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Old 04-01-2012, 10:32 PM   #1
jenseib
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You can take the girl out of Disney, BUT………

Well, maybe you can’t even do that completely……

Hi all. I am Jennifer.
This is a trip that was planned fairly last minute (we booked it 15 days prior to leaving) and something totally different for my family.
We are a Disney family. When I say we, I mean my DD Claire, who is 7 and I. My DH, Skip, likes Disney as well, but will never admit to being a Disney lover. He’s more of a resistor, but we break him down when we can. Lucky for me, Claire can bat her eyes enough to sometimes convince her Daddy to do what she wants.
This is our lovely family.



The guy smiling behind us is NOT part of our family, but it was nice of him to make the picture look better with his smile!

I also have 2 older children; Michael who is 23 and Paige, who is almost 20. They don’t travel with us anymore. They are too cool to hang out with us, I guess. And honestly, they are so different from each other, that there would be a lot of stress involved. Paige is easy going for the most part, but she can do her share of whining, and of course being away from friends and her boyfriend might be torture. Michael has his grumpy moments and I think by the end of the trip, there could be some major arguments.
But don’t feel bad for them. They do stuff with their friends all the time…and they HAVE been to Disney several times each, with me and other family members, as well as other fabulous vacations in their childhood.

My Disney obsession took over in 2007 when I went back for the first time after an 8 year break. This was Claire’s first trip. We have been down a few more times since then, vowing to fit Universal Studios into the mix in the near future, especially since I am a fan of Harry Potter.

I have been to Universal Studios 3 times in the past, but never to Islands of Adventure. My last trip was in 1999, and IoA was being built at that time. I haven’t had a chance to get back since then.

Last year, we debated our options, and planned a new trip for us. We took a Disney cruise! Skip ended up having to cancel about 2 weeks before the cruise due to issues at home with our farm, and my Mom took his place. We also planned 3 more days after the cruise and we debated going to Islands of Adventure. With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter still very new, we decided to wait once again to visit and planned 2 days at Disney and 1 day at Sea World.

I also added to my obsession last year and became a Travel Agent just a few short weeks before our cruise. My specialty is Disney, but I do other travel as well. (And to think…. there IS such a thing as other travel. LOL,. Who would’ve ever thunk it?)

I did my Disney training online and learned all I could about the ways of the travel industry. It was very exciting to be living my dream. In May there was a notification that there was to be an Agent Education Program right on site at WDW in August, which means onsite training and touring. I signed up and was excepted and had yet another trip to Florida! This time without family! It was a great experience. I am happy to have had the opportunity to do this program.

Fast forward to this year. I was having the Disney Blues. I have another Disney Cruise planned for next Nov with many members of my family, but because of the time of year, Skip is not joining us. It has been since 2009 since we have actually gone on a family vacation with him. I did some nagging and finally he decided we should go to the “other Disney Park” in Orlando.
Now he is terrible with names and what belongs to who or what. He still calls WDW Disneyland and it drives me batty. I knew what he meant…Universal Studios.

We checked out flights (which were all high because of the last minute planning) and a few different weeks that would work for us. The best time would be when Claire had off school for Spring break. The flight times weren’t ideal, but Skip wanted a cheap and quick trip.
We got it set and booked on Sunday, March11th. I was super excited. Not only was this going to be a fun trip, but a great learning experience for me as well. I had quoted Universal a few times for clients, but this was my first official Universal booking. I went right to work researching as much as I could and reading other TR’s to get more familiar.
Skip wanted it to be as cheap as possible, and I didn’t mind, as I am saving up as much as I can for our Disney cruise and a week at WDW in November. I found the Quality Inn on Canada Ave to be one of the cheapest, with 1 day free and it included a Continental breakfast. It also included early entry to IoA and a breakfast at the Three Broomsticks.
We also flirted with the idea of staying onsite. It was going to be $1000 more basically, and no “free” breakfast and Skip couldn’t get past that. I tried to explain about the express pass benefits with staying onsite, even if we just booked one night there, but he declined. We decided to get the 3 days park to park tickets as well.

The flight times were NOT ideal, but we wanted to fly out of Toledo into Sanford, so we had to take what we could. We got a 6:50 PM out of Toledo on Allegiant Air on Monday, Mar. 26th, and would return March 30th, with the flight leaving at 3:40. This flight cost more than any other flight we have ever taken, but it was last minute and shopping around and looking at flights out of Detroit, we found the prices were all the same.

A few days later we discussed this some more, and he suddenly asked why we weren’t just going to Disney instead? Hunh? He said he didn’t want to do Disney…but why argue about that now. Did I mention that Skip doesn’t do well with change….and he is very last minute with everything…..
He decided we must go to the Magic Kingdom at least 1 day during this trip. He figured the money we would put towards express pass would just go to this instead. The plan was to go to Universal for half a day on Thursday and then over to MK for the rest of the day.
We decided to buy our tickets at the gate just in case we changed our minds.

So everything was now set and we just had to wait for our day to come!
I took over 1600 pictures on this short trip, so there will be plenty for me to share and tell you about.
We really enjoyed Universal a lot, but I have to let you in on a secret…..my heart still belongs to Disney!
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:43 PM   #2
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Yea another trip report! Can't wait to hear all about it
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:32 AM   #3
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Great start!
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Exploring CarsLand during our visit to Disneyland.

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Old 04-02-2012, 08:35 AM   #4
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Yea another trip report! Can't wait to hear all about it
Welcome! Thanks for joining

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Great start!

Thanks!
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:35 AM   #5
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The 2 weeks we had to plan this trip just flew by. The weather turned extremely nice at home, with 80 plus degree days. I did yard work and also started walking outside to get ready for all the park walking. I even dragged Claire with me on some of them to get her little legs ready as well.

I also had several clients to take care of in that time and I tried my best to wrap up any loose ends before leaving and sent out emails letting clients know I would be gone during the week and with any reminders or info that I thought they needed.

I also had to pull out summer clothing and get that packed. Claire has grown like a weed once again, but we found several things that still fit.
Soon after the trip was booked, Jeanne, one of my fellow Travel agents messaged me and told me I could borrow a skirt and top of one of her DD’s that was Harry Potter themed. GREAT! Sadly, this outfit got lost in the mail and as of yet has not turned up on either end. I sure do hope it eventually makes its way to one of us.
But Jeanne knows me so well. She also gave me some ideas and names of people who make dresses. Before I knew it, I had two outfits ordered for Claire to wear to the parks. This is right up Claire’s alley. At Disney, she typically wears a princess dress for part of the day and then some Disney themed outfit.
I also took it step further and ordered bows to match the outfits.









I also made a pillowcase for signatures. This was a cute idea in theory, but when we got there, we ended up only getting 3 signatures. Claire was a little shy with the Universal characters for some reason.



I also emailed Bubbasmom (Barb) and she gave me some wonderful tips that I used to make a tip sheet for us and also to use for future clients.


On Sat. the 24th, We went shopping with my Mom, and she bought me an early Easter/Mothers Day gift. A kindle fire. I am really loving this thing. I debated on leaving the laptop at home, since I now had the kindle, but I did end up bringing it…and never even taking it out of the bag. I had thought I might need it to dump pictures on, but I didn’t. I think it will stay home from now on. It’s heavy and a pain in the butt to bring. I plan on buying a few more CF cards before our next trip, so I should be OK with not having it along, and I can get on the internet just fine with the Kindle. I’m not super savvy with it, but I can still work it enough to make do.

By Sunday, March 25th, most everything was packed and ready to go. I only had a few more items to throw in the suitcase before we left.

Here are the bags. Claire thought we should take a picture.






Everyone went to bed at a normal time. And we had most of the day Monday to wait out as well. Claire was already too excited. But I told her she needed to be patient as we weren’t even leaving till late afternoon the next day. I figured that she would sleep in (she loves to sleep in and stay up late), and then we could run to the bank and get the last minute stuff done to keep her mind off of things…..yeah right!
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:08 AM   #6
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Great start. With 1600 pix to go thru, clients calling, etc. etc., I can see that this short trip could turn into a big TR and take some time to get completed. Can hardly wait for it to move ahead. Glad you guys had fun and got back safely.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:26 AM   #7
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yay!! I just love your TR's and all the pictures you take! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:23 PM   #8
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Great start! I'm super excited to read this TR!
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:29 PM   #9
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Great start!
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:39 PM   #10
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Great start! Looking forward to hearing all about WWoHP! Not sure when I'll ever get there, but some day.....
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:59 PM   #11
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So sorry about the Harry Potter themed items.
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Exploring CarsLand during our visit to Disneyland.

I'm Cheryl and I'm the author of PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers and the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide I'm also one of the PassPorter guides for the Disney Vacation Club, Eateries, Globetrotting, Globetrotting Trip Reports, Disneyland Resort Paris and Disneyland Trip Reports forums.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:10 PM   #12
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Great start. With 1600 pix to go thru, clients calling, etc. etc., I can see that this short trip could turn into a big TR and take some time to get completed. Can hardly wait for it to move ahead. Glad you guys had fun and got back safely.
With my new computer though, editing is much faster...so thats the good thing. I do have some more paperwork to do, but right now, working in this seems more fun!

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yay!! I just love your TR's and all the pictures you take! Can't wait to read more!
Thanks so much. I've got another update to post.

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Great start! I'm super excited to read this TR!
Thanks

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Great start!
Thanks!

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Great start! Looking forward to hearing all about WWoHP! Not sure when I'll ever get there, but some day.....
It was a really neat place to see. I probably took 100 pictures of the castle. I swear i just kept wanting to shoot it.

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So sorry about the Harry Potter themed items.
I was bummed, but more so because I was just borrowing it. I hope it shows up so I can at least get it back to her.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:11 PM   #13
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March 26, 2012. Monday

The day had arrived. I slept pretty decent and got up at the crack of dawn…..but I normally get up early anyways.
I started out with a little computer time and sending out those last minute client emails.
I then started packing all the last minute stuff. At 8 AM I see a bouncy little girl emerge from her room shouting that she was too “esscited” to sleep. Claire never gets up this early on her own. Each school morning is a ritual of basically dragging her out of bed and dressing her while she flops around. Today she was in high gear and wanted to get dressed and just leave.

Soon the chanting began. “Is it time to go yet?” over and over….then on to “let’s leave now, let’s leave now”. It got old real fast.
We did make it to the bank, I got a shower and she got a bath and hair wash. She took extra time to be sure she was nice and clean for Florida.

Around 3:30 or so, we dressed in our traveling clothes, and Skip came in to shower. We gave a once over and at 4:15 my Mother arrived to take us to the airport. It was kind of funny, because earlier in the day my Mom had called and talked about which car to take to the airport. She hates my car…because it isn’t new, and she worried my car wouldn’t make it. I was like what? We are only going to Toledo airport…that’s only like 12 minutes away.
She had thought we were going up to Detroit. I bet she was relieved to have a much shorter drive.

Since Mom came early, and we got her car loaded within minutes, we actually left for the airport a head of schedule.



We unloaded, said our goodbyes and got in the check in line.
Not long after we arrived I heard Skip talking to someone. It was my friend Jenny. She, her son and her boyfriend were also going to Florida on the same flight. I had totally forgotten that she was going. She had told me a few months back and had inquired about Disney tickets back then. They were staying with friends in the area and doing some local stuff.
We checked in easily and said goodbye to our bags and turned around to see Skip’s sister Dee Dee. She works for Hertz at the airport and she was helping a client who had a wheel chair.

We said hellos and good byes to her and made our way to security. A few days prior to leaving, Claire had asked if she had to take her shoes off again and why. I told her probably, but we did find out kids 12 and under no longer have to do this, and I told her the why….because they check for bombs….then I told her NEVER to say the word bomb at the airport or they will strip search you. LOL! So she kept saying bomb, bomb, bomb over and over at home to get it out of her system. I prayed she wouldn’t say it now, and all was good and we cruised right through.

Skip was worried because this was his first time traveling since his hip replacement and he showed his card out and they didn’t seem to care. He went through the body scanner without a hitch. (We were told they are not metal detectors and won’t go off). Claire and I went through the old detectors though.

We gathered our things and up to our gate to wait. Toledo only has a couple of gates, so you basically can wait anywhere and still see your gate.

I pulled out the new kindle and realized that Toledo now has free wifi and played around with that.

Of course we had to take a few pictures.





I took a few of another plane outside.





We decided we should get something to eat. The choices are just awful at Toledo airport. Basically cardboard pizza or subway. Claire chose the pizza, which was a little better this time around.



Skip and I share a subway tuna.



Claire and I made a bathroom stop. I love the bathroom here, it is so pretty, but I feel weird taking pictures in there. I did snap this one of Claire washing her hands. The sinks are very unusual. Toledo is the glass city, so I guess that is the theming of this bathroom.



We finally spotted my friend Jenny and gang. I think they might’ve gone to the bar downstairs while waiting. We talked a bit and found out they were flying the same flight home as well.
Before we knew it the Allegiant plane arrived and I snapped a few quick pictures of it coming to the gate.





I told Skip to go to the bathroom and he said he didn’t have to. He does this every time and then as soon as they start boarding he runs to the bathroom. Sure enough, he did it this time too. That drives me nuts. Claire asked what were we going to do and I said he had 30 seconds and if he wasn’t out, we were boarding without him!
No worries, he made it!
We got settled into our seats and waited to take off.



My phone wouldn’t shut off for some reason. It kept cycling in shut down mode. I haven’t turn the phone off in several months, so I’m not sure what was up with it. I finally just opened the back and pulled the battery out.

The flight was good and smooth. Claire liked watching the sunset out the window. Being on the end, I couldn’t see much of anything. Of course we had to make a bathroom run on the plane. These things are not made for 2 people, no matter how small the second person is. And let’s just say YUCK!

I handed Skip the tip sheets I had made for him to read while on the plane. One tip is that Richters burgers gets bad reviews and you should avoid going there. Skip thought it was awful that I wrote that. He said he was going to eat there and prove me wrong. He never did, but it was a little joke all through the trip.

We landed about 15 minutes early and out bags came rolling out fast as well. Skip went to get the car and he seemed to take forever. We had a good rate through Hertz from his sister, but I found out he fell for the “you need insurance” line. UGH! I tell him over and over not to get it. They were out of cars too, but they borrowed one from someone else.

While Claire and I waited, we saw Jenny and gang once again and said our good byes and have funs.
Skip led the way out to the row he remembered the car to be in and that’s it. He couldn’t remember the make, model or color. He kept hitting the panic button on the fob and nothing lit up or sounded an alarm. I was a little annoyed that he couldn’t remember what we were getting.
Finally he said he thought it was an Altima and it was silver and we had been standing next to one the whole time. I tried opening the trunk, but it wouldn’t work. I opened the door and started it, so that worked. We finally realized you needed to press a button on the trunk to get it to open. This car caused problems like this throughout the trip. You needed step by step directions to get the thing open.

And we’re off! Of course that sounds easy, but Skip didn’t like the directions I was giving him, so he would argue a bit, but finally he realized I was right.

As we rode along, Skip loves to read road and town signs and turn them into dirty words. Yep, we have nothing but class! Soon we ran out of good names and Skip decided it was time to sing different lyrics to the songs on the radio. I have to admit, it was pretty darn funny.

We made a stop at a carry out for a pop and went back on our way.



Claire was worried about food. She said she missed supper and we were supposed to eat at the airport. I told her we did, but she had thought we would ALSO eat at Sanford. I told her we had snacks packed and she could have something as soon as we got to the hotel.

We did get a little lost. Not bad, but the road we were to turn on did not have a sign so we cruised right by it. Finally we got our bearings and found it and checked in quickly.

We stayed at the Quality Inn. This has just changed hands. It was formally a Fairfield Inn. They are in the process of renovating it.

Our room was decent, a nice size, and good for what we needed it for.











This was the view out the window.





I unpacked a bit and found one thing I wasn’t too happy about. The drawers had that shut up/no air smell. They were in need of a stick up thingy. My other complaint of the room was that the heavy drapes did not close any further. So we had lights from those tower things all night long and some noise from that area as well. Why on earth they wouldn’t make it so the curtains could shut all the way was beyond me? There were just shears covering that area.
The towers though were a lifesaver. I think it was some sort of bungee shoot thing. When driving back to the hotel each day, we would just look for the towers to know we were heading in the right direction.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:17 PM   #14
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Is it just me, but Skip's not looking overflowing with enthusiasm in those photos....?
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:22 PM   #15
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