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Old 16 Mar 21, 05:28 PM  
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Silvercat
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WDW 2019 - days 18 & 19, & final thoughts

Previous day is here

DAY 18 – Saturday 14 December

Plan : Epcot, leave for home
Actual : We were up bright and early today, and once we had got ourselves dressed and full of coffee, we packed the last few bits, loaded up the car, and said goodbye to our beautiful room. Our first destination today was Old Port Royale, where we dropped off the Owner’s Locker box, which was scheduled for collection at some point today, and then went into reception to check out. I had a short wait, (DH wandered off and looked at something or other), before speaking to a Cast Member. I mentioned the lack of mousekeeping, and she told me that if you decline the service, then you do not get any service at all now. I was a bit surprised, but at the end of the day, it hadn’t impacted our stay at all plus we had been grateful for the extra spending money!

We left Caribbean Beach resort for the final time this trip, and drove to Disney Springs to drop off our cases at the Virgin Atlantic check-in desk, which is located at the back of the Cirque du Soleil building. In the past we have struggled to find a car parking space here, but today we were quite lucky and found a disabled spot quite easily, which was good news – less car park to drag the cases through! We loaded ourselves up with 2 cases each plus our hand luggage, and joined the queue of people to check in for Economy flights. I knew this service cost $10 each to use, so I got a $20 note out in advance. However, when we reached the front of the queue, I was told that they only accept cards now, not cash, which mildly irritated me as I try to minimise card use in the USA nowadays if I can, but I grumbled internally, tucked away my $20, and pulled out a credit card instead.

We weighed all the cases, and one of them was 1.5 kg overweight. We pulled out some of the heavier bags of candy and shoved them into one of the lighter cases, making all good. Cases sorted, we watched them being loaded into the back of the huge container lorry, and were then called over to the counter to receive our boarding cards. Once we had these and were happy with everything, we went back to the car and stored our hand luggage in the boot.

Last night we had discussed our plans for today, and had agreed that rather than spend a few hours in Epcot as originally planned, we would instead stay at Disney Springs for a few hours, as we hadn’t had time to explore the area properly this year – our only other visit here had been cut short due to the crowds and our tiredness that day. Therefore, once we were case free, we drove the short distance to the Grapefruit parking garage, once again finding a parking space quite easily.

It was a very long walk from the parking garage to the Marketplace, and the elevator was out of order, so we had to go down 3 flights of stairs! We trekked our way round to Alex & Ani, I have been looking for a Hollywood Studios bangle for several years now but have always been told that no icon for the park was ever settled on, so no bangle was made. (I already have one for the other parks, I love these bangles and wear them a lot). And today was no exception! Still no bangle for the Studios. I did purchase a rose gold-coloured bangle with a really pretty snowflake charm, and a silver bangle with a Mickey head made up of red gemstones charm. DH had gone to the smoking area while I did this, so I collected him again and we headed over to Ghirardelli’s, where we were given a complimentary peppermint bark square as we entered, (my favourite flavour!). We used 2 Quick Service credits to purchase 8 bars of assorted chocolate, (they were on a buy 3, get one free offer), and I also picked up 5 sachets of peppermint hot cocoa whilst at the counter, they were $1 each. (I knew my hand luggage case was almost empty, and that we would be able to fit our shopping into it.)

We were ready to eat now, so we went to the Earl of Sandwich, which was really busy. DH went off to hunt for a table, and I joined the queue. It moved quite quickly considering how long it was! I ordered DH an Hawaiian BBQ sandwich, and an Original 1761 for myself, also getting bags of crisps and coffee/lemonade. I used 2 Quick Service credits for this, leaving us with 1 remaining and no snack credits. I’m not keen on this dining location purely because it is always really crowded, making it difficult to balance bags of food, hot and cold drinks, bags of crisps, and then negotiate my way outside to find DH. But we really love the food here, so I just put up with the crowds and difficulties. I found DH perched on a wall outside, there were no tables to be had, so we just sat on the wall and had our lunch.

A quick restroom break, then we had the long haul back to the car - up 3 flights of stairs! Ugh. We began our drive to the airport, although as per usual we managed to start out by going the wrong way, and ended up by the Crossroads shopping centre, where we had to turn around and go the opposite way. There were no airport signs around, our satnav was in the Owner’s Locker box, and the roads around this side of the Springs had changed since we were last here. Anyway, we eventually found our way to the airport and finally arrived at 2.15 p.m. We found the car rental drop off area, and returned our lovely car to Dollar with no problems.

As we entered the airport, DH’s leg was hurting him a lot, plus we were our usual hot, tired, and slightly anxious about being on time for everything now, so where I had wanted to visit the little Disney’s Earport store, (which has changed its name and is now called The Magic of Disney), DH just wanted to get through security. We were having problems negotiating our way round the airport, all the gates have changed and we couldn’t find our check-in gate, it was on the opposite side to where we are used to going. I got a bit tearful and we were bickering a bit by this point. We finally found the departure security gate, and there was a timescale of 50 minutes wait, which made us panic a bit more, but we joined the queue and were actually through in about 20 minutes. The area was very crowded, there were lots of kids running around and parents with pushchairs, and we were very fed up by the time we managed to get to the other side. Everything was okay in the end though, and we were soon boarding the monorail to take us over to the airline departure gates. Ours was gate number 83.. We still had a little time to kill before actually going to the gate, so we managed to find one empty seat in the central hub, where we took turns in sitting down with the hand luggage and going off to the shops. DH went to the Duty Free store for some cigarettes, then I went to something that looked like a local newsagents and got some Minute Maid Lemonade to take home, had a look at the M&Ms in case they had any flavours I hadn’t seen before, and also bought us both a lovely “Orlando” t-shirt in bright colours, as they were on offer at 2 for $20.

Finally, we made our way down the long corridor to gate number 83, and sat down to wait for boarding. I’m always surprised by how short a time is given to board a plane, given that usually over 300 people are waiting, and today we were a bit late boarding. There seemed to be a hold up, which turned out to be a new innovation – digital face recognition. Fine concept, but it wasn’t working very efficiently! It also meant that only 5 rows at a time could be boarded. We were a bit worried, because as we have the exit row seats, the overhead lockers are behind us and on return flights are normally totally packed with all the stuff other folk take home with them. However, when we finally got onto the plane, we were really pleased to find there was still loads of room in the overhead lockers for our hand luggage, phew! We were on the right hand side of the plane, in row 25 again, which was good. We settled ourselves in for the long return flight, and only took off about 20 minutes late.

The flight went okay. We watched a 2-hour long documentary called, “Beside Bowie – the Mick Ronson Story”, which was really brilliant, we loved it. Dinner was surprisingly delicious. DH had garlic and tomato gnocchi, and I had pulled pork with a sweet barbecue sauce, mashed potatoes, and baked beans, although not baked in tomato sauce, thankfully, (I’m not keen), and it was all really good. We also got a bread roll, cheese, crackers, water, and a Cakelove Key Lime Pie for dessert. We both had coffee, and then DH chose a bottle of red wine whilst I had a bottle of Amarulah liqueur, although I ended up bringing that home with me. I tried to sleep for a while, and managed to doze off twice, but once an imaginary fly flew into my eye and woke me up, and the 2nd time I snored myself awake, so I gave up and listed to a couple of music albums instead. (David Bowie at Glastonbury, and David Bowie’s Blackstar album), while just sitting with my eyes shut. DH managed to sleep for a few hours.

DAY 19 – Sunday 15 December

Plan : Arrive back in UK
Actual : We made up for the time we lost by taking off late, probably because the flight is all downhill coming home, and we landed a little early. Being in these great seats meant we were off and out to the luggage collection point within 15 minutes! Oh my life it was COLD here! We then had to wait for an hour before the cases came out though, but we eventually got them, all looked okay, so we went to collect our car. This was a really easy process and there was a note with our car keys to say that the tyres had been inflated for us while we were away – good service! We drove home, making really good time, and only got stuck once due to a rolling roadblock after an accident. We made a stop at one service station to pick up coffee, use the restrooms, stretch, and get some fuel for the car, and were home by 10:15 a.m. The house was FREEZING, as the heating had obviously been off while we were away.

We lugged all the cases inside, and shoved them into our front room to deal with later. We then sorted out all our post, collected my front door keys from our neighbours, (who keep an eye on the house for us while we are away), fished some parcels out of the recycle bin, (darned delivery drivers!), and then while DH made us a quick cup of coffee, I rooted through the suitcases to find the Simba cookie and sweets we had bought for our daughter-in-law and add them into her birthday gift bag. We had a wash and brush up, changed clothes for something warmer, and then drove over to a restaurant called Buffet Island which is where we tend to celebrate family birthdays and is about 30 minutes’ drive from us, where we met the family for our daughter-in-law’s birthday lunch. We had a really lovely time, despite feeling desperately jet-lagged and cold. My dad wasn’t feeling well so he didn’t join us, but he did ring me later on after we had returned home.

FINAL THOUGHTS / COMMENTS

This was a fabulous trip, we packed in a lot and managed to experience lots of new things. We had a really great holiday, but had no idea that this would be the last time for a couple of years that we would be back. Obviously hindsight is a wonderful thing, and now it is March 2021 and we are running out of the stuff we normally buy in Florida each visit, as I usually buy enough to last us until the next time. I was delighted to find Swiss Miss hot cocoa in Walmart, and had brought a couple of boxes back with us, but when they ran out I had to resort to buying them in boxes of 50 sachets from Amazon; luckily, they weren’t much more expensive than the ones I had bought from Walmart. I also got my sister some more cinnamon toothpaste from a health food store as she was running out, she loves this toothpaste as regular minty toothpaste makes her gag. I have around 2 or 3 sticks of Dove deodorant left at the moment, so will have to supplement this with something else until we can get back to the States.

We were due to visit Walt Disney World again in November 2020, we would have been staying at Disney’s Coronado Spring Resort, and were taking a friend with us who was recently widowed and had never been to WDW before. I had two rooms booked there, through Disney Holidays UK, for roughly the same time of year as 2019 – last week of November, first week of December. Just before I was due to book the flights, it became apparent that this “friend” of ours was becoming too close for comfort to DH, and was fixating too much on him. She was an old family friend, and because he was afraid to hurt her feelings, he found it difficult to deal with the way she was becoming over-attached to him. In the end, after trying to talk to her about the situation, getting nowhere and being lied to consistently, I had to make the decision to drop her from the booking. Unfortunately this was pre-COVID, and so I lost the £50 deposit I had paid for her, (which she has never paid me back, despite many requests). Therefore, I booked the flights just for the two of us, and began to plan the trip accordingly.

As Coronavirus took a hold on the world and spread, it began to dawn on us that the trip would probably not happen. By the time the balance was due, in August 2020, our flights had been cancelled and so we had to make the decision to move our dates. We decided to transfer the booking across to 2021, but the latest that Disney would let us book was September; we’ve never travelled at this time to Florida, but we thought we’d give it a go and therefore moved our new booking to September 2021, deciding to also move the resort to Disney’s Art of Animation resort – we’d stayed there overnight before taking a Disney Cruise in 2016, loved the resort, and as Ariel is DH’s favourite princess, I had promised him a longer stay there some day! This brought the cost of the booking down a little as well, prices had increased for 2021 and Coronado Springs had gone up by a couple of hundred pounds. I was also able to move our flight dates with Virgin Atlantic. I hadn’t made any other bookings or plans such as car hire etc. yet, which was a good job really, given the way things were going. So, fingers crossed for 2021 then!

In other news, DH has had some more health problems in 2020, which may or may not have been attributed to his smoking, and so with the help of nicotine patches, he has now given it up – not easy for him I know, and I’m proud of him for doing this. He should be well enough to enjoy our next trip a bit more.

I hope you enjoyed reading this trip report, thank you for coming along with us, and here’s to the next one!
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Edited at 10:57 AM.
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Old 16 Mar 21, 09:48 PM  
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mick
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Thank you for taking the time to do your trippie I have enjoyed reading along


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Old 19 Mar 21, 02:48 PM  
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DisneyPrin
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Thanks for writing everything up, I've enjoyed reading this trip report, makes me excited for getting back there one day! Congrats to your husband for giving up smoking, great achievement!
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Old 4 Apr 21, 01:38 PM  
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Elmhurst 5
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Have really enjoyed your trippie, lots of eat and drink places not heard of, as only been 3 times. Roll on 2022.
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Old 24 Jun 21, 12:20 PM  
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rubberduckie89
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Loved reading your report - we are booked for April 2022, holding out hope for your September trip
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Old 20 Sep 21, 06:52 AM  
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Thank you for sharing xx
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