Thought I’d tantalise you with a bit more of the planning stuff. I know there’s still 11 weeks to go but I figured the sooner I get the pre-trip report out of the way the sooner I can start on the actual trip report and then hopefully I’ll get the whole thing done and posted before I actually go.
I write long trip reports – just making you aware so that you can turn back now if you wish.
We arranged this trip on the back of returning from the last trip in September 2001 – yes we were there on the 11th and it really changed our outlook on life. We weren’t planning on returning for a few years but we became “live for the moment” people almost overnight. Adrian and myself had decided we would return in December of 2003 to see how Disney does the Christmas thing. We decided to ask my parents if they wanted to come with us. My Mum jumped at it; Dad was more sceptical. Whilst showing our trip photos to Steve and Lisa they decided that they just had to take the kids to Disney World so we suggested they come along for the ride too. So that was 7 of us on board. My Dad decided that he definitely would not be coming – he was worried that spending 24x7 with his two grandchildren would be too much and he’d end up being miserable and scared of upsetting people. That was his reason. We suspect there are underlying factors – never flown further than 2 hours away, needs many, many decent cups of tea every day and Liptons just doesn’t cut it, worry about food (he’s a very fussy eater) and that sort of stuff. Or he’s just a miserable git: we’re pretty sure that this is the real reason. But he offered to send extra spending money in his absence. And he’s the chief guinea pig sitter for my two piggies. Though I’m sending them to him a few days early so mum can supervise him till he gets the hang of it. We’re talking about someone who thinks ducks only eat bread.
We booked the holiday as a package through Virgin. Yeah I know we could have done it much cheaper ourselves and if it was just myself and Adrian travelling I probably would have done it that way. But having 5 adults, 2 kids, 2 rental cars, 3 hotel rooms, special airline meals, first time taking children, just made it easier for us to get someone else to do all the work. So we booked with Virgin – booked online and got a 10% discount. I used my Frequent Virgin membership for a car upgrade too. God only knows the size of beast we’ll get this year. I normally get a compact; this time we have a full size car.
So we booked in May 2002 for a 29th November 2003 departure date. On my birthday in July 2002 we got the blue line in the square window on the little white stick. Hmmm, that makes things interesting. Quick calculations showed that the blue line would be around 8 months old at the time of departure. Not too young to fly, but would they really be too young to take. Never mind all the other issues – finance, responsibilities and all that other parenting stuff, the first thing we had to sort out was the holiday. Seriously! When I told Big Steve he was going to be an uncle his first words were, “how does this affect the holiday?” Talk about priorities. We talked with all the other grown-ups coming with us and it was decided that it was a family holiday and there was really no way we could go without the newest family member. And we figured having 5 adults in the group would make it easier – lots of sharing! So we phoned the nice people at Virgin and added another member to our group – for many months known as TBA. Young TBA finally arrived on 12th April and was quickly renamed Steven for vacationing purposes.
At some point during the past year we also booked rooms at the Gatwick Hilton for the night before the flight which included airport car parking too. Saves all that getting up at 5am and praying a lorry doesn’t jack knife on the M23 half a mile from the Gatwick turn off. We’re planning on using the twilight check-in facility assuming we can all get there in time – Big Steve is self-employed and sometimes has to work late into the evening.
180 days prior to departure I called Virgin Atlantic and got seats assigned for the outward flight and kids meals requested. Also requested a skycot for Steven; if we get it the tall men can take turns in the extra legroom seat. And give me a break from the boy too. Room request will be faxed through to All Star Movies 3 days before we leave asking for non-smoking rooms away from group bookings: the cheerleaders will be there for our second week. If we can get rooms close together so much the better but not vital.
The boy wants his breakfast now so this is where part 2 ends.