26 Nights, Triple Celebration Trip...NYC, RPR & HHN....and Irma has a go...A 2017 Trip

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by schumigirl, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    :welcome:



    So a very warm welcome to anyone who takes the time to read my sometimes ramblings of a trip report from our recent stay in the beautiful USA! New readers and folks who know us definitely welcome and hope you enjoy it.........

    Of course those who know us, know how much we love America and spending time there......so no surprises this was an extended trip.

    Maybe I should begin with an introduction for anyone who doesn't know us.........

    We are Carole`n`Tom.......explained in last years trip report.......we really are joined at the hip spending almost every moment together..........yep.......honest! And barely a cross word........we only ever row about who gets to drive in America as we both love it. Our trip reports are long!! Maybe a little too long, but least you can drop out at any time as we don`t ask questions at the end.........

    Our son Kyle was again not joining us this year........he had work and was starting in a new place. So although he gets 6 weeks vacation in a year, he didn't want to take so much time off so early in his new career. So we would again miss him terribly......but Skype would once again save my sanity. Yes, folks always say but he`s an adult.......yes, he is, but he`s still our son and we would miss him as this was the longest we had ever been away from him. We are very close and feel blessed to have such a wonderful son that we are incredibly proud of. Schmaltzy stuff over I promise........:P

    I don`t usually mention money as I don`t like talking about it, or how much things cost, but a couple of people have asked for specific costs to be mentioned, so I will if need be.

    We don't make many plans and definitely go with the flow......I couldn't bear the idea of booking things months or really even weeks in advance. We also found this year we did less than previous years.......we decided we didn't feel the need to fill our vacation with something different every day.........so it may get boring.....but we loved every second and would do the same again. Although we say we didn't do much, we were always busy........not sure how that works.......

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    This year for us has been a real rollercoaster year. We had good news, followed by some bad news and that pattern went on for most of the year........thankfully nothing too serious or disastrous.....but it was just one of those years that I`m sure most people have.

    To explain this years trip..........2017 was the year of my 50th Birthday on Sept 13th and our 25th Wedding Anniversary on Sept 5th..........As everyone knows we arrange for our hotel to be booked either before we even leave or shortly after we are home. So we had our usual 19 nights booked by October last year. Flights were booked there and then. Car rental was also booked and our overnight stay at the Radisson booked too. That was our planning over.........

    We then began to think what we could do for the Anniversary/Birthday.........many places were considered....but we have been to every country in Europe we want to visit, except Iceland.....always looks too cold for me........and having visited Dubai and several places around there didn't want to go back there.........so in all honesty I told Tom our Orlando trip could be the celebrations....after all we love it there and we are so happy to go there.........so we left it at that. We were due to fly into Orlando on Thursday 14th September, the day after my birthday.

    In May however Tom had the chance to take very early retirement.........it was one of those decisions that was easy.........although he loved his career and had done well in it, he wanted to retire and not stick it out for another 5 years or so. He actually finished end of July.

    I then thought we should do something special, or extra special as I still consider Orlando special. I had an idea that we could go to NYC before Orlando. I had been three times before but Tom had never been.....he didn't think it would appeal to him but when I started enthusing about everything we had done (I am so good at persuasion) what he would see, where we would go, he began to see the appeal of it.........


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    He was sold. Not a hard sell really, what`s not to love.......but now we had to have a rethink of our bookings.......

    Before we even thought about hotels or anything else, I contacted our airline and asked to change our flights form Manchester to MCO to instead fly into JFK......this only cost $130 or roughly that amount. So we went ahead and changed the booking to MAN/MCO on Friday the 8th September and planned to stay 5 nights there and fly down to MCO on my actual birthday. We also added an extra night at RPR and this was no problem and easy to do.

    Looked into internal flights and thanks to a lot of help from Keisha and Mac, we booked JetBlue flights on the 13th down to Orlando. We got the extra space seats which included one piece of luggage each. That was $302 for both of us. We thought this was a bargain but apparently not according to a relative.....lol.......well, we were happy with it. We were due to leave JFK around 11.30 and arrive in MCO mid afternoon. Because of this we made a reservation at The Palm in the HRH for a birthday meal at 8pm. We were looking forward to arriving and not be exhausted after a 10 hour flight. The best laid plans and all that.........:rolleyes1

    Next change was our overnight at airport........we decided to upgrade to the Business room......you get into the lounge and drinks are complimentary after 5pm and snacks. Although we had heard the snacks weren't great........no problem we would eat elsewhere.........but that was another thing done well in advance.

    Car hire was changed to add a separate day as we were now arriving a day early. Our company decided we couldn`t do that so we had to book a single day on the Wednesday, we then would have to take it back to the airport on the Thursday for our regular 19 day rental. They didn't make it easy. But we got sorted.

    Then we had the unenviable task of choosing a hotel. Anyone who has been to any city knows there are a plethora of hotels.......the advantage I had was I had been a few times and knew what areas I wanted us to stay in. We looked (and booked) many options including The Sofitel as I had loved the one at Heathrow airport........we looked at the Marriott Marquis right on Times Square and Loews....it was up nearer Central Park........but we eventually found and booked directly with them The Lotte new York Palace.........

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    We finally after booking and cancelling a few hotels settled on this one. It looked lovely and the contact we had with them was wonderful. We booked a Corner Cathedral View room for the five nights. The hotel is on Madison Avenue and minutes away from The Rockefeller Centre, Times Square, Central Park, Empire State Building and many other places we wanted to see. I love NYC and can talk at length about everything it has to offer and then some.........

    We did have to plan a little here......but it was fun.

    I have family out in LI so we did make plans with them for us to go out on the Saturday.......my cousins are both teachers so the Saturday was the best day to see them all. My aunt is undergoing chemo so I told her we would call from the hotel when we arrive and check she was feeling well enough for us to travel out. We so hoped she would be as I was so looking forward to seeing them all again and wanted them to meet Tom as they had heard so much about him. I did want Tom to meet them too as I spend so much time talking about them, it would be nice for them all to finally meet.

    I knew I wanted to see Wicked again. This would be my 5th time with 3 in NYC and 1 in London. Tom likes the Wizard of Oz too and again, my enthusiasm for the show was catching and he caught the bug and was so looking forward to seeing it.

    Tickets were booked and I chose the same seats we had last time........excellent ones, so we were happy with that.

    Empire State Building and Rockefeller Centre were our only other things to book. Rockefeller we picked a time, and chose the night we arrived so we could see the sunset over the city. ESB we could visit any time, it just saved you queueing on the day you wanted to visit.

    So as far as we were concerned we had everything planned we had to, we had an idea of what we wanted to do and how we were going to do it. Sorted.

    As far as Orlando was concerned.........hotel and car was sorted, so we bought our park tickets, HHN tickets and that was about all the preparation we needed for Orlando.

    Waiting was the hardest part after all that was sorted.

    Between Tom retiring and our trip we had 2 trips to Scotland. One was for our best friends daughters wedding which was fabulous. Such a beautiful day and she was so lovely....it really was a wonderful weekend. And we caught up with a couple we hadn't seen for a long time......always sent Christmas cards, but when we met up it was like we had only seen them a few days before. Lovely.

    The next weekend was the "surprise" birthday/anniversary party for Tom and I. Couldn't really be a surprise as we live almost 5 hours away......but we knew we were going to have something and that was it. It was fabulous I have to say. All we had to do was book a hotel for the 3 of us and turn up. My sister, niece and mum had organized a beautiful party with relatives and my best friend who`s daughters wedding we had been to....she had kept the secret well and the friend we reacquainted with at the wedding was there too!!! I was amazed and delighted at the same time........it was just the perfect night and I was over the moon with everything they did for us to celebrate both things.

    So now both of those celebrations were over it was only a few days till we left for our trip.

    As with this year of highs and lows.........there had to be a low.....well, possible low. We found out the pilots from our airline had planned a strike........and it was a full day strike.......and guess what day it was going to be.....yep, Friday Sept 8th........our day to fly to JFK.

    Of course............


    Next up.........Overnight at airport and do we fly..........
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
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  2. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    I'm in for the read!!!
     
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  4. pattyw

    pattyw DIS Veteran

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    I'm here, Carole! Been looking forward to this trip report!! You always give me new tips and ideas for our trips!
     
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  5. cocofifi

    cocofifi Mouseketeer

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    Woo hoo! I'be been looking so forward to your trip report. Congratulations on Tom's retirement and your Anniversary. Hope you had a wonderful 50th. I'm all in with this trip report and can't wait to hear all about your 26 nights!
     
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  6. Lynne G

    Lynne G DIS Veteran

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    Yahoo! I am in. Lovely start, as always. Enjoying the pictures. I saw Wicked in NYC with my Dsis. We both enjoyed it. Have not been back in NYC in years. Little one wants to go. I have been keeping my eye on the Amtrack rates. Maybe for spring break.


    Follow on.
     
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  7. Bethany10

    Bethany10 Mouseketeer

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    I was just thinking about you! We've changed our plans and will be extending our stay in Orlando. I love reading your reports as you all venture out so much beyond the parks it gives me great ideas about where we might like to eat and other things to do while we're in town.

    Happy to read more about your adventures.
     
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  8. luvdisdogs

    luvdisdogs Mouseketeer

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    Yay! LOVE LOVE LOVE your trip reports! Looking forward to reading another one!
     
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  9. jcc0621

    jcc0621 DIS Veteran

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    Can't wait to read about your trip.
     
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  10. Tink2Day

    Tink2Day DIS Veteran

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    Yay, my favorite 'rambling reporter'! You and Tom are two of my cyber favorites! So sad for you that Kyle wasn't able to go....our children are our 'kids' for a lifetime I know mine are and my 90 year old Mom still refers to us in our (cough cough) 60's and one 70 as 'the kids'.
    So nice for Tom that he was able to retire!
    Your NY pictures are wonderful!
    Wow 300+ for both of you from NY to FL? Sounds great to me. It's around $400 for a round trip ticket from where I am to Orlando (can't go anywhere for less than 200+ from our airport in the middle of nowhere), don't even want to say what a flight to Europe costs, not to mention all of the plane changing etc.. Will be joining in for all of the adventures.
     
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  11. CoachZ

    CoachZ Mouseketeer

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    Following along. Love you trip reports & all the pictures.
     
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  12. buteraa

    buteraa Mouseketeer

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    Oh I love your trip reports and I've been waiting for the new one!
     
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  13. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    Welcome my friend..........you made it first!!! Glad you’re here.........

    Welcome and thank you........although hope it’s not too dull this time as we really didn’t do too much......still, hope it’s worth reading.........

    Yay!! Missed you posting........Thank you so much.......we did have a lot to celebrate this trip!

    Welcome Lynne........thank you......didn’t think we had taken a lot of pictures, but turned out we did......lol......yep Wicked is amazing......definitely the best show I’ve ever seen! Hope you and your daughter get to NY soon.......
     
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  14. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    Welcome Bethany10.........how lovely you’ve extended your plans and staying a bit longer.......always a good thing to stay longer.......hope you enjoy it........

    Lol......thank you!! That is so nice to read........I’ll get it done as quickly as I can........

    I love that......I should patent the rambling reporter title.........lol.......I can ramble and then some.......yep, I’m the youngest in my family and I’m still the baby to my mum.......will never change.......

    Yes, we love him being retired........with flights we thought it was a fab price as in the UK decent carriers flight prices are high....so it was a bargain to us......I’m glad it’s not just me........

    Nice to have you along for the ride.......hope you enjoy it........
     
  15. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    Thank you so much.........Nice to see you reading along.......hope it’s kinda fun at times.........

    Thanks........nice to have you join along with us.......I really hope you enjoy it!
     
  16. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    Had planned to start this morning, but computer is updating and it’s only at 18% and it’s been going an hour.......gonna be a wait!
     
  17. tink1957

    tink1957 Proud Redhead

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    I'm here for what I know will be a wonderful adventure as usual...can't believe I missed this yesterday.

    Hope your computer updates quickly :surfweb:
     
  18. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    Thanks Vicki.......glad you made it along........I have no clue with all these things and Tom asked when I last did an update.......:confused3

    He took over and sorted whatever it was.........it`s working and updated.........now that's what all I wanted to hear........:thumbsup2
     
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  19. J'aime Paris

    J'aime Paris Living happily ever after

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    I'm in! I recently booked a spur of the moment trip to celebrate DD's bday. We leave one week from today, staying at RPR!
     
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  20. I-4Bound

    I-4Bound Mouseketeer

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    I love your trip reports! So glad to see a new one started :)
     
  21. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    DAY BEFORE FLYING.......THURSDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER

    So our travel to airport day was finally here. I had done most of the packing the night before if only to make sure it was all going to fit! We were going to be away for 26 nights and I had packed accordingly.......but of course, ended up not wearing half of the stuff. But, it was packed with last minutes going in last minute.

    We both slept poorly, as always...........and got up around 6 eventually. Tom somehow managed to get back to sleep at this point........:confused3 why is it you spend all night awake only to want to drop off right as you should be getting up! So I got ready and went downstairs and Kyle was up by this time. Previous 2 years we have waved him off as we drove off......today would be different and slightly easier.........he would be leaving for work and we would be waving from the window. I always dread this moment, but it has got easier since the first year we had to leave him behind. He has a job he loves and we knew he`d be fine, but of course we would miss him terribly. Such a long time when I`m used to seeing him every day. Tom was up by this time and I`d had a cup of tea while Kyle ate his breakfast........he`s such a fun kid, well not a kid but he`s still my boy........

    He went to get his suit on and I tidied up trying to be cheerful but at the same time knowing we would hopefully have a wonderful trip. Eventually he came back down and as usual I felt the tears well up that had been bubbling under the surface all morning........he kept telling me he would be fine......he was going to be busy and had plenty to fill his time while we were gone and we should have the best time ever! You know when you hug someone and never want to let them go? That`s what I was like and eventually he said Mum, I`ve got to go to work........lol.......I let him go to hug his dad and with sounds of him telling us to enjoy ourselves he drove off the driveway to work. We would Skype of course.....regularly.

    Once he was actually gone I was better, we ate breakfast and then tidied up and did little things around. Made sure all the cases were as they should be and sorted hand luggage with hopefully everything we would need on the flight and any medications we needed. Didn`t take long at all and we were ready too early to leave really. Check in was 4pm, but we decided to just head off and instead of stopping for lunch somewhere, we would have lunch at the Radisson when we got there. So Tom packed cases and checked the house again........I left Kyle a cute message on his whiteboard for him......:hug: then we set off around 9.15am.

    It wasn't the nicest of days, raining and a bit miserable. Takes us around 3 hours to drive up to Manchester Airport.

    We did indeed arrive at 12.30 just in time for lunch I smiled.........trying to get parked is an absolute nightmare in this hotel. But we found a space and it was a decent one with only space for someone to park on one side of us. Tom always worries about the car. Some folks just swing their door open with no regard for other cars......we`ve had a few scratches that way in other cars........but, we were parked. Found a trolley and pushed the luggage into the hotel. Because we had a business room we checked in on 9th floor. So up we go and there`s no one there.......just a sign saying check in on the lobby level. OK.

    Back down and we get checked in easily. Our room is actually ready which we are surprised about. But we duly head back up and have a look. We were a little surprised as we had expected a slightly larger room being an upgrade.....but we thought the regular rooms were of as least similar size if not larger. But still nice and we did indeed have a view of the airport........always a bit geeky........

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    Not the most glamourous view but we do enjoy seeing the planes coming and going........


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    But, it`s bright and clean the beds are incredibly comfortable.........if it wasn`t for excitement we would sleep like babies here........

    Now, anyone who know me well, knows I like food!!! Yep, Tom says I`m permanently hungry.....it`s one of the reasons I`ll never be slim!! So I was now hungry as it was after 1pm........we always say our trip starts when we arrive at The Radisson.......so downstairs for food and a glass of wine.

    The bar is busy........it`s usually fairly quiet, but we manage to find a table and sit down. Guy came over and asked if we wanted menus and drinks......absolutely.........so he gave us some and said he`d be back..........we`re still waiting for him!! After 15 minutes Tom went to the bar and ordered 2 glasses of Chardonnay and asked if we could order food........customer service at it`s worst, she snippily said your waiter is coming back........Tom, being the nice one explained very patiently that we had waited long enough. She did indeed pour 2 glasses of Chardonnay and brought them over........we ordered a pizza to share and she said she would add fries as we had waited so long..........so we began to toast our trip and I tasted the wine.........now, I`m not an expert but I know wine and know what I like and I now when somethings isn't right.......I almost spat it out cartoon style.........Tom took a sip and said that's dreadful.......not the best start to our celebration.........but he duly took it back to the bar and our exasperated waitress sighed and was unexpectedly nice......she apologized and said that was the 2nd time that had happened. We very rarely over here order just glasses of wine, we prefer to have a fresh bottle so we know it`s fresh......we should have done that. Anyways she opened a fresh bottle of Pinot Grigio and that was ok so we toasted ourselves again......


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    By this time pizza was here. And it was very good.......so good we didn't take a picture.....we would get back into the habit of taking pictures of food before we touched it. But for today were so hungry.........actually we couldn't finish it.......but by that point our now friendly waitress had brought over 2 more glasses of wine complimentary for the trouble we had.......we of course told her there was no need, but it was nice of her. I would be asleep by 3pm at this rate as she had a good pour!

    We paid up and made sure she was tipped well, then headed back up to check out the Business Lounge.........during the day they have soft drinks, teas and coffee and beers.....think it was corona or Sol available to help yourself and little snacks with olives and strawberries coated in chocolate.......it was a nice lounge...........it also overlooks the airport and runways........


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    We decided we would have a coffee for Tom and I would have some coke........while Tom decided whether or not he had room for some olives and strawberries......

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    Of course the olives and strawberries win!!!

    We spend a couple of hours up here and just let that feeling of being on vacation hit us properly.......of course the wine helps too.....

    Around 3.30 we go back to our room and get ready to take the luggage down to Twilight check in.....means we don't have to do it in the morning and we are all checked in for our flight........we are still checking for updates on the pilots strike as it`s still going ahead, but for now we are ever hopeful. So Tom had started chatting to a member of the management team and had asked how things were......he said his wife was a little disappointed in the room size and that it was celebration trip. He immediately arranged for a bottle of champagne to be sent to our room later in the day.........nice.

    Meantime we had got our luggage and wandered down the skywalk to the Terminal. Only takes 5 minutes or so.........there`s only a few people in front of us to drop bags, so wont take us long. And sure enough we are done by 4.10. Back to the lounge.

    We sit back in the same seats and I have another coke and Tom has coffee. At 5pm the complimentary wine and strong liquor is put out along with snack items. We had been told it can be like a rugby scrum so we sat back and watched. We were still full with the pizza........and right on 5pm the place was busy......the strange thing I didn't know was, you helped yourself to alcohol and wine. Tom went up and poured us each a glass of chardonnay and we sat back and it was indeed a scrum. Every time some food was brought out it was like every man for themselves..........I have to say there was some chicken and shrimp at first almost tempura style......but soon it was little mini quiche and tartlet style food...........we did try a shrimp and it was rather nice. But certainly not something you could make a meal of.

    We sat beside a couple who were nice and we chatted for a couple of hours.......soon it was almost 9pm and we felt tired, I`d only had a few glasses of wine so between that and the early start I was ready for an early night. Got back to room and there was indeed a bottle of champagne on ice sat waiting for us........no way could we have drank it so Tom still had the car keys so he went down and popped it in the car to take home when we finally did make it back. He came back and we watched some tv and hoped we would sleep well for a change. We of course set every alarm we had and arranged an alarm call as usual.

    This is one of our favourite times........when everything is all in front of us........
     
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