So, with all the excitement of having a new trip booked, this week has been a flurry of activity and research, finalising all the details of our itinerary.
This was tricky, as I had the inconvenience of having to go to work every day, which seriously impacted on my ability to do important stuff, like find villas and hotels.
Somehow, I have managed to come up with a workable plan, and my what a plan it is. To say I am happy with it would be….well, it would be absolutely accurate.
First job was a villa. There are one or two villas knocking about on the internet these days, so choosing one can get a little tiresome, after you’ve looked at the three hundredth website. My criteria were simple –
- 3/4 bed
- Decent sized deck round the pool for Louise to burn herself stupid
- Located in Sunset Lakes/Lindfields areas
A few hundred hours of interent use later and a suitable villa is located. It is a marvel to me that not only can you see exactly what you are getting via the internet, but within a few minutes you can actually walk down the street via the wonder that is Google Street View. I now know exactly where it is, and the best way to get to the 192 etc. This is of course helped by the fact that we’ve been so many times that I know the area as well as my own street at home!
The next step was the quickest and easiest. Booking a night on site at Universal is pretty straight forward. Having now tried the Royal Pacific and the Hard Rock, the clear winner for us was the HRH, so a few minutes of keyboard tapping, and we’re in.
I mentioned last week that our DVC friends were contemplating their needs, and in the end it turned out that they did indeed require their points this year. Despite this mightily selfish act, I agreed to continue our friendship on a trial basis, for now.
So now, the tricky stuff starts. Without the magical (and cheap as chips) DVC points, how are we to round off my “special” trip? Well, in steps Jakki (TinkTatoo off of The Dibb). We had been chatting via email about our plans, as we usually meet up whilst in Florida. As at this stage I was unsure of what points if any I might have at my disposal she very kindly offered to call Disney and see what might be available for the dates I was after.
Rather cruelly, my wish list options were available, which sort of made the whole waiting to hear about the points all the more unbearable. Being female, Jakki then used subtle and clever mind tricks to get me to tell her which of the options she had investigated would be my preference. The technique used was “So which of those options would you go for, if you got the points?” See, how am I to compete with such witchcraft?
Having told her, she then prompty offered me the use of the required number of points from her “banked” allocation for next year, at a price that could not be obtained anywhere else. I was slightly, ever so, taken aback by the act of kindness, and I think I have thanked Jakki enough times to make her more than a little uncomfortable.
So, what did we get. Well, to tell this tale properly I have to rewind a few years, to a previous trip, and the four of us are sat in World Showcase at Epcot, having a drink. We are sat in the corner bit where the African outpost thing is, and I’m looking over the Lagoon across to the Yacht and Beach Club.
“When we come for my fortieth” says I, all confident that we would be, “We’ll do it in style and stay at one of them there posh places, that only rock stars and millionaires can afford”. Yes a slight exaggeration, but it makes the story mildly more interesting. The family give me a knowing look, and continue to take on board enough fluids to avoid a collapse somewhere around Norway.
So, just over a week ago, I’m thinking that my ever so bold statement was to lie in ruins, due to us not going at all, and here I am a few short days later, on the brink of achieving said ambition. There was a very nervy half an hour whilst Jakki, now having my instructions and wishes has to phone up Mr Disney to secure it.
Sensing my nervy anticipation, Jakki does the right thing, and rather than go and collect the kids from school, she leaves them stranded at the side of the road whilst she makes that call instead. Apologies to Aidhon and Niamh (I work on the premise that the more variations of spelling I use for for Jakki’s kids, I am bound to get it right sooner or later) for making you hang about, it was for the greater good. The deed was done, and I got some odd looks as I did a little jig around the office.
Just tell us where the bloody hell you are staying, I hear you cry….if anyone is still reading/caring at this point.
We have four nights at the Beach Club Villas. All that build up for a nine word sentence??? Well, yes.
The location is, in my opinion, perfect, the hotel itself a delight, and the pool is epic, and the girls will love that. The added attraction of having a Kitchen Sink every day also appeals on some level.
So with all the basics now in place, I’ve also made a couple of ADRs. Kouzzina (the place where Spoodles used to be) for the night of my birthday, and Yak & Yeti at the Animal Kingdom as this is a firm favourite with Louise.
All this hard work this week reminded me how much the art of booking a holiday has changed thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web. When I watched my Dad book holidays, it was either a trip to the local travel agents to watch them tap away at their VDU for a couple of hours to tell us that the hotel in the brochure wasn’t available, but there was one almost built next to it that was. Or, in later years, on the phone (with the appropriate teletext page on Hold) only to find out that the fly drive for three bob and a conker was actually ten times the price on screen.
Now, holiday makers, if so inclined, can plan every detail of their trip, and, as with most shopping experiences now, crucially get advice from like minded travellers on the quality and suitability of things well before you arrive to find the top three floors of the hotel unfinished, and the pool full of wildlife. Being a border line control freak, this appeals, and long may it continue.
You might think with all this activity that not much else had happened this week.
Well, outside of holiday planning world, work has been just another notch up on the busy scale, and I visited hospital for a change, but this time to visit my Dad, who has since been home and gone back in again. He has had a minor operation to remove around three pints of “stuff” from a cyst on his liver (I hope no-one is eating whilst reading this!), and as soon as I have finished writing this I’m off to see him again. He’s been in pain for weeks with this, so hopefully this will get him back to normal, and crucially for his, and my Mum’s sanity, back playing golf.
Emily has done her mock GCSEs this week, and how she has done is anyone’s guess really. The few utterings to come from behind the fringe suggest she thinks she has done OK, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I attended school for both the girl’s parents evening type things, and was relieved to find that they are both hard working and not mentally sub normal (they get that from me!!). Rebecca says it doesn’t matter though as she is going to be a rock star. Fair enough. By teaching her to play bass I am more than entitled to the large mansion once she goes platinum.
To round off the week, on a hopefully happy and more relaxed note, we are off out tonight to celebrate Louise’s birthday. The four of us are off to a local Chinese to see if we can eat them out of crispy duck. I have the big pants washed and ready to go.
Next week sees me on my travels with work to the exotic lovelieness that is Bristol and Stroud, so with the upcoming Good Friday holiday, I only have to endure two days in the office. Happy Days.
Till the next time…..