I’m back at work now, and dreams of Disney are starting to feel like some sort of distance memory. Especially seeing as the British weather decided to turn cold whilst I was away (how rude!).
In order to update you all, I’m splitting my holidays into three parts, days 1 to 4, 5 to 9 and 11 to 14.
Now, days 1, 2 and 4 are terribly boring. Day 1 I traveled down to Gatwick in the afternoon, went for a walk to find a restaurant and then stayed overnight in what was quite a standard Best Western airport hotel. It wasn’t brilliant, but I’ve certainly stayed in worse places. Day 2 I flew out to Orlando on a wonderful Virgin Atlantic flight and arrived at my hotel at about 8 in the evening, where I basically dumped my stuff and went for a short trek to the resort food court for a snack before heading to bed.
Day Three! the excitement finally begins.
This was the first real day of the holiday, and so of course we headed straight out to Magic Kingdom. Yes, seeing the castle for the first time nearly made me cry, and I’m 100% sure that they must pump something into the air, because even though it wasn’t particularly warm (I mean, it was about 25 degrees, so we weren’t shivering, but even so…this is Flordia!), and it did drizzle for most of the day, I didn’t see a single unhappy face.
As someone who isn’t particularly keen on rides (or anything that’s going to loop me around, turn me upside down and make me want to vomit all over the person sat next to me), I was a bit apprehensive about the whole theme park thing. So I went and met Gaston instead. After his charming arrogance and a self-confidence which bordered on the sociopathic, and the fact that I’d learnt that the Little Mermaid ride was slowing going around in a clam shell, I felt somewhat more prepared for what the rides had to offer me. At least, I assumed I wouldn’t be put on the spot with an opening question of ‘so what’s your favourite thing about me?’. Isn’t he a charmer.
Throughout the day, which was mainly spent in the Fantasy Land and Adventure Land areas of the park, I managed to meet a selection of other characters (Donald, Daisy, Minnie & Goofy to name but a few), and went on most of the kiddy rides (Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid, Pirates of the Caribbean, Prince Charming’s carousel etc.), before an announcement was broadcast that the park would be shutting at 5pm! What?! But! Noooo! We had such plans, like going to dinner to meet Cinderella and Prince Charming, and watching Wishes! Sadly, or selfishly, Hurricane Matthew decided he’d pay us a visit, and those plans were scuppered.
At least we were able to go to the resort food court and pick up snacks and sandwiches to tide us over…and I may have ran into Pluto, following getting drenched in a torrential downpour that was so heavy I could’ve rung my trousers out!
Day Four – Hurricane Matthew
By all accounts, everyone was greatly worried about the hurricane, and the fact that this was the first time Disney had shut the parks in 11 years, just added more fuel to the fire. And we were basically put into lockdown in our resorts, where people started panic-buying bottles of water, coke, sprite, and even wine at one point, in the food court.
As only I could do, I spent the day in a category four hurricane zone on the other side of the world, and still managed to get an interview with BBC Radio Wiltshire. Personally, from an interview point of view it was disappointing that Orlando was 70 miles away from the coast, and apart from what I called a tropical storm, we didn’t see much action. But at the same time it would have been bloody terrifying. If you want to have a listen, you can catch the interview here, and go to 1.43.30.
So, after a slow start to the holiday, and a day in the hotel on high alert for a hurricane, we finally managed to start to relax, so stay tuned for the next installment, which will contain so much detail, fun and magic.