|11-29-2004, 04:02 PM||#1|
WARNING! DHL men should be cautious of women in dressing gowns!
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Essex, England
Allie5 Very Merry Christmas Part 1 -PRE TRIP Report
Right then you unlucky people, Ive decided to darken the Trip Reports Board with an ickle Pre Trip report. We have approx 8 days till our 2004 trip to see Da Mouse and Im a crumbling wreck. Some of you may know that I am not a good flyer, so I need a distraction and this is it! This is my first EVER Pre Trip Report so Im not quite sure how much detail to put in. Nothing on the telly, so it could go on a bit! Although I will come up with a catchy title or theme to my main Trippie (expected Jan 05 ) I dont want to tempt fate and call this "Allie's Christmas Cracker" (or similar) in case the trip has to become "The one where the kids got chicken pox the day of the flight" or "The one where the plane crashed" (told ya I wasnt keen on the flying thing :D). Hence, the simple and to the point header above. Now edited as we are back and nothing disasterous happened, so we have a jolly header!
Cast Of Characters
Me, Allie. 37. Planning Guru. Professional Shopper, Keeper Of The Priority Seating schedule, Holder of the E-Tickets, has been known to knock back Virgin's entire supply of mini Southern Comfort bottles BEFORE take off due to flying nerves.
DH, Neil, 31. Guardian Of the Dollars (Well he likes to think so :D), Rider of Scary Rides, would claim the "Most Likely to Finish The Kitchen Sink At Beaches n Cream" award, if there were such a thing. Does not believe in packing long trousers on trips to Florida. Even with "Below Seasonal Average Temps" forecast.
DD, Jessamy, 4. Rather partial to anything to do with Peter Pan. Cooling off on the Princess thing, but has decided to bestow the Princessess with her presence at the Castle once more this year. However, the Fairy Godmother is still (apparently), Evil personified and WILL NOT be visited for the 3rd year running for autographs. Not keen on rides that are dark. Will eat anything that comes "with fries" and isnt green.
DS, Daniel-Noah, 2. Character Crazy. Will stand and smile obligingly with anything donning a costume (including Fairy Godmother). Not keen on rides, but enjoys parades (with characters), meals (with characters) and shows (with characters). Known to survive the day on half a banana and 3 fries.
Allies Mum Sylvie , 66. Otherwise known as The Roving Locker, the Walmart Queen or The Baby Sitter. Can be grumpy when not taken at regular intervals to the Walmart or Michaels. Baby Sitting can be purchased cheaply with promises to be taken to said establishments. Not over keen on Theme Parks or eating out, so tends to pop up sporadically throughout the Trip Reports.
We started planning this trip back in March / April of this year. Things were uncertain as Neil had been without a work contract for over a month and the one he got was very short term. Things panned out well though and more contracts came in over the month. We have own business, so it can be hard knowing WHEN we can go away. Firstly, it seemed that late November was looking good, so I priced it all up. Then we decided that we would be getting back just 2 weeks before Christmas.....hmmmm. The sort of work we do, means that there is never anything going on over the 2 week Xmas/ New Year period, so it would make more sense to go then.
Allie quickly adorns the "Planning Hat" once more and enquiries are made. Expedia can do Virgin flights for £387 for Neil and I, Mum gets a "Seniors" discount and £347 and the kids are £269 including all the taxes. As we need tickets that are flexible (in case something comes up with the business) we think that these prices are good. There is some debate as to WHEN we should return...Jessie is due to start her very first term at school on (as I thought then), Jan 4. As nodding off into her Janet & John books on the first day MIGHT not create the best impression, we decide we need to be home well before this. None of us are really into the New Years thing, so we decide to land back home New Years Eve. This gives our future scholar a good few days to return to UK time. At the time, this seemed a peachy plan.
We had more discussions on WHERE we should stay. With Mum coming too, our options were threefold. 1. A Villa. 2. A Condo. 3. Me, Neil & the Kids at the Grand Floridian and Mum at the Days Inn. (could be split into option 3a. of Neil and I at the GF and Mum and the kids at the Days Inn).
Much as option 3a appealed immensely to certain members of the family, the only option OTHER awkward members would entertain was Option 1. I got in touch with the English owners of a Villa we had used before on Highlands Reserve. Villa was free over Christmas, so that settled it! We booked! 3 weeks at a 4 bed, pool /spa Villa over Xmas.
Imagine Industrial Light & Magic inserting a clever special effect here, of calendar pages turning speedily as Spring became Summer and the Golden, halcyon days of August were now upon us (well, actually it chucked it down in Basildon for most of August, but it ruins the ambience somewhat). Tickets went on sale for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! Hoorah! A trigger for debate, more intense than Middle East peace talks ensued as to WHICH date (or dates) to pick???? After much pondering, the date of Tuesday December 14th was picked. Those thouroughly nice blokes at Disney World phoned and within 4 days, 4 shiny tickets arrive for the PART-AAAYY! Also, a Very Merry Dinner was booked for the Liberty Tree Tavern for the hours before the Party was to start.
It was around now, after a fair bit of Disney Planning had already been done, that the Planner In Chief (me, incase you had forgotten) began to see far too many gleeful posts containing the words "NEW YEARS" and all the wonderful things that WDW had planned for New Years Eve. I started to get a bit wistful and felt it might be an anti climax to come home before NY. Also, DDs school had happily informed me that she wasnt due in on the 4th or the 5th (staff training day :whistle: ) but the SIXTH of Jan...a whole week after we get back! So, luckily I had flexible tickets, but not so luckily I have quite an inflexible husband, who took a teensy eensy bit of persuading before coming round to the idea himself :D . However, persuaded he was and I called Expedia to change the flight home to the 2nd or 3rd of Jan. I wasnt really prepared for the news that all the flights on those dates were full :sorry: . Not one to take defeat easily I enquired about coming back from Miami (full). I was told to call every week to see if there were cancellations. With just 8 days to go now, there have been no cancellations, but Im still trying :thumbs: . We might get lucky, we might not, but we will make sure we enjoy the time we have.
As August became September, the 90 day mark approached and WDW-DINE was programmed into Re Dial on the phone. Early PSs were done without a hitch. The Holy Grail of Disney Dining needed to be obtained on Sept 26....Cinderellas Royal Table breakfast for Christmas Day. Everyone was dubious about this. No one thought I would get it. When the day arrived, I had Neil, Jessie & Mum standing behind me in the Office as I made THE CALL. Atomic clock on the screen, fingers exercised to stab redial (45 times in 7 minutes according to the bill when it arrived :lol: ) and little speech written out to shout at the CM. Got connected at 7.00am and 1 second EST. Got put on hold for 10 minutes...after 4 mins Mum left the room and shook her head sadly, after 6 mins, Jessie patted my arm and left, after 8 mins Neil said "hang up, you wont get it now". Got through to a CM at 7:10 and somewhat half heartedly asked for a Cindys....how gobsmacked was I when she gave me a choice of times!!! So, we get our CRT for Christmas Day...8:15am! Cant help but feeling super smug at this and become "Parent Of The Year" for about 20 minutes that day!
Here is our PS list for the trip.
Dec 10th. Crystal Palace, Breakfast
Dec 10th. Boma, Dinner (just Neil and I)
Dec 14th. Liberty Tree Tavern Dinner followed by MVMCP
Dec 15th. Wishes Cruise followed by Ohana, Dinner
Dec 16th. Whispering Canyon Cafe, Dinner
Dec. 19th Rose & Crown lunch (pending..are you reading this Karen!! )
Dec 23rd. Le Cellier (just Neil & I) Dinner
Dec 24th. 1900 Park Fare, Dinner
Dec 25th. CRT, breakfast, California Grill, Dinner
Dec 26th. Hollywood & Vine, Dinner
Dec 29th. Chef Mickeys, Dinner
Other booked events...MVMCP, Sleigh Ride, Neil is doing the Segway Tour at Epcot on the 19th, Wishes Cruise, Candlelight Processional Dinner Package, Fantasmic Dinner Package (H&V).
The only other dilemma was Christmas Day dinner, which was originally going to be the Yachtsmans Steakhouse, but I changed it to the California Grill a few weeks back. Still not sure if this was a good choice or not. Will find out on Christmas Day! As long as Neil gets to nibble on a bit of turkey and the kids dont have sprouts on their plates, then Im sure it will all go swimmingly!
Other useless info. We have decided to do Virgin's Twilight Check In (or, as is usually the case with me and a member of Virgin's staff) will be stared at icily, tickets will be snatched, baggage will be looked at suspiciously, reserved seats will not be available and surly check in person will then (without seeing the irony) bid me to "Have a good flight"...well I might as long as YOU arent on board you miserable wench (is always what I think, but not say ).
Due to the fact we are taking our own car seats, it became obvious that we then couldnt drive home afterwards....ooops. Used up some Air Miles that have been languishing in my account since around 1984 and booked 2 rooms at Le Meridien. Managed to secure two interconnecting ones so Mum can baby sit with ease, whilst Neil and I have a little preflight "medicine" . We are hoping to meet up with Miffy2003 and family at some point tonight as they are also on the same flight as us.
Car Hire: Booked through US Car Hire, 3xweeks in a Grand Cherokee for £531 fully inc.
Tickets: APs for Neil, myself and Jessie. Daniel is at that great age (he is FREE) and Mum has a Fun In The Sun Pass. We are intending to buy the APs at the Disney "EarPort" store at Orlando Airport. It is possible we will buy Flex Tickets as well, though we arent deciding that till we arrive. The only non Disney Park we are DEFINATELY doing is Sea World. Jessie is dead keen to do Islands Of Adventure, so we will see.
Well, I feel I have bored you enough with these useless facts and you have around 5 weeks before the pain really begins, with the ACTUAL trip reports!
Its around now, that I think of all the things that could go wrong with the holiday...from the mind crushingly stupid (London has 8 feet of snow and no planes are able to fly for a week) to the "well, it MIGHT happen"...(one of us contracts a nasty disease) to the quite possible (I lose the passports, Virgin lose my booking, I go completely mental and cant board the plane ). My holiday does not start until the wheels of the plane touch down in Orlando. You will be able to hear my sigh of relief from whatever part of the world you reside in!
Fare thee well those left behind in dearest Blighty this Christmas. I will bring back tales of Mice and Men on my return.
Nov 29th 2004
Last edited by allie5; 01-06-2005 at 05:52 AM.
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