Black Friday sale, so our SeaWorld and Busch Gardens tickets are sorted. We’ve never made it to Aquatica, so we might do on this trip, but Volcano Bay is a must. We still need Universal tickets but I’ve not seen any prices I’ve been happy with. I know they’ve opened a new water park, but I can’t believe how much the tickets have gone up in price since our first visit together in 2013!

I still have two more things to book on the accommodation front too. I realised that I’d booked the Rosen for one day less than I’d intended. The intention was Rosen Inn, Royal Pacific at Universal for two nights then five nights at The Beach Club. We love the Royal Pacific but it’s soooooo expensive! We had a discussion about staying two nights at the new Aventura resort and one night at Royal Pacific. In the end we decided that we’d stay at Royal Pacific for two nights, then one of the Disney preferred partner resorts near Disney Springs for a night, before going on to the Beach Club the next day. Although we wont yet have our Disney tickets we’ll happily spend an afternoon at Disney Springs and possibly head over to watch the fireworks from the Grand Floridian in the evening.

So, still to do:

Royal Pacific resort
Universal tickets
One night at Disney springs
Airport hotel and parking
Book our ADRS
Make a fastpass selection list

203 days to go!

Thanks for reading

Update 02nd Feb
Update 15th Feb
Update 03rd March
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Edited at 09:55 AM.
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Old 5 Jan 20, 11:01 AM  
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emmabanana
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Sound like a great trip, can’t wait to read along!
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Old 5 Jan 20, 11:09 AM  
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Elsa42
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Great pre trip report! Look forward to reading along!
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Old 5 Jan 20, 12:04 PM  
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Look forward to following along
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Old 6 Jan 20, 07:35 PM  
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Leyfy
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Originally Posted by emmabanana View Post
Sound like a great trip, can’t wait to read along!
Thanks for reading

Originally Posted by Elsa42 View Post
Great pre trip report! Look forward to reading along!
Thank you for reading

Originally Posted by 3disneykids View Post
Look forward to following along
Thanks for reading
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Old 6 Jan 20, 08:45 PM  
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That was really lucky that BA were able to swap your flights. Sounds like a lot of stress with the phone calls. We saved up for years to fly business class using the 2-4-1 voucher. I assumed the tickets were not transferable, I'm glad it worked out for you. We're saving up for our next voucher now!

Your plans for this summer sound fab. We stayed at the Rosen Inn international in 2017. We didn't hire a car and walked to lots of restaurants...Chili's, Longhorns, Dennys, IHOP, Kobe Steakhouse, Perkins. There are loads within walking distance. Plus we used uber to get to universal and the seaworld parks, it was about $10 to $12 a trip. So, if you fancy a drink on citywalk one evening that's not too pricey either.

I hope you have fun and I'm looking forward to seeing how your plans come along. We fly out on 26th July, but it's indirect via Frankfurt so not as glam as the business class flight! ADR day is just around the corner and I'm trying to narrow down my list.
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Old 11 Jan 20, 04:34 PM  
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Leyfy
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Originally Posted by jojo_3596 View Post
Following along as I love your trippies! We are 2 nights RPR 14 nights Yacht club round same time as you so will give u both a wave if I see you 😀
Yes, please give us a wave. You'll probably spot Phil before me as he is quite tall and distinctive!

Thanks for reading

Originally Posted by pretty71 View Post
I always love reading your reports Kim, look forward to it 😊
Thank you so much, and thank you for reading!

Originally Posted by Goldia View Post
That was really lucky that BA were able to swap your flights. Sounds like a lot of stress with the phone calls. We saved up for years to fly business class using the 2-4-1 voucher. I assumed the tickets were not transferable, I'm glad it worked out for you. We're saving up for our next voucher now!

Your plans for this summer sound fab. We stayed at the Rosen Inn international in 2017. We didn't hire a car and walked to lots of restaurants...Chili's, Longhorns, Dennys, IHOP, Kobe Steakhouse, Perkins. There are loads within walking distance. Plus we used uber to get to universal and the seaworld parks, it was about $10 to $12 a trip. So, if you fancy a drink on citywalk one evening that's not too pricey either.

I hope you have fun and I'm looking forward to seeing how your plans come along. We fly out on 26th July, but it's indirect via Frankfurt so not as glam as the business class flight! ADR day is just around the corner and I'm trying to narrow down my list.
I was out last night with a friend who is taking her husband and two girls to WDW world for the first time and we were ADR planning for her!

We are flying economy unfortunately, but it was still loads cheaper than booking without avios. I was really happy when I realised that the flights were transferrable - massive relief!

Thanks for reading
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Old 24 Jan 20, 06:02 AM  
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Great read. We go this summer too and coincidentally are also in the middle of a two year course that has residentials in both Summer holidays... On the same dates! Ambition by any chance or just a coincidence?!
We missed the last day of our residential last summer so didn't know the Summer 2020 dates - only found them out last weekend and luckily they don't clash!
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Old 24 Jan 20, 01:53 PM  
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Leyfy
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Originally Posted by Heihei View Post
Great read. We go this summer too and coincidentally are also in the middle of a two year course that has residentials in both Summer holidays... On the same dates! Ambition by any chance or just a coincidence?!
We missed the last day of our residential last summer so didn't know the Summer 2020 dates - only found them out last weekend and luckily they don't clash!
Yep Ambition! Which area are you? I’m south, off to the London development day tomorrow.

I’ll be the one at the residential looking jet lagged and with the sunburn from three weeks in Orlando! 😂😂😂😂
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Old 24 Jan 20, 08:09 PM  
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Originally Posted by Leyfy View Post
Yep Ambition! Which area are you? I’m south, off to the London development day tomorrow.

I’ll be the one at the residential looking jet lagged and with the sunburn from three weeks in Orlando! 😂😂😂😂
We're Midlands - so we had our development day last weekend! Are you secondary or primary?

I think we are in Orlando at a similar time to you but for only two weeks so let's hope we are less sunburnt and more sunkissed by the time the residential comes around! Small world!
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