Don't forget you need cash for the two toll booths
We reach the main terminal and Ellie and Harry are thirsty. I offer the chance to grab a drink for them but it’s declined as people just want to get to the hotel now. Tiredness is starting to take over. We head for baggage reclaim and this time I swipe my credit card through the machine and Big Steve wrestles a couple of baggage trolleys from the mechanism as we have to go down a level once our bags are safely in our possession. We take the secret Virgin elevator down to the car rental desks and are pointed toward a podium manned by a Virgin rep. She politely informs us that our welcome meeting is at 9.30am the following morning at the All Star Movies resort. We thank her for the information – knowing full well we’ll be long gone from the resort by that time tomorrow – and go to the Dollar desks with our car rental vouchers in hand.
We have a full size car reserved and paid for in full but Adrian decides that there’s some wind out there that needs some caution throwing at it and asks for a quote to upgrade to a 7-seater. The agent does a “special 50% of rack rate today only” thing and gives us the total. I’m just about to exclaim “how much?” in a very loud voice when Adrian tosses a credit card on the counter. We have Adrian and myself listed as drivers but it’s me that will do the driving. Adrian is just in case of an emergency. Now Big Steve is not going to be outdone and gets the 7-seater too, but his card was rejected. He has one of those debit cards with a Visa symbol but it appears that the Dollar system will not recognise that so he had to use Lisa’s card much to her displeasure – shopping money reduced.
So we have our bags, we have our cars waiting over the road, we have our small children. We approach the automatic doors that lead to the garages and wait for them to open and to be hit square in the face by the blast of heat and humidity that always greets us at this point. The door slides open. We step outside. We dash back in grabbing for sweatshirts and jackets. It was not actually freezing, but t-shirts were not sufficient. The Dollar man who takes us to our car tells us that yesterday it was taking people 5 hours to get through security – that would have been some bad squishy. We are shown to our minivan things, which are coincidentally side by side in the lot. Ours is dark green, Steve’s is red and has buttons that automatically open the doors for you negating the need for you to waste energy by leaning over to pull a lever. Our Dollar man goes through the controls so quickly I’m still not sure which is the front or the back of the vehicle by the time we pull out of our parking space. By the way, the upgrade was needed; we would have struggled to fit our bags into a smaller vehicle and the trip back to the airport would have needed two runs with all the extras we acquired. And it was nice to have the extra space in the seating area.
Kids are strapped into car seats, bags, buggies, and other passengers are loaded, I tell Big Steve to stick close behind so I don’t lose him, and we pull out of the garage. Now – the very last words I say to Big Steve before we pull out are: “don’t forget you need cash for the two toll booths between here and the hotel.” We exit the airport and head on to 528 heading west. We approach the first toll booth. I pull up, pay the cashier, get my change and pull away. I look in mirror. Steve’s car has stopped and has the hazard lights flashing. I pull across about 6 lanes to the right side of the road and put my hazards on. Several minutes later Steve pulls off and comes alongside me. They had forgotten about the tolls and their money was in a folder in a bag in the back of the car. It’s going to be a long two weeks.
We make it through the second toll without incident and head towards I-4. Adrian points out that the interior light is still on in our car; that would explain the yellow glow in my rear view mirror then. Much button pushing and switch switching ensues but we can’t get the wretched thing to go off. Oh well, wait till we’re at the hotel. We slip off I-4 at the Animal Kingdom turn off and head towards our destination. There’s a small, weary cheer as we pass under the archway and the road signs turn purple. A few minutes later we are at the security checkpoint for the All Star Resorts: and the security guard that greets us is British! He lets us through after checking our paperwork and we park in the check-in area in All Star Movies. I get out and notice that Nanny Lesley’s sliding car door is not closed properly. Maybe that explains the interior light. Nope, shutting it didn’t work, and now Nanny Lesley cannot open the door. It opens from the outside though. Adrian is starting to get stressed; talking about taking the car back that same night. Let’s just get checked in first and take it from there.
Into the hotel we go; Harry is asleep in his buggy, Steven is asleep in his car seat, which Adrian carries in. Ellie notices a table full of colouring materials and immediately goes off to colour a picture to add to those already on the wall there. We are summoned forward by the check-in Cast Member. Now, 4 days ago I’d sent a short fax explaining that we had booked separate packages but were travelling together and would it be possible for us to have non-smoking rooms in a quieter part of the resort, hopefully away from cheerleader groups. I ended the fax with the cheer that Mickeymac wrote for me a few months ago. So did it work? We were assigned 2 adjoining rooms on the 3rd (top) floor of the backside of building 10 – the Buzz Lightyear building. One for Adrian, Steven and myself, and one for Nanny Lesley. When Big Steve comes over and tells us he’s been given the room next to our two we almost jump in the air except we were too tired to. I never asked for, or expected, adjoining rooms – that was a total bonus.
A quick drive round to the nearest parking lot and we unload and check out the rooms. Ours already has a travel cot complete with Mickey sheet waiting for Steven. The rooms actually overlook the delivery area but you need to part the trees to actually see it. Adrian goes back to get more bags and reports that the interior light on the car was off, so it must be on some kind of timer thing. He says we should call Dollar tomorrow to sort it out.
All bags safely deposited in rooms we head to the food court to buy dinner and the refillable mugs. It was pretty busy in there so Big Steve and Lisa didn’t get the best first impression but we found enough food for everyone. Ellie filled her mug and immediately spilt it all over the floor. Big Steve was pleased to find hot chocolate as part of the free refills. We all decided to call it a night at 9pm and arranged to meet the next morning…whenever.