Everyone’s a winner..ah no, that’s just me then.

I thought I had to do a special midweek post to mark a landmark event.

Anyone who knows me will realise that my life is a constant stream of injustice, bad luck and persecution.  What do you mean I am a drama queen?  What do you mean I have a lovely family, habitable house, enough money to service my debts, and enough food in the fridge.  Don’t spoil my sense of self-pity please.

Well, it seems the tide has turned as I have actually won something.

I got a phone call late last night informing me that my entry into the DisneyBrit podcast competition was the winning entry.  The competition celebrates their 50th podcast.   I had to say in less than fifty words why I should go, and it seems my promise of a brown envelope stuffed with cash did the trick.  I jest.  I actually sent in an entry outlining the benefits of taking me along as my Halloween candy eating exploits will easily recoup any DisneyBrit expenditure.  I can on board enough candy to maximise the return on the prize budget….or something like that.

I think Adam recorded the phone call for the podcast too, so you shall be able to hear my stunned gobsmackiness if you decide to listen to the next podcast, and you should.  Luckily, I did not swear.

The prize alas is only for one person, unless you fork out for any other travellers, and with Louise officially recovering for the next twelve weeks, she will not be able to come along.

Planes Tranes and Automobiles
What about those bears!!

This leaves me in the rather odd situation of “bunking”  (I said bunking!) with Adam, having never met him.  This brings up images of the classic scene from Planes Trains and Automobiles, where Steve Martin and John Candy wake up in the same bed.  “Those aren’t cushions!!!”.

I am assured we have suitably platonic sleeping arrangements in place.

So after breaking the news to Louise that I would be flying solo and some very quick research about Eurostar, I am all booked train wise.  From Manchester to DLP for just over £100, including First Class on the way back from Euston to Manchester!!

Adam has given me a rough breakdown of the weekend, but I won’t go into it here, as I feel it my duty to encourage you to listen to the podcast after Halloween to find out what happened.  I may of course do a mini trippie, because of course I don’t have enough on in that regard already!!

We are staying at the Magic Circus hotel, which looks splendid, but then most hotels that you stay in for free are!!  The only other thing I shall tell you about is the advertised prize –

  • 2 nights accommodation
  • 2 day park hopper ticket
  • a ticket to Disney’s Terrorific Night at Walt Disney Studios on 30th October
  • food over the weekend
  • a few surprises

I’m not sure the “food over the weekend” element of this prize has been thought through to be honest.  I hope the budget planning was suitable!!

So there we go.  I am as you may have noticed a tad excited to be going to DLP for the first time, and with an expert such as Adam to show me around.

More news as it breaks.

Till the next time…..

Mr & Misses.

Last Saturday evening, we went to my brother’s house for a small get together.  It was a celebration of his and his wife’s twentieth wedding anniversary.  As my brother often says, ten years of blissful matrimony, but he’s been married for twenty.

During the evening, we played a game of Mr & Mrs.  Now you might imagine that this is a recipe for disaster, with several drunk couples arguing over whether their partner is “sweet or savoury”.  You’d be right!  We came second.  You can only imagine how hard I had to fight not to show my outrage and disappointment at this, to preserve the fragile facade of a nice night out.

We lost (yes, lost, not came second) by half a point.  This was naturally all Louise’s fault.  Well, Louise plus half a bottle of Bacardi.

Paul Whitehouse
Int Milk Brilliant!

We both missed out on questions about each other such as “Who would your partner want to play them in a movie of their lives” as they are quite subjective, and hard to guess at.  By the way, for me I said Paul Whitehouse.  Louise said Angelina Jolie…to play her…not me, whereas I said Megan Fox.  Wait, here is a chance to post a picture of Megan Fox.

Megan Fox
Megan is a fox

Those slip ups are fine, as the questions have a million different possible answers.  But when I get asked what was Louise’s first job, and I get the right answer and she doesn’t, then my allergy to losing kicks in.  The night trundled on from there, filled with Tapas, which was lovely, and alcohol, which did for Louise, and saw us revisit the Tapas at around 2am.  I was delighted.

This week at work has flown by.  Whilst it is always nice to get to the weekend a little quicker, the trouble is that those weekends shoot by at high speed too.

The reason for the whizzing week has been work.  As I alluded to last time round, my role at work is changing, and I have spent most of last week in summit style negotiations with other manager types, sorting out who works where, and does what.  Add to that the doing of actual work as well, then the week passed in a blur.  This of course has meant a few late finishes, scuppering any plans to get to the gym and write any further trip report days.  I finally got around to one yesterday.

The Other Guys poster
The Oscars won't be troubled

So by the time Friday evening arrived I was knackered, and ready for some relaxing, eating and fun.

We ticked all the boxes with a trip to the local Cineworld to see The Other Guys, preceded by a visit to the local Frankie and Bennys.  My one regret of the evening was eating too much there to allow me to unleash my full power on the Pick n Mix.  I had a decent bash, but found myself having Pick n Mix left at the end of the film, which is a crime really, but fear not, I finished it off for breakfast the next day.

Will Ferrell, much like Jim Carrey, appeals to me, as they usually turn up in silly, funny films that allow you to let them to wash over you, without having to worry too much about complex plots.

The panel that hand out Oscar’s will not be troubled by this one, but it is great fun.  Ferrell, again much like Carrey, tends to play the same character in many films, but I for one am not bored of it yet.  His pinnacle will always be Ron Burgundy, (closely followed by the scene in Elf where he belches and says “Did you hear that?), but this was a good one too.

There are also some cracking cameos from the likes of The Rock, Michael Keaton and best of all Samuel L Jackson.  His appearance is brief but just fantastic.

Whilst we enjoyed the film we left the girls and one of their friends (Mikey…and he is a friend who is a boy rather than a boyfriend) at home to watch Camp Rock 2.  Having seen trailers for it both in the US, and again back home, I would rather watch a 24 hour marathon of Heartbeat, so our escape was well-timed.

The girls enjoyed it and I suspect Mikey endured it, but it also seems that they were inspired to create their own cinematic masterpiece.  Frankly, I think that this beats Camp Rock too.

Cookie Monster & Jam
Click on Cookie Monster!

Looking to next week, the major event will be Louise’s admission to hospital tomorrow for an operation.  We have been here many times before of course, but it is never something any of us look forward to.  It is a fairly big one this time, and she will be in for the week we think, and then off work for a good few weeks after that.

I know you are all immediately feeling sorry for me, having to manage the household single-handedly, but please spare a thought for Louise too!!

The girls are staying at Nana’s all week, as I will be a blur between work and hospital, plus it means they can stay in bed longer of a morning as Nana lives about two minutes stroll from their school.

Hopefully (as we always say) this will be the one that gives Louise a decent run at a healthy existence.

An unfortunate side effect of this of course is an anticipated complete lack of trip reportage, for which I now apologise, but some things are more important even than that.

On a positive note, and one for Louise to think about in the next few days of pain and drugs, is that we absolutely have to return to the US for our next holiday.  Why, you might ask?  Well, yesterday, Louise found $33 left over from our holiday.  We cannot be so frivolous as to let that sit festering in a drawer, as that would be an incomprehensible waste.

The fact that the credit card bills have arrived from our latest trip this week, delivering with them a complete shock to the systems as to how we could possibly spend so much in such a short space of time, had slightly dented our ambitions to book our next trip quickly.  But now with a full $33 at our disposal, the die is cast.

Hopefully, with my next post will come news of Louise back at home, along with the girls, and some sort of debt restructuring package in place to allow us to consider another trip overseas.

Till the next time…..

Jetlag, bad backs and talk of the Hulk’s entrance.

It’s been an odd week, and a long week.  It does seem like forever since our holiday, and I feel like I’ve done about twelve days at work this week.

The jet lag only seemed to linger over me until Monday I think, and I’m very glad that the girls had an extra day to recover as their body clocks were all over the place over the weekend.  Louise returned to the UK with a very bad back, and without stealing my own thunder for the latter parts of the trip report, she really struggled through the last few days of the trip.

So after seeing both the emergency and proper doctor on her return she’s been on horse tranquilisers in an attempt to kill the pain and stay mobile.

The girls have returned to school, and we’ve been told that Rebecca’s hair is “inappropriate”.  Yes I can see that a few strands of red hair is going to endanger the education of the entire school.  Good to see the teachers are concentrating on what is important.  We thanked them for their interest anyway.

Pink Dr Martens
Is there a doctor in the house?

Rebecca returned from the US in the unusual position of not having found anything substantial to spend her dollars (donated by grandparents) on.  So I spent them instead.  I did promise her that I would refund them in pounds on our return, so, with minimal delay, she claimed the funds this week, and purchased a pair of bright pink Dr Martens.  Out of spite I might just send her to school in them!

Work has been pretty busy too, and I returned to find that we’re undertaking a fairly major restructure, and it turns out they want me to do something different to what I have been for the past few….well, weeks.  Same sort of stuff, just more people to look after, and a bit more stuff on my plate.  I approach these things with the usual sense of gratitude, relief they think I’m worth employing and outright fear that I am going to make a right ricket of it.  We’ll see.

So, in my very brief blog earlier in the week I mentioned some sort of rant.  Thinking about it, rant may be a little strong.  Whilst doing multiple theme parks in Florida, I did come across a common behaviour by those inhabiting theme park establishments, and I thought that if I wrote my displeasure of it here, where a handful of people will read it, this is bound to fix the entire situation for the next time we return.

So, being fairly organised in my approach to these holidays, I’m also not bad at planning our route around a park “on the go” so to speak.  I don’t need a map of the parks anymore, and I have a good idea of what to do, not only next, but like some sort of theme park chess master, what the next couple of things will be.

I think, a good analogy here would be when I was learning to drive.  I used to go out of a weekend with my Dad, and only came close to death once really.  One thing my Dad told me has always stuck with me when it comes to driving, and it was this.

“Don’t just look at the end of your bonnet, lift your head up, and look down the road so you can see what’s coming and plan for it”.

I’ve always remembered this, and I do consider myself half decent at seeing things coming on the road, and being aware of upcoming muppetry from others before it happens.

So how is this relevant?  Well, as we approach an attraction, I already have everything I need.  So if we are using a Fastpass, I have them all out, in an attractive fan shape, ready for inspection.  I also take a good look at the entrance, and make sure I know which entrance is for Fastpass and which is for the unwashed.  I had (in the past when relevant) a decent idea if the girls were tall enough, and if the ride was suitable for them.

This means that we are through the entrance and into the queue or attraction with minimal fuss.

Entrance to the hulk
Beware the Hulk's entrance

What started to really bug me was the high number of folk who walked up to something, with all their party, usually double figures, and then proceeded to stand right in front of the entrance looking at the ride as if it was an alien ship just landed, or fishing out fastpasses, or trying to talk their way into the Fastpass line without any, or asking the CM inane questions like what time the three o’clock parade is, or arguing who was going to go on with Uncle Harold.

All this time, I am trying to navigate my way through this mini minefield, with my Fastpasses in fan, a large backpack attached to me and all the while tutting for England.

This ride entrance paralysis drove me insane.  For goodness sake, lift your head up, think about what will happen five seconds in advance, and don’t arrive at the entrance and then think it odd that the CM wants to see the Fastpasses stuffed at the bottom of your bag under four ponchos and three bottles of coke.

Then, when in the queue, don’t double back seven times to talk to a family member who hasn’t entered, to try to get them to come on, then expect to walk right back to where you were.  I only have so many tuts available to me in my lifetime, and I fear I may wear them out pretty soon.

Had I read this a few weeks ago I would have thought the writer an anal, control freak, who needs to just chill and go with the flow.  But remember this rant the next time you are in a park.  As you come up to a ride, watch out for the loitering nuisances blocking the entrance.  Kick them in the shin and tell them I sent you.

As rants go, that is quite tame I know, and it came nowhere near having a negative impact on the holiday.  Besides if I don’t get to tut and feel superior to someone a couple of times a day I get all grumpy.

So, I’ll crack on with the trip report as time allows, but it may be a while.  Work is about to ramp up to a whole new level of inconvenience, and one night this week I was astounded to find myself actually doing work at home, in the evening, after hours, not in the office, in my own time.  Did I make that clear?

Hopefully Louise’s back will improve too, as that seriously looked like anything but fun.

Till the next time….

They think it’s all over….

It is now.

We’re back, jetlagged, already sick of work, and sneakily taking a look at options for our next holiday, but don’t tell anyone.

The Trip Report has started with Day One now up on The Dibb. There is a link to it on the Trip Reports Page.

This isn’t a proper post, as with work, trip reporting and being fed up, I don’t have time, but I just wanted to say hello to everyone now we are back in the UK.

I’ll probably do a blog post this weekend if I can, as I have some inner rage to expel on some theme park behaviours I encountered that made my (usually calm) blood boil.

See you then, and of course, till the next time…..