Monday 10th August 2009
Was rudely awoken at 5am by the family next door who obviously had an earlier flight than us! That was after being woken up at some stupid hour by Robyn talking in her sleep and asking me if there was any sky on the roof! Less JD in her coke next time me thinks!
Kids soon woke up excited and Jack and I sat in my bed watching planes taking off and landing over the car park right outside our window. Luckily the windows are well glazed as there was no sound to compliment the view or I might not have been so pleased to see so much activity at that time of the morning.
We were soon showered and dressed before making sure we had no illegal liquids in our hand luggage. We cleaned our teeth with warm water again then left the room to check out. Managed to persuade the receptionist to let us keep the room key to scrapbook but no free pens this time as they have changed them to a chunky style and arenít so willing to let you take them out of their sight!
As we got closer to security we notice that there was no queue. Damn I was hoping to go straight past the line Universal styly! Apparently the system had crashed at check in and everyone was held up there so no need to use our fast track voucher after all.
Security is the bit I absolutely hate and without fail always gets my stomach churning. I know everything in our bags is ok and that all liquids are under 100ml and in plastic bags but Iím always relieved to get through this bit. On our last trip Robyn was pulled to one side and searched before I was even through the metal detector and as she was only 13 it upset her a bit.
This time we sailed through and put all our bits in the tray for x-raying. Mine and Robynís came straight back out so we picked them all up and moved forward but we could see Jackís tray had been put to one side. No one said anything so we just waited. I had to ask what was happening and Jack looked close to tears thinking heíd done something wrong.
They said that they wanted to check the liquid that Jack had in his clear bag. As Jack had turned 13 3 weeks previously and overnight the teenage problems had appeared he had some spot lotion with him. Not thinking, I told him not to bring the whole bottle and we decanted 100ml into a clear bottle just to last the 3 weeks. Of course that clear bottle had no identification on it as to its contents and started alarm bells ringing. It was at this point my heart started racing and words fell out of my mouth at 100 miles an hour trying to explain what it was! I felt sick!
The security man had a straight face the whole time we were stood there waiting for him to make his checks (he even checked the hand sanitizer spray and did checks on Jackís mobile and IPod) then he looked up at us, smiled, said thank you and told us we were free to go!
I was shaking like a leaf but so relieved to be through and in the departure area!
We had a quick look in duty free where we all managed to be sprayed by at least 10 different fragrances but none of us were in the mood for light hearted shopping after that experience.
We made our way to the V Room
where we met our friends Lisa and Colin and their two children Daniel and Caitlin. It was so good to see them as we originally met them on a Disney forum but hadnít met up with them for a couple of years.
Lisa and I had a quick catch up then we hit the food! Bacon rolls, pastries, cappuccino, juices, smoothies and all free!
We watched more planes taking off and landing and made use of the free internet access. I called home,as Iíd had about 5 missed calls, to let them know that we were ok then we were soon called to board at gate.......13!
There was quite a queue when we got there but we were soon inside the gate area. Some poor child was freaking out as we approached the stand to check our tickets and came running past me screaming. From what I can gather security had decided to search him and he had become very distressed about it and wouldnít let them. Iím not sure if the boy had autism or something similar but it broke my heart to see him upset and to see his mother trying to calm him down and explain that no one wanted to hurt him. I donít know the outcome of the situation but I didnít see them after we boarded the plane.
We were soon settled into seats 37 HJK on Pretty Woman and I sent a few last minute texts before putting my phone into flight mode.
There was announcement that 3 passengers had failed to turn up at the gate and that we would be delayed until they were located as their luggage had already been loaded. How can anyone not turn up for a flight to Orlando??!!! We waited for what seemed like ages then an announcement was made that they had decided to offload the luggage of the missing passengers unless they turned up before they could find the bags. About 5 minutes later there was some activity at the door and 3 women sauntered onto the plane with their heads bowed and were greeted by a huge cheer and round of applause. I knew gate 13 was an omen!
The door was shut behind them and the cabin crew hurried around getting ready for takeoff while the women took their seats. I dread to think what the atmosphere was like near where they sat!
Jack took some photos out of the plane window (he always gets the window seat as he is best with the camera and so far is still the shortest of the 3 of us!) and videoed our take off.
Before long we were choosing what film to watch and eating the sweets we had left from the journey to London. The kids watched ĎHannah Montanaí while I watched ĎMonsters Vs Aliensí.
Food was brought around in no time and we had the choice of macaroni cheese, beef stew and rice or chicken and leek with potatoes. Jack and I went for the macaroni cheese and Robyn had the chicken.
Photos arenít up to much as we had problems with the memory card and it hasnít saved some files properly.
We passed a few hours listening to more podcasts and sleeping and Jack treated himself to a model Virgin Plane as a souvenir. Conveniently enough his card wouldnít work so I ended up paying with the promise that he would give me the money when we got home Ė where have I heard that one before?!
Had to take this shot to prove we had flown over Plymouth!
The girls and boys swapped places with our friends and Robyn and I joined Lisa and Caitlin for a bit while Colin and Daniel kept Jack company for a bit. We chatted and discussed plans for the next 3 weeks and I vaguely remember some sandwiches being brought round at some point.
We returned to our seats and took some photos of the skymap as we got closer to Orlando and it was soon time to buckle up for landing which Jack filmed again (I must point out here that filming is not allowed on a flight unless permission is sought from a crew member which we did!)
As we were towards the front of the plane we were some of the first passengers off and the lines were really short at security. I decided to still go to the far right and we were soon called to the US citizen only desk and were through within 15 minutes. We had a really friendly security chap too who had a good laugh with us despite my dread of all things in authority!
The bags took a while to come through but the kids spotted them and hauled them of the luggage belt. Jackís holdall was ripped but not enough for me to make a complaint as the bag was only £10 in the first place. We decided to take the bags with us on the monorail but knew we would still have to go to the baggage claim area to meet our Quicksilver driver.
We got all excited as we got on the monorail and were soon heading for bag claim B which we had done so many times before but our name was not on any of the driverís boards. I looked for the Virgin bag claim area but couldnít find it so decided to have a good look round. Nothing. I rejoined the kids who were getting a little upset as they were so tired. It was then I noticed a sign saying Virgin baggage claim is at A. As we had been first onto the monorail there had been no one there to direct us to the new baggage claim area for Virgin so we had automatically turned left.
We hauled or bags back up the escalator and over to the other side of the airport where we eventually found our driver who had been waiting for nearly an hour!
Our town car was waiting outside for us and we took photos and video of our journey to International drive and the excitement levels were rising.
Quicksilver provided a fantastic service as always and we were soon pulling into the Orlando Metropolitan Express. I had chosen this hotel as we had stayed here before in 2001 when it was the Holiday Inn Express and the staff had been fab.
We paid or $75 to the driver and thanked him before entering the hotel lobby.
I gave our name to the man behind the desk who looked familiar and he typed our details into the computer. He told me that there was no reservation in that name so I gave him my confirmation. He pointed out that on the confirmation it said Orlando Metropolitan Resort. My heart sank. I didnít even know there was a resort. He could see I was getting upset so made a quick phone call and confirmed the at the Resort hotel were expecting us down the road. I then noticed the manís name tag and realised that it was the receptionist who had really made us feel welcome on our trip in 2001! He was now the manager and he remembered us. He came around and gave us all a hug and had his photo taken with the kids again so we could compare it with the one from 2001.
I got out the Esta forms and confirmed that the hotel on there was the one we were in, which it was, but the reservation was definitely at the resort down the road. We were gutted not to be staying at the Express with Watson as it never hurts to know the manager but we had to move down I-Drive to our booked hotel.
Our driver had left so Watson arranged for a taxi to take us down free of charge to where we should be.
We said our goodbyes and were soon arriving at the Orlando Metropolitan Resort and checking in.
We were given room 1311 which I knew was a bad omen!
The hotel was huge but when e found our room I burst into tears. It was not only the wrong hotel but the room was awful and it had no working safe. I left Robyn to use the Ďfacilitiesí and went down to reception with Jack to request a room with a safe. I was told that lots of their safes were out of order but I insisted on being moved. There was no way I was leaving $2500 and all the electrical equipment w e had not locked up while we were out during our stay. They gave me a list of free rooms and I walked around with a new receptionist to have a look at them. We saw a few unsuitable rooms before we got to room 1211 which was clean and had a safe with a key. We went back to reception to get a new key to be told that another family had just been checked into that room so we had to start the search again. We eventually found room 1229 which was a much better room and had a working safe so we collected all our bags and settled in. We decided not to unpack as we were only there for 4 nights. I had a good cry and texted Mum to let her know we were ok. I felt like Iíd let the kids down on the very first day of our holiday.
(pics taken the day we left but at least you can see what the room was like!)
Robyn slapped me (no she didnít really but she should have done!) and told me not to be so silly as we had a room and we were on holiday so it didnít matter where we stayed.
We locked the stuff in the safe and went to the supermarket up the road to get I-Ride trolley passes so we could go to Wendyís and eat.
We got the tickets but no trolley came past so we ended up walking to the top of I-Drive. We always eat at Wendyís on our first night so you can imagine how we felt when we got there to find it had closed down! What else was going to go wrong on this trip? We were only on day 1 and I wanted to go home already!
Bennigans (another favourite) was boarded up too and I-Drive was very quiet. One of the reasons I had wanted the Express hotel was its location to our favourite places to eat but as it turned out they were all shut anyway! We hopped on the next trolley and decided to eat at MacDonalds as we were starving and tired. We noticed that the Titanic Exhibition was now up that end of the drive and hope that we would make it there this year.
After eating we stopped at Walgreens for supplies and headed back to the hotel for showers. We sorted a few things for the next day and were glad to finally be in bed at 10.20 which was a very late 3.20am UK time. After an eventful day it didnít take long to fall asleep!
Quicksilver transfer - $75
Trolley bus passes - $20
Walgreens (water 24 bottles for $2.99 and coke 2l for 99c) - $4.05
Total - $99.05
2 Big Mac Meals -$8.60
1 chicken pieces meal - $4.40
3 21oz cokes - $6.57
Total (with tax) - $20.85
Well, that day was full of ups and downs eh!!! However, you are in Orlando and are about to have a fantastic holiday :yes:
Loving all of the photos :thumbsup:
This is getting good!!! I'm getting excited!! Keep 'em coming! :wiggle:
Fab reports Teresa. Things certainly were up and down for you.
No matter what, you are there! x
I'm glad your DD set you straight! You had a room and were on vacation!
What a surprise it must've been to see both restuarants closed!
Wow talk about and up and down day. Hard to believe places like Wendy's and Bennigan's were boarded up. Those are the types of places you would think would last forever.
Great pics of Robyn and Jack and the one of you on the plane. Those two look like they have grown up a lot in the two years it has been since we met you.