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#939985 by David
01 Dec 2017, 14:37
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After getting caught up with BA’s computer meltdown with my shuttle on the last trip in May (which they compensated me well) I decided this trip would commence early with the lunchtime shuttle down from Edinburgh into Gatwick and arrival into the Sofitel at the North Terminal around 2.30pm unlike 11.30 pm previously.

The last few trips have now used BA’s “Club Europe” fares which are actually only a few pounds more than the normal economy fare but give you BA’s lounge (the Edinburgh one being the most soulless place I’ve been in since my last visit to the dentist) but more importantly 2 bags at 32 kg unlike the economy fare with 1 bag at 23 kg. Makes little difference for the outbound trip but ties nicely into virgins upper class allowance coming home.

The view as great looking across the runway and the room and staff are very good. The Sofitel at Gatwick now seems to be our choice over the Hilton since the Terminal change

Thursday morning brought a quick walk up the ramp and into Virgins sparkly new check in. Can’t remember much about the last trip but this time there was a gentleman not quick checking your ticket (probably seen the purple on my phone) and directing you to a free desk. There seemed to be a little bit of training going on but all was processed in little over a minute and I was on my way to Gatwick’s premium security channel.

Not quite Heathrow’s private security channel but very very efficient and I was soon zigzagging my way through the sparkly tiles of the duty free area towards the “new” Clubhouse.

It was very busy on arriving, probably the busiest I’ve seen any Clubhouse at Gatwick, but a seat was soon found and I was welcomed back like a long lost friend.

Decided to sit on the right hand side this time as in May, the left hand side had been a bit chilly - this was pretty perfect.

The usual routine of coffee, then breakfast, then coffee, then champagne, more champagne, a bacon roll, more champagne, then pastries and another coffee and all of a sudden it was time for boarding.

Of course the gates are now on the opposite side of the departure lounge (which is still pretty dire compared to the South Terminal) so after eventually arriving at an empty gate I thought I was last to board. Nope, the plane was empty. Upper was full with I think a couple of pilots off duty, premium had a scattering and there was even less in economy. Think I heard 80 something. A few announcements about being a very light load and please remain in your assigned seats for takeoff and landing but after that feel free to move about the cabin.

Service was great. Really good. Only thing missing was the bar. Yup we were on the ex LHR plane which of course, after battering the screen a few times also doesn’t have the touchscreen IFE. However it wasn’t really a problem has most of the films I had already seen so it turned into the usual ritual of eat, drink, watch, snooze, music and sleep.

The food was really good although they had run out of soup :-O so had to have the crab cakes for starters,

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then the fillet steak,

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passed on the desert and went straight to the cheese and biscuits.

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The flight itself seemed a little long but don’t know if that was the lack of films or the fact it was pretty jiggly literally all the way across. The seatbelt lights came on a few times and to be honest should have been on a few times more which made for probably one of the more uncomfortable flights I’ve ever been on. Not bad but just uncomfortable

Afternoon tea was soon served along with any light bites off the menu. I do like the way they’ve changed this part of the service and the offer of something else than sandwiches seems to go down well with everyone.

A quick arrival into MCO with very little taxiing, which has been the norm on many of the last flights. (You sometimes think your driving to the airport !) and with global entry , I was waiting for the bags in seconds after deplaning.

And waiting, and waiting, and waiting

After what seemed an eternity, some came off, then crew bags then eventually a few upper bags.

There seemed to be another change to the customs part now as there was nobody checking and collecting the blue forms (which with global entry you don’t need) butbthe line was directed through tense barriers to the doors and the stairs to the shuttle.

Onwards to hertz to pick the car up and this is the part the always confuses me. You mark on the booking your arriving off a VS flight so you’d expect the car to be at terminal A. Yeah you’d expect that. Go to A and it’s at B. Go to B and it’s at A. So I trots off to A and no name on the board. [email protected]##** - every time ! Inside to the desk, a bit of tapping, a wee wonder outside and she comes back in with a set of keys. “It’s the silver one outside :-) “. Outside lies a brand new upgraded 34 miles on the clock Infinit QX60. Hertz, I forgive you :-D :-D

So onwards to the Hilton at Disney Springs for a few days before heading to Disney’s Saratoga Springs for some R&R.

Thanks for reading

David
#939987 by David
01 Dec 2017, 15:00
Not really VS picks, buts here’s some of Saratoga & Disney Springs

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Christmas has arrived

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And my view this morning

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David
#939989 by hiljil
01 Dec 2017, 15:48
Thank you for an enjoyable TR. The photos made me very envious - particularly the ones with a blue sky. I’m currently experiencing sleet and thunder :-O
#939991 by marshy11
01 Dec 2017, 17:02
Lovely photos and a very comprehensive TR. Apart from the bags and a little side trip for your car collection it sounds like it went swimmingly.

Enjoy.
#939996 by tomthumb
01 Dec 2017, 22:03
Thanks for the Trip Report - looking forward to my club house visit tomorrow morning :D
#940061 by David
04 Dec 2017, 18:40
Many thanks for all your replies. Into the last few days now but feels as if I’ve been away for months :-)

Thought I’d do a wee bit of exploring yesterday to visit a couple of my favourite resorts but for anyone else visiting resorts close to parks be aware of the massive queues that are being caused by security screening. Everything is running very slow - especially the monorails.

Anyways, got my pics and am really on the festive mood now, even though it’s still 80 degrees outside :-O

The Grand Floridian Christmas tree

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And my fav - Wilderness Lodge

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“It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas ....... “

David
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