Day 1 - getting there...
The day started bright and early at sunny Gatwick with a short drive from our hotel to the airport. We had decided to use the valet car parking service which meant we simply dropped off the car and keys, literally a five minute job, and then walked straight into the terminal building.
We headed straight through security (our hold luggage already being checked-in the night before) although my bag had to be searched separately as I'd forgot to take the i-pad out of the bag - oops! Then it was off in search of breakfast, settling on a quiet corner in Pret-a-Manger - in fact it was so nice it didn't feel like we were in a busy airport at all.
I took advantage of walking through duty free to grab a free spray of perfume as I'd not had any with me that morning followed by a mooch about the shops. I remembered to post a couple of letters before we left the country including a birthday card for a friends upcoming birthday and by then it was time to head over to our gate ready to board. And no sooner than we got to our gate we were called through for our nine and a half hour flight!
Now the flight was fine...yes it's long but when travelling from the UK I'm afraid it's a necessary evil we have to put up with in order to get to the good stuff at the other end. Unfortunately our 15 year old doesn't travel well on planes, loves roller coasters but hates planes, so much so that he was ill for the majority of the flight. This meant most of my time was spent making sure he was OK and wishing the time would pass by so much quicker!
We landed just after 3.30pm local time, cleared border control and were on a bus waiting to be taken to Coronado Springs Resort by 5.00pm. We had time for a quick phone call home to let families know that we had arrived safely before setting off.
|On the bus to Coronado Springs|
We were the second drop-off; we grabbed our luggage, tipped the driver and headed into the lobby to check-in. The hotel was relatively quiet and we walked straight up to the check-in desk and were greeted by smiley faced cast members who asked our name and proceeded to look for our booking on the computer system...which was followed by a pause...which was followed by a more senior cast member being called over.
My initial thought was 'oh no what's gone wrong, can't they find us?' But then the second cast member gave me the biggest smile and said 'Congratulations!' Now at this point I was a little bemused - had we won something? Maybe we were getting Magic Bands? (I got very excited at this thought! For non-Disney fans these are a new way of accessing all you need whilst at WDW - room key, park tickets, charging etc and much coveted by us Disney devoted). 'You're getting an upgrade', again much bemusement from us all...'an upgrade?' I said...'yes, you're being upgraded to one of our deluxe resorts, the Wilderness Lodge'. At that point I think I was officially speechless...I didn't know what to say I was completely taken aback.
|Me - speechless!!|
|Happy...and stunned family|
|Hidden Mickey at Coronado Springs|
This was when we knew this vacation was going to be different and full of new experiences and adventures.