In the blue corner, all the way from Pragmatic Town, in the county of Prudent is the challenger, “stay at home this summer”. In the red corner, from Rash Decision USA, is the reigning champion, with over ten years of victories under his belt, you all know him, it’s “sod it, we’re going no matter what the consequences!!”
In the battle outlined above, we have seen some very one-sided contests over the past eleven years, with the challenger, never really troubling the scorers. This year as you are all painfully aware has been a much closer fight. With a house move, to a house that needs work doing, me just two months into a new job, and Louise giving up work to take the easy option of becoming a nurse (I mean really get a proper job!), you can see how the odds were heavily stacked against the reigning champion.
The fight has been bloody and painful, with all of the family taking some real body blows from the realisation that defeat looked very much on the cards, and our summer would be more tent in the back garden than the Garden Grill. With Emily’s constant playing of Disney music at high volume, and Louise posting angst on Facebook most days, it has only been Rebecca and I that have managed to keep a lid on our feelings!
Out of the four of us I think I was bearing up the best, if you can imagine that, and I was hunkered down for a summer of work, crap weather, and not having to bother to lose weight! We have a house move to organise, and it was during some activity related to this that this week’s major news unfolded. Louise was clearing out the Narnia style wilderness that is our “under the stairs” ready for the move.
I was at work, working. I say that as in the past at this time of year, I would pretty much either be spending eight hours a day on flight websites, or if already booked, indulging in some other crucial planning activity. With no such pleasures to distract me, it was left to a text from Louise to do that.
Here is how the conversation went….
Louise Williams 19th April – 10:21am.
I want to go to Florida
Craig Williams 19th April – 10:21am
Louise Williams 19th April – 10:22am
Well pull your finger out and make it happen
Craig Williams 19th April 10:30am
Oh I can make it happen no problem. Are you OK living in a tent?
Louise Williams 19th April 10:30am
Louise Williams 19th April 10:33am
Still tempted though! How can we make it happen then?
Craig Williams 19th April 10:40am
OK, it’s booked!
Louise Williams 19th April 10:41am
Don’t joke. I’m not joking, all I need you to say is sod it, let’s go in August.
Louise Williams 19th April 10:45am
Stop working and pay attention to me!!
Louise Williams 19th April 10:59am
DON’T IGNORE ME!
Craig Williams 19th April 11:07am
I was having a (word removed for decency purposes)
Louise Williams 19th April 11:10am
Craig Williams 19th April 11:11am
I’m looking at flights!
So you can see the terrific fight I put up there. From there, began several days of deeper, more intelligent conversations about how we could manage to go, once I’d discovered that flights were indeed bloody expensive, and some of those conversations were even done face to face rather than text!
I can confirm that I did use up all of the internet for those few days, and if a website was capable of spitting out a flight price to Florida, I was on it, completing a spreadsheet with every conceivable permutation of dates. This in itself was complicated enough. With Louise starting Uni, but having not yet started (at the time) we were not sure of what her holiday dates would be. We had to wait several days to get absolute clarity on that.
Then the logistics of going away on holiday when you are stupid enough to have three cats and a dog is something similar to organising the D-Day landings, especially when all the family members likely to do pet sitting duties had the nerve to have booked a trip to France right in the middle of the dates we had in mind. This thought process and the asking, leading to begging took a few further days too.
Once Louise had her dates confirmed, and we knew the extent of the costs, we were down to the nitty-gritty of actually doing something about it. Louise’s confirmed holiday dates did at least help us slightly with animal fostering as they were after the return of my Mum & Dad, and Emily’s friends return from her holiday who we had volunteered to feed our cats. I told you this was complex.
At this point I called my Dad to ask him if he’d like to adopt some form of pet for a while this summer, as now we were looking to leave the day after he got back from France…unless, I said, you want to turn right around and come with us? Never for a second thinking that they would consider or afford that. To cut that part of the story shorter, that evening my Mum & Dad came to our house to have a chat about it, and within around seven minutes of them arriving, we had booked the flights. Honestly, my Dad has less will power than I do in these matters!
So there you have a brief summary of what has been around a week of stressful searching, organising and strategising.
Now I am sure many of you are wondering if we have sacks of money lay under the bed. If you had seen our bed and the age of it, you would know that is not the case. What I have outlined above is purely the undeniable tractor beam that is WDW and Florida working its magic once again. Over the years we have sacrificed many things to get there, and this time our sacrifice is that the work that needs doing on our new house will be undertaken, in the main, by us, (and my brother and my Dad, but they don’t know that yet) rather than taking the easy option and throwing lots of money at someone to take the pain away!
Anyone that knows my views on DIY will know the level of sacrifice this represents for me. It is one step down from losing one of the twins! Speaking of which, Oli lost both this week, and has hardly blinked or even noticed. But I digress. This is a WDW only zone this week.
So finally we get to the details of this upcoming trip. With Louise fairly and squarely now to blame for two things –
- Booking this holiday
- Not doing Disney at all last year, and then halfway into the holiday announcing that she missed it. How we laughed!
I can assure you all that the ONLY thing we will be doing this year is Disney, in terms of theme parks anyway. It also helps keep the costs down.
Our flights were OK, price wise, when compared to the majority of flights I had seen in horror, for most of my searching. We ended up paying £598 each for indirect flights on the 19th of August. I had spent far longer than was healthy on the internet looking for flights, but ironically, we booked off-line through a company my Mum found with one Google search, Fly and Save. Other than them having the right badges on their website, I suspect they operate out of a shed somewhere on the outskirts of Walthamstow. Until I had the confirmation number and was able to select our seats on the Delta site I was mildly concerned that our cash was being laundered through the Eastern Bloc, but it seems all is in order after all.
Accommodation wise, simplicity is the key this year. In past years we have done all sorts of multiple moves, and enjoyed them, but this year it is one villa, for the two weeks, no messing about. Again, costs being a factor too. We have chosen a lovely looking four bedroom villa on Silver Creek, off of the Dibb of course.
You can have a look here….
The minivan is booked, and we’ll sort out park tickets much nearer the time. We’re also going to go back to Daytona, to watch the Daytona Cubs baseball team. We might tie that in with a drive up to St Augustine, I’m not sure yet.
No matter, the facts are that we’re booked, we have some vague plan for paying for stuff, and all the animals are housed for the duration! Hurrah!
Phew, it has been a right old-time. Add to that, a house move, a new job, two teenage daughters, too many animals, and if I don’t have a heart attack before I’m 50, I deserve a medal.
So I can now settle into a few months of planning, spreadsheet writing and most importantly some Disney food porn. It is half the fun of these things, but hey, if you’re reading this you probably know that anyway.
So if you are still with me after what has turned into a long, long blogathon, well done. You have witnessed first hand the absolute power of Florida and more specifically WDW. It is so powerful that it has now infected Louise, who just a few short years ago would want to do silly things like decorate the house or re-do the kitchen before booking such a holiday. Now, we just have to do both!! Fair enough.
Let the countdown, and the diet begin. Since booking I keep getting little jolts of excitement as I remember something we can do, now that we’re going, that I had safely locked away in the “don’t remember that, it’s too painful” part of my brain. In that list so far…..
- A kitchen sink
- A long list of restaurants
and the rest are pretty much food related.
The adventure begins, and this time, we’re taking the parents!!!
Till the next time….