FastPases, Frustration and Fiduciary Failings

Let me start by saying that yesterday was a significant day in the Mkingdon household. Yes, it was FastPass day for Animal Kingdom. It goes without saying that despite pouncing all over the My Disney Experience like the lithe and taught cat I am, I had more chance of a fringe than getting a FastPass for Flights Of Passage. I think it is the case now that if you are staying off site, you don’t get a FastPass for that thing.

If you are staying off site and got a FastPass, please don’t tell me. It is this one slither of comfort that is stopping me penning a strongly worded email to senior Disney officials or posting it on one of those Disney Facebook groups for the sole purpose of getting some attention and maybe getting some compensation.

Oh, it was also our 23rd wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a Chinese and an early night. Not that kind of early night. We were both a little under the weather so Louise had to retire to bed with a migraine and I played some PS4. Who said you can’t keep the magic alive?

So I’ve been booking FastPasses since Tuesday. The first day was a deja vu moment from last year, with the stroke of 12 (that’s the title of a pay per view movie I once say advertised in a hotel) seeing me wrestle with the web site and the app as they both crashed like some toddler after a bag of M&Ms. It took about twenty minutes for them both to start behaving. Of course by this time my only priority, Mine Train, had gone. Still, Big Thunder, Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan is a decent return for our first day.

This midday crashing of their site still happening suggests to me that they don’t want to fix that. As far as peaks of trafiic go, that time on the FastPass booking site is probably one of the most predictable on the planet so there are things they could do I’m sure. There must be a reason they don’t want to. Inflicting frustration on paying guests doesn’t seem to be a good strategy but hey, I keep going back and handing over my cash so take from that what you will.

I didn’t need to book anything on Wednesday as we will be at Typhoon Lagoon but Thursday saw a little bit of pressure as I was booking for what will be my birthday trip to Epcot. I am pleased to report that this was the one day on which I got my main priority, Soarin’. With Mission Space and Spaceship Earth that’s a solid day’s activity before we move up to World Showcase for our meal and fireworks stuff.

The next day was just about making some “maybe we will use them” FastPasses for the evening as it will be a day of eating at Hash House a Go Go and Trail’s End, with either an evening in Magic Kingdom or, I have a tentative idea of going to the Poly to watch the fireworks from their beach. Our energy levels will dictate what we do. Don’t worry, I will of course cancel those FastPasses should we not intend to use them. I am not a monster.

That brings us to yesterday and Animal Kingdom. It does irk me a little that the best ride on WDW property is clearly beyond us but it is outside of my control and I will not pointlessly whinge about it on the internet like some spoilt entitled oversized baby….oh, bugger. I did manage to get a solid trio (which was also what I got after last night’s Chinese, but I’m feeling better now) of Everest, Safari and Na’vi River Journey.

Today at 12 I will be being dissapointed with things again as I attempt to book FastPasses for our first visit of the trip to Hollywood Studios. They are changing or have changed already, I can’t remember, the tiering for their FastPasses so I think you can only book restroom visits and access to the car park at the same time or something. We’ll see. I’m not convinced we’ll even get in the park so it may not matter.

Anyway, FastPass dissapointments aside, we’re at 23 days and at the stage where I almost don’t mind Mondays rolling round again as it is just another step to departure.

The other event in a planning filled week was the purchase of some dollars. Really, I should draw a veil over this as if I start ranting I may never stop…..

Suffice to say, for my many, many English pounds I got enough dollars to maybe buy a drink from one of the vending machines at the airport after we land.

Sigh, only I could be a mere 23 days away from a WDW trip and spend my time moaning about stuff. It comes from a good place of wanting to make the best trip I can or everyone…so if you could all log on and cancel your Flights of Passage FastPasses and somehow double the dollar rate, that’d be great.

Till the next time…..

Is It Because I Is Blue?

I feel a little guilty moaning about anything when we are so close to a Florida trip that I can smell it, but I’m gonna. We are now two weeks in to operation update our house from the 90s. Two weeks with no bathroom and it still looks like a cell in a Far East prison. We have another week to go before we have the ability to cleanse ourselves in our own home and have any surfaces in the house that are not under three inches of dust. To add to our heartache the next set of workmen turn up tomorrow to create a double bubble of renovation chaos.

I am more stressed than Trump’s press secretary. To add to all of that I have to paint the bathroom ceiling today. I will store the required paint on my protruding bottom lip.

My much feared dental trip last week passed with little or no fuss. There was a little bit of grinding action required but it didn’t last long, as tends to be the case. I escaped with a slight sweat on after ten minutes happy to be declared dentally fit for my trip.

Anyway, with all of that self-pity and woe out-of-the-way we can now begin.

Louise tells me that I am often guilty of assuming a certain level of knowledge in my blog posts. I use WDW acronyms and don’t explain anything in enough detail for anyone who hasn’t spent a large chunk of their lives in Florida. So with that in mind, will you please join in with our SDD.

What? SDD…you know…oh OK, it is our Single Digit Dance day today. We are nine days out people.

Around this time, the milestones come thick and fast. Yesterday, a few short hours after pay-day, our dollars arrived. The exchange rate is so bad that instead of actually sending me dollars they just took money out of my account and sent me a voucher for a Perkins breakfast. Not quite of course, but a rate of 1.23 hurts I can tell you. You can shove your Brexit up your arse!

Yesterday saw Louise, Emily and I go shopping for essential holiday clothes and stuff. We didn’t go together. Good God, no that would have ended in a fist fight outside of C&A. What? C&A doesn’t exist…really??  It was there the last time I went into an actual town centre. Louise and Emily went together and I spent a lengthy twenty minutes or so in one shop to get everything that I needed.

Now, one of the items I needed was a lovely new pair of trainers. This is always a necessity prior to any US trip but it is now also a tradition and a key part of the countdown process. Because I am a creature of habit, middle-aged and tight these trainers have always tended to be the luminous white Hi-Tec numbers that can take down aircraft if the sun catches them the wrong way. I have dozens of pairs of these around the house in various states of decay…

I had another pair on my feet in the shop yesterday and I was just about to head to the tills when I went all crazy. I ventured into unknown territory and tried on another brand…..and……..wait for it……colour. It was almost in jest as just before I pulled on those non-white interlopers (or interloafers) I took a look at the price tag. Now, it doesn’t matter what Jessie J says, I never forget about the price tag. You cannot spend half of the GDP of Guatemala on US holidays AND buy expensive goods on a day-to-day basis.

As my foot entered these expensive follies I was very upset. It felt like I had put my foot into a warm otter’s pocket. It embraced and caressed me like a mother cradles a new-born. It was feetal heaven. Damn it!

I then spent a good few minutes calculating what I could stop Louise buying to allow us to find room in our budget for this indulgence. To cut what is becoming a long story short, I left the shop with them. I have never spent that amount on a pair of trainers in my life. Oh, and they are blue!!  Yes, blue!!

I can only apologise. I sacrificed tradition on the altar of comfort.

Louise and Emily were out for close to 72 hours and returned with one item of clothing each. I cannot comprehend how that happens and can only thank whatever God you believe in that I wasn’t with them.

In a return to the sanity of online shopping I added some rechargeable batteries and an SD card for the camera to my list of bought items in line with another tradition where I can never seem to find the exact same items I bought before every other trip we’ve done and have to buy some more.

Louise and Emily are busy arranging all sorts of treatments and procedures that I don’t want to know the details or cost of and I too am booked in for my back, sack and crack treatment ahead of my strutting up and down on Siesta Key beach in my thong. I shall leave you to embrace that mental image for the rest of your weekend!

With gritted teeth, I am hunkered down for one last week at work, mixed with a house full of workmen, chaos and dust whilst desperately trying to remember how to write a half decent and amusing trip report.

Till the next time…..


Secret Revealed…what a let down I hear you cry..

So I can now let you know (as no doubt you will not have slept since my post mentioning said secret) what all the secrecy was about.

I have a new job!

Oh? Is that it?  Alas, that soundtrack to my life is apt once again.  I was down in that there London last Thursday meeting with important types from the new company, agreeing stuff….and stuff.  I knew as I left the meeting that I had the job if I wanted it, so after many minutes deliberation on Thursday evening, I resigned on Friday morning.

I know this stuff happens all the time, but I have been with my current employer for ten years, and feel totally institutionalised (that word is a bugger to type by the way…try it).  The fear factor of leaving is softened as the new company is run by an ex-boss of mine (the one who took me to see United get dumped out of the Champions League a little while ago), and having worked with/for him for many years, I shouldn’t have to start all over again in the prove yourself stakes.

The new role is quite different to my current one, with new things to understand and learn, and I am in no way suffering a crisis of confidence that I shall be discovered to be a charlatan (or any other mid 90’s Madchester band), and realise that I was consigned to work all my life with my current employer.

I’m not going to bore you with company names etc.  You barely care as it is, so besmirching any brand names on the internet is not needed.  An audible sigh of relief around the internet is heard.

So this week I have been telling the managers that report to me, and then my team, that I am off in July (yep, 12 weeks notice…what fun), and I was mightily flattered at the reaction.  They had the good grace to at least appear upset, and shocked, and being serious for a second, I did not expect anything like a reaction of this type, so that’s nice.  I haven’t been a complete arse for the past ten years then.

With my never ending notice period, by the time I actually get to my new job, I only have five weeks at the new place and then the countdown ends and we are off on holidays.  Don’t fret, I have already checked that the holiday dates would not be an issue!!

As a weird coincidence, my new MD (the ex-boss referred to earlier) goes on the same day, perhaps even the same flight we suspect.  His villa is on the same development too.  I feel slightly responsible as I convinced him to go two years ago when we worked together, promising his kids were not too young (hey, they are 21 and 27…joke!) and now he seems to be hooked too.

A period of notice is a weird place, with my natural work ethic and give a toss-ability hard to shake, and I have to keep reminding myself that I really shouldn’t care anymore.  It will take time I think.

What's that, I'm a prefect? Great!!

Other news this week, also of a good nature, is that Emily has been accepted as a prefect at school.  For Emily, the benefits start and end with a special coloured tie, which denotes her newly acquired super powers to the rest of the proles at her school.  Beware her wrath fellow schoolmates.

Planning wise for the upcoming hols, little has progressed lately with all the job kerfuffle, as my concentration span can only deal with so much at once.  I did get pointed at an iPhone app that looks to be an excellent addition to any control freak, OCD WDW lunatic (hey, that’s me).  It was wizzo off of the Dibb who drew my attention to it (Thanks Paul).  The WDW Lines app shows you in real time the current wait times and fastpass return times, also allowing you to enter the wait times etc as well.

Lines App
Walk the line!

As I type, Buzz Lightyear has a twelve minute wait!!  This app alone guarantess that I will actually take my phone with me, rather than leave it in the kitchen drawer at home to avoid any contact with work whilst on holiday!

It just so happens that the company I am going to work for actually do all this stuff.  iPhone apps, mobile marketing, mobile vouchers (think Orange Wednesday campaign) so in time I might even understand how it all works.  Anyone who is paying attention, might have worked out that this is where I got my hands on the iPad last week.  Still no sign of the free one by the way.

And so as this post comes to a lovely full circle of completeness, I have my fingers crossed that whatever shower get into power next week, it doesn’t destroy the the dollar rate, as I have park tickets and spending money to worry about….and if something as trivial as a new government were to queer the pitch I shall be less than pleased.

Till the next time…..