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Old 6 Apr 16, 05:21 PM  
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scottishnellie
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Pre-trip Report - April 2016, Scottishnellies 2nd Live Florida TR


I already posted this in the pre-trip forum so apologies to anyone who has already read it. But I wanted to have a practice run at uploading using the app again, so thought I would paste it in here to start me off.


So, we set off in 3 sleeps. Here we go again!

Who we are:
Me: 42, Chief planner and organiser.
DH: 43, Sole charge of Car Hire and that's about it.
DD1: 12, Caught the shopping Bug last year and needs to save more £ for this trip!
DS1: 8 (when we go), Star Wars fan and no fear rollercoaster addict

We had our first trip as a family to Orlando last April / May and loved it. So much so that we got back and I had the flights booked for this years trip within 2 days! 2016 will be very different to 2015 in a number of ways, mostly that the Eastons (my BFF and her troop) are not coming this year so it will just be the 4 of us. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand it will be easier in some ways not having to consider another family and what they want or need, but on the other hand I am going to miss them so much as we had such a great time as a big group, and I worry it won't feel the same without them. Last year I did a trip report which I updated live pretty much every day while we were there. The link is in my signature. I plan to do the same again this year as I enjoyed doing it and have loved having it to look back on. It might be very tame though, given the change of pace and cast of players. I hope it does not disappoint!

There are a number of reasons this trip will slightly slower paced. Last year, although we were there for 3 weeks, we really thought it would be a once in a long time trip and so planned and crammed everything in that we could. It was very full on with little down time. Fun, Fast and Furious. The downside to this was I was exhausted and once we were home I craved my lying in the sun with a book holiday that we usually had. I ended up booking a week in Turkey in July to satisfy that. Given that we are returning just a year later we do not feel the same need to cram everything in, so we plan to have more free time and spend more time around the pool of the villa and maybe going out at night to eat/drop into a park. We still plan to do all the parks again at least once but instead of Discovery Cove, which we did fully last year with the ultimate package and dolphin swim, we plan to do Kennedy Space Center instead.

Dates
We decided to do the exact same dates as before as it means we can go get cheaper flights as it is only partly within the Easter school holidays, yet with the other end having a May holiday and in-service day, we only need to take the kids out of school for 8 days. I know this is a touchy subject but I am confident in my decision and we don't have the same difficulty in doing this as some of you have in England. In fact I have already written the letter to school and had a reply back granting permission and wishing us a wonderful holiday. Sorted.



Flights and travel
We booked TC from Manchester last year then nearer the date of the holiday changed the homeward flight to a day later flying into Glasgow airport which we live 5 minutes from (and which hadn't been available when we first booked). When we got back and were booking flights for 2016, I was happy to go TC again as I did not want to pay Virgin prices and TC don't fly from Glasgow on our dates so it was Manchester again. I booked one way Manchester to MCO for £1343 for 4 of us including seat selection and credit card fee, then one way MCO to Glasgow for £811 inc credit card fee but without seat selection. I think this flight home will be empty same as last year as it has no corresponding outbound flight and only had 37 people on it. We were all stretched out across 4 seats each! So in total £538pp for direct flights.
We will again travel by train from Glasgow to Manchester (using hubbys free passes as an employee) and have booked Claytons (previously Bewleys) on a room only basis for £91 direct with the hotel. I managed to get the Manchester airport lounge free through Holiday Extras when a wonderful dibber posted a few sites it was working with, but was not lucky enough to get the hotel too. I toyed with doing one of the Premier Inns but plumped for the same hotel as last year as we loved how convenient it was.

Where we are staying
4 nights at Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando - £143.45 booked through netflights.
2 nights at Universal's Loews Royal Pacific Resort, club level - £566.98 booked through Expedia
15 nights in a Dibb Villa – Joanne Cooks Orlando Dream Villa £1295 inc pool heat
Last time we had a villa for 3 weeks and left it for an overnight at Disneys All Star Sports and another night at Hard Rock Hotel. This year we decided to do our hotel stays before we went to the villa and fancied trying one on international drive as never really been up that way. We plan on doing Seaworld, and Busch while up that way, then we will have 3 days to do Universal with FOLP for our stay at RPR, then we move to the villa and we will do KSC and all the Disney parks with plenty of days in between for pool time and shopping. So the plan at the moment looks something like this.



Tickets
I always find this the hardest decision. I looked and looked and looked and in the end I went with getting all our tickets through Orlando Attractions again. I got the Full Monty Combo 2016 - Disney 14 Day Ultimate / Universal 2 Park / SeaWorld / Aquatica / Busch for 3 adults and 1 child, total £2034. I looked at lots of other combos but couldnt get it any cheaper. I wanted to stick to the Ultimates as I wanted the flexibility of being able to pop back forth to the Disney parks whenever we like in the latter part of our holiday, plus I would have bought Memory Maker anyway which is included now in the ultimates. I also wanted to be able to revisit any of the other parks if we choose to. I'm happy with what we paid. We havent bought tickets for KSC as it looks like its not much cheaper than buying on the door and there is always the (slim) possibility that we do not end up going there.



Food
Very few set plans to be honest. Ive booked Sci-Fi diner for lunch the day we are due to do HS, and booked Teppan Edo for the day we are doing Epcot. Mostly because we were booked for Teppan Edo last year and a storm ended our Epcot day early, so we had to cancel and I was quite disappointed. As we are staying offsite we are more interested in off-site dining. We loved Cheesecake Factory so will do that when we visit Mall Of Millenia again. We loved Red Lobster and Longhorns steakhouse so will do that again. Ive got a few vouchers to use for Crossroads at House Of Blues which was great before, and vouchers for a pizzeria near the villa and an Italian that we didnt use last time which it says can still be used. Other than that we fancy trying Outback steakhouse, and exploring what's available when we are on International Drive. Oh, and we want to try T-Rex as didnt do it last year and my Landrys Card arrived too late so I have that for this year. I think my initial $25 dollar credit and $25 birthday credit will have expired but I think I should have another $25 birthday credit by the time we go?

So that is it. I am just about organised, need to work tomorrow and Friday night, then up on Saturday morning to travel down to Manchester where it will all start!


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Old 6 Apr 16, 05:23 PM  
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New Photo Added by scottishnellie - 6 Apr 16 5:23 PM.
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Old 6 Apr 16, 05:47 PM  
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Megandllsmum
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You know I'll be following lol... have a brilliant time and look forward to reading all about it... might see you there
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Old 6 Apr 16, 05:49 PM  
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floridasarah
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I look forward to this I love a villa trip report. Also we stayed in Dream villa last year so will be nice to see photos of someone else enjoying it. It is a fab villa.
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Oh well plan B needed
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Old 6 Apr 16, 09:23 PM  
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Jake71
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I'm back with you, your live report was fab last year. Can't wait for this year's. Have a great time.
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Old 6 Apr 16, 10:04 PM  
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Amylouisedxo
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Great report! Looking forward to the rest 😁
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Old 6 Apr 16, 10:47 PM  
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twinkleshmoo
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Can't wait to follow along again, thoroughly enjoyed your live TR last year
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Old 6 Apr 16, 11:14 PM  
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Jillzo
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Looking forward to reading about your adventures!

Hope you and your family have a wonderful time!
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Old 6 Apr 16, 11:21 PM  
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OB1LukeLucas
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Been waiting for this, hope you have a fabulous time. I can't wait to read this years adventures.
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Old 7 Apr 16, 05:48 AM  
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Excited about this 😄😄😄
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