I have so much to tell you about our trip. This means that it’s probably best to break it into several sections to prevent you falling asleep at your laptop and waking up with little keyboard-shaped indentations in your forehead.
First stop, then, was the fabulous Virgin V Room at London Gatwick Airport. I met up with a couple of my fellow travellers, Kash from Budget Traveller and Victoria, otherwise known as Pommie Travels, plus Claire, our lovely and long-suffering PR. We started as we meant to go on with enormous plates of eggs benedict and a refreshing 9am cocktail (what? we were on holiday):
A very comfortable flight and a very sweaty queue through US immigration later and we were reunited with Laura, and met Lily from Visit Florida, our guide for the weeks’ adventures.
First stop was the Hilton Bonnet Creek. The place is enormous (1000 rooms!) and sits next to its twin, the equally fabulous Waldorf Astoria. Here’s my room, already becoming sullied by the contents of my somewhat overstuffed suitcase. The bathroom had a gorgeous double width/wetroom shower thingy (a thing of beauty) and possibly the biggest, most comfy bed ever:
We ate in the beautiful La Luce restaurant, created by the very famous Napa Valley chef, Donna Scala, where I nearly died and went to heaven sampling the crispest, most delicious frito misto with a crunchy, sweet, beet salad (sigh):
There was also a butterscotch dessert so gorgeous and so heavenly that there was total silence around the table apart from the odd contented sigh. The dessert is so amazing it even has its own Facebook page (I kid you not):
The next day, we were very excitedly heading out to Universal Studios. The studios are split into three main areas: the City Walk, which is an amazing strip of all sorts of bars, shops and restaurants before you get to the main entrances, then the Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Our absolute faves were:
The Incredible Hulk Coaster – just amazing (and a bit scary)
The Jurassic Park River Adventure – fab dinosaurs and whooshy raft action – be warned, you get wet!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Dragon Challenge – a feet-dangling-free terror ride upon a dualling dragon
Butter beer – taste it and immediately fall in love (oh, that frothy topping…)
Top tip: ask the guard of the Hogwart’s Express where he’s from!
If you’re a fan of Dr Seuss you’ll love this whole area – it’s like being dropped into the set of The Cat in the Hat
And at Universal Studios:
We spent far too long at the Islands of Adventure to properly check out everything at Universal, but don’t miss:
The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – my neck STILL hurts (this is my own fault – I didn’t want to take my hair clip out so rode the entire vertical-up and vertical-down section of this terrifying ride craning my neck away from my headrest. What a dunce.)
Universal’s Superstar Parade: check out the parade, if only for Spongebob and the dancing Minions from Despicable Me. Hilarious and gorgeous.
Next up is beautiful St Petersburg, the bonkers Dali Museum and some unseemly horsing about on segways. Stay tuned, viewers!
I travelled to Florida with Visit Florida and Virgin Holidays. If you’d like to recreate my trip, here’s some information about a very similar seven nights in Orlando from £949
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.