Cities of Knights & Lights tour with Adventures by Disney – day 1

Two weeks after she walked across the stage to collect her diploma, Torri and I set off for our grand European adventure.  It was June 5th, a Wednesday.  Our flight was to Atlanta was to depart Tucson in the late afternoon.  We were scheduled to have a two-hour layover in Atlanta, the perfect amount of time to grab a quick bite to eat before boarding our red-eye to London.  Ah, but the best laid plans…

As our wheels approached the runway in Atlanta, something strange happened: they didn’t touch.  Rather, the pilots pulled up at the last minute and we passengers found ourselves climbing back towards the sky.  It wasn’t long before the pilots came on the speakers and announced that weather had caused low visibility and they didn’t feel comfortable attempting the landing.  They went on to say that we’d have to divert to Mobile, Alabama for more fuel before we could attempt another landing in Atlanta.  When the flight landed a bit later, we surprised to learn that our diversion to Mobile had become a diversion to Columbus, Georgia, somewhere along the way.  In Columbus, we sat on the jetway for two hours while we waited for Atlanta’s airport to reopen after massive rainstorms had passed through.

Torri and I would miss our connecting flight to London.


When finally we did arrive in Atlanta late that night, we spent an hour waiting in line to speak with a Delta agent.  In the end, we were given directions to the hotel shuttle (but no hotel voucher–shame on Delta!) and rescheduled for a flight to New York’s JFK airport early the following morning.  We fought the mob of people awaiting the hotel shuttle to find ourselves crammed like sardines into a van.  Seat belts be damned, apparently.  In any case, we eventually arrived at a Comfort Inn where–despite the constant buzz and hum of a window AC unit–we managed a few fitful hours of sleep.  When the sun rose, we reversed the route and headed back to the airport and successfully caught our flight to JFK where we had to pass away eight hours until our flight to London departed.

Now might be a good time to mention my distaste for Delta Airlines.  Moving right along, though.

To my surprise and delight, we did eventually board a flight to London and it did take off as scheduled.  Roughly seven hours later, Torri and I attempted to freshen up on the plane, ready for our luck to turn around.


Or so we hoped, anyway.  Things didn’t improve much upon landing in London.  For starters, Torri’s bag had somehow wound up in Boston.  After filing a claim with the Delta baggage clerk, we were en route to our hotel, The Landmark.


Upon arrival, we were eager for a few hours of rest before the official start of our Adventures by Disney tour later that evening.  Even that wasn’t to be, though.  Upon checking in with our Adventures by Disney guide, I was told that our room was not ready for check-in.  That, despite the fact that I had paid in full for a one-night stay the previous night and check-out did not occur until noon.  By all accounts, I was entitled to four hours of rest in the room I had paid for.  Needless to say, our adventure was not off to a good start.

Like every cloud, though, we did find a silver lining.  Determined to make the best out of our time in London, we {wearily} set off to explore the city.  We bought our very first tube tickets and headed off.

Our first stop was at the London Eye.

londonday1dIsn’t it pretty?  I think so, anyway.  Sleep deprivation left us a might bit too tired to truly enjoy it.

From the tippy top, though, I did snap a picture of what the empty pod next to us looked like.


Also?  We got our first glimpse of the Houses of Parliament and the Elizabeth Tower, which houses the infamous Big Ben bell.


After our spin on The London Eye, we headed over the bridge and onto the Embankment Pier, where we boarded a rib (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) for an adrenaline-rising high-speed tour on the River Thames (pronounced tems).  Indeed they advertised it would be an eye-opening experience, and for us, it was.  Quite literally.

Next, we hopped back on the tube and headed back to our hotel, where we were finally able to check-in to a room.  I set the alarm for one hour and both of us were asleep before our heads hit the pillow.  Later that night, we met our fellow adventurers for a welcome dinner.



After introductions, a meal and pleasant conversation, Torri and I once again boarded the tube and headed to Oxford Street for some shopping.  Not because we wanted to, mind you, but because we didn’t know when Torri’s bag would arrive and she needed some clothes if we were to make it through our adventure.  Our shopping was quick and relatively easy.  We finally headed back to the hotel and called it a night, hopeful that our next day would be a fresh start.

More on that to follow…

Cities of Knights & Lights tour -day 2

Cities of Knights & Lights tour -day 3

Cities of Knights & Lights tour -day 4

Cities of Knights & Lights tour -day 5

Cities of Knights & Lights tour -day 6

Cities of Knights & Lights tour -day 7


  1. I sure hope the trip got better and better each and every day. Thank goodness for your optimistic attitude and making the best of a bad situation. Can’t wait to read about more of your travels.

  2. Harrowing start, but glad you made it there! FYI, if this ever happens in the future, social media is your friend. Delta (my favorite airline, by the way) responses very well to Twitter – mountains get moved, believe me. The same for many hotels; I have several personal stories about interacting with hotels on Twitter.

  3. When you mentioned this trip awhile ago, I wondered if it was with ABD! This one looks so fun! Several of my coworkers have taken it and raved about it – hope it gets better for you! At least you were able to make the best out of a bad situation. They will be memories that you will both cherish (and probably be able to laugh about later) forever!

  4. Serious ball drop by Delta. I actually like them generally – we only ever fly SW or Delta. I’m sorry to hear they let you down though…hate having to squeeze lemons right from the start on a trip!

  5. Love reading about your adventures. Can’t wait to hear about day two!

    P.S. Your family needs to come over for dinner soon. Miss you.

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