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Old 21 Apr 19, 07:03 PM  
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Join Date: Jun 12
The Marsh‘s Marvellous Mousecation- Day 14 - Saturday 20th April

Alarms were set for 6am! We all got washed/dressed & collected up the remaining few bits from the villa. I left a little ‘thank you' for the cleaners in the form of $20 tip, a bottle of wine in the fridge + 2 spritzer cans I hadn't opened.
When planning the holiday, one place I'd told the kids about from my previous trips was iHop. So we decided to have a last breakfast there. We left the villa at 7am & arrived at iHop at about 7.20am (the one at West Bronson Irlo parkway).
Most of us just had a plain stack with Maple syrup, one DD had waffles & chicken and the other Nutella & banana crepes! 😋

It was quite busy here despite being early, but we were finished & paid up by 9am.
We then had our long drive back to Fort Lauderdale Airport (roughly 3hrs, but with kids obviously you have to allow for a comfort break. Traffic was light & total journey time was 3.5hrs.
As I've said before, I think we'd avoid FLL in future- on arrival it was a killer journey after a long flight, and today all I could think of was that if we'd been flying from MCO, we'd have had a whole morning free to enjoy. Ah well, you live & learn. If any of you are thinking of book through Ocean Florida, a little tip is that they offer to hold your cases after checking out of the villa (10 am is usual check out time). Obviously we couldn't make use of this - although I can't complain as flying to/from FLL meant we got a cheaper deal.
Back to the journey to FLL - we had 1 comfort break for our youngest. DH then looked at where we could re-fuel & nearest garage to airport was still a 20 min drive away. He brimmed the fuel as much as possible and we continued to airport, dropping car back to Alamo.
We were at Terminal 4 so early that the BA desk hadn't opened- although it meant a bit of waiting- this was a good thing as when they did open there was an IT issue with various staff coming & going, an an hour after the desks opened, they'd only just got 1 family checked in! They then opened 2 other check-ins, and by this time the queue was absolutely huge - couldn't even see the end of it! The kids were fed up but glad they weren't at the back of the line!
Security seemed like a bit of a shambles- no notices up, but an officer tells us to put all bags & belongings in trays & take shoes off. Then another one wanted the bags out of the trays, just next to the trays. There was no conveyor & no one helping to slide trays along. If they'd had signs out about bags sitting next to grey trays, it would've saved a lot of people coming backwards & forwards, unsure exactly what they had to do!
Finally through, we bought ourselves some lunch (about 2.15pm by now), and then had a look around the shops.
We boarded on time, tears in our eyes, all sad to be leaving after such a wonderful holiday.
The flight departed on time, and I managed to watch ‘Can you ever forgive me?' starring Melissa McCarthy & Richard E Grant.
I also watched ‘Muriel's wedding' (a classic in my view - so funny), and then a programme about Madonna's changing personas & music. After this I could feel my eyes getting heavy so had a little sleep.
After landing we breezed through passport control & luggage re-claim and got a bus back to APH (at this point we discussed doing ‘Meet & Greet' next time - again I think it was a cost-saving thing at the time of booking).
Then we had a long journey back home from Gatwick to North Cambridgeshire- about 3hrs.
At least there's only 1 load of washing + the clothes we are in today as we kept on top of the washing at the villa, and my lovely sister (when checking on the house), took the washing from the Friday we departed (when we'd all been at work/school), and washed, dried & ironed it for me - bless her - what an absolute angel 👼🏻 (as well as school uniform there was all the kids PE kits as well!).
I've bought her her favourite perfume to give her (Coco Chanel), some Ghiraldelli salted caramel squares & other bits for her & my nephews when I see them (not that she'd expect anything).
The kids all just took themselves to bed on reaching home - they found it hard to sleep on the plane & although we have a 6-seater car, they're used to the very spacious 7-seater Dodge Caravan we had, so having to squeeze back into a 6 seater (with an extra suitcase) meant they all felt a bit cramped in the car, although at one point 3 of the 4 kids were asleep in the car.
DH & I had a coffee back at home & I set about emptying one of the suitcases. Tiredness then washed over us, so me & DH also had a couple of hours sleep. When we woke (about 4pm), a couple of the kids were awake & we woke the other 2, all had a drink and now we've just had an easy dinner (pasta & garlic bread - don't think I've ever had that as an Easter Day dinner before!).
I'll do a highs & lows report in a few days on general chat. Again, thank you if you've read along- I'm off to catch up on others' reports now! 😊

Edited at 07:05 PM.
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