A Very British Trip Report - May 2009 - Day 2

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by Kevin Stringer, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Kevin Stringer

    Kevin Stringer Chat Host

    Mar 3, 2000
    The participants:

    Me, Kev, 51, husband, father, son, friend. In fact, just about everything to everybody on this holiday.
    Wife, Tam, 45.
    Daughter 1, India, 18.
    Daughter 2, Georgia, 15.
    Grandma, 84. The girls Grandma, my mother.
    Susan, age kept quiet for fear of kick in soft tissuey area. Our friend from Tulsa.

    Attending in part:

    Sharon, see above for age. Friend from Texas.
    Evan, 21, Sharon’s son.

    Tam and I both get a fairly good nights sleep, which is unusual when sleeping in a hotel for the first night.

    We get up around 8.00am and get ready at a leisurely pace before going down for breakfast. As we all descend in the lift, Tam catches her reflection in the mirror and laments the state of the bags under her eyes. Ind does not help much when she tells her she looks a bit like Andrew Lloyd Webber. I’m sure Mr Webber is a decent enough chap, but even I wouldn’t like to be compared to him looks wise.

    Breakfast is pretty good with a decent buffet of hot and cold foods. The £67 we paid for each room including breakfast is a real bargain as I had noticed the rack rate at check-in is £238! You have got to be joking.
    At breakfast Tam asks if it will make a change to have a man joining us for part of the holiday when we meet up with Evan in our second week. I point out that we have been with our friend Matt a few times. Silence. ‘Yes, but will it make a change to have a man along?’ Oh, how we laughed.

    Back to the room to finish packing and we walk over to the airport at 10.00am. Bag drop and security are over very swiftly and we are through to the departure lounge with a couple of hours to spare before the flight.
    The ladies go off for a spot of shopping and I sit down to catch up on the trip report. No sooner have I started than an alarm bell sounds along with a voice telling us that the fire alarm has been triggered and to make our way to an emergency exit. The ladies hurry back and we follow the mass of people being herded down to the departure gates. After 15 minutes or so an announcement says that all is clear and we are allowed back into the lounge.


    Waiting for the all clear


    Grandma waiting​

    I cannot hide a brief smirk of delight at the reduced amount of shopping time left to the ladies, but I’ve failed to take into account the commando style shopping tactics that are brought into play in just such an emergency. In less than 30 minutes a bottle of rum, a bottle of Pimms, 2 watches, a box of earplugs, a lipstick and some insect repellent are purchased.

    It’s at this point that I regret laughing at India’s Andrew Lloyd Webber comment earlier. Tam now regards herself as resembling a bloodhound in the drooping eyes department and decides on drastic measures. A tube of something called Touche Eclat needs to be acquired. It appears that this miraculous substance is made from powdered diamonds. How else would you account for something so small costing £18+? For that sort of money she’ll need to end up looking like a flippin’ supermodel!

    All this activity means we virtually walk on to the plane. Our seats are not together thanks to BA’s useless on-line check-in procedure and is made worse when Georgia and I agree to swap seats so that a family who have also been split up can sit together.

    At least we take off on time and we settle back to watch a few films. The entertainment system is actually better than I expected with a choice of 24 recent films and the ability to stop and start when you want similar to Virgin’s V Port.

    I watch The Wrestler first. It’s hardly surprising that this film has won so many awards, Mickey Rourke is brilliant in it. It’s the tale of a wrestler struggling on as he reaches the end of his career in an unforgiving profession and is not to be missed.
    I thought this would be the best film I would see on this flight until I watched Gran Torino. This is supposed to be Clint Eastwood’s final acting role and what a way to bow out. Funny, poignant, thrilling and sad in equal measures, it’s the story of an ageing, bigoted ex-soldier who has just lost his wife and is struggling to make some sense of a changing world. When an Asian family move in next door and the son tries to steal his car (the Gran Torino of the title) things do not exactly work out the way you’d expect. If you only watch one film this year, make is this one.

    The last film is Inkheart and it’s about a man that can summon up characters from fiction simply by reading out loud. Now that’s a useful skill, if I could do it I’d be reading copies of Playboy and Penthouse copiously.

    The flight is pretty good in general, I would say the entertainment system is better than that used on Virgin flights to Orlando as they still can’t play/pause films. Otherwise I’d probably just go with whoever was the cheaper.

    Getting thorough immigration at Tampa is reasonably smooth and we catch the bus to the Alamo car hire centre. We knew it wasn’t on airport, but the rate was so good through Yes car hire (£36 for 1 day gold cover in a 7 seater mini van) that we thought it worth the inconvenience.

    A stop at a Publix along the way sees us stocked up with beer and some other non-essential items before continuing along the I4 to the Swan where we are spending our first 3 nights. The skies get darker and darker and we can see lightning in the distance. As we go under the entrance to Disneyworld the rain starts to pour down and lightning illuminates the black skies all around us. It may not be the perfect way to be welcomed home, but it’s certainly dramatic.

    We drive up to the Swan to check-in and things are chaotic to say the least. There are cars everywhere trying to get under the covered area to unload out of the rain and Disney buses trying to squeeze through the same area.
    After 10 minutes or so we manage to find a space and get everything out onto a trolley. The ladies check-in while I go and park the car. Incidentally it costs $10 per day to use the car park here.

    We are allocated adjoining rooms on the 5th floor and are pleasantly surprised at the size and general standard. We also have a nice view over the river at the back of the Boardwalk.


    View looking towards the Boardwalk


    Looking towards Disney's Hollywood Studios​

    The most important task of filling the fridge with beer is completed (after cracking one open of course) and other unpacking ensues. In the middle of all this the phone rings. It’s Susan, our good friend from Tulsa who is joining us this trip; she is staying at the Yacht Club for the first 3 days and flew in earlier.
    Having established we have arrived, she walks over to the Swan to greet us. After much hugging and kissing (I really must stop that, the maid is beginning to object) we settle down to a fine repast of Sour Cream and Chive Lays accompanied by beer. Well, can you think of a better way to toast the beginning of a holiday?

    We chat away for an hour or so and we introduce Susan to Pimms, although we can’t do it full justice, as we don’t have any cucumber or mint. She gives it a thumbs up just the same.
    Susan heads off back to the Yacht Club and we all go to bed just before 11.00pm, tired but pleased to have arrived.

  2. SusanEllen

    SusanEllen DIS Veteran

    May 24, 2004
    Your discipline is astounding. You've already turned out two installments of your trip report in the same time it's taken me to do my vacation laundry. So far an excellent report. Of course, now that the stories our trip have merged I'll be reading with a more critical eye and asking for the right to make an editorial comment every now and then.
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  4. buzz for boys

    buzz for boys <font color=royalblue><marquee>Certified Serious S

    Feb 6, 2005
    Im hoping to put a face to the name Susan - after your generosity and kind words id love to know what you looked like x

    Kev - a fab trip report so far ive been laughing out loud reading this :rotfl2:
  5. darthtatty

    darthtatty Been There, Done That, Going Back!

    Apr 14, 2008
    another great installment. :thumbsup2
    keep up the fab work, cant wait to hear more.xx
  6. jen_uk

    jen_uk <font color=6666cc>Eurovision Nut !!<font color=33

    Mar 1, 2005
    Love it! :thumbsup2
  7. Claire L

    Claire L <font color=blue>Enjoys a good broadway show<br><f

    Apr 13, 2002
    Oh off to a flying start and so glad Grandma is with you, looks like she is looking forward to the holiday in the piccie :)

    Claire ;)
  8. jockey

    jockey Runs for Wine!

    Apr 25, 2004
    Great report :)
  9. Boss Hogg

    Boss Hogg <font color=green>It's 5 o'clock somewhere<br><fon

    Aug 8, 2004
    Oh ha ruddy ha! I'm surprised you managed to hold off the insults of my good self this long - 2nd day, 2nd paragraph - must be a record!!

    I may well not class as a "man" in Tam's eyes, but at least I don't look like a dodgy looking old one!:lmao: (in Tam's case) and actually be a dodgy looking old one in your case!!

    Also Kev, not sure the "Looking towards Disney's Hollywood Studios" tag is terribly needed on the picture - I think Ray Charles could work that one out.

    In all seriousness, sounds like the Tampa trip was ok, and glad to hear the flight was ok. A friend of mine recommended Gran Turino, so I shall be waiting eagerly for it to arrive on Sky Movies:thumbsup2
  10. UKDEB

    UKDEB Moderator Emeritus Moderator

    Jul 7, 2000
    Kev's disciplined approach to not doing laundry certainly never fails to astound me.
  11. suzycute

    suzycute DIS Veteran

    Apr 30, 2005
    I love trippies that make me laugh out loud - and this certainty does that!!

    Unless you post the next one in the next hour, I will have to wait to catch up with the rest when we return from our (non disney) holiday - we depart in the morning (DH has to have his choice on occasions!!). :thumbsup2
  12. Goofysmate

    Goofysmate <font color=red>Isn't fussed where she is, as long

    Jan 6, 2007
    Great start to reports :thumbsup2
  13. Natasha&Matt

    Natasha&Matt <font color=royalblue>I fancy Prince Eric<br><font

    Sep 15, 2007
    :thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2 Gran Torino is such a brilliant film
  14. mandymouse

    mandymouse Bahama Mama Time !!

    Mar 8, 2003
    Great start Kev :thumbsup2
  15. jns

    jns <font color=cc3366>Tries hard to get the jelly off

    Jul 2, 2004
    Great start
    looking orward to hearing lots more
  16. natalielongstaff

    natalielongstaff <font color=deeppink>I need a cup of tea and a big

    Apr 7, 2004
    :rotfl2: love the commando approsch to shopping ! A thing im sure BAA never took into account when banning liquids etc :rolleyes1
  17. johnsonet

    johnsonet DIS Veteran

    Jul 3, 2003

    A DIS friend pointed me in the direction of your TRs. I'm so glad she did!

    Looking forward to more :)
  18. Pugsly

    Pugsly DIS Veteran

    Mar 8, 2002
    First off, I neglected to thank you for keeping my age 'classified info'.

    Secondly, I have to wonder whether Tam's travel-day outfit followed the whole Stringer red-and-black theme as well. I see Grandma was a bit of a rebel, opting for the pink and blue variation.
  19. Tartan Tigger

    Tartan Tigger <font color=purple>I fixed my PC MYSELF!!!!!!!!<br

    Oct 30, 2000
    Great start. Looking forward to more.
  20. Chilly

    Chilly RIP Tag Fairy

    Apr 25, 2006
    $10 to park that's a bit off.

    How long did it take to drive from Tampa?
  21. Kevin Stringer

    Kevin Stringer Chat Host

    Mar 3, 2000
    Not long actually. I guess it would take about 75 to 90 minutes without a stop, depending on where you ahd to get to.


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