Not quite as planned
This trip was full of surprises, both great and let’s call some of them „not so great“.
It started out the day before, when we did online check in for our flights and suddenly realized, that those were not the seats we had picked when we had booked our flights. Turns out that we had been upgraded to Business Class. Score! What a nice surprise.
So when travel day rolled around we got up around 7am, got ready and had breakfast before loading the luggage into the car and heading off to the airport. Even though it was a workday, traffic was light and we made it to the airport with plenty of time. We stopped at the short term parking, unloaded the luggage and rolled it inside the airport to check it in. There were long lines left and right, but business check in was all empty so this task was done within a very short time. Luggage checked in to Orlando we headed outside, got into the car and went to the long-term parking, parked the car and back we went to the airport. Security was a breeze and then we walked through the small duty free shop and ended up waiting at the gate for about 10 minutes until it was time to board the small plane that would take us to Frankfurt.
Once on board and in our seats the flight attendants handed out their little treats,
Walkers shortbreads, before we took off. A few minutes later we were already on our flight to Frankfurt.
We both had some Coke during the flight
and soon enough we landed again.
Since our home airport is fairly small and not many people travel to Frankfurt, the small airplane we travelled on was parked at the furthest out spot possible. Then we had to get on a bus that took a LONG time to get to the terminal. Once there we needed to get to another terminal, go through a check point and finally made it to our terminal. On the way we stopped at a Duty Free and Tom got himself a small bottle of Whiskey and a small present for our friend Angelina. There was still time until we had to get on the plane and since we travelled Business Class, so why not visit the Business Lounge. Walked over, showed our tickets and up we went.
We found a nice table
and got ourselves a drink and some
Frankfurter sausages, baguette and mustard for a quick snack. They even had free ice cream and needless to say I had to try it. It was
peach sorbet and really refreshing, the small bar was absolutely just the right size. And since the internet was really good up there, we checked our mail and messages and with just a few minutes to spare we made our way over to the gate.
Turns out that they were not ready for boarding yet and we had to wait a little longer anyway. We got in line with everyone else and after another 20 minutes we were allowed to board the plane. I had changed Lufthansa's seat assignment to one that was closer to the exit and we quickly had found our seats and settled in.
And as soon as we were settled in the flight attendant offered us some drinks. We both got a
glass of champagne to celebrate the start of our vacation. Another half an hour later the plane pushed back
and we were finally on the way to Orlando. Soon we had climbed up into the skies over Germany
and the flight attendants were about to offer some more drinks and snacks. Tom and I both got a glass of
dry white wine, a glass of water and they handed out some roasted and salted almonds with it. We snacked on it for a while, while watching TV. Funnily enough there was a programme on about an English chef, who visited Austria’s capital city, Vienna and learned about Austria’s cuisine and its origins. It was a really well done programme. About an hour and a half into the flight we were served some lunch.
How different Business Class lunch is from Economy.
First off we were handed some hot/cold towels to freshen up, then they put small white table cloths on our tables before serving our starters. They had three different ones and they all sounded delicious. We made our mind up and Tom ordered the
Chicken Breast Gremolata with Red Lentil Salad and Chive Olive Oil, which was as yummy as we expected it to be. I had my heart set on the
Spiced Salmon with Turnip Celery Salad, Frankfurt Style Pesto and Pumpkin Seeds, which was equally tasty. We were also served some
fresh rolls with it. We had some of the same crisp
white wine with it and it was just perfect. After we had finished our starters we were served a salad course,
Seasonal Leaf Salad with Tomato, Cucumber and Wasabi Dressing. I was a bit suspicious of the Wasabi Dressing being hot, but it had just the right amount of spice to not be overpowering. The salad was fresh and crisp and just what we had hoped for. Didn’t take long for our main courses to arrive. Tom had asked for the
Prawns and Vegetable Provencal with Tomato Stock and Mixed Rice. It looked yummy and Tom was very happy with it. My choice had been the
Fried Breast of Corn-fed Chicken with Jus, Leek Tomato Stew and Herb Polenta. It was really good and we both enjoyed our food very much. We were both pretty full when they took away our empty plates, but the flight attendants told us that there were yummy desserts as well. Again, there were three choices, one being a cheese plate, one some fresh fruit, but we both opted for the
Crème Brulee Mango and Pssion Fruit Ice Cream. This was definitely a first for both of us and it was so good. They did offer coffee and tea, but none of us did want any and we just went on to watch some more TV. Tom stuck with some movies while I started watching a TV series called “The Missing”. It had a lot of episodes and the more I watched the more it gripped me. And while I was still watching the first episode, the flight attendant came around with more drinks and
some chocolate for each of us. Since Tom didn’t want his, I had two sets to enjoy while watching my series. Time slowly crept by.
We both fell asleep for short amounts of time and finally it was time for the second meal of the trip. We both were not really hungry, but the menu sounded interesting to say the least so we repeated the hot/cold towel routine and table cloths were placed in front of us again, we were both offered some more drinks, but since we were getting close to the Florida coast we both stuck to Coke.
Our evening meal was Soup and Salad.
We were served
Vegetable Ginger Stew with Chicken Breast, which was really tasty with a good taste of ginger and would not have needed the chicken. Second plate was the
Fresh Leaf Lettuce with marinated Black Angus Beef, Walnuts, dried Pears and Macadamia Nut Dressing. Tom had a
Pretzel with it, while I had chosen
regular bread and both were yummy with the butter. The salad was very nice as a dinner, not too heavy and just enough to not make you feel too full. Needless to say that there was also dessert and it was a
Seasonal Fruit Crumble Cake, which was very nice as well. Soon after we had finished our meal we crossed into Florida and flew past the Kennedy Space Center,
which is always well visible from the air. Didn’t take long until we were able to land, but then the pilot informed us that if we were unlucky we might have to wait on the plane for up to an hour if immigration was packed. Soon enough he came on again and let everyone know that we were clear and would be able to disembark as soon as we had reached the terminal and the passenger bridge was in place.
I had intentionally picked our seats very close to the exit, hoping that we would be able to leave right after the First Class Passengers would have left. So once we were allowed to, we got up, got our carry-ons and turned around to stay close to the exit.
Turns out this flight didn’t have any first class passengers and we were the first to exit.
Tom hotfooted it to immigration and to our utter delight there were just a handful of people there. We went to one of the kiosks, did our paperwork and were immediately pointed towards an officer to look at our passports. We were through immigration within 10 minutes of having left the plane. Next stop was picking up our luggage. We couldn’t find any signage of where it would be delivered, so we went to ask and while we were still searching for a Lufthansa employee they announced that our luggage would be delivered once the Virgin flight was done. It would only be a few more minutes. Tom went to pick up a cart and we positioned ourselves nicely close to customs, so we would not have to go far. Soon they started delivering our plane’s luggage and since we had been travelling Business Class, our priority marked luggage was delivered first. Within a few minutes we had our luggage on our cart and were heading towards customs, where there was no line at all due to the fact that they did not even stop people, but let everyone just walk through. We had done very well timewise and the only thing left to do was to reduce the pieces of luggage we had to lug over to the rental car area. I do not like to send of my luggage again to be delivered somewhere in the outside area, as it always takes forever for the luggage to appear, so we usually just take it with us, but we had 6 pieces of luggage for just 4 hands. And since we had a half empty big suitcase we had decided to put one of the carry-ons in it, so Tom would have the two bulky pieces of luggage, while I had to manage the two easy rolling ones and another bigger bag. Carry-on safely stowed in a bigger bag Tom helped me put my bags on the elevator before moving up, then he followed. And off we went to the fake monorail. We were making good progress and rolled our suitcases over to the rental car desks.
Again, we were in luck, there were only three people ahead of us and the line moved quickly. Soon it was our turn and we handed over our voucher and we soon were handed a contract and told where to go to pick a car. Once we finally left the airport the hot air hit both of us, even though it had been hot in Austria too, the humid hot air even in the evening was something else. We slowly rolled our luggage to the crossing and moved over to the rental car area. We were happy we did not have to go up another elevator and I sent Tom ahead to have a look at where to go. It was pretty easy to find the rental car company, but we were unsure about the isle and were soon pointed in the right direction. When we moved closer we noticed that there were only three cars parked in the area and one of them was not what we would have wanted as there was no cover over the luggage hold and we intended to leave our Owner’s Locker in the car during the cruise. There was also another family moving in the same direction ahead of us and I was kind of praying they would pick that particular car. Turns out they went straight for it. Lucky for us.
We picked the Nissan right beside it, took photos of the few scratches it had, loaded our luggage and fixed the GPS and then finally moved out of the airport parking structure. It was only 7pm by then and it had only taken an hour and 10 minutes to go through immigration and picking up a rental car and getting on the way. Thing was that that day there were Extra Magic Hours at Epcot and I had especially picked the Beach Club to be able to stay close and head over to enjoy the park on our arrival night. So not losing to much time was a good thing.
Traffic was light
and about 25 minutes later we arrived at the Beach Club. We parked the car in the villas’ parking lot, grabbed our passports and headed over to the front desk. We needed to wait a few minutes, but then it finally was our turn. It took quite a while to check us in even though we had done online-check in, looked like they could not find our reservation, but the cast member checking us in was super nice, so we didn’t mind, but time was ticking. After a while we were handed our magic bands and I asked about our passholder bands and was told they were not there and that sometimes it took very long for them to get there. I had ordered them about three weeks out, so that seemed strange, but we could not help it. And after that we headed off to our room to “inspect” it and to our huge surprise we had been upgraded to a one bedroom villa for the night.
Two upgrades in one day – not too bad. We were super happy with it, even though we knew there was not much time to really enjoy the villa.
It was now getting late and we rushed back to the car and rolled our luggage up to our villa, freshened up just a bit and then hotfooted it over to Epcot. Thing was, that I had bought annual passes for us and they were not activated yet. We knew that we had to go to guest services to do that and we wanted to try if they were still open so late. Turns out they were no longer open, so our plans of enjoying Extra Magic Hours had gone out the window.
What to do, what to do?
We thought about just picking up a snack from the Beach Club Marketplace, but they did not have much variety, so we decided against it, especially since Tom had come up with the idea of driving to Krispy Kreme and starting off the vacation with a sweet treat.
A few minutes later we sat in the car again and were driving towards Kissimmee and about 20 minutes later we saw the “Hot Now” sign and quickly parked the car. There is a CVS right across from Krispy Kreme and we walked over and Tom got some beers and we picked up some Diet Coke and Doritos, so Tom would have some snacks as well. And after putting all that stuff in the trunk we walked into Krispy Kreme, bought our doughnuts and a Diet Coke, sat down and enjoyed a hot doughnut and then another one.
We were getting tired by now, so we went back to our car, got in and off we went, back to the Beach Club. Once we had arrived in our villa again we had some drinks, nibbled on some tortilla chips and watched a little TV until we were really tired and went to bed.