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Old 12-09-2008, 04:13 PM   #1
wicket2005
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Christmas With The Wickets - Pretrip to the Return 22/12/08 Plus Photos to 19/12/08

Let me introduce myself, my name is Bev and I am 46 year's old (I have a bit of a mental block now as to my age, keep having to ask the hubbie) and I love Orlando.

We have been across several times now, started back in 1996 when we went with my parents and sister. My sons were only 5 and 7 at the time and loved the Disney magic, though the Universal magic was not as powerful at the time with its man eating shark.

Over the years, as a family we have enjoyed each and every holiday, and each time getting something different from the holiday. Nowadays, the sons are 20 and 18 are right into Islands and Universal so we have started to stay onsite at Universal.

Earlier this year, for the first time, we stayed in the Hard Rock Hotel and thought it was the coolest hotel ever, very hip and vibrant. After our visit we started to think wouldn't it be nice to stay again.

Over the months, off and on, we discussed the possibility of going there in December as this is the first year in many years the sons are not studying for mock GCSEs, AS, A2 or university exams which have the unfortunate timetable of being in January. We also felt that the sons had everything they wanted and felt like the majority of what we would buy for them would end up in their drawers. So we started to think what about cancelling Christmas (only joking) and having a family holiday instead.

As time went on serious thought was given. We approached the eldest to seek his opinion, a resounding yes, go to Orlando or have lots of Christmas presents, wasn't much of a decision for him and he jumped at the chance.

Eventually we had a word with the youngest, who is away at Uni, and surprisingly he thought the same. I think it was only me having a problem with not buying lots of presents for them to open on Christmas morning. We did sweeten it with the promise of holiday spends to buy stuff for Christmas though, Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch here we come! Or I should say there they go because I will be off somewhere else. Handy having these Tracfones.

As soon as I had the go ahead I booked up ten days in Orlando staying at the Hard Rock, flying from Manchester Airport on 10th December (tomorrow ), this was with only 3 weeks to go. As a result the last few weeks have been hectic, getting Christmas family presents, food, wrapping and everything done, then moving on to holiday stuff.

Till we come to now, tomorrow we fly, the packing is done, we are ready to go. A slight hiccup is that the eldest is full of cold, which he has kindly shared with my hubbie but thanks to fellow Dissers, we have plenty of remedies to try on them, as I am a bit worried about their ears and the air pressure with everything being blocked up. The hubbie is not feeling well at all and is a bit out of sorts with himself and as a result making me feel the same. After doing the packing he has now suggested checking the 3 cases fit in to the boot (bought a new car since the last holiday), fortunately, they all fitted which is just as well because if we had to go down to 2 cases we wouldn't be able to buy anything at all.

Anyway, we are going to drive down from home (just outside Middlesbrough) at the dead of night, something like 2 am I think to be at the airport in good time for check in at 6 am. Online check in didn't work again for me today, don't know why.

We normally drive down the day before but decided not to for this holiday which has added to my worries of getting to the airport on time. I don't suppose I will sleep tonight, it always feels like Christmas when I was kid when I know I am going to Orlando the next day so far too excited to sleep.

Anyway hope to check in again some time and let you know how we are getting on.

Bye for now.

Bev x
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:20 PM   #2
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Oh sounds like you will have a wonderful time

PS. Can you please tell Mickey I will be there but was a bit delayed!

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Old 12-09-2008, 04:31 PM   #3
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Thanks Claire, I hope we get there okay. I cannot relax till we are at the airport. So pleased you have managed to rebook your holiday up.
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:25 PM   #4
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Hope you have a great time. Can't wait to read your trip report, I loved reading your previous one.
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:49 AM   #5
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Have a fab time Bev
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:04 AM   #6
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Your plans sound great have a wonderful time
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Old 12-10-2008, 03:15 AM   #7
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Have a fantastic trip
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Old 12-10-2008, 03:36 AM   #8
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Hope you have a magical holiday Bev & family
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Old 12-10-2008, 04:38 PM   #9
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What a lovely Christmas trip

Have a great time


susan
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for the best wishes.

For some reason today I was calm as calm can be and didn't get stressed out or anything may have been I was too tired with travelling through the night but definitely made the difference.

The roads were quite spooky, almost like being in Survivor, with only the odd car in sight as we travelled at 2.30 am from near Middlesbrough down to Manchester. We parked the car up, headed to the airport, had breakfast (not to be recommended) in the airport arrivals area then went to check in.

Hurdle here as it wouldn't let us check in using the kiosk system, we thought perhaps it was because the main desk wasn't open but it did the same thing when it was open. All we got was a slip saying to contact a Virgin Rep which we did. However, we were whisked to the front, then did a face to face check in but he stopped and had to ring someone about us. Well all my fears that something would go wrong were coming to the surface but as I was totally chilled it was a case of what will be will be. He mentioned our name and then continued to check us in. I can only presume it was some kind of on the spot security check but we couldn't check in online either so I don't know what was up.

We headed into the airport, filled in the waiver forms and hung around. The eldest son and hubbie sprawled out over the benches and went to sleep. They are both full of cold unfortunately. The flight took off just half an hour late. The hubbie was sitting in a seat in a row in front of us but one near an exit row but had the door near his leg room. He still felt like they were good seats as he could stretch his legs right out.

The flight was uneventful though at some time I resembled a zombie asleep and was promptly videoed by my youngest son. Many thanks I thought, not! Food was okay, loads of big films on but as we were tired we tended to doze for a lot of the time.

Arrivals at Orlando were a breeze, quickly through Customs, picked cases up and out for the car well within an hour and then concentrated really hard and managed not to get lost on the straight forward run to the Hard Rock.

Unfortunately, the rooms were not ready as my eldest just wanted to crash with him being poorly but we decided it was better to have a wander round Universal for an hour rather than just hang around the lobby. The lobby was decorated with a lovely Christmas tree, decorations and a gingerbread house.

Universal was decorated with two huge snowmen outside and decorations over the main entrance that looked class. There were several inflatables of cartoon characters round the park plus we caught the Macyś Christmas Parade which was really Christmassy. At the end fake snow flies round after Father Christmas lights up a rather fantastic Christmas tree. The floats were all really good.

We just did a couple of rides Jaws and The Mummy as we didn't want to push it too much. I had a lovely Hot Chocolate at Starbucks which felt Christmassy, then we headed back to the Hotel.

The rooms were ready and were nice and quiet. I added my extra service time and minutes to my tracphones. The hubbie crashed out for quite a while followed by the youngest but I didn't want to sleep too early because I didn't want to be up early tomorrow. The eldest surprisingly didn't go to sleep straight away. I had a bath, emailed home and did this report.

Current time here 8 pm and I don't want to go to sleep, probably all those dozes on the plane helped. Anyway hope you all have had good days. Oh and before I forget Universal was so quiet it was so weird after being used to it in peak times.

Bev x
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:10 AM   #11
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Great to hear from you
have a great time

hope everyone is feeling better soon
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Old 12-11-2008, 05:33 AM   #12
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Great TR so far - glad you managed to all get there without any complication on the flight as a result of the colds. I hope you all start feeling better soon.

Hope you have a fab time.
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:02 AM   #13
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Day One 11th December 2008

Morning all,

One thing you can say about the Hard Rock is, it has the most comfortable beds, slept like a log from 8.30 pm till 6.30 am so I think I have caught up with my sleep. This whole holiday is about relaxing and for the first time I have not got an itinerary to follow we are just going with the flow which feels so liberating but after going in July, this is a very welcome bonus holiday. We don't feel the need to be rushing round, doing parks 24/7.

Me and the hubbie are just chillin at the moment watching the tv. Storms are forecast today and the county is on a tornado watch but who cares, we are here in the best place in the world and if it rains there are the shops and more shops.

I hope you all have good days and hope by sharing our trip it helps you look forward to your next one. I also enjoy reading your trip reports and feel it is only right I do the same back as I appreciate the time it takes and always seem to pick up some tips from you.

Hubbie just seen the Disney cruise liner and fancies it. May do that at some time. Just described one of Mandy's photos where her and her hubbie are sitting in the liner and in the background you can see Castaway Beach (think that is what it is called) and the sandy beach with the Pirateś ship. Looks like we may try that one day now, I loved that photo.

All the best.

Bev x
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:08 AM   #14
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Day One 11th December 2008

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Old 12-11-2008, 10:26 PM   #15
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Well it poured down for a good part of the day but that didn't stop us having fun.

We hit the Mall of Millennia, I picked up a lovely Fossil bag and some cultured pearls, they picked up stuff from Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch. We went down to Downtown Disney to buy some AP, we were drenched just jumping from shop to shop.

We popped into the Earl of Sandwich, as Claireś photos had tempted me to go, we all enjoyed a Holiday sandwich of turkey with seasonal fillings. It was yummy.

We then went across to the Premium Outlets to look at the Converse shoes for the eldest. The pair he was after was more expensive than in the Mall of Millennia which didn't seem right. We also popped into the supermarket before returning to Universal.

We went into Universal for an hour or so, doing a few rides and taking photos of the Christmas stuff. This park closed at 6 pm so we went back to the room to pick up some long sleeved tops as it was starting to get a little bit chilly. Forgot to say the sun came out at about 2 pm so it was nice from then.

We headed over to Epcot, catching Spaceship Earth, the Candlelight Procession and the fireworks. I loved all of these and especially loved the Epcot Christmas tree and celebration tunnel, forgot what it is called. It is certainly worth coming at this time of the year to see the Christmas decorations.

After the fireworks we nipped back up to Universal and settled in for the night.

Cya

Bev x
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