Trip Report You Are Braver Than You Believe, Stronger Than You Seem, And Smarter Than ... Nope. Piglet Goes Dopey

Hi everyone, welcome to my trip report. I’ve been reading lots of other reports and have really enjoyed them so thought I’d join in the fun. We’ve been back home for a week now, photos are sorted and it’s about time I got round to doing this.

I did write a pre-trip report (A Dopey Dream) but I’m a bit technically challenged and don’t know how to link it, so I’ll go over a few details.

Who:

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Me, Sharon aka Piglet. About to celebrate a scary big birthday (50) next month. This was one of the reasons for the trip. Husband, Darren, older than me 😂. Alice, turned 13 while we were there, and Lexi, 10. We live in Milton Keynes, UK and are DVC members. One day I will find a photo of all of us together that isn’t completely hideous.

Where and When:

Saratoga Springs Resort January 1st to January 13th
Cruising on the Disney Dream January 13th to January

Extras bits:

While we were there I just happened to run a couple of little races. 5k, 10k, half marathon, first ever full marathon. Just the sort of thing that normal people do while they’re on holiday.
 

Loco_driver

Well-Known Member
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Following along. Congrats on your races!
 

Piglet_the_brave

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
December 31st: 1st travelling day

We live about 90 miles from Gatwick Airport which can take anything from 90 minutes to hours and hours if the traffic is bad. So we always drive down the night before and stay at an airport hotel.

Leaving home was a bit delayed as apparently I am a very slow packer, I call it methodical so that I don’t forget anything. I’m normally very organised, but with Christmas and still having to do training runs I had got behind.

So I was finally finished about 2.30. We have 2 older daughters who weren’t coming with us, Phoebe (14) who’s going through a too cool for Disney stage, and Sophie (20) who has grown out of that stage but is at uni and working so couldn’t take the time off. So we dropped Phoebe off at the grandparents, and instructed Sophie not to party too hard that night.

We left Milton Keynes at 3.30 and had quite an easy drive to the airport, taking about 2.5 hours. But this did include a quick service station stop. Normally we park the car ourselves at long term parking and have to use shuttle buses to the airport, but Darren had looked into the airport valet parking this time. It only cost about £10 more and was so convenient. So we dropped the car off and walked straight over to the airport check in area. We were flying with Virgin Atlantic so could use their twilight check in service, just keeping an overnight bag with us for the hotel.

Dinner was at a chain restaurant, Giraffe, at the airport. Adequate but not particularly memorable food wise. So no food photos, just this one of the girls

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Then we walked over to check in at the Gatwick Hilton. This is the reason we always stay here, no having to get buses, just a walkway over from the airport.

The Hilton room was clean and comfortable as usual. We had a family room with a double bed and bunk beds. Piglet and the other toys made themselves comortable

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As it was New Year’s Eve we were obviously going to party in the room 😂,so we picked up this on the way over

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It was very good, but in reality I had one small glass, got really sleepy and was in bed by 9.30. The others were already fast asleep.

Not sure how but this turned up on my phone

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Swissmiss

Premium Member
Your TR title is excellent. Looking forward to following along ... and to add you really should think about the DLP half. I’ve found it to be a great “me” weekend; I now fob my DD off to friends and I have a lovely time doing everything at my own pace.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Yay...you've started!!! Too funny about telling the 20 yr old not to party too hard! Our 13 year old has said we can leave her home and she'll follow those same instructions. Can't wait to read more!!!
 

Piglet_the_brave

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Your TR title is excellent. Looking forward to following along ... and to add you really should think about the DLP half. I’ve found it to be a great “me” weekend; I now fob my DD off to friends and I have a lovely time doing everything at my own pace.
You really are selling this one 😂. It is something I want to do, just not in the budget this year unfortunately. I actually mentioned it to a couple of running friends the other day while showing off my bling and they seemed quite interested. So maybe a girls trip in the next few years.

Sophie has just got back from a long weekend in DLP, and really enjoyed it. The rest of us haven’t been, whenever I’ve priced it up it’s always ‘well for just that little bit more we could go to Florida’. But the bling is tempting.
 

Piglet_the_brave

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Jan 1st: 2nd travelling day

So, after our late night partying we were up bright and early to pack up our overnight bits and pieces. In other words, I was up and had to drag everyone else out of bed. Our flight was just after 10, but you never know what the queues are going to be like going through airport security, so I’d rather be early.

It wasn’t actually too bad and we were through just after 8 so had plenty of time to get some breakfast. I’m not normally a fan of the breakfast places at Gatwick, but Darren recognised the name of a place he’d been to in London. It was a Lebanese chain restaurant called Comptoir Libanais, not what you’d normally find in an airport. I thought it sounded pretty good, so we tried it. It was excellent, including spiced eggs, houmous and halloumi. Would definitely recommend it.

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Not long after this our gate was called so we made our way over. Massive queue to board the plane but it did move quite quickly. When we’d booked our flight we’d decided to pay extra to preselect our seats, which really worked out because we’d managed to book seats upstairs on the plane. They were right at the back of the upstairs cabin, still economy so no extra legroom or privileges, but it just feels a bit nicer and it’s much quieter.

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So we settled in for our 9 hour flight which was very uneventful. In my notes I’ve written ‘no annoying people’ which is a definite result for a flight that long. We all passed the time watching movies, I finally watched Deadpool which was hilarious.

Another of the benefits of the upstairs seating is that because there’s some premium economy up there, once the upper class people are let off the plane they hold the rest of downstairs so you can get off next. So power walked to immigration, and we were right at the front of the queue. I think this was the quickest we’ve ever got through. But unfortunately our luck didn’t continue, and we waited for ages at baggage claim. Not a big deal though, everyone was happy to finally be there.

After this we trundled over to board our Magical Express to Saratoga Springs. I always love that first bit when you walk outside into the Florida air and it’s warmer than at home. It doesn’t quite have the same hit to it as the summer months but it still feels wonderful.

Check in at Saratoga was quick and we got the room requests we’d asked for. Grandstand section on a higher floor, room 9330. We took our bags over and checked out our room which had a pretty nice view of the golf course.

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It was about 5.30 by now, and we were feeling pretty hungry so I looked into getting an ADR at the Turf Club. But nothing was available until 8, which we all thought was a bit late after our long day. So back over to the main building to pick up some frozen pizza which the girls always seem to love. Also picked up a few food bits for the morning, we normally have a Garden Grocer delivery waiting for us but because it was New Year’s Day they weren’t delivering. I managed to get a lot of the unpacking done and everyone was in bed just after 8. This might seem a bit early, but with the time difference from the UK it was actually 1 o’clock in the morning for us.
 

Piglet_the_brave

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Your family is just precious! Can't wait to hear about all of your adventures :happy: Do Piglet & friends always come with you guys on your trips?? They're so cute!
Thank you, that’s so sweet. There’s always some combination of toys that travel with us, there would be an entire suitcase if it was up to the girls. Piglet is actually quite new, he’s a stand in for my original who’s about 25 now.
 

fizzieee

Well-Known Member
Thank you, that’s so sweet. There’s always some combination of toys that travel with us, there would be an entire suitcase if it was up to the girls. Piglet is actually quite new, he’s a stand in for my original who’s about 25 now.

I just love that! My mom is a HUGE Piglet fan, so it definitely reminds me of her. :inlove:
 

Piglet_the_brave

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Finally got a little bit of time to myself, so can post a little update.

Day 1: Thursday 2nd January

As is usually the case on our first morning, because of still being on UK time a bit, we are always awake at silly o’clock in the morning. We normally take advantage of this with a few early park mornings, but because of the focus of the trip being my races I still had some training runs to do so had planned one for this morning. Unfortunately it really was silly o’clock (4 am) and still pitch dark. I’m sure Disney resorts are pretty safe to run round, and they’re quite well lit but the problem for me is that I like to be able to see everything on the paths and the edges of the bushes. The reason being I am absolutely terrified of snakes. I once saw the tiniest little black one on the walkway between HS and the Boardwalk and completely freaked out.

So Darren decided to take advantage of the 24 hr gym, and I finished the last bit of unpacking and chilled out for a while. There may have been some leftover cold pizza eaten for breakfast 😂. By 7, it was finally light enough to go for my run. The girls were up and dressed by this time so we decided to all go. It was a beautiful sunny morning, a little bit of a chill in the air but we soon warmed up once we started. A nice gentle 3 mile run around the resort was just what we needed after being cooped up on the plane for so long the previous day

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There’s was some balcony relaxing while we got ready for our day at Epcot.

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We then popped over to the main building for a quick breakfast at Artist’s Palette, omelettes and the first of many Mickey waffles.
 

Piglet_the_brave

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 1 cont.

We hopped on a bus to Epcot without much of a wait. This would become a bit of a theme this trip, we were very lucky with transport. We like Grandstand because it is the first stop at Saratoga so we always get a seat and at the end of the day we are first to be dropped off. But it does mean that it takes quite a while to travel round the rest of the stops and be on our way.

By the time we got to Epcot we were already into the time window for our first FP+, Spaceship Earth (always known as The Big Golf Ball in our family). We needed to activate our park tickets and buy a Tables in Wonderland card. The queue for guest relations outside the gates was absolutely crazy, so we decided to just sort out our tickets, and get the TiW card inside the park later on.

So off to SSE. The girls decided to ride together, so I was stuck with Darren 😂. We were a bit rebellious, and pretended to be from Russia. But obviously English speaking, because Dame Judi 🇬🇧. It’s strange because we don’t usually do this, and the girls decided to rebel as well. They were Australian. My photo turned up in the little interactive bit at the end but not Darren’s. I thought it best not to tell my children that Disney thought that daddy didn’t belong in my future.

We then had a bit of time before our next FP+, so over to guest relations to get the TiW card. Very important because we had a lunch ADR and didn’t want to miss out on that discount.

A bit of a queue when I got there (Darren had taken the girls to do something far more interesting) but it seemed to be moving quite steadily. There were lots of CMs manning the desk and I was only waiting about 5 minutes when I was called up. Then it started to go wrong. Apparently only one computer can deal with TiW cards so I was directed to wait near that one. I had already noticed that a family had been with this CM for a while. Then most of the family left leaving an older lady there, looked like possibly grandma. I waited and I waited. She was showing the CM her phone, he was being very patient. I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt, but from the conversation I couldn’t help but overhear, she hadn’t booked any FP+ and was trying to sort them out for the whole trip there and then. And being VERY demanding about it. The CM disappeared to a back room a few times, presumably to scream and bang his head against a wall. Finally after about 20 minutes she left and I took approximately 30 seconds to get my TiW card. The CM who was dealing with this lady was so nice and patient, I can’t remember his name just remember he was from South Africa.
 

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