In all of my 10+ years of planning vacations for me and the kids NEVER and I mean NEVER has so much gone so wrong in such a huge way. Yikes, here is the story of the vacation I could not wait to have end, oh and it was NOT because of the kids.
We fly from New York City to Orlando. When we stop in Raleigh. I call the travel place and ask the exact location of the condo we are renting. The condo owners have not returned, messages, emails or phone calls and I am worried. The agent gives me an address and I realize it is a series of numbers 2631-2729…..I ask which number is it that is a spread of almost 100 numbers, she tells me that is the address on file so OK fine maybe it is a gated community with an office I can clearly see when I get there. No problem.
When we get to Orlando the line for the rental car place is a mile long. We stand and wait for over an hour. Get to the desk and they say “Oh someone canceled your reservation.” OK no we did not and here I am sooooo, well they tell me that they cannot help. I offer cash and a credit card as back up and they tell me they do not take cash. Welllllllll I have no other credit card because I have always paid cash and used the card for liabilities with this agency and now suddenly I cannot do it. Soooo I have to wait for the money to be deposited into my account because on top of the car rental at full price, not reduced like originally, they wanted a 300.00 hold fee. OK just paid for the condo don’t have a ton of cash on my card but YOU won’t take it on my hand. Try other rental places same story.
We arrived at the airport at 7pm. When I finally get the money on the card and we leave it is 2:30 in the morning. Kids are beyond exhausted as am I. They sleep and I drive. I go to the address the agency gave me and it is a distribution center and truck stop. Crap wrote it down wrong. Called the travel people again they verify it is the address on record. I tell them it is a truck stop and a distribution center and they tell me they will call the owners. OK I have tried that since Friday to no avail but go ahead. At 4:40 in the morning, after just under an hour on the phone, they can’t reach the place can I go somewhere else for the night? I explain I have no idea where I am, have three kids in the car and already paid for a place to stay. They offer me a coupon for a night. I sigh in frustration fine whatever where shall I go. I spend 20 more minutes on the phone and am told “There are no places to stay in that area, why don’t you go to each hotel and see if they give you a different answer. We will refund your money in 5-15 business days, which is against our policy but since the situation is what it is they will do it.”
I burst into tears and said “So your agent sent me to a bogus location in the middle of freaking no where, it is 5 in the morning and I have no room to stay in, no money for a room because you will not give me a refund and you are not able to help anymore?” They apologize and remind me it is not their position to give refunds without talking to the place I booked with. I had to hang up, the words I wanted to say were so full of anger, frustration and pure hatred I had to hang up. I was scared half to death, literally had no idea where I was, where to go or what to do. I offer up a prayer in desparation “Please God give me clarity to help me see myself out of this situation.” A voice in my brain said “Well here at the truck stop is safe enough for the moment, so think here and don’t go anywhere out in the dark.” I focused on my breathing, thanked goodness the kids were passed out asleep and then it dawned on me Disney Resorts.
I call the resorts and ask if they have a room, they said they have two. I asked if I could check in now or was it after 10 they told me that I could check in anytime after 7. I thanked her, I mean what was two more hours at least we had a plan. She then said “Oh wait come over if you are near the rooms are ready and it is close enough.” I thanked her and God and drove to the resorts. We check in at 6:20am and get a room. We collapse into bed and sleep for three hours, why because we are meeting my Army buddy at Magic Kingdom at 10. Yikes what a night.
After a few hours we got up to start. Off to Magic Kingdom.
Please note the lack of blue skies and sunshine in this shot. Oh well, we can walk and have fun in the shade. Ummm no turned to downpours, like holy hannah downpours which lasted on and off for the day. They got out the squeegies, no kidding and were shoving water down the drain it was raining so hard at time. Sigh..oh well we could dodge for a bit but then the wear of the lack of sleep and soaking wet clothes started taking their toll. M2 was ready to snap everyone’s head off and N was pretending to be injured. Fortunately, my buddy said that it was fine and we called it a day.
We go to the hotel and the keys don’t work. Of course they do not work. I go to the desk and have to wait 30 minutes. They tell me that my reservation was for the night before and today not today and tomorrow. I almost start to cry again, I said why would I have made a reservation for a night I was not there and when I checked in at 6am this morning I was clear it was for one night and we would leave tomorrow. The woman was pleasant and off she went. She came back 15 minutes later and said it was resolved. The record did show I asked for one night and had only checked in that day so clearly there was an error at their end. I walk back to the room after assurances that my belongings were still there. It is 10pm before we collapse into bed again.
At 8:30 there is a LOUD knock on the door. Great three of us have PTSD and you decide to pound the door. I tell them we are good and that we know we have to leave this am. I get the kids up and we start to pack as I get another hotel room. We are booked and again at 9:15 there is another LOUD bang on the door, bejesus I am going to have a heart attack before this was over. I open the door and she tells me we have to leave. I remind her check out is 11 and as she can see we are in fact packing up. We go out and stop at the cafeteria to get a bite to eat the check out employee and said “Are these three yours? I feel bad for your husband.” I wanted to bite her head off but bit my lip and walked away. We checked out and we went to Universal Studios.
See it was sunny YEAH!!!!! We spent the day there (more on the in part two) and left a bit early so we could get to the hotel before it was too late. We go to check in and there are three people in front of us. It take over 20 minutes to get checked in. The staff person was so freaking rude I was shocked, oh well maybe she was having a bad day. She gave us a room key and off we go. We go to the room and someone’s stuff is in there. Yep suitcases, bags and clothes. We go back and she is all upity suggesting I was incorrect. Umm no, we get a new room and it is empty. It smells funky like musty but oh well it is clean so we crash again for another night’s sleep. Get up in the Am and go to breakfast. The staff was telling one couple to lie about their kids ages to get discounts and then one staff literally cut right in front of me at the breakfast line to get some food. Sigh…..breathe you don’t look good in pinstripes……
Kids decide after breakfast they wanted to swim. OMG I love the water but the water was FREEZING!!! Like seriously if it was 60 degrees I am shocked. Sooo we spend about 30 minutes in the water and then had to call it quits. Yes this is what we felt like
We went to Universal again and had some more fun (more later I promise). Three quarters of the way into our trip M2 has melt down, like world class, I have to explain to a group of strangers she is in the spectrum melt down. The issue she has a blister on her toe. Thankfully, one staff person came up to me and said “Look if a band aid would help I can show one of your other daughters where the health station is so they can grab one.” M1 jumps up I think from concern and embarassment and off she goes to get a band aid. We band aid the foot and I thank the staff and we leave.
I bring them back to the hotel and remind them they need to get to sleep as it was early to rise. They started to fight and argue and I am soooooo done. I put them to bed, mostly by force and finally they fell asleep.Up at the crack of dawn for the plane which of course has its own glitch. This time we are driving and a train comes across our path, well then it stops and soooo we are stuck waiting for it to move. After 10 minutes we try another route because frankly I don’t want to be late only to have the Garmin take up back to train tracks each and every time grrr. Thank goodness I have a good sense of direction and yes we made it just on time.
Get home and it is 60 degrees. We pick up the dog and while talking to my BFF the temperature drops to 49 and the rain storm from Hades breaks out. Yep bad enough you cannot drive so we are stuck for a bit. After about 30 minute it relents to a shower and we quick get home. Kids are fighting because everyone is breathing and so I usher them into the shower and tell them to go to bed.
Oh thank goodness the mess is over…..stay tuned for part two which is of course the good parts.