After counting down for what seemed like eternity the day had finally arrived. It was September 26th, we had made sure the night before everything was ready as we planned to leave early to allow for traffic and something to eat before our flight, just in case Lois didn’t like the plane food.
So once the car was packed up we headed to my parent’s house to collect them, I know everyone loves this moment “you know that moment, you day dream an cannot believe you have two weeks of holiday in front of you”, not only that we had a huge adventure planned ahead, experiences most of us had never even dreamed of, That feeling was pure happiness at its best.
Once we had collected them we headed for London Gatwick South terminal, now this was Lois’s first experience of Airports/flying, she was grinning the whole journey. We pulled into the short stay where we had Pre-booked parking for two weeks, this was nice and simple and before we knew it we was walking into the Terminal, up to the Virgin Check in desk. Check in was done nice and quick, they had to manually scan my passport for some reason this did get my pulse racing! But all was ok, bags within correct weight limit and we was off, we went through security most of us trouble free, lee was picked out as he’d left his mobile in his pocket! Amateur.
Next was Food, we decided breakfast at Weatherspoon’s was suitable, I’m guessing we all had the full breakfast, it was all very tasty and filled us up. After that we did some shopping, nothing major but Lois brought herself a virgin plane model and some magazines, along with lots of sweets for the take off and landing. We had a coffee at Costas then checked the Board, Our gate number was showing, so off we went to find it, after lee and my parents both being chosen for more security checks we were all finally sat waiting to board the plane.
It was at this point we experienced the first benefit of paying to be upstairs in what’s known as the bubble on Virgin planes, we were one of the first to be called onto the plane! Lois was so excited and so were we. After being shown our seats we settled in, checked out the IFE, this was amazing, lots of Movies, Music and games to keep us entertained, and then we prepared for take-off.
This moment will stay with me forever! Lois giggled, then out loud was wowing as she flew into the sky. As an adult that’s had that experience you take for granted just how crazy that must be. After we reached 30,000 feet or so we settled. First was drinks, this was followed by dinner, now I’m struggling to recall what we had exactly but I’m sure it was a Teriyaki chicken and rice which was very nice, Lois wasn’t a massive fan but ate the Roll and other bits which included a cheesecake, after this we all choose a film, Lois watched Finding Dory, I watched shallows, I’m not sure what lee watched possible a superhero type movie. Before we knew it the cabin crew came around again offering more drinks along with crisps which went down well. So far so good! Time seemed to be passing fairly quickly, our flight was at 13:15 and was 9 and a half hours I think, talk about “in the deep end” for Lois! But she was happy, all these experiences she’d never had before.
We had been up since around 7am so this was going to be a very long day. Anyway moving on after some more movies then lunch, sandwiches I believe along with fruit and chocolate, more drinks I think tea and coffee, we were now getting excited that we were over the ocean and officially reached America!
It was strange that it was light the whole journey yet we knew back home evening had arrived, Lois couldn’t believe this. We spotted New York, albeit from a huge distance but still pretty cool. I’m sure at this point we had more drinks but we lost count in the end! One thing I will say is you can see why you pay so much for your airline tickets. At one point we did decide to go downstairs and have a walk, this was a real eye opener, now done get me wrong I would happily be down there if I had the chance to return but wow it was noisy compared to the relaxed atmosphere upstairs, and so big! Amazing how many people are in one plane, I think it was 450 odd.
Moving on the moment was finally here! At this point we had been awake for around 16 hours, it was about 10pm at home and we were just landing at MCO, Orlando international airport, Landing was the best feeling, looking out at the hot clear blue skies! I remember thinking “I cannot believe I’m here” such a dream, especially for Lois. At this point we soon realised another benefit of being in the bubble, we were first off the plane! Brilliant. we walked off down to the desks where Homeland security are, we had our fingerprints taken and a chat with the First of many American’s we would be meeting, it felt very serious and a little intense but he was great with Lois. After this we went to collect our bags, this felt like a lifetime! After all that our bags decided to take an age, and one came right at the end, I was just relived they had all made it, 5 huge suitcases, lots of hand luggage and Lois’s Mickey teddy accounted for we were ready to leave.
After another security check of same sort, and a firm announcement that “phones were not to be used in this area”, we made our way through, we had absolutely no idea where we were going at this point but after a monorail trip and a walk we found the car hire desks, we had choose Alamo this was nice an simple, basically this is the isle you can choose from then off you go to choose, obviously Lee being the car nut he is we had to walk down the row of cars a few times to choose making sure we picked the right vehicle, our parents had also hired a car so were doing the same. We ended up with a Dodge Journey, very nice, keys in it ready, we told our parents we would just head back to our hotel and them do the same (we had different hotels) rather than follow each other, looking back we should have stayed together as they were only 5 mins down the road but we wasn’t to know, they were sensible an hired a Satnav. We were using an app for our directions but this wasn’t the easiest to follow as was slightly delayed, which lead to a wrong turn or two. Not helpful when you’re in a different country, different car, the daylight is disappearing before your eyes as it was now around 6pm local time. In fairness lee did great and together we eventually found the Caribbean Beach Resort.
Pulling into a Disney Resort was a great feeling, we parked up at The Custom House, this is where you check in as a guest. The Cast member’s was super friendly, the lady welcomed Princess Lois, then handed her a sword and eye patch as we would be staying in a pirate room. She explained the layout of the huge resort, also told us where we could find food and drinks then handed us all our magic bands, these were also our room key. With everything we needed we returned to our car to go find our Room.
We were in section 34 Trinidad south, we pulled into the car park for our area; it looked so Caribbean, very colourful and very tidy! Lois noticed almost immediately the lizards running around everywhere; this was funny to her and kept her amused the whole two weeks! We unloaded the luggage and went to find our room, this would be home for the full length of our stay apart from a night at The Hard Rock Hotel. Now I’m pretty sure our room was 4022, this was located in the Courtyard and strangely almost always had a random Turkey wandering around!
The room was brilliant; the first thing we noticed was how lovely and cool it was! Amazing air-conditioning, which actually reminds me how shocking the heat and humidity was when we walked out the airport! We all gasped at first! Anyway, the room was super fun, pirate ships complete with working boat lamps for our beds. A large barrel that hid a fridge inside and another similar for storage. The bathroom was split, we had an area with his and hers sinks then a separate room with bath/shower and toilet in. I simple cannot forget at this point the daily maid service that always left us with a new supply of toiletries which I brought home! So the room was great, not a touch on the style of The Hard Rock but simply magical, just what you expect from Disney but without the over the top theming, in fact with the Caribbean music and designs you could almost forget where you were.
To sum it up a truly beautiful resort, with a huge lake along with sandy beaches and a very fun pool. That evening we popped into the Old Port Royal, this is where the food and drink is located at our resort, we purchased resort mugs for $17.99 each, these could be refilled as much as we like for the length of our stay, we definitely got our money’s worth! We grabbed milk and a crate of water then returned to our room.
Tomorrow we have a very early start, as we have a dining reservation at magic kingdom, Cinderella’s royal table, so I think we watched a little TV, unpacked, messaged the family then got some well needed rest! It was now midnight we had been up for 22 hours in total we were truly shattered.
Highlight of day one – Lois’s face on take-off!