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Topic: Furry Funded Florida Family Fun, Background and Index

  1. #1
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    Default Furry Funded Florida Family Fun, Background and Index

    First an explanation of the name, Furry Funded Florida Family Fun, or 'The Five Fs' for short. My wife AngelMouse is disabled and so unable to work a normal job as she can't stand or walk for long periods of time and has bouts of abdominal pain that will leave her unable to do anything for a few hours until pain medication fights back. About 18 months ago we hit on the idea of her starting her own business looking after people's small furry animals while they were away, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, that sort of thing. A little to our surprise she has discovered a real demand for it and business is booming. Even after paying taxes, accountant fees, insurance and the like she's making a healthy profit. For the first time since she was forced to give up full time work 20 years ago she was able to pay 'her share' of the holiday and provide all of our spending money.

    Add to this our son Edward has also started work and also paid for himself, he has the furriest legs you've ever seen and so the title applies just as much to him. For those with teenage children I can highly recommend delaying trips until they start work, it makes the holiday so much cheaper.

    Furry Legs



    The Cast


    My big sister, S Kitten (Sandra), the current Mr S Kitten (Brian), Me (Martin), my wife AngleMouse (Julia) and our soon to be 21 year old son Edward.
    Mr and Mrs S Kitten were only staying 9 nights, but us three were in for the long haul and taking three weeks.

    Accommodation
    Going back to our 2014 trip we had decided that we would give on site at Disney a try having enjoyed our three days at Universal's Hard Rock Hotel so much. SK had been keeping an eye on Disney waiting for free dining to turn up and sure enough one Saturday back in May 2015 we had an evening at her house that saw us book Coronado Springs for 10 nights starting September 3rd and upgrading the free Quick Service dining to the standard dining plan for an extra 130 each. Mr SK gets very restricted time off work and so only had 9 days worth of leave left, so that was all they booked.

    Originally we were planning to round out a standard two week holiday with 4 nights at the new Cabana Bay in a family suite, but around August I found a rate I liked for the Hard Rock, especially with Edward and Julia now contributing fully to the cost and so we cancelled Cabana Bay and booked to go back to the Hard Rock instead.

    We had also been talking about how we were going to fit everything in and at some point a villa got added into the mix for a third week. We found a lovely Dibb Villa on Thousand Oaks, making sure it had room for Mr and Mrs SK just in case he decided work was unnecessary before we went.

    Car Hire
    Also around early August we found a rate for a hire car we liked with Hertz, probably as a result of a glitch we got a full size 7 seat SUV for around 30 less than they wanted for an intermediate SUV. Normally I go with Alamo Brits, but they wanted hundreds of pounds more. I kept looking over the months and never did see a better rate.

    Flights
    Flights were released with the normal carriers and sales came and went without us seeing a price we liked. We did see some convoluted routes and carriers that came close to what we wanted to pay, but we knew what we were waiting for. On Friday the 13th of November Norwegian released their September 2016 flights and minutes later we had three booked for 1467.10 including baggage, meals and booked seats. The flight times suited us, 4pm out of Gatwick meant no need for a night before in a hotel and not even a need for an early alarm. 9pm back from MCO means a full day in the parks on the last day. We had flown Norwegian into Fort Lauderdale back in 2014 and were impressed, so we were keen to use them again since they had added their Orlando route in the meantime.

    With the late return flight we spoke to the villa owner and added an extra day, meaning we didn't have to rush out by 10am on the Saturday and could in theory go back for showers before heading to the airport. Of course shower time turned into park time, but more of that in 22 day's time.

    ECV
    Because of AngelMouse's condition we needed an ECV to get around the parks. This was a little more convoluted than before as we needed to use a rental company that are Disney approved, but this didn't load the price too much. Three weeks were eventually booked with Scooter Bug after an argument with their web site and me having to email asking them "Do you not like British Money?". That email got me a laughing call from them an extra day added to our rental for free so we could hand it back right at the end of our last day.

    Parking
    A passing offer from TopCashBack for airport parking saw us booking an official meet and greet at Gatwick for 92 for the three weeks with Looking4Parking.

    Tickets
    Before we had to pay our balance to Disney I called and upgraded our 14 day Ultimate tickets to 21 day ones. We also got KSC tickets from ATD when they ran their adult for child prices promotion. Discovery Cove Ultimate's and Universal 14 day tickets we got from Orlando Attraction Tickets as they were cheapest. Once the dates were released we added MNSSHP tickets at Disney, which meant a couple of ADRs needed moving, but that was easily done.

    ADRs and FP+
    A few more evenings at SK's saw us narrow down our ADR list and eventually booking everything at the 180 day mark. FP+ followed and we got everything we wanted at the 60 day mark. I only booked FP+ for the days we were staying at Disney in advance. Those days we went in after that we just booked the night before or sometimes even that morning.

    Of course we had all the usual issues with MDE in the build up to our trip, with phone calls needed to get everything sorted and everybody linked properly, but luckily it all sorted itself out in time for ADRs and FP+. Only Memory Maker remained an issue, but SK's sorted itself out on the first use and I'll tell you the tale of ours as the trip goes on...

    Day one is here
    Day two is here
    Day three is here
    Day four is here
    Day five is here
    Day six is here
    Day seven is here
    Day eight is here
    Day nine is here
    Day ten is here
    Day eleven is here
    Day twelve is here
    Day thirteen is here
    Day fourteen is here
    Day fifteen is here
    Day sixteen is here
    Day seventeen is here
    Day eighteen is here
    Day nineteen is here
    Day twenty is here
    Day twenty one is here
    Day twenty two is here
    Last edited by spencem; 21-04-2019 at 10:45 AM.
    5 Trips to Florida, Christmas in LA, Disneyland Paris twice and odd days here and there.

    All my trip reports are now HERE.


  2. #2
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    Checking in. I am glad that the business has taken off. Looks like everything fell into place quite nicely in the planning stages as well. I love it when some kind of glitch leads to unexpected savings.

    Corinna





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    I love the planning! I was doing the majority of it for our friends and family trip last April/May and I really enjoy it. I love the title of your trip.

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    So pleased AngelMouse's business is doing well. When she started it, I thought it was a great idea. Glad she's proven that to be true!

    Exciting start...looking forward to more!












    Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you Im not messing around, use the gifts you were given.

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    Congratulations on the business front. Interesting to note you book your accommodation before the flights, I do it the other way round!

    What time do the Norwegian flights arrive in Orlando? About 8 pm I'm guessing.
    91/92/95HI MGE;97NYC/Cali/Ariz/Chicago;98St.Petes Bch/Hyatt K'mee;00C'water Bch/Dixie Landings;02South'n Dunes;05Ft.Myers/Keys/Ft Lauderdale/BW LBV;06Indian Ridge;07Ind. Ridge;08Sanibel/Ind. Ridge;09Sarasota/Ind. Ridge;10Sanibel/Ind. Ridge;11Ind. Ridge;12Sanibel/West Haven;13West Haven;14Sanibel/West Haven;15Sanibel/West Haven;15West Haven;16Panhandle tour/Ashley Manor;16Loma Linda;17Sanibel/Loma Vista;18Gulf Coast/St Ag/West Haven;19Sanibel/Venice Beach/West Haven

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    So pleased that such a great idea helped to pave the way for a memorable Orlando holiday. Kudos all round - and ready to hear more!

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    Yes around 8pm but more on this on day 1!
    Happiness is my piggies Belle & Chip and my cats Disney & Bob

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    Not only did I pay this time I also got more involved, watching the Dis Unplugged at lunchtimes. I made it really enjoyable. Yes business is booming I felt really good contributing for th first time in years and with Edward paying as well it really helped.
    Happiness is my piggies Belle & Chip and my cats Disney & Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by dolphingirl View Post
    Checking in. I am glad that the business has taken off. Looks like everything fell into place quite nicely in the planning stages as well. I love it when some kind of glitch leads to unexpected savings.

    Corinna
    It was certainly odd to see the bigger car the cheaper car, but I wasn't going to complain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
    I love the planning! I was doing the majority of it for our friends and family trip last April/May and I really enjoy it. I love the title of your trip.
    I'd rather be there to be honest, but it does pass the time waiting for the trip to come around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Veness View Post
    So pleased AngelMouse's business is doing well. When she started it, I thought it was a great idea. Glad she's proven that to be true!

    Exciting start...looking forward to more!
    The business is doing great, thank to the huge amount of work she puts into it.

    I've not got a schedule for when I'll be able to post, my work is just to random, but I want to get this done as soon as I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiggers Friend View Post
    Congratulations on the business front. Interesting to note you book your accommodation before the flights, I do it the other way round!

    What time do the Norwegian flights arrive in Orlando? About 8 pm I'm guessing.
    Because the free dining deals come out for the next year we didn't really have a choice but to book this way round, not that it was a problem at all. Disney are usually good if you need to amend a booking by a day or two to fit with flights as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Veness View Post
    So pleased that such a great idea helped to pave the way for a memorable Orlando holiday. Kudos all round - and ready to hear more!
    I'll get posting as soon as I can. I was planning to get some done tomorrow as I thought I was free for the day, then about 5pm I got a job starting at 03:30am. I'll see how I feel when I get home!
    5 Trips to Florida, Christmas in LA, Disneyland Paris twice and odd days here and there.

    All my trip reports are now HERE.


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    Just to throw my two pennyworth in as we pretty much we together, so not really worth doing two trip reports.

    There is an aside to our flights, as when this was first planned, and we were all talking, it was mentioned that if there was a good deal going, business class flights it would be!!
    As we were only going for nine nights, we had no leeway with our flights, so we had to fly out on a Saturday and home on the Monday night, which ruled Norwegian out [they only fly Saturday and Tuesday into MCO] so the wait started for the schedule flights to be released.
    Once released, I was horrified at their prices, so an even more nervous wait went on, waiting for them to reach a price we were happy with.
    Prices settled at around 700 for BA, and 770 for Virgin and indirect was dearer

    Whilst recuperating after being ill, BA announced a luxury seat sale, and I found what I thought was a good price, Economy into Tampa, Clubworld out, and a compact car, with two drivers and all insurances for 1000.
    A text sent to Mr SK to ring me, which panicked him, as he thought I had had a relapse, saw us book the flights, but those that had suggested the business class flights, cried off, opting to wait for Norwegian, but we were happy

    Hotels with parking were silly prices, and then we had an offer from the AA for Valet, meet and greet parking for 70, so we booked that. Fast forward a few months and someone on a facebook group mention Premier Inn were doing rooms for 31 at Gatwick, The one at the North Terminal was coming in at 64, but the one round the other side of the runway was 31, so we booked this despite our flight not being till 11.40 as I never trust the M25 to behave and would have left home around 7am anyway.

    I also booked an Airboat ride with Spirit of the Swamp one morning, and Angelmouse wanted to book something for her two men, so this was left to me after it was decided what they were doing, so that none of the three men, got an inkling what they were doing. It was just added into the plan, as 'The boys surprise'

    I'll add our thoughts to my brothers days as and when he posts, as he is stupidly busy with work and any days he is getting off, he is spending with us, helping us prepare for our move, which is now very imminent and we are very grateful for his help, as we have a four bedroom house, that 5 years ago Mr SK moved his three bed into, and we are downsizing to a two bed bungalow so the charity shops are benefiting well, and they know us by name at our local tip, oops recycling centre

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