Operation Oli

Operation Oli

It’s difficult to be blogging in my usual inane and whimsical way about my usual subject of Florida after what happened this week. I cannot imagine the grief, terror and heart-break that an event like this inflicts on those involved.

I could rant for hours about the lunacy of the US gun laws and the orange appendage that’s running the show, and his “God fearing”, truck driving, yeehaw mates who think that assault weapons have any place in the hands of a member of the public…but I won’t. I have however spent the latter part of this week getting angry at strangers on the internet.

So in my own little world, this week has been a busy one. There was a Mustard rehearsal on Monday night, and then a medical drama on Tuesday night.  I arrived home to find Louise in the bathroom with her fingers down Oli’s throat. He had got part of a chew stuck down there and he was having a real problem breathing. So we threw him into the back of the car and set off for the nearest vets. It wasn’t our vets but that didn’t matter.  The fact that it was closed did.

So we called our vets to find them closed too and then headed for the out of hours emergency vets their answer machine message directed us too. Oli was in a bad way and they had to immediately put him under to get it out. A fraught forty minutes or so and a hefty claim on our pet insurance later and he was OK. They suggested he stayed in overnight for monitoring, so we went home as the adrenaline faded from our bodies.

About 11pm, I saw the vets number pop up on my mobile, and in a panic I answered. He was fine, but a bit stressed and as they felt he was now out of the woods they asked if I wanted to take him home. So off I went, to find the entire motorway network in Manchester closed, resulting in a forty-five minute journey each way when it should have been twenty. I collapsed into bed after midnight hoping that day would never be repeated.

He’s been fine since, with his only visible scar the ridiculous band of missing fur around his leg where they shaved him to give him the anaesthetic.

Aside from that drama, the week was fairly normal with too much work in the middle and it ended with a couple of days down at Head Office in Marlow. Louise finished her latest ridiculous working marathon and had Thursday and Friday off after working ten days straight. We’ve had a rare weekend where Louise isn’t working and I’m not gigging. We spent a rare Saturday night watching The Hitman’s Body guard with Ryan Reynolds. It was nice of him to pop round.

During the week there was also a moment of panicked realisation that our ability to book ADRs is right around the corner. For someone who has been as often as I have, sometimes my knowledge/memory of how stuff works is appalling. The 180 day window for ADRs consistently surprises me and as of the first week of March we’ll be trying to secure what we want. It’s at that point that plans probably will have to change. If we can’t get what we want, when we want, or an opportunity pops up to get something we didn’t think we would, flexibility will need to be the order of the day. The plan isn’t laminated yet for that very reason.

Having previously said all confident like, that we aren’t doing many ADRs and it won’t matter that much, a quick glance at the current plan shows the first three days of the trip all involve on-site dining. Bugger.

Whispering Canyon, Beaches & Cream and Via Napoli are the eateries in question and there will be some concentrated app usage trying to bag those. Remember when we used to phone up for this stuff? Happy times. I’m sure we all miss the experience of talking to an actual American Cast Member and being wished a magical day after booking a table or two.

The other big news last week was the opening date for Toy Story Land being announced as June 30th.

Having just missed Pandora’s opening (not a euphemism) last year it’s nice to know that it will be open when we get there and hopefully some of the post opening madness may have died down. What that does do is put us into a FastPass tail spin. Usually our FP choices for DHS are pretty simple. Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror and Rock n Rollercoaster, closely followed by Little Mermaid or she gets upset!

With new rides in play, it’s a whole new ball game. Good problems to have. Hopefully, having more stuff available will spread the crowds a little more…wishful thinking maybe. It’s as if I’ve learnt nothing since 1980.

Till the next time……


What Are You Eating Next April?

Our holiday started today. I know that the countdown flew by and I didn’t celebrate the single digit dance and all that, but that’s because of course we aren’t really at that stage. But, crucially today I booked our first ADR. I now know where I’ll be eating dinner on the 14th of April 2017.

Earlier today I booted up the My Disney Experience app and did the deed. It is so easy these days to organise stuff like this and I’m all for it. If there is ever an option to do something online, I’m all over it, so Disney’s move into web and app based bookings suits me completely.

However, there is a very small part of me which misses the butterflies in the stomach feeling of calling Disney to make your reservations. Stood in a dank and dreary Bolton, talking to some ray of sunshine in Florida somehow always seemed to cheer me up. The hold music alone had the power to transport my mind to happier and sunnier places but then talking to a Cast Member who couldn’t pronounce my name and wished me a magical day was a special treat to behold.

Anyway, the booking I made for Friday the 14th of April 2017 at 8:15pm was at ‘Ohanas. It’s been a long, long time since we ate there. The beauty of chronicling all our trips over the years is that I know exactly when it was…

image085

Yep, I know for sure that it wasn’t the 1/3/2002 as it says on that photo. That was caused by me replacing the batteries in my digital camera and all the dates being reset. So every photo from that holiday has the wrong date on it. Sigh….The actual date of our last dinner there was Saturday the 16th of August 2003.  The girls would have been eight and six at the time and I also know we ate at 6.30pm. I knew there would be at least one good reason for writing up every single trip in ludicrous detail.

Here is my detailed and thought through review of the whole experience…

Our server was very good and very friendly to the kids, who of course won’t shut up at home, but become mute when other people talk to them.

The starters were lovely, and like the pig I am, I ate far too much of them so I was full by the time the meat arrived. The girls had a hot dog as they are really cosmopolitan and exotic.

Louise had a back scratcher cocktail from the bar, and I had a lovely Diet Coke! 

The meal was very nice indeed. I think maybe we were a little tired at this point and didn’t get the most out of it. $75 was fair enough I thought as Louise’s drink was $8! 

We submitted to exhaustion at 8.00 and we drove home and were all in bed for 9.15.

I suspect we’ll be paying a little more than $75 this time around, down to Brexit and the fact that Emily can now also drink those cocktails. Crazyness!

So one ADR down and not may more to go. Our on-site dining experiences are select and few and far between. To be honest the motivation for booking ‘Ohana was Emily spotting this dessert on some blog or other…

Image credit Touringplans.com
Image credit Touringplans.com

It is Banana Bread Pudding and it will be in my belly on April the 14th. What will you be eating then?

We just have ADRs for Sanaa and Trail’s End to add on for later in our trip and the rest of our eating will be done off site, in my comfy shorts.

I did have a mild panic this week after reading some stuff on the internet about Easter being insanely busy. Not that we can change it now, as it was hard enough to do that once. I think on reflection that we should be OK. The first five days we are there is the start of the traditional Easter school holidays but we have Front of Line and five days to get around two parks so that should be fine. Then we spend a week away from Orlando at Siesta Key and only head back to the parks as everyone else (hopefully) travels back home for the start of school.

Even if the parks at WDW are very busy we’ll just FastPass the stuff we absolutely want to do and if we can’t do the odd ride, well, we’ve done them all before of course, and if you ask me when, I could probably look that up too! We can always go and drink cocktails somewhere instead!!

Till the next time……