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Kevin Stringer
05-18-2009, 02:53 PM
Now here’s a strange thing. I’m writing this pre-trip report at 6.30am from a hotel room in Ningbo City, China using a notebook given to me by our good friend Susan from Tulsa, Oklahoma and a pen borrowed from Virgin Atlantic. The world is indeed a small and wonderful place.
The strangest thing is that I actually got close to 8 hours sleep last night. Normally I struggle for nearly a week with jetlag, but after 30+ hours of travel and work (straight off the flight to the factory), I went to bed at 10.00pm last night and slept through until nearly 6.00am this morning. How can this be? What made this happen? Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near? Well, I have a theory. I have a theory about most things in life and hopefully this one is better than my theory that Disneyworld was created by tiny little pixies carrying tiny little spades and singing ‘Hi Ho’ in tiny little pixie voices. This theory is not widely accepted. In fact the only people to believe it are me and Eldred, the king of the pixies.

So, why do I not have jetlag? Well, last night I ate at a Mexican restaurant and one of the things I had to drink was a Ginger Margarita. It was made from ground up ginger root, there were even lumps of it in the bottom of the glass. Now I’m sure I’ve read that ginger is good for staving off jetlag and, as theories go, you’ve got to admit it’s better than the one about the pixies.
So, after a week in China I’ll return to normal work for a week before flying off to Florida on Saturday 23rd May. As the purpose of a pre-trip report is to impart information regarding said trip, I guess I’d better get on with it.

The participants:

Me, Kev, 51. You know even I am starting to give up on the pretence that I am sex on legs and the nearest thing to perfection a woman could ever want. Age is gradually creeping up on me. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m falling apart, but there are aches where there shouldn’t be aches and wheezing at anything more than rising from the chair cannot possibly be considered a good thing. Still, I’ve got a wife that loves me and as she said to me the other day ‘Are you sure you can do that with a hamster and 5 pints of raspberry jelly?’ but that’s another story.

Tam, wife, 45. Officially in her mid-forties now, not something she’s particularly happy about I suspect. We’ve been married for 23 years now and she still can’t believe how lucky she is to wake up next to me each morning. I will admit this is more my view than hers, but let’s just leave it at that shall we?

India, daughter, 18. There is a possibility that this may be her last full holiday with us for a while as she is off to university in September to start a degree in renewable energy, exam results permitting. She insists she will be tagging along with us for years to come as long as we continue to pay. Her frugality and plain old ability to sponge reminds me of a younger version of myself. Fair brings a tear to the old eye.

Georgia, daughter, 15. Growing up too fast for my liking. There was a time when a cartoon and a colouring book kept her quiet for hours. Then she discovered boys. I’ve tried my best to put her off; lord knows she couldn’t have a more perfect example of how horrible the male species can be after living with me all her life, but she still seems keen on the nasty little creatures. I do my best to keep them at bay, but one made it through the barbwire and attack dogs the other day. I had to stun him with a Tasar, it was the kindest thing to do.

Dorothy, mother, 83. She’ll be known as Grandma throughout the trip report. I’m sure she won’t mind me mentioning her age seeing as how I blabbed about it last time she came with us. If you read the report of that trip you will know that it wasn’t entirely successful for her as she was in pain for much of the time and ended up being rushed into Celebration Hospital on our last evening. Thankfully she is fine now, but I don’t think she ever thought she’d get to Florida again, so when we sat her down to ask if she’d like to come, the words ‘Would you like’ and ‘Florida’ had barely left my mouth before she was off up the stairs to pack her case.

Also joining us will be Susan our friend from Tulsa. The lady has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Disney and a seemingly never-ending supply of patience, which she will need in buckets in order to spend two weeks with us.

Sharon and Evan (mother and son) from Texas will be catching up with us during our second week. They are amongst our oldest Disney friends. Evan has just turned 21 and is now legally able to buy the beer, a highly desirable state of affairs to my way of thinking.

We will also be meeting up with Rob (Fuse 04 from the DIS Boards) his wife and daughter for an evening wandering in Epcot. Rob and I plan to partake of a small glass of sherry at some point during the evening.

Finally on this people packed trip we will also be spending an evening with Martin and Mandy. We know this pair from work and by happy coincidence they are in Florida at the same time as us. They are both thoroughly nice people despite Martin being a Bristol City fan, don’t be too harsh on him, we all have our faults.
Mandy fell in love with Jellyrolls last time they were in WDW, so we plan to have a sing along evening there.

What are we doing?

Well, contrary to popular belief we do not take all our holidays in WDW. In fact we haven’t spent two weeks on-site since 2000. I know, I know, it amazed me as well – must try harder.
This year we are attempting to have a ‘take it as it comes’ vacation. No specific park days are planned; in fact the planning spreadsheet is bare except for details of which park has Extra Magic Hours.
The only things set are ADR’s for restaurants. These include The Wave, Blue Zoo and Narcoossee’s. Most other dining will be off the cuff, although we are hoping to try a couple of off-site restaurants, probably the Orlando Ale House and Bahama Breeze. We are definitely going for the ‘do as you please’ approach with as little rushing around as possible. Whether we will succeed in curtailing our natural instinct to pack in as much as possible into every day remains to be seen.
A water park is on the cards at some point so I can do my David Hasselhoff impression. Not the Hoff from bygone Baywatch years, but the more recent sad old drunk. I have the credentials.

Where are we staying:

First port of call will be the Hilton at Gatwick airport on Friday 22nd May thanks to a cracking sale rate of £67 per room including breakfast.
We are flying into Tampa with BA as Airmiles helped to reduce the cost considerably. From here we will pick up a car and drive to WDW. Originally we were going to have the car for the full two weeks, but in the end we decided it was just not worth the extra £300 to have it sat in the parking lot most of the time. I’ll be dropping the car off at the Dolphin as our first 3 nights are going to be spent at the Swan thanks to a great rate through the DIS.
Our next 11 nights are on DVC staying at the Boardwalk. We will have two studios. Tam, the girls and me are in one, Susan and Grandma in the other.

So the aim of this holiday will be to have a relaxing, fun, action packed, laid back, exciting time with perfect weather, great company and perhaps just a small sampling of alcohol. Not too much to ask is it?

Finally a mention of Deb and Matt, friends who would be joining us if it were not for these trying financial times we find ourselves in. We’ll miss you and will be raising a glass to you on more than one occasion.

Right I’m off to have a beer with Eldred and discuss the next pixie construction project. See you in two weeks.

Kev

SusanEllen
05-18-2009, 03:39 PM
PS (Susan here) I will be staying the first three nights at the Yacht Club. My Annual Pass doesn't entitle me to a discount at the non-Disney Swan, but it does at YC. As I think it's likely that I'll always book my old favorite Wilderness Lodge on any trip I'm planning, this seemed like the perfect chance with a good reason to try a place I've never stayed before and be close to the rest of the group--just a Friendship boat ride away.

PPS I appreciate your sensitivity in not mentioning my age, Kevin, but I really don't mind that people know I'm 37.

irongirlof12
05-18-2009, 03:53 PM
as usual off to a fab start.

p.s. can you tell Eldred that the pixie girls really do need the same hair paraphenalia as the 'human' ones :goodvibes as i am sure you will appreicate with so many female companions , last time i spoke to him he wasn't convinced.

hi- ho hi -ho, it's off to pack the ghd's we go!

Pugsly
05-18-2009, 06:06 PM
PS (from Sharon). We are equally as excited to get this holiday started.

Evan doesn't know (unless one of the Stringer clan has alerted him to this whilst on Facebook), but we are staying at the Poly - a treat to celebrate his 21st birthday. Speaking of which, the boy has put away some of his own cash - not for souvenirs mind you - but so that he can keep up with Kev in the adult beverage department. Hmmm ... college student vs. beer master? Sounds like an interesting challenge.

In all seriousness, Evan and I were talking today about said holiday and absolutely cannot wait to see everyone! It is merely the fact that we will be together that will make this a wonderful trip - toss in that we're meeting at WDW and life is certainly good!

Safe travels Stringers and Susan. We'll see you real soon!

Cyrano
05-18-2009, 06:28 PM
As always a great pre-trippie to the start of the Stringers adventures :goodvibes

50 years Too!
05-18-2009, 10:33 PM
Kevin,

I can't believe it! A Stringer report. It's been so long.
Are you really in your 50's now? How did that happen?
I haaven't been on the DIS for so long, because all the old storytellers are gone.
No Zub, no Buzz, well you get the point.
So glad you're back!

Deb

natalielongstaff
05-19-2009, 07:50 AM
yay another stringer trippie, have a great time in China and indeed Florida :thumbsup2

wicket2005
05-19-2009, 10:50 AM
A lovely start and looking forward to reading more. Safe journey to all of you.:goodvibes

Chilly
05-19-2009, 11:13 AM
Great pre trip report, have a fab holiday.

tony64
05-19-2009, 11:17 AM
YES :goodvibes I'm as excited about getting to read another stringer trip report as you are about going on it Kev. :thumbsup2

PS I don't suppose your Mum and Susan would be interesting in taking along a toy boy. ;)

Kevin Stringer
05-19-2009, 11:19 AM
Kevin,

I can't believe it! A Stringer report. It's been so long.
Are you really in your 50's now? How did that happen?

Deb

No Deb, I'm actually only 32, I just tell people I'm older in order to appear wiser. I'm not fully convinced it's working. ;)

Kev

UKDEB
05-19-2009, 12:26 PM
Well, the nerve of it all! Not a thought of us as you reel off friend after friend who'll be joining you on this magical trip. Then, as if that isn't enough, you pile on the misery by listing all the wonderful memories you'll be making and, to really rub salt in the wound, you taunt us with "This year we are attempting to have a ‘take it as it comes’ vacation" and "We are definitely going for the ‘do as you please’ approach with as little rushing around as possible". Now, listen up, Sargeant Major Stringer; going without us is one thing, but hijacking our holiday style is a step too far!

Not to worry, though, because I've had a word with the evil pixie prince, Edgar, half-blood brother of Eldred, King of the Pixies. It just so happens that he and his goblin army are taking a sabbatical from their attempts to overthrow the King and capture all of Avalon. They've packed their shorts and Mickey ears and, by pure chance, are Orlando-bound this Saturday. I predict some beastly perils befalling a certain K Stinger Esq and his cronies. Edgar was most co-operative. The suitcase switch will result in the party being forced to sport the wardrobe of Timmy Mallet for the entire trip. A convention of female Bavarian body-builders may just happen to be hosting their post work-out celebration at Narcoossee's on a "certain" night. Maybe Jellyrolls will run dry...

Seriously, we're incredibly touched to get a mention in dispatches and, needless to say, are hoping you all have truly marvellous time. I know it'll be hard for you at times without us there, but I don't doubt you're up to the task. :teeth:

Kevin Stringer
05-19-2009, 03:58 PM
Now, listen up, Sargeant Major Stringer; going without us is one thing, but hijacking our holiday style is a step too far!


I rather fancy that your idea of laid back and ours might be somewhat different, even with an 83 year old mother in tow! :rotfl2:

I also have to inform you that you have underestimated Edgar's mercenary streak. Having heard of your cunning plan, I made a counter offer to him that included a thimblefull of mead and a years subscription to Hot Pixie Babes.
You may think those are mole hills in your garden .........

Kev

Kevin Stringer
05-19-2009, 04:00 PM
PS I don't suppose your Mum and Susan would be interesting in taking along a toy boy. ;)

They might be Tonester, have you got a younger brother then? :rotfl:

Kev

buzz for boys
05-19-2009, 04:06 PM
Have a fab time cant wait to read more x x x

SusanEllen
05-19-2009, 04:12 PM
Tony,
For my part I'd say come if you can get Theresa to agree, but let me get back to you after I've had a talk with Dorothy. Once I explain to her about cowboys I can't imagine she'd turn down your offer.

Debbie,
What goes around comes around and payback is H-E-double hockey sticks! You clobbered us with that "Sans Friends" trip and report, so it's our turn now--though I'd rather have you and Matt with us than taunt you.

Miffy2003
05-19-2009, 04:35 PM
Have a wonderful trip guys :yay:

Susan, I am sure you will love the Yacht Club as much as "home" :)


We enjoyed a very nice lunch at the Wave a month ago. It was a bit early in the day to partake of a tasty alcoholic beverage but the cocktail menu looked lovely!

Have fun!

suzycute
05-19-2009, 05:14 PM
A great start to your next trippie - had me laughing all the way through - I love your writing style! Really looking forward to reading your very British trip report on your return! :thumbsup2

Tiki Girl
05-19-2009, 05:23 PM
Hi Kevin, you and your family don't know me, but I am Susan's niece (also a Disney fanatic!), Sheri. I live in Dallas, Texas and for a few years now, Susan has been filling me in on all the wonderful things you all do together on your Disney trips. She has forwarded me your links before and after talking to her and reading your latest pre-trip report, I decided I was actually going to register on the boards and tell you how much I enjoy hearing about your family's experiences. I hope you all have a ton of fun and can't wait to read your report, as well as pump Susan for all the details! My son is off to college in the fall so we don't have a WDW trip planned right now, but hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will have something to report, too!

Cinderella
05-19-2009, 08:06 PM
Have an awesome time Kevin - I'm really looking forward to reading your trip report. We're leaning towards a California trip for next year and your report has been v helpful - thank you.

UKDEB
05-20-2009, 02:37 AM
Welcome to the boards, Tiki Girl. Any friend (or relative ;)) of Susan's is a friend of ours. So pleased you took the time to register here. :goodvibes

fizz13
05-20-2009, 03:26 AM
Well what a great start to the day to find a Stringer pre-trippie to read:goodvibes And the quality as always is superb. Will be eagerly waiting for more.

Kevin Stringer
05-20-2009, 03:38 AM
Hi Kevin, you and your family don't know me, but I am Susan's niece (also a Disney fanatic!), Sheri. I live in Dallas, Texas and for a few years now, Susan has been filling me in on all the wonderful things you all do together on your Disney trips. She has forwarded me your links before and after talking to her and reading your latest pre-trip report, I decided I was actually going to register on the boards and tell you how much I enjoy hearing about your family's experiences. I hope you all have a ton of fun and can't wait to read your report, as well as pump Susan for all the details! My son is off to college in the fall so we don't have a WDW trip planned right now, but hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will have something to report, too!

Hi Sheri

Welcome to the DIS Boards. Thanks for the good wishes, I'm sure we'll have a great time, as long as we can keep Susan on the straight and narrow. :lmao:

Kev

UKDEB
05-20-2009, 08:16 AM
as long as we can keep Susan on the straight and narrow
I hope you've invested in a pair of stabilisers for her. You know what she's like. ;)

mandymouse
05-20-2009, 12:09 PM
A great pre-trippy Kev. I hope you all have a fab time, and I look forward to your usual entertaining trip report when you get back :)

Tillybud
05-20-2009, 03:43 PM
what a great read, I love it :goodvibes can't wait to read some more, your trip sounds fab !!!

Tiki Girl
05-20-2009, 03:58 PM
Welcome to the boards, Tiki Girl. Any friend (or relative ;)) of Susan's is a friend of ours. So pleased you took the time to register here. :goodvibes

Thank you for the warm welcome! I feel like I already know all of you because of Susan's wonderful stories (don't worry, she left out the embasrrassing details - well, not all of them...!) And as you and Kevin have commented on Susan's "wild ways", I am certain all the stories are true!;)

raph_b
05-21-2009, 03:41 AM
Sounds like a great trip and an even better cast!

With such a star studded cast if this trip was a film it would be a shoe in for an Oscar!

Can't wait to hear all about it :)

squitty
05-21-2009, 03:53 AM
Hi Kev

Nice to see another Stringer report on the go;)

We are out there in a few weeks, might bump into you. I know you will not have changed a bit since the last time we seen you;)

SusanEllen
05-21-2009, 07:44 AM
Sounds like a great trip and an even better cast!

With such a star studded cast if this trip was a film it would be a shoe in for an Oscar!

Can't wait to hear all about it :)

Now that I think about it, our "cast" reminds me of a movie, too, but not sure it was an award winner. Did National Lampoon Vacation win any Oscars?!!

Tammy Stringer
05-21-2009, 07:45 AM
Hi Kev

Nice to see another Stringer report on the go;)

We are out there in a few weeks, might bump into you. I know you will not have changed a bit since the last time we seen you;)


Hi Michelle - we will certainly look out for you. If we don't see you hope you have a wonderful time

Tammy

CustardTart
05-21-2009, 08:17 AM
OK, this seems to be the story so far:

Kev; China; Eldred, the King of the Pixies; Ginger Margarita (she sounds fun!); a hamster and 5 pints of raspberry jelly; Tam; India; Georgia; Tasar; Dorothy; Toto (aka attack dog); SusanfromTulsa; Sharon; Evan; Rob; Rob's wife; Rob's daughter; Mandy; Martin; David Hasselhoff and his dolphin are going to be riding around on a giant swan tasting alcohol whilst kicking back and overseeing the next big action-packed pixie construction project in WDW...

Now that's what I call a TRIP, dudes!!! :rolleyes1

Have a wonderful time, Stringers and all the Stringerfellows... :goodvibes

Pugsly
05-21-2009, 01:24 PM
Now that I think about it, our "cast" reminds me of a movie, too, but not sure it was an award winner. Did National Lampoon Vacation win any Oscars?!!

Must start looking for my gown (to wear on the red carpet).

See you soon, Susan.

Pugsly
05-21-2009, 01:25 PM
OK, this seems to be the story so far:

Kev; China; Eldred, the King of the Pixies; Ginger Margarita (she sounds fun!); a hamster and 5 pints of raspberry jelly; Tam; India; Georgia; Tasar; Dorothy; Toto (aka attack dog); SusanfromTulsa; Sharon; Evan; Rob; Rob's wife; Rob's daughter; Mandy; Martin; David Hasselhoff and his dolphin are going to be riding around on a giant swan tasting alcohol whilst kicking back and overseeing the next big action-packed pixie construction project in WDW...

Now that's what I call a TRIP, dudes!!! :rolleyes1

Have a wonderful time, Stringers and all the Stringerfellows... :goodvibes

:rotfl2::lmao::rotfl2:

thelittlemermaid83
05-21-2009, 02:29 PM
Looking forward to reading more, sounds like you guys are gonna have a blast :)

saratogagirl
05-21-2009, 04:25 PM
have a wonderful, wonderful time, kiss de mouse for me xxx

Kevin Stringer
05-22-2009, 05:23 AM
OK, this seems to be the story so far:

Kev; China; Eldred, the King of the Pixies; Ginger Margarita (she sounds fun!); a hamster and 5 pints of raspberry jelly; Tam; India; Georgia; Tasar; Dorothy; Toto (aka attack dog); SusanfromTulsa; Sharon; Evan; Rob; Rob's wife; Rob's daughter; Mandy; Martin; David Hasselhoff and his dolphin are going to be riding around on a giant swan tasting alcohol whilst kicking back and overseeing the next big action-packed pixie construction project in WDW...


Just an everyday story of everyday folk really. I wouldn't be surprised to see this storyline picked up by Coronation Street. :thumbsup2

Kev

Goofyish
05-22-2009, 07:17 AM
Just an everyday story of everyday folk really. I wouldn't be surprised to see this storyline picked up by Coronation Street. :thumbsup2

Kev

Good idead. I can just see Les Battersby taking on your part Kev :)

jtlover
05-24-2009, 03:01 PM
Hope you have a great holiday. Cant wait to read the trip report - I need a laugh as your reports are always funny:rotfl2:

mfoz1
06-04-2009, 06:27 AM
PS (Susan here) I will be staying the first three nights at the Yacht Club. My Annual Pass doesn't entitle me to a discount at the non-Disney Swan, but it does at YC. As I think it's likely that I'll always book my old favorite Wilderness Lodge on any trip I'm planning, this seemed like the perfect chance with a good reason to try a place I've never stayed before and be close to the rest of the group--just a Friendship boat ride away.

PPS I appreciate your sensitivity in not mentioning my age, Kevin, but I really don't mind that people know I'm 37.

We booked a last minute quickie using our Virgin Miles (about time) for early July so we will miss you by a week or so. Would have loved to have bought you a drink just to say thank you for your kind words about our trip report to California last summer. Although we are staying in Orlando we don't plan to do anything Disney except for maybe a day at Typhoon Lagoon. All of the kids are coming with us this time so there should be a lot of tension... I mean FUN. Only 34 days to go, can't wait... :yay:

TotallyAngelic
06-05-2009, 09:54 AM
WOW - what an amazing start - really funny! I love the way you describe things! Looking forward to your trippie!

Lizzybear
06-13-2009, 05:01 PM
OK I read 1-5 last night but didn't comment so am doing so now, loving your writing style :)