It’s hard to believe that by the time you are reading our story this week, Christmas 2019 will have passed. I pray you had a nice Christmas and I also pray that you were able to check on a least one friend, neighbor, or loved one that you haven’t checked in with for a while. That’s really what this beautiful season is all about. If not you still have time, do it today! We are all just one big perfectly imperfect family.
I’m smiling as I’m typing to you from a raining, no not just rainy but a tornado warning day here in sunny Florida. It kind of reminds me of my New Hampshire puzzle with one piece missing on my office wall really. Just about everything fits, but then you get that one unexpected curve ball that you didn’t expect. Tornados, yes Tornados. The kids woke up to tornado warnings on their phones. As I also say too often, "You just can’t make this stuff up.” I do feel bad for the families with little ones. They are forging ahead no matter what. Darn it, it’s Disney and we are going to have fun! They might not realize it now as they are trying to wrap their little ones in all kinds of plastic sheaths, but down the road this vacation memory will be the stories they remember and share as life goes on. Sometimes when everything goes perfectly perfect for us it’s almost a little boring, isn’t it when you really stop to think about it.
I’m just going to use our space this week to share a couple of our Christmas Travel Tidbits of 2019 with you. These are the stories that will be remembered in our house not because everything went right on vacation but more because of the unexpected things that really looking back already even now, will be remembered as our Christmas blunders and fun of 2019.
I think I will work backwards and I will save the very best story for last. God bless John. He doesn’t mind me sharing it with you. A real honest vacation Bah Humbug moment!
I’ve shared with you my fear of elevators. I must be a real chicken at heart!
Anyway while waiting for a possible tornado, I decided to head for a quiet place in the lobby to write to you. Problem, of course, I have to take the elevator alone. I pulled my Sherry usual approach to elevators — linger around until someone else is heading on and then I jump in. Well this time a huge Rambo-like man, carrying his firearm in a large black drawstring bag, walked over to me and said, "Are you lost?"
A little embarrassed that my lingering was so obvious, I said, "Oh, no, I’m just getting on the elevator." We walked in together, after we watched another man get on. Once in I felt I should explain because he still looked a little worried.
I said, to the men, “Boy I really don’t like elevators, I’m so happy you are both in here with me.” Rambo looked at me relieved and said “So do I, I hate these things, I always wait for someone else to get in with me.” I said, “That’s what I do!” I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Last night we were taking the bus home from Magic Kingdom. Last year no crowds at all this year, packed. Luckily we hopped on a bus with only one other family in the back with us. We all started talking because they had Marist shirts on and that’s where Meredith went to college. Well, as Mackensie kept mentioning there are people from all over the world here in Disney. Countries and places I have never heard of. Wait for this one — it turned out that Mary and Brian live right in New London, New Hampshire!
Now what are the chances of that! They are both dentists in New London, who just started their own cheesecake company called Pleasant Lake Cheesecake Company. We all have to check out their website PleasantLakeChessecake.com.
It’s a wonderful family recipe from an old newspaper clipping that their family has added their own magic and love to through the years. I can’t wait to try it! Also I have to thank Mary, because they gave us the idea to head to a movie today until the weather changes. "Mary Poppins" here we come!
Still backing up — this one might give you chills, it sure did me. Before arriving at Disney we decided to take a few days investigating the places that each of our parents loved in Florida. For John’s parents it was Vero Beach and for mine it was Daytona. My dad loved to drive and from Londonderry within 24 hours they could be on the beach. Heck, they could even be driving on the beach (free then, $20 now).
When I was telling my friend Lana about our idea, out of nowhere she reminded me of the time back in the '80s when a group of us met in Daytona. Lana went on to add “Remember we stayed at the Acapulco Inn?” It was my mom and dad, me, and my two best friends Lana and June.
Now jump to Tuesday. John booked a Delta Marriott Hotel for us. Great price, $99 and right on the beach. Ocean front room with breakfast included. As the girl was checking us in, John asked questions about what the hotel had been before Marriott bought it.
Again you can’t make this stuff up. She responded, “Oh this was the Acapulco Inn for years.” Now there are presently over 297 places to stay on the 23 miles of coast on Daytona Beach. What are the chances that we would be staying in the exact same location I had been with my parents all those years before and that Lana happened to remember the name of?
Well now for the grand finale story that I hope will make you smile and remind you that this is family life, life for all of us.
Remember John’s parents loved Vero Beach, so in honor of their memory that’s why we started there first.
Last year when we visited Disney we decided to become “Disney Vacation Club” members. We were just so impressed with the value and the and the way everything was in Disney, so we said why not?
We especially loved that whenever you arrive at one of the Disney properties by car or by walking in a door, the Disney cast member, as they are called, greets you with the warmest “Welcome Home." It makes you feel as though you are part of something very special and really you are. If you like Disney and plan to go every couple of years or so, it is a great deal. It makes it possible for people like us to stay in some of Disney’s nicest of nice resorts.
This was also our first time staying at a Disney Vacation Club property — the Vero Beach Resort was beautiful. That same wonderful greeting we remembered from last time every time you walk in or on the property. Hey, they even gave us a button that said first-time members.
Our last night there we walked into our room late in the evening. Before we left, we had told the front desk that we would be gone and that they could service our room. When we walked back in, nothing had been done. Bed not made, no fresh towels were left. Next thing I knew, I could hear John’s not very happy voice bantering with the front desk on the phone.
He is telling them about our room not being cleaned, and from what I can gather he is not getting the response he expected. Then I hear John bellow out, “Hey, thanks for the button too, and welcome home!” as he slammed down the phone.
As it turns out I guess we didn’t read the fine print. As vacation members you only get room service once every three days. John sat down and said, "Well I guess this is really just like home." To funny, we both laughed. Once again, you just can’t make this stuff up!
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.