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Old 01-13-2008, 02:05 PM   #211
cdotla
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DAY 5 - OUR FINAL DAY

When we booked our return flight home, we almost scheduled an early morning flight. In retrospect I was glad that we didn't as we at least had some final moments at WDW before leaving.

Departure days are always bittersweet, but I think it helped that our Trip had gone off without a hitch (at least thus far!) and we had made so many good memories. We had done more in our 4 days than I had thought possible and had a fantastic time in the process!

I stayed up until about 2am the night before packing and rearranging our suitcases until I was able to get everything in our luggage. In addition to buying quite a bit in the parks I had also sent a fair number of online shopping orders to CBR in advance of our arrival.

We woke up early as usual and got ready for the day. We had a 8am appointment for the Grand Floridian Photo Session. This was the first and only day we would not be relying on Disney Transportation. I decided that we would grab a quick breakfast at the Food Court and then take a cab to the Grand Floridian for the photos.

We left the room shortly after 7am. Before leaving, I made sure that everything was packed and ready for our Magical Express pick-up at 9am.

We had always been informed by all of the CMs we had dealt with that the departure time for the airport was 3 hours before our scheduled flight - in our case 11:10am for our 2:10pm flight. It wasn't until after we arrived back at our room at CBR close to 10:30pm the night before that we received the note on our door advising that our departure time was actually 10:00am!!!

After calling Magical Express, I was advised for the first time that because we were an international departure, we had to be picked up 4 hours before our flight, not the standard 3 hours!

Now, I had thought that the 3 hour departure time was ridiculous enough itself. But 4 hours beforehand seemed absolutely outrageous! As a fairly seasoned and experienced air traveller, I admit that I frequently press the limits on arrival times. However, even adding into the mix every conceivable delay possible, I did not see how leaving 4 hours before departure time could be justified.

As we were packing up the room and heading over to the Food Court I kept debating whether I would shell out for a taxi to the airport which would mean an extra 2 hours at the Resort. I quickly determined that yes, I was going to just pay for the taxi and leave the "Magical" Express behind.

I called Magical Express in the taxi en route to the Grand Floridian after making arrangements with our taxi driver for him to pick us up at the Resort at 12pm. I told them that we would be making our own transportation arrangements to the airport and cancelled our luggage pick-up.

I figured this would give us about an hour or so at the Pool at CBR before we had to leave. Given that we had yet to swim in the Pool I thought this would be a nice way to end the Trip.

Here are a couple of shots of CBR that we took during our final walk from our Room over to the Food Court for Breakfast:


















We arrived at the Grand Floridian for our Photo Session right on time. They were just setting up for the morning and we were the first appointment.

We got a very nice lady who took us all around the Resort snapping a ton of photos. Unfortunately DD was not in an overly cooperative mood so we didn't get any particularly great shots, but here are a couple that she took:













The benefit of the GF Photo Session is having someone go around the Resort with your Family, getting a lot of pictures with everyone in them in a short amount of time. The quality is no different than regular Photopass in my opinion, but it is nice having the pictures at a Resort as opposed to the Parks for a change of scenery.

After we were done we took the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom and the Bus back to CBR. (My extravagence in shelling out for the taxi that morning was short-lived!)

Although I kept telling DD how great it was going to be to hit the Pool once we got back to CBR, for some reason she did not appear all that keen to go swimming, which was not like her. (On the plane ride home she finally confessed that she was scared the chlorine was going to sting given the cut to her knee from her fall on Day 1).

Of course it was hot, and all of the posing and moving around outside at the GF during the Photo Session combined with the travel back to our Resort was making that pool very enticing!

Imagine my horror when we stepped into our room at CBR at about 10am and discovered all of our bags were missing!!! Of course I instantly realized that although I had called Magical Express at 7:45am to cancel our 9am Bag Pick-Up someone had fallen down on the job and the cancellation never got registered!

After waiting for 15-20 minutes for someone at ME to verify that they did in fact have our bags waiting at the CBR Custom House, by this point it was now 10:20am. There was no way now that we would have time to go swimming, the whole reason for taking a taxi in the first place, and I was none too pleased.

I advised ME in no uncertain terms that although we had already missed our bus to the Airport by about 1/2 hour, THEY would be finding alternative means for us to get to the airport.

The agent I was dealing with then advised me that the next ME bus to the airport scheduled for 11am was completely booked. Clearly she hadn't heard me!

After speaking with a supervisor to confirm that we were either getting on the 11am bus or Disney would be paying for our transportation to the airport, we headed over to the Food Court to cash in the last of our Food Credits before leaving.

We then ventured over to the Custom House, retrieved our bags and waited for the 11am ME bus. As it turned out, there was plenty of space on the Bus and we arrived at the Airport shortly after 11:30am.

After waiting less than 30 seconds in the line-up to check our luggage, we found ourselves in the Airport with nothing more to do until our flight was scheduled to leave in over 2 hours!!! Imagine if we had been on the 10am ME Bus - then we would have had to kill over 3 hours sitting around in the Airport!!!

Based on this alone, there is NO WAY I will ever be taking the "Magical" Express again.

Thank goodness there were a fair bit of shops for us to browse through while we were waiting. However, in my mind this was prime "Disney" time that could have been much better spent. Lesson learned!

Here are some photos we took in the Airport killing time before our flight:








Here's one at the Harley-Davidson store:




We also managed to find a gourmet chocolate store while we were killing time and I bought about $100 worth of chocolates in various molds (airplanes, golf balls and clubs, hairbrush and makeup kit, ect.). These made great Christmas presents for the family and were sooo good.

Finally it was about 45 minutes before our flight was scheduled to depart so we gathered up our things and made our way through Security.

Remember that giftbasket that I bought at Basin in the Grand Floridian? The one that I paid a fortune for to give to my mom who was home taking care of DS? Well, I completely overlooked when I decided to carry that on the airplane so I wouldn't crush the giftwrapping that this would constitute a "liquid or gel" that was banned in the flight cabin.

The Security Guard gave me 2 choices: (1) forfeit the giftbasket, or (2) run as fast as I could back to the check-in gate to see if the airline could check it.

If I had been smart I would have forfeited it and simply picked up something for my mom at home. However, I was so loathe to give up the gift basket that I made a completely foolish decision. I gathered up DD and all of our things (no, Security would not let me leave any of our carry on that had already passed inspection) and ran back to the front airline check-in area.

DD at this point was extremely tired from basically walking around the airport for 2 1/2 hours and was wandering away from me as I was trying to get the agents to wrap up my giftbasket and check it for me. Finally they said to hurry to the check-in gate as it was almost time for boarding. I quickly gathered up our things and made it back to Security.

Although the line up at Security was about the same length as it was before, due to the time crunch we were now in, it seemed to move at half the pace. I kept looking at my watch convinced that I had just made us miss our flight.

Finally, we once again got through Security and ran to our Gate. Fortunately they were still in the process of boarding. We made a quick dash to the washroom and then quickly got on the plane just as the last passengers were boarding. Whew!

We finally got our seats at the back of the plane and started arranging our carry-ons in the overhead bins. Then, it hit me:




I DID NOT HAVE MY CAMERA!!!!



Yes, the Canon Digital Rebel that I had paid a fortune for just days before our Trip.

Yes, the one I bought to replace the identical brand new one that I had left in our rental van during our May Trip 4 months earlier.

Yes, the one that had over 700 photographs of our Mommy-Daughter Disney Trip that we took solely to replace the photos we had lost during our May Trip.


My face went red and my whole body started to shake. I could not believe this was happening!!!



TO BE CONTINUED...

Last edited by cdotla; 01-13-2008 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:17 PM   #212
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:19 PM   #213
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YIKES! What a cliffhanger!
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:36 PM   #214
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Oh on, don't leave us hanging! Did you get your camera back?

As to ME, on our trip in Sept. imagine our dismay (or need I say horror!) when we saw this sign at luggage services at POP


My DM and I had decided to grab a quick bite at the food court and happened to enter by the luggage services where they had a paper sign posted that the "Airline was Down" (the chalked one showed up later). When I asked the CM at LS what that meant he (laughingly) said that they would not be able to check in any luggage until the system was back up. And no, he had no idea when that would happen! His attitude was really annoying. We had a rental mini-van but my DNiece24 had joined our trip mid-way (as surprise for DD8) and she had used ME to arrive and we (4A and 1K) would need to use the airline check-in with baggage transport to get all our luggage to the airport. We decided to grab something in the food court and then checked at the front desk as to what we could do to get all of us, along with our luggage, to the airport. We knew we could all fit in the van, but not all of our luggage. Unfortunately, the BEST solution the management gave us was that they would transport our luggage in one of their vans, along with one of us, to the airport but we would have to leave at 2 p.m. (for our 5:30 p.m. flight). (This was after saying that ME could take our luggage to airport but we would have to follow along with them and then they would just leave our luggage at the curb, for us to check-in). Also, all members of our party would have to accompany our luggage so it could be checked in. Needless to say, this was very upsetting to us. We were going to waste our last day in the airport. As a side note, my DNiece had been throwing up all night and we weren't even sure if she was going to be able to make her flight home (luckily, she was! ).

Luckily, just before we (except for DNiece) left for 11 a.m. ADR at 'Ohana, we got a call that the airlines were back up! YEAH. Now all we had to do was return from 'Ohana, get luggage to airport check-in (along with fridge for swap) and be out of our rooms by 1 p.m. (the latest they would give us for late check out.) It all worked out fine, but it was a frustrating end to a wonderful trip. The worst part was the attitude of the CMs at LS who seemed to think it was all a lark, they actually were laughing when we asked if things would be back on track soon. I did let the manager know about their attitude and he did apologize, and he did come up with the van solution.

Other than my Niece taking ME to join our trip, we've never used ME, and probably won't since we rent a vehicle. I think leaving 3 hrs. before flight time is too early too. I understand why, I just don't like it. But, if I didn't rent a vehicle, I would use it to arrive and probably check my luggage at the resort and have the people take a taxi to the airport.

Again, I hope you found your camera......please let us know.
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:14 PM   #215
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Oh my.....I would have had a major panic attack I just bought a Nikon D40 for Christmas and I hold on that thing better than my purse with all my credit cards
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:47 PM   #216
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losing a camera is a terrible feeling.
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:31 PM   #218
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I'm coming out of lurkdom to compliment you on your cliff hanger. One of the best ever I'm fairly confident you retreived the camera because we've seen all the pictures, but I can't wait to hear how.
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:37 PM   #219
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OMG I'm about to faint for you. I would hate to lose my camera. What a terrible feeling!
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:56 PM   #220
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Sorry you had so much trouble on your last day! And the camera situation - I'm guessing you left in on the ME bus and they had to send it to you?

I like your pictures from the GF photo shoot - what a nice setting. And the picture of your DD on the Harley is great too!

Don't leave us hanging too long!
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:21 PM   #221
cdotla
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DAY 5: AIRPORT DRAMA CONTINUED

After checking and re-checking numerous times to make sure that I wasn't overlooking the camera somewhere (similar to the sunglasses on the head moments I have been known to have), panic started to set in when I realized it was gone.

I immediately alerted the flight attendant and told her that my camera was missing and in one of 3 places: (1) front check-in gate, (2) security, or (3) the washroom beside our boarding gate.

My best guess at the moment was that I had left it hanging in the bathroom stall in the washroom just beside our Gate as we had been in such a hurry to get out of there as the aircraft was boarding.

I realize that flight crew have a whole host of things to do when an aircraft is preparing for take-off and that a passenger's missing camera would not be high on the priority list. However, it was so hard to report the camera as missing and then have to sit back in my seat and do nothing as people, including the flight attendants were laughing and joking and carrying on and I just want to dash out of the plane and begin a frantic search (that is, after first throwing up!)

I asked the flight attendant if I could quickly get off the plane to check in the washroom but not surprisingly this was not possible. I then asked if she could have the gate agent check. She said she would. I also asked her to have someone contact the front check-in agents and security.

I stayed in my seat (which was so hard) and tried to remain calm. Inside I was breaking down. Of course I couldn't let DD see this so I tried to keep up a good front. I kept telling her that someone would find it and return it to us.

In my own mind I was sure I would never see it again.

During our May Trip when I left the camera under the seat of the rental van, I was so confident that it would be returned. I called, after all, 10-15 minutes after the van was turned in. They would surely have it, right?

Even after the sick feeling sunk in when I realized that it had been stolen I was sure that whoever took it would mail me the memory card or at least a disc with the 600 or 700 photos of my kids' first ever Trip to Disney on it. I could not imagine anyone looking at the pictures of my kids and just callously deleting them. Obviously I was wrong.

Now I just had no hope left. I was sure it was gone.

Still, my mind kept racing trying to figure out where I had left it.

I remembered all of the pictures we had taken in the Airport. I remembered having the camera when we passed through Security - whether that was the first or second time I couldn't recall.

Then I remebered having the camera when we were back at the check-in gate getting the 2 agents to box up my gift basket. I also remembered how distracted I had been at the time; it was getting late for the flight and DD was running around not staying beside me. I was sure that this is where I must have left it.

I paged the flight attendant again. By this time she reported that the gate agent had made her way to the bathroom and the camera wasn't there. I told her that I now believed that I had left it at the front check-in when I went back to check my carry on gift basket. I asked her if she could call there right away.

Then I sat back with nothing more I could do but to re-live the whole thing again and again in my mind and try and comprehend how this could have happened.

When I bought the original camera in May 2007, it was a big purchase for me. At the time the camera retailed for close to $900 by the time you added the bag and photocard. Obviously when touring the Parks for the week that thing never left my side. A week later, on our way home, I do the unthinkable and leave it under the seat of a rental van!

The loss of my camera on our May Trip, as you would have read earlier, was the whole reason for this September Trip. So how could this have happened again????

For all of my vigilence in May in guarding that camera, during our September Trip it went to a whole new level. That camera literally did not leave my neck during this Trip. I guarded it with my life and sat through many uncomfortable meals with the strap digging into me for fear that if I took it off I would somehow forget to pick it up again when we left.

So again, how could this have happened???

Basically, it all boiled down to one foolish mistake. Instead of just turning over the Basin gift basket to Security, I made a terrible decision that threw us into panick mode, rushing around the airport at the last minute trying to get it checked, back through Security and to the Gate without missing our flight. Ironic when we had originally arrived with so much time to kill!

And also, how ironic that on both Trips I lost the camera literally AT THE AIRPORT, on the last day of each Trip, after having poured blood, sweat and tears into trying to capture the best photographs that I could of my kids' first Trips to Disney.

It was quite simply too cruel for words. And unimaginable. How could something like this possibly happen TWICE????


TO BE CONTINUED

Last edited by cdotla; 01-13-2008 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:43 PM   #222
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that would be terrible that they would not let you off the plane to look. I would have been arrested.
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:47 PM   #223
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oh no u didnt..........................
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:02 PM   #224
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I am literally on the edge of my seat, wanting to bite my nails and nearly in tears thinking about this happening to you...again! Please don't wait to long to update b/c my stomach is in knots!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:06 PM   #225
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ahg how could you do this to us!

PS the outfits you had made for your DD is that person available online?
thanks
I would like a couple things made for my daughter!


Im sad that your next installment might be your last
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