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Old 23 Feb 17, 02:57 PM  
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Antigua08
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The "Finally doing it our way!" Sept 2017 pre trip report - 2 Updates 30th March

Hello

I have been in two minds whether to do a pre trip report again, but as I've been so unorganised this time and still have so much to do l figure this should help me get back on track. Hopefully!

The who:

I'm Liz, 38, main planner, photographer and driver of the trip. Most looking forward to pretty much everything! Then there's dh Dave, 35, most looking forward to all the food! He's a big Universal fan so looking forward to those parks more than Disney. This is the first trip that he's actually really had an interest in what we do, and although it's mainly food related suggestions it's still really nice that's he's taking more of an interest this time. This will be the fourth trip for the both of us.

Then on to these two monsters!

Lily will be 8 by the time we go, and this will be her third trip the lucky girl! She has already given me lists of who she wants to meet and randomly which snacks she wants to eat! She is most looking forward to Typhoon Lagoon as she was picked to be the Big Kahuna last time and start the wave pool. That was definitely the highlight of the trip for her last time and she still goes on about it now!

And finally little Jack. He will be 5 when we go, and this will be his 2nd trip. He is most looking forward to meeting Captain America and going on Kali River Rapids. He was just 3 on our last trip so we're really looking forward to him being able to do a bit more this time. Although currently he is refusing to meet any Princesses, and says he's too old for Mickey Mouse! Although he did say last time that he didn't want to meet any girls, but he soon changed his mind! Jack loved the princesses!

The where and when

We have booked 21st Sept - 5th Oct 2017 and most excitingly will be staying on the site for the first time ever! Eeekkk! We are staying at our dream resort of Animal Kingdom Lodge! When we started looking into Disney resorts and pricing them up, there wasn't that much of a difference between some of the moderate resorts and AKL so decided just to go for it! We booked last April so we have ddp, $200 gift card, park tickets and memory maker for 4266.

And perhaps even more excitingly, this will be our first trip just the four of us! In fact this will be the first time we've managed a holiday anywhere (including our honeymoon) by ourselves! We've previously always travelled with family or friends, which has been great, but has meant that we've had occasional little issues arise that have sometimes put a little dampener on the holiday. To be able to go where we want, at what ever time we want, and eat where we want is just so exciting to us, we really can't wait!

The why?

Not that you ever need a reason to go to Disney World, but we do have one for this trip. After our last trip in 2015 we decided to go back again in 2018. This would be our 10 year wedding anniversary and also a getting really old birthday day for me! So what better way to spend it than at Disney. We also knew we really wanted to go just us four. We really wanted to try an onsite stay just once, and knew that if we want with other people that just wouldn't happen.

Then in March last year very sadly and completely out of the blue my Mum passed away. She was 73, hadn't been poorly so came as a complete shock. She died of a heart attack, or broken heart as I think. Just 5 years before we lost Mum, we lost our Dad and Mum just never understandably got over it. They had been together since they were 16, and I think the vicar summed it up when she said Mum had lived long enough without Dad. As hard as it is l know Mum is much happier with Dad again now.

But this has definitely changed my outlook on life, and with a life is too short attitude booked straight away for Disney. It was actually Daves suggestion as he knew how important it was that we have something to look forward to, but also gave me something else to think about.

So this is a very special trip for us as it is a last gift from my parents to my children. Lily was just 18mths when we lost Dad, and Jack wasn't even born. And Jack was just 3 when Mum passed so I know they're not going to have many memories of my parents, but hopefully will always remember this special gift from them. So we are determined to make this the best trip yet!

Still to do: (pretty much everything!)

Flights: With so much going on we haven't even booked our flights yet! We know we want to fly Virgin from Gatwick, and hoping to get the earlier 11am flight. We've previously always booked a flydrive but will be looking at flight only this time.

Car hire: We've been in two minds about whether we actually need a car this time, but have decided we would prefer to have one. We want to be able to come and go as we please so having a car will make this a little easier. Dave has never driven over there before, it's always been left to me which I don't mind, but he says he might give it a try this time.

Universal tickets: We have decided on just Disney and Universal this time which is a first for us as we would normally visit Discovery Cove and Aquatica too. Kids are very excited for Volcano Bay. We always use Attraction Tickets Direct so these just need to be booked.

Esta: Our last ones run out before we go so these just need reapplying.

Passports: Just the one passport needs renewing this time which is Lily's

Insurance: Needs to be booked asap

Overnight Gatwick Stay: We did this for this first time on our last trip and loved it, would never drive up on the morning of the flight again.

What's next?

The plan is to pretty much start booking everything next month. At just 210 days to go it's not long before adr day and having never been on the dining plan before we have lots of new restaurants for us to decide on. We have a rough idea, just need to finalise our plan. We have an itinerary for our days, but as park hours aren't out yet this will more than likely change. Another thing we've never had use of before is extra magic hours so we want to make sure we make the most of these.

We also plan to do mnsshp for the first time, which we are really looking forward to. Another new thing for us this year.

And hopefully will try to fit in a sports game of some type. Jack is absolutely football mad so we hope to try and fit in an Orlando City game.

There's probably lots of other things too but I think they're the main ones. So thank you if you've managed to read this far down, hopefully it wasn't too depressing but felt l should explain why this trip is so important to us.

Thanks for reading.
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The "Its Finally Our Turn!" Sept 2015 Trip Report
It's finally our turn! Sept 2015 Pre Trip Report
The "Finally doing it our way!" Sept 2017 Pre trip report
2006 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2011 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2015 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2017 - AKL

Edited at 08:56 PM.
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Old 23 Feb 17, 03:15 PM  
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2littleboys
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Hi Liz

Excellent start! I am so sorry to hear about your mum, life can be so difficult sometimes!

We will be in Disney the same time as you... we fly to Orlando on 17th September, we are staying in Universal first but we check into SSR on the 22nd for 2 weeks. I will look out for you
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Old 23 Feb 17, 08:40 PM  
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Antigua08
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Originally Posted by 2littleboys View Post
Hi Liz

Excellent start! I am so sorry to hear about your mum, life can be so difficult sometimes!

We will be in Disney the same time as you... we fly to Orlando on 17th September, we are staying in Universal first but we check into SSR on the 22nd for 2 weeks. I will look out for you
Thank you

I'll have to keep an eye out for you too! I'd love to add a Universal stay on to our trip, maybe next time
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The "Its Finally Our Turn!" Sept 2015 Trip Report
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The "Finally doing it our way!" Sept 2017 Pre trip report
2006 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2011 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2015 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2017 - AKL
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Old 23 Feb 17, 08:59 PM  
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Loopylooloo
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The part about your mum brought a tear to my eye, bless you. Your children look lovely, and sounds like you have a fantastic holiday planned! Staying at AKl will be amazing I am sure!

Looking forward to reading along
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Old 24 Feb 17, 12:50 PM  
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Antigua08
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Originally Posted by Loopylooloo View Post
The part about your mum brought a tear to my eye, bless you. Your children look lovely, and sounds like you have a fantastic holiday planned! Staying at AKl will be amazing I am sure!

Looking forward to reading along
Aw thank you, and thanks for reading

We've always thought AKL looks amazing and if we ever got the chance that would be the Disney hotel we'd pick, so to now be staying there is just so exciting!

Love your countdown by the way, you're so close!
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The "Its Finally Our Turn!" Sept 2015 Trip Report
It's finally our turn! Sept 2015 Pre Trip Report
The "Finally doing it our way!" Sept 2017 Pre trip report
2006 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2011 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2015 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2017 - AKL
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Old 26 Feb 17, 10:29 AM  
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Great pre trip report, animal kingdom is my dream resort too!
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Old 27 Feb 17, 12:16 PM  
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Antigua08
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Originally Posted by candycat75 View Post
Great pre trip report, animal kingdom is my dream resort too!
Thanks for reading
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The "Its Finally Our Turn!" Sept 2015 Trip Report
It's finally our turn! Sept 2015 Pre Trip Report
The "Finally doing it our way!" Sept 2017 Pre trip report
2006 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2011 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2015 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2017 - AKL
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Old 27 Feb 17, 12:43 PM  
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Hello again

Our itinerary

So even though it is just us four for the first time, I've found doing our plan harder this time around. Although I don't have to worry about anyone else, I'm finding fitting everything in that we want to do without shattering the kids really hard!

This is probably our 5th version so far, and will probably change again once extra magic hours dates and mnsshp dates come out. Having never stayed onsite before it's made me feel like I haven't got a clue what I'm doing! But because it is just us, we can be as flexible as we like and if we want or need to change things we can without worrying about anyone else, yippee!

21/9/17 ARRIVAL DAY (yay!) We plan to pop to DISNEY SPRINGS that night if the kids are up to it - we've never done anything on our first night before so this will be a first for us.

22/9/17 TYPHOON LAGOON This is our first day tradition, and there's no way the kids would let us not do it! Easy day though so plan is to pop to WALMART afterwards and then explore our hotel in the evening.

The kids are very excited to have a bucket full of ice cream again!

23/9/17 ANIMAL KINGDOM This is becoming one of our favourite parks so really looking forward to the extended hours here.

24/9/17 HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS We may leave part way through the day and then come back in the evening as we're not sure if it's a full day park anymore. But, I have never seen Fantasmic so am determined to see it this time. Jack does love Star Wars so hoping to get them both booked into Jedi Training.

25/9/17 MAGIC KINGDOM This may change as I've heard you should avoid MK on Mondays but not sure when is a good day to do it? I think it'll be busy whenever we go so not sure if it'll make much difference?

26/9/17 BLIZZARD BEACH We tend to use waterpark days as rest days, so after a busy few days this will give us a bit of a break. We hope to fit in Disney mini golf too, another new thing for us.

27/9/17 EPCOT There are so many things here that we've somehow never done before like Figment and Living the Land, that we hopefully will correct that today. Lily is determined to complete a Kidcot Duffy bear as we didn't get very far last time. And of course Food and Wine will be on, which Dave and I are very excited about! Another first for us!

28/9/17 UNIVERSAL Daves favourite park so he is very much looking forward to this, especially for Harry Potter. Kids are big Simpsons fans so they love it here too. Lily and l are cannot wait to try Toothsome for a milkshake!

29/9/17 ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE Daves second favourite park! Really looking forward to riding Hulk as it was closed last time and is my favourite non Disney ride. We think this will be Jacks favourite park and he's big enough for Spider-Man this year!

30/9/17 SHOPPING DAY Florida Mall, Outlets and finishing up at Disney Springs is the plan for today. Kids hate shopping so we try to get it over and done with in one day. They have chosen dinner at T:Rex though so they get to do something fun too.

1/10/17 VOLCANO BAY Lily and Jack are really excited to try a new waterpark, Dave is not so keen though so this probably won't be a full day unless we love it! So we think this will give us a spare evening. Also a relaxing day ready for tomorrow.

2/10/17 MICKEYS NOT SO SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY! So excited for this! Now the dates aren't out yet so this is a guess on previous years, but not a problem to move it if we have to. We plan to have a lazy hotel pool day in the hope the kids last as long as they can.

3/10/17 HOTEL/DISNEY SPRINGS A lazy day again planned to let the kids get over a late night. And we really want to make the most of our hotel. Also love Disney Springs so looking forward to spending more time there than we usually manage.

4/10/17 (last full day) EPCOT
We're guessing that we will have some spare snack credits to use up, so we think Food and Wine will be a good place to do that! We also hope to walk over to the Boardwalk area as we've never been before, and try and fit in a visit to Beaches and Cream.

5/10/17 DEPARTURE DAY - UNIVERSAL PARKS
This is how we spent our last day back in 2015, and it was actually really lovely. Having already done all the rides we just had a really relaxing day hunting for Curious George and wondering about. It's also fairly near the airport so figure it'll give us more time before we have to make our way home


If anyone can see any major flaws in our plans please let me know, happy for any suggestions.

Thanks for reading
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The "Its Finally Our Turn!" Sept 2015 Trip Report
It's finally our turn! Sept 2015 Pre Trip Report
The "Finally doing it our way!" Sept 2017 Pre trip report
2006 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2011 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2015 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2017 - AKL
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Old 6 Mar 17, 10:48 AM  
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199 days to go!

So obviously there is only one thing on my mind...ADRS!

Have I mentioned that we're ridiculously excited to be on the dining plan for the first time? We do love our food, and for us eating out is a big part of the holiday so we're really looking forward to trying some new places and returning to some old favourites. This is another area where we'll be making the most of it being just us, as on previous trips we've never been able to make that many reservations as our extended family don't like the idea of too much planning.

DISNEY DINING

SANAA - This was my choice and probably the meal I'm most looking forward to. A new restaurant for us, cannot wait to try the bread service!

TUSKER HOUSE - Another new one for us, but have heard lots of good things about it. We really like buffets as think they're really good for the kids, and thankfully both Lily and Jack are pretty good eaters. This will be for breakfast, we've had one breakfast adr before and enjoyed it so much we'll be fitting in a few more this trip.

RAINFOREST CAFE (Animal Kingdom) - Kids choice, one of two restaurants that they've asked to go back to so we have to fit them in. This is the only restaurant we've been to every trip, and have to say last time it was one of our favourite meals.

T:REX - The kids other choice so again, has to be done. Very similar to Rainforest Cafe so that's obviously what my kids like! Dave and I weren't as keen on it last time and could easily give this one a miss as feel Rainforest is much better.

SCI-FI DINE-IN - Another new one, think Dave is most looking forward to this one but think the kids will really enjoy the theming. Jack is car mad so think he'll love eating in a car.

BOMA - New again, and we plan to eat here for both breakfast and dinner.

OHANA - We've eaten here twice before for dinner, first time was fantastic but unfortunately second time not so good. But the character breakfast looks great so we're going to give that a try. Lily loves her fruit and is very excited by the pics she's seen of the fruit plate!

THE CRYSTAL PALACE - Another breakfast, originally wanted to do this to get into the park early but I'm not sure that will happen now that the welcome show has changed? This will be the first time we've tried breakfast here, have had dinner here before and really enjoyed it.

AKERSHUS - This was the only breakfast we did on our last trip and we all loved it , so looking forward to doing it again. This is where Jack fell in love with the Princesses!

CORAL REEF - Where to eat dinner at Epcot has probably been the hardest decision for us. Wanted to try somewhere new, and Dave and I really like seafood so this seemed like a good choice.

TRAILS END - Have seen this restaurant on some vlogs we've watched, and it looks really nice. Dave is looking forward to all the meet! Also thought it would give us a chance to see another area of Disney we've never been to before.

WHISPERING CANYON CAFE - This just looks like lots of fun, so looking forward to trying here. Already planning to get the kids to ask for Ketchup!

BEACHES AND CREAM - We are determined to try and defeat The Kitchen Sink! Sure this will be no problem with my two little ice cream monsters!

I think that leaves us just one more ADR to book to use up our TS credits, which we think will be for somewhere at Disney Springs. Originally planned to go to Planet Hollywood but have heard some not so great reviews so far. Dave likes the sound of Homecomin' but with so many nice new restaurants we're still undecided which place to book.

OFF-SITE

IHOP - I have always wanted to try an IHOP breakfast, so another thing I'm really looking forward to.

BAHAMA BREEZE - We discovered this place on our last trip and Dave and I both absolutely loved it. I only had a chicken burger, but it was by far the best chicken burger I've ever had! We sat outside on a beautiful evening and it was just lovely.

RED LOBSTER - Another find from our last trip, l did say Dave and I like our sea food. I don't tend to drink much alcohol on our trips as l'm normally the one driving, but l had a cocktail here last time that was so so good. I'll be hoping to persuade Dave to drive this night so I can have one again!

CITYWALK

COWFISH - Have always wanted to try here but been unsure if the kids would like it. But having looked at the menu there seems plenty of choice that they'd like. Looking forward to trying some sushi!

BUBBA GUMPS - This is another place that we've to before, and loved it the first time but not so impressed the second. But it was that good the first time we're going to give it another go. Love that the kids meals come out on a little boat!

Thanks for reading
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The "Its Finally Our Turn!" Sept 2015 Trip Report
It's finally our turn! Sept 2015 Pre Trip Report
The "Finally doing it our way!" Sept 2017 Pre trip report
2006 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2011 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2015 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2017 - AKL
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Old 30 Mar 17, 08:18 PM  
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Flight update

We have flights! So after leaving it far longer than I ever have, with just 175 days to go I've finally booked our flights! We've had so much going on lately that booking flights, which is obviously incredibly important, for some reason took a back seat but we are now finally in full on planning/booking mood.



So we are flying with Virgin again, and have even managed to get the bubble! Leaving it this late I didn't think we'd have the option of the bubble so really happy to see just one row left. We've never paid to book our seats before, we usually just keep an eye on the seats and if there's plenty left just book 72hrs before for free with the Virgin flying club. But we had decided if the bubble was available we would pay, just so we can experience it atleast once. The kids were so excited when we told them, although I'm not sure how they even know what the bubble is?

I had a slight technical hitch booking the flights though, which actually ended up saving me over 200! I found the flights we wanted and tried for a couple of days to book them, but just kept getting an error. Turns out the Virgin website just doesn't like my iPad so when I looked again on our pc it let me book with no problems.

We are flying with Virgin from Gatwick 13:00 Thurs 21st Sept - departing Orlando 19:50 Thurs 5th Oct for 2044.80. This was 2226.80 just the day before so pleased with this little saving. Although that saving then went on booking our seats for a further 280.

I was clearly in a booking mood because straight after I went onto book our hire car!

Car hire

We are using Alamo Brits for the first time having heard good things about them, and have booked ourselves an Intermediate Suv for 354.84



It states it's a Nissan Rogue or similar which looks identical to a Nissan Xtrail, and having just bought a Nissan Qashqai just a week ago that we absolutely love, are happy with our choice even if it's not the Mustang which we originally had hoped to hire! Common sense kicked in, and as fun as it would've been it's just not practical for us. We've even already made sure our cases fit in our boot which they do, although only just!

I had budgeted around 2500 for our flights and car hire as that's what we usually spend on a flydrive, so I'm happy with what we've paid.

And my final splurge of the week was to book our overnight airport stay and parking.

Airport stay and parking

We are staying at Premier Inn Airport Way again, with their Sleep, Park, Fly package. This was not a great deal unfortunately, at 175 which has gone up from 148 from when I last looked. I could of held on and hoped the price would drop but to be honest I just wanted to get everything booked at this point. We found it very comfortable last time, and the 15 days parking in the Gatwick Summer Stay car park very convenient.

So I finally feel we're really getting there now, with just a few other things left to do which I plan to do over Easter.

Thanks for reading.
__________________
The "Its Finally Our Turn!" Sept 2015 Trip Report
It's finally our turn! Sept 2015 Pre Trip Report
The "Finally doing it our way!" Sept 2017 Pre trip report
2006 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2011 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2015 - Windsor Palms Villa, 2017 - AKL
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