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Old 18 May 09, 08:09 PM  
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margyloveswdw
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Talking It started out as a weekend in Spain!

After getting so much enjoyment from reading fellow Dibbers trip reports, I decided that I would attempt my first one. We are going to Florida for 10 days (Disney for 7) so I thought this short trip would be an ideal one to start with. I must warn you that I have a tendency to explain things in ten words when two would do (according to my DH anyway)!

So let’s start by introducing the cast:

Me, Helen, 34 – loves Disney and addicted to the Dibb, assistant to chief planner. Developing a (worrying) handbag obsession which I intend to further in the Florida shops!

DH, Ian, 36 – loves Disney, chief planner, booker, driver/navigator and carries the cash! Enjoys searching the web for good deals on flights, cars, hotels etc for anyone who asks and is always available to friends/colleagues for planning assistance! Doesn’t feel his holiday is complete if he doesn’t buy another grey t-shirt (usually from ESPN/Steve & Barry’s) see what I mean in the photos below

This is us at ESPN:



and at Teppan Edo


History
My first Disney visit was to Paris seven years ago with a group of friends (one of whom is now my DH), followed by my first visit to Florida with (now) DH the following year. Since then there has been another Paris trip, 1 to Disneyland California and a further 6 to WDW (staying in both onsite and offsite hotels and a villa). DH has been to Florida about 15 times (he’s rapidly losing count….), Paris 4 times and California once – can you see how my Disney love started?

How this trip (and the title of this report) came about
DH suggested that we go to Port Aventura, Spain for a long weekend for his birthday in April. “That’s a good idea I thought” and so we duly did some research into hotels, prices, flights etc and started getting excited. At this point we had already booked our October 2009 trip to Florida with my parents. In January we had a trip to New York (thanks Virgin for the free flights following offloading!) and after coming home I began thinking “hmmm I could do WDW for a week; it’s not that much further than New York” (having previously thought I would never travel that far for less than two weeks). So we decided to check out prices and flights (DH took little persuading of course). Because we wanted to go for at least a week we had to change our dates to the end of May as DH only had two days holiday left but gets his new annual holiday entitlement at work on the 1st June. So that was it, date decided 28th May until 6th June and holidays signed off at work.

Our first stop was the Virgin Atlantic website (my DH prefers to fly direct and they are the only direct option from Manchester) but the prices were out of reach so we (DH) had to re-think. A lot of searching later we decided on Continental via Newark but into Tampa as this reduced the cost slightly. Job done, flight booked….woo hoo!

Yes, that’s right readers we started out with a long weekend to Spain and finished with 10 days in Florida!

Making plans and booking stuff
A couple of weeks later I arrived home to ‘a surprise’ from DH – Tampa v Kansas baseball tickets for the end of the holiday……..I don’t really mind as he loves his baseball and usually regardless of when and where we go he misses out as the local team is always playing away somewhere! He suggested that we should change our plans slightly and spend just 7 days in Disney and the last few days on the Gulf Coast, as we have done this on a previous trip and found it a very nice way to end the holiday (although that time it was at the end of a 21 night trip).

In mid March we decided we should start looking at hotels. Our preferred location is in the Lake Buena Vista area so we started our search here and we wanted to go fairly cheaply. We looked at the Comfort Inn (stayed here before) and the Fairfield Inn (had booked to stay but never got there as friends came with us and we ended up in a villa) and decided to compare the price to Disney hotels. Imagine our surprise when staying at a Disney value resort cost LESS money (only a few £££’s but still less!) than the Comfort Inn! The deal on the Disney.co.uk site at the time was pay for 4 days and get 3 free so job done, Pop Century booked.

At the beginning of May we thought we should probably get the last things booked. After some searching by DH a car was booked with Budget (via US Rentacar) and after a couple of false starts due to availability issues, the Beachcomber Hotel at St Pete’s Beach was booked for the last two nights. Dollars were ordered from CCE for delivery a week before departure.

Mid May and this report was pretty much done and I keep meaning to post it but I need to join photo bucket to put some pictures on and every time I go on the web I get caught up in Dibbing! So now we are only 10 days away and I have updated the ESTA with the flight and hotel information and after some ticket price searching we have decided that I will get an annual pass when we arrive (works out cheaper than a 7 day for this trip and a 14 day one for the October trip). DH already has an annual pass from last year’s trip.

At least the delay to posting this report means that the ‘still to do’ list is now much shorter:
Compile shopping list (!)
Book taxi to and from airport
Pack

We have a couple of things planned/booked (see below) but apart from that I think we will leave the week relatively unplanned . We are only doing the Disney parks and intend to make use of the morning EMH’s (at least for the first few days) and make sure we do our ‘can’t miss’ shows and attractions. The rest of the days will depend on the crowds and heat! I doubt we will get to any water parks.

Thursday 28th May – Fly from Manchester, leaving at 9.25am to Tampa via Newark on Continental. Arrival in Tampa at 5.29pm (precise hey!). Collect hire car from Budget and drive to Pop Century hopefully arriving around 7pm assuming no delays etc.
Friday 29th May – up early, unpack and maybe a trip to Walmart, rest of day tbc, 5.35pm ADR at The Wave
Saturday 30th May - tbc
Sunday 31st May - tbc
Monday 1st June - tbc
Tuesday 2nd June – day tbc, DHS in evening for Fantasmic
Wednesday 3rd June – day tbc, 5pm ADR at O’Hana
Thursday 4th June – Check out of Pop Century and drive to St Pete’s Beach. Check into Beachcomber Hotel. Drive to Tropicana Field to watch baseball (Tampa Devil Rays versus Kansas City Royals) at 4pm
Friday 5th June – Lots of walking on the beach, chilling and a bit of exploring
Saturday 6th June – Check out of hotel, rest of day tbc. Leave Tampa at 5.05pm flying with Continental to Manchester via Newark.
Sunday 7th June – Arrive at Manchester airport at 10am, locate our luggage and taxi and begin the short journey home and back to reality!

Places to eat
As usual with us we have a list of places to eat. The new (to us) places we want to try are Bahama Breeze, Sweet Tomatoes, Cheesecake Factory and possibly Ci Ci’s. As we don’t have ‘gaps’ for many meals (we already have 2 ADR’s and tend to only eat at Breakfast and Dinner), we will probably only get to a few of our favourites in addition to the new ones; Bob Evans, Black Angus Steakhouse, Tony Romas.

If you are reading this last paragraph then thank you for taking the time out to read this and I hope you enjoyed my first pre-trip report . I have purchased a small notebook to carry with me while we are away to make notes in readiness for my trip report when we get back and I’m sure we will take lots of photos too!

Edited at 08:31 PM. Reason: Addition
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Old 18 May 09, 08:18 PM  
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k l is excited
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How lucky are you to be able to go twice in one year. We're also going in October and have recently booked for August 2010 and that feels great, don't know what I'd be like knowing I'd be going back so soon.

Hope you have a fab time and look forward to reading about it when you come home.

Karen
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Old 18 May 09, 08:20 PM  
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Old 18 May 09, 08:24 PM  
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Great pre trip report and you also need a sdd...
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Old 18 May 09, 08:26 PM  
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margyloveswdw
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Originally Posted by josey1964 View Post
Great pre trip report and you also need a sdd...
Yes we do...thanks!
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Old 18 May 09, 08:59 PM  
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sounds excellent, the more unexpected the trip the more enjoyable you will find it I'm sure.

Looking forward to hearing all about it on your return

ATB
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Old 18 May 09, 09:00 PM  
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We're going in August. Have you thought of helping friends to plan thier once in a life time trip... i think you would be good at it...

PS will you be buying any sour skittles (strange request but you never know)
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Old 19 May 09, 09:34 AM  
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great trip report, looking forward to hearing more about your holiday. Hope you have a wonderful trip.
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Old 20 May 09, 02:17 PM  
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margyloveswdw
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Originally Posted by jill8933 View Post
We're going in August. Have you thought of helping friends to plan thier once in a life time trip... i think you would be good at it...

PS will you be buying any sour skittles (strange request but you never know)
Maybe if we have a big win on Saturday night we can treat you to some sour skittles
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Old 20 May 09, 02:47 PM  
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Hope you`ve got that shopping list done now! :pop:
Have a great week sounds like its gona be fun
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