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Unread 12 Apr 15, 08:55 AM  
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scottishnellie
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Here Now! first WDW family holiday - Travel Day


Woke up with the alarms at 6am and after I showered I had to drag the quilt off the kids to get them out of bed. You would think they would have bounced out of bed with excitement wouldn"t you? No. They were so busy arguing during the night about toes touching, and Kieran trying to cuddle Hannah in his sleep that they had tired themselves out. After a slow start everyone was showered and I repacked everyones hand luggage while each was in the shower. Kevin and Kieran had both worn clothes past their best for the train down so we could just bin them when they changed into their travel clothes. I'd put Hannah in leggings and a wee top for the train which were easy to fold small into a zip lock bag in the bottom of her rucksack, and I wore the same jeans with fresh everything else as again they were easy to fold small.

We headed down for breakfast at 7am and there were only 6 other people in there. Hot breakfast was fully stocked and all very nice, with the usual sausages, ham, eggs (fried scrambled and boiled), mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, black pud, white pud. There was also a wide range of fruit, yoghurts, juices, pastries etc. Everything really. Although breakfast was included in our room rate, I did notice for anyone who it wasn't the signs said it was 10.95 per adult and 4.95 per child up to age 12. I had some Rice Krispies followed by ham and egg, Kevin had fruit and yoghurt followed by a big cooked breakfast, Hannah had cereal followed by melon and a muffin. Kieran had muesli followed by a pile of fruit and yoghurt. Although both kids were surprisingly uninterested in the cooked stuff they both ate loads and were stuffed by the time we left.

We headed back up to the room for loo stops and to collect the bags at 7:40. Headed back down to reception, handed the keycards back at reception and said we were going outside to wait for the shuttle bus. It was sitting waiting for us and we were on and away at 7.55. Only took 2mins to get to the airport but it was just as well we had booked it the night before as it was chucking it down and we would have been soaking. The girl had said at reception if we didn't book the night before they could not guarantee being able to take us.

Arrived at airport, straight through security. Kierans rucksack was taken aside trough the scanner and I was there in a panic wondering if I had left a bottle of water in or something, but when we were called over he explained it was just selected for a random check. All checked and we moved through at 8:20.

We had a wander through a few shops and I treated myself to a new Chubby Stick. Picked up some clasps in accessorise for Hannahs 'newly cut in and still getting used to it' side fringe. Had a browse around and found a seat at the window to watch the planes. The gate opened at 9:30 so we made our way to it to find they had started boarding. We were all on and seated, doors closed for 10am and we taxied out. Took off 5mins earlier than planned at 10:10.



Plenty of room in our economy seats on the new airbus A330, and something that made me very happy - the seats in economy do not recline AT ALL! Only the 8 rows of premium at the front of the plane do. The touch screen IFE in the back of the seats was fine. It had a single headphone connection so no need for the connecter things. In economy you get 4 films you can choose to watch. which on our flight were Blue Jasmine, Epic, Fast & Furious 6, and Star Trek into darkness. You also get a couple of episodes of breaking bad / cake boss / friends. I had read the films on TC would be on a loop but they were not. You can choose to watch what you want when you want and start /stop / pause / look at the wee picture of the plane flying over the ocean etc. None of these films interested me so I upgraded all 4 of us to the premium films at 4 per person. Well worth it for the additional choice it gave. I watched The Theory Of Everything, Gone Girl and The Imitation Game, but I think there were maybe 30 or 40 to choose from including Big Hero 6 and Dr Proctors Farting Powder for the kids. The kids were happy flicking between films and magazines / colouring in and I have to say were very well behaved. I think our ploy of sitting them at opposite ends away from each other so they could not niggle was genius!

At 12:00 they brought all the kids meals round, so not even 2hrs into the flight. The kids meal was pasta bolognese which tasted lovely. It also had a wee roll with butter and a chocolate mouse. Then at 12:40 they brought the adult meals round which was a choice of Thai Chicken curry or sausage and mash. We both had the curry and it was delicious. We also had crackers and cheese and a wee roll, and a chocolate mouse. I don't know if serving the kids and adults separate is intentional or just how it worked out, but it was good as they were all sorted and packed up again by the time we started so save you helping them while yours goes cold. At 2pm they brought the immigration forms round, then at 2:20 we all got a tiny Lily O'Briens ice cream cornet. At around 5pm they then brought the afternoon snacks which were a mini roll and cheddar cheese, a mini roll and egg and some crackers. At various times they brought the drink trolley round in between these services to buy tea / alcohol.

We landed at 7pm our time, 2pm US time - a full 35mins ahead of schedule. Unfortunately it went a bit Pete Tong from here - although through no fault of Thomas Cook. With everyone standing in the aisles they announced there would be a delay getting the stairs up. Them they announced that the systems in customs had gone down and they had been told we could not disembark as there was already 400 Virgin passengers standing in customs not moving. Thankfully folk were sensible and all returned to their seats. You sometimes never know how people will react when things like that happen. There was only one eejit standing a couple of rows ahead going on and on about it - quite what he thought that would achieve I do not know! I just got the kindle out and got reacquainted with Jack Reacher. Then they announced customs were starting to process people manually so we would hope to disembark soon. Eventually at 3.20pm we got off, dreading what the halls were going to look like.

We were in row 14 so only 6 rows from the door, so were near the front of the moving crowd. When we arrived everyone was herded towards the automated machines. We scanned our passports, answered the on-screen questions and got our photos taken and fingerprints for the adults. When we scanned Hannahs however it rejected saying she did not have the 6 months required to expiration date so no photo or questions for her. It then spat out 3 black and white slips for the rest of us with our details and photos on. We asked the lady assisting who just said 'yeah you will need to see a guard now'. Now me being me, I was a bit worried. I had not renewed Hannahs passport as it expires in August and all the info on Dibb Pointed to 6 months not being needed for USA due to the discretionary 6 months. Even though I had checked this on all the official websites before deciding not to renew her passport I still stood there worrying about it. So we joined the next queue to speak to a guard. When we got told which desk to 'stand behind the red line' and wait for, I was relieved to see him chatting and laughing with the family in front. When it came our turn it was fine. He asked a lot of detail about our jobs as well as the expected where we staying / what we doing etc. Then I just had to fill out an additional customs form for Hannah in her own name and show her passport as well as Kevins to exit. So the bottom line is it is fine not to have 6 months left, just means you can't use the automated kiosk for that person. Because we had taken so long to get off the plane our luggage was all waiting for us so once we found our cases we were off, took the cases up the escalators to avoid that second bag drop, and on the monorail at 3:40pm. So all in all it didn't take long to clear customs despite the hiccups. Stopped for a toilet break then onto Alamo to get the car.

Now I'm afraid this is where I get a bit rubbish. I don't care about cars. So my brain wont retain any useful knowledge about them. Hubby is in bed so I can't ask him. When he gets up later I will come back and edit this bit, but for now I can tell you this. We had done the Alamo savetime, then had gone on to do the on line check in and skip the counter, and printed that last part off. Got to the garage, handed the slip over and were directed to the standard SUV line which had about 7 or 8 SUVs in it. Hubby did exactly what I thought he would do and headed for the one big massive thing the size of a tank. Now since I intend to do my fair share of driving I was not up for that. Directed him back to something that looked more 'mid-sized', checked the boot space of a few (high on my list of priorities) and let him check it suited his requirements. Deal done, we hopped in and drove to the exit both at 4:10pm. Handed over the paperwork, driving licences and credit card, agreed to the full tank, declined the sat nav and off we went. Followed a combination of the maps that come on the i-phone and the directions from the villa owner and we arrived at the villa at 4:45pm. Wow it was hot, and lovey and sunny. At this point!

Had a quick look round, let the kids choose their rooms and left the cases. Back in the car and this time I drove. Up to Walmart with the shopping list I had been writing, chopping and changing for the past 6 months (please tell me its not just me). In hindsight Saturday teatime was maybe not the best time to hit walmart but we got there in the end. It was actually hilarious how many other brits spoke to me when they heard me. I think I've got one of those faces. The first was another Scots family who heard me answering Hannah to say I was looking for diluting juice, who jumped in to say they were too. They kinda tagged on to me for a couple of aisles but I still haven't found it and doubt they did either. If anyone can point me in the right direction with a pic of what it looks like go right ahead - because everything I found was was just juice in some format! The next was another 'weegie' who now lives in Florida, who heard the accent and gave me some advice on putting back the body wash I had lifted and directed me to one that was better with the water here! They're not too speedy on the checkouts here are they?! One long queue, one long slow pack and an awful lot of chat later we were $200 down and stocked to go.

Back in the car and stopped at Applebees of the US27 for dinner. Had read a couple of reports of slow service here but think we just beat the Saturday night rush as the food arrived quickly then the place really started to fill up. Hannah and Kieran ate off the kids menu having cheesy chicken and hamburger and fries respectively, with refillable chocolate milks. Kevin and I shared boneless wings, Chicken Quesedillas, and ribs. All yummy. Kevin had a couple of 2 for 1 beers (be rude not to) and I had diet coke. If I can find the receipt I will add a pic on here but forgot to take pics of the food (sorry!). We left around 7:15pm and headed outside to find it was darkening over and starting to rain. By the time we got to the villa it was full blown thunder and lightning. Got the shopping in and started unpacking. Kids had a great time deciding rooms and exploring the games room. By the time we had unpacked the thunder and lightning was over so what did the kids do? Straight in the pool! We paid for the heating and I'm glad we did - it was just lovely. I sat on the edge watching and cracked open a wee can of Mailbu and Cranberry. Aye - Think I'm gonna like it here just fine!















Found the Applebees receipt. We left $45 to cover tip.


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Unread 12 Apr 15, 11:06 AM  
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mick
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Brilliant report including the little niggles but your there now so have a fab first day

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Unread 12 Apr 15, 11:17 AM  
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Good travel day, useful info re. the passport and 6 months thing
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Unread 12 Apr 15, 11:21 AM  
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You'll only find diluting juice in the british aisle look for there own water inhanchers they come in tiny bottles like squashed here diluting juice is stupid expensive Crystal light or power aid zero are our favorites but watch the artificial colourings if your are sensitive

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Unread 12 Apr 15, 11:24 AM  
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Originally Posted by mick View Post
Brilliant report including the little niggles but your there now so have a fab first day

Joan
Originally Posted by Juliemack View Post
Good travel day, useful info re. the passport and 6 months thing

Thanks


Originally Posted by Gryff View Post
You'll only find diluting juice in the british aisle look for there own water inhanchers they come in tiny bottles like squashed here diluting juice is stupid expensive Crystal light or power aid zero are our favorites but watch the artificial colourings if your are sensitive

Helen

Ahh - Thank you SO much for this Helen. Thought I was going nuts in Walmart yesterday!
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Unread 12 Apr 15, 11:27 AM  
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Unread 12 Apr 15, 11:28 AM  
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Brilliant report so far, can't wait for more. Enjoy your holiday!
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Unread 12 Apr 15, 11:56 AM  
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