I'm going to follow true DIBB (Disney with a British Accent Boards) tradition and do an attempt at a trip report of our trip to Florida over there which I'll link here when completed (which could be months judging by how long it takes everyone else to get around to it) but I wanted to chuck something here.
Before we went, I have to say, this was a trip for my other half. It's his 40th this year. When I asked him 'left or right?' he knew I meant US or Australia and he picked left. I wanted him to pick right. I don't think he knows that - he does now but it's okay to say it now. I am not a fan of humidity, I am not a fan of tat, I am not a fan of flying and I was not a fan of Americans particularly either with some very notable exceptions (yes, Ann, Hadley et al I am looking at you). Go me with my tarring etc.
So I bought him a hol to Florida for his 40th. He picked the parks, we got Universal 14 day 2 park tickets for free included with the hol, bought 3 park Busch, Aquatica and Seaworld 14 day ticket and then finally added Kennedy Space Centre on top. Compared to most Brits on tour this is a small haul of tickets, trust me.
I spent the next year planning. Tripit filled up, Advance Dining Reservations were made (the one bit that was solely for me and selfish, I confess - my other half is a vegetarian who is allergic to cheese, food as a leisure activity is an alien concept for obvious reasons) - and I read other peoples trip reports, asked some dumbass questions of my own to contribute to the mass of dumbass questions on the DIBB (it's the nicest forum I know - peoples patience never seems to run out and its appreciated so much), and generally tried to keep the little aspie bit of me quiet by knowing exactly what was going to happen and when so there were no nasty surprises and I wouldn't end up in any stupid situations which would be difficult if it could be avoided.
As a result, I wasn't excited about going until the day before. At all. It looked complicated, difficult, challenging and the weather forecast was scaring me. Work hadn't exactly been a wind down the week before, I was finding it exceptionally difficult to switch off and was, honestly, a wee bit stressed truth be told.
Staying at the Radisson Blu at Manchester Airport the night before helped. Dinner at Nandos and a film (Avengers!) in the afternoon also helped as did booking the V-Room which is an oasis of calm in a sea of airport madness. Who the hell designed airports anyway? Cold, clinical, hospital like with all the bad associations which come with that, combined with sucky heating, crap loos, old lifts, crap signage and hard seats. To be fair, Manchester beats the hell out of Luton, Gatwick, Stansted and Liverpool (I've never flown from the same airport twice yet, bar Liverpool, don't ask).
After Virgin Atlantic delivered us onto the runway safely (lets just say it was the most scary rollercoaster of the whole trip, landings aren't supposed to involve more down than forward motion, I'm sure you're not supposed to turn right to taxi straight after coming to a screaming stop which threw us all forward in our seats really quite hard actually and the clapping was absolutely deserved for the pilot who I think was possibly right on the edge of what the plane brakes could do) it finally hit me. Bit weepy. Walking into holiday brochure moment for a girl who used to cut out images from Virgin brochures to make scrapbooks of all the Florida adventures she'd one day go on (ha ha ha didn't believe I'd ever go for a second when I was a kid). Serious 'moment'.
Orlando International is a beautiful airport. Our car was fricking awesome - we got a free upgrade cos we used the Brit Guide discount code and it was automatic this and really clever that with tonnes of storage and we only got it cos we were dithering so long over colours of cars in the lot and then 'our' one turned up and we practically snatched it out of the car hire delivery ladies hand.
Hotel was...what we paid for. Most people going to Orlando seem to end up staying in quite nice hotels. We stayed I think it what I would call a functional one. T'other half was lovely and went back to reception to ask for a view of Universal which they gave us which was really sweet of them. The clientele was this really odd mix of businessman, conference goer, local reveller and tourist. It made for some awkward lift moments. Brekkie was nice, pool was small, it wasn't somewhere we felt we wanted to hang around? I don't know, I wouldn't recommend it I don't think, but nor was it a disaster.
And what followed was two weeks of utter wonderment, bewilderment, confusion, gawping, magic, smiles, tears, fireworks, fantastic customer service, appalling customer service ridiculous amounts of food and a dalliance with Disney magic which we're hoping to fully immerse ourselves in next time we go back.
Yeah, there's going to be a next time. ;O))
The one thing I've taken away from our holiday apart from a tan and some freckles?
If imagination is not mentioned anywhere in your company or organisations mission statement, company report or vision, or whatever the hell you want to call it, you are not going to survive. Innovation is nothing, absolutely nothing without imagination to fuel it first. So don't go recruiting innovators, go recruit some imagineers - for without them, nothing new would ever happen, no idea would ever be had, and no kid would ever stand on Main Street, on Universals lot or across from a launch pad and believe that absolutely anything was possible. For two weeks, I believed anything was possible. Considering my job and where I would like my job to take me, I intend to hold onto that belief with absolutely everything I have.