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Old 12 Mar 20, 10:04 PM  
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Mobile The I Forgot To Make Notes After Day 1 Trip Report - TRAVEL DAY

For those of you who have not read my genius pre-trip reports, shame on you. They are entitled something like “Think of a Good Name for a Trip Report and insert here” - there is more than one but they are all on the same page.

Before we move on to the travel day let me introduce our cast for the trip - first up we have...


He is my Dibb baby and aged 11 - unfortunately we had to take that lovely fresh batch of pre-teen hormones with us on this trip making him an absolute JOY to be with at times! He inherited my love of all things Disney, including Disney holidays from an early age. Elliott I should mention has autism and adhd making those hormones even more “fun” so wish us luck on this wonderful 18 nights in each other’s pockets and a hotel room where only the giraffe can hear us scream!

Next up we have Sam

Just for clarification he is the one wearing pink and not orange or the duck! The duck however is an essential member of our family and goes by the name Tig. We have concluded that Tig May have links to the Mafia so we ensure he has a good life. Sam meanwhile is 8 and he’s my shy/anxious little guy with a passion for rollercoasters; how many does he ride this holiday, well you will have to follow along to find out.

Next up is Steve

Steve, aged 42, starts every Disney holiday with the phrase “this is going to be our last Disney holiday for some time” and then is the first one to flick through brochures. He has been persuaded to cross the sea to visit Mickey by the lure of Galaxies Edge and the Disney dining plan! He intends to eat his way around Disney.

Lastly there is me, Alice

That is me, it was a few days before we left when my friend cut my hair, didn’t she do a good job! I am 39 and absolutely 100% in charge of planning and 100% the person everyone moans at when they don’t like the plan, want the plan or realise that by ignoring the plan they didn’t do something they wanted to do!

So here we are travel day! My Goodness aren’t travel days boring! I mean honestly is anyone even going to read this? Well for those of you that are guess what you are in for a special treat because we have TWO travel days to get there! I know you’re so happy right now aren’t you!

So travel day one started at the unearthly hour of 7am and the plan was to leave around 12 o clock and head down to Gatwick for an overnight before our 10.30am flight... well that’s WAS the plan!

Steve risked life and limb by waking me from my beauty sleep at 7am to crack on with the, not too long to do list before we left. I think h aving paid for the holiday to see Mickey I could afford him the luxury of allowing him to continue to live this morning despite waking me, that and I needed him to drive us to the airport - I am NOT a morning person!

So the night before I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be (no I don’t mean I wasn’t in Orlando) however I had very little to do this sunny morning. Considering I had REALLY tried to not overpack we have A LOT of VERY full suitcases, one of which is purely costumes, costumes for both boys and their plush friends! It isn’t a big suitcase but it’s significantly bigger than no suitcase for costumes. My kids LOVE to dress up and find any excuse to do so.

Steve’s first job however was not holiday related and it was driving Piper to the vets, Piper is one of our dogs.

We had attempted to take her to the vets twice over the weekend and we had actually made it to her Sunday appointment only to find that the vet hadn’t! Apparently flooding took priority over our holiday preparations and they had decided to close for the day however they didn’t tell us that. I would find a new vet but it’s taken me 15 years and multiple animals to break this one so I’m sticking with. Of course our vet had to be a 20 minute drive away so off Steve went with a very happy girl in the boot - when you have 3 dogs any time you take one out solo they are like the aliens being selected in the claw machine in toy story “I have been chosen!”. For Elvis and Finn, our other dogs, landing in the vets is like being taken to Sids house however Piper LOVES the vets, she’s a weird dog! So it would be nice to say she got a clean bill of health, that would be perfect when you are off on your jolly’s but our destiny was never to follow a smooth path, don’t worry she’s ok, she’s just not ok, ok. She seems to have some kind of allergy (I think it’s an allergy to us having money in our bank accounts) and as a result she needs some investigation as to the cause however that is future Alice and Steve’s problem and she had a nice big anti itching injection to tide her over for the next month and has been told to lay off the Bonios in case she’s allergic to wheat!

Meanwhile Finn, the big dog, is a basket case because Piper dared leave the building without him and this is not aiding my “getting sorted”.

What is however VERY helpful is two unconscious children who kindly slept till 10 (result!)

Upon Steve’s return I was off out with Sam in tow to the post office and so commenced everything we had to do taking FAR longer than it should have done! I needed to post some parcels but the labels came loose so needed sellotape and to cut a long boring story short it took ages!

Steve had to make multiple phone calls to the builders and insurance company because Ciara had decided to make a lovely space in our roof for a skylight! They are being unsurprisingly useless and everything has been handed over to my dad to deal with because we are not going to miss our holiday because apparently the insurance company couldn’t work out that in order to fix a hole in the roof the builders would need to put up scaffolding up to get there! It currently looks as though it won’t be fixed till we get back! My friend is house sitting while we are away so we have someone monitoring things and we have given her a bucket and an umbrella because we’re nice like that.

We had to then do a whole bunch of insane admin that took ridiculously long and during this time Elliott came to the horrifying realisation that he had not eaten breakfast, or lunch and yet failed to rectify the situation himself at any point! He makes himself cereal every other day but apparently today was special and rendered him incapable because we didn’t have enough to do!

So basically we were ready to leave the house at 3! But we couldn’t leave town, nope! We had to go and collect my prescription (the pharmacy didn’t have enough pills to fill it the day before), pop to Tui to collect some currency and then drop the keys off with my friend. Then we are GOING, honestly...

So we arrive at tui, the rate is “ok” but after standing there sorting out the kids life savings we discover they haven’t got enough dollars -apparently this never happens to them, they never run out of dollars, that wasn’t much comfort! We then were sent to the post office who would apparently match their exchange rate, they wouldn’t. So we didn’t get an ideal situation but we went with it (I told Steve we should have done it Saturday!) This took a further FOREVER and THEN we were headed to drop off the keys, but we weren’t! STEVE forgot to measure the flipping car! Apparently he needed to measure it for the car people because we had put the “just in case” roof box on... we didn’t actually need to measure it, we later discovered, and this was TOTALLY FINE, we weren’t hugely behind schedule AT ALL!

So keys were dropped off, instructions given, Nic is an old hand at looking after our zoo while we are away so they will all be very happy and spoilt and I fully expect to come home to find dogs that look like this...

And cats that look like this...

So off we go!

Yeah driving is BORING! Steve drove, I don’t drive so there wasn’t much choice on that. We stopped at Peterborough services where the kids ate happy meals, I had a terrible jacket potato and cheese (seriously how can you screw up a jacket potato and cheese? !)

Steve had a sandwich because he decided to “save himself” for when we reached Lakeside shopping centre so he could pig out on a Wimpy! Yes people that’s the man I married, he is the height of sophistication! I always find going to these particular services a weird comfort because the first time I ever stopped there was on the way home from my first trip to Florida - and that people is unnecessary and boring piece of information you didn’t need but honestly IM CLUTCHING AT STRAWS HERE, Travel days are seriously boring.

So we were back on the road and as it was chucking it down and really windy the good people of England decided the best course of action was to drive like complete plonkers, especially through roadworks. We however made it safely to Lakeside.

Here is another piece of boring information, we used to live near Lakeside, it was our go to shopping location and we moved nearly 4 years ago. Living in the south we were super well located to jump on the eurotunnel at Ebsfleet to pop to Disneyland Paris and a short trip to multiple airports that would whisks us anywhere on the globe so of course for the entire time we lived there we of course went nowhere further than Devon!

Steve misses his old stomping ground so always wants to pop in to Lakeside when he has a chance, he also wanted to go to the West Ham shop...see SOPHISTICATED!

Arriving at lakeside we found they had moved everything and turned roads into one way and the such like so we had a “lovely” tour before we got in. First stop was to pick a raincoat I had ordered for Elliott from M&S, apparently we are due rain this week in Orlando and it may be a bit nippy (don’t worry I am suing Disney, this is NOT what Steve paid for!) so it was a necessary evil to buy the growth spurt king something to keep him warm and dry. While going around Lakeside the kids happily spotted hidden Mickeys, Death Stars, Holocrones and all sorts in the decorations - I love their imaginations.

West Ham shop was errrr footbally. Sam HATES football so he was told by me in no uncertain terms that he was to not moan while daddy did one of the few things this holiday that he wanted to do. This worked and backfired at the same time because Sam decided he therefore needed to be “supportive” and took it on himself to be Steve’s personal shopper, this wasn’t AT ALL annoying especially as all Steve wanted was a shirt!

I removed Sam from the store and took photos at some weird Instagram booth thing to keep him distracted - it was worth it because oh my doesn’t he look cute!

I also took some of Elliott so he wouldn’t get a complex however as you can tell he wasn’t exactly bothered.

So from there it was to THE DISNEY STORE! This amused Steve greatly and he did start to ponder what had happened to his life.

After this it was Sams favourite, Build a Bear, where he tried to get ideas for a big Build a Bear trip he has coming up for his birthday in April, because Sam doesn’t own enough over priced Build a Bear stuff... apparently!

At this point the kids found Mr Pretzel and decided that they were STARVING, especially Elliott who had spent most of our journey reminding us he had missed breakfast AND lunch. Pretzels purchased and we hurried to the car... wait! What happened to Wimpy? Well Steve realised he had prepayed for a meal at the hotel so he reluctantly decided to not part with any extra cash and look forward to his wimpy on our return... don’t worry he has Wimpy burger sauce in the fridge at home!

Arriving at Gatwick was uneventful but my goodness it was FREEZING! The wind was like ice going straight through you. With this in mind and the fact we weren’t wearing coats we didn’t bother to check the car guys credentials, we just removed bags, handed over the keys and hurried to the Premier Inn! If you see a white Tiguan with a roof box pop up on eBay it’s ours!

The hotel was... well it’s a premier inn, they aren’t exactly varied. Arriving at 9.30 it was busy checking in but once done it was to our standard room and then the boys headed to the restaurant. I too headed downstairs with ready meal in hand - no Steve isn’t that tight - I have food allergies and it’s safer to take my own food to certain places. The hotel had agreed to throw it in the microwave however in the lift I realise that it’s oven heat only! (Flipping M&S!). The reception staff were really great and someone went to beg the restaurant staff to heat it for me, explaining the situation. After a few minutes of arguing she came back and said the manager refused! Nice, thanks mate!

The 3 boys stayed at stuffed their faces...oh yes the boys managed to squeeze more food in them! Meanwhile I ate a pack of ham in my room that I had in case of emergency

Food was apparently standard chain pub style restaurant stuff, the boys even attempted a pudding! Sams arrived somewhat larger than he was expecting so couldn’t eat it so Elliott kindly helped him out! He came back to the room with stomach ache, shocker!

My kids are night owls and super excited for holiday so they sat and watched some Doctor Who, Steve and I attempted to download stuff onto our phones for the flight and then eventually at something like 1am the last of us fell asleep.


Well Steve’s “tuneful” snoring woke me from my slumber at some point in the early hours and I realised it was REALLY REALLY hot in our room so I turned down the heat (apparently too much as it was pitch black), I inserted ear plugs - allowed Steve it live AGAIN as I was concerned we wouldn’t be allowed to fly if we arrived without him however this is becoming a nasty habit. The rest of sleep for me was then a series of dreams where we were late getting up and missed the plane! The alarm went up at 5.15am and STEVE went back to sleep! “Don’t worry Elliott I will make sure I’m up, we won’t miss the plane, daddy wouldn’t let that happen!” - hmmm! I got up, dressed, sorted myself out and then started kicking people to get out of bed. The kids were enthusiastic once awake and we all dressed and headed for breakfast.

Luckily I COULD eat this morning, the kids were not hungry but had some breakfast anyway...I’m not surprised after last night!

So we wrestle the cases from the hotel room and step over the road to the terminal. The premier in is litterally across the road so this was as easy as it could be. Elliott has his sunflower lanyard hung round his neck to ease getting through the airport for him as much as possible. Check in had been done by yours truely online yesterday however we were so late getting to the hotel we missed twilight check in for our bags so we still had to do that. The lovely guy let Elliott watch his computer screen to see what he was doing, which kept him calmer for a few minutes. We then headed to assistance and I have to say all the staff were fantastic. He was taken to the front of the queue for security and then walked to every stage, he got stressed when one of our bags was sent to be scanned again but again the staff were on it jumping us to the front of the queue. We then reached the next assistance desk and we were taken to the sensory room. This was amazing because Elliott went from a ball of stress to his normal self and could release his energy and also be away from all the hustle on the other side of the doors.

Steve sat on a beanbag and instantly regretted it when the bean bag fell over and he couldn’t get up! He got over the trauma with a power nap. I do have photographic evidence of these events however if I ever want to return to Florida I better not post them!

Before we knew it we were ready to board and of course boarding was on the OTHER SIDE of departures. We arrived to find everyone already there but virgin were on it and Elliott was first on the plane.

I also have pictures of the boys with a completely different plane as we took about 5 minutes taking them before realising it wasn’t big enough to be taking us to Florida with around 500 other people!

Take off was delayed because of a security bag checks at the gate ... I don’t know what happened, I think I would rather not know as I’m an anxious flyer anyway (yeah, hello that’s me. To be honest I’m a mess internally before take off and on landing however during the actual flight bit I’m actually ok. When I was on my way to Orlando the first time and going white when we hit turbulence my mum, who is also a bad flyer, said to me to look at the air stewards and if they didn’t look worried I didn’t need to and that’s always helped)

We lucked out because on take off we realised that the row of seats behind us was completely empty so Steve was able to move from the seat next to 2 strangers to that one and Sam moved in with him. Most importantly this meant that we were able to provide Tig the duck with the luxury he demands and so we may sleep soundly tonight!

The flight has been pretty smooth, which is a relief after all the bad weather we have been having. Turbulence has been minimal and the seatbelt sign on once but the air stewards didn’t have to sit during it. We are up in the bubble which is so much better. We are still economy but it’s quieter and less stressful up here for Elliott so they put us in this section for free (thanks virgin!) Elliott is a happy camper and it has been so much better than our last flight with him. He has pretty much played games for the entire flight but whatever gets him through. Sam has been my little sunshine as usual, he’s played games, watched the inflight entertainment and also caught up on some needed sleep because apparently he wasn’t tired. I also attempted a nap but it didn’t work out and then the air steward kindly spilt cold water down my back so after that I was wet and AWAKE! She was very apologetic, got me a clean T-shirt and took my hoody to try and get it dry. Honestly these things happen, it’s just water.

Plus side I MANAGED TO EAT AGAIN! This NEVER happens, yes it was the kids pasta that they wrestled off a 3 year old for me but it was FOOD and I am happy I’ve had something at least. They also gave me a banana and I brought stuff from home that I baked the day before we left because that’s TOTALLY normal!

As you may have spotted this travel day is CURRENTLY in the present tense because I am writing all of this while sitting on the plane. I can only crochet so much and this is a good distraction. I attempted to watch the newest Maleficent but I couldn’t concentrate well enough so switched to the Downtown Abbey movie, I’ve never seen the TV show but it was the right amount of quiet simple for my brain - I’m surprised it was made into a movie, it wasn’t exactly... I don’t know if could have just been a long episode in my opinion. After that it was Secret Life of Pets 2 but I started writing this during and now I have on Aladdin. This finishes around the time we land so I’m hoping that it will get me through till then... I am also now running out of things to write because I am absolutely in the present now. This is the sky map...

The plan on landing is to get Elliott through immigration as quickly and easily as possible , we SHOULD have assistance waiting. He did NOT cope with immigration previously so I am REALLY hoping we don’t get a repeat performance. We then have to do all the general airport stuff, collect our $200 Disney gift card and then it is onwards to ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE!

So this is me now, back in England, unsure of how much loo roll we can afford to use because we landed too late to stock up our shed with it like everyone else!

Upon arriving at Orlando airport we did not in fact have assistance waiting for us and instead had to speak to a woman with a clipboard who radioed someone to help us and we were to find her... yeah we have no idea who she was an we never found her, does she even exist and if she does is she still looking for us?

Immigration was our biggest concern and on arrival I spoke to someone in the hall who told us to take Elliott through to US citizens immigration as the queue had about 4 people in it. This did the trick and before we knew it we were through and the ducks criminal record thoroughly checked in to!

Baggage claim was baggage claim, our bags were a bit slow at emerging due to not being on the night before and EVERYONE seemed to have the same suitcases as us, which was “fun”. Bags collected and Elliott bitterly complaining about EVERYTHING it was simply a case of get through the airport and get to the hotel without killing him - it’s not his fault, it doesn’t make it any easier to live with!

We had to take our first toilet ride of the trip because apparently peeing 50 times on a 9 and a half hour flight wasn’t enough for Sam and Elliott didn’t complain about that AT ALL! Steve then went and hunted out Virgin for our $200 gift card (sorry Virgin I didn’t forget!), card claimed and we hunted our magical express which we found to be poorly sign posted for us tired idiots that couldn’t find it! There was only one resort queuing when we reached them and that was Animal Kingdom Lodge, this was fortunate but also was going to be the picture of our entire holiday. There would always be empty bus stops EXCEPT for animal kingdom lodge everywhere we went for the next 16 nights.

Elliott was VERY impatient by now and the Disney staff took pity on us and let him sit on a bench so they could make sure he was loaded on to the bus first, it wouldn’t get him there any quicker but it would save everyone’s sanity

After what felt like the longest part of our journey we were loaded on to the magical express and were headed off to begin our Disney holiday of our dreams...sometimes nightmares but mostly dreams!

On arriving at the hotel, WOW, just WOW! I have wanted to stay at AKL since it opened and never thought in my wildest dreams I would ever get there. It was fortunate that when we booked we were able to get a price that worked out cheaper (with free dining plan) to stay there than a budget resort or a villa with car hire and parking etc. I felt like I was litterally living a dream.

The lovely staff checked us in at the valet desk so Elliott wouldn’t have to wait and before we knew it we were standing in our room overlooking giraffe mooching about, minding their own business!

We didn’t stay in for long - well the boys and I didn’t - they wanted to go and check out the hotel, the pool, the animals, EVERYTHING! They are night owls by nature and it was only about 6.30pm at this point US time.

We first headed to the campfire, which we JUST about made it to in time and the kids made their first s’mores while trying to squint and see animals in the dark - it always takes me by surprise at how fast it goes from bright sunshine to black - they enjoyed the making much more than the eating and Sam decided so to seem generous he would take his smore back to Daddy who was unpacking. We however didn’t make it that far and the smore was dumped into a bin as it wasn’t exactly practical to carry around.

We then headed to look at the animals through night vision goggles, this was cool but very similar to looking at them during the day but far more green!

The kids also checked out the pool and Elliott wanted in NOW. This was not happening tonight so a promise was made for tomorrow and we met Steve at Mara for food.

We decided a quick service meal would be sufficient tonight and I had my first “I have food allergies please don’t kill me” conversation with a cast member - a nice english guy called Micheal. Meals of chicken nuggets for Sam, burgers for Steve and Elliott and plain grilled chicken, broccoli and fries were purchased along with zebra domes deserts - I couldn’t eat mine because of allergies but figured Sam could have them. We also collected our dining plan refillable mugs. Food was ok, nothing amazing - having fries for the first time in YEARS was really weird for me.

We then headed back to our room with Sam eyeing up Simbas clubhouse on the way.

I’m not sure what time we fell asleep, I probably fell asleep first as a protective instinct against this hiddeous TV Show Elliott found on Disney channel and would obsessively need to watch every day for the next 16 nights!

Day 2 - Resort Day and Wilderness Lodge for Dinner
Wow the boys are were so little when I posted this banner! They are 10 and 8 now!
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Old 12 Mar 20, 10:28 PM  
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With all the talk of Coronavirus, reading this is a breath of fresh air that I needed tonight, I am literally laughing out loud
I'm glad you got there safely in the end, I'm really looking forward to reading about your adventures
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Old 12 Mar 20, 11:07 PM  
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Originally Posted by smithlane View Post
With all the talk of Coronavirus, reading this is a breath of fresh air that I needed tonight, I am literally laughing out loud
I'm glad you got there safely in the end, I'm really looking forward to reading about your adventures
Thank you glad I could entertain. I did question posting until all this stuff has blown over however I thought a bit of escapism is something we all need - also I didn’t write notes so it will eventually all fall out of my head if I don’t get it down quick
Wow the boys are were so little when I posted this banner! They are 10 and 8 now!
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Old 13 Mar 20, 10:34 AM  
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Great travel days now to enjoy yourselves

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Old 13 Mar 20, 05:10 PM  
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I love reading travel days , yours has to be one of the best i've read, ha ha so funny looking forward to the rest of your trip
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Old 17 Mar 20, 08:07 PM  
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Originally Posted by P_isforparrot View Post
Great start! A lovely report.

Also, I loved spotting the frugi
Thank you

I think 90% of Sams wardrobe is Frugi - today for example he was wearing one Frugi outfit, got covered in mud so changed to another and then got wet when helping with the cleaning so put on a third LOL
Wow the boys are were so little when I posted this banner! They are 10 and 8 now!
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Old 25 Mar 20, 06:19 PM  
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Fabulous travel days yay you have arrived

looking to reading the rest of your holiday adventure.
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