Day 1 – We Have Lift Off! [Dine Around Disney 2014]

Travel Day – LHR-ATL-MCO; Old Key West, Olivia’s Cafe (Dinner)

Dine Around Disney 2014 Trip Report Index! (And here is the Pre-Trip Report!)
All the photos for this day are on my Flickr. Full Florida 2014 collection of photos here!


August 14th, 2014

We went to bed fairly early last night – 9:30, owing to a very early start this morning. I was wide awake at 4:30am, too excited to fall back to sleep. Our alarm was set to go off at 5:30, so I just went on my iPad to waste time until everyone else woke up. To be fair, the pair of them got up at 5am, so it was turn taking in the bathroom with showers and getting dressed before heading down to the buffet breakfast.

None of us could face eating at that time of the morning, but they provided a couple of a paper bags to enable us to pick up some pastries to take with us to the airport. Liam’s was free, and I suppose ours was too, included in the price of the room as I mentioned in yesterday’s report.

At the Heathrow Premier Inn, there is a shuttle bus that takes you to the terminal (we were at T4 for our flight), and you can buy tickets at a machine in advance – £9 for Steve and myself; Liam was free. You can pay on the bus if you like, and it’s £5 per person. Might as well save a quid! The bus was pretty ramajammed when we got on it, (and it stopped at another couple of hotels on the way) but we got our luggage on, and also found the last few seats. As we approached the airport a plane was taking off overhead – I quickly got my phone out to snap this photo! This one was a keeper!

Aeroplane Taking Off - Travel Day - Heathrow to Orlando

Got to the terminal and found our way to the Delta check-in desk. Was asked some very thorough questions before even stepping up to get our bags weighed, but despite our worries about the size of them (our cases were longer in length than Delta said on their website), the cases went through fine and were all well underweight. Security was next: Liam had to have a full body scan, I had to have my bag swabbed, and Steve had his electricals checked – 3 for 3!

We decided to head towards a coffee shop, grab some wake up juice and wait for our gate number. It was at this point I put on my flight socks. With putting on all this weight, I got some measured ones from the doctors, and felt better with those than over the counter ones. They were also tan coloured, so I didn’t look like a complete goon with my cropped leggings!

Travel Day - Heathrow - Atlanta - Orlando

Before long, we were boarding the plane. Delta board in zones, and these are shown on your boarding pass. They also load from front to back (which is dumb in my opinion, as it really holds things up with people putting their cabin bags in the overhead lockers). Since we decided to upgrade to Economy Comfort, we were called after first class, and took our seats. Our small bags fit under the seat in front of us, so no faffing with lockers. A good thing too – the size of some people’s cabin bags were insane!

Having the extra leg room was so worth it, and I’m very glad that we upgraded for the long haul part of our journey. It meant that we could all stretch out somewhat, and importantly for me, have the tray down! Little things that don’t mean anything to regular people, to us plus size peeps means everything. I did need a seatbelt extender, but I’m never worried about asking for one, and the stewardess was very discreet at handing it over to me. We were in row 19, just in front of the loos, and no one behind us, so could recline in peace if we so wished.

The seatback entertainment system had to be rebooted after about 10 minutes into the flight – not sure why, but when it was back on there was a good choice of films, TV shows, music and games. To my surprise, Liam didn’t watch a single film all the way out there! I think he was more concerned with playing games on his phone. As for me, I watched Frozen, Despicable Me 2, Anchorman, Pitch Perfect and The Walking Dead.

Delta Airlines - Heathrow - Atlanta - Orlando

As soon as we were up in the air, the cabin crew served drinks and then lunch. The crew were really attentive, and we didn’t want for nothing. We must have had 5 or 6 rounds of drinks, we had hot towels (not sure if that’s just an economy comfort thing though), lunch, a snack box and a hot snack about an hour or so before landing. We were all really impressed with both the aeroplane (very modern and comfortable), the cabin crew, the food/drinks and the flight, which was very smooth. Wouldn’t hesitate to fly with Delta again.

It was quite a surprise to receive peanuts with our first round of drinks – haven’t had peanuts on an aeroplane for years!

There were three choices for lunch: Chicken Salad, Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice and Pasta Bake.

I had the chicken salad – I do not like blue cheese at all, so I flicked that off to one side! The portion was really generous, and there was some fruit instead of a side salad (which Liam and Steve got with their meals). There was also a bread roll, cheese and crackers and cookies.

Delta Airlines Lunch - Heathrow - Atlanta - Orlando

Delta Airlines Lunch - Heathrow - Atlanta - Orlando 2

We got two snacks later in the flight. One was a snack box with olives, crackers, houmous and a cookie. Then not long before landing we got a hot snack – a very tasty calzone and a tub of ice-cream.

Delta Airlines Snacks - Heathrow - Atlanta - Orlando

The strangest thing about the whole flight was that every single person in a window seat had their visors down. This meant that the flight was pretty much in darkness the whole way there, and made us all feel really sleepy. It was most bizarre!

Our flight went really quickly, and we actually landed half and hour before scheduled. The step into the unknown was next as this was our first time doing indirect flights, but we worried for nothing. Everything is clearly sign posted and there were plenty of staff to point people in the right direction.

Delta Airlines - Heathrow - Atlanta - Orlando 2

We went to immigration first – oh the joy not to see a line. That was completed in about 10 minutes! We then had to head to collect our bags. This took the longest, about 20 minutes. With our bags collected (oh and by the way, WTF Atlanta with those sculptures?!)

Travel Day - Heathrow - Atlanta - Orlando 2

We then had to line up to hand over our immigration form, before putting our bags on a belt to be put on the next plane. Security was next, in the USA you seem to always have to take off your shoes (unless you’re a child) so make sure that you have shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Once through the tense security (it’s always nerve racking amirite?!) we could find our gate number and make our way over. We noticed at Hartsfield-Jacksons Airport that they seemed to have things back to front as far as the numbers of the gate were concerned. We were like at gate 2 or something, and had to walk all the way past the higher numbers. Bear that in mind if you’re pressed for time! We did make it with about 30 minutes to spare, but were grateful of the earlier landing time!

Delta Airlines - Atlanta to Orlando

This time around we were in zone 3 for boarding – I didn’t bother to upgrade these seats; seemed pointless for a flight that would last less than 2 hours. It took ages to actually get on the plane – again, because of that weird loading from the front thing, which means people were hoisting their cabin bags into the lockers causing a block behind them. I’d say that was my only negative about Delta Airlines. Oh, and Americans LOVE a huge cabin bag!

I had pre-selected our seats to be by the window – we’ve never sat by the window going to Florida, and I loved being able to see out of it. There was no closing of the visor for me! I took this video of us taking off – it’s for the aeroplanes geeks out there!

Our flight time was to be 1 hour 2 minutes – barely time to get up in the air! But we did get served a drink and some pretzels. No in flight entertainment, but you can purchase wifi if you want – which I did for $5 because I wanted to Instagram from all the way above the earth! This plane (a 757) was an older one, but strangely, longer seatbelts, so I didn’t need an extender.

Delta Airlines - Atlanta to Orlando 2

Delta Airlines - Atlanta to Orlando 3

I loved being able to take photos from way up high, and I especially love the clouds! I thought this one looked like the Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas!

Delta Airlines - Atlanta to Orlando 4

Delta Airlines

It felt like no sooner had we taken off, that we were making our descent, and yes, I made a video of that too. This is a longer one, around 10 minutes long. But I loved watching us descend into MCO and see all of the land below. We were all so excited to be landing in Orlando!

What was awesome, was stepping off the plane and getting on the monorail (Oh, and speaking of monorails, we had to get a shuttle train thing at Atlanta – it moves FAST so hang on tight!) to collect our bags from the second carousel – no MCO immigration to deal with *throws confetti, blows party blower* it was bliss! Having spent a couple of hours lining up for that on our previous trips, it’s safe to say we would do indirect again in the future if the price is right!

Orlando MCO Airport Monorail

Orlando MCO Airport

We made our way to Disney’s Magical Express counter, with the help of a porter who trollied our bags for us from the carousel. There was no line at all, but then we heard some commotion behind us. Turns out there was a woman having a seizure of some sort and her children and family were screaming. My blood ran cold, and all the staff kinda stood there not doing anything. I shouted to someone to call 911 or do something, and our porter actually went over to help. I hope she was okay.

We got to the bus, and climbed aboard, tipping the porter a dollar per bag. Not sure if that’s the right amount, but it’s what we did. We didn’t have to wait too long before we were driving out of the airport. It did feel very weird to not be collecting a car, but I quite liked not having to worry about driving as soon as we had landed. It was also lovely to have that familiarity of our surroundings – it was almost like we had never been away!

Disneys Magical Express Orlando Airport

Old Key West was the first resort that the bus stopped at, so we went to check in at Hospitality House.

Disney Old Key West Resort 2

Disney Old Key West Resort 2

About two weeks before we were due to go on holiday, there had been a cock up on our Magic Bands – for some reason, all of my details had been erased, along with all of my FP+ selections. I did phone up WDW and they put me onto technical support who managed to sort most of it out. Still not sure what had happened, but the knock on was that we were given grey bands instead of our chosen colours. I did gripe about this, and they got us some coloured ones instead – much easier to identify! The check-in process did seem to take an awful long time, and by now we were all starting to feel tired. We also had an ADR at Olivia’s Café (and good thing too – it was packed!) for dinner.

Eventually, we could go to our room which was in the Old Turtle Pond Road area – room 3823. We were taken by golf buggy with all our luggage, as well as our Garden Grocer order that we placed about a month or so before we arrived – we ordered lots of bottles of water and drinks for the room. By now it was close to 8pm, and that was our ADR time, so I asked if the driver could take us back to Hospitality House, which he was more than happy to do. I think it was at this moment that I regretted not hiring a car from the very start of our holiday! But more on that in another report.

As it turns out, there was no need for the rush, as we had to wait 20 minutes after our ADR time for the table to become available, so we just wandered around Conch Flats General Store next door, and before long our buzzer was buzzing.

Olivias Cafe at Old Key West

We were sat in a booth (always a fear for me, because of my size, but the table did move, so I was fine and able to breathe!) given our menus and it was our first foray into the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan! Our Magic Bands were scanned (you know, I don’t think I have a single photo of them!) to let the server know we were on a dining plan, and then he explained we could pick an appetizer, entrée, dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage.

Olivias Cafe at Old Key West 2

A lot of the table service restaurants served bread before the appetizers, so we noshed on that whilst we made our decisions. I’m planning on having some structure with writing about the food and meals we had on the DxDDP, with the prices etc as well. If you read my trip reports, you know that I like to be as informative as I can be! We certainly got our moneys worth!

Appetizers…

Me: Conch Fritters – with key lime-mustard and rémoulade ($10.49)

Him: Crab Cakes – with rémoulade ($12.49)

The Boy: Onion Rings – with mango ketchup and key lime-mustard ($6.49)

The conch fritters were delicious and Steve loved the crab cakes – really meaty and full of flavour. Onion rings are onion rings aren’t they? But they were huge! All good choices for apps!

Olivias Cafe Appetizers

Entrées …

Me: Duval Street Burger – Angus chuck burger topped with grilled shrimp, pepper jack cheese, avocado and pico de gallo on our pineapple-coconut roll. All sandwiches served with choice of French fries, marinated coleslaw or homemade potato chips. ($16.49)

I’m always so indecisive when there is a good menu choice, and in the end, I decided it would have to be a very tasty sounding burger for me. I couldn’t really tell if the roll was the pineapple-coconut as it said in the menu, but everything tasted good.

Olivias Cafe Duval Street Burger

Him: Island Barbecue Pork Ribs – basted with a chipotle-barbecue sauce with French fries and marinated coleslaw. ($20.99)

Steve really enjoyed these – they fell off the bone with no effort whatsoever.

Olivias Cafe Island Barbecue Pork Ribs

The Boy: Olivia’s Classic Burger – Angus chuck burger topped with applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion. All sandwiches served with choice of French fries, marinated coleslaw or homemade potato chips. ($14.99)

I know he had a burger yesterday, but the “eat a burger at every meal” was not a trend on this trip!

Olivias Cafe Classic Burger

We were too tired to eat dessert, so we took them to go – I think we may have eaten them for breakfast in the next couple of days >_> so these pics are their take out version – I’m sure they look much nicer on a plate! I do love bread pudding, and even though it was cold when I ate it, it was lush. Steve said the tart tasted a bit weird. And I have to say, I agree! Liam noshed down the chocolate cake without a word – so I guess it was good!

Desserts…

Me: Banana Bread Pudding Sundae – served warm with bananas foster sauce and vanilla bean ice cream ($6.49)

Him: Key Lime Tart – with mango and raspberry sauce ($5.49)

The Boy: Flourless Chocolate Cake – with fresh seasonal berries ($7.99)

Olivias Cafe Desserts

So here we go with the first DxDDP bill of the trip, which will include the tax.

Olivia’s Café

Bill Total: $118.09 (3 Credits) {Tip: $20}

DxDDP Running Totals: Bill: $118.09 | Credits: 3/126 | Tips: $20

We then walked to Peninsular Road to catch a bus back to our room, which was opposite the lighthouse and pool. I don’t think we had to wait too long, which was a relief, given how tired we now were!

Disney Old Key West Resort 6

We had literally dumped our bags and gone straight to dinner when we first arrived; I had wanted to take nice photos to share in my trip report, but I was so knackered by the time we got back from Olivia’s that all I did was take a few on my phone and the next morning… here they are!

Our room was on the second floor (to the Americans, first floor to us Brits) and looked out onto the golf course, in one direction. If I looked over the balcony to the right, it was the air con units!

Disney Old Key West Resort 3

Our room was a deluxe studio, had two queen size beds with a bedside unit between them. I wish that there had been one on the other side too – I missed not having a bedside table! I ended up dragging a chair over to use during our two week stay!

Disney Old Key West Resort 4

The room was a lot larger than we were expecting and it didn’t feel cramped with all of us in the same room! Somehow we managed to unpack most of our stuff – the closet was fine for the three of us, and there were drawers in a unit under the TV. Our room had an interconnecting door as well which was locked. Not sure if all rooms are like that?

The kitchenette had a coffee filter machine (no instructions), a microwave, mugs, disposable plates, bowls, cups and cutlery, as well as coffee, sugar and creamer, a tea towel, washing up sponge and a mini bottle of washing up liquid. There was also an ice bucket – the ice machine was over by the bus stop which was a few minutes walk away from our block. The fridge was a great size and fit all of our bottles of water and drinks inside it.

The safe was inside the closet – not very deep, but held 2 tablets, a notebook computer, and a few other personal items.

The bathroom had a large sink unit with a drawer and cupboard under it. The toilet was quite low to the ground (we thought!) and I’m not quite sure if it was a shower with a big shower tray, or a half bath thing! Lots of towels provided and lovely toiletries (which were replenished each day – we have quite the stash of them now! ) I do wish that there had been a bath slip mat inside, or a textured base as I was worried about slipping in the shower sometimes!

Disney Old Key West Resort 5

All in all, on first night impressions, we were pleased with our room and facilities. It was time to hit the hay and get some much needed sleep as we had an early ADR at The Crystal Palace for breakfast and I wanted to get my shot of Cinderella Castle without the crowds!


Read about the day before:
Day 0 – So It Begins:
Premier Inn, Heathrow Airport

Read about the day after:
Day 2 – Practically Perfect In Every Way:
Magic Kingdom; The Crystal Palace (Character Breakfast); Columbia Harbour House (Counter Service Lunch); Narcoossee’s (Signature Dining); Wishes

Read ALL the days!