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The Slowhand`s WDW/NY/DCL Trip ~ Part one "The Arrival"

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Slowhand, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Although we have only been back home for a few days, our vacation is already starting to feel like a distant memory, so while things are [reasonably] fresh in my mind I thought it best to start my T/R aided by a few notes that I took along the way.

    This vacation was very different to our other visits to Florida as it involved an internal flight to New York to embark on a DCL cruise as well as spending time in NY with some friends who were to fly in from LA.

    Wednesday June 27th

    This was a fairly uneventful day as the majority of it was spent a few miles above ground while we traversed the “pond”.
    Thanks to our FC miles, we had again managed to secure UC seats for both legs of the journey which allowed my DW to pack everything bar the kitchen sink into our luggage. :lol: [We could have taken 3 suitcases each, but somehow all was crammed into just 4 cases in total!]
    We were allocated VS 73 which departed from Manchester at 2.05 pm so at least we were able to get a good night’s rest before taking the 45 minute taxi ride to the airport from our house.

    Check in and security was a breeze, my only niggle being that you now no longer get your £1 fee refunded when you return your luggage cart! :nono:
    So £2 lighter and armed with our passes to the Escape Lounge, we made our way to the lounge [via the duty free shop and Boots for some “essentials”] where we had some snacks and a drink before boarding the plane.
    At first I was a tad disappointed to find that our plane [Jersey Girl] was one of the “old” 747`s that had not been refurbished, however the revised meal service and pre-flight cocktails on offer had been updated. Somehow the “aeroplane” salt and pepper shakers were still used on this flight so I took possibly my last opportunity to allow them to accidently fall into my carry on bag…..well it does say ” Pinched from Virgin Atlantic” on their bases so I was only obeying orders! :whistle:

    A reasonably smooth flight was followed by a fairly swift passage through MCO and fortunately there was no sign of the usual long lines at the car rental desk, so while my DW awaited our luggage to arrive on the second carousel [conveniently located near to the car rental desks], I sorted out the paperwork for the rental car.
    Yet again I was disappointed to find that no Dodge Chargers were available, so I settled on a low mileage Nissan Altima which was fine but without the “butch” appearance of the Charger.

    Nissan Almira.jpg

    En route to our villa, a stop at the nearby Publix was carried out in order to get a few essentials, and seeing as it was now approaching 8.00pm and neither of us felt in the least hungry, we unpacked and retired to bed…..at last our vacation had begun.

    Thursday June 28th

    As usual on the first day, we were awake at an unearthly hour in the morning, so after breakfast at the villa our customary “first day trip to DTD” was on the cards and then the fun started as we were about to leave the villa!
    Before leaving I entered the 4 digit code into the alarm system and then all hell broke loose with bells and sirens going off ten to the dozen! :eek:
    Try as I may I couldn`t disarm the system so I made a call to the emergency number of our property management company for help. [I knew that our property managers [Ray & Jill], who are by now close friends of ours, were away attending their son`s wedding on the Gulf Coast, so I spoke to their caretaker.]
    I was informed that the security code for the system had been changed and Ray & Jill must have forgotten to let me know this before we left home.

    The entry of the correct code at least silenced the alarm, however I then received a call from the alarm company, informing me that an alarm had been activated!
    I gave the lady my name and told her that I was the owner of the villa and she then asked me for my password.
    As I had not been given any password when I arranged for the alarm system to be installed, I was about to give her my cc details that I used to purchase the alarm in order to prove my identity when she slammed the phone down on me! So much for customer service eh? :nono:

    Panic over, we spent a pleasant few hours at DTD people watching, browsing the shops, having coffee outside Ghiradelli`s and taking lunch at the Earl of Sandwich.
    The weather was very hot and sunny which was very much appreciated after the dreary British climate that we had left behind.

    Awaiting us back at the villa was a note from the shefiff who had been called out to investigate the alarm that had been triggered earlier. This included a mild warning that we could be liable for a fine if further false alarms happened.
    I then made a note to send a snooty email to the alarm company when I arrived back in the UK to complain about the attitude of the lady who had rang me this morning. :ouch:

    Dinner this evening was at the YSH. It has now become a ritual that we visit this restaurant on the first and last evening of our vacation in order to say “Hi” and later a sad “Goodbye” to our good friend Ricardo who works there.
    On arriving at the podium I was saddened to be informed that Ricardo had called in sick that day, however after waiting alongside the adjacent steak preparation area for a couple of minutes, Ricardo appeared with a huge grin on his face and told us that he had told the girl at the podium to “wind us up” when we arrived!
    After hugs and kisses for my DW and a handshake and “man hug” for me, Ricardo led us into his restaurant where he took his usual great care of us.
    Several of the staff recognised us and came to out table to welcome us back, and Ricardo introduced us to his new manager who chatted to us at length at our table.

    After exchanging gifts to and from Ricardo and his DW, we made our way back to our villa having had a great first day in Orlando despite the rocky start!
     
  2. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Been looking forward to this TR :D

    Wow though... can't believe Manchester are keeping the £1s for the luggage carts... I know it's a quid for each but that's annoying! I usually make every effort to take the trolley back and neatly stack it and of course get my quid back. Perhaps I won't bother next time :lol:

    I still like the 747s of course, hoping for an upgraded one in December but I prefer the 747 to the A300s.

    The escape lounge is great but I did note that they had sandwiches when we went for the later vs73. They have nothing like that for the earlier vs75 which is a shame!

    and and and, no dodge chargers is so depressing! We loved the charger but since that first time, there's been no chance to get one and it's been impalas every time. What was the nissan like v the impala ? :/

    re: the alarm, I would have simply died on the spot :lol: there's nothing worse than having alarms go off and codes not turning it off.
     
  3. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Having been a victim of false alarms on my unit along with accidentally setting it off while trying to change a battery etc., I am familiar with the alarm company and police response. In your case though, since you talked to the alarm company I would have thought that the police would have been notified not to go out. Glad you got it sorted and I assume you now have a password? Looking forward to reading more, especially the cruise.

    Nice trick Ricardo played on you.
     
  4. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Yeah, it doesn`t encourage you to take them back does it? :unsure:

    Totally agree Keith. We had one of the new A300`s for the return journey, and despite the newness etc, give me the 747 any day....I will expand on this in a later T/R.

    I noticed that there are fewer and fewer Chargers on the roads each time we visit.
    The Nissan was ok....once you got used to not having to insert the ignition key in a slot. So long as you had the key with you, you just press a button to fire up the engine.

    Especially when it is your own alarm system. :lol:
     
  5. DisneyFreak
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    DisneyFreak Serious Forum Regular

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    :wavehands::wavehands:What a way to start a Friday with a slowhand trip report!!!:wavehands::wavehands:

    Regarding the alarm: When you initially had the system setup the alarm company should have let you choose a code word (password) that only you and your wife would know so when they called all they would have to do is ask for that and they would then know it was a false alarm and not send the police. Since this password was not given over the phone they would automatically send the police. The police usually give you one maybe two false alarms then I think it's around $50 to $75 thereafter.
     
  6. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Great start Terry!

    If you think having the alarm go off as you're leaving the house is bad, you should try waking up in the middle of the night and trying to go downstairs half asleep when you've forgotten to turn off the alarm. I got halfway down the stairs when the motion detector kicked in about 2:30 in the morning one time. I almost let the sheriff go ahead and come since they're trained in CPR and when that thing went off I thought I'd had a heart attack! :eek:

    Nice move on Ricky's part. Got ya' good!

    Tom :)macwave:... I need to get back to the Yachtsman...)
     
  7. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Yep, that is what normally should have happened I agree.
    In my case however, I had asked Ray & Jill to arrange for the alarm to be fitted at the time as they use this alarm company for all of the properties that they take care of.
    As such they were given their own password [which they have now passed on to me] in case I get any further problems.

    What really annoyed me though was that given time I could have proved without doubt who I was if the lady had not simply hung up the phone on me. :furious:

    The local sheriff apply a "2 strikes and you are out" policy.
    The first 2 false alarms in a 12 month period are F.O.C., the 3rd incurs a $100 fine rising in increments up to $500 for additional call outs!
     
  8. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Been there, got the tee shirt myself Tom. :lol: You are not alone....maybe it`s an age related issue?
     
  9. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Don't really know Terry. Or perhaps I just forgot. :unsure:

    But I do know I was completely surprised at how fast my heart could beat. Never knew that sucker could go that fast! :shocked:

    Tom :)macwave:... of all the things I ever lost, I miss my mind the most.)
     
  10. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    Oh my goodness Terry, I can just see you there, Sue telling you to turn it off, you trying and nothing happening :lol: :lol:

    I'd have gone and sat in the car and left Chris to it :lol:
     
  11. Watchinherskip
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    Watchinherskip Better known as "That Guy"

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    Great trip report Terry! All in all seems like things sorted themselves out. I must admit I am so jeleous that you and many others have a personal relationship with Ricardo. Everyone speaks so well about him. How did he get to be a Disney must? Not to open a can of worms...but who was the first to notice him?

    Green with envy! :sorry: (or am I just blue?)
     
  12. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Hi Dan.
    My relationship with Ricardo goes back several years ago when we had him for our server at the YSH and just got talking. I found out that he was a huge Beatles fan and I promised to send him a copy of a cd which contained the music and lyrics for virtually every record the Beatles made.
    This I did as soon as I returned home, and since then we have become very close friends.

    He and his wife [who also works for Disney], stayed at our house for a couple of weeks here in the UK a few years ago on their first ever UK visit and Ricardo paid us a second visit when he flew to the UK solo to attend a Beatles convention in Liverpool.

    Whenever we visit Orlando we always have dinner with him outside Disney on a convenient evening when he and his wife are not working.
    By now I see Ricardo and his wife as almost part of our family.

    He just loves it when he has folk requesting him to be their server....last year he had 1002 requests!!!!
    His manager has told me that on one occasion he even came in work on his day off, served a request party, and then went back home so as not to disappoint. This alone speaks volumes for his character.....a really nice guy.
     
  13. Watchinherskip
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    Watchinherskip Better known as "That Guy"

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    Wow, that really does say alot about his character and the kind of man he is. I can see why he is in such demand. Would love to meet him someday.
     
  14. catrancher
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    On your next trip Dan, just make an ADR for Yachtsman's and ask for Ricardo by name. Terry and his DW introduced me and my DW to him on one of our trips. He's really quite a character. My DW thinks he's about the cutest thing she's ever seen!

    Tom :)macwave:... I need to get back there!)
     
  15. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    Ricardo is a darling, I met him through Terry about 5 years ago. I'd lost my Dad in the July and Terry had asked Ricardo to look after us in September, he was wonderful and fussed over me all the time.

    I remember being in World Showcase in the UK Pavilion waiting for Ricardo, we'd never met him before and this little man came over with a huge smile on his face and asked if I was Wendy. He gave me the hugest hug and that as they say was that :D

    If you get the chance Dan, you really should ask for him to be your server :yes:
     
  16. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Definitely ask for him by name when you book Dan. We'll be seeing him in October. My DW and I, Slowhand and his DW and Wendy and her DH had a wonderful time with him just a few years ago.
     
  17. Watchinherskip
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    Watchinherskip Better known as "That Guy"

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    You can't get a better recommendation that what all of you said. Thank you all and especially ol' Slowhand!
     
  18. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Well,thank you kind sir. :wiggle:
     

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