flying

End of the magic

I booked my return flight from Anaheim for 12:15pm because I didn’t feel like getting up and rushing to the airport super early in the morning. So, of course, I woke up at 6:45am. There was no use in going back to bed as the kids next door were already up.

So I used the time to pack my pajamas and try to cram a cute slightly oversized hat I bought yesterday at the park into my carry-on without damaging either of them.

Then I plugged in my phone and tried making the instant coffee they left in the room for me to use. First it was too strong (and small), so I decided to make a second cup of just to water, which brought me up to half of the cardboard cup they provide, so… screw it, I’ll buy something at the lounge downstairs.

But first, I needed to make myself presentable. And then for the second day in a row, just I was nearly ready for a shower when I heard a knocking on the door. This time I was still dressed, so I opened the door and the 35yo Hispanic woman looked at me like she was shocked – SHOCKED – that someone would still be in their room at 8:30 in the morning before hastily going onto the next room before I could even get a word in edgewise. I’m not sure if that made the situation worse or just more confusing.

I get dressed again and go downstairs to the lobby, pour over their menu for a few seconds and approach the counter. After unsuccessfully trying to explain to the cashier that I wanted a decaf flavored coffee, I was ready to leave empty-handed, but a lucky break in communication meant I got my decaf iced mocha. Unfortunately, it tasted like chocolate flavored water, so I ended up throwing half of it out.

Interestingly enough, the boy cleaning the tables was… the same hot blonde haired boy from PCH last night (whose his badge says his name is “Luke”).

I got the nerve to speak to him and before I could finish the question (which disappointed me since I thought I was doing a decent job keeping my composure), he shrugged and said “yeah, they cross-trained me here as well” (I was GOING to say “I thought you worked evenings”).

I wanted to wish him goodbye, but I didn’t see a point to it as he’s working here and I’m leaving today. Thus, we will never meet again… which makes me sad, but that’s how these things work. Besides, my Lyft driver was outside.

I arrived at Orange County Airport (SNA), and saw a few nice hats and sweatshirts in the CNN Store next to the empty security line…but then I remembered how much trouble I had fitting that silly character hat into my bag this morning so I decided to forgo BOTH of them (the blue/grey “California” beanie for $21.95 would have fit in my regular bag).

Anyway, I passed through the metal detectors and checked the monitors and this old man came up beside me, asked what flight number I was on was and told me what I had already seen “gate 7.”

“So, how far is this ‘gate 7?'”

He pointed to a large rectangular sign directly behind me (which I honestly hadn’t seen yet as I was literally still holding my shoes in my left hand) with a black “7” on it, shrugged and said “you’re standing in it.”

I take a seat, put my shoes and rucksack back on and head to the McDonald’s across from the sign. It wasn’t a great breakfast, but it was better than starving myself all day.

I throw my bag out and return to the gate area. There are no open seats left, and there are no outlets that I could see along the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

There appears to be a charging station at the next gate, but with my phone at 58% power and my flight boarding in 20 minutes. This appears to be a good time to end this post and power down for the day…

Categories: adventures, California, Disneyland Resort, Disneys Resort Hotels, flying, Orange County Airport (SNA), transportation

Travel denied

I got off the plane in LAX at 5:30pm, and made my way to ground transportation so I can find the Disneyland Express check-in area (as I was expecting large kiosk area)…but I couldn’t find one, so I did the unthinkable – I asked someone. They didn’t know, but the next person was able to look it up in her binder…but couldn’t tell me anything about prices or check-in procedures, just to “wait under the orange signs. They run hourly, so the 6pm one should be by shortly.”

I go outside, find one of the orange signs, and while I was looking for the huge blue/yellow Magical Express buses, a white mini-van (not to be confused with a “Minnie Van” in Orlando) with a pink “Disneyland” logo (that I barely saw amidst all the other logos) appears, and before I could process this, they were gone.

Was I under the right platform? Did I not move fast enough? Am I supposed to flag them down like a cab? I don’t know, but I had two more vans pull up to a rolling stop and then shoot off as I approached them. That’s when I remembered, that Disney’s contract with Super Shuttle expires tonight, so the drivers have exactly zero incentive to pick-up or drop-off passengers.

That’s how I ended up on a LAXit bus to the Ride Share at 9:00 at night, going through the narrow rope maze past somewhat bored looking employees (like everyone else in LA are hawt af) before arriving at my Lyft vehicle. Why spend $35 for a shuttle when I can spend $53 on an over-glorified taxi?

But, at least now – 10:35 at night – I’m back in the resort (finally). Tomorrow is when the magic starts…

Categories: adventures, California, Disneyland express, flying, transportation | Leave a comment

Travel delayed

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Got here at 10am just to have a 35-minute weather delay from NY and over an hour delay due to maintenance issue. So, this is the third time I’ve been “15-20 minutes” from boarding my 11:45am flight.
The good news is, I forgot to make a dinner reservation last night, so there’s that…

Categories: adventures, florida, flying, photography, snow storms, transportation, weather | Leave a comment

Hurricane Dorian approaches

The National Hurricane Center’s 5pm update shows the storm veering slightly further east than earlier reports indicated, but still shows Orlando within the “Cone of Uncertainty.” Thankfully, the chances of Dorian making landfall in Florida are getting smaller with each update.

However, a “Hurricane Watch” has been issued for Northern and Southern Brevard as well as Volusia Counties while a “Tropical Storm Watch” is in effect for Inland Volusia, Northern Lake, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Southern Lake Counties. Mandatory evacuations orders are in place in Northern/Southern Brevard starting at 8am tomorrow.

Flights in/out of MCO have not been cancelled for tonight into Monday after all, but all Amtrak service south of Jacksonville remains closed until Tuesday (yes, I’m “still mad” about that – do you know how much cab fare is from Orlando to Jacksonville?). However, Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld will remain open as scheduled.

Categories: Amtrak, florida, flying, hurricanes, news, Orlando, transportation, weather, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Preparing for Hurricane Dorian

I wasn’t expecting to have to create a post like this this far out from landfall, but here we are:

Wednesday – Gov. DeSantis declares State of Emergency for all 67 counties in Florida. As of 8pm, NHC shows the storm making a direct path across the state, the eye crossing Kissimmee on Tuesday night as a Cat 1 storm.

Thursday – FSU’s home opener moved from Jacksonville to their home stadium in Tallahasse. Various weekend concerts are cancelled across Central/South Florida. Meanwhile, TWC’s Jim Cantore is seen having dinner in Vero Beach.

Friday – The NHC’s 8am update shows the storm making a “J” shape across Central Florida with the eye crossing directly over Orlando on Wednesday evening.

Many grocery stores run out of water/other food supplies, while many gas stations along the Space Coast report shortages. Schools across Florida are pre-emptively closed on Tuesday (as many will be used as emergency shelters).

Also, while most of Disney World is currently expected to remain open (except the water parks, Copper Creek Cabins at Wilderness Lodge, the cabins at Fort Wilderness, the overwater bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village, the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs, and any events at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports), all flights in/out of MCO have been cancelled until further notice, ditto all Amtrak trains south of Jacksonville (I was thinking they would run MORE trains to ensure the maximum number of people can evacuate – especially since landfall isn’t expected until TUESDAY).

Which effectively means I’m stuck here until the storm passes whether I want to be or not (spoiler alert: I don’t. I was planning on taking Amtrak up north on Saturday) as all residential amenities (pool, gym, leasing office, etc.) here at Sea Isle Resort Apartments will close as of 5pm Saturday with mandatory “balcony safety inspections” on Sunday.

Thankfully, as of their 5pm update, the NHC shows the storm hugging the coast all the way from Vero Beach up to Savanna. Orlando is safe… or is it?

 

Categories: Amtrak, florida, flying, hurricanes, news, Orlando, transportation, weather, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

A broken heart and tattered jeans (part 1)

As you can probably guess, this wasn’t the best week for me. My mom died suddenly on Monday night and I was told I had to come in on Tues or Wed so I could attend a viewing on “Thurs” that was moved to Saturday to be “more convenient” to out of town visitors (um, hi) meaning I paid DOUBLE the airfare (out of my own pocket no less) to fly out a day earlier than I wanted for absolutely nothing. To make matters worse, nearly everything about the combined service was a “disaster” (not my word). Thankfully, it ended quickly, and we could get on to more important things… like dozens of people I haven’t seen in 20 years (or more) asking me “when are you flying back.”

The real answer was “not soon enough,” but such honesty is kind of frowned upon in these settings so I was forced to repeatedly pull an arbitrary date from thin air right on the spot. Improv was never my strong suit so forcing me to do it on command can only end well, right?

Thankfully, after the obligatory, overlong, over loud “celebratory dinner,” my brother finally got the internet in the house working again (which is another story entirely) so I managed to book a flight a day earlier than I told people at the service. #winning

That day was Monday.

It started out by my aunts and uncle coming over and informing me to “get breakfast here as we aren’t stopping anywhere” in fact they left me alone in a dead woman’s house for almost 20 minutes so I could do that (apparently, the funeral home needed the flowers we specifically asked people NOT to send be returned that morning so they could prepare for another service). This whole self-serve breakfast thing would have been cool, but my older brother cleaned out the fridge the night before so there was literally nothing in there but two coffee creamers and half a container of guacamole… which would have worked out great, if they hadn’t taken the chips with them.

They get back shortly before noon giving me barely any time to breathe, let alone bring said flowers inside, before my Uncle Tom impatiently declares “we’re leaving. NOW. Let’s move.” Okay, fine, he also decides to take my mom’s car so he can leave his in the driveway (his wife is paranoid of people robbing the place post funeral).

Anyway, said car, actually a burgundy colored minivan, was flanked with trash bags (so animals won’t get into it) with the passenger side being blocked completely by a stack of bags nearly as tall as I am (no really). So, instead of waiting for him to pull the car out like a “normal” person, I scramble to climb over them and as I try to work my way into the cramped back seat, I hear a loud ripping noise.

I can’t check this immediately, but this cannot POSSIBLY be good. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about it until I got to the airport…

Categories: adventures, Autism, coal region, family, flying, Pennsylvania, sensory processing disorder, transportation | Leave a comment

A broken heart and tattered jeans (part 2)

My Uncle Tom pulls up to the ticketing area around 1:30pm, and I very carefully get myself and my bags out of the car so as not to cause any more damage to my jeans. The only place I can possibly change out of these ripped pants was in the restrooms.

Fortunately, I had a spare set of dress pants in my bag, and conveniently enough the only trash can in the lower terminal was under the sink across from the exit to my stall. So, I rezip my bag, throw the jeans in the trash and head to airline check-in as if nothing happened – because it didn’t.

Yep, dress pants on, hoodie on (as I couldn’t fit in my carry-on), ticket, ID and shoes in hand. And, just as I get to the front of the line, I can barely hear a woman over the PA saying: “would the person who lost their PANTS please pick them up at the Allegiant counter. Thank you.”

Let me see if I get this straight. Someone saw the ripped jeans in the trash, fished them out of said trash, (!) followed me to the airline counter and turned them into the representative? Okay, I can sort of see the logic of that from a “security” point of view. But, seriously, let’s think how positively STEW-PED both of these individuals think I am?

AT BEST, I am a laughing stock who has given up not only his place at the front of the line but now I have to explain this to the agent. Oh, and I’m guaranteed to miss my flight so I now have 18 hours to figure out how to fit those unwanted jeans I couldn’t fit into my carry-on into my carry-on. Yeah, thanks, Good Samaritan!

What would REALLY happen is this: I’d lose my place in line, become a laughing stock of everyone in the airport (who are naturally filming this on their phones), I get to the ticket counter and am met not by an airline representative but by airport police and the TSA who will not give a damn about my “story” because I’m obviously a nutjob of some kind (the A-word would definitely NOT help me in this case). Not only do I miss my flight, I get a free trip to JAIL and the opportunity to explain this to a judge who will care even less about my “story” than the police/TSA, but at least the media (who saw the inevitable YouTube video of me) would, shoving their mikes in my face and shouting loaded questions over each other as I leave the courthouse. Yeah, all that attention, and I don’t even have a book to plug… but I would get to rebook my flight at my own expense, so there’s that.

Thankfully, neither of those situations happened. I ignored the announcements (as I could barely hear it anyway) and proceeded through the machine rewarded by a full pat down with complimentary cock groping (literally the first person to touch my cock in yeeears) and gun powder residue test (which was a new one on me) and them sent me into the terminal like “yeah, I totally not freaking out. I am not ‘violated,’ I am 100% sec- oh, shit, my flight is boarding RIGHT NOW!!

I managed to get to my gate just before they closed the plane door. I was the last person to board the plane (which made finding my seat a snap), but I was still on the plane.

Thankfully, my dress pants held up for the duration of the flight…

 

UPDATE (3/13/2019): Writing this post made me angry in spots, but it also reminded me how lucky I was in this regard as “funny” as the rest of the line found this incident, it could be seen a legitimate security risk… even if my actions made logical sense, at least to me anyway. Heck, this non-incident happened two days ago, and I keep expecting HSA agents to show up at my door. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened… yet.

Categories: adventures, Autism, family, flying, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Sanford, sensory processing disorder, transportation | Leave a comment

Photo: My favorite part of going home…

Categories: adventures, art, cartoons\memes, coal region, entertainment, family, florida, flying, Harrisburg, Internet\FB, Orlando, Pennsylvania, Sanford, transportation | Leave a comment

Travel Day

Categories: adventures, art, cartoons\memes, entertainment, flying, holidays, humor, Internet\FB, transportation | Leave a comment

Not-so-happy returns

(Sorry, I really don’t feel like doing a write up now. Hopefully, these notes will do)

 

10:15am – leave house

12:07pm – arrive in Harrisburg

12:35pm – locate the Sheet z across from the airport. Sandwiches is awful, fountain drink is okay… okay, the 2nd one was (as I dumped the first one out).

12:48pm – arrive at MDT, agent for American Airlines cannot find my tickets tells me it is MY responsibility to call Travel agent or booking site to find it.

12:59 pm – shouting my name and phone number into the phone just to get: “Sir, I can not hear you. I am hanging up.” *click*

1:07pm – try to call Expedia. Get nowhere. Go inside. “Try the other airlines.”

1:28pm – none of the other airlines can find my flight on AA either.

1:35pm – I have no choice. I MUST get a new ticket for an extra $100 plus taxes and fees. It is too late because the flight I was trying to get onto is already making its “final boarding call.”

1:48pm – have tickets in hand, go through security to have power happy TSA agent rip my bag open and lecture me about the toiletries in my clear mesh bag. She then informs me that if I continue “arguing with a federal agent” (apparently we are seeing two different things here) the officers surrounding me would “be more than happy to discuss it with you in our holding cell.”

1:54pm – Get to the other side of the “hey, that’s my fat, ugly, hairy stomach hanging out when I lift my arms, this isn’t awkward or embarrassing at all” machine and one of the intimidation agents from a few moments ago stops me and asks if there is “any medical condition that would impede me doing a full pat down of your persons?”

“Actually, yes, it’s called Autism Spectrum disorder and it means I have severe, um, dislike of strang…,” and of course he does it anyway. Thanks for making me to talk to myself.  It almost distracted me from the patdown. No, it didn’t.
“You can go now. Have a nice day.”

2:15pm – board flight as usual. It is probably the smallest plane I have ever been on. I can literally barely fit down the aisle, but my bag fit in the overhead… once I was able to figure out how to get it up there without hitting the passengers in the surrounding seats.

2:22pm – take off.

3pm – arrive at PHL for my 2hr, 15 minutes layover.

4:15pm – get early dinner at airport. Chicken was all right, but fries were cold.

4:23pm – return to terminal. Flight boards in an hour and twenty minutes.

4:47pm – Passengers from plane I’m going out on are disembarking.

5:11pm – “Once again, this is a completely full flight. ALL passengers in groups 7 or higher MUST check their carry on baggage.”

5:13 PM – cool. I’m in… group 8. Yah.

5:27 pm – boarding begins. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere for the next 10-15 minutes.

5:47pm – finally board – it is another 10 minutes before we finished boarding and pushed back from the terminal. Just to find out we are “number 20 for take-off…”

6:44pm – Airborne. Things are starting to look up…

Categories: adventures, Autism, flying, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, transportation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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