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Old 28 Dec 17, 12:12 PM  
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DIBB Villa Reviews: 1
The Famous Five Hit The Beach Again August 2017 Travel Day 12th August

Saturday 12th August 2017 Travel Day

So, all things considered I didn't have such a bad night This is very unusual in more ways than 1! Firstly any night in a hotel is never as good as a night in your own bed, secondly especially if you are going on holiday the next day

We got up at 5 and went down to have breakfast at 6am, apparently Daddy didn't sleep that well but then he is lucky and can probably sleep on the plane!

I think the restaurant opened at 6am so we were not too previous but we got a nice table and I had scrambled eggs, bacon and beans followed by some yoghurt and fruit (should probably have had that the other way round but hey ho)

Grace is not a good eater in the mornings and likes to take her time before eating anything so there were no surprises that she ate absolutely nothing! Daddy just had yoghurt and fruit too. I didn't write down what Nanny and Grandad had sorry!

We were out in the car park to the cars at 7am, what a great view of the planes coming in right behind the hotel. We are in the Bath Road Premier Inn by the way next to the Purple Parking multi-storey. We stand to watch the planes for a good few minutes its an impressive sight...those A380's are massive!

We are parked for the first time ever with a meet and greet service, we have to drive to the short stay car park 3 and park on level 3, we find it only a few minutes up the road and queue to get in and up to the right floor for a good few minutes. We manage to find a space and get all the luggage out of the car, Grandad is with Daddy and Nanny has come with us, this is so there are no dramas of people getting lost! As it was, Daddy decided that level 2 was a good option so ended up faffing about while we parked up. I had provided clear written instructions for them, firstly they couldn't find the instructions and secondly they obviously didn't bother using them anyway!

Grandad then decided to go and ask “someone” about where to leave the keys and of course asks the wrong company, so Grandad thinks he is taking his keys to Florida with him and I have to tell him that that is not likely! I go and see the right guy and hand over our keys so they can take our cars to God only knows where! The less I know about it the better! We are given a piece of card with returning details and we are then off on a very merry dance to try and get in the terminal building. Honestly we must have been in about 5 lifts to get literally just over the road! Finally we make our way in and find the AA check in thingys where you do everything yourself. Only Daddy and I go up to the machine as to be honest you can't swing a cat around the area what with people and luggage everywhere. Mick gets talking to a couple on the same first flight as us, they are on their way home to Kansas and are staying in Charlotte for the night before going on. They were telling him what a great connecting airport Charlotte is, this makes me happy! After what seems an age and going through all the questions I went through when I did online check in yesterday! I have put all the bags and got them tagged and it has printed me out a new set of boarding passes exactly the same as I already had printed from my lovely own printer at home! #whatawasteofmyownink...

We then have to head over to bag drop (why we have to do every little thing one after another instead of all at once in one place is beyond me but that is the joy of an airport I suppose.) We join the queue at 7.45 which considering I have painted a picture of queuing in traffic, driving around the wrong floor of the car park, talking to the wrong car park people and playing in lifts is not at all bad.

Now something hopefully quite exciting was going to happen for us at the airport this morning. Mick's cousin works at Heathrow as an armed police officer and he was on duty this morning and was hopefully going to come down and say hello. We have never ever seen him in uniform before so were really looking forward to this, and as luck had it he text while we were in the bag drop queue to find out where we were.

Next thing we know he was right next to us, we were nearly at the front of the queue so he stayed and chatted. We had to go up one family at a time and were asked a million questions before they took our bags finally. We then stood to the side and had some picture taken with Paul. Nanny and Grandad were very proud to have their pictures taken with their nephew

Paul then asked if Grace would like to go out and see the police car, did we have time...well there was no way my husband was going to miss that so not only was everyone in the terminal staring at us as we were being “questioned” we were now all being lead out to the cop car! Ha ha a little bit embarrassing but also quite are a couple of photos...never mind Grace look how excited Daddy is!

We finally said our goodbyes and hoped we may see each other on the return and then we were soon going through security just an hour later at 8.45.

First traditional stop for us a bottle of bubbly...I had researched the best place for this and ended up in The Curator. We had a large bottle to share and Grace had a glass of water and a croissant...obviously she is now ready to eat! Luckily we managed to find the end of a table to perch at and raised a toast to a nice holiday...perfect way to start I think

When we had finished we found a place to sit and left Grandad with the hand luggage while Nanny and Grace went to find a magazine and Mick and I went off for water and a sandwich for Grace (just in case the plane food is pants) and we also looked at aftershave...Mick got some Calvin Klein on offer so he was happy. We were called to gate 24 at 9.45. It was a bit of a trek and we were in a little off side few of gates where we had to get a bus to the plane. It was all very organised but they were asking for people to go off the flight and get on a later one for a few dollars (can't remember how much) so the flight was obviously over sold!

We settled down in our seats in row 14 nice and close to the front, I was happy about the announcement that said we were all on time and should arrive 15 minutes ahead of schedule at that point, which made me breathe much easier...this gave us 1hr 40 between flights #stillmadness...

It was a good flight IFE great, free drinks including alcohol and the food was shepherds pie, pasta salad and cherry pie crumble. Unfortunately I had to chuckle to myself as Mick hates mashed potato with a passion so didn't like the shpherds pie and the vegetarian option had cheese on it which he also can't stand. I gave him my roll and my pudding and Grace didn't eat hers either so he did alright on the extra things.

I don't tend to watch the films anymore on a plane, I just can't seem to get in to them since Grace has travelled with us..its the constantly having one ear open and getting interrupted I think. I looked at some magazines and watched the map throughout. I also had my eye on the landing time...which appeared to be getting later and later and was now 15 minutes over at 3.15! stress!

We had afternoon tea served about an hour and a half before landing which was ...wait for it...cheese sandwich lol my poor husband! so again I gave him my chocolate cake thing while I had his sandwich. They also come round earlier with an ice cream wafer thing which was yummy.

We were soon landing at 3.21pm...not impressed..our next flight was in an hour at 4.24! I was just about resigned to not getting on that flihgt and having to wait especially after it took AGES to taxi to the stand and AGES AND AGES for them to open the door! We actually didn't get off that plane until 3.37pm! I mean really.

We hurried off, thankfully we were by the door remember and I was filled with the anticipation of what on earth that immigration hall was going to look like...

It was EMPTY... I literally turned to Mick while we were running along saying come on we can do this

We had one family in front of us and then it was us and we were through, my goodness it was absolutely amazing and I was flying high now...

Next up was getting those suitcases so it was round to baggage. None of the cases were there, we had 3 in total 2 were ours (with another case inside for the return) and Nanny and Grandad had one. Both of ours came through and then we had just one more to get...honestly it took no more than 10 minutes but I so wanted out of there with bag drop and security still to go!

We then had to go and see the customs man. We knew the family in front of us were booked on the same flight (that's my husbands earwigging for you) and they were in front of us as we got to the customs goodness why did they not have the card out in their hand! We had to wait behind them while they got it out and I was behind them literally waving mine! We jumped to the otherside and went passed them and then round to baggage drop.

With all 3 bags safely in our possession we went over to bag drop to get rid of them again. One of the men was saying we didn't need to wait just leave the bags and they will put them on, well I didn't need telling twice, the bags were dumped and we ran off to find security.

There was a bit of a queue here and it was already 4.05 and I had no idea what the next gate was or how far it was going to be. Security was painful I have to admit, it was busy and Nanny got caught up with a second scan too until the guy realised she was in a hurry and asked her and let her through after doing a less thorough pat down! Grace and I were through first so we ran up to the screen to find out where we had to be ...D4 where was D? Lol it was round to the left. I went back to tell everyone, they were all putting their shoes back on now so we were good to go at 4.15! We rounded the corner and I yelled that I was going to run for it and then they would wait, I could see gate 4 and Grace stuck with me, we came running up and the lady behind the desk just said Fort Myers? She looked surprised and I for a moment couldn't think where we were going but then said Yes! Wow we had made it...I said we were 5 and the others were just there then. We were asked if we had some from the London flight and we proudly said yes

The pilot was at the gate too and he said “wow you are cutting it fine” I just replied that we liked to play it cool...

We had 4 minutes to spare, thank goodness they don't close the door there until right at the last minute.

I cannot begin to tell you how good we felt getting on that plane. I couldn't believe it after being put on standby in Atlanta 2 years before and it being completely awful we had now made it. It was all thanks to coming in to a smaller airport and it is definitely the way forward, I will never fly in to Atlanta again!

We had a very enjoyable flight down to Fort Myers, landing at 6.10pm...this was great as I knew the next flight from Charlotte to Fort Myers was 6pm and we were already there. If anyone is interested there were plenty of empty seats on that plane too so if any connection is missed you should feel hopeful of getting on the next flight.

So now we had bags to collect, followed by a car and we would be on the road. This is where the hiccup happened. We made it down to baggage reclaim (another lovely little airport by the way) and one of the cases was already going round. This case was one of ours a great big samsonite orange others arrived and it became clear very quickly that this was all the luggage from the flight...It wasn't rocket science, the connection time was tight, we made the flight, not all our luggage did. The luggage office was right there so we popped in and I found the luggage tickets from check in and she traced the bags to being in Charlotte and they would come down on the next flight and they would bring them out the next day. Now Nanny and Grandad had no bag but luckily we had one so we could get by as I had made a big song and dance when Grace helped me pack as I explained to her we put half of everything in each case just for this reason. AA were great they gave out little kits with toothpaste, shaving foam, soap etc for Nanny and Grandad and we filled in a couple of forms and had to describe our bags and what was in them...funnily enough I just said another suitcase

We could do no more, we went off to find the car hire garage, no point being upset about it, the cases were not lost and we knew we would/should get them tomorrow!

We found the garage and I had booked the car with Avis and had a preferred card. I knew my name would not be on the board as this was the first time I had used it but the man at the window helped us queue, no wait and we were allocated a car. A great big thing but more details on that tomorrow! We luckily had the case with Graces booster seat in it so we got that out and chucked the bags in...we were a little disappointed we didn't get to do our Tetris game trying to get the bags in! In fact what was the reason we had ordered such a great big car?

The sat nav was plugged in and programmed, I roughly new the way from studying google maps and in a couple of turns we were out on the I75 heading North and looking at that big big sky...Love it.

We were out of there at 7.06pm so considering we had to sort the bags out in the office which took at least 20 minutes I don't think we had actually spent too long in an airport that afternoon. We pulled up in to Winn Dixie (after driving straight past it and having to turn round!) Daddy and I went in and got water, tea, coffee (as these were in the other case...the tea and coffee, not the water lol) and milk along with some bread and butter so we could have toast when we got in Back in the car and arrived home by 8.45, perfect!

This was also the same time we had arrived last year I think by travelling on a directed flight from Stanstead to MCO and then having to do that 3 hour drive down. This way we had saved just over 300 each and also not had to do that awful drive...I was very very happy!

We got everything in and accessed how we would manage with luggage missing and then retired an hour later happy to be back in this lovely villa.

Thanks for reading along... I do have more photos but they are on my camera so just need some time to work out how to get them over...

Sorted the photos 😀

This is Grace enjoying her croissant.

Lovely glass of bubbly!

Only a bus ride away to that plane.

First leg of the journey off to Charlotte we go!

Off we go!

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Old 28 Dec 17, 02:54 PM  
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Old 3 Jan 18, 10:36 AM  
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I was completely gripped by your transfer in Charlotte - what a rush to get to the plane - shame about the missing cases but I hope they were with you the next day.
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