I know, I neglect this blog dreadfully all year, and then as soon as we go on holiday it springs back to life.
To be honest, I don’t know if anyone reads it anymore, but the kids like me to write a trip report, and I like it for my scrapbooking, so I’m going to write, and if no-one reads, then so be it.
We booked this trip over a year ago, and has been eagerly anticipated, then about 3 months before the trip we finally manage to sell our house, and the holiday is very much put onto a back burner whilst we move house, my brother gets married and I finish up a very hectic end of term season at school. The end result is a trip that is possibly not as well planned as I’d like.
Our plan is a 3 week trip, one week at OKW with the dining plan, one week at the Boardwalk using our DVC points, and then in the final week we are going to the beach for a few days, taking a 3 day cruise on the Disney Dream, and returning to Orlando for 2 nights at the Regal Sun.
Tuesday, August 9 2011 – Travelling Day.
Actually, I need to back up just slightly as our trip starts on Monday, the 8th. Phil has to work, and the girls and I finish up the packing and trying to make the house tidy for our return. The clock is ticking by extremely slowly. Eventually, Phil finishes work, we get the car packed up and we are off. We have a fairly boring 3 hour drive to Glasgow and arrive at the Holiday Inn around 7pm. I’d spoken with a Dibber about the Holiday Inn, and she’d assured me we could get a family room and that it was just across the road from the airport. For some reason, I’d assumed it was across some sort of major highway but in fact it’s across a very minor service road and it practically attached to the airport. The location is perfect. We check in, and find our family room, which turns out to be 2 rooms. they have removed one of the bathrooms and connected the rooms with a little corridor.
Before Phil drops off the car, I want to go across to the airport and check out the size of my carry on bag. Even though I’ve flown hundreds of times, and never had my carryon bag checked, I am nervous that my new bag is to big and we will be turned away. If that happens in the morning, I don’t know what I will do with my bag since we won’t have the car to put it in. We walk over to the Terminal and check it in the official Carry On bag cage and it its absolutely fine, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
We glance around the airport but don’t see anywhere we fancy for tea, so Phil takes the car over to the offsite carpark, and we go back to the Holiday Inn and find the bar.
We have a meal in the bar, which was quite nice but very expensive. and then head up to bed.
So, finally, we get to Tuesday….
We want to check in around 7am, so the alarm goes off at 5:30, and for possibly the first time ever the night before a trio, I am fast asleep and woken by the alarm. The hotel is very comfortable, and we have had a really good nights sleep. I am pretty impressed with the Holiday Inn, and we would stay here again.
We head over to the Terminal for 7 and get checked in quite painlessly, no-one even glances at my carryon bag at either check-in or security and we see loads of bags that are much larger than mine, so I stop worrying about that. There is a 2 hour delay on the flight, so we have a little time to kill at the airport. We have breakfast at Weatherspoon’s, and then I spend some time trying to connect to the airport wi-fi and download a film for the girls. It’s a waste of time, the airport might have wi-fi but it doesn’t appear to want to download anything.
We eventually get called for boarding, and whilst we are waiting we spot someone sporting Dibb luggage tags. They are having their bags searched so we don’t speak to them just yet. On board, and we have our seats, 2 with 2 behind. The family next to us have all been split into one’s, so I am relieved we decided to pay for the seats. The plane is ThomasCooks ‘Standard Cabin’ and it’s extremely nice. I’m not tall but there was plenty of leg-room, and seat back tvs. My only complaint would be that I couldn’t raise the armrest between me and my DD, which I usually do to allow me to steal a bit of her seat.
Time passes slowly. 9 hours in a metal tube, is 9 hours, no matter what airline you are flying. I watch 3 movies. Kung Fu Panda 2, Source Code, and some nonsense with Jennifer Aniston which was dire but I was desperate by that time. The food was ok, there was a chicken dish, which was ok, with a chocolate pudding that was really very nice. Then later on we got some sandwiches which the kids didn’t like and a miniature ice cream cone.
Finally, we land, and as we are waiting to go through immigration I spot the Dibb sign again. Just as we are about to speak to the immigration officer, I get a chance to say hello. Not the best spot for a chat, but I discover it’s Tommy Belfast and his family. They let us into the country, we find our bags fairly quickly and head out into the Florida Sunshine. I am starting to think it’s going to be our fastest escape from the airport, ever, when we get to the car hire queue. Phil asks me if we have Express, and I tell him I don’t think so as we don’t have any sort of card in our file.
In previous years they have made you wait outside the car hire building, so the kids and I wait whilst DH goes in to collect the car. We wait, and we wait, and we wait, and I’m starting to wonder if he’s ever going to appear. A member of staff tells us we can wait inside, so we move all the bags into the air-conditioning and we wait some more. Eventually Phil appears with the keys, and a frustrating bit of news. When he finally got to the desk, he was told he does have Dollar Express and could have gone to the front of the queue!!!
We had decided to treat ourselves a little and rather than our usual compact car, we’ve hired an SUV. It’s a Ford Escape and it’s lovely. The cases go into the back no problem, and we set off to WDW.
As we pull onto the 417, and I finally start to relax. I love Florida, but I really don’t like the trip, I’m always worried that something will go wrong, the Esta’s will be missing, or my finger prints won’t be approved. Something will conspire against us. Of course, it doesn’t ever happen, but I can never relax. Yet, here we are. It’s warm, is raining, and we are on our way.
We get to Old Key West around 6pm, and are checked in by a very cheerful guy who is at the end of his shift and ready to go home. He gives us a room in the Old Turtle Pond area, badges for my birthday. The kids badges say ‘Celebrating that Mom is old’, thanks 🙂 He also gives them balloon flower sculptures, and is just generally overly cheerful.
We have a quick walk around and take a look at the pool and the snack bar, and then we find our room. We are on the 2nd floor in Building 38. We’ve got a studio with a view of a lake and some trees.
Our first impression is the room is really big, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of storage. Last trip, we had a studio at the Beach Club, and when you opened the door to that room there was a sort of lobby area with coat hooks before you walked past the kitchennette/bathroom and the bedroom was at the back. In this room, you open the door and are immediately in the bedroom, with the kitchenette and bedroom off to the side. I don’t dislike it, but my first impression is that I prefer the layout at the Beach Club with the bedroom at the back of the space.
It’s about 7pm, and we are all really really tired. I’m a bit worried that if we fall asleep now we will be awake at 3am, so I suggest we go to Downtown Disney for some tea. We eat at the Wolfgang Puck Express. This is a Quick Service but it’s like halfway between Quick Service and Table Service. You place your order at the counter, get your own drinks and find a table, and then they bring your food out to you, refill your drinks and clear the tables. We had Chicken Alfredo, Penna Bolognese, Salmon, and a Kids Spaghetti. (Food Pictures on link) With 4 drinks and 4 desserts, the bill would have come to $85. We really enjoyed our meal, and will go back again, but I would be less keen if I was paying for my food as it ain’t cheap.
It’s absolutely freezing in the restaurant, so we are quite keen to get out of the air con and back into the warmth. We walk back to the car, looking in a few shops and then it’s back to the room where we are ready to sleep. Molly crawls into bed and is asleep before her head hits the pillow. I’ve got plans of writing my report, or unpacking, but my bed looks very inviting, and so we all crawl into bed and are asleep very quickly. It’s been a very long day, but we are here and looking forward to the 3 weeks ahead.