Day 1 of Four Resorts, Two Festivals 2019, the latest of my Disney Trip Reports, is here! Today is travel day with our morning flight to Orlando with Virgin Atlantic and a stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.
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 1: Travel Day – Virgin Atlantic to Orlando (LGW-MCO)
Check-in: Hyatt Regency Orlando (International Drive); Dinner from Fiorenzo
February 23, 2019
After a decent night’s sleep at the Premier Inn, it was time to get ready for our flight to Orlando!
Breakfast was included in our meal deal and Steve went down to the buffet to grab a couple of things. I avoided breakfast due to my medication and some side effects I didn’t want to have to deal with on a long-haul flight!
As always, we did a quick check of the room to make sure we had everything and headed over to the airport terminal.
We had checked in and dropped our luggage last night we went straight to security, which as always, was thorough.
I was pretty confident that we would be okay – our liquids were in a clear plastic bag, we’d put everything into the trays to go through the x-ray, and didn’t beep as we went through the security gate.
However, there was an issue with my carry-on and I racked my brain as to what it could be. It turns out that the pair of (craft) scissors I had in there with my scrapbook stuff were too long.
NO! I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of packing them into my suitcase. I kicked myself for such a stupid error!
You see, I had planned to scrap our trip and had a bag with some supplies in my carry-on.
The security agent was really nice about it, and actually a scrapbooker herself, so she did feel my pain when the scissors had to be disposed of.
Once through security, we waited for our gate number to appear and before we knew it was boarding the aircraft.
As I mentioned in day one, we have been flying British Airways to Orlando for a few years. However, it was Virgin for this trip. (Virgin was cheaper.)
We did actually fly Virgin in 2011 (our first time to Orlando) and it would be interesting to see how BA and Virgin compared.
The noticeable difference was the cabin which felt a lot cleaner and more modern than the BA planes we had been on.
Aeroplane food is never the best, but both Steve and I agreed that it was much better on the Virgin flight.
Ultimately I will book flights with the airline that will get us to our destination in the most affordable way!
Plus-Size Passenger on Virgin (Boeing 747-400)
As a (very) plus-size passenger (I’m 5’4″ with 25″ inside leg (for reference on seat pitch) and am a UK size 32/34, so that’s about a US size 28/30) I aim to provide information for other plus-size travellers who worry and stress about various parts of travelling and at the various attractions in Orlando.
Air travel is not comfortable for anyone (unless you can afford First or Business Class!) but for plus-size folk, it can be a horrible experience.
I know that worrying about whether you will fit in a plane seat causes a lot of anxiety, so let me help alleviate some of those anxieties for you.
We flew Economy Classic and was able to pre-select our seats well in advance of the flight. This was a huge advantage over BA where you have to pay for such a privilege.
We have paid for seat selection in the past and I just include it within our travel budget.
We sat in seats 64A and 64C which sounds as if they wouldn’t be next to each other, but they were. These seats are at the very back of the airplane, and because of the curvature of the plane itself, there isn’t room for three seats as in the other rows.
Instead, there is a gap between the seat and the wall. And this was one of the reasons that I chose these seats… thinking that I would be able to raise the armrests on the “aisle” side of me, I would have a little bit more wiggle room. But that was not the case, as you will soon find out.
When I looked online at SeatGuru for our aircraft – Boeing 747-400 – the width and pitch of the seats seemed to be comparable to the BA planes we have been on. However, the armrest situation is not the same.
So, on the aisle seats on the BA planes we have been on, the armrest can be lifted up on the aisle end which makes getting in and out of your seats so much easier.
On this Virgin flight, they did not lift up, so getting up and down to go to the toilet was a bit of a struggle for me as I hate encroaching on others, and having to pull myself up and over the armrest by grabbing onto the seat in front wasn’t a nice experience. It also meant that the armrest to the left of me between the seat and the wall didn’t go up either and my idea of having a little more space was not to be.
Fortunately, the armrest did go up between the seats. For take-off and landing the armrests have to be down – which I was fine with – but did put them up for the duration of the flight for more comfort.
I did need a seatbelt extender, so I just asked a member of the Cabin Crew and they provided me with one.
The fold-down table is a no-go for me so my husband and I do have to share his. It’s not an issue, but it does require a bit of Tetris with the various items on the meal tray! We’ve had to do this quite a lot over the years so it’s not really a big deal.
Back to the toilet situation which I’m going to say straight up was an actual nightmare for me.
Now, I was the same size as when we last flew in 2017, and while I did have some issues with the loo being a bit of a squeeze, I did just about manage.
The toilets at the back of this aircraft were TINY. And the struggle was REAL. I have never felt claustrophobic on a plane before, but that bathroom stall took me over the edge.
I ended up holding off going to the toilet for as long as I could – which I know is not a good thing to do.
My husband said that the toilets felt smaller than on BA, and at the end of the flight as we disembarked I asked some of the Cabin Crew about the toilets. They said that the ones on this plane were pretty small…
Ultimately if you are around my size it is not going to be the most comfortable of experiences, but you will fit. The “smaller” plus-size you are, the more comfortable it will become.
But, it is a means to an end – if you go onto the aircraft prepared then keep in mind your destination and the fun you’ll have when you are there!
This would be the first time I sat [near] the window on a flight to Orlando and I was pretty excited about it!
I marvel at how these huge, metal birds get up into the air and fly us across the land and sea to a destination over 4000 miles away. I love seeing the earth from above and as the plane flew down to the south of England to make its journey over the Atlantic Ocean, I realised that we could see the whole of the Isle of Wight, which I think was pretty awesome!
Oh, I should mention that Wi-Fi was available onboard for a charge which will depend on which package you choose and the aircraft type. I can’t recall how much it was, but we didn’t bother to get it.
It wasn’t long before the Cabin Crew started the drinks service which included a snack-size bag of pretzels.
After about an hour or so of being in the air, lunch was served and we knew what was available thanks to a little red (paper) menu that passengers had been given.
The menu listed out our meal choices for the flight which we thought was a nice touch. Bare in mind that you may not get your first choice though!
As well as the starter, main dish, and dessert there was also a bread roll and butter, and cheese and crackers, plus a bottle of water. Red or white wine was also available
The starter was a Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad – Pasta tossed in a creamy pesto dressing with red peppers, sweetcorn and a sprinkling of basil. A fresh and vibrant starter to kick off your meal.
(I’ve never been able to add details to aeroplane food before – thanks Virgin for the menu!)
There were three main dishes to choose from – a curry, a pasta dish, and a sausage dish.
I seem to always choose pasta on flights, and this flight was no different. The Creamy Tomato & Mozzarella Rigatoni Bake is the vegetarian option and is described as – Chunky rustic rigatoni pasta and balls of mozzarella wrapped in a creamy tomato, ricotta and basil sauce.
By a weird coincidence, Steve always seems to end up with bangers and mash on plane journeys, but the Toulouse Sausages and Stewed Cherry Tomatoes sound a little bit fancier!
Juicy Toulouse pork sausages packed with back bacon, herbs and black pepper with a stewed cherry tomato sauce, with steamed broccoli and Parmesan laced potato mash.
The third option which Steve was initially going to opt for was Malvani Chicken Curry – An Indian gem from the coastal region of Maharashtra. Marinated chicken breast cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, Malvani spices and coconut cream, with cumin and saag.
But he does not do coconut so he passed on that!
Pudding was a little pot of Gü – which is a dessert brand. I don’t have a full picture of the pot of Gü, but by powers of the internet, it was Silky Chocolate & Yuzu Caramel Ganache.
At some point during the flight, we were also given a mini Fab ice-lolly which was a surprise treat!
On long-haul flights, it is important to move around and get your legs moving. I do wear compression stockings, but do get up and give my legs a bit of a shake, and if there is room at the back of the cabin, walk around for a bit.
I mentioned earlier how this would be my first time by the window on a transatlantic flight, so seeing the Atlantic Ocean and watching the world go by from my seat was really cool!
Now I know you can see out the windows on the doors of the plane (which I often look through on a stretch-and-walkabout) but it’s not quite the same as seeing it from your seat… or maybe it’s just me that finds it awesome!
Another round of drinks was served, and about an hour and a half before landing, we were served Mile High Tea.
This afternoon snack is exclusive to Virgin and inspired and selected by Eric Lanlard, Master Pâtissier.
The meal came served in a red cardboard box and was really very good! It included:
- Mozzarella with green pesto, slow-roasted tomato and rocked in a seeded roll
- Scone, clotted cream and jam
- Choice of tea or coffee
There was inflight entertainment on personal screens, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what I watched! Oh well… the program changes all the time so it doesn’t really matter now does it!
Eventually, the coast of Florida came into view and we began our descent into Orlando. I have flown into Orlando International Airport (MCO) on a window seat before. We did a multi-stop flight on our 2013 trip with Delta and changed in Atlanta. But regardless, it was awesome to see America come into view as we moved from sea to land!