Our First Summer Trip! 3 Canucks Tackle Orlando in August: A Trip Report (Complete!)

Discussion in 'Canadian Trip Planning & Community Board' started by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thank you!!! :goodvibes

    I am a big fan of the annual passes.....ours for Aquatica really paid for itself. With the Discovery Cove discount (saved $90 pp x 3 = $270), two days of free parking ($14 x 2 = $28), the cabana discounts (maybe $15?) and all the food discounts (probably at least another $10) ours sure equalled its vale a couple of times over.

    I must remember to put the Grande Vista on my list of possibilities a future trip. DH is already asking me to "keep an eye open" for next summer....whooda thunk it? :confused3

    Thanks so much! :goodvibes

    So you are going in December too! :cool1: Where are you staying? Nice to have someone "counting down" with me!
     
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  3. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    So....just for fun, after each trip we always do a cost summary and include it in our scrapbook (it get's its own special page). Not only does it give us an immediate accounting of what we spent on the trip (and we try to include EVERYTHING in this list, any expense from the time we walk out the door until the time we come home) but it helps us budget for future trips and its fun to look back on years later ("remember when we stayed at the __________? And it only cost us ___________?").

    I figure it will be real source of amusement for Jake's children someday when they look back on our 2009 Disney trip and they see we flew our family round trip from Toronto for just over $1000.

    With that preamble, here's what the numbers came in as for this getaway:

     Syracuse Park & Fly Hotel: $ 161.92
     Trip Insurance: $ 61.13 (cancellation, interruption and emergency medical)
     Roundtrip, direct flights (Jetblue): $ 889.06
     Car rental (full size, Alamo): $ 116.00
     Fuel to and from Syracuse: $ FREE (via gift card from credit card points)
     Fuel for rental car: $ 55.29
     Westgate Lakes Accommodations: $ 503.83
     Food, tips and misc. supplies: $ 871.00
     Outta Control Dinner Show: $ 77.19
     Discovery Cove: $ 470.64 (incl. admission, cabana, and premium package inclusions)
     Aquatica: $ 394.17 (incl. one annual pass, two 2012 weekday passes, 2 cabana rentals)
     Groupons: $ 44.91 (Volcano Island Mini Golf and Kissimmee Go Karts package)
     Titanic Experience: $ 60.00
     Gift card for the Cat Sitter $ FREE (via gift card from credit card points)

    GRAND TOTAL: $ 3705.14

    For our 9 days, 8 nights away from home, this breaks down to $137.23 per person, per day.

    All the above numbers include all taxes, any bank conversion fees from USD to Canadian funds, and all exchange fees as well :thumbsup2 .

    The food total takes in all health and beauty aids purchased at Walmart, including laundry supplies, shampoo and conditioner, hairspray, etc. that we didn't want to pack.

    The only money spent that is not included in the above are souvenirs and clothing purchased at the various shopping venues we frequented. Not including the family portrait session (where we purchased the CD of 34 images plus a selection of prints, as well as a studio membership for one year), Steve and I spent about $350 on clothing and gifts while Jake spent $699. No wonder we needed those two empty suitcases!!! :rotfl:
     
  4. mtmbyck

    mtmbyck I AM Canadian eh!

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    Gina, I'm trying to do the math. If I buy 1 annual pass for me, can I get discounts for the whole family? We will only do DC once and Aquatica twice and maybe Seaworld. Trying to figure out if annual pass is worth it.
     
  5. KaraLyn

    KaraLyn Earning My Ears

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    We actually head down Nov.24th and stay till Dec. 8th. For the past 3 years we've rented a villa from a family who live in the UK...soooo nice to have your own private pool and hot tub to soak in after a long day at the parks ;)
     
  6. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    I think you are better off with the undiscounted DC admission. You are going in March, right?

    March Break lists the regular price of the dolphin swim admission as $289 pp (ouch :crazy2:). The passmember discounted price is $239, so only a $50 savings pp.

    With the regular DC admission, you get Aquatica and SeaWorld unlimited for 14 days. That's well worth $50 pp.

    An annual pass will run you $119, which will only save you $50 per person (and the cost of the AP will negate your savings on the first two people in your family). Then you would still have to purchase Aquatica and SeaWorld tickets for everyone. You couldn't get two days at Aquatica for that, let alone SW.

    The AP *would* save you on parking at Aquatica (less than $30 for two days) and 10% on food, but still not enough to justify the AP.

    I hope that makes sense!!
     
  7. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Ooooooohhhhhhhh......sounds perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ::yes::

    I think if I had my own private hot tub, I might never even go to any of the parks!!! :rotfl:
     
  8. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    Well, at least she let you apologize! :rotfl: We have a terrific cat sitter, who our outdoor cats adore, but for a long time the indoor cats would avoid her or keep their distance. Sometimes the indoor cats would hide from us when we got back, as well, but as soon as we haul them out and fuzz them up, everything's back to normal. :goodvibes

    Now, however, we've got Zelda, who is an aggressive little twit. :rolleyes: Zelda scolds us when we get back, but usually just the first night, then we're all pals, but that's because she takes her aggression out on the catsitter. :scared1:

    I usually have everything all figured out ahead of time, too, but this trip has just been change after change. :crazy2: Mostly, however, I'm doing trip reports on old trips and posting plans I've already made.

    I seem not to have signed up for notifications on your thread; got to think it was a little odd it had gone silent but mostly came back because I kept thinking I'd run across a Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel somewhere we've been, which kept bugging me -- finally remembered that the carousel at the MK is one! :cool2: The original carousel was a PTC "Liberty," first installed at Detroit's Palace Garden Park. The paint scheme's been totally changed and they've rearranged things so there are more horses and so that all the horses are jumpers (not to mention they're fiberglass replicas!), but PTC designs anyhow.

    The chariot's original, and I wonder if they finally gave Miss Liberty back her red dress when they switched it to Prince Charming's Regal Carousel -- originally they wanted a more feminine look, so at the MK, Miss Liberty was wearing pink , white and blue! Didn't really get to see it when we were there, because middle daughter was flaking out over her missing pin back and all; need to make an effort this January!
     
  9. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    You may have just talked me into doing a PTR after all :goodvibes . It might be a fun way to pass the time!!!

    As for the carousel info.....you have an amazing memory :thumbsup2.:thumbsup2 And what a great story!!! Carousels hold a special place in my heart....probably because its what I consider a "thrill ride"...:rotfl:.....anything "wilder" than that and I'm outta there :lmao: .
     
  10. canadiankitten

    canadiankitten First Timer!!!

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    I am about halfway done reading your TR, and it is awesome to see another area of Orlando! Thanks for sharing. It's also nice to see another Canadian ^)^
     
  11. papertraveller

    papertraveller DIS Veteran

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    Hi Gina,

    First, I'd like to say thanks for sharing your trip adventures -- and your great family -- with the rest of us. Love the pics, and your candid reviews of all you did.

    Second, I'd like to say thanks for focusing on the Other Orlando beyond WDW. So many people travel down and get immediately seduced by the comfortable embrace of Disney that they don't realize what's out there.

    I've picked up lots of ideas from your last two trip reports -- ironically, while we were there at the same time in that same WDW embrace. Looks like we have the same vacation pattern.

    This Christmas, we will be staying for one night onsite at Universal due to your recommendation. You are very persuasive about the merits of the Express Pass access! We'll blitz the two parks in two days, and then retreat to Marriott's Grande Vista for a week.

    From there we were going to tackle WDW for a few days (we have APs) and also try to get in a golf lesson for myself and DD. Now I'm going to add the Outta Control show to the itinerary, because it looks like a blast and I'm sure DD and DH will love it.

    I would love to fit in Discovery Cove and Aquatica, but I suspect it'll have to wait another year. I know you did this in December last year, when the weather was relatively decent. But you still wore wetsuits, didn't you?

    I'll watch for you at the Florida Mall at the post-Christmas sales!
     
  12. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    :wave2: Good to have you along! I hope you enjoyed it, right through to the end. :)
     
  13. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thanks papertraveller!! I am so glad you have found my reviews helpful. I have picked up such wonderful tips and ideas from other Disers, it is nice to give back finally!!!

    You will love the onsite perks for the Universal portion of your Christmas trip. I can't imagine Universal at the holidays without the Express Pass...it just makes your visit to the parks so much more enjoyable. Which hotel did you choose for your one night's stay? And be sure to try the Butterbeer......oooooohhhhhhhhhh, its sooooooooo gooooooooooood (where's the drooling smilie when you need it?).

    I am so glad you decided to book the Outta Control Dinner Show. What a fun night you will have. Be sure to get there early (at least 30 minutes ahead of time) to ge the best seats. It was no where near full when we were there, but probably Christmas will be much busier. Have a $100 bill in your wallet if you want to hopefully be chosen to go up on stage. :thumbsup2

    We visited Discovery Cove on New Years Day and we had fabulous, warm weather. We did wear the wetsuits because it was cool upon arrival in the early morning before the sun really warmed things up. Later that week, it did get pretty cold though....we wore winter coats on January 3rd and 4th at the Universal parks.....so our timing couldn't have been better. That's the worst of travelling in the winter. You just never know what the temperatures might be.

    Your feedback on my non-Disney activities means more to me than you know! I always feel like many don't get much out of my trip reports as they haven't included Disney (don't get me wrong....we LOVED Disney on our 2009 trip.....but we have so many other places yet to explore). I am actually really looking forward to incorporating a little Disney into our Christmas trip, and seeing the resorts all decorated for the holidays.

    One of the reasons we love Orlando is that there always still seems something new to explore. With all those must-do's on my list that we haven't crossed off yet, we'll just have to keep going back until they are all taken care of ;) .
     
  14. pooksma

    pooksma <font color=red>Can't help it~there is something a

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    Thanks for sharing! Really enjoyed your adventures :thumbsup2

    I would like to know a little more about the Westgate Lakes and will be doing some research. Hope I can pop back any ask any questions!
     
  15. FayeW

    FayeW DIS Veteran

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    Loved your trip report, Gina! I've booked Buena Vista Suites for a trip in Feb, but we usually stay in 2 bdrm condos with a full kitchen, so I'm not sure if this is where we will end up. Westgate Resort looked beautiful, would you mind sharing what website you used to get that great price?
     
  16. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    It is if people talk to you about it. My report has been pretty quiet online, but I have middle daughter at home chatting it up -- and currently nagging me to update. :rolleyes:


    Thank you. preens

    Perhaps I should mention that, once my memory is jogged, I have been known to go back to where I first read about it before posting. :rolleyes1

    I started a thread (just the latest of many!) for Trip Reports of people staying offsite in the Orlando Attractions board -- just went through and added a post listing trip reports with pics of offsite attractions. Although Gina's are half of them! But the first and last should be new to you. :) I think there are some others; I'll have to go back and review the whole list sometime when I feel more ambitious.

    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=46166048#post46166048
     
  17. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Sure....feel free to ask away! I have also posted a really, really detailed summary of the resort on the Orlando Hotels & Attractions board (specifically, on the Hotel & Accomodations Reviews sub-board) so you may want to check that out. You can find it here:

    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=46169756#post46169756

    Sure thing! Click on the link above (which will take you to my resort review on the Hotel & Accomodations Review sub-board) and check out post #10. It has all the details there :) .

    I will be sure to drop by and join in this week :thumbsup2 . I am finally getting caught up and "back to normal" (as normal as I ever get, anyway :rotfl:) so that means more time for the Disboards. Woot! :woohoo:
     
  18. FayeW

    FayeW DIS Veteran

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    Thanks Gina. That was a great price and well worth your morning! I won't try to get that deal this time, though, as we are only staying 6 nights, and with only 5 full days I won't spend any time for a timeshare tour. I did get a fantastic rate from a private owner at Windsor Hills today, $500 for the 6 nights, including tax and cleaning. I have stayed at Windsor Hills before and we loved it, but we rented through a management company. I am a little nervous booking directly with the owner.
     
  19. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    That's a great rate!! I have heard wonderful things about Windsor Hills....its somewhere I could see myself trying someday. I hope you have a fantastic trip!!!
     
  20. sportel

    sportel Earning My Ears

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    Gina, I really enjoyed reading your trip report. You've left me wanting a summer trip to Florida! I will be sooooo happy if my boys grow into young men who appreciate a good cross-border shipping trip like your son! Right now we plan all shopping trips by proximity to a good pool, and I dash around the shops while the boys swim!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!
     
  21. mjplantz

    mjplantz Always something to plan...

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    Loved the trip report, already looking forward to your December one. Got a kick again out of the pictures in Watertown, we were right at Friendly's back in July. Always a must stop when we go back. Looking forward to hitting the Friendlys in Orlando this November. This will be out first trip to Discovery Cove and Aquatica so your pictures got us even more excited.
     

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