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Old 01-30-2012, 08:48 AM   #1
skier_pete
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"Help the Yankee DISer" Part II-visit Australia/DL-the PTR(8/19 -TR Link Post#263!)

Hello everyone! Thanks to all the friendly folks on the "Other Lands -> Australia" boards who've helped me so far, I've decided to continue my existing thread and continue it a new post that will also work as my Pre-Trip Report.

You can check out the advice to-date right here:
Help an American DISer with advice

But, a quick summary to date: Our family has been planning a major trip to visit Australia for many, many years. My DW has been to visit 3 times in her younger days, the last time was in 1996 just after we met. She has wanted to go back for ever since, however I said I would only go if we could really go for a long stay, and once our kids were old enough.

Well, we've saved our money, and our DD turns 9 in May, so our time has finally arrived. The trips been downsized considerably from my original "dream trip", mostly because of cost, but I am still using my entire vacation allotment (and most of our back account) to take 4 weeks of vacation and about 3 weeks in Australia. We are all already very excited!



For those joining in from my last TR - this will be a PTR as well. I'm going to use the first half dozen posts of this thread to keep track of the trip plans.

However, I will continue to post with questions about specifics of the visit. All the Aussie folks on this board have been so helpful I hope you continue giving me opinions, even if I am not able to use them all!

Being a Disney planning board, we are including on this trip a visit to Disneyland resort, so I am not neglecting the Disney portion of the trip. However, that is a mere 3 days out of 4 weeks, so if you've come here just for Disney, you might be a bit disappointed.

Here's the breakdown of the trip
Part 1 (July 21 - July 24): Disneyland - Link - Updated Jan 30, 2012
Part 2 (July 26 - July 30): Sydney
Part 3 (July 30 - Aug 6): Melbourne and Surroundings
Part 4 (Aug 6 - Aug 15): Cairns -> Brisbane (the coast)
Part 5 (Aug 16 - Aug 18): The return / California Part 2

Click on the specific section if you want to know more.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR IN PROGRESS!!
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

Last edited by skier_pete; 08-19-2012 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:49 AM   #2
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Part 1 - Disneyland

OK - we're all came here originally for one reason - and that's a love of Disney. Well, don't worry, I'll be squeezing plenty of Disney in here. We are serious Disney vets, having been on 9 trips as a couple, and with DD for 7 of those. However, we are big-time Newbies to DisneyLAND, none of us have ever been in our life. I knew I wanted to stage the travel and not fly all the way from Buffalo to Australia in a single shot, as it is almost 24 hours of traveling. So a stop at Disneyland seemed the ideal plan.

Being here on the boards, you listen to quite a bit comparing the two parks, and I think we've got a pretty good idea on how this will work.

Saturday, July 21st: We just booked our flight on SWA (Southwest) using free credits. We leave Buffalo, NY around 3 PM and arrive at the Orange County airport at 7:45 PM. This was the only flight we were able to get using our free credits, and while I would prefer to be traveling earlier in the day, it is not too bad considering the alternative is paying $900 one-way.

I have us booked at the Tropicana Hotel, which is literally across the street from DLR. It seems to be a popular location amongst DISers, and while there are others maybe more popular (The Howard Johnson Anahiem comes to mind) the price and location seemed a good fit for us. We will not have a car, but should be able to transfer from the airport to the hotel using a shuttle. Flying in late on Saturday should minimize any traffic snarls.

Sunday, July 22nd: Our first of three days at DLR. The plan for right now is to hit DL today. Two reasons: (1) being a weekend, I figure with Carsland having just opened, the bigger "local" destination will be DCA because of that and (2) The multi-day ticket gets you one "Magic Morning" early entry, and I figure since we will still be on East Coast time, an "early entry" our first day will be a piece of cake. (We'll likely be awake at 5 AM.)

The main concern is hitting any rides that are "different", which in fact will be most of them. The focus on Day 1 will be more to try and ride everything once. We'll certainly be rocking the FP - but again we will mostly focus on DL not DCA today.

Monday, July 23rd: Day 2 will switch to DCA. Again, we are hoping that "Carsland" will be open by the time we visit, which is likely where we would head first. I am not sure that DCA will have a full day of appeal for us even with the new rides, because again it's mostly about checking out those that are "different" from WDW, so things like Soarin' and Toy Story Mania will likely get a pass on first glance. The big thing here for us to see is World of Color, and I anticipating our only sit-down dinner of the trip will be here to take advantage of the reserved "seating".

Tuesday, July 24th: Our third and final day. We are actually flying out of LAX at 10:30 PM tonight, but plan on using this day as a "mop up" day, returning to our favorites from either park or visit ones we missed. I figure we'll only have until 5 or 6 PM to pick up our shuttle to the airport.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR IN PROGRESS!!
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

Last edited by skier_pete; 01-30-2012 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:50 AM   #3
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Part 2 - Sydney


Arrival in Sydney on July 26th (Thursday) @ 6:30 AM

Four nights stay at the Rendezvous Stafford Hotel in "The Rocks" district, which is the heart of Sydney. This as I can tell is within walking distance of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, the Opera House, Circular Quay (the biggest harbor port) and the Botanical Gardens.

No car hire, so will take public transport (train) from airport to downtown Sydney.

Total of 4.5 days (four nights) in Sydney. Trouble with time change is expected, so the first day expected to be pretty mellow, though check in won't be for several hours.

Hoping to see the following things while in Sydney:
-Harbor Tour
-City Tour
-Opera House (Show or tour?)
-Sydney Aquarium
-Botanical Gardens
-The zoo is considered a possibilty, but is low because we have a lot of other zoological items on the trip.
-Maybe one of the local beaches (weather dependent - it is winter afterall!)
-Anything I am missing?

One piece of advice we got was on Sundays the public transport system can be used all day for $2.50, so we might take a trip further from the center that day.

We leave Sydney on Monday, July 30th. Our flight from Sydney to Melbourne is at 3:15 PM, leaving us realistically just the morning for doing something. Perhaps good timing for an Opera House tour.

__________________

1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR IN PROGRESS!!
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

Last edited by skier_pete; 02-02-2012 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:51 AM   #4
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Part 3 - Melbourne and Surroundings

For more detailed post, see post #47 linked here
Arriving in Melbourne (Tullamarine?) at 5:10 PM on Monday, July 30th.

DW has a good friend from her youth that married an Aussie doctor and moved there 20 years ago. They live in the Melbourne area (don't ask me exactly where 'cause I don't know yet.) We will be staying with DWs friends' family, specifically her friends' mother-in-law, who apparently has the room for us. We are spending a week in Melbourne (7 nights - 6 full days), though I am not sure yet how much time these friends are devoting to us.

We have three specific "day-trips" that we definitely want to get in during the visit:
1) The Great Ocean road - as many have recommended to us and DW is also insistent that we do. This will be a bit weather dependent as we can probably pick what the best day to do this would be.
2) Phillip Island - not sure a FULL day trip, but DW has been pumping up to DD to see the little Penguins, and I realize some say this is not really so great, but I think we still will want to do it.
3) Day Ski Trip - as many that followed from my first post may recall, one of my stated goals is to get in a day of skiing while in Australia, and how to go about doing it has been the trick. Through our friends, I found a tour company that runs 1-day bus trips from Melbourne to the nearer ski resorts. I think this is the easiest way to accomplish my goal, which is to be able to say I skied in Australia. (The quality of skiing is mostly irrelevant.)

Other things we (I) are hoping to do:
- Explore the city of Melbourne one day.
- Check out the Healesville Sanctuary, highly recommended by PrincessInOz and others as a neat way to encounter the local animal population.
- Meet PrincessInOz and her family (for dinner?)
- Do some laundry (maybe twice) - we will be on our 10th day of our trip when we arrive in Melbourne, and will have about 11 days left when we leave, so I am thining we do laundry here on both ends of our stay, and we should be all set!

Leaving Monday, August 6th or Tuesday August 7th for Cairns. Dependent somewhat on time and pricing of flights - which currently seem much less expensive on Tuesday.
__________________

1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR IN PROGRESS!!
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

Last edited by skier_pete; 02-14-2012 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:52 AM   #5
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Part 4 - Cairns -> Brisbane

Either Monday August 6th (preferred) or Tuesday August 7th (6 AM) flight, fly from Melbourne (South) to Cairns (NE corner of country).

Spend 3-4 nights in Cairns - August 6th through 9th:
Goals: See Karandu Skyway/Railway, Birdworld, Daintree/Mossman George.

August 10th (Friday) - Drive ~500 KM scenic drive from Cairns to Airlie Beach / Proserpine (about 8 hours drive)
August 11th (Saturday) - Reef adventure in Whitsundays / GBR
August 12th (Sunday) - Drive to Eungella Forest Reserve for the day
August 13th (Monday) - Drive to Mackay in AM, 10 AM flight to Brisbane.
August 13th - August 15th - Sunshine Coast Hinterlands / Australia Zoo.
August 15th (Wednesday) - 8 PM Flight Brisbane to Sydney. Stay overnight near Sydney airport
August 16th (Thursday) - Fly Sydney to LAX
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR IN PROGRESS!!
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

Last edited by skier_pete; 03-08-2012 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:53 AM   #6
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Part 5 - Return to the US / California Part II

Booked for a hotel stay of THREE nights at the Marriot LAX. Decided to do this since we will be flying from 10 AM Sydney time to 7 AM LA time (which is around midnight Sydney time). So, though we arrive on August 16th in LAX, I want to be able to go to the hotel and get some sleep right away. At $100 a night, I figured just book the extra night. I am, however, NOT renting a car until later in the day. We go to the hotel and maybe sleep until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, then get up and get the rental car - saves a day of rental.

For Thursday my thought is to go the Santa Monica pier in the afternoon / evening. On Friday, what we do will depend how we feel, but probably some sort of Hollywood/Studio tour. I was debating doing Universal, and while that is not completely out of the question, I think something else is more likely.

Saturday have a noon flight back to Buffalo, with only one stop in Chicago. I am picturing a HUGE relief to get home by this point. Gives us Sunday to recover a little before I have to go back to work. DW and DD both have the following week off..lucky them!
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR IN PROGRESS!!
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

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Old 01-30-2012, 01:32 PM   #7
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Joining in! I have always wanted to travel to Australia but it hasn't happened yet so I'll live vicariously through your trip.
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2013 trip report: 1 crazy family+2 resorts+5 parks+1 snake+1 surprise= A Mickeystoontown Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3122381



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Old 01-30-2012, 02:12 PM   #8
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Well you know that I was always going to be on board this train!
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:28 PM   #9
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Joining in, can't wait to hear about your trip
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:46 PM   #10
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Joining in!! I would LOVE to visit Australia someday. So excited for y'all that the trip you have been wanting to take for so long is almost here!
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:49 PM   #11
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me too - you know us Aussies are incredibly proud of our country -cant wait to read about through your eyes -

Just wish we had a Disney park!!!
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:14 PM   #12
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I too am looking forward to hearing what you think of the place
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:08 AM   #13
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I'm in. I wish the trip was a little closer !
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:08 AM   #14
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:34 AM   #15
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Subbing, hope you have a great trip!
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