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Old 11 Mar 18, 03:22 PM  
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Disney with the Dufflers - Take 2 - July 2019 - Pre Trip Report

Hello again everyone

Welcome to my fifth trip report here on the Dibb. I often wonder what I did before this site came into my life...

For those already familiar with me and mine, welcome back

For those that haven't read one of my trip reports before, feel free to have a gander at our previous trips.

Zip a dee do dah - The Bagley/Mollet family trip - May 2011

This was our first trip as a family of five. We stayed at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and we upgraded to the full Disney Dining Plan. It was awesome.

Tracey & Neil's Epic California Adventure - June 2012

This was my first holiday with my OH, Neil (now husband). We travelled up the Pacific Coast to San Francisco, over to Yosemite National Park, through Death Valley into Vegas, back to Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and back to LA.

Disney with the Dufflers - July 2014

This was our last trip as a big group with the Dufflers...take one, if you like. The Dufflers are my Uncle Mark, Auntie Debsy and cousins Sam and Megan We all get on like a house on fire. We travelled as a group of 11 and stayed at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, upgrading to the full Disney Dining Plan.

Disneymoon with the Besties - May/June 2017

This was mine and Neil's honeymoon trip. We got married on Bonfire Night in 2016, and for all sorts of reasons, decided to wait until the following year before going on honeymoon. We spent four nights in New York, three nights at Loews Universal Sapphire Falls Resort, (where we were joined by our best friends for a week) before moving to Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort. We upgraded to the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan.

The Cast for 2019...

I'm sure many of you can identify with the feeling that the plan for your next trip pretty much happens as soon as you get back from the last one... This time, we are a group of 9, not 11... as my sister and her husband aren't coming with us this time. Sad times

So, I introduce to you, the cast...

Me - Tracey - chief Disney planner, itinerary organiser, bargain hunter and general all round Tinkerbell. This was me soaking up the rays at Sapphire Falls last year. God, I loved that hotel.

Neil - Husband, pretends to be a Disney cynic but absolutely loves our holidays to Florida. He likes rollercoasters (but not motion simulators, as we found out last year ) and beer This was him in his element last year, drinking his way around the world in Epcot with his best friend, Ben.

Mum, Karen (nickname, Mutti/Stu) - Loves all things Disney World, quality time with our wonderful family, and having a cheeky few glasses of wine with me This was her on our last trip in 2014, and is my absolute favourite picture of my Mum.

Step-Dad, Martin (nickname, Marty) - Loves our trips to Disney, loves the big coasters, especially Rock N Rollercoaster! Loves a few beers with Neil, and gorgeous meals out on the Dining Plan.

Brother, Oliver (nickname, OB) - Can't wait for our next holiday, like Father, like son, loves the big coasters, amazing food and also likes a few beers now he's 18... not sure how well he's going to cope with the age restrictions while we're over there

And the Dufflers...

Mark, Debsy, Sam and Megan This was them at the end of their last trip in 2016.

The last time we visited Florida as a big group, in 2014, us 9 spent the first week of the holiday together, as my sister, Katie and her husband Jonathan joined us later after spending a few days in New York and Washington DC.

The Plan for 2019...

Our dates: 2nd July till the 16th July. These are the exact same dates we went in 2014. We're creatures of habit and tradition.

Even though the weather was a pain in the backside last time we went in July, there's not much can be done about it, as Megan has exams in May/June next year and most of the party refuse to go in September because of the increased risk of hurricanes. I am well aware that July is also hurricane season... but try telling this to my Mum and Auntie Debsy when pitching dates. So it's a no-go unfortunately.

In 2014, we spent two weeks in Disney, travelling up to Universal for day trips. Taking inspiration from mine and Neil's honeymoon last year, this time, we are spending three nights on site at Universal, staying at Sapphire Falls Resort.

Neil and I fell in love with this place on our honeymoon last year.

We just loved it. The ambiance was fabulous, the pool was brilliant, the water taxi was amazing. It's just got a really wonderful vibe about it as a hotel, not to mention that the bed there facilitated the best night's sleep I've ever had in my life.

After three nights in Universal, we are also, controversially, pending availability, opting for 11 nights at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

It's controversial because as a group, we have only ever stayed at CBR. CBR is home, it's where we stay.

However, there are a few things that have factored into our decision to switch resorts for our upcoming trip.

Firstly, the building works. Yes, I know that CSR is mid construction of the tower, which will not be finished by the time we go, but this is on one site in the resort, as opposed to the continued construction of Riviera on what was Martinique AND the gondola station at CBR.

Secondly, and most importantly, the rooms. CBR has had a soft refurb since we last went but the refurbished rooms at CSR have won us over. They are beaut.

More modern, more sophisticated, more worth the money. I especially love the additions of showers in some of the bedrooms.

And lastly, we kind of fancied a change. This makes me laugh, because one of the issues I had last time with POR was that it didn't feel like home, and the Dufflers had a similar issue when they stayed at SSR, which truly made me think that we'd return to CBR.

But when it came down to it, we all decided that home at Disney, is when we're all together, having a laugh, and enjoying our favourite place on Earth so we may as well try something new.

We had our first Disney planning night last night, and made this crucial decision, following my informative presentation on the current pros and cons of CBR vs CSR.

This was us at mine and Neil's house last night, after a few...and after all our decisions had been made

We will be splitting by family - so the Dufflers in one room, Mum, Martin & OB in another room and me and Neil in the last room.

We are going to be getting the DDP (it better be released now ), and Neil and I are upgrading to the DxDDP and sharing some of our credits (I've been told we can do this now )

We're all crazy excited to get started on the planning process again, and I can't wait to share our plans with you, once we get booked and start the proper countdown.

Over and out.

Tracey xx

Edited at 09:23 AM.
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Old 11 Mar 18, 07:17 PM  
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Loved your previous trippies so I canít wait to read this years. Also your thoughts on CSR if you stay there😀
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Old 13 Mar 18, 11:36 PM  
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I love your TRís! Really looking forward to this one Sounds like you have a great holiday planned! X
July 2016 - Holiday Inn LBV
April 2018 - Clarion Inn, All Star Movies and HRH
February 2019 - Holiday Inn LBV and Pop Century
May 2020 - CSR and HRH
September 2019 & July 2020 - DLP
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Old 14 Mar 18, 11:07 AM  
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Yaaaaay for 2019 trips! CSR looks amazing!
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Old 22 Mar 18, 09:18 PM  
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Restaurant Reviews: 43
I really enjoyed your disneymoon trip report. I hope the DDP is released too! This looks like it's going to be a special trip.

New Trip Report

At Last I See The Light - DLP August 2020

All my old trip reports are here in one place
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Old 24 Mar 18, 11:44 AM  
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Really enjoyed your previous trippies and looking forward to reading along with this one

Those new rooms at CSR look beautiful!
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Old 23 Apr 18, 01:05 PM  
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We are booked!

The build up to booking...

What a turbulent month it's been in terms of Disney planning. What with all the furor of 'is there going to be free DDP this year?' to the false release date of the 5th April, to the numerous (ridiculous) quotes received up until the day before we booked.

I got a quote from VH on the 5th for us all, and even after discovering the 7% flying club discount, this was coming out about £400pp more than I wanted to spend on our holiday...

I was wondering about the Dufflers as they have airmiles to spend from their last VA flight and considered as to whether it would be perhaps cheaper for them to book with VH... their airmiles equated to around about £380 worth of VH vouchers. It was definitely something to take into consideration.

Once the actual date for dining release was confirmed as the 19th April, me, Mum and Debsy arranged to meet at Mum's on the Saturday 21st to book.

DDP release and beyond...

I was at work, but was about as much use as a chocolate fireguard this day. I was looking for both a full package (flights, Universal & Disney) and an 11 night hotel/ticket/dining package ATD, as we all know, were the first to release and were coming up pricey.

Me and Neil: Standard with DxDDP £3828
M, M & OB: Standard with DDP £3962
Dufflers: Standard with DDP £4558

Decided to wait for Disney... I was a little disappointed with Disney's prices if I'm honest. Particularly given the unexpected jump in prices by £143 per room when DDP was released. After finally navigating the site (which was down for most of the day - will they ever sort this out?) I retrieved my prices which were acceptable with cashback and the £25 bonus, but I still had a niggle.

Me and Neil: £3740.18
M, M & OB: £3690.20
Dufflers: £4252.76

The package prices that trickled in on Friday were way over and above what I wanted to pay.

Virgin Holidays:-

Me and Neil: £6360.60
M, M and OB: £7480.89
Dufflers: £9220.61

My Magic Holidays:-

Me and Neil: £6880!
M, M and OB: £7991
Dufflers: £9740

Charter Travel:-

Me and Neil: £5748.25
M, M and OB: £6451.80

But these were without Universal tickets. I didn't get a price for the Dufflers with Charter, as they wouldn't have been able to use their airmiles.

Then, I received an email from Simon @ Orlando Attractions with these amazing prices for the Disney part of our holiday.

Me and Neil:£3686
M, M and OB: £3637
Dufflers: £4188

Where do I sign? Simon was fantastic, and very accommodating with some minor changes I made. For example, mine and Neil's original quote didn't include DxDDP which we definitely wanted, and we also wanted to downgrade to a standard room. We may upgrade to a King next year, we'll see how £ goes.

Booking day...

After what felt like forever, and obsessively checking the Disney website to make sure that standard rooms at CSR weren't running low, the day of booking, Saturday 21st April dawned nice and sunny for us.

I headed round to Mum's who was already super excited and ready to book.

Mum had fully expected to be ringing around travel agents that morning but I assured her I had already done the legwork.

Debsy arrived at 11am but shared she was going to wait to book, as the Dufflers are currently in the process of selling their house and she says she wants to pay off the whole lot so it's done.

I rang up Orlando Attractions and got through to Tom, who asked for our names and dates of birth to be sent through and then. we waited. This was me and Debsy waiting, my phone was glued to my hand.

Tom eventually rang back after an hour ( longest hour of my life ) sharing that they'd had IT issues - what a nightmare. I felt terrible for being so impatient. He also shared they'd had in excess of 250 quotes. Anyway, everything went through for us, he took the deposits and we booked!

In true style, we had some fizz to celebrate the occasion:-

And I finally breathed a sigh of relief after a turbulent but exciting week. A job well done.

Now we just have to book our flights and Universal hotel come the autumn, but I'm going to have to be extra vigilant and check like every day for the flight+hotel deal I want with Expedia. But for now, I can relax and look lovingly and excitedly at my brand new shiny countdown. Here we go again!
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Old 14 May 18, 02:58 PM  
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Availability issues...

Nothing is ever straight forward, is it?


Last week, after a meal out with our best friends (see trip report from last year), the idea of them coming with us again next year was floated. This is conditional on a number of things, the most important of which is Olly being able to get time off work. The jury is still out on this, but regardless, I asked Orlando Attractions to give me a price for them joining us for 10 nights. This would be from the 2nd July until the 13th July.

They came back with a price for a King Room with DxDDP. I enquired as to what a standard room would be, thinking that perhaps there had just been an error with the quote.

Tom came back saying there were currently no standard rooms available for our dates. What?! I began to panic about the Dufflers' unbooked room. I clarified with Tom. He'd fiddled with the dates, put in different numbers of parties. Nothing. I looked on Disney direct. Nothing. ATD. Nothing.

Pending Tom's enquiry with Disney as to what on Earth was going on, I came up with a vague solution whereby mine and DH's standard room could be transferred into the names of the Dufflers and with the dining plan downgraded and we would simply rebook a King. I was thinking of upgrading our room anyway on hindsight...

I put this by Tom who put it to Disney, who didn't seem to understand what I wanted. Really not that complicated. Disney wanted me and Neil to move two people in with us and have all four upgrade to DxDDP and then have another room of two. No.

Currently, we're at me having put together an email which Tom is going to forward to Guest Services articulating exactly what I want. Disney actually gets a better deal out of it as me and Neil will be upgrading. It's just so crazy that this has happened.

I personally think there's a convention on, causing some of the standard rooms to be block booked out. We wanted to book CSR last time we all went in 2014 and we had a similar problem, and our dates are the same as well. While it's likely that more rooms will be released, the Dufflers will want to book soon to get the $200 gift card.

Wish us luck!
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Old 22 May 18, 10:54 PM  
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Good luck, hope you get what you want, fingers crossed 🤞
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Old 21 Oct 18, 03:50 PM  
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October 2018 update...

Wow it's been a while since I've updated!

A few things to report on so bear with me...

Availability issues sorted...

Just as soon as it was an issue, it was no longer an issue. I had our contingency plan worked out, whereby Neil and I allocated our standard room to the Dufflers and upgraded to a King but it wasn't needed. The day after I emailed Tom at OA with a request to swap our rooms around, we both discovered that it was no longer needed - standard rooms for our dates became available again. I've no idea why they suddenly disappeared, but I'm grateful that they appeared again and that the Dufflers booked their room at CSR with DDP.

Flights booked for 5 of the 9...

Last time we went to Orlando, we flew with TC. They were great and much cheaper than VA, don't get me wrong, but this time, we all had a bit of an itch to go back with Virgin. I think a combination of a terrible IFE experience on mine and Neil's outgoing honeymoon flight, and following great VA reports from Olly and Ben's flight... and also a bit of an inkling to return to Frankie and Benny's for breakfast in Manchester T2.

My original plan was to book a Flight + Hotel deal through Expedia. The prices last year for this year were really reasonable around this time, coming out at around £650-700pp for a VA flight and a room at Sapphire Falls for three nights.

However, after monitoring prices on these deals for some months prior to 21st August, I discovered that with the new VA economy pricing structure, these prices were only going to be anywhere near possible for VA 'lite', which we didn't want, and seemed to be teetering on £800-£850pp for Sapphire Falls.

Our VA flights were released on the 21st August. They were upwards of £900 each at first but swiftly came down to £535, and then to £512, which we booked at . Buzzing.

The boys have upgraded their seats to extra legroom and me and Mum have booked the seats behind them. The Dufflers are yet to book their flights but their house sale goes through this week so they're booking very very soon However, currently, VA flight prices are £1000+ each so praying they come down because that's ridiculous...


So, after this, we simply have the Universal hotel to book. This is a bit of a load off for me, I have to admit. I like having only one thing to focus on at once! Neil and I cannot wait to return to Sapphire Falls.

The best prices I've seen so far have been Travelbag and My America Holiday.

Travelbag is coming up as £1930 for all of us for 3 nights in SF, and My America Holiday is coming up as £1841, with cashback, £1780.

However, I have been thinking over another potential option for us. This is partly fuelled by concern over the time of year we're going. We are staying at Universal on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of July. Uh oh. Having never visited on these specific days before, I don't know what to expect, but I am expecting it to be busy.

That's not to mention the oh so vague 'Summer 2019' opening date for the new HP ride at Hogsmeade.

But this other potential option is also fuelled by a desire to get a certain hotel out of my system...

I've always wanted to stay here. Always. It's just a dream hotel for me...

So I've been mulling over an option for 1 night of the 3 to be spent at RPR. This would be the last night at Universal, so the night of the 4th July, giving us 2 full days of Express (4th/5th) which would allow us to do the parks very quickly.

With My America Holiday, for all of us, for 2 nights at SF and one night at RPR, this is coming up as £2279 (£2203 with cashback), £2342 with BA which does have an attractive deposit option and £2299 with Travelbag.

But that said, we could just add another day to our Universal pass so we had 3 days, perhaps do three early mornings on the 2nd/3rd/4th and stay at SF.

We're having another Disney night in December where I'm going to put these ideas to a vote. I have also said to Mum that I would be willing to pay the difference for that one night upgrade to RPR as myself and Neil can afford to do this.

RPR is literally five minute's walk from SF, so moving won't be a big stress, but it is still a move, nonetheless... I'm genuinely torn on this, so we will see what the masses say.

It's all very exciting having these options

Coronado Springs...

Despite the amazing new look of our beloved Banana Cabana bar at CBR



...we still remain firm with our choice of CSR as our resort. Mum has been campaigning for perhaps a quick drink at Banana Cabana 'for old time's sake' which we may well do, but it was the refurbished rooms that swung CSR for us and continue to do so.

Restaurant Choices...

This is becoming more difficult as Disney adds more gorgeous restaurants by the day, especially at Disney Springs.

Currently, we have...

QS at Pepper Market
Tutto Italia
The Boathouse* (mine and Neil's favourite from our honeymoon)
California Grill*
Flying Fish* (House of Blues for the Dufflers)
Polite Pig
Le Cellier

Neil and I have DxDDP so are credit sharing for some of these nights and me and Mum are sharing lunches on some days. These may change but we won't move on the starred restaurants

Think that's everything... over and out

Edited at 03:53 PM.
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