October 2001 Intro: Ive been to the US many times but this is only the second time to WDW. The last time was June 2000 for two weeks. That was supposed to be a once in a lifetime holiday. We booked three weeks this time. This holiday is meant to be more relaxing than the last, which is why we chose October. The last holiday I planned down to the second, this one I have an idea of which park to do on which day, but thats about it. This is my first attempt at trip reports so go gentle J Cast: Me 37, using Disney to combat a mid life crisis!! DW Theresa, someone has to put up with me DD1 Emma 12, not quite a teenager but may as well be DD2 Lisa 8, Butter wouldnt melt. Ok time is getting close now; we had booked Day Before Check-In, so with bags packed we headed off to Birmingham International. We were told that All the party had to be present, the kids thought that was a great idea as they got an extra day off school. We arrived at the Airport and went straight to the agents desk, 15 minutes later the bags had been checked, weighed, scanned and tagged and were now heading into the black void beyond the check-in desks, would we ever see them again?? We had booked our seats to sit together; they usually allocate the four middle seats on a plane with 2-4-2-seat plan. We asked if we could have window and isle seats together and was duly allocated 24 and 25 A and B. Great all we had to do now was turn up tomorrow bypass the check-in queue and pick up our boarding cards. Headed back home to twiddle our thumbs waiting for tomorrow. We had a taxi booked for 7am, I was awake and excitedly looking out of the window, shouldnt that taxi be here by now?? I hope they havent forgotten, maybe I should ring a friend, I looked at my watch .oh its only 5am .. Excited about the holiday, me, never.. 6:55am the taxi arrives, wed all now been awake for a while. I told the very nice taxi man, wed just be a minute. Last minute check, tickets, driving license, passports, money and suitcases. Wheres the suitcases, Ive lost the suitcases, well have nothing to wear !!!! oh yes they are at the airport already, forgot myself there for a minute We had an uneventful journey the airport, gave the taxi driver a nice tip for being on time and thought Id get into the habit of this tipping lark as Id be doing it for the next 3 weeks. We picked up our boarding passes and headed for a nice 3-hour wait upstairs in the departure lounge. A few questions and our hand luggage scanned then we were having a drink in the lounge. For me this is the start of the holiday. The Screens were showing our flight was on time 11am and at the appointed time we started to board. Security showed itself here as all the dodgy characters were taken aside for a quick search and some more questions, I must look dodgy as I was lucky enough to win the prize of a search much to the amusement to DDs. Having found our seats and stored what little hand luggage we had, the pilot announced that hed been given an 11:10am take off slot, so if everyone could quickly get themselves sorted he could start moving. This was fine by me; the quicker we left the better. 11:10am and we still havent moved, dont we have to be at the end of the runway to take off?? 11:30am and we finally start moving, we eventually find out that we missed our slot because the pilot of the Britannia plane next to us had missed his parking slot and had to be pushed into place !!!! Amateurs, eh Finally were in the sky and heading towards the mouse. Arrive at Sanford around 1600 and joined that really quick Immigration line, actually it was fairly quick this time. Ok before we get to the man, have we filled out the green forms correctly? I check, DW checks, they look ok, but you always have that doubt in your mind!! You know hell find something and youll be sent to the back like a naughty school kid. There you go sir, welcome to the US.. Pweeehh, no mistakes. Passports stamped and were through in record time, or so I thought. Yeeha our luggage had made it. We now hit another queue, this was the F&M question time line! Id forgotten about this. Eventually made it to the very nice woman with a gun, been on a farm?, got any milk? and other such questions, Lisa was answering most of the questions and I think her, butter wouldnt melt smile won us a quick track out of the airport. I called at the Unijet desk to pickup our welcome pack then to Alamo to pick up the car. There was quite a line here but it passed quickly as DW and DDs were sunning them selves on the suitcases outside. We were allocated a car and we quickly found it in the allotted parking bay. 10 minutes later Id managed to squash a couple of largish suitcases into a very small boot/trunk. The car was a Pontiac Grand AM, very nice, very roomy, just not much room in the trunk!! We left Sanford along Lake Mary Boulevard and took the exit onto the 417 Central Florida Greeneway. My left foot quickly realises that it isnt going to have much to do whilst in the car, so decides to press the brake pedal every now and again normally at the same time that my right foot is pressing the accelerator !! Umm must remember there isnt a clutch pedal! My first driving mistake soon followed, the 417 splits into two after Jnc34 and I knew I had to stay in the Right Lane. The only problem was I was in the Right Lane too early and before I knew it I was exiting the 417 on to Colonial Drive which goes through downtown Orlando, Arrhghhh. Instead of turning back we decided to drive through Orlando and meet up with some other road that was going in our general direction! By the end of the three weeks Theresas map reading skills are brilliant. After a very scenic tour of the downtown district we eventually made it to the I4 and headed west on familiar territory until we caught sight of exit 25B Walt Disney World. Were home !! Quickly passed the McDonalds landmark, which is at the entrance to All Stars Resort. It was a great feeling driving past Mc Ds up to the entrance of All Stars. An ID check and we were let through the gates to the All Star Movies. At check-in we were allocated the rooms wed requested Fantasia 8714. It was now past 7pm and all thoughts of going to Fantasmic, which Id secretly hoped for whilst planning the holiday quickly passed as my aching body fell on the bed. We decided to go to the food court for a meal then have an early night. Wed brought our All Star Mugs from last year, as we had been told that they were good for refills for life when we purchased them last year, but theyd changed the design of the mugs and we wondered if we should use them or not. I thought if someone wants to argue about it, Im tired and in the right mood for them!! So sheepishly filled our mugs and returned to our table. A quick scan around soon found others with last years mugs along with other resort mugs. Felt a lot better now and marvelled at a bargain these mugs were. I hate to think what it would have cost us if we were buying our drinks all the time. Tomorrow, start of the parks, the plan was for an early start at Animal Kingdom.