Pre-trippie here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2558071 We are: Me, Theresa My DH Tony (Tony64) My sister Mandy (MandyJane) My Brother-in-law Peter (FleetPete) My Nephew Andrew (16) My Nephew Kieran (12) And a surprise guest We always get ridiculously excited the night before our holiday and find it impossible to sleep. Consequently, we were both awake and out of bed before the alarm went off at 5am and all ready to go by the time Mandy, Peter and the boys arrived by 6am. We piled the luggage into our car and made the 30 minute journey to Heathrow Airport where we were met by the Purple Parking chap who drove our car away for us. All very smooth and easy. Throughout the journey however, I was frantically and secretly exchanging texts with DD Maddie as we had a big surprise for the others – Maddie was coming with us after-all. When we first booked the holiday last year, Maddie had hoped to be able to come with us but didn’t know what she would be doing work-wise after graduating. With just a few weeks to go she decided to ask her new employer if she could have time off to come with us. She thought they would say no, as she was still training, but they said yes! It was all systems go then to find flights, park tickets etc. And it was at this point we decided to add to the fun and keep it a secret from my sister Mandy and family so Maddie could surprise them at the airport. It’s been so difficult keeping it secret though; Tony and I have both said the wrong thing and almost given the game away twice, but luckily Mandy didn’t guess. Maddie had made her own way to Heathrow as she now lives in London, and as we entered the airport Tony and I tried to stall the others a bit as we knew Maddie was still in the bag-drop queue, but we could only dither for so long and were forced to join the queue. We could see Maddie at the front, but luckily the others didn’t notice, and as we walked away after bag-drop, Maddie ran up behind Mandy and tapped her on the shoulder. It was so funny! Mandy’s face was a picture – she just couldn’t believe it. She kept saying “But why are you here?” and Maddie kept saying “I’m coming with you!”. You can see from the first photo that Peter caught on alot quicker than Mandy did! After hugs and photos, we went through security and made our way to Garfunkel’s for breakfast. After a quick look around the duty-free shop, we walked down to our gate. Us, waiting at the gate. We were flying with KLM/Delta via JFK, New York, the same route we took 35 years ago when Mandy and I were children, but back then, we flew with Pan Am. 1975 2010 Our seats were in 3 lots of 2 next to the window with Maddie just across the aisle from us. Delta’s food was much the same as any other airline – a choice of chicken risotto or cheese tortellini, with a little salad, cheese and crackers, chocolate cookie and the usual completely solid bread roll. The seat-back entertainment system however was very good; at least a dozen movies, numerous TV shows, and a variety of music, all available to start/stop/pause/rewind at our leisure. There was also a choice of games to play including a trivia quiz played against your fellow passengers, which Kieran mysteriously won even though the questions were all based on America and were really difficult. Unfortunately, the elderly man behind me was enthusiastically playing the various games throughout the whole flight and kept vigorously prodding the screen, so I had a constant jab, jab, jab on my headrest. We had pizza and ice-cream an hour before we landed. The flight was approximately 7 hours long and we were glad to land safely at JFK (Mandy and I are not comfortable with flying!). We had a look around a few shops then had a meal at Burger King. Mandy and I wanted to re-create an old 1975 photo of Mandy at JFK airport, but regrettably there are no longer any outside areas or even many places where you can see the planes or runway so we had to make do with this one. 1975 2010 We were thrilled to see a yellow New York taxi! We boarded the plane on time, but then waited a further hour before we took off. We tried to get photos of the city from the air, but the wing was in the way. Silly old wing! The flight down to Orlando was ok – drinks and pretzels or cookies were served, but there was no entertainment. Once landed, the men went to get the hire cars sorted out, while the rest of us grabbed the cases. It was 8.30pm before we drove out of the airport. We had agreed to stick together for the drive to the villa but unfortunately Tony and I followed the wrong car out of the airport and by the time we realised our mistake we had no idea whether the others were in front of us or behind us and I couldn’t get through to them on the phone. We had no choice but to continue to the villa. They arrived about 10 minutes after us, having waited for ages in the car park. Sorry guys! The villa is at Cumbrian Lakes and is absolutely wonderful. Very spacious, a bedroom each for all the children, two master suites and a lovely pool overlooking a nature reserve. Tony, Maddie and I whizzed over to Walmart, taking a short cut down Oren Brown road and picked up breakfast items and water. Probably our quickest ever Walmart visit as by now we were all very tired. We were all in bed by 11pm. Tomorrow: Islands of Adventure: Forbidden Journey, butterbeer, and a complete soaking.