It’s NEXT WEEK!!

Excuse me while I squeal a little!! I can now finally say we go next week!! The excitement is getting a bit much now to be honest I may well burst at any moment!

I get asked loads why I love Florida so much and how there are ‘loads of other places in the world’ but you know what? Apart from Italy (and maybe Germany after watching a Vlog about Europa Park) there isn’t really anywhere else I’m that bothered about visiting and I don’t think they’ll live up to my expectations after being to Disney.  I’m not a sit by the pool and drink type so a package holiday being stuck in a resort is my idea of hell I need things to do!!

I get asked why I don’t get bored being that I’ve been before – this will be trip number 6 – I don’t get bored because there’s always something new to see. In the space of 17 years I’ve seen loads of things come and go.  Rides like Snow Whites Scary Adventures and Mr Toads Wild Ride and Toon Town where you could visit the houses of Minnie and Mickey Mouse have gone and are missed and then there are things like Alien which scarred me for life and I’m not sorry to see the back of.

Of course the big new thing is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which has now stretched over 2 parks instead of just the one that there was on my last trip.

Even in 3 years there has been loads of development and new stuff to check out this time. Aside from the WWOHP extension there’s also the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, the new Frozen show and new parades at Disney. As well as the developments at Downtown Disney.   Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure now has a Raptor encounter and Universal Studios has Transformers and Springfield USA is open.

Seaworld has opened Empire of the Penguin and opened some new shows as well, not to mention the big opening of I-Drive 360 which comprises of the Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and Sealife Orlando.

With more changes and new rides/parks opening over the next few years – Avatarland at Animal Kingdom, the Star Wars expansion at Hollywood Studios (or whatever it will be called then…) and Universals Volcano Bay as well as the much talked about Nintendo Partnership at Universal.  And then there’s the King Kong ride that I totally forgot about – I remember the original one!! You can never get bored of Orlando there’s always something new opening!

The other thing I love is how accessible it is and how completely suitable it is for anyone with a disability. Be it a mobility issue like me or more complex needs no matter where you go in Orlando they will do whatever they can to help you and have policies in place for everything you could think of. Nothing is a hassle to them and unlike some other holiday destinations – I’ve been put in upstairs rooms in hotels with no lift and been felt like I’m causing the problem when I’m unable to walk up the stairs!! Here any sort of Disability isn’t seen as a major problem and rather than make a fuss they just figure out how to help you rather than huffing about it!!

The one thing I haven’t done properly in Orlando is a water park – I did Aquatica last time but all I did was bob along in the lazy river – I’m curious to see how they are geared up for someone like me.  There’s quite a few things I’m doing for the first time on this trip, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon which I’m really looking forward to. Discovery Cove which is something I’ve heard nothing but good things about (and that’s not just because all the food and drink is free), We’re doing a Penguin Encounter at Seaworld where we actually get to meet a real penguin – I’m a BIG fan of anywhere where I can cuddle any sort of animal, not sure the penguin will want me to cuddle it but I will give it a try.  We have an Airboat ride as well which I won’t lie, I’m a little bit scared of. I don’t really like boats at the best of times – unless it’s a cruise ship – so being on something that doesn’t look that steady and surrounded by gators isn’t exactly filling me with excitement. I panic in a kayak so goodness knows what I’m going to be like on this.  Also I’m finally getting to do a character breakfast – the bonus of taking kids – we’re doing both Chef Mickeys and Universals Superstar Breakfast (if the tickets get sorted in time) and also the Pirates Adventure Dinner Show. Last time I went to a dinner show I was ill with sunstroke and it wasn’t a pleasant experience so fingers crossed this one will be better.

The only thing that could make this trip even more perfect is that elusive booking at ‘Be Our Guest’…..

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11 Days, Restaurant vouchers and my last ‘what I must eat’….

This week is dragging! Not long to go now and the only things that I need to do are hair and my Disney nails 🙂

I’ve mentioned before on this blog about how to save money on eating when in Orlando (look at my Places to eat page).  So this week I’ve been signing up to loads of mailing lists and getting some money off vouchers. It’s a really good way to save a few pennies when you’re over there. Some of them only have a 2 week validity so it’s best to do them a week before you go.  They love their coupons in Orlando so you’ll always find some great ones in a lot of the restaurants and also gift shops when you’re there. Look out for the booklets on the way out of shops etc and pick up as many as you can find! Groupon is another great place to look for offers and deals on restaurants in the area.

One place I cannot wait to eat in again and the last thing on my list of ‘Things I must eat’ is this; bloomin-onion-289x208

The infamous ‘Bloomin Onion’ from Outback Steakhouse. To be honest I’ve not had a bad fried onion of any description in Florida but this is just amazing.  I have NO idea what they put in the batter but there’s definitely cinnamon in it and the dip is amazing as well. Everytime I look at a picture of these my mouth waters and I can taste it!! I’ve raved about it since I came back last time and it’s the one thing I’m looking forward to eating the most! They also do amazing steaks 🙂 But the Bloomin Onion is worth the visit on its own!!

Nearly ready to go!!!

17 days now and the very last bits have been purchased that we needed, cases are all packed 🙂 Just have to weigh them now – they’re FAR too heavy for me to lift them which can’t be good… Best purchase of the day goes to this:

NOW-DISNEY-2014-v1

Currently on while I’m sitting in my office ready to start work and will be all I’m listening for the next 17 days, if you’re booking attraction tickets today and hear Disney music in the background it’s probably me you’re talking to – a good way to get customers even more excited for their jollys no? It even came with a bonus disc of Christmas songs which includes the 12 days of christmas with Mickey, Minnie, Donald etc and the single best version of it I’ve ever heard… There’s no proper video of it on YouTube but have a listen to this, always makes me giggle…

Paul is FINALLY getting into the holiday spirit and modeled his Pinocchio outfit (complete with the fab hat for me today) and now I’m jealous because it’s so much better than mine 😦

paulpinoch

To Plan or Not to Plan…..

I’m now at my 37 day mark and to say I’m organised is a bit of an understatement. As you are well aware I’ve booked all my FastPasses, checked in to my hotel and booked an ADR (advanced dining reservation) for those who don’t know.  All my reservations/stuff we’re doing have now been put in a spreadsheet – yes I am that organised with it all – and the whole 14 days is pretty much planned out for us.

Is this planning a little TOO much, well for me I don’t think so. Having been to Orlando before I know how much there is to do and it’s impossible to do everything in 14 days, besides the theme parks there’s over 100 other attractions in Orlando and if you wanted to do everything it has to offer you’d need at least 67 full days there! It’s not all about the themeparks you know!!

I am well aware that I have probably planned FAR too much but I know some of the things that are really unmissable so you have to make sure you cater for that sort of thing. Disney, Magic Kingdom especially has some ridiculous wait times for rides so if you don’t want to spend most of your day queuing for rides – or to meet Frozen characters if you have girls – then it is wise to book some fastpasses and plan a little for those days. The rest of the day leave to chance.  Planning and booking those rides that your kids just HAVE to do is also a great way to avoid disappointment and tantrums!!

You can do Disney without planning but be prepared for LONG queues and stress.

Universal Studios as well needs a bit of planning. We all know that the busiest part of those parks are the Harry Potter parts so unless you want to be queuing for ages for those it’s good to plan to do them first or last thing. Universal offer an express pass that will allow you front of line access to each ride once during the day which is a really good way to avoid planning. However it doesn’t include the Harry Potter rides. You can buy express passes before you leave the UK for a much cheaper price than on the gate, £50 for 1 park and £57 for both for one day. You can get them from the UK Universal Bookings Site Universal UK Bookings

If you want to go to Discovery Cove, particularly over the Summer months then that again needs some planning. Discovery Cove gets booked up from 6 months in advance.  Working for a travel company and having calls over the last few weeks from customers who are wanting to book every day I’m experiencing first hand the disappointment from people who just cannot get a booking after leaving it so late.

There is no real need to book every day down to the minute but it is an idea to pre book a few things that you really want to do and then do the rest when you get there. Orlando is a place that you really need to research before you go there are so many amazing forums and websites with info and people who will give you honest opinions on what to do and not to do. A good one for planning advice is the Facebook group‘It’s Orlando Time’ loads of people who love Orlando helping you make your trip as magical as it can be.  A little bit of research will really help your trip run smoothly.

 

62 days to go, BOG and new job…

So, I’ve been a bit quiet of late. I have a fantastic new job that is taking a lot of my time up BUT it is Disney/Orlando related and I basically get to talk about Disney most of the day and give people advice on holidaying in Orlando… I’ve landed on my feet with this one 🙂

New Job means more money for me so that means more money for the holiday…. which means I CAN GO TO BE OUR GUEST!! I’ve been looking at the menu and I think I’ve decided what I want to eat… Have you seen the food at this place? It looks unbelievable!! I’m going with the herb crusted lamb….

boglamb And of course I couldn’t go there and not have The Grey Stuff which even though it’s essentially just a grey coloured mousse type thing looks bloody good…

greystuff

I’m a little excited it has to be said!!

FastPasses can be booked on Saturday 🙂 (well Sunday really for the first day I need them for…alarm is set for 5AM apparently the key time to book them and get the ones you want!) I’m not brilliant in the mornings so we shall see how grumpy I am if I get up and don’t get the ones I want!!

Disney have also announced that ALL the tickets bought in the UK so all the Ultimate Ticket packages for 2016 will have Memory Maker free which is amazing. Memory Maker is a fab little package that includes all your ride and professional pictures taken during your time in Disney. You can access them online and print them off to your hearts content – and add some little extras as well. I have it for my trip so I shall report back on if it is as good as it seems.

I MAY have been shopping for some more holiday clothes, I bought these as part of my bounding outfit a few weeks ago, anyone know who I’m going as…

greenshorts lilac topJust need a hat now…..

Finally a Proper Countdown thing :)

I’m now at 84 days and I’ve finally got myself a countdown plaque thing. Yesterday my lovely friend Jo finally gave me my awesome handmade Cinderella inspired engagement gift and I have a cool new Dopey countdown plaque 🙂 Not to mention a mountain of maps etc that she picked up on her trip a few weeks ago 🙂

Always good when you get forgotten Disney gifts 🙂

Jo does some really cool Disney crafty stuffs and retro movie stuff too check her out Bambis Things

 

maps

I think little miss has finally realised exactly how big Disney and Universal are, she’s been sat looking at Maps with me today and she’s been commenting on how massive it all is. She doesn’t think we’ll have time to see everything ‘it’ll take all the time’ she said!