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21 April 2013

Holiday Time- Pre holiday and Flight.

Well in fact my holiday time is over now(cue big unhappy face) but I'm going to write all about it away. My original plan was to blog while I was there, it was a big; in fact huge holiday
-2 weeks in Orlando, Florida with tickets for all Disney parks, various water parks,
 Discovery Cove and Seaworld . 
I was going to blog each day but the true be told I was so exhausted every night I didn't have the energy to open my laptop.
 The holiday was quite split up to take into account 4 tired children(and 6 knackered adults) so some parks we went to twice. I've tried to contain the posts so it's easier for people to get info from, I'm going to be posting about different days under one park heading. I may keep updating these posts as new photographs and information become available. Also my Sister In Law Claire has a blog here where she'll have posts too. If you're come to these blog posts for trip advice and hints I'll write TIP where any good (well I think it is) advice is rather than me just rambling.

Pre Holiday 
The planning part was the easy bit for us, as we were guests of Sue and Dave (Mother & Father In Law) so they'd planned the flights, hire car, villa and park tickets (oh yes, I really know we're lucky buggers). We go on a family holiday with them and my Sister in Law Claire her Husband Lee and their 2 children Ben & Josh every year and I've blogged most of them.
We got our passports sorted(how much?) and bought new luggage as the kids got to take cabin bags on. I quite enjoy packing and like the challenge of being below a certain weight, which should be easy in a villa with washing machine. 
There's a type of freedom thinking this is it, this is my sum life for 2 weeks. I'm more of a I'll figure it out when needed rather than bringing the kitchen sink type of girl.
I bought guide books these were the ones I like best, and read forums which just terrified me. 
Why does no one write positive reviews on these things? 
I was mostly worried about the scale of Disney Parks and the risk of losing my children in them. 
TIP: I bought small keyring sized tags from Wilkcos which we attached when we went to all major parks, they had our phone numbers wrote on them so if the children did get lost we could be quickly contacted. I also took photos of them as we left the house each morning so I knew what they were wearing and introduced them to cast members in the first park we got to so they knew what they looked like.
I also asked the children to shout mine or Daddy's real names if they became lost as the parks are full of kids shouting Mum and Dad, it's hard to hear the difference.

 The Flight
We flew with Virgin Atlantic  from Manchester to Gatwick, then Gatwick to Orlando International. I can't fault their service on the plane, the food was pleasant much better than expected, and they were very friendly to the children on board. Even having an Easter Bonnet competition where you had to make your bonnet from detritus left over from your journey so far.  
All four children fared well on the journey considering they'd been up since 4am, we'd packed DS(perfect for a plane journey) books and toys, as well as them getting a backpack with stuff to entertain and play with from the Virgin staff. All the seats had a TV in the back so they could watch films and play games on them too. However about 4hours in Lucas started to complain of a tummy ache and needing a poo, he went to the toilet a lot for no reason, meaning we were having to get up and out a queue over and over again. We thought we was just bored, took him for walks etc but by the time we were ready to land he was really fidgety. Just as the seatbelt sign went on and toilets locked he told me he'd had an accident, the stewardesses couldn't help as they had to be seated.
Then as the wheels touched down he threw up all over me. I'm telling you this for a reason, in this situation there's nothing you can do other than hug your child and ride it out, it's just one of those things which in years to come will seem a bit funny.When we stopped the stewardess came over to say she'd unlocked a toilet for us to clean up in and took away a blanket covered in sick still with a smile. I had spare clothes for the kids in their hand luggage and had packed in case our luggage went missing in my cabin bag as my Husband just had his camera bag as hand luggage. However it turned out I'd not packed any clothes for myself(silly silly) so I ended up having to enter American security checks covered in puke and looking very weary. Lucas once cleaned up announced he felt much better now, and when do we see Mickey?

TIP: Always keep baby wipes in your bag on holiday, be it throwing up kids, to cool a hot and sweaty brow in 32degree heat or for sticky lolly pop hands; you will use them.
TIP: Make sure each person has their own stuff in their carry on, then you know everyone is covered. I should have make my Husband take a cabin bag even if all it fitted in was his camera, spare shorts,t shirt and toothbrush. At least then I would have fit my own stuff in.

We had a few hiccups getting to our villa, and contacting people about it which Claire talks about here
and I'm sure some stern words will be passed onto travel agents in due course over it too.
TIP: If staying in a villa double check the address details are current, and Google street view so you know what it looks like. In America a business address can in fact be nothing more than a glass door with lockbox next door to an all you can Chinese buffet.
Which is hard to hard at 10.30pm after being awake 24 hours, in the dark in a strange country.
TIP: If you're driving hire an American SatNav or GPS system from Amazon. We would have been stuffed if we didn't have one.

And so to bed on our arrival day, a full day of travel, check ins, tiredness, excitement, stress, vomiting, getting lost, crying, jumping on the bed, cuppa tea, sleep. 
Was it worth the hassle to get there? Look at their faces, what do you think?

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