Yep, another trip report from Carole n Tom...……. This one is starting a little early...….rather unusually for me. I never do a pre trip report as I always like to surprise myself and have no definite plans for our trips...….but, time is of a premium this year so wanted to get a head start on this one...…… So, for anyone who doesn't know us......there must be some...….. we are indeed Carole and Tom. This is our fourth of five trips to Orlando this year, and our longest one at 19 nights. We usually spend this length of time in September as we adore HHN and September is one of our favourite times to go anyway...…….Tom took early retirement last year, can`t believe it`s over a year now since he left the big bad world of work, it has gone so quickly.....of course Kyle reminds us if we weren't travelling so much it might slow down a bit...…..gotta love him!!!! But, now we can take advantage of travelling anytime we choose we are certainly taking advantage of it. Kyle isn't with us again this trip, but we do look forward to 10 nights in December where he will join us again...….apparently in the UK it is acceptable for our adult kids to join us on an Orlando vacation without being teased!!!! Not that he would bother anyway...…..we went for a week last December and loved Universal at Christmas, so as we felt a week wasn't long enough.....it`s 10 nights this time. So that's the reason for so many trips now, instead of our once a year trips up 2015. Early retirement has been wonderful...…..easily the best decision ever...….and as I more or less retired a good few years back through choice.....I preferred being able to travel to Scotland or anywhere else I liked when I liked...…..so we both took to it like a duck to water...…… Everyone told us we would need a hobby once Tom retired...…...so we got one. Visiting Orlando more often. Can`t get much better than that. We tried golf and hated it......almost did a man an injury with a golf club......oops so thought better of it!!! This is us if you don't know us...…..in one of our favourite bars in Citywalk……….. We do like to visit a few bars on our trips...…..and we do enjoy a cocktail or three...…..but mostly we just love Orlando and the surrounding areas...…….there is so much to see and do outside of the Universal parks...…..of course if you know us at all, you`ll know we don't visit Disney or SeaWorld at all. Universal all the way for us...…. This trip was booked before we even left last September...…..as is our way, we do like to have it arranged in plenty of time. It`s especially easy now we don't have to fit between certain dates, although to be fair Tom never had any issues with vacation time...….he suited himself. But, we just liked it booked first. So, 19 nights at our favourite hotel...……..Royal Pacific Resort...…… We have stayed her many nights since 2009 when we began to stay here exclusively...….and we love it as much as we did, if not more than our first stay. We never get bored here and so many people now genuinely feel like family...…...we know a lot of folks so well and of course the business it is, staff do change, and meeting new members of the team is always lovely. I think they are fabulous at making everyone feel special of course, but there is such a warm and welcoming feeling when we enter the hotel, it really is like being home. And when people you have known for a long time are delighted to see you back and welcome you as family, that is a very special feeling...…...and one of the many, many reasons we return every year......now numerous times a year. And we feel incredibly lucky to be able to do that. So, once we are home from our October trip last year, jet lag hasn't even cleared and I`m on the websites getting flights booked and paid for...…...this is so easy...….it`s like buying a book from Amazon...….couple of clicks and it`s done...…….. We go between Virgin and Thomas Cook for flights to America...….not really a price consideration, but more convenience of flight times......they are both excellent to fly with and we have no problem with whichever we choose...……flight crew and service have always been top notch on both carriers. Thomas Cook gets our pennies this time. We usually book Premium both ways, but the plane we are on going out doesn't have a Premium area, but the seats are extremely decent on these flights. The planes for America and long haul are decent...…..so we get the first row booked going out and add in Priority boarding, so we are on first.....sounds crazy but, as we have no seats in front of us we can`t put our bags under the seat in front, so we need to put our cabin bags above us...…..some people have cabin luggage that are huge......so space is a premium......but the advantage of being in row 1 is no one reclining on to you.....during the day flights most people don't though....but some can. Their privilege of course. And having extra space in these seats means it`s not an issue if someone does recline. We do however have Premium on the way home......so no need to add Priority as it is already included with premium seats. With flights sorted almost immediately we were practically done with planning...…….. Although I say we never plan, we do of course look forward immensely to our trips.....every one of them is special and we treasure every second we are there. We do look at menu`s, a lot!!!! Food plays a big part of our trips......so many restaurants we just don't have anything like them in the UK. Some we go to are chains of course, don't quite understand the hate that some chain restaurants get from certain people...…….The Palm is a chain and every single meal we have had there has been beautiful. Guess some people must go to pretty poor chains as we have loved almost every meal we have had in America...….except Bongo`s in Downtown Disney...….truly awful and never went back. But it was in 2007......I have a long memory though. We also plan where we might travel to for the day...….there are so many places round about and a little further afield......we are spoilt for choice some trips. Which brings us to the car rental. We exclusively use Alamo and have done for several years...….so far no complaints about the cars or service from them......they used to try and sell us all kinds of upgrades, but soon realized they couldn't sell us anything we knew we didn't want or need. Although last time we got the best car ever......if you read the July Trip Report, you would see we got a Maserati Levante......which was so much fun to drive...….we loved this car. Wouldn't have one in real life as they can be so unreliable.....but this one was fabulous!!!!! Thing is, this had spoiled us for rental cars in the future. For this trip we had booked a full size SUV. Last time it had been a Premium I believe, but the option wasn't there, so we would see when we arrive if we can maybe get an F Pace as an upgrade.....no way would get this again for such a bargain price as we only added around $100 for the week!! Bargain. This booking was only $650 for 19 nights. But, it was booked and paid for now too. Another box ticked off in our planning, limited as it was. Whatever the car ended up being I`m sure it would be fine. We stay overnight at the airport at the same hotel we have stayed at for years. Radisson Blu Manchester Airport. We just like it here. Its convenient for both Terminals whether you are flying Virgin or Thomas Cook...…..one airline you turn right out the doors and the other you turn left down the Skywalk. Rooms are clean and quite pretty......and we usually book the Executive Lounge as an extra treat...……the contoured glass windows on top is the location of the lounge...…..great airport views!!! The lounge is on the 9th floor and they have snacks and non alcoholic drinks out all day. At 5pm the alcohol and appetizers comes out...….. Wines and liquor are left out for people to help themselves...….and there is beer in the chilled cabinets then. The apps are pretty good and last couple of years we have enjoyed them and didn't feel the need to go down to the restaurant to eat dinner. And the lounge is very nice... You do have your own check in area on the 9th floor for Executive rooms which is a little quieter and more convenient than main check in desk. Food stops being served around 7.30pm and alcohol at 9pm. Although we never really have a lot as flying the next day we don't want to feel sluggish. We usually book a room with parking included for our entire stay...…..but this time we thought we might do something a little different this time. We were going to travel to the airport by train. There is a train station attached to the complex too, mum and I had arrived by train when we stayed overnight here before we flew out to NYC. We had enjoyed it. And this was really a bit of an experiment...….more so for the way home. We have a fairly long drive back down the country to get home...….and after a night flight that you probably haven't slept much, driving isn't fun. I know you can book a day room at most of the bigger hotels, but we would rather just set off for home as soon as we can. So, we got our entire journey booked and managed to get First Class seats on both trains to and from the airport. It will take longer than driving, but Tom just felt he`d like to give it a try just once...….if we don't like it we can still go by car on our other journeys. We will also be going by car in December when Kyle is with us. We have a cab booked to take us to the station on Wednesday morning. Friends offered, but one is notoriously unreliable...….and others are a little bit away or working, so cabs are easier. It`s only 30 minutes to the station. Then 4 hours or so on the trains. More plans including HHN and other changes coming right up...…..