Day One – Monday January 9th
Here we go again. In case anyone missed the one post I was able to cram in about this trip before we went on it, the runners and riders were myself, Louise and Emily. The plan was a mix of on-site Disney hotels and an all-new (to us) Disney Cruise experience.
I should explain the title I suppose? Well, despite having lovely weather for January we did have a couple of very chilly days when almost every layer we had taken with us was worn, Joey from Friends style, so that explains the coats element.
Clearly, a big boat played a large part in this trip so that bit is obvious and the little scrotes part relates to the seemingly never-ending collection of screaming/naughty/noisy kids that haunted us at every turn.
Now look, this isn’t our first rodeo, and of course, you go to Disney, you get kids everywhere. At times we’ve even taken some of our own, but this time it felt different. Never have we encountered such a collection of screamers, shouters and all-round nuisance kids. I won’t be documenting each episode of this along the way as nobody wants to hear that, but trust me, we suffered, in a first-world problems kinda way.
Having gone through the usual pre-departure stresses and strains, mainly around Louise ironing everything in the house and cleaning anything that stood still long enough, we managed to get to bed pre-midnight, having been to pick up our house and zoo keeper Jack in the early evening. He would have his work cut out managing our menagerie and I spent most of the evening passing on instructions on all the weird stuff our house and pets do.
Alarms were set but not needed as Louise was up before them and therefore so was I. I had my usual stresses and worries about cases shutting and being overweight, but it was too late to start any diets now.
Having let the dogs out for very early wees, I put them back to bed with Jack and we made our escape after I had got a nice sweat on loading the cases into the car.
We were of course fifteen minutes later leaving the house than I had requested. We could only hope they would hold the plane for us.
Very few of you will know/remember or care what the weather was like in the early morning hours of January 9th, but let me tell you it was bloody awful. The drive to the airport was horrific and it felt like I held my breath the whole way there. Strong winds and sideways rain, in the dark on a motorway does not lead to pleasant motoring. I was very grateful to pull off the motorway and down the slip road to Terminal 2 at Manchester airport.
Entry into the car park was painless and despite it being full as always, as we had driven just one level up a car was pulling out and we gratefully accepted this gift, whilst at the same time cursing whoever made UK parking spots so narrow and/or cars so wide. The cases were released and as I always do, I took a photo of our location for when I have no memory of parking a car at all in two weeks time. A brief walk to the terminal and no queue at all for Premium check in. Yes, we are “those people” on this trip.
Security too was easy enough. No long queues which made me punch the air at not having spent all that money on a FastPass for it. Little wins!
Then as we waited for our stuff to emerge from X-Ray, we saw two of our trays had made it to the dark side. The side where a human needs to do things to it. So we waited.
Imagine about 30 minutes passing at this point……
There were two members of staff doing this checking and each bag seemed to take about a week to check. They were not, it is safe to say, busting any guts either.
Eventually our trays got to the front of the queue. Louise had a small tub of Vaseline in her bag and that was quickly resolved. Ryan on the other hand was to undergo more tests than a Russian athlete. The end result was a small bottle of talcum powder had caused all the fuss and there had been no reason to hold Ryan back after all. How we laughed.
Still, better that they are over cautious so we don’t get blown up mid air I guess.
With food and toilets on our mind we pressed on. With one of those taken care of we joined what now seems to be a customary queue to get anything to eat. I am not a fan. Open more restaurants FFS.
After twenty long minutes we were seated in San Carlos. From this menu….
We chose our breakfasts. To be fair we had chosen them about 18 minutes ago whilst stood in the queue.
Me – Full Works Sandwich
Louise a (not as good as the ones I make) Eggs Benedict
Emily – Avo on Toast
We had both coffee and juice as is the rule for airport breakfasts and quickly scoffed the lot. Still being hungry, we then ordered some toast too.
£54 lighter we set off to the shops where, despite having weeks to plan and pack Louise felt the need to buy a swimsuit at the airport for the highest price in the North West of England .
With more than enough shopping done we set off on the long walk to Gate A4. Boarding was both delayed and happening right now, so Louise’s need for evacuation had to be curtailed with a few encouraging messages from me along the lines of, “suck it up or stay behind”, and she appeared just in time for us to be the last to board.
Our first look at Premium revealed that it was all very nice. To be honest, it’s probably what Economy should be like as the seats are comfortable and your knees don’t touch the seat in front, but we were more than satisfied. Our plane today was Miss England, but we probably wouldn’t.
There was Prosecco and juice as we waited to push back at the obligatory later time than promised, but at around 10.12 (I checked) we left the gate and did the usual two and half hours of taxi-ing to the part where we actually took off.
Drinks were served and I watched a film called Unchartered with Tom Holland. I don’t know what he was doing on our flight but it passed about 90 minutes. I was inexplicably thirsty all flight and had to request three waters. I could have drank thirty but did not want to be a pest.
Safe to say our first “screaming child experience” happened for the entire flight. I’ve been told a million times that I can exaggerate too much, but that statement is fact. Food came.
I know it looks like apple crumble but it was Shepherd’s Pie and it was decent.
Louise had the same and Emily some meat free pasta thing.
I read a bit.
I played Solitaire on my seat back screen, no doubt annoying the person in front as I tapped away.
A bit later I watched another film, Bullet Train, which was much better than expected and that passed a lot of time quite nicely. We were about an hour out now and snacks arrived. Sandwiches and scones.
I played Solitaire again for the entire descent and all in all the flight passed quickly and was very good. The plane of course was a petri dish of disease. How much more are we aware of this stuff post pandemic?
Every cough (and there were so many) is noticed and it seemed 90% of the passengers were carrying some form of disease. Louise included, but more of that later!
We touched down at 19.30 UK time and we were one of the first off the plane, speed walking to immigration. We waited just a few minutes there and a few more for our cases before setting off on the frankly silly route to the main terminal. We had not, as I expected we might, arrived in Terminal C, and I had remembered to go to the A side as that is where the Toll Pass booth is. On the way we had to stop at Firehouse Subs in the food court for a drink as Emily needed to take some pills. Nine hours of a screaming child can do that.
There was no queue at Alamo. Has that changed? I seem to remember back in the day that you’d wait for ages to get your hire car. The last few trips there has just been me at the desk. I also no longer get any attempt at upsell. Maybe they sense my Jedi like powers and experience?
Over to the garage and we were pointed at the relevant row of cars. We did spend a good amount of time picking our transport and we did very well. In fact, I’d say it was one of the best cars we’ve ever had. I loved it. A Jeep thing. Here’s a photo taken much later in the trip.
It was in great condition and was a lovely drive.
We managed to get all the cases and ourselves in and then Louise and I had an argument as she couldn’t adjust her seat and this clearly was my fault. I stopped programming the destination into my phone, undid my seat belt, went round to her side and found the relevant button and all was well again.
Our route took us down the 417 and took about 25 minutes. We had seen via the app that our room was ready and as we arrived at Caribbean Beach the security guard scanned my band (not a euphemism) and directed us to Trinidad 3809. I had requested a room close to the Skyliner and it was about a five to ten minute walk away.
Our room was lovely and much more to Louise’s taste than the very themed rooms at Port Orleans on our last trip.
Louise had to pick up her toilet business from where she left off at Manchester airport so whilst she did that I unpacked my stuff. Louise did moan that I had taken all the drawer space up, but you snooze, you lose. The laides decided not to unpack and driven by Emily’s hunger (her snack option on the plane was inedible) we went out to eat. We let Emily choose and she plumped for Olive Garden.
There was no wait to be seated and we looked over the (very familiar) menu.
Naturally we started with salad and breadsticks. It is the law.
Me – Shrimp Scampi (this was chosen as it was light on the calorie count. Travel day always tends to involve about seven meals across multiple time zones so I wanted to do what I could to limit the damage this early in the trip).
Emily – Five Cheese Ziti
Louise – Chicken and Stuffed Ravioli
It was all very good and we were all very full. I paid the £100 bill on the machine on the table and we went over to the food mart across the road to get some waters for the room. I think I paid $10 for 24.
Back at the room we were all ready for bed. As we started to get ready to do so, we realised that Louise, only having one job to do for the holiday (get everything and everyone ready for it) had forgotten toothpaste. So I put my shoes back on and went out in search of the main building and a shop. It was a decent walk, but I didn’t mind as it obviously would burn off all the food I’d eaten today, right?
I got toothpaste, plasters, wet wipes and pain killers. Essentials for any of our trips. I had a quick look around too.
By the time I got back to the room everyone was asleep so I spent some time with Matthew Perry before closing my eyes around 8.15.
Till the next time…..