Our Spectacular FIRST Disney Vacation! August 2011 UK TR- OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY Mini TR

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by meggiebeth, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Hello there!
    Well, I'm kind of new to the DISboards, but I have been looking at it for a long time. After just returning from our trip in August, I thought I might try to write a trip report. I love writing and this might be a fun thing to do for me. :thumbsup2

    Our trip: 11th August- 25th August


    Why did we have this trip? Well, we all had a pretty hard year I guess. I had always wanted to go to America, Orlando specifically, and finally convinced my parents to look into it. We thought it would be a once in a lifetime vacation- we thought wrong! :lmao: We want to return as soon as possible. We are from the UK though, and this significantly bumps up the cost. We found flights in August (after much searching!) for $5232 for all of us. We had to fly into Miami, because flights to Orlando were about $1500 more expensive. That seems like a lot to us. As long as airfare prices stay fairly reasonable, we hope to be returning soon. :cool1:

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    Now I'll introduce us, left to right. This was our day at Discovery Cove (Which was really amazing :goodvibes )

    Me (Megan)- that's the thing- I'm fourteen years old! I planned most of the trip and have found my favourite place in the world since being there. :goodvibes I really like Disney, I just think it's magical. I know I might seem young but I thought I might give this a try. ;) I love planning holidays and WDW is a holiday that you just have to plan! I really enjoyed planning it. :goodvibes

    My mother Tracey- Mum doesn't really particularly like Disney, but she doesn't dislike it. She helped me plan some of the trip too. I think she was most excited about the food we were going to eat on the Deluxe Dining Plan.

    Rory (6)- Rory's my brother and he really likes Disney. He enjoyed the trip a lot and loved meeting all of the characters. His favourites are Stitch, Pluto, Goofy and Mulan I believe. Because he has two older siblings (one of who'm persuades him that Disney is lame) he has probably grown up more quickly than me and my other brother... which I think is a little sad.

    William (12)- William is my other brother and he believes that Disney is tacky and babyish... unlike the rest of us! :rotfl: He stayed back at the hotel a couple of times during our stay- I don't think he enjoyed Disney quite as much as the rest of us. Not to say he didn't enjoy it though! ;)

    My father Will- Before we left for WDW, it was very obvious that dad was skeptical about the concept of a Disney World vacation. He absolutely loved it though, and wants to return as soon as we can afford it again! :cheer2: That really surprised me. :laughing:

    Okay then- I guess I'll try to start. Thanks for reading! :)
     
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  3. Zarabear

    Zarabear Mouseketeer

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    First in to subscribe! Great picture and I can't wait to read your report. :)

    ~Zara
     
  4. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Right- here we go! We woke up at about 5am in order to drive to London Heathrow Airport in time for our flight. We had to leave our lovely dog, Oscar, behind. Our cousins were coming to look after him while we were gone.
    We parked our car and got a bus to terminal 3. Seeing as we had checked in online, we didn't have to join the regular queue (which was very long) and we could just walk through virtually, and check in our luggage with no wait at all.
    When the time came for our flight, we hopped on the plane and checked out our seats. They were alright for economy. We had to walk through business class to reach our seats which was a little depressing. But IMHO, business class is very expensive for what it is, and unless you have money to waste, I just couldn't justify spending that much... especially if you are a family of five like us. ;)
    I don't think we will fly American Airlines again if I'm being honest. :confused3 The aeroplane was quite old and run down, my entertainment system would not work properly and nor would my mums.
    Is it just me or are the cabin crew not as smart as other airlines in the UK? The flight to Florida, they weren't even wearing a uniform for some reason, is this normal? However, on the flight back to the UK, they were a lot smarter. The return flight was a lot easier than the outbound, even though it was overnight.
    The food was pretty awful, even for airline food. We had some sort of pasta, which was really not great. I don't really get why they try to give you more... fancy and complicated dinners... when it's only an aeroplane. Do you know what I mean? We had another meal just before we landed, pizza, which was simple but filling and such a relief after lunch. I was surprised that they don't have a selection of food that you can buy, I guess maybe longhaul isn't like that. The cabin crew certainly didn't seem surprised when they saw how many people hadn't eaten! :rotfl2:
    We arrived in Miami around 2pm EST, 7pm GMT. We were very tired and had a long drive ahead of us. I was really surprised that things in the airport (and at WDW) were in Spanish too. It was really great to be on holiday in a place that spoke English, so we didn't have to speak French, Italian, Dutch, German, or whatever we would have to in Europe. :thumbsup2
    We arrived at our first hotel at about 8pm EST, which was amazing. Coming up, what we thought of Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, and after that... photos! :dance3: Thanks for reading! :yay:
     
  5. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Thanks for joining in! My first subscriber! Yay! :cheer2:
     
  6. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    At around 8:30pm (1am British time though- we were pretty exhausted! :upsidedow ) we finally reached WDW. We headed to Downtown Disney Resort Area, seeing as we knew this was where SSR was. My parents were worried about whether we'd get lost, but we found it no bother in the end. Disney sign-posts the roads really well! :thumbsup2
    Saratoga Springs is a really beautiful resort, and it took our breath when we drove through it that first time. Lights lit up the buildings and the lake was stunning in the dark. It looks really smart. We found the Carriage House Check-in and the lobby is beautiful too! Rory, who was sound asleep when we arrived, awoke and caught sight of the gift shop. The next thing you knew, he was bouncing with energy and in seventh heaven as he caught sight of all the Disney merchandise.
    Before we left for WDW, Rory was very much anti-Disney (partly because of the reluctance of his brother towards it) and wanted nothing to do with it. I got him sat down and watching some Disney movies, and ever since then, he really likes it! He really likes Mulan and Stitch, and found the Three Musketeers movie with Mickey, Donald and Goofy hilarious! It's great to have another family member interested in Disney, seeing as before the holiday, William, my mum and my dad had no interest in it at all. Funny how a two week holiday can change you! :laughing:
    Me and Rory were reluctantly dragged out of the gift shop, and we went to find our room. We got a room in the Springs, which we were pleased about, as we had requested this. We were very close to the pool and restaurants.
    I was a little nervous about what our villa would look like, seeing as a lot of reviews on Trip Advisor had said they were very aged and worn. However, our room was awesome! Clean, great decor, and not worn at all! :banana: It was great to have so much space. It would've been great to have a three bedroom villa, but they were so expensive that we settled for the two bedroom. It was loads of space and we were thrilled with our hotel, room, and... well... just everything! :woohoo:
    I took some good pictures before all our luggage and stuff was unpacked, but my dear, lovely brother William decided to delete them. Actually, he deleted the first 100 pics from the vacation. :sad2:
    I did take some more on the last day of our SSR stay, but we were in a rush getting to MK for an ADR, so I didn't get a photo of everything and the quality isn't as good. :confused3
    Btw, I had seen many photographs of SSR before we actually saw it for ourselves, and I have to say, none of the photos give it justice! It is a beautiful resort, and I guess you just can't capture the full extent of how nice it was in a picture. (Same for the other Disney resorts we visited for meals) :yay:

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    This was the vanity area in bedroom two. Me, Willum and Rory loved it. Well... maybe just me. ;) It was great to have that extra space.

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    This was, again, bedroom two. Sorry that the beds aren't made, we were in a massive rush! We aren't morning people either. :rotfl:

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    This was the table adjacent to the kitchen. It was really handy to keep all our essentials for the parks on. We never ate on it though, seeing as we were on the DDP.

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    Ermmm, bad photo of half the television and seating by the kitchen. The T.V was awesome, we loved watching it after an exhausting day in the theme parks. The kitchen was really handy to have, for making drinks and things like chocolate milk.

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    The sofa and coffee table. :thumbsup2

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    Bedroom one. Sorry again about the unmade bed. ;) We loved this room. I wish I had it! We spent a lot of time in the bathroom next door- the jacuzzi was a great touch. :love:

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    The bathroom. It was really nice, spacious, and I've already mentioned the jacuzzi! We really liked the layout... and how there was a door seperating the actual toilet to the bath and sink.

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    The table and mirror you see in the foyer of the villa. It was nice to put things on here ready to leave.

    So- what did we think overall of Saratoga Springs? Here are our ratings-
    Exterior Appearance- 9-10/10
    Interior Appearance- 9/10
    Our Villa- 8/10
    Counter Service Restaurant- 7/10
    Value- 8/10 (We had a 45% off deal, and in addition to this got a free Dining Plan, which we later upgraded to Deluxe) :thumbsup2
    Atmosphere- 9/10
    OVERALL- 9/10

    The atmosphere was lovely. The pool at night was full of it. Our second hotel had absolutely no atmosphere whatsoever, and we spent the whole time missing SSR. (Minus William, who was loving having his own room ;) )

    That's it for now! Next up, our awesome day at Epcot, our first Disney Park ever! Thanks so much for reading! :upsidedow
     
  7. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Great start to your TR. Are you sure you're only 14? :thumbsup2 I'm looking forward to the rest, especially your day at Discovery Cove since we will travel there next May. Can't wait for your next post.
     
  8. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    Great start! I love hearing about first trips!
     
  9. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Haha thankyou! I am fourteen ;) Unfortunately, my parents hate planning holidays, they like going with the flow, which means to me you don't get as much out of your holiday. So I plan- I just love it! :thumbsup2
    Discovery Cove is really good. Are you doing the dolphin swim? All my family would say it isn't worth it unless you include this. It was just really amazing. We spent about $1500 for our family's tickets, and I would love to do it again, however, my father thought it was a little too expensive. Make sure you wear wetsuits, the water is freezing, both in the Grand Reef and the Dolphin Lagoon! :rotfl:
     
  10. jelloarms

    jelloarms DIS Veteran

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    Does anyone actually make the beds while on vacation? I always thought that was the housekeepers job.
     
  11. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Thankyou for joining in! Our first trip was magical ;)
     
  12. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Haha, yep, we could never be bothered to make our beds, it was great to come back from the parks to have everything cleaned, the beds made, etc. We are messy people! ;)
     
  13. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saintstickets
    Great start to your TR. Are you sure you're only 14? I'm looking forward to the rest, especially your day at Discovery Cove since we will travel there next May. Can't wait for your next post.

    Yes, we will do the dolphin swim. DD has wanted to do something like that since she was your age. We are all really looking forward to it. Keep the TR posts coming!
     
  14. Microcell

    Microcell <font color=red>No, no,no, those red signs with th

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    Great trip report! There is only one hour difference between Missouri and Florida and we are usually quite jetlagged, I cannot imagine 6 hours (isn't it?)!

    Tuning in for more spectacular vacation reporting!
     
  15. ZFamily5

    ZFamily5 DIS Veteran

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    I'm in! I'm 14 too! Can't wait to read more! I have a TR too if you want to come check it out. Link is at the bottom...
     
  16. RDP

    RDP DIS Veteran

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    Great TR so far, we stayed at SSR in a 1 bed last year and loved it, looking forward to the rest of the report.
     
  17. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Oh good. Hope you enjoy it- we sure did! :)

    Awww thanks! :thumbsup2 There's a five hour time difference from the UK to Florida. It was easy adjusting to the Floridian time, we were all so excited, but it has been more difficult adjusting back to British time. We're exhausted! You're very lucky being so close to Disney! :goodvibes

    Hello there! It's great to meet another 14 year old. :woohoo: Can't wait to check yours out! :)

    Thanks for joining in! SSR is really great, eh? :lovestruc
     
  18. TinkerbellBby

    TinkerbellBby Mouseketeer

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    I'm subscribing popcorn::. Can't wait to read more about your trip :goodvibes.
     
  19. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    So- our first day was at Epcot! We were planning to get there for morning EMHs, but, as I have already said, we are not morning people. :laughing: We managed to get to Epcot for park opening at 9am... which was a shame, but it was our first day.
    As we drove along the road in excitement, we finally caught sight of the Epcot ball. It was great seeing the Disney icons like this for the first time, in person, and not just images on the computer.
    As we entered the park, the boys seemed keen on doing Test Track first. However, we decided to try Soarin' first. So we headed over and got a fastpass for it. It was for around 10:30am, which was when our breakfast reservation for Akershus was, though. We didn't yet know though that you could use a fastpass after it's expiration time. I had read on here that some people did it, but I didn't know whether it was actually allowed or whether they just got away with it. We were told by a CM later in the week that it's a great Disney secret that apparently not many people know about, and it was allowed. Things got a lot easier from then on! :thumbsup2
    However, on the first day, we didn't know this, and seeing as we were starving hungry already, we decided to head up to Akershus early and see if we could get seated. Surprisingly, 10 minutes after we asked, we were taken to our table. Akershus is really beautiful, we loved it.

    Here are some photos taken while we were waiting to be seated. It was very hot and humid even though it was only 9:30am. Unfortunately, most of these photos were also deleted by my 'thoughtful' brother. We had a problem with the memory on our camera, we had one memory card, which was full after 3 days. So we then had to delete as many photos and videos as we could until we had time to go and buy a new one. We bought one from Walmart which didn't work, which was extremely frustrating. It was day 8 of our vacation when we finally bought a memory card from Publix. So I apolagise in advance for the lack of photographs that there may be. :confused3

    Anyways...

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    Me and Rorsie by the statue in Norway. :thumbsup2

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    Us again! These were the only pictures we had before Akershus. I took Rory into the small shop in Norway whilst we were waiting to be let in. We just aren't used to the head and humidity in Florida! (Despite that, we really loved it! We had... about a day and a half of actual 'hot' days in the UK this year. We're in the south, so it's even colder in the north! :scared1: )

    Anyway- part of the shop is open, I believe in relation to the Princess Breakfast? It sold things like Princess dresses, accessories and merchandise. Rory saw some sheilds and swords and wanted these. He also liked the polar bear plush toys. He's going through that age where he can't take no for an answer. However, just then, we were called in, and Rory, who was looking forward to meeting his favourite princess, Ariel, excitedly ran off. :rotfl:

    Breakfast at Akershus!

    As we entered, we were invited to go and meet Belle, who was in an alleyway where everyone would get their picture with her. Belle is one of my two favourite princesses, so I really enjoyed it. Rory was totally in awe! He was so excited to meet the 'real' Belle. He used to think princesses were just for girls, but since meeting them, he really likes them! :laughing:
    Here is the photo we took ourselves, more to come though, I just haven't got them at the moment. William considered it babyish and stupid, I guess teenage boys do think that. It was a shame to not see him in the family photo with Belle. But... there's no point forcing him to do something he doesn't want to do- it's his holiday too I suppose! :thumbsup2

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    Here's me and Rors with Belle. The photos that the photographer took were so much better, I'll put them on when I can find them. Our camera is really basic, we aim to get a new one for our next WDW vacation.

    We had a family photo after this (minus William) and then were seated at our table. The actual restaurant was really beautiful. We were pretty much all in awe. Disney really leaves no detail out! :laughing:
    It's really cool how the people working in each country are from that specific country! It feels really authentic. Our waitress was very friendly. I did take pictures of our plates here, but all of them except for mine were... wait for it... deleted!!! :laughing:

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    Here's my plate. As you can see, I'm not a very adventurous eater. :rolleyes1 I am also a vegetarian, so the fish and meat were not much good for me either. And... the truth is... I only ate the banana. Just after we got our cold plates, the hot plate was brought out. I believe there was bacon, sausages, potato casserole and scrambled eggs? I can't quite remember. The reason I didn't eat much of my cold plate was because the potato casserole was really delicious. I completely filled up on it... it was very moreish. :thumbsup2

    I can't remember the details on what the others said about the food, but they really liked it. I do remember them saying that they really liked the bacon, which I was surprised about. I had heard quite a few people say Disney bacon wasn't good at all. It was very thin, however, and quite crispy, I believe? Mummy and daddy wouldn't stop saying 'Wow, well done, Meg, this is awesome. This place is great! Can we come back?!' :rotfl: I do have to say, Akershus is very smart.

    So- the first princess to come round was Aurora. She wasn't quite as friendly as the other princesses. She didn't spend much time with us at all... signed mine and Rory's autograph books and took a photo with Rory. We didn't really mind though, because she isn't one of our favourite princesses. :thumbsup2

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    Here they are! Rory really enjoyed meeting the princesses... and surprisingly wasn't afraid to admit it!
    Then, Ariel came over. This was Rory's favourite princess and he was really in awe of her. It was so priceless to see the expression on his face as she said hello to him. Here's the pic.

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    Next up was Cinderella.

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    Then, the waitress brought over a cute little cupcake and card signed by all the princesses for daddy's birthday. He was really pleased. Considering everything else at Disney is so expensive, it's awesome that they add little touches like this. Here he is smiling away:

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    Of course- we still hadn't seen Snow White yet! My dad likes Snow White. Snow White was by far the most talkative princess, she spent quite a bit more time with us than the others. She talked to Rory and my dad about the seven dwarfs and what they were up to. Rory just sat in his seat, mesmerised. His favourite princess used to be Snow White, until I showed him a video of Akershus on YouTube. (Oops!) He saw her kiss a little boy on the cheek, went 'Ewwww!' and then refused to like her anymore. So now his favourite is Ariel. :laughing: Here's the picture: (not the best I'm afraid!)

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    Well, that was the end of our meal at Akershus. I remain admanant that that was one of the best meals of the trip. It doesn't get mentioned as much as some of the other restaurants, which surprises me. It was a great place to eat and avoid the long character greeting queues. Of course, we didn't try Cinderella's Royal Table, but Akershus was so good it would be hard to beat it! (Besides, it was 1 credit as apposed to the 2 credits CRT requires)

    Oh... also, we recieved two photos in the Akershus cover (not sure what they're called) for free which was a pleasant surprise. I thought you had to pay for things like that. When we ate at 'Ohana, Chef Mickey's and Tusker House, you had to pay for photos. The photos at Akershus were really good too! The one thing I wish would be different was that some character meal would have Mulan in. She is my other favourite 'princess' (well she isn't really one but she is marketed as one.) I know she appears in China, but the queues were so long and there was so much to do we just didn't have time to see her. Even in the Disney shops, they had lots of Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White, Aurora, Sleeping Beauty and Tiana dolls, but Mulan was virtually non- existant. I guess she just isn't as big.

    Our Ratings:
    Me- 9/10
    "The food was very good, character interaction was good, and value was good... The atmosphere was really magical, and the service was friendly too.

    Will (Dad)- 8/10
    "Asked for the potato casserole, and the chef was more than happy to come out and give us the recipe."

    Tracey (Mum)- 8/10
    "The breakfast was delicious, especially the potato casserole. As it was our first one, it's difficult to rate it. The atmosphere was nice, and the service was good too."

    William- 3/10
    "I didn't like it." :confused3

    Rory- 9/10
    "I thought I liked all of the princesses. My favourite princess is Ariel because she is a mermaid. The food was really great. The bacon was delicious!"

    That's it for now! Next update coming really soon!
     
  20. broadwaybookworm

    broadwaybookworm Mouseketeer

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    I'm subscribing! Sounds like an awesome trip!
     
  21. meggiebeth

    meggiebeth Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Thanks so much for joining in! :lovestruc

    Thanks for joining in. It really was! :cloud9:
     

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