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Holiday to Florida with Florida4less
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Unread 22 May 15, 01:04 PM  
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PaulaEssex
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3 Resorts, Star Wars Weekend and much much more...May 2015 Flight Day


We woke up or was I already awake? It is so hard to tell the day you are going to WDW! All I could think was 5 weeks ago I was on a high steroid drip in Basildon hospital wondering if I would see another day and here I was lucky enough to be checking into Art of Animation tonight!

We did have a 5 night cruise booked on The Magic but we had to cancel that part of it. I had to beg the doctors as it was to go but being away from dry land and a hospital not a goer. Although disappointed we have got a Christmas cruise booked yippeee on The Dream.

We had 'first' breakfast in our room. Some cereal we brought with us of high sugar content. You will get use to this! I like my fruit loops, lucky charms etc. I have an autoimmune disease that attacks my joints, eyes and digestive system so I am restricted on what I can eat. But I love and can eat sugar and protein! Love my carbs and meat. Burgers, burgers, burgers! Yum yum. One of the reasons we adore Florida. The food really works for me plus the accessibility is brilliant, staff accommodating nothing is too much trouble! I have some serious weight to gain. This is the destination to do it!

We showered , dressed and checked out of the Premier Inn. They are so nice there!

We parked at the valet parking in Gatwick. This is a god send because Jo has to take the remaining luggage. So just a short distance across to the terminal. I had my wheelchair but needed to check in my scooter. This is where the problem began...

Without boring you VA wanted me to take my scooter and wheelchair to the gate. Well how do you suggest a person in a wheelchair does that? At Orlando coming home a porter just drives it to the plane for me. No fuss. Oh no health and safety...

We were at that check in desk for nearly 2 hours! To be fair it wasn't VA but the airport staff. VA were as frustrated as we were.

I started getting upset. Thinking I might have to leave Jessie ( my scooter named after Toy Story ) behind. She is my life line on holiday for getting around the parks. I can't self propel very far in my wheelchair and walking is very limited for me right now. Jo would need to push me. Well that wouldn't be much of a holiday for her!

Eventually a porter agreed to take Jessie. Plus as compensation we were given new tickets...we were flying PE. Not now oh no we were flying...wait for it..

First Class! Omg it was on our bucket list! We were beyond grateful to the lady from VA who was so nice and supportive throughout the ordeal.

Off we went to check out First Class lounge! This was amazing. Here comes second breakfast...

Jo had eggs Benedict cooked to order and I had a toasted bagel, egg white, marmalade and we shared a pastry. It was all so good! The staff were lovely. If we didn't have a date with The Little Mermaid that night we could have stayed!

It was soon time to go to the gate. So off we went to gate 19. Full of excitement of what Florida and First Class had to offer. That is Jo in First Class lounge.



Well can you imagine? Entering the plane and being told to carry on to the nose of the plane? What? That only happens to other people doesn't it? That purple glow of the light...

Well first of all you get a kind of pod each. A seat with a table and a little seat at the front in case you want somebody come join you to eat or chat. Then this whole thing converts into a flat bed. A bed in the sky? No way.

That is a picture of me as they place this cool tray down ready for my first meal. The little aeroplane salt and peppers too cute.

On the bottom they say don't pinch me! I belong to Virgin Atlantic, that was that plan out the window lol.



That was Jo in her 'pod' enjoying a glass of wine and some cheese and biscuits later. The food was basically what ever you wanted from a nice menu. We ordered a variety of items, Jo came and sat in my pod first at the extra seat and we chatted whilst we munched through the lovely food.

I noticed an amenity kit. I should have taken a photo of this. It was the only thing we thought was not First Class standard. The one in PE is better!

We had our own toilet which was great and lots of attentive staff. You didn't have to wait for a meal time just ask!

There is also a bar you can seat on stools at and have a drink which is free flowing throughout the flight.

The entertainment system is cool. Same but comes out from the side of the seat in your pod. You get a duvet also to snuggle down and go to sleep if you want. Jo put her bed down I did not just put my feet up on the little seat. If it had been a night flight I would have done. It was beyond blissful for me with my arthritis to put my feet out. Honestly it was the most amazing experience. We were very lucky!



The flight went very quickly oddly enough in all this comfort! I always thought that if we did first class we would save enough virgin airmiles for Jo's 50th or our 10 year anniversary next year ( 10 years since our civil partnership which got converted to marriage last December ) and upgrade on the flight home to enjoy the bed. But honestly you want to be awake to experience every lucky moment! Well I did anyway.

We landed after I watched Annie ( and enjoyed ) and Into the woods ( very strange film wasn't sure if I enjoyed it or not! ) . The weather looked lovely. It was still light.

We found a gate and started to unload. Being special assistance we get off last giving them time to bring the wheelchair to the gate. You will see my wheelchair above at Aquatica ( more on this great waterpark later! ) This caused much attention where ever we went. I have Captain America wheels!



We got the wheels and made our way to immigration. There is a special assistance line and never takes that long. Then we were through and we had assistance from the get go. No begging for help here. This isn't Gatwick! The porter even asked as we went through immigration what our bags looked like! As soon as we approached the belt he was there with our bags. How helpful is that. Big tip for this guy.

He took our bags as we headed over towards the Magical Express. But first we wanted to divert to the food court. I need to eat often and I could not wait till we got to the resort as I had become weak. Jo decided time for food! The porter kindly went to the ME and Jo took us for a McDonald's which we both enjoyed. That was better! Protein and sugar! We carried on to the ME.

We ordered a bus with a lift. Most of them have now but just in case. Soon we were on the ME and Jessie was loaded on the bottom and the wheelchair with our bags.

The video played that cute little show and we were off heading for Art of Animation for one night. We were stopping at Animal Kingdom and Pop Century. We were after AK.

I booked an Art of Animation little mermaid room because I liked the look of this resort, it looked fun and great value. We are Disney Vacation owners and use our points but for the first night not checking in till gone 7pm it seems a waste of precious points so I book a Disney value for the night. I must have made a mistake... Art of Animation a value? We did not think so! It was top notch! This was our first time it will not be the last! We loved it.

That is a picture to the right of the food court just by check in.



The first thing that hits you at Art of Animation is the wonderful theming. All around you are colourful icons, pictures and statues. It gives you an excited feeling but also this calm of the sea. Very clever. The lobby ( photo above ) and the check in desk is long reminding me of a Vegas style hotel check in. Plenty of staff to accommodate. The lobby is bright and airy. I liked it.

A cast member soon had us checked in. Gave us Magic bands but we have Haunted mansion ones we bought last year we like to use. She told is soon there will be a way to say through MDE 'no thanks' I want to use my own to save this awful waste. We now have about 12 each I believe!

We went to the food court to buy refillable mugs for length of stay and some snacks. Cereal for the morning. You know how jet lag wakes you at 4am hungry! We asked a CM if they sold cereal. She said yes but not till the morning. Doh! So she then said what do you want I'll get you some. Fruit loops please! She came back with a big pot of fruit loops and we went to pay. Oh no she says. Her pleasure!

I am seriously liking this resort! Jo joked I seemed more pleased with free fruit loops than First Class upgrade lol.



After we checked in we made our way excitedly to the Little Mermaid building. The pathway is cute full of statues along the way. The detail even on the floor like the wait line on The Little Mermaid ride. Textured like the sea bed. The statues were gismos and gadgets galore!

I liked the Lion King block too. We were soon there. We were on the ground floor. A lot of accessible rooms are. We were in the Ursula section! Sorry photo is a little dark.



Our room was lovely! I loved the tiles on the shower. ( this is a roll in shower room )



Lovely mirror in bathroom



Cute table top! ( let me know if you are getting bored! )



We thought this picture was nice



One of the two double beds.



A cute octopus to hang your hat!



The room was a really good size. It had a fridge ( no freezer section but a good section for can drinks ) and a big flat screen TV. We waited for bell hop deliver our bags to the room plus our owners locker. Owners locker is a purple box where we keep various items that get stored in an air con building in Florida. They pick it up at the end of the holiday and drop it off at the start. They leave it and pick it up from bell hop at the resort you tell them. We keep items like rain coats, a kettle, some toiletries we buy in Walmart that last for several trips, a Tomtom, chargers etc. stuff like that.

We watched some TV show I think it was Criminal Minds. We try to stay awake as long as possible! We lasted till about 10:00 pm and crashed. We woke early. Super excited and hungry. But we had our free fruit loops, milk we bought in the food court in the fridge and some juice. We had some spare paper bowls and cups in the locker and some plastic cutlery.

After this we showered, then went for second breakfast. Mickey waffles was actually Lion King waffles here. Cute. Then time to nose around before going to pick up the rental car from Alamo. We don't like picking the car up from the airport. Too tired! Much nicer to get the ME and pick up car the next day from the car depot near Magic Kingdom. We called and ordered the free Alamo shuttle for 8:30 am and asked for an accessible one. No problem! I won't get bored of these helpful folks!

Looking around I cannot stress enough how nice this resort is. This colourful guy in the photo was near the Big Blue pool.


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Unread 22 May 15, 03:06 PM  
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FlorayG
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Hey I hope you took pics of the flight! I'd love to hear a report of first class.
I agree with you about the difference in US and UK airports, in the US my mom has a helper all to herself with her wheelchair right from the plane to the taxi. In the UK there's one helper to several wheelchairs and they keep asking me "can you take it from here?" (and me with 4 cases? Do I look like I can? )
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Unread 22 May 15, 04:20 PM  
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PaulaEssex
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Thank you for reading. Exactly! Poor you with 4 cases. Just like Jo! Why are we so unhelpful in the UK. I believe Jo has some photos I will ask her. My iphone was playing up. So annoying! Lets just say it was lush!
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Unread 22 May 15, 06:31 PM  
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First class brilliant!
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Unread 22 May 15, 07:28 PM  
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PaulaEssex
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Thanks Cinderella. Cool Dibb name!
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Unread 22 May 15, 07:39 PM  
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Oh, goodness Paula, I didn't realise that's why you were in first class Silly UK airports! xx
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1994 Lindfields Villa 1999 Polynesian/Disney Magic 2002 All Star Sports 2007 Best Western Lakeside 2012 OKW 2014Disney Magic 2015OKW/Disney Dream/AoA 2016 Disney Magic 2017 OKW 2018 Disney Dream / OKW / All Star Movies 2019CBR 2020 DLP May Wonder August
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Unread 22 May 15, 07:39 PM  
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kirstielou
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wow! what an upgrade! shame you had an ordeal first though
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Unread 22 May 15, 07:50 PM  
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PaulaEssex
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Thanks Disneymadhouse! Yes it was the biz!
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