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Old 10-17-2010, 08:08 PM   #1
Rachael Q
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Christmas in Australia = Christmas at Disneyland. Makes Perfect Sense to Us.

I'm an Aussie, hubby is a Canuck. We live in Canada, but my family is all in Australia. We try to get home every 2-3 years to see them.

Until last year there wasn't a direct flight from Vancouver to Australia, you had to fly via LA or Honolulu. Timing wise it's always worked better for us to fly through LA. What sucks about that is the connecting flights. We usually end up with at least 4 or 5 hours at LAX. Not the most exciting place. A few trips back, hubby had a moment of brilliance. Why next get the first flight our of Vancouver, get the shuttle bus, arrive at DL around 11am, spend the day at Disneyland, then get the shuttle back around 6pmish and catch our 1030pm flight to Australia. That way we don't have to sit at LAX for hours on end, and we'll be exhausted so we'll sleep for most of the 14 hour flight. Perfect.

The first time, September 2000 there was no DCA, so we managed to see a fair whack of DL in our abbreviated day. In February 2008 we decided to stay overnight at the HoJo so we could go to DCA as well as DL.

Our next trip home is December 2010. Of course we have to stop at Disney on the way. I love Christmas. I love Disney. So there was no way I wasn't going to see all the holiday decorations, parades, fireworks and WOC.

Umm...that means we can't just go for the day. We'd have to be back at the airport before WOC and the fireworks. So our day trip is now an overnight trip.

Umm... the chances of being able to see WOC and the fireworks on the same night aren't very good. Our one day trip, which became an overnight trip is now a weekend trip. (shh don't tell hubby, that was my plan all along!)

So who's going?
Me - 40, I love to travel, read, eat, run and sleep and I love my hubby, wine, food, baking, shopping, shoes, bags, Christmas and Disney. Not necessarily in that order. Currently not working.

Hubby - 36 (will be 37 at the beginning of December). Loves flying, camping, kayaking, wine, food, and me. Which means by default he also loves to travel, and loves Christmas and Disney. Hubby is self employed, he's also a private pilot and a pilot with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association.

[IMG][/IMG]

Hopefully our friends, family A and family B will also join us. Family B will not know until the last minute. Family A will know soon.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:18 PM   #2
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I love reading other Aussie trip reports - hope you have a fantastic trip to Disney and a great trip home for Christmas!!
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:24 PM   #3
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Hotel is Booked

I actually booked the hotel awhile back in the hopes that this trip would come together. I figured if it didn't I could always cancel the hotel.

Although we would really love to stay at one of the 3 Disney hotels, it's really not in the budget.

So HoJo it is. We stayed there in 2008, so we know we like it. We also liked Mimi's for breakfast. We got an awesome rate for the Friday night. The HoJo was nice enough to honour the industry rate for hubby. Saturday and Sunday night are booked at the disboard rate.

We just found out we have enough points with Wyndham rewards for one free night, so we are crossing our fingers, that we can change either the Saturday or Sunday night to points.

It would be great if we can, because that's $100 I'll have in my pocket towards the holiday tour, or WOC meals or Fantasmic desserts or souvenirs.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryr1oz View Post
I love reading other Aussie trip reports - hope you have a fantastic trip to Disney and a great trip home for Christmas!!
Where in Aus are you from? I am from Hobart originally.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:40 PM   #5
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I live in Geelong at the moment and work in Melbourne - nowhere near as exciting as Canada - and much too far away from California
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:09 PM   #6
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sounds great!! i'm also an aussie who married a canadian and live in BC. Have a great trip! I think Disneyland at Christmas would be so special!
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Old 10-18-2010, 01:25 AM   #7
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You're so lucky having an excuse for so much travel (and a reason to live in Canada)! I should have married a Canadian instead of someone who grew up 5 minutes away from me. Hope you have a great trip, I will just miss out on all the Christmas stuff but hope to see it one day.
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:32 PM   #8
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Lovvvvvvesss it!! And it toally makes sense to me. Yup, suuuure does!! Can't wait for more.
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aust View Post
You're so lucky having an excuse for so much travel (and a reason to live in Canada)! I should have married a Canadian instead of someone who grew up 5 minutes away from me. Hope you have a great trip, I will just miss out on all the Christmas stuff but hope to see it one day.
Some days! Some days I really wish I'd married a fellow Aussie. I miss home. A lot. But can't talk hubby into moving. He's happy to visit every couple of years, but can't fathom up and moving half way across the world.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:19 AM   #10
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Our full itinerary

American Airlines sent us an email today, informing us that some of our flights have changed. Not by much, about 5 minutes. But it reminded me that there is more to our trip than just Disneyland. I am looking forward to seeing my family, like you would never believe. And I can't wait to spend Christmas in the sun. But that comes after Disney.

So here is our full trip:
Friday Dec 10th:
Vancouver to LA.
Lunch at Proud Bird - an aviation themed restaurant near LAX
Then head to DL. Not sure if we will hit the parks or just Downtown Disney.

Saturday Dec 11th - Disney
Sunday Dec 12th - Disney

Monday Dec 13th
DL until park closes at 6pm.
Then to LAX for our 1025pm flight to Sydney.

Tuesday Dec 14th - lost in air

Wednesday Dec 15th
After a 15 hour flight arrive in Sydney at 825am
Then several hours at Sydney airport before our connecting flight at 215pm.
Arrive in Hobart at 4.05pm
Shower and quick change before taking my closest friend out for her 40th birthday dinner

Thursday Dec 16th to Wednesday Jan 12th - In Tasmania.
Some of our plans include:
My 25th high school reunion
Taste of Tasmania
A couple of nights at Cradle Mountain
Cadbury's Chocolate Factory
Salamanca Market
Meadowbank Winery
Visiting with family and friends
and just plain relaxing

Wednesday Jan 12th to either the 17th, 18th or 19th in Melbourne.
Again visiting family and friends
Taking in a cricket match at the MCG - hubby has never seen one. And the MCG is the holy grail of sporting venues in Australia!
Maybe catch a movie at one of the open air cinemas
Riding bikes around the Yarra River
Hanging out at Southbank

!7th, 18th or 19th of January to January 26th in Sydney.
Once again visiting friends
Our plans are camping in the Blue Mountains, kayaking in Sydney Harbour, spending a day at one of many, many beaches
packing a lunch and hanging out on the harbour

January 26th - Australia Day
Big Party in Sydney!

January 27th - our flight leaves Sydney at 3:10pm, and arrives in LAX at 9:45am on the same day. So we arrive in LAX a good 5 hours before we leave Sydney. How weird is that!

Our connecting flight to Vancouver leaves LAX at 245pm and arrives back in Canada at 5:45pm. Then it will be home to bed.

Maybe I can convince hubby that we need to get a later flight from LAX to Vancouver on the 27th. Then we can have another day at DL.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:42 AM   #11
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I love Tasmania! we went there about 4 years ago, I'd live in Hobart in a heartbeat. Your whole trip sounds great.
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:30 AM   #12
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Your plans sound great.

I look forward to reading more.
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:43 PM   #13
Rachael Q
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aust View Post
I love Tasmania! we went there about 4 years ago, I'd live in Hobart in a heartbeat. Your whole trip sounds great.
Hobart will always be home to me. I was born there, grew up there, went to University there, had my first job there, met my first boyfriend there, my family and my closest friend still live there. I can't think of a more perfect place in the world than Tasmania.

I also love Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, London, Tokyo, Prague, Kiev, Budapest, Barcelona, just about anywhere in Mexico, San Diego, New Orleans, anywhere Disney and Vancouver. But Tasmania will always hold the #1 spot in my heart.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:24 PM   #14
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Credit Card Debt = Points = freeish flights = creative reservations

We buy absolutely everything on credit card. Phone, cable, internet, insurance, groceries, entertaining, gas...EVERYTHING. When we bought our new car 2 years ago, we paid $5000.00 on credit card (the max the dealership would let us). For the most part I pay my card off every month, hubby carries a balance.

I pay $75.00 a year for my Alaska airlines master card, he pays $120.00 a year for his American Airlines Visa. It seems like a lot. But consider this.

He's had his visa since 1998. So 12 years @ $120.00 = $1440.00.
I've had my mastercard since 2007. 3 years @ $75.00 = $225.00
Prior to that I had a visa with no annual fee and no points.

With the points we have earned on the credit cards we have redeemed them for:
2000 - 2 return flights to Australia during the Sydney Olympics (high season)
2003 - 2 return flights to Australia with a stopover in New Zealand in February - summer in Australia, so high season
2006 - 2 return flights to Australia with a stopover in Tahiti at Christmas
2008 - 2 return flights to Australia with stopovers in Disneyland and Fiji in February
2010 - 2 return flights to Australia

That's 10 return flights to Australia from Vancouver. Because we have a tendency to fly during high season the average cost to buy the tickets would be $2000.00 per person. So 10 flights @ $2000.00 = $20,000.00. For us the annual fees are worth it. (also allowing for some interest on hubby's visa).

If it wasn't for the points we certainly couldn't afford to go to Australia every 2-3 years.

What it does mean in some creative itineraries. In 2003 we flew separately, because we couldn't get seats on the same flight. Hubby's flight was Vancouver-LAX-Sydney (stop)-Auckland (stop)-LAX-Vancouver. My flight was Vancouver-Dallas-LAX-Melbourne-Sydney (stop)-Melbourne-Auckland (stop)-Melbourne-Sydney-LAX-Dallas-Vancouver. He left Vancouver 10 hours after me, and arrived in Sydney 4 hours before me, because I had to change flight in Dallas! Coming home he left Auckland 12 hours after me and arrived in Vancouver well before I did, because I had to fly back to Melbourne, then to Sydney then to LA, then to Dallas and finally Vancouver.

In 2006 we couldn't get the direct flight from LA to Sydney, AA could get us on a flight from LA to Tahiti , but there weren't point seats from Tahiti to Sydney until 3 days later. So we booked that, and kept calling to see if we could get an earlier flight. We couldn't so we just decided to stay in Tahiti for 3 days. It was wonderful.

In 2008 same thing, only this time we went via Fiji.

In 2010 we are currently booked Vancouver to Sydney to Hobart on December 13th. Yet we are planning to spend 3 days at Disney from December 10th. We are still hoping for points seats to open up from Vancouver to LA on the 10th. If not we will have to purchase the Vancouver to LA part. (There are lots of seats to buy, just no points seats).

Well that was a bit long winded.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:13 AM   #15
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Sounds like a perfect plan!!
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