Day 1 – Animation Station | Halloween in the Wilderness 2015

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Day 1 - Animation Station - Halloween in the Wilderness 2015 Disney Trip Report

 

Travel Day – LGW-MCO | Check in at Art of Animation | Disney Pizza Delivery (Dinner)

October 23rd, 2015


We woke early on Friday morning, excited to be headed back to Orlando, for our 4th family holiday! After showering and getting dressed, we headed down to the Thyme restaurant at the Premier Inn, Gatwick North, where we were staying.

Premier Inn Gatwick North Breakfast

After the busy restaurant the night before, we were worried that we wouldn’t get a table; fortunately, it wasn’t a problem. Breakfast was a buffet affair. I didn’t take many photos, again, because they’ve been done before on my previous trip reports!

There was the usual cooked breakfast foods – bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes; as well as cereals, yoghurt, fruit, pastries, and of course, the smallest glasses for juice known to man!

Premier Inn Gatwick North Breakfast

Premier Inn Gatwick North Breakfast

Premier Inn Gatwick North Breakfast

Since breakfast was included with our room rate, we had our fill (which wasn’t very much; a late dinner last night, meant we were not very hungry) and then headed over to the airport terminal. The Premier Inn at Gatwick North is literally across the road, so it was all of about a 2 minute walk, which is very handy, thank you very much!

Gatwick Airport

Since we had bag dropped the night before, we only had to go through security. With liquids (under 100ml) in a plastic bag, and large electronics out to be scanned separately, we went through the security machines. However, it bleeped for both Steve and Liam, so they had to go through full body scanners, and have a pat down. Steve had also forgotten to take his tablet out of his bag, and thus, had to have that, and his bag, swabbed. I know it’s all in the name of security and safety, but I did do a huge eye roll that he’d forgotten!

We were not in the airport long before the gates were announced, so we made our way straight down. I wanted to get my flight socks on, and just try and calm down a bit before boarding.

I am not scared of flying, but the past couple of flights, I’ve found myself feeling quite nervous, so I squirt a lot of Rescue Remedy to help supress those jitters. We had already picked (and paid for) our seat choices weeks ago – I like knowing exactly where I am going to be, and sitting next to my family, so it’s worth the cost to me. And good thing too, as a woman who was sitting in the row in front of us on the plane, had been separated from her 12 year old granddaughter, and was very upset because of it. I would be beside myself!

Looking back at my diary, I see that I had a second bag check and a pat down at the gate. My cabin bag was all neatly packed, and was all messed up now. *Mumble grumble*

We had chosen the back row of the plane. For a couple of reasons. BA board back to front, so we would be one of the first on the plane. I didn’t want my fat backside knocking people as I walked down the aisle, so that was the first reason. Secondly, I wanted to be near the loos, and near the galley (to grab a bottle of water.) Thirdly, for the extra space back there to have a walk about. And finally, being on the back row, means we can recline without worrying about people behind us.

It does mean we tend to get drinks/meals last on the plane, but it’s all relative, so not a big deal. It also means we feel turbulence more at the tail end; but we’ve sat here on pretty much every flight we’ve had to/from the USA, and are okay with that. And if you’re wondering about seat size, and how I got on. I was fine. I needed a seatbelt extension, but then I always have, as I carry a lot of weight on my tummy, and Steve and I shared a tray-table, but for those under a size 30/32 and worried about the plane seats. Please don’t. You’ll be A-OK.

British Airways Aeroplane to Orlando Florida

British Airways Aeroplane to Orlando Florida

British Airways Aeroplane to Orlando Florida

As soon as we were seated, I put in my ear phones and started to watch Inside Out on the In-Flight Entertainment screen. Having sound to drown out the aeroplane noises is a good thing! Take off was nice and smooth, and soon enough, the cabin crew were serving drinks. Followed not long after, by lunch.

British Airways Food

There were three choices – bangers and mash (Liam), chicken curry (Steve) and a pasta dish (me). I didn’t take pics of everything I’m afraid, and the ones I did do on my phone are a bit pants, but you get the idea. The starter was ham and egg salad, and the pudding was a chocolate brownie torte.

British Airways Food

British Airways Food

British Airways Food

British Airways Food

I managed to watch an additional 3 movies: Pitch Perfect 2, Ted 2, and Amy. Liam slept for a lot of the flight, or played on his iPad, and all I remember Steve watching, was the new Terminator film.

Above The Clouds

Above The Clouds

Above The Clouds

We had some mild turbulence towards the end of the flight, and the landing was nowhere near as smooth as take-off. It was like the pilot forgot that he was landing an aeroplane or something! Steve and I looked at each other in horror, as we landed with a thud on the runway!

However, that was soon forgotten, when it was that split second flash that you remember where you are… ORLANDO! Seatbelts were unclicked, overhead bins opened, and hand luggage being pulled down. Then the pilot broadcast that the immigration hall was full, and that we were not allowed to disembark as yet. He suggested it would be about 20 minutes. Turns out it was an hour.

Coming in October, we had really, really hoped that we wouldn’t face August immigration waits… no such luck. In that moment I said to Steve that we should have gone indirect again.

Once we were allowed off the aircraft, we were met with a very full immigration. The familiar long winding line, the lack of staff on the desks, the crying and bored children. As we wound our way closer to the front, we were asked when our last visit to the USA was. 2014, we said; and was directed to one of the new machines to scan our passports, do our fingerprints, and have our photograph taken. It was all simple enough to do. We then went through to another short line to be asked a few questions by an immigration officer, and went on through to collect our suitcases.

We made our way on the monorail, through to the terminal, and seeing the familiar Star Spangled Banner hanging on the wall, made me smile, and make me feel like “we’re home”.

MCO Orlando International Airport

We went to the Avis desk (car hire included with flight), and was given the hard sell of upgrades and all sorts, which really annoyed me. It’s the first time we had experience this, and I was all “on your bike, me laddio, this isn’t our first rodeo“. We had been allocated a car (a Kia something or other) and went over to the lot to find the parking bay number it was in.

Car found, I got in to adjust the seat and the steering wheel, whilst Steve and Liam started to put the luggage in the trunk. I found it to be really uncomfortable, and seeing the sign saying you could swap for another car, proceeded to do just that; getting in and out of the ones nearby. Finding one that was comfortable, I returned to the car to find that we’d been locked out… with the keys still on the dashboard. Do not ask me how this happened, I have no idea, but what sort of car locks itself?

By now, we were all tired, drained, and I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We were all arguing with each other. Steve said he was going to catch the next plane home – I said “good luck with that mate, with your passport in the locked car”, then went and sat in another car, crying my eyes out.

We had to wait close to an hour for the manager to eventually get to us, and arrange someone to jimmy open the door (I didn’t see this happening, I was weeping elsewhere, as mentioned). Turns out newer car models have some sort of lock button that had been pressed (which we didn’t know about) and had locked us out. Nice.

I picked a Chevrolet Impala, which I’ve driven a couple of times before, and finally, we were on our way out of the airport. Then our sat-nav wasn’t locating itself properly, by now I was using ALL the swear words, and decided we could find our own way to Art of Animation. Eventually, Homer (who is the voice of our sat-nav) kicked in, and we were at the resort quicker than I thought we would be.

We pulled up, and a Cast Member piled our luggage onto a trolley, whilst we, or rather, Steve, went to check in. I took a couple of photos of the outside of the building, and my first impressions was that it was very cool!

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Disney Art of Animation Resort

With our Magic Bands on wrist, and our room number given, we drove around to The Little Mermaid parking lot, to try and find the building (there are 3) and then our room. We located the building, and Liam went up the stairs, whilst Steve and I walked around to find the lift.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Liam had walked further round and found us on the landing, to say that someone’s stuff was already in our room! Not quite believing him, thinking he’d got the wrong room number, we looked inside the window, and yes, there was stuff all in there! Our Magic Bands even opened the door! By now it took everything I had not to have a complete meltdown like the Wicked Witch of the West.

We went to go back to the car, to drive back to the main building (it was dark, we didn’t know where anything was in relation to where we were), and on the way, met up with the Cast Member who had our luggage. He was as shocked as us, and fortunately, there was a phone that we could use to call the front desk. Seems that the people who should have vacated our room, had decided to stay another night, and something went wrong on the system, and hadn’t shown them as doing so. A new room was quickly allocated, and surprise, surprise, this was about as far away from the elevator as possible (it’s a running theme, trust me).

By the time we got to our room, we were all very drained, emotional, tired, thirsty, and wanted to just relax and do nothing! I suddenly remember I should take photos of the room, but decided to leave most of them till the next day – however, I’ve included them in today’s trip report.

Allow me to give you a tour of our room…

Disney Art of Animation Resort

I LOVED the Little Mermaid theme; it was awesome! I loved all the details, from the seabed carpet, to the little bubbles embossed onto the bedsheets, and everything in between. What I don’t like about Disney hotel rooms is that they don’t have bedside tables on both sides of the bed! So I end up moving a chair next to my side for my stuff, as you’ll see in the photo below.

The bed’s headboard was hard, so you had to remember that when leaning back against it! The mattress was also very firm, a little too firm if you ask me. The bed sheets were tucked in TIGHT! We all slept well in these beds.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

The chest of drawers had the television sitting on top. For a while we wondered where the in-room fridge was, and then discovered it behind the right side of this – disguised as the front of a set of drawers. The left side is three regular drawers. (I realised I’ve said the word drawers too many times there >_< )

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Prince Eric picture on the wall – what a dreamboat *swoon*

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Flounder and Sebastian plaque on the wall between the two beds. Cute.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Table with sheet music for “Under The Sea” printed on top – LOVE!

Disney Art of Animation Resort

There were two hard plastic, coral coloured chairs either side, which you can see in the very top photo of this section about the room. But here is another photo of one of the chairs in full.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Above said table was a lighted mirror, with a fishy looking frame. >_>

Disney Art of Animation Resort

I decided that I need an octopus coat rack in my life, after seeing this one in the Little Mermaid room.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

The seabed carpet, as mentioned previously. Also awesome, and needed at home.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Onto the bathroom area; the sink was in a separate room from the toilet and shower/bath. This part of the room could be made private with a pull across curtain. In here was also the clothes rail, and the safe. The safe had a digital lock, which is nice, as you then don’t have to worry about losing the key.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Whilst the bathroom was beautifully themed too, I found it to be very dark, with the tiles on the wall. However, it did spur me to sing “Part Of Your World” when I had a bath the next day! There were towels, as well as some toiletries too.

Our room number was 7761, and we faced the swimming pool.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Since we would only be here for 2 nights, we didn’t unpack, just pulled out some bits for the next couple of days.

I made the executive decision to order pizza in. As I said, we were all tired and hungry, and we didn’t know how far it was to walk to the food court. It had been an eventful late afternoon and evening so far, and I just couldn’t be bothered with doing anything other than lying back and watching the telly. Which I know is not too exciting when you are in Walt Disney World, but if you haven’t been following along, we were all just completely spent by this point.

We were paying out of pocket for this, as we were not starting our Disney Dining Plan until Sunday. If you have in-room pizza delivery from Disney, and are on the dining plan, it uses 2 table service credits, for one large pizza, two desserts, and two 20oz bottles of soda.

If paying by cash, there is an $18 gratuity, and $3 delivery charge added, as well as 7% tax. This was not a cheap pizza let me tell you!

I waited forever and a day to get through to place the order – around 15 – 20 minutes. I completely over-ordered as well, but as it turns out, we quite like cold pizza for breakfast!

I placed the order, given the total ($88.49), picked my jaw, and myself off the floor, and then waited 50 minutes for it to be delivered. Meanwhile, Monster’s University was on the TV, so we watched that. I actually fell asleep, and was awoken by the knocking on the door of the pizza delivery gal. Having already paid $18 gratuity, we were unsure if we should be tipping again… we didn’t, probably got flamed back at the hut for that!

Disney Pizza Delivery

I ordered…

Boneless Chicken Wings (8 pieces)$8.99
Half Dozen Breadsticks with Marinara$5.99 (Turned out to be garlic bread, rather than breadsticks)
Garden Salad – with choice of dressing$4.39 (Health, health, health sweetie; and no photo)
Mighty Meaty Pizza – Pepperoni, Ham, Pork and Ground Beef$17.99
Simply Supreme Pizza – Pepperoni, Onions, Black Olives, Tomatoes, Red and Green Peppers and Mushroom$17.99
3 x Bottled Soda – Coke, Sprite or Diet Coke; 20-oz bottle$2.59
Carrot Cake$4.19 (Because, cake. Also no photo)

Disney Pizza Delivery

Disney Art of Animation Resort

Disney Pizza Delivery

Disney Pizza Delivery

The pizzas were really tasty – and huge! We really should only have bought the one. However, not knowing their size, but knowing how much pizza my boys can pack in, I thought I would rather be safe than sorry, and have a room of hangry people! Like I said, leftovers were had for breakfast the next day!

After stuffing our faces with Disney pizza, we got ourselves ready for bed, and drifted off to sleep on our first night at Walt Disney World!


Read about the day before:
Day 0 – The Start Line:
Premier Inn, Gatwick North

Read about the day after:
Day 2 – Look At This Stuff:
Resort Tour – Art of Animation | Bahama Breeze (Lunch)

Read ALL the days!


Halloween In The Wilderness 2015:
Trip Report Index | Pre-Trip Planing Report | Highs, Not So Highs, and Lows
All the photos from this day can be found here | Florida 2015 photo collection on Flickr here

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