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Thread: WDW 2018 - The shortest trip ever

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    Sep 2007
    Birmingham, UK

    WDW 2018 - The shortest trip ever

    TRIP REPORT : The saddest Trip Report I have ever had to write 2018

    Cast : Carolyn happiest when trip planning
    DH - grateful not to have to do any planning!
    DS happy to go along with plans, but still enjoys having input into them

    Experience : Carolyn - 16 trips to Walt Disney World, 1 to Disneyland, 9 to Disneyland Resort Paris, 1 to Hong Kong Disneyland, 1 to Tokyo Disneyland
    DH - 9 trips to Walt Disney World, 1 to Disneyland, 5 to Disneyland Resort Paris, 1 to Hong Kong Disneyland, 1 to Tokyo Disneyland
    DS 8 trips to Walt Disney World, 1 to Disneyland Resort Paris

    Resorts : Disneys Port Orleans Riverside Resort

    Transportation : Personal car, aeroplane, hire car

    Dates : Saturday 27 October to Sunday 10 November 2018

    Plans for this trip originally began in 2016, when my son and daughter-in-law got married and announced they wanted the whole family to go on their belated honeymoon with them, to Walt Disney World in Florida! This would consist of the newlyweds, their baby daughter, myself and DH, my sister, my daughter-in-laws parents, sister & boyfriend, and brother. A total of 11 people would have been going, and we all met up for a planning meeting at daughter-in-laws parents house in July 2016. Much discussion took place, but I dont think anyone else realised just how expensive a trip this would be, and finally enthusiasm began to wane somewhat. Various reasons and excuses for not going came up, mostly down to cost, and in the end everyone had dropped out, except us and my sister. However, she just assumed that as the big family trip was off, she wouldnt be able to go, and she was absolutely devastated. So DH and I went home, discussed it, and decided to ask her if she wanted to come along with just us. She jumped at the chance!

    We then waited until April 2017 when the special offers for UK residents were released by Disney Holidays UK, and we quickly decided to try Port Orleans Riverside, as DH and I had stayed in the French Quarter Resort last year and really loved it. DS and I made separate bookings in order to take advantage of all the perks offered to each of us, and then linked the bookings on My Disney Experience, requesting adjoining rooms if possible.

    We were given a $200 gift card each, 14-day tickets for the price of 7-day, free Quick Service Dining Plan, and free Memory Maker photo package, which was great. I booked and paid for a hire car, using a broker I have used for many years, Rentalcars, as I trust them to get us the best deal. This is what we would normally have done anyway so I didnt see why DS should pay anything for it, and I reserved an intermediate SUV - Ford Escape or similar weve had an Escape before and really like them; we would be renting this from Dollar, and collecting it at the airport. The cost of the 2-weeks rental would be 380, including a full tank of gas, and we could return it empty.

    Flights were next, but for some weeks the price of flying to Orlando from Manchester in the UK with Virgin Atlantic was shockingly high, at least double what we had paid previously. I kept checking but the price never came down, so we took the reluctant decision to fly out from Gatwick airport instead. This is slightly further away from us, and we will have to negotiate the dreaded M25 to get there, but there didnt seem any other choice if we didnt want to pay the earth for flights! I therefore booked the flights, and paid slightly more to get the exit row seats, which weve had before and I consider fairly necessary as DH is 64 tall with very long legs, and you can pretty much guarantee that if he sits in a normal seat that someone in front of him will recline their seat until his poor legs are squashed up around his ears and he cant put his laptop tray down. I noted that due to some rule changes, we cant pre-pay for extra luggage in advance any longer, we have to do this when we check-in for the flights. We always used to take out 4 suitcases, with 2 smaller ones tucked inside 2 larger ones going out, and then the 4 cases coming back, so we only had to pay for 2 extra cases at that point as our luggage allowance is one case each. However, some suitcase changes for us last year mean that we now have 3 cases all the same size, and one smaller one which will fit inside one of the others, so I am going to have to pay extra for one case going out and 2 coming back. Ah well, no way round this if we want lots of room to bring back goodies!

    At this point I also booked us a meet & greet parking space for the duration of our holiday, at Gatwick airport, through a broker I have used for several years now, Holiday Extras. They found us meet & greet parking for the full 2 weeks at a cost of 81, which is pretty good, with a company called Maple Parking. Our USA visitor visas (ESTAs) are still valid for 2018, I got holiday insurance, and finally I also ordered a temporary disabled parking placard, which arrived very quickly.

    We began to sketch out an itinerary in preparation for when we could make FastPasses, and we also discussed with DS where she would like to eat while we are at the parks. There are plenty of new places that have opened since she was last in Walt Disney World, which was in 2016, particularly in Disney Springs. We decided that we would break with our normal tradition of visiting Epcot on our first full day in Florida, (our favourite park), and in honour of DS being with us, would instead visit her favourite park on our first day, which is Magic Kingdom. Knowing we would be awake stupidly early on our first day there, I thought that would be a good day to do breakfast at Be Our Guest, providing I could get a reservation for that day. We also wanted to book lunch there for another day, and decided to visit Captain Cooks at the Polynesian for dinner on our first day as well, as it would be a Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party event that night, meaning that the park would close early to regular guests, (i.e. us!). We thought we could dine at the Polynesian, and then go to Wal-Mart for our usual stock up on bottled water etc. Weve been trying to get to Captain Cooks for years, as we really like the look of the menu there, but we just havent managed it up until now.

    A couple of weeks later, I got a phone call from DS telling me that both the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary resorts had restaurants where breakfast was served, and they both participated in the Quick Service Dining Plan. This was news to me, and after checking out the breakfast offerings, we quickly included both of those in our itinerary. Weve never eaten at the Grand Floridian at all before, so that sounded like fun!

    Working out our itinerary wasnt easy as quite a few Halloween Party nights taking place during our holiday meant that the Magic Kingdom would be closing early on numerous occasions, so we had to try and plan the itinerary carefully to ensure we got maximum time at that park, including seeing the new fireworks show there, plus fitted in a couple of viewings of both Illuminations, (my favourite Disney show, and in light of the recently announced closure of this before our next visit to WDW in 2019, I wanted to ensure we definitely saw it this year), and Fantasmic! (DHs favourite Disney show). We also decided that we would make a concerted effort this year to visit a water park we always plan for a water park day, and then laziness kicks in and we cant be bothered to make the effort to go there, so end up just staying at the resort pool instead. This means we havent been to a water park for several years now, so we are determined to visit one this year. Blizzard Beach is closed for refurb during our visit, so we have decided to definitely go to Typhoon Lagoon.

    A few years ago, DH and I had visited Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, and kept saying all night that we thought DS would have loved it, she is a big fan of the horror genre of films and TV shows. Therefore, I looked up the dates of the 2018 Horror Nights and suggested that DS and DH go, leaving me, who HATES anything horror-related and remembered how terrified I was last time, to go to the cinema at City Walk or something. They both said that sounded great, so I ordered tickets for them as soon as they became available. We can have a fairly easy day that day, go over to Universal around mid-afternoon, eat at City Walk somewhere, then I can go and happily watch a film, with a big box of popcorn, while they go and be frightened without me!

    As the Food & Wine Festival will be on at Epcot during our visit, we are planning to eat there a couple of times. We checked out the menus and have made a list of things we would like to try while we are there. There will also be a fair amount of pumpkin spice offerings around at this time of year too, which makes DH and DS very happy! I saw news that Voodoo Doughnut was opening at City Walk earlier this year, which made me very happy I saw this store on an episode of Man Vs Food a while ago, when they visited the store on the West Coast, and kept thinking I would have loved to have gone there. So when I saw that this would be open by the time we get to Florida, I was really pleased!

    By June 2018 I was also busy planning our 2019 holidays, one of which is a road trip on the West Coast of the USA to include Las Vegas. We are going with the famed Larry and Robin from Lubbock, friends we have holidayed with before, and Robin put me onto the Landry Club membership. Basically, you have to pay $25 for membership, which immediately gets transferred onto your membership card, along with another $25 credit given on your birthday. I signed up for this club, and quite quickly received my card with the first $25 credit on it. There was a leaflet with the card showing where it can be used in the USA, and one of the places is Bubba Gumps Shrimp Co., which is also at City Walk, so this may be somewhere we eat dinner before Halloween Horror Night.

    We have a massive list of things we want to eat, do, try, buy, etc. this year I just hope we have time and money for all this! DS and I were saying that we would like to get a Millennial Pink Spirit jersey as they are so pretty, but then also we loved the new cotton candy-coloured one too. Our dad was listening to this conversation, and offered to buy us both the pink one as a Christmas gift, which was really kind of him! So DS and I then agreed we would also buy each other the cotton candy-coloured one as well, as Christmas gifts. A couple of different friends of mine had already picked up both the rose-gold and the Millennial Pink Minnie ears for me, but I still want to check out the new Christmas Minnie ears, and DS wants to look at the Belle ones. I have a pair of sparkly, silver sequinned Minnie ears in our Owners Locker storage box in Florida, but I have had them for many years and they are rather tatty now, with missing sequins and quite a flattened look to them, so I think I may have to retire them this year. Which reminds me, I had already scheduled our storage box to be delivered to the Resort, so we knew it would be waiting there for us when we arrived!

    We discovered recently that the trial of opting out of mousekeeping in exchange for a gift card has become a permanent thing across some of the resorts. We took part in this last year and really liked it, so I think we are both going to do this again, this year. Although I will still get some bags of UK chocolate and sweets from Marks & Spencer for mousekeeping, as they do still come round every 4 days and I like to leave them a little treat. DS prefers to leave them money, which is fine by us.

    At the 180-day point, I logged onto My Disney Experience and booked us breakfast at Be Our Guest for our first full day, and then lunch there for the following week. We are not going to Trails End on our first evening in Florida this year - this is a tradition that DH and I have, but when we did this in 2016, DS struggled to eat anything as she was very jet-lagged and overtired, so DH and I happily agreed that we would give it a miss for this year. We would have had to pay out of pocket for it this year anyway, (although that hasnt stopped us in the past as we really love this restaurant). Its fine, we can go again in 2019, if we want to.

    So at the 60-day mark, I had arranged to work from home in order to give me maximum time with minimum distractions and interruptions. I had my list of rides/shows that we all wanted to experience, and also our itinerary, and I got online as soon as the booking window opened. Luckily, I was able to get all the FastPasses we wanted, including Flight of Passage in the Animal Kingdom, and Rivers of Light, plus the usual 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain, etc. DS had specifically requested the Beauty & the Beast show in MGM, er, I mean, Hollywood studios, and DH wanted Rock & Roller Coaster, so they were in there too.

    When we went to WDW last year, our friends Larry and Robin had surprised us with a booking for the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party, which we had really loved. I was thinking about this, and about how great it was to view the new fireworks show from the little Plaza Gardens viewing area. I knew that DS would really love this new show, so decided to treat us all to the Dessert Party again. I booked it for one of the non-Halloween Party nights that we would be at Magic Kingdom, and when I told DS, she was delighted! A couple of months later, Disney announced that they were introducing a new post-fireworks dessert party though, which concerned me as I wondered how much more crowded the Plaza Gardens would be. If we had desserts first, then went to the Gardens, surely they would already be full of guests watching the show first before they had dessert? I emailed Disney with my concerns, but they have reassured me that there will still be plenty of room for everyone as the number of places available are strictly limited. Time will tell whether this proves to be true or not. Im not keen on changing our booking for the post-fireworks event, as this would be far too late at night for us to eat, so I guess we will just have to wait and see. Im waiting for people to post reviews of this online to see how busy the gardens are.

    There is a new daytime show on the stage in front of the castle that we would like to see, and we also need to catch the parade at some point in the Magic Kingdom although we must remember that the 3 oclock parade is actually now on at 2 oclock, at the moment!

    One more thing to remember too the smoking area in Epcot that used to be in the International Gateway has been moved, due to construction work relating to the new Skyway cable car, and is now located somewhere behind the UK pavilion.

    In April this year, I had seen a photo of myself taken at DHs birthday celebration lunch with our family, and was absolutely horrified at how fat I looked! I realised I had been overeating for several years now, and had not bothered to see how much I weighed or bothered with exercising. I weighed myself the next morning and nearly fell over in shock I had been steadily gaining weight over a number of years, and had never weighed this much in my life before! I immediately began planning a much healthier lifestyle. I always ensure I prepare a packed lunch for DH every day, (otherwise he would just slowly starve to death), but dont bother doing this for myself, so end up just grabbing a couple of cakes or crisps or bars of chocolate for lunch. My fruit and vegetable intake was almost non-existent, apart from whatever veg we would have for dinner, and I was eating way too much carbohydrate and fats. I was reluctant to join any kind of slimming club, or start a faddy diet, I realised that I needed to make a lifestyle change and make this something I stuck to as much as possible going forward. I set myself a goal of losing 42 lbs in 6 months, or by the time we went on holiday. (I also planned to lose another 42 lbs next year, which would still leave me quite overweight but not massively so). I had also been having some health issues I had constant back and knee pain, my IBS was out of control again, and I felt tired and bloated all the time.

    The next week I began the implement the changes. Firstly, I began taking vitamin B+ tablets daily to help combat the tiredness and lack of energy. I started having Shredded Wheat or plain porridge for breakfast, to which I added a handful of fresh raspberries, (we have a freezer full of these as we grow them in the garden and have had a bumper crop for the last couple of years!), and skimmed milk. To the porridge I sometimes added a small tablespoon of honey, instead of raspberries, for variety. Then for lunch I would pre-prepare a batch of cooked pasta, and add cooked chicken or ham, celery, chopped fresh tomatoes, peas, and a small amount of very low-fat mayonnaise. This was my take on a macaroni salad I had had at Disneys Port Orleans French Quarter in 2017, and loved. Alternatively, I would cook and cool rice, then add tinned tuna, and homemade, low-fat seafood sauce this is a dish I have been making for years and years, was a recipe of my mums originally, and is something we call wait for it Tuna & Rice! Imaginative the name might not be, but it is really tasty, and filling. I also grazed throughout the day on apples, oranges, grapes, melon, bananas, whatever fruit I particularly fancied that day. For dinner I would have whatever meat we were having that night, but instead of potatoes I would just have a salad, but try to add small amounts of lots of different salad ingredients to make it interesting. I completely cut out carbohydrates at night, bread, potatoes, all fried and fatty foods, cheese and yoghurt, and all sweets and chocolate, as Im not one of those people who can have a small treat every day if Im eating chocolate, Im eating a family-sized bar of that thing!

    The weight began to drop off me, although I found it really hard going in the beginning. Chewing gum helped a lot, when I wasnt hungry but just had that I must eat something feeling, I turned to sugar-free gum. Within a month I had lost 18 lbs, and this continued over the next month, so by the end of month two I had lost a total of 30 lbs. However, I then reached a plateau for a few weeks, and so, frustrated by my lack of progress, I changed out lunch each day for a Slimfast milkshake. I did this for 4 weeks, at which point I had lost 43 lbs in 4 months. Then I switched back to pasta for lunch, but I also joined a gym and started doing 40 minutes of intense exercise 2 or 3 times a week. By the beginning of October I had lost 45 lbs and had not only met my goal for this year, but had slightly exceeded it! However, by this point I was a bit obsessed and continued to exercise whilst cutting down on the amount of fruit I was eating. I ended up having lost 60 lbs by the time we went on holiday, which I was pleased with.

    All this effort meant that none of my clothes fitted me very well, but I was reluctant to buy new ones as I knew I wanted to lose more weight next year. So I compromised by buying around 6 or 7 inexpensive camisole tops, a couple of sizes smaller than I used to be, as I knew that I could mix and match the colours of these with different skirts, and they would also continue to loosely fit me for a while yet. What I didnt do was try on my favourite summer skirts, I just washed and packed them without thinking about fit .

    A couple of weeks before our departure date, I neatly packed up all the packing cubes and then put them into the cases. I had one cube specifically for electronics/cables/plugs, one for medical supplies and toiletries, and then split clothing between the others according to type (underwear, socks, t-shirts, etc.) and whether they were mine or DHs. They all looked so neat and tidy, and the cases were very well organised! To be honest, we could have fitted everything we were taking into just one suitcase, but I split it between two to keep the weight down a bit, and then we had one empty case inside another empty case, for stuff to bring back.

    DAY MINUS 1 Friday 26 October

    Plan : Last minute packing, sort car, get ready to go

    Actual : Well this day didnt actually go as planned, really. We had all booked this day off work to enable us to get last-minute things done, plus we had to take our pet Bearded Dragon, Zelda, to the reptile rescue & boarding centre that we have used before. However, in the weeks leading up to today, my mum, who is 80, caught a cold that turned into a chest infection. She has fibroids in her lungs so is on almost permanent oxygen anyway, but this infection began to get a grip and despite two lots of anti-biotics from the doctor, it began to turn into pneumonia. She was admitted into hospital, and after a 10-day stay and strong, intravenous anti-biotics, she was feeling a little better and was declared infection-free by the doctors. She wasnt eating much at this point, but was at least still drinking fluids. She was discharged on Wednesday 24 October, and encouraged us to go on holiday, saying she would be fine.

    By the time Friday rolled around, mum still wasnt eating and woke up that morning feeling truly dreadful. She actually asked to go back to the hospital, which was very unlike her. My sister, who lives with mum and dad, rang me just before 7.00 a.m. to tell me mum was going back into hospital, which made us all panic mum was still clearly very poorly, so would we still even want to go on holiday?

    We decided to still take Zelda to the reptile boarders, figuring that as he was booked in there anyway, even if we did have to cancel the holiday, he would be well looked after there and would be one less thing to have to think about during this worrying time. We dropped him off, and then rushed over to the hospital. Mum was still in Accident & Emergency, was on a very narrow trolley and was hooked up to a variety of machines. She was clearly in a lot of pain, and her breathing was incredibly laboured. However, she was conscious and was still adamant that we needed to go on holiday. We stayed with her for most of the day, as doctors came and went, and explained to us that the pneumonia clearly hadnt gone and so they were administering intravenous anti-biotics again, and just needed to monitor her progress. Various family members came to see her, and she slept quite a bit so we just chatted quietly amongst ourselves.

    After a few hours, mum was offered some lunch, and I watched her as she took a bite of food, but then fished it out of her mouth with her finger and put it back on the plate. She was also refusing to drink anything by then, which was of concern as she needed fluids to keep her kidneys working properly. Around mid-afternoon, a bed was found for mum on an observation ward, so we walked with her as she was transferred there. DS and I went to the small food store in the hospital entrance, and picked up some sandwiches and drinks as none of us had eaten anything all day.

    Finally, there was just myself, dad, and DS left at mums bedside (DH had had to leave for a few hours, but was on his way back to us). We had been discussing the holiday on and off all day, and dad was concerned that if we cancelled the whole event, we would be hugely out of pocket. He insisted he would be fine on his own visiting mum in hospital, and as the doctors were unable to tell us anything other than that they had to keep giving mum anti-biotics and monitoring her, plus mum herself was insistent that we still go, we reluctantly decided to go ahead and leave for the airport the next day.

    Around 5.00 p.m., we said our goodbyes to mum as she was extremely tired by this point and just wanted us all to go, and we prepared to leave. The last thing mum said to us all was, go on holiday and bring me back a present!.

    DH and I left the hospital and went home. I was faced with a 16-point list of last minute things to do for the holiday, which I was supposed to be doing all throughout the day! We had ticked off take dragon to boarders, and I raced through the rest of the list personal grooming, colouring my hair, last bits of packing, checking all documents, money etc., were printed off and in my handbag or hand luggage case. Some things were just not going to get done, such as deep-cleaning the dragons vivarium, which I like to do when he is being boarded so he has a lovely clean home to come back to, but there wouldnt be time for that today. I knew we would be arriving home a full day before we were due to collect him, (the boarding centre is closed on a Sunday, our day of arrival home), so I thought I could probably do the deep clean that day.

    We finally managed to get to bed around 10.00 p.m., later than we had planned, but happy that mum was in safe hands and we could still go on holiday.

    DAY 1 Saturday 27 October

    Plan : Travel to Gatwick airport, fly to Florida

    Actual : We were up with the alarm at 3.30 a.m., having slept quite well, surprisingly. We got ready and were out of the door by 4.15 a.m., and at my sisters house by the planned 5.00 a.m. We were all still a bit unsure about going, despite mum and dads reassurances, and had arranged with the hospital staff that we would ring them this morning and they would be honest with us, rather than just saying mum was comfortable, or fobbing us off. At 5.30 a.m. I rang them, as no-one else wanted to do it, (they were really worried at what we were going to hear). I spoke to a senior nurse on the ward we had left mum in, and she said mum had been transferred to a longer-stay ward at 2.00 a.m., at which point she was awake and alert, drank some water, and said she was hungry and could she have a sandwich, which they had given her, (although she had only eaten a bite or two). The nurse told me that mum had seemed slightly brighter in herself, which was encouraging. She then told me which ward mum had been transferred to, and put me through to them.

    I then spoke to a doctor who had been monitoring mum during the night, and he said he was somewhat concerned because her kidney function was slightly impaired, due to her not drinking very much over the last couple of days. However, he said that at least she was back on the anti-biotics and we would just have to see how she got on over the next few days. When I got off the phone to him and relayed this information to my family, we again teetered between going and not going away, but we knew that if we were to still go, we had to make the decision quickly as we would need to leave for the 3 hour drive to the airport. Dad kept telling us it was up to us, but that he would be okay on his own and mum had told us to go, so eventually we made the decision to go ahead and leave, although we made dad promise to call us if anything changed for the worse.

    Therefore, we duly loaded up the car and set off for the airport. As we hadnt done online check-in for our flight yesterday, we knew we would have to get there a bit earlier than if we were just doing bag drop. We made really good time getting there, encountering only one small set of roadworks, but passing what looked like a serious accident on the opposite carriageway it didnt hold us up much, apart from slightly slower traffic due to rubbernecking. (We later found out it had been a really bad, fatal accident, which then closed the carriageway for a full day).

    We followed the directions received from the car parking company, and were soon parking in the designated, small car park, directly next to the North Departure Terminal. I was quite impressed by the Meet & Greet company who swiftly and efficiently assisted us to park, and then collected our car keys from us. We unloaded the luggage, and waved bye-bye to Mac, DHs beloved Dodge Caliber.
    Then we lugged our luggage into the terminal, a bit worried by how awkward this operation was we would have even more cases to bring back at the end of the holiday, how would we cope? Ah well, we could worry about that in 2 weeks!

    Gatwick airport is a bit unfamiliar to us, and we struggled to find the Virgin Atlantic check-in desk at first, but once we found where we were going, there was very little queue and we were quickly checked-in and sorted out. Boarding passes in hand and suitcases rapidly disappearing off into the distance (gulp!), we decided breakfast was in order, so we set off for Departures. We had a quick mooch around Duty Free DS works in retail, and the store she works at sells lots of perfume. We spend a few minutes looking at various perfumes in order for her to be heartily shocked at the prices of them, as opposed to what DSs store sells them for; meanwhile, DH popped into the separated-out, cavern of shame to get some Duty-Free cigarettes.

    From there, we hunted for and found the Jo Malone store so I could buy myself a bottle of Grapefruit cologne I had been promising myself this for a few months. Someone I work with has got me (expensively) hooked on Jo Malone fragrances and the grapefruit one had been on my wishlist for ages. We also went into W H Smiths for the usual bottles of water and packets of mints.

    It was now breakfast time! We browsed around for a while and decided on Jamies Italian, purely on their menu choices. DH wanted a Full Monty breakfast, while DS and I settled on a bacon bap, on sweet brioche bread, which was really delicious. We also had coffee and tea, and thoroughly enjoyed the meal, it was really good quality (if somewhat expensive!).

    After breakfast, we made our way to our departure gate where we picked up some free newspapers and magazines, and rearranged things in our hand luggage cases so that anything we would require on the flight would be easily to hand. I had recently found out that bamboo knitting needles were allowed on flights, so had bought myself a pair of needles, some lovely dark pink wool, and had photocopied a cushion-cover knitting pattern (with textured hearts on it), ready to start creating a Christmas present for my granddaughter. This was all safely tucked into a small make-up bag to keep everything neat and together, and I made sure it was on top of the bits and pieces in my case so I could get it out on the flight.

    We didnt have long to wait at the gate, and boarding began pretty much on time. We were seated about halfway down the plane, in the exit row on the left-hand side. The seats were really quite comfy, and I was surprised to find I actually had a small amount of room between my leg and the plughole for the earphones, which hasnt happened before I guess the healthy eating for the last few months had paid off! We settled into our seats, although we all still felt a bit unhappy with the situation, and really worried about how mum was doing. Without telling the others, each one of us felt quietly uneasy about going and nothing felt right about this holiday.

    The flight went okay, there were the odd bits of turbulence, but not much. Normally, DH and I would have watched a film together, but we couldnt seem to settle on anything we liked the look of, so in the end he napped and I knitted, whilst chatting to DS occasionally. We all watched a bit of TV, and when the food came round it was pretty okay really, for a change. I usually buy myself a sandwich before flying, as due to my food intolerances there is usually not much that I can eat on planes, but for some reason I hadnt bothered doing this today. We all had the chicken dish, which was quote nice, with a bland side-salad, very bendy red cheese chunk and crackers, and a mini-dessert pot. There was no bread roll, which was unusual, and DH normally enjoys a glass of wine with his dinner on a flight, but this time he just had apple juice. (Afterwards, we all agreed that without realising it, we were all too tense to relax and enjoy the things we would normally do on a holiday to Florida.)

    We had experienced some technical difficulties with the plane before we took off, which meant we were an hour late taking off. However, the pilot had managed to get some of that time back and we were only 40 minutes late landing. It was still quite late for us though, normally when we fly from Manchester airport we are in Orlando by late afternoon, but flying from Gatwick had us leaving at lunchtime and arriving at about 8.00 p.m. We were quite tired and a bit emotionally drained by this point, and where we would normally have felt really excited to be in America, with myself in particular usually bursting into tears of joy as we land in my favourite place in the world, we all felt a bit flat and were too worried to be properly excited. We disembarked, had to wait for an absolute AGE in immigration, (what happened to the self-scanning passport room from last year??), and finally collected our luggage relatively quickly. Next was my favourite bit of this particular airport the monorail across to car hire and the exits!

    We were hiring our car through Dollar this year, so we made our way along the rental car hall (via a restroom break for DH, who was saying he really should have gone as soon as we had picked up the luggage!), and left DS seated in some comfy chairs and with all the cases, whilst DH first of all went outside for a cigarette, and then he and I went to the Dollar desk, where we found a fairly short queue. Surprisingly, there was little attempt to upsell insurance or a larger vehicle, and clutching our paperwork and an unexpected bottle of ice-cold free water from a rental car rep who was working the line with them, we made our way back to DS to find her chatting to an author who was in the middle of a USA-wide tour to promote his new book. Sadly, we had no idea who he was and he didnt tell us his name or the title of the book, either! DS had been trying to get a phone signal while she waited for us, in order to see if we had any messages from home, but had been unable to connect to a network.

    We then stepped outside the airport for our first breath of Florida air ah! Lovely, but not quite the same feeling as normal. Over the road, and into the rental car garage, we turned left towards the Dollar rentals. Unfortunately, by this late in the day there were no Ford Escapes left, and we had to settle for a white Chevrolet Equinox, which was still rather lovely. DH loaded all the cases into the boot, and we hauled ourselves into the car. It was pitch dark out, and with all the new roads leading out of the airport, I was worried we would get lost quickly, but we knew which exit to take out and the roads were all well signposted, so it wasnt long before we were taking the South exit towards the 417 Florida Greeneway (with lots of coins at the ready for the toll booths!). Fortunately, we recognised the route and soon approached the wonderful purple arches, gateway to Walt Disney World. Once again, instead of being happy and excited and wanting to cry with joy at going under the arches, we all just felt underwhelmed and sad so weird.

    Disneys Port Orleans Riverside was soon looming up at us in the dark, on our right hand side, and we pulled in. After showing the security guy our passports as ID, we found the guest check-in car park, parked the car, and walked to Guest Relations. The resort looked really pretty in the dark with lots of pretty lights everywhere, and was clearly all decorated up for Halloween. Another short queue, and we were checking in. As requested, we had been given adjoining rooms, which was great, and we declined housekeeping in favour of a $180 per room virtual gift card, which would be emailed to us immediately, we were told. We collected our Magic Bands, and decided to pick up our refillable mugs and get some drinks before finding our rooms. We headed into the food court, and I was really disappointed to find that all the Halloween-style refillable mugs had sold out, so we had to pick the same style and colours that we had had the previous year. We all got coffee in our mugs, then made our way back to the car.

    Following the map given to us by the Cast Member who checked us in, we found the approximate location of our room and parked in the nearly-empty car park. The rooms were located in the Alligator Bayou, at the furthest away point from Reception, but at this point in time we were tired and just glad to have arrived, so werent too worried about our location. We hauled the cases out of the car and began the long trek to our room, there were no elevators so we had to lug everything up a couple of flights of stairs too. We passed what looked like quite a pretty pool along the way, and eventually found our rooms at the end of a long walkway, on the second floor. The rooms looked lovely, we were really impressed with them, and they did indeed have a connecting door. We walked into the rooms and didnt have any idea what to do next I said to DH that I didnt know whether we were supposed to unpack, or what to do. She replied that maybe we should unpack a bit, and then try to get some sleep, so I began pulling packing cubes out of the cases and stacking them on the shelf above the wardrobe rail, without actually opening them and putting things away. I did unpack the toiletries and medical supplies and put them where they were supposed to go. I suddenly realised at this point that we had forgotten to collect our Owners Locker storage box from Bell Services, DH offered to go and get it now, but we discussed it and agreed to pick it up tomorrow on our way out for breakfast. While I was doing this, DS was desperately still trying to establish a phone network connection.

    After about half an hour, she finally managed to get a connection and found that my (grown-up) son had left her a WhatsApp message, saying that he was staying awake in order to speak to her when we arrived. She rang him, and he said that mum wasnt looking too well and we needed to call dad, so we did. The time in Orlando was about 11:00 p.m., and in the UK it was 4.00 a.m. Dad answered the phone and told us that mum had deteriorated very rapidly, and we needed to try and get back to her as soon as we could. DS got off the phone and looked at us with terrified eyes none of us knew what to do next, or where to start. I suddenly suggested that we go back to Guest Relations, find a Cast Member who wasnt busy, tell them the story and ask for help. DS grabbed her handbag, I grabbed my folder of paperwork, and we headed back to the car for the drive to reception.

    When we got there, there were a handful of guests around but we walked past them all and straight up to a Cast Member behind the desk who wasnt talking to someone. We explained the situation to her, and said we had no idea what to do now. She asked us to wait for a moment while she went off and found the Resort Manager. Within a few minutes, he came over to us I cant now recall his name, but he was absolutely wonderful. He quietly and with no fuss ushered us over to a quiet part of the reception, to a desk with a phone, and asked us who we had booked the holiday with. We told him Disney Holidays UK, but that the flights were booked separately with Virgin Atlantic. He immediately called the Virgin Atlantic 24-hour hotline for us, and let me talk to a quite unsympathetic and sticking-to-a-script advisor there. She told us that the next flight out of Orlando International airport would be at 20:45 hrs the next day, Sunday 28 October, but that for a fee she could change our original flights and get us onto that one. There would be a 64 charge per person as this flight was more expensive than our original one, and there would also be a 150 charge per person to make the change, although this could be reclaimed in the event of a death upon presentation of the death certificate. We discussed this, and were quite upset at the thought of not being able to start back until almost 24 hours later, but despite considering leaving from other airports or flying with other carriers, ultimately decided that this would be our best bet as we wouldnt have been able to start home any sooner with anyone else. Luckily, DS had brought her handbag down with her so we used her credit card and I authorised the change to be made.

    The Resort Manager then returned to us and asked whether we wanted him to cancel all our dining reservations, FastPasses, etc., or whether we still wanted to try and go to breakfast at Be our Guest the next morning. We decided that we just wanted to get back to the UK, and asked him to cancel everything for us. He told us that if they could do anything at all to help us further, just to come back to reception and let them know. He also said that the rooms were ours for as long as we wanted them for, we were not to rush to try and check out of them by 11:00 a.m. or whatever time. He was going to write notes on our records with them so that if we did have to come back to reception, we wouldnt have to explain everything again, and he then said that we were to contact Disney Holidays UK when we got back home to tell them what had happened and to see what they could do for us. He was so lovely, everything was done without a big fuss or a lot of noise, and he was so kind without being patronising. We all hugged and thanked him, and he wished us the best of luck, and said that he hoped this wouldnt put us off visiting Disney again and that he hoped to see us again at some point.

    We went back to the rooms, and DS rang dad again to tell him that the soonest we could start back would be the Sunday evening. He sounded fairly okay, but we thought he was putting on a front to reassure us. Then he told us to go shopping the next day he said that we had to go and get the things that mum and he were buying for us, and that this would stop us from moping around the resort all day. We had already decided we couldnt bear to go to a theme park for the day, but didnt really know what else we could do, so we agreed with him that we would spend the day at Disney Springs until we had to leave for the airport.

    When we finally hung up the phone, we talked it all through and agreed that a day at Disney Springs was probably the best thing to do under the circumstances. We also decided that we would take as many photos of the resort as we could on our phones the next day, and then when we got back we were going to tell mum we had been away for 2 weeks but that she had been quite ill during this time so she hadnt noticed how long we had been gone for; this way, we werent breaking our promise to her, we had actually gone on holiday, but she need not know that we had almost immediately returned. We thought we could explain the lack of park photos by saying the DH had taken them on his camera and we would show them to her at a later date.

    With nothing more to be done that night, we finally retired to bed to try and get some sleep, not that it would be easy, exhausted though we all were.

    DAY 2 Sunday 28 October

    Plan : Magic Kingdom, breakfast at Be Our Guest

    Actual : DH slept quite well almost from the moment he got into bed last night, and I slept surprisingly better than I expected. I awoke at around 7:30 a.m., DH was still snoring loudly, so I quietly went to the bathroom and then tapped on the connecting door between our rooms, to see if DS was awake. There was no reply, so I carefully and quietly eased the door open the lights were on, and I could smell shampoo, so thought maybe she was still in the shower. I softly called her name, whilst venturing further into the room and closing the connecting door behind me, but there was no response. I began to panic slightly, checked the bathroom only to find it empty, and then turned around to notice a note on the table it said, gone for a walk, back soon. Phew, although I have no idea what I thought might have happened to her.

    Anyway, I popped back and picked up my phone, before settling on a chair in DSs room to wait for her. I checked to see whether any further news had come through about mum, and I had received a WhatsApp message from my son saying that he hadnt heard from the hospital so was assuming mum had made it through the night. He had been in regular contact with dad and also with my daughter, to keep her updated.

    About 20 minutes later, DS came back to her room, and I called her name as she came in so I didnt make her jump. She said that she hadnt slept much at all, apart from a bit of dozing off, and had got up early, had a shower, and then felt like the walls were closing in on her so she had to go out for a walk. She had walked round the resort for a while, and the third time she passed one particular housekeeper who was driving around in a golf buggy, the housekeeper had stopped the cart and asked DS if she was okay. They ended up spending an hour together, with DS breaking down and telling her the whole story, before sobbing all over her shoulder. She told me that the housekeeper was absolutely lovely, so easy to talk to and so sympathetic. Apparently, she told DS that this sort of thing happens 3 or 4 times a week at a Disney resort, which initially took us both by surprise; however, when you think about it, there are thousands of guests at the resorts at any one time, and it stands to reason that some of those people will experience illness or loss of a family member during their time at Disney. When we thought about it logically, that made sense, and it also explained how the Cast Members we had encountered the night before had been able to deal with and assist us in such a seamless and non-fussy manner.

    I went back into our room and woke up DH, and we packed everything up into the cases and got ready for our day. This was the point at which I realised I hadnt actually tried on my Summer skirts before the holiday, as they were all miles too big! I managed to find one to wear that wasnt actually falling off me, but made a mental note to take them all in a bit before wearing them again next Summer they were all so uncomfortable and I felt foolish for not having tried them on before.

    Anyway, we put our travelling clothes on top of the packed cases, gathered up money and a bottle of water each, and headed out to drive over to the boat dock. We had decided to get the ferry boat across to Disney Springs, as DS hadnt done this before and we thought she would like the experience. We parked the car and walked through reception, past the food court, and then walked to the back of the resort to the boat dock. We discovered that the boats didnt start running for another 20 minutes, and debated whether to go and get some coffee in the food court, but then another couple of people turned up and we realised that if we left our post now, we would be at the back of any boat queue that might form, so we stayed put. We did take lots of photos of the area on our phones though, in order to show mum when we got back. We also realised that neither DS nor myself had received the opting-out-of-housekeeping gift card email, despite the Cast Member checking us in yesterday saying that it would be sent straight away. We hadnt been intending to use it anyway, as we hadnt earned it by being there for more than one day.

    Just before the boats were due to start running, one pulled into the dock and the skipper came and opened the gate for us, so we were first onto the boat and sat at the back. The boat filled up quite quickly, and we were soon pulling away from the dock and starting our journey to Disney Springs. The weather was lovely, blue skies and warm sun, and the views were really pretty I pointed out to DS the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs, somewhere I would love to stay one day. Under other circumstances, we would have really enjoyed the 20 minute journey.

    We docked at the Springs, and after disembarking, headed out towards the Marketplace. DS hadnt been there since all the changes had taken place, and originally we had been really looking forward to showing her around, taking her to the new Coca-Cola store, etc. We had even discussed going for a ride in the tethered balloon to show her the sights from up high. However, we didnt really stop to look at anything we had a job to do and we were determined to get as much of the planned shopping done as possible. Therefore, while DH followed us around and carried all the shopping, DS and I shopped like a pair of demons. I had a rough list of what we needed to get and from where, and we stuck to this. Normally, we would spot things we liked the look of, examine it further, and then decide to come back at a later point to either buy it or decide we didnt really want it after all. But this time we didnt have the luxury of time we grabbed things we wanted to get, without bothering to look at the price or to consider the purchase, and within 6 hours we spent almost $1k each. I went into the Alex & Ani shop and got myself a new Animal Kingdom bangle, but they didnt have a Hollywood Studios one in stock as that parks icon is yet to be decided. In Pandora I bought a new Disney Parks Castle bangle, along with a Partners charm and a new safety chain with Mickey climbing up it. We picked up some of the spirit jerseys that we wanted : the Christmas one, the Haunted Mansion one, and the Millennial Pink one, and I got DH a Haunted Mansion one and a different Christmas one. However, we couldnt find the Cotton Candy shirt, and were told in a couple of different stores that it had sold out. But we did find a gorgeous, peach-coloured jersey with rose-gold writing on it, and learnt that this is the Rose Gold Spirit Jersey, so DS and I both got one each, instead of the Cotton Candy one. I also got a matching waist-pack bag, which is really lovely. Sadly, there wasnt time to shop around for Christmas gifts for family members, and we also knew we wouldnt have time to get out to Walmart or Publix for any of the things we had needed to get from there.

    After about 3 hours of shopping, we needed a break, so grabbed a couple of pretzels from Wetzels Pretzels, plus coffee from the stall next to it. We sat in the seating area of the open-air theatre outside World of Disney for a rest and to enjoy our snack.

    Then we were off again! Poor DH was an angel, he just keep getting more and more loaded up with parcels, bags and packages, and then we would plonk him down on a wall somewhere with instructions not to move, while we shot off again into another store. Although we temporarily lost him once when he needed to make a restroom visit that we didnt know about! World of Disney had only opened the day before after a lengthy refurbishment, and we were really impressed with the new look and layout of the store, it was much easier to find things in there, and a lot easier to negotiate our way round too. We redeemed the vouchers for our $200 Disney Gift Card, received as part of the holiday package, and promptly spent them on various things in World of Disney, including a new pair of Holiday Minnie Ears each, although we couldnt find the Belle Ears that DS had been hoping to get. We also got some lovely t-shirts in new-to-us designs, packets of cheddar cheese popcorn, handfuls of rice krispie treats (that we could get as snack credits on the dining plan), and I got a bundle of Mickey-shaped candy lollipops for my boss at works kids. Every year we go, I usually get my daughter a new Christmas tree decoration, but I didnt have time to shop around for one this year so just grabbed the first one I saw, which happened to be a Tiki Room parrot. We had to buy a couple of huge reusable bags to hold this lot!

    Eventually, we ran out of steam and time. I hadnt gone into Basin to get any Christmassy Mickey soap, which I normally get, nor had we bought DH a dated pin, which we do every time we go, because that just didnt feel right this time. We also hadnt shopped in Ghirardelli, but the queue to get in was massive and by this point we were too exhausted to do anything else. As we began to walk back towards the boat dock, we saw a Star Wars pop-up shop had been installed in the old Little Mis-Matched sock store, so we went in there as we were looking for a couple of Darth Vader aerial toppers for my sons father-in-law he had had his stolen off his car a few weeks ago. We managed to get them, and again we also picked up a couple of handfuls of rice krispie treats in there, Star Wars-themed ones, plus a couple of bags of sour orange-flavoured candy balls, using snack credits.

    Arms at breaking point, we finally got back to the boat dock, where we only waited for a few minutes to board a boat. As we were sailing back towards the resort, I noticed DS was quietly crying I asked her if she was okay, and she said she was. She later told me it was because someone on the boat was wearing the same after-shave as dad does, and she was just wanting to get back to him by that point.

    We took everything back to our rooms and DH was an absolute star, managing to pack everything we had bought into the empty case inside the other case, meaning we would still only have one extra case to pay for on the return flight, rather than the two we should have done. DS packed her case-inside-a-case full of purchases, and we also put some stuff into our cases too, so it meant she wouldnt have to pay for a second case to come back. Although this did cause some confusion on our return, as we couldnt remember who had which Spirit Jersey, as we had bought some for each other as Christmas gifts! We did sort it out in the end, thanks to DSs amazing memory.

    At around 4.00 p.m., we loaded up the car, went to reception and checked out (with no fuss or explanations needed as to our late check-out time), and drove back to the airport. We dropped the car off at Dollar, and I explained that we hadnt been due to drop it off for another 12 days but that we were having to return to the UK due to a family illness, and they were really understanding and just accepted the car back with, again, no fuss.

    We checked in for the flight, dropped off our bags, and headed into the departure lounge. However, as per usual, we were unable to pass the Disney Store there, and found ourselves sucked into The Earport in order to spend a little more money! I found a lovely t-shirt for DH, and finally persuaded him to buy a 2018 WDW pin I know we wouldnt want to be reminded of our short visit to Walt Disney World this year, but I also felt that because we HAD been there, albeit briefly and sadly, DH needed a commemorative pin.

    Immigration and customs was packed, but luckily we had, for some reason, all been TSA pre-approved, so were able to bypass the crowds and get through very quickly. I dont know whether this was just by chance, or whether it was something to do with Virgin having organised this due to our circumstances, but we were very grateful all the same. I wanted to grab something to eat before we boarded, and also get some snacks for the flight, so once we had established which gate we were heading for, and had ridden the lovely monorail across to International Departures, DS and I went into the small newsagents in the departure lounge and got Cheetos, Lays, and some packets of M&Ms in several flavours we hadnt seen before. We all then went to Burger King and got burgers, chicken nuggets, coffee and soda.

    Nicely full of food, we headed for our gate, where we had about a 30 minute wait before boarding started. Because I had pre-booked exit row seats when I first made the flight booking, when we had had to rearrange the flight I had insisted we be given exit row seats again, and we were allocated seats in the middle of the plane, right by the galley. As we approached our seats, we could see a woman spreading hand luggage contents over all 3 of our seats, which was odd. We got to the row of seats and had to ask her to move everything! She tutted and looked most put out, but grabbed her stuff and moved to the row behind ours, which was where she was supposed to be sitting. Anyway, we were pleased with the position of these seats, they looked good, and we stowed our hand luggage in the lockers above before settling down. It felt really weird to be taking this flight again, less than 24-hours since we had landed in Florida.

    The flight went well, there was no real turbulence, although we were all too stressed to watch films or anything. Mostly I just listened to music and played games on the seat-back screen, although we all did manage to sleep quite a bit. Dinner was brought round about an hour after we took off, but I was still full of Burger King food so I declined. DH ate his meal, but DS just picked at hers as she was still full too. Not long after dinner, we all managed to fall asleep for a few hours.

    DAY 3 Monday 29 October

    Plan : Epcot

    Actual : We landed back in the UK at 7.30 a.m., and our luggage came out quite quickly. After walking through to the arrivals area, DH went outside for a cigarette and DS rang dad to let him know wed landed. He was very cagey with her on the phone, and kept saying he was just tired, but eventually DS asked him bluntly, what time?. At this point he broke down and said that mum had died at about 3.15 a.m. The hospital had called him at 3.00 a.m. to say she was deteriorating rapidly, but before he had even had chance to get dressed and try to get to the hospital, they called back to say she had slipped away in her sleep. Apparently, the pneumonia had gained a huge grip on her and couldnt be stopped, and then she had very quickly developed sepsis, which was what finally stole her away from us.

    DH came back into the terminal and held us while we cried. I rang the car parking company to tell them that instead of us collecting the car in 2 weeks, we had had to return due to family illness and could we have our car back now please. The company were absolutely wonderful, they were so helpful and said that it would take them about 30 minutes to extricate our car from the back of the car park, but to stay inside the terminal where it was warm and they would ring us when they were there. We went to sit inside the terminal near to the collection point, and no-one knew what to say or do. We made pointless small talk for half an hour, and then Maple Parking rang to say the car was there, so we gathered everything up and went outside.

    The drive back seemed to take forever, although we made really good time and werent held up much by roadworks. DH was very tired, and we had to make one stop at a service station to fuel him up with coffee and also to get some fuel for the car. DS rang dad when we were about an hour away, he said he had been watching out of the window for us but we told him we would be about another hour.

    Eventually, we arrived back at his house, he was so pleased to see us that it made us wish we hadnt gone in the first place, although we could only take comfort from knowing that we had done what mum had told us to do, and had gone on holiday.

    We learned that my son had been wonderful over the last couple of days, and had visited mum a lot, giving the hospital his phone number as secondary contact in case they couldnt get hold of dad at any point. He had even phoned my brother, who lives in Texas, and had given his phone to mum so that she could speak to her son for what none of us realised would be the last time.

    Once we were able to start thinking about the holiday again, a week or so later, when we had copies of mums Death Certificate, we contacted Disney Holidays UK only to find that they had refunded almost all of our holiday cost. They apologised that they had to charge us for one nights stay, explaining that the rooms had still needed to be cleaned ready for the next guests, but they didnt charge us at all for occupying our rooms until late afternoon on the day we left. They also refunded the non-refundable Fireworks Dessert Party cost, in full. (I subsequently used my holiday refund to pay for our already-booked December 2019 trip to Walt Disney World.) They didnt ask us for a copy of the Death Certificate, either which I had expected them to.

    Once I had emailed them with a copy of the Death Certificate, Holiday Extras refunded our entire parking cost, and sent us a very kind and supportive email, saying that both themselves and Maple Parking had no hesitation in refunding us in full, despite the fact that the car had been there for almost 2 days and they had had to go to the trouble of digging it out of the back of the car park for us!

    Dollar, through Rentalcars, refunded almost 300 of the car hire cost, which I hadnt expected, as I really didnt think they would be interested, but they surprised me.

    I contacted Orlando Tickets Direct, and sent them the Death Certificate and a scan of the unused Halloween Horror Nights tickets, but they would not refund them at all, unfortunately. I then discovered that for the first time in my life I had left the tickets at home anyway, and hadnt even taken them on holiday with me!

    Finally, I contact my travel insurance company, who sent me a form to complete. One page of this form had to be completed by the doctor of the person who had caused us to cut short the trip, so I rang mums GPs surgery to ask for an appointment. The receptionist told me I couldnt make an appointment with the doctor as I wasnt registered there, but to drop off the form and she would ensure the doctor got it. Over the next few weeks this turned into a bit of a drama, with me being told a different story by each and every receptionist I spoke to, including that the form couldnt be completed due to patient confidentiality, (but - the patient is deceased!), and finally the doctor herself saying that she could not complete this form as it clearly needed to be filled in by my own GP I dont think she understood what the travel insurance company were asking for. I wrote on the form that the GP practice were not willing to give the details they were asking for, and sent it off along with a copy of mums death certificate. Unfortunately, they then emailed me to say that in order to validate the claim, they need the medical certificate to be completed by the GP of the person who had caused us to curtail the trip. To date, I am still working on this one ..

    This has been the hardest trip report I have ever written, but I wanted to document what had happened because this is what I normally do, and any semblance of normality is extremely welcome at the moment. This isnt something that any of us will ever get used to, but we need to learn to live with the loss of a dearly beloved family member, which is extremely hard to do.

    So whats next? A road trip around Las Vegas, Disneyland, and (possibly) the Grand Canyon in June 2019, followed by a trip to Florida in December 2019 to take in Kennedy Space Centre and a tiny bit of Floridas Space Coast, before moving to Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort for 14 nights. Watch this space!

    Thank you for allowing me to write and post this trip report, and I hope it didnt prove too disappointing or traumatic for any of my readers. Until next time, have a Tiggerific day!

    (Enjoy reading trip reports? Why not try my books, "Tiggerific Travels" - all 4 books available now as e-books)

  2. # ADS

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  3. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Drexel Hill, PA

    I am so sorry about the loss of your mother. Im sure she knows that you were with her spiritually

  4. #3
    Registered User ericles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Maryland's Eastern Shore

    I'm sorry for the loss your family has experienced. It was nice to read how accommodating many of the travel professionals you worked with were.

  5. #4
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Sacramento, CA

    Carolyn ~ my deepest condolences to you and your family for the loss of your mother.

    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013

  6. #5
    Registered User Silvercat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Birmingham, UK

    Thank you all, I do appreciate your kind comments. It has been really hard for us all, and my dad isn't coping too well at the moment - it's like he's lost a part of himself. All we can do is be there for him as much as we can, and hope that time does indeed help to heal him. It means a lot to me though to know I have members of this board supporting me.


    (Enjoy reading trip reports? Why not try my books, "Tiggerific Travels" - all 4 books available now as e-books)

  7. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Shores of Lake Erie

    Silvercat- so sorry for your loss. Please let your dad know that we are sending healing and peaceful thoughts to him.
    I’m glad that you were able to find helpful and sympathetic cast members to help you get back home to your family.

  8. #7

    I am so sorry for your familys loss. Best of luck to you all.

  9. #8

    I'm so sorry, Carolyn. You have my deepest sympathy.


    "A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference." --Eeyore

  10. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    So sorry for your loss of your Mother.

  11. #10

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I truly hope you get to plan a new trip in the very near future.

  12. #11

    I am so sorry for your loss and your shortened trip. While it is very difficult you can and should hold onto the fact you fulfilled her wishes of going on the holiday - maybe not the trip you or her had hoped for but it nevertheless was her desire for you. Many hugs and prayers

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  13. #12

    I'm so very sorry for your loss and I hope with the passing of time, you will be able to think of your mom without the heartbreak that you must be feeling still at this time. Disney really is incredible with how they treat their guests during these difficult times. It is what makes us want to return over and over again to our Happy Place.

  14. #13

    What a hard time that was for you all. I am deeply sorry it turned out as it did. Hugs.
    And thank you, as your details may help someone else in the future.

  15. #14

    Thoughts and prayers for you and your family during this difficult time.

    Past Trips: 2006-POR; 2008-POP; 2009-CBR; 2010-VB/AKV Kidani; 2010-BLT; 2011-BWV; 2011-AKV Kidani; 2013-BCV/BLT; 2014-AKL Jambo (Concierge); 2015-SSR/OKW; 2016 BCV/AKV Kidani; 2018 BWV; 2019 Mar-BLT/Sept-AKV Jambo



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