At Manchester Airport I sampled the delights of the V Room before I departed. If you want a relaxed start to your holiday I would highly recommend spending your time in the V Room. The V Room is perfectly set up for both adults and children with a host of attentive staff to help and answer any questions. There are three separate areas for children with soft play, internet, x-box and a football table to keep excited children occupied pre-flight. The food was delicious, I had breakfast; Eggs, bacon and toast with tea and orange juice. With complimentary wi-fi, papers and magazines I unwound and looked forward to my trip. When I left the V Room I felt thoroughly relaxed.
On checking in at The Hilton Bonnet Creek after a long flight from the UK, I went up to my room hoping for a long shower before dinner. When I got up to my room I inserted my key card and waited for the green light – nothing. As I tried again … and again … I realised that I was inserting my card in time to the couple next doors sex noises. My final insertion coincided with my new neighbours reaching their crescendo. Despite my initial keycard problem, which actually turned out to be my fault (I blame a long day of travel), the Hilton was great; a fresh, modern and incredibly comfortable room with a view over the pool, golf course and Downtown Disney.
We had dinner in La Luce, the hotel’s on-site restaurant. La Luce is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant created by famed Napa Valley chef, Donna Scala. We were given a taster of misto salad with beets, fennel and battered calamari and shrimp which I could have eaten all over again! I followed it with the shrimp and scallop risotto which was equally amazing. For dessert we had the butterscotch pudding, the name doesn’t do it justice, but all I can say is that it’s so good it has its own Facebook page! Our host, Shadi Saman, the Leisure Sales Manager, told us about his genuine passion for the hotel and how he strives to deliver amazing customer service … which resulted in one case of changing the entire décor (including carpets) of one of the large suites for a rather rich client, with discerning taste.
Breakfast, in the Harvest Bistro at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, was what I have come to except now from a good American hotel … everything you could ever imagine; Cooked breakfast, pancakes, waffles, made-to-order pancakes and a selection of fruit and pastries. The Harvest Bistro has a Kids Eat Free promotion. Kids 12 and under eat free everyday for breakfast and dinner (two complimentary kids meals per adult entrée purchased).
After breakfast we headed off for an airboat ride at Boggy Creek. I was really looking forward to the airboat ride, having always had the ambition to feel the wind in my hair as I race across wetlands after watching Gentle Ben as a child. Boggy Creek boasts of ‘gliding through wetlands while taking in scenic views of cypress trees and wildlife. Each ride offers a unique glimpse of eagles, osprey, snakes, turtles and alligators’. It is possible that the ‘gators were all hiding because we only saw one alligator nose, a couple of baby alligator tails and a large lady fishing. The scenery was beautiful and I did get to feel the wind in my hair though.
We spent the afternoon at Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. A lover of rollercoasters we started on The Hulk … I did warn everyone that when on a rollercoaster I tend to cry, scream and laugh all at once and I didn’t let anyone down. The Hulk was a buttock clenchingly fast ride which made me want to ride it again and again … immediately. We visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which was very busy. The queue for the wand shop was about 100 strong. We gave ButterBeer a taste test and I can confirm that frozen ButterBeer, in 33 degree heat is genius. The Dragon Ride was our next fast ride. The queue split into two and we had to choose between the blue or red dragon ride and then race the other. Seeing the Jurassic Park River Adventure Ride, we decided to try it out. It looked fairly sedate with a possible risk of getting wet. We sat at the back and floated along, jumping occasionally when a velicoraptor burst out of some bushes. The finale was going down an 85 foot plunge in the dark. When we emerged we were drenched with a tidal wave of water and had to peel our hair off our faces. It was hilarious, scary and emergency poncho worthy. Luckily the heat dried off our wet bottoms/faces/hair pretty quickly. Later we watched the Universal Street Parade. Being big fans of Despicable Me, I loved the characters dancing around as we sat on the kerb and rested our weary feet.
That evening we decided to unwind with a little cocktail and karaoke hour or three in Zeta Bar at The Hilton Bonnet Creek. I say ‘we’, but I somehow managed to avoid singing, but had a good dance and can thoroughly recommend the Lycheetinis which I can only describe as rather tasty rocket fuel.
Seven nights in Orlando with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick or Manchester direct to Orlando, two nights accommodation at the 5V Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, two nights accommodation at the 3V+ Sunset Vista Beachfront Suites, two nights at the 5V Longboat Key Club & Resort and one night at the 5V Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotel, all on a room only basis with car hire included starts from £949. Prices are per person based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room, price includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Prices are based on departures 12 – 14 Nov 2012.
Start your holiday before you’ve even taken off in the v-room at Gatwick Airport or Manchester Airport; Adults £20, Kids £12
Virgin Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected
To book: www.virginholidays.co.uk , 0844 557 3859 or visit one of our 90 stores located in Debenhams and House of Fraser stores nationwide.