2003: the flight

Sunday:
We wake up at the Hilton,  take our time getting dressed and stroll out into the airport terminal,  a very relaxed and leisurely start to our journey,  much nicer than a 4 am start at Newcastle.
We skipped past the long checkin lines and went straight through departures.
Since we were off to the USA we thought we would start as we mean to go on, and went to Garfunkels for breakfast,  I have to say the pancakes were ok, but it’s not the real thing.

After breakfast, and some shopping,  we took another monorail out to the plane,  there seem to be a lot of monorails on this holiday 🙂

We board first and find our seats, on the left as you enter the plane 🙂   No,  not premium economy, but a small section of economy seats right at the front of the plane,  it was quite a nice cabin to be in, because it was very small, only 4 rows of seats.
We have the very front row at the bulkhead, next to the window.  It’s right behind Premium Economy so we get a very good view of how the other half live (better than us, that’s how).

We had a bit of a squashed flight,  Molly had a skycot, which was great, but it really cuts into your space,  so we were quite cramped, even with the bulkhead,  although the aisle seat was excellent as it had nothing in front of it, not even a wall, so you could stretch out there.

Both kids were fine, although Molly spent most of her time on our lap, as everytime the fasten seatbelts sign comes on, she had to come out of the skycot, and it seemed to come on quite a lot.  Katie was brilliant considering the kids tv channel was broken, and she really doesn’t like grown-up films,  she found some music videos in the end and watched them.

Molly started to scream just as we started to descend,  and the poor babe screamed all the way into the terminal,  nothing we could offer her would pacify her,  and it was quite a stressful time, but once we had landed she calmed down and fell asleep.

We landed at 5.15 and started the epic nightmare that is Orlando Airport – I don’t think we will ever travel through Orlando airport again,   we found it to be awful.  It took us nearly an hour to find all our bags and the pushchair,  the annoying thing was the pushchair had been taken off the carousel and put to one side, but noone knew where it was,  when we eventually found it,  we made a mistake and put Molly in it, and expected Katie to walk.  By this time it was very late to Katie and it would have been better to put Molly in the sling and let Katie ride in the pushchair, but we didn’t think of that until much later.
We negotiated customs, and I think immigration, and were then asked to hand our bags back over – now I had heard about the double bag reclaim, but didn’t realise just how frustrating this would be, having taken such a long time to find all those bags, the last thing I wanted to do was relinquish them again!

The next obstacle was a security check to get [b]into[/b] the airport,  and while I appreciate the need for security, I really can’t say I could see the benefit of this one,  we had already been in the airport an hour, and we just wanted to get out,  this seemed like it was adding insult to injury.  After security,  a monorail,  and another hour to reclaim our bags again,  we finally made it to the hire car, we think we were in the airport 2 1/2 hours,  which seems far too long just to leave an airport.

Alamo were fine,  no upgrade hassles,  and we were told to choose any car frmo the Intermediate Row – this turned out to be a godsend,  as when we got to the Intermediate Row,  and loaded all our bags into the boot of the only red car in the aisle (red being Katie’s choice),  we discovered that Mollys carseat wouldn’t fit in the red car.   I worked my way down the aisle, and tried her seat in 6 more cars before I found one that it would fit in.  I have to tell you I was getting quite panicked,  we were all shattered,  Katie was exhausted and distraught because we couldn’t have a red car,  and I just couldn’t think what we would do if we couldn’t get the carseat installed.  Fortunatly,  we found a Mitsubishi Galant which had long enough seatbelts,  and we moved all the bags and set off.
We had a short journey down to the 192, and picked up our keys frmo the Management Co, and stopped in the Winn Dixie next door for some food.   I was so tired that I bought the strangest selection of food – bread but no butter or jam for example,  but we did get some lovely fried chicken in the supermarket which we had for our tea, because we were all well past going out to eat (in fact both kids were fast asleep).
We found our apartment at Windsor Palms,  and collapsed into bed, there are plenty of beds in the apartment, but no cot,  so we all end up in one bed together – good thing the bed was HUGE

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