So regular readers will know that last week my friend Laura and I headed out to Walt Disney World in Florida to take a closer look at the wealth of dining available there.
First up, though, there was the little matter of a bit of R&R in the gorgeous Virgin Holidays V-Room, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the busy terminal at Gatwick and chill out with the papers in a comfy chair, grab a juice, smoothie, coffee… even a cocktail if you desire, plus a lovely bacon sarnie and chill out until your flight is called. I love it. I think it really builds the excitement at the beginning of your holiday, especially as the huge glass windows look out onto the runway, plus there’s a special place for kids to play (soft play for tiddlers and video games for the bigger ones), even internet access… whatever you need before you fly. And then it was off into the sky and away to Orlando. But first…
After a very easy Virgin Atlantic flight, we landed at Orlando airport and after the obligatory massive, snaking immigration queue, emerged knackered and blinking into the beautiful Florida sunshine, before boarding our coach and heading off to our resort hotel. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is stunning. Themed like a South African ‘Kraal’ (or homestead), basically a horseshoe-shaped South African themed village, it’s surrounded by 46 acres of incredible savanna with all sorts of wild animals roaming free. The lobby is amazing, reaching right up at the centre of all six floors…
Dotted around, both inside the Lodge, and outside, there are incredible open fire-pits (obviously with barriers around them). I love the bar area too:
… and from there, steps lead down to a gorgeous pool area, with a lovely lake area with a flamingo pond at the back, a whizzy slide and a pool bar that serves the most amazing skinny coconut mojitos (ahem):
The first thing we saw when we opened our balcony door was a giraffe right below us (I’ve left the balcony in the photo so you can see just how close it was). Such an incredible place to stay. Here’s our room:
Rooms are comfortable, with two huge, squidgy double beds and loads of storage. We both had plenty of wardrobe space and a large chest of drawers each, as well as ‘hers and hers’ sinks and a separate bathroom with bath, shower and toilet. The rooms have so much space, with a desk area and loads of plug points for charging all your bits and pieces (and very fast, free WiFi throughout the hotel). That evening we were really excited to find that we were dining at ‘Jiko: The Cooking Place’, Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Lion King-themed signature restaurant serving incredible South African themed food and a great selection of South African wines:
What a beautiful place to stay. Next up, the parks, some wonderful food and drink masterclasses, and I’ll be filling you in on a fabulous offer that’s currently available where customers booking selected Walt Disney World holiday packages (terms and conditions apply – I’ll go into these in more detail shortly) before 4th November 2014 can receive the Free Disney Dining Plan for all travelling plus $100 Disney Dollars per booking to spend in resort! We roughly worked this out, and we reckoned it could mean a typical family could save around £500 on their holiday – a massive saving when you’re booking your dream trip (I’ve got some special goodies to the first five people who book a holiday through me, so if you’re planning on booking, hold your horses just a while longer!).
Seven nights in Orlando with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick direct to Orlando, accommodation at the 5V Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge on a room only basis and car hire included starts from £1,185pp. Price is per person based on 2 adults travelling and sharing a standard room and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Price is based on a departure on 29 November 2015. Start your holiday before you’ve even taken off in the v-room at Gatwick Airport… adults £24.50, kids from £14. 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 110 stores located in Debenhams and House of Fraser stores nationwide.