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Florida - April 2022 - Travelling Home

Updated: May 22, 2022

What a beautiful noise Comin' up from the street

The last day of a trip is never great. Getting up knowing that you are leaving all the sunshine and beauty behind coupled with a long day of waiting ahead followed by an overnight flight and then a 3-hour drive home with all the security and immigration hassles in-between is definitely not great. Yet is it all worth it – without a doubt.

In sympathy the weather was cloudy when our alarm went off at 7am. We took our time with breakfast outside and with the remaining packing. Our cases were noticeably fuller and heavier coming home as we must have bought more than we realised. By 9.55am the car was fully loaded, and we were ready to sadly leave the villa for the last time. We had asked for a later check out time, but there were new guests arriving in the villa later today.

Our first stop was to fill the car with gas, and I managed to squeeze in $40 to fill it to the brim. Then as planned we headed to Coronado Springs to spend the time until we needed to get to the airport. We didn’t have a Plan B at that point and so were delighted when we were waved straight through to the car park.

There were some lovely tables in the shade overlooking the Lake near the café, so we grabbed one of those and settled ourselves in. For about 3 hours we sat, admired the view, people watched and read our Kindles. It was actually rather relaxing and peaceful.

Around 2pm we headed over to the outside pool where we went into the changing area and had a quick shower and changed. I then put on my compression stockings ready for the flight. These are tight and difficult enough to get on at the best of times alone in a public changing area. Eventually I managed and re-joined Karen who was already outside waiting.

We had decided against eating at this Hotel because of the Disney prices and choice. Instead, Karen had for some reason been fancying a MacDonald’s all trip and even more so at the large newish one on Disney property. So, we drove the short distance to it. It was cool and clean, and the food was good. I think MacDonald’s have really nailed it with their self-ordering points as it enables fussy order’ers like the two of us to adapt the burger in all sorts of ways.

At 3.30pm we left Disney for the last time and drove the 30 minutes to the airport. The car rental drop off was fine and we made our way to baggage drop. The queue was quite short but was being held up by what we both described as a ‘skanky’ British family checking in for their Gatwick flight which departed in less than an hour’s time. They had so many bags some of which were very overweight when meant they spent ages moving things from some bags to another. They had 2 pushchairs to check in as well as a wheelchair. It seemed to take forever, and I didn’t think they stood much chance of getting through security before boarding closed for their flight, but they seemed in no rush whatsoever. Why would anyone leave it so late to arrive at the airport?

Anyhow we dropped our bags and made our way to security where there was a 15-minute wait but as we had plenty of time we weren’t too concerned. We found our gate and sat and waited for boarding to be called. Karen got herself a Starbucks whilst we waited. They got her order wrong, refunded her money, and then made the correct drink for free.

We were again seated in the front row of Premium Economy but this time in the middle. There was the usual 45-minute delay in taking off due to paperwork issues allegedly. The service was poor. There was no drinks round, instead we were given 2 with our meals. I had some dry chicken. I then watched another episode of Succession before trying to get some sleep. I think I managed 2 – 3 hours.

I knew it was approaching time for breakfast and so decided to go to the toilet. Upon my return they were then serving Karen and had to move to let me into my seat. I wasn’t offered breakfast but assumed they would just come back to me. They didn’t return until they cleared up just before landing. I was not impressed especially as we not in cattle class. British Airways is no longer the premium product it once was.

Once we got off the plane it was a very long walk to Passport Control, and I started to wonder if we had landed at Gatwick by mistake and were then walking back to Heathrow. Getting into the queue for immigration was a scrum but once we were in the queue despite it being extremely long it kept moving. The bags had just started to come onto the carousel once we got there and ours were soon off.

As usual, Sunny was very efficient and quick in bringing our car round to pick us up and we were soon in the slow traffic on the M25. Around Newmarket I needed to stop as I could feel tiredness overcoming me. We had a cuppa from Starbucks and a Sausage Roll from Greggs to try to revive me, which it did just enough to enable to drive the rest of the way home.

And so that was it, another trip done. Just the photos to sort out and the dreaded credit cards to pay off. It was good to be home and it’s just another 6 weeks till we are back off again to California this time with my milestone birthday celebrations in between.

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