DAYS 1 & 2 WEDS 11TH & THURS 12th OCT 2000

DAY 1 WEDS 11th OCT.

After a never ending day at work we set off for Gatwick at 4:30 PM. Tammy and I both agree that we both feel slightly down immediately prior to any trip. Happens every holiday, I don't know why. The children help to raise the enthusiasm level and once we are in the car we start to get more excited.

On the way up we stop at Bracknell for a KFC, after all, you've got to get in the American mood. On to our hotel the Holiday Inn Express at Gatwick. 3 or 4 miles from the airport, it is a new hotel, plain but nice clean and modern. Tammy starts to watch Brookside (a 1 hour episode!) on TV so Kev and the girls beat a hasty retreat to the pub across the road for an all too brief hour. India rattles on incessantly about WDW as she is rather excited while Georgia is getting tired and keeps saying she is worried about the plane as she always feels sick when she flies.

Back to the hotel for the girls to go to sleep and Daddy to watch the football. It is Finland v England in a World Cup qualifier. As of late the England team have been similar to me on a shopping trip. Unenthusiastic and lacking attention. Unfortunately my fears are borne out as another poor performance results in a 0 0 draw.

I clamber into bed at 11:45 to try and sleep but without much success. There is nothing wrong with the room other than it being slightly warm, (aren't most hotel rooms?) the bed is comfy and it is reasonably quiet but none of this helps. I always seem to get this problem the first night in a strange place. Hotel rooms and I uphold that old moral that you should never sleep together on a first date.
As I write this it is 2:30 in the morning and I have retired to the bathroom where I am sat on the loo. Undignified maybe but at least it helps to pass the time!


I eventually return to bed and doze fitfully until 6:30 when the alarm goes off. I have tried most things during the night to get to sleep including counting sheep but the stupid creatures insist on flocking together and I loose count. So I try counting Mickey Mice instead. Unfortunately my subconscious insists that there is only one REAL Mickey Mouse and puts a stop to that. Damn my logical mind. Tam has not helped with her impression of a crocodile doing a death roll most of the night.

We have a quick continental breakfast and are off to the airport. I have been very impressed with the Holiday Inn Express. If you are looking for a simple no frills hotel then this is a good choice. New, clean and efficient, you also get 15 days parking in the long term car park at the airport for 92 for a family room.

Check in with Delta is quick and we wander round the shops where a miraculous event takes place. I buy two pairs of shorts while Tammy buys nothing! This is soon put right when we go through to the departure lounge where perfume and after shave are purchased. Just as well we go on holiday once a year or we would smell like tramps. I buy Issey Miyake which is a bit whiffy. A glowing compliment from one of life's true connoisseurs. I'll be surprised if they don't use this in an advertising campaign.

The girls pass the time before the flight watching the planes and writing in their diaries. Oh yes, India is wearing her Mickey Mouse ears just to ensure that everyone knows where we are going.
Our flight is uneventful after taking off 30 minutes late. The first film is Big Momma's House which is a pretty average comedy. Not exactly high brow entertainment but OK. Tammy laughs a few times quite loudly, not quite realising that all those people around her not watching the film are looking at her. The second film is Mermaids. Hardly a latest release but I've always enjoyed this film. A combination of Cher, Bob Hoskins, Wynona Ryder and Christina Ricci would be interesting in anything.

We arrive in Cincinnati at 3:15. Customs and Immigration takes about 30 minutes and we are soon on the flight to Orlando. I am always amazed at Orlando airport, bright, airy and efficient. Our suitcases are already on the carousel by the time we arrive at baggage reclaim and we trundle off to pick up our car. Dollar car rental is amazingly swift and simple. We walk up to the empty desk, show our voucher, walk across the road to the parking garage and pick up pur car, a Chrysler Sebring. The whole process from landing to leaving the airport has taken about 30 minutes. In fact the whole journey has gone like clockwork. Let's hope this is a good omen for the whole holiday.

I get used to the car quickly and despite missing the turn to the Beeline Expressway we are soon headed towards International Drive. A word about the car. It is, by UK standards, large and plush although only a mid size. if there are only 4 of you don't be tempted to upgrade to a full size unless you carry a lot of luggage.

As we crawl along International Drive, Tammy and I can't help thinking what it will be like next year when we take Tammy's mum for the first time. It's quite an assault on the senses of a small town Englishman seeing the hustle and bustle. You certainly couldn't call it sophisticated but it is enthralling nevertheless.

We check into the Delta Orlando Resort and after a quick snack (and a beer) head off to our room. This place is fine for one night but I'm glad we are moving tomorrow. That's the trouble with staying on site at WDW, you are spoiled by the experience and constantly compare everywhere else to it. We are in bed by 10:30 although to our bodies it is 3:00 AM.

I'm sorry that this first part of the trip report is all about the journey but all good things come to those that wait. The interesting stuff starts tomorrow.