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Old 14 Jul 17, 12:53 PM  
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Garth and Louise's Graduation Celebration June 2017 - Travel Day

Welcome to my trip report! The pre-trip report is here, and the index is here .

Sunday 11th June - Pre Travel Day

I won’t do a full pre-travel day because we were at work for most of it! We started off the day watching Princess and the Frog and did online check in for our flights before we got ready for work. We had booked the window and middle seats in row 80 and the aisle seat was still showing as empty! We were surprised knowing how popular the bubble can be! Quite a few seats were still empty right up until the day we left. But that’s the risk you take when paying for seats, we just hoped going for the bubble would pay off for us!

I dropped Garth to work at 12 and then went to work myself at 2. When I got to work everyone was complimenting my eyelashes. I had treated myself to an LVL lash treatment for the holiday and it really made a difference. I don’t really wear makeup so it was nice to feel a bit glammer for the holiday! Our shifts went super quick and I picked Garth up from his house on my way home. Garth had picked up a pizza from work so we popped it in the oven and packed up final bits ready for the day tomorrow.

It all feels real when the suitcases are in the hall! We put the final sticker on our chart and went to bed at 10.30.

Monday 12th June - Travel Day

We slept really well considering how excited we were. Our alarm went off at 4.45am and we went to make our last morning coffee in England for 3 weeks!

It didn’t take long for us to get washed and dressed and we were soon packing the last few things. We locked up the cases and checked their weights. I don’t know how they were so heavy but my poundland scales were showing that they were 21kg and 19kg. I always over pack! But we were in our 23kg allowance so that was fine.

Excited photos!

Mum and Dad came down at around half 5 and the taxi man arrived 15 minutes later. We finished up our drinks and brushed our teeth before loading up the taxi. When we went in 2014 I found it so hard saying bye to Mum and Dad. We’ve been to uni since then so it was a lot easier this time! We were off earlier than planned at 5.55. I was getting a bit nervous about the airport as I always do so we distracted ourselves talking about uni and work. The taxi driver was really quiet. My Dad had been able to get us a deal through the taxi company his work uses so I think the driver was more used to business men, rather than 21 year old couples en route to Orlando! At some point on the journey I checked online and the aisle seat next to us had been taken. Oh well no extra room for us. We were at Gatwick by 7.10 so it was a really good journey. We took the lift seeing as we had the hefty cases with us.

We got to bag drop at 7.20. I love seeing everyone dressed in Disney gear ready for their holiday! We didn’t wait long and were soon being seen by a very friendly man. I have nothing in my notes other than “super friendly” I’m afraid! He printed us boarding passes even though we had them up on the app and weighed in our cases at 18.4kg and 20.7kg. He had customs forms on his desk so we picked up one of these each. We waved goodbye to our luggage and I felt more relaxed already! Garth stopped off to use the loo and then we breezed through security. They opened a new line as we were approaching and it was really quiet so there was no need to rush. Before we knew it we were in duty free. I wanted to look for my wedding perfume for next year so we tested a few but I felt a bit intimidated by the sales assistants. I felt like they were really staring at us the whole time. None really grabbed me but Garth really loved BonBon by Viktor and Rolf. I liked it but didn’t want to commit to it so we left having made a note of it. We browsed some shops for a bit before making our way to the V Room. By the time we got there we were very ready for breakfast! I sat down with the bags while Garth went to get us some coffee and pastries.

Garth loved how we were sat right by the food so he could just pass stuff over! I wrote up some notes and before long Garth was delivering the goods. I had a cinnamon roll and a coconut bite and Garth had a croissant and a donut. We were getting into the American spirit having donuts for breakfast!

It had quietened down so we left the bags in our sight and went up for hot food. Garth just had toast, sausage and bacon and I had sausages and mushroom. The mushroom was amazing! Well the sausages were too, but I really liked the mushroom.

I also picked up a yogurt and a smoothie. The yogurt tasted a bit odd and the raspberry at the bottom was almost sour. Wasn't a fan! The banana and honey smoothie however was delicious. As we were eating the lady at the table next to us commented on Garth’s hoodie. We got talking about Universal and Diagon Alley and she told us that her son had been too young on her previous trip and she was really looking forward to going back. We really couldn’t believe that we would be there tomorrow When we finished eating we went to find somewhere to sit for the next few hours. We checked out the coke freestyle machine on the way and I got my first vanilla coke of the holiday. I love this stuff! Garth got a cherry tango. We found a nice corner next to the bar and got comfy playing Harry Potter top trumps and watching the planes.

At some point Garth got up to use the loo and on his way back he heard someone shouting “GARTH THERE’S PANAKES! ” We’ve only ever come across one other person with Garth’s name so it was really funny that there was someone in the V Room shouting out his name about pancakes We filled out the customs forms now to get that over and done with.

We had booked the V Room when there was an offer to get alcoholic drinks included so thought we’d make use of it and get some drinks. Garth went up and got a JD and coke and a Baileys for me.

He told me when he got back that the Baileys wasn’t included in the alcohol package so he paid £4.40 for it, what a gent! The time seemed to go super quick and we had our gate info at 10.20. We were at gate 575 so trekked through to the other side of the terminal and boarded Tinker Belle.

We went up the stairs of the plane all excited to get in our seats only to find that there was a lady in the window seat! Now Garth and I are both incredibly reserved people, so naturally we just sheepishly sat down in the two remaining seats and smiled. Garth handed over his hand luggage back to be locked into the cupboard and I put mine by my feet.

Now that is an excited face! We opened our sherbet lemons and probably ate about a million of them before we finally took off. There had been some sort of luggage issue so we were slightly delayed in taking off but we were on our way by 11.45ish. The pretzels came almost immediately and we settled down watching Moana. I got some water and Garth got some whisky. We’d been looking forward to watching Moana on the plane for ageees- since seeing it in the cinema it’s one of our favourite films and we’ve listened to the soundtrack hundreds of times in the car on the way to uni! We had a browse of the menu while we were watching.

Lunch came at 1.20 and we both had the pasta. We both really enjoyed it, I always seem to love plane food. We had crackers instead of a bread roll like last time which I preferred. Pudding was also delicious, I just wish it was bigger!

When we finished Moana we watched the sky map for a bit, I seem to have several photos of the map, thanks Garth They bought more drinks around too. I got a coke and Garth got a coffee.

We watched Doctor Strange next. It was odd hearing Sherlock with an American accent! I got sleepy so we both paused the film and I napped while Garth read his book, although when I woke up 20 minutes later he had nodded off too. They brought the Fab lollies around so I woke him up and we finished our film off.

We both really liked it but I’d like to watch it on a proper TV to see all the cool effects better. At some point the lady next to us asked to get up to use the loo and complained about being sat by the window because she hates disturbing people. We didn't mind getting up at all but I was a bit annoyed that she was complaining after pinching our seat!

Garth fancied a documentary next and I suggested Monkeys: An Amazing Animal Family. This was such a cute documentary. Halfway through we heard a baby start crying further forward in the bubble. Up until this point I hadn’t even realised there had been a baby up there! He’d obviously been so good for most of the flight, I do feel sorry for parents when their kids start fussing on flights. We had less than 2 hours to go after the documentary. More sky map pictures!

Tea soon came round and the cheese and chutney sandwich was delicious. I had a cup of tea and Garth had black coffee to wake him up a bit.

They handed out sweets for landing and the lady next to us all of a sudden started talking to us! She told me she was from Ocala in Florida and had been visiting her daughter who lives in London. We were talking about the weather in Orlando at the moment and how they were having a very wet spell but it was long overdue. We landed at 3.45 and quickly got off the plane and into an empty immigration hall, jackpot! We checked with one of the officers that we had to go through the process separately due to living in different households and he said we did but we could use the same machine. Garth went through first no problem and then I went through and got a big black cross. I had expected this because of my new passport but it meant we were sent down separate queues which was annoying. Both queues moved at about the same pace and I got to the front at the same time Garth did. There were two old-ish ladies behind me moaning about how long it was taking and saying the other queue was being let through quicker than ours. Whenever they sent someone from the other queue to an officer they let out massive groans and made comments like “this is utterly ridiculous”. We waited no more than 10 minutes and Garth and I got sent to wait by booths within seconds of each other so I’d hate to see what the old ladies were like after a 2 hour wait in that hall! I really hate the moaning, especially when you know you’ll be waiting for luggage anyway.

Unfortunately the booth I was queuing for crashed so I had to go back to the line. As I got there someone from the other line pushed in front of me to go to the next booth available! The officer working that booth saw this and sent pushy man back and called me forward. I was quite nervous about being on my own at this point because I know how serious the officers can be sometimes but luckily I got a nice friendly man. He asked the usual questions and asked about what I was doing at uni and how I was paying for the holiday etc. I think he could tell I was nervous! I was soon reunited with Garth and we went to wait for our bags.

Our first bag came super quick but there was a bit of a wait for the second. The carousel kept getting clogged up so they had to stop it to reorganise the cases. They finally came and we caught the monorail to the main building. We stopped by the fountain and took it in turns to go change into fresh clothes. I loved just being here again smelling that MCO smell. I remember walking into the main building when I was 6 and taking it all in for the first time. I still got that same amazing burst of excitement being there!

Bit of a photobomb going on there

After changing we went to find the Virgin desk but managed to go the wrong way. We did the exact same thing in 2014. We found it eventually and collected all our paperwork from one of the ladies at the Virgin desk. Our documents said we had to pick up the $200 gift card at the airport but when we mentioned it she said we had to collect it at the resort. I showed her my paperwork because it said that we would forfeit the gift card if we didn’t collect it at the airport and I was starting to panic! She dug around and found a letter for me outlining that because we weren’t going to Disney until the 19th we’d pick up the card a few days after checking in. Once we had written confirmation of this I felt better and we headed outside for our Mears transfer.

I noticed as we walked out that I didn’t get a whack of humidity or heat! The temperature was absolutely beautiful and we were feeling on top of the world sat on a bench knowing how close we were to our favourite place.

We had to wait quite a while for the shuttle but we were called eventually along with a few other families. We were all stopping at different places and Donald the driver told us we’d be third. We were on the road by 5.50. The familiar roads get me so excited.

We were listening to the driver and an American guy up front talking about the Pulse nightclub shootings. We hadn’t realised that it was the first anniversary that day and felt quite guilty about how happy and excited we were when Orlando were mourning. They mentioned how they were having a service in downtown Orlando to commemorate the occasion, it was nice to hear about how the community really pulled together to show their support for the victims.

I don’t have a note of what time we arrived at the Rosen Inn but it can’t have taken longer than 40 minutes. Donald helped us with our cases and we tipped him $5. There was no queue at check in and we were seen straight away. We had emailed to request a pool facing high up room in block A and this was exactly what we got! We were entitled to free breakfast and dinner vouchers with our VH booking so we picked those up and then headed to building A. We got a bit lost trying to find the room, we were tired and ended up walking around all the odd numbered rooms before realising the even numbers were on the other side! We got into the room at 6.35 and checked straight into the wifi We messaged our Mums (priorities) before having a good look around the room. We were really impressed! The beds looked small but it was nice and spacious in general and we only were only using it as a base anyway.

Pure happiness! We unpacked and were leaving the room at 7.30. This was the view from the balcony.

We were using uber for the first time to get to Walmart to pick up some basics. I had set it up on my phone, so I ordered the uber and we sat on a bench outside reception to wait. We expected our car to have some sort of uber symbol on it, stickers or something, so there was a bit of confusion about finding our ride but after asking in a few car windows we got in with Dave at 7.35. I didn’t realise at the time how little time there was between leaving the room and getting in the car! Dave seemed to be quite grumpy and not what we expected from our first uber ride. We were expecting an extroverted crazy American but he was silent! On the drive it started raining and we saw Volcano Bay for the first time.

Whenever we were in a car around International Drive you could see Krakatau- it’s a good free advert really! We got to Walmart at 7.52. As soon as we walked in we realised that maybe we’d made a little bit of a mistake. It was heaving and we were exhausted. We decided we’d just grab what we needed and save looking around for another day.

We literally zipped round trying to remember as much as we could (I’m not sure why we weren’t using the list we had prepared!) and joined the rather large line for self checkout. Our receipt shows we were done at 8.20 and it cost $32.01. We paid in cash to get some $1 bills for housekeeping. We struggled with wifi outside to get an uber so I ordered from inside and printscreened my phone to keep the info up.

For a non-car person Garth’s quite good at recognising cars so it was easier this time now we weren’t looking for uber stickers. We were with Teresa at 8.26. Now Teresa is what I expected an uber driver to be like. She was so friendly and chatty! As we drove past the Orlando Eye we saw how it was all lit up in rainbow colours commemorating the Pulse shootings. We could tell having been here only a few hours how much it had impacted the community but as I said before it was heart warming hearing the locals talking about how they’d pulled together against such hate. Teresa was a great driver and fully earned her 5 stars! We arrived “home” at 8.37. We unpacked the shopping and snapped a quick picture of the stuff we’d got.

We had 2 pots of watermelon, banana boat, water, cinnamon buns and then a selection of cookies and snacks for the parks. They didn’t have the pretzel M&Ms we wanted and I totally forgot to look for straighteners but we agreed that we’d go back with more energy in us.

Now I’m not normally hungry after travelling but for some reason I was absolutely starving by this point, verging on hangry. We had planned to pick up some Cici’s vouchers from Walmart but I totally forgot so Garth suggested looking in the I Trolley booklet they had given us on check in. Luckily Cici’s vouchers are everywhere and there was a buy one get one free offer. We ripped it out the booklet and headed straight out again to stuff ourselves silly.

The rain had stopped now and it was a lovely evening. I realised as we were walking down I Drive that I wasn’t 100% sure where exactly Cici’s was, and I didn’t know what side of the road it was on! We crossed over to the Walgreens side and must have walked about 10 minutes before seeing it on the other side. As soon as I could smell it I was so desperate to eat! There was no queue so we were straight in. We paid $13.81 for 2 adult buffets and 2 large drinks with the voucher. I didn’t even look at the food I was picking up I just grabbed a load of slices, found a seat and stuffed my face. We were pretty much the only people in there so we sat down right in front of the drinks machine, getting a rootbeer and a water to share between us.

The large drinks were basically buckets. This would come back to haunt me later!

Garth went and took some pictures of the buffet on his second visit so we’d remember what we’d eaten! The garlic bread was a favourite, as was the BBQ pork pizza. Cici’s isn’t gourmet dining but it’s quick and cheap and was perfect for us on the first night. And having a cheese shaker is the best thing ever.

We got some brownies for desert and they were gooey yummy warm heaven.

You can see how quiet it was in this photo.

I was feeling a lot more relaxed now I’d eaten! We exited via the gift shop and started the walk back down International Drive. It was a lovely walk and we passed The Olive Garden where we’d be eating tomorrow night!

I was so excited. We got back to the room at around 9.45. We packed the park bag and got washed and ready for bed before finally crashing at 10.30… 22 and a half hours after we’d got up! We’d had a really successful travel day and now couldn’t wait for the three weeks ahead.

Tomorrow we go to Islands of Adventure and Universal

Steps today: 11252

Edited at 12:17 PM.
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Old 14 Jul 17, 03:28 PM  
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We've never been to Cici's but I think I'd love it, would be a nice quick lunch before shopping.

Glad you arrived safely, you captured the excitement of travel day really well!
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Old 14 Jul 17, 03:54 PM  
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Wow 3 weeks to look forward to. I can't wait to read more. My son loves the brownie from Cici's too.

You were very restrained not moving the woman out of your window seat, my hubby would have had a few choice words. He loves his window seat.

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Old 14 Jul 17, 04:22 PM  
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Wow an epic long travel day, can't believe you made it to Walmart and cici' you guys are hardcore!

I'd of asked the woman to move on the plane 🤗
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Old 14 Jul 17, 10:18 PM  
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Originally Posted by collybird View Post
We've never been to Cici's but I think I'd love it, would be a nice quick lunch before shopping.

Glad you arrived safely, you captured the excitement of travel day really well!
Cici's is the perfect place if you want something quick! Always look out for vouchers though they're everywhere.

Thank you and thanks for reading

Originally Posted by floridasarah View Post
Wow 3 weeks to look forward to. I can't wait to read more. My son loves the brownie from Cici's too.

You were very restrained not moving the woman out of your window seat, my hubby would have had a few choice words. He loves his window seat.
There must be something in the brownies they're addictive!

We were taken aback to be honest. Both of us avoid confrontation at all costs so we did keep quiet about it, although we were miffed at not being able to have that view taking off.

Thanks for reading

Originally Posted by Excitedx4 View Post
Wow an epic long travel day, can't believe you made it to Walmart and cici' you guys are hardcore!

I'd of asked the woman to move on the plane 🤗
Hahaha we do often push ourselves to the limit when we go away

We know we were in our rights to ask her to move, we're just too shy We did actually end up moving the seats for the way home because it worked out better being able to come and go as we pleased, but the point still stands that she should have sat in her allocated seat

Thank you for reading
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Old 14 Jul 17, 11:46 PM  
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Three weeks for me to look forward to reading 😀😀😀😀 # gotta get me a cheese shaker 🍕🍕🍕
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Old 15 Jul 17, 12:13 AM  
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Great start, really enjoyed reading... I totally would have pointed out she was in the wrong seat...politely of course as she may have made a mistake... Well done on doing so much on travel day, I just want to eat and sleep lol

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Old 15 Jul 17, 08:46 AM  
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Fab Travel day!
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Old 15 Jul 17, 12:37 PM  
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Great start, sounds like you made the most of the airport lounge & had a great trip! Looking forward to reading along 🙂 x
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Old 15 Jul 17, 02:30 PM  
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Great start, 3 weeks is a big ole triply to write keep it coming
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