Freddie’s First Florida Fiesta – Day Fifteen 12th September 2018

I always vow to make serious notes on our travel home day. I usually fail and this year was no different. Don’t get settled, this won’t take long.

Despite doing nothing but moan about being tired all holiday, for reasons I cannot fathom I appear to have been awake at 3.45 am. I dozed off again around 5.30, waking properly at 8. That set me up nicely for the long gruelling journey home.

At this point, Louise was packing stuff into our cases, I of course had to venture out to buy an extra case as, much like me and my T-shirts, we simply wouldn’t fit everything in on the return leg. Favouring cheapness over quality I ventured round to the shops close to the Outback. Sensing that Louise would not be impressed with me returning with a couple of supermarket shopping bags, I drove a little further and found one of those classy gift shops.

I invested $35 in a medium-sized case that I felt had a 50/50 chance of surviving the journey home.

Once back at the villa I spent what felt like hours recycling and generally throwing stuff out. When Louise had completed the very easy task of packing everything I undertook a task that is only rivalled by landing on the moon. I had to get all the cases into the car. Every failed attempt meant wrestling every heavy case out of the car before getting them back in again in the next failed configuration. I had a sweat on and a desire to burn all the possessions we were trying to take home.

Eventually I got it all in but had to sacrifice one of the back seats, meaning that one of the passengers would be sitting on the half-sized, not quite a seat on the back row of the bus. I didn’t care which, they would have to fight it out Hunger Games style before breakfast.

With a final check of the villa and everyone crammed sweatily into the car, I set the alarm for the last time and girded my loins and other fleshy areas for the next twenty-four hours.

We made a pit stop at Winn Dixie for Freddie supplies for the journey home before setting off for Disney Springs to do the check in thing.

Not being a regular Virgin flyer I had no clue where this was and it only took one detour before we spotted it. Cases were dragged across the car park and placed on to a make do set of scales. Shockingly our main case was too heavy and with a deep joy, I had to open it and re-distribute stuff into other cases. No, really, it was no problem.

Not being a Virgin holidays customers we were robbed of $10 per person for the privilege of checking in here. Forcibly resisting the urge to outwardly show my disgust at the $60 I had just been robbed of, we set off, in a much roomier vehicle to get some breakfast for which I would happily pay double that.

We headed for the nearest breakfast place I was aware of, which was the Perkins at Crossroads. The breakfast on the final day has to be a festival of gluttony, punishing our bodies for needing to be back in the UK.

We all ordered the usual double whammy of coffee and juice and read the menu a couple of dozen times. A balloon artist (is that the right word?) came over and Freddie very much enjoyed her work.

We ordered –

Me – Big Country Skillet and Pancakes

Emily – Pulled Chicken Sandwich

Louise – Eggs Benedict

Tom & Mikey – Hearty Man Combo

Rebecca had a “Three Egg thing”. The piss poor attempt at the name of it and the lack of a photo serve as the perfect gauge of my mood at this point.

The food was excellent and the bill was $130 including a bountiful tip.

We headed back to Disney Springs for the traditional last-minute scramble for gifts. We parked in Lime.

We spent the next hour in World of Disney buying presents for those at home and Emily bought herself a Dooney and Bourke purse.

With the gifts purchased, Rebecca, Tom and Freddie decided to get a caricature done. It only took about fifteen minutes and the result was excellent.

Time was pushing on now and we needed to call at the Premium Outlets on the way to the airport so we rushed back to the car and headed in that direction.

We split into smaller groups for maximum efficiency. Louise and I went into a children’s clothes shop and bought Freddie’s winter wardrobe for back home. Mikey splurged oodles of dollars in the designer shops. We had arranged to meet up at 3.30 and Mikey was seen sprinting towards us several minutes after that time laden with lots of bags that I wasn’t sure how we’d get onto the aircraft. We did.

Onwards now to the airport. I somehow missed the turn off for the car return at the first attempt so we did a nice circuit of the airport before getting it second time around. The investment I made pre-holiday in the huge car seat bag was repaid now, as we were able to use it not only for the car seat, but also for all the random bags we now had from our shopping trip.

We found the place to check that in before going through security, slowly and then onto the monorail.

We arrived at gate 87 and I handed Emily and Rebecca my remaining dollars to fund a Starbucks run. I don’t know what I had as I always just tell the girls to get me whatever they are having. It tasted nice.

We boarded at 6pm and took off forty minutes later.

And there dear reader, my notes end. The flight, I remember, was the usual mix of discomfort, average food and a few films. Freddie was great yet again. He took a little while to go to sleep but once he did that was pretty much it. We had no free seats on the return leg alas so sleep was sparse and fitful.

We landed, got the cases, taxied home and well, got back to real life. Sigh.

So there we have it. The end. I wish I could say that I planned the dates of the trip so that the writing of the trip report would nudge nicely up to Christmas. I didn’t. What this trip has taught me is that I ain’t all that at planning to be honest. The balance between being able to show first timers as much as possible versus keeping everyone rested, and ready to go was not achieved if I’m honest. Despite building lots of rest days into the plan, our over eagerness to then use those days to not rest bit us on the arse a little bit. Ah well, you live and learn.

Before we left, all the concern, if that’s the right word, was around Freddie of course. How would he cope with the long flights, hot weather and the sensory overload of a trip like this. We had absolutely no reason to worry. He was, and I use this word intentionally, perfect. He was never an ounce of trouble and only enhanced the experience at every step. The memories of sharing his first Disney experience will always outweigh any of the inevitable tired, not so magical times we had. That, and don’t be offended dear reader, is why I have chronicled this trip here. As I did with the girls when they were young, these trip reports were always written so that we had a record of their experiences. Now, we will all always have this set of badly written drivel as a reminder of the time Freddie first went to Disney.

Hopefully, it won’t be the last, well, it won’t if I have anything to do with it.

There are no plans for further adventures just yet. Not Disney ones anyway. Other plans await us as a family which will become clear in the fullness of time.

Thanks as always for reading this stuff. It always amazes me that you do, and it is not taken for granted. I appreciate each one of your views, likes and comments.

If you and yours are undertaking a Florida adventure soon, I wish you a wonderful time and of course, as we have coincidentally landed at the end of this at this time of year, please have a magical Christmas and  a wonderful 2019 from everyone here in Mkingdon land.

Till the next time…..

16 thoughts on “Freddie’s First Florida Fiesta – Day Fifteen 12th September 2018

  1. Thanks for sharing !! It’s appropriate that I’m reading your final from my bed at Saratoga Springs report :). I’m sure it won’t be long until your planning again.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!!

  2. Your trip sounds remarkably like the one I had in the summer. We were a party of 12 and we had our nieces (ages of 7 &5), who were first timers. Despite months of planning, most days we had to readjust and go with the flow. I came home a bit disappointed that some of the plans had gone out the window but looking back at it now, there was no chance it was ever gona go to plan.

    So, that being said, it is now only 30 days until I return with just my hubby. For my 40th birthday next month. Kids and extended family are staying home. Will be a very different experience of Orlando, I am sure! One of which will include being able to go on rides with my hubby and not being separated to ride with the kids, haha.

    Anyway, thanks for your fab blogs, I read them every week. Happy Christmas and all the best for 2019 to you and your lovely family 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your holibobs, it’s been wonderful to read.

    I’d like to wish you and all the family a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year!

  4. Merry Christmas Craig to you and all the family and I hope the New Year brings everything you all wish for. Thanks for allowing us all this glimpse into your holiday. Fantastic as always.

  5. Merry Christmas and best wishes for the year ahead to you and your family xx

  6. Thanks for sharing your trip with us, I’ve enjoyed reading every week. I hope you and your lovely family have a very Merry Christmas 🎄 and a happy new year. 🎉🎊

  7. Hi Craig.
    Thanks for much for sharing your latest trip. I’ve loved reading about all of Freddie’s experiences and how special it was. Tears in my eyes at the end as always. We have done 14 trips but not for a few years. Hoping to get back on 2020. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Karen xx

  8. Thanks so much for writing all of these weekly instalments. We were there at the same time as you and it has brought back so many lovely memories of our trip reading them as well as having a peek into Freddie’s first visit. We are lucky enough to be off again for a sneaky week on 12th January. Hope you have a lovely Christmas with your family and keep writing the blogs. I love reading them each week.

  9. The end of another lovely trip and one that is special in that it was Freddie’s first. I feel melancholy and I wasn’t even with you! This blog seemed a bit final, will we still be hearing from you on the weekly blog? I do hope so. Happy Christmas to you all and thanks as always for taking us along for the ride x

    1. Thanks Alison. It wasn’t meant to sound final. I contemplate sacking the blog off on a regular basis but somehow keep going so I’m sure I’ll be back to it as normal 🙄

  10. Enjoyed your report as always. I went with my grandchildren, 5 and 4, for their first visit in April this year. Let’s just say they were less than perfect.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your extended family 🎅🏻🎄

  11. As ever, have enjoyed reading your weekly blog. I only managed the country skillet on its own so chapeau to you for twinning it with the pancakes.
    We are just back (yesterday) from visiting with Ceara and will be back again at the beginning of March, so at least we have a short countdown…
    Merry Christmas to all in Mkingdon land and have a prosperous new year.

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