Mince Pie In The Sky - A Hopeful Pre-trip Report

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by dolphingirl47, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I was in two minds about whether or not to start this pre-trip report. To start off with I am still in the middle of writing the trip report for our last trip. This is also still largely Pie in the Sky. However, at least parts of the trip pretty much have been nailed down now and I seem to be in full planning mode. Doing a pre-trip report makes this seem more real.

    The Background
    This is one of those trips that was never supposed to happen. Those of you who have followed my past trip reports know that there have been a few of those. Without fail they have turned out into some of the most magical trips we have had.

    Earlier this year I spotted special rates for people working in the travel industry for the Westbound Panama Canal Cruise in May. As we already had the Los Angeles to Vancouver Repositioning Cruise and the first Alaska cruise of the the season booked, there was no way that we could do this, too. However, we promised each other that if there would be travel industry rates for the Eastbound Panama Canal Cruise in September, we would go. This was made even sweeter by the fact that this would give me one dat at Disneyland on the day that was widely expected (and is now confirmed) as the first day of the Halloween season. We have collected enough air miles to fly one-way from London to Los Angeles and we could fly back standby from Houston meaning the flights would not have cost a great deal.

    I hit the first snag when I could not get a reservation for the Villas at the grand Californian at the 7 months mark. This was the first time this happened to me. I did not think this was a big deal though. I waitlisted the two nights that I needed and figured if the waitlist would not come through by the end of July when I had to bank any unused points, I would just use my points for a room at the Disneyland Hotel.

    I was waiting for the travel industry rates and they finally were released just as we were leaving for our last trip. I was not in the position to do anything about this at the time, but decided I would look into this when we got to California. When I did so, the miles flights were all gone. They reappeared at the end of June, but by then the travel industry rates for the cruise had gone. So I decided to give up. Some things are just not meant to be.

    Earlier this months Graham suggested that maybe we should look at going away towards the end of November or in early December. I was all for this. I knew that a dear friend and her family had booked a cruise in mid December and I loved the idea of us doing the same cruise.

    The Cast


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    I am Corinna, 39 years old by the time this trip comes around and a big Disney nut. The only thing that I possibly love more than Disney is dolphins. I am a big kid at heart and love meeting Disney characters. Stitch and Figment are my favourite characters. I really enjoy photography and recently upgraded my camera from a bridge camera to a digital SLR

    My partner in crime is Graham, who will be 55 years old by the time we travel. He does not really get Disney, but is generally happy as long as I am happy as long as I do not make him go to the parks too often. I can usually get away with this once a year. He likes going exploring and visiting wildlife refuges.

    We both love cruising, Seaworld, Discovery Cove and snorkelling.

    Proposed Itinerary
    3rd December - Fly from Manchester to Orlando
    3rd to 12th December - Stay at Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld
    12th December - Drive to Miami and stay at SpringHill Suites Miami Airport East/Medical Center
    13th to 18th - 5 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Disney Magic
    18th December - Drive back to Orlando and stay near the airport
    19th December - Fly from Orlando to Manchester

    Corinna
     
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  3. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    I'm first!

    Hope the trip works out! I've always found that things work out for a reason....I bet this is going to be a fantastic time.

    Jill in CO
     
  4. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

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    I'm here! Must go back and read now.

    ***This sounds like a great trip. Have your friends cruised before? Hopefully we'll be able to meet up at WDW. :)
     
  5. disgeek009

    disgeek009 Earning My Ears

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    Woot! Another trip in the works. Very excited for you! :goodvibes
     
  6. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I have learned this a few years ago. Whenever we ended up with what was supposed to be second best, it turned out to be more magical than I could have hoped for if Plan A had come off.

    Yes, I am sure it will be fantastic. I will be sharing some of the stuff that I have planned over the next weeks.

    Yes, we cruised together in October 2009. I also hope that we finally get to meet in person.

    Thanks :thumbsup2

    Corinna
     
  7. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I have decided I will reward myself with an update on here every time I finished typing up a day for my trip report. I have just finished day 17 so here I go.

    Holiday Season

    I got a sneak peek at the holiday season at Seaworld in 2007 and loved what I saw. At the time this pretty much consisted of Polar Express, which I adored and Christmas Miracles that I did not have the chance to see. Since then they added a lot more. I am particularly excited about Sea of Trees and Winter Wonderland On Ice. I am also quite curious about O Wondrous Night.

    I got to experience the holiday season at Walt Disney World properly for the first time last year. I got some snippets in 2006 and 2007, but got to see it properly last year. I was absolutely blown away by this and not in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that I would return so soon.

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    I experienced The Osbourne Family Christmas Lights, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and The Candlelight Processional for the first time and all three will feature again. I kind of rushed through The Osbourne Family Christmas Lights last year so I will spend some more time to enjoy them properly this year.

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    When I went to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party last year, I did not arrive until it had already started as we spent longer at Wilderness Lodge and at the Top of the World Lounge than I had planned. This time round I will probably do some shopping in the morning at the outlet malls on International Drive and then make sure that I am at the Magic Kingdom for 16:00. That should give me 3 hours to hit the rides and then I can concentrate on things like the special character meet and greets, the parade and the fireworks.

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    The highlight of our time at Walt Disney World last year for me was the Candlelight Processional. So as soon as the dinner packages were released, I made a reservation. I went with the cheapest option this time round and got a lunch reservation at Biergarten. I loved the food there when we went before, but the main draw is getting the guaranteed seating at the 17:00 showing of the Candlelight Processional. This became even more important when I realised that Whoopi Goldberg is the narrator on my chosen day.

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    The final part of the holiday offerings will hopefully be the Disney Magic. It has been my dream ever since we first cruised to see one of the ships in full Christmas finery. When we were on the Magic for my birthday last year, they were building the Gingerbread House while we were on the ship. However, I was more than just a little disappointed when I found out later that the Magic was the only of the four ships that was not fully decorated during the week we were cruising. So I am really hoping that I can put this right this year.

    Corinna
     
  8. ForTheLoveOfDCL

    ForTheLoveOfDCL A Dream is a wish your

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    I am so excited we get to cruise again together!!
     
  9. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    Subbing in and marking my spot to come back and read!
     
  10. Laurafoster

    Laurafoster DIS Veteran

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    Joining in :)

    Sounds like a fabulous trip. Two of my favouite things, disney cruise and christmas.

    I love Christmas in Florida, although i am biased as we had our wedding there in December.
     
  11. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Me too.

    I have never actually been in December. When I was still teaching, December was out unless we actually went over Christmas which we never did. In my job now, December is one of the hardest month to get time off. I could not believe when I got all the leave I need to make this happen.

    Corinna
     
  12. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    Sounds like a fab trip, as another December bride I can't wait to go back at this time of year again.
     
  13. PJB71

    PJB71 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Corinna

    You lucky thing you fly 2days before us!!! ;)

    Can't believe well be in WDW at the same time :thumbsup2

    Our DCL sails on 12th from PC. You will love the ships decorations :lovestruc:lovestruc

    Can't wait to hear more :coffee:
     
  14. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Next time you go, it will be somebody's first trip to Walt Disney World.

    Corinna
     
  15. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Wouldn't it be kind of ironic if we would bump into each other in Florida considering we live so close.

    I can't wait to see the Christmas decorations.

    Corinna
     
  16. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    Yes very excited to take baby, hoping to go late Oct/early Nov 2015, to hit both halloween and christmas decorations and so its not quite so hot.
     
  17. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    Your plans sound fantastic! How exciting that Whoopi Goldberg is the narrator for CP on your day! We love the Biergarten for lunch.
     
  18. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I am already looking forward to that trip report. I think we may have to do that at some point as I love Halloween and the holiday season at the parks.

    I still can't believe my luck. We have had lunch at Biergarten before and loved it. With me being of German origin I was a bit nervous, but the food was great and fairly authentic. At some stage I have to do dinner as they only serve Braised Beef Roulades and Potato Dumplings with Bread Crumb Butter at dinner and they are two of my favourite dishes.

    Corinna
     
  19. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    The Hotel

    I am a little bit nervous about this. I have been spoiled since we became DVC members with staying on site and at Deluxe Hotels. As we need a lot of points for my special birthday trip next year, I have banked most of our DVC points from this year. So when we decided to head to Orlando, we had to look at alternatives. I have to admit I did look at the moderates, but as this is meant to be a fairly cheap trip, I could not really justify the cost. So I decided it was time to return to our "roots". Before we became DVC members, we always stayed on International Drive. One hotel that we particularly enjoyed at in those days was very close to Seaworld. In fact it is so close that you can walk to Seaworld from there. When we first stayed there, it was a Sheraton. The next time we stayed there it was called the International Plaza Resort and Spa. The last time we stayed there in 2007, they had started to turn this into a condo hotel. I do not know what happened to this project, but it is now a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.

    The hotel is now an official Seaworld Partner Hotel. One of the perks that comes with this is that we get complimentary Quick Queue passes. We are not into the big rides, but they also include front of line access to Polar Express and Antarctica, which we will definitely make use of. Another perk is complimentary access to the SeaWorld Rescue Tour. We have done this tour on a number of occasions and always enjoyed it so I am sure we will take them up on the offer.

    The hotel consists of a tower block and a number of motel style buildings. Our confirmation does not actually state whether we will be in the tower or in one of the resort buildings. I assume that it will be the latter, which is fine by me. Having said that, the last time we got a fantastic deal like the one we are getting for this trip, we actually had a tower room.

    The hotel has three pools, one of which has a waterfall. It also has a mini golf course. I have seen some photos with hammocks, which were not there on our previous visits. So I may need to schedule some downtime at the hotel to make use of them.

    The main bonus though is the location. Seaworld and Aquatica are walking distance. There is a shuttle to Discovery Cove. There is also a stop for the iRide Trolley right by the entrance of the hotel and it is only a short walk to the bus stop for the Lynx bus that will take me to Walt Disney World.

    Here are a few photos of the hotel courtesy of their website:

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  20. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

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    That looks very nice, and sounds like a very convenient location.
     
  21. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

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    The hotel looks lovely.
     

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