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Published: October 23rd 2019
So, it's been a while and I don't think anyone reads these anymore but my kids want to start looking into what their parents got up to in the olden days so I'm going to make another effort on these pages!
Quick update, surprisingly we've not had any more kids since our last blog, the big three are now all at school (p6, p4 and p1) and Martha will be two in a few weeks time.
We're actually just back from another holiday (October 2019) which is the opposite of what I'm writing about here, this trip to Florida (October 2018) was a full on exhausting adventure and next month we're going to the Isle of Barra in the Scottish Outer Hebrides for some much needed unplugging off-grid time.
I've been doing a lot of traveling with my work, I visited Canada last month which became the 42nd country I've visited. Which is quite an achievement when I think by the age of 20 I had visited four and by the age of 40 I've seen 42 and counting.
In other news we're in the process of emigrating!
I accepted a job in Houston, Texas and
we're currently going through an exhausting visa application process to complete all the necessary paperwork to move the family out there. Another adventure that we're all looking forward to, but for now back to Florida 2018....
So this trip was initially booked for 2017 but with the timing of Fiona's pregnancy with Martha it meant she was too far on for our booked return flight to be covered on our insurance! We lost our deposit on the villa, which we were okay with as we had decided we wanted to be elsewhere with a baby, but thankfully Virgin Atlantic were excellent with us and after initially saying they would allow us to move our non changeable tickets for $150 per adult and kids for free when we came to rebook they waived the adult charge too, which was greatly appreciated and we had excellent flights with them.
The flight was excellent, we had a direct flight from Glasgow to Orlando which was around 7.5 hours which is almost double the kids longest flight to date but they loved it, having entertainment systems in their seats was a real novelty compared to the no frills European flights they've been
on to date and We also had the bulkhead seats which was great for an 10 month old Martha who was able to sit on the floor and climb all over the half full flight. Coming back was a night flight and most of us rested, we booked seats upstairs for the return and it was a bit bumpy at times and Lois didn't cope well and ended up getting taken off the flight in a wheelchair as she was so ill, poor dog.
We landed and picked up our car after I was suckered into upgrading into this massive machine which I absolutely loved and have embarrassingly bought when we got back home but as I packed the cases into the car I threw my back out.... It was pretty sore but I got through that night in the hot tub with some beers then bed but the next day I was in agony with shooting pains right up my left hand side into my neck, on day one i was buckled!! A quick and expensive (although fully refunded through our insurance) trip to the ER that morning I got some great pills that got me through the
weekend and only pushed our agenda back a couple of days.
We were staying in a new resort called Champions Gate and our villa had its own pool and hot tub but also on site was a brilliant communal pool with slides, laps pool and lazy river and most importantly Tiki bar, everything was pretty expensive with the pound being Brexitly terrible but we worked out a way to keep the bar costs down.
I had a plan of sorts before we went, we were there for 22 days and had 14 days tickets for all Disney Parks as well as day tickets for Legoland and NASA booked upfront, we wanted to have some rest days at the pool in-between but in truth we ended up doing something, either a morning or a night at one of the parks on our rest days too. We did take the two full weekends off other than Lois (our eldest) and I taking another three hour round trip to NASA on a Sunday while Fiona and the others chilled at home.
That second day trip to NASA wasn't without incident, firstly we shouldn't really have went.... We all had a
one day ticket and visited the previous Saturday but after the long drive down Fiona had to rush one of the kids to the restroom, I dropped them off at the gate and parked the car and walked in with the others, however I had all the tickets but the ladyon the gate had already let Fiona and Flynn in to use the restroom so I only scanned one adult and three kids tickets to get in, leaving one adult and one kids ticket, valid for seven days, unused.
Now that seven day validity point is key.... The next SUNDAY we were having a chilled day and I then had the bright idea that Lois and I could use the tickets we got away with the last time, quite sneaky but we loved it there and Lois wanted to buy some souvenirs so I justified it to myself and off we went, on the way down I decided to take a detour to break up the journey a bit and not replicate the route from the previous week and ended up on a back road with an alligator blocking the carriageway which was kinda cool seeing as my car
was about 8 feet up in the air but we drove on the grass past it, got to NASA and parked up.
We walked up, casual like, and tried to scan the tickets. I was sure I had kept the unused ones separate but brought them all just in case. The first two tickets were refused, no matter, I thought I'd made a mistake but when the second adult ticket was red crossed to I knew there was a problem. The security guard came over and checked my ticket, "these tickets ran out yesterday Sir, they were valid for seven days from when you cashed them in". Noooooo, I couldn't believe it so tried to appeal to her good nature, saying we've driven a long way, I may have said from Scotland, to be there and my daughter would be upset if we missed it at which point she directed me to the ticket booth where I could purchase a new ticket. I tried to plead our case and at this point a supervisor had noticed us and shouted over asking what was going on, "these tickets ran out yesterday the guard replied", "well open the gate and let
them in" replied the supervisor.
We were delighted, and I went to thank the supervisor who told me to put the tickets in the trash and if asked say my daughter had lost them. A star, I thanked her and we went on to have another great day. On the way home we got stuck just before a road bridge that opened up to let ships pass, which was kinda cool for the first 30 minutes but after waiting an hour I was over it.
So, villa was great, the resort was outstanding - the kids had a games room, cinema and arcade and we had a bar serving food so we visited it a lot. NASA was amazing although the little ones got a bit bored and ended up running about in the water feature for the last hour... I really enjoyed Legoland but the kids were a bit meh, it was a hot then rainy day then and we were all tired but although we had week long multiple entry tickets for free they didn't want to go back. We did stop for dinner in a little town called Dundee, the same as me and the
kids birth town back home, on the way home from Legoland and had some amazing ribs opposite the Dundee United church where I stopped to pray that my own Dundee United Football Club would stop being absolutely shit, a year later and we just lost 4-0 last Saturday to a terrible team so that didn't really work out for me although we are still top of the division so I'm not giving up hope. We've got the Mudie family derby this weekend, my town (Dundee United) versus Fiona's home town (Dunfermline Athletic) so let's see who wins out there....
The absolute star of the vacation was undoubtedly the Disney parks. We loved them all for different reasons and visited them all at least twice (Epcot and Animal Kingdom) and the other two four times at least, I think we went to a Disney attraction 13 days of our 14 day tickets. The weekends were crazy busy and we only went either opening to lunch or 6pm to close for the fireworks but we had 10 week days of 10+ hours each day which was exhausting. Martha was in her stroller but after day two we had to take an
extra stroller for our four year old Flynn. It was 90+ every day and the kids were exhausted every night, as were their parents, but every day was just outstanding.
I think my favourite was Hollywood Studios as I loved all the Toy Story and Star Wars stuff, Fiona loved Animal Kingdom and the kids would probably all choose Magic Kingdom as their favourite purely for the character meet and greets.
All the rides were amazing, my favourite was probably Thunder Mountain Rail Road or Splash Mountain which both absolutely terrified me the first time but I loved every other time we went on. Flynn couldn't get enough of the Flying Carpet Aladdin ride, Lois loved the excellent Frozen ride in Epcot, Ella loved the Goofy rollercoaster and Fiona was very competitive in the Buzz Lightyear space rangers game while Martha loved the Winnie the Pooh boat ride.
All in an absolutely brilliant vacation, we had one scary day in the resort pool when a mad thunder and lightening storm came out of nowhere and we all had to get out of the water pronto and shelter but it was over in 30 minutes and we went
back into the water.
I'm sure there is a tonne of stuff I've missed but anyway, that was Florida 2018.
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