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Old 08-01-2013, 09:52 AM   #1
wilma-bride
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Fred and Wilma - Friends Don't Let Friends Do Karaoke (Pre-Trippy)

So, today marks 90* days until our cruise sets sail. Having been up since 5am, when I successfully completed online check-in and secured a coveted PAT (Port Arrival Time) of 11am, I decided that today would be the day I started my pre-trip report.

*I actually started writing this on Sunday but am only getting around to posting it today so, technically, we are now at 86 days.

It feels like a long time since I wrote a trip report, although in reality it is only a few months since I finished the last one. It also feels like a long time since we were at WDW, although in reality it has only been just under a year. And we were lucky enough to manage an adult-only trip to Las Vegas in March this year, for my ‘special’ Birthday, so it hasn’t even been that long since we had a holiday (if you’re lucky, dear readers, and I am sufficiently bored over the next 3 months, I may include a bonus mini TR or at least some photos from Vegas here).

But, boy, do I need a holiday (or vacation, if you’re that way inclined). It has been one heck of a year…so, without further ado, I bring you my pre-trip report (I am not clever enough to put sound bytes into my trip reports so you’ll just have to imagine it).

Regular readers of my trip reports will be disappointed to know there was no Disney math involved in the planning and booking of this trip. I didn’t even need to use my feminine wiles or other persuasive tactics on DH. In fact, the trip was practically his idea…well, that’s what I’m letting him think anyway. The background is a little long and convoluted but stick with me, please, I like long and convoluted.

In order to properly give you the background to this trip and some of the characters involved, I need to take you back to October 2009, the Bad Mothers trip. It was during our 3-day cruise to the Bahamas that we met Wendy and Rich, a lovely couple from Atlanta, Georgia. We had a fantastic group of DISers on that particular cruise and, although we didn’t really get to know Wendy and Rich that well, we did bump into them around the ship (as you do) and had a few conversations with them. It was on that cruise that we rebooked for a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise with DCL in October 2011.

Imagine my surprise when I found the ‘DIS meet’ thread for that particular cruise and found Wendy stalking us – sorry, I mean posting - there, having also booked the same cruise. We had a similarly fabulous group of DISers on that cruise and that is where we met the Canadian contingent of this trip report, Char and Nate and their wonderful kids Cassie, Evan, Gabe and Luke. We also met Char’s Mum and Dad, who quickly became just ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ whenever we saw them. Char’s sister, Dorothy, and her husband and their kids were also on the cruise and we spent some fun times with them all. Unfortunately, Dorothy and family won’t be joining us this time, which is a shame as she is a real laugh and does a cracking British accent. We spent much more time with Wendy and Rich on this cruise too and we all got on like a house on fire. I think a bond was formed when Wendy finally realised that chocolate smoothies are WAY better than strawberry

We rebooked before we disembarked that cruise and had originally intended to do a Panama Canal cruise in May 2013, however life put the kybosh on that when DH found out he was being made redundant in October last year. At the time, we didn't want to risk having a holiday booked that we potentially couldn't justify paying for if DH hadn't found another job. So, we moved the cruise to a 7-day Western in October. I mentioned to Char during one of our many Facebook chats that we had changed the date. Char and Nate had already planned to cruise again in October but were currently booked on the cruise leaving a fortnight before ours. She didn’t take much persuading to change the date In a moment of sheer genius, I messaged Wendy and asked if she and Rich fancied joining us and thus this trip started to take shape.

So, that’s the background to the trip. I suppose I ought to introduce the stars of the show…

Firstly – and most importantly – we have Gary (aka Fred).



My long-suffering, wonderfully understanding and considerate husband. He is my one true love, my best friend, my rock. Gary honestly and truthfully is the best thing that has ever happened to me (hopefully he’s reading this and that’s next year’s holiday secured now ) I think it would be fair to say that Gary loves Orlando but doesn’t necessarily love Disney. That doesn’t stop him from indulging me and my love of Disney and I love him for it. Gary is the logical and sensible one in our relationship and, without a doubt, the reason we are not bankrupt (having prevented me from spending our life savings on holidays). Gary is most looking forward to the various different ports on the cruise, the chance to see new places and meeting up with our cruising buddies.

Next up is my eldest DD, Sian (aka Siany Shoo or Shup Sian or Sianessy O’Bell).



Sian has not featured in recent trip reports, mainly because she went through a phase of being too cool to holiday with her parents, preferring instead the bright lights of Weymouth, where she normally goes with her boyfriend and his family. Sian is most looking forward to FRIENDLYS!!!! Yes, dear readers, of all the wonderful things we have planned on this trip, Sian is most looking forward to eating at a cheap and cheerful restaurant on International Drive. She tells me now that Friendlys is the one and only reason she decided to go on this trip. At the tender age of 20, Sian is at that unfortunate age where she is legally allowed to drink here but won’t be able to drink on the cruise or in Orlando. Surprisingly, maybe, she is absolutely fine with that. And so am I – I’ll need somebody sober enough to get me back to the stateroom when Gary has given me up as a lost cause Like most teens and their Mums (I imagine), Sian and I went through a stage where we couldn’t be in the same room as one another without World War 3 breaking out. I am pleased to say that phase is over and, for the most part, we get on very well. We are very similar, we laugh a lot (often at the most stupid things) and, when the two of us are together, I think Gary sometimes despairs. To keep him sane and even up the testosterone v oestrogen levels, we have…

Daniel (Daniel Spaniel, Danny Boy, Monster Munch)



Daniel is a 10 year old. I remember writing a pre-trip report some time ago now, when I described my DD (Sian) as a typical teenager. Even though he has not yet reached his ‘teens’, Daniel has all the makings of a ‘Kevin’ (no offence intended Mr Stringer, if you’re reading this). He can be the nicest, most polite, loving little boy one minute. And an unbearable, obnoxious monster the next. He is like our very own Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I am hoping he will grow out of it – preferably by October Daniel is most looking forward to (in his words) “seeing Abby*, being on holiday with the family, the Aquaduck, swimming with dolphins at Grand Cayman and Texas Roadhouse”

*more about Abby coming up. I love how she comes first, before 'being on holiday with the family' though

Then there’s me, Joh (Wilma)



I turned 40 this year. I was a teeny, weeny bit unhappy about it. Actually, I was quite a lot unhappy about it, so much so that I cried on New Year’s when I realised that I would be 40 THIS YEAR! In reality, it really wasn’t that bad. Being in Las Vegas for the event softened the blow somewhat (thanks Gary). Being with friends softened the blow even more (thanks Brenda and Michael). I love, love, love Disney. Not in the ‘Oh Mickey Mouse, I adore you’ kind of way but more in the fact that I am at my happiest when I am at Walt Disney World. I am a control freak (yes, I can admit it) and a planner. I am most looking forward to catching up with friends on the cruise, introducing Sian (an avid Harry Potter fan) to the delights of WWOHP at Universal and being back in my ‘happy place’.

So, that is the introduction to our family group and the background to the trip. Next up: The extended group, more of our plans and how the trip report got its name.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:28 AM   #2
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Great pre-trippy Wilma!! Can't wait for the next episode
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:29 AM   #3
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Sounds like the makings of an excellent trip!
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:15 AM   #4
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Great start! Sounds like a great trip so far! We loved our Western cruise a few years ago. Cant wait to try the eastern when the kidlets are bigger.

Look forward to reading more of your plans.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:17 AM   #5
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That sounds like an amazing trip.

Corinna
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:21 AM   #6
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sounds like you have a great trip planned
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:28 AM   #7
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How the trip report got its name

So, I mentioned about the last cruise we took over Halloween 2011. On that cruise, we met a great bunch of DISers, a couple of whom we already knew. We had some really fun times, including…

Embarkation Day Meet and Candy Exchange



Scavenger Hunt



Martini Tasting



Smoothy Meet



Group Brunch at Palo



Bar Crawl at Castaway Cay



It really was a fun cruise but if I had just one regret, it would be the karaoke. For some reason, at some stage on the run up to the last cruise, Char, Wendy, another fellow cruiser named Peggy and I decided it might be fun to sing karaoke on Pirate Night. Now I love to sing but I am completely and utterly tone deaf, I should not be allowed to sing in a public place and I am only grateful that the bar was pretty much empty that night. However, thanks to my husband, I shall never be able to forget it. My husband decided, in his infinite wisdom, to videotape the whole thing. It was dire! Not just that but it was the kind of dire that is now preserved on film for all eternity. A nightmare of mammoth proportions

Let's just say that Copa Cabana used to be one of my favourite songs, now I can’t hear it without thinking of that night. Unfortunately – or should I say fortunately – one member of our quartet will not be with us on this cruise and so I can say right here and now that, out of respect for my dear friend, Peggy, I will not be doing karaoke on this cruise. And if Char and Wendy are the true friends that I think (hope) they are, nor will they let me

So, more about our fellow cruisers. First up are…

Wendy and Rich



As I mentioned, we met Wendy and Rich on a cruise in 2009 and cruised with them again in 2011. They also recently came over to the UK for a visit and were good enough to sacrifice some of their precious vacation time to spend a couple of days with us visiting the local area. We had a blast!

Next we have Char and Nate



Char and I hit it off from the start but I knew that we were destined to be good friends the day we talked on Skype early one evening (middle of the afternoon in Canada) and she was in her pyjamas. I knew then she was a girl after my own heart

I don’t have any pictures of Char and Nate’s boys but, again, we were lucky enough to have Char’s daughter, Cassie, stay with us for a few days last month so here is a picture of Cassie and Sian on a night out.



And another of Cassie at Lacock Abbey, where some of the Harry Potter movies were filmed.



We will also be joined by ‘Mum and Dad’ (Char’s parents) and some friends of Char and Nate’s too.

And last, but most definitely not (in Daniel’s eyes anyway) least is Abby. Some of you may recall that Daniel met a girl on our last cruise, in 2011. Abby was from Wisconsin and the two of them were practically inseparable for the duration of the cruise. We exchanged Email addresses at the end of the cruise and Daniel and Abby have kept in touch, via Email, for the last 20 months. When we booked this cruise, I had contemplated mentioning it to Abby’s Mom, Jody, knowing that they quite often headed down to Florida in October. Little did I know that Abby and her family were already booked on this cruise. To say that Daniel is very excited to see Abby again would be the understatement of the year.

Since I don’t want to post a picture here of Abby without Jody’s permission, I will post some pictures of ‘Flat Abby’, a paper doll version of herself ( a la Flat Stanley style) that Abby sent to Daniel last year as part of a school project.

Flat Abby at school



Flat Abby at RAF Lyneham



And now, with the permission of Abby's Mom, here are the pictures of Daniel and Abby on the cruise





I can't quite believe how young they look.

We have a great group of DISers on this cruise (at current count, there are 156 in our FB group), who I am very excited to meet, and we have a lot of fun events planned, including a Candy Exchange, private Mixology classes and a Cabin Crawl.

Next up: The plan – you all know I’ve got to have a plan, right?

Last edited by wilma-bride; 08-01-2013 at 12:38 PM. Reason: To add pictures of Daniel and Abby
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:26 PM   #8
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This is a great start to a pre trippy!! I feel like I am reading a novel. The players are now all set and the plot begins to form...more please!!
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilma-bride View Post
It really was a fun cruise but if I had just one regret, it would be the karaoke. For some reason, at some stage on the run up to the last cruise, Char, Wendy, another fellow cruiser named Peggy and I decided it might be fun to sign karaoke on Pirate Night. Now I love to sing but I am completely and utterly tone deaf, I should not be allowed to sing in a public place and I am only grateful that the bar was pretty much empty that night. However, thanks to my husband, I shall never be able to forget it. My husband decided, in his infinite wisdom, to videotape the whole thing. It was dire! Not just that but it was the kind of dire that is now preserved on film for all eternity. A nightmare of mammoth proportions

Let's just say that Copa Cabana used to be one of my favourite songs, now I can’t hear it without thinking of that night. Unfortunately – or should I say fortunately – one member of our quartet will not be with us on this cruise and so I can say right here and now that, out of respect for my dear friend, Peggy, I will not be doing karaoke on this cruise. And if Char and Wendy are the true friends that I think (hope) they are, nor will they let me




For the record there was no "decision" on my part...I was dragged up unwillingly
I don't know about you Wendy but I think true friends are over-rated... I'm good with shallow and superficial
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:04 PM   #10
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Yay!! Pre-trippie!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilma-bride View Post
It was during our 3-day cruise to the Bahamas that we met Wendy and Rich, a lovely couple from Atlanta, Georgia.
Lovely?!? You are too generous. As I recall it, we plopped down next to y'all at the bar on CC, invited ourselves into your conversations, and haven't shut up since.

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Originally Posted by wilma-bride View Post
I am most looking forward to catching up with friends on the cruise, introducing Sian (an avid Harry Potter fan) to the delights of WWOHP at Universal and being back in my happy place.
Can't wait for HP either! Does everyone in your family do rollercoasters? I usually have to do them myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilma-bride View Post
It really was a fun cruise but if I had just one regret, it would be the karaoke. For some reason, at some stage on the run up to the last cruise, Char, Wendy, another fellow cruiser named Peggy and I decided it might be fun to sign karaoke on Pirate Night.
Now that you mention it, we were rather enthusiastic about it when we were still land-locked, weren't we? I went back to the thread page (linked) and now I am quite befuddled by my previous enthusiasm. No worries though... I'm going to take some precautions this time and have Rich lock me in the stateroom after the pirate party so I don't do anything so foolish this time around.

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Next up: The plan you all know Ive got to have a plan, right?
Oooooo!! I LOVE reading about plans!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tow-mater-1 View Post
For the record there was no "decision" on my part...I was dragged up unwillingly
Char, your silence throughout that topic on the previous cruise's thread implies you were an innocent victim in all of this... BUUUUUUT... your enthusiasm in the video seems to state otherwise...?

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I don't know about you Wendy but I think true friends are over-rated... I'm good with shallow and superficial
Absolutely!!
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:01 PM   #11
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Looking forward to this one and still hoping for a big lottery win so we can join you.
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:05 PM   #12
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The plan comes together

So, with the cruise booked, I concentrated on finding flights. I am so impatient that I couldn’t possibly wait for scheduled flights to be released so opted instead to book a fly drive with Travel City Direct. In the past, we have chosen to visit WDW first and take a cruise during our second week. This time we had decided to be different (mainly because the flights were cheaper) and booked to fly out the day before the cruise and stay in Orlando for a week afterwards.

In October last year, DVC announced a special offer whereby members could purchase a Premium Annual Pass for the bargain price of $399 + tax each. They had to be purchased by December 31st but could be activated up to a year later. Knowing that Gary, Daniel and I we were planning a return trip within the year, we promptly bought three PAPs.

When Sian decided, in December, to join us for the trip, we had no problem adding her to our fly drive booking. However, when we tried to add her to the cruise, we had an issue as the stateroom we were booked into only sleeps three people. Having secured a Cat 5E stateroom with oversized veranda, we really didn’t want to switch so we had a lot of discussion back and forth about what to do. Since Sian was paying her share of the holiday, we obviously didn’t want to make it too expensive for her so, in the end, after much to-ing and fro-ing, juggling of figures and a little bit of Disney math we decided to pay for an additional stateroom for Sian and Daniel (a Cat 11B) on the same deck as us, just a few doors away.

Sian then decided she couldn’t come to Orlando with us and not take the opportunity to visit Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As a huge Potter fan, she had been very excited when WWOHP was being built the last time she came on holiday with us, back in 2009.

It (and we) looked like this then



We obviously didn’t have the heart to deny her the chance to see it (and, yes, she played the ‘this might be my last ever trip to Florida’ card) and so, with a limited amount of time after the cruise, we decided to book a night at a Universal hotel for the Saturday night after the cruise. With the unlimited express passes, we are hoping we will be able to get the highlights of both parks done on the Saturday and Sunday. Of course, being of a persuasive nature, whilst Wendy and Rich were visiting with us in May, I managed to convince them that they NEEDED to go to Universal with us too after the cruise. In fairness, they didn’t need too much encouragement. In fact, Rich gave in very easily if I recall. Maybe it was the Crabbies Ginger Beer that did it

So, all we had left to do was decide where to spend the last five nights of our vacation. Since we are preserving our DVC points for a big family vacation in October 2014, we knew we would have to spring for a hotel stay but couldn’t quite bring ourselves to stay offsite. In the end, we were very lucky and got a great rate to stay somewhere we had never really considered before…
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann B View Post
Great pre-trippy Wilma!! Can't wait for the next episode
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chilly View Post
Sounds like the makings of an excellent trip!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurafoster View Post
Great start! Sounds like a great trip so far! We loved our Western cruise a few years ago. Cant wait to try the eastern when the kidlets are bigger.

Look forward to reading more of your plans.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dolphingirl47 View Post
That sounds like an amazing trip.

Corinna
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjk View Post
sounds like you have a great trip planned
Thanks all, I am beyond excited at the moment

Quote:
Originally Posted by lah3hh View Post
This is a great start to a pre trippy!! I feel like I am reading a novel. The players are now all set and the plot begins to form...more please!!
Thank you, there is something about writing everything down that makes it feel more 'real'. Sorry if it's a little bit 'War and Peace'

Quote:
Originally Posted by tow-mater-1 View Post
For the record there was no "decision" on my part...I was dragged up unwillingly
I don't know about you Wendy but I think true friends are over-rated... I'm good with shallow and superficial
I don't recall you being an unwilling participant. In fact, didn't you invent the dance moves

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Lovely?!? You are too generous. As I recall it, we plopped down next to y'all at the bar on CC, invited ourselves into your conversations, and haven't shut up since.
Not far off - but we still love ya

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Originally Posted by runskyhy View Post
Can't wait for HP either! Does everyone in your family do rollercoasters? I usually have to do them myself.
We are serious coaster fanatics, you won't have to ride anything by yourself

Quote:
Originally Posted by runskyhy View Post
Now that you mention it, we were rather enthusiastic about it when we were still land-locked, weren't we? I went back to the thread page (linked) and now I am quite befuddled by my previous enthusiasm. No worries though... I'm going to take some precautions this time and have Rich lock me in the stateroom after the pirate party so I don't do anything so foolish this time around.
Maybe we just shouldn't drink so much this time around

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Originally Posted by tony64 View Post
Looking forward to this one and still hoping for a big lottery win so we can join you.
Me too Tone. I just realised that I spent a lot of time talking about the friends who are joining us on this cruise and I completely forgot to mention the ones who AREN'T

We will drink to absent friends on the first night...and the second...probably the third too...you get the picture

And just for old times' sake...

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Old 08-01-2013, 02:36 PM   #14
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Looking forward to the next time we can all go together.
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The Buckland Disney Stampede August 2005 TripThe S.V.R. 2006 Trip T&T Do Thanksgiving 2007 Trip T&T & 2 1st Timers May 2008 Trip T&T Do the Triple Aug 2008 Trip T&T's 2nd Thanksgiving Trip 1975 & 2010 A double trip Bad Mothers & Others Oct 2011 Key West to Old Key West Nov 2012



Last edited by tony64; 08-01-2013 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 08-01-2013, 03:48 PM   #15
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Char, your silence throughout that topic on the previous cruise's thread implies you were an innocent victim in all of this... BUUUUUUT... your enthusiasm in the video seems to state otherwise...?
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I don't recall you being an unwilling participant. In fact, didn't you invent the dance moves
I did not invent the moves... I think that was Wendy but since I was better at that than singing I put all my efforts into the dancing to distract from my horrible singing!


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Maybe we just shouldn't drink so much this time around
SHUT YOU MOUTH! (or fingers) Why would you EVER write such a thing
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