Rosiejo's FTW trip report (November 2005) Completed 03.04.06

rosiejo

<marquee><font color=orange>Wonky Chick</marquee><
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Ok guys - here it is - I've finally got round to writing up my November trip report!

I'll be doing it in stages - and have 21 days to get through so please bear with me :goodvibes

ETA: It's all done now - thanks for letting me share my ramblings :goodvibes

I've managed to twist DH's arm into a first anniversary trip this November and I'll definitely be writing my report live from the World, no matter how tired I am... it just takes far too long to do it when you get back to the real world :rotfl2:
 

rosiejo

<marquee><font color=orange>Wonky Chick</marquee><
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Cast

Me – A fairy tale weddings bride to be, a compulsive planner and self-confessed Disney nut
DH2b – my future husband and converted Disney World fan
Mum – mother of the bride and seasoned Disney World visitor
Dad – father of the bride, seasoned Disney World visitor and ex-soldier (will become clear)
Ian – brother of the groom – and best man. WDW newbie and known for tardiness
Victoria – Ian’s girlfriend and bridesmaid – WDW newbie and loves to shop
David – brother of the bride – seasoned WDW traveller and photography nut
Emma – David’s girlfriend - WDW newbie

Trip dates

November 3 – 24 – Me and DH2b
November 3 – 17 - for everyone else

Purpose of the trip

A fairytale wedding – to be held at Sunset Pointe at the Polynesian hotel on November 15.

Accommodation

Villas of Somerset – Kissimmee
Animal Kingdom Lodge WDW – for the honeymoon

Preparation

I have been planning this trip and the wedding celebration since November 2004. I have searched out information from across the internet and become a DISboards convert. I also paid for TGM (and it was worth it). Using this information I planned the trip down to the last minute :0)

While on the DISboards I also became a member of the DDA – and consequently made luggage tags, badges, tip envelopes, autograph books and several tee shirts to wear on the trip :0)
 

rosiejo

<marquee><font color=orange>Wonky Chick</marquee><
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Everything is packed and ready to go – spent the morning collecting up lose ends and packing an overnight bag for the stay at Gatwick.

Booked the taxi to take us to the train station for 2.15 pm so we’d be there in good time – as usual though the taxi was late so we ended up arriving at the station with 10 minutes to spare. Sounds like a lot but we had to transfer 3 suitcases, 2 rucksacks, 2 carrier bags and my camera across 8 platforms! Luckily the lifts were working.

We arrived on the platform just as the train pulled up to find Ian and Victoria waiting for us – they’re usually the late ones!

The first leg of the journey was pretty uneventful, we played a card game called Guillotine that our friends had bought us for the trip, and ate lots of sweets.

Things went slightly awry when we had to change trains at Reading – we had an 18 minute window between trains, but ours pulled in to Reading 10 minutes late. Once again we had to cross platforms, so we raced to the lift, went up and over the bridge, only to find that the lift at the other side was broken! So we dragged the cases down the stairs – having waited for three mums to bring their buggies up – then ran to the gate, where the ticket inspector looked at our tickets, shook his head and said “not sure you’ll catch that one it leaves in a minute”!!!! Yes so stop holding us up and open the barrier!!!

We jumped on the train about 10 seconds before the doors shut… phew – my parents were meeting us at Gatwick and the next train isn’t for an hour.

We arrived at Gatwick at about 5.30 and there were only a couple of people at the twilight check in desk. We offloaded our cases, one of mine was too big to fit on the scales so I had to drag it off to oversized baggage – well what do you expect I am carrying a load of wedding related paraphernalia!

Oh and everyone had a Disney luggage tag with their name and a Disney character on that I’d made for them to put on their cases.

I cannot recommend twilight check-in enough – it’s the reason we fly with Virgin – it’s so much easier to drop your cases off in the evening and not have to worry about them again – and there’s hardly any queue to wait in.

We met up with mum and dad and headed to Pizza Express which is just upstairs in the Village. I handed out the packs I had made, each one contained a guidebook – with information about the flight/villa/what to expect at the airport/food/theme parks/wedding plans etc. I’d printed up the TGM touring plans for everyone to carry to the parks with them and I’d also made some key rings.

Then onto the hotel IBIS. There’s a free shuttle bus that comes to pick you up from the airport, you have to call them from the courtesy phones outside.

I booked the hotel through holiday extras it was the cheapest on offer at the time and they did a good deal on two weeks car parking (my parents had driven down from Leicester).

I don’t think I’d stay there again though, the beds were hard, they were stingy on the pillows and the room was hot!
 
  • rosiejo

    <marquee><font color=orange>Wonky Chick</marquee><
    Joined
    Jan 31, 2005
    As I said before the hotel room wasn’t conducive to sleep so I was awake from 4am, after tossing and turning for a couple of hours DH2b woke up too. Having agreed the night before to eat airport at the breakfast we had to change our plans as by 7am we were both starving (Doh! Oh course I mean breakfast at the airport :rolleyes1 ). So having washed and dressed already we headed downstairs for an extremely expensive breakfast, £12 for 8 slices of toast and a cup of tea!

    By 8am we were all checked out and waiting for our taxi (you have to pay for the return trip to the airport on the shuttle bus and as there were 6 of us it was cheaper to order a cab).

    Back at the airport by 8.15 DH2b and I went to check in to wait for my brother’s girlfriend Emma, while the others followed the original plan and went through to departures for breakfast.

    Emma had checked in online the day before and only needed to drop her suitcases off, good job too as the queue for check in was doing the Disney shuffle and looked quite long. We smiled smugly – hooray for twilight check in!

    Then we were through security and off to the departure lounge for breakfast take two. Well it had been at least two hours since our toast and we have a long flight ahead of us :0) Bacon and egg Mcmuffins all round.

    The wait in departures wasn’t too bad – we had a look around the shops, Victoria had forgotten her hair straighteners so she had to buy some more. It was quite traumatic for her when she realised she’d left them at home, and even more so for Ian when she couldn’t remember if she’d actually unplugged them!

    We got called to our gate only to be told that the flight was delayed, can’t remember why but it was only for half an hour or so. We were all getting a bit bored by this stage though and wanted to get onboard. Judging by the amount of people queuing at the flight entrance we weren’t the only ones… why do people do that by the way?? If everyone stayed seated until their row number was called we’d all get on the plane a bit quicker! <rant over that’s a pet hate of mine>

    So before too long we’re all in our seats and belted in – and the holiday begins…

    The flight was good, we played a few games, watched some movies, read some books. The individual seat back screens are great as you can choose what to watch, although Ian Victoria and Dad all had broken ones! The steward brought them each a portable dvd player from first class so they could still watch a movie.

    The flight landed at about 4.30pm (US time) and we headed to immigration. I remembered the tip about heading to the line next to the one for US citizens but the queues at that end were shorter anyway. Most of us passed through without a problem, although the finger print machine was a bit temperamental. Emma had a bit of trouble though, we’d all just written Villas of Somerset on our cards, but the guy Emma went to wanted the full address including street! Luckily I’d written it down in the guidebook when pulling directions from map quest so we were able to find it for him… phew!

    We went over to the luggage carousel and found all of our suitcases (except Emma’s) on the premium economy/first class carousel. There’s anther bonus for twilight check in – you get premium economy luggage service for free – i.e. your luggage comes off the plane first and is not on the carousel surrounded by hordes of people!

    The collected bags were then scanned and then we put them back on the conveyor belt and jumped on the monorail to the main terminal. Orlando International is a great airport, and even has a hotel inside it! It is so much nicer than Gatwick…

    Back at the main terminal we split up, the boys went off to pick up the cars and the girls went to get the luggage. Seemed like a good plan until we realised we had too many cases and not enough hands!! Luckily a friendly chap appeared with a big trolley in our hour of need and rescued us. He took the cases all the way to the Dollar desk – and left very happily when I tipped him ten bucks. Not sure what the going rate is but it was worth ten bucks not to have to lug all those cases ourselves :0)

    We were expecting a long queue at the Dollar desk (as we had in 2003) but there was no one there – and Virgin now has it’s own Dollar desk which is much better. The boys had the keys as we turned up with the cases.

    DH2b gave me a pack from the Virgin rep – an appointment to meet with the Wedding co-coordinator the following morning, and directions to the Villas of Somerset.

    I have to say here that the service from the Virgin reps at the airport was pretty awful. I asked DH2b if we’d been told to go to the Holiday Villas office to collect the keys (as we did last time we stayed there) he wasn’t sure so I went off to find a rep. After finally flagging one down I asked her and she was very abrupt – telling me the instructions were on the hand out and I should just follow them, why on earth wouldn’t the keys be at the onsite office at Somerset?? Hmm I wasn’t sure but agreed to listen to her…

    Out to the “garage” then to collect the cars – an 8-seater passenger van (instantly christened the A-team truck) – which incidentally had a lot of boot space for luggage if anyone is worried about that kind of thing – and a Dodge Neon (E4) for DH2b and me. We had two cars between eight of us in case anyone wanted to go off and do their own thing – and so that Dh2b and I would have our own car when we moved out of the villa.

    I’d already printed the driving directions off from mapquest.com so we headed out onto the road. Dad drove the truck and DH2b the car – both have driven in the states before so there weren’t any first time traumas.

    The directions were spot on and we only made one detour – when the signpost for the 192W appeared as we’d gone past the filter lane – why do American’s hang their road signs in such silly places??

    We arrived at the villas and headed into the “office” – the clubhouse really – where the woman behind the counter said “oh no all keys are held at the Holiday Villas office”!!! I knew I should have listened to me!! And we drove past the office on the way here too :0( So we jump back in the truck and go and collect the keys.

    We had booked a 2-bed and a 3-bed villa (there were meant to be 10 of us originally) so it was decided that DH2b and I would share the 2-bed with my parents – leaving the ‘kids’ in the 3-bed. I opened the door to our villa, and wasn’t too impressed… no air conditioning – and it all looked very tatty, paper missing off the walls and holes in the sofa. My heart sank. I’d picked the villas (we’d stayed here 10 years ago) and I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s holiday by making us sleep somewhere horrible. I messed around with the aircon but nothing seemed to be happening. Dad put a call into the office and they said they’d send someone to look at it. So we lugged our cases up the stairs, dumped them in the lounge and headed out to dinner. The other villa by the way was lovely – we just got a duff one.

    As we were all extremely tired from the travelling we went to the Perkins on the corner of Poinciana Boulevard and the 192. It was lovely, the food was nice and the waitress friendly. Nobody could manage desert though :0)

    Oh and I seem to remember the fries rated a 9 out of 10 – DH2b started a scoring system for the fries and the waitresses!

    Back at the villa there was no sign of life – and still no working aircon – so we called the office again. They sent a bloke round with a key for the villa downstairs… result a 3-bed villa for the price of a 2 – and this one was lovely. Only downside was we had to lug the cases back down the stairs!

    We managed a bit of unpacking before falling exhausted into bed :0)

    ETA: I forgot to mention before that when we first pulled up in the villa complex there were about 6 sheriff cars parked up at various angles and a guy spread-eagled on the floor – look like he’d been stunned… by the time we got back the second time the guy was gone and only a couple of cop cars were left. We meant to read the local paper the next day to see what it was all about but completely forgot!
     

    Cyrano

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2004
    This will keep me occupied during the Christmas break :)
    Good start Rosie. By the way what is TGM :confused3
     
  • gilld

    <font color=deeppink>Will just have the butler ope
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2003
    Great start - I especially like the fact that you planned to eat airport at the breakfast!!!! :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
     
  • Cyrano

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2004
    gilld said:
    Great start - I especially like the fact that you planned to eat airport at the breakfast!!!! :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
    I laughed when I noticed that too ... big appetite :rotfl2: ;)
     

    rosiejo

    <marquee><font color=orange>Wonky Chick</marquee><
    Joined
    Jan 31, 2005
    Cyrano said:
    This will keep me occupied during the Christmas break :)
    Good start Rosie. By the way what is TGM :confused3
    Hi - it stands for Tour Guide Mike. It's a website that you have to pay to join and contains info to help you plan your trip - it's a bit like Marmite you either love it or hate it and there have been great bust ups elsewhere on the DIS about it - but I thought it was worth every penny :0)
     

    KMH1

    <font color=blue>Shares well with others and doesn
    Joined
    Dec 13, 2001
    I'm so excited to finally read all your details Clare! Fantastic start! :goodvibes

    Amy :)
     

    cocowum

    <marquee><font color=deeppink>Have <img src=http:/
    Joined
    Mar 3, 2004
    Great start! I can't wait to read more. :flower: And I absolutely love it when you say things like spot on , lifts and a duff one. :goodvibes
     

    dumby

    <font color=purple>Dumby in Alabama<br><font color
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2005
    Thanks for sharing. I love your English words BTW.
     

    rosiejo

    <marquee><font color=orange>Wonky Chick</marquee><
    Joined
    Jan 31, 2005
    Can I just say before I start this next instalment that I just read some of Janet2K’s fairytale vow renewal report… she started it off writing in the third person like a fairytale story… I wish I could be as creative as that!

    Anyway – I’ve started this one way so I shouldn’t really switch now… should I??

    On with the show.

    November 4 – our first real day in Orlando – and a Friday. I’m awake by 5.30 (damn jetlag) I toss and turn for a while and then hear dad pottering round the kitchen so I get up for breakfast. Did I mention my dad was a soldier? Jetlag has nothing to do with him being up so early – he gets up that time everyday… and expects everyone else to as well ;0) Now compare that with DH2b and Ian, whose parents work nights and have been brought up to go to bed in the early hours and sleep in late… we’re in for an interesting two weeks :rolleyes1

    Today we’ve arranged to meet our Virgin wedding co-ordinator. We have a meeting at 9am :earseek: at one of the hotels just outside Downtown Disney…and I can’t remember what it’s called – must look that one up!

    Mum and dad are going to drive us in the car (it was meant to be me and DH2b but mum’s suffering with JL too so they’re coming with us!). We’re leaving the other three sleeping (the one planned lie in of the holiday) and we’ll catch up with them at lunch to go to Typhoon Lagoon.

    So I shoehorn DH2b out of bed and by 8.15 we’re on the road – not sure where the hotel is so leave plenty of time. We actually found the hotel with no problem at all – and then got lost inside it :rotfl: First we went into the convention centre – not the hotel – then we went up and down in the lift and couldn’t actually find the floor – turns out it’s a mezzanine… on the way up I had a nosey at the Outback restaurant and the menu there. We have reservations for Rainforest café at DTD for 5pm on the day of the wedding – but I’m not sure about turning up there in my frock!

    We finally find Yvonne – a lovely Scottish lady – and although we’re early she’s ready for us – Dad asks how long the meeting will take – Yvonne says if I’m decisive 40 minutes, if not make it 2 hours!! Dad confirms I’m decisive so we send mum and dad off to the café for cakes and we get down to business.

    I wasn’t sure what to expect from this meeting. Virgin had been right royal pains in the you know what’s to begin with – until I’d complained and found a lovely lady called Caron who was happy to answer my emails when I morphed into Bridezilla!

    I think the issue was that Virgin sell you an off the shelf package and expect you to turn up on the day and say “I do”. I however was a DISer and knew of all the things that could be done, and wanted to book a portrait session and choose my officiant and write my own ceremony… I have to give credit to the other forum for that actually – and I’ve only gone and forgotten what it’s called!! I suddenly thought one day – what about the ceremony?? So I wrote to Caron and she sent me the standard ceremonies for their two officiants… and I hated both!!! So I went to the “other forum” and scraplifted some of the ceremonies posted there, copied and pasted them together, and bob’s your uncle – a nice personalised ceremony. Then I left messages on the DIS to find out which officiant I should use – you people are so kind :0) We picked Jimmy based on a personal recommendation and he was great!

    Oh and don’t get me started on photographs… we got 12 included in the package – but 12 couldn’t be enough could it?? So I ummed and ahhed and posted on the DIS, should I use DPS or Randy Chapman?? Then a UK bride told me she’d had the most amazing photos done through the virgin photographer – and a video too. We hadn’t planned on having a video, but then the in-laws couldn’t make the trip – and people suggested we could play it at the @home party, so we thought – ok let’s get a video – so let’s go through Virgin.

    Anyway I digress – funny how you forget the small things!!

    So we sat with Yvonne and she went through the forms – had they got the right bouquet and cake orders – who was on the guest list etc. Who was giving me away :earseek: I’d decided I wanted mum and dad to do it… but hadn’t got round to asking… so we put down both and I crossed my fingers that she’d agree as the limo logistics were based on that decision! Yvonne warned me that our Disney wedding co-ordinator Matthew would call me about the limo times – she also warned me he would cut it fine and that if he did I had to call and tell her so he could sort it out… (which is exactly what did happen a few days later!)

    Now who’s doing my hair… hmm me?? Someone can come to my room for $70? Bonus – book them in quick! Does Victoria want her hair doing? Another $70, hmm no she can manage…

    Now the photographs… we’d pre-orded 50 5x7s… so Yvonne pulls out the albums… hmm 5x7s they’re rather small aren’t they? The 10x8s look much nicer, and what’s this photos with different colours on them? How much does that cost? Lol so we completely change the order – lets have 30 10x8s and lets pay the extra $200 for digital enhancements :0) Oh and 2 parent’s albums… and a video – well we need three copies, what’s that we can have dvds instead? Oh what the heck pay the extra who has a video player anyway :rotfl: (Did Dad say I was decisive…??)

    I should probably plug the photographer just here – total imagery if anyone is in need of a photographer :0)

    Right where was I? I think at this point mum and dad came back – and Yvonne reviewed what we had – at which point mum asks why I’m not having Victoria’s hair done… yup there’s a change of mind coming… what the heck – it’s a special day and what’s $70 in the scheme of things… make that two for hair!! :rotfl:

    So that’s it… so where are we eating dinner Yvonne asks.. the RFC? At 5pm???? You’ll never make it!! Arrgghh :earseek Ok lets change the plans again!! Apparently the Outback comes highly recommended so Yvonne agrees to make reservations for us for 9pm (sounds a bit late but we had plans until that point in the evening anyway).

    Hooray that’s it – the final plans are made… there’s nothing else we can do now except enjoy the holiday…

    But first we have to go get the wedding licence.

    So we pile back in the car and head to downtown Kissimmee. The traffic was quite heavy and we got a bit lost… going off the tourist trail is a real eye opener, there are some really run down looking places down that way.

    Anyway I digress again – I’d downloaded the form from the internet and filled it in already – and we had the right amount of cash. So we go to the court house – which is a lovely building – and up to the marriage and passports office. It was busy so I had to write my name on a list and say why we were here – and then wait to be called.

    There were an odd bunch of people here… a couple after a licence had to keep going to the back of the queue because he couldn’t read the handbook quick enough. (OT I was fascinated by this – I’d prepared all this from the other side of the world and knew FL residents had to read a handbook – in fact I’d read it online just to see what it was :rotfl: ) Then there were a couple with some kids who seemed to be planning a last minute quick as they could ceremony as the H2b was headed off to Iraq.

    When it was finally our turn we headed to the counter as the woman completed our form and asked us a few questions – then made us raise our right hands and solemnly declare that it was all true… we though that was hilarious as we had no idea we’d have to do anything like that :0)

    So we’re all ready to be married – it was an odd feeling having that piece of paper in our hands and knowing that it was actually going to happen… although we had to fill in the envelope with our name and address so they could post th4e licence home – and I couldn’t write Mrs… in case I jinxed us! Had to put DH2b’s name on it instead :rotfl:

    Back in the car to head back to the villa… and head out to Typhoon Lagoon… let the holiday commence!
     

    Minniespal

    <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/image
    Joined
    Jan 14, 2003
    Really enjoying your reports ~ Keep em coming.

    Especially like when all the posts are in the one thread.
     



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