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#933575 by sunny23uk
18 Mar 2017, 19:38
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Apologies for the delay in posting the return trip report, lots seems to have been happening since my return. ;-)

After a glorious week in Florida, beautiful weather, a few days with the Mouse, shopping, eating, drinking and nature walks, it was time to head home. This being the first time back since we’d sold the villa, we’d rented an apartment in Legacy Dunes off 192, which needed a few minor tweaks/additions to help it, but was perfectly adequate for a week’s stay. Any longer and I think we’d all choose to stay in a villa again. Anyway, this meant we had to be out by 10am, so we decided to use the Disney Springs check in so that we didn’t have the bags in the car all day. We dropped the bags off, paid our $10 each since we were not in Upper or Gold, and then went for a game of mini golf (Fantasia Gardens) by the Swan & Dolphin to waste some time.

We then headed back to Disney Springs for a last walk around, and I have to say and what a difference they’ve made down there, great shops, much easier to get parked and there’s still the Ghirardelli Chocolate Fountain to enjoy! Then we drove around to Nona Blue in Lake Nona, for a bite to eat before heading to the airport – lovely food and atmosphere if you’ve never been, but want somewhere close to the airport. It's owned by the golfer Graeme McDowell and has plenty of golf memorabilia in, if that interests you, but don't let that put you off.

Dropped the car off with no issues, and headed into the airport, stopped by the restrooms in order to change into trousers for the flight home, and headed through security. As there was very few people queuing here, we walked up to one of the agents, who then re-directed us to the TSA Pre-Check lanes – now I thought this was only for those registered, but at the top of our boarding cards was the word TSA Pre-check, so not sure why that happened, but it’s certainly a lot easier going through security not having to remove shoes etc… Our plane awaited us at Gate 81 again, but it was the ‘black sheep’ of the fleet – Tinker Belle, not that it mattered to us travelling in PE, but I know it must be disappointing to find there’s no bar in Upper for some people.

We waited at the gate and again it looked to be a light load for the return journey, with only a few people sitting around. About 45mins before we were due to depart, priority boarding started with special assistance passengers, which was then followed by both Upper & PE being invited together, and we headed on board. This time due to the lateness of our booking, we’d only managed to secure seats in the middle downstairs, so row 17DEF for us it was. As we boarded we were welcomed on board, and I spotted an FSM I had met previously, who also used to fly with my friend, so a quick hello was said, not wanting to distract him unnecessarily at that point in time.

Departure time arrived and we were greeted with an announcement from the captain that there was a problem in the cargo hold, but that engineers were trying to fix it, with an anticipated delay of an hour. Not a problem as far as I was concerned, I’d rather be on a safe flight than rush something, but it bought a trail of swear words out of the man sat directly behind me!! An hour passed and the crew made an announcement about the delay detailing that passengers could leave the aircraft if they wished, but would not be allowed to re-board the flight – I understand this is a US thing and that any passengers doing so would go on stand-by for a future flight, but any accommodation costs are at their own expense. I subsequently found out that one passenger did leave the aircraft as they now had a ‘bad feeling’ about the flight, even though they would probably have ended up on the same plane the following day.

Approximately 2 hours later, we were cleared for departure, with engineers managing to fix the tracking in the hold, so they could load everything in securely, and so we were off. A quick taxi out to the runway before heading off south and then to the west, which was the first time I’ve gone that way with Virgin, allowing a glimpse of the theme parks at night from the cabin and then we soon headed northwards and up the coast.

Dinner was served relatively quickly and I had the spinach and ricotta cannelloni, which was again tasty, but I was still quite full after our late lunch, so didn’t eat everything. I headed to the toilets a bit later and had a chat with the FSM and two of the crew, and before returning to my seat I asked for a cup of hot water, as I usually drink fruit teas, at which point Jonathan (permission granted to use name), asked if I wanted to rummage in his drawer for a flavoured tea – apparently not everyone gets to do this! This then ended up in a much longer than intended conversation about flying and Virgin, looking forward to San Francisco and Boston flights etc… I’m travelling to San Francisco later in the year, so I’m also looking forward to the new routes and I hope I get some of the crew from today’s flight. It was also mentioned that the 747’s may be sticking around a bit longer now, due to the cheaper fuel prices, cargo and passenger loads, meaning that they were pretty much breaking even at the moment. So for fans of the 747, we might not be losing them just yet. :D :D

I also mentioned the interesting gentleman seated behind me and said that I didn’t fancy attempting to recline my seat for fear of abuse, so later when Jonathan was passing, he suggested that I nip to the front bulkhead row of PE, since that was empty and there was an empty seat behind one of them so I could recline guilt free for a few hours. I didn’t need any further encouragement, and quickly moved further forward for a couple of hours’ sleep. I woke up just in time for breakfast, and managed to eat the pastry and fruit salad, with another cup of fruity tea, and then we were soon heading towards Manchester.

I said a quick thank you to the crew before the seat belt sign was illuminated, and headed back to my original seat for landing which was from the west today, so a quick descent onto the runway before getting to the terminal. We were quickly off the plane and through the E-gates before collecting the bags, which did make it through quicker than normal.

At this point my Dad headed off to get the car, and as I looked through the window, I commented to my Mum that I thought he was on the wrong bus – yep! Nearly half an hour later he turned up with the car, despite us trying to call him, his phone was still in flight mode, so no joy in getting hold of him. Never mind! :-O

So a really good trip, finished off with a nice flight home, and a west coast trip to look forward to later in the year, just a shame that we’ll have to detour off the coastal highway now since the torrential rains damaged it so badly.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far!! :-D
#933579 by tomthumb
18 Mar 2017, 21:17
Thanks for a great Trip Report and glad you had a good flight even with the delay
#933586 by hiljil
19 Mar 2017, 09:28
Thank you for a most enjoyable and detailed TR.

Like you, I am pleased to hear that the 747 's will be with us a bit longer :-D

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