Pre trip report for our Milestone MAGICal cruise
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THIS IS MY PRE TRIP REPORT
I’m so excited I just can’t wait. ...
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ACTUAL TRIP REPORT BEGINS PAGE 5-POST 62
THIS IS MY PRE TRIP REPORT
I’m so excited I just can’t wait. I think I will begin a little pre trip report so that I can expend some of the pent-up emotions before leaving on this trip. And I have them all. Excitement:, frustration, worry, anticipation. Just know that I am not the writer that some of you are. I spend WAAYYY too much time reading other’s TRs and I am just awed at the talent here. So, if you still wish to follow along, here we go.......
The two players: Going on this little adventure are myself, Cathy, 58 & retired 1 year and my DH Lorne, 64 and retired for 11 years. He will turn 65 on our sailing date and this trip is my special gift to a special guy for his special birthday. I must confess that I am the Disney nut and he is the good sport who goes along with it all and admittedly has a whole lot of fun doing so.
We have been to WDW a few times, usually several years apart. Our last trip was this past September, along with DD and DSIL. It was during this trip that I got ‘BIT BY THE DISNEY BUG’. I even considered purchasing DVC, but given our ages, and having no grandchildren, I talked myself out of it. (I may (read, probably?) talk myself into it again after this trip)
So…..DH is having a milestone birthday in March. What can I do for him that is really special???? I KNOW…. I KNOW a Disney cruise !!!!! Yeah! That’s the ticket!!!
The date was easy enough to pick. Turning 65 on the sailing date?? Reason enough for me!! Now, we have only been on one other cruise. A Bermuda cruise back in 2004. But that cruise was two days at sea, three nights in Bermuda and another two days at sea. We are really looking forward to having the different ports to explore (or not) as we choose. ‘Cause it sounds like staying on the ship is a whole lot of fun too! So off to the CAA travel agent to book the cruise. As it turns out, because we are in Canada, Disney could not include the airfare. So we booked the cruise only and were really excited. Our agent suggested that I try to find airfare online as that may be a little cheaper than her booking it. Too bad this is right smack dab in March/Spring break. But, NP, I’ll give it a shot.
Even though we are young a heart, we are a little bit ‘long in the tooth', (as evidenced by his 65th coming up), so we really do want to have a non-stop flight. Transfers do not appeal to us. At all. So I begin checking for non-stop flights. WHAAAAAAAAAAT???????? YOU HAVE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing under $1000 per person??? And that didn’t include taxes. Stooooopid March Break. It is a little less than 3 hours to fly from Toronto to Orlando. Many times they advertise $99 (plus tax) flights, so this just floored me. I tried all of the different sites. Tried to see, what if we left from Buffalo. (This was indeed cheaper, but not enough to make us want to drive there and back. March weather is so iffy in both Toronto and Buffalo. ) What about leaving on the Thursday and returning on Sunday. Still high. Signed up for every airline fare alert possible. Nothing worthwhile. DH said to just keep trying, he was so sure the price would go down. WRONG!! Up, Up, UP it went. I could not believe it. At one point, it was anywhere from $1700-2000 pp!! CRAZY !!! Now I’m beginning to second guess myself.. should we do something else? Go somewhere else? ANSWER?? NOPE!! So I started to think about booking a couple of weeks either later or earlier, (cheaper?, yeah) but I really wanted Lorne to have his birthday on the ship. Besides, he's worth it, I just want as much bang for my buck that I can get. Everyday, checking..checking..checking. We could get it for a little less than 800.00 pp if we wanted to take 8 hours to travel. Like I said, we don't do transfers. For weeks I checked. Nothing looked promising. I was going NUTS!! wait and check, wait and check, wait and check..then I get an email that Westjet has a special rates to Orlando. Only certain dates in March, (of course) blackout periods do apply…..yadda yadda yadda.. Couldn’t hurt to look. Right? Fly on Wednesdays for the best deal? In-ter-est-ing……. After a whole lotta fiddling and f*rting around on the site, I saw that I could book one way tickets for 239pp going on the Wednesday before the cruise and the same 239pp returning on the Monday after. Less than $500 pp? SHE SCORES!!! Still more than it should be, but I'm not gonna get any better than that for March break. Take it…take it….take it!!! YAY!
Now I know some of you are thinking…..yeah, goof. You still hafta book hotels and buy food and ‘stuff’. I know. But I would much rather spend the same money and have more time at Disney than to just hand it over to the airlines.. Right? Right!! Is that Disney math???? I think so.
Cruise is booked, flight is booked… Now what will we do for those 3 days prior and 2 days after the cruise? Plan, plan, plan.
Where will we end up?
I only found these (and other) boards fairly recently, when preparing for our Disney trip this past September. Up until then I was amongst ‘them’. The unknowing. So I joined. Which meant there were many weeks of lurking and occasionally posting, but always learning. The WWWW&Ws of Disney. So, armed with a head full of numbers, facts and knowledge, I planned the best trip to Disney we ever had. As I said, that’s when I got bit by the ‘bug’. So I found myself with another trip to plan.
Alas, I have discovered that I am nowhere near the planner I thought I was. I have changed my plans so often. And sometimes it cost me the deposit. Not much, but still.
I wonder if I will ever stick to the original plans? Only time will tell. I guess I need more practice. More trips! Someone enable me, please!!
So, when I first booked this cruise back in October, I thought that we would be traveling to Florida the day before the cruise and returning to Toronto the day after. Because of everything I have read on these boards, I booked the Radisson at Port for the Friday.
For the return trip, I booked POP Century for one night. Remember, all of this was before the 'airfare saga' of my previous post. And now that I have finally got our flights, things have to change. (for the better) Two extra nights before the cruise and one more night at the end of our trip. Oh well, if we really have to……… lol. So I call the Radisson Hotel directly to add another two nights. No problem. I then asked the girl just on the off chance if I could book the shuttle. She said of course!! She went and got the book, then told me that I could have my choice of times. They start at 10:00 and run every ½ hr. I asked for the 10:30 shuttle. She confirmed it right then and there.
(when I originally booked at the toll-free number, I was told that I had to book the shuttle whenever I checked in. A different story when I called the hotel direct. Just so ya know.)
I then went online and rented a car from Budget. I was going to pick it up at MCO and then drop it off on Friday night at Cape Canaveral. I got a pretty good price for it, too.
So herein, my friends, lies the problem..........It became apparent when planning out those three pre-cruise days that anything we wanted to do was mostly on Disney property. Yup, its okay……steal my thunder!
WE NEED TO STAY ON DISNEY PROPERTY!!! Right? Riiiight. And another thing, AFTER the cruise, staying at a value may be a bit of a letdown. Right? .
Don’t get me wrong. I LUV the values too, just not right after a cruise. SIGH.. Back to the drawing board. After careful thought this is what I did:
Cancel car rental – no charge. Cancel Pop Century – no charge. Cancel Radisson -- $25.00 ( not too bad. )
Since we like the values and want to get Disney-fied before the cruise, I booked the 3 nights at All Star Movies. For after the cruise, I went to a moderate resort, and again going by the good things heard on the various boards, I decided the last two nights we would spend at POFQ!! YAY! Done!!
Now for the down-and-dirty planning. What to do with all that time?????????
Hopefully, with all this detail in my report, I haven't lost the few readers I had. For those who wish to stick around,. thank you, thank ya verry much.