Day 0 – To Gatwick & Beyond! {Orlando, Florida, Flashback Fridays}

3rd August 2011
My dad turned up at about 5ish to take us to Gatwick Airport. Steve, having been at work that day, turned up about 5 minutes later…a few last minute checks – TICKETS, MONEY, PASSPORTS – were made and with everything packed the weekend before, we were good to go! Cases loaded into the boot of the car, we departed from our house around 5:30, hit a bit of traffic on the QE2 Bridge, but other than that, an easy and quick ride to the Airport.

The sign to the Gatwick Hilton, where we were staying the night before our flight, was partially covered by a tree. Dad went whizzing by and straight into the airport carpark – no reversing! Luckily, however, they must plan for such things, as there was a sign to say to take a ticket and exit for free. Another drive around and this time he hit the right turning!

With everything offloaded from the car, and hugging my dad goodbye, we called for help from the hotel with our luggage and the concierge turned up with a trolley. We met him by the chick-in desk upstairs, where there was a bit of panic as they couldn’t find our booking on the system! After producing proof (our email confirmation print out) and re-checking, we were given a room key and off we went.

We nipped into the room to dump the things we didn’t need to check in, took a few pics as I always do!

First impressions? Not very flash for a posh hotel!

We then took the approximate 5 minute walk to the South Terminal to do twilight check-in. The main reason we booked an overnight stay at this hotel.

There was a small queue, nothing major, had to wait for maybe 15 minutes or so.

Weighed in our cases – all underweight since we packed very lightly – I also asked if it was okay to take my plastic crochet hook on board, which is was. She asked if our hand luggage was under 6kg (it was) and after being handed some custom cards to pre-fill before getting to Orlando, we walked back to the hotel.
Steve and Liam popped back to the room to drop back the hand luggage, whilst I sat in the bar area. I was approached by a waiter and stupidly ordered 3 diet cokes…big mistake…not much change from £9!! For 3½ pints of post-mix and a lime wedge?! Shocking!! This photo has been dubbed the £3 glass of coke.

We then made our way to The Garden Restaurant Bar, one of the hotel’s eateries. Got seated quickly, a hostess guided us through the buffet, which cost £25.95 per person – very pricey for a not overly impressive buffet.

Liam got pizza and chips which cost about £15 – there wasn’t much he would have eaten on the buffet. We also ordered a jug of free tap water to save money on drinks :P

There was a salad bar to act as a starter – a good selection of items including: coleslaw, potato salad, cou cous, lettuce, prawns, smoked salmon, hoummus, taramasalata, anchovies, olives, cucumber, tomatoes, artichokes, feta, mozzarella and breads – amongst other things!

Main dishes included lamb, chicken, pork, roast vegetables, lentil curry and rice, mushroom and ricotta cannelloni, potatoes and steamed vegetables. 

There was a nice selection of desserts, mainly pre-made cakes, flavours included Baileys, black forest and citurs. There was also an apple pie, fruit, cheese and crackers.

Over £80 for 3 people?! Extortion!

We walked dinner off by popping outside and walking round the hotel, watching the aeroplanes.

Then back to the hotel room for some shut-eye after hand-writing my trip report and editing my iPhone pics. We’re all so excited about our flight tomorrow morning!

All photos from this day can be found on my Flickr!

Read the next day:
Day 1 – Up, Up & Away! 

You can find all the days here:
Orlando, Florida Vacation, Flashback Friday Series Index

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