Day 16

Saturday 1st May 1999


Woke at 6.30am this morning but it was still very dark. On looking out of the window I could see it had been raining and was now fairly overcast. Well at least we were going home today. After showering and breakfast for the last time in America, we had the immense challenge of trying to fit all the clothes and presents we’d bought into the four suitcases. Not an easy task, but we managed suprisingly well. I loaded the car, and then checked out of the hotel at reception.

Downtown Disney

Virgin Airways have an excellent idea whereby you can check in all your baggage and get your boarding tickets from a hut in one of the ‘Downtown Disney’ car parks. So quick and easy and by 10.30am we had no hotel, no baggage, and nowhere to go until 6pm in the evening. As we had parked at ‘Downtown Disney’ we did a little last minute shopping (Tina finally got an Eeyore beanbag toy) and then decided to have lunch at the Mc Donalds close by.

Florida Mall

We then drove about ten miles to the Florida Mall to kill some more time. An hour later and we’d done that too (very little money left by now anyway!). We filled the hire car with petrol then made our way to the airport (a lot easier than we left it two weeks earlier) and handed over the keys to Dollar (a sad moment as I had enjoyed driving the car whilst we’d been in Florida)

Orlando International Airport

We made our way to the main terminal building, where we bought some sweets for the flight back, then rode the train to the boarding area. The plane was departing from gate 83 so we settled down and waited to be called to our seats. At 6.30pm the call came and we got on the plane on the same seats as we flew out on. The plane was a 747 200, slightly smaller than the outbound flight, with less leg room but still comfortable and the standard TV’s for each passenger.


We took off at 7.15pm local time and once at a steady height drinks were served, followed by the evening meal. Abby and Matthew were given their special kids meal which of course they didn’t eat. We all settled down to watch our choice of in-flight entertainment, or tried to get some sleep.

An hour or so into the flight, and the sunlight faded and for the next six hours the plane flew in darkness.