Magnificent Mega Month of Making Magical Memories - pre trip report

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Magnificent Mega Month of Making Magical Memories - pre trip report

It might be a bit early, but following Robyn's precedent I have decided to start posting my pre-trip report after all.

Be warned this is long, longer than I planned as I messed up a page and had to overwrite it, so get yourself a hot drink and a cookie and settle down.....

This is us on our last WDW trip
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This year's trip has been over 2years in the planning already, since we came back from our 2011 trip and still just under 9months to go. It has already changed quite a lot, the original plan included Anaheim, then I had to drop that but put in 3nts in NYC, but then once it got to booking flights and accommodation I had to drop that too and so now a measly 36nts in Orlando.

How did it end up so long you ask, well originally it was 3wks, that's our minimum trip, one week before October half term, then the week of the holiday and another week after. Then I looked at flights and midweek was cheaper, and so decided to fly out a few days earlier and stay a few days later, the flight savings would cover the extra accommodation costs. Also that meant that we could take in Hallowe'en and the start of Christmas. But then I realised that SW starts it's Christmas the weekend before Thanksgiving the last two years and want to see that, so I added another week. Iain got confirmation just after Christmas that he had got his leave, after a lot of messing about. He gets 7wks holiday a year, but 5 of those are preset weeks, so we actually know his holidays for the next 10 years, but he is allowed to arrange his own swaps, so we looked up who had the other weeks and he has given away his week off in March and 2 weeks August to get a 4wk block, but then thanks to his shift pattern, his days off the first week and last week mean he doesn't need any leave to get the 5th week.

However, even though we have a full 36 days and nights in Florida, looking at my provisional plan, I still can't fit in everything we want to do and there are only 2 half days rest! We tend to do our vacations very full on, we don't really enjoy typical relaxation, I need to be busy to stop my brain going into overdrive. Because of that, and spending most of our time wrangling 3 children, we don't take enough photos, so unlike Robyn's trippies, mine might be a bit deficient in photos at times, specially with food as it's normally half gone before I manage to take a picture! I do do a plan, but once Iain and Charlotte get in a park I cannot get them out! We had plans for various non park afternoons, but I could not get them off the rides, maybe laminating the plan this time might work?

This will be our 4th and last ever family trip to Florida/East Coast and it will be our last trip to the US for many years due to restrictions of school holidays once our eldest daughter starts at Grammar School in 2015 (only 4wks in the summer, boooo). I have no desire to pay summer prices, to deal with summer heat or crowds at WDW (or anywhere else for that matter). Don't worry our East Coast trip for my 50th already has a provisional itinerary, between this year's trip and that one we will be limited to budget European holidays, probably in a tent in a farmer's field somewhere.

I am pretty new to this forum so you don't know much about me or my family, so I will get on with the introductions....

The Cast

Me, Karen " 40 something stay at home mum and planner extroadinaire, be it holidays or parties. Sad to say I think I sometimes enjoy the research and planning more than being there!
My first visit to WDW was in 1988 when I was 18yrs old with my parents and younger brother. Despite being embarassed by my mother's childish behaviour (which I might be guilty of these days) I loved it, what got me hooked is the attention to detail in the theming, and it still does to this day. We did a backstage tour back in 1988 and it really I would have loved to be an Imagineer, Iike Robyn's husband, I love knowing the back story and watching all the behind the scenes programmes, for instance on how they designed and built Expedition Everest. My degree was in Mechanical Engineering and my dream was to design animatronics or rollercoasters. Needless to say that didn't work out and I ended up in IT Consultancy/Project Management in Petrochemicals. When our eldest was 2yrs old I convinced a reluctant husband to have a free long weekend in DLP, using all my points from work travel and subsequent to that our first family WDW trip was in May 2008, booked a package and off we went with little knowledge or planning. Since then I have planned a little more each trip, and each time it has paid off as I have managed to save money and get more out of our trips. Since leaving my high flying career behind in 2008 we have had 2 more children and I am now a stay at home mum, filling my time with voluntary roles and community work until I find a new career. I was born in Scotland, grew up in Yorkshire and had a Jewish Grandad, I like my luxuries in life but will move mountains trying to save money on them, I am a UK couponer extreme! I am a lover of all things related to spreadsheets and something of a control freak, hence I don't like surprises. I also have a wealth of willpower, so I will not falter on my diet (21lbs to go) or my savings plan for this trip (still a few PS1000 to save by October)!

Iain " my train driving husband, he is also now in his 40s. We met back in 1996, when we met he was a 'chef' in a gastropub on Salford Quays and I was a barmaid/waitress in the attached cocktail bar. Back then, he had never flown or been outside the UK at all. Shortly after we met I got a job with a US company and his first ever flight was to visit me for 2wks in Bethesda, DC, where I proposed to him in Clydes Restaurant (over a medium rare calves liver and a nice Chianti). The year after we were married I made him go on holiday to Turkey, he was dreading it, but under duress he actually enjoyed it. He can be a stick in the mud and has to be made to try new things " he's ordered the same thing from the Chinese for at least 16yrs.. He was very reluctant to visit DLP back in 2006 but loved it, he didn't want to go camping but I booked us camping (without his knowledge) in June 2012, guess what, he loved it! He insists he will hate cruising, but we are booked on a 4nt DCL in November and I bet he loves that too! The reason he loves our WDW trips is for the parks and the rides, he would happily never meet a character or watch a parade, he just wants to get on as many rides as possible, though he does like the Disney shows. His favourite ride in Orlando is Kraken. Iain works to a rule of vicarious liability, if he plans nothing he can be blamed for nothing. I am not leaving him in charge of anything this trip, last trip he was in charge of phones - but he messed up and they didn't work so we couldn't split up all trip, this time he just has to help with the cases. He does like to rubber stamp my plans but I do tend to sneak in a few surprises. He has a huge collection of Grumpy and irate Donald duck tshirts, which fit his character perfectly. He likes his beer, he goes out for 12hrs at a time with his mates on tours of real ale pubs here in the UK but so far he isn't keen on US beer. but hoping he might like some of the microbrewery ales this trip. He also likes his food, and has a complete and utter lack of willpower when it comes to dieting. He is a huge Man Vs Food fan so I am searching out independent restaurants this trip to hopefully appease him when he sees some of the other things I have in store!

This is the only picture I could find of us without the kids...
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Charlotte " Tink, our 9yr old feisty fairy and adrenalin freak, she takes after her dad in many ways and has to ride every mountain in MK several times a day! Her first big coaster was Scorpion, because she is little we made a special trip to Busch Gardens in 2009 as it was the only one she was tall enough for. Her favourite ride now is SM2 at DLP which she got on for the first time in December just gone. She is also very bright and will just have done her 11+ exams to go to Grammar School before we depart, hopefully we'll find out before going if she's passed as we will have to do her school choices online from Florida. She is also very active, into drama, dancing, singing, plays clarinet (very well), and swimming. Unfortunately she also has an artistic temperament! Charlotte likes to get involved in the planning, of the fun things and she is responsible for picking our MNSSHP costumes and helping me make them, as well as door decorations for the cruise and FE gifts etc. Her favourite character varies, as well as Tink she likes Rapunzel and Minnie, though is pretending to be too old for them now, and is more into 1D! Her favourite film at the moment is Frozen, we often hear her singing along to Let It Go or Do You Want to Build a Snowman in her bedroom. Like me she is also a big fan of Harry Potter so is excited to see the developments at WWoHP this trip.
This is Charlotte working the lighting board in Studio 1 at WDS in Paris
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Archie " our 4yr old Hugglemonster is a character lover and parades, every time he runs into Goofy I wince, I really hope they have some protection inside those costumes as his head is just at groin height, we have many photos of Archie engulfed in the folds of some of the more cuddly characters like Chip and Dale or WTP. He loves watching parades on YouTube and really gets into them at Disney. However, he is not at all keen on rides, his limit is IASW and Peter Pan, we are hoping he might be up to BTM or at least Dwarfs Mine Ride by the time we get there. I think his favourite ride is Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. He will just have started in Year 1. He is really into trains and cars and all things typical of young boys. His favourite film character is Mater though his favourite huggable character is Goofy but he also adores Captain Hook. He is going through that lovely huggy phase right now, however he does have a temper to go with his mop of red hair.
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Lucy " my 2yr old little Thumbelina. She will have just started nursery in October when we go to WDW, she was just 8wks old on our last trip in 2011. She has a very confident and happy disposition, loves to sing and dance (specially to Frozen tracks with her big sister). It's a bit early to know what she'll be like in 9mths time, as so much can change quickly at this age. She used to like rides and her favourite was the first drop on PoTC in DLP (bigger drops than WDW), however last December she started to get nervous about the drops and really didn't like Toy Story Parachute Drop. I think her favourite ride at the moment is Buzz Lightyear, she just loves to shoot the baddies with her gun and gets quite an impressive score considering she just seems to wave the gun around aimlessly. To be honest it probably won't matter as she is only 33" tall right now and the chances of her growing enough to get on even the Great Goofini are very slim. She is really into mermaids at the moment, but is very nervous and inconsistent around characters, we have a great photo of her with Pluto on day 1 at DLP last December, but that was the one and only time she went near a character the whole trip. In the past she has occasionally allowed Minnie to touch her but not last time. Pluto is her favourite plush so I'm guessing he might be her favourite character at the moment, and regards her favourite film it's either Ariel or Frozen.
[img][/img]

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The Itinerary

Oct 22nd - fly from MAN to MCO on the afternoon flight, on landing will collect rental car and drive to the 4 bed townhouse we are renting at Encantada (3041 Yellow Lantana Lane) for the first few weeks of our trip
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Oct 25th - possible 1night glamping at Westgate River Ranch Resort, after spending a full day there horseriding and doing all the activities, going on the dinner hayride and watching the rodeo, ending the night with the dancing and live band, not sure we will fancy the drive back to Encantada
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Oct 29th - possible 1 night at Art of Animation in a Cars Suite, as we are offsite at the start of our trip and we have learned that if you have an onsite stay at the start of your tickets then you get Magic Bands that are valid to select FP+ at 60days for the duration of your tickets, not just the onsite days.
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Nov 10th - set off for Port Canaveral to board a 4nt Bahamas Cruise on the Disney Dream with Double Dip at Castaway Cay, staying in 2 adjoining Cat 5a staterooms. This is going to be a treat for all, our younger children have never been on a beach, and I am hoping they all love the kids clubs so Iain and I can have a rare treat of some time to ourselves.
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Nov 14th - disembark cruise and return to WDW, staying 4nts at the Beach Club in a pool view room, this will be the last 5 days of our WDW tickets (3wk ultimate tickets for UK guests). Looking forward to being in the middle of things, will be doing Osborne Lights one night while here and also arranging some childcare so we can go to JellyRolls on our last night.
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Nov 18th - move to Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort for 3nts. I have deliberately scheduled these days to be when crowds are low so we don't need Express Passes as this hotel doesn't offer them, but I really like the look of this hotel and don't want to pay for RPR or HRH (which just doesn't appeal to me at all, regardless of how many people love it). But we are still onsite and get early entry to WWoHP. Problem is I can't decide between the Tower or the Courtyard blocks, I would like poolside whichever I pick.
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Nov 21st - move to Floridays for our last 6nts. We are doing MVMCP on 21st and SW Christmas Celebrations on 22nd and maybe 23rd. All park tickets will then have run out (apart from US/IOA but not planning to return during Thanksgiving week). So we will do several non park activities.
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Nov 27th - departure day, planning on DTD and go to see Santa in his Chalet, but not sure what else. We will be leaving Orlando about 4:30pm to check in for the late flight back to MAN.
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Nov 28th - back home in UK :'(

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next Florida trip Oct/Nov 2014 - Magnificent Mega Month of Making Magical Memories - pre-trip report

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What we are definitely going to do this trip

* All the Disney Parks (obviously) specially since new Fantasyland will be completed including the Dwarfs Mine ride and none of it was open for our last trip in 2011
* Sorcerers at MK " only recently learned of this, since it's free and sounds fun it's a definite!
* Wilderness Explorers Challenge at AK
* Phineas & Ferb challenge at Epcot
* Kiss goodnight at MK
* Pirate Challenge at MK, though not heard any feedback on this since it was announced
* Spectromagic or Main Street Electrical Parade (not sure which is at WDW right now)
* Celebrate the Magic on the Castle, never managed to see Magic, Memories and You back in 2011 due to tired children!
* MK rope drop, probably the only one we'll manage and the only one I think is worth seeing for the show
* Jedi training at DHS (absolute must, so will have to be at DHS for Rope Drop too)
* Take our Star Tours passports (that we made in 2011) to try get them stamped on different Star Tours trips (if they still do this, I never got on the new ride last trip )
* Viewing animals at night from Arusha Rock after bonfire/stories at AKL (hopefully with Robyn while she is at AKV)
* Boardwalk for a stroll and a drink (of the alcoholic kind maybe), might put the kids in the Sandcastle Club for this
* MNSSHP
* MVMCP

* Santa in his Chalet at DTD on our last day (??? Springs)
* Osborne Family Lights " desperately looking forward to this, been rumours that it won't be coming back this year but I refuse to believe it
* Universal/IOA and the NEW WWoHP Laughing out loud (obviously)
* Seaworld for Spooktacular and Christmas Celebration
* Busch Gardens, we love it there
* Aquatica, only ever done BB before, the girls love swimming and it gets great reviews for little ones

Things we might do

This list will probably get a good cull, depends how well the savings go, how much time we have after I've planned in the definites and what Groupon deals/coupons I can get hold of.
* Wishes dessert Party " not sure about this one, couldn't get a reservation in 2011 so originally this was a definite, but with 2 parties in MK I'm thinking it might be superfluous, might just go eat at O'Hana then watch from the beach and see the Electric Water Pageant (depends on building work at the Poly).
* Chip'n'Dale's campfire singalong " yet another thing planned for last trip but the kids were too tired so we went back to hotel. Heck it's free and I'm a Yorkshire girl (born in Scotland with a Jewish Grandad) so this time somehow I'm going to try fit it in.
* Mini golf/Adventure Golf (we have never done this ever, but was planned for 2011 but guess what we never made it) " no idea which one is best, but will look into that soon, I think we get one game with our Disney tickets Wink
* Marina rental " wanted to do a marina rental last time, never happened (sometimes I wonder why I plan at all), DH wasn't fussed about it, this time I'm less bothered as we have the cruise and we might just do something similar at Castaway Cay instead.
* Characters in Flight at DTD (yet another bumped from 2011)
* Disney Quest " we've never done it and is included with our tickets
* Keys to the Kingdom Backstage Tour (just me, Iain will have to look after the children)
* Pirates' League " Charlotte did this in 2011 and loved it, would be great next time as all 3 of them will be old enough to have it done together. They all like Pirates, but specially Archie and we preferred it to BBB, unfortunately Archie won't do dressing up or facepainting so not sure if it will work out
* Kids Pirate Cruise " Charlotte also did this back in 2009 and loved it, DS would love it this time, he is pirate mad
* Hayride from Fort Wilderness, saw this getting ready to leave last trip and looked fun. We did the carriage ride at POR last time and DH hated it, him and DD complained the whole time which spoiled it for me, but I think the Hayride might go down better and I don't think it's very expensive.
* Horse/Pony rides probably from HorseWorld as only place we can all ride together as Lucy can ride with me. Horse riding/pony rides were planned from TriCircle D Ranch for 2011 but never happened as couldn't get DH and DD1 out of MK.
* Rodeo " just something different to do, and fairly inexpensive, a bit of US culture
*** Now the last 3 might all be bundled into a day at Westgate River Ranch Resort at Lake Wales, they have horse riding, skeet shooting, pony rides, petting farm, zipline, climbing wall, swamp buggys and airboat rides there and do a dinner hayride, followed by rodeo and then a live band and dancing on a Saturday night.
* Discovery Cove Non Swim - for a long time I said we wouldn't bother with DC, we won't do the Dolphin swim as we would have to split up and one of us look after the younger children, but we have heard of better dolphin swims elsewhere to do on a later trip. However, when I look at the price of SW/BG/Aquatica tickets and the DC Non Swim Ultimate, the day at DC isn't costing much at all and includes all food etc too, so we will probably do it after all.
* Little Toot from Clearwater to see the dolphins, DH might not want to do this, but I fancy it and think the kids will love it, it doesn't seem expensive and as the little ones are too young to swim with dolphins so I think this is the best option. Planning to combine this with a morning at BG to save driving, but will stay and eat in Clearwater and watch some of the street entertainment.
* Swimming with Manatees - if we do this I have chosen Fun2Dive, after emailing several this is the one I felt best about with having such young children, but I am not 100% certain, as Archie isn't keen on swimming and if he refuses to get in the water and we have to take it in turns to look after him on the boat it could spoil the day.
* State Park " Wekiwa or Blue Springs most likely, if we go to Blue Springs then there is kayaking, tubing, swimming and snorkelling, and we might see some manatees there in early November, just not allowed to swim with them there and worried although the water from the spring is a constant temperature it might get a bit cold for swimming.
* St Augustine, I have wanted to go for a while, as in addition to theme parks I really love a little bit of culture, and apparently St Augustine is the oldest town in Florida and has a bit of history. This was also in the 2011 plan.
* Kennedy Space Centre " I went in 1988 with my parents, I am a science geek and enjoyed it as did my baby brother, with the new exhibits and the Angry Birds section I think this will be a definite.
* Legoland - since Archie is not a fan of the big rides, and loves Lego so I am pretty certain we will have a day here.
* Gatorland Screamin Gator Zipline (was planned for 2011 but never happened), looks great fun and if Lucy grows enough we can all do it as a family, if not then we will just visit Gatorland anyway, Gators are something I associate with Florida, and since this will be our last trip I think
* I-Fly " indoor skydiving, I have been desperate to try this for years, I know I could do it in the UK but only Charlotte is old enough, however when we go i-Fly will take children from 3yrs so we will all be able to do it as a family.
* Family Photo Shoot with Randy Chapman - we are really not very good at taking photos, we are normally too busy having a good time and forget to take pictures, specially since Lucy was born, it is rare for either of us to have a free hand so having some lovely family photos on holiday will help cherish the memories
* Karting " bit like the mini golf, just something fun to do of an evening, probably only if I can find vouchers
* Giraffe Farm at Dade City, read about this and coupons often available, I love giraffes, they are so gentle and elegant in a clumsy way!
* Dr Phillips community park. might just drop by on a spare day towards the end of the trip
* WonderWorks " just as something extra if we have any spare time, think the kids will like it based on what I've read recently (didn't really know what it was before), will be looking for coupons towards this one
* Titanic Experience " Charlotte is really interested in the Titanic, but not sure if we'll do this or find somewhere else to show her more about the Titanic somewhere else on a later trip (I've heard there is one in Ireland and we will visit Ireland next year to see my best friend anyway).

Sure I've missed something off the list! Maybe I need to add another 2wks to the trip?

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next Florida trip Oct/Nov 2014 - Magnificent Mega Month of Making Magical Memories - pre-trip report

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FOOD
Well here's the bit so many Disney fans love, but so far I've not spent a lot of time thinking about (I only have 263days on countdown so I know I've not got long left to decide Wink ).

To be honest I tend to decide on restaurants that fit in with where we're going, although we have 19nts in the townhouse, we will eat in the parks sometmes. Several of these restaurants might get dropped because they don't fit in with where we'll be be. We'll split it up a bit, into the different sections of the holiday, but right now it's still a mix of TS & CS...

Offsite/while at townhouse
It should be noted that we have only ever eaten offsite twice in our 3 visits, even though we have only stayed onsite once. This is partly because we don't want to waste time leaving the parks to eat, but also because we have never had a bad experience eating onsite, a few haven't been amazing but never bad. We tried Denny's once and it scared us off offsite restaurants for the next two trips.
Provisional list of restaurants... not sure which to cull, but need to lose some of these...
* Bahama Breeze
* Sweet Tomatoes
* Cheesecake Factory (brings back memories of 1997, we used to go to CCF in White Flint Mall in Bethesda, Iain is not allowed the spinach and ricotta dip starter again though, apparently it was delicious but the odours emanating from his derriere were rather toxic afterwards)
* Mannys Chophouse (kids eat free Mon+Tues)
* Texas De Brazil
* Chilis
* Bubbalous
* Yellow Dog Eats (must remember to take a photo of Hobnob with us)
* Texas Roadhouse (kids eat free Tues)/ Longhorns or Logans (not sure which to go for, need to read more food trippies)
* Teak Neighbourhood Grill (only found this one recently and sure DH will want a Heart-A-Teak)
* Tony Romas (kids eat free Tues)
* Carrabas
* Hash House a Go Go
* Millers Ale House (kids eat free Tues)
* Cafe D'Antonia in Celebration
* Brunos (having pizza delivery from here on arrival night, very close to townhouse)
* Applebees
* Proccolinos
* 4 Rivers Smokehouse
* Bonefish Grill
* Frenchies Rockaway Grill or ClearSky Cafe in Clearwater
* not sure where to eat in St Augustine

Universal
o Margaritaville
o Bubba Gumps
o character breakfast with the Minions etc
o Thunderfalls / Monster Cafe or Comic Strip Cafe
o Leaky Cauldron???
o Mythos at IOA

SW/Busch Gardens
o Dine with Shamu
o maybe a character breakfast with Sesame St characters at BG

Breakfasts
In the townhouse we will mainly self cater but sometimes will go out for brekkie
* Cracker Barrel
* Bob Evans
* IHOP
* Waffle House
* Village Inn
* Perkins
* Hash House

On Cruise
* Obviously the rotational restaurants, but Palo Brunch or Remy?
* Hoping our dining rotation means we are at Royal Palace on [semi] formal night

WDW
* O'Hana (our favourite from last time)
* Big River Grille (for the microbrewery) or Kouzzina
* Be Our Guest " has to be done, not sure if CS or TS yet
* Liberty Tree Tavern - probably on MNSSHP night
* Yak & Yeti " again not sure whether CS or TS
* GF Cafe
* Beaches & Cream for a Kitchen Sink
* Writers Stop at DHS
* Main St Bakery (to try the new coffees and see how it's changed)
* Garden Grill (always had a great meal and great character interaction here)
* Chef Mickey breakfast, it's the only character breakfast we have never done, though not sure as we don't like Chef Mickeys for dinner (done it twice and not impressed either time)
* Sci Fi Diner (bumped from last time)
* T-Rex (Archie will love it in here)
* Raglan Road (another dropped in 2011, but might get dropped again as won't be in DTD that often)

Regards snacks, I really need to read more food trip reports and need to find all the snack menus for the F&W since it will still be on before our cruise. So far all we have on our snack list is:
* Magic Cookie Bar (from reading King Fergus post)
* Carrot Cake Cookie from DHS
* Dole Whip and
* Cheese Chili filled pretzels

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next Florida trip Oct/Nov 2014 - Magnificent Mega Month of Making Magical Memories - pre-trip report

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Disney Holic wrote:
messed up, sorry can;t delete

which post do you want deleted, this one?

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Vettelover wrote:
Disney Holic wrote:
messed up, sorry can;t delete

which post do you want deleted, this one?

it's ok, I overwrote it with my food page laugh

I'm exhausted now, need a rest before any more planning Shock

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next Florida trip Oct/Nov 2014 - Magnificent Mega Month of Making Magical Memories - pre-trip report

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Oh my goodness, there's soooooo much planned in lol

Pirates challenge is supposed to be better than sorcerers of the magic kingdom so I'm sure you will have a fab time!

Little toto is AMAZING, make sure you fit it in! I'll go and tag you on fb in some of the pics I took, took my breath away it was that good.

How can anyone not enjoy a horse and carriage ride?! I would have gone mental if Sy moaned, you're obviously very patient Wink

Are you plan I to do the giraffe feeding at Busch? If you love giraffes I would def add it to the plan Smile

Having done the wishes dessert party, I probably wouldn't bother again. The desserts were a bit meh, and yeah the view is great, but if I'm taking you up TOTWL.... Wink spend the money on cocktails instead lol

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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RobynPrincess wrote:
Oh my goodness, there's soooooo much planned in lol

Pirates challenge is supposed to be better than sorcerers of the magic kingdom so I'm sure you will have a fab time!

Little toto is AMAZING, make sure you fit it in! I'll go and tag you on fb in some of the pics I took, took my breath away it was that good.

How can anyone not enjoy a horse and carriage ride?! I would have gone mental if Sy moaned, you're obviously very patient Wink
Iain wanted to stay on the rides and not be dragged out of MK to go back to POR for a horse & carriage ride, Charlotte sat in a huff next to him

Are you plan I to do the giraffe feeding at Busch? If you love giraffes I would def add it to the plan Smile

Having done the wishes dessert party, I probably wouldn't bother again. The desserts were a bit meh, and yeah the view is great, but if I'm taking you up TOTWL.... Wink spend the money on cocktails instead lol

Wow you were fast! I would love to do the Giraffe feeding at Busch but we can't take the little ones and I don't want to split up in too much, I'm already doing KTTK and a spa/salon 1/2 day leaving Iain with the children.

Yep, if we manage to get to ToTWL with you then Wishes Dessert party definitely unnecessary, cocktails win every time!

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Quote:
Provisional list of restaurants... not sure which to cull, but need to lose some of these...
* Bahama Breeze
* Sweet Tomatoes
* Cheesecake Factory (brings back memories of 1997, we used to go to CCF in White Flint Mall in Bethesda, Iain is not allowed the spinach and ricotta dip starter again though, apparently it was delicious but the odours emanating from his derriere were rather toxic afterwards)
* Mannys Chophouse (kids eat free Mon+Tues)
* Texas De Brazil
* Chilis
* Bubbalous
* Yellow Dog Eats (must remember to take a photo of Hobnob with us)
* Texas Roadhouse (kids eat free Tues)/ Longhorns or Logans (not sure which to go for, need to read more food trippies)
* Teak Neighbourhood Grill (only found this one recently and sure DH will want a Heart-A-Teak)
* Tony Romas (kids eat free Tues)
* Carrabas
* Hash House a Go Go
* Millers Ale House (kids eat free Tues)
* Cafe D'Antonia in Celebration
* Brunos (having pizza delivery from here on arrival night, very close to townhouse)
* Applebees
* Proccolinos
* 4 Rivers Smokehouse
* Bonefish Grill
* Frenchies Rockaway Grill or ClearSky Cafe in Clearwater
* not sure where to eat in St Augustine

Longhorns is a must for steak lovers!
Cafe d'antonio in celebration was wonderful and full of locals so that says something Wink
We had such a crap meal in Cheesecake Factory that I wouldn't go there again, food meh, service shocking, I'd go and get take out cheesecake next time Wink
Tony Roma's, hell yeah
Liked chilis for a decent meal that doesn't break the bank, same goes for Applebee's

LOVED Bob Evans breakfast
Waffle House was downright odd, you gotta go and experience it at least once Wink we had seats at the counter where they cooked the food.

Quote:
WDW
* O'Hana (our favourite from last time)
* Big River Grille (for the microbrewery) or Kouzzina
* Be Our Guest " has to be done, not sure if CS or TS yet
* Liberty Tree Tavern - probably on MNSSHP night
* Yak & Yeti " again not sure whether CS or TS
* GF Cafe
* Beaches & Cream for a Kitchen Sink
* Writers Stop at DHS
* Main St Bakery (to try the new coffees and see how it's changed)
* Garden Grill (always had a great meal and great character interaction here)
* Chef Mickey breakfast, it's the only character breakfast we have never done, though not sure as we don't like Chef Mickeys for dinner (done it twice and not impressed either time)
* Sci Fi Diner (bumped from last time)
* T-Rex (Archie will love it in here)
* Raglan Road (another dropped in 2011, but might get dropped again as won't be in DTD that often)

Was going to see if you fancied heading to 'Ohana the night of our vow renewal with us.... But we can talk about that later Wink
Sci fi is a good HS meal, I don't think much about the TS offerings at HS.
LOVE grand floridan cafe Smile
We really didn't care for chef mickeys when we went but it was for breakfast.

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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RobynPrincess wrote:
Longhorns is a must for steak lovers!
Cafe d'antonio in celebration was wonderful and full of locals so that says something Wink
We had such a crap meal in Cheesecake Factory that I wouldn't go there again, food meh, service shocking, I'd go and get take out cheesecake next time Wink
Tony Roma's, hell yeah
Liked chilis for a decent meal that doesn't break the bank, same goes for Applebee's

LOVED Bob Evans breakfast
Waffle House was downright odd, you gotta go and experience it at least once Wink we had seats at the counter where they cooked the food.

Was going to see if you fancied heading to 'Ohana the night of our vow renewal with us.... But we can talk about that later Wink
Sci fi is a good HS meal, I don't think much about the TS offerings at HS.
LOVE grand floridan cafe Smile
We really didn't care for chef mickeys when we went but it was for breakfast.

We might do the Cheesecake Factory in Tampa rather than Millenia Mall, I will check reviews, we had such lovely meals in there back when I worked in the US and I would love to try it again, we never even made it to the cheesecake, I'm not a fan of the stuff!
Will talk about O'Hana later, but would love to join you that night Smile
We weren't impressed with Chef Mickeys either of our previous dinner visits, so was hoping the breakfast might be better, lots of people love it, but since my taste in restaurants often agrees with yours we might skip it, it's the only resort character brekkie we haven't done, in fact it's the only character brekkie we haven't done!

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designedbydisney's picture
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You gotta try the food at

Cracker Barrel and also Wendy's is a novelty for us Brits oh and Denny's

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Yes Wendys clapping clapping last one I ever had in the UK was in Wood Green many many years ago sigh miss Wendys

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Philhowelldesign wrote:
You gotta try the food at Cracker Barrel and also Wendy's is a novelty for us Brits oh and Denny's

Sally-Ann wrote:
Yes Wendys clapping clapping last one I ever had in the UK was in Wood Green many many years ago sigh miss Wendys

I have done Wendys in Tokyo! Now that was a huge disappointment as I wanted authentic Japanese food, but the project team had to eat together as only one Manager had a company credit card and one guy was squeamish about the local cuisine so just ate burgers for 2 weeks.

After our last experience it would take a lot to get us back into a Dennys, it was horrible. Think we went to the one at Crossroads back in 2009. But prepared to give most other places a try.

Also, I need places that have plenty of wheat free options (not just gluten free) though I am used to eating burgers without the bun. That adds another complication into dining, no pasta and no bread and also no waffles/pancakes :'(. I can just about cope with sauces thickened with flour and I will have a bite of things like MCB just to have a taste.

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You had mentioned the nighttime parades at MK: Spectromagic is no longer an option, as they have done away with it. In it's place they are presenting the Main Street Electrical parade, which I prefer.

Starting sometime in the Spring, there is a new daytime parade, the name escapes me.

When you guys take a vacation, you go BIG!!

JPR

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jrice4760 wrote:
You had mentioned the nighttime parades at MK: Spectromagic is no longer an option, as they have done away with it. In it's place they are presenting the Main Street Electrical parade, which I prefer.

Starting sometime in the Spring, there is a new daytime parade, the name escapes me.

When you guys take a vacation, you go BIG!!

JPR

I couldn't remember which night time parade is running at MK, I don't really mind which it is Wink There is no night time parade at DLP, though of course there is Dreams, but my younger two have no memory of seeing the illuminated parade on our last trip to WDW so they will really love this.

I have seen pictures of some of the new floats for the new daytime parade, not sure what I think of them so far but sure once the characters are on and it's all put together it will look great.

Yes, this is going to be a very BIG trip, not to be repeated. We took the approach that our flights are the biggest expense and it costs the same to fly for 2wks as 2mths so we may as well stay over for as long as possible, do everything and then we won't need to come back to Florida. Though I did want to do Miami and the Keys, but guess they will have to wait until the children have grown up and we can do them as a couple. Also last trip it took a while for our kids to get over the time difference and we missed so much, even in 3wks as we just couldn't do late nights in the first few weeks, so never saw Wishes for instance, this time I refuse to miss anything!

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I've got two things to say:
1) I wish I could go for a month...I'd maybe get half my wish list done. That's AWESOME!!!!

2) Your kiddos are totally adorable! I want to squish them. Smile

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taratru wrote:
I've got two things to say:
1) I wish I could go for a month...I'd maybe get half my wish list done. That's AWESOME!!!!

2) Your kiddos are totally adorable! I want to squish them. Smile

Thank you so much, I also think my kids are adorable most of the time, not always, but most of it muchlove

It is really surprising, looking at my plan, how much I still can't fit in, even with 5wks1day in Florida confused

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IsabelSnow

I have to ask how do you handle the bigger rides that your kids can not ride. Do you and your husband
Do single rider and take turns with kids? We have a 2 year olds
and still not sure on if she is coming or we are doing a mommy daddy only trip.

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IsabelSnow wrote:
I have to ask how do you handle the bigger rides that your kids can not ride. Do you and your husband
Do single rider and take turns with kids? We have a 2 year olds
and still not sure on if she is coming or we are doing a mommy daddy only trip.

We wouldn't dream of going without the children (well we do dream about it but to be honest wouldn't go to Disney without them, I'd be off to NYC or Miami/the Keys instead). There is so much for a 2yr old to see and do at WDW, it's just amazing to see their faces light up. DD2 is 2.5yrs now and had a fantastic time at DLP in December, she loved the rides and the shows and parades, she learned her way around within a few days and we couldn't walk past Buzz Lightyear ride without her shouting she wanted to go shoot the baddies with her light gun. DS isn't so keen on rides but OMG he loves the characters so much and always has.

Any ride with a height restriction has a baby switch system at all the major parks, so one parent queues while the other waits with the children, and can use single rider queues/fastpass if the ride has one. The parent riding first makes sure the CMs know they want to babyswitch/childswap on entering the ride as each park has a slightly different system, often the parent with the children waits at the exit, when the first parent gets off they take over the childcare and the other parent gets to ride without queuing.

Don't get me wrong, I do sometimes miss getting on a coaster with my DH and I am so looking forward to everyone being tall enough to go on more rides together, right now we can only do the ones with no height restriction together (though there are plenty of them in WDW) as DD2 is only 33" tall, so now way she will even get on the great Goofini, praying she has a growth spurt before October!

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next Florida trip Oct/Nov 2014 - Magnificent Mega Month of Making Magical Memories - pre-trip report