DAYS 1 & 2
TUES 28th & WEDS 29th 1999
Well, we are back and now
you have to suffer the epic 21 day trip report. This is
going to be the Gone With The Wind of trip reports. A
sprawling roller coaster of a trip report. A gigantic
block buster of a trip report. A huge, mind expanding,
ground breaking, history making trip report.
Oh dear, perhaps I've gone a little bit over the top. The
truth is that it will be big and possibly a little boring
if you like short concise reports but, hey, I never
promised quality, only quantity.
Just to let you know up front we had a glorious time and
the Millennium celebrations were amazing. Regrets? We had
a few but then again too few to mention. Hang on, I've
heard that somewhere before.
We are all depressed but happy with our memories. Can you
be happy and depressed at the same time?
Let's have a quick introduction to the intrepid
Kevin (me): 41. Getting older but no wiser. You will all
be pleased to know that my famed good looks are not
diminished in any way, in fact I think that I look even
more distinguished as the years go by. Sniggering is a
sign that women are attracted to you, right?
Tammy (wife): 35. Still makes this wolf whistle. Bright
enough to handle me. She knows when to massage my ego and
when to laugh derisively. Not that she does that often.
Laugh I mean. After all I am practically perfect in every
India (daughter): 9. As bright and cheery as ever. Likes
to try nearly all the rides. I have just asked my family
how I should describe India, and Georgia said 'A genius'.
Whether this is factual or sisterly love you will have to
Georgia (daughter): 6. Pretty and loving but moodier than
her sister. I also asked India to describe her sister and
she said 'A smelly little piggy'. I said that I couldn't
put that in my trip report, so she said 'OK, a smelly
little piggy with big blue eyes'. I'm not sure whether
this tells you more about India or Georgia.
Dorothy (my mother): 74. My mother is an amazing woman.
At 4' 10" tall she even makes Mickey Mouse look big.
What she lacks in height she more than makes up for in
character and energy. Her physical prowess was tested
more than a few times in this trip, as you will come to
see. Although she is my mother, while in the presence of
the girls she is usually referred to as Grandma, so that
is what she will be called in this trip report. This may
become a little confusing to you, the reader, but frankly
that's just too bad as this is my trip report and I will
write it however I like!
DAY 1 - TUES 28th DEC
Unfortunately I have to start on a sad note. Our dog,
Duke, died just before Christmas. Tammy and I had taken
him to the vets for an X ray but he was riddled with
cancer and they advised us that the best thing to do was
to put him to sleep while he was still under the
anaesthetic. It surprised us just how much we miss having
him around. He had been an excellent dog, never getting
in the way and never once biting either of the girls
although heaven knows he had enough to put up with from
them when they were babies.
Don't feel too sorry for him because he was 13 ½ and had
a good life since we rescued him from a dogs home when he
When we took him to the vets for the last time he messed
all over their courtyard. Now, this is probably a piece
of information that you may not have wanted to hear but
it makes me chuckle as I imagine him thinking 'Damn vets!
I'll show 'em!'.
Anyway, on to the trip report proper.
The morning of departure is spent rushing around cleaning
the car, cleaning the house and packing. We have been
planning this day for 3 years and still end up rushing
around at the last minute.
We are finally set and leave home at 2:00 PM. It is a
pleasant, sunny day and the drive to Gatwick takes just
over 2 hours.. We book into the Corner House Hotel and
dump our suitcases into the rooms. The 4 of us are in a
family room while Grandma has her own little room.
After the long(?) drive a drink is required, so we head
off to a pub we have seen on the way in that has a play
area for children. They get to let off steam in the Wacky
Warehouse (horrible name) while we sit and discuss our
forthcoming adventure. It isn't the most relaxing of
environments but who am I to complain, I've got a beer in
my hand so I'm perfectly happy.
Back to the hotel where we eat our evening meal, which is
very good. After this there is some debate as I want to
watch Match Of The Day (football) back in the room while
the women all want to watch Pretty Woman. A compromise is
reached and it is decided that I will sleep in the small
room while all the ladies share together. Result!
DAY 2 - WEDS 29th DEC
Up at 8:00. The ladies have had a somewhat restless night
with a game of musical beds at 5:30 in the morning as
Georgia wakes up scared in a very dark room. Shame. I
slept very well thank you.
We have a very nice cooked breakfast. If you want to stay
somewhere before your flight but don't really want a big
brand name hotel then this place makes a nice
We drive over to Tammy's Godmother's house where we are
going to leave the car and spend a pleasant hour or so
having coffee and talking before leaving for the airport
around 10:30. Check in is swift and easy for our 1:25
Delta flight to Atlanta and we begin our usual last
minute shopping. Tammy goes to a chemist to stock up on
all sorts of pills to try and prevent any of us getting
the flu as it is rampant at the moment.
Our usual duty free fragrance sniffing session is less
painful than usual this time and we probably only try
about 20 each. The combined effect probably doesn't smell
too good but it keeps the flies off.
We board the plane and walk through first class casting
envious eyes about us. Why do they board the first class
passengers first and then make the economy class
passengers walk past them to get to their seats? I
suspect it is to make the rich people feel good. Oh look
at us, we can afford this luxury you know. Off you go
back to the cheap seats now.
Anyway, the flight takes off on time and I am a little
worried, things are going too smoothly. You can't win
really, can you? I'm worried if things are going well and
worried if things are going badly. Mind you, I'm not as
bad as Tammy, she checks everything 10 times and cannot
really relax until we are actually in the air.
The food on the plane is quite good. I have the salmon
but Tammy is not so impressed with her chicken. The first
film we get is awful. Something about a football playing
grandson who gives up a kidney to save his grandmothers
life. A nice sentiment but done in such a sickly manner
as to be nauseating. Never mind straight to video this
one went straight to airline! I would gladly have given
one of my own kidneys if they had turned the damn thing
The next film is better, the live action version of 101
Dalmatians. OK, so I know I'm twisted but I always want
the villains to win. I love Glenn Close as Cruella DeVil
and also Horace and Jasper. The only bad thing about this
film is where do the skunks and racoons come from? These
are certainly not native to the UK.
The girls have been excellent so far and this is further
helped by the third film, Inspector Gadget. I find this
to be reasonably entertaining but nothing spectacular.
Yet another gripe of mine, why is it that in Hollywood
films all Brits are either rich aristocrats or evil
villains? Having said that, I myself am an aristocratic
villain, unfortunately a poor one.
We land in Atlanta at 6:15 local time. Immigration and
customs go very smoothly and we recheck our luggage for
the Orlando flight.
Now here is where the problem starts. Half an hour before
take off an announcement is made. They cannot shut one of
the plane doors. Now I don't suppose this would do much
for the confidence of any nervous fliers but give me a
crow bar and I'll do it.
They have to find another piece of 'equipment'. What the
heck is that? Do they mean another plane? I have visions
of us being transported to Orlando by train or Tibetan
yak. 'Ladies and Gentleman, thank you for flying Delta
airlines, please be careful while descending from your
Well, Delta comes up trumps and another plane is made
ready, eventually we take off just one hour late. I had
visions of an overnight stay or at least a long delay.
I usually judge a business not on what goes wrong but on
how they react to put it right. I must say that I was
impressed with the speed with which Delta acted.
We land in Orlando at 10:30 and are met by Asfar from
Tiffany Town Car. They provide an excellent service and
after a quick stop at Goodings for essentials (beer!) we
are off to the All Star Movies. We check in around
midnight and are allocated rooms 1516 and 1517 in
Fantasia which are very handy for both the food court and
the bus stop.
We don't unpack, just tumble into bed at 1:00 AM. The
girls drop straight off to sleep and Grandma is tucked up
safely in her own room.
Well, that's the end of the first couple of days. I know
it was long but don't say I didn't warn you. I suggest
you keep your seat belts loosely buckled because it is
going to be a long and bumpy trip.
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