Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Duff's Demolish Disney - September 2014 Pre Trip Report

Good Afternoon one and all!

As its only four weeks to go till we go to our happy place I thought I'd have better have a shot at doing a pre trip report, I'm looking forward to and simultaneously dreading this holiday as my two cherubic (demonic) daughters are at that age where they are just un-trainable but that's why on this holiday we are taking the in laws so when the kids are high on e numbers we can fob them off on to them!

Anyhoo lets start by introducing my family to you!

I'm Heather, thirty-something mother of two, currently a caravan park warden (best job ever!) and blogger (also best job ever) as I hate pictures of myself I will use my Powerpuff Girl alter ego, we have lots in common being both small, ginger and we both have amazing superpowers.  This will be my sixth trip to Florida.  I love all of the rides except Stitch's Great Escape, I mean what is the point of it, huge Dole Float and Funnel Cake fan, if I do a full trip report expect lots of food pics!




My better half is my husband Scott who likes everyone to think he is 25 (he's not), I once made the mistake of saying he looked like J from 5ive (remember them?) and he likes to remind me about it all the time, as he would kill me for putting his handsome face on the Internet I'll just use J's instead!  This is also his sixth visit.  He likes most of the rides and is also partial to a bit of shopping.


These blurry lovelies below are my two daughters, on the left is Cara who is 7 and on the right is Holly who is 5, we first took them back in 2010 and they have been extremely lucky in that we took them back in 2012 and 2013, they are both incredible girls but also extremely annoying at the best of times and they like to talk, talk, talk.  They both love Disney and they will do their best to get their grandparents to spend fortunes on useless tat!



The last two members of our gang, posse, group, family whatever you wish to call it are my two lovely in-laws Jean and Billy who own a newsagents and are partial to spoiling their grandchildren, little do they know we are going to dump the kids on them from the first day and run very quickly in the opposite direction - I am only joking before anybody gets outraged by this.  This will be their second visit, they are not big on the rides but do like to shop!

So this is going to be me and Scott's sixth trip, we first visited Orlando back in 2003 on our honeymoon, it was a toss up between Cancun and Orlando and thank god we chose Orlando, never been anywhere else since!

Back in October 2003 we stayed on International Drive in what used to be the Holiday Inn International, we didn't do Disney just Universal, Kennedy and SeaWorld.   Yes below is me rocking my mahogany tan in early naughties awful fashion.



We fell in love with the place and in 2005 we went back in February (never again weather was awful) and stayed this time at what used to be the Quality Inn Plaza on I-Drive, it was a total dump then, I believe it has improved since then but it didn't put us off and we still had a great time, this time falling in love with Busch Gardens.  And below you have me still rocking the mahogany tan.




Due to having sprogs we didn't get back to Orlando for five years finally getting back in October 2010, as the kids where small the in-laws came along with us for their first proper trip to the States (their last time on US soil was in transit at LAX on the way to Oz), it was a incredibly stressful trip for me, it was our first time at Disney, first time with in-laws and kids and I just wanted it to be perfect, we stayed at the Sheraton Studio City on I-Drive (the one with the big ball on top) and back then it was amazing, we had a top floor room and it just wowed us.  To us we could go no better but as I said I was a little stressed, we had no car just relying on the good old trolley and hotel shuttle to get us about and having to carry all the kiddie paraphernalia and stuff just got me flustered but it didn't put us off, we loved Disney.


Below 2012


Below 2013



Since then we went back twice more in October 2012 and September 2013, we try and go away around our wedding anniversary, both of these times we stayed again at the Sheraton and we left the in-laws at home this time, the 2012 holiday was fantastic but the 2013 holiday was about the be the death knell for quite a few things for us.

During our trip last year we wanted to go and visit Kidani at the Animal Kindgom Lodge, now up to this point we had always been faithful to Virgin Holidays, they had five trips worth out of us up to this point and as Scott was a special age this year we thought about having a special trip to Kidani through Virgin but knowing it would cost a small fortune we visited first to make sure the place was alright, it was more than alright my jaw dropped as we entered the reception, a kindly DVC rep offered to shows us the room, now Scott had no idea what DVC was but being on The Dibb I had a very rough idea but my head was thinking timeshare, alarm bells were ringing, anyway I digress, we were shown a two bed Savannah View and just walking up the hallway to get there I was gobsmacked, the place was like a palace.  The showers (see below) we just amazing, the whole place was just wow, wow, wowwy, wow!  That was until he started explaining DVC membership, no way am I getting a timeshare, its a scam were the stupid things going through my head but long story short we got talked in to going to Saratoga Springs to the DVC member centre, they really just had us at fastpasses, free ice cream and childcare anyway we went, we met Greg and viewed the showrooms, we were there for four hours by choice! 


Now this was like the third full day of our holiday and basically going back to the Sheraton was like going back to a dump, its a nice hotel but compared to Kidani, well there is no comparison, so anyway Greg gave us a lot to think about, and think about it we did for a week.  During this week every time we where at Disney we would sidle up to the DVC stands and have another look, but after a particular crap rainy day were our hotel shuttle was late, their were homeless folk roaming about outside the Sheraton what was our little piece of heaven on I Drive was just starting to look a little crap.

The next day we went back to Saratoga and signed on the dotted line, we became the proud owner of DVC points and our home base was, yes you guessed it Kidani!

We went away from this holiday unsure of when we would actually use these points but like a lot of you we got the holiday blues and by January of this year we had booked for September 29th for two weeks, so without further ado lets go on to what is planned for this holiday.

So as we are in Scotland we have a couple of options, fly direct or indirect, we have always chosen indirect with VA going via LGW (I love the monorail), which has been fine, the last couple of times we use the V-Room it was perfect, but we found it impossible this time to get cheap decent flights with them and as we were booking it ourselves rather than a package we found ourselves drawn to BA who we have always used for our internal flights but have never flown long haul with.

So we are flying out with them on the 29th, had to be the 29th as the Ryder Cup is on and both my DH and DFIL will be watching it, so on arrival in Orlando we will be getting the Magical Express for the first time to our new home at Kidani, we've booked a two bedroom Savannah view lockoff, I know there has been mixed views on Savannah view with some saying you don't really need it but hey its our first time and we are going all out.

I purchased our 14 day Ultimate this time from Attraction Tickets Direct, which I got a couple of weeks back in a nifty blue wallet and since their arrival I have had great fun booking fast pass plus times, along with ADR's for the first time ever and have so far booked Boma, Crystal Palace, Rainforest Cafe and The Wave for breakfast at the minute, with dinner booked at Crossroad and Planet Hollywood so far, this is first time eating so much on Disney property and I think we will miss the cheapness of say Sizzlers and IHOP but as we will have a full kitchen I hope to get lots of snacks in so we can have breakfast in the room.

I am so glad we made the decision to buy in to DVC, it was expensive but as a family we love Disney and there is so much we haven't experienced as we have been stuck with shuttle bus times to take us back out of the world, this time we wont have that problem and that is where the demolish in the title comes in I hope to demolish the list of things we've not been able to do starting with fireworks!

We have lots of things to celebrate to including two big birthdays and a wedding anniversary so hope to get some Disney magic sprinkled on us!

So the clock is ticking now, have already started packing and constantly checking Sky News about that volcano in Iceland, fingers crossed it doesn't disrupt anything and soon we will be on our way to our happy place!

Thank you for reading and apologies for rambling (I know as soon as I press done I'll have forgotten something!!)

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