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Old 25 Oct 10, 09:20 AM  
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‘But I don’t want to go again…..yet!’

I have written this pre trip report in stages instead of trying to remember everything at the end so I hope it makes sense to everyone!

First of all, let’s get the introductions done:

Me, Helen, 35 - loves Disney (thanks to DH) and addicted to the Dibb, assistant to chief planner. Now has a fully fledged handbag obsession which I intend to further in the Florida shops! Currently on the Slimming World plan but fully intending to eat what ever I want while on holiday

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)

The original plan was to go to WDW from October 16th for 2 weeks with some friends who have children (hence the need to incorporate the school holidays). Time off work was booked back in October 2009 and the plan was to book after Christmas when friends were 100% sure they would be able to finance it! Well time rolled on, early January 2010 DH prepared some estimated costs for them and it was expensive so they were hesitating. Next suggestion from them that it might be put back to February 2011 was fine with us and still no decision made we went away in March to WDW with other friends! While away we talked about what we would do in October if they decided not to go (as DH suspected) and I uttered those words ‘I think I need a break from Disney’ . DH pointed out that if that happened I would spend the holiday wishing we were in Disney and I have to say he was probably right! It was also apparent that both DH and I needed a holiday on our own and so we had decided to keep the time booked off work and started looking into the possibility of doing the West Coast including a trip to Disneyland and Universal Hollywood funded by our ISA. Roll on a few more weeks to the beginning of April and I wanted a decision making (impatient – me?!) so we decided to show the friends some comparisons of prices in October 2010 and February 2011. The original dates we had booked off work had no PE flights left on Virgin from Manchester (for us) so we looked at different dates in early October. Finally, the friends decided that the dates were a no no due to school and they would not be going at all. We had been looking at flight prices in the meantime (for us) and DH suggested we do Florida on our own and then look at the West Coast for 2011, which meant the chance for my parents to join us as my Mum had been asking about going with us to America again but seeing somewhere different. After a bit of pressure from DH I caved (hence the name of this trip) and we both changed our holidays at work and so Florida it was once again. (I don’t want it to sound ungrateful and I realise we are very lucky to go so frequently).

So in the middle of the volcanic ash problems in April we were looking ahead to November and decided that before the airlines upped the flight prices to recoup some of the losses, we should get our flights booked. So that is exactly what we did! Virgin Atlantic, Premium Economy, Manchester to Orlando on Thursday 4th November leaving at 10.25 on VS075 returning from Orlando to Manchester on Saturday 20th November leaving at 18:30 and arriving back in Manchester at 07.25 on Sunday 21st November. Outbound we pre-booked two seats in the 747 ‘bubble’ but coming back there were only two seats available to select – one in the bubble and one downstairs so we didn’t bother and will hopefully get seats together when we check in.

The plan now is to keep an eye on hotels/condos/cars and see if there are any offers – we are not in a hurry to book. The only thing I want to investigate is the possibility of doing a few nights cruise but I think this may be too expensive but I am determined to do something different this time. Oh, and the other thing I have my fingers crossed for is the Osborne Lights will start in mid November (as they did in 2009 so that we can see them. Also Busch will be a definite this trip as on my 9 trips to Florida I have still never got there

A couple of weeks (and a book about Disney Cruise’s later) and we are at the beginning of May, thinking that financially a cruise is actually an option and is available for the time we would be interested in. Without much more thinking, that’s it…all booked. The only slight disagreement we had was timing…DH wanted the beginning of the holiday and I wanted the end. After a quick discussion I conceded to DH’s point that we would have bought less at the beginning so would have less luggage to take with us and so we are sailing on the Disney Wonder on a 4 night Bahamian Cruise departing on Sunday 7th November.

I am adding this paragraph to my pre trip report 24 hours after booking and it is only now I am starting to think about practicalities like ‘will I suffer from seasickness?’ and other trivial things but suffice to say I am VERY excited about this new experience! Also just before booking this we counted up all our coin we had been saving and have paid £600 into the bank which almost covers the cost of the cruise. We don’t have to pay the balance until 24th August but will keep an eye on the exchange rate and if it starts to dip will probably just get it paid off.

Another couple of weeks later and we can now book ADR’s. We are tentatively thinking of arriving at MCO and then going straight to Tampa for a couple of days to do Busch, then joining the cruise and then going onto Disney giving us only 8 full days there. As there are so many places off site we like to eat (and of course off site being much cheaper), we have opted to just make 4 ADR’s otherwise we also get tied down to dates/times in specific parks. So we have booked the following:

Yak & Yeti – lunch (never eaten here before)

Coral Reef – dinner (had lunch here previously)

Flying Fish – dinner (decision made on reading Clare’s reviews in her trip report – never eaten here before)

Fulton’s Crab House – lunch (never eaten here before)

So there we go, ADR’s booked and I’ll be back to update again when the next stage is done!

A little while later and DH casually asks if I could relinquish control and let him make the arrangements for the days before we join the cruise so I would have a complete surprise. Before I had a chance to think about it I agreed and then tried to forget all about it and so far so good!

Now it’s early July and DH has all the pre cruise time booked and I am trying not to ask where we are staying. He hasn’t decided when to tell me but if we still need to fill in forms on the plane it will be then as that’s always my job. DH has spent some time searching for hotels (Disney area) and we have decided to book a condo as it is almost the same price as a hotel and gives us more space. We are staying at Caribe Cove and have read loads of good things on trip advisor. We only have to pay one night no so we can still change our mind if we so wish!

I’m back to continue writing this pre-trip report with only 2 weeks to go before we leave. Since I last added to this report, the cruise balance has been paid and everything else has been booked (car, spa treatment for me on the cruise and a Bahamas excursion). Our money arrived from CCE the day before they stopped delivering and went under – we were very, very lucky and finally I have been told where we are staying in Tampa – The Sailport Resort in Tampa Bay. I also know we are doing Busch Gardens one of the two days we are in Tampa but no idea on the other day!

Ticket wise we have bought annual passes for Busch Gardens as we are planning a family holiday in September/October 2011 and will therefore be visiting twice in a year. DH already has an annual pass for Disney but mine has run out so I will get it once we arrive. We have decided not to visit Universal on this trip to save a few £££ and we know we will be visiting during the family holiday

Now it’s just the waiting on the passing of the last few weeks.

If you are still here then thanks for reading!
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Old 25 Oct 10, 09:35 AM  
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good luck with the slimming world diet it really does work i have lost 5 stone on it makes it worth while when you get over there !
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Old 25 Oct 10, 12:21 PM  
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Originally Posted by thewatsons View Post
good luck with the slimming world diet it really does work i have lost 5 stone on it makes it worth while when you get over there !
Thank you! It's slow but so far so good!
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Old 25 Oct 10, 12:33 PM  
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great! cant wait to read more
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Old 25 Oct 10, 12:45 PM  
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great pre-trippie, looking forward to reading more
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Old 25 Oct 10, 12:56 PM  
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Lucky you getting to go on a cruise, something that I will do one day.

Hope you enjoy your surprise day in Tampa and also Busch. Like you I have been to Florida 6 times and have never done busch either. Planning it for oct2011.

have a fab time
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