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The surprise May Villa & car (gulp) trip

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by keith, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    It`s good to hear that we no longer have to keep a look out for the rear of a Dodge Charger that`s face down in the Everglades! :lol:

    Glad that all is going well Keith...having dinner at the Bistro de Paris is really a fantastic way to start your vacation. :thumbsup:

    Enjoy the rest of your holiday. :wave:
     
  2. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Well I'm awake and refreshed :lol: I wish they'd move Florida a bit closer to the UK, then again, perhaps I don't :lol:

    Driving was interesting. We'd got a GPS with US maps and a dear friend kindly sent me all their points of interest for us to load. We've lived by that as it turns out that they've got EVERYTHING in there! Literally they've put in a load of perfectly accurate points which have everything we'd ever want and more. So all we do is select the point and let the nav do the heavy lifting. So far it's been brilliant.

    We did try and navigate to the villa via the 417 before the gps but messed up and by the time I got the system going it sent us I4 but it was fine. No tolls and easy enough. At one point we had a sheriff car behind us and a state trooper car in front so I was wondering if this was to be a really well executed stop :lol: but thankfully not.

    So far driving has yes indeed, been fine :)

    Great sleep and woke up to DW watching the royal wedding but then, can't have everything I guess ;-)

    I'm now sitting by a perfectly wonderful pool, lovely cold drink and some kind of pringles called Rajin'cajuns which have totally burnt my tongue but somehow I keep eating.

    Being used to a small hotel room when we come in Florida this is just amazing! I can now see why people love villas.

    Given the shuttle launch is delayed, I think we're going to do a bit of shopping, possibly a chinese for lunch and then the luau at the polynesian later :)

    My thanks to everyone on this wonderful forum for all your kind words and help during the planning :hug2:
     
  3. Esmeralda
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    Esmeralda Serious Forum Regular

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    So glad you have conquered your driving in Florida fear. You really are amazing and very brave. Kudos to you, and I really mean that.
     
  4. Lisa1976
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    Lisa1976 Addicted to Mickey

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    Have fun Keith - am very jealous of your last minute trip!!
     
  5. daveann
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    daveann Addicted to Mickey

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    Oh how I wish I was there have fun :)
     
  6. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    So glad you found the I 4 at a time when it wasn't jammed!!! The shuttle scrub must have been a disappointment, but it's rescheduled for Monday, so perhaps you'll get to see it after all.

    Hope your days are going well! The car is lovely to have, isn't it? :yes:

    Take care now!!! :hug2:
     
  7. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    well half way through already! noooooooooo!

    Having a wonderful time. The villa is beyond fantastic, absolutely in love with it and really don't want to leave :lol: the driving has indeed been fine, the dodge charger a pretty fine car and a full tank about $40 unbelievable!

    Tonight was the columbia restaurant in celebration and it couldnt have been better. Wonderful bourbon covered filet mignon and great wine. Awesome place and amazing value relative to Disney restaurants!

    This afternoon was crazy golf at the pirates cove at crossroads, always good for a fun hour or so although very very hot!

    We've been to the luau, charleys steakhouse a few times, the malls and all over with the car and already I'm starting to wonder if we could ever do Orlando without a car again!

    Many thanks to everyone here for taking the time to kindly and patiently explain the advantages of the car hire over and over until I was convinced :)
     
  8. Kate
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    Kate Serious Forum Regular

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    Sounds like you are having a wonderful time, and i also think you sound very chilled out!!
     
  9. lisaw
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    lisaw Serious Forum Regular

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    Glad you are having a great time and the hiring of a car was a success! :)
     
  10. ukwdwnut
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    ukwdwnut Director of Recruitment Forum Host

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    the villas are superb aren't they keith. so glad your enjoying your stay in one. i never doubted for a second that you would have problems driving over there as its so much better than here. also its gives you the added freedom of going places you'd never go if you stayed onsite and didn't hire a car.
    hope the rest of your stay is as good, well of course it will be :D
     
  11. Esmeralda
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    Esmeralda Serious Forum Regular

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    Yay! You'll never go to Florida again without a hire car. The freedom to roam is fantastic isn't it. Plus the luxury of a villa with its own pool and facilities is wonderful to have. And eating off site is sooooooooo much cheaper isn't it.
     
  12. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Glad you're having a good time Keith! And glad the car is working out for you. :thumbsup:

    Now... if we could just get you to listen to us about a Disney Cruise, all would be right with the world! :sail:

    Tom :)macwave:... Terry will be along later to beat you up about the cruise some more!)
     
  13. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    I hate to say "I told you so" Keith, but I did indeed "tell you so" regarding the car. :lol:
    I`m so pleased that you have got the hang of it, and as you say it will be hard not to hire a car over there in future.
    Glad that you are still enjoying your holiday and it`s good to hear that the Columbia Restaurant is still up to scratch.
    Enjoy the rest of your time there. :wave:
     
  14. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Don't make me out a liar. Beat him up about taking a cruise too! :ROFL:

    What kind of Cruise Director are you anyway! Making your subordinates do all the work! :taunt:

    Tom :)macwave:... keeping the management in line!)
     
  15. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    D`ya know I did indeed intend to mention this in my last post Tom, but you are correct I must work on Keith to try a DCL cruise....I just love spending other folks` money! :lol:
     
  16. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    :keith:

    Tom :)macwave:... sounds like a plan to me!)
     
  17. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Keith, just back in town myself. So glad to hear that all is going well and assume you will assist in keeping the car rental agencies going the next time you visit. :yes:
     
  18. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Well, last day today :cry2: we're just tidying up and packing

    I can honestly say we've had the BEST time :yes:

    We've always stayed on Disney in the disney resorts and without a car, so this was a really new experience. I was pretty sure DW would love the sunbathing and peace/quiet but I was less sure if I'd enjoy it. I'm more of a contemporary resort hustle bustle type of hotel dweller :lol:

    Well we both loved it. The villa made us gasp as we opened the door. Amazingly beautiful place to stay and certainly a very different, more relaxed and free holiday.

    The car worked out great as well. We picked up a Dodge Charger at sanford from Dollar having used carhire3000 which seemed to be the best price (Thanks to Slowhand and Wendy for the recommendation). There wasnt much of a hard sell but then I'd chosen the premium package anyway since it was our first time.

    Out to the car park the car looked great and sure enough Dolly Dodge, as she came to be known, performed flawlessly. I know many don't believe in Sat Nav systems but ours really made a huge difference. We were emailed a GPX file of favourite destinations which we just selected and voila!

    It really was much much much better than I expected, especially round Disney as everyone told me it would be.

    I think all in all, the US system is more prepared to deal with fools and silliness than the UK :lol: the silly looking dangling traffic lights do at least dangle over a lane so you know exactly which one you're looking at (something which can be awkward in the UK). There are certainly signs for EVERYTHING :lol: and the space is amazing! Even the parking bays are angled.

    If I had to pick on one thing it's the exits. It's not JUST that there's hardly any notice of them, it's not only that they can be on the left OR the right (which is kinda crazy in itself) but it's the way you can have an exit only lane here..... and the exit you need is the NEXT one. So you need to avoid the first exit only lane and then manage to get in again for the one you need (whilst avoiding the folks who thought sod it and just drove through the first one anyway).

    So many times we were thinking ok.... exit in 1 mile.... hmmm cant get over now though because thats ANOTHER exit :/ then before you know where you are, blam :lol:

    Anyway, it was great. Petrol silly cheap :) funny because first time we stopped for "gas" this huge guy 7ft tall 7ft wide guy was filling up some hiphop vehicle alongside and I said to dw wow look at the price (as in hey this is like $4 a gallon instead of $11 back home) and huge booming voice said "I hear you man, this is too expensive, terrible times, terrible times". Of course I'm not minimising the impact of fuel costs when they've been so much cheaper for everyone but still compared to the UK it's WOW.

    We had some lovely times, drives and meals. The out and out winner this time was the columbia restaurant at Celebration. We had two outstanding meals there. Service, food, everything was just first class. I'm going to miss not being able to just pop there.

    Not too many bad points. I guess more than ever we were stung by how poor Disney dining has become in terms of value and for the most part, service. Each time we dined we felt rushed and treated very much like an annoyance. Get em in, sit them down, get the money, get em out. When I consider that even a mediocre Disney restaurant cost easily $100 for the two of us, and compare to the Columbia which offered food which was a hundred times better, bottle of wine etc and we still struggled to get it to $90! Disney just looks increasingly uncompetitive.

    We tried a few more Chinese buffets/restaurants. All rubbish I'm afraid :( and we tried a few at 3:15pm and of course they all wanted Dinner rates which were usually $5 a head more, and should only start at 3:30 or 4, for a more expensive selection (apparently) which always consisted of a few more seafood choices which we didnt want anyway. Even a place we'd gone to for years and they know us, tried it on this time. "oh 3:15 we'll give you the dinner menu although its not out yet, ok?" not really ok no :/

    Other interesting things. It was our first time not using disney buses to the parks. WOW it can take a long time to get back to your car from the magic kingdom at the end of the night can't it???? :lol: I didnt realise! clever the way the Castle is so visible from the ferry stop by the car park.

    The tmobile mifi device worked great! It's a tiny device which provides pay as you go internet for up to 5 wireless devices. I kept it in my pocket and the iphone used it perfectly from in the parks etc :) very nice solution. I paid $50 for 3GB but there are lower top ups you can buy.

    Ah well that's about it really. I'm normally ready to come home after two weeks in a tiny hotel room, but I could quite happily stay here forever.

    See you all from the UK :cry2:
     
  19. uscwest
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    Sounds like you had a fabulous trip, except for the rushed dining. Donna and I have a habit of telling our server that we are there to relax, enjoy a drink, maybe an appetizer and will order dinner when we feel like it. Have never run into a problem.
     
  20. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Good plan. I'll have to try similar.

    The worst was Mama Melrose. Now it's not an AMAZING place but we usually do the fantasmic dinner package which works out "ok". Well this time it was queuing out the door, everyone had been packed in and I heard two CMs discussing how many reservations had been made and how they could possible service so many. Naturally, a few minutes into our appetizers the main courses were unceremoniously dumped on the table.

    Certainly far from the wonderful Disney dining of old

    It's ok to be honest. I'd far rather spend the dollars at Charleys, ruths chris, columbia etc.

    We also spent a bit more time at Universal citywalk and wow is that place JUMPING! Kinda what pleasure island SHOULD have been.
     

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