DAY 16 - FRIDAY JUNE 11th 2004

The phone rings at 9:00am and wakes me up. It’s Susan checking to see how Grandma is. I fill her in on the situation and we arrange to meet later.

We are supposed to check out at 10:00am, but Tam has rung housekeeping to explain the problems we had last night and they kindly allow us to remain in the room until midday.

Breakfast is rushed through and then our highly sophisticated and well-proven packing regime takes place. This involves heaping everything in the middle of the floor, grabbing large armfuls, dropping them into the suitcases and then sitting on them until they close.

Grandma is feeling better, although still not right, her course of tablets will last for 10 days.

We load up the van and bid a sad farewell to the Boardwalk. Our preferred view room has been a definite success.
We go to Downtown Disney to use the Virgin check-in there. The queue is quite short and we are through in less than half an hour. I’ve never used this facility before and it certainly is very useful, even if it does cost $5 per person.

Next we drive to the Wilderness Lodge. The ‘we’ in question here is obviously me. Our insurance covered Tam to drive as well, but she chickened out, even on the 35mph straight roads on Sanibel and Captiva.
At the Lodge we meet up for the last time with Susan and Lu Beth. We sit at a table by the pool and enjoy a drink and a chat, mostly about Grandma and last nights events. Susan says the bright thing to come out of all this is that it might remove the spotlight from her perpetual lateness. I don’t think so young lady. The excuses were many and varied. I kept expecting to hear that the dog had eaten her park tickets, but that one never came. And you a librarian too! Tsk, tsk.

Lunch is taken at Whispering Canyon, a first for everyone except Susan. She keeps prompting the server to tease the rest of us in various ways. Unfortunately, she rather shoots herself in the foot by being in the restroom when we are seated, as she is late to the table and promptly earns herself the nickname Tinkerbell. The server is great fun, just the right amount of mischief making yet still ensuring we get a good level of service. We all end wearing napkin hats thanks to Susan who is told by the server ‘ My, we do like to be the centre of attention, don’t we?’ much to the amusement of the rest of us.

The food is very nice and includes chicken quisadillas (never could spell that) chicken Caesar salad, ham sandwich and a hot dog. The bill comes to $55. The girls also had very good milkshakes.

After the meal there is still time for some late shopping where Georgia spends most of her remaining money on a Lady and the Tramp snow globe. Guess who’s going to be lugging that all the way home!

While in the shop, Susan and I bump into Gerry. They are just about to board their taxi to the airport, so we all rush out for another round of hugs and farewells with Sharon’s gang.

After this, it is time for us to depart. We have had a great time with Susan and Lu Beth and can’t thank them enough for their kindness, generosity and unfailingly happy and optimistic outlook on everything.
Obviously, all these things don’t make up for the persistent lateness, but I’m prepared to forgive just this once, as I’m generous to a fault. They are staying on in WDW for another 5 days, so I wish them a good rest of their holiday through clenched teeth.

Having turned and waved goodbye so many times that I have a crick in my neck, we board our ride vehicle (keeping arms and legs inboard at all times) and head for the airport.

This is where the Downtown Disney check-in really comes into it’s own. We arrive one hour before our 5:50pm flight. By the time we have got to the gate there is very little time left before boarding. This really does cut down on the overall travelling time and is well worth the $5.

As I write the last couple of paragraphs of this years trip report we are sat on the tarmac at Gatwick airport and I reflect that it always amazes me that a few short hours ago we were sat around the pool at the Wilderness Lodge in the Florida sunshine.

By the way, paramedics board the plane as soon as we land to tend to a man who was very ill on the flight. Tam says she heard one of the flight attendants say that we were within minutes of turning back to the US 3 hours into the flight. That would have been fun! Still, after Grandma’s troubles last night, this is definitely a case of ‘There but for the grace of God go I’.



Grandma did very well on the journey home and was feeling quite good.
Unfortunately, this did not last. Less than 24 hours after getting home she had returned to a similar condition to how she felt on the last night on holiday.

She spent over 3 weeks in hospital and was evetually diagnosed with diverticulitis and has a cyst on one kidney.
Hopefully all her health problems are now behind her.