Feb 19, 2011




Are you sure you have a reservation?


Finally February 19 had arrived – it was time to go on vacation! Our suitcases had only been packed the night before and there were just a few items still needed to be thrown in last minute. So we got a good night’s sleep and I got up around 7am, got ready, turned off the water and unplugged everything that could be unplugged before I locked my flat behind me and went to our favourite baker to pick up some rolls.

Then I went to our house to have breakfast before it was time to leave for the airport. When I arrived Tom had just gotten up and we prepared breakfast, sat down and enjoyed rolls, pumpkinseed rolls, ham, eggs, juice and some tea. Then the last few items got packed and after saying goodbye to Pixie, the cat, we were off to the airport. Well, not quite. Right when we were ready to leave I remembered the one chore I had forgotten to do – watering the plants in my flat! Since I had already turned off the water, Tom filled an empty bottle for me and we went to my flat first, so my flowers would not have to die whilst I was gone. Needless to say the unplanned stop made us a little late for the airport, but thankfully Linz airport is pretty small and you can check in until 30 minutes prior to your flight. The drive to the airport was uneventful, even though it was a busy Saturday morning and we arrived there with time to spare.

We parked the car in the long term car park, found a space not too far from the entrance, got everything out of the car and off we went. The walk is pretty short, about 90 seconds and we were inside the well heated airport building. Before we checked in our baggage I changed my shoes from the closed shoes I had to wear due to the cold weather to some more summery shoes and threw the other ones in the suitcase. Then we got in line, only one guy ahead of us, checked in our luggage and went over to the security checkpoint. There is not much to see and do before and after the checkpoint, so there was no point not going through security. Everything was a-okay, now that we have learned that even a gum wrapper can set off the alarm we really empty our pockets before going through.

Once inside we checked the flight times, our 11.15 flight was on time, so we walked through the duty free shop, which is tiny and in no time it was time to get in line to board the plane. Our airport is so small that you actually walk over to the plane and it was starting to snow outside and we both were glad to be able to leave the snow and cold behind. We stowed our luggage, settled into our seats and waited for things to come.

A little later we were told that boarding was completed and we were good to go. That first flight is only 50 minutes and we as soon as we had reached cruising altitude we were served some drinks, Coke for me and coffee for Tom and a Nussini, layered wafer biscuits filled with chocolate spread and covered in milk chocolate and chopped nuts. What a nice treat.

Time just flew by and we landed right on time in Frankfurt. We were picked up by a bus and brought to the main building, where we headed right to our next departure gate. Frankfurt airport is huge and it took quite some time, we actually had to leave the airport and walk to the opposite side to go through security once again. This time there was a long line, especially because there is a much stricter check for flights to the US.

But after about 10 minutes we were done and on the way to our boarding gate we stopped and did a little duty free shopping. Once we had reached our gate we got a bottle of Coke and finished off the ham sandwiches we had brought. There was just time to visit the restroom and then it was time to board again.

Tom and I had chosen seats to the very back of the plane, not because this is our favourite location, but because these were the only 3 rows that only had two seats instead of three at the windows. Unfortunately the flight was overbooked and they had to unload luggage of people who volunteered to take a flight on the next day, so we left Frankfurt with a little delay. After about 45 minutes the crew started their service and we were served drinks and snacks.

Tom had a beer, while I had some water and we nibbled the pretzel sticks that had been served. After about an hour and a half they started their “lunch” service. We were served a tray with a tiny but  nice crisp Salad with Balsamic Dressing, followed by Beef Stroganoff, served with rice and peas and carrots. The other option was Mac and Cheese, but I don’t really like those. There was a piece of “young” Camembert, Butter and a freshly baked Roll as well. For dessert we had some Chocolate Cake with chocolate icing and sprinkled with chopped pistachio nuts.

The food was really tasty and once we were filled up we took some sleeping aid, moved the backrest of our seats back and tried to sleep. We both fell asleep for short periods of time, watching the onboard movie as an extra sleeping aid. About 7 hours into the flight we were served a light “dinner”. There is no choice for your second meal and we all were served Ravioli filled with Ricotta Cheese and Spinach in a creamy spinach sauce. I have to admit they were really tasty, even though a little overcooked. The roll was like the ones Disney uses, rather stale “brown” rolls, which disintegrated when broken up. For dessert we got some really nice Vanilla Pudding (blancmange) which had little black specks of real vanilla in it. Even though we had left later than expected we arrived in Orlando ahead of time. It took about 20 minutes to get off the plane and then we were walking towards immigration and we were wondering how long we would have to queue up. When we finally made it there we were shocked.

The room was full of people and the line started way outside the roped off lines. There is no other option than to get in line, so we joined the lines which snaked from one side of the room to the other 6 times. It took us nearly 90 minutes to get to an officer and the we were real lucky as we had a very friendly and nice female officer taking our photos and fingerprints. Then it was finally off to find out if our luggage had made it all the way and yippie, it was still on the carousel.

Once we had it in hand and had made it through customs we did not have it transported via their luggage system as it took forever to arrive last summer. We hauled our luggage over to the rental car desk and there were only 5 people ahead of us. After about 5 minutes wait we were asked to step up to the desk and handed over our pre-paid rental agreement. The agent was very nice and super helpful and we were all set within a few minutes and on the way out to the parking garage to pick a vehicle. Well, there wasn’t much to pick from, but Tom found a car he liked and we loaded our stuff in the trunk. Tom positioned the GPS and off we went. While we had landed in broad daylight it was dark when we finally left the parking garage. And it started to sink in that we had really arrived once the first Disney billboards greeted us along the highway. It took about half an hour and we pulled into the parking lot of the Clarion Lake Buena Vista, formerly Quality Inn Lake Buena Vista.

Last year we had a reservation at the Quality Inn and they managed to loose our reservation, so this year we were holding our breath IF we would have a bed to sleep in. I dug out the reservation confirmation which I had made through an online booking agency and had printed out in English, just in case, and in we went. No one ahead of us at the front desk and the young employee was very cheerful and looked at my reservation, then looked at his computer, looked at my reservation and the computer again, asked for a passport and then asked ……. “Are you sure you have a reservation today?” Well, look here, it says February 19 on my reservation and if we haven’t leaped in time today IS February 19. No, I didn’t say that, but the sentence was sitting at the tip of my tongue! He apologized, took the reservation and went to talk to someone in the back, then came back to explain that we “had had” a reservation on January 19 but didn’t turn up!!!

Sorry, but we haven’t even been in the country then! He finally got us a room and we were really relieved everything had  worked out well, but it just confirms for me that IF (oh please) we go back next February I will stay at a Disney Value Resort just to avoid the offsite hassle. Key in hand we marched back to the car, then drove over to the section where our room was, walked upstairs and had a look at the room. It was clean and had been renovated, so we started to bring up our luggage. Once everything was stowed in the room we walked back down and drove over to the Hess Gas Station at Downtown Disney to pick up some drinks, Dorito chips, Salsa and Cheese Sauce. Then we headed over to Wolfgang Puck’s Express for some sandwiches to start off our vacation in style.

We ordered a Rotisserie Turkey Club Sandwich, with avocado, bacon, red onion, plum tomatoes, romaine and remoulade and a Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwich, with lots of romaine and plum tomatoes to go. Once back in our room, Tom went to get some ice for our drinks and we had a leisurely “picnic” in front of the TV. By the time we were finished it was close to midnight and we decided to call it a day and try the Clarion’s beds!