Bar Bar Bar, Bar Barber Rant.

Bar Bar Bar, Bar Barber Rant.

Before we go any further, you of course will know that today is Canada Day. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you will understand my enormous affection for Canada based purely on my experience of the pavilion at Epcot. This does not me make me shallow and puerile!

As I do every year, join me as I commemorate the occasion the only way it should be….

If Mikey and Tom are reading this, as folks who have not been yet, that video will make absolutely no sense whatsoever, but don’t worry it soon will. Suddenly we find ourselves under 60 days away from the start of our trip and the thought of being able to experience that in person is getting to fever pitch.  This weekend has seen some significant milestones pass, mainly in the form of paying the balance on stuff.

Theme park tickets, Not So Scary tickets and the hire car are all settled up and  next week will hopefully see the very exciting event of the park tickets arriving through our door and everyone choosing the character they want to be, despite the fact that these days Magic Bands make that a little superfluous. Somehow, the holiday seems a lot closer. We go next month, the weather has been Florida-esque and there has been a real buzz (pun intended) around the opening of Toy Story Land. We’re all experiencing a level of excitement a few notches up from where it was just last week.

Speaking of excitement. I went for a hair cut last week. I know it may come as a shock to many of you that this is a requirement for me but hair grows sporadically and often in places one wouldn’t wish it to, so it must be attended to.

Having spent the usual couple of hours with my “stylist” discussing options, we dismissed the idea of a fringe as it wouldn’t suit me and I finally took my place in the chair and he began to work his magic.

As ever, that awkward conversation started. I’d rather sit there in silence to be honest, but he feels obligated and I have to pretend to be tolerant of people for the several hours it takes to craft my current hair style.

We have nothing in common. He rides a motorbike, vapes, and judging by his chat with other customers before me, spends his time at 90’s themed dance festivals and bike rallies. So once we had exhausted common ground in the first seven seconds, he was spent and had to resort to the stereotypical conversation that hairdressers are renowned for. Yes, he dresses my hair, stop singgering!

“Are you going away this summer?” he asks, not really caring about my holiday plans.

“Yes, we’re going late August”.

This distracted him. It clearly reminded him that he was closing for a week mid-August and keen for me not miss my pre-holiday hair appointment spent the next few minutes telling me about said closure and why he decided to close up for a week. I didn’t mind. I thought this distraction had prevented me giving him any details of my upcoming trip.

A few more minutes went by cloaked in uncomfortable silence.

“So…..where are you off to?” he asked as if interested.

Inwardly I groaned. Should I lie and tell him Majorca or Greece? Knowing my luck he’d be an expert on both and I’d be speared on my white lie within seconds.

“Florida.” I said, hoping that might be the end of it.

“Ohhhhh, Florida” he said in a way which suggested I might not enjoy the next few minutes.

He went on.

“Have you been before?” he asked.

What do I say now? “Yes, I have been going since 1980 and have spent huge swathes of every waking moment thinking about going, planning each meal like a military operation and writing about it for strangers on the internet”.

“Yes, a few times” I say instead.

The pain was not for abating.

“Yeh, we went in 2009. Didn’t do Disney of course as it was just four adults….”

“We did Busch, Sea World, Universal and Wet & Wild.”

My forced smile just about held up.

“So you like all that theme park stuff then?” he continued.

Now at this point I can either come up with some pithy response or batter him to death with his shaver.

“Yes. We’ve done all sorts over the years, but this time it’s all Disney. We’re taking our Grandson for the first time”.

Why do I feel the need to justify this to him?

“My idea of hell that.” he said with a lack of regard for another person’s feelings I can’t fathom. I never understand folks with a point of view so ill-formed yet so forcibly expressed. Mind you, have you read my tweets?

“We’ll have to go back” he says, as if he’s referring to a colonoscopy and not a holiday. “My daughter’s getting to that age where she’ll appreciate it now”.

Thankfully, my “look” was complete at this point, and I went through the ludicrous routine of looking at the back of my head in the mirror he was holding up and saying something like..

“Yep, looks great thanks”. The last time any part of my head looked great was sometime in 1993.

We parted ways with an exchange of monies for his efforts in creating the masterpiece which I now sport and he reminded me when he would be closed in August so I didn’t miss my holiday hair cut.

I can’t wait.

I know Florida isn’t for everyone, I know out of the two of us he’s the “normal” one, and I know holidays probably shouldn’t be an obsession, but I’m still absolutely right. I know we’re a strange breed and should I ever have to confess the true level of the obsession and the efforts that go into each trip I may be barred from his and all hair establishments in the area. Still, if they insist on asking predictable questions like that, it’s their own fault.

Anyway, 59 days…..

Till the next time…..


Discount Attraction Tickets

We Could Be Churros……

I was going to start with a common moan that this week has been a busy one. It has, and most are. It involved a visit to London which is hardly ever welcome and/or pleasant. With apologies and cap doffing to those of you who live and work there. It’s not for me.

I am ever grateful for the Pendolino that allows me to have my visits resemble some assault on a foreign embassy holding hostages. I boarded a train at 7am, was in Euston by 9am and sat in my meeting by 9.25. Despite this meeting containing some of the most ludicrous business speak I have ever encountered (and I’ve been doing this a while now) the day whizzed by and I was sat (backwards…bleugh) heading north on the 3pm out of Euston. I was home earlier than I usually am after a day in my normal office.

So that, added to the usual collection of drudgery, mild panic, problem solving and the odd minor success made the week a busy one. So as I said I was going to start by moaning about that. Then, I remembered that at some point during last week, courtesy of Twitter I learned that Toy Story Land had been added to the maps on the My Disney Experience app. So I abandoned whatever world-changing task I was buried in, opened the app, walked to Emily’s desk and we spent the next ten minutes zooming in and out, looking at the rides, pondering on how Star Wars Land was shaping up and then looking at wait times for all the rides.

 

So I feel a little guilty, bemoaning my lack of spare time, but hey, everyone needs a few minutes during the day and if it can contain some Disney it’s all the better.

Prep continues for our trip nicely. Everyone is trying to shed those few pounds to give us the freedom to put them back on before we get off the plane at Orlando and small but essential purchases are being made. Rebecca bought her park rucksack yesterday. This may seem trivial, but, as you know, these are strategic, long-term decisions as this one will now be going with her on trips until Freddie is a Dad.

It hasn’t been named yet. That is only a matter of time of course. As much care and thought must be given to that as they did to naming Freddie and they need to be given time to do that.

I still haven’t had Ryan mended yet so I must get round to that as failure is not an option.

The other thing of note this week (look, it is significant to me as it is food related) is the appearance of this heavenly creature.

Image credit to disneyfoodblog.com

That is an absolute game changer. There is no other substance on the planet that contains more sugar than a churro. Not even sugar, so to enhance it with ice-cream is a stroke of genius, and if it is possible to FastPass that, I will, and I’ll be heading for it at rope drop on the first morning. I’ll have been awake for about four hours by then so I’ll be due elevenses. Now you see why I’m trying to lose a few pounds.

It may be apparent that I am ever so slightly pining for this trip? Well, I’m ready. It’s already been some 14 months since we were on Floridian soil and even then we only had four days at WDW, so my body, brain and other bits are all ready for a break now. Such is the eternal struggle of a Brit with a WDW obsession.

OK, I have chores to attend to, as Louise is working all weekend, some football to watch, dogs to walk and if time allows some indulgence in some Disney vlogs to distract me from the imminent arrival of yet another Monday. Enjoy your Sundays.

Till the next time…..


Discount Disney Tickets

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……