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-   -   Our Spectacular FIRST Disney Vacation! August 2011 UK TR- OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY Mini TR (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2787784)

meggiebeth 08-26-2011 01:28 PM

Our Spectacular FIRST Disney Vacation! August 2011 UK TR- OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY Mini TR
 
Hello there!
Well, I'm kind of new to the DISboards, but I have been looking at it for a long time. After just returning from our trip in August, I thought I might try to write a trip report. I love writing and this might be a fun thing to do for me. :thumbsup2

Our trip: 11th August- 25th August


Why did we have this trip? Well, we all had a pretty hard year I guess. I had always wanted to go to America, Orlando specifically, and finally convinced my parents to look into it. We thought it would be a once in a lifetime vacation- we thought wrong! :lmao: We want to return as soon as possible. We are from the UK though, and this significantly bumps up the cost. We found flights in August (after much searching!) for $5232 for all of us. We had to fly into Miami, because flights to Orlando were about $1500 more expensive. That seems like a lot to us. As long as airfare prices stay fairly reasonable, we hope to be returning soon. :cool1:

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...11_00_0491.jpg

Now I'll introduce us, left to right. This was our day at Discovery Cove (Which was really amazing :goodvibes )

Me (Megan)- that's the thing- I'm fourteen years old! I planned most of the trip and have found my favourite place in the world since being there. :goodvibes I really like Disney, I just think it's magical. I know I might seem young but I thought I might give this a try. ;) I love planning holidays and WDW is a holiday that you just have to plan! I really enjoyed planning it. :goodvibes

My mother Tracey- Mum doesn't really particularly like Disney, but she doesn't dislike it. She helped me plan some of the trip too. I think she was most excited about the food we were going to eat on the Deluxe Dining Plan.

Rory (6)- Rory's my brother and he really likes Disney. He enjoyed the trip a lot and loved meeting all of the characters. His favourites are Stitch, Pluto, Goofy and Mulan I believe. Because he has two older siblings (one of who'm persuades him that Disney is lame) he has probably grown up more quickly than me and my other brother... which I think is a little sad.

William (12)- William is my other brother and he believes that Disney is tacky and babyish... unlike the rest of us! :rotfl: He stayed back at the hotel a couple of times during our stay- I don't think he enjoyed Disney quite as much as the rest of us. Not to say he didn't enjoy it though! ;)

My father Will- Before we left for WDW, it was very obvious that dad was skeptical about the concept of a Disney World vacation. He absolutely loved it though, and wants to return as soon as we can afford it again! :cheer2: That really surprised me. :laughing:

Okay then- I guess I'll try to start. Thanks for reading! :)

Zarabear 08-26-2011 01:38 PM

First in to subscribe! Great picture and I can't wait to read your report. :)

~Zara

meggiebeth 08-26-2011 01:52 PM

Day One- Travel Day
 
Right- here we go! We woke up at about 5am in order to drive to London Heathrow Airport in time for our flight. We had to leave our lovely dog, Oscar, behind. Our cousins were coming to look after him while we were gone.
We parked our car and got a bus to terminal 3. Seeing as we had checked in online, we didn't have to join the regular queue (which was very long) and we could just walk through virtually, and check in our luggage with no wait at all.
When the time came for our flight, we hopped on the plane and checked out our seats. They were alright for economy. We had to walk through business class to reach our seats which was a little depressing. But IMHO, business class is very expensive for what it is, and unless you have money to waste, I just couldn't justify spending that much... especially if you are a family of five like us. ;)
I don't think we will fly American Airlines again if I'm being honest. :confused3 The aeroplane was quite old and run down, my entertainment system would not work properly and nor would my mums.
Is it just me or are the cabin crew not as smart as other airlines in the UK? The flight to Florida, they weren't even wearing a uniform for some reason, is this normal? However, on the flight back to the UK, they were a lot smarter. The return flight was a lot easier than the outbound, even though it was overnight.
The food was pretty awful, even for airline food. We had some sort of pasta, which was really not great. I don't really get why they try to give you more... fancy and complicated dinners... when it's only an aeroplane. Do you know what I mean? We had another meal just before we landed, pizza, which was simple but filling and such a relief after lunch. I was surprised that they don't have a selection of food that you can buy, I guess maybe longhaul isn't like that. The cabin crew certainly didn't seem surprised when they saw how many people hadn't eaten! :rotfl2:
We arrived in Miami around 2pm EST, 7pm GMT. We were very tired and had a long drive ahead of us. I was really surprised that things in the airport (and at WDW) were in Spanish too. It was really great to be on holiday in a place that spoke English, so we didn't have to speak French, Italian, Dutch, German, or whatever we would have to in Europe. :thumbsup2
We arrived at our first hotel at about 8pm EST, which was amazing. Coming up, what we thought of Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, and after that... photos! :dance3: Thanks for reading! :yay:

meggiebeth 08-26-2011 01:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zarabear (Post 42399730)
First in to subscribe! Great picture and I can't wait to read your report. :)

~Zara

Thanks for joining in! My first subscriber! Yay! :cheer2:

meggiebeth 08-27-2011 11:28 AM

Arriving at Saratoga Springs
 
At around 8:30pm (1am British time though- we were pretty exhausted! :upsidedow ) we finally reached WDW. We headed to Downtown Disney Resort Area, seeing as we knew this was where SSR was. My parents were worried about whether we'd get lost, but we found it no bother in the end. Disney sign-posts the roads really well! :thumbsup2
Saratoga Springs is a really beautiful resort, and it took our breath when we drove through it that first time. Lights lit up the buildings and the lake was stunning in the dark. It looks really smart. We found the Carriage House Check-in and the lobby is beautiful too! Rory, who was sound asleep when we arrived, awoke and caught sight of the gift shop. The next thing you knew, he was bouncing with energy and in seventh heaven as he caught sight of all the Disney merchandise.
Before we left for WDW, Rory was very much anti-Disney (partly because of the reluctance of his brother towards it) and wanted nothing to do with it. I got him sat down and watching some Disney movies, and ever since then, he really likes it! He really likes Mulan and Stitch, and found the Three Musketeers movie with Mickey, Donald and Goofy hilarious! It's great to have another family member interested in Disney, seeing as before the holiday, William, my mum and my dad had no interest in it at all. Funny how a two week holiday can change you! :laughing:
Me and Rory were reluctantly dragged out of the gift shop, and we went to find our room. We got a room in the Springs, which we were pleased about, as we had requested this. We were very close to the pool and restaurants.
I was a little nervous about what our villa would look like, seeing as a lot of reviews on Trip Advisor had said they were very aged and worn. However, our room was awesome! Clean, great decor, and not worn at all! :banana: It was great to have so much space. It would've been great to have a three bedroom villa, but they were so expensive that we settled for the two bedroom. It was loads of space and we were thrilled with our hotel, room, and... well... just everything! :woohoo:
I took some good pictures before all our luggage and stuff was unpacked, but my dear, lovely brother William decided to delete them. Actually, he deleted the first 100 pics from the vacation. :sad2:
I did take some more on the last day of our SSR stay, but we were in a rush getting to MK for an ADR, so I didn't get a photo of everything and the quality isn't as good. :confused3
Btw, I had seen many photographs of SSR before we actually saw it for ourselves, and I have to say, none of the photos give it justice! It is a beautiful resort, and I guess you just can't capture the full extent of how nice it was in a picture. (Same for the other Disney resorts we visited for meals) :yay:

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...6/IMG_6106.jpg

This was the vanity area in bedroom two. Me, Willum and Rory loved it. Well... maybe just me. ;) It was great to have that extra space.

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...6/IMG_6105.jpg

This was, again, bedroom two. Sorry that the beds aren't made, we were in a massive rush! We aren't morning people either. :rotfl:

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...6/IMG_6104.jpg

This was the table adjacent to the kitchen. It was really handy to keep all our essentials for the parks on. We never ate on it though, seeing as we were on the DDP.

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...6/IMG_6103.jpg

Ermmm, bad photo of half the television and seating by the kitchen. The T.V was awesome, we loved watching it after an exhausting day in the theme parks. The kitchen was really handy to have, for making drinks and things like chocolate milk.

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...6/IMG_6102.jpg

The sofa and coffee table. :thumbsup2

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...6/IMG_6101.jpg

Bedroom one. Sorry again about the unmade bed. ;) We loved this room. I wish I had it! We spent a lot of time in the bathroom next door- the jacuzzi was a great touch. :love:

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...6/IMG_6099.jpg

The bathroom. It was really nice, spacious, and I've already mentioned the jacuzzi! We really liked the layout... and how there was a door seperating the actual toilet to the bath and sink.

http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/...6/IMG_6107.jpg

The table and mirror you see in the foyer of the villa. It was nice to put things on here ready to leave.

So- what did we think overall of Saratoga Springs? Here are our ratings-
Exterior Appearance- 9-10/10
Interior Appearance- 9/10
Our Villa- 8/10
Counter Service Restaurant- 7/10
Value- 8/10 (We had a 45% off deal, and in addition to this got a free Dining Plan, which we later upgraded to Deluxe) :thumbsup2
Atmosphere- 9/10
OVERALL- 9/10

The atmosphere was lovely. The pool at night was full of it. Our second hotel had absolutely no atmosphere whatsoever, and we spent the whole time missing SSR. (Minus William, who was loving having his own room ;) )

That's it for now! Next up, our awesome day at Epcot, our first Disney Park ever! Thanks so much for reading! :upsidedow

saintstickets 08-27-2011 12:58 PM

Great start to your TR. Are you sure you're only 14? :thumbsup2 I'm looking forward to the rest, especially your day at Discovery Cove since we will travel there next May. Can't wait for your next post.

dismagiclover 08-27-2011 01:51 PM

Great start! I love hearing about first trips!

meggiebeth 08-27-2011 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by saintstickets (Post 42410060)
Great start to your TR. Are you sure you're only 14? :thumbsup2 I'm looking forward to the rest, especially your day at Discovery Cove since we will travel there next May. Can't wait for your next post.

Haha thankyou! I am fourteen ;) Unfortunately, my parents hate planning holidays, they like going with the flow, which means to me you don't get as much out of your holiday. So I plan- I just love it! :thumbsup2
Discovery Cove is really good. Are you doing the dolphin swim? All my family would say it isn't worth it unless you include this. It was just really amazing. We spent about $1500 for our family's tickets, and I would love to do it again, however, my father thought it was a little too expensive. Make sure you wear wetsuits, the water is freezing, both in the Grand Reef and the Dolphin Lagoon! :rotfl:

jelloarms 08-27-2011 03:31 PM

Does anyone actually make the beds while on vacation? I always thought that was the housekeepers job.

meggiebeth 08-27-2011 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dismagiclover (Post 42410528)
Great start! I love hearing about first trips!

Thankyou for joining in! Our first trip was magical ;)

meggiebeth 08-27-2011 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jelloarms (Post 42411615)
Does anyone actually make the beds while on vacation? I always thought that was the housekeepers job.

Haha, yep, we could never be bothered to make our beds, it was great to come back from the parks to have everything cleaned, the beds made, etc. We are messy people! ;)

saintstickets 08-27-2011 06:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by saintstickets
Great start to your TR. Are you sure you're only 14? I'm looking forward to the rest, especially your day at Discovery Cove since we will travel there next May. Can't wait for your next post.

Quote:

Originally Posted by meggiebeth (Post 42411607)
Haha thankyou! I am fourteen ;) Unfortunately, my parents hate planning holidays, they like going with the flow, which means to me you don't get as much out of your holiday. So I plan- I just love it! :thumbsup2
Discovery Cove is really good. Are you doing the dolphin swim? All my family would say it isn't worth it unless you include this. It was just really amazing. We spent about $1500 for our family's tickets, and I would love to do it again, however, my father thought it was a little too expensive. Make sure you wear wetsuits, the water is freezing, both in the Grand Reef and the Dolphin Lagoon! :rotfl:

Yes, we will do the dolphin swim. DD has wanted to do something like that since she was your age. We are all really looking forward to it. Keep the TR posts coming!

Microcell 08-27-2011 09:05 PM

Great trip report! There is only one hour difference between Missouri and Florida and we are usually quite jetlagged, I cannot imagine 6 hours (isn't it?)!

Tuning in for more spectacular vacation reporting!

ZFamily5 08-27-2011 10:56 PM

I'm in! I'm 14 too! Can't wait to read more! I have a TR too if you want to come check it out. Link is at the bottom...

RDP 08-28-2011 05:30 AM

Great TR so far, we stayed at SSR in a 1 bed last year and loved it, looking forward to the rest of the report.


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