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Old 7 Apr 20, 06:49 PM  
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Charlie's First WDW Adventure - Sep/Oct 2019 - Heading Home

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Saturday 12th October

So here it is… the worst day of the trip was upon us. The day we had to go home (huge massive sob). My alarm went off at 7am but I allowed myself to snooze for a bit before eventually dragging myself out of bed at 7:30am. It was at this point I wished I had finished my packing the night before rather than sitting around scoffing all those Twizzlers! Luckily it wasn’t too painful a task, we had done much less shopping than on previous trips so that took away the normal stress of trying to fit everything in!

Charlie woke around 8 and for one final time I got him settled in bed with milk and Peppa Pig whilst the rest of us continued to pack up and get ourselves ready to go. We finally were all set and ready to leave at 11 am (we were meant to be out by 10am so were running pretty late but luckily no one had turned up so we got away with it!). We packed up the car and set off out of Storey Lake for one final time. The plan was IHOP for breakfast before heading to Disney Springs to check-in for our flight at the Virgin desk there.

Despite being a Saturday morning we were able to get a table straight away at IHOP although it was very busy. I ordered the Mexican churro pancakes and I can report they were terrible! We are normally big fans of IHOP but this was a rather dismal experience with mediocre food and poor service to match. Such a shame being our last morning… I think we will avoid there for the foreseeable future. We should have gone back to Cracker Barrel (my new favourite!)

We settled up the bill (still leaving a 20% tip despite the pretty substandard service!) and headed back out to the car. From there we drove directly to Disney Springs. On the way Charlie fell asleep!

We parked up in the Cirque Du Soleil car park and unloaded all the cases that were to be checked in. Luckily I managed to transfer Charlie from the car seat to his pushchair without him waking! We arrived at the desk at 12:45pm, cutting it very fine as it closes at 1pm! We checked in all our cases and were also able to check-in the travel cot that we had bought at the start of the trip. I wasn’t sure if they would allow this as one of our items of baggage but were happy for us to tape it up in the box and send it through with our cases. Such a great service all round and absolutely worth the $10 each in my opinion.

Free of all our check-in baggage we headed into Disney Springs to send our last couple of hours there before having to make our way to the airport.

It was a beautiful sunny morning and it was lovely to get a little time there, although it made me feel very sad that we hadn’t managed any proper time there on this trip. In the past we would often head to Disney Springs after the parks closed but having Charlie with us on this trip made late nights like that so much more difficult. I’m sure the older he gets the later our nights will get (he already seems to be taking after his Daddy and is a complete night owl!)

Whilst there we of course made a stop at World of Disney. As we all had a few last gifts to buy we decided to split up to make the most of the time, and thankfully Charlie was still sleeping soundly so we were able to look around pretty leisurely! Whilst in there we picked up yet another mug (I hadn’t seen this design in any other shops the whole trip so it was impossible to resist!), a magnet for Paul’s Dad, a photo frame for us and a Mickey t-shirt for Paul. Charlie also bought me the spirit jersey I had been wanting (modelled once back home!)

Time had sped by at lightening speed and it was soon time to get going. We arrived back at the car at 2:40pm.

On the way to the airport we made a quick stop to fill the car up with fuel and then headed to the airport to drop the car back at Hertz. This was a pretty smooth process. I am always so thankful at this point that we don’t have our check-in cases… we had enough just with our carry-on luggage, the pushchair and the car seat!

On making it into the terminal we made a stop at the Virgin desk as we needed to box up the car seat and check that in. As well as the seat we filled the box with various other things including towels and Charlie’s swim vest… so handy having that extra space and also extra padding to keep the seat protected!

Before making our way through security we made a stop at McDonalds to get some drinks… I of course had a milkshake! And yes if you are keeping count this is only the second one of the trip! Shameful!

Once hydrated there was nothing left to do but make our way through security. Thankfully this went without too much drama as we somehow had pre-check passes (I can’t remember how this came to be but we walked pretty much straight through!). We boarded the monorail… and Charlie perfectly conveyed how we were all feeling about the trip being over!

Before boarding the plane Paul and Joan popped into duty free as they had orders from back home for cigarettes (but actually found they were too late to buy them as we were very soon due to board so had to get them on the plane instead). Whilst waiting Charlie enjoyed looking through photos with Grandad.

It seemed we had dithered about somewhat and we ended up being the last ones to board the plane (my anxiety was going into overdrive as the one who hates to be late for anything… cool as cucumber Paul of course wasn’t phased in the slightest!).

We were flying home premium economy so I had booked two seats next window for Joan and John and then three in the center for Paul, Charlie and I. I had been keeping an eager eye on the seat map on the lead up to the trip so knew that the 4th seat in our row had been booked… and had been slightly nervous as who would have to endure us for 8 hours! I needn’t have worried though, the guy sitting with us what so lovely, he was an American flying over to London for business and had young kids himself so took a great interest in Charlie and was super friendly and chilled.

We took off at 6:10pm (slightly later than the planned 5:35pm departure time). Once the seatbelt signs were turned off I got Charlie settled in the seat between Paul and I, entertaining him first with the iPad and snacks and then a Peppa Pig magnet book.

It wasn’t long before the food was served and Charlie received his kids meal first which consisted of pasta… winning!

It was at this point that Charlie spotted through the seats that the person sat in front of us was watching Toy Story 4 and got very excited when he spotted Woody and Buzz! We looked through the films on the IFE and set him up with Toy Story 3 (we hadn’t seen the fourth film so didn’t want to spoil it!). He was absolutely mesmerised and got so involved in the story… when Woody loses his hat he was so concerned and kept shouting out “oh no, Woody’s hat!” (lucky these planes are so noisy as he was going on about that hat for quite a while!)

They began bringing around the rest of the meals and on checking out the menu I decided I would go for the BBQ chicken…

… but it seemed that me and the guy on our row were the last people in PE to be served food though as by the time they got to us there was nothing left! The air stewardess was very apologetic and said she was off to find us an alternative (I’m not sure how they run out of all the meals… surely they know how many people they are due to have in each section of the plane?). She soon returned with the offer of a chicken noodle dish from the upper class menu. By this point I was happy to have anything as I was so hungry! It was really spicy but still nice.

Once we had finished up with our food I took Charlie off to the toilet to get him changed into his PJs (very aptly Toy Story ones!). On getting back to our seats we settled him back down to watch more Toy Story (this is totally where the obsession started… he has loved the films ever since!)

It wasn’t long before he was getting vey tired (it was now 9:30pm Florida time) so I sat him on my lap for a cuddle and he soon dozed off. I think I snoozed on and off but it wasn’t the most comfortable with him on my lap (the arm rests don’t go up in Virgin PE so it wasn’t really possible to lay him out onto his seat).

Breakfast was brought around at 12:30am which woke him up. He was a little upset so the air stewardess kindly went to get some milk for him which settled him perfectly. Given the time he wasn’t too interested in the food but did have a little of the fruit whilst watching more Toy Story. The rest of the flight was very uneventful and at 1:55am (6:55am UK time we landed). We were unbelievably proud of how brilliantly Charlie handled the flight home, it truly couldn’t have gone better! Having his own seat was definitely worth every penny, being able to sit him down in his own space made the whole experience so much easier!

On making it to security we were directed through the family lane and were through in minutes (why can’t it be that easy at MCO?!). At baggage claim our cases came out very quickly but we had to wait much longer for the pushchair to come through. At this point we were all very tired and so desperate to get out of there! Once we had all our belongings we made it through customs and out to meet our taxi (by now it was 8:30am).

Being a Sunday morning it was a nice smooth journey around the M25 and by 10am we were pulling up at home.

Joan and John had parked their car at our house whilst we had been away so they came in for a little while before heading home. Paul made a quick dash out to pick up the essentials of milk for tea and crumpets which we all devoured! By 11am Charlie was beyond tired so I put him down for a much needed nap, and making the most of the opportunity Paul and I had a little sleep too.

He woke up at 2pm but on bringing him back downstairs he fell asleep again on the sofa and slept through until nearly 4pm! I think it’s fair to say we were all thoroughly pooped after such an amazing trip!

And that is where my notes end! Wow, there really are no words to describe this trip. It is absolutely everything we wanted and so much more. There is no denying that Orlando with a toddler has its challenges (more so than I probably prepared for) but those testing times were overweighed by the wonderful moments a million times over. The first few days were definitely the hardest but given the heat, the jet lag and the sheer overwhelmingness of it all I think that is absolutely understandable. The biggest struggle was definitely how reluctant Charlie was to be in the pushchair but at the same time wasn’t able to walk for long distances so wanted to be carried… in that heat it was tough going! Looking back we should really have taken the baby carrier as that may have made it easier (a little tip for any others soon to travel with a toddler!).

As I have been re-living this trip I have really come to realise how much we threw Charlie in at the deep end with long, packed out days (our plans to slow the pace didn’t really work out!), but overall he handed it like an absolute pro… he clearly has inherited our stamina when it comes to theme parks! Experiencing Disney through his eyes was unbelievably magical and we have made memories that will truly last a lifetime. Granted, he won’t remember this trip but we absolutely will and it will be one we will be telling him about for many, many years to come.

(Also some of you may have noticed that there were a few things I didn’t manage to tick off my must-do list… these will all be rolling over to our next Orlando holiday I promise!)

So what next… well we do have a trip to DLP booked for September but given the current Covid-19 situation that is somewhat up in the air (we have already had a trip to Portugal cancelled last month and our holiday to Crete in June is very unlikely to happen). I am keeping everything crossed that it will still go ahead so watch this space for a pre-trip report!

In these crazy times, stay safe and from our family to yours… see you real soon!

Edited at 10:02 PM.
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Old 7 Apr 20, 08:23 PM  
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Well Lisa, I have LOVED your report, every bit. Thank you so much for taking all the time to share it with us. It has made me SO excited (fingers crossed) to take my two. Seeing how much Charlie loved it makes it seem even more magical. The fact you all experienced that together you’ll never forget.

I cannot believe you were last on the plane lol.

I am amazed at how Charlie coped - I’ll be using him as a point of comparison

And strawberry milkshake is officially going on ‘the list’

Love the spirit jersey too - great choice xx
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Old 7 Apr 20, 10:33 PM  
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Awww, I am glad you got it finished. What a great report. Had a fab time reading all about your wdw adventures with Charlie.

TR are such a labour of love but it's so good reading them again and Charlie will love reading all about it when he is older.

Roll on the next trip to Orlando. Hopefully it won't be in too many years time.

What am I going to read now? Hahaha!

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Old 7 Apr 20, 10:49 PM  
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Thanks so much for sharing your report, it's been such an entertaining read. I was talking this evening to my eldest (just turned 12) about his first trip when he was 3 (nearly 4). I have wonderful memories of that trip, you're right, it really is magical with small children. And tiring!

Edited at 10:49 PM. Reason: Spelling mistake
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Old 8 Apr 20, 08:03 AM  
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Fab report as always Lisa Thanks for sharing xx
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Old 8 Apr 20, 09:34 AM  
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What a lovely thing to read, thank you for posting. I've enjoyed seeing Charlie have a great holiday and I hope that you enjoyed looking back on the time together.
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Old 8 Apr 20, 01:44 PM  
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I have found IHOP is steadily going downhill too! Cracker Barrel is always our number one!

Oooh I love your spirit jersey! I remember seeing that mug in the shops last year too!

Only two McDonald's milkshakes! I am flabbergasted!

Looks like Charlie was an absolute star on the flight home! Good lad! Love his obsession with Toy Story too

Tea and crumpets. How very English hahahaha!

Awww what a wonderful trip, so many lifelong memories as you say. Priceless!

I am keeping everything crossed that your DLP trip goes ahead. Positive vibes

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Old 8 Apr 20, 06:43 PM  
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Absolutely loved your trip report! Such a good thing to binge on and to bring a little bit of sunshine to the day.

Fingers crossed for your upcoming trips!
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Old 10 Apr 20, 12:03 AM  
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This has been so great to read. Thanks so much for taking the time to share.
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Old 10 Apr 20, 10:15 PM  
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Thanks so much for sharing. We really enjoyed reminiscing. We took our son when he was almost 2 & the memories you make are so worth the tougher moments at that age. We are due to go back in October with all our family again and we can’t wait to experience everything new so thanks for all the great tips. Hoping we all get back to some Disney Magic soon
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