Jan 23, 2004

Both Lidia and I were working the day before (family business) and so packing was a pretty rushed affair! But at 8am we were ready for the 50 mile trip from Stoke to Manchester. Straight up the M6, along the M56, straight to airport, no problem. Mmm! Fortunately I checked the motorway situation before we left (Gabriella was taking us). Motorway was closed after a rather large accident at 6am. So our trip, along with everyone else going North took us along the leafy lanes of Cheshire and took about 90 minutes instead of the expected 45.

But we arrived and checked in no problem. Security seemed slower than usual and I managed to leave eye drops in my hand luggage which added further delays! Having had a quick look at the time I decided we had plenty of time for brunch and found a restaurant in the departures area.

I was not in the mood for breakfast so had a pulled pork burger, which was not brilliant, but not terrible also. Lidia went full English.


Just as I was finishing mine, and Lidia was about half way through hers we heard the announcement "Final Boarding for Thomas Cook Flight...to Orlando go to Gate..." WHAT?! Flight was at 12 and it was like 11.10. But who were we to question the announcement! We gathered up our hand luggage, Lidia longingly said goodbye to a half eaten Full English and we walked quickly to the gate.

We didn't get that close to the gate however as the departure lounge was still full of people. The gate hadn't even opened. Lidia looked at me, shook her head as she remembered her breakfast and gave me the "it's your fault" look!

It quickly became apparent that this flight was going no where fast as there was a group of engineers outside working on the plane. I accosted an airport representative and asked why a final boarding call had gone out? He apologised and said it was a mistake. Lidia gave me that look again.

2 hours later our plane was ready for boarding. I had booked and paid for extra leg room and we were more than happy with our exit seats. I've never paid for extra leg room before, but will be doing so in the future!

As flights go this one was totally uneventful and passed by pretty quickly. Lunch was chicken curry which was totally edible and there were sandwiches before landing. Midway through the flight we were given ice cream. The smallest Cornetto ever!


Flight entertainment was pretty good - I watched the movie Hidden Figures...very good - but mostly read, as did Lidia. I even slept a little, which is totally unheard of for me on flights.

Eventually at 6.30 we landed, 2 1/2 hours late. The security lounge was rammed. I mean busier than I've ever seen it. But, I gotta say, the line moved quickly and we were through in about 30-40 minutes. Interestingly I had to the do the finger print and eye photograph thing, but Lidia wasn't required to! Not sure why.

Easily collected bags and headed to the Dollar car rental desk. We had a little drama here over who booked the car, but nothing major (I will return to this encounter later however as it later became relevant).


Car was an Intermediate SUV - Chrysler - and we were happy with the car. Took 528 and I4 (heavy traffic) and arrived at hotel about 9pm. Check in was simple and we quickly found our room. 4th floor with a view of the pool (and as it turned out Disney fireworks).


Because of our late arrival, our original plans to have dinner at a nearby restaurant went out of the window. We decided on sandwiches from the food court at the hotel. I had Philly Cheese Steak and Lidia had Buffalo Chicken. We shared a salad, beer for Lidia (I don't drink alcohol). diet coke for me. Whilst not a memorable dinner, it did it's job. We did a little bit of unpacking, showered and I settled in for a bit of Thursday Night Football (I do love American Football!).

By 11 we were asleep.


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