Day 22 – Going Home | The First Time 2011

25th August 2011

Animal Kingdom, Rainforest Café and MCO-Gatwick

And finally, the very, very last day of our first trip to Orlando *cries* It initially took me 6 months to write this last post – I don’t know why – a mixture of not going to my favourite Disney forum, the Dibb so often, and also because I knew that writing this would mean that it is really over! I mean, I know it’s over, but that last trip report makes it so final!

What I am going to love about writing this last day though is reliving it through my words and pictures, it may be sparce, as I don’t remember too much detail like I have on most of the previous days of my trippie, but I’ll do my best!

I’m happy to say that we’re planning on going back in August 2013 for the same length of time, and I plan on trip reporting my heart out again – I’ve love writing them, I hope you’ve loved reading them too!

So…our last day…up early so we could get to the Virgin Check In desk at Downtown Disney. I can’t remember the time we got there – maybe 7:30 am? Maybe 8:00am? It was empty, only a few people in front of us, and I’m glad we got there that time as quite a queue grew behind us.

Here’s how we managed to get all our luggage into the car…

We actually paid for 2 extra cases *blush* because we bought so much stuff! And we did panic because on one we were about a kilo over, but the lady weighing the bags let it go through. Whilst waiting in line and realising that we were going to be finished a lot quicker than anticipated, we rummaged through to find our Disney passes to get one last look at one of the parks. I don’t know what part of us thought we wouldn’t do that…but still, passes found and everything re-packed, we waved goodbye to our luggage and got back in the car to go to Animal Kingdom!

I’m not sure why we picked that one now, but it’s where we headed, and en route we put a few bucks worth of petrol in to make sure we had enough as we were bordering on empty.

Why, ‘hello Animal Kingdom!’…aww, it’s making me feel all bleary eyed looking back at our last day’s pics!

We parked, it would seem, in Unicorn and caught the tram thing to the entrance …or did we walk? Well, we got there somehow!

One of our original Advance Dining Reservations was at the Rainforest Café in Downtown Disney, but somewhere along the line we cancelled it and so decided that on our last day we’d nip into the one in Animal Kingdom for a spot of brekkie.

Two things about the Rainforest Café – it’s dark and it’s LOUD. Even early in the morning when it is pretty empty – the sound of the animals is deafening – one to avoid if you don’t like noise!

Considering it wasn’t busy, our server didn’t have much time for us, which was a shame, but none the less, after having a gander at the menu, we decided on a drinks and food. I think Steve had an iced coffee and I’m sure I had a smoothie of sorts. Liam probably had a juice.

I remember having Eggs Benedict, Steve had French Toast with fruit and Liam had waffles with a side of bacon…(the pics tell me so ^_^),

I also remember the food being not very hot…not painting too good a pic for this place am I?

But at $56.68 for breakfast I expect a *little* bit more! Official names ahoy – I had Benedict Bamba, Steve had Tonga Toast and Liam, Cha Cha Wild Waffle…and lots of drinks too…$3.19 for coffee? What was I thinking?! Oh hindsight, you are marvellous (won’t be spending so much on food next time around!)

Came out of the restaurant via the gift shop and giant fruit columns and walked outside into the park to rain…nothing surprising – we had it most days – but I sure do miss that warm rain!

I also remember us having some sort of problem with our tickets…the problem being that they were actually 21 day tickets!!!!!! So we still had 7 days left on them *sobs* We could have activated them right at the start of our holiday. We only bought 14, so don’t know what happened there…next time around we will go for a 21 day pass, simply so that on the odd day or evening we can pop to a Disney park for an ice cream or just to have a wander. I can’t wait to plan our second trip!!

Any way, into the park, and now I remember why we went back to Animal Kingdom…it was the only Disney park that we visited once, (which, is a lie, since we only went to Epcot once too!) and, somehow, the first time around, we missed seeing the Tree of Life! So we made a beeline for that, and wow, is it awesome!

Looks like we stumbled upon Flik! We didn’t have our autograph book as that was packed, but the Photo Pass Photographer had some index cards and a pen and Flik signed his name for Liam ^_^

We then traversed the l-o-n-g queue walkway to ‘It’s Tough To Be A Bug’ – there was no queue, but getting to the attraction is long! This is a great show, love it!

And after a little more of a wander around, and a last minute shopping trip in the gift shop where I bought the most awesome Mickey cookie jar… LOVE…we headed back to the car. Waved goodbye to Animal Kingdom with a tear in our eye… *wipes real tears as I type*


We made our way back to Downtown Disney – not sure why, something to do – have a wander I think…

Bought a drink in House of Blues, which I thought was very cool inside, and will try and get there next time.

I also gushed at the Pumpkin Mickey’s in the Disney Quest store…

…didn’t buy anything though as was already worried about getting on the plane with this extra bag (my cookie jar) I was lugging around.

We then, with a heavy heart, made the decision that we really should head to the airport…

We drove into a crazy rain storm on the way and had to slow right down to about 5 miles an hour O_o But I really did love driving out there – look at the size of the roads for crying out quietly! Can’t wait to drive out there again!

Just followed the signs to drop off the car (we’d already changed once during our trip, so knew where to go) and then yanked everything out of the trunk and hauled it all to the airport…

No problems through security – with our big box though they asked if it was a snow globe (I guess for the liquid rule?) which it wasn’t and that was that…we got some McDonalds for a late lunch, I went into a newsagents and bought a couple of mags for the flight – couldn’t buy any chewing gum though, so if you need to chew for the descent and ear popping thing, do it before going to the airport!

We then decided we should just get on the monorail and to the gate and wait to be called for our flight…

And here we are…the home stretch…

Did a bit of duty free shopping, panicked about the extra stuff we had bought and had to carry on…especially when they announced ‘only one carry on per person’. You could see the panic on a lot of people’s faces who’d obviously done some last minute shopping!

One plane to get on…

And the wait…

Since Hurricane Irene was making its way toward Florida at this point – or had it just skimmed by, by now? Well, whatever it was, I had a mild panic attack on the plane and a lovely steward came and held my hand and said all would be fine – just a tad bumpy -and he wasn’t wrong! I think we had our seat belts on all the way home – and one of the times I got up to nip to the loo, was the time the plane decided to do a nice drop in the sky O_O A steward even knocked on the door and suggested I take my seat…yeah, I’m right there mate!

The food home was no better than dire…! I know plane food is bad, but this was a whole other level!

Starter was a Caesar Salad…

Main was the most foul Salmon Pasta Dish…nom…I don’t think so!

And whilst Steve and I tried to sleep most of the way home (although we were so cramped as the people in front reclined for the whole journey *sad face*), Liam didn’t and watched films – I said he’d be sorry once we landed back in England!

So after a rocky flight, I was praising the Lord to be back on terra firma, and vowed never to set foot on a plane again (I always say that, and always get back on!) We landed, I think about 8am ish…the flight was a lot shorter than going, all the wind from Hurricane Irene behind us helped…! >_<

We’d given my dad our landing time and texted him once we landed to say that we were back in Blighty all safe and sound and that we would meet him soon at the agreed spot (outside the Hilton Hotel, where he dropped us 3 weeks previous.)

All our stuffs! And Dad joking that we’d have to put Liam on the roof ^_^ There are three big suitcases you can’t see!

I told Liam he would be sorry…he fell asleep as soon as he sat in the car!

We’re about an hour or so away from Gatwick, so after talking my dad’s ears off about how awesome it is to drive in the States, and about all the things we did, we came home to a pile of mail, and a nice welcome home from my sisters ^_^

Liam went straight to bed, Steve and I decided to fight it for as long as possible…I even went into town to get my nails done lol…but then we decided that we couldn’t fight it any longer and hit the hay mid afternoon for a few hours.

When we woke up, we started unpacking…look at all our American food!

A lot of it was actually gifts for my 2 sisters and brother – we had been given a list of things to buy lol. With the staying in a villa, we only had the last day’s washing to do – yahoo! And then we had to find homes for all our new things!

And look at all my lovely magnets! It’s the one souvenir I always buy, wherever we go!

The next day, and not feeling too worse for wear, we popped to my parents to see everyone, share the photos/videos etc and bore the pants off them all with our holiday memories! My Minnie Ears which I wore all the way home from Orlando went on for this pic of me with my sisters, and are now tucked away for our next trip in 2013!

And that, dear readers, is it…it’s been a wonderful journey to tell you our story!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading (I know I’ve said that already), I hope that on some levels it’s been helpful, especially for first timers, and I hope that the random pictures that I did take show the things that you might not always see and wonder about whilst planning your Walt Disney World holiday!

Any questions, please, feel free to ask – I’m always happy to help!

Roll on 2013 and our second trip of a lifetime!


All photos from this day can be found on my Flickr!

Read the next day:
Our trip is over! But you can read my final report:
Back Home A Week: A First Timers Highs and Not So Highs

Read the previous day:
Day 21 – Goodbye Mr. Mouse: Magic Kingdom, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café and Bahama Breeze

Read ALL the days:
Orlando, Florida Vacation, Flashback Friday Series Index