I don’t really have much of an ego. In fact I tend to spend most of my life admitting to how crap I am at stuff, but should there be one horn I would toot about my abilities in life, I think it would be a horn related to the researching, planning and booking of our American adventures.
This week I have been deep down the planning and research hole. I have been flexing my research muscles and powering through even when, at times, the going got tough. Feel the burn!!
As a result, this week has seen things become firm. Yes, I do get excited during the cut and thrust of some serious planning, but it is our itinerary which has become firm too during the last week and I am very pleased with how things are shaping up.
Of course, the plan as it stands now bears little resemblance to the stuff I’ve been on about here for the past few months, but such is the way of the shifting sands of trip planning.
Our (second) original intention (after abandoning Miami) was to land in Orlando and then drive over to Siesta Key for a week or so. Upon spending more time than even I wished to trying to secure some accommodation there it soon became apparent that Siesta Key is a bit odd. Firstly, they don’t really do hotels. Everything tends to be a condo or cottage type thing, which was no problem for us as staying in one room can be a bit of a tester once everyone spreads all their crap around the room ten minutes after arriving. The extra space appeals to us when it’s an extended stay of more than a few days.
The real problem was two fold.
- We seem to have picked spring break as the time of our visit.
- As this makes our desired week “in season” nearly every renter only offers Saturday to Saturday rentals which didn’t fit into our plans at all.
Now, spring break did strike a bit of fear into my heart. I imagined this sort of thing at every turn…
and that would be terrible, wouldn’t it!?
I even did some googling to find out how bad it might be and found mention of things such as bikini contests on the beach. Now that sounds OK, but I would need to invest in a new one before we go. Anyway, it turns out that Siesta Key isn’t a college kid mecca and having also chatted to an owner or two there, they confirmed that whilst a bit busier, we wouldn’t be battling hormone riddled, booze addled college kids. Just middle aged ones similar to ourselves.
With regards to the Saturday to Saturday thing, well, eventually I admitted defeat and changed our entire plan to fit in with that. It’s funny how quickly, with the help of the internet you can get into the detail of something when you need to. From that first google search of a destination, (which for me is typically a map of the area and a read of some trip reports and blogs of those who have gone before), you start to get a feel for the place. Then, with the help of some lovely blog readers who got in touch about Siesta Key, the peeling of the onion continues revealing more and more info as you go.
By the end of the research, which is typically when something is booked, you easily recognise street names and the buildings and feel like a resident, as you’ve spent so much time on street view on Google Maps. Just me? Ok……
So now, our plan is thus.
We will be going to Universal from the airport for four nights at the Royal Pacific Resort. We want to wallow in the Potter stuff having ran through it on our last visit (or so it felt) and be able to dip into the parks for a few hours as well as cocktailing by the pool.
Then we drive down to Siesta Key for a week in this lovely little thing.
Then for the remainder of the trip we have booked into The Swan at WDW for some on site, without really being on site stuff, during which we’ll celebrate Louise’s birthday in the US for the first time.
A car has of course been reserved for the duration and all of this happened using some built in muscle memory action that launches into auto-pilot when required. It is enjoyable and some of the best (albeit expensive) medicine you can take. The happiness gained from this expensive planning drug is one of those unanswerable mysteries of life, like why does David Walliams pretend to be gay when he isn’t, and why do people find that funny?
Now, normally I am a “do it all yourself” type of planner. I have never used a travel agent as to be frank, with most of the high street ones, I feel like I know more than they do and I will definitely put more effort into getting me a better deal. However, this time I have been helped enormously by one, but to be fair, he is a Florida specialist. I’ve been Dibb and Facebook friends with Robert for ages and since he started to work at Ocean Florida he has from time to time tried to help and tempt me with great flight deals that he knew about.
I have always stayed strong (skint) and resisted but when I was looking around I thought I’d see if he could help at all. He was great. There was absolutely no hard sell or pressure and he even told me which bits I’d be better to book direct and which he would quote for. With that advice, both RPR and The Swan are reserved with no deposit. That’s at Booking.com if you are interested.
So I thought it only fair to give him a plug here and should you wish to receive similar help do get in touch. Oddly, as another person with the same name existed at Ocean, he has to use another name, so do ask for Thomas at www.ocean-holidays.co.uk or his Facebook link is above.
It’s always a bit gutting when all of this is sorted and all you have is a poorly credit card and a long wait ahead of you, but of course with a Florida holiday there are plenty of other things to be doing. Now, decisions around theme parks and dining need making for the Orlando days, and unusually for us, we can now also make plans for places such as Trader Sam’s and Jellyrolls for alcohol related activities with all of our party being over 21.
Our countdown has just dipped under 300 days, which seems like an eternity but again with many years experience of countdowns I know that sooner than we realise we’ll be at Manchester airport again paying too much for an average breakfast before putting all the weight I’ve just lost back on again in two weeks. It’s the Circle of Life.
Of course, via this blog, you can share my countdown in all its gruesome detail for which I apologise now.
Till the next time…..