Go Back   theDIBB > DIBB Members Trip Reports > DIBB Reporter Photo Trip Reports
Forgotten Password?
Notices
DIBB Reporter Photo Trip Reports Download the app for iOS or Android
DVC Dream
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10 Aug 18, 04:56 PM  
Link to this Post
#1
ally1966
Imagineer
 
ally1966's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 06
... and Then There Were 3 - Pre-Trippie *Updated 28th August


... having found flight prices that are too good to turn down we will be making our long anticipated return to Orlando in 2019. This will be our 1st visit since 2012 so not only is the excitement just about killing me but a lot of things have changed since our last trip. Not least of which is the make up of our party - both DD18 & DS20 now have full time jobs and can't get the time off work so for the first time ever there will only be 3 of us:-

The Cast:-



Me, Alison will be 52 by the time we go. Planner and fan of all things Disney and Harry Potter. Would happily holiday in Orlando every year if finances and DH allowed. This will be my 5th WDW trip.



DH, Mick will be 57. It is also his 5th WDW trip but he generally prefers UK seaside holidays. Not a fan of very hot weather, queuing or big rides. Strangely, he says he's actually looking forward to this holiday; just shows that persistence can pay off!



DD, Chloe aged 11. As the youngest of 5 this will be the 1st time that she's had a holiday with Mum & Dad all to herself. It will be her 3rd trip to Florida and she is looking forward to being able to do some BIG rides for the 1st time.

The History:-



Way back in the mists of time (1998 to be exact) we embarked on our, Once in a lifetime, trip to Florida. Our family consisted of Me, DH, DS Stuart aged 13, DS Ian aged 10 and baby DS Daniel aged 4 months (who arrived after the holiday was booked and had to be hastily added to the booking).



We stayed on site at All Star Sports with 14 day WDW tickets included in the package, which was booked without any other quotes for comparison and no negotiation on price, through a high street travel agent. It is probably still the most expensive holiday that we've ever had.

We were unbelievably naive and totally unplanned and unprepared (Pre-Dibb of course!). We had no concept of the size of WDW and no idea of what we wanted to see or do. I had a vague idea that we might get tickets for Universal and SeaWorld after we arrived and that someone would tell us how to get there. Needless to say this never happened and, with no hire car, we spent 2 weeks completely overwhelmed and trapped in the Disney bubble.



... so trip number 1 was hardly a success BUT it did leave me with the feeling that we still had so much more to see that we needed to go back one day and do it properly. DH agreed that when baby Dan was old enough to appreciate it we could go again.

This was to be a long wait! 7 years later in 2005 we were ready to try again -



We were accompanied by DS Ian now 17, DS Dan 7 and latest arrival DD Nicola 5. By this time Stuart had left home and had a baby of his own so didn't come with us.

Determined to learn the lessons from our last visit, I planned this trip to the last detail! We stayed at the Holiday Inn on I-Drive (now Palms Resort) with free shuttle buses to WDW, Universal and SeaWorld - and more theme park tickets than it was possible to use in a fortnight.



I'd even managed to book some special treats, thanks to some internet research and the discovery of The Dibb, including the much sort after Cinderella's Royal Table breakfast and the Pirate's Dinner Adventure.



I felt that this holiday was a great success, the kids loved every moment and I definitely knew that I wanted to do it again. DH, however, felt that it had been organised like a military campaign and he needed a holiday to get over it!

So no-one was more (pleasantly) surprised than me when only 3 years later he agreed to go back...



... after a particularly traumatic year, during which my Dad had passed away, we'd moved house and we'd unexpectedly become parents again by adopting our niece Chloe, we were all desperately in need of a break. Whilst browsing for a cheap week's all inclusive in Europe I stumbled on an unbelievable deal to Florida. 2 weeks at the Quality Inn International (now Rosen Inn) with flights for 2 adults, 2 children and 1 infant - 1200 !

Well, it would have been rude not to - only problem was we booked just 3 weeks before travelling. DS Ian wasn't with us for this visit as he couldn't get time off work at such short notice so we were still a party of 5.



As it was a last minute cheapy we only booked WDW tickets and used the Lynx / I-Ride for transport. This was the most laid back holiday yet as there was no time for stress or panic and no time for planning. We just went with the flow each day and even managed some late starts.






But of course we had once again taken a baby to WDW so knew that we would HAVE to return when she was old enough to remember!

We decided that the time was right in 2012 when DD Chloe was 5, DD Nicola 12 and DS Dan 14.



By now we felt like pro's! I quickly found reasonably priced flights online with Monarch and we booked the Rosen Inn International again as it had proved a great base last time. We ordered WDW and Universal tickets (I had to see the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter) and got our Lynx bus passes in advance. I consulted the busy day guides and set about happily planning the extras - such as the dessert party and a CRT breakfast for DD Chloe (Well, Nicola had done it at the same age... )



It really was like coming home and we all relaxed into the holiday straight away. Even DH started talking about when we come back rather than if.






... and that brings us pretty much up to date. We came home knowing that we would return one day but for the last 6 years life has got in the way! We've enjoyed lots of other holidays including DS Ian's 2015 wedding in New York, a whole family (13 of us) all inclusive to Fuerteventura in 2013 and various other European and UK, Seaside and City breaks. But the itch to return to Florida has never gone away.

So when I recently found sub 250 return flights with Virgin on Skyscanner for next February I knew that it was a sign that the time had come.

The Planning:-



It seems like I have been formulating a plan for this this trip in my mind forever so it feels almost surreal that we've actually booked, but booked we have ... and the price that finally tempted me to press that button? ... 633.78 return for 3 people!

Now as this is with Virgin light it doesn't include checked baggage or seat selection so we have added 1 case. DH is adamant that we will manage with 1 case + hand luggage between us if we pack light. I'm not so sure but I'll do a trial run and even if we have to add another case it won't break the bank. As far as seats are concerned, we're prepared to take the gamble at check-in.

We will be flying with Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick Airport (VS27) on 21st February and return on 7th March.

This will be the first time since 2005 that we've flown with Virgin and I must admit that I'm looking forward to the free drinks service! We have never visited Florida in February / March before and are prepared for it to be cooler than previous visits. This will actually suit DH better - our last trip was in September which he found much too hot - but it may have an impact on our plans to pack light; we'll see!



With flights secured, thoughts turned to accommodation. This was a no brainer. Having stayed at the Rosen Inn International the last twice, it was an automatic choice for this trip. It is the perfect base for us as non drivers because it is in the centre of I-Drive close to lots of restaurants and has both Lynx and I-Ride stops right outside. We also found it to be clean with reasonably spacious rooms and extremely comfortable beds - essential after a long day in the parks!

This was booked through Love Holidays at a total cost of 728 for 14 nights.



Next we needed to decide how we would be spending our precious holiday time. We have never been to Discovery Cove before as we have always had young children with us and been more Disney focused so this was top of my list of priorities for this visit. Both myself and DD are very keen to experience a swim with the dolphins whilst DH isn't remotely interested. He is happy enough to go but doesn't like swimming, I'm sure though that he'll take full advantage of the all inclusive food and drink and will enjoy the relaxing day away from the other theme parks.

We have booked 2 Ultimate Dolphin Swim and 1 Ultimate non-swim tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct. These cost a total of 539 but as they include Busch Gardens (where we've never been) and SeaWorld (where we haven't been since 2005) they will cover 3 days entertainment.

We've booked this for the Saturday after we arrive because (according to Touring Plans busy day guide) this will be a busy day in most of the other parks. It is also nice and early in the holiday so if it should get cancelled due to the weather we've got plenty of time to re-arrange.



As a Harry Potter fan, Universal / IoA is another must do. When we were there in 2012 we saw Hogwarts & Hogsmeade and rode Forbidden Journey. I was blown away by the attention to detail and I'm really looking forward to seeing how they've interpreted Diagon Alley and to experiencing Escape from Gringotts. I also can't wait to ride the Hogwarts Express so we had to have park to park tickets.

We aren't interested in Volcano Bay (or water parks in general) so we settled for 5 day 2 park hoppers from Orlando Attractions at a cost of 232 each. If previous experience is anything to go by I doubt that we will use the full 5 days but the price difference between them and the 3 day tickets was negligible so we opted for the 5 day ones for the sake of flexibility.



This brings us to the elephant in the room ... Disney ... I can't imagine going on holiday to Orlando without going to the Disney parks. DH, on the other hand believes that after 4 trips we've done Disney to death. We have always had 14 day ultimate tickets on previous trips so have had the flexibility to come and go as we please but these obviously weren't going to be easy to justify this time.

During our last trip they were in the middle of the construction of the new Fantasy Land so we had initially compromised on just a couple of Disney days to see the new stuff. However, since this holiday has been postponed for so long, they now have new stuff in all 4 parks. It was therefore relatively easy to get him to agree to 4 days - especially when DD admitted that she can't actually remember anything about her last visit, when she was 5.

We could have got 4 day hoppers for 351 each but this would have meant 4 long days in the parks and DH hates doing open to close. In comparison, a 6 day base ticket is only 310. As with Universal we aren't interested in the water parks so opting for these means we will still get 1 day in each park but if we decide to head back early we'll still have a couple of days in hand to go back and see the fireworks later in the holiday.

Potentially we now have tickets booked for all 14 days of the holiday (6 WDW, 5 Universal & IoA, 1 each Discovery Cove, Busch & SeaWorld). It might appear that I am going to fall foul of the over planning rule again (as per 2005) but in reality we are unlikely to spend more than 2 or 3 days at Universal and if we return to WDW to see the fireworks these will be late starts so there should be plenty of opportunity for relaxation and shopping. Depending on how DD is coping with the big rides we might even drop Busch Gardens.



When we flew to New York in 2015 for DS's wedding we stayed the night before the flight at the Premier Inn at the airport. It made for a much less stressful start to the holiday so, as we will have to drive down from Derby to Gatwick we have decided to do this again.

Booking direct with Premier Inn we secured a family room at the North Terminal hotel for 43. We have added the meal deal for a further 53 - this provides us with an evening meal and a buffet breakfast each (kids eat free) and I do love a Premier Inn breakfast!

We decided against their Park, Eat, Fly deal because DH refuses to leave his precious car keys with anyone while we're away. The Premier Inn itself has no parking onsite and the short stay car park at the airport (which they recommend) costs 25 per night. Instead, we've opted to leave the car at the airport's long stay car park for the extra night. This is costing 96 for 16 nights. The plan is to arrive at the airport just before 5pm on the 20th in time for Twilight check in, use the free shuttle from the car park to the terminal then, having dropped any checked luggage, walk to the hotel which is only about 3 mins away (according to Google maps).

With over 3800 already committed to this holiday in flights, hotels, tickets etc. It has suddenly occurred to me that we no longer have any travel insurance! We used to have it through the bank but cancelled it earlier this year as we decided it wasn't cost effective so I'd best go and sort that. Also need to renew DD's passport before I can do ESTAs - maybe I'm not as well organised as I thought.

I'll be back...



*Update 28th August

Insurance sorted! Managed to secure a worldwide family policy with Leisure Guard for 38 - didn't think that this was a bad price.

On a more interesting note, the postman's been busy round here! We've had the all important deliveries above from ATD and Orlando Attractions. WDW tickets are on a Will Call voucher, so will have to be exchanged for real tickets or magic bands on arrival but I've succeeded in linking them to MDE using the confirmation number. So we're all set to start booking ADRs and fastpasses.

DD's new passport has also been delivered. Less than a week turnaround time which I was very impressed with because it's never the most straight forward renewal as we have to submit the court order to prove that we have parental responsibility. There were a few heart stopping moments however when the supporting documents weren't returned until several days later, we've always received them before the passport before, so I was beginning to think that they'd got lost. I always carry the court order when we're travelling since I once got a stern telling off at immigration for not having any proof that we had permission to remove her from the country (Madame, do you realise how many children are trafficked internationally every year?). Not an experience that I wish to repeat, I really thought we were going to be denied entry... anyway, I'm waffling... they eventually turned up so all's well.

Our Estas are done and approved (massive relief - I hate doing those things!)

A lot of time has been spent this week drooling over food reports and trying to decide where we're going to eat. This might be wishful thinking. DH and DD are not adventurous eaters - which is probably just as well as I'm sure anyone who's witnessed the extent of my culinary abilities would agree! So eating out anywhere will be an improvement. But, with McDonalds, Denny's and Golden Corral right on our hotel's doorstep, they will, unfortunately, be quite happy if we never venture any further afield in search of food!

Despite this, I'm planning an ADR at Be Our Guest - just so we get to see inside the Beast's castle. I've also ordered a Landry's card and hope to use the welcome bonus at either Rain Forrest Cafe or Yak and Yeti on our Animal Kingdom day. I'll also get a birthday bonus as my birthday has conveniently been relocated to February for the purposes of this trip! I want to use this at T Rex on our last day. I think that the experience will appeal to DD and it'll be something to look forward to after we've done the Disney Springs check in for our return flights. These are the only meals that I'll be booking but I've got plenty of other ideas - so if anyone's interested in what we eat and where, you'll have to wait for the trip report to see where we ended up!



A trip to Primark this week resulted in the purchase of the above top for DD and this note book for all my planning and trip diary. I'm sure that this shop will be raided for Disney goodies on a regular basis before we go.

I've saved what in my opinion is the best news for last! On reflection, we decided that travelling with one suitcase between us might be taking packing light to impossible extremes, especially with the unpredictable nature of the weather in February. So on Sunday I phoned Virgin Atlantic to enquire about adding a second case to our booking. Imagine my delight when I was informed that we weren't booked in Virgin Light as I believed but in Virgin Classic. This means that we already have 1 checked case per passenger included - so plenty of room for all those Florida bargains & souvenirs - and I've been able to book our seats in advance so we now have the reassurance of knowing that we'll all be seated together.

I was so shocked that I had to get the poor operator to check this several times; in the end she offered to do the seat selection over the phone to prove that she was correct. I've since checked this on the Virgin app and our seat numbers are indeed now showing!



Edited at 05:16 PM.
ally1966 is online now Girl Mouse Click to view Members Gallery Click to view Members Trip Plans
3 Return to Orlando
Old 11 Aug 18, 08:24 PM  
Link to this Post
#2
Cinderella
Imagineer
 
Cinderella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 04
Lovely to get to know you 👍 Looking forward to your trip 😀
Cinderella is offline Girl Mouse Click to view Members Gallery Click to view Members Trip Plans
Our WDW Holiday.
Reply With Quote
Cinderella is a DIBBcast Disney Podcast Fan
Old 12 Aug 18, 07:49 AM  
Link to this Post
#3
Zomax25
VIP Dibber

 
Join Date: May 12
Mobile

Oh wow, what a fab trip! We had our first trip with my parents in 1993 and have been back with them several times now, including in 2016 with our own two children. Its so wonderful to share all the memories. Weve been so lucky to go so many wonderful times.
Thanks for sharing your trip!
__________________
Orlando 1993, 1995, 2005, 2011
Paris 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Orlando - May 2015, October 2016
Zomax25 is offline Girl Mouse Click to view Members Gallery Click to view Members Trip Plans
We really shouldn't...
Reply With Quote
Old 12 Aug 18, 09:11 AM  
Link to this Post
#4
ally1966
Thread Starter
Imagineer
 
ally1966's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 06
Originally Posted by Cinderella View Post
Lovely to get to know you 👍 Looking forward to your trip 😀
Thanks, looking forward to sharing. I did a report on our New York trip in 2015 and its great to look back on!
__________________
Ally1966
ally1966 is online now Girl Mouse Click to view Members Gallery Click to view Members Trip Plans
3 Return to Orlando
Reply With Quote
Old 12 Aug 18, 09:13 AM  
Link to this Post
#5
ally1966
Thread Starter
Imagineer
 
ally1966's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 06
Oh wow, what a fab trip! We had our first trip with my parents in 1993 and have been back with them several times now, including in 2016 with our own two children. Its so wonderful to share all the memories. Weve been so lucky to go so many wonderful times.
Thanks for sharing your trip!
Thanks, it was lovely looking through all the old photos - brings back so many memories!
__________________
Ally1966

Edited at 09:19 AM.
ally1966 is online now Girl Mouse Click to view Members Gallery Click to view Members Trip Plans
3 Return to Orlando
Reply With Quote
Old 13 Aug 18, 06:37 AM  
Link to this Post
#6
Jake71
Imagineer
 
Jake71's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 11
Location: Ayrshire
A great pre-trippie. Sounds like most of the planning is done.
__________________
Jake71 is offline Girl Mouse Click to view Members Gallery Click to view Members Trip Plans
Back to Madeira Beach
Reply With Quote
Old 13 Aug 18, 07:17 AM  
Link to this Post
#7
ally1966
Thread Starter
Imagineer
 
ally1966's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 06
Originally Posted by Jake71 View Post
A great pre-trippie. Sounds like most of the planning is done.
Thanks, still tweeking the plans. So many ideas buzzing round my head - mainly gleaned from too many years reading other Dibbers trip reports! I need to consult busy day guides and the bank balance now to see what time and money will allow.
ally1966 is online now Girl Mouse Click to view Members Gallery Click to view Members Trip Plans
3 Return to Orlando
Reply With Quote
Old 28 Aug 18, 07:23 PM  
Link to this Post
#8
app
DIBB App Manager
 
Join Date: May 18
New Photo Added by ally1966 - 28 Aug 18 7:23 PM.
app is offline Click to view Members Gallery Click to view Members Trip Plans Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks
Discount Florida Car Hire

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Forum Jump

Attraction Tickets Direct

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 05:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin - Copyright © 2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

theDIBB Menu


US Dollar Rates
ASDA  $1.2710
CaxtonFX  $1.2699
Covent Garden FX  $1.2845
FAIRFX  $1.2700
John Lewis  $1.2801
M&S  $1.2450
Post Office  $1.2492
Sainsburys  $1.2708
TESCO  $1.2740
Travelex  $1.2632
Updated: 17:30 23/10/2018

theDIBB Charities
Cancer Research UK
DIBB Members have Donated: £10,090
£


Macmillan Cancer Support
DIBB Members have Donated: £1,045
£

Euro Rates
ASDA  €1.1094
CaxtonFX  €1.1057
Covent Garden FX  €1.1155
FAIRFX  €1.1100
John Lewis  €1.1155
M&S  €1.0871
Post Office  €1.0900
Sainsburys  €1.1088
TESCO  €1.1115
Travelex  €1.1027
Updated: 17:30 23/10/2018

Orlando Weather
Florida Time
Tue 23rd Oct 12:38pm
Now: 27C/81F
Clear Sky
Clear Sky
Cloud Cover: 1%
Wind: 7mph - S Arrow points to where the wind is coming from.
Pressure: 1020mb
Humidity: 61%
Illuminations Smoke
Updated: 15:56 23/10/2018