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Across the Atlantic and up Main Street USA - Our July 2012 adventure!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by ScotsMinnie, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    I know its a long time away but I could wait no longer! I am so excited to share some of the plans we have made for our next trip in July 2012.

    Our last trip was in June 2009 (link in my sig if you fancy a peek!) which feels like a long time ago. So you can imagine how good it feels to have finally made our reservations for next summer. (306 days to go - not too long?) We live in central Scotland so we have quite a distance to travel. The change in the economic climate has made this trip substantially more expensive than our last trip. Mostly due to air fares but there is nothing much we can do about it - except save hard!

    The cast is the same as last trip:

    So there is me (35)!
    Last trip I had just given up my job as a pharmaceutical sales rep to go back to University to train to be a Primary School Teacher. Well its been a long and hard 2 years but I am finally fully qualified. :woohoo: I am working supply at the moment but you never know I might have a permanent job by the time we fly out? I hope so as I love my new career and am so grateful I got the chance to take the rest of my life in a new direction.
    My little family are my world. Spending time with them makes me happy. I have loved Disney since I was a child and WDW must be my favourite place on Earth! I love the magic and how special it feels to be there. We have so many happy family memories there and I am excited to make many more.

    DH (36)
    DH loves WDW but not quite as much as the girls and I do! He is keen to holiday elsewhere but is usually outvoted. However he is excited about this trip as a 3 year gap in trips suits him fine. We met when I was 18 and we have now been married for 12 happy years! He is an amazing Dad and is worshiped by our 2 girls (and me!).

    DD (9)
    My oldest little love. E is energetic, funny, outgoing and daring. She loves WDW as much as me and as she is getting older she seems to have lost all fear and is ready to tackle every ride Florida can throw at her. She is the kind of girls who throws herself into everything. Works hard at school and takes part in lots of out of school activities. I adore her!

    DD (5)
    My littlest love. K is sweet, caring, funny and cuddly. She also has inherited my love for WDW but mostly Its A Small World and the Carousel. We are hoping that she is going to ride some rides she was too small for next time but she is more likely to hold back. I hope she enjoys them. A big fan of Duffy the Disney Bear she is excited to meet him in person.

    Here is a photo of us on our last trip to WDW.

    Joining us on this trip once again are my Mum and Dad.
    Mum is my best friend. She also loves Disney and enjoys the “magic”. Mum and Dad took my brother and I to WDW as children and I have so many happy childhood memories from then. Mum lives about a mile from me and she helps me with childcare so is extremely close to the girls. They adore their Granny!
    My Dad loves going on holiday but I am not convinced he can see the magic at all! Always the one getting up to nonsense with the girls and a seemingly never ending supply of gummi bears in his pocket! Dad is at home most of the time so he also is close to the girls and they are both excited to be going on holiday with their Grandad.

    Here are my Mum and Dad with their precious girls at the MK last trip.

    Here are some more recent photos from a trip we made this summer to Mallorca in the Med Sea.






    So that’s the motley crew!
    Although it is quite a time before we leave we have already made lots of plans reservations. Stay tuned for all the details!

    Links to posts!

    Accommodation and Tickets!
    Flights aaarrrggghhhh!
    First purchase!
    ADR's fast approaching!
    First ADR made - Have a Magical Day!
    A few changes!
    Tickets are here! Yay!

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  3. Melora

    Melora <font color=FF6600>Who are these children and why

    I'm planning our trip for August of 2012 so we can join the "year to plan" club!!
    (~~Daily Dose of Disney~~ Trip report)

    Your girls are darling!!
  4. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    Do you have a link to your plans - would love to see them!
  5. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    As soon as we agreed to plan this trip I was on the internet looking for some good accommodation. We looked at all options this time, including onsite. We always stay offsite at a rented villa but have always fancied at staying at a Disney hotel. Mainly as it would be fun for the children and would be nice to do the dining plan. Drawbacks of this are that it is very expensive compared to other options especially as free dining is not on offer. We would need 2 rooms as there are 6 of us. As we go for usually about 16 days the costs of that fairly mount up! We did consider staying for a few days this time but thought if we were going to do that we would want to stay in a great hotel. Hence the expensive comment!!!!

    We also looked at offsite hotels but this was fairly quickly ruled out. Being stuck in one small room for 16 days is not my idea of fun. Plus with limited options for cooking etc it is not ideal for the type of trip we like to take.

    With all of these things in mind we looked at some of the villa communities we have stayed in or near in the past. I was overjoyed to find a beautiful 4 bedroom villa really close to Disney right next to where we were last trip. It has a private sunny pool, hot tub, games room, and plenty of space for all of us. I got a quote and loved the place even more! We immediately booked it and hoped that we could get flights that suited!!!!

    Next job was tickets. There was no real rush on this one but I was looking at the site we usually get our tickets form and they had a deal on. We wanted to buy the 14 day ultimate ticket which would give us 14 days access to the 4 theme parks and 2 water parks with park hopping. They had a special offer where you got 14 days for the price of 7. :cool1: I booked those tickets straight away for all of us except me. For me we will buy an annual pass. The difference in price between the 14 day ticket and the annual pass is the same as 14 days parking charges. By using the discounts you get with the ticket we can save quite a bit of money. ::goodvibes

    So tickets and a place to stay were sorted. The flights were giving us a real headache. Even though the prices for the villa and tickets were good value we were shocked at how much more the flights were compared to last time. Not all airlines had released those dates yet so we decided to keep watching the flights and try to find something which was not so expensive that it would cause us to rethink the whole trip. :sad2:
  6. gallmcduck

    gallmcduck Gallmcduck

    Hi :wave2: It's never early to start a ptr I've started and our trip is not until October! Flights are a major headache in our house too, doubling previous years :scared1:

    :thumbsup2 to accomodation and tickets being booked up.
  7. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    So we were sorted for a place to stay and tickets to see all the action but flights were a nightmare. Mainly due to cost. Last trip 2 summers ago we paid £1800 for the 4 of us to fly from Edinburgh to Orlando return (about $2700). This time when we started to look at prices we were shocked at how much they have gone up. We tried every combination of flights from almost every UK airport, we looked at direct and indirect flights with a change in the UK or US. Everything! Basically we ended up having to accept that the flights were going to cost a fortune and we either paid it and got our holiday or we didn't and we went somewhere else.

    I think if we hadn't already told the kids DH would have cancelled it. Luckily for me we had already told them and there was no way we could let them down. So we ended up booking with Virgin Holidays Manchester to Orlando for just over £3000 ($4600). ouch! :scared1: :eek: :sad2:

    We will just have to make the 3 and a half hour drive to and from the airport in 2 cars and find somewhere reasonably cheap to leave the cars. Not ideal by a long way but not much choice.

    So saving is in full swing. Every penny I am earning from supply teaching is going straight to the holiday and luckily I am getting lots of work. In fact I have not had a day where I haven't worked for about a month now.

    The good thing is that is all the big things booked and organised.

    The girls are started to get very excited about the trip and Emma has taken over the role as Master Planner. (I am the assistant apparently!) She is taking the role seriously and spends a lot of time on the Dis and Allears researching restaurants, rides etc for us to do.

    After we have swallowed the bitter pill of cost - we can start to get excited for what I am sure will be the best Florida trip so far!

    Can't wait!

    It will all be worth it to see this:

  8. gallmcduck

    gallmcduck Gallmcduck

    You've got something else booked :thumbsup2. If you supply days keep going that will be brill you'll be saved in no times, things are coming together well.

    Flight prices are a major :headache: The good old days of £400 flights have gone :sad2: The majority of flights for october haven't been released yet but virgin are coming out way to pricey at the moment we would also have to go from Manchester or further down, not really ideal as there is the added cost of travel down and car parking fees but if the prices don't come down we'll have to do it :) I am avoiding adding everything up :scared1:
  9. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    DD9 is now DD10!!! Just noticed that I have not posted since her birthday!!

    Anyway! My little DD10 had expressed an interest in going to Universal this year to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I pointed out to her that if she really wanted to go there she would really have to read the books to appreciate the ride and the theming. After making a plea to just watch the movies and being turned down she agreed to read the books. DD10 is an avid reader but never fancied reading them before. The agreement is that after each book she can watch the movie.

    Well, we have unleashed a monster! That was about 2 months ago and she is already tackling the 700+ pages of the 5th book. She is racing through them and absolutely loving it. I have never seen her read so much. Every spare minute she has her nose in the book. The books are getting so thick but its not stopping her. The movies are going down a treat too and now she is so excited about her day there.

    I thought it would be good to get her something appropriate to wear that day. Every shirt I found was quite boy-ish until I finally found this one. I have ordered it for her in XS as its an adult one. If it needs taken in I will ask my Mum nicely!

    I think she will love this one and it will be perfect for her day in Hogwarts!!

  10. gallmcduck

    gallmcduck Gallmcduck

    I am a big HP fan well done to your DD on reading the books they get you engaged big time :thumbsup2 I haven't posted on my ptr for a wee while either been a busy few weeks. The t-shirt is very theming for WWOHP.

    Still hunting for flights not all the dates are released yet but the prices are very :scared1:
  11. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    Have completely abandoned this Pre trippie! Poor thing!

    Well its the 1st of January - New Years Day so Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2012 brings happiness, good heath and good fortune to all!

    Its also the year we get to go to WDW!!!! :banana::banana:

    My planning has gone into overdrive as we are fast approaching our 180 day window!!! We are not doing the dining plan but there are quite a few reservation I really want to get. Also because we are staying off site I will have to call each day rather than book them all at once.

    I am trying to get everyone's thoughts on what they want to do and then I am going to have to sit down and work out what the park hours are for each day and try to spread our reservation through our trip. I feel a spreadsheet coming on! :surfweb:

    I can't hardly believe that Christmas has been and gone. We had a lovely time with family and friends. The girls are enjoying their break from school. DD10 has just finished all 7 Harry Potter books tonight so she is well ready for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! She has done so well and is obsessed with the stories. I am sure that she will really enjoy her day there.

    Our first 3 days are starting to take shape.

    Mon 2nd July - Arrive Orlando about 3/4pm. Drive to villa, unpack, head to Publix to stock up, playing in the pool and then an early night.

    Tue 3rd July - Few jobs to do today. A trip to Downtown Disney is essential for a bit of Disney magic, a ride on the carousel and an ice cream sundae.

    In the evening I am going to try to get a reservation at O'Hanas for dinner. We will park at the Poly and then after dinner wander down to the beach to take in the fireworks before heading home.

    Wed 4th July - We are very friendly with the parents of a girl who is in DD10's class at school and they are going to Florida at the same time as us. (They have a younger daughter too) They are staying outside Orlando at a family members house so we plan to spend the 4th July with them enjoying a real American town's July 4th celebrations. I can't wait to spend time with them and to see where they holiday every year. The girls will enjoy seeing their friends too. It should be a really good 4th July and a day away from the busy parks will be great.

    We have a 14 day pass so we plan to activate it on the next day but still have not decided where to go first yet.

    So thats the first few days. Different from the usual plans but still so excited!

    I'll leave you with a pic of my pup enjoying her Christmas presents!


  12. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    :banana::banana::banana: First ADR made today! Got O'Hana for 7.10pm on our second night as planned. So excited to speak to someone and to be told to "Have a magical day!" :lovestruc

    The girls and I took a bit of a mad turn after I asked them if they had anything in their room they wanted to be put away for the trip. The point of this is that we bought new bags for going and I was going to put them away. It made sense if there was anything that we were not going to use till then to put it safely away. DD10 gave me her lanyard and her new pins to trade and the new purse she got especially for going away. DD5 however gave me her new park bag, purse, lanyard, pins and about 20 items of clothing! I tried to persuade her that she might need the clothes but she is hearing none of it and insisted they be put in the bag. I think I may have to get them down long before we go away!

    But we did have fun packing away lots of bits and bobs knowing we would see them next when it was nearly time to go. If I told DH we did some packing he would have a fit!

    I also sat down today and looked at park hours and times for parades/fireworks and made a spreadsheet with all the info on it. Sad I know! It helps us decide where to go as we need to avoid EMH to avoid crowds.

    Enjoying the excitement of these little bits of planning as have time on my hands just now before school goes back. Trying to squeeze in lesson planning but getting very distracted!

    Will end with one of my favourite videos of my little girls dancing to the music waiting for PlayHouse Disney Live on Stage to start. Till this day I have no idea why DD5 (3 at time) was pulling those faces!


  13. jmskinner

    jmskinner New Member

    Hi! I realized you had a PTR when I saw you had posted on my TR and had to come check it out. So sorry we will just miss each other.

    Wow! That is an increase in price. I have some other friends in Scotland also going and I know they have been upset over pricing of flights. Any chance of a reduced price if they drop or are you locked in?

    Glad you found a great place to stay and got your first ADR booked.

    Love the video of your girls dancing!
  14. gallmcduck

    gallmcduck Gallmcduck

    Hi, I missed you ADR update. Yey :yay: you got O'Hana ADR and your first few days are coming together nicely. We finally got our flights booked not as :scared1:as I was thinking the price was going to before christmas. We went for BA, glasgow to gatwick, gatwick to tampa on a plus as extra :beach: day.

    The girls video is great :thumbsup2
  15. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    Thats good you got the flights booked. Such a stress lifted I imagine.

    Our ADRs are coming along great. Need to update with the completed list. Really happy with how it looks and only 154 days to go!!
  16. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    Disney opening their ADRs at 6am maybe an inconvienience for some people having to get up a bit early to book the exact days and times they want. But those those of us living 5 hours in the future its a total headache. At 11am I am at work, so is DH and the only person available to book us some ADRs is the one person who is least likely to be able to do it correctly! I'm not being mean to my Mum - she would tell you the same thing! Due to staying offsite we are unable to book all of ours at once so to make it worse we had to book each one exactly 180 days out. So that took a lot of planning.

    Luckily it all worked out and we now have all the ADRs we wanted on the days we wanted them.

    I have already hinted at what our first few days will hold. We are still to confirm for certain if we are visiting our friends on the 4th July. I am 90% sure but we will know more closer to the time. So I have a Plan A (for travelling to see them on the 4th) and a Plan B (staying around the parks for 4th). Our Plan B is to go to the California Grill on the 4th. I have got an ADR for 7.30pm and as soon as we know for sure what we are doing I can cancel it and free it up for someone else.

    The other ADRs I have booked are:

    Chef Mickeys - Love this place! We didn't go last time so we could try other places but we can't not go this time. I love the food and I love the atmosphere. Can't beat the bacon. Our bacon doesn't look like the bacon in the US. Ours is bigger, less fatty and softer. I love your streaky, fatty, long, thin, crispy bacon! Can't get enough of it. DD5 is excited about the Mickey waffles and DD10 is excited about the pancakes.

    Cinderellas Royal Table - There is a story to this one. We have booked the BBB for 8am for DD5 and planned to go the CRT afterwards for breakfast. However as we were looking at the menu and prices it seemed to make more sense to do lunch instead. The cost is a tiny bit more and you seem to get so much more for your money. So DD5, Mum and I are going to have lunch here instead. (DH, Dad and DD10 are going to IOA to visit Harry Potter that day!)

    Whispering Canyon Cafe - Ate here for the first time last year and we loved it. DH and Dad were fishing that day so they have never been. We plan to go to a park in the morning before heading to WL. After lunch we will hire two of the 4 person bikes and cycle along the jogging trail to FW like we did last year. We had so much fun doing that last time and DH would like to have a go too.

    California Grill - At the moment I have 2 ADRs for the California Grill but will hopefully be cancelling one very soon. We may go on the 4th July but I imagine we will use the other ADR later in our holiday. I know it is a very expensive night but we absolutely love it there. the food is outstanding and the children were happy there too. The child's crispy rice sushi is still the most amazing desserts I have ever seen! DD5 is really looking forward to have one of those. We will watch the fireworks from the roof. Bliss!

    Crystal Palace - On our last full day we will eat at the Crystal Palace. We really like the food here and it is nice to eat in the MK and come out and enjoy the rest of our final night.

    So that's the list so far. Still thinking about whether there is anything else we want to do.

    Booking our ADRs is making us all so much more excited about our trip. Our spreadsheet is full so we are starting to think very hard about where we are going to go on each day. Our first full day in the parks will be the 5th and that is a MK EMH :sad2: So we are thinking that we will break with tradition and visit Epcot on our first day instead. Our 2nd day will be the MK this time.

    So for now its back to making lists (I have a lot of those already!) and searching the internet for the first signs of summer clothes! Off to Glasgow tomorrow to look for a bag to take to the park. I want one that is practical but still pretty! Big ask I know! Actually its more of an excuse for Mum and I to have a good old girly chat!!!

  17. jmskinner

    jmskinner New Member

    The ADR's look great! I can't imagine trying to make all of those by calling each day. :cheer2: for you Mum. And I love all of your choices, especially WCC. One of our favorites.

    Have a fabulous time shopping. And I hope you find the perfect bag, I'm looking for a nice backpack myself.
  18. ScotsMinnie

    ScotsMinnie New Member

    She did well!!!!!

    Well after a great day wandering around the shops I did manage to buy some things for our trip. I didn't find a bag sadly. A few I really liked but nothing which would be perfect for touring the parks with.

    Mum managed to find a swimsuit and a few lovely tops and I bought a top and a sundress. Not much in the shops just now for summer (we were a bit early I think!) but we had fun anyway. We had sushi for lunch and Mum has decided we should get some on holiday if we can. I know you can have sushi at the California Grill but we will be stuffed that day. I see there is a sushi bar in the Poly. Anyone been there? Is it good?

    DD5 was a happy bunny as I treated her to a new Disney charm bracelet and the first months charm which is Rapunzel. The second month is Tiana and they came out this week but there are sold out so far. I will order that one online. They are releasing a new charm every month to go on it and she loves it so far. I told her there are lots of charms like them that you can buy at WDW which she is v excited about!

    Well back to school tomorrow so off to get bags packed and uniforms ironed!

    Any thoughts on the sushi bar would be appreciated!!!

  19. jmskinner

    jmskinner New Member

    Glad you found a few items, but sorry you didn't find a bag. Do they sell Vera Bradley there? That is what I am considering since they aren't too big, lightweight and I think I can just wash it when it gets dirty.

    I don't do Sushi, but did notice on my BFF trip that there is a little quick service place in Japan at Epcot that has a Sushi Combo meal. Looks like there is another spot too, Katsura Grill also at Japan. I'm thinking that is the little booth beside the high tower, so bad of me that I don't know what it is called.:confused3

    The bracelet sounds really sweet. How nice to get a new charm each month.

    Hope you have a great week!
  20. gallmcduck

    gallmcduck Gallmcduck

    Well done mum on getting adr's booked :banana::banana:

    ADR's looking great, all our fav's except whispering canyon we haven't been yet it is on our list for this year but not sure we can squeeze it in. I'm with you on the bacon :thumbsup2 We had a funny story at CRT with bacon last trip as we requested more and the cm was making the kids laugh by giving them the phrase "shhh don't tell piglet" :rotfl:

    I cannot help with the sushi bar somewhere we have not visited, I have read lots of great reviews from sushi dishes purchased from onsite restaurants.

    You cannot beat making lists :thumbsup2
  21. Happydog

    Happydog New Member

    hello! :wave2: I just found your TR!! We are going to be at Disney over the 4th of July too! I love all your ADRs! We have many of the same, and for all the same reasons you suggest! My DS9 is going to be 10 in June, right before our trip. What grade is your DD in? She just turned 10, right? Our son had a pen pal from Noroway, we met the family on a cruise last spring break, Italy/Greece over Easter. I gave her our email address, and she emailed him! They email every so often, it is kind of neat to have a friend from a different place! Maybe we could do the same with your older daughter, if you want, like a pen pal? Either way, I completely agree with you about the restaurant choices! We have almost the same! We are staying at WLV, for that week, July 1 - 8. I have to say I love your Edinburgh!! We go every other year or so for the Fringe!

    Your air fare is incredible, I don't doubt the expense it must be! It is hard to think about summer clothes already, but you are right, you have to start planning or you don't get the best selection!!

    Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your planning in the next few months!!! :goodvibes

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