Day 23 ~ Saturday October 11th

We were thankful that we had chosen yesterday to be a chill out day because today was a “Neighbours from Hell” day :mad:. All day long our neighbours were around their pool, drinking from cans of beer and kicking up a heck of a racket. They had also grown in numbers and I think that some of their friends or relatives were staying at a villa nearby, deciding to all congregate for the day by the pool next door to our villa.
What made it worse was that in their really strong Scouse accents [I`ve nothing against folks from Liverpool BTW! ], as the day wore on quite a lot of swearing was plainly audible even though there were young children around [I`ve nothing against kids also, heck I used to go to school with them! ].

My DW didn`t let this “minor” distraction get in the way of her sunbathing however as she braved it out face down on her lounger!
I fancied a break though so I nipped down to the UPS depot at Champions Gate. During our shopping spree, my DW was keen to purchase a large model of Cinderella`s Castle that she had seen in the World of Disney shop as a Christmas present for one of our friend`s daughters. This was priced far less than back home but it was in a box sized about a 24” cube and thus far too big to carry on the plane, and too fragile to risk going into the hold. On this basis, shipping it home seemed like the sensible approach until the guy at UPS quoted me a price of $500 for the service!!!:shocked025: [Back to the drawing board for a Christmas present for this particular little girl! ]

After a lazy [albeit noisy] day, it was time for our final dinner on this trip where we had arranged to dine at the YSH in order to say our final goodbyes to Ricardo.
This was the first time when the security was really tight on the entrance to the parking lot at the YSH. For the first time, apart from showing my photo I.D. as usual, the guy at the security booth even phoned the restaurant to check that I indeed had an ADR to dine there tonight. I found out later that due to the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot, they had tightened up on the security issue to prevent folks from using the parking lots at the Epcot resorts as a means of entry to the park.

Seeing as we had arrived with plenty of time to spare, my DW and I did a complete lap of the lake by the Boardwalk for our last glimpse of WDW, and even by walking at a very relaxed pace with the occasional stop for photos here and there, it only took around 20 minutes to complete.

After checking in at the podium, we had just about ordered our drinks from the adjacent bar when our buzzer flashed to signal that our table was ready.
Becky [the manager], welcomed us back to the restaurant and led us to our table to find that Ricardo had placed a rose in a vase…I assume for my DW, not for me! :p015:
Soon Ricky came over and gave us a very warm welcome…he also came with a bottle of Merlot in his hand, knowing that this would be the wine that I invariably order.
Strangely though, the YSH didn`t seem too busy this evening, so Ricky could devote a lot of time with us without affecting the other tables under his charge. It seemed like he introduced us to all of his colleagues as one by one they came over to introduce themselves to us and I could see some of the other diners glancing in our direction presumably wondering what celebrities were in their midst!
At one stage we were introduced to Mark who is from the Netherlands and is the Area Manger of the signature restaurants. In a similar vein to our chat with Raul at the Flying Fish earlier during our trip, he agreed that it was getting more and more difficult to make certain ADR`s due to the DDP. To this effect, he gave us one of his cards, insisting that we gave him a call whenever we wanted to dine at any of the restaurants and he would make sure that we didn`t have any problems. We really appreciated this gesture which I`m bound to admit was due in no small part to his obvious high regard towards Ricardo and knowing of our relationship with him.
When Mark asked a few personal questions about us and our lives he also said “Well if ever you fancy moving over here permanently, I`m sure that I could help you to get a part time job!” WOW. Two job offers in as many days! :banana1:
All too soon it was time for us to say our final goodbyes to Ricky and his brother Orlando, along with big hugs, kisses [for my DW I hasten to add! :p015:], handshakes and the inevitable few tears.

Day 24 ~ Sunday October 12th

As our flight was not due to leave until 6.30pm or so, there was ample opportunity for my DW to get her last top up to her tan as fortunately our neighbours had gone out for the day giving us back some peace and quiet.
As she was relaxing by the pool I spotted a raccoon who had come out to say goodbye and I couldn`t resist nipping indoors to get my camera for a quick photo.
I rang VA to check on the flight, only to be told that there was to be a delay, although fortunately not a huge delay as our revised departure time was now to be 7.45pm, thus giving us an extra hour of r&r.

Having bathed and changed into my clothes for the return journey [long sleeved shirt, full length trousers and a sweater fastened to my carry on bag...typical UK attire!], I then had to swap my shirt for another one after taking the cases to the car, due to the large areas of perspiration which had materialised all over my shirt from the exercise! :sun1:

Thanks to our FC miles, we were flying back UC which made the checking in process very speedy. The airport security check was also fairly smooth with hardly any lines, although because only one of the monorails taking us to the gates was in use, we were only allowed to enter the platform area in batches to avoid any stampede!
After a quick visit to the duty free shop and a coffee at Starbucks we went up to the Delta lounge where we could relax in very comfy sofas with free drinks and snacks until our flight was called. Just before boarding, Ricky and his DW rang to wish us bon voyage and he asked us to email them some photos I had taken of us all together, which I was going to do anyhow!
Once on board, I couldn`t resist taking this photo of my DW as she relaxed in her seat waiting for dinner to be served. I knew that this would probably be my last opportunity to do this as I knew that soon after dinner [and a few after dinner drinks], I would be fast asleep in bed for the rest of the journey.
I would never pay to fly UC, but if it`s for “free” then why not?
The only thing is that it doesn`t half spoil you from travelling by any other method.

Ten hours later we were back in a damp, grey and miserable Manchester thinking of what we had left behind, before our taxi drove us the 35 miles home to reality.

That`s about it. Thanks to all who have had the stamina to trawl through my ramblings over the past few days.