Go east young man. Or at least, go to the east coast, which is actually going west from the UK. So, more accurately – go west to go east young man. I wish I hadn’t started this now.

This year’s expedition is another monster. A 3 week exploration down the east(ish) coast of the United States.

I’ll tell you who’s going first and then where.

Me, Kev, 49. Good lord, is it that time already? Nearly 50. How time flies when you’re waiting for the next holiday. Still, it’s amazing how handsome, virile and intelligent I continue to be. No, wait ….. that should be irksome, sterile and belligerent. It’s nearly the same though.

Good lady wife, Tam, 43. Still thinks she’s 21, not that I’m discouraging such activity. Embarrasses the girls with her dancing at the drop of a hat, which is all well and good in the privacy of your own home, but gyrating around to the elevator music playing in the frozen goods section of Tesco is not to be encouraged.

India, eldest daughter, approaching 17. She’s now left school and will be starting college on our return from this holiday to begin her International Baccalaureate. What’s wrong with good old O levels, that’s what I want to know. They never did me any harm and set me on my career path as a high level lavatory attendant, but let’s not get bogged down. Let’s just say I’ve been flushed with success.

Georgia, youngest daughter, approaching 14. Why both my children are ‘approaching’ their next birthdays, I don’t know. Perhaps I should make an announcement – ‘The birthday now arriving at daughter two is the nearly 14 for Georgia. Mind the gap please’. Not yet too old for a cuddle with her daddy, yet somehow still wants to stay up well after her bedtime on a school night. I’ve told her on more than one occasion ‘Finish your bread and water and get off to bed. It’s nearly 7.30’.

There will also be a few more participants who will be joining us later in the proceedings.

A bit of background.

In a fit of stupidity, I agreed that Tam could have the choice of holiday for the next 2 years. This was not a good move as the likelihood of a trip to WDW was about as remote as the little thing with buttons you press to change channel on your TV. Remote indeed. After much deliberation Tam decided she quite liked the idea of visiting Hilton Head using our DVC membership. She then thought that a few days in New York would be nice as well as the girls have never been there.
These plans were discussed with our good friends Deb and Matt who confused things further by suggesting that we would also enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway as they had driven it a few years ago. A few nights in North Carolina or Tennessee were pencilled in. The plan was for Deb and Matt to join us there and for the Hilton Head stay. Deb then pointed out (rather sensibly the little darling) that we would be flying out of Orlando, so why not add on a few nights there and make it a three-week vacation.

Tam’s ‘Disney-less’ holiday plans foundered on the reef of Deb style pressure. This generally involved a conversation along the lines of the following:

Deb: ‘How about adding a week onto the holiday and staying in WDW?’
Tam: ‘No way’
Deb: ‘Here, have a pint of Old Furbunglers Armpit Rotter (now with added toe nail clippings)’
- 5 pints later -
Deb: ‘How about adding a week onto the holiday and staying in WDW?’
Tam: ‘Woohoo!’

Events transpired against us somewhat and it turned out that it was very difficult for Deb and Matt to join us until the Orlando element of the holiday.
So the amended itinerary is as follows:

Friday 3rd August – Matt (being the handsome and kind hearted young devil that he is) has offered to drive me, Tam and the girls to Heathrow where we will spend a night at the Marriott.

Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August – fly to New York. Stay two nights with Tam’s friend Elaine. Elaine has lived in the States for many years and married a fine American gentleman called Michael several years ago. They now have two young children and live in Short Hills, New Jersey.

Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th August – 2 nights in the Waldorf Astoria. We looked at loads of hotels and they were either booked or just didn’t take our fancy. Tam wanted the girls to have the ‘wow’ factor when they walked into their first New York hotel and somehow managed to talk me into staying at the Waldorf.
Plans in New York include a bus tour, Circle Line cruise, Top of the Rock, Central Park and the Guggenheim Museum.

Wednesday 8th – Saturday 11th August – Fly to Charlotte, North Carolina. Pick up a car and drive to Lake Watauga in Tennessee. Here we have booked a fantastic looking log cabin overlooking the lake.
I must be turning into a soft touch. The first time Tam showed me the cabin I said ‘That looks nice’. She then showed me the price and I said ‘Swindon Town have got more chance of promotion than you have got to me agreeing to book that’. Well, Swindon Town did get promotion and Tam booked the cabin.
We intend to take full advantage of the cabins facilities including the hot tub, gas BBQ and kayaking from the dock.
Tam has also booked for us all to go white water rafting. Now, I have to say that the words ‘white water’ and ‘rafting’ do not belong together in my vocabulary. ‘White water’ and ‘relaxing’ or ‘white water’ and ‘beer drinking’ perhaps, but ‘white water’ and ‘rafting’, never. They may need to change it to ‘white water rafting and screaming like a girly’.

Sunday 12th August – Thursday 16th August – drive to Hilton Head staying at Disney’s Hilton Head Resort using DVC points. This will be a fair old drive, approx 350 miles. While here we will spend one day visiting Savannah and one day in Charleston. After our back to nature experience in Tennessee, I also intend to enjoy some excellent dining as it looks like there are many nice restaurants here, along with the required alcoholic beverages of course.

Friday 17th August and Saturday 18th August – drive to WDW and book into the Port Orleans Riverside resort. Tam and I really like this place and we needed somewhere to stay for a couple of nights before using our DVC membership for the rest of our holiday.
It is here that we will meet up with the rest of our party. You already know Deb and Matt – they will be staying at Saratoga Springs. Also joining us will be Susan and Lu Beth. If you have read any of my previous reports you will know these ladies reasonably well. This will be the 4
th time Susan has vacationed with us, god help the poor woman. She lives in Tulsa and has to spend almost as long in a plane as we do to get to WDW.
Lu Beth is Susan’s best friend and lives in North Carolina. Lu Beth enjoys a Guinness and I’m relying on these two to keep Matt under control. I’m not having a repeat of the great cucumber and sun tan lotion incident of ’05, we’re still banned from that church.
We will all be meeting up at Raglan Road on the first night, so a few beers will be compulsory. Also on the itinerary for this section of the holiday is a trip to the Adventurers Club. We all enjoyed this so much last year we’re going back for more humiliation.

Sunday 19th August – Saturday 25th August – move to the Villas at Wilderness Lodge. This will be a first for us and we are all looking forward to staying here.

We will also be trying the Disney Dining Plan for the first time. I’m not convinced it will save us much money, but it will be nice to walk into a restaurant and order whatever you want off the menu without thinking about it.
Restaurants on the agenda include:

Victoria and Albert’s. Not on the dining plan obviously. How did I get talked into this? Even the girls are joining us this time! I think the credit card may need to go for a long lie down after this one.
Artist Point.
Yachtsman’s Steakhouse.
Teppanyaki in Japan, Epcot.

We are also planning a return to Jellyrolls where we will meet up with Joh and Gary, friends from the DIS Boards. If I Had a Million Dollars will be sung with much gusto, if a little tunelessly.

Another golfing day for Matt and I is on the cards. I’ve had lessons recently (as has Tam) so I’m hoping for an improvement on the last Florida golfing debacle. I now know which end of the stick to hold and understand that you put the little ball on top of a tee and swing wildly at it before swearing.
The ladies are planning a spa day while we are swinging and swearing. Tam says she is paying for this by selling stuff on ebay. I hardly see the 1.50 she received for her interesting collection of used chewing gum going far.

So that’s it. Our first visit to the States in August. We know it’s going to be hot and maybe wet at times, but with so much to do and so many places to visit I think it’s going to be a good one.