Day 0 of Four Resorts, Two Festivals 2019, the latest of my Disney Trip Reports, is here! Today we check into our airport hotel the night before our flight to Orlando for our 7th trip to Walt Disney World!
The Four Resorts, Two Festivals 2019 Trip Report Index tells you a bit about the planning of this trip, as well as some info about us – me, Michelle and my husband, Steve. It also, of course, has the full list of days for the trip.
Day 0: Premier Inn Gatwick North
February 22, 2019
Day zero is the unofficial start of our holiday. It’s the day that we travel to the airport and stay in a hotel nearby.
For the past few trips to Florida, we have flown with British Airways. On this trip, we flew with Virgin which we haven’t flown with since our very first trip to Orlando in 2011!
Since our 2016 trip, Gatwick Airport has done some shifting of airline gates around, and essentially British Airways and Virgin have swapped over. BA now flys from the South Terminal and Virgin from the North.
Now I know that is a weird thing to mention, BUT, when we fly with BA we would stay at the Premier Inn at Gatwick North (across the road from the North Terminal), and when we flew Virgin (and BA in 2017) we would stay at the Hilton London Gatwick Hotel as it’s walking distance to the South Terminal.
Oh gosh, what a load of words to explain things! Essentially we are BACK at the Premier Inn for our 2019 trip to Walt Disney World! But flying with Virgin from Gatwick North Terminal.
Premier Inn, Gatwick North
I wrote a full review of Premier Inn, Gatwick North for our 2016 trip, and to be honest, it’s not really changed significantly since then so everything I mentioned (bar the prices) are pretty much the same. I will touch upon specifics for this trip though.
Before checking into the hotel we headed straight for the Virgin desks in the airport to do twilight check-in, which is always super handy as it means you can go straight to security on the day of your flight.
Now, why did we fly Virgin this year instead of British Airways? One simple factor: PRICE.
Virgin for our vacation dates was cheaper than BA – even with our AVIOS (flight miles) discount. This is the first time (for us) this has happened since our first trip! Crazy!
Once we had checked into our flight and dropped off our luggage, it was back over the road to check into the Premier Inn. It is literally a five-minute walk across the road from the terminal.
While getting from the airport to the hotel was quick. Getting from the entrance (which is on the ground floor) to the check-in area (which is on the first floor) was not.
And this is the biggest flaw, I think with the arrangement of the hotel.
The rooms are across ten floors, and there are four elevators serving them. However, one of the lifts was out of order, and it took 20 MINUTES to catch one because of all the people waiting!
Yes, there are stairs, but when you have to drag your luggage up too, that can be no fun. At all.
As the minutes slipped by, I suggested to Steve that he walk up the stairs and get us checked-in so that we could then just go straight to the floor that our room was on (when we finally could get into a lift!).
Definitely a smart idea for sure, I’m so glad I thought of it. But not too impressed with the situation, I have to be honest. I even tweeted Premier Inn at the time because people waiting were getting agitated and it’s something that I think they need to look into.
Staying at the Premier Inn is very good value – we paid just £45 for the night, and we also paid for the meal deal which is breakfast and 2-course dinner and drink for £52.98.
I love with Premier Inn that you know exactly what you are getting. Rooms are largely unchanged from our previous stay in 2016 as is evident from a couple of quick snaps from this trip for memory purposes!
They are well-appointed with a comfortable king-size bed, extra pillows, sofa(bed), desk and chair, side table, television with Freeview, hairdryer, tea/coffee making facilities, and free Wi-Fi. The wi-fi is limited to a certain number of devices, but you can pay a small fee (when we stayed it was £5 per night) to use it on more than one device. There is also a unit with a hanging rail (and some hangers), a drawer and shelves; as well as plenty of space for your luggage.
The bathroom has a bath with overhead shower, sink, toilet, dustbin, towels, and a dispenser with soap/shampoo.
Everything in our room was clean and tidy. The rooms have air-conditioning and black out curtains and considering its proximity to the airport, you cannot hear the aeroplanes.
All the amenities at the hotel are on the same floor as the reception:
- The Thyme British Bar & Grill, where both dinner, and breakfast are served.
- Costa Coffee, where you can also buy sandwiches, salads, cakes, snacks, as well as the usual drinks.
- A seating/lounge area
- An outdoor seating area
- Vending machines with drinks, and snacks
There is just one restaurant at this hotel, and it is advisable to book a table as soon as you can upon check-in.
We did book a table but didn’t actually use it. By dinner time I was in no mood to go into a busy restaurant and so Steve was actually able to order our food and bring it back to our room.
As part of the price we paid for our room, we could have a 2-course dinner – either a starter and main course, or main course and dessert. You can bump this up to a three-course for a few extra pounds if you wish to do so. A drink is also included – either a pint of beer, glass of wine, or a soft drink.
It looks to me like we plumped to get a three-course meal. The food was fine, nothing special – typical pub-grub type stuff.
Thyme British Bar & Grill »
Me: Grilled Lamb Koftas – Lightly spiced, succulent lamb koftas served with ciabatta, a crunch Greek salad and a cool tzatziki dip (£5.89)
Steve: Chicken & Chorizo Skewers – Smoked paprika infused chicken and chorizo skewers served with a fresh mixed salad and a cool tzatziki dip (£6.49)
The koftas were delicious – I’m glad I ordered those over the chicken and chorizo skewers that Steve did. Whilst the flavour was good, the chorizo had been burnt to a crisp!
Ordinarily, had we been seated in the restaurant we would have asked for this to be replaced but since we had chosen to dine in our room he just left it on the side.
Me: Double Cheese & Bacon Burger – Two juicy 4oz beef burgers layered with melted Cheddar cheese and streaky bacon. Served in a sesame seed bun with skin on chips and coleslaw. (£12.49)
Steve: Double Cheese & Bacon Burger – As above (£12.49)
I don’t think you can go very wrong with burgers, and when you’re not sure what to have from a menu, a burger is a quick and simple choice.
Me: Lemon & Clementine Cheesecake – A sweet and citrusy cheesecake, drizzled with a delicious berry fruit mix (£5.49)
Steve: Strawberry Fro-Yo – Creamy strawberry yoghurt topped with fresh strawberries (£4.99)
Dessert was nice, and alongside our meal, we had a couple of drinks (which were included in the meal-deal).
After dinner, we just chilled out in our room and I am pretty sure I would have rearranged my carry-on bag for tomorrow. I like to make sure I have all of the things I need for a flight to be within easy reach so pop them into a small zip-up bag that fits into the seat pocket.
Thyme Bar & Grill »
Premier Inn Gatwick North
Bill: Meal Deal + Upgrade £52.98 + £4
Total Paid: £56.94
And that’s it for Day 0 of Four Resorts, Two Festivals 2019! Tomorrow we are flying to Orlando for the 7th time!
Read about the day after:
Day 1 – Orlando Here We Come!
Travel Day: LGW – MCO; Check-in: Hyatt Regency Orlando (International Drive); Dinner from Fiorenzo
More Disney Trip Reports
- Hibiscus & Holly at The Poly 2017
- Christmas at Disneyland Paris 2015
- Halloween in The Wilderness 2015
- Dine Around Disney 2014
- Back To The Magic 2013
- The First Time 2011
- Disneyland Paris 2010
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The camera I use for my Disney photography is a Canon EOS 70D.
The two main lenses I use: Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro and Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC Art. Both of these lenses will also fit Nikon and Sony DSLRs.
I also take some photos on my iPhone7 for sharing on social media – follow my Disney Instagram account – LoveDisneyPhotos
Pool photos are taken with: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5. A similar model is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT30EB-A
Videos are taken with Panasonic HC-V720, although the newer model is the Panasonic HC-V770.
Any photo editing is done with Photoshop or with Instagram editing features and filters.