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Old 09-17-2010, 05:04 PM   #1
Sweet Pea UK
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3 Brits and 3 weeks at Disneys Grand Floridian (**Completed**)

Been back 5 days, back at work, feels like the holiday was a distant memory so thought I would get on with my Trip Report and relive our fantastic 3 weeks in Orlando with you.

Here is the link to my PTR if you want to read it.

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2359672

If not – on with the Trip Report!

The Cast
Me – Sara – 35 year old Disney Fantatic. Been going to Disney for over 30 years and this year finally getting to stay in my dream hotel – the Grand Floridian
DH – Jonathan – 35 year old love of my life! Loves Disney almost as much as me. Loves Golf and spending time with me and
DD – Amber – 9 during this trip – still amazed by the magic and really knows her Disney Stuff

Saturday 21st August 2010
We were up at 7am this morning. We had thrown a surprise 9th birthday party for Amber last night at a local restaurant we use as she will be away for her birthday and she was keen to open the numerous cards and presents she had received. She had got quite a few dollars and rather a lot of English money so we said we would go into town and get it changed up for her.

We finished off our hand luggage packing and then nipped through to town which is only 10 minutes away.

We popped in to see my Mum in the Shop (Rock shop my parents own) who was frazzled as it was rather busy and then went to McDonalds for a start of the holiday breakfast. We spent a little while in there as we got talking to a Police Officer and we were all putting the world to rights!!

We went to Thomas Cook and changed up the money $1.50!! Not as good as the $1.57 I had got for the majority of our money from Crown Currency but not as bad as it could have been all the same.

We went back and said our goodbyes to my parents and brother and returned home. I was relatively composed. I think it was because I knew they were coming out in 2 weeks and that I was so excited about going that I didn’t breakdown in tears. I see my parents every day so to be away from them always upsets me – such a baby!!

When we got home Amber and I went straight out to the hairdressers for a wash and to have it curled – I was trying to think of ways to pass the morning – I wished then I had thought of something cheaper!!! Amber asked if she could walk home and I said she could. By the time I had paid, got to the car and drove round the corner (I was scared it might rain!!) she was home! No curls left!!!

We then did a bit of housework, had baths, changed into our travelling clothes and waited for the car to come and pick us up. Amber tore the last piece of our countdown chain.



We also took the obligatory “We’re now off on holiday poses” in the hall!



The Driver arrived at 1:00pm – bang on time with a Vauxhall Zafira! I thought to myself that there was no way the luggage was fitting in there! But it did and Amber and I had plenty of room in the back. We had a very comfortable journey down which took 3 hours and he dropped as at the front of the South Terminal, Gatwick.

We did Twilight Check-In which had no queue and was a doddle. We then walked over to the Gatwick Hilton. I had booked a family room as it was only £15 more. We couldn’t believe it when we walked in – it was huge! We also overlooked the lobby which was nice.



We walked back over to the airport and I bought a couple of things in boots. We then went up to Frankie and Bennys for dinner.



Amber and I shared a Garlic bread to start while Jonathan had potato skins. I then had a BBQ pizza, Jonathan had spaghetti and meatballs and Amber had Hotdog and chips. WE paid the bill and then bought ice creams from a Ben and Jerrys vending machine and took them back to the room.

We all sat on the bed and ate them whilst watching the new series of X Factor.

We somehow managed to calm a very excited Amber down, although I had to go over and sleep in the single bed next to hers, it did seem miles away from Jonathan and I, and we all went to sleep!

Day 1 to follow ....

Last edited by Sweet Pea UK; 06-05-2011 at 04:12 AM.
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:27 PM   #3
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Great start been waiting for your trippie! Can't wait for more
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:54 PM   #4
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Oh I'm here - great start!!!
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Disney trips:- 1989 - WDW Off Site; 1990 - DLR off site; 1997 - Disneyland Paris off site; 1997 -WDW off site; 2002 - WDW off site; 2003 - WDW off site; 2005 - WDW AS Movies; 2006 - WDW CBR (Disneymoon and Disney Wedding Pavillion Bride!); 2007 -DLR off site; 2008 - WDW POFQ; 2009 - DCL-A week on the Disney Magic (Western) + WDW POFQ; 2010 - Disneyland Paris Hotel Cheyenne; 2010 - WDW Saratoga Springs Resort / Universal RPR 2010 -Pop Century; 2012 - Fantasy cruise

Take a peek at my 2009 reviews "But We Haven't Lost Last Years Weight Yet"! http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post32039625
Check out my 2008 food report "Gluttony . . . Pure Gluttony" http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1837106
2010 food review - "The Piggies are back . . . and this time they're hungry" http://www.disboards.com/showthread....9#post38731959
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:21 PM   #5
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:10 PM   #6
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I'm in too! You sold me with the words 3 weeks and Grand Floridian!
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:50 AM   #7
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I'm here, Sara! Sounds like an amazing start to the trip-- can't wait to hear more!
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:17 PM   #8
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THREE WEEKS at the GRAND FLORIDIAN??? How did you not die of happiness? I am so in for this report, seems like it's shaping up to be a great one!!
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:43 PM   #9
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All, thanks for reading so far.

I have to confess that there is a tiny white lie in the title. It wasn't quite 3 weeks at the Grand, the first 4 nights were spent at Portofino Bay, Universal and the rest at the GF.

I am now working on the Travelling Day so will be back shortly.

Sara x
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:26 PM   #10
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Nov 2013 - ASMo with BFF for Gingerbread 5k at GKTW!
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:35 PM   #11
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Sunday 22nd August 2010 - Day 1 – Travelling Day
I woke early at 6:45! So had a bath and started to get ready before Jonathan and Amber woke up. They got ready too and then we checked out (well put our room key in a box!) and made it in to breakfast for 7:45. I was too excited to eat much so just had some fruit and a croissant. Jonathan and Amber had a little more.

We walked over to the airport and I stopped just outside passport control to put my liquids in a clear bag and a security guard approached me and ushered us towards the Fastrack security section. We couldn’t believe our luck. We walked straight through and there was a huge queue at the general security section. It wasn’t until my Dad flew out that I found out it was a perk with the V Room! I thought it was a stroke of good luck. Whatever it was it saved us about 30 minutes!

We had a look around several shops and then made our way to the V Room. I thought it was really good, especially as we hadn’t paid for it, but even so I would pay in the future (for the fastrack through security alone!!!) We had some things to eat in there and had a really nice table over looking the runway so spent a little time watching the plans take off and land. I then went and used the computers and spent a little time on the DIS and emailed my Mum, Dad and brother.







We were then called through for boarding so made our way to the Depature Gate.

We got seated on the plane really quickly and were in Row 34 by the window. As soon as we sat down I felt really poorly. I had to get hold of the sick bag. Luckily as soon as we took off it passed and I was absolutely fine for the rest of the flight.

Amber did her usual and decked herself out in the amenity pack.



The flight was OK. I have to say I was a little disappointed. The last time I flew with Virgin was 2007 and I have flown with then about 10 times. Each time I have seen a slight decrease in service. This time was worse. I understand there have to be cutbacks (although there is no cutback on price) but we had no drink service. They came straight round with the meal (no choice by they time they got to our row) and we got offererd a drink then, but that was it until they came round with the sandwich (gross!) about 5 hours later!!! Anyway Amber had a sleep and I read my magazine. The seatbelt light flashed on so I had to get Ambers seatbelt round her, that woke her up and it went off! Typical! Will make sure she doesn’t take it off in future! She was really restless after that so ate some Chewits and they made her really hyper. One extreme to the other!

We landed a little early and got off the plane really quickly. The queue for immigration was already quite long but moved quickly and efficiently. Our bags came out quickly and we got straight through customs. We gave the cases back and got on the monorail. We were told to wait by baggage reclaim 8A which was on the ground floor so we went down there. There was no one else there. We waited for ages and then eventually our bags filtered through. I phoned home and let Mum know we had arrived safely.

We went through to Alamo to get the Hire Car. I had checked in online so this was a breeze. We had a mid-size SUV. He was really ugly. We christened him Hannibal because he had a grill on the front which made him look like Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs! He He!! We paid for a Toll Card which meant we could drive through all the toll passes and this was great.

It was raining – good start!

We were at Portofino Bay in no time. We loved the look of it straight from arrival. It was very luxurious.

Check in was simple and we were given a room on the 4th floor of the East Wing. Our view was rubbish – some shrubs and a road but we didn’t have any plans to spend much time in the room so were not bothered. The room itself was lovely and we were very pleased we had chosen that hotel.









The bags came up really quickly so we unpacked. We had plans to go into City Walk and eat at the Hard Rock Café but to be honest we suddenly felt really tired. It was only 6pm but our body clock thought it was 11pm. We decided to eat somewhere at the hotel so got changed and went for a look around. It was now raining quite heavily.

We ended up in Mama Dellas.

We had a lovely salad as an appetizer then Amber had spaghetti with meatballs and Jonathan and I both had Chicken parmigana.









Unfortunately practically as soon as we had got our entrée Amber complained of stomach pains. I thought I could get her to stay while we finished but you could see she was really uncomfortable. We decided to get her back to the room. We paid the $70 bill which included the tip and went back to the room.

We were all very tired but started to watch the Simpsons to try and stay up as late as possible. We gave in at 8:30pm and went to sleep!! Exhausted but very excited about the beginning of our holiday!

Last edited by Sweet Pea UK; 09-18-2010 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 09-18-2010, 03:35 PM   #12
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Monday 23rd August 2010 – Day 2

The holiday had started – Jonathan and I were awake at 3:30am with Amber following shortly after!!! All the lights went on and Jonathan and Amber played Top trumps. I read through the stuff Virgin had given us at the airport. After an hour I suggested we try and go back to sleep and the others agreed – shock/horror!!! We all went to sleep – Amber never goes back to sleep! Jonathan got up at 7am and left for his round of golf at Metro West. Amber didn’t wake up til 8 – bliss! I was so pleased, that never happens on the first day and then we suffer for about the first week of the holiday.

We unpacked the rest of our things, had a bath and got ready. We went and bought some breakfast items at Sals Market Deli. We shared a fruit cup, chocolate muffin and 2 bottles of water and it was $10. We sat outside, it was humid so the photos are a little misty.



Amber, against my better judgement, put a piece of chocolate muffin down for a squirrel that had lumps all over it and it would not leave us alone. It was up on the table, the back of the chair! She learnt not to do that again!



We decided to leave and had a walk round to the Beach Pool taking a few photos on the way.







It was a lovely pool and area. Amber spent the whole time in the water and I dipped in and out. The slide was good and it was really hot. We ordered a couple of drinks and had a really relaxing morning on the very comfortable lounge chairs.





Jonathan arrived back about 1pm, having had a very enjoyable round of golf. Just as he arrived it started to rain which turned into a heavy downpour. We ordered some food in Splendido Pizza. I had a Caprese Salad, Jonathan a burger and fries and Amber a grilled cheese sandwich with fries. It came to $40 with the drinks – quite a lot really!!





We managed to get back to the room and got changed. It was only spitting now so we took the water taxi to City Walk.











We went to Guest Relations at Universal to change our voucher into tickets ready for our early entry the next morning. We had a look round City Walk looking in the shops. We stopped and had some Dippin Dots.





And then tried funny hats on in the Universal shop.







We went in one shop and a young boy stopped us to say how adorable he thought Amber was. We both commented how that wouldn’t happen in England. Nobody is that open.







We got the boat back and then Jonathan and Amber had a swim while I sat by and watched.



We went back to the room to shower and change and then went for a drive in the car. We stopped at the supermarket for some bananas and drinks.

We went to Tony Romas for dinner. We shared the Onion Ring Loaf for an appetizer and then both had the ribs. Amber had a cheese pizza. We all felt it had gone downhill a bit since our last visit. The onion ring loaf was not at all crispy and the ribs just so so. It was $60 including tip so not at all expensive. Amber was in a really lovely funny mood and we laughed all the way back to the hotel.





We went straight to bed and were asleep by 9:30.
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Old 09-18-2010, 03:46 PM   #13
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Lovely day great pics too
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:00 AM   #14
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Sounds like you guys had a perfect first full day!! Portafino Bay is GORGEOUS! I love all of the Universal hotels-- the pool looks nice and refreshing!
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:45 AM   #15
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Great first day!!
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Disney trips:- 1989 - WDW Off Site; 1990 - DLR off site; 1997 - Disneyland Paris off site; 1997 -WDW off site; 2002 - WDW off site; 2003 - WDW off site; 2005 - WDW AS Movies; 2006 - WDW CBR (Disneymoon and Disney Wedding Pavillion Bride!); 2007 -DLR off site; 2008 - WDW POFQ; 2009 - DCL-A week on the Disney Magic (Western) + WDW POFQ; 2010 - Disneyland Paris Hotel Cheyenne; 2010 - WDW Saratoga Springs Resort / Universal RPR 2010 -Pop Century; 2012 - Fantasy cruise

Take a peek at my 2009 reviews "But We Haven't Lost Last Years Weight Yet"! http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post32039625
Check out my 2008 food report "Gluttony . . . Pure Gluttony" http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1837106
2010 food review - "The Piggies are back . . . and this time they're hungry" http://www.disboards.com/showthread....9#post38731959
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