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That was one expensive holiday!: Day 15 – Home Time

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by wickesy, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. wickesy
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    wickesy Earning my ears

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    We hadn’t been able to do online check-in as I had been unable to get on the net from the room last night so I wanted to get to Downtown Disney early this morning. With that in mind we were both up by 7:45. We had decided to leave all of our hand luggage in the room and come back, so at 8:15 we took the bill off of the door and left the room with just our suitcases.

    As we left we saw another couple with Virgin Holidays luggage tags just getting into a taxi and we followed them all the way to Downtown Disney arriving just after 8:30. There were quite a few people there already but we joined the Premium Economy queue and were checked in by 8:45 having been told that the plane was already an hour late and boarding would not begin until 5:50 pm.

    We were back at AKL by 9:10 where we checked the bill, which was correct and as the $948.30 had already been charged to Dad’s credit card there was no need for us to visit reception to formally check-out. We gathered up our hand luggage and left the room for the last time at 9:20.

    The plan for this morning was to visit Winter Summerland but having arrived there at 9:30 we noticed that it did not open until 10:00. Bob, our waiter in the Contemporary Resort bar last night had recommended that we check out Pepper Market at Coronado Springs so, as it was just up the road, we popped up there to check out where it was.

    We drove up to Coronado Springs, went through the security barrier, missed the turning for parking and ended up driving out and going through the security barrier again! We parked up properly the second time and having found Pepper Market decided we would indeed come back for lunch later today.

    By now it was 9:50 so we went back to Winter Summerland arriving just after 10:00 and got our first DVC member perk. The cast member asked if we were members and even though I did not have my temporary membership card with me he said he would “let it slide this time” and gave us our 15% off anyway :hug2: We had a round on the Winter Course and it was lucky we had decided not to keep score as Dad had a real stinker of a round while I got three holes in one!

    From Winter Summerland we drove round to Saratoga Springs for a wander round as we may stay there next year using our developer points. Since originally writing this we have indeed booked to stat at Saratoga Springs from 25th March to 8th April. We stopped off in Artists Palette for a drink and then drove back to Coronado Springs where we sat for a while by the lake there.

    At around 12:10 we went into Pepper Market which, for those who have never been, is kind of food court meets buffet. You go in and are met by a seater who shows you to a table and gives you a card with 12 boxes on it. There are several ‘stalls’ in the ‘market’ serving different types of food. For example there is a Mexican stall selling fajitas, tacos etc., there is a stall that does salads, a stall that does Asian food and many others. You go up to a stall and, once you have ordered, the attendant at that stall stamps a box on your card, which becomes your receipt. You could then, if you wanted go to another stall for a different entrée or go to the dessert stand where once again your card would be stamped. You are given a menu with all the different choices when you are seated but each stand also has the choices and prices displayed. Once you are finished you go to the cashier at the exit who punches in what you have eaten and charges you accordingly. It really works well if you have several people in your party who all want different styles of food but the only downside is that a 10% service charge is added automatically.

    I had a beef quesadilla, Dad had a Caesar salad with chicken and we had a coke each and we were both too full to go back for more.

    By 1:05 we could put off the inevitable no longer and we headed off for the airport, stopping off in the Hess service station for gas as we had opted to take the car back full. We were off property for the last time by 1:15 and after an uneventful drive we were returning the car at 1:45 where we discovered that we had driven 631 miles in 15 days or an average of 42 miles per day! The trip to Kennedy pushed that average up but it is surprising how much those little trips add up.

    We had a wander around the shops in the airport where I bought a 2008 photo album and Dad bought us some WDW luggage tags to use for our trip to Disneyland in July. At 3:45 the departure boards were showing our flight so we decided to go through security. I got a mild rebuke for not taking my Archos out of my bag for separate screening but other than that we were through pretty easily and were at the gate by 4:10, although the flight by now was showing as leaving at 7:05 so we knew we wouldn’t be boarding for a while. The incoming plane arrived at 4:50 and seeing that it was Ladybird I looked forward to some good entertainment for the flight – more on that later!

    We took advantage of the free wireless at the gate to do a bit of surfing while we waited and boarding finally began at 6:45. By 6:55 we were sat in our preferred seats, 80H and 80K and enjoying our sparkling wine.

    We pushed back an hour and 35 minutes late at 7:25 and were airborne 20 minutes later. Shortly after that the drinks run started and I began watching a film called ‘The Bucket List’ but about 20 minutes into it all the screens went blank and the Cabin Service Supervisor announced that there was a problem and she would need to reboot the system. About 10 minutes later she announced that it was back on but when I tried to start watching the film again I discovered that Dad and my screens had no sound and we could only switch between audio and video but not access the main menu. After another 10 minutes our screens seemed to spontaneously reboot themselves and we could now access the menu but we still had no sound. We decided that although we really should complain and get some compensation we were going to be sleeping anyway so we didn’t bother saying anything.

    I think there must have also been some problem with the food loaded on because we were not given menus and when the flight attendant showed us a menu the Cajun chicken breast on the menu had turned into chicken in mushroom sauce. I can’t remember what the other choice was but Dad and I both had the chicken, which was just about edible.

    After the food trays had been cleared away we decided to pay a visit to the restroom and it seemed half of the rest of those upstairs had the same idea at the same time so there was a bit of a queue. Once we were comfortable Dad and I snoozed on and off through the night until the breakfast run started at 7:00

    Breakfast consisted of an egg and cheese croissant, blueberry muffin, choice of fruit juices and tea or coffee. We landed at 8:36 whereupon the CSS decided to have a joke and announced “Welcome to Newcastle International Airport. Only joking”. Oh how we all laughed :rolleyes008:

    We entered the immigration hall at 8:55 and, having walked past the long British passports queue and through the IRIS machine, were in the baggage claim area at 9:00! The luggage carousel started up fairly quickly and although Dad’s case and our holdall was up pretty quickly I had to wait about 30 minutes for my case to come up, I think because the Premium Economy label had got torn off somewhere. :(

    We passed straight through the Customs area and found our taxi driver who led us back to the short stay car park for our ride home. The rest is just your average journey home through the traffic thinking “The roads in Orlando are so much better for getting places than this” and we were home by 10:45.

    So that is it – another trip done and planning now starts in earnest for our trip to see how Disney works on the West coast in July. Trip report coming next!

    Thanks for reading and thanks to all those who have said how much they have enjoyed the reports. Finally, you can see a musical slideshow of some of my favourite photos from the trip here. http://img532.imageshack.us/my.php?image=wdw2008wr7.flv
     
  2. nannav
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    nannav Earning my ears

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    Great trip report thanks;)
     

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