Charlies First trip home - Trip Report!

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by Laurafoster, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    With the recent deluge of snow i have spent more and more time reading the trip reports on this forum. As such i have decided to try writing my own Pre-Trip Report for a change.

    So firstly who are the cast of characters on this trip:

    Me - Laura (27):goodvibes
    I'm actually now Laura Flower (can't update my Dis name) so for those of you that follow me on Twitter (@laurarflower) or on facebook I am the same person :)
    The normal long time Disney lover and obsessive planner.
    My first trip to WDW was in 1998 with my parents aged 13. I have been every year since and twice on some years.

    DH - Gary (26)
    Now a Disney convert! :rotfl2:
    I first introduced Gary to the world of Disney about 9 years ago now. Fortunately for me he is now nearly as mad about it as i am (nearly but not quite).

    DD - Megan (2)
    Megan loves Disney too (not that she had a choice :rotfl:) and as she gets older she is enjoying more characters than before.
    This will be Megans 4th Trip to WDW.

    DS - Charlie (3months)
    Charlie was born in October and is well on his way to becoming a Mickey Mouse Fan :thumbsup2
    This will be his first trip to WDW and as such our first trip to WDW as a 'complete family'.


    Grandparents (My Parents) - 50 and 48
    Both equally in love with WDW although not quite to the obsessive extent that i am.
     
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  3. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    The Plans so far

    The decision for where to stay is not usually a difficult one. We are DVC members so that narrows our choice down to start with. Our favourite location is usually one of the Epcot resorts as we like to be able to walk to/from Epcot and DHS. However with 2 little kids we were not so fussed on the pool at the Boardwalk, and the Beach club whilst lovely was usually pretty busy. Saratoga is our home resort so this is where we have chosen to stay this trip.

    On my first trip i didnt like the resort too much as it seemed huge. However we went there last year and stayed in the Paddock section with the new pool area. This area has a great new pool area with a zero entry pool and seperate kids pool.Perfect for uus and it also has a good bar (serving food too), the bus stop and laundry were also right next to the pool. As with all buildings we can park right outside so generally there was not much walking around the resort needed. The main building was a short 10 min stroll around the lake. So we will hopefully request the same area this time.

    We will be staying there from the 19th September to the 3rd October.

    On our last trip in May 2012 we took a 3 night cruise on the Disney Dream. Whilst we were onboard we took advantage of the onboard booking discounts and booked a dummy date with the intention of taking a 4 night cruise in September.

    We have since moved this to a 4 night on 15th September 2013. We have gone with an Oceanview family room as i was not comfortable with a climbing toddler (Megan will be 3 by the time we go) and a crawling/walking 11 month old with a verandah. We have only ever done a verandah room before so will be interested to see how we get on in this room as it was significantly cheaper.

    My parents have gone for a verandah room but are only a few doors down which is great.

    Next up was flights. The flight prices for 2013 have been a little crazy :confused3 Priced up both Virgin and BA and there was next to nothing in the prices. Indirect was only going to save us £30pp and to be honest its not worth the hassle with 2 little kids.

    So we chose to fly Virgin (LGW-MCO) as we had plenty of flyer miles which made them cheaper. Then they had a sale and we managed go get PE flights for an extra £600 in total so as we can get away with Charlie not having a seat we went for it. From experience its generally quieter and im hoping both kids will sleep better on the return flight. To be honest its any excuse really. Ive only flown PE once before and loved it so i was excited to try it again. Realistically we probably wont be able to afford it when we have to pay for 4 seats so we thought why not.

    So we are now flying out on the 13th September and home on the 3rd October which means we will need a hotel for the 2 nights before the cruise.:goodvibes
     
  4. wilma-bride

    wilma-bride <<This space intentionally blank>> Moderator

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    Great start to your pre-trippy Laura. We also own at SSR and didn't think much of it when we first stayed there (due to the size and long walk to the main pool) but have been thinking we will stay there for a big family trip we are planning for next year.

    I know what you mane about the flight prices. I think they are off the scale for 2013 and are only going ot get higher, unfortunately. We are seriously considering our first ever indirect flights for next year, although we are travelling with a couple of newbies so not sure how they will handle that.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your plans. It's amazing how the cruises can become so addictive so quickly too, isn't it? ;)
     
  5. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    Flights really were crazy this year. We considered indirect too but with a baby and toddler it just wasn't worth the stress. It's definitely going to be more considered in future though.

    Cruises definitely are addictive! The Eastern cruise has been on my to do list for a while now, hopefully do that in 2014 :)
     
  6. wilma-bride

    wilma-bride <<This space intentionally blank>> Moderator

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    We loved our Eastern cruise. Have you any plans for excursions? St Maarten is really beautiful, it was probably my favourite stop (other than Castaway Cay)
     
  7. tinks_1989

    tinks_1989 <font color=teal>need a <b>like</b> button<br><fon

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    Sounds like a great trip you are planning. Wow your little lady will be going for the 4th time lucky girl.

    We are traveling in 8 days with DD who will be 23 months. How do you get on with your little one s flying? She has flown twice to France so I'm not worried about her being scared just keeping her entertained.

    We are hoping to upgrade to PE but having a bit of trouble with it at the moment virgin say I have to upgrade through disney (we booked through disney) rang disney gave me an email address they replied saying I have to upgrade with virgin :/. Rang virgin again and can upgrade through them at 48 hours before check in. Roll on Tuesday.
     
  8. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    We were originally going to do the Eastern this trip but we bumped it back to 2014 when the prices were released. So just a 4 day cruise this trip now :)

    Hoping to go visit Atlantis maybe in Nassau as we've never been there.
     
  9. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    We have been very lucky to take her so often. Perk of owning DVC :)

    Megan was great on the flights. I got her a few cheap presents (toys from £1 shop, sweets, colouring etc) wrapped them up and gave them to her periodically on the flight. Gave her something "new" to do each time she looked bored. Other than that she just loved walking up and down the plane and chatting to people.

    On the way home I just made sure she was really tired before we got on and she was soon off to sleep. Slept for over 7 hours!

    1 more week you must be so excited :) I nearly cried the first time Megan saw the castle or Mickey :)
     
  10. tinks_1989

    tinks_1989 <font color=teal>need a <b>like</b> button<br><fon

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    I have been in our £1 shop bought little cars trains and other bits like sticker books.

    I hope she sleeps she doesn't sleep
    In the car any more so I'm not feeling very optimistic.

    She's been to Disney land Paris 4 times and loves characters I have teared up so many times in those trips. But going to our happy place and seeing her no doubt running down Main Street to the castle will have me in tears. Waterproof mascara for me :)
     
  11. Raspberry Bubbles

    Raspberry Bubbles I was Cinderella for the day!

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    I found your PTR! I know what you mean about flight prices, they are so high!

    I'm so excited to read about your plans. I cry at anything Disney related and to do with my boys. In fact, I cry at anything Disney full stop. I am a mess ~ at my wedding, Mickey and Donald come into the reception and I start crying. People were saying how lovely it was that I was so happy for the children. I let them think that. I was so overwhelmed that M and D were at my wedding, I cried... the shame. LOL
     
  12. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    LOL! We had Mickey and Minnie at ours and most of our guests still believe I paid all that money for my 2 young cousins!

    I love how Megan is now old enough to get really excited! How old are your boys?
     
  13. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    Getting to the Airport

    We like in Hertfordshire so its usually an hours drive from Gatwick. This is on a good day with no traffic. The one big problem with this is the main road we use to get there is the M25. Predicting the traffic on there is usually as reliable as the Met office predicting a BBQ summer again.

    Thats part of the reason why we usually choose to stay overnight at Gatwick - to avoid any potential problems on the morning of the flight. Plus for us the holiday starts as soon as ive left the house :)

    In previous years we have always got a taxi to/from Gatwick at a cost of around £200. This works out cheaper than parking for 2 cars for 3 weeks. Ive always looked into the parking option as ive always felt it would be easier, but ive always gone for the cheaper option.

    This year however we have 2 kids so i was more in favour of finding a carparking deal. One day when i was randomly checking threads on the UK Trip planning board i noticed Wayneg (of course who else :) ) had posted a great glitch where we could get our parking for free. (price match guarantee)

    At this point we hadnt booked flights or even accomodation but i knew roughly when we were going and as you could change it without charge (as long as it wasnt for a longer duration) i went ahead and booked 3 weeks parking for Gatwick South. Ive booked a meet and greet one as i think this will be easier with all the luggage and kids etc.

    So once we had booked the flights i went back to the car parking booking and amended dates and arrival times free of charge. Bargain :)
     
  14. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    Sounds like it'll be a great trip, and what a great deal on parking.
     
  15. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    Can't beat a freebie :)
     
  16. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    We still need to pick a hotel for the 2 nights before our cruise. Preferably a DVC resort to save money.

    At the moment I'm thinking AKV as we have never stayed there. I think Megan would lie the opportunity to see some Animals and I've heard the pool is good for little kids with a zero entry section.

    I'd love to spend 2 nights at the Poly though, it's a hotel I've always fancied but never been able to afford.
     
  17. Tink2312

    Tink2312 <font color=magenta>I didn't ask to be a princess

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    We stayed at AKV last Jan and loved being so close to the animals and the pool area is great. However we felt a little far out and it just didn't have that sparkle for us. We'll probably go back but I think we had such high expectations that it was a bit of a disappointment. We didn't have a savannah view though - maybe that would've made the difference.
    Looking forward to reading more :)
     
  18. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    This is what I wondered. We'll only be staying 2 nights so its an ideal opportunity to try somewhere different.

    The other place I'm considering is Wilderness Lodge Villas :)
     
  19. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    Well after a lot of thinking we opted to stay at AKV for the 2 nights prior to our cruise. Today was our 7 month window so we have booked a standard studio at Kidani.

    As we are only there for 2 nights (and we don't arrive until late on the first night) we stuck with a standard view to save some points. Looking forward to seeing a bit more of this resort. We have only ever visited AKL once when we ate at Boma.

    Plan on spending our one full day there enjoying some of the resort a little to see if we'll stay there again or not.
     
  20. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    Usually the night before our flight we stay in a hotel near the airport. It's something that started the year we went for our wedding and has become a part of our holiday each year since.

    We have previously stayed at the Hilton (we were gold members there so usually got a good free upgrade but lost that status a few years back.) However the rooms are not as good for a family so last trip we stayed at the Marriott as they have 2 double beds in a standard room. This was a lovely hotel and walking distance to the airport.

    I was all set to book the Marriott when I started reading some reviews about the new premier inn at the North terminal. This was a much better deal so decided to give it ago.

    We have a family room, a standard double room, dinner for 4 adults (with a drink) and breakfast for all 6 of us for a total of £171. So all we'll have to pay for is Megan's dinner. Charlie will be 11 months so he can just share :)
     
  21. jockey

    jockey <font color=deeppink>Repeat after me....I LOVE CRO

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    Great start Laura
     

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