Feb 18, 2012





“Did you notice the castle over there?”


Finally here it was. The start to our half term vacation.

The day before had been very busy, we both had been at work, then in the afternoon we had to take Pixie to her cat-hotel and she did not like her new carrier basket and nearly scratched her paws bloody trying to get out. So after that stressful experience we had finished packing and finally called it a night at around 11.30pm. Just a little sleep …………

The alarm sounded at 3.30am and we both got up, showered and had a very peckish breakfast of tea and a roll with ham and cheese before we went through the house again, made sure everything was unplugged and then finally we hauled our suitcases down to our car, loaded everything in and off we went. The drive to the airport takes about half an hour and at that time of day there are no delays, so after about 30 minutes we could see the airport and soon enough we turned into the long term parking lot. There was still lots of snow everywhere and it took a while until we found an empty spot and parked the car. We unloaded our luggage and walked over to the departure hall. Since the back door was out of order we had to walk all around the building to get to the front entrance. Once there we quickly took off our thick Disneyland Paris jackets and I put them on top of our large checked bag, so we would not have to carry it around. I usually tie a ribbon around my bag, so it stands out a little and no one else takes it and once we were done we walked over to the bag drop off, as we had done online check in the day before and had printed out our tickets at home. When our luggage was finally on the way we walked back to the ATM to pick up some money, so we would be set for Frankfurt. Money in my pocket we went to the security check and we both got through with flying colours. Yippie for not setting it off. There was a little time left until our flight left at 6.45am, so we walked through the Duty Free shop and then got in line to board our flight.

Around 6.20am the gate opened and we were allowed to walk over to the plane. And yes, our airport is so small that you can actually walk over to the waiting planes. We found our seats, stowed our luggage and settled in. It didn’t take long and boarding was completed and the doors closed and off we went. Once we had reached cruising altitude the flight attendants started handing out a little snack. This time they were Chocolate Covered Leibnitz Cookie Sticks. Tom had a glass of Coke to wash it down with, while I stuck to still water. The flight to Frankfurt is only a 55 minute flight and so we landed in Frankfurt at around 8am. Our connecting flight was only at 1.40pm, so we were in no hurry.

We took our time getting off the aircraft and onto the bus that took us to the terminal. Once inside we checked our connecting flight, but it wasn’t even on the screens yet, so we started to walk around the airport. We slowly walked to the far end of the part where we had arrived, sat down for a while, then walked back. At one of the little airport electronics shops Tom found a pair of earphones he wanted. He had broken his travel earphones on the previous flight and they were offering noise reduction ones. So we ended up buying a pair for him. By then it was already going on 10am, so we decided to pick up a snack and find a table where we could eat and lateron check our email and DISboards during the half hour free internet.

Most of the gates were busy but we finally found one that was empty and funnily enough it was the one where we could look out onto the plane we had just flown in on. Tom had gotten a beer for himself and some Diet Coke for me and we had picked up two wraps to share. One of them was a Minced Meat Wrap, filled with minced beef, goat’s cheese, ice-berg lettuce, tomato, pesto and cream cheese and the other one was a Thai-Chicken Wrap, filled with chicken, ice-berg lettuce, shredded carrots, tomatoes, cilantro, soy-bean shoots and Thai basil. They were wonderfully fresh and tasty and we really enjoyed our snack. When we ordered our wraps I saw a brownie which looked really yummy, so I ordered one, as Tom is not really into sweet things. Unfortunately the Brownie was VERY sweet and VERY dry. I peeled away the dry layer and what was moist and chewy was pretty good, but all in all it was wasted money. Once we had eaten we called a friend in Austria, we checked the internet and finally around 11am we cleaned up and finally started our trek over to our departure gate.

On the way there we passed the store with the noise reduction headphones again and bought another pair for me, since Tom had tried the new ones during our lunch break and found that they were far better than the ones we had had before. And I have to say, he was right! Now, Frankfurt has several departure terminals and ours was at the complete opposite side of the airport. So we went up to the little Monorail that connects the terminals and went to the terminal we needed to go to. We actually had to leave the airport, walk through the open area and walk into the check in area again. We had our passports checked, then went through security and finally through another checkpoint, where they check if you have pre-registered your visit to the US and are allowed to travel there. Then we proceeded to our departure gate and were stunned as the screens were not on and there were only very few people there. We sat for a while and then Tom went to check the outside screens and finally found out that our departure gate had changed. So we moved over to Gate 13, my favourite gate number as M is the 13th letter of the alphabet and stands for my man Mickey! We sat and waited for about ¾ of an hour before we were finally allowed to board. We tried to be within the first people to board as we were seated in one of the three last rows of the plane. Now, there is a plan to that madness. When we booked we could choose our seats right away and I noticed there were mostly three chairs per row at the windows and 4 in between them. Flying for 10 hours being squeezed in with a stranger is not our kind of thing, so we jumped on the opportunity of having only 2 seats next to each other towards the back. Downside – most of the overhead containers are used for airplane stuff, so you either are early and have your carry on close to you, or you have it “somewhere” in the cabin. We were lucky and found ample overhead space for our carry ons, settled into our seats and waited for the plane to leave.

The captain came on and told us we were to leave on time, just to come back about 10 minutes later to let us know that there was a problem with some luggage and we had to stay put for a little longer. We left about 20 minutes after our scheduled departure time and were soon at cruising altitude and the flight attendants started handing out drinks and snacks. Tom ordered some beer, while I stuck to the still water and we both were handed a small bag of Pretzels and Crackers from Soletti. Shortly after that they came through with hot towels and we knew lunch time was here and they started handing out the trays. There was a Small Salad and some French dressing to start things off. Tom had chosen the Beef Stroganoff, served with rice and carrots and peas.

I went with their Pasta, which was Maccaroni and Cheese. I am not usually a huge fan of Mac and Cheese, but this was the baked variety and it was pretty nice. There was also a Whole Wheat roll and some butter and really nice Camembert Cheese.

For dessert we had some really nice Chocolate Cake with chocolate icing. Once we had finished our meal we both took some sleeping aid and before the movie even started we had drifted off to sleep. We never sleep very well on the way to our holiday destination so we woke up quite a few times, but it was nice to see that some time had passed and those new earplugs surely helped a lot as well. About an hour and a half before we were supposed to land we woke up as there was some commotion in the cabin when the flight attendants started to serve dinner. This time there was no choice of what to eat, we all had pasta, Ravioli, filled with cream cheese and tossed in a light tomato sauce, topped with stewed spinach tossed in cream.

It was very well prepared and we both enjoyed it very much. Dessert was some very nice, but runny Vanilla Pudding. Soon after they were announcing that we were descending onto MCO and we were a little early for our scheduled arrival time! Yippie ….. or so we thought. Once we were back on solid ground and parked at the terminal the captain announced that as much as he would love to allow all of us to leave the plane after about 10 hours of flight time, we could not leave as immigration was too full to be able to accommodate another full flight. It meant we were held on board for another half hour, then we could finally make our way to immigration. There was still a LONG line going back and forth across the room about 6 or 7 times and it took us about an hour to make our way to one of the booths to meet an officer.

From there on it was easy sailing. We were welcomed, found our luggage right away and instead of dropping it off to be delivered to the area where the rental cars are we hauled them ourselves, as usually it takes quite long for luggage to arrive there. We headed over to the Hertz booth to pick up a rental car and since we had a prepaid voucher the sales person there tried to talk us into upgrading our car. Well, it would sit in the parking lot at Port Canaveral for four days, so there was no way to do that. And after a very short while we headed over to the car park, picked up our car, placed everything in the trunk and off we went. It only took about half an hour and we went under that well known and well loved sign that meant we had finally arrived. There was just one more stop we wanted to make before heading to our final destination for that night, the Hess gas station. No, our car was not out of gas, but we wanted to stock up on a few drinks, so we would have something while staying at WDW and to take along for the cruise. Once we were done shopping we drove over to the Polynesian and showed our reservation confirmation, were handed a parking pass and giving instructions on where to park for check in and were sent off with a nice smile.

And here is where I guess I need to explain WHY we had ended up at the Polynesian in the first place. We had booked a Royal Room at Port Orleans Riverside and were very much looking forward to it.

When an AP discount became available I had jumped on the opportunity as it had brought the bill down to a mere 200$ for said Princess Room with a river view. A few weeks before we were supposed to leave for Florida I received a call from Guest Relations, letting me know that the Royal Rooms would not be ready when we arrived and that we could choose any other resort we wanted too, except for the Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower. At first I didn’t know what to ask for but when they offered the Polynesian for our already discounted rate I really jumped at the opportunity. While the Polynesian had always seemed to be a nice resort I never quite could get myself to hand over the money they charge per night – staying at a resort that charged about $600 a night (non discounted) for a mere $200 dollars sounded perfect and we got to try yet another resort.
Now, after parking our car in the 30 minute, check-in zone, we walked over to the front desk, paperwork in hand. I had always thought that people checking in there were greeted with a lei, but no such thing. The friendly but otherwise very business like Cast Member checking us in just handed us our folder, which had been pre-prepared as we had done the online check in, and sent us on our way.

On the way out we stopped at Bell Services and asked how we could retrieve our purple storage box from Owner’s Locker. The guy there asked me about three times what I was talking about, then got another Cast Member who was clueless as well. We went back to the front desk and inquired there and they again pointed us towards Bell Services. Finally on third attempt we found a Cast Member who knew what we were talking about and said she would send someone to have a look and send it over to our room, but it would be a while. At that time we were still deciding if we would lateron head over to the Magic Kingdom until 1am, but before hauling our luggage we wanted to have a look at the room.

We must have chosen the long route as this seemed to be a much longer walk than any other we did lateron.

We finally found our room and turned on all the light fixtures, as it seemed a bit dark to us, but still nice. And we were greated by a Mickey Head on the bed, so that made us very happy anyway. The room was nice, we could see the pool from the balcony and it was now about time we headed down to get our luggage. For a moment we thought about our locker being delivered in the meantime, but the Bell Service Cast Member had said it would be a while, so we did not expect it right away and off we went.Tom put the car into another parking slot, we got all our things out and off we went again. Back in the room we discussed where to have dinner while we were waiting for Bell Services. After a while Tom noticed that the message light was on at the phone. Needless to say they had tried to deliver the box and we had not been in the room. So I called again, we promised to stay put and about 10 minutes later our box was delivered. While still waiting for the box we walked out onto the balcony admiring the view and suddenly Tom pointed to our right and said, “Did you notice that you can see the castle over there?” I was in awe! This room was supposed to be Garden View room and I was expecting to see landscaping, and here we were with a view of the pool and a direct view of the castle as our balcony was the last one towards the castle. It could not have been any better than this.

Sure, Pixie dust must have been sprinkled on us! There were only a few more minutes until the fireworks were supposed to start, so we got some drinks and Tom got his camera ready and we sat on our balcony and watched the fireworks. It was an awesome sight and a wonderful and relaxed feeling and the perfect start to our vacation. Once the fireworks were over we were talking about heading over to the park once again, but we both were really tired, having been up for about 25 hours, so while Tom stayed in the room I headed over to Captain Cooks to get some dinner. I knew there was one item we both wanted to share – the Aloha Pork Sandwich. Pulled Pork in a roll, topped with tomato and cucumber, served with Poly Chips. We had decided on two items and so I was thinking about what we might possible like too. And then the Pulled Pork topped Nachos peaked my interest. Now how much can that be for under 10$? Well, the portion was huge when it was finally assembled. I asked for a lid to be put on top and they kindly put it into a carrier bag and I was on my way back to our room. When I returned Tom had set the table and we were having a very late dinner watching TV. Now, both portions were huge and we could have easily had shared one of them. There were quite a few leftovers. At around midnight we both headed to bed, but the time change was soon to catch up with us again.