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Florida Guide > Travelling

What a trip this was! Part 1

Our first trip to Orlando could very well have been our last. So many things went wrong that it is hard to believe that only a few months later we decided to go back, and then buy a villa! It just shows how much we love being in Orlando!

It all started off so well. Our good friends had agreed to accompany us on this, our first trip to Orlando and the theme parks, and we decided to combine a week in Orlando with a week’s cruise. So far, so good. After a lot of investigation we finally booked our holiday, and thought that all we had to do was sit back and cross off the days.

How wrong could we have been? A few weeks later, when we met up with our friends, they had some bad news. The husband was going into hospital for a heart by-pass, and had been told that he would not be fit to travel, so we would have to go on our own. We were devastated. We were so looking forward to being with them and enjoying all the fun of the theme parks together, but there was nothing we could do but wish him well, and hope that we could arrange something with them another time. So there we were, on our own, so to speak!

The weeks went by, our friend has his operation and was making a steady recovery and our trip to Orlando finally arrived. With great excitement we packed our suitcases and set off for Gatwick. We were flying with American Trans Air (or ATA for short) and the flight was via Gander in Newfoundland. I expect you are thinking that it was a very odd way to go, but we had no idea quite how odd the journey would be.

American Trans Air is, sadly, no more. It went the way of so many airlines after 9/11. Rising fuel costs and diminishing passenger traffic forced them into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and eventually they failed. But at the time they were a scheduled airline with a route from Gatwick to Orlando International Airport. Their aeroplanes, we now know, were rather old Tri-stars, a good old workhorse much used by the RAF, but definitely not the most comfortable or roomy. But we didn’t mind. We were excited at the prospect of visiting Orlando and the parks for the first time, and to be honest we would have pedalled our way across the Atlantic just to get there.

We had decided to have a couple of relaxing days before our flight, but our departure was delayed due to a problem with our business – we had to sack our manageress for theft! Could it get any worse? It is 10. 30 pm before we set off for our overnight stay at a hotel, and its midnight before we arrive. Unfortunately, as soon as we walk in the room we can smell mould – the kiss of death to me as an asthmatic. We are told there are no other rooms so we have to make the best of it. But by the morning I am breathless and coughing. Oh dear me, what else can go wrong?

Luckily I have oral steroids with me, for just such a situation, so I take them quickly and we get on the road. We ring the Jarvis Hotel in Crawley, where we are to spend the night, and they are very helpful when we explain the situation. They say they will try to find us a room as soon as we arrive and to come immediately. The reception staff are brilliant, and we are soon settling into our comfortable rooms. It’s a bit like an oven, even with the air con on, but we decide to go shopping so we aren’t too worried.

Maybe now things will improve?

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Page added on: 15 July 2011
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