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Old 05-20-2007, 04:17 AM   #1
Howard412
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Howard412's Very Delayed Trip Report

I was posting my Trip report from January/Feb '07 on the forums over at Sorcerer Radio when I remembered all the great trippies I had read here at the Dis that had put a big smile on my face and given me some great ideas when I was planning my trip. I thought it would be sad not to repay in kind, however late I am posting this! These are copy/pastes from my original report at the SR forums;

(Warning, this post contains alot of reading)

Well it's about time that I started my trip report! I'm hoping that by at least making a start today it will give me a kick up the backside to give it some more thought and get it finished soon!

Reading other peoples trip reports gave me some good ideas, and really put a smile on my face reading them. I hope that this does the same for you reading at home. The plus point for me is I get to re-live my holiday!

I'll use this first post to introduce myself to everyone reading this so the lurkers among you reading this don't need any explanation of who I am, my Disney history etc. I'll also use it to index future posts in this thread so people who just want to read the trip report and skip the hundreds and hundreds of encouraging posts from my adoring fans ( ) can do so.


(Chocolate pudding always puts a smile on my face)
I am Howard (currently) aged 23 and I live in leafy Warwickshire with my father. I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalitis/Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (depending on which name the "experts" are using this week) for the past 6 years 4 months (give or take a few days!). I don't work full-time because of this.

I went on this trip with my brother, 25 who pilots a desk in wide world web of IT. The smart money was on him to say "uncle" before I did while walking around the parks.

This was our 4th trip to The World - the other three had been in 1991 (I-Drive), 1994 & 1995 (C. Beach) with responsible adults. That's right; this was our first trip for TWELVE years!

The idea for the trip came about in June '06 after finding a bit of spare change down the back of the sofa. What would be the best way to burn a few weeks of horrible British winter?. Two wonderful weeks in sunny Florida of course. A few cold ciders on a summers evening at a friends wedding was all the convincing my brother needed.

Having stayed at the Caribbean Beach on two previous visits, there was little discussion over which resort to go back to! Staying off-site never even crossed our minds. Having not looked at a brochure, or consulting a travel agent,we set ourselves a budget of £1,500 to include.. well, to include everything. My first stop - the book shop! Or, Amazon really. I bought the Unofficial Guide 2006 (read it cover to cover in just over a day) and Birnbaums Official Guide (looked at the pictures). The next stop was the Virgin website to check availability and the important thing of cost. UG2006 said the last week of January/first week of February were quiet times to go, and that suited us just fine. We finally booked with JetSave (Virgin Flights, Virgin Transfers) for alittle over £872 for 14 nights (24th Jan - 7th Feb) at the Caribbean Beach. We scored a great deal for our 14 day ultimate tickets by booking with JetSave and not taking the Virgin Package - £199 each.

The next 8 months were going to pass very, very slowly....

Next time - Tuesday 23rd Jan - Travel Day #1, The Gatwick Hilton & It's A Small World After all...
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Old 05-20-2007, 04:21 AM   #2
Howard412
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January 23rd; Travel Day #1

Not much to say about today, apart from it was super super boring

Finished up my packing in the only style I know (bung it all in, shut the lid), a light lunch then off to the station to catch my National Express coach down to Gatwick to meet my brother at the Hilton (that's right, I willingly gave money to Paris Hilton's heritance :rolleyes ).

On the way down on the coach I got talking to a family from Coventry that were flying off to Hong Kong for 8 days. Once I mentioned my destination, they asked me if i was going to Disney - "yes, of course". Are you going to MGM "yes, of course" - Ahh, well when you get there, our uncle works in Keystone Clothiers, go and say Hi! Then I found the words "Well, it is a Small world after all..." slipping out of my mouth. They all laughed, but I didn't get my own joke
It turns out that they go every year, invite all their extended family and stay with their uncle for 2 weeks who acts as their own personal tour guide.

Eventually circumnavigated the M25 and the coach got to Gatwick South Terminal. Checked into the Hilton where my brother was waiting for me.


Our room at the Gatwick Hilton, shortly before we wrecked it

As good little boy scouts, we had taken a sandwiches down so sat with a cup of tea eating those and took a quick jaunt over to the airport for a recce. Found the Virgin check-in desks but wanted to find somewhere to have breakfast tomorrow (the Hilton wanted £19.99 a person for a full english!), but the best place we could find was a Cafe Nero. Scratch that idea, I can't fly on an empty belly!

Returned back to the hotel (alittle too excited for some of the "suits" sat in the lobby!) to play with my new digital camera;

(aren't we a couple of good looking chaps!)
and eventually tried to get some sleep after watching a bit of television and forcing my brother to read his copy of UG2007.

Next time - 24th January, Travel Day #2 and Shall We Build A Snowman?
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Old 05-20-2007, 04:23 AM   #3
Howard412
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January 24th; Travel Day #2

Woke up at The Hilton Gatwick about 8 o clock and flicked the TV onto Sky News to find disastrous news; SNOW! This country grinds to an absolute halt in any weather that is slightly out of the ordinary, so it was panic time. Either that, or we'll build snowmen in the car park.



Had an amazing breakfast of Belgian Buns and a cup of tea before showering and checking out at about 9.25. Quickly over to the airport expecting to find chaos at check-in from delayed flights etc, but all was eerily quite!

Obviously we were too shifty to use the self check-in machines as it kept rejecting my passport but there was noone queuing at the check-in desks so everything passed without a hitch. Again, we looked far too odd to get a free bump up to first class and neither of us fancied stumping up extra cash for the extra leg room so we settled for an aisle and a middle seat. We were reassured that the snow was not causing any delays.

Straight through the security checks - well I was. The shiftyness struck again as my brothers bag was completely emptied and he was given a thorough pat down.

We wandered upstairs and got a table in the restaurant whose name escapes me that's next to Garfunkels for a couple of cooked breakfasts. Into a few shops to buy the traveling necessity's - chocolate biscuits, books, water and Top Trumps! We settled down on a few seats for the wait.

Eventually the all-knowing tv screens displayed our gate number which as ever when I fly, is the furthest walk away.

More boring sitting around and boarding was uneventful so I'll skip straight past that.

Watched The Departed until lunch was served. Was a bit miffed though; they announced lunch would be a choice of beef, chicken & pasta or sausage & mash, but by the time they had reached us sat almost right in the middle of the plane, they only had chicken & pasta left. Oh well - into the Disney spirit watching POTC2 after lunch and caught the end of the very funny Talladega Nights. More food as tea was served. Announced was a choice of chicken salad sandwiches or cream cheese. Now I hate cheese, it is the work of the Devil, but they only had cheese left when they reached us. They even missed out our entire row which made us all look at ourselves to make sure we didn't have "TREAT POORLY" written on our foreheads. Staff weren't even that apologetic about the lack of food or missing us out. Later in the flight I wasn't feeling fantastic so pressed the call button to get some water - I waited 15mins to be told "I'm busy, get it yourself". Hmph.

The Tv's in the back of the seat infront of you are fantastic (first time I have used these), but I found the map of your progress very depressing! It displays how long you have been flying, current altitude, ground speed, and most importantly, stimated time until you land, which I promise you was going backwards just to annoy me. After thinking "wow I'm bored, we must almost be there by now!" and checking the map, I found we had only been flying for 5 hours. Another 4 to go.

Nothing could break my spirit though, even needing 3 attempts at filling in my green card correctly

We landed ahead of schedule to find that the glorious Florida weather I had seen on the internet the week before our trip had been told of our arrival and had let the rain come back.

Straight through Immigration. I think the fact my brother had been reading his UG2007 on the plane and was carrying it as we approached the desk helped. The officer simply asked "Off to Disney huh?", stamped our cards and we were in!

Collected our luggage, then gave it back to security... and then collected our luggage again.

We met our rep - or rather she met us. She spotted the JetSave tags on our bags and came up and greeted us by name! I was alittle shocked until she mentioned we were the only JetSave'rs on the flight. Cushty job if you can get it obviously! We were given directions to the Mears desk so off we trotted down the "elevator" (must start speaking the lingo now I'm in a foreign country). We found the Mears desk, and the long queue that was associated with it, with only one very stressed looking lady manning it. We spotted the Magical Express desk next to it with no queue, 7-8 helpful friendly looking people with Mickey Mouse :mickey: gloves on and I wished I had made ME Reservations. After 15mins of moving about 4 steps forwards, and being awake far too long I was getting alittle ratty, so when the Stressed Lady announced "40min wait for the next shuttle", I wasn't very impressed. A guy behind me shouted back "Does that include the wait in line??".

My brother thought I was mad when I just picked my suitcase up and walked over to the desk to see if we could catch a Magical Express bus instead of waiting, but the smile soon returned to his face when the girl I asked said "Of course!" - A few fights with the computer to find our reservation at The CBR and we were on the next coach out. Quietly cursing Mears under my breath, I noticed that Magical Express is operated by... Mears.

By this time it was all dark;

so we didn't get to see a lot - only the spot lights at MGM roaming the sky and "The Golf Ball" all lit up. The bus made 2 stops before ours, The Yacht & Beach Club and The Grand Floridian so we didn't mind!

Over to The CBR, we were the only ones left on the bus. Checked in but we weren't given our requested room in Aruba (for reasons to become clear later!), but a 2nd floor room in Martinique means a shorter walk to the food hall so no complaints from us.





Over to Old Port Royale at 9.30 after a sit down to get our souvenir mugs and our first lemonades (that Minute Maid lemonade is obviously made from crushed angel wings, it's THAT good!) of the trip before falling into bed after being awake for far far too long.

Lemonade Count; 1

Next time - 25th January, The Addiction To Buzz Lightyear Begins.
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:43 AM   #4
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Great report, looking forward to more!
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:57 AM   #5
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Great reports my gate is always the furthest away as well and i have to agree that that little plane on the screens definatly flies backwards !!
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:31 AM   #6
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Come on, you can't leave it there, where's the next instalment?
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:37 AM   #7
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Loving these Howard - thanks for sharing them with us
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:35 AM   #8
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great report and a good result with the ME
Keep the reports coming
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:56 AM   #9
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wow, I'm impressed that you are doing disney with ME - brilliant reports so far...keep going!
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:02 PM   #10
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great report cant wait to read more :-D
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Old 05-20-2007, 01:33 PM   #11
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Great reports Howard ~ Looking forward to reading more
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Old 05-20-2007, 02:59 PM   #12
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Howard,
Where in Warwickshire do you live?

Regarding the awful service and food choices on the flight, please complain to Virgin atlantic, as they need to be told to get their act together!
The more people tell them, the better chance of getting it sorted
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Old 05-20-2007, 03:43 PM   #13
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Great start - hurry and post some more. We stayed at CBR 2 years ago in Martinique..really handy for the Food Court, buses and the main pool.
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Old 05-20-2007, 04:12 PM   #14
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Great report


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Old 05-22-2007, 06:59 AM   #15
Howard412
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irongirlof12 View Post
wow, I'm impressed that you are doing disney with ME - brilliant reports so far...keep going!
It was just something I had to try out. I started walking in the gym 4-5 months before the trip to get myself ready. It also gave me something to concentrate on and a goal to work towards. In the end, the break from day-to-day life at home, the daily exercise and the sunshine (the limited amounts of it we saw!) did me the world of good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi Wan Kenobi View Post
Howard,
Where in Warwickshire do you live?

Regarding the awful service and food choices on the flight, please complain to Virgin atlantic, as they need to be told to get their act together!
The more people tell them, the better chance of getting it sorted
I'm just outside Warwick.
I wrote to Virgin. Wasn't shocked at all when I received no response!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Girlsontour View Post
Great start - hurry and post some more. We stayed at CBR 2 years ago in Martinique..really handy for the Food Court, buses and the main pool.
I'd recommend Martinique to anyone going to the CBR. I was a bit miffed at not getting our first choice in Aruba, but if I was to go back next year ( ), I'd request Martinique.
Girlsontour, I have to say a big thanks for writing your trip report; it's one of those that sticks in my mind, and is a reason I wrote mine!
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