Booked It, Packed It 2 – The Return Of The Fat Guy

It won’t surprise anyone reading this to learn that I have a well developed persecution complex. Most weeks, despite living a largely untroubled and privileged life, I can find something to moan about. I often trot out the phrases “you couldn’t write it” or “you couldn’t make it up” to bemoan whatever the latest minor upset might be. However, after what has been a troubled couple of years holiday wise, the events of the last week or so really have been comedic.

Having moved our Florida trip four or five times (I have honestly lost count) when the last cancellation happened I did jettison my toys from the stroller a little and instead of moving it, I cancelled everything. Breaking the habit of a couple of decades, off I went and booked a holiday to another country, crucially nowhere near the US. What could go wrong?

Within a few days of doing so, a volcano in The Canaries that has laid dormant for half a century suddenly became active. Sure, it doesn’t currently seem likely to affect our plans but we don’t know for certain and my head shaking was incessant at the “you couldn’t write it” aspect of this.

Whilst licking those wounds, and lay on the couch Facetiming Rebecca chatting no doubt about our upcoming trip not to America, Emily cried out at some news she had just seen on her phone. I did indeed feel a disturbance in the force.

“The US border is opening in November”. she relayed.

Once that had sunk in after a few seconds, my stomach churned and those special words escaped my lips. “You couldn’t (expletive) write it”.

After a family chat including phrases such as “It is what it is” and “It’s too bloody late and hard now to cancel The Canaries”, I entered into a mild sulk. I did fire up a couple of apps and checked out flight prices to Florida for 2022. Having laughed long and hard at the prices for anything close to summer my mind began to whir.

My inner Verruca Salt kicked in. I told myself things like….

“You work really hard (highly debateable) and deserve the holiday you really want”

“I still haven’t had my 50th trip and I deserve that too”

My mind began to do its work, thinking about when we may be able to get over there. I won’t bore you with all the details, but the logistics of getting six of us (at least) away at the same time, balancing everyone’s work, life plans, other commitments and of course finances is on a par with undertaking a moon landing.

After much analysis and discussion (including Tom persuading his Boss to be very flexible with his holidays) a very small window of opportunity emerged. Flights were checked, research was done, chats were had with the owner of our villa of choice and it was decided.

We are returning to WDW on the 3rd of January 2022.

This would not be our ideal time of year of course. Temperatures will be much lower than we prefer but at this point that does not matter. Again, for reasons I will not trouble you with, if we were not to take this chance, it would be very unlikely we could fit a trip in during 2022 and having not been since mid 2019 this would be very upsetting indeed, indeed probably totally unacceptable.

Appreciating the absolute carnage that is probably ongoing now in the rush for UK tourists to book stuff, I feel quite smug that we have pretty much everything in the bag for prices we can tolerate.

Having had the Aer Lingus refund for several hours, I gave it all back, booking flights with them again. Let’s not dwell on the fact that I could have got a voucher for our flight price plus 10%. This whole thing is already a shit show of incompetence and bad decision making, let’s not make it any worse.

Our villa of choice was thankfully just about available. We will have two days at the end of the trip for which we need to find somewhere to stay as the villa was booked for those. On that note I did think we would use our DVC credit notes (remember those?) to stay somewhere nice on-site to end the trip. Having spoken to the DVC rental company, they tried our dates and there was not one DVC room available on any property in Orlando. What the f…..??

I have no idea what is going on there, as I am not a DVC expert. I am hoping over time things settle down and something does come up that we can use. I am as we speak in “talks” with the folks I have my credit notes with to try and source something suitable.

Having not had our refund from Floridatix of course, and now needing some tickets (I know, I know…) I contacted them. Amazingly they were able to use some of my refund and move that to a brand new booking within minutes, but yet, it looks like I still have another month at least before I may see any sign of monies owed to me. Funny that. These new tickets should arrive any day now so I can do our park reservations….again.

So all of a sudden we have two holidays in close succession and our holidaying budget will be well and truly drained, but after the last couple of years I give not one shit. There is still much to know of course. There has been no formal announcement on the exact date in November when borders will open and what tests will be needed and how kids fit into all of this. By the time our dates roll around I am sure….no, I am hopeful that will all be sorted.

Needless to say I have resumed vlog watching, actively seeking out some from January to see how bloody cold it might be. We have been once before at that time, back in 2005 into 2006 but memories fade over time. I seem to remember the days being fine, but fleeces being required at night. I have a vague memory of buying the girls gloves and woolly hats to watch Fantasmic.

Whatever it is, we shall make the most of it. The reduced heat should make for less weariness and getting more done. We have had to sacrifice Universal which is very upsetting, but the budget just won’t stretch to the extra thousands involved in tickets and an on-site stay. Next time. That cash is sitting now with TUI for our October trip. Water parks will probably also be out of bounds and indeed closed in January? I can’t remember, but we will just go eat instead! Any thoughts of using our DVC credit notes for Vero were scuppered after watching a vlog or two from that time of year, with folks on the beach wrapped up as if they were in Blackpool in Autumn.

Having ignored most of the Genie+/Lightning Lane stuff, hoping it would go away, I am also hoping that in early January, in what historically has been one of the quietest times in the parks, we will not need them. All bets are off I know, post pandemic, and there could be three hour queues for everything, but I’ll take my chances in a more positive frame of mind on that than if we were going next August. I suspect things will take a couple of years at least for crowds and travel patterns to settle again.

So Florida looks to be re-opening for us and normality is returning. On that note I went back into the office for the first time on Friday. It was not something I was looking forward to and all I will say is that it lived up to expectations. It is only right and patriotic of me now though to support our glorious Brexit cause and conserve petrol by not driving to the office again for quite some time. Until of course they work out a way to put all our sovereignty into petrol tanks.

It seems most of my colleagues are on board with this plan already. See the bustling environment I was working in by 9.30 on Friday morning.

Anyway, all that matters is that we have a plan and a countdown and I can now try to use them to block out all the real world shite that is going on. Balance has been restored to the force.

Till the next time…….

17 thoughts on “Booked It, Packed It 2 – The Return Of The Fat Guy

  1. My first thought when I saw the news about the volcano was of you. I also have to admit I did have a chuckle (sorry) at the irony of the timing. We (my son and I) have BA companion flights for December but the other half is yet to book his ticket. The price for an economy flight direct with BA was coming in just over ยฃ1400 ๐Ÿ˜ฒ. Heโ€™s going to have to research an alternative as we are not paying those prices. Sadly weโ€™ve decided to skip the Disney parks this trip as we know the crowds at Christmas are insane. We will still tackle Universal but with annual passes that provide us with express passes after 4pm. To be honest Iโ€™m just looking forward to being there after two years enforced absence. Iโ€™m already planning which restaurants we will be visiting โ€ฆ food is always a priority ๐Ÿ˜‚

  2. We went to WDw onsite in Jan 20. before the madness arrived. The weather was lovely. Some days in the 80s. And we managed to go to Typhoon Lagoon. I’m so glad you have managed to sort something. We fly out May 13th with Aer lingus as Virgin prices were astronomical. Staying at All Star Music and we cant wait. looking forward to your trip reports and the planning

  3. So pleased for you to find a slot. Not going is almost , but not quite, like being without oxygen. I am holding my breath for our April trip.

  4. Good to read your on your way back and with an extra trip to the canaries thrown in. We have been in Florida Christmas and new year. Last time on the beach in Naples with swimsuits on 2nd and 3rd January.

  5. Haha I knew you would t be able to resist long once the news broke! Good for you! Our last visit was December 19/ January 20 and it was warm, as you say hot in the day but much chillier at night. It is very unpredictable at that time of year though as I have had other trips in December and February where there have been frosts, I didnโ€™t change out of jeans and jumpers and I nearly got frostbite on my toes watching illuminations one evening!! But then other years at that time Iโ€™ve been sunbathing on NYE in the high 20s! Regardless even a cold day in Disney is better than any day anywhere else!

    I keep checking the prices for our flights for next august and they are double what we paid for this year so safe to say no air travel is booked as yet!

  6. I must admit to thinking about you and your trip to the Canaries with the news of the volcano, closely followed by the reopening of the USA borders.
    Our last trip was January 2019 and for the most part it was vest tops and shorts, with a cardigan/sweatshirt needed in the evenings/early mornings but we did have a couple of very cold days but just layered up.
    Like you, my memories of January were of very quiet parks, so was horrified when the parks were heaving and all fast passes gone and a short queue being 30-40 minutes, but we were assured to was all down to ‘Run Disney’
    All in all, it is still a lovely time to visit and get blues skies and much needed sun โ˜€

  7. So pleased for you and your family you are going back โ€˜homeโ€™. Re the DVC points we were talking to a couple that own dvc . They are going in December and the impression they got when trying to use their dvc points for a Disney stay and being told there was not one room available on the whole of Disney property was they want people to pay to stay on site not use points. They said with all the new Disney properties how can every single room be taken. Not sure if this will help you or not.

  8. I was there 6th Jan 2020 for marathon weekend and it was hot! (30 degrees!). It will be marathon weekend again while youโ€™re there so will be a bit busier from that the first weekend.

  9. Yeay, trippies!

    We usually go in January for my birthday. We too have experienced 60 – 80 degrees while we’ve been there. We used to take joggers and sweatshirts / fleeces for the evening shows (including a blankie to sit on for Fantasmic, cos those ‘bleachers’ are blumin cold ๐Ÿฅถ) and leave it all in a locker until needed.

    Are you there for Presidents Day? We have been and just avoided MK for the weekend (we went to AK and shopping/Outlets instead).

    Typhoon Lagoon (whoomp! Arrgghh! ๐Ÿคญ) has been open in January, they didn’t (pre covid!) close for refurbishments until nearer the end of the month and it was warm enough for swimming.

    (Oh, and there used to be a lot of Brazilian schools there – especially in MK and DHS, as it was one of their annual holiday trips in January.)

    Marathon weekend is usually busy in the morning at Epcot (finishing line) and you may find some roads around the World are single lane traffic. Its usually much better in the afternoon when most of the runners have finished.

    Looking forward to hearing all about it ๐Ÿ˜Š

  10. Brilliant news you have booked another holiday to Florida. I am just back from 10 days in Lanzarote which was to replace this years Florida trip. The last 6 days (after we had had the announcement) were spent lying on my sun bed reading your Amazon trip reports book (again!) and dreaming of our return to Orlando next April. You will understand when you get to the Canaries in a few weeks !!!!๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ (it was ok there but Orlando it ainโ€™t !!!)

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