The Adults Only Tour 2016 – Day Nineteen

Day Nineteen – 14th September

Who knew that a holiday that started on the 27th of August 2015 would last all the way until mid-February? In more ways than I could ever describe, it has been one heck of a journey.

No matter how hard I try, our last day and our journey home never have any decent notes recorded. It isn’t intentional, I just can’t seem to bring myself to record this day. So I’ll do my best with the half a page I do have and the handful of photos, but your reading may be brief today.

I had another fitful night’s sleep before the alarm woke me at 7am. The next couple of hours saw the traditional Tazmanian Devil impression as we dash around the villa trying to get everything into our cases. Inevitably this involves the purchase of an extra case, which I nipped to CVS to do before we were able to finish and leave the villa at 9.45. It took an act of God to fit everything into the car and Grandad and I were a little hot and sweaty as we reversed off the drive.

A huge breakfast was now required, so we drove up to the 192 and I decided upon the Perkins, mainly as it was the first place we saw.

We were seated and ordered orange juice, coffees and in some cases chocolate milks.

I didn’t record what everyone had but you’ll get the idea from these photos.

We paid $103 plus a large tip made up mainly of all the change I wanted to get rid of. They didn’t seem to mind.

Next on the list was a trip up to Lake Buena Vista, where, being the coward I am, I put $10 of fuel in the car. With everything else going on today I wasn’t mentally ready for a game of Russian roulette with the fuel gauge.

Just when we thought that the car was about to burst at the seams we stopped off at Publix near Emily’s apartment to stock her up one last time before she would be left to fend for herself. The mood today was sombre as you can imagine. Not only were we going home, but of course one of us was staying behind and after knowing this day would come for many months it wasn’t making it any easier. It didn’t feel real.

Anyway, as we started wandering the aisles of Publix Louise had to nip to their loo. She found us again afterwards and on we went with the shop. A few minutes later she stopped in her tracks with a look of panic on her face. It would appear she had lost her phone. She dashed back to the loos to see if it was there. She knew she had it as we entered the store and so it MUST be in there right?

Wrong!

She went to Customer Services to see if it had been handed in there but it hadn’t.

I started to incur huge data roaming charges on my own phone now trying to contact Vodafone to block the thing and report it lost. This was, pretty much, the last thing we needed amongst everything else that was going on.

It was about this time that Louise realised that she hadn’t lost her phone at all and that it had been stuffed down her bra the whole time.

How we laughed.

Already emotionally spent, we took all Emily’s food and her new iron back to the car and somehow packed it in with everything and everyone else. As we set off for The Commons we all knew we were coming to the time we had all been dreading. We were about to drop Emily off for the last time.

I won’t document this in great detail. I have a history of over sharing our stuff all over the internet so let’s not and just say that it was difficult, and it isn’t something I want to experience again.

Despite my $10 investment we still coasted into the airport on fumes with my heart racing. Maybe that wasn’t due to the low fuel?

Having booked Premium Economy for the home leg we checked in quickly and easily, got through security and then monorailed out to gate 81. Louise, Rebecca, Sarah and I got a table in the Outback. We weren’t hungry but fancied a sit down for a drink. To be polite we ordered some cheesey fries too.

With this done I wandered off to the restroom to put my long pants on. This is a symbolic event every year and denotes the end of the fun. Today it felt more sombre than usual.

We wandered duty free for a bit and then as we eventually went to board the plane which had been delayed for half an hour it struck me very hard that I had three passports in my hand and not the usual four. My stomach churned.

I know I’m over egging this upset malarkey, and even looking back now I sound like a big girl even to myself, but at the time, this was how we felt and so I’m reporting it as such.

My notes end here. I will openly admit that Louise and I cried like babies as the wheels left the tarmac of Orlando. It felt strangely symbolic and the last twenty years flashed before our eyes. All the holidays, all the times we’ve flown home together and all the challenges Emily would now have to face on her own. Sure, she was twenty, but a young twenty and it was our job to look after her, both then and forever.

We eventually gathered ourselves somewhere above the Atlantic and the flight happened. We landed, waited an age for our cases and got ourselves home.

So there we are, the end, in many ways.

It’s been a blast over sharing these adventures with you all over the years. Our return home this time was an arrival into a whole new world. Louise and I returned to an empty nest, with Emily in the US and Rebecca and her boyfriend Tom getting their first place together. Both of those departures had been a long time in the planning so we knew it was coming. It didn’t make it any easier and I think we’ve both taken a while to get used to the idea.

So at this ending of an era, I suspect there won’t be any further trip reports. It feels that way anyway, mainly as there probably won’t be any more holidays of this nature. The days of the four of us going away will now be forever captured in these reports. Any future Disney trips will be very different I’m sure and not for some time and that weirdly feels OK to be honest.

We’ve been through some huge changes and challenges as a family in the last year or two with more to come no doubt.

So now, I need to thank you for reading this one and any of the others if you have. Writing these has been a huge part of our, or certainly my, enjoyment of these holidays. Louise, Emily and Rebecca, I thank you for letting me write them, tolerating the note writing and photo taking along with allowing me to share things you’d rather I didn’t with a load of strangers on the internet.

Girls, at least when you have kids of your own, you can look back on these trip reports and let your kids know how many knob gags their Grandad knows!  I’m waffling now as, to be honest, I don’t know how to end this. Bringing well over a decade of reports to a close isn’t something I know how to do, so how about a few memories from them?

It’s been a blast.

image2227

image014

image048

image085

image248

image286

image229

image443

image389

image654

image480

image844

image1304 image1349 image1392 image1504 image1571 image1598 image1854 image1915 image2041 image2102

image2550 image2734 image2790 image2908

image001 image449

Till the next time?

30 thoughts on “The Adults Only Tour 2016 – Day Nineteen

  1. Thankyou so much Craig, I feel that I’ve got to know you and your family through your trip reports, and I will miss you. It feels like the end of an era……all I can do is wish you all the luck in the world and hope you have many more wonderful holidays in the future…….x

  2. Thank you for such brilliant trip reports. We stopped going as a family around the same ages as your girls… I’m now 31, All I can say is you’ll be back!

  3. Thanks for another great trippie, but I’m so sad that this might be the last one. It really is the end of an era. Have loved reading all about your Florida exploits over the years.

    Surely you’ll have to revisit it and write another when you’re going with the girls and their children? Really hope so.

  4. Just WOW what a lovely report. Thank you for making me cry on a Sunday morning! I love your style of writing and thank you for letting us follow your family warts n all, high days, low days and all inbetween. Your emotional honesty is a breath of fresh air as far as I’m concerned. Funny how I’m going to miss you and your family when I don’t even know you! That’s how much of an impact your writing has had on me. Wishing you and Louise all the best in the nest stage of your life. I’m a fairly recent empty nester myself and tbh it’s not that bad! 😀

  5. Please pass the tissues (no knob jokes here I promise). Very emotional. Have loved holidaying with your family from the comfort of my home. Thank you for over sharing!

  6. I have been following your blog since it started and before when it was just on the Dibb, I feel like I have watch your family grow up and enjoyed everyone of your holidays with you. It was a lovely read and I also had a little tear in my eye. Rolling on your next report xx

  7. A few tears are being shed here in Devon. I have read them all and i would like to thank you all for sharing with us. My oldest son is at uni far from home, so i feel your pain at leaving Emily behind. I hope we will still have some updates, will you still be writing your blog? Once again thank you all x

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your family with us over the years, I have loved and laughed at every single trip you have taken. I hope that you will soon be back with even more tales filled with your wit and humour and until then I am going to read all your reports from the beginning ! Cheers Craig, until the next trip!

    • Serious lump in the throat time on this one Craig! I have been an avid reader of your work since joining the Dibb in 2007. You even inspired me to write a couple of my own reports over the years and although we have never met (closest was killing you on COD 😉 ) I feel I know you all so well and as such feel your emotion at such a chapter close!

      My two are now approaching 16 & 12 and have grown up as yours have from babies in the magic and I’m dreading too the moment when our own bubble bursts but I know when it does, like you it will also be a proud moment as you know the legacy you have built!

      Thank you again for sharing your journey and inspiring others! It might not be for a while but I look forward one day to reading a new chapter as you expose a new generation to pixie dust!

  9. I actually cried reading this! I’ve read all of your trip reports & have loved every single one of them. We’re just starting on our journey with our 6yr old & disney- you’ve inspired me to write my own tr’s as a memory bank for us.

    I really hope there’s a next time for you!

    • Also, we stopped trips with my parents when I was 19…. Until I got pregnant & they started again! We’ve now been with them 4 times since I was pregnant & then with our daughter- apparently the magic is even more special with grandkids AND her own children according to my mum!

  10. I’ve followed these reports like clockwork, since i first found them on the Dibb some 6-7 years ago! Ive enjoyed everyone and told many a friend and family member to check them out. You should be very proud of them all, and what an amazing reference for your family to refer back too! I’m taking my 3 year old little girl to Florida for the first time this year and feels strange seeing you end your reports (hopefully not the last!) now as I begin my first trip as a Dad. All the best, and congrats on another great report!

  11. Wow!! It won’t be the end you know, u better get saving for the next twenty years of taking grandkids!!

  12. I too have shed a tear this afternoon reading this. I’ve enjoyed all your reports, and really hope they won’t come to an end , even if they are from a different viewpoint, I’m sure you’ll squeeze in a visit to Emily at some point. Thanks again for sharing … warts and all!

  13. Oh dear, I too have joined your followers who cannot help but shed a tear! I tried reading this earlier in the car but had to stop and wait until I was alone 😢😢😢 It has been a pleasure reading these reports and although the end was in sight, I cannot quite believe that this will be the end! Your addiction will not stop just because you’ll be a party of 2 for a few years, roll on the grandchildren I say, you’ll be back!

  14. I think the pics of Ryan got me the most. Thanks for the memories Craig and best of luck for the future!

  15. well, goodness. thank you, *sincerely, for all the sharing so far; and at this time, *especially all the Disney sharing. ~and always *best wishes for all your gorgeous family. milestones. (!)

  16. Thank you, Louise, Rebecca and Emily for letting us be part of your holidays. I have loved reading about all the food, the parks, the food, the loo stops, the food and of course Ryan!

    I am sure you will be back to the most MAGICAL place in the world soon. You never know, you might have to start educating grand children in the not too distant future:)

    Love to all the family x

  17. you made me cry craig,ive read all your trip reports over the years and its very sad that they have come to an end, but the cycle will start again when your grandchildren come along ,{this i know to be true}. we were in orlando last sept\ oct and as were doing a solo trip , {i mean we had no kids and grankids with us}we still do disney, we went to epcot twice,tried to spot emily, but failed both times, i wouldnt have gone upto her because even though i feel like i know you all , she doesnt know me , and i didnt want to embarrass her, but it would have been nice anyway i send you all my best wishes , and hope to catch up with you somewhere down the line god bless xx

  18. Sob 😢😢 – how lovely. Thanks for sharing these with us Craig. I’ve read everyone, bought the book, bought the novel, no t shirt though! I hope you enjoy this new chapter …. I’m sure you will!

  19. Tears have been shed, but its been great sharing your trips. You have always been so honest and funny (i even like the toilet humour). It was always great reading your trips when we were unable to be there at that magic place we love. I hope that this isn’t goodbye and as the song goes “thanks for the memories” x

  20. Thank you so much for sharing your holidays and my hubby and son never let me forget the time we bumped in to you on the tram at Busch Gardens and I managed to embarass myself very successfully!! It felt like meeting someone famous lol. I hope you get to go back and visit your happy place and as Mickey would say ‘See ya real soon’ x

  21. omg…. I have tears in my eyes reading this…
    Thank you so much for sharing all your experiences with your online followers…. It has truly been fabulous to follow you all:) We are going to Florida in June, and I would love to be able to say hello to Emily in Epcot.

    Time moves on…. and I am sure you will all be going back again real soon,….. and I look forward to reading those trip reports too 🙂

    In the mean time… chin up and best foot forward, and all that stuff 🙂 Good times will come again:)

  22. Craig I am crying at this … your girls and family remind me so much of my own who are fellow Boltonians and the girls are now 19 and 17 meaning we had our final visit to WDW as a family last year. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your trip reports and noting the similarities between the girls growing up so fast. I will miss reading them. I wish you and your family all the very best and many more family holiday times to come xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s