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Old 28 May 13, 03:22 PM  
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Earning More Ears
rudolph911's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 12
:) Can we not just drive there? January 2013

Pre trippy here

Day 1

I told you not to invest too much time and emotion in this post!

Of course all the promises of diligent note taking, comprehensive photo-taking and running to a military schedule that would have storming Norman hanging his head in shame at his ineptitute went completely out the window.

So too did the faithful promises to myself that a little novel on this thread would be written as soon as we touched the ground again in Dublin.

Anyway, as a result, I can only type in general terms now as even the holiday planner that I had typed up ended up getting chopped and changed a bit.

New Years Day 2013 dawned early but not so bright in our house. Some of the car packing had been done the previous evening, but at approx. 5am on the first day of the year, I was left scratching my head standing at the back of our family saloon wondering if anyone would notice if we left Darragh behind. That would have cut out about 3/4 of the luggage. Anyway, after a while of cursing and swearing, and thankful for a mis-spent youth of Tetris playing, we were on the road and leaving a trail of sparks on the road behind the overladen car.

Check in at Dublin Airport went quite smoothly but for some reason, maybe the fact that it was a public holiday, going through homeland security at Dublin Airport seemed to take an age. It delayed our flight by about half an hour. On top of that all weather conditions went against us, meaning that the flight took over 9 hours. Baby Lucifer behaved himself well on the flight and availed of the sky-cot. Unfortunately this meant that I was pinned into my seat for the duration, as the sky cot shelf folded out onto our laps without room to move around it.

On arrival at MCO, we showed our inexperience of travelling with a child by lugging him all the way down to baggage claim to get his pushchair. We never noticed before that they are collected at the aircraft door. Anyway, in the end, the baggage handlers took pity on our stupidity and instead of having to trek all the way back, it came after all the luggage.

Out then to collect, the hire car. I have mentioned that we had joined Dollar Express and had hired a full size car with a special request for a Dodge Charger. With a smug look on my face I steered my family away from the rental cars desk, saying, No, we donít need to go there and headed straight for the garage. Once there, I pulled out my Dollar Express car and marched up to the desk, waiting to be ushered to my awaiting limousine complimentary upgrade that the valet would bring around. No such luck. And no Dodge Chargers either! In fairness to the desk in the garage, she did process my rental there rather than sending me back into the terminal. Child seat grabbed and thrown on top of the mountain of luggage already on the cart, off we went in search of a full size car. Nathan was disappointed that there was no Dodge Charger there, but still and all he was not impressed when I started heading in the direction of a Crown Vic. It was the only one there that I wouldnít be driving at home so I wanted a shot of that. DW said she was going to walk rather than travel in that. Out numbered 2 against 1, I had to back down, but I must tell you that I was sorely tempted to call DWís bluff.

As a compromise, we settled on a Ford Fusion, the same as our Mondeo on this side of the world. Out we went to it and I heaved and pushed all of our luggage into the boot and into the car. The I spent about quarter of an hour trying to fit that cursed child seat. Doing this, I remembered why we have an Isofix system at home. Everything safely packed away, I gave the command to load up, and get out of my way so I could give the car a good going over. Note to self: in future doing this before you skin knuckles and sweat blood sweat and tears manhandling all of your luggage into the car. It wasnít a new car, and there were a couple of very minor dents and scratches on the car, nothing that would be noticeable even without giving it a good look around. However, one of the front tyres did concern me. It seemed to be excessively worn, more so on one side, and I wasnít comfortable to carry my family around on it for two weeks.

I called a worker over and asked where their garage was to have it changed. The answer was not there! It was getting late in the day at this stage and I was wrecked and still facing the drive to the hotel. Having showed them the problem they were not happy for me to drive out on it either, and in fairness to them, rightfully so. I donít know whether it was an upgrade, downgrade or sideways grade I got but they sent me over to smaller SUVís. So all the lugging and hauling had to be done again, first out of the fusion and then into the back of a Jeep Liberty, in white at the choice of Nathan. The boot of the Liberty was a little smaller than the car, but it was higher, square and more user friendly than the car. The bloody child seat had to be taken out and put in again. So eventually, a slightly irate Noel hit the road, irate not at the staff or people I encountered, who did the best with the situation they faced but Irate with the situation and my own stupidity for not checking the car fully before loading it up.
Off we went in Layla, as christened by DW. I had foregone the hire of a sat nav and was using my phone for that. I got a US sim card a couple of days later with all I could eat Data and cheap calls to Ireland, so it worked out cheaper than hiring a sat nav and roaming charges.

The drive to the hotel was uneventful. I had researched it on the internet and I am lucky that I am a good driver (not blowing my own trumpet, but there has been enough spent on me on driving coursed that I should be), and I settled into driving on the wrong side of the road straight away, with my mantra of keep the bitch to the ditch ringing in my mind!

We arrived at our hotel, Champions World Resort on the 192 in Kissimmee. Iím not going to say a lot about the hotel. We did have a couple of issues with them that we were not happy about, but in fairness to the management and staff they went to great lengths to rectify these errors. With respect to this, I am not going to go into details here. As stated before when away and not planning to spend a lot of time in a hotel, all we want is a place to sleep and a place to wash and it more than ticked these boxes. DW insisted on unpacking and sorting clothes out there and then. While we reluctantly helped, as soon as it was done, we were out the door and on the road as far as Wal-Mart. The first substantial hole was put in the credit card limit, but that covered a lot of the essentials that lasted for the full two weeks, such as nappies, wipes and other toiletries, as well as some summer clothes for the lads. Layla, loaded up for the second time that day, we headed back for Champions. We stopped at the Pizza Hut across the road from Champions. Something quick and tasty was in order. Nathan had to be woken up to eat his food. Darragh had been able to cat nap on and off during the day but Nathan was after running out of fumes to run on. Food eaten, drinks drank, it was off to bed and quickly into a deep sleep.

Layla at Champions!

Edited at 07:49 PM. Reason: add pre trippy url, try to upload photos
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