Schrodinger’s Plan

Hello friends. It is an appropriate point in time, I feel, for one of my walkthroughs of our holiday plans. I know that you get bits and bobs each week, but it is inevitable that at certain points in time, you must be afflicted with a detailed breakdown of where we currently sit. So now, just 44 days away from departure, it is that time.

Now, I know I have said that this trip will be “planning light”, but, if you believed that for a second you haven’t been paying attention to my obsessive over thinking, over planning nature all these years. It is not however as detailed as previous years and for that I should be applauded.

So settle in for my current version of the plan. It will be strikingly similar, yet crucially different, to all my other plans over the years, and therefore (almost certainly not) worth the investment of your time.

Day One

This is our travel day, and already we have something new and “interesting” to report. Our flight is not until 2pm in the afternoon, so this negates the need for one of those 3am starts driven by a 10am flight, to find Louise already up and hoovering the ceiling in an attempt to distract herself from the prospect of the flight.

Our taxi to the airport is booked for a very civilised 9am. This means that will be able to fully enjoy the M60 and all of its delights just as rush hour is ending. I am giving us an hour to complete what should be a 30 minute drive, getting to Manchester Airport Terminal 1 at 10am.

By the time we check in and get through security that may be getting on for 10.45 or so, and that means we will be in proper brunch territory at whichever eatery we select.

We land at 7pm local time, so this means we will leave the airport in our fun bus in the dark and therefore our chances of getting lost are at least doubled, despite all of my years of experience of driving over there and our trusty sat nav. It will happen.

With that late arrival and with Freddie probably having fallen asleep in the car on the way to the villa, we are not planning to do our traditional first night meal at The OutBack as it will be too late. Instead, a take away will be ordered whilst some folks unpack and I find the nearest supermarket for a very expensive shop.

Day Two

Who knows what time we will be awake, but what is not in doubt is that we will be going to Magic Kingdom. It appears that there is Early Morning Hours and one of those pay to stay late things planned for that day at this park, but it matters not. Day one means Magic Kingdom and the law must be obeyed.

We have no dining reservations made (see, I can play it fast and loose) and my expectation is that we will be flagging by tea time and we will leave the park for some off site dining around that time.

Day Three

We are off to Typhoon Lagoon. It’s best to get this in earlier in the trip before all the food has destroyed my Adonis like physique. We have always tended to attempt a rest day on day three, but sitting around the pool never seems to work out for us and we find ourselves getting itchy feet in the afternoon and heading out to do something not very rest like. So by doing a water park the aim is to get some rest but also not get bored!

Again, no dining plans are made. I have pencilled in, very lightly, an evening stroll around the Boardwalk, but hey, what will be will be, right?

Day Four

This is my birthday so there’s only one place we’ll be heading. Epcot today, ending with our penultimate viewing of Reflections of Earth. As we know we intend to stay in the park till close, I have reserved us some dining today. After loving it last year, Via Napoli gets the nod at 5.40pm. Assuming we are out of there by seven, that’s the perfect time for my ideal birthday activity, wandering around World Showcase at dusk, with the music, and the torches, soaking it all in before we take our spot for the fireworks.

This is one of THE highlights of any trip. That atmosphere is unique and magical and almost impossible to describe.

Day Five

The way this day currently looks on the plan it may be life threatening. You may find that this part of the plan changes before we go, but currently we seem to have two dining experiences planned that, when attempted on the same day, could be very damaging.

This is a rest day after a long day in Epcot the previous day. Rest days tend to get used for the few breakfasts we like to do, and top of that list is Hash House A Go Go. So if this plan stands we’ll need to be out early, eating as soon as we can to give us any chance for our dinner reservation (we won’t need lunch…probably) at Trail’s End.

That is a deadlier duo than double denim. If anyone can pull it off, we can. We have trained for years to undertake this sort of thing so please don’t try this unless you are similarly experienced.

If we survive, having parked at TTC, and taken the boat over to Fort Wilderness from Magic Kingdom, we will perhaps spend the evening enjoying the park, if we can still walk.

Day Six

This is Labor Day. I always have the fear that this will mean horrendous crowds, but we did DHS on this day last year and it was OK. So, the plan says Animal Kingdom.

Our dining options are again wide open with my expectations that we will go off site, but hey, I am a free spirit, and wherever our whims take us, I’m OK with that…..really.

One thing we are trying to do on this trip is snack. We’ve been watching a few of the Disney Food Blog snack videos and many of them look incredible. So on some days rather than a counter service lunch we may just snack from various places. Look at me, I am the free spirited hippy of WDW planning.

Day Seven

OK so the elephant in the room is Hollywood Studios. Galaxy’s Edge opens the day after we arrive and I have intentionally omitted that park from our plans for as long as possible on this trip. This will be a week or so after the official opening and I have no idea what the park will be like. So this is very much a “toe in the water” suck it and see day. With this in mind, no dining plans have been made in the park and considering we may not even make it into the car park, then we really will just see how today goes.

Day Eight

Look, another water park! It’s another pseudo rest day attempt and a nod that Freddie will absolutely love the water, so we are going to Blizzard Beach for the first time in decades. I honestly think that the last time we went, Rebecca was four and Emily six, and Rebecca got lost in the kid’s slidey bit and we had a horrible few minutes looking for her until we were reunited at the lost kids table where she was colouring in, oblivious to our nervous breakdown. That was sixteen years ago! Not much will have changed then right?

No dining plans again. We shall select our off site option of choice from our sun beds on the day. It *might* be Cowfish, as I have suggested an evening at City Walk. We didn’t get chance to do that one last year so it is a priority this time.

Day Nine

Epcot. I did say that my birthday would be our penultimate viewing of ROE, as I have low expectations of us making it all the way to 9pm on this day, but never say never. No ADRs again. Will this fast and loose madness never end?

The plan has a tentative suggestion of an evening at Animal Kingdom Lodge for a wander around and a look at whatever animals are knocking about. I am currently fighting the urge to book Sanaa. Pray for me.

Day Ten

Our second day at Animal Kingdom. No doubt having failed to get a Flights of Passage FastPass for either day I will be furious and will have to fight the rage so as not to spoil the day. We have an ADR at Yak & Yeti at 6.45pm, with a very loose intention to see if we can get into Rivers Of Light afterwards. We may FastPass it, if it suits our plans, so that we can wander in relatively late.

Day Eleven

This is unusual. Until this week there was absolutely nothing planned for today, so I guess you’d call it a rest day. Going against everything I said about not doing loads of expensive dining, we do now have plans for breakfast.

Freddie is currently obsessed with Despicable Me. The films mesmerise him and with us not doing Universal this year, it seemed a shame to not try to fit something in that would entertain him. So we now have a Breakfast With the Minions character breakfast booked at Royal Pacific Hotel at Universal.

Other than that, I don’t know what we will be doing on this day. I feel unwell!

Day Twelve

What? Another day with no firm plans yet. It’s a disgrace. We do seem to have another character breakfast booked though. Do my words mean nothing? This one is at Chef Mickey’s at the request of Rebecca to give Freddie (yeah right) the chance to meet the main characters amidst of buffet. Who am I to argue?

I’m sure we’ll head to a park afterwards but which one, who knows?

Day Thirteen

We are back at Hollywood Studios, maybe, crowds permitting. No dining plans of course, so this will be a do what we can, take it as it comes day, with a retreat if the crowds are as bad as feared.

Day Fourteen

Our last full day, so of course we are back at Magic Kingdom. Today is a Not So Scary Party so we will be turfed out at 6pm. This is fine on this occasion as we want to end this trip at Epcot watching ROE for the final time. It will be an emotionally charged farewell and will be an emotional affair. Our last night’s can get teary anyway, but this could be a sob fest.

No ADRs booked so we may eat on the way from Magic Kingdom to Epcot.

Day Fifteen

Travel day. No doubt we’ll buy an extra suitcase, eat a huge breakfast and head to the airport after a shopping spree. It’s only natural.

So that’s where we are. Clearly there are gaps to fill, details to add and in some cases days with nothing planned that need to be sorted but it’s broadly there now. FastPass booking is probably the last thing that may drive significant changes and those are available to us in two weeks time.

It is entirely normal and reasonable to block book 12pm out of your work diary so that you can book FastPasses uninterrupted, right?

If you managed to retain any sort of interest to the end of this post, I salute you.

Till the next time……

Yaks, Yetis and Yew Tree

You’ll have had enough work based whinging by now I imagine? Well, on the bright side I retire in about twenty years so not long to go now.

I was “darn sarf” for most of the week at Head Office. I was in meetings to kick off one large project whilst literally at the same time overseeing the delivery of another. Relaxing it was not.

Anyway, with one off my plate now, and team members back from holidays, the next few weeks look more tolerable. Wait, is that the countdown home straight I can see just around the next bend? I think it might be. 58 days folks. One more pay day. I can almost smell it.

The car hire balance was paid off on Friday and that’s the last chunk of expense to be paid apart from the spending money. Out of interest, how much spending money should I take for two weeks?

Unimpressed Over It GIF by Vulture.com - Find & Share on GIPHY

Ah, the memories of that question being endlessly asked on Disney forums and no doubt still being asked today if I went on any to look.

Summer has arrived, Wimbledon is imminent, as is the Open Golf and these are all welcome tell tales signs that we will shortly be off on our adventures. After 73 weeks of rain, I intend to enjoy the lovely warm weather before autumn starts next week. Bear in mind, that right about now, somewhere in the UK, the John Lewis marketing team are pulling all nighters trying to decide which acoustic maudlin version of a song they are going to play over their Christmas ad this year.

Summer of course also means festival season. Glastonbury is on my telly showing several young folks I don’t recognise talking over music that nobody on stage is actually playing. Mustard have their own festival season as well which lasts over the space of the next two weekends. Today, we are off to Yorkshire to play at the Ravenknowle’s Children’s Gala. We are sharing the billing with Mr Zoot, a children’s entertainer and the Wrenthorpe All Stars. The latter being a majorette troupe and the former a Yew Tree court case waiting to happen. They may not sound all that but both will be better than Janet Jackson was. I believe this gala is similar to Glastonbury in that most of the crowd won’t have heard of us either. Still, if you are in the area, that being Huddersfield, then come along, take lots of illegal drugs and pee in a bottle but don’t throw it at the stage whilst we are on.

Then next weekend, specifically the 7th of July, we are playing at the Tottington Big Day Out. That, it won’t surprise you to learn, is in Tottington. We’ve played this one before and it is a fantastic day out as well as being Big of course. Again, come on down if you’re local. We are on from around 2pm I think. I cannot confirm if Mr Zoot or the Wrenthorpe All Stars will be appearing at that one so you’ll just have to take your chances.

I am still fighting the urge to books ADRs but forgive me, I have done another. One place that we have to eat at, as we rate it so highly, is Yak and Yeti. There’s little competition in Animal Kingdom of course for a sit down do, so it made sense to secure a table. With a party of six, walk ups are harder to come by and if we miss out on this eatery Louise would be very, very upset. It is one of her absolute favourites.

Image result for yak and yeti

So that is done for the 6th of September at 6.45. That’s our second day at DAK, the first being Labor Day. Expecting that day to be busy I suspect we may not last all the way to Rivers Of Light, so on our second visit, we shall eat and see if there is room in Rivers of Light after the meal. I doubt there will be if we rock up at 8.15, but it is what it is. See, I told you this trip is trying to be a more relaxed take it as it comes thing. Look, I know you won’t believe it, and I’m not sure I do, but I’m trying.

Time to go, I have a “festival” (gig in a field) to get to.

Till the next time……

Little Cards Of Joy

We have defeated the 80’s and we are at 79 days folks. FastPass day approaches more quickly than my ulcer and with that in mind a welcome and significant delivery came this week.

These little bits of plastic were a very welcome distraction from a week at work I will long remember and yet wish to forget. It was a busy one.

That photo also demonstrates how dirty my laptop is. That’s a result of spending its three year life with me eating my lunch whilst working. There’s probably a whole sandwich somewhere in that keyboard.

Along with the tickets and their inherent ability to get our FastPasses sorted in a bit came news, well more rumours, of a tiered system at DHS. The theory is that all rides will be Tier 1 and all shows Tier 2 and you will only be able to book one Tier 1 and two Tier 2s. Now, I have my doubts that this is actually going to happen, as rumoured, when Galaxy’s Edge opens, mainly as Disney have already said that there will be no FastPasses for Star Wars stuff, at least initially.

It doesn’t sound great though, especially for those long time visitors who have seen all the shows a lot and prefer to do the rides, but I think this may be a symptom of the fears Disney have over the crowds they are expecting and how to control them.

For us, certainly whilst Freddie is so young (and short) it won’t affect us too much. He (and Tom) are still relative newbies, so doing the shows is fine and many of the rides Freddie can’t do yet. Disney will do what Disney will do, and some of the meltdowns I’ve seen on those very sensible and level headed WDW Facebook groups over this is just another reason why I very rarely contribute to any of them.

This year is very much a bonus, we shouldn’t be going year, so I am going to try and be as sanguine as possible when the time comes to get our FastPasses. I will of course fail and be sat at my keyboard, with war paint on and wild eyes, hammering sandwich riddled keys whilst screaming about how shit the My Disney Experience web site is as it crashes for the seventh time that morning and it’s only ten past seven……

Sorry, I just had a flashback to last year…..

If we can get on some stuff, and maybe benefit from the DHS crowds by bagging Pandora related rides, which we couldn’t last year, then all will be well. What will be will be……well, I almost believed that myself.

So 49 days till FastPass fun and games. I’m at the stage where I’m looking for ways to make the holiday seem closer than it is. For example, there are only two more pay days until we leave. See, it’s sooooo close.

In less frivolous news, Louise endured a trip to A&E during last week. The pain levels she was experiencing led to suspicion of a stone of some variety. X-rays, prodding and tests of all her liquids over many hours seemed to rule that out and a follow up visit to out patients a couple of days later confirmed that. As welcome as that news was it didn’t really explain the root cause, but she’s slowly getting better, and should be back at work tomorrow.

She is of course now on trial, having to prove her fitness to travel to Florida without the need to visit our friends at Centracare. As much as our Platinum reward card comes in handy, its to be avoided if we can.

Till the next time……

ESTA Bank Holiday

Having had glorious (relatively speaking) weather all week whilst working, the bank holiday weekend brings with it a November style climate and I sit looking out at sideways rain and people walking past dressed like the folks who used to get involved in the back lot tour at MGM in the boat scene.

Some cliches are cliches for a reason. As another example, yesterday I did some painting…yep the bedroom again. This time it was only a few minutes of a job, following my Dad helping me (code for I stood watching) fill a couple of last bits. Oh and of course I went to the tip. I am the living embodiment of a British bank holiday weekend in flabby form.

We’re 93 days out from our trip and the need to change the flabby part of the above becomes more pressing. Louise recently invested in an exercise bike and I have already worked up a real sweat with it. But since assembling it I haven’t been near it to be honest. I have made plans to do so of course, by buying the cable that was missing from the spare room’s TV so that I can watch it whilst peddling. That is half the battle surely? Now, it is all set up and ready to go I am literally shedding the pounds already, right?

My relationship with exercise is sort of hate, hate with a side portion of guilt. I have started walking every lunchtime at work again with the winter weather possibly behind us. It’s only half an hour or so but add that to the half hour of walking the dogs after work and that makes a whole hour of me doing stuff I’d rather not, but it is for the greater good I guess.

During last week Emily introduced me to a new You Tube thing that has some good stuff for those who are obsessed with food. The channel is called Delish and whilst a lot of the content is less interesting to me, being recipes and such, they do have a good few that are right up my street.  I particularly enjoyed the ones where they eat the entire menu at the likes of IHOP, Cheesecake Factory and Applebees.

There are also some good ones involving all the snacks at Magic Kingdom, Universal and Disneyland. For a rainy bank holiday weekend, it’s ideal. Tell them I sent you.

The first one I saw was a good one. It involved the many snacks and of course alcoholic drinks at World Showcase. Enoy.

The fact that this one blog post goes from exercise bikes to life threatening amounts of food so easily sort of sums up my life quite well.

My new passport arrived at the start of the week. Despite them saying it would take three weeks, it took three and a half days. Clearly nobody is travelling anywhere these days. Having wept over the horrific ageing shown in the respective photos again, I then went off to the ESTA site to update mine and Louise’s with our new passport details.

You probably all knew this, but that isn’t possible. Even though we all got new ESTAs last year and should have had them last for two years, upon trying to edit mine, I saw that it expired alongside my old passport in a few days. So I had to bite the bullet and the $28 and apply for brand new ones for the two of us. I always forget the level of detail these buggers ask for and it took longer than I thought it would. I should at some point log back on and make sure we have moved from Pending to Approved.

Here’s a question for someone who knows their stuff. Am I able to update our US accommodation details on the ESTAs for those who don’t have new passports? I mean, I could go to the website and try but that would mean me going getting Emily’s passport from her bedroom in the attic and that’s not happening right now. This is the equivalent of those who post questions like “My child only turned three four years ago, can I pretend they are three and not pay for park tickets?” on all those WDW Facebook groups. They are of course one click away from Google but hey.

My guilt just forced me to Google that and I think the answer is no, you don’t need to/can’t update your US address but if you know better, hit me up, as the youngsters say.

Enjoy the bank holiday Monday if you get one. You might need a cagoule.

Till the next time……

A Tool And His Money…

There are a few good things about these weekly blogs. Often I search my blog to find out when something happened when my memory fails, and then there’s the weekly amusement of seeing people still coming to my blog after searching to see if Olly Murs had a hair transplant.

Go on, google it, you’ll see.

One downside is that it is an almost permanent reminder of all the times I talk absolute nonsense or tell fibs. It was only a couple of weeks ago when I was justifying to myself how our plan to go this year would be fine as we’d do it really cheap. We wouldn’t be doing any ADRs and we’d be in a cheap as chips villa just north of Miami.

So, last week I booked two ADRs. One reason for that was that I got a bit over excited that I actually could. Booking so close to the trip comes with perks like that. The first ADR I blame on Freddie. Clearly, you can’t go to WDW with a toddler and not do a character meal, right? So Chef Mickeys was added. Rebecca made that choice on his behalf and we’re both pretending that it really is for Freddie when we both know different.

That will of course be an expensive breakfast, but, all the main characters will be there and it will be a civilised and sugar filled way to meet them without the hassle and queues in the parks. See, I can justify most WDW related expenses.

That was going to be it. We have a long, long list of eateries that we wish to go to and none of them are on site. So, the reasoning behind our second ADR booking is frankly a little more shaky. I think the best I can do is, I wanted to go.

It came about in a chat during a Rebecca, Tom and Freddie visit. I can’t remember the exact details of it, but it involved food, specifically large amounts of food, mashed potato and deep-fried chicken. Anyway, a day later this happened.

Congratulations!

Your dining reservation is set.

Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner

Sunday, September 1, 2019(6:25 PM, Dinner)

I appreciate that is a bit of a random selection. We have history there though and have loved it each time we have dined there. The journey there, if done by boat from the Contemporary or Magic Kingdom is delightful too. Freddie will love the boat ride I’m sure and seeing the huge horses at the camp ground too. See, any expense you like and I can justify it. And, mashed potato.

That day is an official rest day on the plan. That’s right, I have a day by day plan already, what of it? You know how our rest days go, so we’ll probably be getting restless by mid-afternoon so we can get ourselves ready, head to the Magic Kingdom and get the boat over from there. After eating, assuming I am not close to an over indulgence related coma, who knows, we may scoot back over to the Magic Kingdom for an evening stroll around the twinkly lit delights. There’s something vert different about the parks in the early evening darkness and that applies especially to the Magic Kingdom. These types of visits come without the pressure to ride anything, and just allows time for a bit of rose smelling and lovely memory making stuff like the dance party over in Tomorrowland.

It will be Labor Day weekend so if the crowds are too heavy it matters not, we can leave them to it and take our food babies home.

It also allows me to work off everything I just consumed by walking around for twenty minutes. That’s how it works right?

I think that’s it for ADRs though. Honest. We don’t have any room for them to be honest and of course we are on a budget. The only other place that tempted me was Via Napoli. We had lunch there last year and the pizza is sensational. They do a counter service though so we may grab a slice from there. Confession time. It won’t be a bloody slice, it will be several. Seriously, who just has one slice of pizza?

So we’re settled into the countdown now, and indeed, have a good old-fashioned visual of that on our fridge. It’s the small things….

Till the next time……

Perfectly Planning In Every Way

I tend to be excellent at being average. I have never excelled at any sport, which with my physique must be a shock to you all, my career does not deserve closer investigation or praise and musically I am proficient and efficient without being spectacular. On darker days I am less pragmatic and spend time assessing how woeful I am at lots of stuff to be honest.

However, when it comes to putting a Florida holiday into practice I am peerless, outstanding and just totally awesome in every way. I am Mkingdon….hear me roar!

From having no intentions or plans for a trip this year at lunchtime last Saturday, by close of play this Wednesday the whole thing was researched, booked and written down in a plan. I am the veritable well oiled machine in this regard, and believe me, my machine needs some oiling…..whatever that means.

I had spotted our flight last Saturday during my first search to be honest. It just had to wait for Louise’s holiday approval to happen before buttons could be pressed. It took almost all of Monday for that to happen, with a hilarious few moments of panic after Louise had told me I was OK to book, only then to be told a mistake had been made and she couldn’t have the holiday. Such fun. All was well, and she doesn’t have to stay at home with the dogs after all.

So as sense and tradition normally dictates, the flight is the first piece of the puzzle and that was slotted into place on Monday evening (ish)….work may read this! We are flying on August the 28th with Thomas Cook from Manchester. It’s an unusual one in that we don’t depart until 14.40. That means we don’t touch down until 7pm and the drive to the villa, already interesting with a toddler, Louise on her flight drugs and everyone else hot and tired, will be made more entertaining with it being dark, but we will be sat navved up as well as having my unerring sense of direction and years of Orlando driving experience. I bet it is raining too!

The benefit of that later departure is that we won’t need to be up at 3am to allow for female pre-airport readying. We will only need to be at the airport around 10am which is much more civilised. If Louise asks what time she needs to be ready, then it’s still 5am, OK?

Booking with only 140 days or so to go means that the seat selection was slim pickings and we are sitting nowhere of note in cattle class. Freddie will have his own seat though. He may be under two years old when we fly (by about eight weeks) but nobody deserves to have him on their knee for two eight-hour flights. The investment will be well worth the expense I am sure.

Price wise, we did OK. Kayak and similar sites were showing that flight as low as £330 but by the time you have added in your seat selection (I know you don’t need to, but with Freddie with us we need to be all together so that everyone else can pitch in to make sure I don’t get disturbed whilst watching my films), and something bigger than hand luggage it was another £100 on top of that, with a couple of hundred quid for Freddie’s ticket. Freddie having his own seat does of course mean he has full luggage allowance too which will come in handy. For direct flights in (late) August, anything in that price range is good enough.

I had to check with Thomas Cook before booking online as it wouldn’t let me buy a seat for Freddie if I entered his real date of birth. I had to make him a year older and then contact them afterwards to amend the booking. I didn’t do anything silly like phone them, their web chat worked a treat.

So that is the moment that we knew we were going and a little celebratory group chat ensued.

I had been browsing the endless stream of villas since the weekend. My main conclusion from this exercise was that someone needs to build a decent villa search website as the majority of them are absolute pants. Over the weekend and into Monday a shortlist emerged, and some quotes were requested for villas featured on sites where you can’t get a price without contacting someone. Is it 1997?

That whittled down the list a little further. Our requirements were important yet brief –

2 Master Suites

A decent pool

WiFi

An OK location.

The latter was the one thing I knew we would probably need to compromise on with our lack of proper budget. I usually treat villa locations down the US27 or near Championsgate with unworthy derision as I really like the Formosa Gardens area but these more distant developments would all be acceptable for this trip.

The quotes bore out the wisdom of this as quotes for villas in those areas were significantly cheaper, either by coincidence or not, I’m not sure.

I couldn’t decide and bite the bullet to book. The main factors here are typically that you always think are just one more search away from the perfect villa and of course, it’s fun to be looking for one. So the villa was actually the last thing to get booked. Whilst that was percolating I did the other more simple things.

Car hire was pretty easy. We always tend to use USRentaCar (not an ad, but I am absolutely open to them paying me money to promote them). I did some due diligence by using the Travel Supermarket comparison thing but anything cheaper than my usual car hire place was for off airport pick up and/or from brands I have never heard of. So a seven-seater mini van was secured with a £50 deposit, at a price of £499 with all relevant insurances etc. We only ever have one driver as most of the party are too young and Louise is barely allowed to drive in the UK after her recent run of prangs and of course I love Diet Coke. We are using Alamo as it happens this time.

Now, I had absolutely no need to book theme park tickets at this stage, but with some super low deposit schemes knocking around, why not right? Disney put ticket prices up three times a week so best to strike whilst my iron is tepid. Again, a look around the internet confirmed pretty much everyone was within a few quid of each other for the 14 day ultimate, so with that knowledge, again I reverted to one of the places I’ve used a few times, Floridatix (just to say once more, if you are reading this and want to pay me money to promote you, hit me up…as the kids might say), as they offer a £10pp deposit thingy. These bookings were flowing like water at this stage. I was on fire.

So by close of play Tuesday, we were metaphorically well on our way. I was still waiting for a few villa quotes to come back, so I did a little more searching, but it was becoming clear that one was emerging as the best option for us. It ticked all of our boxes, the owner was very responsive, he had a Facebook page with what appear to be genuine reviews, I could see the address of the villa and do some basic online checks and overall it just felt right. He was the only owner to come back to me after quoting to see what I thought and if I was fixed up too.

This is the villa we are using this time.

It’s on Sandy Ridge which sounds like a problem that you may go to the clinic with, but it looks lovely, and we should be 25 minutes from WDW. Google maps tells me it is 22 minutes so with traffic that’s tolerable.

So with the exchange of a booking form and some cash, I was done before the end of Wednesday, even with taking my sweet time selecting a villa.

Of course, whilst doing all of this, I have drafted the first day by day plan and made a list of all the eateries we want to get to. Not bad whilst at the same time remaining vaguely competent at my proper job and project managing home improvements/disaster scenarios.

What became clear to me shortly after last week’s blog was that my sanctimonious gloating that we wouldn’t be stupid enough to do a WDW trip right when Galaxy’s Edge is opening was unwise as it now turns out it opens on our first full day in Florida. This just proves that my recent post on this subject was all bluster and distraction, trying to make me feel better about not having a trip planned for this year.

I have no idea how we will cope with that event and those crowds. I am trying to tell myself that this, along with Food & Wine, will spread the crowds out allowing us to easily get FastPasses for the stuff we couldn’t last time, namely Flights Of Passage and Slinky Dog. Our DHS days will need to be approached with suitably adjusted expectations. We will FastPass non Star Wars stuff and hope to just be able to wander around Galaxy’s Edge a bit, and ride something if we can.

This is a weird trip in that, in all of these years we have been going, we have never had a concrete plan to return the year after. We of course nearly always have but that was always something that was decided later. Knowing that we already have plans for 2020 for my 50th birthday trip, we can tell ourselves that it matters not if we miss something. We will indeed be back.

For fans of me pissing and moaning about our home improvements, normal service will return next week I’m sure. We are nearly done with just some blinds and furniture to arrive. It has broken me and if I have nothing else to write about next week it might break you too.

Till the next time…..

New Non Surprising News?

Sat staring at the electronic blank page of this post I’m not sure how or where to start with this week’s effort. I suppose in the natural turn of events I would have entertained you with the latest set of tragedies and woes in our remake of The Money Pit, where I, as a slightly older, heavier Tom Hanks laugh maniacally as I stare into the abyss where my bedroom and will to live used to be.

I’m sure you’ve all been looking forward to that all week. In reality, we are through the worst now. The decorator comes tomorrow, the carpet on Friday and the electrician should be returning to do the stuff he couldn’t do last time due to issues with our wiring.

Then we have to choose some blinds when the blind man comes on Tuesday night. I don’t think he has issues with his vision though. It’s a ridiculously long road for the doing up of just one average sized bedroom, but we don’t tend to do things by halves in that department.

So yesterday, Louise and I were out delivering some quantitative easing into the stagnant carpet and furniture economy and something weird happened. It had been brewing all day, being first mentioned by Louise as we were tidying and waiting for the carpet measuring man and Asda delivery. I dismissed it as playful banter at first, but the topic kept returning to our conversation all day as we wandered from shop to shop and by tea time, it had moved from fanciful nonsense to almost a reality.

An online chat including the girls in the conversation happened to confirm everything and it’s fair to say they were very shocked by this turn of events. What am I on about? Well, we now we sit staring down the barrel of a Florida holiday this summer when I would have put more money on my hair growing back just yesterday.

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I know you probably won’t be, but I’m in shock. Mainly as it was Louise’s idea and secondly that we’ve found a way to juggle stuff around and pay for it. If negotiating Brexit were as important to politicians as WDW trips are to us, we’d have cracked that nonsense in an afternoon.

So we have our dates mapped out. The complexity of agreeing on dates is more challenging than a moon landing. The NHS give out holidays to staff like gruel to workhouse kids so we have to wait until tomorrow for Louise to get official permission before we can press the button. I have Mustard gigs already booked to avoid disrupting and all of that and more is before I wandered into the minefield of finding flights with acceptable prices. It’s been a busy last few hours.

We *think* we will be going on the 28th of August. The party is me, Louise, Emily, Rebecca, Tom, Freddie….and of course Ryan, and I am just beginning the villa search. It will be as budget as these things can be. Disney parks only, hardly any or no on-site dining, instead grabbing counter service stuff or enjoying our wide range of off-site favourites and no extras such as MNNSHP etc.

Flight wise, it looks like Thomas Cook have direct flights for much cheapness. I say that, as on Kayak they show at £350ish, but by the time you’ve added luxuries like a suitcase, a meal and a seat reservation it’s back up to the £450 mark I would have expected. We’ve made the decision to get Freddie his own seat, even though he will still be just under 2 when we fly. 16 hours in economy with him on laps is a horror not to be entertained.

I know we’ve done the whole, “we definitely aren’t going this year” bait and switch a million times, and I am probably much more shocked than any of you, but this one really did come out of the blue.

There is much now to do, so leave me whilst I spend far too many hours obsessing over every small detail that could be better spent elsewhere…..NOT!

So unless the NHS holiday Gods deny us, we should have a relatively short countdown to our next adventure. Fancy coming along, virtually, of course? I mean you are welcome to go to Florida at the same time, but I’m not paying for you.

Let the planning, countdown and diet commence, we are going home!

Rebecca Beaches and CreamBeach Club

 

Till the next time…….