Thursday 20th December..No alarm needed this morning as DH and I are both wide awake before the 7am buzzer. Our cases and bags have all been packed and are standing by the front door waiting for DFIL to take us to Newcastle airport.
We have some cereal for breakfast and make sure we leave nothing in the fridge or bins that’s going to jump out and eat us when we get back home.

There is a knock at the door and it is a neighbour coming to wish us a safe journey. She is shocked that I still have my dressing gown on and we are leaving in 15 minutes… if there is any way in the world that I am going to miss my flight to see The Mouse!! We exchange hugs and she has tears in her eyes when she says that she is going to miss me. “Oh, I’ll miss you to” I reply…..with my fingers crossed behind my back (I wouldn’t miss ANYONE while in WDW) By the time DFIL knocks at the door, we are ready and on a high…..this holiday is what we need and we are going to enjoy.

We get to Newcastle airport by 9.15am and as we go through the revolving doors, we say bye bye to the miserable weather ……as far as we are concerned, our holiday has started. We are all checked in by 9.30am as there was no one (that was NO ONE) else in the queue….so it wasn’t actually a queue…..just a q.

We have 2 hours and 40 minutes to wait until our flight to Heathrow. We have a wander around the shops but as there aren’t many, it takes very little time and we spend nothing….zero….zilch….nada. We choose a couple of seats where we can watch the screen and see other planes take off. DH has a coffee and I have a juice while we people watch. Surprisingly, time goes quick and before we know it, we are boarding our first plane which leaves on time.

We had an uneventful 55-minute flight which left me feeling a little queasy. It took….like forever for our cases to come around on the carousel. As planned, there was a taxi driver waiting to take us to Gatwick airport. Sitting in the back seat of her taxi, I was beginning to feel REALLY queasy. Motion sickness is a pain. She was quite a nippy driver and we arrived at the Hilton doors 50 minutes later. We however head straight for the Virgin twilight check in desk…..where there is no queue. (I hope this is going to be a trend for the full holiday) We are told to be back at the airport an hour before our flight tomorrow.

We then take our hand luggage and go to the Hilton check in desk. “Hi” DH says to the young lady behind the desk. “Mr & Mrs ……., we have a room booked for one night only.” We get a lovely smile from the receptionist before it starts to slip from her face. “You’ve already checked in” she says.
“No, we’ve just arrived, we’re trying to check in now” says DH
“No, you’re checked in and your room is occupied” she says
“No, we are trying to check in now” repeats DH with what I’m sure is a forced smile.
“Well, could friends have checked in for you, are you sharing a room with anyone else?” she says.
“No to both” says DH
“Well, this is strange, I have details that you are already in your room. We have allocated it to you. Just one moment please” she says and asks to see proof of identity.
With this she goes out of sight and leaves us looking at each other wondering if that conversation had just taken place. When she returns, she says it has been a mistake on their part and would we like a room…….
At last, we are given a key to a room, we sign in and she says “How would you like to pay?”
You can guess what’s coming here can’t you!!!!?
“I’ve already paid” ……we end up having to look for proof of payment which took place months beforehand and all I have is the printout from the internet to say the room was booked and the price… didn’t actually say payment had taken place. I stood my ground though as I knew the money had come out from our bank account. Just as DH was about to leave to find an internet connection where he could print out the bank statement with the withdrawal on it, a lady comes from behind the scenes and said sorry that it was a mistake on their part and we had indeed paid.

After dropping our bags in the room, we head to Wetherspoons for a bite to eat. The place is fairly empty and we grab a booth. DH has a curry which he is impressed with and says it is very tasty….it came with the rice, nan bread, pickles and prawn crackers. I had the chicken with bacon and melted cheese along with fries….this was delicious. We sit and chat about our plans for a while before heading back to our room for what we hope will be a good nights sleep.

Friday 21st December...
*POP* my eyes are wide open and the room is in darkness. I need to get up and jump on the bed with joy but instead I ask in a whispered voice “Are you awake?”
“Yep, sure am….I’m too excited” says DH. I’m sure he wants to jump on the bed too but it is so dark and we don’t want any injuries to stop us going to see Mickey and friends.

We quickly shower and check out of the Hilton. (When I say quickly…..I mean quickly for me….which isn’t really quick at all)
The airport is heaving. It’s like a cattle market. We smugly pass the Virgin check in desk were there is a queue a mile long.
With a bit of luck, we manage to grab a table at a café/bar which I can’t for the life of me remember the name of and we have a bacon sandwich each. What amazes us is the amount of folks drinking pints of beer for breakfast.

We check the screens for any info on our flight and it appears we will be leaving 40 minutes late… far! As the time goes by, we are leaving later and later. When we eventually get on the plane, we are sitting for about an hour…waiting. We don’t care too much as we are on our way to Florida for three and a half glorious fun filled weeks.

Once in the air, we settled down to watch a movie and all seemed fine…..until we were given an ice cream bar. I took a bite and it was okay….nothing special but edible…..for some!!! Within seconds, I could feel my lips begin to swell and it quickly spread to the inside of my mouth. I had the end of a cold so got a bit scared that with my nose blocked and my mouth swollen I wouldn’t be able to breath properly. (Many of you know that a couple of years back I started to get mysterious swellings, especially on my face and that after tests, the doctors basically gave up and said they didn’t know what was causing the problem… they put it down to stress!)
So, I am used to the swellings but it couldn’t have happened at a worse time….I’m going to arrive in Orlando looking like the Elephant Man! I took my pills that I carry with me for these swellings and hoped for the best…..hopefully I would be back to normal (or normal for me!) by the next day.

The actual flight over to Orlando was one of the smoothest we have experienced with a very smooth take off and landing. I watched a couple of movies and played Millionaire with DH as we had a plane with games.

As usual our cases were some of the last to come onto the carousel and, as you know, you claim them back twice at Orlando International unless you can carry them down the stairs. Anyway, we’re in Orlando so I don’t really care… and my fat, distorted face are in Florida. I admit, I was a bit dubious when it came to customs and we had to show our passports and have our photos taken…..would the customs officer know it was me…..would he send me packing as an imposter!!! As it happens, we had a cheerful gentleman who we had a laugh with.

We pick up our hire car from Dollar which turns out to be a Dodge Caliber or POC as we lovingly nick named it throughout the holiday…..please don’t ask why as this is a Disney board!

It is fantastic to be out in the Florida air. The silhouette of palm trees against the sky and passing WDW and Universal posters along the I4. We are very happy right now and I am grinning from ear to ear beneath my fat face.

We get to our villa and it is just where we left it last year which is a relief as some of you may remember that we couldn’t find it last year and ended up going into a Chinese take away, ordering a meal and asking it to be delivered…..we then followed the delivery van! :wink: