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"It's an adventure" Day 1: The journey

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by wickesy, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. wickesy
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    wickesy Earning my ears

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    Wed 11th April

    Today was the big day, we were finally going back to Disney!
    Although our flight wasn’t due to leave until 10:40 I had been reading about long security queues at Gatwick so we were up at 6:30 to get washed and dressed.

    Once we had our stuff together we made our way downstairs to check out. There was a huge queue at reception, presumably a mixture of people checking in from early flights or checking out so we took advantage of the hotels express check-out which allowed us to just drop a card with our details on in a box and walk out.

    From there we got the monorail over to the South terminal and just as we started walking to the end of the security queue a security officer came over and said that the security checkpoint was just opening upstairs so we ended up by default near the front of the people that he was leading up there and we ended up getting through security in 5 minutes.

    Once through we stopped off for a coffee and then walked around the shops where I bought a new pair of travel sickness relief bands as the ones I had were stretched from years of use. That done we went up to the viewing area to watch the planes coming and going.

    After we had been sitting there a while a family came and sat opposite us. All of a sudden I heard the daughter ask “Mum, why don’t planes crash in the air?” to which her Mum replied “Shut up”. It was quite funny but I got the impression the Mum was a bit of a nervous flyer and her daughter hadn’t exactly helped.

    Finally the monitors showed that the flight was boarding at Gate 34 and we made our way round. As we got close to the gates I saw Virginia Plain sitting on the tarmac and hoped that it was waiting for us as I knew it was one of the 3 Virgin planes operating out of Gatwick that has the games system on it. Unfortunately it was waiting at Gate 31 and Barbarella was to be our plane for the journey. As we sat waiting at the gate another family sat opposite us and the young son kept bashing us with his bag which the Mum kept apologising for. We were to see that family again 3 times on the last day.

    Boarding duly commenced and we made our way to our seats – 80H and K in Premium Economy at the back of the top deck. There was a menu on our seats offering a starter of Penne Pasta Salad and a choice of Roast Chicken Breast with Potato and Leek Gratin and Green Beans or Beef and Ale Stew with Mashed Potatoes or Grilled Vegetable Lasagne for main course and Gu chocolate and raspberry pudding for dessert.

    As we waited to leave I enjoyed my glass of champagne and adjusted my watch to Orlando time, or so I thought – as we looked at the Sky Map through the flight I realised that I had put my watch FORWARD by 5 hours instead of back! :rolleyes008:

    Pushback was just 15 minutes late at 11:00 and we were airborne 25 minutes later. Once we were in the air I opted for the chicken breast, ordered a coke from the trolley and settled back to watch The Pursuit of Happyness, which I enjoyed although I think I got something in my eye at the end when he was offered the job. The food was the usual airline food, it won’t win any Michelin stars but it was perfectly edible. I had a Baileys after the meal and listened to a few episodes of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue before switching to my Ipod for the second half of the flight. Afternoon snack was a choice of two rolls although I can’t remember now what the choices were.

    We landed at 3:00 and were off the plane by 3:15. I followed the tip of going to the far right queue for immigration but when they started calling people over to the US queues they were pulling them from the people behind us. That, together with the fact that we got stuck behind a family who hadn’t filled their waiver forms out correctly and weren’t sent to the back meant that it took us around 30 minutes to get through. We played the pick up bags, drop off bags, pick up bags game and went down to Dollar to pick up the hire car. I resisted the rather soft sell on the upgrade but did pre-pay the tank of fuel as I didn’t think we would use the car that much and thought it would save having to negotiate a US gas station.

    We then went over and collected the car which was a Dodge Caliber with more than enough room for the two of us.

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    After I had been shown around the controls and set up the sat nav it was time for the only part of the holiday I had been dreading – my first time driving in the US! It didn’t take long for me to make my first mistake – going along the car park I thought I was on a one way stretch but saw a car coming towards me. I followed my natural instinct, which was to move to the left out of the way and it was only when I saw the driver of the other car motioning for me to move to the right I realised where I should be! Luckily there were no other incidents on the drive in and we were on property by 4:50. At the Magic Kingdom toll booths I explained that we were checking in at the Contemporary and the CM waved me through. As we rounded a corner and I saw the Contemporary ahead of us I got the same feeling I got 15 years ago – “We are really here”.

    At the Contemporary we checked in and were allocated a room on the Bay Lake side of the 5th floor. It was a nice view although to the left of our balcony we could see where the North wing used to be. I had read in reviews of the hotel that there was not much room for toiletries in the bathroom but we found there was more than enough space under the sinks to put things. The only thing we didn’t like was that the sinks were very shallow and were more like shower trays.

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    By this time we were both gasping for a drink so we made our way down to the bar where Dad had a Bud Lite and I had a Sam Adams. We had a wander round the shops and I noted a number of things that I would like to buy over the course of the next fortnight. After that we went down to the Food and Fun Center to get our refillable mugs, which turned out to be the best value of our trip - $11.99 for a mug that we used at least twice a day containing drinks that would have cost $2.19 a go. We also got a bacon cheeseburger each and the total was $39.15. From there we went upstairs and unpacked before going back up to the bar where we had the same server who asked if it was a Bud Lite and Sam Adams again – not bad for somebody who had only seen us once a couple of hours before. We were actually on ‘evening drinks’ by then so Dad had a Grand Margarita and I had a Vanilla Russian.

    After finishing our drinks we went back upstairs and were in bed by 9:30 ready for our first day at the parks.

    Tomorrow: “Awesome!” - Day 2
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  2. sazzledazzle
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    sazzledazzle Earning my ears

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    Lovin the hotel room David very nice :yes:
    Great detail there also, I love the refillable mugs at disney unfortunately we had to leave them behind when we came home (too many clothes etc etc!):oops:
    Roll on tomorrow :p
  3. Ilovesnowwhitej
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    Ilovesnowwhitej Earning my ears

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    A brilliant journey, and what a wonderful room, i do agree your sinks are shallow.

    xx
  4. cazzie
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    cazzie Earning my ears

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    Lovely room I think I could happily stay at the Contemporary.
  5. dave&pauline
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    dave&pauline Earning my ears

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    great, cant wait to read more
  6. nannav
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    nannav Earning my ears

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    Location:
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    great start of to read more:p015:

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