“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of fun—and joy—and trip reports—
Of Disneyworld—and drinks!”


See, old Lewis knew what he was talking about all those years ago!

No more messing about (I have been waiting 13 months for this holiday already!) let’s talk about all the usual stuff. The who’s and where’s and what’s etc.

Let me introduce you to the participants in this little fiasco. If you have read my previous reports you will already know a little (alright, a lot!) about us all. If this is your first time with us, then I have to inform you that, in my opinion, you have missed some of the greatest literature since Shakespeare sharpened a quill. I suppose I do have to qualify that by mentioning that I consider Swindon Town FC to be the greatest football team in the world, so my judgement may be somewhat impaired.

Firstly ME! Kev, 43, but with the agility and grace of an 18 year old. OK, a wheezing 18 year old with a bad back and poor eyesight, but an 18 year old nonetheless. I feel I retain a certain ‘Homeresque’ quality. Read into that what you will. I like to think it is because I like beer, am single minded and, underneath the surface, have the well-being and love for my family at heart. Most others seem to think it’s because I’m selfish and stupid!
I’m still playing football. The mind is willing but the body is feeble. All right, the minds pretty feeble as well these days. What do you mean you noticed?
The team usually positions me in one corner of the pitch and then forgets me for 90 minutes. It must be getting bad when I’m out of breath from changing ends at half time.
I’ve managed to write quite a lot about myself (as usual) but I feel that there is no finer subject! Stop chortling or I will ban you from this trip report immediately! Do I detect from the cheers of delight that this is not deemed to be much of a punishment? Sigh! Where have all the good manners gone?

Next please! Tam, 37. If I’m Homer then that makes her Marge. Some would say it is because she is long-suffering and resigned to her fate in putting up with me for the rest of her life. The three foot high blue hair helps as well.

It’s funny but when you are young, 30 seems ancient. I mean, how could you possibly fancy someone over 30! But, I still find Tammy as attractive as ever and, boy, do we have fun rubbing in the liniment!

India, 10, will be 11 in November just after we return from Florida. She would have to be Lisa. Bright and intelligent, she sometimes views her father with a sort of resigned tolerance. Doesn’t play the saxophone though.

Georgia, just 8. I suppose she should be Maggie, being the youngest, but she is more akin to Bart. Stubborn and a little rough at times, she is noisy in the extreme and very strong willed. Conversely, she is also shy and quiet when meeting people for the first time. Georgia can also be very graceful and does very well in her dancing class. A real package of opposites.

As well as the usual Stringer family, we have picked up a couple of strays for this trip:

Dorothy, 76 and my mum. Hereafter referred to as Grandma. As some of you may know, Grandma has been with us to WDW 3 times before and loves it nearly as much as I do. (I said NEARLY!) I remember the last time she came with us. As we pulled out of Dixie Landings to start the journey home mum turned to me and said ‘I wonder if I will ever see this place again?’ Well, she is going back, and very happy about it she is too.
I never really feel that my mother is getting older but, for the first time ever, she has expressed a worry that she will not be able to keep up with us as we go charging around. I told her that we will get her a wheelchair, which was met with a few choice words and a clip round the ear for her beloved son!

Julia, age not to be revealed for fear of retribution, Tammy’s mum. Now, Julia is looking forward to Florida but not to WDW. Well educated, Julia likes the more cultured things in life You could say she is more Mozart than Mickey. More Opera than Oprah. More Chippendale (as in furniture, not stripper!) than Chip ‘n Dale. More Magic Flute than Magic Kingdom. More Monet than Minnie. More…. Oh stop it Stringer you fool, this could go on forever. They get the general idea.
Don’t get me wrong, Julia enjoys fun and laughter as much as the rest of us, so it should be very interesting to see how someone who, if not exactly anti-WDW, is not expecting very much from the experience, will enjoy it.
We have deliberately tried not to talk too much about the WDW portion of our holiday to make the reality more dramatic. We shall see.

“When are you going and what are you doing?” I here you say. I thought you’d never ask!

On the evening of November 7th we are getting a train to Gatwick where we will spend the night at at the Travel Inn before leaving on the 11:15 Virgin flight to Orlando International on November 8th.

On arrival at MCO we pick up an 8 seater van and make our way to the Hilton next to Downtown Disney for one night, thanks to Priceline for a 50 room rate.
The next morning, probably around 5:30 AM if previous experience is anything to go by, we will set off to drive to Sanibel for one week at the Sanibel Arms West. This is a place that was recommended to me by Sherry (an American lady that e-mailed me with the details) as she goes there every year. Thanks very much for all your help Sherry!

We intend to spend this first week relaxing and taking it easy. We are also going to try to fit in a boat trip, cycling around parts of the island, canoeing in Ding Darling National Park, shell collecting, eating and drinking. Hmm, doesn’t sound quite so relaxing all of a sudden. Oh yes, the women expect to fit in a shopping trip as well. (sob)

The second week will be spent back at the Boardwalk. We had to borrow a few DVC points from next year in order to get a 2 bedroom villa for a week. Tam is looking forward to the whirlpool bath. Strange, we will have the excitement and magic of WDW all around us and she wants a bath!

We are meeting up with Sharon, a lady (and I use the term loosely!) from Texas and her son Evan. I have been corresponding with Sharon for about 3 years and we know each other pretty well now, right down to the mole she has at the top of her left thigh.
We organised our trips to coincide and Sharon and Evan will be with us for the first 3 days of the WDW portion of our holiday. She has, of course, been made aware that the first round is on her!

We are also hoping to meet up with Trish and Kev who are old friends from Florida. Well, we’ve met them twice before so they MUST be old friends. It usually only takes one encounter with me to put most people off!

There has been meticulous planning over the last 12 months, so it is all destined to go sadly wrong, but here are a few details of the WDW portion of our holiday:

Thurs 15th . Arrive at the Boardwalk, settle in. Meet Sharon and Evan at 5:30 for a drink in the bar. You expected anything else? Over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for a meal at Jiko. I must admit to really looking forward to this as I have read so much about it.

Fri 16th. Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival. Just a-snackin’ and a’drinkin for most of the day. Tam’s mums first park and we intend to make Spaceship Earth her first ever WDW ride. If that fails to impress, then nothing will!

Sat 17th. Animal Kingdom and then across to MGM for Fantasmic!

Sun 18th. Magic Kingdom all day, staying for Spectromagic and the fireworks. A sad farewell to Sharon and Evan. Hah! They will glad to see the back of us after spending 3 days together.

Mon 19th. Rest day. Take Julia to see the Wilderness Lodge and MK resorts, then back to the pool to relax. PS for Flying Fish at night.

Tues 20th. Epcot all day, with PS for Le Cellier at 5:00.

Weds 21st. MGM Studios, staying to see the Osbourne Family Lights and then either Fantasmic! again or back to Epcot for Reflections of Earth. (I can never see that show too many times)

Thurs 22nd. Fly home. NO! I don’t want to go! You can’t make me!

So, where’s the downside? None that I can think of at this moment. The only thing that is a bit worrying is that I will be the only man sharing living space with 5 women. There is bound to be some complaints about the belching, passing of wind and scratching vital areas at the breakfast table. Still, if they persist, I shall just have to put my foot down and tell them to stop.

I often wonder where this dangerous obsession with Disney comes from. I bet old Sigmund Freud would have a field day with all of us!

Siggy: “Lie on ze couch and tell me all about zis addiction.”
Me: “Vell Siggy…. I mean… Well Siggy, it all began when a mouse ran over my cot when I was 6 months old. Then there was the incident with the dwarf in my formative years…..”
Siggy: “Zere is only vun solution to zis problem. Book unuzzer trip to Dissneyverld immediately.”
Me: “Woohoo!”

That’s yer lot. If you think this was boring, wait until you get to the real thing!