Stripes On Tour (Mar 2002) 2 - The Journey

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by UK Valerie, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. UK Valerie

    UK Valerie TRUST NO-ONE

    Feb 28, 2002
    Whoops ! Used the Wife's codey thingywhatsit.:(

    [​IMG] <font color=red>Dave (SD)</font>

    Stripes On Tour

    Previously on Spotty’s holiday ……

    The night before

    Saturday March 2nd- The Journey

    Sure enough, I was awake off and on all night – as you do. 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 5 o’clock but I managed to sleep through 6am and would probably have missed me flight if it wasn’t fer the 6.30 alarm I nearly didn’t set.

    I’d hoped to get them all ready and out in time to walk over to the airport. In the end was lucky to get them on the 7.30 courtesy (?!) bus for the 3 minute trip to check-in just in time for 7.50 last orders. £6 for the ‘courtesy’ ? I’ve renamed it the Liberty Bus.

    Inside the departure area and Julie’s eyes lit up- Burger King was open!
    Dad’s next – the bar was open too. Even though I’d lost me fear of flyin last year it might be unlucky to break me pre-flight pint tradition.

    During breakfast, we lectured the kids on fairness and share-and-share alike principles. They’d had the window seats every trip so far, so it was time for Mam and Dad to have a turn. Besides, it was OUR names on the window seat boarding cards. The kids just smiled and gave each other knowing glances. The little devils nearly knocked me over getting on the plane and just sat there in OUR seats grinning from ear to ear – that’s Julie’s left to Gaz’s right !

    So we settled into the tightly packed middle section (again) cursin that we’d both ignored our resolution on disembarking last year to lose some of our saddle seats in the interests of future comfort .

    It was AirService sub-charter again but at least all the headsets seemed to work this year. The flight was uneventful and quite pleasant. For the record, I had Beef Caserole, V had the Honey Chicken, Julie the Turkey Dinner and Gaz Fish and Chips. The boy’s choice must have been for kiddies coz his fish were plane shaped- but he enjoyed it all the more for that.

    The in-flight movies were;
    Shallow Hal- I laughed so loud- there were bits that were so typical of us lads.
    K-Pax- an odd Kevin Spacey movie that was a really moving at the end.
    Atlantis – this sounded good but by the time this came on I was well into map reading and route finalisin mode.

    As we neared Sanford I was getting more and more excited. Nowt unusual there, you might think. Fact is I’d been a bit ‘flat’ about this holiday as it approached. We’d planned it so soon after returning last year that there was little to do but sit and wait fer Stu’s planner to come round to us, so we probably missed the anticipation build up. I wouldn’t say I’d been working too hard but it (and the Boys footie) had certainly taken more than their fair share of me time in recent months. Now, as the hours flew by and the hot Florida sun came streamin in the winders, I was getting back to normal and looking to see where I might squeeze the odd minute or two extra out of me plan.

    Time to fill in the Immigration forms. Everyone tensed as we watched the video and took on board the warnings of how important fillin them in correctly and above the line was gonna be. The Stewardess told us they had no spares so any mistakes would have to be rectified in the Immigration Hall.

    ‘Oh pile on the pressure ,why don’t yer?!!!’

    Got the white customs one done ok. We had considered doin the two form trick (a la Mindy ,I think) but given the heightened security we though better of it. Wouldn’t want to cause any extra burden on the security forces.

    Now the green ones. Mine was easy coz I knew me name and when I was born. I even got V’s right but had to ask what year the boy was born. I should have asked about Julie coz I put V’s year on hers. Well, they’ve both got the same mental age – and you can read that both ways.

    I sheepishly went to the Stewardess but she hadn’t been jokin. No forms. So we’d have to wait to get into the Hall and I’d try to get another form filled in while they filed down the line that was bound to be the longest on offer anyway.

    Just when I thought that was enough to worry about for one day the pilot decided to hand the controls to a trainee. What he’d been trainin for wasn’t obvious coz airline controls didn’t appear to have been on the agenda. We went up and down, left and right and up left and down right. It was a bit draughty to be honest and the turbulence made me wonder whether I’d really lost me fear of flyin after all. Yes I had, it was landing that I was scared of – or not as the case seemed to be today. We got down with one heck of a bump – and we all took a group intake of breath as we shuddered to a halt. There was more cheerin and clappin than you usually get on Brits flights, so I don’t think it was just me looking fer an angle fer me report.
    So the flight was uneventful but the landing decidedly dodgy.

    Into Immigration Alley and I swiftly chose a line for V and the kids to stand in and doubled back to fill a form in as quickly as I could without makin a mistake and without spoilin it – I never could colour-in inside the lines under pressure.

    Back to V, I’d picked up another couple of custom forms and filled these in as we moved slowly towards the nice man with a gun. I couldn’t remember the stamping procedure and filled in forms for me alone and V and the kids so that if the nice gun totin man didn’t ask for the white ones we could split up in baggage claim.

    The couple ahead of us had the same idea and the lady went up to the desk on her own. She folded at the very first question – ‘you travelling alone, Maamm?’ and hurriedly ushered her husband to join her. I lost me nerve there and then and we just handed over the family form too.

    The baggage hall was very quiet and our cases were already doin the rounds. This was nice ! We were one of the first to be ready for the off and made our way to the Foot and Mouth Check gadgy- no gun but he knew men who had them. He was all alone as we approached and we went for the shortcut. He made us go up and down the Shreklike taped alley anyway. At least it gave the kids a giggle. We’d made it this far so quickly I decided to hold me tongue for a change about his ‘jobsworth’ approach- an argument could detain me for two whole minutes.

    Through the Beef activating X ray machine and into Airtours check-in in no time at all. Hardly a queue and they were actually using all their staff to attend to weary passengers, even the Fly-Drive desk, so I figured they must have read last year’s critical assessment of their performance. Come to think of it the nice lady offering opportunities of a lifetime wasn’t there either to hamper me progress but I didn’t notice at the time as I stepped into the Dollar Upgrade Gameshow , chantin me mantra ‘I don’t need a bigger car, Thank you.’

    The blokey thanked me for bein a regular renter and offered me a chance of a lifetime upgrade – only $10 a day.
    ‘That’s $210 fer me holiday, bonny lad - £150 or half a season ticket, no thank you. I’ll wind me own winders down and the kids can have the extra case between them for an hour at the beginning and end of their holiday. Ta.’

    Ten minutes later the car was packed and we were through the gates without a hitch. Gangplank to 417 in 45 minutes – result!

    The lovely hot Florida air that hit us was hotter than we’d ever had before and after last year’s generally poor weather this was one of our greatest fears laid straight away. It was gonna be great!!!

    V couldn’t wait to get to All Stars and watched eagerly for the WDW Gates and AllStar barriers. I wasn’t headin that way coz me and the boy were goin to get our shoes at Nike , Premium Outlet Mall first but she wouldn’t have known. All roads are the same to V. When we pulled up in the Mall car park she wasn’t impressed but we weren’t havin a repeat of last year when me poor feet got a real hammerin first day without the airlike cushion of new trainers. V and J stayed with the car incase the cases got nicked and me and the boy headed straight for the right aisles coz we know how to shop without fuss or wanderin. We started panickin after 20 minutes when we still hadn’t picked a pair between us. They were all too tight and we settled in desperation for half sizes up before V came to drag us back to her holiday – see I am scared of her really.

    We finally got her to AllStars by 5pm, only two hours after landing so were still on schedule. I sent V to ring her Mam with last year’s phone card and I checked us in. I knew all the answers to the questions and we got exactly what we’d asked for in our room request fax. Calypso Room 459, ground floor, poolside – only two away from where we were last year. I basked in the glory of bein such a meticulous and brilliant planner. This WAS gonna be the best holiday yet. The next three weeks were mapped out and we were ahead of schedule already. Nothing had gone wrong this year, we must have had our quota (and some!) last year.

    Yer’ve guessed haven’t yer?

    V came back with a puzzled look on her face. It took me a while to realise there was summat up coz it’s not that different from her normal expression. The phonecards wouldn’t work- expired. I didn’t realise they expired. I’d paid $10 fer them!!! Never mind, I gave her me credit card out of me wallet while I completed the formalities and sent her off again. Upshot was she still couldn’t get through. The automated operator told her the card wasn’t authorised.
    ‘Never mind, Pet. I’ll be there in a minute and I’ll sort it.’
    This laid back lark’s dead good for yer temper.

    I bought a $20 card out of the AT&T machine and tried meself. It told me the card wasn’t valid for International Privileges.’ I wasn’t that laid back! I rang the operator and after an age finally got to talk to one that actually draws breath not electrodes and it transpired that there was some sort of bar on 0191/92 &93 numbers from AT&T phones. This meant we wouldn’t be able to let V’s Mam and Dad know we’d arrived safely and I wouldn’t be able to ring Ian on the way home to confirm the flight was on time etc.
    And I’ve spent $20 on a card that’s no use !!!!!

    I went to Customer Services and they were very good in authorising the shop to take back the card and give me a refund. So, after a couple of deep breaths we finally made it to the room after 40 minutes! The plan was to be on the 6pm bus to MK for Spectro but we hadn’t eaten yet. We quickly checked the WDW Time Guide and Spectro wasn’t on ‘till 8.15 so we were right back on track. I knew it would work out in the end – oh, that was V (smug so and so!).

    The kids took their mugs to get their first fill of the holiday and V celebrated here return to her favourite place on earth with a hot chocolate. Me? The shop of course for me first Bud supply. Chilli Fries and a Bud by the pool and it was like we’d never been away. It was so hot we weren’t the only ones there- as we usually are.

    We went to get ready for Spectro and me and the boy put our new shoes on. They felt oddly loose. Of course, our feet had been swollen when we were tryin them on – hence the normal sizes feelin tight and double hence why V didn’t want to go buy some as soon as we got off the plane. I decided the loose fittin shoes would cause more problems in the long run so I’d have to go back and change them in the morning. So I had to wear me old ones tonight and risk cripplin meself fer the entire holiday …..and I’ve wasted the first 40 minutes of me plan already!

    V didn’t dare say ‘I told you so!’

    One result, though but. The boy rationalised that his bigger shoes would give him more wear as he’s growin out of shoes faster than I can find cheap pairs. Nice one son, you hobble in them for a while ‘till you grow into them then. (I tried to talk him into changing them really, honest.)

    We got the MK bus and were into Main Street by 7.40. It was a little busier than we expected but this was probably coz Spectro was limited to weekend shows. I gazed at me Castle (sorry, V’s castle) as we passed the centre of Main Street ( no time for me tracks ritual, I need a good spot fer Spectro coz it wasn’t on last year so we haven’t seen it fer 3 years). Got our ‘usual’ spot beside the Emporium and Barber’s shop. It’s a little ‘early’ for the parade as the floats are just comin through the gate as you see them, which maybe spoils the overall ‘image’ but it’s the best I know for an unrestricted view without havin to wait an hour or so beforehand.

    Me and V just grinned as we waited for the show to start. This was the first thing we’d planned for as soon as the decision was made to come back. The CM on the walk-through was playin his part keeping the kids amused and with ten minutes to go Jimminy Cricket came over the tannoy to tell us the show was soon to start. They played the Spectro overture and we got excited all the more.

    We did worry that we’d anticipated Spectro so much, and had seen so much more since 99, that it might not have the same impact. Not a chance! From the first fanfare it was brilliant. I actually swayed to the music; but that might have been the Bud !

    After the parade we had to decide if we were stayin for FiTS. One look at the kids answered that one. They were exhausted. Julie had sat throughout Spectro even though she couldn’t see- she was so tired. So it was home to bed – don’t want to tire the poor loves out first night, do I?

    So here we are propped up in bed with a Bud and the remote – bliss! The kids were soundo as soon as they touched the mattress and V wasn’t far behind. But it is 2.20am (UK time) and they’ve had a long day.
    Yes, this is gonna be a nice relaxin vacation. No early entries to bully them with so they’ll get all the sleep they need. No need to be up till, oh, 6ish in the morning.

    I’ll have another Bud and go back through these channels in case the programmes have changed.
    See yers in the morning- don’t let the door bang on yer way out.

    [​IMG] <font color=red>Dave (SD)</font>
  2. squitty

    squitty <font color=006633>With a little bit of Pixie Dust

    Mar 7, 2001

    Ha, were you trying to trick us posting in V's name...:)

    Brilliant as always. It is like "storytime with Belle" everybody sits round the pc waiting for the story.
    Keep em' comin please, thank you.
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  4. floridamum

    floridamum floridaholic

    Mar 8, 2001
    Worth waiting three weeks for Spotty, I see you didn't lose the car or the family this year.
    Sounds like the plane landing was fun. Fancy letting the kids trick you out of your window seats, you must be softening in your old age.

    See ya.......Christine.
  5. Matts Mom UK

    Matts Mom UK Earning My Ears

    Mar 2, 2002
    Hi Dave,

    I'm so glad you've posted the next installment, It's like one of those series on TV where you cann't wait for the next programe. Iwish we had your stamina when we go in May. We must be real slackers by your standards.

    Cann't wait for the next report.:smooth:

    Janice:bounce: :bounce:
  6. WebmasterPenny

    WebmasterPenny <marquee behavior=alternate><img src=http://www.di

    Dec 16, 1999
    Great report Dave, looking forward to the next! :)

    Penny :)
  7. KayleeUK

    KayleeUK Still here.....

    Oct 9, 1999
    Great report :D

  8. WDWfan uk

    WDWfan uk <font color=red>.... but you can call me Shirley :

    Aug 21, 1999
    6,033 more time-wasting in the morning whilst you change your shoes hmm :rolleyes: ??

    Thanks Dave :) ....... looking forward to 'tomorrow' :)
  9. AlisonB

    AlisonB <font color=990000>Bonzo's DW!!<br><font color=blu

    Feb 12, 2001
    Brilliant Dave!

    Just love your reporting style!
  10. Hilary

    Hilary There's always something new to learn!

    Feb 10, 2000
    :eek: trainee pilot?????????? :eek:

    Glad you lived to tell the tale ;)
  11. Angeluk

    Angeluk ....polishing up my halo!

    May 5, 2001
    you have me chuckling all the way through:D
  12. CarolynU

    CarolynU <font color=CC0000>Proud Mum twice over<br><font c

    Feb 28, 2002
    Oh more please, more please. I just love your reports sooooo much. Carolyn:bounce: :bounce:
  13. Astrid

    Astrid <font color=9933CC>Shoot for the moon. Even if you

    Aug 19, 2000
    Excellent reporting once again BB! Those 'upgrade your car' Dollar chappies just don't give up do they!! I lost count of the number of times I said 'no'!!

    Isn't it a great feeling being back in Main Street again, you really captured the atmosphere.

    Astrid x
  14. caroley

    caroley Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

    Jun 11, 2000
    Great report! I've been looking forward to these for ages :D
  15. kazzie

    kazzie <img src="

    Jul 3, 2000
    It was wonderful to read all about your first day Maestro (I mean Dave;) )
  16. Fantasia Sam

    Fantasia Sam I've been here so much longer!

    Feb 5, 2000
    Nice one Dave.... are all men so impatient I ask myself - surely you could have just worn 2 pairs of socks and be done with it ;). Ooo and a good tip for where to stand to see Spectro.
  17. ThumperThistle

    ThumperThistle Flower of Scotland

    Apr 28, 2001
    Thanks for posting Dave
  18. Minniespal

    Minniespal <img src="

    Jan 14, 2003
    Thanks for the wonderful report - luv reading them!!!

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