Well, where can I begin in telling you about our amazing Orlando and Walt Disney World family holiday? Extended family holidays have become something of a tradition with us, and over the last few years this annual even has taken myself, Mr, B, J, my brother, sister in law, my niece and nephew, and my parents to France, Spain, Dorset, Northumberland, Somerset and Devon, and we always have a marvellous time.
This year we took the long haul plunge and jetted off to sunny Orlando and Walt Disney World, in Florida. Fabulous, hot, fun, exhausting, exciting – just a few words that could be used to describe the past couple of weeks. As usual, the children have a great time together – they are close in age, and enjoy playing together at the best of times. It’s great that they get on well and entertain each other, and it makes it all the more enjoyable for us.
The outbound journey was a bit tense – we had to fly from Manchester to Gatwick (losing a car seat on the way) then change airlines to Virgin for the onward flight to Orlando, and after a 4am start, we landed in Orlando at 4pm local time (8pm UK time). We collected cars (which, as seems to be the case with us, wasn’t straightforward, and took ages!) and headed off to collect the keys for our holiday house, from the prearranged office. Except the office wasn’t there. The address we’d been given was an old one, but thankfully they were able to tell us the address of correct place. Well, we drove up and down Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway for what felt like hours. Could we find this place?? We jolly well could not! It was now dark and we were getting increasingly hungry, tired and fraught. And that was just the children! The 24 hour helpline for the holiday firm was an answering machine (which, I understand had a few choice words left on it).
Eventually we stopped at a travel advice centre, who were very helpful and managed to find google maps images of the place we were meant to be, and even printed them out for us (although they had never heard of it). So, we found the office (now closed) and got the keys from a lock box, and headed off to the house. Phew, the arrival was in sight, and we found the gated community without any difficulty, and even managed to get into it relatively easily. Sadly the same could not be said for the house. We put the number in the lock box for the key. It wouldn’t open. We tried again. Still nothing. It was dark, we were tired, we must be doing it wrong, we reasoned. Everyone had a go. Including Ben. Shucks. We rang the 24 hour helpline number on the door. Turns out the lock box number they had given us was missing a digit. Great, thanks for that. Still, at least we were in. It was now gone 10pm local time, and we had been awake for 22, quite stressful, hours. We sent some adults to the local Publix for emergency supplies (sadly there was no welcome basket, or even basic kitchen hygiene products waiting for us) and the kids relaxed with a bit of telly, while the rest of us unpacked. A quick bite of supper for the kids, then off to bed, left the remainder of the evening open a much needed beer for the grown ups!
Much fun lay ahead 🙂