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Old 07-26-2008, 04:28 PM   #1
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Our WDW adventures and Magical Happy Halloween Cruise: DAY 14 completed 01/10: pg 10

Our WDW adventures and "Magical" Happy Halloween Double Dip Cruise. October 2008: Pre-trip Report - 84 Days to go!

I have debated long and hard about whether to write a pre-trip report, or any trip report for that matter, as I constantly wonder who in their right minds would want to wile away their precious hours reading my endless waffle, but then I realised that having spent so many happy hours (days, and probably even weeks) reading all the wonderful trip reports posted on the DIS, I should really make the effort to reciprocate. It is possible that the endless waffle I write may ultimately be of interest and amusement to some, and may even be useful to other first time cruisers, travellers from the UK, bored individuals with too much time on their hands and insomniacs. I have myself learned so many invaluable tips and gained so much advice from reading the trip reports of others. If nothing else I can use it to create a record of my planning and preparations, not to mention my headaches, stresses and strains, trials and tribulations and total downright panics (and believe me there will be many) during the countdown to our departure date.

Before I start this endless waffle, which as I mentioned earlier some readers may find is a marvellous cure for insomnia (along the lines of “start reading this and find yourself falling asleep in seconds”), I suppose it makes sense to introduce the crazy crew who you will be sailing with and give you some details of the trip.

We are a family of 6 from Wales in the UK:

Firstly there is myself, Sarah, aged 43 (yikes), midwife, mother and total Disney nut. I love everything Disney, but have a particular obsession with Pirates of the Caribbean (both the rides and the movies). I collect Disney Pins, mainly POTC related, and I only ride indoor coasters!

The other crew members are:

DH Tony, aged 45 – extreme coaster freak, Disney addict, can eat for the UK and loves American sized portions.

Sarah and Tony

and our 4 wonderful kids:

DD 1 Taryn, aged 17 – Disney and Tim Burton addict. Loves movies, musical theatre, drama, writing and art. Loves any excuse to dress up, especially Halloween. Doesn’t do extreme rides.

DD 2 Louise, aged 17 – another Disney addict, favourite character Princess Jasmine!

DS 1 Daniel, aged 14. Self confessed computer geek and YouTube movie maker. Nintendo player and Tim Burton fan! Doesn’t like heights. Loves Disney but won’t admit it to his school mates (“MUM, please don’t play that Disney CD in the car if my mates get in!)

DS 2 Stephen, aged 18 (will be 19 ATOC) Loves extreme coasters and theme parks, and Arsenal Football Club.

Left to right as you look at this photo we have Tony (DH), Daniel (DS, now 14), Taryn (DD, now 17), Louise (DSD now 17) and Stephen (DSS, now 18)

This will be my 6th Florida trip, 4th Orlando trip and 11th Disney trip, if you include our many trips to Disneyland Paris.

So now down to the very important details re. when and where:

The Trip:

October 18th – October 25th : A wonderful 6 days in Orlando, visiting WDW.

October 25th – November 1st : "Halloween on the High Seas" Double Dip Cruise on the Disney Magic - our first Disney Cruise.

November 1st – November 3rd : Back to Orlando - shopping and relaxing before flying home.

As I write this first intallment we are exactly 84 days from our date of departure, and the excitement (and the panic) is really starting to build ......

Last edited by TotallyAngelic; 01-12-2010 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:54 PM   #2
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Your trip sounds fab! Great pics too, love that you're all wearing lanyards with pins aside from your DS2.. I take it pins aren't cool?! Only 6 years since I was that age myself but it feels like a lifetime ago, i'm not with it anymore!
Me , OH , DD age 2 , DD due September 2014
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:19 PM   #3
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I'm very happy to wile away precious hours reading your "endless waffle"!! Your initial "waffle" is great and I look forward to reading much more of it!!

PS We leave the day you arrive having done 7 nights SSR, 4 nights Wonder, 2 nights SSR. Maybe we can give you a wave at the airport!!

PPS I love your pics!!
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Old 07-27-2008, 03:03 AM   #4
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Great pics, can't wait to hear more
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:33 AM   #5
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sounds like a fab trip great pics as well !
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Lizzybear View Post
Your trip sounds fab! Great pics too, love that you're all wearing lanyards with pins aside from your DS2.. I take it pins aren't cool?! Only 6 years since I was that age myself but it feels like a lifetime ago, i'm not with it anymore!
No - wearing the lanyard wasn't at all cool for Stephen (DS 2), let alone a lanyard with pins stuck all over it! We had great fun pin trading, but I prefer to keep hold of the ones I have got! I don't know what he will be like on the cruise as we will be getting lanyards for our KTTW cards!
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:37 PM   #7
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A bit ( ok a lot .....and probably far too much) background information!

.....or the evolution of our Disney / Florida obsession

Grab some this might be a long one!

Our story begins way back in the distant mists of time, when a trip to Disneyland Paris back in 1996 with my two then very young children and my parents, initiated my love affair with Disney theme parks. I have never been anywhere with so much magical atmosphere, amazing entertainment, and something just totally wonderful which I could not put my finger on

Our story jumps forward a few years to 1999, when Tony and I were planning to get married and had reserved a couple of weeks in June for our honeymoon. Then I made the decision to go back to University and train to be a nurse, and we decided to put our wedding plans on hold for 3 years. However, in the meantime, my parents had booked to take my two children, Taryn and Daniel (then aged 8 and 5), to Disney World at the same time as we would have been going to be away on honeymoon. We still had the 2 weeks booked, so decided surreptitiously to book 2 weeks in Florida and meet them there as a surprise for the kids. I soon as I got off the plane in Florida I fell in love…with the landscape, the atmosphere, the people, everything …. That first trip we concentrated on Disney parks, and as far as I was concerned, the magic wand waved once more and I was well and truly hooked.

Unfortunately financial restraint restricted our holidays during my nurse training, and we had only managed a 2 night trip to Disneyland Paris with our 4 children in 2000 (my family had now doubled in size since meeting Tony in 1997).

This is what they looked like back then - outside Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland Paris:

Before long it was 2002, I was a qualified nurse and we began planning our wedding and honeymoon! When we started thinking about honeymoon destinations at the beginning of 2002, the only acceptable choice for this special holiday for me was Florida, but I felt guilty planning a trip to Florida without the kids, so we decided to go twice…..Orlando in April with all the kids, just as I finished my course in way of celebration, and then again, but this time to the Florida Keys, for our honeymoon in the October.

The April trip was unfortunately only for 10 days, and because we had recently been to Disneyland Paris and with limited time we thought we might just concentrate on Universal Parks with Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and Wet and Wild. This we did, and although we had a great time, I missed the Disney magic.

In 2003 I returned to University to train to be a midwife, and holidays were once again put on hold for a while. Fast forward now to 2004, and I started to think about a celebratory trip for when I finished my midwifery training in spring 2005. What better place for a celebratory trip than Florida - the lure of Disney was too much for my feeble mind to overcome, and despite considering a number of options, Orlando won through and we spent a wonderful two weeks in a villa and had an amazing time in the Disney parks, and a perfect day in Discovery Cove.

All of us in Discovery Cove:

It was during the planning for this trip that I experienced a life-changing event: during my villa investigations I posted on a villa forum asking about busy days in the parks, and a very kind person, who will never know the impact they have had on my sad little life, recommended that I visit a website known as the DIS, and the next thing I remember it was a few weeks later. I was coming round from the anaesthetic after major surgery to separate me from the computer! Tony, thought I had gone stark raving bonkers… constantly talking about the DIS and DISers and becoming obsessed with countdowns and priority seatings, spending every waking hour superglued to the internet!

2005 also saw the first of our trips to Disneyland Paris at Halloween, with a very enjoyable evening spent at the Halloween Soiree in full pirate costume! On this trip I made the wise decision to purchase annual passes , and not only did this make financial sense, it also raised the temptation bar a few notches – with conversations along the lines of “ well why don’t we pop over to Disneyland Paris, after all, we have those annual passes and we really should make good use of them ” cropping up every time we had some time off from work. Needless to say there followed a series of trips to Disneyland Paris that year, Christmas 2005 (well, it would be lovely to see Disney at Christmas before the kids are too old….. silly not to really, what with those annual passes and all), July 2006 (well, it would be great to see the fireworks and stay in the parks until midnight…..silly not to really, what with those annual passes and all), Halloween 2007 (well, we had such a good time last year, and Mickey in his wisdom had decided to extend our annual passes at no extra charge for another year….silly not to really) and July 2007 (for the same reasons as 2006, before it gets boring!).

It's amazing how you can even visit a Disney Park 5 times in 18 months and it just never gets old - there is always something new which catches your attention and the Disney magic is always there It was round about this time that I began to have long, deep and meaningful conversations with myself about a very special holiday - and I will reveal more in the next installment!
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:02 PM   #8
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wonderful waffle can't wait to hear more
Andrea xxx
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Old 07-27-2008, 03:14 PM   #9

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Excellent Looking forward to reading more
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:07 AM   #10

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excellent, cant wait to read more
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:33 PM   #11
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....from crazy idea to dream come true!

Now those of you who are keeping up with my saga will remember that in the last installment we were home from Disneyland Paris in July 2007, and I was faced with the daunting prospect that my annual passes were about to come to a end - so to avoid that vile and insufferable affliction, known to many as "DWS" or "Disney Withdrawal Syndrome" there was one and only one course of action - to start planning another trip .

So it was around about July 2007 that the seeds for the forthcoming trip were being sown – we had often thought about cruising as a holiday option but one which we had really consigned to the back burner for when the kids had flown the nest. Tony being ex-Royal Navy, and myself being ex-Princess Cruises employee had long been instilled with a love of all things nautical and it had been a long term ambition of mine to experience cruising from the guest side rather than the staff side. My parents were regular cruisers, and on returning from a Carnival cruise out of Port Canaveral in 2007 they happened to mention that they had been in port with a Disney cruise ship, not only this but they had photographs to prove it….. immediately my ears pricked up and those tiny pixie-dust fuelled cogs and wheels in my brain began working, and I began the process of serious investigation by once again super-gluing my ample backside to the computer chair and relapsing into my DIS addiction – only this time I had a new addiction, the DIS cruise forum, and this was a really strong and powerful addiction for which there turned out to be only one cure – TO BOOK THE DISNEY CRUISE.

While the idea was incubating, we got around to debating when would be the best time to book a Disney cruise: basically anything from February to June was a no go, as the kids had exams in school. Christmas was not an option, so we were left with July or October school holidays. July 2008 would be too soon and July 2009 too far away, and October has always been a great time for us to travel to Florida – pleasant temperatures and fairly quiet in the theme parks, plus the added bonus of celebrating Halloween on the Disney Magic. The only problem was the kids only having 6 days holiday in October, and so if we wanted to extend the cruise we would need to take them out of school!

The next consideration was the cost. I was under the impression that booking a Disney Cruise would not come cheap – bearing in mind that we have 4 teenagers, who are adults so far as the holiday industry is concerned, and we live on the wrong side of the Atlantic Ocean. Financially this was going to be a biggie - and I needed a house extension. So the mental warfare began: Disney cruise or house extension, Disney cruise or house extension, well let me just work out how much it would cost to do the Disney cruise, after all we might just grab ourselves a bargain …..A WHAT! OK, so the words bargain and Disney cruise do not often crop up in the same sentence, but after costing our cruise with Dreams Unlimited, I can honestly say that the quote we were given was an out and out bargain! It was actually working out at less than £500 per person for the 7 night cruise and I know people who have spent more than that for a miserable 2 weeks in Spain. I was beginning to feel that the house extension was about to concede defeat and before I could say “white flag” I was accepting the quote offered and signing on the virtual dotted line. WE WERE BOOKED ON A DISNEY CRUISE ON 25TH OCTOBER 2008, and the excitement was overwhelming!

It was by now August 2007, and the deed was done, and the house extension was relegated to the “to do” list once again. I signed up to my cruise meet thread, Halloween on the High Seas, where I met a really great bunch of DISers, and continued my extensive research. We had a long wait until I could start looking at flights, and I began to consider whether I should be really extravagant and spend a week in WDW before the cruise and as we were going ALL THAT WAY – it was silly not to really! I had a bit of mental anguish over the kids missing school for 5 days, but I am also a great believer in travel as a educational experience and after a few missed days in school caused by teachers strikes and a few more wasted days where they just watched DVDs I decided to go ahead with the WDW plan.

Fast forward now to February 2008, and things were slowly coming together. I managed to book good value flights via Chicago with BMI and got a fantastic accommodation deal, which is so amazing that I will have to reveal it here and now: we are staying in the Cypresse Pointe resort for a incredibly rock bottom price of £299 for 6 people in a 3 bed room apartement for a whole week. Thank you Hotelopia.com and my fellow cruiser Helen who gave me the heads-up and the extra 15% discount code, and I have reserved a DOTD with Helen's name on it once we get on the Disney Magic!
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:29 AM   #12
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Sarah, I know how excited you are for your trip and I don't blame you one little bit, it is going to be amazing! Enjoy all your wonderful planning and dreaming, Love V. xxxx
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:03 AM   #13
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Your plans sound fab Sarah, I can't wait to hear all about it
Mandy xx

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Old 08-05-2008, 10:22 AM   #14
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sorry about the delay with this - my poor old computer has contracted a virus and we are offline for the moment - I am posting this on my Mum's computer - hopefully will be back with the next installment before too long!
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:08 AM   #15

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Just caught up with all your installemnts Sarah.
What a great family and story thus far
Hope the computer woes don't delay the next blog

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