Here we go again!
Day one of this summer trip started like any other. We ended up
frantically finishing cleaning everything around the house, as
everything on our list the day before took a little longer than we
had anticipated and we were a bit behind. So around midnight we
finally fell into bed with the alarm set for 6.30 to be able to have
breakfast and clean up afterwards.
So, at 6am I woke up remembering that I still needed to print out
some things. And after doing so it actually was 6.35 and time to get
up anyway. We had breakfast with soft boilded eggs to finish those
off and freshly baked rolls. After that it was time for the usual
repacking and then headed for the shower. While Tom took his I
called for a taxi and then finally at 9am we hauled our luggage down
to garden gate, locked up behind us and waited for the taxi. It was
supposed to arrive at 9.15 and we waited and waited some more. At
9.25 I called them again and they told me that a taxi had waited
outside for four minutes and then left again. What? When were we
supposed to be outside if I booked it for 9.15 and we had been in
and out from at least 9am on. Guess the lady on the phone then
realized that something was not working out, apologized and told us
that another one would be around in about 5 minutes. At 9.35 a taxi
finally pulled up and just a minute or two later we sat in the taxi
and driving towards the airport. Thankfully traffic was light and
half an hour later we pulled up in front of the airport. We had
checked in online and downloaded the ticket, so all we had to do was
checking in the luggage. A few minutes later we found ourselves
walking through security and then through the duty free shop.
Nothing really to buy there, so we found seats, checked our phones
and waited for the flight to leave. Our airport is tiny and the
plane was waiting right in front of the gate, so we finally just
walked over, found our seats and settled in. We rolled out on time
and were up and leaving our little world behind a few minutes later.
Once we had reached cruising altitude we were quickly handed a
snack, Walker shortbread
biscuits, and some drinks. We both opted for water and nibbled
our biscuits and before we knew it the plane was descending again
and we arrived in Frankfurt. There was a bus picking us up from the
plane and since the plane had not been half full, there was plenty
of room to stand. Once in the terminal we needed to look for a
special gate. You see, Tom has taken up geocaching when he started
his road to retirement and there was a cache to be found. We had
about an hour and a half, so off we went. . As we had feared the
gate we needed to go to for his mission was at the other end of the
airport, but it was good exercise and he was successful.
Mission accomplished we headed back to the area we needed to get
too, went through passport control and then over to the gate where
we had to wait for quite some time before we were allowed to board.
We were delayed already while there were still people boarding but
we still left only about half an hour left. And while waiting we
were served some really delicious
guava and orange juice.
It took about 20 minutes until we had reached cruising altitude
again and the flight attendants were handing out snacks, little
pretzel clouds and airplane
crackers. Drinks were served with it and Tom had a
beer, while I
stuck with Coke. We sat and chatted for a while, then started the
onboard entertainment. There was not much that really interested me,
so I went with a rerun of season 6 of Downton Abbey. About 10
minutes into the first episode they were handing out hot-cold towels
and soon after lunch was served. We both opted for the same main and
were handed our trays. Both of us ordered white wine to go with
lunch. And then it was time to dig in. We started with a
Salad with Cherry Tomato accompanied by Italian Dressing, which was
very nice and refreshing.
Main course was a Roasted Chicken Breast on Cream Sauce served with
Leaf Spinach in Garlic Cream and fried Potatoes. It was surprisingly
tasty, even though the chicken was rather dry, but if eaten with the
creamed spinach it was pretty good. There was a nice warm roll with
butter and young Camembert.
And for dessert there was a
Crumbly Apple Cake. Once lunch was over and after dinner spirits
were served there were customs declarations to be filled out and
then I went to work on the trip report. And low and behold I was
able to write quite a bit before Tom tempted me with watching a bit
of Gordon Ramsay. Hours tricked by and then it was time for dinner.
It is always a good time when on board dinner rolls around as it
means we are close to our destination. Flight attendants started
handing out hot and cold cloth towels and then they came through
with their carts serving dinner. We both decided on the same dish,
Grilled Chicken Breast with
Barbecue Sauce accompanied by Pumpkin Stew and Corn Mash.
It was served with a warm crusty dinner roll and some butter and for
dessert we were served Fruit
Salad with dried Lingonberries. We both had some Coke with it
and we were so impressed by the food that I even forgot to take a
photo before we started to dig in. Dinner done, there was about an
hour and a half of flight time, we had made up on the delay we had
had when leaving Frankfurt and we both started to really realize
that this vacation had now officially started.
An hour later we touched down at MCO and rolled to our gate. We
could see the BA and Virgin Atlantic planes and were hoping that
they had arrived quite some time earlier so we would not end up in
the queue at immigration. Well, at least we could leave the plane
right away, and since our seats had been towards the front of the
plane we quickly were on our way to immigration. Not many people in
the hallway or ahead of us until …….. we turned the corner to
immigration. That room was shock full of people. Oh well, we’ll get
through there in some time. Lines snaked back and forth across the
room and slowly we were creaping towards the booths. It had taken us
50 minutes until we got to someone who directed us to the self
service machines for immigration and once that was done and some
horrible pictures had been taken, we were able to get to an officer
and finally had immigration behind us. Our luggage was doing rounds
on the carrousel and soon we were in line for customs. It was a
breeze and we were on our way to rental cars. After our less than
fun experience with Budget we had decided to go back to Hertz again
and this time we were glad we did, because when we got to that floor
we could see quite some lines at most companies, but Hertz had an
employee at every spot and we were the first people in line. And as
luck would have it, while I was still digging for my paperwork, one
family was sent on their way and we were able to walk over to the
desk. We had quite some luggage so the employee tried to get us to
upgrade, but once we said we were not interested in an upgrade, he
didn’t pressure us any more.
Papers were signed, a key was handed over and we were ready to head
outside. And we were stunned to see that behind us a long line had
formed and we had been very lucky to be there when we had been. So
with key in hand we headed towards the exit and were slapped in the
face by the hot humid Orlando air. Within a few minutes we were
riding up the escalator to the Hertz lot and looking for our car.
Didn’t take long and our luggage was loaded into it and Tom fixed
the GPS and we were on our way. It had become dark in the meantime,
but when the first Walt Disney World billboards came into sight, we
finally were sure we were no longer dreaming, our vacation of a
lifetime had started. It took us about 30 minutes until we arrived
at our destination, Disney’s Bay Lake Tower. And we were really
lucky as we found an empty parking space really close to the main
entrance. So in we went to pick up magic bands and being told our
room location. The cast members were so super friendly and with that
made me forget that we had not been granted a room on another floor
than first. Well, we were only there for three nights and once we
found out that it was just a few steps from reception all was good
again. I made Tom go in first to find his surprise, a
two tier mini cake for
his retirement and it was just the sweet surprise I had imagined it
to be. And after we had looked around the room and found out that we
could look out at the pool Tom went to fetch the rest of the
luggage, while I waited for the Owner’s Locker to arrive.
It didn’t take long and everything was in the room and we were ready
to head out and over to the Magic Kingdom again. We were already way
inside our FP+ for the Jungle cruise and were sure we would not make
it, but we had more FP+ to enjoy. About 10 minutes later we arrived
at the Magic Kingdom, went through security, which still had quite a
line and headed into the park. And stopped right in town square to
see the Main Street Electrical Parade, which was running.
What a start to our vacation. We stood way back but it was fun to
see the parade, which is always a favourite of ours. When the Parade
had passed, we strolled through the shops and finally made it to the
hub. Why not start with a ride on the Peoplemover?
We walked over, saw the long line and then noticed that the ride was
not moving at all. Soon they began to turn away people and instead
of going on a ride we decided to head to Cosmic Ray’s for some
dinner. The place was pretty packed, but they had two sides of lines
open, so we got in line, studied the menu and waited. And waited.
And waited some more. Very very slowly the line crawled up to the
register and when only two groups were ahead of us the cast member
manning the register let everyone know that his orders did not go
through and this was what had held up the line. Would we all walk
over to another register, where he was going to open up right away.
Boy, you should have seen the stampede of people who literally
dashed over to that register, which left the lady in front of us and
us right at the end of that line again. Well, the lady spoke up and
let the cast member at the register know that we had been next in
line at the other register and what was he about to do about it. He
was going to do nothing. He just let her know that this is the line
that he had found there and it would only take a few minutes. 15
minutes later we were still in line. The lady ahead of us was
fuming, Tom and I were too tired to actually be angry about it.
Finally it was our turn, we placed our order and walked up to the
counter, where we waited another 10 minutes until our order was
ready. By then we were already inside the time frame for our second
FP+, but we would make it there with time to spare.
So we loaded a small plate
with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and chilis and went to find a table.
And I did not even forget to take pictures of our food before we dug
in. We had decided on getting the
Barbecued Pork Bacon
Cheeseburger with french fries and the
Bacon Deluxe Chicken Sandwich with
french fries which we shared.
They were both quite good and hit the spot, but we were both amazed
by the 38$ price tag. We sat for quite a while before we headed out
to ride our first FP+ ride, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. When we
walked up to the FP entrance we were stunned to see the standby line
starting outside the actual ride area, but once we had scanned our
magic bands it was kind of a walk on. Great way to start the trip.
Once we got off we had about 5 minutes until our next ride, the
wildest ride in the wilderness. We very slowly walked past Peter Pan
and It’s a Small World, walked through the Haunted Mansion gift shop
and then strolled along the water’s edge over to the ride. It was
supposed to close during our WDW stay so we had made it a priority
to ride it whenever we were at the Magic Kingdom. So we were happy
to see the FP line moving quickly, Tom asked for last row and with
his wish granted we rode our favourite runaway train. When we got
off it was nearly midnight and there were extra magic hours until
2am but there was no way we would make it. So we decided to call it
a day and walk towards the exit, but not without trying to ride the
Peoplemover. Unfortunately it was still down and we very slowly made
our way towards the exit with a lot of other people. Thankfully we
did not have to get in line for a bus or the monorail, we just
walked over to Bay Lake Tower and after unpacking a few things we
were in bed by 1am.