Well, what a nuisance that nasty hurricane Irma proved to be. Our original plan was to fly into Miami on Tuesday, spend two nights in Miami and travel down to the Keys before driving back up to Orlando, breaking up the journey in Fort Lauderdale on the way up. We’d already changed our flight from the Tuesday to Thursday (hence the extra few days in New Orleans), but woke up early Wednesday morning to find that our flight into Miami had been rearranged yet again, and we would be stuck in New Orleans until Sunday. Now, considering we’d spent a small fortune on being in DisneyWorld from Saturday, (not to mention the car hire and hotel in Fort Lauderdale) that simply wasn’t an option! So, after some very early morning calls (4am down in the hotel lobby), I managed to get us on a flight to Miami, via Dallas, Texas, for the Thursday morning.
We’d be getting the 5am bus on Thursday morning to the airport, and with only a 40 minute connection time in Dallas, I didn’t want to risk losing our bags en route. Fortunately we had come prepared for this eventuality, and although originally only bringing hand luggage to avoid paying any hold baggage fees on internal flights, it now had another use – keeping all our belongings with us as we changed planes.
I had three items of toiletries that were over the designated 100ml for hand luggage – sun tan lotion, cocoa butter moisturiser and fake tan. Not one to waste items, I moisturised heavily on the last 2 days, and applied two coats of fake tan the night before we left. As I sit writing this, my skin is a shade of brown just off mahogany, and smells like gone off biscuits mixed with vanilla chocolate. But it’s also very well moisturised! I was considering a hefty application of sun tan lotion before that hit the bin too, but I think my skin is now so well covered with fake tan and cocoa butter, that it is completely impenetrable to UV rays!
In conclusion – we did make it to Miami airport, we did pick up our hire car, and we are now sitting in a hotel room about an hour and half north of Miami, ready to drive on to Orlando tomorrow. Our hotel in Key West has been in touch to let us know they are all safe and they didn’t receive too much damage, but the roads are still closed to tourists. Driving through Miami has shown us a very minor snapshot of the effect of the hurricane – phone cables down, trees brushed to the side of highways, petrol stations still closed, people’s fences blown in – and we witnessed two car accidents in the first 20 minutes of driving.
Although part of our dream holiday has been ruined, it could have been a lot, lot worse, and we will now spend the next couple of days preparing to act like very silly children with Mickey, Minnie, Daffy and co. Next stop Orlando!