Day 15 30th December, 2001 Fly away Angel, fly away home .. Home time today, how horrible. Some people look forward to going home (DH is one of them) but I never have on Florida trips Im afraid. Always have too good a time. The weather when I look out of our high rise window is fine again, but not as lovely as yesterday perhaps thats just as well really. I take a long last look over to USF which we can see from our hotel window, and wave goodbye to the Hulk & Dr Doom. See you again soon I hope guys! Get all our stuff together very despondently and take a long last look around this lovely hotel room. So glad we had things turn out well in the end, this was a wonderful hotel, so comfortable too. Good bye Rita Hayworth & Cary Grant (posters on the wall you understand), thanks for looking after us. We check out and Vince settles the bill for phone calls which is actually pretty reasonable (thank goodness!) and then attempt to cram all our bags into the very small car boot. Just about manage! Breakfast is at Ponderosa today and we have noticed a cheapo bag shop next to it, so thatll be our first call afterwards. I even manage a quick check on the DIS while Im at breakfast (yes, Becky says Im sad too but I do like to keep up with whats been happening or Im just plain nosey!) manage to check out the first of DFMs Live from fat Towers reports too, great! Hi Dave! Even though were very depressed we somehow all manage to eat a large breakfast, to last til our next trip possibly Then we take a look round the shop, which is actually pretty dire, so we head back to The Belz, where we are sure to be able to but a reasonable case for very little money ..arent we? No! However I do manage to buy at the last minute a very cool pair of Vans, much to Beckys disgust. They look great with the purple laces I buy (honestly) I keep assuring her they are not the same as hers so shes ok, and can keep her street cred. In the next Belz mall building we find the bag shop has closed down, together with several other shops, and its looking pretty ghost-like really. What we do find though, and this may sound strange, I know! Is a shop called The Bible Factory. This is actually great news because I know I can get my parents gifts here, which I do and Im very happy. Vince however is now frothing at the wallet as we are supposed to be buying a suitcase not buying to fill another one!!! I just manage one last visit as I spy a clothes shop ..untiI I realise its not quite my thing. I should have realised from the 2 old ladies knitting by the door that I wouldnt find my style of clothes in there really! I mooch around it very uncomfortably and realise now where a lot of woman Ive seen at the parks buy their stuff from ..sorry, but its not really the fashion capital of the world is it? Ill stop before Im rude now .. Leaving Belz behind, together with lots of our money (se, its OURs, not DHs now) we spot a bag shop just down the road and buy a very reasonable little pull along suitcase (well I think so anyway!). What do you mean you cant fit our stuff in it dear .give it here, and dont forget Im wearing those Vans! There, of course it all fits (wipes sweat from brow). Now if we could just fit it in the car! If by chance you were driving down I Drive on that Sunday morning and saw a couple doing some strange dance thing where they emptied out their car and then filled it again several times, yes, that was us Im afraid! Good job weve only got the one daughter, there was no room in the car for more kids! At this point I know we could have gone and done something else but Im afraid Im one of those people who cant stand leaving things til the last minute and once I know Im going home, Im already there if you know what I mean! So we decide to make our way to the Alamo depot, return our car and spend the rest of the afternoon at the airport. Yes I know were strange .you all figured that out long ago Im sure! Also, our bad experience of Alamo at the start of the trip led us to believe it would take an equally long time to return our car. Not! Took barely 10 minutes of course and we were loaded onto the little shuttle bus heading for Orlando Airport! A much nicer driver helped us on with all our bags (perhaps they couldnt wait to get rid of us) At the airport Vince had trouble finding a trolley, and with 4 big cases/bags we needed one, even though the place was deserted. It was incredibly quiet, maybe coz it was a Sunday? There was only one person in front of us in the VA queue, so we whiled away the time by answering the nice security ladys questions No, we hadnt got any knives, scissors on us. No, we hadnt sent our camera away to be repaired (luckily), no we hadnt let the cases out of our sight and yes we understood that we might have to take off our shoes and have them inspected by security men (remember this was just days after the latest terrorist incident ) so to check in, which took just minutes, we had the seats wed reserved months before and we were able to rid ourselves of our bags. I watched in amazement as a family of 5 arrived, with many cases, and 12 bags of hand luggage between them .I thought we were being restricted hardly, it seemed! Time for a long mooch around the last shops wed see before UK, then lunch in the food court. I wanted to try something a bit more up market but Becky had seen BK so yearned for a burger (strange child). I had a lovely tuna bagel instead. We managed to resist the cinnamon rolls, but bought a couple of cookies. A last look at the lovely Xmas tree in the airport, then we thought wed better make a move as the security lines were allegedly very slow. They were long Qs but moved quite quickly, and to Beckys joy they didnt frisk her this time, it was dads turn (dodgy looking character !) The usual boring bits followed, you know the score. Duty Free, blah blah blah, delayed for an hour, blah blah, BA departure lounge very well organised, Virgin like a rugby scrum, couldnt understand a word that was said over the PA so everyone tried to board at the same time .hmmmmmmm. Boarded, man in front of me immediately put his seat back for the whole flight (thanks chum) and we were off. Watched The Princess Diaries on the way home then tried to sleep, which would have been easier if a lady in front hadnt struck up a conversation with a passing passenger for an hour!! Thats fine but they talked VERY loudly until I felt like screaming! Flight was ok, and then it was Goodbye Orlando, hello merry old England .not! As we landed the captain informed us it was a very chilly 3 degrees!!!! Brrrrrrrr! Only other thing about the journey was the 90 minutes it took our cases to come thru, and when youre tired and cold thats a VERY long time! Oh yes, and I didnt like having to defrost the car and its windows when we got back to the car park dont like it here, I wanna go back NOW!!!!!!!! (Stamping my feet, can you hear?) The End ..or is it? Just some rambling thoughts about the trip Staying offsite better than I expected (given our lovely hotel eventually!) but if I went at Xmas again Id probably stay on site at least for some of the time. Itd be much easier when the parks were busy! Christmas @ Disney would do this again, definitely, all those special events were wonderful, but would remember to wear more sensible warm clothing! Also although it helped having PSs for restaurants we did feel tied to the times then, and were clock watching; all the time. Annual Passes an amazing bargain we got for USF, well worth it. Id do that again! Vouchers these are a pain instead of the actual tickets. Although I tried not to have them this time, I was stuck with them never again! Alamo NEVER again, what a pain! Back to Dollar next time! A lovely holiday, very different to our others. The atmosphere, though strange at times, (sunshine & carols) was wonderful. Favourite memories That FiTS cruise with our lovely new American friends, watching the fireworks explode over the castle pure magic. Watching Becky & her new friends giggle & chat like old buddies. (Theyve been in touch sinceJ) Cirque just loved it , theres nothing like it! Those Osborne Lights! The Grizwalds came to town, and then some! Only in USA . Vinces face after his Dolphin encounter, such an emotional moment. The sound of the choir at The candlelight Procession, the songs carrying over the water at EPCOT Our first sight of our new hotel room in the Sheraton, after such a miserable start, it made up for it!J Becky on Dr Doom, wearing the most ridiculous wide jeans in the world, about to take off!! That first frozen margerita of the holiday ..and a thousand others (thats memories, NOT margaritas!) Are they ready for us again, do you think? Well, the sight of Becky, dog collar & Anarchy t-shirt and all, certainly seemed to give a lot of people something to talk about .but I think thats the idea! Theyd better get ready .as Arnie says .sort of .Well be back! Next trip: Easter 2003 Thanks for sticking with me!