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Mrs Dazzle
10-29-2007, 08:17 AM
:cool1: Well, we’re back from our 8 night stay in Orlando and what a great week we had, even though the latest tropical depression has really settled in.

This was a quickly organised and planned trip to the Sunshine State which was mostly paid for by Tesco Clubcard vouchers being exchanged for Airmiles:cool1: Due to a very nice (read that as expensive;) ) ski trip earlier this year, I promised DH I’d not push the boat out and stick to the budget. We would not - and could not - justify the £800 each :scared1: that both BA and VA wanted just for the flights and since I am an Admin Officer in a school, cannot take more than the one day off so it was a half-term trip. I found flights with American Airlines for £350 each, flying into Chicago then down to Tampa where we’d originally planned to spend the first three nights at St Pete Beach (changed our minds at the last minute to spend all the time in Orlando).

My anxieties about delays etc. as first-timers flying indirect were unfounded (phew) and everything went to plan. We were very impressed with AA, would definitely fly them again. There was much better leg room and bum space than on VA, the cabin crew whilst more ‘mature’ offered a good service. The only disappointment was the entertainment. We did have individual seat back tvs, but with a very limited selection of movies/TV shows. But that’s the benefit of being a bookaholic and having an iPod.

We last visited Florida in the summer of 2005 when it was really hot and humid. We were looking forward to it being the same last week because our last two holidays have been spent skiing in the States - very cold!!

Although the hot weather broke the record books a couple of days, sadly most of the time was spent under heavy grey clouds. But I’d still rather be in Florida in the grey than at home in the it anyday! The worst day weather-wise was last Wednesday. It was forecast to be overcast with the chance of a shower, so we headed down to Busch Gardens - as soon as we arrived the heavens opened and stayed that way until around 4.30pm. We’d already bought ponchos on our first day out in the parks at Seaworld, although luckily the rain didn’t last too long. We forgot to take these to Busch so now have a nice collection of a blue and yellow poncho each - great for walking the dog me thinks:idea:

Apart from the weather not being up to our usual standard, we really did have a great time. DH Darryl only discovered DD Katie and my fascination with coasters on our last trip, so he had some ground to make up, which he did! We also had two firsts - Montu and Kraken. We all agreed that Montu has overtaken Hulk as our fave ride.

We stayed in 4 different hotels this trip (not bad going over a 9 night period) - first night was at Heathrow in the Crowne Plaza. We’ve often stayed at the Gatwick Sofitel and Hilton, and last year we stayed at the Park Inn at Heathrow, but we were pleasantly surprised with the size and style of room this year and for the bargain price of £89 including 15 days parking. Very nice start to the trip.

Our first three nights in Orlando were at the Marriott Residence Inn Sea World. What a find! I paid around £45 per night for a studio suite. It was a very nice HUGE room, with two king size beds, a fully equipped kitchen, double bed sofa, overlooking the hotel’s pool. And it included free hot buffet breakfast every day. We will definitely be using this hotel again, without a doubt:thumbsup2

The next was the HRH for one night. Typical of our luck, the parks were dead so FOTL was not the great perk it can be, but still worth staying at HRH; we really love this hotel for a couple of nights or so.

The rest of the time was at the Courtyard by Marriott, Palm Parkway, in a one-bedroomed suite. To be honest, we were a little disappointed by this one, most probably because we had been spoilt not only by HRH, but especially the other Marriott. However, Katie had her own room (the bed sofa in the lounge), so she was happy.

The parks were very quiet, especially Busch when, because of the rain, the only people walking around seemed to be Brits. In fact, the whole of Orlando seemed to be overtaken with Brits:rolleyes1

We did a lot of shopping while over there and had to paid $25 excess baggage:rolleyes: But still worthwhile given all the Xmas pressies we’ve bought, as well as clothes for each of us, and a new suitcase to replace the one that got broken in Boston this year.

My case got searched by the TSA (I must have done something naughty at some point *** they always pick on me!).

DH started doing a trippy on his laptop, but whether it actually sees the light of day . . . . . but I will try and do one anyway.

So now we’re already planning the next trip - our ski buddy friends are desperate to go for three weeks next summer, so the belts have already been tightened (well, mine has but that’s because of all the food I’ve stuffed down my face - lost four stone before we went and I reckon half of it’s back on!!) since I’ve seen how much the flights are eeeeeeeek :eek: :scared1: . Lunch is around their house on Sunday to really get planning/booking. Happy days:cloud9:

For anyone travelling in the next few days, the weather forecasters were expecting the tropical depression to last well into the weekend, so be prepared for some showers and grey skies. But it's still warm and it's FLORIDA:woohoo:

mandymouse
10-29-2007, 08:30 AM
Welcome home Annie, it sounds like you've had a great time despite the weather

Yes give me a rainy day in Orlando against a sunny day here everytime :thumbsup2

jen_uk
10-29-2007, 08:33 AM
Welcome back!! :wave: Sounds like a very busy trip! Did you go to any of the Disney parks?

Mrs Dazzle
10-29-2007, 10:02 AM
Welcome back!! :wave: Sounds like a very busy trip! Did you go to any of the Disney parks?
Yes, it was busy. But interestingly, we all decided that we felt as though we had been over for two weeks. When we go to Florida it's usually for two-two and a half weeks, one week is spent in Orlando, the rest down the beach. We are big Universal fans so spend more time there.

This trip went as follows:

Friday - Arrived in Orlando
Saturday - SeaWorld
Sunday - Shopping, hotel pool then MNSSHP at Magin Kingdom
Monday - Universal Studios
Tuesday - IOA
Wednesday - Busch Gardens
Thursday - Shopping and hotel pool am, then into IOA (should have been Typhoon Lagoon, but weather not quite TL-y enough!)
Friday - MGM, Mini Golf
Saturday - Mini golf, drive to Tampa to fly home

We had intended to visit US again, but got there around 5pm to find it was closing due to their Halloween Night.

We hadn't visited Sea World for about 4 years, so it was really nice to do this one again. We've got some new things to look forward to next trip next Summer - Expedition Everest in AK, still haven't done Soarin' in Epcot, Aquatica, the new Simpsons ride in US and Toy Story in MGM:banana:

natalielongstaff
10-29-2007, 10:03 AM
welcome back Annie :)

UKDEB
10-29-2007, 10:10 AM
Wow! That's flown by. Pleased to hear that you liked the Crowne Plaza - I must have done a good job of keeping your expectations low! :)

Beth__WDW23/6/02
10-29-2007, 10:37 AM
WOW you did alot in your stay.
Glad you had a lovely time,and Happy Planning your next hols.:goodvibes

florida sun
10-29-2007, 02:02 PM
Welcome home Annie, I hope you do a trip report for us, sounds like you had a great time:goodvibes

mark&sue
10-29-2007, 04:09 PM
Thanks for letting us know how you got on. Welcome back


susan

wilma-bride
10-30-2007, 02:17 AM
Welcome back Annie, glad you enjoyed it.

jockey
10-30-2007, 02:24 AM
Welcome back!:)

Strommie
10-30-2007, 02:31 PM
Welcome back Annie, sounds like a great trip :goodvibes

Frances999
10-31-2007, 11:10 AM
Sounds like a busy but fun trip, Annie! :goodvibes