“Once in a lifetime” trip to Disney :) – 2001


The Diary of Bev Stephenson (or ‘It’s not scary is it Mummy?’

The players:
Bev Stephenson (32), been keen to go to Florida for many years (has been before in the 80’s)
Phil Stephenson (38) not that keen, but agrees to go, just to shut me up.
Katie (3), no idea where we are going, but wants to meet Mickey Mouse.

[B]May 4th 2001 – On board AIH059 Newcastle to Sanford, at Newcastle Airport.[/B]

We woke up at around 7am, and had a nice relaxing lie in. Katie did not want to wake up, but when the magic words ‘Mickey Mouse’ were whispered in her ears she say up grumpily.

We are all packed excepted we can’t find the parasol (for Katie’s buggy) anywhere, and the house is a tip. Phil & Katie have breakfast, and I run around hiding laundry and cleaning loo’s, nothing worse than coming home to a filthy house.

We ask Katie about the umbrella as she likes to play with it, ‘Under the stairs’ she replies, so we empty out the under the stairs cupboard, and there is is.

Bill (my father in law) is due at 9:30am, so arrives at 9 (as we expected), as we load the car and head for the airport. At the airport we go to check-in, I have brought Katie’s carseat to use on board. I have contacted Airtours customer service to check, and they told me, forward facing, with a harness, no more than 16 inches wide, But all the check-in clerk want’s to know is ‘Is it a Britax’, It is not. I am calm, cool, and I say ‘Fine, we will not check in then, and head off to ring Airtours customer service. On the way, I pass the Airtours desk, so I stop to complain. The duty manager says I can take it to the gate, and see what happens ‘A victory’ (for the moment). We proceed to departures and a little aside.

Yesterday, I had my nails done for the trip, when I got back to the office I had smudged one, as I was quite disappointed (wanting beautiful nails in my holiday pictures – vain or what), I arranged to meet Phil at the salon, and went back to have it repaired, Phil had a long wait, but the nail was fixed and I set off with one wet nail – needless to say, this was also smudged, and I rather sheepishly returned to the salon a third time to fix my polish. (I didn’t have a bottle of the color, so I couldn’t fix it myself)
Anyway – we get to the airport, and there is a nail bar, with my polish, so I could have had it fixed here while we waited – no need for the trauma yesterday…

Anyway – back to the story – we go through departures, and to the gate. At the gate, I find a rep, and explain about the carseat, again she asks ‘Is it a Britax’ I explain that it is not, and they send the carseat to the hold (but curiously we were able to use it on the return journey…)

We board, and it’s a lovely brand new A330 with seat back tv’s and a downstair’s loo! I am happy, and we are about to take off…

Katie’s thoughts: We’ve eathen some sweeties on the airplane.

[B]May 4th, 3:00pm UK time- somewhere over the atlantic.[/B]

Flight is going really well, I’ve read about 4 pages of ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ Seatback tv’s are great, we’ve watched ‘Chocolat’ & ‘What women want’ – Katie has watched kids’ tv (bear in the big blue house, and Cat in the hat – same programs about 100 times).
Katie is getting 1 present every hour, and that is working really well – the hours seem to be flying by.
Lunch was served, and the food was disappointing – Phil’s Fish & Chips are fishy aeroplanes, and Katie’s hotdog has onions on it – a bit odd for a kids meal. (I can’t remember what I had!)

[B]May5th 5:30am Clarion Hotel Universal.[/B]

We landed at 3.45pm (US time) and got through customs, immigrations, airtours, and Dollar queues and into car and on the road by 5:40 – 2 hours in the airport is quite a long time….
The car is a Dodge Neon, and quite lovely (except no power windows or locking – we have to keep remembering to lock up) One of the toll booths has a massive long queue, but other than that no problems with the journey, plain sailing until Junction 4, we need Junction 3, but our lane is forced to exit – Phil asks me which junction, I look up, and seeing the 4 – say ‘4’ (wrong answer) and we exit, we end up on the Turnpike, and I am frantically map reading to work out where we are going. Fortunatly, the next exit is for I-drive, we take it and with some superb map-reading find the hotel.

Thoughts on the hotel: We have a smoking room and it stinks – literally, The sink leaks, and it’s not posh, it’;s basically ok. Full of kids on school trips, who I hope will be leaving after the weekend. The location is pretty good, it looks isolated, but the top of I’drive is 2 minutes away.

Dinner: Ponderosa – We are very tired and want to eat and sleep, on reflection McDonalds or Wendys would have been a better idea, but we try Ponderosa.

We have to wait in line, probably only 10 minutes, but Katie is tired and crying, and I am carrying her. ‘Boy is she heavy’ We have a 7oz steak (phil), Shrimp (Me), and the enormous buffet. I seem to have 2 dinners, 1 plate full of shrimp and chimps, and 1 plate of buffet, $23 altogether – very reasonable.

I spend some time unpacking, and we got to sleep about 10pm (3am uktime).

We are wide awake by 5am and manage to warm Katie’s milk in the coffee pot. Today Seaworld, and maybe IOA for Dr. Seuss later but first breakfast.

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