To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Seventeen April 27th 2017

It won’t surprise you to learn that I am very sad. This applies to the now me, sat typing this, and the trip report me back in April. Going home isn’t easy at any time and by writing this bloody thing I’m doing it for a second time.

It isn’t helpful that I sit typing this at this time in August when for more years than I care to remember we have been in Florida. I shall solider on.

One of the many traditions of our trips is that I make absolutely zero notes of what we do on our last day. It’s a rebellious bout of sulking as the universe has conspired to make me work for a living.

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So we woke up at some point and tackled the horror that is packing.

Yeah that last photo is a blurry mess. Do I care?

It’s hard to articulate to those not of a similar inclination the very physical pain involved in looking at photos like this and knowing you won’t be back there for a while.

Whilst there, it seems you are cossetted in a bubble wrap of loveliness, protected from real world shite by the sweet embrace of the Florida warmth. I can’t describe the love I have for particular small, inconsequential things. Such as after an early evening shower, putting on a light summer shirt and some shorts and it being forgivable to wear sandals. Meandering to your eatery of choice for too much food, served to you by someone who gives a toss. Getting back in the car and hearing that soft “bong” warning tone from your car that UK cars never have. Sigh….It doesn’t take much to make me happy….just a persistent Florida holiday.

Emily was feeling it too.

This is the posh bag she bought herself yesterday at Magic Kingdom, when the world was a better place than it was this morning.

We did all the horrible packing crap, and wrestled the cases downstairs. I got the car for the last time (sob) from the car park and drove back to load it up. We drove across, for the last time (sob) to the All Stars for Mum & Dad and headed towards Disney Springs. The need for a ridiculous amount of food outweighed any desire to shop for Louise, Emily and I so we dropped Mum & Dad off and headed for Perkins at Crossroads.

The messaging on their menu takes me back to one of those pay per view films in that hotel….OK….not again.

Emily demonstrated how we were all feeling.

I resolved to take my angst and anger out on my body and decided to order the largest amount of food possible. As an absolute minimum requirement it had to arrive on two plates.

For me…

Plate 1

Plate 2

It was a scramble of some kind.

Eggs Benedict for Louise. I can only applaud the fact that Perkins feel that a dish as good as this requires a muffin as well.

I think this was some sort of Fried Chicken Sandwich for Emily…

It was fantastic and stupidly good value for money. I think it was about $33 for the three of us.

Full of food and dread of real life, we headed back to Disney Springs.

We walked around a bit, apparently, and no doubt bought some stuff.

I’m not sure why I took this, but I suspect it was to have a record of what a blue sky looks like.

I have to say, the appearance of that ring carving booth at Disney Springs was a shock….why would anyone want a carving of their ring?

We always enjoy looking around the art shop and as the next photo exists then I guess we did that.

More walking about…

It was very hot and we needed a drink so we found a table by the lake. The mood was…well…like this

We were waiting for Mum & Dad to find us so that we could head off to the airport. I have absolutely no recollection of that drive to the airport. Maybe that’s for the best.

Dropping the hire car off was as painless as ever. They really do have that down to an art.

I do remember that security was a pain and took an age but eventually we were sat in the departure lounge awaiting the inevitable.

We wandered duty free for a bit, got some drinks and moped about appropriately.

We boarded pretty much on time and as always happens, no matter how much we wish it didn’t, we took off, leaving Florida behind again when we really didn’t want to.

Again the flight is something my mind did not capture for posterity. I think the in flight entertainment was the same as on the way out which was a bit crap. I don’t think I slept, but probably dozed for a while, who knows.

Eventually the greyness of Manchester enveloped us once again and we bumped down into the monochrome reality of real life. Trivial things such as the queue to get back into my own country and waiting for the bags just happened. Our taxi guy wasn’t stood at the exit to arrivals of course, they never are. A quick phone call later saw him turn up like the shop owner in Mr Ben and we were all in the van and enduring rush hour M60 when just a few short hours ago I was a fully paid up member of the Beach Club elite.

The last thing to report happened as we pulled up outside our house. Everyone disembarked eager to see Rebecca and as I was dragging cases out of the back of the van Louise got out very quickly. That speed was due to the fact that she fell in dramatic style, head first into our front garden wall. It turns out the arm rest of the seat she was leaning on to support her as she left the van gave way and with that her body made contact with the floor in alarming style.

It could have been a very nasty fall, but thankfully she was OK and we were then all allowed to laugh. Brews were made and we chatted to Rebecca and Tom about our adventures, said hello to the dogs and made our peace with being backing home.

So there we go. Another trip done and dusted. The one silver lining of coming home was seeing Rebecca of course as we’d all missed her. It was weird and often hard for us to not have her with us for the first time but as you may know now, she was in the early stages of a pregnancy and she’ll be due this November.

Here we go with the usual end of trip report soppy melancholic nonsense. It’s not intentional, it is more a true reflection of my feelings whenever a trip ends and we are inevitably a long way from returning.

I always struggle to articulate the hold Florida has on me. God knows Louise has begged, moaned and pleaded to go elsewhere for years but thankfully she has always given in to my enormous sulks and allowed us to go back time after time, and I think has mostly enjoyed it when we have. I just feel so comfortable there. Sure, we go to the touristy artificial version and not the real Florida. I’m not daft. But that suits me fine.

It has taken me quite some time to get this trip written up. We got back in late April!! So in the time that’s been going on of course thoughts have turned to our next holiday. It looks like it won’t be until August 2018 (sad face), but in the spirit of the circle of life, joining us will be two first timers.

If all goes to plan, Tom, (Rebecca’s fiancee) and of course young Freddie will be claiming their 1st Visit badges. It has been many, many years since we took any young children and we have never taken one as young as Freddie will be at the time. Rebecca was two the first time we went and Freddie won’t even be one when we travel.

I apologies now to all those who will be sat on our plane.

Over the years, I’ve read and even written lots of advice on the age old question, when is the best time to take your children to WDW?

For me, it’s simple. I understand all the arguments about waiting until they are a little older and it makes a lot of sense, but you know what, whatever you do those kids are always going to get older but they will never be the age they are right now ever again. So my advice? Take them now, take them whenever it is possible to afford to do so. For very small kids of course there are many things they cannot experience, but as we’ve done everything a lot, we don’t care. This will hopefully be his first trip of very many and if he doesn’t remember it, we will.

Finally, a genuine thank you to everyone who continues to read this blog. Your loyalty is astounding. Each week’s post gets almost an identical number of views which suggests both of you come back each time 🙂 I am genuinely thankful and astounded that you still give some of your time to read what is written here when you could be spending your WDW related reading time much more productively getting banned from It’s Orlando Time on Facebook.

The bad news is that from next week you’ll be back to enduring random nonsense rather than tales of our Florida adventures. Of course, there is a whole new trip to plan, so that’ll be fun right?

Thanks for reading!

Arsene Wenger…….

From the day he arrives on the planet
And Freddie becomes our grandson,
He’ll have more to see than can ever be seen
Disney’s more than can ever be done

There’s far too much to take in here
More good fun than can ever be found
But the years which roll by
Will see me always try
To show him all of that hallowed ground

It’s the Circle of Life
Hear the theme parks call
Years of fun we hope
As we share our love
Disney’s warm embrace
Through his eyes reminding
It’s the Circle
The Circle of Life


Till the next time….

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24 thoughts on “To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Seventeen April 27th 2017

  1. Great stuff – very much enjoyed reading your report. All the very best to Rebecca and Tom xx

  2. We took my daughter for the first time when she was 21 months- she doesn’t remember it but we do & so do her grandparents. It was amazing! She’s been back several times since. Each time is different but still just as magical. The first time we went, she enjoyed character breakfasts, typhoon lagoon, all of the shows in the parks and parades, the fireworks and lots of napping in the heat! Thoroughly recommend a shade a babe for the pushchair in the intense Florida heat. Enjoy the planning!!

  3. Our son turned one on his first visit and it was brilliant. Whilst he doesn’t remember the trip he still loves watching all the videos we took of him meeting characters and visiting the parks. I like to think indoctrination should commence as early as possible. He’s now seven years old and is a true WDW fan and has visited every year since (sometimes twice)! I look forward to reading the next trip report from a Grandad’s perspective. Good luck Rebecca with the birth.

  4. What a sad end to your trip – I can feel the pain! And you’re right, people don’t get it if they’re not in the “Florida club” , it’s not just another holiday.
    We’re off in November for the first trip with our little girl, she will be 17 months old. Having only ever been with my family, or more recently with my husband we are certainly stepping into the unknown but we can’t wait.
    Good luck with all your exciting happy days to come .

  5. Ah another end to another trip at least by taking all this time to write it , you are now less than 12 months to your next one and with a young baby maybe you wont spend as much time on the beach hahaha . Just in time to start planning the next..Holidays are not the same when your children grow up so you have to go when they are young to enjoy. Thanks for taking us along with you..

  6. Awww, sad to read about your last day but no doubt you are in the planning stages for next time! Looking forward to the weekly rambling about everyday life next week!

  7. Great blog.. Maybe vlog next time (“hey guys”)😂
    Hopefully if I get to see you again I won’t be too shy to say “Hi” like last time..(August 2015) and thank you for the stories! Anyway.. The Perkins pictures made my day..

  8. That was wonderful Craig as always.Truly amazing stuff.On some days when things are not great and the Disney withdrawal symptoms begin I read one of your trip reports.There is always something new to enjoy and laugh about.Thank you ….to you and your lovely family who let you write about them!

  9. Both my children have been for the first time when they were around 9/10 months old and they loved it and as a parent it was relatively painless! Next trip baby number 3 will be joining us and will be just 3 months old! Our eldest will be 4 and be on her 3rd trip and our second child will be 2.5 years and be on his second trip! I agree with you that the best time to take children is any time and as often as you can afford to. We are lucky in that we are able to go every 12-18 months. I love watching my children grow up over our Disney trips just as my parents must have watched me grow up having been going for 30 something years since I was 4!! It’s a fantastic holiday for children, and adults, of any age!! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us again. Best of luck to Rebecca and Tom for the rest of their pregnancy and the birth!

  10. Aah I feel your pain 😢 I love that Florida bubble and all those little things like the smell of the water or the car air con. As always a fantastic and funny read.

  11. My youngest son was six months old the first time we took him and yes he can’t remember it but I can, including the fact I noticed his first tooth had cut through while we were waiting for beauty and the beast show to start, the following year he got his first haircut in the barber shop in MK. Nobody can take our memories away from us. Enjoy your first trip as a grandparent when the time arrives ☺

  12. Brilliantly summed up that awful final day feeling. We are out here at the moment and leaving on Friday and I’m already dreading it. I am really looking forward to both the planning for your trip next year and the trip report (please write one). Once again, thank you for sharing x

  13. Thank you Craig have loved reading about your holiday. So emotional. Gets me every time. Happy planning for you’re next trip including your first timers xxx

  14. I read your blog every week although I rarely leave a comment. I love reading about you and your family though, thanks very much for sharing with us.

  15. And so the circle of life does turn and how wonderful next year will be for you all. And another lovely trip report that always gives a giggle- too much Beach and not enough Beach Club, with you on that! And as others have said never to young to start their Disney Education. Our son went on his first trip at 1 and has been once sor twice a year since then. This year at nineteen he came with his girlfriend and we did the free dining, it was fabulous, especially as he waited for the Star Wars Fireworks and got a tear in in eye and said that was my childhood right there! And whilst the want to see the world they have committed to come back in time to see Star Wars open, lol.
    I am sure Freddie will light up the dark winter nights and then it will be the home stretch to next August, though we caution, the costs due to the dollar rate are atronomical. You may have to sell a kidney or two! But as my friends always said to me, you would sell a kidney rather than not go to Disney, and only us addicts know how far we will go… and there is nothing else we would rather be addicted to!

  16. So sad that your trip reports are over for now but look forward to next year when little Freddie will be with you. Have thoroughly enjoyed reading your weekly blogs and thank you for taking the time to share them with us. Good luck to Rebecca and Tom on the birth of their little boy.

  17. I’ve had to come back to read the end of this – as I knew I’d be reading through blurred vision! You always sum up exactly how I feel on that last day and it brings it all back.

    Whilst watching The Lion Kng show at Animal Kingdom – we held our 1 year old grandson up in the air when they sang ‘Circle of Life!’ Much to his amusement – he won’t remember, but we will all enjoy embarrassing him in years to come retelling and elaborating the story.

    Happy planning for next year and all the best to Rebecca and Tom with their little Simba!

  18. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us all once again! I thoroughly enjoyed reading every bit of it, as always. Best wishes to Rebecca and Tom and their little bundle of joy – can’t wait to read about Freddie’s Floridian adventures!

  19. Such a sad day! I’m reading this on my last full day of a road trip around Canada – we finally split from ‘the bubble’ a few years ago. Still long to go back, and will do one day.

    Adding my “babies’ first trips – our son was 9 months and i have great memories of him waving and trying to clap at the parades. Our daughter was 5 months, and our son 4, when she first visited – on our own with no grandparents…! I can’t imagine being able to do that now.

    Whatever the age, memories will be made.

  20. Can’t believe it’s the end of the trip already but how lovely to have a grandson to look forward to sharing it all with in future
    As ever have loved reading all about your exploits thanks for sharing x

  21. I’ve only just got round to reading your last 2 blogs about the final hours of your trip. Having just returned a week and a half ago, I have really suffered this time with the post Florida blues. Never has my trip been so emotive and awesome with our 2 year old in tow and seeing my own at work there, beaming and so confident. The magic was intense and it is going to take a long time to get through the depression of returning. God help you next year…that’s all I can say 😍. Even seeing your child with their own child and your grand child wrapped up in magic will see you an emotional wreck. Better late than never to say I have loved reading your trippies and following your latest Florida adventure through laughter and tears. A big thank you for sharing. The next one I read of yours will be even more magical 👶🏼…bring it on 😃🤗

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