7 NIGHTS RPR.....TINSEL AND SUNSCREEN TRIP REPORT 2017

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by schumigirl, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    :welcome:


    Well, here we are again...........our most recent trip, albeit the shortest one yet is underway.......

    party:

    This was a rather unexpected trip for us this year.......we had enjoyed our usual trip in September into October and generally had no plans till next year to come back to Orlando. But, the draw was too strong for us to wait another full year for our next trip..........but I kinda went into trip overload........

    As most know we are Carole"n"Tom..........as said before, we are always together, you never see one without the other.........more so now since Tom took very early retirement from his company at the end of July.......that was one of the things we celebrated with our previous triple celebration trip........that trip was a huge success and we loved every second of it.

    Kyle is our 23 year old son, who really is our total pride and joy. He hadn't been on a family trip for 3 years as he had been at University and had graduated last year with a phenomenal First Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering........so to say we were bursting with pride for him was an understatement. He had been in another position but it hadn't suited him and he changed his career to go into the Financial Market.......one of the joys of his degree is it can take you into many different paths.

    This was him on our last trip together as a family in 2014..........

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    Leaving RP even after a long trip is never easy. It truly is our home from home and we always feel so happy when we are there........not that we`re not happy all other times, we are incredibly lucky......but, to be at a hotel we love in a climate we love is bliss. But, I`m rambling already...........

    To go back to when we got home from our last trip.........

    We arrived home on a Tuesday morning........and jet lag really whooped us.......so we had a few days of not doing very much and getting back to normality.........we are always thinking ahead for future trips so it didn't seem abnormal for us to have arranged our next trip before we leave RP. And we had already done that for our Sept 2018 trip to RP.........we just had to arrange flights. Couldn't miss HHN as we hoped 2018 would be head and shoulders above this years event.......still fun but not the best we`ve been to.

    We also thought while we were there in September we would have a 10 night stay in May 18, but staying at the beautiful Sapphire Falls resort.........we thought we would have some resort time and spend more time out and about outside of Universal, as even with 19 nights we find its a struggle doing everything we want to do. So we had arranged our dates and that had been sorted too.

    On the Saturday night after we got home Tom said we needed to get our flights booked.........so within a few minutes I had flights booked for May and September..........I was a happy bunny!!!

    I could see Tom looking around at flights and such for the next few days.........and wondered what he was up to..........he asked if I fancied a week in New York at Christmas........now, anyone who knows me knows I hate the cold :eek: with a passion!!! So, I kinda veered him away from December and I said why don't we have 5 days in NY next summer..........I thought of June, but just being in Orlando in May, it might be too close, so we chose July.........so that was booked 3 days later........flights and hotel....going back to Lotte New York Palace again......so excited for that one too.

    Then we realized we had a desire to go to Orlando for a week in December............my mind went into overdrive and we got booked at RP.........then before we booked flights we asked Kyle if he could get 8 days off work and come with us. So, he had just started a new job in September so he had lots of vacation time to use up..........(Todd....I hear you :laughing:) We had to wait a few days to see if he got his vacation time confirmed..........and he did!!!!! We were over the moon..........so I got straight on to Virgin Atlantic website and got 3 exit row seats booked both ways from Saturday 2nd Dec till Saturday 9th Dec.

    I immediately renewed Kyle`s ESTA as it had expired........they last two years and only cost $14 per person.........I filled in all his details and it came back immediately as confirmed. It can get worrying if it comes back as Pending which mine did once........thankfully I logged back in an hour later and it had been confirmed too.........

    Later that night Tom asked if I fancied a trip in March.........helloooooooo......had he just met me.......of course I did!!!! So again, email sent off and RP was booked and then flights booked in a flash!!!! This retirement thing is amazing...........

    So, all our trip were sorted for the next year..........we had December 2017, March 2018, may 2018, July to NY 2018 and our usual 19 nights at RP in September.

    Waiting really is the hardest bit.

    The ONLY planning we ever do is flights, hotel and car hire.........and the airport hotel for the night before........planning over. I never do a pre trip report as it seems pointless.....we just don't plan......as I said before doesn't mean we`re not hugely excited for our trips.......we are!!!!! I just don't see the need for us to do one.........I like to surprise myself too..........

    We immediately booked The Radisson Blu for the 1st December........we booked a family room which has two separate bedrooms and bathrooms just with an adjoining door........Kyle liked the idea of having his own room again, if even just for the one night.........we do like that hotel and like to stay there overnight before trips.......nice way to start a trip. In fact we have all our bookings done for the next 5 trips.

    Car hire is simple. We use Alamo........and this time we didn't need a fancy big car like we usually get.......a basic mid size SUV would suffice. And this was our cheapest car rental yet.........so that done we were just ready to go.

    It strangely seemed a longer wait from October to December than we felt it between one year to the next.........it was interminable at times.......but it eventually came around.

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    THURSDAY 30TH NOVEMBER.........

    This will be quite brief today.........

    Today was absolutely Baltic weather........we were actually taking Kyle to work today as we fancied a drive in his new car that he had picked up In October.......it was his pride and joy but we had said we fancied a day driving it.....and we had things to pick up near where his office is anyway......he was glad to be dropped off at the door today as it was perishing. He only has a 5 minute walk from the car park, but this was handy.

    Dropped him off and did what we had to do then drove home to start packing..........I usually pack on the day before or on the morning we go.......but wanted to make sure we were just ready to go. I hadn't gone overboard with buying new clothes as we really didn't need them, but we did buy hoodies as we had been told it may get cooler than we were used to. Didn't like the sound of that too much.......but I was convinced we were going to get decent weather.........

    A few had commented on us just going for a week........a 9 hour flight is a long way to go for a week, but I`d rather go for 7 nights as not go at all........I never understand why folks feel the need to comment on others travel plans.......no ones business really........and as for the cost of flights for just a week, well, it is what it is. We were happy we were able to take a trip with the 3 of us again whatever it cost.

    The day passed quickly and soon it was time to go pick him up........Tom drove the 35 minutes to go get him while I got last minute stuff done and made some phone calls. Primarily to my mum, who was now seriously worried we were planning on moving to Florida.........lol.........but, promised her we weren't just yet........and at that Kyle came in absolutely bursting and gave me the biggest hug!!!! Love vacations.........

    We ate some lovely food and Tom and I shared a bottle of sparkly.......Kyle doesn't drink so we don't need to share the bottle......lol........and we watched a movie and hoped we would sleep well tonight.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
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  2. jcc0621

    jcc0621 DIS Veteran

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    I'm in and can't wait to hear all about your trip! :goodvibes
     
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  4. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    FRIDAY DECEMBER 1ST..........

    We really did sleep quite well last night surprisingly..........maybe the sparkling helped..........but I heard Kyle up and in his bathroom around 7am.......so I thought I may as well get up to.

    I adore the morning when you are setting off.......everything is in front of you and the excitement just overflows........I knew I had some last minute toiletries to pack and that was it really........wouldn't take long.

    So we made breakfast of not very much really, and finished off packing. Check in at the hotel is usually around 2pm but we had booked the Business rooms again, so you usually could get in a little earlier. But generally speaking we were in no rush to go anywhere.

    Around 9.30 we decide to just set off.........it looks a decent day today, but very cold.......roads should be ok but it does take around 3 hours to get up to the airport from our location on the other side of the country.........but it`s a nice journey. Tom and I had started eating lunch at the hotel, but Kyle asked if we could stop off at the diner we always did when it was the three of us......of course we would.

    We locked up the place and checked round gates and such, our farmer neighbor has keys and such and keeps an eye on the place while we`re gone.......and we set off.......all 3 of us again, and I felt so joyous and happy I almost started singing.........almost!!!! I`m a terrible singer..........

    The drive was decent as all snow from previous day was gone.........and it was a decent drive. We stopped off and the diner was exactly the same......no menu changes and the same staff.......it was like a little bit of a time warp.......but we got seated and Kyle orders a grilled cheese sandwich and Tom and I order bacon sandwiches.........they were delicious. We had a giggle though at the table next to us.........it was all just a little surreal.......there was a Polish couple and between them they had around 6 phones........and they all rang at various times while we were in.........of course we couldn't understand a word they were saying and it could have been anything.......it just looked a little suspect.......but they smiled which was nice!!!

    We paid our bill and visited the bathroom as we still had around 2 hours to get there..........and set off again. We chatted the whole way with what we would be enjoying in the coming week and what we hoped it would be like........and soon we were there at the Radisson Blu.......very different from arriving in September when it was warm..........usually the car park is full to bursting and there`s someone helping you find a space, today there was plenty of spaces........I did take my first picture of the day with Kyle immediately remembering how many pictures I take..........he wouldn't grumble to much I hoped.........

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    It looks sunny, but it was practically zero there..........Kyle doesn't really feel the cold like I do!!!


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    We loaded our luggage onto a little trolley and got into the hotel quickly as it was cold.......and they had some lovely Christmas trees......we would get checked in and then wander back down. Check in was a breeze and he said our rooms were indeed ready........that's what we like to hear....and we did have a view of the airport that we so liked. I`m quite childish with airports, love seeing planes coming and going........but so do my two also!!!

    Rooms were nice as always...........This was our bedroom and below is Kyle`s room........

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    Bathrooms and views were exactly the same as before..........and our levels of excitement hadn't dissipated in any way..........Tom had taken this image about 10 times before Kyle asked how many more was he going to take........Tom does love his camera too......


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    We looked out of the window to see the airport and saw the giant Russian Transporter plane getting ready to take off.....it was huge and we did want to watch it if we could........we had seen a bigger one take off years ago........quite the sight!!!

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    We did see it take off and it is impressive, even with the excellent soundproofing of this hotel, you could hear the distant rumble of the plane taking off.......after watching that take off now we were ready to do our usual and go down to the bar to start our vacation off with a glass of something nice!!

    It was happy hour so they were doing glasses of prosecco for around $7 each.........that's what we would have as long as it was freshly opened bottle.......and it was.........Kyle ordered a J20 which was orange and passion fruit flavoured........we like this bar, and today it was fairly busy.........but we got a booth......always a real mix of folks here, business folks sat looking extremely busy with laptops and such and of course pleasure travelers like us........


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    We have 2 glasses each in here as it is happy hour!!!! And now we feel our trip is beginning.......we do have the Business lounge and you can get beer, juices teas and coffee all day......at 5pm they bring out wines and liquors and you just help yourself. They also do appetizer type food, it wasn't great in September but we planned to eat in the restaurant later...........we would head up there soon.

    Many know I`m kinda like Kevin McCallister in that I adore Christmas trees.....all of them.......so I planned to get some pictures of as many as I could this trip......and we started with the one as you walked in the lobby doors.........


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    Main lobby tree was pretty and very strongly scented with pines and cinnamon...........


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    We didn't hang around long as it was quite cool there with the revolving door constantly going. We liked this hotel for many reasons and one is, once we are inside we don't need to go back out till we leave Orlando airport.........so we get the elevator up to the top floor where the business lounge is.......we had been in September and it was mobbed........today it looked a little quieter..........it wasn't 5pm yet, so I had a coke, Tom had a beer and Kyle had water......and a few olives that are set out.

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    They do have a rule that by 5pm there can be no children under the age of 12 in the lounge........due to alcohol service.......we like this rule as sometimes you get kids who aren't sure how to behave correctly and some parents who don't feel the need to correct their behaviour.........and today there was a couple who challenged this rule.........another family with children left around 4.50pm......but this woman argued her children were perfectly behaved and were quiet and wouldn't disturb anyone.......she was missing the point........the lady in charge asked them to leave very politely around 2 minutes before 5......no, they faffed around and took their time all the while complaining they shouldn't have to leave with having perfect children. At 5.10 she came back over and insisted they leave........I have never seen anyone dawdle so much........but of course they wouldn't put the alcohol and wine out till they were gone, so a couple behind us started grumbling they wanted a glass of wine.......I thought it might get a little heated but at that point they know they were beat and they left..........another family cheered!!!! Oh dear........

    It wasn't busy, and I`m sure her children wouldn't have disturbed anyone, but rules are rules, not quite sure why they thought it didn't apply to them........so now it was wine time.........we also tried some duck spring rolls which were just ok........Kyle tried them but wasn't keen, he was keeping his appetite for pizza and chocolate cake!!!


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    We sat till around 7.30pm and had maybe a couple of glasses of wine each. In September we saw people go a little crazy with the amount of liquor poured but tonight there wasn't anyone like that.......it was so much quieter........

    The Business Lounge is very nice......is it worth the extra money? Probably not, but we like it there and would book it again........you do get breakfast included in the rate, but we prefer to eat in the airport after we`ve checked in.

    By now Kyle was hungry, so we headed down to the restaurant which was fairly busy as it usually is.........we got a table straight away and of course began to decide what we would have.....Tom and I had enjoyed a few spring rolls in the lounge so weren't overly hungry........but plenty of choice for all of us.......

    It was so nice being altogether again.........and didn't feel 3 years since Kyle was last with us.......but of course time passes so quickly.......


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    Kyle decided to have the cheese pizza, and Tom and I shared the meaty hot and added more spice.........hoped it would be hot........I didn't want anymore wine but Tom ordered a very nice Chardonnay which I was sure I may sample........and Kyle had another J20.........and then the food came........


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    They were filling and really very nice......ours could have been spicier but it was lovely........and poor Tom lost half of his rather large glass of wine.......bless him, he never complains.......he did say I should have ordered one of my own.........I never listen!!!!

    Kyle almost finished all of his pizza on his own........we just about finished ours between us.........but we did decide we all wanted dessert.........we of course knew Kyle would go for the flourless chocolate cake..........Tom chose the sticky toffee pudding and I opted for Crème Brulee..........


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    He absolutely loved it!!! It was so rich apparently..........that boy does love his chocolate cake!!!!


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    I have to say they were all lovely!!! I adore Crème Brulee and this was a good one.......Tom is more of a dessert person than I am, but I do enjoy a little dessert now and again........he did enjoy his sticky toffee too.

    We were all feeling a little tired by now, so we got the check and paid then headed up to our rooms. Kyle was loving having his own room again......but as always settled in ours while we watched some tv while peering out of the window.

    I began the online check in process for our flights tomorrow and Kyle and I could check in but Tom had to wait till the airport. Thought that was a little odd, but I was sure it was nothing.

    We made a coffee and sat back to watch a movie, I think it was Die Hard........Kyle watched for a little while then he headed through to go to bed.......by around 11pm we were the same........we had set the ipad for the alarm to go off and ordered an early morning call for 5.45am.........we did feel tired tonight, usually we are wide awake.........but, feeling content must have helped as after a brief moment watching the movements and lights of the airport we did indeed get into the huge......huge.....bed and we slept for most of the night without waking.

    We were so looking forward to the adventure that lay ahead of us, with all 3 of us again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  5. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    Hey!!!!!

    :welcome:

    You`re first...........:D

    Hope you enjoy it..........been trying to get it started last few days, but still catching up on jetlag and normal everyday stuff.......all quite dull of course!!!!

    Nice to see you though...........:wave2:
     
  6. wiscbugs

    wiscbugs Loving everything Disney!

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    I'm so glad you have another report already. I love checking in every day and reading another entry!
     
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  7. Lynne G

    Lynne G DIS Veteran

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    YAY! Another lovely Schumi report. Enjoy seeing the pictures of DS. We'll be staying at the Hyatt at the airport as our arrival this year is after dinner. So fun to see all the bustle and hustle of the airport.

    Enjoy seeing Christmas decorations too.

    Carry on, a great start to this week of holiday.
     
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  8. jcc0621

    jcc0621 DIS Veteran

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    Me too. If I could put up more that one I would. Just no room :-(




    Love this one!





    :sad2: Some people just think that the rules don't apply to them




    Thanks!
     
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  9. Metro West

    Metro West Nothing to see here...move along.

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    WOO HOO! Another fun trip report. Can't wait to read it!
     
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  10. CoachZ

    CoachZ Mouseketeer

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    As always I love reading Schumis trip reports! I'm following along. Makes me even more excited for my June trip. Will be my first time back to USO since 2003.
     
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  11. nicco5family

    nicco5family Mouseketeer

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    Yay!! This is my first real-time, as it is being written Schumi report! AND my first time to see a TR with your DS in it.

    Is he a lefty? I noticed his watch was on his right hand. Two of my three kids are lefties, even though DH and I are both right handed.

    Your son is a combination of both of you- so far I haven't seen a pic of you all three together but from what I can tell he favors you both.

    Looking forward to reading along!
     
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  12. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    :welcome:

    Thanks!!! Didn't really think I`d get around to it this early, but might as well get it written up as quick as I can.........hope you enjoy it!!!

    :welcome: Lynne.......nice to have you along for this one too......short as it is........I love decorations!!!!
     
  13. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    Oh I agree with trees........I have 4 inside and 2 outside......and I would still have more if it didn't take up so much time, all fake though except for the one half way up our drive......but we let nature take care of that one......no watering required!!! :D

    :welcome: Todd.......nice to see you!!! We never got a picture of all 4 of us.......but we did get some.......hope you enjoy reading along!!
     
  14. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    :welcome: CoachZ........wow going back after so long will be amazing!!! So much has changed and so many new additions for you to see.........I`m kinda jealous you get to see it all so fresh, I`d love to see it all as an almost first timer again!! Nice to have you read along.........

    :welcome:..........wow you are observant!!!! I`d never have noticed that!!!

    Yes, he`s a lefty........not quite sure where that came from as Tom and I are both right handed.......although my mother writes with her right hand but does everything else left handed......so maybe that`s where it comes from.......

    Kyle does look like both of us.....when he sleeps he looks so like me, I noticed it again on the plane coming home, but he has his fathers placid nature I`m happy to say.......:D He`s very level headed and sensible.....too sensible at times lol........

    Hope you enjoy reading this one too........:wave2:
     
  15. Tink2Day

    Tink2Day DIS Veteran

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    Yay!!! So happy to see your report.
    Kyle looks like he's thrilled to be on a trip again, seems such a lovely young man. He's so handsome and I love that smile.....actually he has Tom's smile!
    You seem to be just glowing, all of us Moms seem to do that when we're with our children don't we? Looks like you have an awesome start to your trip and I see Kyle got his chocolate cake trip off to a great start!!
    Can't wait to read more and see more Cake!!:cake:(although I'm more of a Crème Brulee person myself)
     
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  16. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    Woot!
     
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  17. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    SATURDAY DECEMBER 2ND............

    We really did sleep well last night, surprisingly we both woke up once and more or less got straight back to sleep. I need to get those pillows.......it was the heat that woke us up. The thermostat seemed to have a life of it`s own........we both thought we were taken ill as we woke up boiling hot........we soon turned it down though and put on cool air.......much better after that. I also had pulled the drapes tightly shut so there was no light at all coming in, I usually leave them open as I love to watch the airport, but sleep was our priority this time.

    We did get our alarm call as requested, so I always get up first and get showered and do my hair while Tom showers. He was still sleeping when I came out today.......Kyle was awake also having set his alarm, he said he had slept brilliantly in that bed too.......we all get up early quite easily but on travel day it really does seem so much easier.

    It`s still pitch black outside this morning and looks bleak and miserable, always a nice day to leave the UK when weather is like this. Kyle was already showered and dressed by time Tom was ready......he was laughing as he never, ever wears a hoodie........

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    We check the flight is still on time, and it is, so we do a final check of the rooms, empty the safe and head down to check out and hand over the car keys for the car park people. They take the car offsite for the duration of our trip, have used them for years and "fingers crossed" we`ve never had any issues. So you have to leave the keys and the car is always waiting for us on our return. She asks if we`re not having breakfast, I tell her no, it`s a little too early for us to have anything......it`s around 6.30. Plenty of time for food.

    We walk out into the Skywalk and turn towards Terminal 2. It`s freezing. Really cold......and this is inside....... and I have a cardigan on.........they did tell me to put a hoodie on. And I have bare legs.........well, I was focused on what it was going to be like at the other side of the Atlantic!!! But, it`s only a few minutes till we are inside the Terminal and it`s warm. It really is an advantage to stay at the Radisson as you can avoid being outside at all........and only a few minutes walk and you`re at either Terminal.

    We find the Virgin Atlantic desks easily.......cant really miss them and I`m surprised they are already open. Our flight is at 11.30 and usually it`s 4 hours before the flight bag drop and check in opens......but not complaining.......A member of staff approaches us and asks if we`ve all checked in online, I tell her Tom had to check in here, she said it wasn't a problem, they pick random passengers to actually see them before check in. I thought it would be something like that......she also asked if we wanted to upgrade to Premium Economy for a ridiculous price each........told her no thanks, we had extra leg room exit row seats.......the thought of "real knives and forks with real glasses for drinks" is not something I`m interested in. The seats we had we had been on before and really liked them, so she didn't get a sale from us this morning.

    There was no queue at all, so we very quickly got our boarding cards and we were ready to head upstairs to go through security. And we are so excited to start the journey!!


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    Security can be a nightmare with crowds, or a breeze. Today was the easiest line yet. We didn`t have to take shoes off or take ipads out of cases and such.......and none of us "beeped" when we went through......usually one of us sets it off.........Tom did get chosen for a quick extra bag check though. It took a few minutes and we were on our way through to Duty Free shops and food.

    I do find it quite difficult to wade a path through the enthusiasm of the perfume and make up ladies that will try and entice you to part with your money for their products........they can be quite aggressive but a confident No thanks usually works. But, today they were ok and we made it through to the food options without being persuaded to buy anything.

    The food options are all pretty similar I have to say. There`s no way we could drink alcohol at this time of the morning.....well, maybe a Mimosa or Buck`s Fizz.......but many are sitting with heavy ales and beers and the smell can be quite overpowering.......so we choose a place and sit as far away from the bar area as possible. We order 2 bacon sandwiches on white bread, and Kyle orders croissants with preserves and juice. They arrive pretty quickly and I do think the bread has been well toasted........don't think anything of it really.........we are chatting and eating when all of a sudden I realise at the same time Tom does that it`s a wholemeal bread with little seeds in.........I`m allergic to seeds and grains like that. Which is why we asked for white.

    Tom takes mine back up to the kitchen area and the waiter after a few minutes brings it back and says casually, oh that's all we have.......I look at him and almost yell......I`m allergic to seeds and can`t eat wholemeal bread......at that point the manager appears........he apologizes and says we should have been told they hadn't had any white bread all morning......at this point the waiter says he`ll leave the sandwich with me........I am incredulous at this point they have missed the fact I`m allergic!!! Not in a deadly way or the way some people are seriously allergic to nuts and such, but it makes me ill......and the thought of a 9 hour flight ahead is making me very nervous. At this point the manager visibly pales and says he`ll send for the paramedics and an ambulance........I quickly tell him to calm his heels......I`m not about to pass out or anything but I`m seriously unhappy at being given this without a word. He offers me a full refund and anything else on the menu for free. I say I`ll take a croissant and ask where the bathrooms are........Tom tells him if I throw up we wont be happy......and I`m sure they wont be either........but thankfully I had eaten such a small amount of the bread it didn't affect me. But for someone who is seriously or has a life threatening allergy to nuts they wouldn't have been as lucky.

    So with that over and done with we go and pass some time in the waiting areas........and of course purchase some food and things for the plane in case food isn't great......again, it`s a hit and a miss........so we buy some chicken wraps, a ham sandwich for Kyle and crisps. I also purchase a little aid for sleeping on the plane......my other one is too flat now.........


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    It was so soft!!

    We wait for a little while before heading to the gate where the plane is, and it really is miserable outside........


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    We eventually go through to the gate area and wait a little longer. We chat to folks around us and get talking to a couple who are heading off on a cruise.....they ask where we are staying and say they don't know Universal at all as it`s their first time in Florida.....another family opposite were kinda listening and chime in when the woman announces to anyone who will listen "oh we are only Disney people we wouldn't set foot in Universal"..........what in the heck does we are Disney people even mean???? I laughed and said well someone has to be nowadays I suppose...........even her husband laughed!!! LOL.......I was a little naughty........but hey lady......no one cares.........

    Our plane had moved. There is a huge refurb going on here, so rather annoyingly our plane was moved to the middle of nowhere and we had to get bussed out to it......and it was freezing!!! But, we all got on the bus and were driven the short drive out to meet her..........we did get dropped off at the bottom of the steps I`m glad to say, and walked straight up them when we did get off.........CC are always so welcoming and we greet them back.......we take the short walk up to our seats and there is another CC who we immediately like......I tell her I`m so glad it`s nice and warm on the plane. She says if I need a blanket later she`ll get me one.......they don't give them out now on day flights but it was nice of her to offer........we get our baggage in overhead lockers and get seated......the exit row seats are a little narrower with having the food tray between us, but we`re not small people and we have loads of room in them. We get chatting to the lovely CC lady which passes the time waiting to take off. Some CC can be very friendly and some are maybe not as much, but this lady was lovely and we were soon chatting like old friends.

    We have no direct window with these seats, but we can see out the exit door window........the bathrooms are just beside us too, but the doors open the other way so don't impact us any at all.......I was worried the first time years ago when we got those seats being so close to bathrooms, but they've always been kept so clean and fresh......thankfully!!! We share out the hard fruity candy we always get to offset any ear pressure we may feel........Kyle in particular has a hard time with ears getting blocked on take off........so we keep handing him some.......but today is a good take off.

    The Jumbo jet or 747 as it`s probably more known as is an impressive aircraft.......it`s huge!!! And we can see a load of plane spotters on the grass verges to the side of the airport ready to take pictures........in this weather!!! But soon we stop taxiing and the engines fully power up.....this is where I am impressed every time......the immense feeling of power and thrust as we trundle along the runway and then slowly and gently take off gets me every time........how such a giant piece of engineering gets off the ground astounds me every time. Of course I understand the physics of it......but still. Impressed. We chat to Heidi who is the lovely CC lady so it kind of takes my mind off the take off. I do get a little nervous although I love it at the same time........

    We level off pretty quickly and soon CC are coming around with drinks and snacks.......little pretzel bags and I get a wine.......and as we now look out the window we can see there is actually still a sun up there somewhere.......it had been so miserable before we left.

    We have a little time before food is served so we do get some pictures of course........we love the leg room we get with these exit row seats.......well worth paying extra for them..........food is quite decent today.......it`s sausages, mash and little tiny carrots......followed by cheese and biscuits and a dessert.......and of course we have the free wine you get with VA........Tom gets the little bottle but doesn't drink it as he is driving at the other end. So I think I may sleep now.....lol.......

    We settle down after the meal and begin to watch the movies on offer.......I watched Annabelle The Creation.......it was quite good.....little drawn out maybe, but I did jump a few times........Tom and Kyle both watched some kind of similar movie.....cant remember what.......I then began to feel drowsy when Heidi appeared in front of us and asked us if we`d like a glass of champagne..........we were absolutely astounded........of course we would.......how nice of her.......and she had brought some goodies and chocolates from upper class too as we had mentioned previously in our chat Kyle didn't drink......so he got a load of lovely little chocolates and there was some scented shortbread too.......how lovely of her..........we thanked her and of course had to get proof of it as I have a friend who doesn't believe anyone ever gets gifted things like this on planes..........it`s funny seeing Kyle hold an alcoholic drink......and it was real glass too!!!

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    We were so grateful to her and what a lovely thing to do......the people behind us were a little put out that they didn't get anything.......the woman actually asked us how we managed to get the champagne........I just smiled at her.........but, she was annoyed.

    The rest of the flight passed quickly, and I did manage a sleep with my new neck pillow........flight was quite quick at just over 8 hours 20 minutes......much shorter than usual.


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    The seats a few in front had a man that had obviously been drinking. CC had stopped him after a couple I believe.......but he began to get loud and was talking to everyone.......I avoided all eye contact......but, he had heard the Scottish accent and stumbled up to ask what part of Scotland we were from....I told him politely but short we didn't live in Scotland anymore, he continued to ask where we lived now and I told him England.......he persevered and asked where in England so I asked him why he wanted to know........I chat to lots of people but this guy was loud and becoming obnoxious........he said he was just being friendly but everyone around him was annoyed with him. At that point CC asked him to sit down.....and he did. There`s always one........he wasn't too bad, just being a little loud.

    However soon we were landing and now we were almost beside our self with excitement..........Heidi sat back down in her chair and we chatted as we landed......now landings I love.......again the power of something that size putting the brakes on is fun!!!

    We got up and collected our belongings, and of course thanked Heidi massively for being so kind and looking after us, it was a real treat being offered champagne......and it was nice!!!

    Off the plane and this is the awful bit.........first we have to queue to go through these unmanned machines that register passport and take your picture......then you have to queue again to see an immigration officer.......the earlier Gatwick Jumbo had landed just before us, so it was busy......and the air wasn't on......several kids began throwing up.........not nice. We got the unfriendly but efficient officer. They`re never rude, and some are lovely, but I understand they have a job to do. The form we fill in on the plane showed we were bringing in food......which is just chocolate from the UK for staff at the hotel....sometimes they ask about it, sometimes they don't. Today he didn't mention it.

    By the time we got through all our luggage was there........so straight down to the monorail and off to the main part of the airport........love doing the monorail this way.......the other way, not so much.........

    We get straight to the car hire desk and I do say welcome home to Kyle who just has the biggest smile on his face.........today we are not harassed into buying any upgrades again, which is nice........we walk over to the pick up area and choose the first car we see........it doesn't matter this trip what the car is as we aren't going far.........it was a Hyundai Santa Fe.......did the job.

    It was already starting to get a little dark by now which was strange as it was always light when we arrived........but we know the road like the we know the roads at home.......and we`re off. Turn off at Universal Boulevard and Kyle sees the eye for the first time and soon we are at the hotels......he can see Sapphire Falls and the Volcano from the water park...........he is smiling. He also likes the look of Sapphire. So we get parked and walk up to the entrance......I am almost bursting with happiness as we all walk in......and there are Xmas decorations up...........Kyle says not to cry........lol.....try and stop me.......seeing the massive tree as we walk in sets me off immediately........it`s just an overwhelming feeling of happiness.........and I love it.

    Kyle just takes it all in and we go check in as he sits with the luggage and begins to feel at home again. Melanie who we know well is now a front desk manager and she comes out to give us a hug......and tell us everyone is so excited we are back........so nice to hear........she says word got round in an hour when they were told we had booked again........lol.......so we are checked in and we head up to our favourite room............

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    It`s good to be back. Kyle looks out the window and I almost yell at him not to.......the castle show is on and they both don't want spoilers......so we have a fabulous view from here........they laugh and turn around........we decide not to unpack immediately but head straight up to the Club Lounge and say a great big Aloha to the team..........it`s just 6pm so Kyle laughs we`ll make the wine time.........lol......he knows us so well........

    We do go up and see one of our favourite guys straight away.......with a santa hat on......he stops what he`s doing to come give us a hug and tells us how delighted they are we are back so soon..........really nice young man..........and someone who will go far in life. And scarily looks like Jim Carrey at times.....we didn't discover that till a few days in when he took his hat off and gave a giant grin but then it was obvious and I didn't know how we hadn't noticed it before.........but, we had a glass of wine each and Kyle had water........it was nice for Kyle to meet all the people we had been speaking of the last few years.........then the supervisor we met for the first time in September came in and we caught up with him too, lovely guy!!

    We sat till around 7pm and just caught up with who was still there, who had left and what was happening with them.......really nice to see them again. Again we feel so at home here and they really do make you feel so welcome.

    We planned to eat in Jake`s as was tradition when Kyle was with us previously........we were looking forward to it.......and we didn't feel too tired tonight.....always good.

    And of course nice to see another tree.......it was pretty..........


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    We asked to be seated inside and it wasn't too busy.........we always feel so comfortable in here.....staff are friendly and food is so good........

    Elijah the manager came over and introduced himself again to us........really nice man who welcomes you as if it was his own home.......and at that the guy taking care of us tonight comes over and we order a non alcoholic strawberry daiquiri for Kyle which is his favourite drink in the States, his last visit he managed around 35 of them throughout the trip........and we order a large cocktail between the two of us.......cannot remember which one but it was lovely........

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    We knew what food we wanted.........Kyle ordered a cheese pizza........Bryan, or Irwin as his Jake`s name showed asked if he knew how big it was......we did laugh and say absolutely.........we ordered the meat feast, as usual, no sausage and add chicken and jalapenos.......they should rename that one after us......and rather greedily we ordered the spicy chicken wings with blue cheese dip......strange because we both hate blue cheese......but the one house made in RP is lush!!!!! We would just eat what we could..........and the cocktail was gorgeous........

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    He had waited so long for this pizza!!!!

    And it was all gorgeous..........the wings were really spicy which we loved, and Bryan checked there were enough jalapenos on our pizza......oh there were.....it was lovely!!!!

    Bryan came to check if we were done and said he didn't think we`d have room for dessert.........but, Kyle surprised him and asked if they still did the flourless chocolate cake as it wasn't on the menu.......but he said he`d go ask the chef if he could make one........he came back and said the chef was making it for him.....I think it was on the room service menu still, so Kyle was pleased........we said we had no room for dessert.......

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    He was a happy young man!!!! He devoured every last piece of chocolate on the plate........and said it was better than he remembered it was........always good to hear.

    We sat for a little while and just enjoyed being there, all together again.......it had been strange being here without him, so it felt good to be back.

    We asked for the check and after we paid it Bryan handed me a dessert to go as a gift from Elijah.........how lovely!!! And strangely it was the dessert I was going to order if I had the room, it was the strawberry shortcake mason jar.........we again thanked him and we headed up to our room.........

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    I had popped it in the fridge while we unpacked everything.......had planned to leave it till tomorrow, but after unpacking.......I had the room.......and it was lovely too.

    We felt so content tonight. We were back, had enjoyed a good flight and a lovely meal.........now we were tired........but, we spent a bit of time looking out of the window seeing the pool and Doom alongside Hulk all lit up..........Kyle was looking forward to reintroducing himself to all the rides.......

    We were in bed for 10.30 which is when we try and stay up to otherwise we`re wide awake around 4.30 with the time difference........

    And we were out before we knew it and never heard a sound all night.
     
  18. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    14,726
    :welcome: Lovely to see you along for this one too............

    Thank you so much!!!! We think he`s just about perfect......but, always nice to get compliments on our children.........he really is a fabulous young man and yes, he does have Tom`s smile, I think so anyway.

    Yep, more cake to come and even some more crème brulee I believe.........:D

    Hope you enjoy the updates.........:wave2:
     
  19. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    14,726
    :welcome: along mac............great to see you!!!!

    Think you know some of what`s coming up, but glad to see you reading along too.......hope it`s fun!!!!
     
  20. Cara

    Cara DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 1, 2001
    Messages:
    528
    Oh, yay! I am so happy to see another trip report from you all! My daughter is 22, married and living away from home now, so I truly understand the pleasure of having your son with you on this trip.
     
    schumigirl likes this.
  21. Chuckers

    Chuckers Missing my day trips to Disneyland :(

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,853
    Your pictures are great! I love how you are all always smiling!
     
    schumigirl likes this.

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