Holidays are a time to relax, de-stress, kick back and avoid any issues to deal with that may raise your blood pressure. Well, this holiday was already classed as “not normal” so sit back and let me tell you a story.
Today started early, again. I was awake at 4am. I dozed till 6ish when Louise phoned me. She was a bit flustered as she was on Asda’s car park, in the snow, having just locked the car keys in the boot of the car, and of course the car had now locked.
This is not the news you want to hear from 4,000 miles away, as usually I would have picked up the spare key and driven the ten minutes to Asda to resolve the problem. Today Louise had a million things to do to prepare for her Mum coming home, so her stress levels were already higher than normal.
I sprang into action, calling Greenflag, who we get cover with via our bank account. They said they would despatch someone asap. I passed this on to Louise and had a shower and some breakfast, glad that this emergency had been dealt with.
We had noticed that Epcot didn’t open until 10am today which was a bit weird, but having been quite tardy with our park arrivals so far we made up for it by leaving the villa at 8.40. We parked in Amaze 34 and walked into the park.
On site special people were being greeted into the park like the elite kind of folks they are and us scummy off site proles had to settle for a Joffrey’s coffee and a doughnut.
Right about now Louise called me again, in a very heightened state of distress. The Greenflag man could not open the car. She was at this stage trying to smash a window on the car and I was phoning glass replacement businesses some 4,000 miles away to see who could repair it when she did. Several more calls came in from Louise, each more upsetting than the last.
Greenflag man asked Louise if she had a spare key for the car, at which point I think his head landed about half a mile away after she had taken it off. I was calling various family members to see who could help.
The horrible juxtaposition of me being stood in the pleasant warmth of Florida about to undertake a day in a theme park and Louise’s end of the video call, which consisted of sleet, high winds and a very distraught wife was not one I ever wish to repeat.
Meanwhile, back in Epcot, I sent everyone else off to do stuff whilst I sat near the entrance calling and googling various things to try and help. The new plan was to get a locksmith to our house to “break in” so Louise could get the spare key. The tricky bit wasn’t finding a locksmith, which I did from Epcot in two phone calls, no, the real challenge was getting Louise home. For reasons I cannot understand all the local taxi places would not take her as it was a journey from one town to another and due to COVID, apparently, this meant it was a no no. I was too stressed and busy to even worry about this.
We were about an hour in now and I was close to a heart attack. You do not want to be across an ocean when there is an emergency happening back home. Then, a saviour entered the scene. The locksmith I had found was sat outside our house and he called Louise to ask where she was. She explained she was stuck at Asda and could not get home. Like a superhero he went to pick her up.
Upon their return they were to go around the back of the house and pop one of the locks on the conservatory, which is very old and due to be replaced as soon as the weather improves enough for it to be installed. At the back of our house is a field and to get down from it to our garden there is a steep slope with less then great steps.
Here it is in what passes for summer in the North West of England.
Both Louise and the locksmith went down those steps, however Louise did so on her backside, slipping on the mix of sleety snow and other wintry shite on the ground. You may smile, or even laugh at that image now and that’s OK. At the time, nobody did!
We are edging towards the end of this story now. At this time I had wandered up through Epcot to meet everyone and I did so outside The Land as they had ridden Soarin’.
On my way up, just as some attempt at this being a trip report, I should mention that Epcot is a building site. I find it odd that it is so during the 50th celebrations, but the whole centre part of the park has endless boards up. It’s a bit of a mess.
As I waited, after all this stress, there was almost inevitably, a large Pooh.
We walked over to Nemo and Friends, but I was still mentally back home, waiting for news from Louise and confirmation that she had found the spare key and got into the car.
Whilst in the ten minute queue, Louise called. She had the spare key. The crowning glory of this tale is that when Louise and the locksmith had rappelled down the slope to our back garden and conservatory, and as the locksmith was preparing to break in, it turns out the conservatory door was open!
Suffice to say, Louise paid him plus a large tip for saving the day regardless of him just acting as a taxi.
I had chest pains.
After that we decided to do Crush and walked in just as the doors were closing.
A few minutes into the show my phone went again. It was Louise and I had to leave the show to take it. She had got a taxi back to Asda and was back in the car and on with her day.
To add insult to chest pains and injury, it turned out that there was a lack of ambulances, so Mary’s homecoming would be tomorrow instead of today.
Shall we all just have a minute?
The weight of a thousand manatees lifted from my shoulders as I waited near them for the others to finish Crush.
We then wandered the rest of the tanks.
Half in anger and half as reward for the stressful delay to our park touring day, I had purchased Genie+. I had secured a Lightning Lane (from hereon in that is a LL). Even at that time in the morning all the LL’s for Test Track were gone for that day. How can a system where you pay for special access have that happen? I booked us onto Mission Space for 11.45 instead. It was now time for that so we made our way over there via the circuitous route created by all the screening boards.
Myself, Emily and Tom rode that. We rode the Orange intense side much to my delight.
I missed most of the briefing video as the next LL window was due right at that time so I spent those minutes looking at the app, choosing what to book next. I felt absolutely dog rough as we left the ride. It’s an age thing I am convinced. I once took my Mum on it when she was in her 70’s and almost killed her. I fear I am heading for the same fate as the years pass.
Freddie was spending a bit of time in the splash pad despite it not really being splash pad weather.
That next LL booking I had made was for Spaceship Earth and it was due now. We headed that way.
I had the honour of riding with Freddie.
Lunch was now very overdue so we headed back to The Land for food. I had something called a Land Crusher which was pulled pork on Texas Toast. I think it’s called that as it Texas so long to make it.
Honestly it was one of the tastiest things I had all trip.
It was so good I have no record of what anyone else had.
I had by now booked our next LL for Journey Into Imagination and not too surprisingly that was due immediately.
I constantly wondered what Freddie was making of these things he was experiencing for the first time. Now I know he’s ridden some of this stuff before but he of course has no memory of it.
Having no way to book any form of LL for Test Track, next, everyone except Rebecca joined the 60 minute queue.
Even with two breakdowns of the ride whilst we queued, and here we are during one of those looking happy about it…
We were on in 25 minutes. I am not one to suggest that wait times are being inflated to encourage the purchase of Genie+. To be fair it was a mixed bag all trip with many times the displayed minutes being correct and a good number of times it not.
We designed our cars….
Waited a bit more….
and enjoyed the ride.
With Rebecca waiting for us on her own we did not spend too much time admiring the cars we could not afford.
We met Rebecca in the new Creations shop. Rebecca and Freddie finally got their new magic bands all linked up and after a browse of the shop we found a bench and had a drink whilst Tom took Freddie on Mission Space. It’s always a judgement call as to when you let your small kids go on the big stuff. Every child is different of course but Tom and Rebecca were confident he would be OK. There are surgical procedures I would have undertaken without sedation rather than ride Mission Space again at this time.
Freddie loved it and returned with one of those Groot things that sit on your shoulder as a reward for bravery. Yes, he rode Orange too.
We walked over to the Short Film Festival next. Please don’t disregard this when looking for things to do. Sure, it’s no Captain Eo, but it was extremely enjoyable.
As we entered this, Mickey was out for pictures. We couldn’t stop as the show was about to begin, so as we left we circled back and were delighted to find him still there.
I am hoping these socially distanced style photos will just be a reminder of different times soon and we can get back to the meet and greets with hugs and stuff soon.
As we walked back to the stroller we passed one of the cutest service dogs we saw all trip and for some reason we saw a lot. We have never really seen any in all our previous times, but this year they were everywhere.
At some point in the recent past I had booked a LL for Soarin’ to make up for me missing it this morning as I was trapped in a glass case of chest pain and stress.
We rode at 6 and I loved this ride as I always do.
By this time Rebecca was starting to get tired and back painy so we decided to head out.
I saw the new lights on Spaceship Earth for the first time and all I wondered was why had they never done this before. It looked stunning and I took far more pictures than I will inflict on you here.
We made our way out to the exit.
I will add a note here to say that I am still in mourning for the loop music that now seems gone. I am sorry but this music IS Epcot.
Tonight’s dining was meant to be Bahama Breeze remember but we pulled that forward due to the Cheesecake Factory being too busy. With everyone being very tired we took the decision to just call at Taco Bell on the way home. I haven’t been to a Taco Bell for over a decade so had no clue what to order. Emily and I went in and muddled our way through the self order board thing and emerged with some food. It was $40.
We drove on to the villa and whilst we ate, called Louise to check in on her after her eventful day. Tom and Freddie went in the pool for a bit and then bed happened.
Till the next time……