Adventures in Travel Part Deux

Taking my second business trip to Orlando in as many weeks, I'd decided to bring my husband and daughter along. Always makes everything more entertaining.

Day 1: Boarded the shuttle from hell so we can stay overnight at the PHX airport for early departure since I don't do 4am wake ups. It was the end of spring break, packed with tired, worn out, hungover students. We sat in the back. Like jump seats in the plane with no seatbelts. It felt like we were on one of the those Mine Transports on rails. Bumping around like pieces of coal. Wondering if we'd end up strewn in pieces in the middle of I-10.

Day 2: Woke up, all systems go, and boarded our flight to the Happiest Place on Earth, via Southwest, the Happiest Airline. With Flight Attendants who double as the entertainment. Bags Fly Free you know. Of course, when they fly. Sometimes it seems they don't. Sometimes, they sit forlornly on the tarmac, watching the great big steel bird fly away without them. So as catchy as the slogan is, as zippy as those ads are, there's another phrase to keep in mind. You get what you pay for. Worth remembering. Nothing like arriving at the largest, most elaborate hotel in Orlando with no luggage. Cha ching.

Day 3: An entire day to enjoy, so we headed off to Universal Studios.  I'm not going to provide free advertising, but really, what a blast. We lived The Cat in The Hat. We experienced Poseidon's fury...incredible special effects and all. And Toon Lagoon was like walking into your favorite sunday comic strip. Jurassic Park...nuf said. It is a fabulously entertaining place. And yeah, though I'm not a Harry Potter fan particularly, I saw the new attraction almost complete and it's awesome. As real as it looks on the TV commercial. Amazing. It's not open yet, but I want to go back just to experience it. So it's a fabulous day until of course the sky opened up and the heavens exploded and we're caught in the downpour with no way out but an hour wait in the rain for a cab back to the hotel. But wait! Of course! We have our driver's card from the airport and call him on his cell and he comes and rescues us. But not before we took refuge in the gift shop. The very very very big gift shop. Cha ching.

Day 4: Hubby and daughter go back to Universal for some fun. Me? Work. Work. Work. Then we all headed to Downtown Disney in Sunny's cab (the van that seats 6) so we could have some down time and dinner. Mr. Sunny dropped us off with a promise to return when we called. Several hours later, with blistering feet, and a very very distinct chill in the air, and in our bones, we called. And we waited. And waited. Sunny called.  Said change of plans. New vehicle. Black Van. Look for it.  Now, being from New York, I generally don't run to get into an unmarked cab. Particularly when it's a black van with gold flames on the side driven by woman with a tall hat, black cape and dredlocks, who greets you with "welcome aboard the starlight express" and when you enter it's filled with twinkling lights and beads and crazy music thumping on a miniature lit up dance platform. My boss laughed. "This is better than Cash Cab!" he said. Me, not so sure. I look for the taxi license. None. I wonder if we'll end up in a big cauldron of gumbo.

Day 5: Hubby and Daughter sleep in. Me? Work. Work. Work. Then we finally headed for home. Looking forward to some real sunshine. Breezed through security and found some seats at the gate. Across from Big Momma with Tiny Tim in a harness leash. Seated next to Floss Man. Sprawled in the chair, bag between his knees, bluetooth on his ear, complaining about his girlfriend leaving him and "taking all his s**t" while, seriously, flossing his teeth. Big time flossing too, not the discreet kind. Arms swinging forward and back, with giant flicks every so often. It was not pretty. I made a face. My daughter thought perhaps it was time to go get a snack...or something. As we headed to the pretzel shop she pointed out FlossMan had wadded up the floss and put it in his pocket. Probably for later. Eeew. I just prayed he was headed anywhere but Tucson. Flew American back. Same price. Wide seats, Lots of Legroom, headrests, Wifi, outlets to charge your toys...come to think of it, "Buy American" is a pretty catchy slogan too. Naturally bags weren't free. But then again, I was pretty sure they'd get to fly. Like I said, you get what you pay for. Next time? American Airlines, out of Tucson, pay for the bags. Bonus? Don't have to listen to the SW attendant sing her version of zippity doo da as entertainment.

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