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Old 10-31-2011, 05:21 PM   #1
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Princesses, Pirates and Pumpkins

Day 1

Like so many previous trips, this one started at the Crowne Plaza at Manchester Airport. I had managed to get a great travel industry rate for a Club Room. We had originally planned to head out to the viewing area to see our A380 depart, but the weather was pretty awful. So we decided to just stay put and chill out.

I was quite surprised that our room was already ready when we got to the hotel. I left Graham in the room and headed to the Club Lounge to do my online check in. I had to bite the bullet this time and pay for the extra suitcase. This is cheaper to do online than at the airport. Unfortunately they no longer have a printer in the club lounge. However, a quick trip to reception fixed this problem. They logged me in in the business centre and I sorted out my online check in and printed my boarding passes. Once this was out of the way, I checked my emails before going back to the room.

Graham had settled down to watch the Formula One race. I decided that I would finish my book. Once the race was over, we headed down to the Club Lounge. There is a distinct absence of a kettle in the room. Fortunately there is a nice fancy coffee machine in the Club Lounge. Still, once we got down there, we both decided to have a cold drink. Graham had an orange juice and I went with an apple and raspberry J2O. We both went online to sort out various things.

Once we were done, we decided to get some fresh air. The weather had significantly improved since lunchtime. We walked up to the perimeter fence near the runway and spent a happy hour or so watching the planes come and go.

When we got back to the hotel, Graham watched some more TV and I got absorbed into a business traveller magazine that I found on the desk in the room. At 18:00, we headed back to the Club Lounge. Every evening between 18:00 and 20:00 they serve alcoholic drinks and canapés. Graham had a Corona and I had a Bulmer's Cider. They had crisps and salted peanuts out and then came round with assorted cold canapés and spring rolls. My eyes had been caught by the after dinner liqueurs and specifically the Cointreau. As I knew that they would have stopped serving alcohol by the time we had dinner, I decided that I would have my after dinner drink before dinner. I was on holiday after all.

Once we had finished our drinks, we were ready for our dinner. We had made a reservation for 19:30, but we decided to check if they could fit us in earlier. This was no problem. We started with Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup and then had the set meal, which consisted of Crispy Seaweed, Steamed Pork Buns, Chicken Satay, Sambal Prawns, Crispy Chilli Beef, Chicken Massaman Curry and Egg Fried Rice. Graham had a Chinese beer with his dinner, but I decided I had enough alcohol and went with a Ginger Ale instead.

After dinner, we headed back to our room. Graham watched TV for a bit, but I was really tired and headed for bed.

Last edited by dolphingirl47; 11-01-2011 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:24 PM   #2
We must work harder to stay under the radar for this oneWe always bring our own inflatable noodle
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Hooray! Eagerly waiting for more!

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Old 10-31-2011, 06:31 PM   #3

It is pretty unique... Just like me
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I am here for the read......
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:11 AM   #4
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Good start
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:33 PM   #5
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
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Day 2

We had an early start this morning. Our alarm call went off at 6:00. We had a quick shower and packed the things that we had needed over night and then headed to the Club Lounge for breakfast. We both had some coffee and orange juice. I am not really a breakfast person at the best of times. So I just had some orange segments. Graham had some fruit, yoghurt and a croissant.

When we had finished our breakfast, we went to check out, which was very smooth. We had a short wait for the shuttle, but very soon we were on our way. When we got to the terminal, there was only a very short queue for the baggage drop. The queue for the normal check in was significantly longer. My passport caused some excitement again. This happens every time I fly with Delta. They asked me for my UK driving license, which I fortunately had handy. I also showed them my staff ID and once they had a look at both, we could proceed to the check in desk. Everything from there on in was smooth sailing. We were checked in very quickly and there was hardly any queue at security. My bag was not singled out for extra screening this time round. I decided to play it safe this time and put the door magnets for the cruise in my suitcase. Graham ended up having to go through the body scanner, but that was very quick as well.

We had plenty of time until our flight left. We both looked for a book. I normally just read ebooks on my iPad nowadays, but I knew that the battery would not last all the way to Los Angeles. So I decided to get a good old-fashioned paperback. I was also looking for headphones as I managed to forget mine. They had the same ones that I have at home, but there "airport price" was twice as much as I had paid on Amazon. As they were about the cheapest that they had, I passed.

I still had some of my vow renewal make up to get as it is cheaper at the airport. I had brought the list. I arranged to meet Graham at the gate and he went off. Once I had done my shopping, I headed to the gate. It was interesting to watch how they got the plane ready.

Soon it was time to board. The plane was full to the rafters. I was very glad that I had decided to play it safe and got ordinary tickets. There was no chance that we would have got on flying standby. Graham and I had two seats together by the window. As airline seats go, they were pretty comfortable and even had a decent amount of legroom. When we had flown Delta to Atlanta before, we had seatback TVs, but this time round they just had overhead TVs in the cabin. I do not cope particularly well with those. I therefore alternated between reading my book and napping, but Graham watched all four films.

The flight was smooth, uneventful and pleasant. The cabin crew was fabulous, even though they all seemed close to retirement age. They came round very frequently with drinks and unlike last time, beer and wine were included in the price of the flight. I was a bit nervous as the white wine was Chardonnay and came out of a cardboard box, but it was surprisingly tasty. I was also surprised when I asked for Ginger Ale and was not just poured some or given one of those mini cans, but was given a full-size can. The food was also a nice surprise. Yes, it was airline food, but a notch above most of it. There was a choice between either Vegetable Lasagne or Grilled Chicken Breast. We both went with the chicken, which came with Ratatouille and Mashed Potato. We also got a salad with some kind of cheese cubes, a roll, cheese and crackers and some chocolate biscuits. With about 90 minutes of the flight to go, we were served pizza ( tomato, cheese and pesto) and ice-cream.

We arrived in Atlanta a little ahead of schedule. Things were very smooth. We got in line, for immigration and were then asked to move to another area where the line was significantly shorter. We did not have long to wait to clear immigration. When we got to the luggage belts, our suitcases had already been taken off the belt and put to one side. The line for customs looked huge, but moved very quickly. As soon as we were through customs, we dropped off our luggage at another belt. We went through security and then we decided to get some dinner.

Our original plan had been to have dinner at Chilis, but we could not find a directory and there was no Chilis in the terminal where we had arrived. There was however a TGI Fridays so we settled for this. We shared a starter platter, which consisted of boneless chicken wings in a Garlic and Parmesan sauce, fried mozzarella and fried green beans with different dips. Graham then had his first steak with fries and vegetables. I went with chicken strips and fries and some Ranch dip. The Margaritas were very tempting, but we decided to stick with water. The food was very nice and we were soon stuffed. We had a bit of an amusement as they kept moving wheelie bins through the restaurant. I somehow doubt that this would happen back home.

Once we finished dinner, we checked if our flight was listed now, which it was. It ended up departing from a terminal at the opposite end of the airport so we set off towards the train that links the terminals. On the way, we passed a Starbucks and Graham asked if I wanted to get a Green Tea Frappuccino. However, I was too stuffed and declined.

When we arrived at the terminal from which our connecting flight would depart, we watched the planes for a bit before heading to our gate. Graham settled down opposite the gate and had a nap. I was pretty tired, too, but knew that I could not risk falling asleep as this would probably have meant that the plane would have gone without us. I started with reading my book, but as my eyes kept falling shut, I decided it was better to move around. I browsed the shops in the terminal for a bit and ended up having a Green Tea Frappuccino shortly before it was time to get on the plane.

The plane was again very full. It was a narrow-bodied plane with a single aisle and I was very surprised when it was announced that this was supposed to continue on to Sydney after stopping at Los Angeles. Because the plane was so full, there was no room in the overhead lockers for our hand luggage, but fortunately everything fit underneath the seats in front of us.

Shortly before take off, I realised that the person in the seat behind had some kind of service animal. After I had to do a online course about transportation of service animals at work about 18 months ago, I was a little concerned that it might be an emotional support spider as there did not seem to be room for anything bigger. However, at some stage during the flight, the person sitting next to me got up and suddenly he was replaced by a cute little dog that had spotted an escape route and came to join us. It took the owner a while to convince the dog to return to its spot underneath the seat.

Other than that, the flight was pretty eventless. I spent most of it napping and read when I was awake. Soon enough, we were approaching Los Angeles. Just before we landed, there was an announcement that there would be an aircraft change for those people continuing on to Sydney. This was probably what caused a delay in getting our luggage. We took our time in getting to the luggage carousel as we needed to use the bathroom and I was half expecting that our luggage would already have arrived by the time we got to the baggage hall. In the end, it took about an hour and involved a sudden change of baggage carousel. Fortunately, once the luggage from our flight started arriving, all of our luggage arrived in quick succession.

I was glad that we had decided against hiring a car for the duration of the holiday. Instead I had booked two seats on a shared van service. We had to wait for a little while for a van servicing the Disneyland area to arrive. Once our van arrived, we took a bit of a scenic tour around the airport. I started to get a bit worried that we would drop off the people going to private residences first, but once we had left the airport, we headed straight to the Grand Californian Hotel. Graham slept for the whole of the journey.

When we got to the hotel, we were greeted by a whole army of bellmen offering their services. Considering how late it was, we decided that we could cope with our luggage ourselves. We did not want to have to wait for our luggage to be delivered. Check in was smooth and we were soon on our way to our room. I had managed to leave a carrier bag with our books behind. I could not recall if I had left this at reception or if I had never picked this up in the car park after sorting out the paperwork for the shuttle. So decided to retrace my steps. When I came up to reception, I saw the bag sitting on the counter. They had already called the room to check if he had left something behind. Once I had my bag, I headed back to the room and finally went to bed. It was just before midnight, meaning that I had been up for 26 hours.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:59 PM   #6
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Great start so far, Ive stayed at the Club Lounge at the Crown Plaza, there great!
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:24 PM   #7
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Followed your link from the AKL Lite thread.
Can't wait to read more
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:47 PM   #8
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:16 PM   #9
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:26 PM   #10

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Old 11-01-2011, 09:40 PM   #11
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Trip report

Enjoying your travel notes so far ...thanks for sharing

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Old 11-02-2011, 12:38 AM   #12
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Joining in as well.

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Old 11-02-2011, 05:16 AM   #13
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
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Welcome to the thread. I am honoured that you are joining me. I will post about our first day at Disneyland later.

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Old 11-02-2011, 05:36 AM   #14
Been There, Done That, Going Back!
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great start to your trip report, cant wait to read more.
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Old 11-02-2011, 05:48 AM   #15
I was having a bit of a blonde moment
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Sounds like a pretty good flight.
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